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Archive for the ‘Series Romance’ Category

Copyright: 2000

Pages: 219 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Series Romance

Publisher: Harlequin Mills & Boon Sexy Sensation

Grade: B+

When Hallie Bennett was growing up, she wanted to be an archaeologist, a trapeze artist, or possibly even a fairy. Never in her wildest nightmares did she think she’d end up working in a tiny shoe store in London. But it’s only temporary, right?

Software developer, Nick Cooper, is about to close a deal with a wealthy Hong Kong software distributor. But there’s a catch. He invented a wife to ward off the businessman’s amorous daughter and now he and his wife are invited to Hong Kong to socialise and seal the deal. He needs a wife for a week. Someone savvy enough to keep the businessman’s daughter out of his bed, persuasive enough to pull off the pretence, and screwy enough to do it.

But first he has to buy his mother a new pair of shoes…

Oh my, what a fabulous category romance. Where has this author hidden until now? And it’s even a Harlequin Presents edition in America! After some big disappointments I can’t believe that I have found a book in this line that features such a witty and grown- up heroine and a hero that doesn’t have an Oedipus/anal-related Freud mother complex.

After countless of HPs, this on was the first one that made me laugh out loud and gave the corners of my mouth a serious workout! The witty dialogues between Halli and Nick are priceless. Hilariously funny and with a fresh voice, the author turns a not-so-new plot into a real treasure.

I discovered that Kelly Hunter is a fairly new author with only three releases so far (which I have immediately put on my wishlist). This was a real treat, thank you, and earns a solid B+!

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Copyright: 2006

Pages: 192 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Series Romance

Grade: B

When Jason Pollack bought out Beville Holdings, he had plans for its beautiful blond receptionist. But the infamously ruthless tycoon soon discovered that his wealth and power didn’t impress Leah Johanssen. She was the first woman in a long time who didn’t want to chase him down the aisle!

Leah’s refusal of Jason’s advances made him desire her all the more. He’d make her want him; he wouldn’t rest until he had Leah in his bed and at his command!

Ever since discovering a fantastic Miranda Lee keeper in a m-bag full of goodies, I try to read some of her books once in a while. It’s rather difficult to seriously work on her backlist because it’s longer than the Chinese wall.

Forget the title of this book, it’s totally stupid and only partly right. First of all, the heroine, Leah Johanssen, is in no way anyone’s mistress, au contraire, the hero Jason Pollack even stresses that she’s his girlfriend. And there’s also nothing forbidden about the whole liaison, so why in heaven they came up with such an unsuitable title will only the schizophrenic people from the HP editing department ever know.

This was not the best Lee ever but she did create an interesting and entertaining read. Jason is a rather unconventional HP hero. Formerly married to a much older woman out of love, widower and celibate for four!!! years and without any vampy bitch in tow. He has a very decent character, without the typical prejudices towards women, heroes from this Harlequin line usually have.

Leah, compared to Jason, is a rather typical HP heroine, however, she misses some stupid TSTL traits which was really refreshing. She’s a little Miss Goody-Two-Shoes who wants to live on her own, without the support of her father’s money, who has a complex because of some scars on her thigh and spends her Saturdays doing philanthropic work at the children’s wing in a hospital. That said, the end result is still a nice person, one that is for sure a little over the top and sweet, but still likable and entertaining.

Don’t expect anything big, but for a quick read an little brain investment this might be a good choice.

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Copyright: 2006

Pages: 185 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Series Romance

Grade: C-

Bryn Dwyer needed a wife — quickly, conveniently and temporarily. But not one of the empty-headed Sydney bimbos he usually had adorning his arm … Hot-headed firebrand Mia Forrester promised a much more exciting time!

Bryn was offering a large amount of money, which Mia seemed happy to accept. But he was unaware of the very good reason why she needed to accept his proposal – and his cash. He was also about to discover that he’d employed an inexperienced virgin to be his new bride!

After the last Debacle with a Melanie Milburne book where I came to the conclusion to give up on her writing, I decided to save my time and not review this one. It’s hugely better than the Debacle, but somehow I lost my taste for this author.

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Copyright: 2006

Pages: 256 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Series Romance

Grade: B

Stubborn Irish beauty Rhiannon O’Brannoch rides into Redhawk Jackson’s life, and he knows everything is destined to change. But he has no idea just how much. As if no money, a failing business, a rash of rustling and a dead body aren’t enough, now he has to contend with the one possibility that can truly break his spirit—losing Irish Heaven ranch, the only home he’s ever known and his one heart’s desire.

One look at her uncle’s sizzlingly sensual, broody ranch foreman has Rhiannon melting in her new pink cowboy boots, but Hawk only wants one thing from her…well, okay, two things… to get her off the ranch as soon as possible, and to get her into his bed. Will she insist on keeping her uncle’s legacy for herself, or will she succumb to temptation and give up everything for love?

I discovered Nina Bruhns years ago when I first read one of her erotic romance titles she wrote under the pen name Nikita Black. Totally loving it, I became curious about her category novels and hit jackpot. So far I have only read three of her series stories but each one of them delivered a solid story, good characterization and diverting entertainment. So when I checked the library catalogue and found several of her books I immediately put them on my reading list.

Hard Case Cowboy has a plot premise that is not one of my favorites. A big and integral part of the story is about the hero and heroine’s money problemes and how they struggle to save the ranch one of them is going to inherit. I try to avoid money issues, especially when both characters are concerned, but in case of Bruhns I made an exception, and thank heaven for that!

Rhiannon O’Brannoch is a refreshingly untypical category heroine. 32 and experienced in the ways of the world, she’s missing the purple prose many average females are forcefully “gifted” with. Despite money problems she never looses her joy for life. Her whole being instantly involved me in the story and made me feel comfortable and welcome.

