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Search tags: Harlequin-More-than-Words-Series
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review 2015-03-23 13:04
Harlequin's More Than Words Series 2015 (Part V)
A Wing & A Prayer (Harlequin More Than Words) - Andrea Laurence

Name/Charity: Ann McGee/Miracle Flights for Kids

Website: www.MiracleFlights.org

 

Review:

This is my last More Than Words story for 2015; sadly, the year ends on a bad note. This book is painful to read (and not about the sick kid, Zack), socially awkward, but it is also filled with unlikeable characters, except Zack. Zack shows up as either 1) sick and in pain or 2) seen-but-not-heard background filler so that the MCs Jo (his mom, the "heroine") and Dylan (the "hero") can make out and do some heavy petting. Jo is just a pathetic character - no one around to help her with a sick kid other than the hero (not a friend, colleague, or family in sight even though she has lived on the island since Zack was born and is a teacher at the school), her ex-husband couldn't deal with Zack's cancer so he bailed on both of them and she is still bitter, she has no self-esteem, she needs Dylan to tell her to eat a meal so she can have the energy to take care of Zack, and she is just weak. I am tired of the isolated character device so that the heroine is forced to depend on the hero and the hero only to save the day. And Dylan is the type of guy who wants to fix everything and has a plan in place long before he talks it over with the heroine. Not necessarily an alpha-hole, just demanding. .5 star.

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review 2015-03-19 23:40
Harlequin's More Than Words Series 2015 (Part IV)
A Place in Her Heart (Harlequin More Than Words) - Trish Milburn

Name/Charity: Linda Burston/Women's Lunch Place

Website: www.WomensLunchPlace.org

 

Review:

A well written contemporary romance centered on reuniting old friends from high school. Needless to say, heroine (Katy) had an intense crush on hero (Cal) in high school and never said a word to him, even as he was leaving for basic training (he ends up a Navy SEAL). She ends up married to an abusive jerk and divorces him years later (after said jerk hit her in public and an officer on base caught him doing that - hello, dishonorable discharge). Katy ended up on the streets until she was introduced to the charity above. Cal is spending time with his family while on leave, so there is HFN ending rather than marriage-and-babies-in-the-epilogue HEA. The relationship was paced evenly and I like that HFN ending, but it felt average - 3.5 stars.

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review 2015-03-19 23:29
Harlequin's More Than Words Series 2015 (Part III)
Red at Night - Katie McGarry

Name/Charity: Nikki Berti/Goodie Two Shoes Foundation

Website: www.GoodieTwoShoes.org

 

Review:

Another well written YA book in the Harlequin More Than Words series. Very realistic and thought provoking look at young adults surviving and thriving despite falling through the cracks. Although their lives are not in the best, shiny of places while in their senior year, Jonah and Stella were such relatable and likeable characters. There was a snarky sense of humor that made me smile - not teenage brattiness, but just genuine smart-mouthiness that I can appreciate. And I ended up reading an excerpt from the author's next book (which was published in May 2014) and I want to read/glom all the McGarry works now. 4 solid stars.

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review 2015-03-15 21:37
Harlequin's More Than Words Series 2015 (Part II)
You Are Here - Liz Fichera

Charity: Cheryl Sesnon/Jubilee Women's Center

Website: www.JWCenter.org

 

Review:

For a contemporary YA centered around homelessness, this was a surprising good story. It was realistic and relatable - mounting medical bills and grieving loved ones' passing (Dad and Grandma within a year of each other). I felt Jennifer (also known as Abby) was pitch perfect as a teen struggling to make sense of the fallout during her junior year of high school. She made the best of her situation while also staying strong for her brother and her mother. I was not really feeling the budding relationship between Jennifer and Finn, so THE BIG MISUNDERSTANDING was eye rolling (spoiler: the other girl turned out to be his cousin! what a surprise....NOT). The brother was in middle school and also came across as realistic.

 

My main issue with this story was that of the mother. The mother worked as a realtor and she also flipped houses with her husband when he was healthy. The story takes place after the 2008 housing market meltdown and the family was caught by the short hairs. However, the mother nor the father (when he was healthy) were responsible with finances, resulting in buying a McMansion in a wealthy part of town for more than its worth, family vacations to exotic places, and buying Jennifer a horse (which they had to board at a nearby boarding farm). When the deaths happened and the market tanked, the mother went into denial mode and the family lost their house to foreclosure. Mother's denial included not opening any bill or envelope from the bank/assessor office/other lienholders and pretending everything is okay by using her credit cards. Just one big financial mess caused by someone who didn't fully grieve either death and lived life in a fog.

[spoiler]Before the foreclosure, the mother decided to pay the boarding fees on Jennifer's horse through the end of the summer so that Jennifer could keep riding - rather than, say, putting some money away because you are a realtor and know you are about to be foreclosed on...nope, horse stays, even if this stupid decision means your kids and you are living out of your car for the night and you spend a week in emergency homeless shelter.

[/spoiler]

 

The mother really doesn't get my sympathies. I worked in the mortgage industry just prior to entering the military and the shady stuff that went on in the run up to the housing boom...well, I am glad I got out when I did. One of those reasons I got out was because of professionals like the mother character. 3 stars.

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review 2015-03-10 11:29
Harlequin's More Than Words Series 2015
Never Too Late (Harlequin More Than Words) - Christi Barth

I just can't say no to free Harlequin stories, so here we go with another round of Harlequin's More Than Words series. The stories in the series are based on real life volunteers and their charities. Some are free, but all stories can be found in print for normal Harlequin anthology prices. This time, I am giving star ratings to my reviews, because I want to highlight what is good and bad with these stories; the star ratings have no relation with how I feel about the charities. As usual, I will provide links to the charities' websites.

 

Charity: Beverly's Birthdays (http://www.beverlysbirthdays.org/)

The charity provides birthday parties to kids who are homeless or in at-risk situations.

 

Review:

I hate it when I want to root for the hero to find another woman to love rather than the heroine. Chris was a wonderfully fleshed out character and had a past that closely tied in with the charity. He is professionally competent and owns up to his mistakes. Ali, the female MC, lives for drama and resides on Emotional Rollercoaster Alley. Her mood swings made me want to give her two Midol tablets and a punch to the throat. The author repeatedly told the reader that Ali was just as competent as Chris, but all the showing the author did spoke of her lack of skill in the profession. I honestly did not want to see Chris end up with emotionally unstable Ali. The author broadcasted the ending from the second chapter, and it was kind of cheesy.

 

I don't like this author's idea of "strong, determined" heroines being emotional basket cases, so I won't be reading anything more by her. 1 star.

 

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