Harlequin Presents Readers discussion

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Food for Thought > How do you rate Harlequin Presents?

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message 1: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Harlequin Presents are my crack! (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 2280 comments Mod
I did a mini-HP-glom this weekend, and I ended up with mainly 3ish star ratings. The last book I gave four stars, but it wasn't necessarily that it was a better written book. I think I just enjoyed it more.

It got me thinking about my HP rating scale, criteria. It probably doesn't make sense to others, but I tend to rate based on how exciting and involving the book is and how much tension it has. If I feel too much negative emotions, I rate it lower. If I feel more satisfied than dissatisfied, I rate higher. I'll post a scale when I get a chance.

Do others care to comment on how they rate Harlequin Presents?


message 2: by Verity (last edited Jun 11, 2013 06:33PM) (new)

Verity | 567 comments The hero tends to be the make / break factor lately. The book may be trashalicious but if the hero is endearing / luvable, I might jack up the grade.

Anotha criteria is whether / not the book sends me on a 1-way street to snoozeville by the 1st 1/2. Some books get redeemed in 2nd 1/2 after a slow-cooking start

Also, I could hang disbelief on the moon if the story-telling is too gripping to resist, the WTFockery ones are most of the time mock-worthy X^{3


message 3: by Leona (last edited Jun 10, 2013 06:32AM) (new)

Leona (wdwcbm) | 373 comments Lady D, this is an interesting question. I definitely tend to rate HP's slightly differently than I do other books, simply because I allow for the fact that you can't really develop too much in 150 pages or less.

My ratings.

3 is middle of the road. Good, but not one I would really recommend

4 is for the enjoyment factor. Usually something that grabs my interest quickly and sweeps me away where I can escape for a couple of hours.

5 star means it went beyond my expectation, mesmerized me to the point that I couldn't put it down and the book distinguishes itself amongst all others. There is usually something I like and respect about the hero and heroine. Though on a few occasions, I will rate a book a 5 star even though I don't think the hero is worthy of the heroine. It is just that the book was so good, I can't hold back my rating.

Now for the 1 and 2 star ratings

2 stars means it was barely okay, but I got through it without snoozing.

1 star for me is usually driven by the asshat moments of a hero with a heroine who is too pitiful to respect. I don't mind asshats (in fact I secretly love them) but only when the heroine can dish it out. If she can't, it seems more like an abusive situation than a romance.


message 4: by willaful (new)

willaful | 344 comments I generally rate on enjoyment, and especially with HPs. It might seem bizarre to some people that I could give 5 stars to both Emma and The Billionaire's Pregnant Mistress, but both are 5 star reads in their different ways. :-)


message 5: by Leona (new)

Leona (wdwcbm) | 373 comments Willaful - you made me chuckle on a really bad day! thank you!


message 6: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Harlequin Presents are my crack! (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 2280 comments Mod
I think we all rate HPs in a similar manner. I'd have to agree with your scale, Leona, although I don't think I am as offended by weaker heroines as you are. I think with this line, you do have to be more tolerant to jerky heroes or you'd probably explode and wouldn't go near HPs books!

At Willaful, I don't find that bizarre at all. I've been known to rate classic novels and HPs five stars as well. I am an emotional reader, so that's a big part of how I rate books.

Like you Verity, I hate boring books. I definitely rate books that were tedious and uninteresting lower.


message 7: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Harlequin Presents are my crack! (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 2280 comments Mod
My HP Rating System

5 star--I enjoyed the heck out of the book, for whatever reason. It was very emotionally involving and carthartic. The book took me on a real journey. The relationship was very compelling and I loved the characters (or at least one of them enough that it didn't spoil my reading experience not to like the other). Serious wow factor.

4--Very good reading experience. I forgot about the outside world for two hours. Something new or something that added to my life for the time I spent reading the book. I found the writing good and well-done. If the book has a serious drama quotient that had me glued to the page and it wasn't objectionable in some other way, I will give it four stars.

3--It was pretty good. It was at least entertaining. It didn't really stand out for a Harlequin Presents novel. I found one or both characters not truly likable, or I didn't care for their actions in some way. Something about this book didn't quite hit the mark for me, but it didn't ruin the book. I would keep the book if it's by an author I like.

2--Not very good. I found something very off-putting about the book, be it the characters or storyline. Low drama quotient. Boring. Characters were quite dislikable, and not in a drama wow factor way.

