Harlequin Mini - January 2017



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.



Rub It In
By Kira Sinclair ★★★☆☆

Harlequin Themes:
Love turned to hate, Co-workers


A good ending to the trilogy. I was curious about Margie's story for awhile. A little too filled up with sex, though, and not enough convincing tension, but the author writes well and it's an easy read. The island sounds gorgeous and the characters are well enough, but not much stands out and the bedroom play outweighs a chance of a strong story or interest.

 


Ruthless Magnate, Convenient Wife
By Lynne Graham ★★☆☆☆

Harlequin Themes:
Wealthy Heroes, Foreign Hero, Forced Marriage


The book redeemed itself later, but it had a silly premise. I'm happy they got it cleared away early, though. The main characters are likable enough, although I kept getting irritated at how forgiving the heroine was at the sister. Ridiculously naive too. Not that steamy, but the end was sweet, even if Graham again rushes babydom.




Christmas Nights
By Sally Wentworth ★★★☆☆

Harlequin Themes:
Start out ex's, Love turned to hate


Better than most of the Harlequins I've read lately - it actually has a plausible plot and history that was interesting, and there were real reasons for misunderstandings and them forced together. It would have been four star Harlequin territory, but then the ending became so stupid I could have slapped the book. Seriously, the last few pages - who does insane stuff like that? Certainly not heroines I'd like reading about.




An Engagement is Announced
By Claudia Jameson ★★☆☆☆

Harlequin Themes:
No tropes fitting page


Boring and predictable. Not enough convincing angst or drama. The heroine is bothered by snide comments made to her years ago when he was a pain-filled patient? She gets over that quick enough but the wall around her heart was built presumably when I start reading because of her fiance's death years back, but then when I see she states and feels she got over that long ago, why be so annoying about just a normal relationship now? The guy wasn't asking for anything other than dating, geez. 





With This Ring
By Mary Wibberley ★★☆☆☆

Harlequin Themes:
Pre-existing relationship


I had high hopes for this vintage but it turned out blah. Melodramatic, the heroine was so paranoid she may need to be locked up and I wanted to slap her half the time, a weird story that would have worked for being unique except it was unrealistic instead. I had pre-guessed the "secret twist" from a mile away before the hero even said it.  







Fully Engaged
By Eve Gaddy ★★☆☆☆

Harlequin Themes:
Love turned to hate, Pre-Existing, Co-workers


The mystery part of this was surprisingly strong for this kind of romance - there wasn't a large pool of suspects, so complete surprise was off the table, but it still worked with different touches - mysterious notes, red herrings, suspicious coincidences. What didn't work was the romantic element. Rick was irritating - he constantly called her one of three things: Darlin', Sugar, or Killer as an old nickname. His attitude irritated me with his reasoning for leaving her without telling her, then jealousy that didn't make sense, to giving up on the relationship again way too easily. Cal was okay but one-dimensional. The dialogue hurt since the author overindulged in character names in the dialogue. Not the worst book, but not a winner because I could care less about the couple.


Dark Master
By Charlotte Lamb ★★★☆☆

Harlequin Themes:
Marriage of Convenience, Plain Jane, Wealthy Hero, Gothic Tone


Whoah, this was some old school stuff. Controlling to the nth degree, this was one of those kind of Harlequins where half the time you wanted to run from the 'hero' screaming. He even does a light "slap" and a few painful arm grabs. Eek. Still, the heroine is enjoyable - sometimes. There was a dark Gothic overcast for this one that raised it a notch - I rarely noticed Gothic themes in Harlequins. Here it's there a little with the castle, towers, and some cruel relatives. It was dark because it touched upon a tragedy that happens to the main character later. Rarely does this happen in Harlequins - especially with so much detail, including the 'hospital' help which seemed partly mental. Bedroom scenes are brief and barely there, this one is enjoyed for a completely different kind of mood (morbid relationships, check!) Because of the daring differences, I have to give it an affirmative nod.


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