Tag: Australian Setting

REVIEW: Leah Ashton’s NINE-MONTH COUNTDOWN

Nine_Month_CountdownMiss Bates is a conservative romance reader, as she is in food choices and ownership of sweater sets, below-the-knee skirts, and Edwardian-style shoes. She’s wary and mistrustful of new-to-her authors; reading a tried and true author, one whose sensibility is in keeping with Miss B’s preference for themes of fidelity, commitment, decency, and a minimum of love scenes, is reassuring. It sits well, goes down easy. There’s a streak of break-out rebellion in Miss B, however, and sometimes, from the comfort of her easy chair, she takes the plunge into a new-to-her romance author. With category romance, the commitment, at least of time, is easier. Because, like all of you, Miss Bates likes to get that lift from discovering a gem. Reading Leah Ashton’s Nine-Month Countdown was such an experience for Miss B. Ashton’s Kiss-line category has a few flaws, but it led Miss B. to that wonderful discovery: a romance writer about whom she can say, “I like how your mind works. I want to follow you to see how you’ll surprise, delight, even disappoint me next.” More than anything, it’s how Ashton plays with some contemporary romance conventions that delighted Miss Bates: the unplanned pregnancy, returning soldier, helpless, “caught” heroine and still retain the “fidelity, commitment, decency, and, though hot, minimum in-keeping-with-the-development-of-the-relationship love scenes.” Continue reading

TBR Challenge Review: “Lovely Rita” Month Saw Miss B. Read Marion Lennox’s HER ROYAL BABY

Her_Royal_Baby
Charming cover: check out Tammy’s flipflops!

Miss Bates is content to return to her neglected TBR Challenge! Check it out chez Wendy here. This month’s theme was to read a nominated, or winning Rita title. Because Miss Bates is pathetically slumping along to Ros’s Summer Big Fat Book read-a-long, she chose a category romance. They’re short and she’s already behind the BFB, and summer reading piles litter her apartment and slow down two e-readers. (Way too much time on Twitter for Miss B.; also lolling, gazing at sunbeams, and sleeping in. It’s a feline life.) Reading Rita winners was one way Miss Bates segued into romance: their annual nominated and winning title lists provided tried and true romance reading as Miss B. figured out what she liked and didn’t in the genre. (Shudder PNR.) It was with nostalgia for her early romance reading days that she looked at titles she’d added to the TBR from these romance reading baby steps. Marion Lennox’s Her Royal Baby won the 2004 Best Traditional Romance. Woot! thought Miss B., category, baby, Rita winner, and an author that she’s wanted to read for ages thanks to some nifty reviews over at Dear Author lauding Lennox’s more recent category novels. The whole royalty thing is not to Miss B.’s taste, no blood is blue she says, but she liked the cover. Miss Bates doesn’t regret her choice, but boy oh boy, was this ever a flawed and floundering effort. Continue reading

REVIEW: Sarah Mayberry’s SATISFACTION, And “How To Get It”

SatisfactionThe Rolling Stones sang you “can’t get no” and Mayberry’s latest says take it for yourself.  That’s the gist of Mayberry’s sexy new novel, Satisfaction; the pleasure of it is in the myriad ways our hero and heroine discover how to lead full lives in and beyond the bedroom.  Miss Bates read Satisfaction with reader avarice for the only romance author she’s ever glommed without losing patience, or enjoyment.  Because Mayberry’s one of Miss Bates’s favourite romance writers, a new book is scrutinized in consideration of the impressive body of work and slotted into a place in Miss Bates’s hierarchy of beloved Mayberry novels.  This can’t only be a review of Satisfaction, but an assessment of how good Satisfaction is in light of the reader purrs other Mayberry novels have coaxed from Miss B.  Moreover, one of the coolest things about being familiar with an author’s work is being aware of her preferred storylines, characters, and themes … if an author is re-inventing and not repeating them, this is sheer pleasure.  Satisfaction accomplishes both: to be familiar and tell a fresh story. Continue reading, there’s more

REVIEW: Nicola Marsh’s ROMANCE FOR CYNICS, Or “A Couple of Anti-Cupids”

Romance For CynicsMiss Bates declares her love of category romance loud and clear.  The category has given us Betty Neels, after all.  And the contemporary faves, Sarah Mayberry, Sarah Morgan, and Molly O’Keefe, some of whom may’ve moved to longer-length pastures, cut their teeth on, and made us happy with, category-length romance.  Miss Bates is always eager to try something new in category and does so disposed to like it.  Thus she read Marsh’s Romance For Cynics to try the “Kiss” line which, according to Harlequin’s writing guidelines is all about a “young, urban feel” and “21st century alpha male hero;” it’s “fun” and “flirty.”  These are kisses of death to Miss Bates, but she was surprised by Marsh’s romance.  Wading through these parameters like murky, reedy water was a “traditional,” enjoyable category romance trying to make its way to the surface, to the light.  Marsh’s romance novel was uneven: a poorly executed cross/hybrid between a “Presents” and “Romance.”  Parts were good, but the whole was inconsistent. Continue reading