Previous Mailbags:

February 14, 2005

November 8, 2004

August 24, 2004

  The Reviews
June 21, 2005
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We received an interesting letter from a reader:

I have a request. If you're going to print a reader's review in your Mailbag, could you please print only those with proper grammar and punctuation? This is so badly written, it's unbelievable to me that you printed it in Mailbag. I don't know whether the actual writer of the review wrote it so poorly, or something happened between her submission and your printing of the review, but it makes the reviewer look so uneducated and unintelligent that I can't even imagine taking her review seriously!

Editor's Response: This is a fine line for us. Basically, we will fix the odd typo or two, but rewriting our reader's letters, even for grammatical corrections, feels to us like we're crossing the line. We welcome comments to our Mailbag, and for the most part, will reprint them as written. Readers, thank you for your understanding!

Tricia offers some comments on TILTING AT WINDMILLS:

I read Tilting At Windmills last summer and thought it was an excellent read. There were parts in the book where I could chuckle out loud; as well as "tear-up". When I finished the book; ( I was disappointed when that happened) I passed it onto my mom. She enjoyed it as much as I did. I am not a trained critic; I just know what I like.

Janie enjoyed THE CHALLENCE, by Susan Kearney:

I gave it 5 stars, you folks just don't care for SF. I put this in my keeper shelf and I can't wait for the follow-up story.

PCheryl is a Nora Roberts fan:

One of my most favourite authors. I start each book thinking, shall I enjoy this, and then cannot put it down. Is there anywhere i can get a COMPLETE list of her works?

Ed. note: try her website at www.noraroberts.com

Jennifer was enamored of THE LIPSTICK DIARIES (we weren't):

I attended one of Lori Soard's Lipstick Diaries parties and purchased her book. I LOVED this story and the characters in it as well. Rarely have I read a review as devoid of truth as the one you just posted to your website. Do your reviewers spend their time thinking up nasti-isms to post about authors? I'll never visit again!

Andrea thought we were too kind to MUCH ADO ABOUT YOU:

I think that 4 stars is a bit generous for this book. It wasn't a bad read, but it wasn't 4 stars either. I think maybe about 3. My biggest problem with the book is the amount of read that passes before the hero and heroine even meet one another. I actually checked the back cover once because I thought I misunderstood who the hero would be. It turns out that that this is the second book I've read by Eloisa James. The first was His Wicked Ways. The truth is once I realized that she was the other of that book, which I read not too long ago I also realized that had I known this information I would not have bought the book. I find that I don't enjoy her writing style. I like my books to flow, and hers don't. It takes too long to get to the action, as I believe eventhe reviewer mentioned. I too would like to know about Ms Gillian Pythian-Adams, but I won't because I don’t want to read this author again.

Anne agreed with us about BIG STONE GAP:

Big Stone Gap was one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read. I rushed out to read the two sequels and loved them as well. I can't wait to see the movie, especially if the author has a fair amount of control. The romance is nice(!), but the introspection and the revelation of Ave's character is what really gets to me. I also found out that my dad wasn't my biological parent, and I also tend to try to make the people around me feel comfortable, at the expense sometimes of my own identity. So, I could relate on certain levels. In other ways, not at all. In any case, all three are terrific books!

Laurie wasn't impressed with DARK SECRET by Christine Feehan:

I am so glad not to be the only person on earth that thinks only the names and places change in these books! I don't even pick them up any more, because I'm sure the story will be the same. Thank you Judi McKee!

Irene had problems with DARK SECRET, too:

I agree. I loved these books to start with but now feel I could write it myself. I guess it must be hard to give up a tried and true synopsis though.

Penny is enjoying the RANDALL series:

I have just read your critic on the Randall series and found it unjust. I am a person who, has from the time of picking up the first Randall series Book"Cowboy cupid", absolutely loved these books. I have waited with eager anticipation for the following titles. I love nothing more than curling up on the sofa with a milo a small block of choc and a Brides for brothers book. This family is warm, caring and extremely believable. I have a large family myself and every new edition is welcomed with friendship and consideration. I applaud Judy Christenberry. This series is fantastic. I suggest your reviewer starts from the beginning and works her way through. For how can you appreciate something when you enter half way!

Cindy really enjoyed DUKE OF SIN:

I disagreed with your reviewer’s assessment of The Duke of Sin by Adele Ashworth. I enjoyed this book and read it nonstop – which is testimony in itself for the book’s emotional pull. I found the characters believable and complex. The story line was interesting and unpredictable. The only question I would ask is why no one knew of Vivian’s husband death 9 years earlier. Even though I disagreed with this review; I use your website as my primary source for romance novel reviews. Thanks to every one on your staff for all their hard work..

