Winsome or Loathsome: Nora Colville

Welcome back to Winsome or Loathsome, the column in which AAR staffers lobby for and against controversial heroines. Today’s heroine is the leading lady of Meredith Duran’s At Your Pleasure, Nora Colville. If you haven’t read the book, be advised there are spoilers ahead.

In Meredith Duran’s At Your Pleasure, Nora Colville wanted to marry Adrian Ferrers, but in 1715, their Catholic/Protestant difference was too much for both families. Adrian was beaten and abducted, and Nora’s family pressed her into marriage with Lord Towe. She gave in, Lord Towe died, and Adrian, now the king’s agent, has come back looking for her brother David, a known Jacobite. For the first part of the book, I accepted Nora’s loyalty to her brother despite some red flags. But as the book goes on, Nora’s loyalty goes from sympathetic (most people don’t want to see their brother dead) to unjustifiable. There’s family loyalty, and then there’s Flowers in the Attic. Continue reading

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Midweek Minis

AAR staffers are such avid readers that, in addition to our regularly schedule programme of daily new reviews, we’re able to bring you another in our series of mini-reviews. Here Alex, Heather, Melanie and Maria Rose share their thoughts on some of their recent reads.


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A Guest Post and Giveaway by Sheri Cobb South

Too Hot to Handel, the fifth book in the John Pickett mystery series! It’s the pivotal book, and the one I’ve most looked forward to writing. The saga of John Pickett began around 2004, when I approached Five Star/Cengage about doing a Regency-set mystery series after their large-print arm, Thorndike Press, bought subsidiary rights to The Weaver Takes a Wife and its two sequels, Brighton Honeymoon and French Leave. The Five Star editor seemed interested—so then I had to make good on my proposal. Yikes! What to do? Continue reading

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An Interview and a Giveaway with Jenny Holiday

Jenny Holiday’s latest 49th Floor novel, His Heart’s Revenge, is her first m/m romance and features two hot heroes with a past. I’ve enjoyed all the 49th Floor books and thought it would be fun to ask Jenny a few questions. She was game and so….

Dabney: Why the 49th floor as opposed to the 23rd or the 86th?

Jennie: Most of the non-hotel skyscrapers in Toronto are in the range of fifty to seventy storeys. I was mindful as I was planning the first book in the series that my hero’s business wasn’t a huge, multi-national operation, and I didn’t realistically see him at the top of one of the highest buildings, so I tried to hit a sweet spot where you could have the fantasy of “wow, we’re really high up and there’s lots of money rolling around,” but it would still be realistic. I laugh now when I look back at my conscientiousness. You may also have noticed that my billionaire books do not contain actual billionaires—they’re more like multi-millionaires. It was the same impulse: there really aren’t that many single, attractive, non-geriatric billionaires in the world, and Canada isn’t a very populous country, so we don’t have tons of billionaires rattling around to begin with. It’s funny because as a reader, I love category romance and its tropes and I have no problem suspending my disbelief if a book is good, but I somehow kept reining in my CEO rich dudes. Continue reading

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A DIKlassic: Sabrina Jeffries’ The Pirate Lord

Grade: A

Sensuality Rating: Hot

Pub Date: April 1998

(The e-book is currently 1.99 at Amazon.)


What woman wouldn’t want to be rescued from a fate worse than death? What woman wouldn’t be grateful for the chance at a new start, even if it does mean marriage to a pirate? After all, isn’t marriage preferable to a life of servitude in New South Wales? Sabrina Jeffries’ wonderful book, The Pirate Lord, seeks to answer these questions.

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Georgette Heyer: From the AAR archives, May 1, 2000

Something wonderful happens when you mention Georgette Heyer to writers and readers. They start to smile (you can feel it in e-mails). They can’t wait to tell you how they first discovered her books, where they were, which ones they read first. This is an author that changes people’s lives because she is responsible for inspiring so many of the best romance writers writing today.

How do I know this? I’ve spent the last few weeks reading Georgette Heyer, reading about her, in Jane Hodge’s wonderful biography The Private World of Georgette Heyer, and in discussions with readers and romance writers. Readers love her, have loved her, for decades but for romance writers Georgette Heyer takes on a more fundamental role. Laurie and I asked a number of writers how Georgette Heyer influenced them. Judith McNaught, for instance, sent me this fascinating story which I am passing on to you in its entirety: Continue reading

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TBR Challenge 2016 – Pick a Trope, Any Trope

ladyslesson There are few tropes I actively dislike, but I’m a sucker for a good marriage of convenience story. I love the idea of two people who don’t or who hardly know each other being put into a situation of enforced proximity and intimacy and watching them as they come to know and understand each other and to fall in love. It’s a trope that works especially well in historicals, and my enduring love for it is no doubt partly attributable to the fact that the first historical romance I remember reading is Julia Quinn’s The Viscount Who Loved Me which makes excellent use of the compromised-into-marriage plotline. Continue reading

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Midweek Minis

In another of our occasional series of quickie reviews, AAR staffers Caroline, Maria Rose, E.B., and Heather share their thoughts on some of their recent reads.  Have you read anything recently you think we should know about?  Please share your own recent triumphs and turkeys in the comments!


Caroline’s Read:

Crazy Thing Called Love by Molly O’Keefe

Grade: B+            Sensuality: Warmcrazy thing called love

Maddie Baumgarten married Billy Wilkins as a teenager, right as his hockey career took off. Their inability to find a healthy balance in their relationship led to divorce, with Billy turning into an angry violent enforcer and Maddie becoming Madelyn Cornish, the hollow and perfect morning anchor of AM Dallas. Now, Billy’s misbehavior is threatening his career, and he accepts Maddie’s producer’s plan for a multi-part makeover series – much to Maddie’s surprise and chagrin. This book stands out among sports romances for its emphasis on character and for a plot which regularly surprised me. Continue reading

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Eagerly Awaited Books for July 2016

duketoremember There are some months where many of us here at AAR are all chomping at the bit to get our hands on the same few books. And then there are months like this one. When July’s list of books on sale circulated to staff, there was lots of interest. And our interests were very diverse. We’re eagerly looking to read everything from contemporaries to historicals to m/m to fantasy. We’d love to hear what you’re eager to read, too!


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Posted in Book news, Lynn AAR | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen: A DIK Review

AAR grade: A

Sensuality: Warm

Sarina Bowen’s first story in her True North series (known colloquially among bloggers as her ‘Grumpy Farmers’ series) is a lovely and lush romance set in the countryside of Vermont. Griff is a farmer. When his father passed away unexpectedly three years earlier while Griff was at college, his dreams for the future died, to be replaced by the day to day operations of his family’s farm. They have cattle, chickens, but most importantly, apples. 53 varieties of apple trees dot his lands, and are the farm’s main source of income. With a chemistry degree under his belt, Griff is making the most of his circumstances by using his expertise to create new original cider concoctions, hoping it’s the way to keep the family business afloat. Continue reading

Posted in DIK, Maria Rose | Tagged | 2 Comments