April TBR Challenge


Under the Lights by Shannon Stacey

Do you like small town romances set in towns that feel like they actually could exist?  If so, you should try reading Shannon Stacey if you haven’t discovered her already. For this month’s multiblog TBR Challenge, I decided to read her 2015 novel, Under the Lights, first in the Boys of Fall series.

When I talk about small towns that feel real, the setup of this book hints at it.  Stewart Mills is not an idyllic little town with financially secure residents shopping in cute, trendy businesses who seemingly do not need to worry about money or deal with commuting to larger cities. In fact, we learn right away that this small New England town has fallen on hard times and may need to cut one of its social staples, the high school football team, if enough money cannot be raised.

Local police officer Kelly McDonnell, the […]

Midweek Minis

Here’s another in our occasional series of mini-reviews.  This time round, Kristen, Lisa and Maria Rose share their thoughts – good and bad – on some of their recent reads.


Kristen:

Playing By Her Rules by Amy Andrews

Y’all, I love me some Amy Andrews books. I especially love her books that involve rugby. This one, the first in her Sydney Smoke series, is about Matilda and Tanner. Once high school sweethearts, the two suffered a traumatic break up when it was time for Matilda to head off to college. Now both back in Australia, Matilda’s been assigned to do a profile on Tanner for her magazine. She’d basically rather perform her own appendectomy with a rusty swiss army knife, but duty calls.

Tanner is a rising star on the Smoke and is a bit of a lad about town. The order to participate in the feature comes from the club’s ownership, and he begrudgingly agrees until […]

By | April 12th, 2017|Categories: Romance reading|5 Comments

The AAR Seventeen in 17 Reading Challenge – April Update

Another month flown by and here’s hoping you’ve packed in some great reads! Here’s the chance to keep track of your reading for the  Seventeen in 17 Reading Challenge and share your thoughts on the books you read throughout April.

It’s not too late to sign up – just head on over to the main Challenge page to have a look at the fabulously varied range of prompts that are sure to provide food for thought for everyone, and get stuck in to your TBR pile!

Now it’s over to you Challengers.  How many books are you going to knock off the TBR pile this month?

By | April 3rd, 2017|Categories: Romance reading|6 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 | 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 […]

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