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HP discussion. Good bad and inbetween.

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Initial post: Feb 25, 2011 5:24:37 PM PST
Michigangirl says:
So I'm starting a new discussion for HPs mostly for the ones that are currently being read, and just to discuss ones that aren't really great, or bad.

That said, I just read Valley of the Devil by Yvonne Whittal.

This reminds me of Lost in Love by Michelle Reid, only more contrived.

The heroine, Jo, was married to the hero, Rafe, three years previously. This is one of those heroine is made an outcast by hero's family. Hero is too busy or uncaring to help the heroine out and eventually they part.

In this case it's the hero's mother. She basically overrules everything the heroine wants when it comes to the house.

Eventually Rafe moves out of the bedroom and then within two weeks decides they just need to get divorced.

But the story really takes place when Jo's brother asks her to ask her ex for a personal loan to save the family business. Jo agrees, but Rafe will only give them money if she marries him and gives him a son.

I really didn't like that after three years of not seeing each other at all, he just makes that demand and she just agrees.

What I did like is that she managed to have an epiphany after they were married that she'd just sold herself and done a pretty horrible thing by agreeing. Not to mention I thought it was really contrived that he'd immediately ask that and she'd immediately agree for something as flimsy as family business. Family, operation, imminent death, I understand. Helping out the family business, well, you know what to do with your suggestion.

Then, it's all about how the heroine was more assertive now so could fit in.

Supposedly the hero realized as soon as he asked for a divorce that he made a mistake, but pride wouldn't let him stop the divorce proceedings. Then after two years he finds out that his mother was completely horrible to the heroine while she was there. That's when he starts his campaign to get her back. He confronts her family, and they tell him he doesn't really have a chance in heck. They also tell him she hates Satanslaagte, which is where he lives, and would never go back.

So he had to use blackmail. He also said that he felt like a horrible person, during their marriage, by expecting her to love the place just because he did. And expecting her to stay there.

So now he knows that she hates it, but he still forces her back because it has to be all his way. To me it seemed more like he wanted her back but only on his terms. So he'd try again to make her live by his rules and then he can have everything he wants.

He never really spent more time with her, and he dragged her back to that place.

It was all her fault, of course, for not trying to fit in more. Later she blames herself for not being more assertive, but I just had to wonder why he got away with no blame.

At one point in the book it mentions something about how he always catered to what his mother wanted. So when the heroine wanted to change things in the house a certain way, the mother said no it'll be this way, and the hero allowed the mother to get away with it.

I finished the book and the most I can say for it was it was just okay.

The fact that it reminded me of Lost in Love, where the heroine and hero still maintained contact despite their years apart, and the heroine married him again because she was so worried about her SIL, going through what she went through. There was just more.. mental anguish, reasons that I could understand behind the actions. And despite everything I felt like both the characters in LIL realized where their own failings were, and that they both had to work to change things.

This book was just the hero saying he wanted her back, he was wrong to divorce her, but it was her fault for not trying to fit in, and his mother's fault for making her life miserable. He really took no blame in it. It left me feeling like the book could have been so much more but failed.

Also, there's the OW angle. This time it's a neighbor who is the same age as the heroine. Both the neighbor and the mother-in-law made the heroine feel like she was the outcast and it was really the neighbor that belonged there. The neighbor was pretty obvious about it so it was just another oblivious hero moment that he never got it or did anything about it. Later he walks in on the heroine telling the OW that if she couldn't be nice to her she wouldn't be welcome and he supports her, but to me it was too little too late. Like it was all about the heroine asserting herself, where I would have liked it better if he'd taken some action first instead of just following her lead.

Posted on Feb 25, 2011 6:13:47 PM PST
Romance Diva says:
Well I read The Devil's Mistress (Harlequin Presents) oh my dearly departed Harlequins this book was migraine inducing.

Hero (Alex) and heroine (Natasha) are actors and married. But they are separated because the H's younger brother (Roger) says that he had sex with the heroine. Mind you this book was written in the early 80s, so you're not going to get some enlightened male. So let's breakdown this clusterf*** of a book.

