Category Archives: Silhouette Intimate Moments

once more with feeling nora roberts

Category Romance Review: Once More With Feeling by Nora Roberts

once more with feeling
Once More With Feeling by Nora Roberts
Rating: four-stars
Published: 1983
Illustrator: George H. Jones
Imprint or Line: Silhouette Intimate Moments #2
Published by: Silhouette
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 250
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance Review: Once More With Feeling by Nora Roberts

The Book

Once More With Feeling is the second outing from the Silhouette Intimate Moments line. Nora Roberts‘ category romance tells the love story between two musicians, one a rising star and the other an established musician, who previously knew each other.

Now they must try to make beautiful music together again–literally. Only later does the situation take a turn for the metaphorical.

The Plot

Five years prior to the opening of Once More With Feeling, a teenaged, black-haired Raven Williams was a fledgling artist. (Just once, I’d like to read a book where a blonde or redhead has that name. Or a brunette or a blonde named Flame to subvert expectations.) Raven and a seasoned Irish-British musician named Brandon Carstairs garnered great success together before her star went on the ascendency.

Their working relationship had made it to the front pages of the gossip columns. Was there more to the two beautiful musicians than music? There was, but alas, it came to an abrupt end. Raven had kept herself at a distance from Brandon, and he was unwilling to put up with her reticence.

Heartbroken, Raven immersed herself in music, putting her career above love. Now Brandon has a gig to score a potential blockbuster musical film—and he wants Raven to co-write it with him.

I enjoyed watching Raven and Brandon’s new relationship unfold. Now in her mid-twenties, Raven was still a young woman but more sure of herself, although just as close-guarded. Brandon is a sexy character with longish back hair, blue-green eyes, and Irish-British charm (it seems Roberts has a type). However, he runs roughshod over Raven, vowing to break through her inner resolve.

Before these two can have their happy ending, there are big misunderstandings–because the characters refuse to say what they have to!–and the heroine has to rush to her dying mother’s bedside in a dramatic scene.

Back cover of Once More With Feeling, Nora Roberts, Silhouette, 1983, George H. Jones cover art.

Final Analysis of Once More With Feeling

Five years before the start of Once More with Feeling Brandon broke Raven’s heart when he left her. Now Brandon is back and asks her to co-write the music for an upcoming, much-anticipated movie. Can these two learn to trust and love again? 

Written in the early 1980s, this book feels like part of that era, especially with how cruel Brandon can be to Raven. Other readers may be more discriminating and have difficulty digesting the caveman antics of the “hero,” but not me.

One of my favorite moments in the book is near the conclusion when our couple finally reveals their feelings for one another, and they have this exchange:

“You can’t own me Brandon.”

A quick flash of fury shot into his eyes. “Damn it, I don’t want to own you, but I want you to belong to me. Don’t you know there’s a difference?”

ONCE MORE WITH FEELING by NORA ROBERTS

Once More With Feeling was a solid romance, although Nora Roberts is capable of much better. This was only Robert’s 13th book, which sounds like a big deal. Considering that she’s written hundreds, it’s obviously created in the formative years of her career. Roberts’ writing has gotten sharper with age.

I had a fun time with Once More With Feeling, even if it was flawed in some respects. The heroine was a tad weak-willed, and the hero was too bossy.

This could have been lackluster in the hands of a less skillful author. One never knows how the wind will blow with a new series or writer.

Ultimately, I was satisfied with Raven and Brandon’s love story. Roberts always had the instinct to be a superb writer. She simply needed time to perfect her craft.

Rating Report Card
Plot
4
Characters
3.5
Writing
4
Chemistry
3.5
Fun Factor
3.5
Cover
5
Overall: 3.9

Synopsis:

THEIR SONGS AND THEIR PASSION WOULD ELECTRIFY A WAITING WORLD.

RAVEN WILLIAMS was a singer who had an overwhelming need to love and be loved, and whose voice had catapulted her to fame.

BRANDON CARSTAIRS was a musician in whom the charming Irish dreamer warred with a practical British reserve.

The music they made together was exciting, disturbing, erotic. Soon it would reach a dangerous crescendo.

