Fall 2014 Harlequin Recap




Another Paperback Stash Feature

Since Harlequins are about as addicting as candy and can be consumed almost as quickly, I typically go through several of these depending on my mood. Many of the ones I read are older and not even near their new-release dates. It seems silly to post a full review for some of these with their own post since it's unlikely anyone will go and hunt them down based on the review, plus romance can follow so many formulas there just isn't much to say. Hence, this recap was born. What is it about Harlequins that is so addicting? They are like little soap operas at your fingertips!  Links in title go to Goodreads and description. Trope list can be found here.



THE BILLIONAIRE'S TROPHY
By Lynne Graham ★★★☆☆

Harlequin Themes:
Domineering Hero, Virginal Heroine, Wealthy Hero, Misunderstandings


While Lynne Graham does write different plot scenarios into her romance fiction, she does follow predictable cliches and formula. Here it's no different, and that gets taxing as it pulls away some of the unpredictability. The hero is likeable enough, especially with the description and emphasis of the golden eyes with black lashes. The heroine is also decent; Graham writes vulnerable heroines among the best of them. The ending is sweet, but a little abrupt with it's change, guess the book had to wrap up to the inevitable conclusion. There is some tension, although not much, and the storyline is decent but not overwhelmingly exciting or anything.




MARRIED BY ARRANGEMENT
By Lynne Graham ★★★★☆

Harlequin Themes:
Misunderstandings, Forced Marriage, Wealthy Hero


Ah, those harlequin couples can be so silly with their ridiculous ideas, false theories, and back-and-forth misunderstandings. Lynne Graham continues her usual strange virginity and baby obsession. Still, it was enjoyable as the story moved along quickly, had spunk/spark, and I dug the mains. Sophie was sweet, different, fun, and feisty. The hero was a good one as well, liked his traditional approaches and sense of humor. Not particularly steamy but I wasn't that interested with that for this story, so that didn't deter from the story. Lydia as the existing baby wasn't annoying and was cute, kept well in the story. The beginning especially shone. Not a big fan of the arranged marriage but here it works well enough.

A DEAL AT THE ALTAR
By Lynne Graham ★★☆☆☆

Harlequin Themes:
Wealthy  Hero, Forced Marriage


Im starting to get tired of Lynne Graham. Her newer stuff just isnt' cutting it for me anymore. Sergios is such an ass - seriously. There is nothing redeemable about him. He's ridiculously overbearing, arrogant, bossy, won't bend an inch, and I just wanted to slap him the entire book. The romance is not realistic because of his lack of emotion. The heroine was likeable enough - but then she seems to loose a little too much backbone. Definitely a harlequin to pass on. Thumbs down.

PASSION AND THE PRINCE
By Penny Jordan ★★☆☆☆

Harlequin Themes:
Wealthy  Hero, Forced Marriage


Had potential since there were 'different' twists in here, but melodrama and non realistic encounters cursed it.

The characters were likeable enough - although the heroine less so - but the story had little happening, the romance was boring, and there were cringe-worthy moments of melodrama and overreacting.

It was  more a few scenes tossed together than an actual plotline.

THE SICILIAN BOSS'S MISTRESS
By Penny Jordan ★★★★☆

Harlequin Themes:
Wealthy Hero, Foreign Hero


Actually a very good book for this type/line. The heroine is especially likeable since she's with her flaws and issues; I like her realistic hesitancy and the cinderella-like feel, but she's also with humor and strength. The hero is almost too jerkish, especially in the first half, but he's delicious and toe-curling. I liked how the side character brother, Falcon, was friendly and "warm", the weird angle of the bitter father, and how what the couple had in common wasn't typical - being a middle child, both with mothers who passed away when they were both young, both wanting to make their way in the world on their own.

 She was more because she was a girl and raised by her father and brothers without a female presence, and he because his father ridiculed and verbally abused him his entire life. The ending was so sweet, there was some spice, the spider scenes were just hilarious, and the dialogue/argument exchanges were quirky. I'm curious to see what happens with Falcon next because of the wrap-up. The only real complaint I have is that the ending was too rushed; I needed to hear more about the piloting - was she going to quit work, work with him, work somewhere else? An epilogue would have been nice to see how they fared (well, DUH, they would have stayed together and happy, but it just felt so cut off!)

Overall impressed. Penny Jordan can be hit and miss - books like this make me want to read more of her.
 

THE SICILIAN'S BABY BARGAIN
By Penny Jordan ★★★☆☆

Harlequin Themes:
Wealthy Hero, Foreign Hero, In the Family


A sweet story set as the third sequel of the series by Penny Jordan about the Lobardi family. Not as intriguing as it's predecessor, this third book is still creative with some of the outside plot wrenches tossed in - how she got the baby (the half-brothers rape), and her fear of her step-brother. Even if he doesn't seem wholly real as a person, Falcon is a good hero for the harlequin line. Maybe a little too narrow minded sometimes, and I prefered Alessandro by a smidge, but still a well-enough rounded harlequin lead. The heroine is likeable enough, I guess, but she does need some strength thrown her way. I was intriguied with Colin - what is his deal exactly? Since it started in childhood I thought it was some weird molesting thing at first, but then I figured it was because he wanted to steal her inheritance, now...I just don't know. An interesting villain.

I'd have liked a longer epilogue - how come for the third book and wrap-up we see a few instances of the brother and his wife from the first book, but nothing from Alessandro and his wife from the second? Not even in the epilogue do we see the three couples together, which seemed a little cheap and rushed to me.

The book concentrated a little much on the lust chemistry, had some melodrama with emotions that got annoying, but the dialogue worked and overall it was a good follow-up story.






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