Previous Mailbags:

July 11, 2003

Jan. 26, 2004

April 12, 2004

  The Reviews
August 24, 2004
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mgineman@iat-harco.com had this to say about Laura Kinsale's SHADOWHEART:

I do love her books also, but I did have trouble with the love scenes and sadomasochism. It was good, but not as good as my two all-time favorites: THE SHADOW AND THE STAR and FLOWERS FROM THE STORM. In THE SHADOW AND THE STAR, I loved the character of the man and the insights into what happened to him.

eggleston@primus.com.au also enjoyed SHADOWHEART:

Like Deann Carpenter, I had to take my time with this book. Unusually for me, given my normal reading habits, I found my bookmark appearing between the pages unexpectedly often. Elena and her sudden conversion from innocent rustic virgin to madam of rough sex was a bit of an ask, even for a writer of Kinsale's calibre. The progression, if it happens at all, is usually more gradual in one's personal sexual life, and tends to be in the nature of spice rather than meat & three veg. This was my only cavill about "Shadowheart." Allegreto was gorgeous, the plot was great, and I can't wait for Laura Kinsale's next book.

r.morenz@sympatico.ca was also impressed with SHADOWHEART:

I really enjoyed Laura Kinsale's Shadowheart. I'm glad I read the review first since I think I needed the warning re S&M. Once I got over that I could understand why someone as twisted in infancy as Allegretto could not be a normal lover. To me their relationship made a lot of sense since consensual S&M has to involve an enormous amount of trust on the part of both partners, and Ms. Kinsale made that very clear in her love scenes. I'm so glade that Ms. Kinsale's writer block is over and I am looking forward to her new books. She is definitely a keeper.

cb4cats@msn.com thought we were off base:

I just want to say that I totally disagree with your review of Never Change. I think it all worked wonderfully well, and I adored it. I've never read any other books by Berg, but this one I'd refer to all my friends. It saved my from more thinking of how to "do away with myself". I cried and I loved the book, more than I can say, and I want to tell that to Elizabeth Berg. I want to thank her for saving my life.

tarachr@frontiernet.net wasn't impressed by A GIRL'S GUIDE TO VAMPIRES:

This book came highly recommended on other sites--boy you're the only one to get it right. Through this entire book, I kept thinking "this is why we are called ugly Americans--Dumb and Dumber is right". Thanks for a review right on the money.

carol852@comcast.net enjoyed MISS WONDERFUL:

I absolutely agree with the review. The book is a keeper for me and I loved the characters, the plot and I love Loretta Chase. Alistair and Mirabel are great characters, as well as the supporting cast. Both fathers could have been unlikable but redeemed themselves regarding their children's welfare. Where would Alistair be without Crewe? I loved this book.

mams_bsa@nwoca.org had a comment on THE IDEAL BRIDE:

Another quibble with the cover: the hero's hair is described as a dark red or auburn, and the guy on the cover has dark brown hair. Do the artists even READ the book first?

Asonnie91@hotmail.com] commented on THE PENWYTH CURSE:

This book is the latest of the books that I've read among Catherine's books even though it's not the latest one published. I can say that it pleases my taste for a book with tons of magic and mayhem. It satisfied my hunger for this kinds of books and stories. Even after I finished reading the book, I was still in that place and in taht time where Catherine has plotted the story. The parts which I really liked best was Breacia and the Prince's time. Most of the magic and fun where plotted there and most of all, it was in there time which the Penwyth Curse started. For a while there, Catherine's way of writing made me think that Bishop was the Prince's reincarnation or something due to his many extraordinary abilities. For now, I can say that this is one of my favorite and cherished books from her collection of books that I have read yet.

short_n_sweet_n_shy@yahoo.com liked KISS OF THE NIGHT:

I have read this book and think it was great. It's a break from the same old plot lines, I have been buying fewer books because they are about the same old thing. These books are a freshing change. I think it should have rated higher. I will be looking to buy her early writings on this series.

sierra1355@yahoo.com gives a thumbs-up to BLUE SKIES:

