Jennifer Wilck on why she writes diverse characters

When it comes to reading romance, most of us are looking for escape from our everyday lives. We don’t want to deal with our work stress, politics, crazy families or our to-do lists. Personally, while I always find a way, ultimately, to laugh at the crazy antics of my two teenaged girls, sometimes, I want a break from the eye rolls, attitude and emotional angst. When we do read books with those things, we like to see characters who solve their problems by the end of the story—simply, gracefully, with their own happily ever after. We might not be able to achieve that in our own lives, but we want to experience those solutions in our characters’ lives.

So too, do we want to see characters who look like us, talk like us, act like us and even worship like us. Readers are diverse, and characters should be too. I absolutely love to […]

Coming Soon… August 2017

AAR staffers have taken a good look at the wealth of new books being published in August and decided which ones are most likely to make the biggest dents in our bank balances! Joanna Bourne is at the top of several of our lists, closely followed by Tessa Dare, Shana Galen, Layla Reyne and K.J Charles, among others. Here are the books we’re most looking forward to reading next month. How about you? Do you agree with our choices or think we’ve missed out on something really good? Jump into the discussion in the comments.


Beauty Like the Night by Joanna Bourne (1 Aug)

Um. It’s a new book in the Spymasters series by Joanna Bourne.  Surely I don’t need to say anything else?! – Caz

Joanna Bourne. That is all. If there’s a stronger series than her Spymasters, I […]

July TBR Challenge – Catch Up on a Series (or Not)

For this month’s challenge, we were called upon to pick a book from a series we’re behind on. One of us followed instructions and the other? Well, we at least tried to stay in the spirit of things.

Again My Lord by Katharine Ashe

I had a bit of a struggle to find a book to suit this month’s prompt to read a book in a series I’m behind on, because I’m pretty much caught up with all the ones I’m currently following.  There are some I haven’t started yet, but I wanted to try to stick to the prompt and finally, I came up with Again, My Lord, the second book in Katharine Ashe’s Twist series.  In the two books in the series so far, she’s taken a couple of well-known movie plots as her starting points and adapted them into historical romances which, while certainly out of the […]

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 […]

The AAR Seventeen in 17 Reading Challenge – July Update

Blimey – where has the first half of the year gone?!  Heading into the back half, here’s the place to share your thoughts about the good – and not so good – books you’ve been ticking off your TBR courtesy of AAR’s  Seventeen in 17 Reading Challenge.  Now that the message boards are up and running again, we’ve decided to move this back over there, so CLICK HERE to share your progress and thoughts on the books you’ve read from July and the rest of 2017.

It’s still 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 | 2017-07-02T21:50:00+00:00 July 3rd, 2017|Categories: Romance reading|1 Comment

Coming Soon : July 2017

Heading into July, it’s time to take a look at what’s looking good in the next batch of upcoming releases.  Staffers have selected a couple of historicals as the most highly anticipated releases of the month, closely followed by the conclusion to Ilona Andrews’ Hidden Legacy series and the latest from Jennifer Probst.  We’ve got our normal, fairly eclectic mix of the various sub-genres in our list of what we’re looking forward to next month; are any of these on your Wish List?  Or have we missed out on something awesome that you’re just dying to tell us about?


Scandalous Ever After by Theresa Romain (4 July)

I’m a big fan of Theresa Romain’s and despite knowing absolutely nothing about horse racing have thoroughly enjoyed the books in the Romance of the Turf series so far.  The plotline of this sounds intriguing – a mysterious death, a handsome […]

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 […]

Good News and Bad about Polls

It’s clear to us we don’t have the manpower to do our usual reader’s pick the Best of Poll for 2016. We’re bummed about that but it is what it is. (Clichéd but true.) We plan to get a jump on it this fall and it will return for 2017.

We are also hoping to, in 2017 or early 2018, do another AAR’s Top 100 Romances poll. We last did this in 2013–we’ve done this six times since 1998. You can see all the polls here.

In the meantime, we’re curious. What do you think the best romances ever written are? Do you think the 2013 list holds up?

Let us know in the comments!

Thanks!

By | 2017-06-23T09:44:28+00:00 June 18th, 2017|Categories: Best of 2016, Polls, Romance reading|Tags: |41 Comments

Midweek Minis

In our continuing quest to bring you the lowdown on even more books, here’s our latest batch of mini reviews.  This time around, Em, Heather, Kristen, Lisa, Maria Rose and Mary share their thoughts on some of their recent reads.


Em:

Small Change by Roan Parrish

Ginger Holtzman owns and manages a tattoo shop in South Philly.  As Small Change opens, the shop and an upcoming art show have left her overcommitted, overworked and understaffed.  Fiercely independent, Ginger is prickly about accepting or asking for help – past relationships with men (she’s bi-sexual), and professional experience in the male dominated tattoo industry, have left her wary of appearing weak or vulnerable.  Lonely and overwhelmed, she’s struggling to find balance when she meets Christopher Lucen, the handsome owner of the coffee and sandwich shop she sometimes frequents.

Christopher is LITERALLY Ginger’s opposite in every way – temperament, appearance, faith, family background […]

Candice Hern’s Traditional Regency Short Stories

Lately, I’ve become more and more fond of traditional regency romances, because I like their focus on developing a complex, romantic tale with sparkling dialogue in a compact form while keeping sensual details to a minimum. Back in the day, Candice Hern wrote some wonderful trads, so I was excited to find out that she has not only republished those books in e-format, but  has also written new ones. Desperate Measures and Lady Ann’s Excellent Adventure are short stories in the same vein, although the heat level here is a little higher than the usual trads.

Set in 1810, Desperate Measures is a romance that takes place during one evening at a ball. Young Lydia Bettridge is suffering from the pangs of unrequited love. She’s desperate to have her brother’s friend, the Golden God, Geoffrey Danforth, notice her, so she and another of her brother’s friends, Phillip, hatch a […]

By | 2017-06-23T17:17:41+00:00 June 12th, 2017|Categories: Historicals, Keira Soleore, Romance, Romance reading|Tags: , |2 Comments