Sunday, 31 August 2008

Miss Winthorpe's Elopement by Christine Merrill.

Harlequin Historical.

Marry in haste...repent in leisure. Might be the moral of this story. However as we all know, sometimes it pays to take a risk. And rich printer's daughter Penelope Winthorpe certainly takes a risk when she marries basically a drunk who her carriage nearly runs over one night. Happily the drunk turns out to be a peer of the realm who is desperate enough to consider topping himself as a way out of his money troubles. He's handsome, she's bookish. Unfortunately he is also somewhat of an unmitigated snob once he sobers up. In fact. The marriage seems to be going nowhere for quite some time. With Penny being the one who has to make all the adjustments to being the wife of a Lord and having to fit into his social circle.

On one level the hero, Adam, seems as frivolous as his many friends. On the other hand. He is a thoroughly decent guy, probably somewhat too aware of his responsibilities to his tenants and other people who depend on him. Consider. He feels guilty about the loss of life when a ship he has invested in is lost at sea. That's like saying you or I feel guilt about where the interest in our bank accounts comes from. Seeing how the ship had a cargo full of tobacco, if Adam wanted to feel guilty then he could have thought about the living conditions of the slaves that worked the tobacco plantation. But that never happens in series romances.

In actual fact. This is a fantastic read. With a true villianess, the mega-bitch Clarissa. For large parts of the story I was in total suspense wandering what wickedness she would get up to in order to destroy the happiness of the main couple. And boy. She gives it her best shot. The husband, Tim, is also not very nice, but in a completely different sort of way. With friends like Tim, who needs enemies.

What makes the story special is the characters of Penny and Adam. And of course there are a couple of great scenes featuring the servant, Jem. Both the hero and heroine are multi-dimensional people. Adam is full of regrets about his former life-style. Penny is surprisingly emotionally mature considering she is a romance heroine. Towards the end she does revert to type. The ending is a bit pat too. What what else can a reader expect from a series romance? A couple of scenes of strategically placed hotness only.

Also. The novel is primarily about the relationship between Penny and Adam. But really. I'd like to have known more of how Adam came to be as broke as he obviously was. I mean. One hundred and fifty thousand pounds in Regency times. That's like about 10 million in modern times. Who's to say he wouldn't lose that much again?! Now that's a thought for Penny to ponder.

But basically. It's a little gem. For what it is.

Recent purchases.

I bought 4 series romances at the supermarket today. 2 from the "Intrigue" imprint and 2 from the "Historical" imprint.

I totally ignored the author's name and went only by the imprint title and the blurb on the back of the books. Actually. It's amazing how many imprints there are nowadays. I could see "Super Historical", "Instant Family", "Baby on the Way"; all in addition to the usual "Medical", "Blaze", etc.

Unfortunately. At the check-out I was somewhat surprised by the cost of each. Nearly as much as a proper romance novel.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Three historicals

The trouble is. I don't like heroes who use hos. First. It's generally disrespectful to women. If the hero was a decent sort of guy, he'd give the ho some money without using her body. Most ho's in those days were full of disease...which they passed on to the guys who used them. Very unpleasant for the usually nice respectable heroine. Also. It doesn't say much about the social skills of the hero if the only way he can get a woman is by paying for her services. How can such a person be heroic?


Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase.

The heroine starts out fairly sparkling and independent minded. Then she marries Dain and turns into some kind of doormat. So what he's had a rough childhood. He's verbally abusive, drags her around physically, bangs her practically in public...and she says nothing. And that was all before the sub-plot about the illegitimate child of Dain. dnf.

Scandalous by Night by Barbara Pierce.

Another man-ho. Plus. This novel featured endless characters with such strange names. Often it was difficult to tell who was a guy and who was a female. Couples from previous novels are introduced far too quickly in the plot. The hero came across like a mean-spirited bully to the young heroine. Also. A stepmother has carnal relations with both her stepsons. But thats just padding for the novel. The father knows but does nothing. Why on earth does the heroine live in a house where she knows that sort of thing is going on and is slapped by the stepmother as well. So what her own parents are dull. They are not abusive. She should have moved back to her own home. The hero, generally, is knee-deep in sordid degeneracy and is just seeking to carry on the cycle of abuse by courting the heroine, who, I think, was his full cousin. I got to page 91 and realised the story was making my skin crawl. Revolting...dnf.

Again. This books shows exactly why I started my blog. None of the reviews I read even mentioned all that intra-family biblical relations stuff.

Before the Scandal by Suzanne Enoch.

At the very start of the novel, the hero, estranged from his family, returns to his ancestral home because of a letter full of lies written by his younger sister. Again he says nothing to her. Which shows him to be a fool. I couldn't maintain interest after that. Boring. dnf.

