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REVIEW: Some October Harlequin Mini Reviews Part 2

Majesty, Mistress... Missing HeirMajesty, Mistress-Missing Heir by Caitlin Crews

Jessa Heath and Tariq bin Khalid Al-Nur were lovers living together in London. Neither had made any promises to each other and for Jessa, the uncertainty of the relationship came to a head when she discovered she was pregnant. She ran out for two days and when she returned Tariq had left the country, put his flat up for sale, and disconnected his mobile phone. Jessa was fired for sleeping with a client and she left London for York. Five years later, Tariq returns. He says that there is unfinished business between them. For him, that means that he must figure out what alchemy Jessa has woven that binds her so intimately in his memories that he cannot breathe without remembering her scent. He must marry, have heirs, but he can’t do this with another woman when Jessa still takes up so much space in his head. Maybe Jessa could have forgiven Tariq for his abandonment when she understood that it came from a wounded place in Tariq and maybe she could have started anew with him when they set aside their misunderstandings but the baby she bore in secret and the life that the baby now leads presents a seemingly impenetrable barrier to Jessa and Tariq being together.

While this isn’t my favorite Crews book (that would be Katrakis’ Last Mistress), it still vibrates with a lot of emotion and the secret baby twist was interesting and not one I recall reading before. Up to the end, I was unsure what would happen with the baby that was created by Jessa and Tariq but belonged to neither of them. B-

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Good Greek Wife Kate WalkerThe Good Greek Wife? by Kate Walker

Zarek Michaelis supposedly died out at sea two years ago. Since his death, his wife Penny has coped with his business interests, his avaricious step family, and her personal loss. The story opens with Penny walking along the shore thinking about Zarek and refusing to think of him as dead. Penny adored her husband but believes that Zarek only married her to beget an heir. Zarek has actually been alive this entire time and hiding out until the right time to confront his wife who appears to be getting ready to give his business over to his hated step siblings and to confront his step family and find out who plotted to kill him.

Zarek and Penny spend most of the book sniping at each other which may not seem odd for an HP, but it did seem odd given the fact that their separation was due to Penny thinking Zarek was dead and Zarek was recovering from a life threatening injury. I thought Penny was incredibly whiny and Zarek needlessly secretive. I found the conflict to be forced with needless exposition about their pasts inserted in dialogue throughout. Shouldn’t they have known about each other’s fathers, feelings about boarding school, before they were married or during the 10 months or so that they were married before Zarek disappeared? C-

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Boardroom Rivals Bedroom Fireworks Kimberly LangBoardroom Rivals, Bedroom Fireworks! by Kimberly Lang

Brenna Walsh and Jack Garrett met when their parents married, fell in love and eloped themselves to delight of both their parents. Brenna and Jack’s compatibility, however, did not extend outside the bedroom. Brenna was young, didn’t go to college, and preferred to stay around the family vineyard. Jack was an outgoing, charismatic person who enjoyed the social circle. He was well read, educated, and urbane. Brenna always felt like an outsider at social functions and overtime, their differences led to fierce fights and ultimately Brenna walking out of the relationship. Years later, Jack wants to sell his half interest in the Amante Verano vineyards, the vineyards that Brenna runs because he is tired being connected to her and the vineyards that his father always wanted Jack to love.

Older, wiser, perhaps more patient and still hot for each other, Jack and Brenna begin to rekindle a long dead relationship.

I felt like this read far more like a Harlequin Blaze (in other words, a sexy straight contemporary) than a Harlequin Presents. Jack, for all his wealth, and Brenna felt like your average couple who had financial problems (Brenna’s mostly) and baggage that prevented them from being together ten years ago. Jack wanted Brenna to want him, need him, more than the winery. Brenna never felt like she fit into Jack’s world. These problems don’t magically disappear ten years later, instead Brenna and Jack change in the way in which they want to deal with those problems because they discover that living without the other person is worse than getting their own way or being right. B

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

16 Comments

  1. Ros
    Oct 19, 2010 @ 14:34:41

    Jane, the Kimberley Lang is a Presents Extra aka Modern Heat, and they are quite distinct from standard Presents/Modern. I don’t know why they’re sold in the US under the same title. Some of them are sexy enough to warrant comparison with Blaze, but not all of them by any means.

    In the UK, from January, Modern Heat will be merged with some of the sassier, urban Romance books to form an entirely new line – Riva. I think this is going to be all my favourite HQ/M&B in one place.

  2. Jane
    Oct 19, 2010 @ 14:36:38

    @Ros: All the Moderns show up as “extra” but there is such a diversity in the line like the Good Greek Wife is a classics Presents book but it is an “extra” too.

    I thought Rivas was the line for the NewZealand/Australian romances?

  3. Ros
    Oct 19, 2010 @ 15:35:56

    @Jane: Oh, that’s weird that the Good Greek Wife is an extra. It’s definitely a Modern, not a Modern Heat in the UK.

    I don’t think Riva is going to be NZ/Aus. I think it’s just in the UK at the moment, but featuring the books which are currently Modern Heat with some which would have been Romance. Romance is becoming ‘Cherish’ – which is just the ‘hearth and home’ stories. The more contemporary, flirty Romances will be Riva – which means that the new line will have books with a range of sexual explicitness. Some will be firmly closed door and others not.

    I can’t work out why they don’t split them up in the US too, because there are some very clear differences between classic Presents and the Modern Heat-type Presents. I thought the ‘Extra’ designation did that, but apparently not. Weird.

  4. Maisey
    Oct 19, 2010 @ 15:42:22

    The great MH/Presents/Presents Extra mystery…LOL.

    Usually, of the four Extras released in the US, two are Classic Presents, two are Modern Heat. The only real way to tell is by author.

