Refugee Heroines

Regency spy novels are chock full of French emigrés fleeing the Revolution, but more recent stories of migration, including refugees, can be a little harder to find. Here are some post-World War II stories of heroes and heroines either living in areas of crisis, fleeing them, or encountering other characters who have done both. We have border patrol agents, war orphans and adoptees, humanitarian workers, and ordinary people trying to survive.


Caroline Russomanno:

A Daughter’s Journey by Linda Cardillo in the anthology A Mother’s Heart. Journalist Melanie Ames escapes Saigon just before the city is retaken by North Vietnamese forces, cutting short her love affair with a doctor in the city. Decades later, she returns with her adopted Vietnamese daughter Tien, who is seeking to learn more about her roots, and finds her lover still in country, doing his best to help the casualties of war. This tiny (96 page!) novella amazed me […]

By | February 22nd, 2017|Categories: Caroline AAR, Heroines, Maggie AAR, Reading, Romance, Romance reading, Settings|4 Comments

Scenes that make us swoon…. (Part One)

I asked the AAR staff to share the scenes from novels they found the most romantic. And, boy, did they come up with some exquisite scenes. Be prepared to swoon….


Keira:

This scene is from the novella Paris for One from Jojo Moyes’ Paris for One. Nell and Fabien sit on the ledge. A half-drunk bottle of wine sits beside them. He is reading to her, his voice halting as he translates into English. Her head rests on his shoulder.

Because she knew already that this would be the thing that would end them. And that in the deepest part of her, she had known it from the beginning, like someone stubbornly ignoring a weed growing until it blocked out the light.’”

“You can’t stop,” says Nell when he does.

“The other pages are missing. Anyway — like I said, it’s no good.”

“But you can’t stop. You have […]

Yes We Can! Our favorite Activist Heroines

Women have a long history of standing up for their beliefs, and there are great romance novels starring heroines doing just that. American and British suffragettes (or suffragists), Civil Rights activists, lawyers, writers, organizers, and military rebels – you’ll find all of them here, and more. Let these ladies inspire you to fight for your beliefs, whatever they happen to be.


Caroline Russomanno:

Erica Johnson – Unfinished Business by Karyn Langhorne

Erica, a teacher, is tired of seeing funding diverted away from the neediest and most vulnerable. She protests at the hero’s (a Southern Republican senator’s) press conference and is dragged out by police. This book is set during the W. Bush administration and Erica is a strong reminder that black activists have been working continuously, even when out of the media spotlight. Our review of the book is here.

A/BN/iB/K

The AAR Seventeen in 17 Reading Challenge

2-2017-01-05The annual Reading Challenge that used to run on the Message Boards has been one of AAR’s most popular features, and a few weeks back, we asked for suggestions and prompts for the 2017 Challenge, which we’re going to run here on the AAR blog.

Goal: Clear books that have been on your TBR for a month or more.

Rules: (Totally not enforced so feel free to be freewheeling with them!) Choose a challenge, and then read 17 (or 10 or 12) books that match the criteria listed within the challenge to complete it.

Here’s how it’s going to work: At the beginning of every month, there will be a blog post for you to comment about the books you read throughout the month – this is the post for January.  You can just list the titles of the books you read, or you can write a short review, or whatever you like – if you participated in previous challenges at the Boards, then you know how […]

By | January 6th, 2017|Categories: AAR Reading Challenge 17 in 17, Maggie AAR, Reading, Romance reading|63 Comments

Rising to the Challenge!

open-booksBack in 2008, a conversation on the Romance Potpourri Message Board revealed two things:  Many of us had massive to be read piles and most of us had no real motivation to pull books off of them.  In order to conquer those dual issues we created the Unofficial 9 in 2009 AAR Reading Challenge.  The goal was to read at least nine books on your TBR.  I did it, loved it (as did several others) and we have been doing the Reading Challenges ever since.

Here’s why the challenges are so great.  Reason one is that it has definitely helped expand my reading experiences.  I don’t know about the rest of you but I will often read a review on AAR, buy the book – and then let it languish in the TBR pile.  Because a part of the challenge is often to tackle new to you authors, it inspires me to tackle those books which were well reviewed at AAR written by […]

By | December 9th, 2016|Categories: Maggie AAR, Reading, Romance reading|Tags: |22 Comments

Inspirational Romance: A Roundtable Discussion

Welcome to the AAR Roundtable Discussion on Inspirational Romance novels!

