Previous Mailbags:

June 21, 2005

February 14, 2005

November 8, 2004

August 24, 2004

  The Reviews
September 11, 2005
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Kate enjoyed THE REMARKABLE MISS FRANKENSTEIN by Minda Webber:

I totally agree with the reviewer on this book. I laughed so much that people were looking at me like I was crazy on the bus. It's definitely on my keeper shelf. Do you know if Ms. Webber is going to make this a series? I think it would make a great series.

Nanci didn't agree with our review of HER PERFECT EARL by Bethany Brooks:

I recently read HER PERFECT EARL by Bethany Brooks after reading the glowing review in The Romance Reader. I found the book less enjoyable than the reviewer. I wasn't able to get past the, to me, unbelievable plot points: The heroine expects to win the Classics Society prize (would a woman be allowed to enter, much less win?) and with the money, she expects to restore the badly derelict manor she owns (it must be one heck of a big prize!) and establish a school. And this woman, who will need a spotless reputation if she's going to run a school, needlessly conducts her searches for an ancient manuscript, Life of Corinna, in her nightclothes (and of course spends most of that time with the hero), not to mention the time she's in bed with the engaged-to-somebody-else Earl (and then literally 10 pages later accepts someone else's proposal of marriage.)

At the end of the book, our hero, the Earl, loses his ancestral estate with nary a thought to all those he employed (which I found distasteful.) The Earl had been planning to win the prize money himself and use it to bail himself out of debt (was this prize supposed to be tens of thousands of pounds?) but then it turns out that his teenage son wins the prize (would a minor have been allowed to enter or win this huge prize? Wouldn't a father have been in control of that money, had he won?) And to top it off, after selling off the family seat, the impoverished Earl and his bride and his five children move into the _six-bedroom_ ramshackle manor house/soon-to-be school. (Where are they going to put those students?)

Unlike your reviewer, I didn't find the main characters and their relationship appealing enough to overcome the distracting inconsistencies.

A reader enjoyed MY HERO by Marianna Jamison:

I totally agree with Judi McKee's well-rounded review of this book, which I am just about to finish. I can't believe this is the work of a first-time novelist! The story is engrossing, the characters are sweet and sensitive but humanly flawed, and what a surprise--for once, the sex isn't perfect and the heroine, Miranda, actually has problems which alpha-male Chas is ever so willing to help her solve.

I can't remember if I've ever in the past, in any novel, actually read that the heroine "isn't very good in bed." How refreshing! How totally realistic! How human!

And I, too, am frustrated (remember that I haven't quite finished the book) that these two lovers are so stubborn that they can't see the forest for the trees and that Chas, so totally in love with Miranda, is willing to let her go rather than fight for what he wants.

I'm about ready to throw something at him!

For once I have not sneaked a peek at the end of a novel, just to see that everything works out all right, but I'm assuming it will.

This is an extremely well-written book by a very talented new author, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. I give this book four-and-a-half stars!

This reader had a different reaction to MY HERO:

Is it me or was she putting down people who read romance novels??

On more than one occasion she makes reference to the type of people who read romance novels. It was more than a little bit annoying.

I thought the story was funny but dragged a little bit.

Thanks for letting me vent!

Editor's Note: You bet! We love hearing from our readers.

Nani loved WARPRIZE by Elizabeth Vaughan.

Having recently read WARPRIZE by Elizabeth Vaughan, I couldn't resist writing to wholeheartedly second your five-star review of this book.

All too often, "futuristics" as they are loosely catagorized, rely on what I would term retrogressive story lines -- an alien society in which big, strong warriors control all and women are powerless and/or valueless.

In this book, Elizabeth Vaughan has created a detailed, thoroughly satisfying, very different world -- and I was completely drawn into it. Far too rarely do I end a book with such a sense of satisfaction and with so much anticipation of another story to come!

I strongly encourage anyone who enjoys futuristic/fantasy novels to read this one.

Rhonda also loved WARPRIZE by Elizabeth Vaughan:

I have just read Warprize, a first novel by Elizabeth Vaughan. It is a great book, and I highly recommend it. I am a voracious reader of romance (20 plus books a month) and most of what I read these days is eminently forgettable. I loved the characters in this book and appreciated the real dilemmas represented by the coming together of two people from such diverse backgrounds. The fantasy world is carefully created and leaves lots of room for more development in future novels.

Carolyn disagreed with our 4 heart review of NOTHING TO FEAR by Karen Rose

This book sucked. The characters all suffer from not being able to communicate with each other. I hated it, I've burned it in a bonfire. It's definitely not worthy of being passed on to some unsuspecting reader.