  5. Jen
    Oct 19, 2010 @ 15:45:39

    That guy on the cover of the first one is named “Tariq bin Khalid Al-Nur”? Are they sure it’s not actually “David Tennant”?

  6. Maisey
    Oct 19, 2010 @ 15:47:13

    @Maisey: Heidi Rice, Natalie Anderson, Kate Hardy, Mira Lyn Kelly, Nicola Marsh, Ally Blake, Lucy King and Kelly Hunter are some of the MH authors. (hope that helps a little)

  7. becca
    Oct 19, 2010 @ 16:22:29

    Luvaduck – talk about voice making a book. Majesty, Mistress…Missing Heir is the same plot as Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Local Custom (part of the Liaden universe). And I’m sure that MMMH has a totally different feel to it.

  8. SarahT
    Oct 19, 2010 @ 16:36:08

    I also enjoyed Kimberly Lang’s ‘Boardroom Rivals, Bedroom Fireworks’. She and Lucy King are my favourite Modern Heat authors.

    From what I can gather from messages on the Mills & Boon forums, Riva will combine books by Modern Heat and some M&B Romance authors, including Liz Fielding, Kimberly Lang and Heidi Rice. Here’s a link to comments Flo Nicoll’s – one of the M&B editors – made about Riva: http://www.romanceisnotdead.com/Users/180.191984?view=userViewAllComments

  9. Ridley
    Oct 19, 2010 @ 16:57:22

    I know they’re working on rebranding Modern Heat/HP Extra in North America, as Tell Harlequin sent me two unbranded Modern Heats/HP Extra stories (they had plain white covers, but I checked them out on Goodreads) then had me fill out a survey comparing them to Harlequin Presents.

    I wonder what their timeline/plan is.

  10. Becky at "One Literature Nut"
    Oct 19, 2010 @ 17:02:09

    Have you read Susan Mallery’s Sheik series by Harlequin? I have turned into a big fan of hers and started reading them and honestly can’t stop. Some of the final ones aren’t as good as the earlier ones, but I still like them. I’m just curious. I actually hadn’t read a harlequin in years, but like some of what they’ve done to make them more modern.

    Thanks for pointing these out!

  11. Sally
    Oct 20, 2010 @ 03:22:36

    Of the four Presents Extra released each month, the LAST TWO are the Modern Heat books. Besides by author, there is another way to tell them apart: the Classic Presents Extras belong to one miniseries and the Modern Heats to another. (e.g., Modern Heat = Back in His Bed, Classic Presents = The Greek Tycoons)

    Hope this helps!

  12. Kate Walker
    Oct 20, 2010 @ 04:21:11

    What an interesting review – I could have sworn I’d written a book about a man who has been missing for two years, suffering from amnesia, totally recovered from the life-threatening injury and knowing exactly who had tried to kill him but not at all sure whether he could trust his wife. Perhaps this is one of those cases where the UK and USA are two nations divided by a shared language? ;o)

    As everyone else has said – the Presents Extra are really just what they say on the cover – Extra Presents whether published as Modern or Modern Extras in the UK. They are published in 2 ‘collections’ which are supposed to define that one collectin is Modern Heat sourced, the other from Modern. But of course RIVA will change things again in January when some of those titles will be by Modern Heat writers and some by Mills & Boon Romance writers. (Confused yet? Me too!) The editorial approach is still being defined but RIVA will appear in the UK in Jan 2011 – plans for America are still under discussion. Hope this helps

    Sorry TGGW? didn’t work for you but thatnks for reading it anyway.

  13. Kimberly Lang
    Oct 20, 2010 @ 09:07:34

    There’s one way to know for sure which books are the Modern Heats (yes, soon to be Riva) in PE and which are the “classic” Presents in PE: http://www.sensationalromance.blogspot.com

    It’s updated every month with the UK, US and AU/NZ titles being released. So, if you like the kind of books we’re writing, that’s one way to know for sure… no matter what they call us!

    SarahT– thanks so much.
    And Jane, I’m glad you enjoyed Jack and Brenna’s story!

  14. Nicola Marsh
    Oct 20, 2010 @ 18:12:07

    As the sole author who writes for Mills & Boon Romance and M&B Modern Heat, let me clarify the RIVA situation.

    Mills and Boon RIVA will launch in the UK Jan 11.

    All current Mod Heats will be released under RIVA, 2 books a month, with the other 2 RIVA books a month comprising current M&B Romance titles (the fun, flirty stories.)

    At the moment, the M&B Romance RIVA authors are myself, Liz Fielding, Jessica Hart, Jackie Braun & Nina Harrington.

    The releases for Modern Heat books in the USA will continue under Presents Extra and in Aust/NZ will be under the Sexy series.

    Hope this helps :)

  15. Marilyn
    Oct 24, 2010 @ 18:54:07

    Kimberly, I really enjoyed this book. However, I did wonder if they would get their second chance. A beautiful love story!

  16. Marilyn
    Oct 24, 2010 @ 19:14:29

    Nic, I saw this post from Michelle on the M&B forum.

    “I’m a historical author rather than a MH author but I know a little bit about the two new exciting lines — Riva and Cherish. No longer is a reader going to be forced to choose the sort of book she wants to read in the UK based on whether or not the bedroom door is open. Instead it will be based on the style of the book. So Cherish will be those heart warming stories that make you sigh with pleasure and Riva will be the fun and flirty stories that make you fizz. Riva will include the MH and certain fun and flirty from Romance. For example Liz Fielding, Jessica Hart, Nikki Logan all write really fun stories. Modern will continue to have its intense glamour.

    Personally as a reader, I think it is a great idea as we are in the 21st century now after all.

    What you do think about the new look?”

    Michelle Styles

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