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July 11, 2003

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January 26, 2003

  The Reviews
January 26 , 2004
------------------------------------------------ has several comments:

I love your site. Though I may not always agree with your reviews, most of the time you are right on. I have recently gone through your archives and read your reviews on a few Julie Garwood books. I could not agree more when you wrote that her characters and stories are becoming "been there, done that". All of her heroines have become the same innocent-yet-bold, smart-yet-dopey, women. And though she is, and will remain, one of my favorite authors, I would love to see her turn out a different sort of heroine. The old formula has grown stale. loved THE IDEAL BRIDE by Nonnie St. George:

I absolutely loved this book. It is fast paced, witty(outright laughter), full of characters that tickled me. Even the dog is a charmer. Am looking forward to her next writing. had this to say about THE IDEAL BRIDE:

Loved the sassy comment on the cover art. This reviewer struck me as a kindred spirit and I will trust her. In fact, I am going to check if she is published.

Ed. Note: Nope, only published on our review pages, but thanks for the compliment! liked SLIGHTLY TEMPTED by Mary Balogh:

I read this book several weeks ago and It was by far the best in the series. Morgan was so refreshing to read. Instead of swooning at the thought of war she tries to do her part and help with the wounded. It was a wonderful story and I found myself brought to tears on two occasions. Reading this book was certinanly a great way to spend my New Years Day! enjoyed an old favorite, JULIE AND ROMEO by Jeanne Ray:

I am reading it over...can't get enough...I can almost smell them, they are so close when you read it. I am guessing he is "Old Spice"..she is 'Beautiful" by Estee Lauder! Wonderful story! Thanks! didn't like WILD ABOUT HARRY by Linda Lael Miller:

I'm a great fan of L.L.Miller's. But I got a book of hers called "Wild About Harry", and I have to say what a lousy book this was. She started with a wonderful idea and when down from there.It constantly repeats itself. And you quickly get tired of it. I managed to finish it, and when I did I wanted to drop to my knees and thank the Heavens. This must have been one of her first books because it's so terrible. If I had read this book before reading others by her I wouldn't have ever bought another book written by her. enjoyed THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES by Sue Monk Kidd:

I just finished reading The Secret Life of Bees and so agree with the review! It's an absolutely fabulous coming-of-age story and so much more. I hated to see it end! liked TO THE NINES by Janet Evanovich more than we did:

As a fan of Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, I must disagree with Lesley Dunlap's three-heart rating. I thought it was a very well-put-together, funny installment in Stephanie's weird life, and I enjoyed it much more than "Hard Eight," which seemed more disjointed and formulaic to me. "To the Nines" also advanced the story in that Stephanie is starting to hear the tick-tick of her biological clock, definitely a new development.

Maybe this means that I like easy, written-to-formula books. Or maybe I read it on an easy-to-please day. Who knows? I get a big kick out of this series (though I will NOT pay for hard-cover) and I will always be looking forward to the next one. liked WHY GIRLS ARE WEIRD by Pam Robin:

As a 37 year old woman, I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Pam Robin. I had never read but had heard of her through I read, no, I devoured that book. There was alot in it that I related to and she made laugh out loud. Connecting with other people is so hard in this day and age unless you hang out at bars and the such. The internet is such a great tool for sharing ideas and experiences and making one feel less alone in that action.

As an assistant manager at Barnes & Noble, I have put this book on my Staff Recommendation without any qualifiers. You should have done the same in your review. loved BIG STONE GAP by Adriana Trigiani:

I loved the novel Big Stone Gap. It was so much fun to read. I found the novel delightful just like the town and people of Big Stone Gap. The novel seems to pick up a lot of the essence of the Big Stone Gap area, which makes the novel appeal to me even more. The people in the novel seem like real people instead of just characters. They are just like someone I might have met on the streets in Big Stone Gap, and they are unforgettable, especially Ave Maria. I guess one of the reasons for my reaction to the novel, except for the fact that Adrianna is a talented writer, is I had the good fortune to spend some time in Big Stone Gap in the summers of 2000 to 2002 when my husband Charley-John Smith directed Big Stone Gap's outdoor drama Trail of the Lonesome Pine that is included in the storyline of the novel. I am certainly glad that Adrianna has continued to write in the novel genre. I also read Big Cherry Hollow, her sequence to Big Stone Gap. Although I have not had the chance to read her last novel, I will, and I would recommend her novels to anyone who enjoys a good novel.

