Coming Soon… The Best of 2017

Incredible as it may seem, the end of the year is approaching, and AAR staffers are starting to look back through their year of reading and to pick out the books published throughout 2017 that they’ve most enjoyed reading.  In the past, we’ve run these posts a little later in December and into January, but the beginning of 2018 is going to be busy busy – we’ll be firing the starting pistol on our Annual Poll for 2017 AND asking for your help compiling a new Top 100 (the last was done in 2013, so it’s about time for a new one) – so we’ve opted to get an early start with all our yearly roundups.

Look for the first of our Best of 2017 posts tomorrow, with more to follow throughout the month.  We’d love to hear your thoughts on our lists, and on your own 2017 favourites; you might find yourself nodding in agreement with our choices or screaming “noooooo!” – […]

By | 2017-12-08T17:09:49+00:00 November 30th, 2017|Categories: Best of List, Caz AAR, Reading, Romance, Romance reading|Tags: |5 Comments

November TBR Challenge – A Recommended Read

Crystal Caress by Zuri Day

For some reason, the “recommended read” prompt for the TBR Challenge always gets me tied up in knots. I think that’s because it doesn’t fit in very well with how my books are (not all that) organized. Since I was talking recently on Twitter about my trip to RWA in New York several years ago, I remembered that I had several books in what was left of my RWA crate that had been recommended to me by others. One of them, Crystal Caress by Zuri Day, was passed to me by an excited conference attendee who had just finished reading it. This was my first time reading this author and I definitely enjoyed myself.

The heroine, Teresa Drake, comes from a prominent African-American family in California. While her family is in the wine business, Teresa has carved out a different path for herself. Even though […]

Good Laird! What’s in a name?

So, I’m reading a book that’s pretty decent (my review is either forthcoming or already posted, depending on when this blog post goes live), but there is simply one aspect that I cannot get past.

The hero’s name is Laird.

Laird.

When my eye catches it, I want to read “Lard” but then I think harder, and still all I can come up with is that Laird is the title used when referring to Scottish lords in historical romances. Except the story I’m reading is a new adult set in modern USA. Aye, it’s verra strange, dinna ye think, lassie?

What is with authors and the way that they name characters these days, especially the guys? I once reviewed a book where the hero’s name was Rome, and he was a member of a pack […]

By | 2017-09-29T17:03:51+00:00 September 30th, 2017|Categories: AAR Jenna, Books, Characters, Heroes, Reading, Romance, Romance reading|18 Comments

The Book Blind Taste Test #3

It’s time for another go-round in our occasional series of AAR’s adventures in blind book taste testing.  This time,  Lynn and Kristen describe two success stories and books they’d recommend.


Lynn:

Dangerous Games by Tess Diamond

Romantic Suspense

Summary: The hero and heroine are both outsiders of a sort. Maggie Kincaid survived a childhood kidnapping and went on to become one of the FBI’s top hostage negotiators, but left law enforcement after a hostage situation ended tragically. Jake O’Connor was a soldier who now works private security. When a Senator’s daughter is kidnapped, the two are brought into the investigation by their respective mentors and now they must work against time to rescue a child whose medical condition dictates that she be found quickly. Not surprisingly, they have to deal with their own personal demons as well as everything the kidnapper throws at them.

What drew you to the book? It popped […]

By | 2017-09-27T09:03:52+00:00 September 27th, 2017|Categories: Historicals, Kristen D, Lynn AAR, Reading, Romance, Romance reading|3 Comments

September TBR Challenge – Historicals Galore!

My Lady Thief by Emily Larkin

The Historicals prompt in the TBR Challenge is my Busman’s Holiday, but it can nonetheless be quite difficult to choose a book from the many still sitting unread on my Kindle.  In the end, I decided to go for something I was pretty certain would be a winner and picked up Emily Larkin’s My Lady Thief, a standalone title that was first published as The Unmasking of a Lady in 2010, under her Emily May pen-name.  Every book I’ve read by this author has proved to be extremely enjoyable and well-written; she creates attractive, well-rounded characters and puts them in interesting situations and her romances are always well-developed and laced with sexual tension.  My Lady Thief most ably continues that impressive track record.

Miss Arabella Knightley is beautiful, poised, intelligent, self-assured and the granddaughter of an earl – a most eligible parti were it not […]

By | 2017-09-20T10:12:28+00:00 September 20th, 2017|Categories: Caz AAR, Historicals, Lynn AAR, Reading, Romance reading, TBR Challenge|Tags: |9 Comments

The Book Blind Taste Test #2

Welcome again to our new semi-regular feature wherein a group of AAR staffers challenge themselves to pick up a book by an author they’ve never read before, either one they’ve never heard of or one they’ve been meaning to get to, and give it at least fifty pages. For AAR, our additional rule is that the book involves women; written by one or has one as a protagonist.This time round Kristen, Melanie, and Jenna give their choices a go, with mixed results.

Melanie:

Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone
Sci Fi/Urban Fantasy

Summary: The world is particularly fascinating – running on souls, our heroine, Kai, builds gods to order for worshipers to follow, but when one of those creations is dying, Kai risks her own life to try and save it. The book jumps between Kai’s story and that of Izza, a 15-year-old responsible for what appears to be a gang of street kids, who acts as priestess/storyteller, and the winged woman, Cat, she finds on the street, […]

By | 2017-08-17T18:50:00+00:00 August 19th, 2017|Categories: AAR Jenna, Kristen D, Melanie AAR, Reading, Romance reading|2 Comments

The Book Blind Taste Test – Pick a book… any book…

I have always loved libraries, but I admit I had fallen out of the habit of using my local one recently. One of my dear friends is a middle school librarian and she (appropriately) shamed me a bit for it, telling me the best way to make sure libraries stay around and keep their funding is to use them. So, a few months back, I started building weekly trips to my local temple of knowledge into my schedule and added a particular challenge to myself. I would walk directly to the New Releases section and pick up the first book by an author I didn’t recognize.

This has led to some real gems (Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinsborough was one) and some duds (which I will leave out for politeness). I told the AAR Staff about my new project and several of them jumped on board, saying it sounded like a great challenge. So many other staffers joined me, in fact, that we’ve decided to make it a regular blog.

The […]

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 […]