Monday, March 04, 2013

a few romance novels

Recently Russell commented on the fact that I hadn't read any romance novels lately. While his observation was in fact correct,1 I was a bit taken aback because I didn't think that Russell payed all that much attention to what I read on a daily basis. Then it occurred to me that it is actually quite obvious (to him) when I have a romance in progress because I can't help but read aloud the most over-the-top descriptions for Russell's amusement if he happens to be somewhere in the general vicinity.

In any case his comment spurred this post (and will likely result in more romance reviews in the nearish future since I requested a few books from NetGalley's romance offerings).

Love Unscripted by Tina Reber
series: Love (1)

female lead: Small-town Rhode Island bar owner
male lead: Hollywood A-lister
filling out the (love) triangle: Bodyguard

I actually read Love Unscripted last year and I can safely say that it is what put me off romance novels in the near past. The novel was simply far too long (officially 592 pages). It could have easily been broken in two, there was even a natural place to do so (and seeing that Love Unscripted is actually the first in a series, which continues the story of this same couple, obviously the author didn't take issue with breaking up the story in principle). The protagonist's secondary love interest never felt like a real option (even early on it was obvious to me as a reader that he wasn't good for her), so her wishy-washiness becomes a bit unbearable in the second half of the book. After a certain point even her passionate, hot-and-cold relationship with the primary love interest ceased to amuse me. I remember thinking "will this book ever end?" I probably should have given up on Love Unscripted, but I am a glutton for punishment.

Lady Gone Bad by Sabine Starr

setting: 1880s Texas
male lead: Deputy US Marshall
female lead: [see title]

Lady Gone Bad was the Nook "Free Fridays" offering for February 22nd. I often forget to check the weekly freebie, but conveniently enough the first Friday after Russell's observation this wild west romance was on offer. Lady Gone Bad is a pretty standard historical romance. It's not heavy on historical detail (or accuracy) and some plot points are never properly explained, but both leads are sympathetic (and their relationship is appropriately passionate).  Cringe-worthy cover, though.

Grave Consequences by Lisa Bergren
series: Grand Tour Series (2)

setting: Europe, circa 1913
leading lady: A Cinderella-like heiress not comfortable with her new elevated position in society
bachelor #1: Dashing French nobleman
bachelor #2: Tour guide

Grave Consequences continues the story begun in Glamorous Illusions (which I haven't read) of a young woman on a tour of Europe with her newly discovered half-siblings. It is a combination of romantic suspense (the opens with the group fleeing from a kidnapping attempt) and historical inspirational romance. The novel isn't particularly preachy, but the two main characters have enough examinations of consciousness to keep the reader from forgetting that the novel is Christian fiction. I found the suspense a bit melodramatic and I pinpointed the hidden bad guy early on, but I did appreciate how strove to incorporate the educational aspect of the grand tour into her narrative and the fact that the love triangle was well-balanced.  I imagine that my sister would like this series.  I think I'll recommend it to her.

  1. Even though I don't often post about them on the blog (usually they're "nothing to write home about" as they say, I do read romance novels somewhat regularly.

disclosure: Via NetGalley I received a review copies of Grave Consequences and Love Unscripted from David C. Cook and Atria Book respectively.

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