Recently I decided to stop being a snob about Harlequin and try reading the books for myself. Resolving toI reviewed this earlier this year on Amazon:
Recently I decided to stop being a snob about Harlequin and try reading the books for myself. Resolving to start with the zenith (or nadir), the Presents line, I considered 2 possible methods of attack: a) pick up a book with the least cheesy title from the bookstore shelf and cringe at the checkout, or b) research reviews on Amazon and order 1 of the best rated. Having tried a) and slogged through a barely 2 star read, I was more than ready to try method b). What is all this leading up to? Mistress for a Weekend is not only 1 of the higher rated HP books, it fully deserves its high reputation. And I'm more than happy to find that, with careful selection, there are indeed great reads to be found in the HP line.
Blake and Nora are a wonderful couple, and their romance is steamy but sweet. She's a geeky, clumsy IT nerd - emotionally fragile after finding her boyfriend cheating with her roommate, but ballsy enough to splurge on designer shoes and go in search of a man to get the foul taste out of her mouth. She's endearing and no pushover, and she's not above using her clumsiness to put the moves on the hero.
He's the usual HP millionaire alpha male, but he's refreshingly non-jerky and non-too-arrogant. It's funny how his family are all union activists who look down on his capitalist ways. He's never cruel or abusive to Nora, even after she flees and leaves him high and dry, or even when he suspects her of setting him up and being an industrial spy. He's honest about his feelings too, but he's a strong and determined man don't get me wrong. He's not above "kidnapping" our heroine to suit his purposes.
The writing is of very high quality, with an endearing use of Britishisms like "lift" in place of "elevator". Someone needs to tell the author though that disorientated is not a word - the word is disoriented. The first 50 pages are 1 long verbal foreplay leading up to the first sexual encounter. It's a testimony to the writer's skill that it never drags or bores. The sex scenes are hot and steamy, although the staircase scene challenged my notions of plausibility and comfort :-)
In short, if you've always thought that the HP line contains only verbally abusive jerks and powerless TSTL heroines, then Mistress for a Weekend will totally change your opinion, as it did mine. And now I'm off to find more good reads! ...more
This is a nice angsty read, with a hero and heroine who both have abandonment issues. He's taken refuge in cold duty, responsible for cleaning up hisThis is a nice angsty read, with a hero and heroine who both have abandonment issues. He's taken refuge in cold duty, responsible for cleaning up his wayward family's messes. She's looking for love and belonging, for little Annabel and ultimately for herself.
This is one of the better HP's I think. The hero is alpha but he's not needlessly cruel or jerk-y. I liked that he's been celibate for 2 years, instead of being the usual stud cliche, which is how he knows he's not a dad. The heroine could have been more spirited. She's Welsh which is refreshingly unusual, but nothing is really made of that. The circumstances by which she becomes Annabel's guardian are really hard to believe though.
Note: the baby is not the hero's or the heroine's (and you know this pretty early on), so those who dread the Secret Baby plot need not fear. ...more
This is the best book ever written with the words "Greek" and "virgin" in the title. Angelos is a 6 ft plus billionaire (of course) and Chantal is a bThis is the best book ever written with the words "Greek" and "virgin" in the title. Angelos is a 6 ft plus billionaire (of course) and Chantal is a beautiful and good-hearted virgin (of course). But there the stereotypes end. Both the hero and heroine were surprisingly believable and likable.
Chantal had determination and was a survivor. She never allowed herself to be steamrolled over by the hero. She stuck to her principles - I was just thinking too much so and get-over-it-already when the truth came out about her childhood. Well that bites, I thought. I still didn't like that she jeopardized their relationship with her stubborness, but the author made it understandable to me. That's good character development and good writing.
Angelos had some rough edges when he believed Chantal to be a gold-digger and a user. But again the author did a good job at showing the disappointment behind his verbal tirade, and the annoyance with himself that he was still attracted to her. Also the set-up that led to his mistaken beliefs was well-written. Too often the misunderstanding makes a supposedly alpha male just look dumb, but here it was understandable that he would believe what he did. I loved that he wasn't put off either when he found out a) that Chantal was a hotel maid, and b) the truth about her background. He redeemed himself bigtime too by the lengths he went to to get her back at the end.
Angelos' father was a great supporting character - an old romantic at heart and a bit sly. He added some good humor to the book too. I loved the opening scene with him and Angelos arguing about women. To summarize, this is one of the best Harlequin Presents I've read. Highly recommend!...more
Featuring one of the stronger heroines in the HP line - if you cringe at spineless, overly self-sacrifing heroines, you will love Sally. She doesn't dFeaturing one of the stronger heroines in the HP line - if you cringe at spineless, overly self-sacrifing heroines, you will love Sally. She doesn't dissolve into a puddle of goo when the dark, handsome billionaire casts his roving eye on her. She doesn't jump to sacrifice herself for a cold, embezzling, louse of a father. The situation with Sally's mother was sad and it was understandable that she would have issues.
I liked the hero too. It was amusing to see a HP alpha billionaire hero get ignored for a change and have to work to capture the heroine's notice. His exasperation was kind of endearing. I enjoyed his ruthless pursuit and I also enjoyed that he came to see how wrong he was. He did suffer there for a while.
