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passions paradise

Historical Romance Review: Passion’s Paradise by Sonya T. Pelton

historical romance review
Passion's Paradise by Sonya T. Pelton
Rating: three-stars
Published: 1981
Illustrator: Unknown
Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Bodice Ripper, Historical Romance
Pages: 544
Format: Paperback
Buy on: Amazon
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Historical Romance Review: Passion’s Paradise by Sonya T. Pelton


The Book

Passion’s Paradise by Sonya T. Pelton is a wonderfully terrible book published by Zebra in its early years. The cover warns you; it’s dark and dreary, done in deep blues and white, with the wrong hair color for the hero and a ship about to sink in the ocean that shouts: “Disaster looms ahead!”

I got this book in one of those e-bay lots, it was a freebie that the seller was perhaps too embarrassed to mention and only too glad to get rid of, with no back cover (no worries, I printed out the book blurb and taped it to the back) and garnished with red stamps from Arlene’s Book House & Paperback Exchange in Sweetwater, Texas. Now it lay in my Yankee hands, ready to thrill me with its awfulness.

Lying together upon the crest, their two profiles met, silhouetted as one against the clouds’ pink lattice. Here the sun shone softly, and the thrushes and cardinals and mockingbirds cooed love songs sang of twilight nigh, and the nascent magnolia flowers bloomed fragrantly…


The Plot of Passion’s Paradise

Captain Ty, or Tyrone, the supposed hero of Passion’s Paradise is a pirate, a slaver, a whoremonger, a politician–but I repeat myself.

Tyrone captures the ship that bears Angel Sherwood and her family from England to America. His Pa told him there was a special package on board and Ty was to take it. Ty and Pa had an agreement that Ty would marry when Pa found a woman worthy of his son and–who the hell cares, is the plot important? Not to the author, so you shouldn’t care either! Random events occur in the book, story-lines are dropped and nothing makes sense.

There is a mysterious murder… Is Ty the killer? Who knows? Who cares?

There is another murder. Is Ty the killer? Well, this time yes, but again, who cares?

Angel runs away from Tyrone about four times in a row but keeps getting caught. The final time she flees, she leaves her severely mentally-unbalanced mother behind and promises to retrieve her. Of course, the only person Angel can trust to care for Mama is Tyrone’s evil ex-mistress. Mama goes missing. A year passes by, and Angel is concerned, but she’s had so much on her mind that she hasn’t had time to search.

You see Ty’s penis keeps taunting her in those tight pants he wears and a girl can’t think straight with that anteater staring at her.

Stupid Big Misunderstandings & Clichés Abound

This book is filled with stupid “big misunderstandings” and really random, unnecessary secrets. For 200 pages the big mystery of the book is Angel’s first name. There’s no reason for her to hide it. I think it’s just so the author could have Tyrone call the heroine “My mysterious Angel” without him knowing that was really her name. Lame.

Ty’s last name is a secret. Who is Ty’s father? Is Tyrone married? What is the secret of Cresthaven plantation? Where did Angel’s hymen go if she really was a virgin? (It blew up in the fire. Really, it did.)

Don’t expect any PC, this book is raw. A Chinese prostitute does her best at a Mickey Rooney Breakfast at Tiffany’s impression. Ty has slaves and whips them bloody. He takes what he wants from Angel (her love pudding) and doesn’t ask permission.

But oh, he’s a misunderstood devil. There’s depth to Capt. Ty, and a heart that yearns for love. You see he had a rough childhood because his mother was a slut, or something like that.

Final Analysis of Passion’s Paradise

Passion’s Paradise is a cliché-ridden calamity. Even so, it was oddly entertaining, like a terrible movie you watch just to shout inanities at the screen. Plus, I can’t hate a book with such craptastic dialogue as:

Ellen (a prostitute): “You know I used to enjoy all kinds of men before Captain Ty came along. That tawny-haired devil made me forget them all, with his lean body and bulging crotch! Shees! I’ve bedded down with more men than you could ever hope to meet in your lifetime.”

Angel: “But not with Captain Ty?”

Ellen: “Bitch. Take your clothes off!”

Apparently, this book was a multi-million seller putting Zebra on the map. And it didn’t even have a pretty cover!

What a mess. 3 itty-bitty stars for being so gloriously, wonderfully entertaining.

3 Stars


As the beautiful, fair-haired Angel Sherwood sailed from England to Louisiana, she sensed that her destiny flowed with the rough waves of the ocean. Frightened by the harsh sea, Angel prayed that perhaps, just perhaps, she would find happiness and romance in her new home.

