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 […]

By | January 6th, 2017|Categories: AAR Reading Challenge 17 in 17, Maggie AAR, Reading, Romance reading|52 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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?  […]

From Books to Burton

Two books are making their way from page to screen via Tim Burton productions in the coming months. On May 27 Alice Through the Looking Glass brings viewers a sequel to the 2010 Alice in Wonderland and what appears to be a very loose, really barely related, version of Lewis Carroll’s classic Through the Looking-Glass.  Burton is not directing Looking Glass but, from the previews (which can be seen here), it appears that the film continues his dark and fantastical style. […]

By | April 6th, 2016|Categories: Haley AAR, Maggie AAR, Movies|Tags: , , |3 Comments

A Roundtable Discussion on Lost Among the Living

Today, AAR Reviewers Maggie, Caz, Mary, Linniegayl and Melanie have AAR’s first ever Round Table Discussion. The book chosen is Simone St. James Lost Among the Living. Ms. St. James is a popular author with AAR staff having made several Top Ten lists in 2015 as well as having two DIK reviews on our site. Lost Among the Living is her most recent release and one that has been eagerly anticipated by many. […]

Does Size Matter?

I’ve read some pretty long books in the course of my life. Tolstoy’s War and Peace with the original French quotes included – 1,296 pages. The Far Pavillions by M. M. Kay which comes in at a mere 960 pages.  Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, another light book coming in at only 600 pages. The Twilight Saga books by Stephanie Meyer’s always surprise me because I tend to think of them as light reads but the books clock in at over five hundred pages each. Which brings me to an important point – size does not mean […]

By | March 8th, 2016|Categories: Book news, Maggie AAR|14 Comments