Valerie disagreed with our review of DARING THE DUKE:

I have to completely disagree with your reviewer on this one, but then again, there is no accounting for taste. I personally found the story a lot of fun, and when the reviewer questions "(Why Travers and Maddox are in this together is another inexplicable plot element.)", I have to wonder if the reviewer actually read the entire book, as it is explained by Audrey, that Maddox needed money so he sold Audrey's and Faye's identities to Travers. What did she not get about that one?

Yes, Audrey does roam around London without a chaperone and she wears trouser, but HELLO, she is a thief! She is not a proper young lady. What is not clear about that point?

Why did Travers incarcerate Audrey & Faye under false names, well that answer was obvious to me, it was so no one else would find out their identies so he could continue to use them to steal for him. What did the reviewer not get about that?

I have often had trouble with the reviews on your site as it seems like your reviewers hate the books they read, and if they don't like the books, then why do they review them? I haven't been to your site in a long while, but this just reaffirms my belief that while it may be a site for reviews of romances that you don't particularly like romances in general so I will no longer peruse your site.

Editor's Note: Sorry you feel that way, Valerie, but TRR is a book "review" site; we review all the books we can, not just the ones we like.

Dawn Enjoyed THE ACCIDENTAL BRIDE:

I thought the book was great! As I am a Cleveland native myself, I found everything the book to portray Ohio as true and comical.

Another reader had this to say about THE ACCIDENTAL BRIDE:

Don't know when this review was written, but it couldn't have been more on the money.

I think I eventually started skimming because the actual reading was too painful. I'm an Ohioan (a transplant from Chicago) and while I prefer Chicago to Ohio by far, I thought her condemnation of the place was unduly harsh---and so off-target it was hard to believe the author had actually lived there herself. The worst part of it (for me) however was the compulsive allusion dropping and quoting. I suppose she thought it gave the book a sophisticated tone but it just came off like she wanted to beat into everyone's brains how educated she is. I've never read a book that was supposed to be so fun and have it turn out so pedantic and pretentious. Comparing anything in the book to Jane Austen is a slur on Jane Austen.

Anyway---when I had read other reviews prior to reading it they were all glowing. It was good to see someone who saw it for what it was, and was bold enough to say exactly what they thought. I only wish I'd seen this review before I read the book so I could've been better prepared.

Lisa recently discovered author Angela Knight:

I have just discovered this author, thanks to my favorite website, The Romance Reader! I have just finished Master of the Night and have Jane's Warlord ready to go, I am so excited to have found another great romance author, she reminds me a little of Dara Joy. I think this book deserves five stars. We are talking romance, here!! I did not find the story and characters too complicated to follow (the reviewer said it was too much) but I liked it. Enough said I am so thrilled to find someone new to read, thanks!

Carrol agreed with THE NOSY NEIGHBOR (by Fern Michaels) review:

I 100% agree w/your review. Although the book had some funny moments, I had to scratch my head a few times in wonder over Lucy's true intelligence! I love reading all the reviews on this site and use it as a tool in my search for great romances! Keep them coming!

This reader wrote to comment on THE CHARMER by Celeste Bradley:

I read through the early chapters of this book, and had to force myself to finish it; I do this sometimes as a self-punishment. The whole premise of this noble lord and this servant girl meeting together in a martial arts-type gymnastics class in training to be spies was to me incredibly ridiculous. Are we talking the Regency Period? That this servant girl could learn the habits and speech of the upper-class in so short a time was ludicrous. She had not been that directly exposed to this rarified environment while working as a servant and she appears to learn to ape their speech and manners in a flash. I must say that there were likeable aspects to each character, and that kept me reading to the finish. I would have liked them more had their relationship developed along different aspects, but then that would have been a different story.

This reader enjoyed THE PERFECT RAKE by Anne Gracie:

I agree wholeheartedly. A heartwarming, very very funny story. Loved it to bits and laughed out loud! (It`s a good thing I read it at home!). I also feel the sex scenes at the end were unnecessary.

This reader also enjoyed THE PERFECT RAKE:

I completely agree with your review of Anne Gracie's new book.I also started ordering her other books.Was very surprised by romantic times review of the book.It should have been a top pick.I find your rating system more along my line of thinking.keep up the good job.

MARIA enjoyed PASSION BY Lisa Valdez:

I have been a dedicated reader of historical romances for over 30 years now. Few books have excited me as this one has. I find myself reading it over again in between other books I read.

