Posts tagged ‘category romance’

One Serious Romance

When most people think “romance,” they tend to envision a cheesy cover, tons of sex, and a mildly silly plotline.  They also tend to think that all romance novels are created equal — which they’re not — and that they all look like category/series romances.  Now, I know I’ve talked about series romances in the past (you can click here for a refresher course), and yes, I know that sometimes –okay oftentimes–their plots are a little cliche, but I simply adore category romances.  So in honor of those quick, steamy, sweet, and silly reads, I’ve compiled the Greatest Series Romance Ever: a combination of plots, titles, and characters from some real life Harlequins. Enjoy…

The Billionaire Cowboy’s Secret Baby Bombshell and Inconveniently Proper Mistress!

By A Whole Bunch of People

Anna Berzani moved halfway across the country to get away from her overprotective family. When old friend and notorious playboy Henry James Randolf III shows up in San Francisco one cold December night, wanting to escape, Anna feels that same nothing-but-trouble attraction she’d felt at sixteen.

Henry is relentless in pursuing his desires–and intent on bedding wide-eyed Anna–the seductive girl from his past. But he has one condition: it’s to be a temporary romance only. Marriage is not an option. However, their passionate nights together lead to…a nine-month countdown! Unintentionally, Henry’s mistress is pregnant with his forbidden baby….

A year later, when she shows up at his Texas ranch with her bombshell, two adorable twin boys, Henry can’t believe his eyes. The boys look just like him. Was their night of passion a premeditated snare or a Christmas surprise? But when shots ring out, his instincts take over. He’ll stop at nothing to keep Anna and the boys safe. And he just may recognize where his true wealth lies, if it isn’t too late for them all.

So there you have it! A new bestseller right there waiting to be sold.  To read the actual books that inspired this EPIC story, check out these classic Harlequins. You’ll love them. Even if you never admit it out loud.

Baby Bombshell (Harlequin American Romance) by Lisa Ruff

Anna Berzani moved halfway across the country to get away from her overprotective family. When old friend and notorious playboy Evan McKenzie shows up in San Francisco, Anna feels that same nothing-but-trouble attraction she’d felt at sixteen. A night on the town leads to a few kisses, which leads to…a nine-month countdown!

Practical Anna suggests marriage, but the gorgeous bachelor turns her down flat. He’s anything but good daddy material.

Evan always felt like an adopted member of the boisterous Berzani clan. Getting involved with Anna–irresistible as she is–won’t go over so well with his best friend, Anna’s brother. And when the rest of the family find out he refuses to marry her, he won’t just be disowned–he’ll be dismembered!

How can he marry her, though…when he knows marriage is nothing but heartache?

Ruthless Billionaire, Forbidden Baby (Harlequin Presents) by Emma Darcy

When Tamalyn Haynes agrees to be a bridesmaid, she doesn’t realize she will be dancing with the best man–notorious tycoon Fletcher Stanton!

Fletcher is relentless in pursuing his desires–and intent on bedding wide-eyed Tammy. But he has one condition: it’s to be a temporary romance only. Marriage is not an option. However, their passionate nights together lead to Tammy dropping a bombshell. Unintentionally, Fletcher Stanton’s mistress is pregnant with his forbidden baby….

The Cowboy’s Secret Twins (Silhouette Romantic Suspense) by Carla Cassidy

One cold December night, Henry James Randolf III wanted to escape. His money, his heritage, his lonely life. But when the blizzard drove the sexy Melissa Monroe into his arms he made sure to avoid that trap, too.

A year later, when she shows up at his Texas ranch with adorable twin boys, he can’t believe his eyes. The boys look just like him. Was their night of passion a premeditated snare or a Christmas surprise? But when shots ring out, his instincts take over. He’ll stop at nothing to keep Melissa and the boys safe. And he just may recognize where his true wealth lies, if it isn’t too late for them all.


