TBR Challenge – Modern Love

returntotomorrow When I saw that this month’s TBR Challenge category called on us to read a contemporary romance, I found almost an embarrassment of choices. Did I want to go mainstream or inspy? Small town or big city? Something serious or more chick lit in tone? In the end, the setting drew me into Return to Tomorrow, a 2010 re-release of a 1990 title.

The premise of this novel is definitely not run of the mill. The characters were all shaped by their experiences in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, and even 20+ years on, the author shows how the war affected them. Rachel McKendrick spent years in a prison camp in Laos, and not surprisingly, has a lot of emotional issues to work through. After her rescue, she never intended to return to the region but a promise made to a priest she respected deeply brings her to a refugee camp.

There she meets Brett “Tiger” Jackson, a man with a dangerous reputation. Tiger fought in the war and has stayed behind working a variety of shadowy jobs and living among a trusted group of expats who, like him, never could quite return home after the war. Rachel’s brother back home knew and trusted him, but on the ground in Thailand, he has a reputation as a dangerous drug smuggler. There is obviously more to him than meets the eye, but readers are only slightly ahead of Rachel in learning this. Continue reading

If You Like…Jo Beverley

A few months ago, I promised I would be updating the If You Like lists at AAR.  I asked for help from pollsters Lee Brewer and Cindy Smith, and they provided me with input.  Now I’m going to go to the readers.  This week’s author will be an addition to the list as it now appears – Jo Beverley.  Here are the authors we have as our recommendations for ones that you may enjoy if you like Jo Beverley:

Joanna Bourne

Jane Feather

Jo Goodman

Elizabeth Hoyt

Bettina Krahn

Josie Litton

Julie Anne Long

Barbara Metzger

Karen Ranney

Melody Thomas

Katherine Sutcliffe

Elizabeth Thornton

Recommending new authors is a tricky process.  You might like an author because of the genre they write in, or the time period they set their books in, or because of their unique prose.  One reader may love Jo Beverley and hate, say, Karen Ranney, while another reader would agree that these two are a good match for like stories.  I’d like to open this for discussion from our well read readers.

  • Do you think the above authors are good matches for Jo Beverley?
  • What about Jo Beverley’s writing do you find unique or specifically enjoyable?  For Beverley’s fans – what makes you search out her books?
  • Is anyone missing from the above list?

After our readers have weighed in, I will update our existing page an link it to this discussion so that others may profit from the experience of AAR’s readership.  I hope to update or add to our pages in this way so that they are more useful and dynamic.

So please comment!  We await your romance reading wisdom!  Thank you.

- Rachel Potter

Favorite Heroic Archetypes

We all have our favorite heroes and heroines. What makes them a favorite is completely subjective and often hard to explain. To make things more complicated, favorite characters often represent archetypes and sometimes characters can include the features of several.

My favorite type of hero is one that many readers are extremely vocal in their dislike of – a combination between the playboy and the bad boy hero.  I enjoy other characters as well, including the alpha hero – but not the alpha-jerk, even though I have a hankering for one from time to time, too.

When I think of the playboy/bad boy, I imagine one who is self-absorbed, seeks pleasure, and flaunts society’s rules. That is, until he meets the heroine, of course. And, if you throw a little self-torture into the mix, my fantasy hero is created. However, once my ideal hero meets the heroine he must change, though he may struggle against it or even be unconscious of it. Once this happens, she must be his central focus and he should be protective of her regardless of his resistance.

Continue reading