Today’s Steals and Deals at AAR…..


Readers keep asking when Lisa Kleypas will publish a new book. We have no idea. We can only offer you this: Hello, Stranger is on sale right now. (Here’s our review.)

Its strong parts really did appeal to me and for some readers, may well carry the day. Ever since she appeared as a minor character in an earlier book in the series, I’ve liked Garrett Gibson, who is described as being the only female doctor in England. Normally a Victorian heroine named Garrett would make me roll my eyes, but I have to admit that I liked the obvious homage to Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first female doctor in England. Like the historical Dr. Anderson, Garrett Gibson has humble roots. In her case, Garrett is the daughter of a police constable.

The initial meeting between Garrett and her hero, Ethan Ransom, in this novel is hardly a ‘meet cute’. The two have met on prior occasions but cross paths initially during this story when Ethan intervenes one night as Garrett is walking home from her clinic and is attacked by a group of drunken soldiers. It eventually comes out that Ethan has been following Garrett and watching over her as she walks the streets of London going about her work. Please tell me I’m not the only one who felt a little suspicious of Ethan after that little revelation? I ended up liking him much better by book’s end but the whole ‘I’ve been keeping an eye on you’ thing seemed a tad creepy at first.

The very apparent mutual attraction between these two arises rather quickly in the wake of Garrett’s attack and Ethan’s rescue. Against his better judgment, Ethan can’t resist pushing himself ever further into Garrett’s life and Garrett finds him more likable than expected. It starts with self-defense lessons and just grows from there. In addition to their budding romance, Garrett also finds herself being drawn into Ethan’s political intrigues.  Ethan, formerly of Scotland Yard, is now working for a somewhat shadowy figure in the British government. Without giving too much away, suffice it to say that lines between who is good and who isn’t get somewhat blurred, and given the spy vs. spy plotting that goes on throughout the book, both Ethan and Garrett find themselves drawn into danger more than once.

You can purchase it (using our Buy link) for 3.99 here.

Lots of our readers love mysteries–we gave this one a B+.

The internet has made it hard to keep secrets, especially for celebrities. In The Personal Assistant, author Kimberly Belle tackles the question of just where the line between public discourse and private matters should be drawn for social media gurus – or if there even is one.

Her first viral post had given her a huge buzz. It had been a picture of her stretch-marked belly with a caption about the importance of being unapologetically real. The message had sparked a hashtag – -#purpleandproud – and a career. Alex has slowly built a following since that first, glorious moment of attention and is now a significant social influencer, with a book deal and a partnership with Target in the works. Her husband Patrick, a television financial advisor, has been supportive of her career in the spotlight and has good-naturedly allowed stories and photos of himself and their twin daughters to be part of Alex’s success. It all crashes and burns when one drunken night, a post is added to her #unappolegictiallyalex account. One that slut shames a young actress whose legion of fans turn on Alex, along with Alex’s own followers who now consider her messages of positivity a sham behind which her hateful heart hides. The only problem is, Alex didn’t write that message.

At first, Alex’s only response is to reach out to her sharp, media-savvy assistant AC for help. It takes longer than it should for her to realize that AC has silently – and suspiciously – disappeared. AC was last seen leaving Alex’s house by Uber, but while the driver insists he dropped her at home, her roommate is equally insistent that AC never came in the door. Now Alex must face the fact that the woman whom she trusted with private information about herself and her family is probably spearheading the online mob out for Alex’s blood. That same woman has told the angry masses where Alex lives, all about Alex’s twins and her husband, and is daily sharing information Alex never intended to share. Just what is driving AC to do all this and what exactly is Alex to tell the police, who seem to think she and her husband are responsible for AC’s disappearance?

You can purchase it (using our Buy link) for 2.99 here.


We gave this historical romance by Caroline Linden a DIK.