But Angel’s fate changed course when she was kidnapped by the cruel, yet captivating pirate, Captain Ty. And even though her future was suddenly in the balance, Angel was strangely warmed by his manly touch. Her strong captor stirred in her a delcious pleasure, a burning fire that made her whole body tingle with precious thrills.

Captain Ty’s black heart was softened, too by her golden presence; she was an untouched treasure, full of charm, wit and innocense — a jewel that he feverishly desired. But rather than taint his savage and foreboding name, he kept his feelings hidden. First he had to be sure that her heart belonged to him–and then he would send her to PASSION’S PARADISE! 

pirates wild embrace

Historical Romance Review: Pirate’s Wild Paradise by Kate Douglas


The Book

This review is of Pirate’s Wild Paradise a standalone Zebra romance from February 1989 by Kate Douglas.

The Plot

Part One of Pirate’s Wild Paradise

Pirate’s Wild Paradise starts in Port Royale, Jamaica, with the heroine James Allison Morgan–yes, that is her name, but hereafter she is known as Jamie–about to get married.

She won’t be wed, however, as her ceremony is interrupted by Francisco “Franco” Alonzo Montenegro DeCortega, our hero, and Jamie’s former lover.

We then flashback to how Jamie and Franco came to know each other.

Part Two of Pirate’s Wild Paradise

Jamie is the only child of notorious English pirate Captain Henry Morgan. One day, Captain Morgan attacks and sinks a ship with Franco on it. Henry plans to kill Franco, but Jamie stops him. Henry then decides to hold Franco for ransom.

As to how Jamie got the name James Allison, Henry decided that was what he was going to name his child, regardless of gender. We also learn about Jamie’s mother, Antoinette Duvalle, who was kidnapped and impregnated by Morgan; she later committed suicide.

After a drunken wager, Jamie and Franco become lovers. He leaves her, however, upon learning that his father, Carlos De Cortega, is dead. The DeCortega family consists of the late Carlos, mother Isabella, Franco, and his older brother, Lorenzo–who hates Franco–and two sisters, Maria and Teresa.

Franco goes to Spain to stop Lorenzo from destroying the family in many ways. Meanwhile, Morgan sends Jamie to England to attend a finishing school for ladies.

Part Three of Pirate’s Wild Paradise

The scene then shifts to London, where Jamie spends two years learning how to be a lady. While in London, Jamie is told by Henry–now Sir Henry and Governor of Jamaica–that Franco returned to Jamaica and never asked about her, and meets Peter Alexeivitch, a.k.a. Russian Tsar, Peter the Great. Peter offers Jamie marriage. She refuses!

Jamie then returns with Henry to Jamaica.

Back in Jamaica, we meet up with Franco again. After he was released from Morgan’s captivity, he went to Spain to confront Lorenzo. It didn’t go well for Franco. With no money and no way to fight Lorenzo’s power, Franco was forced to become what he didn’t want to be: a pirate.

He still has plans to defeat Lorenzo, but he has to balance that with having Jamie back in his life, as they reunite when she returns to Jamaica.

Jamie also gains an uncle, as she meets Antoinette’s brother, Bertram, for the first time.

Franco, Jamie, and Bertrand then make their way to Europe–France and Spain to be specific–to help Franco settle his family affairs and help his revenge against Lorenzo. The latter won’t happen, however, as Lorenzo passes shortly after Franco’s arrival. He was gravely ill when Franco got to Spain.

After seeing to his sisters’ welfare and regaining his inheritance, Franco and Jamie plan to marry. Another roadblock is put in place, though as Morgan angrily refuses to bless their union. Franco kidnaps Jamie and returns her to Jamaica.

More problems soon follow as Morgan passes away and Jamie finds Franco in a compromising situation.

Part Four of Pirate’s Wild Paradise

After Henry’s death, Jamie has no money, thanks to a codicil in Henry’s will requiring her to marry someone he would approve of, thus giving the money to her future husband.

So she decides to follow in her sire and Franco’s footsteps and becomes a pirate. Her crew consists of some of Henry’s former crew and two surprising additions.

Later, Jamie’s ship, The Lady Morgan, captures a British naval ship, taking the crew hostage. She then blackmails the ship’s lieutenant, John Terry, into marrying her so she can get her inheritance. The marriage doesn’t happen, as Franco sees to that.

Jamie is arrested and will be hung for piracy, but Franco vouches for her.

In the end, twin catastrophes-an earthquake and a wave-destroy Port Royale, which is rebuilt. Jamie and Franco survive, she gives birth to a son, and they have their Happily Ever After.


Readers who follow my reviews know I love heroines with spirit, who are strong and fight against the tide of patriarchal society. Jamie fits into that category.

