Tag Archives: 9.00 out of 10

Having the Billionaire’s Baby, by Sandra Hyatt

21 Jan

Having the Billionaire's Baby(For once, I’m writing this review two weeks ahead of time–go, me!)

I am, once again, trying to make some inroads into the humongous TBR pile–particularly the print one, since it’s the one displacing everything and everyone chez aztec–by participating in our very own Super Librarian Wendy’s TBR Challenge.

This month, the theme is shorts, and it so happens I have a rather large number of category romances laying about, so I went digging and found this little gem, Sandra Hyatt’s debut title, published in early 2009 by Harlequin. My copy is autographed by the late Ms Hyatt, and I want to say (but I may be completely wrong) that I got it at RWA 2009 in DC.

Ms Hyatt died unexpectedly at 46, in August 2011 while attending the annual Romance Writers of New Zealand conference, and leaving behind two adolescent children and her husband, Scott.

Having the Billionaire’s Baby, by Sandra Hyatt

I confess that I often have issues with category romance. For one, the length of the stories tends to limit how well certain issues are addressed, so readers who are not very conversant with the tropes and shorthands often used by authors can be lost–or, as is most often the case with me, become frustrated by the same. For another, Harlequin has fairly strict guidelines regarding language–not just curse words, you understand, but how graphic can it be to describe body parts and what goes where during a sex scene. And finally, I’m usually quite impatient with most category romance heroines, because most of them tend towards the ‘doormat’ and/or incredibly young and naïve type.

I cannot tell you happy I was to read a heroine who is smart–and not because I’m told she’s smart, but because I see her acting in smart, sensible ways.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Behold, the (awful!!!!) back cover blurb:
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Playing the Odds, by Nora Roberts

30 Sep

Playing the Odds, by Nora RobertsPlaying the Odds

Anyone who has read my blog/reviews for any length of time is probably aware that I’m a fan of Nora Roberts’ writing. The woman can write incredibly strong heroines, believable children, realistic family dynamics, great dialogue, pretty decent suspense, long running police procedural with romantic elements series…

Yeah, you name it, she’s probably written at least one of these. Her current list of published works comfortably exceeds 200, and La Nora doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

I have piles of Nora Roberts titles in my house, most of them read (and in my keeper room (I love books, what can I say?)) but a few yet unread titles exist—mostly, some of her first efforts. For some obscure reason hidden in my subconscious I often hesitate to read these older books.

Okay, it’s not really obscure nor hidden: I’m afraid that Ms Roberts’ first published works will not compare favorably with her more current oeuvre—which is actually bullshit, because I can re-read such early connected books as the five Calhoun stories and be as engrossed now as I was when I first discovered them (in 1997, when the dinosaurs roamed the earth and cell phones were heavier than a toolbox).


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Witness in Death, by J. D. Robb

18 Feb

Witness in Death original coverWitness in Death, by J. D. Robb

In the interest of full disclosure, be warned that I am very fond of this novel, not only due to the writing, plot and characterization, but because it’s the first …in Death novel to openly borrow from an Agatha Christie story (“Witness for the Prosecution”, the play).

Also, given that Calculated in Death, the 36th¹ full length novel in the series (there are also 8 short stories and one novella published so far) is coming out later this month, this review is more due to nostalgia than any urgent need for more reviews for any one title in the series².

Witness in Death is the tenth novel in the series. The world and technology (such as it is)³ of Robb’s future are pretty much established at this point, as are the main relationship dynamics. Roarke and Eve have been married just over half a year, Peabody has been Eve’s aide for just under a year and is at this point dating both McNabb and Charles. This is also one of the three novels in which Chief Medical Examiner Morris is called Morse in the original paperback editions (over a dozen years later, this still bugs me, as Morris is a favorite character of mine).

The (rather terrible) back cover blurb:
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The Heart of Christmas Anthology (Mary Balogh, Nicola Cornick and Courtney Milan)

25 Apr

The Heart of Christmas Anthology

After reading and enjoying Courtney Milan’s work, I have been keeping my eye out for a copy of this anthology, which contains her print debut, the novella “This Wicked Gift.” I am very, very happy to report that it didn’t disappoint—to the contrary, I enjoyed it soooo much!

But hold on, let me get this review back on track.

The anthology consists of three Christmas themed stories by Mary Balogh, Nicola Cornick, and Ms Milan. Here is the back cover blurb: Continue reading

Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers

4 Feb

Whose Body?, by Dorothy L. Sayers

This wonderfully complicated (yet, at its heart, quite straightforward) mystery is the first of the incomparable Lord Peter Wimsey’s novels¹ by Dorothy L. Sayers. Since this novel was first published back in the early 1920s² there have been a number of editions released, with back cover blurbs ranging from awful to adequate. This one, from amazon.com, is much better than most: Continue reading

The Search, by Nora Roberts

24 Jul

The Search, by Nora Roberts

Reader beware: I am a fan of Ms Roberts’ writing, and very rarely do I feel disappointed by it. The Search was definitely not one of those rare books. In fact, it was quite the opposite: an engrossing read with interesting characters, great dialogue, and solid writing.

Here is the hardcover jacket blurb: Continue reading

All of Me, by Patricia Ryan

17 Jul

All of Me, by Patricia Ryan

Before there were Blazes, there were Harlequin Temptations. Then someone had the brilliant idea of introducing “spicier” novels to the line and the Temptation Blazes were born (tag line: “BLAZE—Red-hot reads from Temptation!”)

All of Me, which I believe to be my first story by Ms Ryan, was one of the line’s launching titles, back in the dark ages of 2000. The novel follows the relationship of innocent and beautiful Nora and experienced and debonair David. Here is the back cover blurb: Continue reading