ONCE MORE WITH FEELING by NORA ROBERTS
The Perfect Marriage, Laurey Bright 1995 Diane Sivavec

Category Romance Review: A Perfect Marriage by Laurey Bright

The Book

It’s difficult for me to give Laurey Bright’s* A Perfect Marriage a coherent review because it’s a romance novel that deals with adultery.

The Plot

Max and Celine have had a comfortable, friendly marriage for 12 years, however with no passion nor love. The two had been hurt prior to their marriage and agreed that a union based on friendship–not love–was best. Then things take a sharp left turn when the male protagonist “falls in love” with another woman, his co-worker. She’s much younger than he is of course. Max sleeps with her and then leaves his Celine.

But after a night of unexpected passion with Celine, Max gets his estranged wife pregnant. Finally, Max realizes, almost too late, that it’s his wife he’s loved all along.

This was a difficult romance to stomach. The heroine is way too good for the “hero,” a pathetic man in the throes of a mid-life crisis.

Despite the fact that Bright tries to make Kate, the other woman, seem like a naïve, beautiful virgin who is as much a victim as Celine, she wasn’t. In my eyes, she was a manipulative beeyotch. Kate was no innocent schoolgirl. She’s an educated attorney who had no qualms about breaking up a marriage. She even dared to ask a pregnant Celine to let Max go.

Max never sufficiently redeems himself. It is only through Celine’s love and forgiveness that reconciliation is possible.

Final Analysis of A Perfect Marriage

A Perfect Marriage by Laurey Bright was an emotional roller-coaster. The author does a wonderful job showing how separation and divorce can affect not just the spouses, but the whole extended family.

Ultimately, as hard as this book was to handle at times, it deserves a positive rating because of how it portrays the healing power of love.

A Perfect Marriage was awarded the Romance Writer’s of America’s RITA Award for Best Long Contemporary Romance in 1996.

*(Laurey Bright is a pseudonym for Daphne Clair)

3 Stars


Synopsis

Broken Vows

To their friends, family and neighbors, Celine and Max Archer had a perfect marriage. Only the Archers knew they’d never been in love, and that nights of passion were few and far between. Still, both thought the other happy with the dry-eyed deal they’d made instead of vows…

Until Max broke the bargain—by wanting more. And suddenly, after twelve peaceful years, the perfect marriage was over…

But when Celine realized how much she loved her husband, was it too late to get him back? For unbeknownst to Max, they’d been blessed with a new beginning…”

A PERFECT MARRIAGE by LAUREY BRIGHT
duncans bride

Category Romance Review: Duncan’s Bride by Linda Howard

Duncan’s Bride, Linda Howard, Silhouette Intimate Moment, 1990, Cover Artist TBD

#349 Silhouette Intimate Moments

MILD SPOILERS 😉

4 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Duncan’s Bride has an old-school plot, even by the standards of romances written in…1990. (That wasn’t a long time ago!) In Silhouette Intimate Moments #349 by Linda Howard, a 28-year-old beauty from New York City travels across the country to become the mail-order bride of a hero who’s damn lucky to get her.

Character & Plot

Madelyn, the shining star of this romance, is 28-years-old and has been working for her step-brother’s company for a couple of years. Although she’s hit a wall in her career, she’s secure in her identity. Madelyn is funny, outspoken, and friendly. She’s a lovely woman with no baggage.

On the other hand, Gideon “Reese” Duncan carries a 5-piece set of Samsonite luggage packed full of bricks. He’s a divorced rancher in Montana who decides it’s time to settle down with a new wife. Years ago, his first marriage ended in disaster when his gorgeous ex left him, bored of life in the country. Reese was forced to sell his family lands and lay off the workers to liquidate his assets which were split 50-50.

Embittered by a disappointing first marriage and impoverished by the divorce settlement, it has taken Reese years to dig himself out of the financial hole his ex left him in. He runs his ranch all alone, working from dawn till midnight, caring for his livestock. Reese’s house is in shambles, he drives an old truck, and his ranch has been running at a loss for years. Now that he might turn a profit, getting a wife seems like the logical next step. But this time, Reese wants marriage based on practicality rather than passion. He places a frank, unromantic ad in a few small-town newspapers, stating his blunt needs, with no offer of love. What a catch this guy is!

