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REVIEW: Who’s Been Sleeping In My Bed by Gemma Bruce

Dear Ms. Bruce:

Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed CoverI have kind of ranted on about anthologies before. Nicole Camden is the gold standard for me in terms of romance anthologies. Your first story comes close but the rest of the book kind of peters out.

The anthologies tell the individual stories of three debutantes who survived a tough love camp called Camp Wilderness. They go on to form a PI firm called Woman Tek. There is ALOT of backstory missing. No explanation as to how this business started and really, where these women come from. I recognize that you have a word count obligation and so I let that issue go. I would like to note that there seemed to be a lot of white space in this book and that you possibly could have gotten more story in if you really wanted to. Sorry, this is me letting the issue go.

Story no. 1 was Wicked Widow pairng up bad girl Nan Harrington-Scott with possible hit man Damon Connolly. (Oh, and this was a problem throughout your book. Your heroines are virtually all bad girls. There wasn’t a huge personality difference between the three of them. They were a bit interchangeable. All former debutantes. All man killers. All sexual adventurous. Back to the plot. Nan’s agency is hired by the wife of a billionaire because the wife believes the billionaire’s life is in danger. Damon is also watching the billionaire or should be but is actuallhy spending most of his time watching Nan. I can’t remember whether Nan was a widow or not. The sex was pretty hot and there seemed to be an equal pairing between the hero and heroine which the last two did not. This would be a B-

Story no. 2. A Man With A Past. Total snoozer. Don’t know quite how I finished because I really could care less about these two characters despite this story having one of my fave themes: young loves reuniting. Geena, the owner of the PI Agency, had a teen age love who left her behind when he went on the lam to avoid being prosecuted for his uncle’s death. The teenage love Cabot Vandermeer II comes back because his other uncle is about to declare Cab dead so that the living uncle can inherit the millions that the dead uncle left to Cab. The suspense story made no sense at all. Cab was alerted to the fact that his uncle was doing this by his cousin (the live uncle’s son). Some forgotten, but important, papers lead to the discovery of who actually killed the uncle but in such a manner as to be totally improbable and inconsistent with what little story was on the pag. it was the cousin who did it but why would the cousin want Cab to come back? I felt that each time Geena was having pity sex with Cab rather than love sex. Unappealing. D

Story no. 3. Love Bites. A little better than the previous story. It features Delia, recently dumped by her philandering husband, losing 30 pounds and out to vamp up a millionaire who is suspected of killing his mistress. The problem in this book is that the millionaire sounds like a whining stooge. Everyone wants a piece of him. Boo Hoo. He soothes his battered soul by having drinks at a local pub where no one wants anything from him or cares how much money he has. They accept him for who he is. Whatevuh. Don’t care (and btw – totally been done before). I didn’t think the sex was so much pity sex between Delia and Ben as much as it was that I couldn’t drum up much emotion to figure out what kind of sex they were having. C

Your heroines are quite strong; but in making them physically, sexually competent, you have emasculated the heroes. I don’t think that you need to do that. I thought when I was reading the second story that we were seeing a role reversal. The hesitant, uncertain and almost timid character being handled by the stronger, more secure, more proactive character. Usually it is the female that is the former and the male that is the latter, but just because there was role reversal didn’t make the tale satsifying. You needn’t make one character strong at the expense of the other. It is infinitely more delicious when you cannot tell who is the seducer and who is the seduced. In saying that we want strong heriones, we don’t want them stronger than the heroes – just as strong as the heroes. I do think I am going to give you another try but probably not at these trade paper prices.

Best regards,

Jane

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

7 Comments

  1. Maili
    Apr 24, 2006 @ 07:45:12

    That’s it. You’re my goddess today. Nicole Camden’s novella completely blew me away, which basically makes it hard for the others to reach the benchmark NC [I think, unwittingly] set. She’s written a single title, but hasn’t found a publisher. So I think she’s given up. A big f. crying shame!

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  2. Jane
    Apr 24, 2006 @ 07:50:41

    See. You. Me. Hip separation scars. I noticed that her website has disappeared. She could have just kept writing novellas. It is sad to see a flash of brilliance from an unknown and then for her to drop completely off the map. What is wrong with publishers? And, I guess, why not go the epubbed route?

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  3. Jayne
    Apr 24, 2006 @ 07:59:55

    No, you’re kidding me. She’s gone? Left the building with Elvis? Nooooooooooooooo!

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  4. Jay
    Apr 24, 2006 @ 16:16:12

    w00t! (stalk you pretend to keep up with things in real-time rather than catching up once I get home.

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  5. Jay
    Apr 24, 2006 @ 16:21:26

    Wow the comment form ate like half my comment. I WAS saying I upgraded my IE at work so I can see the whole page now but damn comment form…devested me of my funny.

    ReplyReply

  6. Maili
    Apr 24, 2006 @ 18:03:22

    Hip separation scar? Oh. All this time I thought it was an appendix scar. Who knew? If I knew how to get hold of her, I’d grovel to get her to submit it to an epub.

    Jayne, yup. *sadly shakes head in belief*

    ReplyReply

  7. Jane
    Apr 24, 2006 @ 23:13:47

    I think I emailed her at one time after I had read novella and asked her what she had been working on. She sounded despondent at that time. What a shame.

    ReplyReply

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