Tag Archives: Romantic Suspense

Mr Perfect, by Linda Howard

16 Jan

mrperfectlindahowardAs I have been struggling to read new stuff, even by authors I love (Hold Me, by Courtney Milan, and Eidolon, by Grace Draven, languish still in the digital TBR, to name but two), I’ve indulged in some re-reading of old favorites, in the hope this will kick-start my reading mojo.

I have said often that I am a fan of Ms Howard‘s work,¹ so going back to a novel that I remembered loving to pieces was an easy decision to make. Snappy dialogue, female friendships, off-the-charts sexual tension, funny-as-hell heroine, what’s not to love?

Well…

A lot, actually.

This is one of those times when I realize how truly privileged I am when it comes to what I can shrug off: there is some seriously problematic stuff in this book. It was written close to twenty years ago (published in hardcover in 2000), and it really shows its age in its representation of gender dysphoria. If you identify as transgender/gender fluid/gender questioning, you don’t want to read this novel. I will spoil the hell out of this below, but even that may be triggering, so: take care of yourselves, please.

Other reader warnings: there’s violence on the page, explicit sexual content, and adult language. There are also references to mental, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of a child.

Mr. Perfect, by Linda Howard

Okay, without further ado, because this is going to be rather long, even for me, here’s the blurb from my hardcover copy:
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The Book Club Murders, by Leslie Nagel

7 Jan

bookclubmurdersI confess that, despite knowing better, I was attracted to both the cover and the blurb for this cozy mystery, and was happy to get an ARC some time ago. However, what with one thing and another, it took me a while to get to it.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had a really hard time reading anything new to me, for going on two years now. (Pity me.) Therefore, any novel I manage to read all the way through these days feels remarkable in some way, on that basis alone.

As usual, reader beware: there’s a romance alongside the mystery, but there’s no sex on page, and very little ‘objectionable’ language.

The Book Club Murders, by Leslie Nagel

I didn’t know before I started reading the story, but this is Ms Nagel debut release. It is also the first in a series set in Oakwood, OH.

I confess that, after reading a few chapters, I did suspect that this was either a debut, or perhaps a second book, because some of the elements of the story seem to fit rather awkwardly next to each other–such as the romance between our intrepid leading lady, one Charlotte “Charley” Carpenter, and the cop in charge of solving the improbable murders that, apparently out of the blue, are happening in the very quiet community of Oakwood.

Here’s the blurb:

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Up Close and Dangerous, by Linda Howard

12 Aug

Up Close and DangerousAs I’m still struggling with the reading slump from hell, I’ve turned to old favorite authors for comfort reads. Not only do I re-discover plot points or scenes I had long forgotten, but I’m also finding that many of these books stand up very well to the passage of time. Win-win.

As I’ve said a couple of times before, many of Linda Howard’s books are among my all time favorites (though that is one crowded set of bookcases, lemme tell you). While this one has many of the elements that make her novels so appealing to me, it’s not as successful in a couple of respects.

Up Close and Dangerous, by Linda Howard

This novel had a mixed reception when it was released, back in 2007. Personally, I liked it well enough when I read it for the first time, soon thereafter. Re-reading it now, particularly during a slump, has allowed me to better see the basis for the original criticism.

Here’s the blurb, from the cover jacket of my hardback copy:
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Cry No More, by Linda Howard

10 Jun

Cry No More hardcoverI have been trying to review this book for a while, but it has been slow going. Mostly, because I don’t like reviewing from memory, and re-reading a book that hits you so hard, there are times you can’t breathe, is…well, it’s fucking hard.

At the same time, I know that there are few followers/readers of the blog who are fairly new to romance, and nothing would please me more than to introduce them to amazing books.

Cry No More is just that: amazing. It works on so many levels that calling it simply a romantic suspense sells it short.

However, it does need a couple of content notes: it begins with a brutal child abduction; the child in question is an infant, less than two months old, and its mother is almost killed trying to fight off the abductor. There is graphic language, graphic sex, and graphic violence. Reader, be warned.

Oh, and the review? Long as hell.

Cry No More, by Linda Howard

I think this was a watershed book for many Linda Howard readers. It’s not that she hadn’t written dark, bloody books before (Dream Man, Mr Perfect, to name but two), it’s that she amped up the intensity of the feelings, both for characters and readers, over and over and over again, throughout the course of the book.

And then?

She finished it with an even bigger bang.

Karen Scott wrote, almost ten years ago, how she cried her way through the book, “a beautifully poignant book, which is emotionally compelling, yet at the same time, manages to retain a fast and furious pace of mystery, danger and excitement.”

Anna Campbell, in her review for RomanceNovelTV a couple of years later, wrote: This is one of the most deeply emotional romance novels I’ve ever read. (Holy shit, is it ever!)

Here is the blurb from my hardcover copy:¹
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