Coming Soon… in June

It’s time to look ahead to see what books we’re most excited about reading in June. As usual, we’ve a wide variety of choices, although it seems there’s a bit of a consensus about our most looked-forward-to new releases, K.J. Charles’ An Unnatural Vice and Sarah MacLean’s The Day of the Duchess. What are YOU looking forward to reading next month?


An Unnatural Vice by K.J. Charles (June 6)

As a big fan of both K.J. Charles and the Victorian Sensation Fiction which has inspired this series, I can’t wait to read this story of the battle of wits between a former-lawyer-turned-journalist and the man he suspects of being a sham spiritualist. The author’s ability to imbue her stories with a strong sense of time and space is superb, and I do love a good enemies-to-lovers romance. – Caz

I loved An Unseen Attraction (book one​ in the Sins of the Cities series) and ​I ​was intrigued by the characters​ […]

Midweek Minis

In another of our series of mini-reviews, AAR staffers BJ, Em, Lisa, Maggie and Sara share their thoughts on some of their recent reads.


BJ:

Oren’s Right by Blaine D’Arden

This is a beautifully gentle, caring story in the Tales of the Forest series. The world author Blaine D Arden has created is sublime – I could just wish the stories were longer, but this edition has an extra scene at the end, which completes this tale perfectly and is very sexy.

Scarification may not be to everyone’s taste, but the author writes about it so sensitively, you can see how this might be part of a BDSM Master/slave style of loving relationship.

Blaine D’Arden introduces Veld a dark elf from another tribe, and details the prejudice he first encounters on reaching the village around which these stories are set. However, he is a Forester, a tree elf in great demand, […]

By | May 10th, 2017|Categories: BJ Jansen, EmAAR, Lisa F, Maggie AAR, Mini reviews, Romance reading, Sara AAR|Tags: , |3 Comments

Midweek Minis

In our latest batch of mini reviews, Em, Lisa, Maggie, Maria Rose and Sara share their thoughts on some of their most recent reads:


Em:

Back Piece  by L. A. Witt

This is the story of two men who fall in love despite vastly different backgrounds and life experiences.  Unfortunately, because Ms. Witt has saddled them each with such heavy backstories, it’s mostly sex and angst and very little plot.  Once our principals meet, it’s a bit of a never ending (and unsatisfying) cycle of lust and sex, angst, apologies, lust and sex, angst… you know what I mean.  I liked this couple but the story drags, and the drama gets old – fast.

Colin Spencer is at the gym readying to workout with his trainer when he spots a group of men enter the gym.  One in particular catches his eye, and when he looks […]

By | April 26th, 2017|Categories: EmAAR, Lisa F, Maggie AAR, Maria Rose, Mini reviews, Romance reading, Sara AAR|3 Comments

Midweek Minis

Here’s another in our occasional series of mini reviews in which AAR staffers talk about what they’ve read lately.  Not all these books are romances (although most of them are), and some were obviously more well-received than others. Here’s what Kristen, Lisa, Maggie, Maria Rose, Melanie have to say about their recent reads.


Kristen:

We Were On A Break by Lindsey Kelk

This one is perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella – the humor and cultural settings are very similar. Liv and Adam’s Mexican holiday is sure to end in an engagement, or so Liv thinks. They’ve been dating for an age and surely, SURELY, he wouldn’t take her from England to Mexico without a real purpose, right? Well, imagine her shock when instead of giving her a ring, he asks for a pause. Dejected, confused, and heartbroken, they head back to the UK and to their separated lives.

One of this book’s strength […]

By | March 22nd, 2017|Categories: Kristen D, Maggie AAR, Maria Rose, Melanie AAR, Mini reviews, Reading, Romance reading|Tags: |5 Comments

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