Sandra had an interesting reaction to Diane Farr's ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS:

I think Ms Farr read Georgette Heyer's Cousin Kate ( the worst Regency GH ever wrote ) and decided that she could do better. We've got the elements of Cousin Kate -The heroine a penniless orphan, and a wealthy relative swoops down like a Fairy Godmother and carries her off to live in her splendid stately home - but the older woman's 'kindness' is totally self-serving, as she intends to marry her off to her 'mad' son... Farr's version is much better.

Amy had her doubts about GOLDEN LEOPARD, by Lynn Kerstan:

I enjoyed a couple of early traditional Regencies by Kerstan and bought her Golden Leopard book with very high expectations. It has a place of distinction on my 10 stupidest books ever written list. IN GL she has her hero jump off a ship at midnight and sink to the bottom of the ocean to check and see which way to swim to shore. Oh, and this was in the last century and he wasn't wearing a tank. Or a mask. Or fins. And I guess the author thought (thinks?) the ocean bottom is a noticable wedge so it would be easy for the hero to get his bearings. Maybe she thinks there's stairs down there. And this is just one dumb thing in a book filled to the brim with really dumb things and a really dumb hero and a lot of dumb coincidence. So, I'm having trouble believing that the author who wrote that could do better at plotting a mystery/action adventure story.

Bernadette had some thoughts on TO DIE FOR, by Linda Howard:

Totally agree with Lesley Dunlap's review. I've read this book several times and each time I just can't stop laughing. The first person style of writing is unusual but definitely fits. I just love Linda Howard's bookings and writing style.

Amy commented on TO DIE FOR,:

Darling review, Lesley. And I agree completely; it was a great book. I'd give it five hearts though.

Sissy found ABIGAIL'S STORY a tough read:

I commend Lesley Dunlap on an excellent review of ABIGAIL'S STORY. I have the book but stopped reading at page 51. It is refreshing to read a review that tells the truth about a book, warts and all. I hate reading a review lauding a book, buying that book, only to have it be a big disappointment.

Margaret didn't care for TOTAL RUSH by Dierdre Martin:

I completely agree with Judi McKee's review of this book. Although, I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as she did. It's a bad sign when you find yourself skimming through a book just to be finished and done with it. Frankly, I don't believe it deserves even 3 stars. These two deserved to live alone with their whiny-ness.

Sharon enjoyed Nora Roberts' CHESAPEAKE series:

I just finished all four books in the Chesapeake series. I actually read the last book (Chesapeake Blue) first because when I bought it I didn't realize it was fourth in a series. I then went back and read all three of the preceding books. I was reluctant to finish Inner Harbor since I became so entwined with the Quinn family. I am seriously thinking of rereading Chesapeake Blue. I think I will get a whole new perspective after reading the first three books. These are the first Nora Roberts books I have read, but will certainly not be the last. She has a very insightful way of bringing her characters to life and leaves you wanting to meet them in person.

Carol wasn't impressed with SECRETS by Lisa Kleypas:

Being a fan of Ms. Kleypas, I was disappointed by this latest endeavor. I did not like Annabelle Peyton or her sanctimonious mother. I loved the hero and could not figure out the attraction to the heroine. My thoughts do not bode well for the series due to the fact that Annabelle's friends are as mercenary and unlikeable as the she and her mother; except for the one with the lisp. That may be an interesting read.

Terry is having fun with J.D. Robb's books:

I love the series. I am obsessed with these books. Eve and Roarke are a great combo and Eve's police work is outstanding. I especially like that she is her own woman, despite the fact that she has married someone who can provide her with everything. She keeps her independence and her toughness but yet she can be romantic, loving and caring. J. D. Robb gives us the perfect blend of action and romance. I am captivated by these stories. Please keep them coming!!!

Margaret loved MR. IMPOSSIBLE:

Reviewer Judi McKee hits the nail on the head with her right-on review of "Mr. Impossible" by Loretta Chase. I loved Rupert right off the bat in spite of his name. What an adorable guy. And the fact that he admires Daphne's "enormous brain" is just an bonus in his favor. And Daphne is a lovely person in her own right. Battling uphill odds against stupid males, she is following her star of studying Egyptology now that old Virgil has kicked the bucket.

The chemistry and verbal repartee between these two is nothing short of remarkable. I enjoyed every minute of it. This book goes on my keeper shelf. It certainly deserves it's 5 star rating.

