Category Archives: Bantam

Time enough for love

Category Romance Review: Time Enough For Love by Suzanne Brockmann

Time enough for love
Time Enough for Love, Suzanne Brockmann, Loveswept, 1997, Ed Tadiello cover art

Loveswept #858

MILD SPOILERS 😉

5 stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

Time for Something Different?

Bantam’s Loveswept category romances might not have been as big-selling as Harlequins or Silhouettes. Still, their output of almost 1,000 books over 16 years gave rise to many popular and successful authors like Iris Johansen, Sandra Brown, Janet Evanovich, and Suzanne Brockmann. The line gave writers more freedom to stray from traditional series restrictions. 1997’s Time Enough For Love by Suzanne Brockmann is a different kind of love story for that era, as it entails time travel plus a love triangle. Between one woman and two versions of the same man!

Maggie Winthrop finds a naked man on her property screaming about the apocalypse. He swears he’s from the future. Like any sane woman, her first instinct is to call the police (but first, maybe a peek won’t hurt. The guy’s body is incredible!)

Does she know this man? The weirdo acts as if they’re good friends. He says he’s Chuck Della Croce. Maggie knows Charles Della Croce, doesn’t she? But this man is not Charles, even though he is. But he’s also Chuck. To Maggie’s amazement, Chuck can predict incredible events before they occur. How is this possible?

It’s because Chuck IS Charles who used a time machine to travel from a time seven years from now into the present that is 199X. (Is your head starting to hurt?)

Time For Two Heroes

Chuck’s creation of said time machine caused a terrorist cell to overthrow the Whitehouse, topple the US government, and take over the United States. Chaos reigns and the only way to put an end to the madness is to stop it from happening in the first place.

Chuck has come back to 199X to make sure his past self doesn’t create that time machine. He knows that present Charles has a secret crush on Maggie, so he will listen to what she has to say. But Maggie, who has no clue about Charles’ feelings for her, isn’t sure she’s up to that task.

Maggie and Chuck spend time together, plotting out their plan. As they do, Maggie can’t help but have feelings for this handsome, tormented traveler from the future that may or may not be.

Eventually, Maggie goes to Charles, whose entire life is his work, and begs him to–well, to stop working. Charles can’t believe what he hears or sees. This is a rare romance (a rare book, for that matter) where the main character meets an older version of himself. Or younger. It all depends on your perspective.

There’s also a shadowy agency after the group to add a little bit of suspense to this short 210+ page book.

As the action unfolds, Maggie is drawn close to both versions of Mr. Della Croce. She is in a love triangle that transcends alternate personalities. He’s the same man, just in two bodies! Chuck, who’s from 7 years into the future…and Charles, who is Chuck in the present day.

It’s weird because Brockmann had me rooting for Chuck, but knowing that to be with Chuck, Maggie had to be with Charles, but–

Final Analysis of Time Enough For Love

I won’t spoil any more for you! Give this one a chance, now that it’s readily available in e-book format. I loved the premise of this romance. It was like “The Terminator” but with 2 Kyle Reeses.

Often, time travel romances are dicey for me. Especially when it’s the heroine traveling back in time and acting all out of place, wondering how she got to the past. Thankfully this book is the opposite of that. Because of the brevity of this Lovewsept romance, there’s no time for silly questions. They have a world to save!

I had so much fun with this. There was plenty to enjoy: the unique premise, the strong writing and characterization, the conflict Chuck feels about the woman he loves falling in love with a him that isn’t himself…

I adored this one. I could kick myself in the rear for selling that hard-to-find original copy I had of Time Enough for Love, but my thighs won’t let me reach!

Lightning that lingers

Category Romance Review: Lightning That Lingers by Sharon and Tom Curtis

MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book

Lightning That Lingers by Sharon and Tom Curtis (aka Laura London) has received acclaim from many readers. By no means was this a terrible piece of fiction, but I found it didn’t mesh with my personal tastes. This book laid the schmaltz on thicker than, well, schmaltz.

There must be something the matter with me. The Curtises are beloved in the romance genre. The consensus seems to be that they are one of the greatest things in romance since Jane Austen. As far as their composition skills go, they’re very sensitive and attentive to detail. The Curtises certainly don’t lack talent.