Ann is a Bertrice Small fan:

It is obvious that I have different opinions from any and all "critics" - be they movie-TV-music and now books. If I were looking for GREAT I wouldn't be reading "romance". I agree that the love scenes can be too much; but I find you can skim over them and still have a "good read".

Editor's Note: Ann, we disagree with you on "Great." There are many great romances and we have a page of five heart reviews to prove it.

This reader loved ORIGIN IN DEATH by J. D. Robb:

All I can say is "wow!" Nora Roberts (J.D. Robb) is right back on the money with this book. I'm hooked on the "In Death" series and I'd read them no matter what, even when they're not so good, but this one kept me riveted to every word. Incidentally, there was a lot less disgustingly bloody violence in this book, too, which was not a bad thing.

And as I'm sure other readers have noticed - the cloned bad guys may yet be back for another round. As the book ended, no one seemed to be quite sure if all of the cloned mad scientists had been caught...

The reader didn't love Nora Roberts' BLACK ROSE:

I agree that Roberts routinely produces good reads at an amazing pace. Just wish reviewer had had the chutzpah to give this a two-heart, or better yet, would the earth quake, a one-heart rating. This book is about as disappointing as The Reef, another Roberts' blooper.

Sometimes our reviewers get fan mail:

I'd rather read a review written by Judi McKee than many of the books I've picked up lately. Write On, Judi.......

and

This is a fantastic review. I laughed out loud at the "Whack a Maiden" reference. Cathy wrote of the features, flaws and foibles of the book in a way that was very human and enjoyable.

Well done!

But they don't always love us...

I just read a few of your reviews and must say they are putting me off because they are so cynic. Who wants these romances to be absolutely believable?

This reader loved HOMEPORT by Nora Roberts:

What can I say? If there was a 6th heart this one would get it. I absolutely love the lead characters in this book!

GRACE has these comments on our review of LADY SILENCE:

I'm sorry that in our own time of war a reviewer is still unable to understand the psychological problems of a returning veteran. Not all heros can, or should be, perfect.

A reader had these comments on our review of LOOKING FOR PEYTON PLACE by Barbara Delinsky :

As a rule your reviews are right on the money. However, let me set a record straight concerning your comments about Grace Metalious and PEYTON PLACE. When the book first came out, I hurriedly read it, looking for the salacious parts. About two months ago my son found a hardcover copy of PEYTON PLACE and RETURN TO PEYTON PLACE for me. The publisher explained that PEYTON PLACE is used in college classrooms now as an example of good writing. And I must say, I agree with the good writing part. Grace Metalious paved the way for what we read now. The story is well told, and beautifully written. It went straight to the number one spot on the NYT bestseller list and stayed there two years...a feat unprecedented at the time. People said it couldn't have been written by a woman, because it was too well written. Those of us who read it between working and raising children, read it in secret...skimming most of it to find the naughty parts, that today are tame compared to what we read.

I urge you to read PEYTON PLACE by Grace Metalious. It certainly was an eye-opener for me.

This reader is a Kim Headlee fan:

Kim Headlee - Obviously following in the footsteps of the delicious and delightful late great Queen of Romance – Dame Barbara Cartland.

Comments about our review of Exclusive: Reporters in Love…and War:

I can understand the confusion. If your reviewer's idea of a great time is “sipping white zinfandel” anything with more than a single layer of complexity would leave her head spinning.

Questions about missing authors:

I wish that you could have a segment to tell us readers what has happened to the authors that aren't writing anymore. Such as Jill Barnett, Rebecca Paisley, Teresa Weir. Where are they?

Editor's note: Theresa Weir is writing suspense novels under the name Anne Frasier. We have reviews on our sister site, The Mystery Reader. Readers, anyone have any info on the other two authors?

Editor's Note2: Author Lynn Kerstan sent this message:

"The wonderful Jill Barnett is still writing! Her latest book, Sentimental Journey (a hardcover lately released in paperback by Pocket Books) isn't the same kind of book she was giving us in the days of Bewitching and Imagine, but it is truly remarkable. Fans can learn more about her new direction, and why she took it, at JillBarnett.com.

Pat enjoyed BEYOND THE PALE by Savannah Russe:

I kept reading until it was finished - couldn't put it down. When is the next one coming out?

Editor's note: Her next title in the Darkwing Chronicles, Past Redemption, is scheduled for Spring 2006.

Terry wrote to comment on the review of MATCH ME IF YOU CAN by Susan Elizabeth Phillips:

"Annabelle Granger (who has red hair – a tribute to Harry Potter’s feisty Hermione Granger?) "

Hermione is a brunette. Ginny Weasley is the red-haired female student in Harry's circle.


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