According to RWA these books make up 17% of print sales and 14% of e-book sales of all romance novels sold annually. Reviewers Maggie Boyd, Kristen Donnelly, Lynn Spencer and Caz Owens talk about their first experiences reading Inspirationals–often called Inspys– what draws them to this particular type of book, and how they see the stories overall.


Maggie: When I needed to find a sub-genre I typically didn’t read for a reading challenge back in 2009 I determined to suck it up and read three Inspirational books to complete the challenge. I’d had some bad experiences with a few Inspy novels before so I wasn’t expecting to enjoy them much. I was stunned. Deeanne Gist, Cathy Marie Hake and Lynn Austin penned books I completely loved. I began to expand into more authors and found that the Inspirational market of the last few decades was actually rich with fantastic authors, beautiful stories, and fabulous settings. About a third of the books I read are Inspirationals […]

By | October 29th, 2016|Categories: Books, Caz AAR, Kristen D, Lynn Spencer, Maggie AAR, Roundtable|Tags: |11 Comments

Getting the Story: Reporters in Fiction

brenda-starr-3506e6fb9591b9a3When I was growing up there was no way my family could financially afford my reading habit. Honestly, I think a drug addiction might have been cheaper. I was the kind of voracious reader that could on any given school night finish her homework and chores and still have time to finish an entire novel before bedtime. While other kids devoted their Saturday mornings to cartoon watching or playing outside, I was propped up in bed reading whatever I hadn’t finished the night before or starting something new. Sundays I would take the book to church with me so I could read on the drive there and back. The local library was seriously out of date but my mom was desperate and once or twice a week we would walk the streets of our sleepy downtown area and get me my “fix”.  It was through that lovely institution that I […]

By | October 25th, 2016|Categories: giveaways, Maggie AAR, Mysteries, Reading, Romance reading|16 Comments

Tricky Dicks: The Worst Politicians in Romance and YA Literature

With the American election season already burning up the internet and my television screen seemingly constantly turned to pundits talking politicians, I thought it might be time to talk leadership. Specifically, the kind of leadership we see between the pages of a book. In this blog I’ll be focusing on the bad, some of them really bad. Thanks to the recent rage of dystopian novels I have several truly murderous politicos to pick from. But you don’t have to ruin an entire nation or world to make my list; some of these guys are just good old fashioned thieves or charming local criminals.

Below are my picks for the worst politicos I’ve come up against in the last few decades of reading popular fiction genres. […]

By | June 10th, 2016|Categories: Maggie AAR|Tags: |9 Comments

Alex Markov: Dreamboat or Douchebag?

In another of our occasional series in which we discuss the merits – or lack thereof – of fictional heroes and heroines, AAR staffers turn their attention to Alex Markov of Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

The book taps into the classic “arranged marriage” trope. The two protagonists, Daisy and Alex, are blackmailed into marriage by a third party: Daisy’s dad. Daisy agrees in order to avert legal trouble and avoid prison. For Alex Markov, this was his year for paying off big debts, first with his deathbed promise to Owen Quest to take the circus out for its last season under the Quest name, and then by agreeing to marry Max’s daughter. In all these years Max had never asked one thing of him as repayment for having saved Alex’s life, but when he’d finally gotten around to it, he’d asked for a doozy. […]

Linda Howard's Troublemaker: A Pandora's Box

Today, AAR reviewers Maggie Boyd and Mary Skelton tackle Troublemaker, the latest book by New York Time’s bestseller Linda Howard.

Here is Maggie’s summary of the novel:

Isabeau “Bo” Maran is surprised – and displeased – when she receives a self-igniting birthday card from the ex-step-brother she loves to hate. She is even more displeased when she finds that the present alluded to in the card is actually a sick man in need of a very private place to recuperate. She is happy with the bribe she receives to play nursemaid – $150,000.00 will go a long way to alleviating the debt from a bad business decision and putting her back in financial solvency. Looks like she and her dog, Tricks, will be entertaining a house guest.

As the leader of a paramilitary group Morgan Yancy is used to facing danger. He just didn’t expect to find it waiting for him in his own driveway after a day of fishing. Six weeks in hospital after the gunshot wound and he’s ready to break out of that establishment but the open-heart surgery and subsequent pneumonia have proven pretty serious setbacks. He’s in no condition to kick ass and take names like he needs to. When his boss sends him to finish his recuperation – and hide out from whoever ambushed him – at a lazy little West Virginia town he expects to be bored out of his skull within a week. Instead he finds a dog who loves to keep him on his toes and a dog owner who makes his blood sing. But Bo is none too pleased to have him camping out in her home. Can he somehow convince her to give in to the passion between them and let him make this place –and her- his permanent base?  […]