There was just something too treacly about this one for me. I coined the term “cutsie-woostsie sugar” shock after reading Lightning that Lingers. I’m a bitter GenXer, so perhaps my sarcastic takes have made me too apathetic to enjoy a cavity-inducing love story like this.

The Hero

The hero, Philip, is from a once proud and wealthy family. Now he’s all alone and broke. He lives in his massive, run-down mansion he wants to renovate. Since he’s the most handsome man in the world, he turns to stripping to rake in the big singles dollar bills.

Before you think he’s just doing it for the money, let me tell you, why yes, he is doing it just for the money.

Philip’s not materialistic, as his true love is biology and animals. He’s hoping to go into that field to help conserve nature. First, he has to make his home a showpiece again. Then he’ll use the money from the manor to save wildlife.

His house, by the way, is full of critters, including an owl. I thought that was odd. Dude, if you’re trying to renovate your old mansion into something nicer, maybe you should not have animals in there crapping all over the place.

This is my hang-up, I know, I couldn’t take Philip seriously. If he had been an outright gigolo, dating women for cash, I would have found that a more interesting tale. The conflict of a nice guy doing “bad things” for a good reason would make for a complex plot.

I’m just not into the Chippendale vibe. I never went gaga for the Magic Mike movies. This is just my bias, but I’m not into a hero who waxes his butt, puts on a g-string, and grinds his pelvis for cash in front of a group of screaming, feral females. Not that I need an “alpha male” in my love stories, but whatever Philip was, I wasn’t into it.

I kept thinking about that old Saturday Night skit with the late Patrick Swayze and the late Chris Farley, imaging Philip like this:

Chris Farley and Patrick Swayze Stripping

The Plot

Anyway, about this silly story, Lightning That Lingers. The heroine, Jennifer, is a very young children’s librarian who is incredibly shy.

As a gag, her friends take her to a totally nude (!) strip club, appropriately named The Cougar Club. As she watches the stage, her eyes meet with Philip’s, and practically faints away with the vapors.

Philip sees this and whisks her off to his magical home with said resident owl and bird crap splattered all over the place. Jennifer is awed in wonder at his beautiful face and his–er–beautiful home.

Philip and Jennifer embark on a romance that is supposed to be very moving. However, it was just rainbow and unicorn farts for me. He adores Jennifer’s naivete and innocence, and Jennifer likes…Philip’s everything.

white and pink unicorn plush toy lightning that lingers

Final Analysis of Lightning That Lingers

Can Philip give up stripping, perhaps develop some valuable skillset (like washing poop-stained walls), and find a nine-to-five job? Can he give up on his dream job of becoming the new Noah (you, know, from the Bible)? Will he give up the glamour of stripping in front of horny women who stuff bills down his crotch to settle down with his lovely librarian? Will Jennifer open her mind to new sensual experiences? Will I ever read a Tom and Sharon Curtis book that doesn’t turn me into a snarky b-word?

Tom and Sharon Curtis can wield a way with words, so Lightning That Lingers is not a 1-star read by any means. However, the plot and the characters were gag-inducing. I do enjoy a sappy love story now and then; this was not one of them.

Perhaps if you’re a less jaded reader than I, you’ll find this Bantam Lovewept romance a bit more to your liking.

But for me, I’d prefer to eat a couple of bags of Tropical-flavored Skittles if I have a hankering for something this sweet.

2.74 Stars


Synopsis:

Philip Brooks is a man with a passion for biology, wildlife, and restoring his old family home—all of which add up to a pile of bills that require attention. Moonlighting as the Cougar Club’s hottest dancer is a job, nothing more, nothing less—until lovely Jennifer Hamilton nearly faints during one of his shows. Her sweet innocence tugs at his heart and makes him painfully aware of his longing for the kind of love a woman as perfect and real as Jennifer can offer.

Watching her most secret fantasy come to life on the dance floor is almost more than Jennifer can bear. Now, the sexiest man she’s ever met is near enough to hold. For a shy, bookish lady with little experience in the romance department, life feels as if it’s spinning out of control—and not in the direction, or with the kind of man, she ever imagined. Can she believe in the passion Philip ignites and take a chance on a dance that could last a lifetime?

