The Best of 2017 – Em’s List

It’s hard to believe 2017 is coming to a close. As I review, I make a diligent effort to shelve books I think are ‘best’ compared to other books I’ve read, and this year – much like last year – historical romance dominates.  I also think it’s important to note that while I generally prefer to ‘read’ my books, three audiobooks top my Best of 2017 list.  The books are terrific, the audio versions are transcendent.  Without further ado, my favorite romance novels of 2017 are:


The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee, narrated by Christian Coulson

I loved TGGTVAV when I read it and awarded it a DIK in my review.  I didn’t think the audio version could improve on the text… but boy was I wrong.  Christian Coulson (you know him as the […]

By | 2017-12-15T16:46:05+00:00 December 16th, 2017|Categories: Best of List, EmAAR, Romance, Romance reading|Tags: |19 Comments

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 […]

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.


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 […]

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

My Summer of Singh

Summer 2017 will always be my Summer of Singh. I started a serious binge when I read Nalini Singh’s first Psy-Changeling book, Slave to Sensation, back in May, and just a week ago I finished Silver Silence, the latest release. That’s sixteen novels, not counting the short story collections, which I also read.

I’ve gone on binges before, but this one was different. I never burned out on Singh the way I’ve done before. In order to keep a series from feeling formulaic and predictable, I usually have to intersperse the books with reads by other authors and genres. In some cases, even that doesn’t help, as the authors themselves lose the spark that made their early books so engaging.

Not so for Singh. The Psy-Changeling books are so […]

By | 2017-09-18T03:39:57+00:00 September 18th, 2017|Categories: Authors, Books, Caroline AAR, Romance, Romance reading|Tags: , |14 Comments

Chatting with Virginia Heath… and a Giveaway

Back in the dim but not so distant past – more specifically, December 2016 – when I was choosing my favourite books of the year, I realised I’d been lucky enough to find no less than three new authors whose books had captivated me and turned them immediately into “must read” authors.  One of those was British author Virginia Heath whose début, That Despicable Rogue was a thoroughly enjoyable, funny, romantic and sexy story that was so accomplished it was hard to believe it was her first published work.  Over the past year-and-a-bit since Rogue’s publication, Ms. Heath has published five more titles – three of them standalones and the other two the first duo in her ongoing Wild Warriners series; and September sees the publication of her seventh book – another standalone  – a seasonal title, His Mistletoe Wager.


I was pleased when Virginia agreed […]

By | 2017-09-11T07:49:28+00:00 September 11th, 2017|Categories: Authors, Caz AAR, giveaways, Historicals, Interviews, Romance, Romance reading|22 Comments

Coming Soon… September 2017

While we AAR staffers have fairly diverse tastes on the whole, there are some books and authors that pull us together for various reason – we like the authors, we like their writing, we like their storytelling – and into genres that sometimes we don’t read very often.  This month, the big draws appear to be historicals, with new titles from Sherry Thomas, Katharine Ashe and Juliana Grey all eagerly awaited by many of us.


A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas (5 Sept)

I was fairly bowled over by A Study in Scarlet Women and am sure this second instalment in the Lady Sherlock series won’t disappoint.  Our heroine is approached by the wife of her dearest friend  to find the man she loved years before… but there’s bound to be a lot more to it than meets the eye!  – Caz

I know I’m not the only AAR staffer […]