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The Highest Stakes of All

3.09  ·  Rating Details ·  238 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
Once upon a time and far away, Joanna Vernon found herself as the ultimate prize in a dangerously high-stakes card game. When the last hand had been revealed, the knowing curl of Vassos Gordanis's lip told her he had every intention of claiming his winnings....Though no setting could be more beautiful than Vassos's private island, to Joanna the Aegean Sea was merely a turq ...more
Paperback, Harlequin Presents #2992, 192 pages
Published May 2011 by Harlequin (first published January 1st 2011)
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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oooff! I need to think.

Okay, there are several problems with this, hence the time I needed to think.

First and foremostly: this is not tongue-in-cheek satire or some nod at former bodice rippers by a young author. No, this is an actual bodice ripper, written in 2010 by a woman who wrote them already in the 1970s.

Sara Craven was 72 when she wrote this book, and the purplish prose as well as the unmitigated bodice ripping (aka rape-apology and male supremancy) obviously are a result of her own id
Mar 28, 2011 boogenhagen rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 06, 2013 Jenny rated it really liked it
I realize this book will not be for everyone but I liked it. Maybe it's because it is an extremely old school Harlequin and I have a soft spot for those. Hero is very alpha, heroine is his victim but she is also a con artist so she's not entirely innocent. Her kidnapping didn't bother me and her "rape" didn't bother me either because I didn't see it as rape at all. She was clearly smitten with her captor and she definitely enjoyed their lovemaking.

In my opinion the real villain of the story was
Mar 09, 2011 Naima rated it did not like it
This book is bad and not in the sense of so bad I relish it's horribleness. (Yes I am a fan of Craven's The Innocent's Surrender.) Somehow "the Highest Stakes of All" manages to be both really horrible and really boring.

The plot is a very predictable Sara Craven plot. The heroine's pathetic excuse for a father is an intrepid gambler and when he runs out of material goods to gamble he wagers and loses his daughter. Of course it was all a set up by the Greek hero (revenge naturally) and he whisks
Mar 20, 2011 Joy rated it did not like it
Too bad the rating list doesn't allow for negative stars. Rated it a 1 as that's as low as it goes. Horrible, horrible book. Offensive. How are kidnapping, rape, and child neglect romantic? Does HQ even READ what it publishes? Vasso, the male character, doesn't deserve "happily ever after", he belongs in prison. Does setting the book in 1975 somehow make the things okay? Oh, and even better - he tells her that once she starts to bore him, Vasso plans to sell her to a new owner, making a handsome ...more
If non-consent scenarios are a trigger for you, I would advise staying away from this one. If viewed in a more serious light, this would be highly disturbing. If, however, you're willing to read this sort of thing and able to put on your crack-colored-glasses, this was truly one crazy ride with more tropes than I can count. I can't believe it was written in 2010, it definitely has an old-school feel to it. There was even a Gothic element with the secretive islanders and the mysterious, sullen li ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 06, 2011 Sarah rated it did not like it
Absolutely repulsive heroine with no spine. Her long lost father
has her pose as a slutty niece to distract card players. At one point she was in some serious danger but he guilts her into continuing the whoring act because it's profitable and he is her father after all. She has caring family that offered her alternate employment Not As A Ho, but she stays because ... I have no idea . I couldn't root for her or give a crap about her because she was so incredibly dim.
Jun 03, 2011 RLA rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The heroine Joanna spends her life following her gambling addict father around the world, acting as his sort-of mascot, whom he uses to act as his adoring female and flaunt herself in the hope to distract players. She has grown weary of the lifestyle and longs to go back to England. Her father is going through an unlucky streak and Joanna hopes to convince him to give it all up, until a very wealthy and infamous Greek tycoon, the hero Vassos, turns up and her father manages to secure an invitati ...more
This Mills and Boon is set in 1975, although by the end of the book I still wasn't entirely sure why. Does it being in 1975 make it more acceptable for people to be won and lost in card games? Clearly Craven has no problem with the slave trade in any case. The main female character, Joanna, I won't call her a heroine, is gambled by her father as part of a card game and is won by Vassos, the male character, really not a hero either. Part of this means that Vassos basically kidnaps her, and everyo ...more
Aug 11, 2011 Emily rated it did not like it
I typically read romance novels when I want a break from thinking...they are light and fun, a relaxing way to spend a couple of hours. I began to read Ms. Craven's novel and was horrified to the point that I had to stop reading... The book details a young 17 year old child being kidnapped and later raped by the 'handsome hero' in the novel. I am typically not a dramatic person but I actually ripped the book up because I continued to be so horrified that something like this would be in print. Sha ...more
Say what...they love each other??? Did I miss paragraph??? Choo choo...this one Is a train wreck. Read Julz review instead. It is so much better.

Heroine is 18 so I am comforted by the fact that she could possibly grow up and leave his ass at some point.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 30, 2016 Romance_reader rated it liked it
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Jul 24, 2014 Alison rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really try to avoid giving one star reviews but really this was a bad book. It was old school to be polite about it and somewhat bizarrely was set in 1975 - I thought this would be a prologue, but no. All the way through, even though it was published in 2011. Whether this was meant to explain the behaviour particularly of the 'hero' and the heroine's father is anyone's guess.