Also, I am an English instructor at Vance Granville Community College in Henderson, North Carolina and I think I know a well-written novel when I see one. I hope Adrianna continues to write. thanked us for reviewing THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE by Audrey Niffenegger:

I would probably not have picked up this book at the library if I hadn't seen the five-heart review in TRR, so thank you for bringing it to my notice. Even knowing that under the circumstances the ending could not be truly happy, I enjoyed the journey through the book very much. Kudos to Ms. Niffenegger for not trying to explain the paradoxes of time travel, but simply stating that they exist, and perhaps leaving it to the reader to iron out the "how and why." I loved the book and would highly recommend it to science fiction fans who enjoy a healthy dose of love and romance as well. had fun with OUT OF THE SHADOWS by Kay Hooper:

I thought that Out Of The Shadows was an amazing book. It put horror, suspense, and romance in one book. I've read the book three times already and I'm absolutely in love with it. I love all the characters, they all seem so real. I'm fifteen years old and I didn't think anything was too gruesome. I think the book was perfect! I give a big ups to Kay Hooper and I'm looking forward to more exciting books from her! enjoyed WHEN A TEXAN GAMBLEs by Jodi Thomas:

I totally disagree with the rating that the reviewer placed on this book. I found the book entertaining and a good read. I read the previous story, and found this one to be a good follow on. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. has this to say about Kathleen Eagle's last two books:

There are some authors whose books I buy on their names alone. However, if I am disappointed in two books (in a row) I go back to "considering" whether or not I'll buy a book with their name on it. Unhappily for me, Kathleen Eagle has entered the "considering" category. I didn't find ONCE UPON A WEDDING satisfying and NIGHT FALLS LIKE SILK was boring. I had no feelings for either of the main characters. (For most of the story I didn't know who "Victor" was and quite frankly, I didn't care!) I will take a long look at the next K. Eagle before I buy. didn't care for SINGLE WHITE VAMPIRE by Lyndsay Sands:

Anne Bulin did a great job of reviewing this book, though I would have given it a two heart rating. Sands, in her historical writing has been funny and her characters endearing. But the last two books, both contemporaries, have been the worst books I've read in a long time. I didn't even make it through Vampire. I got so bored with it, I finally skipped to the end, read the last chapter, then threw the book in my "get rid of" box. Hopefully, Ms. Sands will go back to the historical writing that is enjoyable and where her true strengths are. just found Emma Jensen:

For some unknown reason, I have missed Ms. Jensen's work and have by accident found her. Best Laid Schemes is a charming romp with wonderful characters and exceptional writing. I am in the process of obtaining some of her backlist. Thoroughly enjoyable writer and story.

Caron (Todd) Hart appreciated our review of her book:

It never seems right to me to comment on reviews, so I hope you don't mind that I am! Shirley Lyons' review of my October Superromance, "The House on Creek Road" was so thorough, balanced, and fair that I just want to mention how much I appreciate it. comments on Diana Gabaldon's LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER:

I appreciate your review Susan Scribner. I await, like many, the return of Jamie and Claire's story. I have not and will not read any of Lord John Grey's story until Gabaldon completes her series on Jamie and Claire. But I also have no interest in homosexual stories either. I want romance and history between men and women, not between men and men. summed up her reaction to TICKET HOME by James Michael Pratt:

AMEN! to all you said. I thought it was just me! I am only about 1/3 of the way through...but I have had enough. Now that I know it doesn't get any better, I won't have to finish it. liked SUNSHINE by Robin McKinley:

Hello, I'm a big time fan of Robin McKinley and I really enjoyed Sunshine. I think that RM enjoys creating her worlds and yes, Buffy fans and most people who are used to plot -intensive fast moving television programs and Hollywood movies won't like Sunshine or even her other works. But I found it extremely stimulating and I enjoyed the embellishments on the world she had created and I am glad for the lack of physical romance in her novels since I read them for the enjoyment of the story, not for cheap thrills. She will not commit to writing a sequel because she does not plan her stories, they come to her. But she said she hopes she can write another one.

I find that RM enjoys writing just to write and often I can really sympathies with her characters. I can see how other people might not be able to do this but it's their loss.

Actually what I think is that instead of trying to cut out all the story telling and the thinking that Sunshine does, the book should have just been longer. I felt like it was unfinished. Although loose ends don't always bother me. I don't feel like every story needs to be resolved. That is also a very typical western way of reading and viewing films. But I felt very sad at the end of the book because I wanted to read more. I really enjoyed being in that world and I felt like I could have continued being in that world, not necessarily to fill in the gaps but because I thought there could have been so many other stories.

I'm sorry I don't have your lovely rhetoric but I felt like I should express my view since it's a bit different than yours. Thanks for listening. didn't care for Joan Wolf's THAT SUMMER:

Pretty much all of Joan Wolf's efforts have been on my "keeper" shelves for some time but this book just failed in almost every way. The heroine's blind-sighted love for Liam seems ridiculous in a modern construct; this is not a woman who grew up in a small village with no outside influences (like TV or the general media) to tell her that it's not OK to moon after a man who didn't care for her. If Liam had say, saved her life, or done something heroic to merit that kind of worship, maybe it would have been believable but this.....was just too much (or really, too little).

