We’ve updated our Special Titles lists!

Since we started updating the Special Title lists in 2012 we’ve asked AAR’s readers to tell us which lists they would like updated first. We’ve taken your priorities to heart and have gradually been working through your favorite lists. We’re now down to the lists that very few readers listed as their favorites. Needless to say we were nervous when we opened the latest five lists for updating; would anyone submit titles? Our worries proved groundless. Once again, you’ve submitted lots of great titles. Continue reading

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

Rhett Butler: Dreamboat or Douchebag?

MSDGOWI EC001Gone with the Wind is not a romance novel. But it is often mistaken for one – it made the Top 100 Romances at AAR in 1998 and in 2000. (See also here. And here.)  And Rhett Butler is often lauded as a romantic hero. In truth, he is a rake and scoundrel, a forerunner if you will to the many rakes and scoundrels that people the pages of historical romances. The original, totally hot bad boy – and in my humble opinion, a douchebag. 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

Talking with Joanna Bourne

Dabney: Thank you so much for talking with me. I am an unabashed Joanna Bourne fan girl and have been ever since I first read The Spymaster’s Lady. AAR readers have loved your Spymasters series; I’m sure many of us are counting the days until the release of your newest, Rogue Spy. Continue reading