She and Franco are fairly well-developed characters. Franco is a good hero; although he has some alpha characteristics, he is overall a decent man. I liked the fact that Ms. Douglas showed us both Franco and Jamie’s emotions.


I didn’t like the way Ms. Douglas handled the storyline involving Lorenzo. After Carlos died, Lorenzo:

  • Cheated Franco out of his inheritance.
  • Framed Franco on charges that, had he not left Spain, would have had him arrested and hanged.
  • Forced Maria and Teresa into marriages to an abuser and an adulterer, respectively.

I like when villains get their comeuppance, and that didn’t happen here. The ending of the book is too simplistic and kind of lame.


Multiple love scenes involving Jamie and Franco. However, the scenes are fairly mild and not very erotic.


Assault, battery, and one killing. The violence is not graphic.

Bottom Line On Pirate’s Wild Paradise

Pirate’s Wild Paradise is a good romance, with a fantastic female pirate as a heroine, but has too many issues to make it a great one.

3 Stars

*Book Trivia: The clinch image of Pirate’s Wild Paradise was used by Zebra as their new Lovegram logo design starting in 1990.

pirate's wild paradise kate douglas zebra


Unexpected Surrender
Daughter of the infamous Henry Morgan, beautiful Jamie Morgan could hold her own against any pirate on the high seas…except Franco DeCortega. The handosme Spaniard bested her with his saber, then spared her life at the risk of his own. His compassion unsettled her; the desire in his dark eyes intrigued her. But Jamie had treasured her independence too long to surrender it in the heat of passion. Though she would yield to the dizzying sensations he aroused in her innocent flesh, she swore she’d never give him her heart!

Inevitable Conquest
Franco DeCortega was enthralled by the spirtied vixen who now held him captive, body and soul. Her violet eyes sparkled with mischief and daring; her ebony tresses danced about her creamy shoulders as she frolicked in the surf. It would take more than sweet promises to tame this tempetuous beauty..but Franco knew exactly how to make her his. With soul-searing kisses and masterful caresses he would tempt her with the ecstasy that awaited them both in a seductive unforgettable…Pirates Wild Paradise!

sea fires franco

Historical Romance Review: Sea Fires by Christine Dorsey

historical romance review
Sea Fires by Christine Dorsey
Rating: four-stars
Published: 1992
Illustrator: Franco Accornero
Imprint or Line: Zebra Lovegram
Book Series: Blackstone Trilogy #1
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Colonial Era Romance, Historical Romance, Pirate Romance
Pages: 430
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Historical Romance Review: Sea Fires by Christine Dorsey


The Book

Sea Fires, a Zebra Lovegram written by Christine Dorsey, is an exciting pirate romance set in the late 17th century and takes place on the high seas and in the American colonies.

The Characters and the Setup

The heroine is a bookish and feisty Englishwoman, Miranda Chadwick. Her only interests are her microscope–which had specially ground lenses designed by the Leuwenhoek himself–and examining the animalcules of various flora and fauna.

(If I ever have to hear that irritating word “animalcule again,” I swear I will go screaming around like a raging madwoman.)

Our dashing hero is Captain Gentleman Jack Blackstone, who has to avenge the death of his family at the hands of the evil Spanish.

(Sigh, I’ve seen that plot before, many times over. Oh, well. Que sera sera.)

Sea Fires begins with tragedy striking the Blackstone family when Spaniards attack their Port Royal, Carolina settlement, and the parents are killed. As he is beaten and about to be knocked unconscious, Jack sees his younger sister taken prisoner. For 15 years, he yearns for vengeance for his loss.

The Plot

Fast forward to 1699 in England, as Miranda prepares for a trip across the Atlantic to be with her father. She hasn’t seen him in years as her deceased mother’s family did not approve of him.

Miranda’s father has some shady dealings with Jack; the two are both smugglers. Now he’s under investigation by the Crown, so he convinces Jack to kidnap Miranda for several weeks until the magistrate leaves town. Miranda is such a do-gooder that she wouldn’t think twice about ratting them out and exposing her father’s—and Jack’s–pirate enterprise.

Jack is on the gray side of the law, certainly no villain. Jack is a pirate. However, he was forced into the lifestyle to seek revenge. His soul was destroyed, and he could never hope for a genuinely happy life.

Jack never wanted to be a pirate. He says this over and over so often that…

Gar! I had visions of Jerry Seinfeld in a ruffled white shirt whining repeatedly, “But I don’t wanna be a pirate!”

Miranda battles wits with Jack as they fight their attraction. The sexual tension is high between the two, but it takes a while to heat up.

Meanwhile, Miranda spends much of her time on the ship getting to know the individual men who make up the crew.

