Tag Archives: Category Romance

In Hope’s Shadow, by Janice Kay Johnson

11 Nov

In Hope's ShadowAmazingly, I have managed to write a review! (I’m afraid to look back, and see how long since the last one–this has not been a good blogging/reading year for me so far)

I got an ARC for this novel a while back (like, over three months ago :wince:). When I realized that it’s the second in the Two Daughters duology, I stopped reading, and one-clicked the first title, Yesterday’s Gone.

After a lot of false starts with other books, and tons of re-reading, I finally grabbed In Hope’s Shadow a couple of days ago–and read it in one sitting.

Hoping that late is still better than never, here’s my review.

A caveat: I definitely recommend reading these two stories in order. A warning: there are references to child abuse, references to animal abuse, and an off-page murder. Reader, beware.

In Hope’s Shadow, by Janice Kay Johnson

The setup for the two novels is this: six year old Hope Lawson is kidnapped, snatched off the playground at school. A few years later, her parents, who have not given up on finding her alive, adopt a little girl her missing daughter’s age. A couple of decades after that, Hope miraculously, unexpectedly, turns up–alive, and willing to reconnect with her parents. And her adoptive sister, Eve.

Here’s the blurb, from amazon:
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Yesterday’s Gone, by Janice Kay Johnson

10 Aug

YesterdaysGoneThis is Ms Bates’ fault (in the best possible way).

See, last week, she posted this lovely review of Ms Johnson’s To Love a Cop, which reminded me of how much I usually enjoy this author’s work.

So off I went to check, and found out that there’s a new book by her, coming out in October.

Since I’m still struggling to read (reading slumps suck big hairy donkey balls), I asked for, and received, an ARC for In Hope’s Shadow, but when I started to read it, I realized it was connected to a previously released title–Yesterday’s Gone. So, of course, I bought it so I could read in order.

I’m glad I did.

Yesterday’s Gone, by Janice Kay Johnson

This is the first of the Two Daughters duology by Ms Johnson. The premise is this: what happens when a girl, abducted long ago, turns up alive and well, now an adult with a different sense of self? How does someone who has survived isolation, and emotional and physical abuse, cope with familial relationships, memories, love? How does the family who lost that child, who has waited and searched, who has prayed and loved, for so many years, adapts to the reality of this new person?

Here is the blurb:

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Boots & Badges, by Rachel Lee

22 May

I am late for this month’s TBR Challenge, but the lovely SLWendy is very forgiving, so here’s my contribution, such as it is.

Boots and BadgesBoots & Badges, by Rachel Lee

I grabbed this one from my TBR shelves pretty much on the way out the door and with very little forethought–all I checked was that it fit with this month’s theme (old school: ten years or older).

It does, in spades; Boots & Badges is a one-author anthology published in 1999 by Silhouette. All four of the short stories are part of Ms Lee’s successful Conard County series.

Here’s the (melodramatic and inaccurate) blurb from my print copy:
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Mr Irresistible, by Karina Bliss

2 Mar

Mr IrresistibleI have mentioned before that I really like Ms Bliss’ writing, despite the inexplicable long time between reading Mr Imperfect and these last two in the trilogy, Mr Irresistible and Mr Unforgettable.

Slowly, but surely, I’m correcting the oversight.

Mr Irresistible, by Karina Bliss

This is the middle book in the Lost Boys trilogy, and once again we have a winner. I will never understand how Ms Bliss manages to pack to much emotional impact in a relatively short length, particularly considering all the constraints of writing a category romance.

The important thing, I suppose, is that she does. Boy, does she ever!

Here’s the blurb, from the author’s website:
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Mr Unforgettable, by Karina Bliss

4 Feb

Mr UnforgettableSometimes I wonder how my brain works.

I have read several books by Ms Bliss, and each time she manages to make me cry at least once, in the very best way.

And yet, the last book of hers that I read was Mr Imperfect–almost two full years ago!

Why???

I have no idea.

The other day, however, I saw her name somewhere, and some part of my brain woke up and said, “hey, you wanted to get the other two in the Lost Boys trilogy, right?” and off to amazon I went and…

Here we are.

Mr Unforgettable, by Karina Bliss

I’m usually very adamant about reading linked books in order, but because I got both this and Mr Irresistible on my kindle, I managed to fumble and read them out of order.¹ The great news is that it doesn’t really matter, because Mr Unforgettable stands alone just perfectly well, and while the two other Lost Boys do show up, their presence complements the story, it doesn’t detract from it.

This book is so good, just so delicious in every way!³

Oh and, by the way, may I say how much I love that Ms Bliss’ stories are set in New Zealand? Hell, yeah!

Here’s the blurb from the author’s website:
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The Pregnant Heiress, by Eileen Wilks

23 Jan

The Pregnant HeiressThe Pregnant Heiress, by Eileen Wilks

I don’t know how long I’ve had this book in the TBR mountain range, but I believe it’s probably a few years.

I became aware of Ms Wilks’ category titles back in 2008, and even though I knew even then that she also writes Urban Fantasy (hell, I probably own at least one of these books), I haven’t read a lot of her stuff.

At any rate, I was looking for shorter stories to read this month for SLWendy’s TBR challenge, and happened to see this book on the shelf.

I didn’t like it as much as two other categories I read this month, though, which is why this review is coming to you later in the week.

The Pregnant Heiress is the second book in The Fortunes of Texas: The Lost Heirs continuity. (Amazing fact: the entire Fortune’s Children series, with all related sub series and offshoots, was published during a period of almost exactly ten years—we are talking 69 books!)

Ms Wilks handles well all the limitations of category length plus continuity requirements–a number of characters from other books, both previous and future, must appear, and at least a few clues for future events must be included in this installment.

Still, this story suffers from those constraints, notably in the category shorthand that stands in for a lot of the characterization and most of the plot.

Warning: there’s mention of past physical violence towards the heroine, though not rape.

Here’s the (gah) blurb from my print copy:
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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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