walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

A Few Harlequin Presents reviews SPOILERS

Seriously. Just go the fuck away. I don't write these reviews for people who care about spoilers. I write them to remind myself of the content of the book that I think I might need to remember in the future to try to decide if I should read more by that author, and a lot of times, what I need to know is a SPOILER.

_The Ruthless Caleb Wilde_, Sandra Marton

Part of the Wilde Brothers series. The Wilde Brothers are three men. The Wilde Sisters are three women (younger than the three men). The six all have the same father, but different mothers (the bros mom died when they were young). The Fam has a big ranch in Texas call El Sueno. There are continuity errors; in this one, Jaimie is referred to as living in NYC, trying to make it as a "designer"; in the book below, she's living in DC, a CPA who has recently switched to being a Realtor and isn't doing very well at it.

Caleb is your basic, generic romance novel alpha male: history in the military (in his case, some sort of spook thing), currently a litigator, tall, in good shape, rich, dresses well. Caleb stands out in part because he has some of the social ineptness typical of many lawyers -- he's not just an asshole alpha male, he's a very particular kind of oblivious asshole _lawyer_, and big kudos to Marton for developing the character this well.

This entry is a one-night-stand-leads-to-baby-antics-ensue. It has a gay best friend of the heroine who is mistaken as a lover by the hero, who punches him, so kinda triggery, actually, and I'm not sure I'm going to read more, but he _did_ feel bad about it and would have apologized to the guy except the guy dies in a traffic accident, which sets up the reconnection between the future parents.

The reconnection is actually delicious and hilarious. I don't like We Made a Baby So We Will Fall In Love and Get Married stories. However, I really liked _Jaimie_ and figured I'd give it a shot anyway, and as these stories go, I liked it about as well as I could. I liked that Marton got conflict between the couple out of Caleb's very rapid, unilateral decision making style, BUT did not magically change his style (he's just going to be like that, altho he can certainly work to counteract it) nor did he have the heroine, Sage, persist in her (understandable) initial resistance to his plans once she understood them and the thinking behind them. Big Miss books are annoying; this was more like a whole string of little misunderstandings, and a basic communication style problem on Caleb's part which is fundamental to him (and which I liked because I felt it was characteristic of a certain category of lawyer).

_Jaimie: Fire and Ice_, Sandra Marton

This was the first Marton book I read. It reads fine as a standalone. Jaimie is being stalked. She has a really horrible boss (not the stalker) who sends her, a DC Realtor, on a fool's errand to NYC. Once there, she realizes it is a fool's errand, but before she can get away from Our Hero, Zach, whose condo her boss led her to believe might be available to sell, there's a massive power outage. One night stand ensues. In the morning, she takes off. Our Hero is pissed (understandable; he has intimacy issues -- another generic alpha male, in this case raised by an abusive military father, joined the military himself, then became an independent contractor and is now fabulously rich) and throws away her business card because the note she left behind was stilted. Stalker gets much scarier, Jamie goes to El Sueno (see above) to visit the Fam, tells her sister, who tells Caleb (see above) who calls Zach, his buddy from spook days, to protect her, totes unaware of the one night stand backstory.

Zach is now the only one who knows the whole story, and he decides to keep it to himself for a while, which is kinda stupid, because eventually Jaimie will go have another convo with sis and it will all come out, making Zach look bad.

The relationship development is handled well. When Jaimie is uprooted from her Realtor gig in DC to go live in NYC, she is plausibly re-employed by her former company (the CPA gig) in her new city. I don't much care for the swooped away by billionaire plot line; women kinda like to have something to do, just like men.

Part of the Wilde Sisters series.

ETA: _The Merciless Travis Wilde_, part of the Wilde Brothers series, Sandra Marton

Travis is 6'3" and was a fighter jet pilot. Which is actually possible altho straying into not fitting into some air frames. I didn't think it was really possible, but then I looked it up. So points to Marton.

Did you see that SPOILERS above? This is an inoperable brain tumor story, BUT it it HQN, so it has an HEA (in other words, that "inoperable" thing turns out to be operable, they just have to come up with an experimental surgery, and of course it is the brothers who network into finding the guy). It doesn't _look_ like an inoperable brain tumor story. It looks like a guy with intimacy issues and a woman with some severe anxiety and migraines hooking up through one of the All Time Best Gimmicks Ever. Oh, and did I mention? She's a virgin who is a PhD candidate in psych or soc or possibly both, doing male female relationships? Sometimes I feel like authors pull shit like this just to see what they can get away with. Marton is disturbingly good at Getting Away With It. Whenever I start to feel like, hey, that's a little too much to expect me to play along with, there's a wink and a har de har har and off we go again.

On balance, Marton does the best job I've encountered of taking appalling, stale and generally hateful romance novel tropes and making them enjoyable reading. There are moments that still really piss me off (Marton has the same give me your keys so I can unlock the door for you tic that drove me nuts about Jayne Ann Krentz), but then, pretty much everything pisses me off at least part of the time. I'll keep reading, if only because this outing included a trip to an amusement park AND a turkey leg. Seriously. High Quality Trash here.

_Sold to the Enemy_, Sarah Morgan

I read this first, and it was good enough to try more of my sister's selections, but not more by Morgan. This has a really young, virginal heroine who has her head on mostly straight, just a bit codependent, who is trying to extract herself and her mother from the abusive head of household. Her plan to do this involves a billionaire whose mom ran away (did I mention spoilers? Oh, good. Don't start complaining now.) to be with the same abusive guy before the heroine's mom married him. Hero's mom died, unclear whether it was a fell or pushed situation.

Anyway. It suffers from all the swooped up by billionaire problems. The virginal girl with the soap-and-camera business proposal gets a whole lot of executive attention, which just seems So Wrong. I don't know what to think about all the Greek stuff (actually, this is two unrelated novels and authors with Greek characters. Zach has a Greek name, altho born and raised in the US; the events of this novel take place in Greece), particularly given how much trouble Greece is having economically. Are there really any youthful Greek billionaires? It seems a little unlikely, all around.

I'm not a huge HQ fan. However, I've been really punchy lately, post-vacation, so this was all about the right speed for me. I don't expect to read any more by Morgan and I'll probably get annoyed by Marton soon enough (these people also write Sheikh romances. *sigh*), altho I expect to read more by her.
Tags: book review

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