This is one of the steamier HP's I've read, with well written scenes. Zac and Sally had scorching chemistry together. My one complaint? The heroine doesn't say ILY until the epilogue, one year later. That's just too late for me - she married him, she should have said the words then. Other than that, this was a great HP read. ...more
**spoiler alert** This was a bookclub read for me and here were my rambling thoughts.
Did you like the Hero/heroine?
She's a bowl of jello - constantly**spoiler alert** This was a bookclub read for me and here were my rambling thoughts.
Did you like the Hero/heroine?
She's a bowl of jello - constantly quivering, easy to make He's a deep fried mozzarella stick - cheesy, oily, sure to cause heartburn
What do you think of this type of revenge plot?
I have no problem with revenge sex, but get your facts straight first! Hero's failure to do so makes him look stupid.
Was there enough interior musings in the book?
Could there be any more? I was happy each time the monologues ended, ... until the dialogues started. Hero has a stash of cheesy, OTT, smarmy, purplific phrases that do nothing to lift my opinion of his brain or heart, and make me do funny gagging faces.
Have you read Penny Jordan before?
No, and if this is 1 of her better books/heroines, I doubt I will again.
I really hate when a 3rd party has to explain to the heroine or Hero that they love each other. Learn to communicate, dolts!
I hate that the Hero only spilled his guts while in the fever at the end. He deserved to be fully conscious and grovel to the heroine. It makes me mad that he escaped without thoroughly admitting he was wrong.
Hero seems to have no friends except a dead rapist, and his own sister can't trust him. PJ needed to give us something about him that is likable. ...more
No time to write a proper review but here are my random notes.
- didn't like the overly sunny, Pollyanna-ish, doormat, gave-up-her-life-for-family herNo time to write a proper review but here are my random notes.
- didn't like the overly sunny, Pollyanna-ish, doormat, gave-up-her-life-for-family heroine, LG did a much better job with the heroine in Spanish Groom
- didn't like the hero, too much a jerkwad, too much abusive language, the 'you're a slut cuz you gave up your virginity to me' scene
- didn't like the sex scene at the start, reading about characters having sex when I'm not invested in them makes me feel skeevy
- too many misunderstandings
- too much talk about her turquoise eyes and his glorious cheekbones, and at the most bizarre times too, like in the middle of an angry exchange: "That's absolutely horrible!" The faintest tinge of dark colour demarcated the angular bronzed planes of the aristocratic cheekbones that enhanced his superb bone structure. "That isn't how it was!"
- most crazy HP moment: the bitchy sister who breaks them up with lies
- best seduction line evah: "I'll buy you chocolate every day"
- liked how the hero felt insecure at the end, was so jealous of Ben, and was the one that wanted marriage
- liked that the heroine wouldn't marry him without ILY's despite being prego
- the last 50 pages was the best and brought it up from 2* to 3* for me ...more
This was a reread for me and I loved it even more than I did the first time. Everything just worked for me in this story. The plot was good, the pacinThis was a reread for me and I loved it even more than I did the first time. Everything just worked for me in this story. The plot was good, the pacing was good, the writing was smooth, the dialogue was clever, and the setting was marvellous. I loved the details of the Venice setting and the ceremony of "marriage" to the sea. The glassmaking details were fun but not overwhelming.
Salvatore and Helena are at odds because she has inherited her dead husband Antonio's (Salvatore's father's cousin) share of the Veretti family's glass factories. Antonio was much older (it's made clear early on that he and Helena never slept together, for those who might be squicked). Salvatore starts off as an angry, vengeful man who believes that Helena is a gold-digger who doesn't deserve her inheritance, but he soon comes to realize otherwise. She challenges him and neatly turns the tables on him once or twice, and he learns that he cannot bully her into leaving Venice and eventually that he really doesn't want to. He becomes oddly protective of her, and despite himself wants her to succeed. He's still a HP hero so he resists falling in love for a time, but he's never a jerk and mellows out quite a bit before he alphas up again at the end and kidnaps the heroine to keep her from leaving.
Helena is strong without being bitchy or foot-stompingly "feisty". I liked that she's tall and voluptuous, and intelligent too - she shows that she is a fast learner but doesn't unrealistically take over the whole factory and become an overnight expert. Her flair for the dramatic makes her seem more real and not too perfect. The only thing I didn't like about her was that she could eat all she wanted and not gain weight (hey, I got issues ok?). It seemed like she and Salvatore were always having dinner together, and I spent way too much time imagining all that fantastic Venetian cooking (see issues mentioned above).
Which brings me to my next point. For 2 people who start off disliking each other and are business rivals, Salvatore and Helena spend a lot of time in each other's company. There is a lot of chemistry and tension between them, and while they banter ostensibly about business, the sexual undercurrents are blazingly obvious. This is a steamier HP than most, and Salvatore and Helena do a lot of lovemaking as well as fine dining. It's very tasteful and sensuous, and fits in naturally with the story. I liked their one-upmanship, which never veers into cruelty. The devil's head was funny! There's a misunderstanding near the end of course, but even it makes more sense than these misunderstandings usually do.
With the focus so much on the hero and heroine, there aren't a lot of secondary characters. Salvatore's snobby old grandma makes an attempt to drive the wedge between them deeper at the end, explaining to Helena that Salvatore distrusts all women and sees them all as tramps. Antonio despite being dead is the strongest secondary character, coming across vividly as a charming, pleasure-loving old reprobate with a kind heart. I'm not going to say more about the ending except that it is very sweet :-) ...more