These are tough, grizzled sailors with names like Scar, King, and Phin. No, these aren’t criminal buccaneers, just solid, salt-of-the-earth guys who got into a bad situation. They appreciate having an elegant lady on board. Miranda educates them on biology, and they are charmed by her beauty and brains.

Jack keeps himself at a distance, not wanting to fall for the lovely girl when he must focus on… revenge!

Miranda and Jack eventually give in to their desires, but many perilous adventures await them before they can have a HEA.

sea fires christine dorsey

Final Analysis of Sea Fires

I’ve read Christine Dorsey’s Sea Fires twice; the first time liked it very much. I enjoyed it even more recently this second time, as it was just the right book at the right moment. Last month was a bit crazy, and Sea Fires was a pleasant diversion from it all.

Despite the well-worn setup, this romance is sweetly entertaining. The love scenes were erotic, and a tart sense of humor shone throughout the book. It was funny but a little too cutesy for me to consider it a perfect read.

Sea Fires is the first in a series of a generation of sea-faring Blackstones. I might give those a try. As far as Zebra’s romances go, Christine Dorsey appears to have been one of the more talented authors in their writer’s stable.

4 Stars

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 3.8


Spirited, impetuous Miranda Chadwick arrived in the untamed New World prepared for any peril. So when the notorious pirate Jack Blackstone kidnapped her, she was certain she could somehow make the insufferable golden-haired rogue surrender to justice. But Miranda soon found that she was the one surrendering — to the shameless desires that the scoundrel’s bronzed, lean body and demanding caresses ignited … and her own reckless hunger for more!

Jack Blackstone regarded the furious Miranda Chadwick with a triumphant grin. He would hold this feisty wench just long enough to fulfill his secret plans, then he’d toss her back and return to the sea. But he’d reckoned without the temptation that made him fall under the spell of her deep blue eyes, hunger again and again for her meltingly soft, slender body, and yield to an all-consuming passion from which he could never escape!

taken by you

Historical Romance Review: Taken By You by Connie Mason


He is Morgan Scott, an English nobleman once held captive on the high seas by the brutal Spanish master and crew who murdered his family. Now he sails the seas as a British privateer, taking his revenge by attacking and plundering Spanish ships.

She is Luca Santiego, forced from the shelter of a convent and destined for a marriage arranged by her father. When her ship is attacked by pirates, she dons the garb of a nun and prays for mercy. Yet amid the flames of the sinking ship, the blue-eyed captain is seized by an unbidden passion for the beauty who kneels before him. Driven by a wicked desire to claim her as his spoils in an act of vengeance against the Spanish, he is torn by an overwhelming response to Luca’s sweet innocence, and aches with need for her. Yet he vows he will have her only when his tender kisses bring about her willing surrender to a magnificent, undeniable love.



I read Connie Mason’s Taken By You back when it was released in early 1996, so my memory of it is fuzzy. I do recall the ridiculous attempts at Spanish. What kind of name is Luca Santiego for a heroine? Is she supposed to be a Spanish convent-bred noblewoman or a hard-as-nails Mario Puzo mobster? It’s both bad Spanish & bad Italian. Lucia (de) Santiago would be apropos for a name.

The Setup

Connie Mason’s Peggy Hill-like “espanole” skills aside, there wasn’t much to remember about this romance.

The other aspect I recall is when Luca cut her hair short. She did this to pose as a nun so the English pirates wouldn’t ravish her. The cover got that wrong and things like that irritate me. It’s like some industry rule states no woman can have short hair on the cover of a historical romance novel. (Maybe on a few old Harlequin Historicals).

Even if she’s wearing a dress and has giant, heaving bosoms–nope! Short hair equals a dude. So, she can’t have that.

Morgan Scott is a British pirate–pardon me–privateer, who captures Luca’s ship. Morgan is seeking vengeance against the Spanish who killed his family. He takes Luca captive and they have a tug-of-war relationship of hatred and attraction.

A Derivative Plot

Taken By You was a typical enemies-to-lovers/revenge romance with plenty of:

Heroine: I hate you, you’re my enemy!

Hero: I want you. You’re my enemy!

Heroine: Let’s do it like bunnies!

Hero: Oh, no, you’re still my enemy!

Heroine: I love you!

Followed by a convenient plot resolution.

Besides, I liked this book better when it was called The Spanish Rose by Shirlee Busbee.

Final Analysis of Taken By You

Taken By You was not a fun or spectacular romance.

Connie Mason fans know what they’re getting when they read her works. Even so, this was a bit subpar for my tastes. I prefer her Leisure/Dorchester books as opposed to her Avons. They were dumber and not as finely edited, but spicier and a heck of a lot more fun.

2 Stars