Friday, July 30, 2010

Anything Goes Friday - Book Reviews

Today we're reviewing books we've recently read and loved. First up is Sally Minx, reviewing Kelly Hunter's Red Hot Renegade, then Romy Minx reviewing Michelle Reid's Mia's Scandal.

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Everyone loves a sexy hero, and from the moment that Martial Art expert Jake Bennett appears on page one of Kelly Hunter's latest Modern Heat he claimed the title, and made it his own.

The book opens at Jake's brother's engagement party, where he awaits the arrival of his long estranged wife, Jianne Xang-Bennett. Kelly masterfully hooks the reader by showing how all of Jake's family are concerned for his reaction. They know he still cares for her, and by showing their concern rachet up the tension until Jianne enters the scene.

The story is set in Singapore, and Jake is an unusual Modern Heat hero, in that he lives modestly in his dojo, where he teaches karate. He's not rich. Jianne is. And she's being relentlessly pursued by a dangerous suitor called Zhi Fu who has tracked her from China to make her his.

Jianne needs to persuade Zhi Fu that she isn't available, and what better way than to reunite with her estranged husband? She moves into the dojo, and soon they're not pretending to be in love any more, but are caught up again in a familiar attraction that threatens to overwhelm them. But Jianne left Jake for a reason, and isn't convinced that he will put her first. And Jake is wary of love after his relationship with Jianne broke up so many years before, and will have to learn to accept both her and her wealth to make the relationship work.

Red Hot Renegade is masterfully written, and a wonderful read. The setting, hero and heroine are all out of the ordinary for a Modern Heat, and all the more powerful for it. Bravo Kelly!

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Thanks for that review Sally. Jake and Jianne both made an appearance in Kelly's previous book Untameable Rogue, so I was already keen to read their story, but your review made me go out and buy it.

Mia's Scandal is part of the The Balfour Legacy, a series of special releases by Harlequin.

We often read Italian heroes but it was really interesting to read an Italian heroine for a change. Michelle Reid caught the flavour of Mia's passionate temperament and her difficulties with the English language without it ever being intrusive. What I really loved was that she was a truly spirited heroine, though she is also a complete 'innocent', having grown up in rural Tuscany. She stood up to the hero at almost every turn and gave as good as she got, even venting her temper on him. And she was never TSTL.

But the best thing about this novel was the Greek hero. Nikos might possibly even be the most enticing hero I've ever read. And yes, that includes Darcy! If you've read the book, please let me know if you agree.

Michelle Reid tends to 'head hop' a lot, but it is a testimony to how well this book hooks the reader that after a while it no longer annoyed me and I just had to keep turning the pages.

My overall impression, as much because of the evocative writing as because of the cover, was one of colour. Whenever I think of this book I'm going to remember it as black & scarlet. The book was sensual, seductive, and as delicious as dark chocolate. In spite of the constant POV shifts and the glaring use of the word 'likened', this book is going on my keeper shelf.


Maya Blake said...

Kelly Hunter's was my very first MH and although I've only read a handful since then, my CPs assure me I'm in for a treat with this one!

Michelle Reid on the other hand is an autobuy for me. She's a powerful writer and has a way of capturing the serious business of emotion with every single word. I'm currently reading the prequel to the Balfour series on the free reads section on eharlequin and that too is fab!!!

Sally Clements said...

Ooh, I'm off to buy Mia's scandal straightaway...

Unknown said...

Great reviews Romy and Sally.
Maya, I'm completely shocked that you were a MH virgin! We must get you educated my dear ;-)

Maya Blake said...

Ooops should've explained better, Lorraine. Kelly Hunter's *first* MH book was my initiation into all things Modern Heat. I haven't read Renegade yet, but I aim to remedy that very soon :)

Kat said...

I loved and adored Red-hot Renegade, it's def one to get your mits on. It made me sigh with envy!
I haven't read Mia's Scandal - in fact, (terrible admission) I haven't read any M&B historicals. I WILL remedy that!

Joanne Coles said...

I've bought Kelly's book on Minxy recommendation and also have Michelle Reid's book as it was in my RNA goody bag. I think I need to get on with reading these two with such wonderful reviews!