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 […]

Maybe, Baby…

 

why yes that is red lipstick on me… and on the white carpet in our rented beach house….


Babies are often romanticized (so to speak) in romances, which tend to focus on pregnancy and only show us infants in glowing sunlit epilogues or cheerful cameos in sequels which focus on family and friends. It’s a rare book that throws you into the teeth of sleepless, unshowered, spit-up-encrusted life with a newborn – probably because, let’s be real, it’s hard to have enough energy for the relationships you have, let alone a new one.

Oddly enough, the most realistic portrayal of an infant I’ve read in a romance is in a young adult book, The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick.

By | 2017-11-12T22:01:39+00:00 November 12th, 2017|Categories: Caroline AAR, Romance reading|15 Comments

Sex toys I have loved (NSFW)

Earlier in the week, I told you the story of Adam and Eve, the adult toy company that makes the world a better place with every sale. And I promised I’d share some of their products I enjoy.

Given that this article is about sex toys, it’s explicit, complete with anatomical terms. If that isn’t your jam, this piece probably isn’t going to float your boat. But, if you are open to adult toys, I hope you’ll find some–if not the ones mentioned below–that enhance your love life.

Adam and Eve is giving AAR readers 50% on one item and free shipping anywhere in the US. All you need to do is use the code AAR at purchase.

Have fun!


Adam and Eve Thruster

Rather like dating, finding the right vibrator […]

By | 2017-11-02T15:04:38+00:00 November 2nd, 2017|Categories: Romance reading|Tags: , , |5 Comments

Putting the Creativity back in Creative Writing: A Guest Post by Deborah Garland

It starts with the question “What inspired you to write this novel?” And the answer might very well be the author had a similar experience with one of the characters. Or used some personal feelings about a subject as a setting or the basis of the conflict. As authors we hear all the time, ‘Write what you know’. But eventually the topics you’re familiar with will run out. Or your work will start to sound redundant.

Of course, other popular novelists have built their brands using the familiar. Most Nicholas Sparks’ novels are set on the North Carolina Coast. Many of the Stephen King’s novels were set in Maine. And then there are similar storylines that are done again and again by authors. Lauren Weisberger who burst on the scene with The Devil Wears Prada wrote several more novels where the main character was thrust into world of glamour, whether it’s Fashion, Public […]

By | 2017-10-21T16:55:26+00:00 October 24th, 2017|Categories: Romance reading|0 Comments

October TBR Challenge – Paranormals versus Suspense

October’s TBR Challenge prompt was to read either a Romantic Suspense or Paranormal Romance: AAR reviewers  Lynn Spencer and Caz Owens went for one of each.


Northern Lights by Nora Roberts

I’ve been a reader of romantic suspense for as long as I’ve been reading romance, so when I saw the prompt this month, I immediately decided I was going to go the suspense route rather than paranormal. Even though I’ve read a ton of suspense, both romantic and otherwise, I’ve somehow only scratched the surface of Nora Roberts’ giant romantic suspense backlist. This time around, I decided to read her 600+ page doorstopper of a book, Northern Lights.

Originally released in 2004, this novel details the adventures of an almost-but-not-quite washed up Baltimore cop turned rural Alaska police chief. His new post involves keeping order in the tiny town of Lunacy, with only 2 deputies to help him. It’s […]

Coming Soon… November 2017

It’s not all that often that there’s a hands-down favourite when it comes to a post like this, but a new book from Loretta Chase is a red-letter day on any romance reader’s calendar and many of us here have put a big red circle around 28th November, which is when her latest release, A Duke in Shining Armor is hitting the shelves and our e-readers. Also coming in November is the next in Mary Balogh’s Westcott series, Someone to Wed, along with Loreth Anne White’s next Angie Pallorino novel and the next instalment – Undercover Attraction – in another favourite series, Katee Robert’s The O’Malleys.

Whatever your preference, there’s a lot to look forward to in November, ready to curl up with on those long, cold winter evenings.

What are you most looking forward to reading in the weeks ahead? Drop by and let us know in the comments.


Ginn Hale on When Love is Magic: Finding the M/M Fantasy Romance That’s Just Right.

When it comes to the gay romance I like them best with at least a touch of magic; it can make for fascinating worlds and thrilling conflict. But sometimes it’s tough to find a book that’s just right. That’s when picking up an anthology is the perfect solution.

So when I considered the selection of magical heroes I would like to recommend I decided to spotlight one of my favorite anthologies: Charmed & Dangerous, edited by Jordan Castillo Price. From shape-shifting princes to hard-boiled detective mages these short stories and novellas represent a fabulous mix of magic and romance. They also serve as appetizers to the longer novels and numerous series.

First, Rhys Ford serves up, “Dim Sum Asylum,” a fast paced urban fantasy set in a magical San Francisco, where the faeries aren’t […]

By | 2017-10-09T08:57:20+00:00 October 9th, 2017|Categories: Romance reading|Tags: , , |2 Comments

Huge Harlequin sale

This weekend only, Harlequin has put 500 of its bestsellers on sale for 1.99 each. It’s at all vendors. (Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.)

The AAR staff picked a few of their favorites and we’d love to hear what yours are too. Enjoy!

Bound by the Sultan’s Baby by Carol Marinelli

By | 2017-10-07T09:22:37+00:00 October 7th, 2017|Categories: Romance reading|Tags: |0 Comments

One Summer Night by Caridad Pinero

When I’m asked to describe the idea behind One Summer Night, I say that it’s a modern day Romeo and Juliet story, but with a happier ending. It is a romance after all!

I was a teen when I discovered Shakespeare’s tale of woe and something about it appealed to me . . . until everyone died at the end. I guess it was the fact that Juliet seemed to be a typical teen just like me at the time. And like Juliet, I was very much beginning to notice boys but I had very strict parents, so any boy was likely the “wrong guy” in their minds. Of course, not like Juliet’s totally wrong guy.

Every time I read the play or saw a movie version, I always wanted to rewrite the ending and when the heroine in One Summer Night popped into my head and wouldn’t let up, I knew it was […]

By | 2017-10-16T09:14:16+00:00 October 6th, 2017|Categories: Authors, Romance reading|1 Comment

Yeah, thanks, NYT. We’ll take it from here

Hope. Escape. Fun. Happiness Something just for me. Taught me about respect. Joy. Taught me that I deserve a happily ever after, too.

I spent the spring and summer of 2016 listening to women about why they read romance novels. I ran a research project that was specifically interested in how women who see themselves as ‘religious’ interacted with the sex in romance novels, but my participants gave me so many gifts beyond that. Many I heard from weren’t even women of faith, they just wanted to tell me how important these books are to them, how vital they are to their lives. (1)

Because for so many women, they are just that: vital.

I talked to women whose entire sexual health education came from Harlequin, because their schools and families and religious spaces never talked about sex and the issues surrounding it. From the books, these women told me, they learned about consent and respect and orgasms. (2)

I heard from women in helping professions – teaching, social […]