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Emma-Darcy

What Jane Has Been Reading, Week of August 29

What Jane Has Been Reading, Week of August 29

Like my previous post, this is actually a retrospective list of what I had read the past couple of weeks:

Mistress Bride by Michelle Reid – A discussion of Reid’s books prompted me to pull out this favorite of mine.  I really like how Reid uses societal constraints to keep the protags apart. She did this in the Sheik’s Chosen Bride by having the loved wife of a prince of an Arab principality leave her husband because of infertility.  In Mistress Bride, the Arab Sheik is supposed to marry a nearby Arab heiress but has instead carried on a public affair with a wealthy Englishwoman.  The question of why the Sheik never asked Evie to marry him before she becomes pregnant is never satisfactorily answered.

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The Father of Her Child by Emma Darcy – Michael Timberlane is a famous Australian literary agent whose marriage fell apart when his flighty society wife starts flinging bits of wisdom from some Lauren Magee with whom she works.  When Lauren and Michael meet each other Michael has every intention of eeking out some revenge but after one night together, Michael realizes that his conclusions regarding Lauren were wrong and that they are meant to be together.  Their HEA is put in jeopardy when Lauren realizes Michael obfuscated his identity and by Lauren’s ex husband.  I liked that the two had to confront their own biases conclusions about each other that they formed from other’s hearsay and accusations.

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The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark – this was a decently written UF but it’s not got the romance that I like in a cross over book and because of that, I’m not compelled to read the second.  Much of the story is setup as well.  I’ll write a full review later this month.

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Too Proud to be Bought by Sharon Kendrick – very silly story.  Zara is a waitress who catches the eye of Russian Billionaire, Nikolai Komarov.  She resists his advances and thus places herself in the whore category in Nikolai’s eyes.  She would also be in the whore category if she accepted his advances.  No winning with Nikolai.  His own desire for her is blamed on her whorishness.  So Nikolai arranges for Zara to be his personal waitress when he travels. She also eventually falls into his bed, thus confirming her whorishness. Somehow she becomes a whore no longer, but I wasn’t sure at which point she crossed over that line for Nikolai.

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I realized I hadn’t read (or purchased) Thread of Fear and Whisper of Warning by Laura Griffin. After reading those two, I went on to re-read Untraceable, Unspeakable, and Unforgivable. I generally agree with Jayne’s reviews here. It was because of Jayne’s reviews that I read these books. She isn’t a regular reader of romantic suspense and when Snapped came to my door, I finally broke down and read her. It was great and I had to buy her backlist titles. Thanks Jayne!

Cover Me by Catherine Mann – I bought this because I wanted to read more romantic suspense. This book had 23 reviews on Amazon with an average of 4 and 1/2 stars. The story features a heroine who lives in an off the grid community in the Aleutian Islands in Alaska and a pararescue Army person. I probably won’t read another Mann story. Her writing style doesn’t appeal to me. She info dumps and overexplains all the time. At one point, late in the book, she has one pararescue guy say to the other while they are searching for explosives: “I think the explosive sniffing dogs have found something.” Plus, she was always violating the rules she had set up. I.e., no one who left the Islands could return yet when the heroine is taken off the Island, she doesn’t question that she’ll return at all. The off the grid community is comprised of about 150 people but they all have their own business and seemingly a lot of ready cash. What does an off the grid community need with cash and how do they get it if they are off the grid?  Ironically, the villain in this story does everything for the love of a woman which made me think of last week’s op ed post.

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In looking over my list of September book reviews, I realized that my historical reading was way, way down so I read three historicals:

One Night in London by Caroline Linden – The 1st half of the story was bit irritating because so much of the internal monologue was spent on the mental lusting between the characters. What made this so irritating, beyond the obvious, is that the hero had  been jilted by a woman that he professed to love. It wasn’t until about the midway point that he began to think about his feelings of loss and betrayal.   the 2nd half of the story however picked up quite a bit and I ended up liking the book much more than I thought it would.   Full review here.

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Whisper of Scandal by Nicola Cornick.   I’ve wanted to read Cornick ever since I talked to her editor Tara Parsons at RWA this summer.  I choose  Whisper of Scandal because it’s an adventure book that takes place, in part, in the North Pole.    The book had several three-star reviews at goodreads that read like 4 or 5 star reviews which I found baffling until I read the book.  Cornick is a smart writer  and she’s got great dialogue. The story was unusual but part of it wasn’t completely satisfying. I know I’ll read her again because her voice is good and her plots feature different types of characters.