Heroine is in Monaco, she's been cast as the lead actress in the movie "The Devil's Mistress". Production company is looking to cast the male counterpart...yes. They cast her husband, but no one knows they are married. She finds out, has HP lady palpitations, her agent (who doesn't know she's married to H, but knew they were involved) informs her that she can't get out of movie.

She goes to production meeting,sees Alex, he's looking "lean and mean" and she pales, almost faints, loses ability to speak...and yet no one notices. Alex pretends not to know her and she believes that he has FORGOTTEN her. See this is where I get pissy at myself. Yes, it's been three years, but what kind of IDJIT (I know it's spelled idiot) thinks her husband forgets what she looks like?

Ugh. Anyway, he takes her home, forcibly kisses her in her hotel room, DumbTasha runs away screaming, comes back realizes she doesn't have a key, gets new key, StalkerAlex calls her, informs her he has her key, she better go to dinner or he is coming to her hotel room to finish the rape he started earlier. Dummy pales, hyperventilates, puts on yellow dress and goes to dinner. StalkerRapistHubby abuses her verbally, she tries to defend herself, he ignores her, she tears up...but never cries, guess she doesn't want to ruin her make-up...RD blacks out in boredom.

So the whole book is StalkerHubby verbally abusing her, stalking her, kissing her, threatening to make love to her, calling her names. Somehow BrotherRoger tells the press they are married, identifies himself as the heroine (because a 20 year old man, sounds like a 23 year old idjit woman) StalkerHubby blames Dumb@ss, she cries, they have sex, she leaves the movie (after they have hot sex in some forest/park (who knows, I just wanted it to END) she gets sued, he comes after her (after he is done shooting his part of the movie, because only Dumbass is willing to be broke over forage sex) he tells her he beat up his brother, so he knows the little twerp tried to rape Dumb@ss and she eluded him and she apologizes for being too pretty and therefore deserving of his ends and RD joins tree hugger group, because I think the trees should SUE for being sacrificied in the making of that horrid piece of trash!

Thanks MichiganGirl...this was cathartic.

Posted on Feb 26, 2011 3:05:35 PM PST
Michigangirl says:
Don't know why your post was deleted, but I did manage to read it.

The Devil's Mistress is a book that I manage to block most of it out.

I had parts of it stuck in my head and asked on here a while back, which book it was. I found it on my bookshelf and read it again. I think I deliberately block out parts of this book because it annoys me so much.

The heroine is almost raped by the hero's brother while the hero is gone for a few weeks. She actually moves out of their house and into a hotel until he comes home. When he gets home, the brother tells him that he's been sleeping with the hero's girl the entire time. He actually took some of her clothes out of her room and put them in his room to make it more authentic.

The heroine, of course, does nothing about this attempted rape because she wants to talk it over with the hero first. This really bugged me because it's a theme in hps that still stays to this day. The heroine is almost raped, generally saved by some fluke, and then just puts it behind her in an effort to make peace between everyone.

In this case, I wanted her to, at the very least, tell the hero immediately what happened and inform him of where she was until he got back. I believe she did talk to him while he was gone, after this happened, but never told him what was going on.

Also, she later doesn't really care about the brother. This is the guy who almost raped her and she's having secret meetings with him so he can talk to her.

Posted on Feb 26, 2011 3:18:08 PM PST
Romance Diva says:
What on earth did I say to get deleted? Oh well, I didn't insult anything but the book. ITA with your review Michigangirl.

Posted on Feb 26, 2011 5:09:38 PM PST
booknuts says:
i just finished lynne graham's JEMIMA'S SECRET, and again i have been disappointed with a book of hers. perhaps it's just me but her plots, characters, and overall style of writing have just gone to pot over the last few years. this is 2011, for heaven's sake. women have had the vote for almost a century, have rights by law regarding their bodies and their children, and still characters are written like this. yoicks, i could rant and rave on this subject for way too long.......

Posted on Feb 26, 2011 8:12:09 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 26, 2011 8:13:27 PM PST
Romance Diva says:
I liked Jemima's Secret (Harlequin Presents), but I will admit it's probably a case where it wasn't as horrid as LG's last offer aka The Pregnancy Shock (Harlequin Presents)

Posted on Mar 2, 2011 9:51:48 AM PST
Michigangirl says:
Jemima's Secret was somewhere between good and bad for me.

