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: |4 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 […]

An Interview with Rhys Bowen

Over the years, I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed a number of Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness, Molly Murphy and Constable Evans books – she really is a master of the quiet, cleverly plotted mystery.  I was especially intrigued by the synopsis for her latest book, In Farleigh Field, as it represents something of a new direction for her.  Set in Kent during World War Two, it involves MI5, Bletchley Park, codebreakers… and a mysterious airman.  I was delighted that she was able to join me for a quick chat.


Keira Soleore: Welcome to All About Romance, Rhys. We’re delighted you could join us.

Rhys Bowen: Thanks for inviting me.

KS: World War II is a new setting for you. Is using something that you’ve always wanted to do? And what was the impetus behind the book?

RB: I’ve always been fascinated by World War Two. It affected my own family […]

By | March 1st, 2017|Categories: Authors, Historicals, Interviews, Keira Soleore, Mysteries, Romance reading|4 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

Why you don’t have to like sports to love them (or sports romance!) by Sara Rider

One of my earliest childhood sports memories is the day I found out my dad was taking my brother to watch the Winnipeg Jets. Without me. To say I was jealous would be a massive understatement, and, as my parents love to remind me, I pitched a fit. The decision to leave me out had nothing to do with sexism. My parents had always supported my love of sports. They signed me up to play on the local boy’s hockey team and my dad coached my soccer team for years. But unlike my non-hockey playing brother, I’d never shown any interest in actually watching sports. I only wanted to play them.

Needless to say, the story ends with my dad bringing seven-year-old me to the next home game. I don’t remember who won and I’m pretty sure I complained about being tired by the end of the third period, though I do remember developing […]

By | February 18th, 2017|Categories: Romance reading|14 Comments

TBR Challenge 2017: New-to-Me Authors

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

The combination of cheap and “sounds intriguing” has lured me into buying many a book. And since I’m fairly dangerous in used bookstores, I have a massive TBR pile. So, when prompted to pick out a book by a new-to-me author, my dilemma was something along the lines of which new-to-me author to liberate from the stack. I’ve heard good things about Jennifer Donnelly’s books over the years.  I wasn’t quite in the mood to tackle a giant doorstopper of a book this month, so I skipped over The Tea Rose and picked up her 2003 young adult novel, A Northern Light, instead.

From the cover blurb, I was uncertain whether to expect YA romance or historical fiction. I think this haunting coming-of-age novel is more properly classified as historical fiction and while I did find it hard reading at times, I loved the story. Set […]

By | February 15th, 2017|Categories: Caz AAR, Lynn AAR, Romance reading, TBR Challenge|Tags: , , |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 […]

Midweek Minis

AAR staffers are avid readers – Caroline, Dabney, Emily, LinnieGayl, Maria Rose and Sara are here to share their thoughts on some of their recent reads.

Caroline’s Read:

Almost a Scandal by Elizabeth Essex

Sally Kent’s brother Richard lets the family tradition down when instead of joining the Navy, he escapes to the clergy. So it’s Sally, who’s got the family saltwater blood, who dons midshipman’s blues and sets sail on the Audacious just before Trafalgar. She finds herself under the supervision of Lieutenant David Colyear, an outstanding officer and old friend of her brothers.

I adore competent, intelligent heroines, Sally’s natural bent for the sea is developed in a way that is completely convincing without seeming over the top. From her love of the wind and water to her ability to manage onboard rivalries, she’s a sailor to the tips of her fingers. I believed completely that if she’d been born today, she’d be […]

By | February 8th, 2017|Categories: Caroline AAR, Dabney AAR, EmAAR, LinnieGayl AAR, Maria Rose, Mini reviews, Romance reading, Sara AAR|Tags: |7 Comments

An Interview with Erica Monroe

In my review of Erica Monroe’s latest book, Stealing the Rogue’s Heart, I pointed out that there are very few historical romances around that draw their heroes and heroines from the lower social classes.  Yet most fans of historical romance that I interact with, whether here at All About Romance, or on Goodreads or other sites and blogs all say that we want more such stories; books about people other than dukes and debutantes, or rakes and bluestockings.  It’s not uncommon for a heroine to be poor, and there are a reasonable number of cross-class romances out there (which are very difficult to pull off properly), but to find stories using working class protagonists, set amid the terrible housing and harsh conditions in which such people had to live is unusual.  In many ways that’s understandable.  Life is tough and a bit of escapist glamour never hurt anyone.  But those aren’t the only stories that deserve to be told, so I asked Erica […]

By | February 6th, 2017|Categories: Authors, Caz AAR, Historicals, Interviews, Romance, Romance reading|4 Comments

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.

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