Additionally the murder mystery was interesting (and seemed a little too much like the Skakel/Martha Moxley story for me) but the having the murderer be the drunken mother was a bit ridiculous and certainly anti-climatic. It's a shame that it seems like this book was a puzzle with just a few missing pieces. Put in a piece about HOW or WHY Ann worshiped Liam, it would have been fine. Explain a little better How or WHY Liam's mother was the murderer may have made that part of the plot work better, but I doubt it. It simply didn't make sense for her to have done it. And to let the smiling, successful actor cousin simply slip away at the end of the book without even a good bye......just seemed anti-climactic.

Joan - you're so talented........maybe you need a better editor! agreed with us on THAT SUMMER:

Bravo to Jean Mason...I review for another site and recently read Wolf's That Summer. I was less kind than Ms. Mason. That Summer was, quite simply, horrible. If I hadn't been reading this work for a review, I would have thrown it against a wall. Ms. Mason did a great job with this book is having some problems iwth SWEAR BY THE MOON by Shirlee Busbee:

I am currently reading Swear By The Moon by Shirlee Busbee, and I must say I may not even finish it. I have pretty much figured out the plot as to the death of Alfred Hirst, which is pretty transparent really. That being the most interesting thing in the whole book, and knowing who did it, I find it redundant to continue reading it. As far as the rest of the story, no big surprises seem to be lurking--it's the classic story of an independent thinking beauty who gave her heart to the wrong man and vows never to trust another man again, but then lo and behold, along comes just the one to change her way of thinking. He, too, is reluctant in the love department, but then lo and behold, he meets his match in the lovely mysteriously enchanting heroine. So very predictable and cookie cutter format. The one bright spot I find is I didn't pay full price for the hardcover edition, it was part of an introductory offer to a romance book club. loved HOPING FOR HOPE by Lucy CLare:

I loved this book and told many friends about it. It's not typical of the books I read but I couldn't put it down.] loved Lorraine Heath's Texas Trilogy

My hat is off to Ms. Heath who is wonderfully brillant writer. I do agree with your final statement. I would hate to loose touch with this family also. I loved these stories so much that I found myself crying just because I was finishing the series although I have read them over and over again. I do very much hope she continues. liked our review of OUT OF SIGHT:

I haven't, as yet, read Cherry Adair's books, but I wanted to let you know, reading your review gave me the best laugh I've had reading a review in awhile. Thanks! enjoyed SEABISCUIT, by Laura Hillenbrand:

A great story..if you investigate the lives of these people after Seabiscuit you will find the saga never ends including "Red's" daughter, Nora, who becomes an award-winning poet,,,,,it just keeps getting better. Thanks for a great review on a great story, commented on our review of FAST WOMEN by Jennifer Crusie:

I just read it. I agree with your review. If the genre isn't established yet - and it certainly hasn't a brand name - it's a romantic mystery comedy. Very good. I appreciate your site. Thanks. disagreed with our review:

I disagree with Jean Mason’s review on Karen Robard’s PARADISE COUNTY. I check your site often to see if a book is worth my time and I consider a two heart book “not worth my time.” When I see two hearts, I think of poor writing, weak plots, poor character development and low intrigue. Luckily, I read the book before I saw that review. I believe it is the responsibility of the reader is to decide on whether the content is something they would like. Although, I don’t care myself for stories about sexual predators and serial killers, I found this book a very enjoyable read and was held in suspense at the very end on how it was all going to work out. I believe this book should have received 4 hearts, but we all agree to disagree. Viewpoints are always different—thank goodness! liked Celeste Bradley's THE PRETENDER a lot less than we did:

"Full of wit, charm, humor, and a spectacular romance, The Pretender gets my vote as the best historical romance of the year to date."

These are the glowing words your reviewer, Cathy Sova, wrote about Celeste Bradley's book. I firmly disagree. While Bradley's writing style is very readable, I had a real problem with the implausible storyline. Rarely did the story successfully capture an 1813 Regency atmosphere. Our heroine, Agatha, is able to transform an uneducated, lower class chimney sweep into a gentleman in mere weeks while falling in love along the way. Not once does she question how easily she's able to achieve this... nor is barely a mention given to their class differences. These characters flit from one unbelievable setting to another. Especially Agatha..... my dislike for this character escalated with each chapter. The Pretender was an extremely tedious read. Five stars! .....what were you thinking Cathy Sova? comments on the genre in general (we think):

Now, I agree with you - hell, plotwise, these romances aren't exactly up to snuff, and the girls in the stories really need to get out more. But then, these types of romances are really like cheap chocolate when you need a quick fix. They're not supposed to be particularily intelligent -just stuffed with romantic scenes and inuendos! commented on NIGHT WATCH by Suzanne Brockmann:

Boy did Ms. Dunlap hit the nail on the head with her review of this book. Unlike her, I've read most of this series. Like her, Wes Skelly is my least favorite of the SEALS. Also, her opinion of Lana Quinn was right on. I thought the same thing when I read that Lana knew Skelly was in love with her and was keeping him in the background for just in case. The woman is a psychologist/psychiatrist and should be a better woman. She has really been lowered in my opinion. Thank goodness Wes went for the right woman, at last. The 3 star rating is perfect.

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