I'd just done a flip through of Italian's Runaway Bride so I really wasn't ready for yet another book where everything the heroine says is considered a lie and the hero only believes it when other people tell him.

I also didn't think enough issues were worked out between the two for a real happy ending. Instead it was more of a well the sex is good and I love him so that works.

Halfway through the book the hero, in his own thoughts, was thinking how he didn't love the heroine and never had. That wasn't a denial of the obvious but just a statement of fact.

One of the things I did appreciate about the book, in a round about way, was how they got together. The hero was pretty nasty and kept canceling dates and seeing other women. More than likely sleeping with other women also. He figured it was okay so she started dating other people too. That's when he decided that if he actually wanted her for himself he was going to have to become exclusive.

What I didn't like was him thinking it was a trick. I don't think they ever had a real get to know each other place in the book. The heroine learned more about him, but he never really seemed to care to know more about her. Anytime she told him anything about herself he didn't listen.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2011 9:32:58 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 3, 2011 9:38:39 PM PST
Double D says:
MG, I just read your review on this book. Great job! I just need to know if there were OW while apart? Please and thank you?

oops saw you said most likely, dang it. It doesn't say for sure? I bet it says she is though! I hate that. I think I have to pass. Sorry to bug.

Posted on Mar 3, 2011 9:51:32 PM PST
Michigangirl says:
Double D. While they were apart after marriage there were no other women. Most likely he was sleeping with other women when they first got together.

He was dating her but also going out with other women. He kept calling to cancel dates etc. She confronted him and he made some comment about not doing commitment. She decided if he wasn't going to commit neither was she so she started dating other men. The hero saw her one night while she was with another guy. He saw her having a smile or a dreamy look that she usually gave to him with another man and that's when he decided that he didn't want to share her with other men. The only way she'd stop seeing other men is if he stopped seeing other women.

It says in the book that he never had another woman while they were separated because he thought it was wrong to see other people while he was married. It wasn't a declaration of love her so much no other woman exists, but the fact that he was willing to honor his marriage vows put a good quality on the hero that he needed.

Posted on Mar 4, 2011 4:13:15 PM PST
Rita says:
MG i liked this more than you did, i think. when he was saying he never loved her, i took it as the usual H nonsense where they don't believe in love and never intend to fall in love, whistling in the dark so to speak!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 4, 2011 5:04:02 PM PST
Double D says:
Thank you MG I am going to order it. I need some new books and I just haven't been able to find very many good ones. I'm in an HP desert right now....

Posted on Mar 10, 2011 3:22:37 PM PST
boogenhagen says:
I just finished After Their Vows (Harlequin Presents) the new Michele Reid and parts of it were good, but it isn't one her best. The H and h are married and she is super involved with her teenaged younger brother after they were both orphaned, she is also very busy with her career and the H feels pushed aside. One day her brother gets into big trouble and as usual she goes to bail him out, the H tells her if she goes he will go find another woman. She leaves, he then gets involved with another supermodel and the tabloids plaster them all over the paper. She leaves him, believing him unfaithful. The story starts when the H blackmails her into moving back in and calling off the divorce because her younger brother got ahold of the H's credit card and spend several hundred thousand dollars which the h doesn't have. The have a lot of sex, a lot of fights about some stupid things, and then we have a quick secret baby plot on both the H and h's part, (she had a miscarriage, H's former model fling is living in his apartment building with a little boy), she gets lost in Portugal and can't figure out the satnav, he never really cheated and then HEA. The problem was, I just did not care. Neither the h or the H were sufficiently interesting enough to even wonder. They weren't terrible, they just were kinda bland.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2011 3:51:53 PM PST
Michigangirl says:
It sounds like there was just too much going on.

With her last book..uhm..the one in the series, I didn't really care for it either. I'm usually a big MR fan, though a few of hers have been stinkers. That one wasn't bad but I didn't know anything about the family, and it just seemed like I should have. More like it was a spin-off on a well loved story, and I should have read that story to appreciate this for the continuation.