Lightning That Lingers by Sharon and Tom Curtis
surrender baby

Category Romance Review: Surrender, Baby by Suzanne Forster

Surrender, Baby, Suzanne Robinson, Bantam, 1991
Surrender, Baby, Suzanne Robinson, Bantam, 1991, cover artist TBD

Loveswept #604

MILD SPOILERS 😉

5 Stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Book

Surrender, Baby was published by Bantam’s Loveswept line and is the last in Suzanne Forster’s Stealth Commandos Trilogy (Loveswept #541 Child Bride & #581 Night of the Panther were the first two installments) about a trio of ex-soldiers turned bounty hunter/mercenaries. Although the plots are similar to each other in that separated lovers come together to reignite their passions, I haven’t yet to read them.

The Set Up

Miranda Witherspoon needs a man. Desperately so.

That is, she needs a soldier of fortune to find her man. Brazilian drug lords have kidnaped her fiancé, and Miranda will do whatever it takes to find him. To do so, she hires Geoff Dias, ex-military, Special Forces.

Miranda is prim and proper, her engagement not a love match but an expected marriage of two supposedly like-minded individuals who value security above romance. While she worries for her fiancé’s life, she’s also worried about losing the position she’s staked out for herself in the business world, having come from adverse circumstances and poverty.

I remember laughing at Miranda’s thoughts when she met Geoff in his musky, all-male gym. He, wearing torn sweats, she, trying to ignore the holes that might or might not reveal his junk while eying the posters in his messy excuse of an office: posters of guns, naked women, and naked women with guns. Subtle this guy wasn’t about his tastes.

Geoff seems eerily familiar to Miranda, and there’s a good reason why.

The Plot

Years ago, Miranda had been stranded at the altar. Drunk and wearing her wedding dress, she roamed the streets of LA in a daze. Geoff, riding by on his motorcycle (a Harley, natch), saw this strange sight and, Good Samaritan that he was, pulled over to check up on her. He offered her a ride home, and Miranda hopped onto his bike. That rolling vibrator was too much for the emotionally vulnerable Miranda, and she let her hands slip and do the talking. Before these two knew what was going on, they were at it like bunnies.

The next day Miranda was gone, and Geoff has been haunted by her ever since. So intense was their time together that Miranda has been in his dreams and fantasies as his muse, and Geoff, also an artist, created poignant and evocative works of art that sought to recreate that lost moment.

Geoff recognizes Miranda on sight, while it takes her some time to remember him. When she does, she’s torn. Miranda has put her past behind her, which includes torrid one-night stands with long-haired, artistic hunks who ride Harleys. But Geoff is the only man she trusts who can help her save her fiancé.

Against his better judgment, Geoff takes the job, and he and Miranda head to Brazil during Carnaval. The hot, sultry atmosphere of Rio de Janeiro makes for pulsing heart rates. Along the way, their chemistry is sizzling. Miranda tries her best to deflect it, yet Geoff is too much of a virile man to be dismissed so easily. Miranda’s boyfriend is eventually freed, but is she happy with her chosen life? Will Geoff’s free spirit and crazy ways melt her cold heart?

Final Analysis of Surrender, Baby

The writing here is intense but also tongue-in-cheek at times. This book is hot and funny. The fact that Geoff’s a badass with a hog, one with a hot-pink heart, and the words “Surrender Baby” emblazoned on it in honor of his woman? A thing of cornball, romantic beauty.

This book was so OTT crazy, it–dare I say it?–made me laugh and cry. That is a hackneyed cliché of a line in a review, but Surrender, Baby by Suzanne Forster is one of those reads I loved because it’s so brainless. You might hate it for the same reason, or might not, but it will definitely draw out emotions as this book was not boring.

(Note: The cover of this book isn’t that great, I know. Just ignore it and focus on the story, and you’ll have a blast reading this.)

Heart of the Falcon

Historical Romance Review: Heart of the Falcon by Suzanne Robinson

historical romance review
Heart of the Falcon Rating: four-stars
Published: 1990
Illustrator: TBD
Published by: Bantam
Genres: Historical Romance, Ancient World Romance
Format: Paperback
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: Heart of the Falcon by Suzanne Robinson

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

What a rarity in the romance genre was Heart of the Falcon, a historical about lovers in ancient Egypt. Although Suzanne Robinson wrote Egyptian mystery novels under her given name, this is her sole romance set in this era. Most of her other romances took place during the Elizabethan, Medieval, or Victorian time periods.

