Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

REVIEW: Not the Marrying Man by Miranda Lee & REVIEW: ...

Dear Ms. Lee:

I was intrigued by this book because seton mentioned how much she liked in over at the Amazon thread “How about HPs’ that you like“. Seton is correct that this is a bit fresher take on the mistress/bazillionaire trope. The one drawback is that I thought the writing was kind of rough in places and I’m not quite sure how to demonstrate that.

Not a Marrying Man by  Miranda LeeThe story starts out with a young woman, Amber, writing in her diary about the imminent arrival of Warwick Kincaid, the new owner of the hotel where she works. Her first entry reflects exasperation with the furor the ownership change has created in the staff but subsequent entries show a changing mindset until Amber is swept away into Warwick’s life, as his mistress. Amber seemed much younger than 25 at times. She knows that being with Warwick is bad for her, that it offends everything that she thought she believed in, but she cannot bring herself to leave him.

Warwick treats Amber pretty poorly but you make us feel sorry for both of them by showing that Warwick’s actions make himself miserable. He’s just as much a victim to their lust/love/whatever as she is. Whether this bitter self hatred of his own actions is palatable will depend on the reader. Having read so many worse “heroes” in other books (see below), Warwick registered only as mildly assholic, particularly because after the first couple of scenes, we see that Amber has him wrapped around her finger (although she isn’t aware of it yet). Warwick tries to treat Amber poorly because he actually does love her. He wants her to break up with him and be happy to shake the dust of Warwick off her feet. But because he loves her and is weak, he also doesn’t want to leave her so he is constantly sending out mixed signals.

When Amber starts finding her nerve and bossing Warwick around, I started to really enjoy the story and certainly felt satisfied at the end. I still felt that the use of the diary and the way in which Amber talked and thought seemed too young for the story being told. C+

Book Link | Kindle | Amazon | nook | BN | Borders
| Sony| KoboBooks | eHarlequin

Dear Ms. Craven:

This book features one of the stupidest heroines of all of time. Joanna’s father has a gambling problem and so he gets his 19 year old daughter to dress like a slut to distract other card players. Joanna feels helpless but she does it because she loves her father. It’s not like she doesn’t have options though. Her uncle owns some kind of manufacturing firm but oh no, that might require her to take secretarial courses. She churns internally with shame over how her father uses her but he loves her and so she must save him. By acting like a slut. Okay.

The Highest Stakes of All  by 	Sara Craven He displays this fatherly love by pretending she is his hot young piece on the side. All together, “ewwww”. One night in Australia, they fleece some young man and she plays a part by letting the young man feel her up in the gardens. Joanna feels awful about this but because she didn’t want the man to feel her up, she is innocent and should be absolved of wrongdoing. No matter what her father tells this young man. She extracts a promise from her father that he’ll never use her in such a way again, but alas, she is pressed to do her duty a year later when the young lamb’s protector comes after them.

Joanna’s affronted that Vassos Gordanis treats her like she is some tart at poker games who is someone’s fancy piece. Because I guess he should see inside her and recognize her shame. Thankfully she is a virgin so she can prove that she is no one’s fancy piece, just an idiot who allowed herself to be used over and over again. D

Book Link | Kindle | Amazon | nook | BN | Borders
| Sony| KoboBooks | eHarlequin

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. Pat
    Apr 28, 2011 @ 07:15:19

    In other words, there may be some gold in the HP stream, but you have to sift through a ton of garbage to find it.

    Why bother?

  2. Jane
    Apr 28, 2011 @ 07:51:24

    @Pat Because I like the C books. To me a C HP read is pretty satisfying.

  3. Bronte
    Apr 28, 2011 @ 07:58:21

    The Sara Craven book is interesting. I bought this as an ebook off the UK site and my ebook basically began with “South of France, 1975”. Even some of the fashion was seventies fashion so I wondered if it was a reprint, but when I looked at the copyright it said first published 2011. Having read some of Sara Craven’s categories from the 1970’s it had a similar feel and I have to admit I wondered whether or not it was written recently.