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In the Arms of the Marquess by Katherine Ashe.   Much of the conflict in the story depends upon the hero’s willful misunderstandings of the actions of the heroine.  While the prose is lovely, the hero is one of those who thinks all women are jades and whores.  He seduces the heroine when she is purportedly engaged to another to prove to himself and to her that she’s just like every other woman he has bedded and who has wanted to bed him. My enjoyment of the prose wasn’t able to overcome my dislike of the way in which the angst was contrived.  Full review here

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The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin.  I liked the world and the characters but the denouement was a let down, much like I felt the denouement disappointed in Butterfly Swords.  Full review to come.

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Blood of the Demon by Rosalie Lario.   This is the first book I’ve read from the new publisher Entangled Press, and I liked it.  My  biggest problem was that the story felt short for a paranormal.  It’s around 74,000 words and there definitely was room for more development of the characters.  Full review here.

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Mark of the Sylph by Rosalie Lario.   This October release is the 2nd in the series and while it’s full of interesting and weighty ideas that are never fully explored.  Much of the story is spent on the 2 characters coming onto each other and resisting each other’s advances and ultimately falling in bed.   I really had to force myself to finish this one as I didn’t  feel like it advanced the world that was set up in the 1st book.  I’ll probably read one more in the series to see if this author is one to watch.  Full review to come.

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Fighting Fair by Anne Calhoun.  This is a self published short story that is under 15,000 words and deals with marriage in trouble.   Calhoun has a great voice and her characters feel modern and real.  Unfortunately, I felt that the length of the story was too short for the subject matter.   The story opens with the characters in couples’ therapy  which the husband doesn’t think that they need. One of the impediments to their relationship is the husband’s work and I felt that that was too easily resolved which allows the characters to fall to bed with each other.   I wasn’t convinced that their marriage troubles have been resolved and thus found the story unsatisfying. It’s more of a “it’s not you, it’s me” here, I think.

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Dear Author

August Harlequin Presents Lightning Reviews

Naughty Nights in the Millionaire’s Mansion by Robyn Grady.   This book violated the number one HP principle. It was boring.   By chapter five (which is about the half way point in an HP), I noted that there was amost no conflict and that the biggest issue thus far was the heroine being coy about whether she was going to spend another sexually fantastic night with the hero. (um, yes, why not?).   The plot is that pet store owner with a big heart delivers some dogs to a rich man’s home. Rich man takes one look a dog lover and gets excited.   Pet store owner is in need of money. Rich man has it but has complications in getting it into the hands of pet store owner. (This part of the story was clumsy in that rich man is head of a bank and facilitates a loan bypassing appropriate loan guidelines which could lead to trouble for him. Why not just give her a personal loan?)   The conflict contrived by pet store owner at the end was a bit of a headdesker.   She doesn’t want to be a distraction in his life so they can’t be together? Meh.   C-

This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.

Ruthless Billionaire, Forbidden Baby by Emma Darcy.   This book had conflict although it took a while for us to get to the Forbidden Baby part.   Unfortunately, I found the heroine to be shrill and selfish. Her biggest complaint appeared to be that her Ruthless Billionaire didn’t want to attend the myriad of group functions the heroine partook of with her girlfriends and that his refusal to be part of that clique was insensitive of him. After reading the banal exchanges the girlfriends exchanged (which mostly consisted of ‘who are you dating now’ and ‘I’m so in love with x’ and ‘this is what will be at my wedding’) I was in full sympathy for R.B.   The book is styled around the weddings of six friends.   The heroine and R.B. hook up at the first wedding and see each other at successive weddings until they fall into the sack with one another and get to the babymaking but R.B. isn’t a full fledged social creature like the heroine which leads to ARGUMENTS! TEARS! UNHAPPINESS!   C-

This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.

Spanish Magnate, Red-Hot Revenge by Lynn Raye Harris. This is a classic Presents with the uber alpha asshole hero doing his domination and revenge act upon the hapless heroine.   Rebecca Layton struggled to keep her hotel chain afloat after her father died and left the company in shambles.   Unfortunately for Rebecca, her ex lover Alejandro Arroyo Rivera de Ramirez has been waiting and even facilitating the extinquishment of the Layton hotel empire. Alejandro demands her presence in Madrid or her entire company will be torn into little bits and sold off, putting hundreds of employees out of work.   Rebecca concedes to his demands in hopes of negotiating at least one hotel from Alejandro.   Alejandro blames Rebecca’s abandonment of him five years ealier for all the unhappiness in his life but he’s unsure of what he really wants from Rebecca other than to see her miserable.   Rebecca makes half hearted attempts at standing up to Alejandro which frustrated me because he was really mean to her, not so much in his actions but his words.   I know I would have responded better had there been more equality in the relationship if only from an emotional standpoint. C+

This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.