Reading Resolutions for 2018

AAR staff have been making plans to be their best reading selves in 2018. Here are some of our reading resolutions:


Caroline: My resolution is to reread books that have been on my keeper shelf without a reread for four years (that’s the easiest time for me to calculate since it’s when I moved). I find a lot of books I’ve had for that long aren’t holding up, and I need to get rid of them to free up space. I also resolve to get rid of my pile of Regency Christmas anthologies that I’m keeping just for the one Carla Kelly story and replace it with the Kelly collection that has all of those stories in it.


Keira: I resolve to continue my detailed Spreadsheet of Joy, wherein I maintain all kinds of data about every book I read. I have been spreadsheeting my reading since 2013, and I also blog about an in-depth analysis of that data […]

The Best of 2017 – Kristen’s List

I just closed the cover on my 504th book read this year, and I loved so many of them. After looking over my list, I decided to craft my Best of 2017 from books that gave me joy this year and that I really want you to read. I adored the time I spent in these stories and several of them have characters I still carry around in my heart. Asking me to narrow a list of beloved books down to ten was enough of a challenge, asking me to rank them is a no go, so these are presented in no particular order. Also, as I look over this, I realize that for the first year ever, I have no historical romances on here, even though I loved many. This year was the year of contemporaries for me – I needed joy in present tense.


By | 2017-12-24T09:19:13+00:00 December 24th, 2017|Categories: Best of List, Kristen D, Romance reading|Tags: |15 Comments

Romancing it Royally – Some of our favourite Royal Romances

With the recent engagement of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, royal romance is on our minds. Here are some of AAR’s favorite royal stories, real and fictional, for anybody else in the mood.


Caz: One of the things that made the books that make up Lilah Pace’s His Royal Secret/His Royal Favorite duology such great reads is that the author chose to set her story in a Britain I was able to easily recognise as the one in which I live while at the same time creating a very believable ‘alternate’ Royal Family. (There’s none of that carving off bits of Scotland and giving them names that sound like supermarket chains or making the Isle of Man into a separate country!) In Ms. Pace’s version of Britain, the House of Hanover […]

Yeah, thanks, NYT. We’ll take it from here

Hope. Escape. Fun. Happiness Something just for me. Taught me about respect. Joy. Taught me that I deserve a happily ever after, too.

I spent the spring and summer of 2016 listening to women about why they read romance novels. I ran a research project that was specifically interested in how women who see themselves as ‘religious’ interacted with the sex in romance novels, but my participants gave me so many gifts beyond that. Many I heard from weren’t even women of faith, they just wanted to tell me how important these books are to them, how vital they are to their lives. (1)

Because for so many women, they are just that: vital.

I talked to women whose entire sexual health education came from Harlequin, because their schools and families and religious spaces never talked about sex and the issues surrounding it. From the books, these women told me, they learned about consent and respect and orgasms. (2)

I heard from women in helping professions – teaching, social […]

The Book Blind Taste Test #3

It’s time for another go-round in our occasional series of AAR’s adventures in blind book taste testing.  This time,  Lynn and Kristen describe two success stories and books they’d recommend.


Lynn:

Dangerous Games by Tess Diamond

Romantic Suspense

Summary: The hero and heroine are both outsiders of a sort. Maggie Kincaid survived a childhood kidnapping and went on to become one of the FBI’s top hostage negotiators, but left law enforcement after a hostage situation ended tragically. Jake O’Connor was a soldier who now works private security. When a Senator’s daughter is kidnapped, the two are brought into the investigation by their respective mentors and now they must work against time to rescue a child whose medical condition dictates that she be found quickly. Not surprisingly, they have to deal with their own personal demons as well as everything the kidnapper throws at them.