August 18, 2011 at 1:03 am Leave a comment

Review: The Bride’s Baby by Liz Fielding

Most of my past book reviews are handily located on Goodreads, which is great for me, but unless you visit Goodreads…Not so great for you!  Therefore, I have decided to spend a few posts each week updating my book review section!  To start my review for The Bride’s Baby (Harlequin Romance) by Liz Fielding.  Enjoy!

Her Something New Was Less Traditional

Though the characters are generally likable, The Bride’s Baby has some serious trouble spots within the narrative that keep it from being truly more than a two star rating for me. The story is hard to follow and by the end of it, I was so frustrated with the over-the-top miscommunications and misunderstandings that I wanted to scream.

The plot follows wedding planner Sylvie and her relationship with Billionaire Tom. The two have one heated encounter and awkward moment after, leaving Sylvie alone and pregnant. This is all in the first few pages of the book. From there we watch as Tom and Sylvie progress to first-name basis and attempt to navigate miscommunications, misunderstandings and mistakes. However, despite the easy story-line, Fielding jumps around from past to present to past with no warning. These shifting perspectives really are confusing and blur the already weak links between Sylvie and Tom’s past relationship.

It was an okay read. Not really sexy. Not really believable. But not really bad.

2 Stars

To see my original Goodread’s posting, click here!

April 7, 2011 at 9:04 pm 4 comments

Deal Breakers: Putting Up or Giving Up

My friend Sarah (the same Sarah who compared men to nuclear power) has decided that she wants to write romances. Problem?  She’s never really read one.  Apparently, I just make them sound so EPIC that she can’t help herself.  Therefore, for her birthday a month or so ago, I decided to give her something useful: two shining (and randomly chosen) category romances from Walmart.  Now, not having read the books myself, I decided to just pick two that sounded like Sarah-friendly plots: meaning no secret babies or pregnancy scares.  What college aged girl really wants that on her mind before she goes to bed? Shudder. Think of the nightmares!  My picks? Kathy LyonsIn Good Hands (Harlequin Blaze) and Margaret Way‘s Olivia and the Billionaire Cattle King (Harlequin Presents).  How could I say no to those titles?


Apparently those hands are Best Ever

Well, she read them over Spring Break and loved them. Of course. Which made me think, “Geez, now I want to read one!”  Thankfully, Sarah is not an only child and knows the fine art of sharing, so this morning, instead of studying, reading the Kubler-Ross book about dying people for class, or being generally productive, I decided that the best course of events was simple: read In Good Hands.


Now, I love a nice elevator sex scene as much as the next gal, and Lyons certainly delivers the goods in the book, but I kept thinking as I was reading it: why does hunky, hunky, hunk Roger stick around with the heroine Amber?  Sure, she’s flexible and sexy and I admire her kind-heart and desire to heal people. And, okay, she’s a homeopathic healer and he needs medical help. And, I get that the sex is apparently Best He’s Ever Had, but in order to “heal” his dangerously high blood pressure, she puts him on a “living food diet” meaning this:  “Food that has not been cooked, processed or damaged in anyway…as in fruits, vegetables and nuts.”

Garfield must have dated Amber too!

Okay, see this is where I was like “wait what?”  There are less drastic ways to go about balancing the body than only eating raw foods.  Right? Really, I mean maybe she could have weaned him off of his red meat? But no, she meets him, they have sex in the elevator, go back to her home, and BAM, Amber decrees that he can only eat “living food.”  Her way of the highway.  And Roger agrees to it! My favorite quote of the book,

“Four days later, he was still grinning…Sure, he would kill for something meaty to sink his teeth into… But all in all, the daily sexual adventures were more than making up for the other inconveniences.” (115)

So this got me thinking: how much would I put up with–how may “inconveniences”–for Best Sex Ever?  Let’s disregard the whole, “high blood pressure” aspect of the book.  Would you give up bread, pasta, cooked food, chocolate, cupcakes, beer, vodka, Cheetos, and basically most things yummy for awesome sex?