Redhawk Jackson is a harder nut to crack. Too many times life has disappointed him and made him wary towards bubbly Rhiannon. Nevertheless, he is barely able to resist her charms. His quiet but sensual attitude conquers Rhiannon very fast, but it takes some time until he discovers his long lost thought heart.

This was an all around satisfying read and earns a solid B. There are five or six more books from Bruhns in my library and I am really looking forward to reading them… all of them!

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Copyright: 2006

Pages: 185 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Series Romance

Grade: F

An illicit affair… Nina’s been left holding the baby, now her evil twin – who attempted to trap a wealthy playboy by getting pregnant – has passed away.
Vengeance – marriage!
Marc Marcello wants his brother’s child – but, he mistakes prim librarian Nina for her trampy twin.
One bride…bedded? Nina poses as her sister to protect the baby she loves. She’ll let Marc buy her as his bride….

Ermm, yes, this book is truly, really horrible and I wonder why I stayed loyal to this author after this totally horrible tale. My first Milburne was The Australian’s Marriage Demand a very pleasant and satisfying guilty pleasure Harlequin Presents read. And the main reason why I keep on reading her books, hoping to find another good one. After this one, however, I decided to give up on her stories.

The plot is nothing new, very HP-ish but I knew what to expect when I choose this one from my library’s shelf.

Nina has a sluttish twin named Nadia. Nadia would sell her grandmother for money… or, in this case, her newborn baby. Since they were children Nina has been the good one, the one who took punishments for Nadia, saved up all her money to help her evil sister out of her misadventures and … in the long run, also looked after the baby her sister felt about as attached to as a mouse to a mousetrap. Nina is, of course, a virgin but being a very adventurous HP heroine she tried her hand at masturbation and therefore lost her hymen (*cough*).

Those “ingredients” alone make the heroine a certifiable doormat, but, the book being a HP, I accepted that fact and decided not to give too much attention to it.

The real deal-breaker in this story is the hero, Mister high and mighty Marc Marcello. He, too, is very typical in his characterization. Italian by birth, with a strong sense of family, ruthless, business oriented and gifted with a hypocritical view towards women (as in women who enjoy their sexuality outside of wedlock or without a serious commitment are whores). In Marco’s opinion his brother, the father of his niece, is, of course, the poor boy that was haunted by the evil vamp and finally cought in her evil web. PUHLEAASE. Grow up man. The time for fairy-tales has passed.

Nina and Marco make a deal before they take their vows, this is going to be a marriage in name only. (Whoever believes that, BLEARGH). When he can’t resist her anymore he starts ravishing her, then accuses her (and her pure and virginal behaviour) of seduction and revenge…

Yep, that about covers the circumstances. Please don’t ask me why I finished it, I definitely need my head examined. I read a big number of HPs and many were bad but this one is the icing on the cake.

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Copyright: 2007

Pages: 256 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Series Romance

Grade: B

She like the perfect lady!

As far as New York City attorney Cody Shea could see, Sara Wells was a model temp. She had brains and beauty–in fact, if he hadn’t been her boss, there were a few highly improper things he would have asked the very proper Southern belle to do….

Living in Manhattan under an assumed name for a year was Sara’s brief flirtation with freedom. Now back in her natural habitat, she’s prepared to marry a gentleman whose pedigree and fortune match her own. She’s even accepted that she’ll probably spend a lifetime fantasizing about the exquisite pleasure of being a tigress in her boss’s bed. Imagine if he only knew!

Well, Cody is about to find out. His trip to Atlanta to seduce her causes bedlam as Sara tries to keep her faux identity and her lustful feelings intact…. And fails!

I don’t really want to review If Only He Knew… on this blog because I already did an editorial review about it. To sum it up, I probably will never read a Blaze novel for pleasure again because I will forever associate this line with payed work but Debbi Rawlins is a good author I would definitely recommend to someone who wants to try out this line. Instead of silly mix-ups and big misunderstandings the h/h act reasonably and grown-up. I LOVE THAT! :-)

As an aside, the homepage could really need a re-design.

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Copyright: 2004

Pages: 284 (large print edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Series Romance

Grade: DNF

A marriage made in … crisis!

Dr Laura Burnside is pregnant, single and alone. Her dream job as head of Global Aid Organization in Argentina has been snatched out of her hands by the arrogant Dr Armando Salazar. She has nowhere to go. And then Armando makes a proposal that turns her world upside down. Marry him. Give her child a father. Continue her vital emergency work in this beautiful country. And give in to the passion that has raged between her and the devastating Argentinian since their first meeting…

Uhmmmm, how shall I put it? I think I am simply not cut out for medical romances. Not only do I not swoon over gods in white (can you say that in English? it’s a very common expression in German) but all this medical talk bores me beyond anything. I put this book on my wishlist after having read Rosario’s review quite some time back, always eager to give an unknown, supposedly good author a try. In the end, the book read like any average Harlequin Presents with an overbearing hero, and martyrdom-inclined heroine. To be fair, the hero has more brain and backbone than many HP alphas I had the misfortune to encounter, but how I ever thought such a baby plot to be tempting is beyond me. Instead of being simply a debutant, student, secretary or bartered mistress, the heroine from this book is allowed to be a doctor, and a good one at that. Alas, she, too, like every true Harlequin heroine, can only find true happiness by being rescued by a testosterone carrier. End of story, end of my patience. This simply doesn’t work for me.

I guess I will delete all the other Gates from my wishlist. What a pity, Glasgow’s libraries are plentifully stocked with her work.

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