Also, annoying siblings who always have to get bailed out of trouble, especially when they just need the strong hand usually dealt by the hero to put them into line, really really bugs me.

I entirely blame Helen Bianchin's Reluctant Captive for that. Her sister ruined me for all time on annoying siblings who have no appreciation for other people.

That said it's MR so I'll still get the book and read it.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2011 7:07:03 PM PST
Reader in NJ says:
Boogenhagen, I just finished it today myself. It left me a dissatisfied. I didn't care for the way the H spoke to the h -- regarding their problems in particular. The h was kind of "blah." And his explanation about why he didn't tell the h what was going on with his ex just didn't make sense. He had plenty of time to discuss that with her once they reconciled -- it seemed to be an "extra black moment" in the book right before the end that probably wasn't necessary. Definitely not one of MR's better books.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2011 8:07:12 PM PST
boogenhagen says:
I did not like the fact that he threw that "If you go to your brother I am going to find another woman at her." Obviously she was screwing up but that is no way to solve the situation. It would have been nice if she would have let her brother be arrested. Granted, it is a little extreme, but the kid knew what he was doing and the H was no prize IMO. The H was harping about her immaturity but I though he was the immature one. What kind of ultimatum is that? I would have left and just kept on going. She wasn't really personable though, just a bundle of lust with nice hair.
I did not really relate to her a lot of time. She was insecure, kinda washed out personality wise, and why does MR keep going on about high heels? In several of her recent books she has other characters making comments about the h's shoes, is she anti Blahnik or something?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2011 7:51:12 AM PST
SuzieBags says:

How did you read this, I see it's not due for release until 6/11?
Is the little boy his?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2011 9:16:56 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 11, 2011 9:17:38 AM PST
Reader in NJ says:
SuzieBags (I'm not Boogenhagen) but I ordered my book from "The Book Depository." They ship books from the UK to the US with no shipping costs. Whenever there is a M&B book that I want to read that won't be published in the U.S. as an HP for months I ususally order from them.

Edit: Not sure if this is OK to post here.

Posted on Mar 11, 2011 9:31:59 AM PST
SuzieBags says:
Thanks Reader in NJ, I'll check it out, I have little patience and seeing that you can get it early, wel yay for me =)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2011 9:55:58 AM PST
boogenhagen says:
Suziebags you can go to mills and boon and download too. (not Harlequin)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2011 10:15:39 AM PST
Reader in NJ says:
Boogenhagen, Sometimes I've found that with the exchange rates the M&B site is actually more expensive. The Book Depository is in US dollars so you can compare.

Posted on Mar 11, 2011 7:41:31 PM PST
I am on the mills and boon email list and I recently bought it at a discount for about $4. Its a little more expensive but I got the ebook immediately. So the price was worth it.

I only buy the ebook when I really, really want to read it and don't want to wait for it. Most of the time, I can wait for it.

Posted on Mar 12, 2011 7:14:29 AM PST
SuzieBags says:
Thanks ladies, as always you are the best!

Is the baby his?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 12, 2011 11:03:10 AM PST
Michigangirl says:
I'm voting no since it was stated that no cheating happened. He would have had to cheat in order for the baby to be his.

The wife's miscarriage was, the girlfriend's baby is not.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 12, 2011 1:07:37 PM PST
Reader in NJ says:
SuzieBags, Sorry - missed your question about the boy. No, the child is not his. He didn't cheat on his wife. Before he met his wife he had an affair with that woman.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 12, 2011 1:12:05 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 14, 2011 8:32:50 AM PDT
Reader in NJ says:
Boogenhagen, You brought up the point about her going to see her brother and the H throwing the ultimatum at her about looking for another woman. The h turned around when she was half way to her brother's. The H stopped with the OW when he was dancing and kissing her. But he compared the two as if they were similar -- because both of them changed their minds before they followed through. What kind of husband tells his wife he's going cheat if she goes to her brother's? I get that he was upset her, that he didn't like the fact that she was always running off to help brother but to threaten to find another woman and actually go through with at least part of that -- was so wrong.

This wasn't a situation where the H got drunk, didn't know what he was doing, etc... This guy said what he was going to do and went out to do it -- very deliberate.
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