I was telling my friend Steph about book, and I was like, “I don’t know if I would go that far for someone I had just met, no matter how awesome.”  Apparently, I am in the minority! Steph was like, “Trust me, I’ve put up with a lot for good sex! It’s worth it!”  Then my friend Kim chimes in with, “For the best sex ever? Yeah I would go on a raw diet. Lizzie, it’s the BEST. SEX. EVER.”  Wow. I mean I get putting up with small things: like his annoying habit of cracking his knuckles, his friends who talk and chew at the same time, clipping his toenails on the couch, or even something big like having to call his mother every night at 9:00 regardless of what you are doing! Those, I get.  Sure, they are annoying and some a little creepy/gross, but giving up practically all food? Nope.

The things that come up from romance novels.  Whoever says that they don’t make you think has apparently never read one!  They are filled with Important Life Questions. But what do you think dearest friends? Am I totally delusional or does Roger have the right idea in this romance? Food or sex? Choose wisely!

March 30, 2011 at 9:51 pm 2 comments

Steaming Up Spring Break: Some Suggestions!

I am faced with a lovely 13 hour drive in the car tomorrow about to embark on my last spring break. EVER.  Well, probably for a long time unless I end up working in education.  I think adults call “spring break” vacation or something odd like that.  But anyway, in honor of my final foray into irresponsible, youthful vacays, I am dedicating this post to spring break reads…and some spring break romance suggestions.  I’ve got my kindle all packed–with wonderful romances that is–and don’t you want to know what made the cut? As I said before, I love me some lists.  So here it goes:

Whatcha Readin? Lizzie’s Epic Plans for Poolside Reads:

Damanding title no?

1. Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  Finally, after waiting for months, I have the time to pick up SEP’s newest release.  For those of you who are SEP fans, Call Me is Teddy Beaudine and Meg Koranda’s story.  Those names sound familiar?Think back…coming to you yet? If you said, “Wait, aren’t Ted and Meg the children some of our former SEP favorite characters?!?” Yes! They are.  Let’s see if their story is as good as their respective parents’ 🙂

2. The Perfect Mistress by Victoria Alexander.  This spring break, I am taking chances on some new authors for me and stories. A spicy Regency period historical, this book sounds charming, funny, a little spooky, and undeniably sexy, as it follows Lady Julia Winterset and Harrison Landingham, Earl of Mountdale.  Come on–who doesn’t want a little historical seduction to go along with their spring break?

3. His Heir, Her Honor by Catherine Mann.  I am not typically a HUGE fan of category/series books that deal with the whole “having a baby” theme.  I don’t know.  They don’t usually apply to my life or where I am right now.  Goodness.  College student + babies +pregnancy = scary as shit.  But I LOVE the title. Plus, maybe I need to expand my horizons and all that…

Past Readings? Lizzie’s Epic Former Poolside Reads:

1. Anything by Jennifer Crusie.  I know, I know.  Y’all are tired of me going on and on about Crusie.  But…I first discovered her on spring break, so I cannot not suggest her as a spring break read.  Plus.  Her books are so funny and sunny and the perfect reads for a lazy afternoon by the pool.  Go with a class like Welcome to Temptation or her newest Maybe This Time. You’ll fall in love–assuming you are not a robot.

Fairytales never mentioned the dangers of becoming a swan


2. Iris Johansen.  Another great spring break read.  Her romantic suspense stories are spooky, edge of your seat, and completely engaging.  Just what you need on a relaxed vacation.  A little spice and danger.  I really love The Ugly Duckling and The Face of Deception.  Only bit of advice–before starting one of the Eve Duncan stories–like her newest release–pick up Face of Deception.  It gives you the background and really will make the whole experience so much clearer.

3. Ransom by Julie Garwood.  A clear, fun, passionate, and suspenseful medieval romance.  Two things make Garwood’s book epic–in my opinion at least–the dialogue, which is witty, clever, and very realistic, and the characters who are more than one-sided stereotypes.  Sure the hero is a hunky, warrior, laird Alpha male who is a little cynical, but he is also protective, understanding, and too sexy for words.  Plus, Gillian the heroine is not TSTL (Too Stupid to Live), which is always really nice in my books.

4. Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh.  A clever, sexy urban fantasy, this book is wonderfully written and really the hero Raphael?  He is simply angelic–note: he is actually an angel.  The first book in Singh’s Guild Hunter series, the book takes place in a world where angels and vampires are out in the open.  Some danger, some hott sex, some good reads.  Perfect for the beach–cause you just might need the ocean to cool off after this one 😉

So there you go my dearest friends.  Some books I hope turn out to be great, and some books that I personally think are worth multiple reads.  Trust me dearest friend, if you are looking for something to spice up your spring break and really get you warm, take a look at some of these books and bon voyage!

March 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm Leave a comment

Love Concussions: A Pondering

My friend recently explained to me that she has roughly “1.4 love concussions” a year.  What may I ask is a “love concussion?”  Is that a carry over from the good ol’ days when cavemen would bang their lady friends over the head and then drag them back to the lair?  Cause love concussions sounds painful and a little like blunt force trauma.

So apparently:

A concussion is a brain injury that may result in a bad headache, altered levels of alertness, or unconsciousness. It temporarily interferes with the way your brain works, and it can affect memory, judgment, reflexes, speech

I mean hold on one second.   When you think about it a concussion does sound an awful lot like falling in love.  Love, concussion, love, concussion.  Are they the same thing??? I mean let us break it down a bit.

1. “brain injury“–Yup, got it there. I mean love makes you ignore that big ol’ brain of yours in favor of the heart. And a lot of times it does result in injury.  So yeah. I would say that works.

2. “a bad headache“– Amen. I mean, really, men are often the cause of my headaches.  They are mysteries. Really straightforward mysteries.

3. “altered levels of alertness“–Again. Check.  People are usually a whole lot less alert when it comes to love.  Walking in to poles–my momma, forgetting that plan with that friend–you know who you are friend of mine.  Just little things that happen when you are high on love–or in this case feeling the symptoms.

4. “unconsciousness“–Had to reign in the dirty mind for a second. I will leave this one alone. Bad Lizzie. Bad.

5. “temporarily interferes with the way your brain works, and it can affect memory, judgment, reflexes, speech“-CHECK.  Seriously, check. Who hasn’t been stupid over a guy? I mean sometimes I think all I am is stupid over guys.  Guys make smart girls do some stupid shit generally–and colloquially–speaking.

So it looks like to me as if “love” and “concussions” are pretty much the same thing.  I mean obviously they are not–but the symptoms seem to match and if I were to Web MD my mysterious love-induced ailments, I might just make the connections.  That said, dearest friend, I have a book for you (a series for the series week!): Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense’s Turbulence by Dana Mentink. It deals with love, concussions, and love concussions.  May it help you through this rough time.

March 14, 2011 at 12:34 am 5 comments

Dating on Accident: How I tend to date people without knowing.

Laughing over coffee, hashbrowns, and pancakes the size of my head, my brother jokenly said: “Well, when Lizzie gets married it will probably be an accident. ‘Like wait? This is our wedding and not just a wedding?!?'” Then my friend Amanda pipes up with a “It’s true! Didn’t you accidentally go on a date with BLANK last weekend? One day you will realize you two’ve been dating for years!” The entire table starts laughing, as they continue to tease me about something that has plagued my life since puberty: my tendency to not realize date are well…dates.

My Future Life

It’s a problem.  Dating is so much harder in real life than in the movies.  I mean it is not my fault that when a guy friend invites me to dinner, I think, “oh fun, dinner with my friend” and then decide to make it a group thing.  How was I supposed to know that it was a date? Hmmm? Then when I turn up to the apparent date with my bestie in tow–let’s just say, it is pretty freaking awkward.  So after one too many times of accidental dates–you really don’t want to know how many “dates” I have missed–my dating habits have become the running joke among my family and friends.

Yes, my name is Lizzie and I am an accidental dater.  I have accepted my fate.  I am doomed to wander through the dating scene without knowing that a date is more than just some friendly hanging out until it happens.  Sometimes, I long for the good old days when a gentleman suitor would have to ask my father’s permission to court me.  Then I wake up and realize I like having the right to vote, being able to go to college, and the ability to walk around unchaperoned.  If I had to pick? I would so chose my blind, modern dating rituals.