What drew you to the book? It popped […]

By | 2017-09-27T09:03:52+00:00 September 27th, 2017|Categories: Historicals, Kristen D, Lynn AAR, Reading, Romance, Romance reading|3 Comments

Coming Soon… October 2017

It’s time once again to look ahead to the books we’re looking forward to getting stuck into next month, and as the nights are drawing in, I’m sure we’re all looking for reads to help us curl up and forget the encroaching cold.  AAR staffers have chosen quite a diverse bunch of titles as those we’re most looking forward to in October – some big names and favourite authors (Jackie Ashenden, Karen Harper, Elizabeth Hoyt, Eloisa James) have new books out this month, and maybe our picks of some less familiar names might encourage you to give something new a try.


Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt (17 Oct)

I admit, I’m not quite convinced by the set up for this that we glimpsed at the end of Duke of Pleasure, but what the hell – this is the final full-length Maiden Lane novel and as such marks the end […]

Coming Soon… September 2017

While we AAR staffers have fairly diverse tastes on the whole, there are some books and authors that pull us together for various reason – we like the authors, we like their writing, we like their storytelling – and into genres that sometimes we don’t read very often.  This month, the big draws appear to be historicals, with new titles from Sherry Thomas, Katharine Ashe and Juliana Grey all eagerly awaited by many of us.


A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas (5 Sept)

I was fairly bowled over by A Study in Scarlet Women and am sure this second instalment in the Lady Sherlock series won’t disappoint.  Our heroine is approached by the wife of her dearest friend  to find the man she loved years before… but there’s bound to be a lot more to it than meets the eye!  – Caz

I know I’m not the only AAR staffer […]

The Book Blind Taste Test #2

Welcome again to our new semi-regular feature wherein a group of AAR staffers challenge themselves to pick up a book by an author they’ve never read before, either one they’ve never heard of or one they’ve been meaning to get to, and give it at least fifty pages. For AAR, our additional rule is that the book involves women; written by one or has one as a protagonist.This time round Kristen, Melanie, and Jenna give their choices a go, with mixed results.

Melanie:

Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone
Sci Fi/Urban Fantasy

Summary: The world is particularly fascinating – running on souls, our heroine, Kai, builds gods to order for worshipers to follow, but when one of those creations is dying, Kai risks her own life to try and save it. The book jumps between Kai’s story and that of Izza, a 15-year-old responsible for what appears to be a gang of street kids, who acts as priestess/storyteller, and the winged woman, Cat, she finds on the street, […]

By | 2017-08-17T18:50:00+00:00 August 19th, 2017|Categories: AAR Jenna, Kristen D, Melanie AAR, Reading, Romance reading|2 Comments

Coming Soon… August 2017

AAR staffers have taken a good look at the wealth of new books being published in August and decided which ones are most likely to make the biggest dents in our bank balances! Joanna Bourne is at the top of several of our lists, closely followed by Tessa Dare, Shana Galen, Layla Reyne and K.J Charles, among others. Here are the books we’re most looking forward to reading next month. How about you? Do you agree with our choices or think we’ve missed out on something really good? Jump into the discussion in the comments.


Beauty Like the Night by Joanna Bourne (1 Aug)

Um. It’s a new book in the Spymasters series by Joanna Bourne.  Surely I don’t need to say anything else?! – Caz

Joanna Bourne. That is all. If there’s a stronger series than her Spymasters, I […]

The Book Blind Taste Test – Pick a book… any book…

I have always loved libraries, but I admit I had fallen out of the habit of using my local one recently. One of my dear friends is a middle school librarian and she (appropriately) shamed me a bit for it, telling me the best way to make sure libraries stay around and keep their funding is to use them. So, a few months back, I started building weekly trips to my local temple of knowledge into my schedule and added a particular challenge to myself. I would walk directly to the New Releases section and pick up the first book by an author I didn’t recognize.

This has led to some real gems (Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinsborough was one) and some duds (which I will leave out for politeness). I told the AAR Staff about my new project and several of them jumped on board, saying it sounded like a great challenge. So many other staffers joined me, in fact, that we’ve decided to make it a regular blog.

The […]