1--Just heinous. Everything fell apart in this book. Most of the reading experience was negative, with no positive factors.


message 8: by Jen - Reviews (new)

Jen - Reviews | 159 comments Hey Leona, I find that how I feel at the end if the story influences my rating a lot. If I feel really uplifted and happy I will give a higher rating. So yes, the positive or negative feelings come into it for me too.


message 9: by Beth (new)

Beth (bscharwath) | 55 comments I think I forgive a lot more in HPs


message 10: by Jen - Reviews (new)

Jen - Reviews | 159 comments Hey Beth, I do to. At the end of the day you can't take them too seriously. They're great light reads ( most of them) and bring a lot of pleasure. I especially look forward to the HEA .


message 11: by Beth (new)

Beth (bscharwath) | 55 comments They are good comfort reads. But rarely do I find one I would give 5 stars. Right now I'm in Michelle Reid withdrawal...


message 12: by Kate (new)

Kate (kateperegrinate) I pretty much apply the same rating process to all books I read, regardless of whether it's an HP or a classic novel.

5 stars -- It's so good I would recommend it to anyone, even if it's outside their normal genre preference. (For example, I'd recommend a 5-star HP to someone who typically doesn't read HPs or romances.)

4 stars -- It's so good I would recommend it to anyone who likes that genre.

3 stars -- It was okay and would recommend it to die-hard fans of similar books.

2 stars -- It was a struggle to get through the book without some speed reading or skipping through the terribly/boring bits.

1 stars -- I cared enough to skip to the end to see how the story was resolved.

DNF -- I couldn't bring myself to finish the book.


message 13: by Verity (new)

Verity | 567 comments 1 - 2* ~ A cartload of issues (TSTF heroines, wenches whose leaky tear-ducts need to be sealed shut 4evah, info-dumping galore) / chronic insomnia killer / deserves to be inducted into my WTF-did-I-just-read shelf / makes me feel short-changed, would like my 2 hour back w/ interest.

3* ~ Has no resonance once the last line is read. Ask me in 2 months what it's about & my teflon pan mind would be like me driving w/ just 1 contact lens on cuz the otha 1 dropped outta sight, it's all a blur.

4* ~ A joy to read, angstfest / not. Even if otha peeps think it's cwappy, I'll jack up the grade if it will release stress.

5* ~ Re-readable material, dwamatic / angsty to the max, has fav ending / scene / quote / lickalicious hero, so fan-friggin-tastic I wanna read all over again & again.


message 14: by Leona (new)

Leona (wdwcbm) | 373 comments Ladies - I agree with you. There is an element that you definitely accept in HP's that you wouldn't in other writing. They are a great way to get lost for a couple of hours of enjoyment.

But I pose a question...is it just me or has there been a resurgence in the genre? Are ereaders the cause of it, or is it something else?


message 15: by Beth (new)

Beth (bscharwath) | 55 comments I definitely thinks its ereaders. I have read more books in the last two years since I got my Kindle than I have in the last 12 (total) mainly because I can see better to read on my kindle but mostly because no one can tell what I'm reading. :-)

But what fascinates me is the rise of all these millionaire/billionaire single titles that are suddenly so popular. I don't see much difference between those and a lot of HPs but readers that rave about those still seem to look down on HPs. I think its all about the cover and the title. Especially with HG was using outragesouly dumb titles like The tycoons virgin housekeeper mistress' royal secret baby....please. It wasn't so much the cover art but the cringe worthy titles that kept me buying them in paper back.


message 16: by Chrisolu (new)

Chrisolu | 23 comments I find that I give more 5 star reviews to older books. I had no idea why I love that 50,-70's so un PC drama fest of romance novels.


message 17: by Leona (new)

Leona (wdwcbm) | 373 comments Chrisolu, I like those 50-70 HP's too! What angst!


message 18: by willaful (new)

willaful | 344 comments You know what's interesting, is right now while self-pubbed books are imitating the classic HP title and style, actual HPs are becoming more original and creative, and getting better titles! Perhaps it's a reaction to not cornering the market anymore? I think we may be on the brink of another HP Golden Age like the 80s. (Of course, that's just my own opinion, YFDMV. ;-) )


message 19: by Beth (new)

Beth (bscharwath) | 55 comments Willaful, I hope you're right. :-)


message 20: by Floqueta (new)

Floqueta | 46 comments willaful wrote: "You know what's interesting, is right now while self-pubbed books are imitating the classic HP title and style, actual HPs are becoming more original and creative, and getting better titles! Perhap..."

