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.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Oh, man, I've got to catch up! Part 1

I've been on vacation this week, so I've been flying through some category romance. I'm getting too far behind, and I'm afraid I've already forgotten details, so I'm going to do a set of quickie summaries here.

Also, remember, this is category romance. When I pick up a romance novel from Harlequin or Silhouette, I have built-in expectations for the book, based on previous experiences with the author or the category line. Stereotypes that drive me crazy in stand-alone full-length novels are okay, because I expect them.

"Forbidden Passion" by Emile Rose * Rating 4.0 * Category: Marriage of Convenience
Lynn Riggan is a widow, saddled with her late husband's debts, haunted by his negative opinions on her looks and her worth. Sawyer is her late-husband's brother, and the man who loved her first, although she didn't realize it. In a moment of grief, they turn to each other for comfort but it turns to passion. Lynn discovers later that she's pregnant, and realizes to her horror that she doesn't know which of the Riggan men is the father. Sawyer offers to marry her, either to be a father to his son, or to help raise his brother's son. But they have to decide if their relationship can ever be more. I liked Sawyer - I liked his protectiveness and his honor. Lynn was a little on the pathetic side, but I enjoyed the book nonetheless.

"Secrets of Paternity" by Susan Crosby * Rating 3.5 * Category: Secret Father
After Caryn Brenley's husband, Paul, died, she found out the "anonymous" sperm donor who'd fathered her son, Kevin, was not really anonymous - he was her husband's best friend, James Paladin. Her husband had promised the boy would be told of James' existence when he turned 18, which turns out to be convenient, because James is a private investigator. And the circumstances of Paul's death are suspicious. I liked the developing relationship between Caryn and James. The mystery was a bit contrived, though, which is why I didn't rate it higher.

"Her Convenient Millionaire" by Gail Dayton * Rating 4.5 * Category: Marriage of Convenience
Sherry Nyland is a poor-little-rich-girl, running from a loveless marriage arranged by a father more interested in the family fortunes that his daughters' happiness. Micah Scott is a self-made millionaire with a heart of gold who's been burned by a money-hungry woman in the past. Sherry asks Micah to marry her, but just until her trust fund kicks in and she can decide what to do with her future. Can they find love? I loved this book. The humor is great, the relationship between Micah and Sherry is sweet and full of sexual tension. Micah's mother is wonderfully outspoken and earthy. I wanted to give this a 5.0, but it was just too full of romance cliches and I felt guilty for liking it as much as I did.

"Blackhawk's Sweet Revenge" by Barbara McCauley * Rating 3.5 * Category: Marriage of Convenience/Revenge
Julianna Hadley is another poor-little-rich-girl, who's dreams come crashing down when she finds out her father has stolen the legacy left to her by her mother. Lucas Blackhawk is the half-breed son of the man whose father was killed as an indirect consequence of Julianna's fathers actions. Lucas comes back to Texas to get his revenge against Julianna's father, and takes the ultimate revenge when he blackmails her into marrying him to get her mother's legacy back. Whew! It was hard to get all those cliches in a few sentences. This book was from 1999, but it felt like it was from the Dynasty/Dallas era. It wasn't bad, but it felt very dated - full of the stereotypes from that time.

"Full Circle" by Shannon Hollis * Rating 3.5 * Category: Second Time Around
Cate Wells is a staid archaology professor, one of the youngest to seek tenure at a small private college. Eight years before, she'd had a college romance with Daniel Burke, but ran away when she became overwhelmed with the feeling that loving him might keep her from pursuing her life goals. Daniel has gone on to media fame as "the real Indiana Jones", not that Cate has followed his career. No, of course not. Really. Then she decides to seek him out at a professional conference to get his opinion about a carved wooden box that she's been asked to look at. And she decides that maybe she can have a little fun and get him out of her system at the same time. This is part of a "continuity series", but I don't think I lost anything by not having read any of the previous books in the series. Daniel is likeable hero, with a lot more depth than Cate wants to believe - even after having seen some of it firsthand. In fact, she comes off as pretty immature and judgemental with him. It's hard to understand why he continues to want to spend time with her...well, other than the sexual chemistry they have. And I found the story line with the villain trying to tear them apart to be contrived and forced. And when it came out who it was and why, I didn't even think it made sense.

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