The Plot

Anqet is an orphan and her evil uncle lusts after her. To get her in his bed, he connives to steal her land. Anqet may be an innocent all alone in the world, but she’s no push-over. This is a woman determined to gain them back. She will go to the Egyptian court and maneuver through a realm of politics and lust. Anqet is stunningly beautiful and perfect and maybe a teensy bit too good to be true.

Thankfully, the hero is far more interesting and complex. Set is a red-haired man of mystery. His heritage is mixed, as his mother’s people come from a place to the north. There was a horrible scandal years ago where Set burned his mother’s corpse rather than have her embalmed and entombed. This is seen as sacrilegious and marks Set as an outsider.

Anqet gets pulled into a world of political intrigue. The villains really steal the show here. There’s a court priest and Set’s former mistress, with the two scheming and lusting over the protagonists. The villainess vamps it up Ancient Egypt style, donning multiple wigs and breast-revealing robes.

Final Analysis of Heart of the Falcon

Unfortunately, there’s this moment just before Heart of the Falcon ends that soured me, forcing me to drop a star rating.

WARNING SPOILER ⚠️ AHEAD

To save the Anqet’s life, Set must sleep with the villainess, his former lover, one more time. He’s able to complete the act by thinking of the heroine. If this had taken place in the middle of the book, I wouldn’t have cared. But with this scene just pages from the end, it put a bitter taste in my mouth about the conclusion. That’s the first thing I think about when recalling this book, besides the setting.

That’s a personal peeve, however. Otherwise, this unique tale of love and drama in the ancient world was a solid read by Suzanne Robinson.

3.5 Stars

[rating-info]

Synopsis

Only one woman could win the…Heart of the Falcon.

All her life, raven-haired Anqet had basked in the tranquility of Nefer…until the day her father died and her uncle descended upon the estate, hungry for her land, hungry for her. Desperate to escape his cruel obsession, she fled. But now, masquerading as a commoner in the magnificent city of Thebes, Anqet faces a new danger.

Mysterious and seductive, Count Seth seems to be a soldier loyal to the pharaoh. Yet soon Anqet will find that he’s drawn her into a web of treachery and desire, where one false move could end her life… and his fiery passion could brand her soul forever.

Set against the glorious opulence of the pharaoh’s court, this is a breathtaking tale, rich with pageantry and aflame with unforgettable romance.

Heart of the Falcon by Suzanne Robinson
healing touch

Category Romance Review: Healing Touch by Judy Gill

Healing Touch, Judy Gill, Bantam 1993, cover artist TBD

Loveswept #605

SPOILER FREE REVIEW😊

3 Stars

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Book

This is another mini-review drawn from my ever-waning 30-year-old memories of books I read long ago.

Judy Gill’s Loveswept #605, Healing Touch, had a rather memorable start as the heroine, Heather, bungee jumps naked. I forget what it was for, but it was supposed to be for a good cause. Apparently, naked bungee jumping is real, as a Google search shows a quarter of a million hits. I admit I looked… Yikes!

Plus, there was a contestant on The Bachelor a few years back who did that on a date, causing some controversy. (I don’t watch tv and don’t keep up with this stuff.) So you know right from the outset that the heroine isn’t the “traditional” super modest type.

Air Force Major Dr. Rob McGee instantly notices Heather. What guy wouldn’t?

He’s her total opposite. Rob’s a single dad, a straight-laced kind of guy, while Heather is more of the free-spirited type. Rob is looking for commitment and knows she’s not the kind of woman he needs in his ordered military life, but he can’t help but pursue the lovely Heather. Heather’s not so sure if she wants to be tied down rather than her usual of being tied up😉.

Final Analysis of Healing Touch

The two have great sexual chemistry, but Rob wants more than just sex. Can Heather overcome her fears of intimacy and take the biggest plunge yet?

Healing Touch is a pleasant romance between two strong-willed leads.