Two category novels

9 Sep

I thought I would get around to write a longer comment about these two novels, but I’ve been dragging my feet about writing reviews lately. To get them out of the way, here’s a short version.

Justine Davis – Her Best Friend’s Husband

GENRE: Romance / Contemporary
PUBLISHED: Silhouette Romantic Suspense, 2008

WHY THIS NOVEL: I liked The Return of Luke McGuire and this one sounded interesting.


The back blurb:
“Gabriel Taggert. Former naval officer, man of honor – and her best friend’s husband. Cara Thrope’s feelings for the one man she could never have had always been her own shameful secret. And when her best friend disappeared without a trace, she lost them both. Until a postcard arrived, eight years late…

Receiving an eight-year old message from her best friend was disturbing enough. Now Cara had to face the man she’d quietly loved for years. Would teaming up with Gabe on a dangerous hunt for the truth jeopardize their own lives…and the chance for a future together?”


I really liked how Davis wrote Cara’s and Gabe’s love story. And she did it without making Hope, Gabe’s wife and Cara’s best friend, come across as an evil bitch. Instead, she shows that Cara and Gabe are a better fit (at least now) than Hope and Gabe, despite their intense attraction, ever were. So that was the highlight of the novel.

I didn’t like the way the mystery of Hope’s disappearance turned into something more because I thought the motivation behind it not strongly enough integrated into the story. It made the villain a cardboard psycho. But this part of the plot took center stage only later in the story. Most of the time, it’s about Gabe and Cara finding out what Hope did on the day she sent the postcard and what happened to her. And there’s the falling in love thing, of course.


Would I recommend this novel? Yes.
Would I read this novel again? Probably Yes.
Grade: 4 – / 5


Kristin Hardy – Bad Influence

GENRE: Romance / Contemporary
PUBLISHED: Mills & Boon Blaze; 2008

WHY THIS NOVEL: I like Kristin Hardy’s novels


The back blurb:
“Interior designer and ambassador’s daughter Paige Favreau has never been what you’d call reckless, wild, or even mildly daring. Always the good girl, now Paige finally has something to go wild about – Zach Reed.

Zach: a hot guitar player whose every sensual word and movement are just the things Paige has stayed away from her entire life. But this time she can’t. And she won’t!”


I have the sneaking suspicion that this novel would have worked better for me if the hero wouldn’t have sported a mustache. Am I shallow or what? But because of that, it took some time before I was pulled in.

Paige and Zach meet in a hospital. Paige’s grandfather was in an accident. Zach’s there because his grandmother was in an accident. It turns out, it was the same accident and that they are neighbors. Zach’s grandmother now lives in the house Paige’s grandfather grew up in and she plans to turn part of it into a museum, a burlesque dance museum. Paige’s grandfather is quite enraged by this idea and while Paige and Zach sort this conflict out, they fall in love.

Paige and Zach are complete opposites in terms of their upbringing and their way of living (see the back blurb). But despite that, they are fiercely attracted to each other and they agree to have a fling for the time they stay with their grandparent. Things get more serious soon, and after a few weeks, they decide to move in together. Zach’s career is more than shaky at the moment and he thinks maybe it’s time to look for something steady. But it becomes clear that he hasn’t given up on his dream of becoming a really successful musician when he gets an offer for a new contract with a record company.

This part of the plot comes to the fore late even though the conflict lurks in the background throughout the whole story. I thought this part the most interesting because it was a real conflict between Paige and Zach. Before that, Paige had some reservations, soon dissolved, about having a fling with Zach, and the museum story line mostly concerned Paige’s grandfather and Zach’s grandmother. These parts were nice to read, there’s also Zach’s teasing of Paige as a “Wild Thing,” but I was invested the most when the story turned to Zach and what he wants to do with his life and what his way of living means for Paige’s and their relationship.


Would I recommend this novel? Yes.
Would I read this novel again? Probably yes (the mustache thing)
Grade: 4 – / 5


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4 Responses to “Two category novels”

  1. Christine Tuesday, September 9, 2008 at 7:26 pm #

    Great reviews. The second one looks really cute, and I love the cover, too.

    I actually like the short reviews and need to learn how to write them myself! I think part of the reason I’ve been procrastinating writing book reviews on my blog lately is because I write too much and they take too long to compose.

  2. Taja Tuesday, September 9, 2008 at 10:57 pm #

    Hi Christine, thank you.

    I too like the cover of the second one, rather hot, IMO. It’s a nice and cute story, and there’s even a secondary (romance) story between the grandparents. It’s certainly worth a try.

    re short reviews: I try to get the hang of them. Sometimes the longer ones are hard to write and I end up blocking myself when I try to force it. And this blog should be fun for me. So my (new) resolution for this blog: I really need to let go of my need to write (full length) reviews for every book I read. Before I started blogging, I sometimes wrote just one sentence in my journal about a novel I had read. So why not now?

    What’s more: when I know that there are a couple of reviews I need to write, it interferes with my ability to read. In the back of my mind is a voice that says I can’t possibly start another book with so much comments to be written. Fun! 😉

    Now I just have to keep this resolution in mind. So far, it seems to be working: today, I finished my first novel for this month. 🙂

  3. Kristie(J) Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at 12:25 am #

    I haven’t read either book – but I do want to read the Justine Davis book. She wrote some of THE BEST series books a number of years ago. I don’t know how hard it would be to find them, but my they were incredible. She wrote a series called the Trinity Street West about a group of police officers and she wrote some other really good ones too. I’ve got most of them and I’ll never let them go since I can reread them today and enjoy them just as much as I did years ago!!
    Although – come to think of it – I do have a number of Kristin Hardy books too, maybe I do have this one somewhere!

  4. Taja Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at 10:31 am #

    Kristie, I always hear good things about Justine Davis and especially about her older books. Really, this oop business sucks. I loved the way Davis wrote the relationship part in the story and if she wrote stories with less romantic suspense, she would probably be an auto-buy author. I’ll definitely look at her next one.

    Kristin Hardy, well, I just like her novels and I’m glad I discovered her last year. Bad Influence is not a bad start and certainly worth a try to see if you like her style. It has all the things I like about her way to write. But compared to some of the other novels I read by her, I would say that Bad Influence is one of her “weaker” stories. Of course, there’s also always the possibility that this impression is just a “mustache” thing. 🙂

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