June TBR Challenge – Pick Your Favorite Trope

A Rumored Engagement by Lily George

I’m a sucker for second-chance-at-love stories. I have autobuy authors I love and certain settings catch my eye, but when I’m taking a chance on a new author, favorite plotlines will often call my name. And second chance stories are definitely near the top of my list, with friends-to-lovers being a close second. For favorite tropes month on the TBR Challenge, I read A Rumored Engagement, a 2014 historical from Lily George. Though published as part of the Love Inspired Historical line, I suspect fans of Regency trads might like this one as well.

As the story opens, Susannah Siddons and her sisters prepare to open a millinery shop in the village of Tansley. Upon arrival, they run into a mishap with their door and when a man from the past comes to their rescue, we quickly learn about Susannah’s long-forgotten engagement to Daniel Hale of […]

May TBR Challenge – Something Different

When I saw this month’s prompt was to read Something Different, I knew pretty much exactly which genre and which book I was going to choose.  Last year sometime, Maria Rose reviewed a Sci-Fi romance called Quantum, which was the second book in Jess Anastasi’s Atrophy series.  I really liked the sound of it and it struck me that while I’m actually a fan of Sci-Fi in TV and film, I don’t read it  – so I picked up the first book in the series, Atrophy for the May prompt.

I admit that I hadn’t realised, going in, that it’s part of a series in which there is an overarching story that runs through all the books (there are three so far).  Still, it’s a thumping good read and I’m sufficiently invested in that particular plotline to want to read the other books – when I can find the […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:29:59+00:00 May 17th, 2017|Categories: Caz AAR, Lynn AAR, Reading, Romance, Romance reading, TBR Challenge|Tags: , |8 Comments

Tale as Old as Time… Our Favourite Beauty and the Beast Stories

When I heard that there was going to be a live-action version of Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson I was incredibly excited. Disney’s cartoon version was a childhood favorite of mine and, even though I was disappointed with the live-action take on Cinderella, I hoped that the the choice to keep the film a musical would help retain some of the original magic.

I saw Beauty and the Beast on opening weekend and I have to say, I loved it. Watson was perfectly cast as the modern Belle, who is just a beautiful as the original, but more strong-willed and inventive. Hearing new takes on the familiar songs brought out the child in me, but I also enjoyed some of the new numbers, particularly the Beast’s heart wrenching song “Evermore”.

Leaving the theater, my first thought (after wanting to download “Evermore” to listen to again) was that I wanted to read something Beauty and the Beast! There are so many fantastic adaptations out there that I knew I could either go […]

Coming Soon… in April and May

The question “What books are you looking forward to reading over the next couple of months?” is the sort of thing we love here at AAR.  We’re always on the lookout for our next great read, so here are a few of the upcoming releases we’re keen to read in April and May.


Anne

The Girl With The Make-Believe Husband: A Bridgertons Prequel by Julia Quinn (30 May)

First, it’s Julia Quinn, and it’s a Bridgertons prequel. Second, the plot sounds really fun — an amnesia twist and a heroine traveling to the Colonies.  A/BN/iB/K


Caz

A Warriner to Protect Her by Virginia Heath (18 Apr)

I was pleased to discover a really good new author of […]

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 | 2017-05-24T17:34:00+00:00 March 22nd, 2017|Categories: Kristen D, Maggie AAR, Maria Rose, Melanie AAR, Mini reviews, Reading, Romance reading|Tags: |5 Comments

Comfort Reads – TBR Challenge 2017

My Dearest Enemy by Connie Brockway

March’s prompt for the TBR challenge is “comfort read”, which is defined as a book that uses a favourite trope or setting, or is by a favourite author.  I’ve chosen something from my TBR that everyone seems to have read except me – Connie Brockway’s My Dearest Enemy, which combines two of my favourite things, an enemies-to-lovers romance and a story in which letters play an important part (I do love an epistolary novel!).  It’s a gloriously romantic, character-driven story set at the end of the 19th century, in which our hero – a famous explorer – and heroine – an advocate of women’s suffrage – butt heads over the home they both love, sniping and pushing each other’s buttons as the attraction between them deepens.

Avery Thorne finds himself all but disinherited upon the death of his uncle Horatio, who, believing Avery to be a […]

Long May She Reign: A Roundtable Discussion

Freya might be in the line of succession to the throne, but being in the double-digits in that line doesn’t inspire dreams of ruling. She’s dedicated herself to a life of science and logic, not of leadership and diplomacy. When a state dinner becomes the location of a massacre, leaving the king and everyone else between #2 and #22 dead, Freya has no choice but to step up.

As you can imagine, almost no one is happy about this turn of events – least of all Freya – but she is determined to do her best. This means looking at old allies with new eyes and learning other lessons along the way Rhiannon Thomas’ Long May She Reign is a rarity in the world of YA Fantasy – a stand-alone novel – and AAR Staffers Melanie, Shannon, and Kristen are here to share their thoughts about it.


SD: Let’s start out talking about the […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:00+00:00 March 11th, 2017|Categories: AAR Shannon, Kristen D, Melanie AAR, Reading, Roundtable|2 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 | 2017-06-23T08:30:00+00:00 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 | 2017-06-23T08:30:02+00:00 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 | 2017-06-23T08:30:03+00:00 December 9th, 2016|Categories: Maggie AAR, Reading, Romance reading|Tags: |22 Comments