Courtney Milan talks to AAR… and gives away five copies of The Suffragette Scandal!

The Suffragette ScandalI, like many AAR readers, have been avidly awaiting Courtney Milan’s most recent book, The Suffragette Scandal, which she released this week. I asked Courtney if she’d answer some questions and she agreed to do so. She is also giving away in five copies of The Suffragette Scandal to five lucky AAR readers. (To enter the drawing, just make a comment below.) Continue reading

AAR Staff Top Ten Favorites: Dabney’s Picks

RMBIt was the summer of 2008 and I, a passionate reader, had my first Kindle. It was magical–a device you could just push a button and get books, as many as you could find and afford, and read to your heart’s content. I’d had the thing for a couple of weeks and was perusing the Amazon Kindle page. I can’t remember if it was free or it was the most downloaded book of the day but that day I decided to buy Karen Marie Moning’s Darkfever. At the time, I hadn’t read a romance novel for over thirty years. That book sucked me in and I still haven’t been spit out. I had a problem, however. I wanted to read more romance but had no way to figure out which ones sucked and which rocked. Thank the gods for the internet. A few clicks and, boom, I discovered AAR. For the next two years, nearly every romance I bought I found through AAR and its Power Search feature. I discovered quickly that I loved well-written romances that were, well, hot. Continue reading

AAR Staff Top Ten Favorites – Jane’s Picks

outlander I started reviewing for AAR when I was pretty young – 18 years old, and still fairly new to the genre. My tastes have changed and evolved quite a bit in that time. Looking at my reviewer profile, which hasn’t been updated since I started, I am rather skeptical of my “favorites,” some of which I don’t even remember anymore. I couldn’t tell you a damn thing about Hidden Fires by Sandra Brown, except that 6 years ago it was apparently one of my favorites.

My philosophy in choosing favorites is two-fold. One, my Top Ten should be more than a fleeting “books I’m enjoying now,” and therefore aren’t recent reads, or ones that I’ve read only once. Two, they should have something in them that would appeal beyond the romance. I think there is a subtle distinction between “books that a romance reader would enjoy” and “books non-romance readers would enjoy.” There are definitely some stories that I would recommend to fellow romance readers, but not anyone else. The best books are the ones that I think, “I could give this to a friend, and they would understand why I love romance novels.”

So, here we go: my top ten. Continue reading

TBR Challenge 2013: Too Much of a Good Thing?

unclaimed Given that our “assignment” for the TBR Challenge this month involved reading an author who’s represented more than once in our TBR piles, I couldn’t wait to jump into Courtney Milan’s 2011 release, Unclaimed. If you enjoy strong, character-driven romance, this book is an amazing treat. Definitely a DIK read for me.

This book comes second in the Turner Brothers trilogy, and while it can be read on different levels, it’s deeply satisying no matter how far you want to let your mind dig into it. On the surface, Milan tells an emotional story of two painfully misunderstood people who somehow manage to figure one another out enough to make the other whole. And underneath the surface? Well, Courtney Milan devotes more than a little bit of time to skewering the “keeping up appearances” school of morals. The musings on morality and hypocrisy that run through the story are thoughtfully done and lingered in my mind as long as the actual love story. Continue reading

Never Say Never

Fruits “I don’t like THOSE kinds of stories.” Admit it. You’ve heard those words or said something similar yourself at some point. Hang around any romance site long enough and people will start talking about their favorite plots or going on about types of plots they just can’t stand. One person just can’t enjoy secret baby books while another will proclaim that marriage of convenience plots are enough to keep her from picking up a novel. When I come across these discussions, I’m more than happy to dish on plotlines that just don’t thrill me. We all have our preferences, and the fantasies that work are as different as the readers who choose them. These conversations also make me think about good writing, though. After all, even if we don’t like a particular plotline, couldn’t there be an exception to our rules in the hands of a good author?
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The OTHER Reading Slump

books Do you ever hit those points in your reading where you just don’t know where to start? Usually, at this time of the year, I’m brimming over with reading ideas and books that I cannot wait to dive into. I’ve actually read some VERY good books this year (One Was a Soldier, The Bride Finder, Unveiled and a few more), but for some reason I feel like I’m hitting a wall. I have plenty of books in my TBR, but I just can’t decide where to start.

I would distinguish this from a regular reading slump because my problem isn’t that I just can’t find anything that grabs me. My dilemma is more about being spoiled for choice. I’ve got books on my Kindle that sound fantastic, I’ve been getting fun-sounding review books and my print TBR hasn’t exactly shrunk all that much. I look at my books and feel myself being pulled into way too many directions. I always have a review book to read, but it’s what to read on the side that gets me.
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The Debutante Ball – Special Valentine’s Day Giveaway

contest Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so we wanted to put together a special romance giveaway for our readers. We have seen a lot of fabulous new authors making their debuts in the past couple of years. Seeing so many good new voices makes one very hopeful about the future of romance and we hope that these new authors will keep writing for many more years. Several authors whose debuts were published in the past two years have offered prizes for our prize basket this Valentine’s Day and we are very excited to offer it to you! One lucky winner will get a prize basket stuffed full of goodies that includes:

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