  4. Jane
    Apr 28, 2011 @ 08:16:08

    @Bronte Yes, I thought it was going to fast forward to modern times…

  5. Lynne Connolly
    Apr 28, 2011 @ 08:45:47

    I read the Lee, but not the Craven, so I can’t comment on that.
    I did like that the Lee is trying to do something different, but the hero behaved like such a jerk all the way through that I thought she should have left him at the start. Short book.
    But both characters were so caught up in themselves all the time. I wanted to shake them both. And yes, the writing was rough, but I applaud the decision to add a few more edgier themes (in the new Bad Blood series, there’s an Indian heroine and her ethnicity isn’t the central part of the story, although her national identity is, there’s a heroine with a serious disability and one story that starts with the couple in love and married, but with problems they still have to overcome – so I think it’s a definite policy in the Modern/Presents line).
    The Lee – she should keep going, I think. I liked the approach, but not the treatment.

  6. SAO
    Apr 28, 2011 @ 10:51:15

    I’ve noticed that e-books tend to have new publication dates. The copyright date is a more accurate date of when the book was written, but it might be this is a revived bit of Craven’s under-the-bed manuscript pile.

    I generally like Miranda Lee, but stopped buying her books because too often they felt rushed or unfinished. If she wrote fewer, I think they’d probably be more consistently good.

  7. Sunita
    Apr 28, 2011 @ 11:11:31

    @Pat: I agree with Jane. A C read can be a pretty good read in a category. Flawed does not mean unreadable or not worth reading. I’ve read over a dozen Harlequin Intrigues in the last few months. None have been A or A- reads, but a lot of them have been pretty good, and I’m getting a sense of how the line works and which authors I like.

    Also, in genre fiction, one person’s garbage is another person’s great read, or even guilty pleasure.

  8. Ros
    Apr 28, 2011 @ 13:41:39

    I have sworn off Sara Craven ever since that awful rape-seduction book last year. I don’t trust her to write books that I can enjoy. But I will defend anyone’s right to read whatever books they like. A C-grade book can be exactly the right sort of book-candy you need at a particular time.

  9. MaryK
    Apr 28, 2011 @ 14:18:10

    A C-grade book is three stars on a five star scale which is interesting because I’m always more impressed by three stars than a C letter grade.

    Is there any way to know if all the Bad Blood books will come out in the US? I can get them cheaper if I wait for them to come out here, but I don’t want to miss any.

  10. Sunita
    Apr 28, 2011 @ 15:09:07

    @MaryK: Sarah Morgan’s book, which is the first in the series, will be released in July in North America. I’m not sure if it’s one per month after that, but they are definitely coming here. The series will be called The Notorious Wolfes over here.

  11. Ros
    Apr 28, 2011 @ 17:53:33

    @Sunita: Yes, I think it’s one each month through the rest of the series. Definitely worth waiting for!

  12. HellyBelly
    Apr 29, 2011 @ 13:36:43

    @MaryK: That was just what I was thinking. At GoodReads, I fancy a 3-star-review as something fairly ok, but a book rated C at Dear Author is usually a no-buy for me. Fancy that. Must re-arrange thought processes on this one.

  13. Kate Hewitt
    Apr 30, 2011 @ 20:51:18

    I believe the Sara Craven book is part of the time-travel miniseries HP has been doing, which includes Sandra Marton’s Blackwolf’s Redemption and Susan Stephens’ Gray Quinn’s Baby. Each author did her own take on the time travel idea so some are more obvious than others, but this would explain the blurb ‘once upon a time and far away…’ and also the diary entries from 1975.

  14. With apologies to Dante: There are different circles of piracy hell | VacuousMinx
    May 12, 2011 @ 13:49:10

    […] hard on the heels of another experience I had with piracy and copyright infringement. In order to answer a reader question at Dear Author, I googled a new Mills & Boon series to find out when the books would be available in North […]

%d bloggers like this: