The Fifty Shades of Grey Hater quiz

50SoGHappy Fifty Shades of Grey readers are all alike; each Fifty Shades of Grey hater is a hater in his or her own way. Well, not quite. I’ve identified at least five species of Fifty Shades Hater and classified them here on the basis of the argument at the core of their hate. So haters, go ahead and take the quiz: what type of Fifty Shades of Grey hater are you? Continue reading

Writing a New Love Story


How good are you at reading in between the lines? If you’re better than me, maybe you saw my impending divorce coming before I did. When I blog, I tend to take inspiration from what’s going on in my own reading and in my life. A few months ago I wrote about the romances that mirror your own romance, and in a roundabout way discussed my newfound disenchantment with heroines who marry too young. Continue reading

TBR Challenge: Back in Time

provoked Given I read historicals almost exclusively, this month’s prompt wasn’t much of a challenge so I decided to look for something – for me – a bit different. Provoked is the first in Joanna Chambers’ Enlightenment trilogy, and an M/M romance, which is a genre I’ve read only once or twice before.

Not being overly familiar with historical M/M, I had the idea that it would be quite difficult for a romance to have a convincing HEA for two men at a time in history when homosexuality was not only illegal, but punishable by death – and while I certainly have no problem with the idea of two hot guys stripping off their frock coats and getting it on, I can read erotica for that. I read romance (as opposed to erotica) most of the time because I want more than that in my reading material – I want a decent storyline, too, and – with any luck – one that doesn’t stretch my credulity to breaking point and beyond.

The book is set in Regency Scotland, at a time of much political and social unrest. The author immediately evokes a strong sense of time and place with the opening of the story in which two young men – weavers accused of treason – are publicly executed. Present in the crowd is David Lauriston, a twenty-four year-old advocate who had defended the men in court, even though their fate was a foregone conclusion. Continue reading

No Time Travel for Me Please

Along with a lot of people, I’ve been sucked into the marvelous Starz adaptation of Outlander. The cast is terrific, the production values are top-notch, and I’m really enjoying the scripts. But Outlander clearly illustrates something that, as a historian, I realized a long time ago: a lot of us modern ladies would be an absolutely catastrophically bad heroines for a time-travel romance. Continue reading

Eagerly Awaited November Books

November is definitely shaping up to be a blockbuster month for historical romances. Personally, I’m thrilled to see Jeannie Lin’s latest novel out, and most of us here at AAR can’t wait to get our hands on the big new releases from Joanna Bourne and Mary Balogh. What do you have your eyes on this November?

Title and Author Reviewer
Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne Blythe, Lynn, Dabney, Lea, Lee, Caz, Cindy, Alex, Mary, Rike, Jean, Caroline, Alex
Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh Dabney, Rike, Alex, Blythe, Maggie, Caz, Lee
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews Lea, Jean, Heather, Melanie, Maggie
Gunpowder Alchemy by Jeannie Lin Gunpowder Alchemy by Jeannie Lin Lynn, Maggie, Rike
Arhcangel's Shadows by Nalini Singh Archangel’s Shadows by Nalini Singh Jean, Lea, Alex
Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella Lee
Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan Rike
Santa's Playbook by Karen Templeton Santa’s Playbook by Karen Templeton Caroline
Wild by Jill Sorenson Wild by Jill Sorenson Lynn
Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier Melanie
The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson Caz
Wish Upon a Snowflake anthology Wish Upon a Snowflake by Christine Merrill, Linda Skye, and Elizabeth Rolls Rike
A Yorkshire Christmas  by Kate Hewitt A Yorkshire Christmas by Kate Hewitt Lynn
Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney Lee
Alanna by Kathleen Bittner Roth Alanna by Kathleen Bittner Roth Melanie
Destiny's Captive by Beverly Jenkins Destiny’s Captive by Beverly Jenkins Lynn
Crossfire Christmas by Julie Miller Crossfire Christmas by Julie Miller Rike

Grown-Up Reading: Why Romance and Happy Endings Matter

QRMI heard George RR Martin on the radio the other day. Asked about the Game of Thrones body count he said something like (this is a paraphrase): “I used to read stories that had happy endings, where people did good things and nobody got raped…then I grew up.” Meanwhile, in an article on children’s fiction, author Robert Muchamore observes, “While a childish thirst for happy endings satisfies and entertains us, the real world is so complex that unambiguously happy endings hardly exist.” Continue reading

Happily Ever….

QRMOne of the most – cough – discussed posts we’ve had on Queer Romance Month recently has been about the happy ever after in queer romance. What the post, and the responses to the post, highlighted for me was just how complex and emotive this issue is. And while that would probably make any normal person STFU, I’d kind of like to talk about it. So the next two QRM-inspired posts for AAR are going to be about the HEA: in this one I’m going to ponder what HEA means in the context of queer romances, and in the companion post next week, KJ Charles is going to talk about why the HEA is valuable and necessary on its own terms. Continue reading