Neither Harry in Rendevous nor Ravenstone in Dangerous used prostitutes. Simon in Enchanted did and he was made to suffer for it. And that's how it should be.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Into The Fire by Anne Stuart.

No, no, no Jamie. You do not want to live for ever more with a guy who has ratty grey towels, lumpy sofas, thin mattresses on the floor instead of proper beds and a fridge without fresh food in it. Even to spite Nate and the Duchess.

Every time I think about this novel I start to feel heart-sore. Because the main couple have no chance together despite going through an unbelievable amount of mental and physical pain. Even the so-callled happy ending didn't convince me.

The heroine is such a complete wet wimp. She takes being TSTL to fresh depths. She seems to have had no idea that her foster brother was a total murderous psycho. That her adoptive parents were indifferent to her. I really don't get why she cared for these people. But she did. The person she shows absolutely no respect for and to is the guy she loves, Dillon. Throughout the whole novel I don't think Jamie says one nice word to him. I felt so sorry for Dillon. He's trying to make a decent life for himself and various members of this poisonous family stalk him, take away his only friend and try to kill him. No wonder he makes such great efforts to smother any gentler emotions when they are around.

Most of this novel is set in a creepy dark warehouse being used as a auto repair shop. It is so bleak. As the reader I was allowed to know almost from the beginning who the villain was. Never let it be said that Nate is unrealistic in his viciousness. He is a truely nasty piece of work who victimises both Jamie and Dillon for years on end. That's why I felt miserable at the end of the story. There's only a glimpse of happiness between Jamie and Dillon. Not enough. Considering she had her chest carved with a knife; considering he was the love object of a pervert. I can't see how they can survive as a couple. She is used to ...cleanliness, tidyness and comfort. He doesn't care.

Very sad.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Wild Card Countdown.

Lift-off is Aug 26th. Harriet, at last, has put up a review on her Blogger website. I've linked my image of the cover to it.

Basically. I think even Harriet is saying that the plot is totally implausible. Which is a first for her. Complete rubbish is probably a more accurate description. But thats hardly a surprise to us Lora Leigh fans. I am simply aching to get hold of my copy. Definitely taking the day off work to read it.

Two years is just about acceptable to mourn what is supposed to be the love of your life. I just hope Ms Leigh remembered that this series is supposed to be HOT!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

The Courage To Love by Samantha Kane

Very very hot e-book. Basically two guy friends use a woman as a conduit to have carnal relations with one another. Yes. It’s that simple and that insulting to gays and women alike.

Historical erotica featuring gay and hetero. The first of the series. Well-written. The female, Kate, despite her protestations, is a trollop. First she was a trollop for money, then she was a trollop for free. She’s another one of those romance heroine types that actually has only a life of poverty when not living off the succession of men in her life. Highly retro. I suppose I should remind female readers that there are plenty of women who are poor who retain their dignity and do not prostitute themselves. Plus. For some women. No man = Freedom. That type of woman rarely makes an appearance in erotic romances. And let me ask you this. If someone forces you to stick your arm in a hurts a lot. So would you voluntarily stick your arm in another fire about 6 months later? Yet that is the principle behind the plot of this story and many other e-book erotics. It’s quite strange when either of the male heroes refer to themselves as ‘we.’ One of the quirks that makes reading the novel enjoyable.

This book contains a very small sub-plot that again should have placed this EC novel in the x-treme category. I live in a home where all the occupants are legal adults. So there are no access issues for me to take into consideration. Other readers in different circumstances need to think long and hard before downloading this novel.

On some levels the story is just as sordid as Moonrise. But it’s much less bleak and actually contains a lot of happiness in amongst the usual obligatory misery and public humiliations. Actually. I quite enjoyed reading it. As a completely irrelevant aside, I loved all the names of the males in the novel. Richardson should have died. The swine.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Moonrise by Anne Stuart

This edgy rom-sus novel has some amazingly hot scenes considering it was published in 1996. A case of quality over quantity. Despite the fact that the heroine Annie frequently got on my nerves. Ok. I can understand that her father turned her into some kind of stepford clone. (Teenage rebellion seems to have passed her by.) But she knows she loves James. And she allows him to hand her over to some other guy who she ends up doing it with. Twice. It's like she doesn't have any will of her own or independence of mind or spirit. Because of that I thought she deserved all the humiliation and degradation she received. I thought a very good job was done of making the ex-husband truely repulsive and the bad-boy hero attractive. Considering they were both in the same trade. And despite the fact that her husband-to-be killed her father. Who was of course a complete and utter monster.

In the end both Annie and James earned the happiness they found together. I hope they had long peaceful lives. Filled with love for one another.

Actually. This book well deserves it's reputation. I found it an interesting read. Although very sordid and bleak.