Madelyn, who, despite being a big city girl, happens to subscribe to small-town newspapers to keep up with “real life and real people.” She sees Reese’s ad and is intrigued. So much so that Maddie drops a letter in the mail responding to him. She dreamily wonders about the kind of man who would seek a bride through the post.

She soon finds out. Reese offers Madelyn a bus ticket from NYC to Montana (bus tickets he can’t afford, mind you); she insists on flying out to see him. It’s an instant attraction for them both. Reese concedes that he would like nothing more than to have Madelyn’s legs wrapped around his waist (he says this plus lots of other sexy things to Maddie). However, she’d never suit for wife material. Disappointed, Madelyn leaves the next day, not before the two share a passionate kiss.

That’s all it takes for her to fall in love with Reese. She flies back to the Big Apple, nursing a broken heart. It’s only when Reese’s other options for wives turn out to be duds that he agrees to take Madelyn as his bride. That’s after she signs a prenuptial agreement which stipulates she doesn’t get a penny in case of divorce. He’s had enough of gold diggers and won’t get shafted again.

Like, I said, what a catch, eh?

My Opinion

Reese isn’t the worst, but he’s so hung up on the pain his first marriage brought that he’s a hard character to like. Madelyn is wonderful, working hard to transform his house into a comforting home again. She paints the siding, tends to the animals, and makes passionate love with Resse.

One thing Linda Howard does right is knowing how to write erotic love scenes. Besides the fantastic heroine, the sexy moments are the highlights of this romance.

As for Reese… My goodness, is that man a blockhead! Yes, he’s good-looking, possessive, virile, and has all those alpha traits that make a Romancelandia hero swoon-worthy. He also has this wonderful, amazing woman by his side who’s willing to go through hardships, facing them head-on with vigor, proving over again that she’s worthy of his love.

The problem is that it’s Reese who’s undeserving of Madelyn’s devotion. There were so many moments when I wanted Madelyn to give Reese the old heave-ho. Ultimately, Madelyn and Reese both have to face the truth on their own. I disliked part of the conclusion and how Reese came to his epiphany, but stubborn men will be stubborn men, and Reese is just that.

Final Analysis of Duncan’s Bride

I wondered why this book was called Duncan’s Bride, not Reese’s Bride. Duncan’s Bride does have a nicer ring, then why not name the hero Duncan Reese instead of Reese Duncan? Pointless questions like that plague me.

I would have given this book an average positive review if not for the greatness that was Madelyn. Despite her fine qualities, she was far from perfect and Reese was fallibly human. In the end, love wins. So I was happy for Maddie, even though the man she had her heart set on wasn’t an easy man to love.

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

Night Shift

Category Romance Review: Night Shift by Nora Roberts

Night Shift, Nora Roberts, Silhouette, 1991, cover artist unknown

“I’m in love with you, Cilla.” Slowly, his eyes steady on hers, he pulled her closer. “With every part of you.” Soft, persuasive, his lips cruised over hers. “I only want fifty or sixty years to show you.”

NIGHT SHIFT


Silhouette Intimate Moments #365

SPOILER FREE REVIEW 🙂

4 stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Night Shift Memories

If you follow my reviews, you may notice I inject some personal vignettes or anecdotes into them. If it’s TMI, apologies for oversharing. But like music or scents, each book I read is imprinted with a certain memory. When I hear “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton, it takes me back to Junior Prom and my supposedly platonic date getting all clingy with me. I’ll think about a different man whether it’s Brut, Joop!, Davidoff Cool Water, or Grey Flannel cologne I smell. (Brut is my dad; the rest…are not.) If I have no memory of the book, there’s because there is no recollection to go with it.

Nora Robert’s Night Shift is vividly memorable because I recall sitting in the cancer ward at Mather Hospital waiting with my mother while my grandmother got her chemo treatments. In hindsight, perhaps it was rude of me to sit there and read rather than comfort my mom, who was worried about her dying mother. Still, I helped translate to doctors for my mom, who spoke broken English when she had questions. There’s a memory of going to the cafeteria and eating Utz potato chips for the first time. This book was released in January of 1991. My Mamá would be dead by December 23 of that year.

So many books I read that year are filled with remembrances.