I just finished reading Blue Skies and I want to give my personal review of the book. I for one think it should be given 5 stars. The book has been rated by one other person at this time and I think gave an unfair review of this book. To say you don't like a book is one thing but to rip it to shreds is uncalled for. Yes there are books I don't particularily care for but I would never deliberately set out to hurt an author by writing a long boring critical letter on how the author writes about handicapped people. Yes I am handicapped and I applaud an author who cares enough to let the world know that we have feelings, fall in love and overcome personal tragedies in our lives. I was introduced to Catherine Andersons books when I was given a copy of Annie when I was in the hospital and I read the book and was hooked on this author. Blue Skies follows a series of books and I was not quite finished the books that preceeded it because I am limited by my health problems that I cannot hold a book for long periods of times. But after reading the the first and only review so far for Blue skies and seeing how the writer personally attacked the author for writing about handicapped people, I put my other book down and started on Blue Skies. I loved it and felt it was a very good book and very heart warming. Sadly not all of us are fortunate like Judi that we cannot live a normal life but one filled with pain and other problems but I am a caring person and give this author praise for the stories she writes. I enjoyes this book and am anxious to read the latest book Bright Eyes. Thank you Catherine for your writing skills and for being such a kind and caring person. I give this book the highest rating of 5 stars.

Ed. Note: while we may not care for a book, we never "deliberately set out to hurt an author". Our review, if it's the one you are referring to, focused on writing cliches and the heroine's character. Is it the one you had in mind?

ATroth@jenkens.com had this to say about BLUE SKIES:

First and foremost, I enjoyed the book from cover to cover. After reading several of CA's books (out of order unfortunately), I have become a fan. It's indeed refreshing to read a romance where the main characters are not perfect people in perfect bodies with to-die-for financial means but who have physical disabilities and problems that hundreds of thousands of us face. Before reading this book, I would never have known about lattice dystrophy or even have considered the day to day challenges that it presents, much less thought about the complications with romance thrown in the mix. Having said that, I must admit that I found myself bogged down several times in the health insurance issues, the graduate school problems and the layers of complications that Carly's pregnancy brought with it. After all is said and done, however, one of the reasons I read is to temporarily forget my own everyday problems and escape to a world where dreams really do come true (okay, okay--I know that's trite, but it gets the point across). It is apparent that Catherine Anderson has a tender heart for those with physical challenges as well as a gift for sharing their problems with her readers. She is to be commended for venturing into these unchartered waters. I hope she continues to write in this particular genre.

Catx26xfish@aol.com likes Victoria Alexander's works:

Maybe mood is all, and I was just in the mood for screwball comedies that have no historical basis, etc. Nevertheless, I think you were too harsh on Victoria Alexander. I quite enjoyed her "The Husband List", "The Wedding Bargain", and "The Marriage Lesson". I very much appreciate a well researched historicial. I also appreciate very much being made to laugh, and to shiver with barely suppressed lust. To Victoria Alexander: Normally, I write my fan letters directly to the author, but in this case I was researching to see what of yours I should read next. Naturally, I had to defend you since the reviewers disliked the named works. I hope you will continue to write books that make me laugh and lust.

Bibiana.Behrendt@gmx.de wrote to us about THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF:

I can understand why you rate a book so high because, as you put it: "The author does an great job of bringing the Native Americans to life and intertwining their real lives with the fictional story." Unfortunately for me, being German and having grown up not far away from Baden-Baden, the whole idea that children of the Royal House of Baden (who resided in Karlsruhe, not in Baden-Baden) are named Alathom and Sierra is utmost ridiculous. As is the idea that an American Indian would be educated along with the prince. Not to mention the treatment as a "brother". I normally have no problem with stories set in fictional small principalities or duchys of Germany or Europe. There were enough of them, unfortunately only till 1802 - but at least they existed and some still do it like Luxembourg or Liechtenstein. But there are authors like Julia Ross (My Dark Prince) who do a thorough research about Christian names, titles, traditions, court rules etc. and invent a fictional, but believable place for their story and others who don't because obviously they have no concept of Europe's history at all. Otherwise this author would at least have invented the state in question, not simply taken one of the most famous spas of these times. Greetings from Germany!