The heroine was very young 18/19 years old so maybe could be forgiven for being so passive about being used by her fathe
Apr 21, 2016 Barkha rated it liked it
So these books keep lying about, and I can't leave any book unread. And once I start them, even though I dislike them, I can't stop. The cliched plot takes me in every time.

But this one wasn't that bad, once you ignore the glaring, highly annoying fact that why does this stupid girl not revolt or speak? Why does she like her captivity? Why doesn't she have self respect or a concept of her rights? Why does she consent to being treated as a property? WHY? But then that's the story of all of these
Aug 12, 2013 bombay_sapphire rated it did not like it
The words Stockholm Syndrome is the best summary for this book imo.
Apr 09, 2012 Aruana rated it did not like it
I usually like Sara Craven, but this was terrible.
Apr 16, 2012 3meg rated it it was ok
This book took the forced seduction thing just a little too far for me. Not a bad book other than that, but it certainly keeped me from believing the ending.
Nov 24, 2013 Nicole rated it really liked it
Shelves: hp
This was fun. Go and see Julz's review.
Feb 20, 2014 Manteltje rated it really liked it
Ahhhhh yes, this book reminds me why I used to read so many Harlequin book as a very young teen.
Dyah Subagyo
Aug 29, 2014 Dyah Subagyo rated it it was ok
Shelves: romance
I find this book is difficult to rate. But after doing some thinking and weighing, I decide that this book merited two stars.
I have no issue about the storytelling pace. It's good. The uses of language is fine. This book is a page turner, it won't bore the reader.
BUT I certainly have some issues about the content! A father who whore-paraded his own daughter? ICK. Who let his daughter whisked away from him without giving any kind of opposition? What kind of sap are you, Daddy dearest?
The second
Jan 30, 2016 Marie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hq, 2016, romance, kidnap, revenge
Aku sangat suka dengan kisah yg ada kaitannya dengan legenda/mitos/sesuatu yg memberi pengetahuan umum yg bisa ku dapat seperti buku satu ini. Meski tak semua orang sependapat dengan aku tentunya.
satu hal yg menjadi pertanyaanku. Kenapa settingnya harus ditahun 1975? Apa karena di zaman itu telepon masih termasuk barang langka sehingga tokoh yg diculik tak bisa mengandalkan pertolongan melalui telepon ataupun hp yg canggih seperti sekarang.
Ingin tahu, berapa sih usia authornya (sudah googling da
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This one was 2 1/2 **

I have read these old dated books before and really loved a few, some by Sandra Brown and LaVyrle Spencer. So I felt like I knew what to expect but this one's written was just not up to par with the others I have read. I do love the theme that this one had , h won in a card game and circumstances beyond her control, and that is the only thing that keep me reading until the end. Although the ick factor of her father using his innocent 18 year old daughter to pose as his mistr
Angela Noviana
Balas dendam itu selalu berakhir menyakitkan. Aku belum pernah baca novel dimana salah satu atau kedua karakter utama melakukan balas dendam, tapi pada akhirnya dia sendiri yang tidak terluka. Pasti semuanya terluka akibat perbuatan mereka sendiri.

Lalu, kenapa harus balas dendam? Mungkin karena balas dendam menciptakan sebuah kepuasan sesaat tersendiri. Sebuah alasan yang klise. Perbuatan jangka pendek tapi menghasilkan efek jangka panjang.

Yap, cukup kata-kataku yang gak jelas barusan. Hahahahah
Nov 13, 2012 Sari rated it did not like it
Pas baca sinopsisnya, ud kebayang bakal seseru apa nih buku n akhirnya memutuskan utk membelinya. Taunya isinya sangat jauh dari bayangan semula, sangat mengecewakan. Chemistry kedua tokoh sangat ga kerasa. Sudut pandang cerita cuma dari satu sisi saja dan terlalu byk pemikiran sang tokoh wanitanya berikut narasi2 yang tidak berkesudahan. Fiuh... pas selese baca akhirnya lega bgt bisa berhasil nyelesein baca nih buku. Sang Hero sangat menyebalkan, sok berkuasa, keras kepala, tajir mampus, sepert ...more
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  • Lelaki Dalam Ingatan
  • Shattered Dreams
  • Raul's Revenge
  • The Greek's Forced Bride
  • The Forbidden Wife
  • Savage Destiny
  • A Savage Betrayal
  • The Other Brother
  • Shackled by Diamonds (Models & Millionaires, #2)
  • Not a Marrying Man
  • A Man to be Feared
  • The Return of the Renegade (The Scandalous St. Claires #1)
  • Not For Sale
Anne Bushell was born on October 1938 in South Devon, England, just before World War II and grew up in a house crammed with books. She was always a voracious reader, some of her all-time favorites books are: "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen, "Middlemarch" by George Eliot, "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Brontë, "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell and "The Code of the Woosters" by P. G. Wodehous ...more
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