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Harlequin Lightning Reviews

book review One Night with His Virgin Mistress by Sara Craven. 19 year old heroine bedsits a flat while trying to write a historical adventure romance (reads like a classic bodice ripper btw). Hero is a quazillionaire who foregoes his fortune to work as a troubleshooting engineer. The two end up living together because she was conned into bedsitting and hero takes pity on the forlorn chickie. Standard HP angst drama with a bit of a twist because what ended up being the basis of the Big Misunderstanding was not what I had expected. A couple of things to note, however, is that the heroine does read older than 19 but the age of the heroine was frequently noted to be 19 no matter how I tried to push that from my mind. The core of her emotional trauma is that men she liked didn’t like her because she wasn’t sexually experienced enough and so she tries to get the quazillionaire hero to divest her of her virginity. In this, I thought the storyline was a bit. . . offputting. I am not entirely sure why making the heroine 19 instead of say, 23, wouldn’t have made more sense. C+

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon, Harlequin, or Powells or ebook format.

book review Greek Tycoon, Waitress Wife by Julia James – I kind of liked this one. The heroine is waitressing part time in London (small town girl in the big bad city). The hero is a bored tycoon who dumps his date at an art soiree because said date bores him. Classy guy, no? In any event, he passes the waitress heroine on the street, offers to drive her home, and then basically invites her to be his bed buddy for an undisclosed period of time. The heroine enters this dreamlike luxury cocoon where she is lavished with physical attention and monetary gifts. Tycoon hero is surprised at how much he enjoys spending time with this gorgeous girl. She’s compliant and enjoys the smallest pleasures. The fantasy tour of sexual pleasure and champagne, though, is brought to a halt when heroine wakes from her fuegue state to find out that the hero thinks she’s a down market bimbo and uses her in a crass way to get back at his mother. We have a pretty good Overbearing HP Asshole Hero (hereinafter OHPAH) to Doormat Ratio but the heroine is kind of a faux doormat. I found the twist at the end to be sweet comeuppance. B-

This book can be purchased in mass market from Harlequin or Powells or ebook format.

book review Marriage Manhatten Style by Barbara Dunlop. I’ve liked Dunlop’s writing in the past and the voice here is the same, engaging and competent. I hated the execution. The heroine realizes her marriage is in trouble because quazillionaire husband spends so much time working and the heroine doesn’t really do anything at all. But she wants a baby desparately and so does her husband. They can’t have sex unless her body temperature is just right but whatever they are doing isn’t working. At one point the heroine is confronted with the fact that the reason her life is so dissatisfying is that it is totally built around her husband’s life. Her social circle is her husband’s. Her topics of conversations are all around her husband. In a moment of self revelation, the heroine decides to get a job. But this moment, which should have been the turning point in the heroine’s character arc, is actually just a distraction. She never gets a job because the marriage will be saved by a baby! Oye. D

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon, Harlequin or Powells or ebook format.

book review Ms Match by Jo Leigh. I didn’t think I would like this. The hero was this super gorgeous guy who liked shallow, super gorgeous women. The heroine wasn’t pretty like her sister or anyone else in her family but the hero cozies up to her because he thinks it will get him in bed with her sister. The story arc was how the hero learned the pretty is only skin deep and that his life was empty because he had filled it with such shallow pursuits and the heroine had to get over her insecurity about not being the pretty one. I found the characterization of the heroine’s family to be a bit of a caricature. I really like Jo Leigh as an author. One of my favorites is an old release of hers called Arm Candy (which was originally recommended to me by Robin). This actually reminded me a bit of a Crusie like category romance without strong humor overtones. B

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon, Harlequin or Powells or ebook format.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and 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


  1. sallahdog
    Sep 12, 2008 @ 12:14:51

    If I could just get over the stupid titles on the HPs… I used to love reading them, but the stupid titles completely put me off..

  2. Sami
    Sep 12, 2008 @ 18:40:12

    OHPAH – I love it! Sound a bit like Oprah though. You think she’d mind?

  3. Lleeo
    Sep 12, 2008 @ 19:36:59

    If I could just get over the stupid titles on the HPs… I used to love reading them, but the stupid titles completely put me off..

    I completely agree, sallahdog. The titles and plot lines just scream misogyny to me. Ugh, I thought the romance genre got over all this crap two decades ago. What gives?

    I don’t mean to generalize here because I’m sure some of the books are great and some of my favourite authors still write smaller books for Harlequin, but I am still baffled.

  4. Jia
    Sep 12, 2008 @ 20:56:11

    The titles and plot lines just scream misogyny to me. Ugh, I thought the romance genre got over all this crap two decades ago. What gives?

    I’m confused about the current HP title strategies myself. I have some old HPs from the late 70s/80s that were given to me and they all have normal names by comparison. No Man of Her Own, Time of the Temptress, etc etc.

    I’ve heard the marketing strategy for the current titling system is so that readers will know what they’re getting. Want a secret baby? Pick this one! Want a virgin? Pick that one! Want a virgin, mistress and a millionaire? Well, you’re out of luck this month but next month, there’s one coming out!

    But even so, I still can’t stop myself from wincing a little when I read the titles.

  5. Jane
    Sep 12, 2008 @ 20:59:27

    I’ve become inured to them and laugh about them. I won’t read a mere millionaire hero though. What’s the point when you have the tycoons and billionaire books featured right next to them?

  6. eggs
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 06:12:01

    I’ve been reading Sara Craven Mills & Boon for a loooong time, as in they were already “old” books at the second hand store in the 1980’s. I think her very young virgin heroines get a pass because she’s been writing them that way for decades now – wiki says her first one was published in 1975! These style of heroines are really her hallmark, so you know what you’re going to get if you read one. I wonder how many of these Grand Dames of Mills & Boon romance (i.e. authors from the 70’s) are still being published?

  7. WandaSue
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 11:57:37

    No matter how good an HP is touted to be, I won’t read it. Sorry. But no. Can’t get past the titles, which are sick parodies of themselves.

  8. RfP
    Sep 14, 2008 @ 00:05:50

    I’ve never seen “bedsit” as a verb so at first I thought this must be one of those old-style “all the Downtrodden Young Thing could afford was a bedsit” Harlequins. Especially given the name Sara Craven on the cover–some of her ’80s romances were the oldest of old school.

  9. Teresa
    Aug 02, 2009 @ 00:26:54

    I admit to enjoying Harlequin Intrigue novels until this past month when they had the stupidest title ever for one of their books and one mentioned on their web site coming out next month. I quit cold turkey. They were: Preg nesia (I wish I were joking But I’m not) and one upcoming was called covert cothichie coo. Is the title department totally brain dead? I enjoyed their suspense books but couldn’t buy something with such idiot titles.

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