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

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

Before the End: The Beyond Series by Kit Rocha

buy links: A/iB/BN/K

The erotic dystopian Beyond series didn’t really come onto my reading radar until mid-2014, though the first book, Beyond Shame was released in 2012. Even then, I wasn’t particularly interested in reading them. I was happy with my contemporary and historical romances and hadn’t branched out too much into other romantic sub-genres. But I had some reviewer friends who couldn’t stop talking about them. “They are so dirty!” “’They are so addictive!” “The worldbuilding is fantastic!” and so on. Reluctantly, I picked up Beyond Shame (which is free) just so I could say that I’d tried it and it wasn’t for me.

I was so wrong. I devoured that first book. I checked back to my review on Goodreads (this was before I was reviewing regularly) and all it says is […]

By | December 3rd, 2016|Categories: Books with Buzz, E-books, Maria Rose, Reading, Romance reading|2 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

The New Age of the Series – A Reader Rant

Am I crazy but does it feel like every romance novel published today is a part of a series? Almost every new book I pick up has a number after its title.

Is the standalone, single novel becoming extinct? I wonder if a book without a series will one day be a relic of the past similar to what happened to the landline telephone.

The death of the non-series novel might not feel like a big deal to everyone, but the series is starting to wreak havoc with my reading enjoyment. Am I whining? Probably. But I also think I have some valid grievances to address with authors and their publishers.

You (author and publisher) didn’t warn me there is a cliffhanger!

I did my due diligence. I read the book description and even downloaded a sample before buying it. There was no obvious hint that the story would not be resolved by page 289. Instead of an epilogue, I am given a teaser to the story to be continued in the book #X to […]

By | August 10th, 2016|Categories: Books, Reading, Romance reading, Uncategorized|31 Comments

TBR Challenge – Expect the Unexpected

leviswill I’m a fairly eclectic reader (just check my Goodreads account for proof of that), so when confronted with a theme calling on me to pick out something completely different, I found myself at a bit of a loss. I decided to go with the “outside my comfort zone” side of things, and I picked up Levi’s Will by W. Dale Cramer. I read plenty of inspirationals, but I have often been candid about Amish books just not being my thing. I only had this 2005 novel in the TBR because a couple bloggers I respect had praised it to the skies. Having read it, I now see why.

The book opens on an Amish farm in the 1940s as 19 year old Will Mullett flees his father’s home together with his younger brother Tobe. The two eventually find their way south from Ohio, where they end up taking on various manual labor jobs to support themselves. Early on, we learn that Will has fled not only the Amish religion and way of life, but also an impending marriage. The young woman he was courting is now pregnant and Will is expected to marry her. Knowing this makes Will a more morally ambiguous and complicated hero than we normally find in inspirational fiction, watching him grow and grapple with larger questions of faith, morality, and identity makes this book a real standout.
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By | May 18th, 2016|Categories: Caz AAR, Lynn AAR, Reading|Tags: , , , |7 Comments

Eagerly Awaited April Books

One look at everyone’s picks from the list tells me that April is going to be a HUGE month of historicals. Every year around this time I find myself eager to get my hands on the newest Simone St. James novel, and this year, we have a number of other wonderful authors with new releases as well. What’s on your radar?

Title and Author Reviewer
Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James Lynn, , Caz, Alex, Heather, Maggie, Mary, Lee, LinnieGayl
Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

The Best of 2015: Melanie’s List

To be honest, my reading slacked off a lot in 2015. I usually read half again as much as I did this past year, a lot of which were forgettable at best, and absolute stinkers at worst. I didn’t have a “favorite romance published in 2015!” book this year, though there were a few that I did enjoy, for one reason or another.

The summary of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc by Jennifer Kincheloe caught my attention. It’s an interesting historical mystery about a rather ditsy girl who is a lot smarter and more observant than people give her credit for – think Sherlock Holmes meets Cher from Clueless.

The High King’s Golden Tongue by Megan Derr was a surprise for me. Originally published as a novella, the now full-length fantasy M/M story combines romance and political intrigue for an interesting result (and the “Golden Tongue” is about a character’s language […]

Falling in love in the used bookstore

Whats Next Packet 2016When I was visiting my daughter in North Carolina, I fell in love with a book. My girls were both next door in a comic book store, so I was left to my own devices in a used bookstore, something that used to happen to me all the time but now rarely does.

At this point I am going to both digress and date myself (again), but I remember that heady days over twenty years ago when I had just discovered romance.The internet was still a baby, and few people used it to buy books. Virtually no one was reading digitally yet. I would go to the used bookstore with a big list in hand and come out with a bunch of romances. The whole genre was new and I’d hardly read anything yet, so I was like a kid in the candy store. Better yet, I always had books to trade in so I don’t remember ever having to pay […]

By | January 30th, 2016|Categories: AAR Blythe, Bookstores, Reading|Tags: |49 Comments