Twenty-four-year-old Sophie Graham wants nothing more than to be financially independent, an almost impossible dream for a young lady of questionable social standing. Sure, she’s the granddaughter of a viscount, but Sophie’s grandfather has had literally nothing to do with her since the day long ago when he dropped her off at an academy for young ladies just four months after her parents died in a tragic accident. From then on, Sophie counts on no one but herself, and she’s finally devised a plan that just might give her the financial security she longs for. It’s a risky plan, one that will very possibly ruin what’s left of her reputation, but Sophie is desperate enough to chance it.

Jack Lindeville, Duke of Ware, is fed up with rescuing his hapless younger brother from scrape after scrape. So, when he learns that Phillip has lost a rather large sum of money at the Vega club, a gambling establishment with stringent rules for membership, he heads over there to put a stop to his brother’s recklessness. As soon Jack he enters the club, his eye is caught by a lovely young lady dressed in crimson who just happens to be in the midst of a game with Phillip. Determined to keep Phillip from losing more money, Jack interrupts the game and proposes a scandalous wager. If he wins the game, Sophie will spend an entire week alone in his company, but if she wins, he’ll give her five thousand pounds.

Every ounce of Sophie’s good sense urges her to turn down the Duke’s wager, and yet, she’s unable to do so. Over the past several months, she has slowly and painstakingly used her great talent for card playing to build herself a small nest egg, and the lure of five thousand pounds is something she simply cannot resist. She consoles herself with the belief that the Duke can’t possibly win, so no harm will really be done, but of course, things don’t turn out as Sophie hopes they will.

What follows is a truly delightful story about two people from vastly different backgrounds who want the one thing they seemingly cannot have. Sophie knows the affair she and Jack embark upon can’t last, but she’s powerless against his charm and good looks. For his part, Jack loves every stolen moment he shares with Sophie, but he’s had it drummed into him from a very early age that duty to his title comes first, and that he must make a suitable match and produce an heir sooner rather than later. He longs to keep Sophie in his life, but how can he go against the rules of society to do so?

You can purchase it (using our Buy link) for 1.99 here.

We love second chance at love stories and this is a good one.

When we first meet Margot Armstrong in the prologue, she is the flirtatious and perhaps somewhat spoiled daughter of an English aristocrat. On the eve of the Act of Union between England and Scotland, it is apparent that her primary concerns involve hosting parties and drawing male attention to herself and her best friend.  The descriptions of beautiful gowns and powdered hair paint a very pretty picture – one that is very neatly shifted when Margot’s father calls her away from her party to inform her of her impending marriage to a Highland laird.

Unlike in the average Highland historical, Arran Mackenzie doesn’t immediately present himself as the perfect hero. He’s certainly imposing in appearance, but also very out of place in Margot’s polished world.  In the first chapter, we learn just how great the gap between Margot and Arran’s worlds is.  Three years after their meeting and marriage, we learn that Margot left Arran’s home at Castle Balhaire and returned to her father in England a mere four months after they were wed.

Margot is now back in the Scottish highlands, under orders from her father. She shows up at Balhaire and tells Arran she wants to work on reconciling their marriage. Given that Margot pretty much dumped him in front of his entire clan, Arran is less than thrilled to see her turn up again – and I couldn’t entirely blame him. As the story moves along and tales of Margot’s spoiled behavior from their married couple days come out, I REALLY couldn’t blame him.

However, London does a good job of making both characters appear both sympathetic and less-than-perfect at the same time. While Margot definitely has some spoiled snobbish brat moments, we also see her loneliness and her frustration at having so little control over her own life. Arran at his worst can be a tad overbearing and rather unyielding with regard to keeping things at Balhaire the way they’ve always been – no matter whether it suits Margot’s needs or not. However, at his best he genuinely loves his clan – both the humans and the animals. And while he can be overbearing, I can’t quite label him an alphahole because he does have an ability to listen to people and hear them out.

You can purchase it (using our Buy link) for 1.99 here.

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