The Plot

Cilla O’Roarke, short for Priscilla–but don’t dare call her that–is a nighttime disk jockey whose silky smooth voice enthralls legions of fans, including policeman Boyd Fletcher. He’s arrived on the scene with his partner Althea to investigate the increasingly threatening calls that Cilla’s been receiving.

Boyd has a major crush on her from hearing her voice on the radio. It’s no surprise he’s instantly smitten upon seeing her in person. Cilla tries her best to keep her distance, even as the police do their best to stay close to her and find who’s her stalker. Boyd is extremely protective and a great hero.

Cilla is a prickly character. She’s not a very open person, and all she cares about is her younger sister, Deborah. And keeping her radio program. She refuses any course of action to defend herself, so Boyd is determined to be there to save her if need be. Cilla wants nothing to do with cops, as one of her parents was one, and Cilla secretly fears getting hurt by letting him in her life.

But that Boyd is a charmer. Slowly, but slowly, he’s able to get her to admit her attraction to him. They become friends and then lovers.

However, as usual in these romantic suspense plots when you let your guard down that’s when the villain strikes.

Who is Cilla’s deranged fan? Will Boyd be able to get there before it’s too late?

Final Analysis of Night Shift

Night Shift was a satisfying romance, even though you knew pretty much what was going to happen. Nora Roberts’ writing was of fine quality, and Boyd was a great, protective hero. It was thoroughly believable that he was able to get Cilla to fall for him despite her fears.

the perfect couple

Category Romance: The Perfect Couple by Maura Seger

maura seger category romance
The Perfect Couple by Maura Seger
Rating: two-stars
Published: 1997
Illustrator: Unknown
Imprint or Line: Silhouette Intimate Moments #775
Published by: Silhouette
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 250
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance: The Perfect Couple by Maura Seger

SPOILER FREE REVIEW 😊

The Book

The Perfect Couple by Maura Seger, a Silhouette Intimate Moments series romance, was perfectly… boring. The setup was in this category romance was actually great. Where it faltered was in the execution.

The Plot

Shane and Brenna have been together as a supposedly perfect couple for some time now. But they are two disparate people with distinct wants and needs.

The story flips back through different times in Shane and Brenna’s relationship, the memorable points, the highs, and the lows.

However, the love story was treacly-sweet. If I liked that sort of white-bread perfection, I’d read Nicholas Sparks, the gag-master extraordinaire.

Despite their shared passion, Shane and Brenna’s intrinsic differences threaten their love. Brenna is a down-to-earth type who likes her life carefully planned out. She wants a long-term relationship but no children. Meanwhile, Shane lives on the edge and wants a family.

Then tragedy strikes when Shane’s plane crashes in the snowy mountains. He is presumed dead.

Brenna hopes for the best and looks back on their time together, wondering if they were too dissimilar to be together or if love is enough to overcome all their obstacles, even death.

Shane does his valiant best to get back to Brenna before dying. Even if he’s on death’s doorstep, he vows to see her one more time.

Wil Shane make it back to Brenna? And if he does, can they make it as a less-than-perfect couple?

Final Analysis of The Perfect Couple

Maura Seger attempted to create something unique with The Perfect Couple. This was a tale of a couple in two different and parallel stages of their relationship.

But the problems keeping them apart were mundane. There was never any doubt that Shane would make it back to Brenna.

In the end, you know that they would make compromises to make their union last. The Perfect Couple was an okay Silhouette romance, but nothing exceptional.

2 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
3
Characters
2.5
Writing
2.5
Chemistry
2.5
Fun Factor
1.5
Cover
3.5
Overall: 2.6

Synopsis

Will they ever have a chance to say “I love you”?

THEIR FUTURE HANGS IN THE BALANCE….First the argument ripped Shane Dutton and Brenna O’Hare apart. Now a plane crash has stranded Shane in the Alaskan wilderness. Miles apart, all they can do is wait. And hope. And remember…

THEIR PAST IS ALL THEY HAVE…Shane wanted children—Brenna didn’t. Brenna wanted a man who never took risks—Shane did. But they also wanted each other—so badly that their differences hadn’t mattered. Not at first…Reflecting on what went wrong—and right—Shane and Brenna reach the same conclusion. But will they ever get the chance to say “I love you”?

THE PERFECT COUPLE by MAURA SEGER