Like Beth I also hope you are right! There are "established" HP-authors that are not so good or don't seem to be. But surely concurrence will contribute to raise quality.


message 21: by Christine (new)

Christine | 86 comments I agree with what's been said. E-readers have definitely made it easier to read more books. At the same time it's easier to review and obtain so many more.

I too absolutely love the older books, which had so much better description, mood, character development, story line etc, not to mention Titles!

Self-pubs have definitely given established publishers competition, and the improvement reflects this, I think. At the same time, some self-pubs could definitely use serious editing, while others are just awful! But who says that well-written books are only what sells? Just think Grey.

In the end, we readers do influence the continuity of authors, because if some-one is consistently bad, their work will not sell. Conversely, better authors will find eager readers.


message 22: by Beth (new)

Beth (bscharwath) | 55 comments I think you can be a great story teller and a really bad writer. Or a really great writer and a boring story teller. I don't read HPs (or Kristen Ashley) for the prose.

But lately the new HPs are just not nearly as well done as they used to be. Sarah Morgan seems to be the only one that is consistant....I love Lynne Graham but I swear only every third book is any good.

Sorry if I'm babbling. It's been a REALLY long day.


message 23: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Harlequin Presents are my crack! (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 2280 comments Mod
My sister's theory is that part of Fifty Shades of Gray's success is that essentially it's a Harlequin book. Part of the Harlequin boom might be due to the fact that this formula is finally going mainstream.


message 24: by Giulia (new)

Giulia | 24 comments I haven't read a lot of Harlequin Presents. But lately I've been reading shorter romances published by Harlequin, Desire etc and I've been finding I'm liking them. I used to think of them as quick reads, but I'm finding they are a lot meatier than I originally gave them credit for. I generally use my devastating star system for all the books I read, and I'm doing that with Harlequin novels now too. If it just blows me away with romance, great character development and steam, then it's 5 stars. Maisey Yates is the author that got me hooked. Once I'd read one of her books I started thinking how cool it was that she did so much with her story and characters with such a short page count.


message 25: by Sandra (new)

Sandra | 40 comments I rate Presents on how much I enjoy them. I've given many 5 stars. I'm picky when it comes to heroes. If I hate one the book rating will probably get lower.


message 26: by Jacqueline J (new)

Jacqueline J | 260 comments I use what I call HP stars for Presents books. I think of them as entirely separate to how I might rate more mainstream books.

Mostly I give 1 star to poorly written books. If there are too many moments where I say "there's just not way that could happen or no one can be that dumb" see http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61... .

If it is full of drama and fun characters and interesting situations and I loved reading it I'll give it a 5 stars. Extra points if the heroine leads the hero around by the nose a bit especially if the hero is an ass who needs it. :-)

3 stars is for readable and enjoyable.

On the other topic of the resurgence of Harlequin Presents lately, for me I know it's because I've spent so much time on GR these last 3 years. I have met like minded people who have reminded me how much fun HPs can be and who also genuinely enjoy them. I don't have to defend my reading of them to you all. Also because of your recs and such I have been able to read more winners than losers saving me time and money. And my ereader definitely helps me get a hold of the books I would otherwise be scrounging in used book stores for.


message 27: by Giulia (new)

Giulia | 24 comments Interesting that they've gotten more popular again. When I first started romance a couple of years ago, I wasn't at all interested in reading a HP novels. They were ones I only read if I wanted something "mindless." So snobbish on my part, I see now. Once I started picking up ones I saw had this wildly high ratings by book bloggers, I began to think of them in a whole light, and look forward to reading more of them.


message 28: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Harlequin Presents are my crack! (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 2280 comments Mod
It's great to have a community of folks who don't judge what you read, and from which you can draw recommendations for good books. I am glad we have this group too, Jacqueline. I don't have that many friends to chat about the appeal of Harlequin Presents with.

@Giulia, I find that Harlequin Presents books are great ways to wind down and to have a quick read that involves me. I know it's escapism and drama, but as you found, that doesn't mean the writing cannot be meaty and worthwhile. I like to think that the Harlequin Presents authors take their writing very seriously. It's not easy to write a good book, even if it's in a genre that is dismissed.


message 29: by Giulia (new)

Giulia | 24 comments That's very true Danielle! Writing is hard work.


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