Rowan had a question about Bertrice Small's books:

Greetings, ladies, and I hope this finds you all well.
I have been a regular visitor to the Romance Reader for many years now. It's my impression that the reviewers don't think too much of the work of writer Bertrice Small. Generally an overdose of purple prose and over-the-top erotica seem to be the problem. I've also noticed that no reviews for Small's more recent books (like the Friarsgate Inheritance) have been put online. I'm not a fan with an axe to grind, rather an avid reader who's curious as to whether her inklings are correct.
Thank you for your wonderful work!

Ed. Note: It's true that our reviewers haven't always cared for Ms. Small's books, but we don't deliberately avoid reviewing them. We receive more books than we can review each month, that's all. She'll undoubtedly be reviewed again here at TRR!

joeschmoe liked CAROLINA MOON:

your review is so right! I loved the book so much and I absolutely hate reading! I agree about Cade being the hero too.

Nancy wasn't a fan of A MOST UNSUITABLE MAN:

I disagree with the rating for this book. I am a person who starts a book and if it's good, I can't put it down until the wee hours of the morning. This book took me days to complete. It was boring.

Sue was annoyed by Cindy Holbrook's THE MISSING MATCHMAKER:

I was so incensed by the multiple errors in Holbrook's latest, The Missing Matchmaker, that I threw it away. Since no address of any kind was in the book, I tried the Kensington website, where her author page was last updated in 1998, and had no address! You can tell she really likes to hear from her readers. Real lovers of Regency romances should avoid any author who's heroine longs for a clifftop, seaside cottage in BATH!! The spelling errors are ridiculous: i.e. sent for scent, bows for boughs and daises for daisies, among others. Zebra Romances must not have any competent proofreaders! I got about halfway through the book because I do like a madcap tale, but when everyone - heroine, her aunt, the villains and support cast are crazy characters, it just gets to be too much!

Terry Ann liked HOLIDAY IN DEATH:

I love the Eve Dallas series. I agree whole-heartedly with the review and enjoy each and every addition to the series. Nora, this is a fantastic story and I love the way the characters develop from book to book. Eve and Peabody are as great a combo as Eve and Roarke. The two personalities compliment one another and make for extremely enjoyable reading. Of course the murder mysteries are always excellent. Thanks for the great reading and keep up the good work.

Lana liked DEADLY ILLUSIONS:

I visited your website for the first time and read your review of this novel. I think you review is unfair to the characters as you have not read the whole series. This is the seventh book and I think for any reader to appreciate the wonderful and complex characters and relationships in this novel, needs to read from the beginning.

Marion wasn't happy with SAVAGE DESIRE by Rosemary Rogers :

I couldn't have put it better myself. I agree with everything you have said about this book and I am only half way through it. I have never been so disappointed with a sequel in my life. I must finish this book having got so far with it, however the prospect fills me with depression and disappointment. Oh Rosemary what were you thinking?

Giulia didn't care for LADY OLIVIA TO THE RESCUE:

Hi, I found this book one of the most boring Regency romances I’ve ever read, the characters are monodimensional and you feel as the author had to fill up pages and did not know what to do.

Dawn recommends THE FIRE IN THE ICE by Katlyn Stewart:

I frequent your website often. Recently I read a book (a novel-contemporary romance) that blew my socks off. It is by Katlyn Stewart. I think she is a little known author but I am unsure. I saw a recommendation for the book under Full Bloom by Janet Evanavich. In any event The book is exciting and well written. I enjoyed it so much that even after I finished reading it, I could not stop thinking about the book. The name of it is Fire In The Ice.

Mary Lou is bugged by a particular problem:

I have a dinosaur of a pet peeve, and I am wondering if I am the only one. I love J.D. Robb’s (aka Nora Roberts) “In Death” series. I have most all of them except one, and have recently started collecting them in hardcover, having said that, I absolutely refuse to buy Survivor in Death in hardcover. Why? Because they (the publishers) started out with a certain cover for the series, and now, all of a sudden a different style of cover pops up. It’s okay for the paperbacks, they don’t cost $35. But to change covers when I’ve already bought 4 of the series in hardcover with a different cover just ticks me off. How about some continuity people!! There is a certain satisfaction that comes when you look at your shelf and see a series all lined up and colour co-ordinated. Now they’ve ruined that for me with this series.
I am the first to admit that I am a bit, okay very, anal about my books. So why did the publishers do this? It feels like a gimmick to get people to buy 3 copies of the series at least. I’ve already got two copies of each of the books, what more do they want???


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