Mini Harlequin May 2013

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.

By Anne Mather ★★★★☆

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

Harlequins tend to recycle formulas, use similar plotting devices, similar heroines and heros, and work from there. Here Mather wrote a fun book that was extremely different from most of it's class - the heroine was not suave and confident, but rather thought little of herself, prim, and let herself be taken advantage of from an adult daughter. 

The hero was direct, flirty, and you had to fall in love with him as she did. Her reservations got a bit trying at times - but really, the plot story was about him initially being her DAUGHTERS suitor, and there's a drama-laden dilemma if you've ever heard of one.

 Not sex filled but when it's there, it's surprisingly enticing. Not an incredible amount happens action wise, but the buildup is intriguing and it's a hard one to put down once you get into it enough.

By Carole Mortimer ★★★★☆

Harlequin Themes:
Marriage of Convenience, Family Matters

Another Harlequin with a different sort of pattern - I loved the heroine. She never got dewy eyed, there were no false electric sparks that made me roll my eyes, she handled herself well through the whole book. The hero was sexy and flirty and you ended up really digging him in the end. 

This one held a few surprise twists and a lot of hidden layers to uncover, surprises which was shocking - and depressing - at times. The suspense as you're waiting for the secrets to unfold and to see how the revenge scenario to play out was nail biting. 

The ending was honestly sweet and a bit eye watering. Mortimer delved into some deep themes and threw serious grief into a usually light-hearted genre. Sex isn't there much but when it is sometimes it's spicy. Highly recommended older Harlequin

By Kira Sinclair ★★★☆☆

Harlequin Themes:
Family Matters, Heroine involved with someone else

First the positives - The writing style is awesome. Kira Sinclair keeps it from going into the melodramatic line, masters dialogue, doesn't get cheesy, and keeps it modern and intriguing with word choice. The island setting was beautiful, alluring, sensual. The characters were likeable, even the "bad ones", who came across realistically enough and with their own unique quirks.

For the negatives, sensuality was entered much too early so there was little to look forward to later and on and it became repetitive and dullish during naughty scenes because of this. There was personal tension on why they thought the relationship couldn't work - and yet to me the base tension and reasoning did not hold enough oomph for this to be a novel of this length. More drama and obstacles added in could have made the plot more intricate and with higher tension. This way you could have had higher suspense, wanted to keep reading further, and the pacing would have sped up considerably.

Overall a great writer and I'm eager to see her other stuff, but this plot did not hold enough juice for me to keep it as intriguing as I usually like.

By Heather MacAllister ★★★★☆

Harlequin Themes:
Rich Hero, Virginal Heroine, Matchmaking, Revenge

I dug the different type of heroine used to create this story - headstrong and independent, Piper makes a living by categorizing people (specifically men and women when it comes to dating). She'd like to build herself up to a serious career, not just a side dating column on her best friend's paper, but that has yet to come. She's hung up on her mother's past mistakes with men, so it's with reluctance that she falls in love with the hero of the story, Mark. Mark was a decent person but to me lack luster in the yummy department. He was too typical to me.

Not a large amount of adventure, twists in this one, and I think it would have been more enjoyable if it either added more genuine cuteness/humor, or kept it serious by injecting more genuine sensuality. Still it works as a good Harlequin to read, and MacAllister's writing style rocks with it's readability and wording choice. Definitely a writer to read more of.

By Ginna Gray ★★★☆☆

Harlequin Themes:
Existing Child, Relationship built on Deceit

I generally loathe single parent romances, but before donating this one, I was pulled in a few nights ago by the blurb. A mother who had to give her son up for adoption is now a widow and has moved back to the town where her son lives, hoping to befriend the father and casually see the son around town sometimes without him finding out who she is. She's also a successful dress shop owner who has plenty of money.

This one kept me glued - I really dug the father. He was passionate, sweet, but manly and vulnerable at the same time. Hard to pull off the combo without overbalancing. The protagonist was sweet and emotional (of course, considering all that was afloat), and I lOVED the 14 year old son. He was not gooey or melodramatic or overdone. He had a chip on his shoulder but came out awesome at the end.

There are no twists in here besides waiting for the male protagonist to find out the BIG secret. He reacts.. poorly (as you can imagine) A good way to spend an evening, the scenes where she almost tells him left me on the edge of my seat.