vheleneis@earthlink.net loved SLIGHTLY DANGEROUS:

Right on! I fully agree with you. I am on my third re-read of 'Slightly Dangerous' and am still discovering layers of feelings. What a rich book!

carol852@comcast.net thought THE BEST LAID SCHEMES was great:

This book is on my "keeper shelf". I enjoyed the story and her writing, both unique and well balanced. It is laugh out loud hilarious because of the priggish nature of Tarquin and Sibyle trying to be on her best behavior. The supporting characters were, at times annoying but added a great deal of tongue in cheek to the plot. I loved the hero's brother and mother. A verey satisfying read. I would have given it 5 stars.

ket2567@houston.rr.com] had this to say about FEVER DREAMS:

I'm glad to see that Laura Leone is getting the respect and the attention she deserves. I first read the review of this book many years ago at TRR. I do have a problem with the sensuality rating that was given to this book, however. It really isn't PG but more like PG-13. Sensuality ratings for some readers is very important and I'd hate for anyone to think that this book was anything less than PG-13. I thought the scenes in this book were very hot and would warrant an R-rating too. Thanks.

Catx26xfish@aol.com is struggling with THE SHERBROOKE BRIDE:

This is my first Catherine Coulter. It is also one of the few romance novels I am tempted to stop reading. I thought Coulter was so respected and all. I have deliberately refrained from reading her because I expected to be mad for her once I entered her considerable backlist. What the heck? Is it me?

lafco@lalafco.org liked our review of CHARMED AND DANGEROUS:

I just have to say this--the review by Judi McKee is hilarious!! I will make sure I run from this book. You guys are the best!

AnnRoseDR@aol.com disagreed with us on KISS ME WHILE I SLEEP:

I totally disagreed with your review of KMWIS. The characters were not only unsympathetic, they were shallow and boring. It seems to me that Ms. Howard threw this together without much enthusiasm and it shows. It doesn't compare to her last novel, Cry No More, which was totally enjoyable.

AGAdawgwood@aol.com commented on our reviews in general:

Just a short note to let you know I appreciate this site...you are so right that it is hard to find info on romance. I would love more recent updates on new releases...I scour book store for new books by my favorite authors and love the new releases section...but have found several new releases before they are even posted on your site....Even still, I love the reviews and want to express my thanks.

chucksue@inreach.com loved FLIP-FLOPPED:

Loved this novel!! Wish there were more references to the beautiful islands. Humor about the Hawaiians was so great! So many lines cracked me up. Loved Lawrence's line about untying the yellow ribbons from Regatta's salon chair. Bring on more novels, Jill! Love the Hawaiian setting especially. Thanks for a lot of fun and laughs!

PDombrowski@hflenz.com agreed with us on THE GOODBYE SUMMER:

Susan's review of Patricia Gaffney's latest novel is right on. I have read everything that Gaffney has done - even tried one of her romance novels (which in my opinion was a waste of her talents) and Circle of Three had me totally enthralled by the richness of the characters. Then with Saving Graces, there was still something in Gaffney's narrative that touched my soul. But this main character to me is empty and excuse me, pretty pathetic. Shame on Patricia Gaffney, I know she has more talent that that.

mrsmel88@sbcglobal.net commented on TRR in general:

Ladies, You are sooooooooooo good with your reviews. I always agree(is that good or bad?) A few times I have been burned (I brought a bad book withour reading your review). When I started reading historical romances a few years back, I subscrbed to romantic times magazine. Their reviewers have yet to meet a book they didn't like. Sometimes I think they stick in a bad review just to look good. Unfortunately, pr has a lot to do with an author success plus if a publisher whats to push someones work. (ie. to this day I don't understand how Nora Roberts, Amanda Quick and Elizabeth Lowell stay on the best seller list) a so so author will come out on the bestsellers list. Thanks for the honest reviews. It's a shame so many really good authors go over looked.


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