December Monthly 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 a month. 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. Hence, this monthly recap was born. What is it about Harlequins that is so addicting? They are like little soap operas at your fingertips!

By Leonora Woodbury

Harlequin Themes:
Escape Plot, Wealthy Hero

A bit dry and average. The writing tone was slightly distanced and trust me when I say little romance could be felt. There was no hotness factor. The writing distracted me at times. 

What also bugged me was the head hopping and perception was changed - typically in these books it's in one viewpoint, or else two (heroine and hero) - here you have many and I don't think it works well for this genre. 

Above all this was supposed to be a quirky and humorous piece - it did work on this front. Cute and clever scenes, loved the heroines personality (sparkling for sure), the hero was likeable enough even if he wasn't anything out of the ordinary. 

The very end felt a little rushed too.

By Lynne Graham

Harlequin Themes: 
Wealthy Hero, Family Matters, Prior Relationship, Hate to Love

Meh, this one wasn't that good. I know a lot of Lynne Graham fans don't like her later stuff as much, and this was published this year (2012). It's not easy to put my finger on what the book lacks exactly. It seems for one thing that she amped up the unrealistic chemistry to an annoying level. Sizzling looks, weird touches, that sort of thing.

The blurb made it sound like angst-filled drama but there was very little drama and intensity really. I did like the main characters well enough but they didn't stand out as special. And what could possibly make her think it was okay to clear out the room like that of Olly's? Who in their right minds would take it upon themselves to do that in someone else's home???? At least she felt remorse about it when he was enraged and understand how wrong she was.

Am I the only one who questions the sisters motivations for suddenly wanting to be all buddy-buddy too? Seems weird to me they come into her life when she's suddenly with the powerful, wealthy guy.

By Lynne Graham

Harlequin Themes: 
Virginal Heroines, Wealthy Hero, Previous Relationship, Hate to Love

With reading so many Harlequins lately, it's a nice chance to have a situation so different. Caroline Haye's isn't the typical strong and feisty heroine, although she does have some fight there too. She's a pretty flawed person and I enjoy reading relationship stories where the hero strengthens the self-esteem of the heroine. Her situation and hangups made for a different twist in the bedroom department, one rarely explored, so I was hooked and stayed up way too late to finish this one. 

At times Valente (wondering how to pronounce that name) came across too cold but I liked him overall as the star of the show. The ending dished out super sweetness as well. Pacing was relentlessly delicious and much was at stake. It's a newer Graham and those typically get less stars in reviews that her older stuff, but for this one it's highly recommended.

 The writing style wasn't sappy at all and it wasn't unrealistically written (for this type of book.) I dug her father enough but her mother? Ick.

By Abby Green

Harlequin Themes: 
Sheikh, Virginal Heroine, Humorous

The hero was addicting at times and annoying at others. He didn't have many likeable traits and was overbearing. The heroine has a feisty attitude which was fun sometimes, but other times I felt she was too doey-eyed. 

Overall a decent story, highly sensual with good eroticism. A small pet peeve was some of the instant emotions and "sizzles" was a bit unrealistic. I thought the author gave the hero a nicely demented back-story and plausible reason for being how he was. On the other hand some of the heroines hang ups about her looks seemed slightly silly. Had a sweet ending, though, and I read this one in a single sitting.

By Lynne Graham

Harlequin Themes: 
Wealthy Hero, Family Relationships, Hate turned to Love

An interesting story for this kind. Determined to get his hands on Ophelia's house due to a long-lasting family rivalry, Lysander has to do it quickly for his real reason (won't spoil that). Ophelia agrees to the arranged marriage of convenience but from there it's topsy turvy.

Lysander was hard to take a lot of the time. It's arrogance and unwillingness to bend grew old, but he redeems himself as time goes on and he becomes a better protagonist for it. Not my favorite type she's written but not atrocious either.

This one held a little humor sometimes but it was mainly serious and more on the dry side. Ophelia is a likeable enough heroine, I guess, and there's plenty of tension and arguing between the two. She's certainly no doormat.

Ugh, the grandmother is the true villain of this story - what a despicable woman.

Lysander falls pretty hard for the heroine, which is when he grows more likeable. Ophelia is in love with him quickly as well and the bedroom steaminess starts early. Her actually leaving him at one point was a well-done point and a nice change.

Not the best Harlequin in the world but a fun way to spend an afternoon when in the mood for one of these or Lynne Graham. The ending rocks for not only the heroine and hero of the story, but all involved.