After reading a really good Harlequin SuperRomance, and seeing positive reviews for a few more, I continue to find heartfelt, realistic, compelling reads.
What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss I chose from a Dear Author review and because I’d enjoyed Here Comes the Groom. In fact, I’ll probably go back and download a few more of Ms. Bliss’s books because I really enjoy her voice and stories. What the Librarian Did shouldn’t be realistic considering the hero is an ex-rock star, but I very rarely found myself thinking… this couldn’t possibly happen. I didn’t enjoy it as much as Here Comes the Groom simply because I did not feel the same connection to the characters. I think that’s personal preference rather than the writer’s ability to create relateable characters. Again, Ms. Bliss definitely made me cry a few times, and I like getting that emotional investment.
The next SuperRomance I read was Sarah Mayberry’s Her Best Friend, also based on a review I read. I love Ms. Mayberry’s voice. The first novel I ever wrote was best friends falling for each other, and I never could make the heroine seem intelligent or the hero seem more than a pathetic wimp, so I know firsthand how hard it is to write this trope. This was one thing Mayberry did flawlessly. I never thought Amy was a hopeless loser or Quinn a complete moron. I believed both their angst and reasons behind their choices, and I can appreciate just how hard that must have been for the writer.
Two Against the Odds by Joan Kilby was another story where I didn’t fall in love with either character, but the plot was so realistically compelling that I was pulled along. This novel was so different than any other romance novel I’ve read. There was something almost… gritty about it (as gritty as contemporary romance can get, I suppose). It dealt with a lot of horrible events in a very realistic manner. There was no romance blur where love saves the day and makes all the past mistakes okay. It was very… I keep struggling for a word for it. Real. Honest. Blunt. There’s no HEA either, just a HFN, which was probably the only disappointing thing. I wanted just a little bit more about the couple’s future.
Overall, I’ll definitely be looking to read more both from these authors themselves, but also from the SuperRomance line in general. I love a character driven novel, want to care so much about the characters that I’d be happy to read about them cleaning their house, but I’ve found in these books how much a good, honest plot can overcome characters you don’t totally love. There is a down-to-earth feel to these books, a sense of realism even in some unique situations. I haven’t been disappointed yet.