The purpose of all of these ramblings?  In honor of my weekly book suggestion subgenre and my crazy-assed, accidental love life, I am about to start a new book. Barbara Dunlop’s The CEO’s Accidental Bride from Silhouette Desire.  RT BOOKREVIEWS gave it an awesome 4.5 stars, so I am sure it will be great.  Maybe I can pick up some pointers or hints on what to look for before I too find myself in heroine Kaitlin Saville’s position, as The CEO’s Accidental Bride.

March 11, 2011 at 8:50 pm 2 comments

Suggest Me Something: The Series Suggestions!

Suggestions are harder than you think!

The second thing people ask me when I say I like romance novels–after the “wait are you serious?” question–is if I would suggest something for them.  “What book should I read?!?”  My response: what do you like?

Dear friends, not all romance novels are created equal.  I mean, yes, they all deal with love, passion, and relationships, but calling all romance novels the same is like…well…calling all of your relationships the same.  Let me break it down for you:

Some are a little creepy and scary (paranormal).  Some are dangerous and thrilling (romantic suspense).  Some are pretty normal, everyday (contemporary).  While some are so in the past (historical),  some are even really short (category/series).  Now that I think about it, I hope none of your relationships are like this cause that would be a little intense. But my point: there are many different subcategories in romance novels.  Get it? So when you ask me to suggest a book for you, it’s like taking a shot in the dark! I cannot read you mind…thank god.

Therefore, my dearest roommate Nic has suggested that I do something RADICAL. Radical, I tell you! A weekly book suggestion in each of the various, and let me tell you they are various, romance subgenres.  Brilliant, Nic!

And on that note, let us begin with the shortest, most published, and generally the most stereotyped form: the category romance, also known as series romances.  According to Windy City (a chapter of the Romance Writers of America):


Read about Princess Anny's Wild Night

“category romance (may also be referred to as “series romance”) – shorter romances that are released in order and by month, with a series number on each title; these books are most commonly published by Harlequin/Silhouette.”

These books, usually 250 words or less, are put out by major publishers like Harlequin–who apparently has 16 different lines releases around over 100 books each month.  And that is a lot of books.  Some lines are pretty sexy (as in they are more explicit) like Harlequin Blaze, Silhouette Desire, and Harlequin Presents. Others are more moderate like Kimani Romance, Harlequin Nocturne, and Harlequin Intrigue.  Then there are those that are practically mild like Harlequin Superromance, Harlequin Romance, and Steeple Hill Love Inspired.  Gah, as I said there are A LOT of types of category romances.  But what I love most about categories are the fun titles (see: The Secret Child & The Cowboy CEO, Fired Waitress, Hired Mistress and The Virgin’s Proposition) and even better plots.  With secret babies, mistaken identities, and amnesia being some popular plot devices, these books are the soap operas of the romance novel industry.  I love them!
My suggestion: go to Walmart and find one the one that fits you. Or if you have an Amazon Kindle, download this Harlequin Blaze for FREE! Leslie Kelly’s  Slow Hands is a a fun, sexy, fast read that is pretty indicative of the category romance.
Slow Hands

Free Kindle Harlequin Blaze

It has mistaken identities, plenty of passion, and some fun, romantic scenes.  If you like Slow Hands, then you will like categories.  Also, the blog 59th and Peach reviews quite a few categories, so be sure to check it out!

So dearest, I hope this helps  you determine whether the category subgenre is the one for you. They are fun, quick reads.  Plus, if you find you like category romances, you know there will always be a good book out there with your name all over it–not literally or course unless you write series romances.  I mean with so many lines to pick from, you are set for life!  Plus, I who doesn’t love a nice book about a secret baby born out of a marriage of convenience in which the virgin’s bride identity is mistaken for that of someone else? Just saying.  Seems like a good time to me!

March 8, 2011 at 9:45 pm 4 comments

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