Where's Your Book Today?

That's what people always say to me at work, if I don't have a book or my PDA or my eBookwise Reader with me at lunch. I love to read and I guess it's obvious. So many books, so little time...and so much dust in my apartment.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

"Between Duty and Desire" by Leanne Banks

After the last few books, I wanted something fairly short and sweet..."fluffy." Since my TBR pile contains at least 200 books, I had a lot to choose from. I reached onto the TBR pile for a Silhouette Desire and took a chance on "Between Duty and Desire."

The hero, Brock, is a Midwestern Marine. The heroine, Callie, is a recent war widow. Callie's husband, Rob, was Brock's comrade in arms, and as he is dying, he begs Brock not to let Callie withdraw from the world. Brock has heard everything there is to know about Callie from Rob - and has retained it all, too. He remembered her favorite color, food allergies, favorite treats - oh, and her PMS survival strategies. Her picture was a ray of sunshine in a dark existence. Okay, are you getting the idea that this was just a bit too sappy?

It took me almost one-third of the book to realize this was written exclusively from the man's point of view. Some of the thoughts seemed on-target, some...well, you could tell a woman wrote this book!

But I'll admit, I found it hard to take this book seriously from almost the beginning. Brock has a flashback of the moment when he and Rob are injured by a land mine, and Rob cries out: "Don't let her crawl back into her hole and hide....Don't let her be a hermit!" Oh, c'mon! I'm sure that's what any Marine would say about his wife as he's dying.

But Brock goes to find Callie - and treats her like any military operation. It is funny to see this man try to figure out what would get a woman's attention and help her heal. More than once, he despairs that it's so much easier to help a man ... get a beer, watch a ballgame, get laid. Problem solved. (Of course, we all know men really aren't that simple if their hearts are engaged, but it is a funny stereotype).

This wasn't really a bad read. It was sweet. It teased at being a "sexy" read - it is in the Desire line - but I didn't think it was anything stronger than many other "normal" romance novels I've read. Maybe I've just read too many Ellora's Cave stories, but I just didn't get that "tingle" while reading the naughty bits.

And speaking of the naughty bits - yeesh! At one point, the book actually says: "He found her swollen nubbin of femininity and rubbed it with his thumb." I'd be the first to concur that there's a lot of unnecessary crudeness in romantic erotica, but that was just too much. I'm sure the author's intent was not for me to break out in a fit of giggles when I came to that line. One of my favorite websites to visit - Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels - has a fun column about just such purple prose.

My grade: 3 out of 5. It was a romance, it was a quick read, I got my HEA.


  • At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Shelby Reed said…


    Great thoughts on purple prose. Being someone who walks a fine line in my own writing (I'd consider myself lavender at times LOL), it helps, truly helps, my work to see what readers want to see (and don't want to see. No love channels, no alabaster mounds. Got it.) I think in my case that my crazed love of words, and of lush description, gets me into trouble, or at least in the realm of trouble. I'd love to tweak my style a bit and see what I come up with, although I'll never me a minimalist by any means.

    I've been reading romantic suspense lately (which requires shorter, sharper sentences and cleaner description) and I've come across an incredible writer named Cindy Gerard, who, you'll love to know, writes EXCELLENT tortured heroes. I started with To the Edge last night, finished it in one sitting, and now I'm reading a sequel, To the Brink...I don't know if you're a fan of romantic suspense, but if so, check these out. Another clean writer who stabs right through your heart with emotion and INCREDIBLY clean writing is Laurie Breton. She's a personal friend of mine, and all her books are on my shelf. She's a master of suspense and her dialogue is amazing. I have a lot to learn from her as a writer.

    I'm loving your blog, girl!! Added it to my favorites and will recommend it. You're a good, honest, pull-no-punches reviewer, and I trust your recommendations.


  • At 11:04 PM, Blogger Miki said…

    Aw, gosh *blush*! Thanks, Shelby!

    I actually just bought "To the Limit" and "To the Brink" this weekend, based on those wonderful Amazon recommendations. I apparently wasn't paying attention...and being the anal-retentive reader that I am, if it's starts with "To the Edge", I'll have to buy that one first before I can read any of them. Sigh. My apartment is bursting at the seams...why can we get everything in ebooks?!

    Now, I haven't heard of Laurie Breton. I'll have to check her out. Thanks for the recommendation!


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