TINY-REVIEW: HelenKay Dimon’s CHAIN OF COMMAND

Chain_Of_CommandHelenKay Dimon’s first in the Greenway Range series, Chain Of Command, was easy to pick up in the spirit of nostalgia. When Miss Bates started reading romance eight or so years ago, contemporary romance was rife with military heroes. Dimon was writing some delightful Hawaiian-set romance with protective cops and ex-military-type heroes: they were sexy and fun. Reading Chain Of Command about ex-Marine hero, Sawyer Cain, and heroine, Hailey Thorne, was all about getting those feelings back. But Miss Bates is not the reader she used to be when any romance, as long as it was romance, would do. Tastes change and trends that were attractive eight years ago are no longer. Reading Chain Of Command felt, well, tired. Sawyer Cain and his coterie of ex-military buddies, Jason, Marcus, and Marcus’s SEAL lover, Will (that WAS a nice touch) and sister, Molly, converge on an area north of San Diego to start a business. It is especially important to Sawyer, who carries guilt from their time in Afghanistan and is haunted by the soldiers lost there, to keep everyone together, provide them with viable work and create a safe haven. He wants to acquire the land his deceased buddy, Rob Turner, intended him to have and use it to establish a firing range business. The land, however, was left to Rob’s adopted daughter, heroine Hailey, and her coterie of friends are involved in it too: one of them is Rob’s fiancée, Kat, and their friend, Jessie, who lives with Hailey because of her abusive ex-husband, Pete. Continue reading

MINI-REVIEW: Grace Burrowes’ ANDREW, or The Hero As Nursemaid

AndrewMiss Bates read Burrowes’ latest “lonely lord,” Andrew, in hopes that she’d get the original pleasure of reading her first Burrowes novel, The Heir.  If Andrew had been her first Burrowes, she might have written this review more positively?  However, for Miss Bates, as well as romance readers who find themselves beset with an author’s work near-monthly, reader fatigue has set in.  Burrowes exhibits the same smooth, competent prose, the same caring characters and sexy scenes, the same concerns with family, love, and children, but it feels so very the same.  This is because Burrowes’ Lonely Lords, or Lords of Despair as the cover subtitle indicates, are “ensemble romances,” romance novels whose concerns are not with the singular courtship and eventual HEA/marriage of a couple, but with the creation of a family saga made of couples in various HEA stages, between incipient and established.  (Many a contemporary, small-town romance is guilty of this too.)  Maybe Miss Bates’ romance-reading tastes are a tad passé, but she rather enjoys an old-fashioned antagonistic, sparring romance narrative like, let’s say for argument’s sake, Pride and Prejudice.  Burrowes’ Andrew is not like that at all, with its surfeit of family politics, married couples, in utero offspring, or toddling around … and way too many clinical details about parturition. Continue reading, as Miss Bates finalizes her verdict