Dying for Siena is a very enjoyable read but be warned. It has very little romance and the hero takes a back seat to his cousin in the narrative. TheDying for Siena is a very enjoyable read but be warned. It has very little romance and the hero takes a back seat to his cousin in the narrative. The focus is solidly on Siena and the palio on 1 hand, and the murder mystery and suspects on the other. The romance between Faith and Nick feels almost like a tacked on afterthought, written to qualify this book as a romance rather than a mystery or travelogue. However this is a very nice book, and the author clearly loves and is knowledgable about this part of Italy. I appreciated it for what it was. ...more
If pregnancy + amnesia = Pregnesia (according to the Harlequin/Silhouette title generator), then what is pregnancy + amnesia + kidnapping? PregnesiappIf pregnancy + amnesia = Pregnesia (according to the Harlequin/Silhouette title generator), then what is pregnancy + amnesia + kidnapping? Pregnesiapping? Pregnappinesia? The heroine in this one finds out she's pregnant, has sex, encounters nasty Other Woman, gets falsely accused of stealing, gets thrown out by rich Greek lover, and gets kidnapped, all in chapter 1. And I thought I was having a bad hair day.
I admit to not being a fan of Maya Banks' writing. I don't care for her erotica and I was plenty amazed to discover last year that she is now writing Sihouettes. I picked one up out of sheer curiosity, wondering how her writing would hold up without menage sex scenes to hide behind. Maybe because my expectations were low, I was surprised how much I enjoyed The Tycoon's Pregnant Mistress. The writing is effective and emotional (within the contraints of a melodramatic Silhouette plot of course). Marley is a good heroine without TSTL moments, and she gropes convincingly for clues to what her life and her relationship with the hero were like before she lost her memory. The hero is plenty conflicted, veering between solicitous care (and burning desire) for Marley on one hand, and coldness and anger at her betrayal on the other. At times he's almost schizophrenic and this does nothing to help Marley figure out their relationship or help her settle in. Apart from the intial accusation and throwing out though, he's not a harsh hero by Harlequin/Silhouette standards. To his credit also, he's almost totally forgiven Marley for her supposed betrayal before her memory returns and the truth comes out. Between the angst, there are some nice scenes of them being happy on their Greek island. I like when a romance actually shows the couple interacting in a happy or playful manner. When the heroine recovers her memory, it's back to angst though and these scenes are some of the most effective in the story.
As for what I didn't like, the whole kidnapping plot seemed thrown in as a device to give the heroine amnesia and give the hero a reason to spirit her off to his island to protect her. Even worse, it was left totally unresolved. We never learn who kidnapped Marley or why. It's inexcusable to leave such a plot element dangling. And can I say that it's just laughable to demand a piddling 1/2 million dollars from a megarich multimillionaire who owns his own island? I mean I know there's a recession and all but really! ...more
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
Midnight Rainbow was originally published as a Silhouette Intimate Moments in the '80's and is about 250 pages. It is more exciting, more action-packeMidnight Rainbow was originally published as a Silhouette Intimate Moments in the '80's and is about 250 pages. It is more exciting, more action-packed, more romantic and plain more fabulous than many a longer mass market paperback published nowadays. In fact it is one of my top 5 favorite Linda Howard books. If only she still wrote like this! The plot is simple enough - burnt out special ops hero must rescue spoiled socialite from villain's Costa Rican lair. There's a microfilm involved, which the villain and other nefarious types are burning to get their hands on, but this is just the McGuffin. It's the well-developed leads and their sizzling chemistry that make this story special.
Without going into graphic details, Ms Howard paints a hero who's seen too much and done too much, both in his special ops work and previously in Vietnam. Grant is dead emotionally, unable to even relate to his family, and holed up on a remote Tennessee farm when he's called into action one last time. He's also tough, capable, manly, rugged, commanding, and sheer sex on a stick. One of the hottest heroes ever! Readers who love protective alpha men or Southern bad boys should run to get this book.
Jane Greer (don't call her Priscilla!) is far from the bubble-brained twit Grant expects, she's intelligent, resourceful and brave. Too often so-called "feisty" heroines turn out to be TSTL, putting themselves and the hero in repeated jeopardy because they think they know better than a trained warrior. Jane is refreshingly free of this, but she's quirky, zany and just unique. I've never read a heroine quite like her. I admired her too, no way could I trek uncomplainingly through jungles for days on end with little food or water, even with Grant's fine ass swaying in front of me.
Most of the book takes place in the jungle, which is painted so well that I could feel the steamy heat. And jump at the anaconda scene *shudder*. There's lots of steamy heat in the love scenes too, which are sensual and fairly graphic but tasteful (no anaconda jokes please). Grant and Jane's chemistry is amazing, rarely have I felt a hero and heroine to be so completely perfect for each other. 5 big fat juicy stars :-) ...more
This is the most intelligent and non-cheesy Sheik romance that you're ever likely to find. Set around 1800, it's the story of Princess Tess of a fictiThis is the most intelligent and non-cheesy Sheik romance that you're ever likely to find. Set around 1800, it's the story of Princess Tess of a fictional Balkan country who marries Galen Sheik of a desert tribe. The marriage takes place pretty early in the book, so this may count as a marriage-of-convenience plot if that's your thing (or not). Tess is no unwilling victim - she's given the chance to exert some control over her life and future and she goes for it. Galen has his own schemes but finds himself falling for his wife.
The wonderful hero and heroine set this romance apart from many others. Galen is hot-tempered and just plain hot. He feels his "barbaric" blood keenly and controls himself rigidly. You get the impression of a volcano trying to keep itself from exploding. Alpha and sexy, he's also very protective towards Tess. He finds he desires her a lot more than he thought he would. He waits though until she's ready for the marital bed and (great hero!) doesn't even look at another woman in the meantime.
Tess is a strong and vibrant young woman, overflowing with vitality and enthusiasm but never dumb. A virgin but thankfully no prude or shrinking violet in the bedchamber. She shows her bravery and quick wits when the villain abducts Galen's sister. She actually has a sound plan and her playacting is delicious. Of course the hero still saves her in the nick of time. This is a romance after all :-)
The sexual tension is very strong leading up to the consummation. Actual sex scenes are rather few and not particularly graphic after the first. The story was so engrossing though, I really didn't miss them much. What I liked best was that the hero and heroine were actually heroic. They both rise above their times, and in the hero's case his inner "barbarian". Galen has a purpose - to unite the warring tribes into 1 law-abiding country. Tess aims to improve the lot of women in the new country. Galen refuses to whip her when she goes too far and he's expected to punish her. He finds another way to make her scream ;-) Ah we should all be "punished" so! ...more