Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wendy's Pimping Harlequins Again

I thought about whipping out Little Miss Crabby Pants again for this post, but honestly, she's still busy ranting about the swine flu. No, today's post is brought to you by your friendly neighborhood Harlequin SuperRomance pimp.

Um, that would be me. Just in case you were wondering.

Three things that really annoy me. 1) How Harlequin has become synonymous with "romance" as a whole genre - especially when hurled as an insult by assholes jack-offs who sneer at the genre. Hence the phrase "trashy Harlequins." 2) How some romance readers treat Harlequins like the red-headed step-child of the genre. Never mind that many of them are happily lapping up books by authors who got their start writing for Harlequin. Just saying. 3) How all Harlequins are tarred and feathered with the Harlequin Presents brush. HP is one line. Well, two now that they've taken over Silhouette Desire ::sob::

Which is where I come in. Harlequins are, in my ever so humble opinion, the purest form of romance. It's all the romance, without any of the BS. Certainly you're going to find vampires, werewolves, and serial killers in Harlequin books - but the vast majority of them? Yeah, straight-up, good, old-fashioned contemporary romances.

Remember those?

Which brings me to A Not-So-Perfect Past by Beth Andrews. I'm not sure where this author has been all my life, but damn, I think I'm in love. Seriously. Drop everything, and head on over to my review at TGTBTU. I pretty much say it all there. And if you haven't tried the SuperRomance line? What the hell are you waiting for? I've discovered three fabulous new-to-me authors there in the past year. Ellen Hartman, Janice Kay Johnson (who's been writing forever and I just found her!) and now Beth Andrews.

Hell, at least take it under advisement.


Samanthadelayed said...

I have only just begun reading Harlequin in the past couple of years and I used to be guilty of most of the crimes you are ranting about... However, I am a changed woman these days.
I have liked just about every Super Romance I have read. I especially like the "Everlasting Love" ones. I read a couple of really good ones in the last year. I think I only had one disappointment.
I also really like Blaze. There are some really good authors in that line.
And while I don't read the HP line, I have fun reading the titles when I am processing them. I seriously can't imagine why anyone thinks those are good titles. I have still yet to find an Intrique book that I really like, so if you have any suggestions....
And yes, other romance readers are the worst about slamming HQ. I have run into them at the store. I will suggest a Harlequin that I liked and they just grimace or make a catty comment.

Wendy said...

Samantha: I've never read an Intrigue. While I love romantic suspense, I don't naturally gravitate towards the suspense lines that Harlequin has (HI and SRS). I'm trying to change that though, and now that I'm reviewing HQ's over at TGTBTU, I'm trying to broaden my horizons.

As far as Intrigue authors - I've recently heard good things about Kay Thomas. Her debut HI came out in January, and her latest book is an April release.

Mayberry Mom said...

I ordered this book after reading your review.

Oh, and Janice Kay Johnson is one of my absolute favorites!!

Kwana said...

You make me want to just run to the bookstore. Like I need to do that tonight. Love how you tell it like it is.

azteclady said...

You are responsible for so many new-to-me authors in my TBB wish list that it's not funny.

I thank you, my budget? not so much.

Kati said...

Hm. I love Harlequin Presents. Yes, they don't typify the genre -- of course not. But they are a fun and yummy snack for me, like cheezits. And I think that most of the authors "get it" about HP's, you know? I can blow through them quickly, and since I love nothing more than an arrogant alpha getting his ass kicked, I almost always enjoy them. And I feel like the newer titles have heroines with a tad more spine. Are them campy? Sure, some of them. But I still loves them.

But I also adore the Blaze line and now it looks like I'll need to pick up this SuperRomance.

Wendy said...

Mayberry Mom: I feel like such a moron for not discovering Janice Kay Johnson sooner! She has a HUGE backlist. I liked Snowbound (didn't love it, but enjoyed it) but was blown away by last year's The Man Behind The Cop. Which is now a RITA nominated book.

Kwana: could always order the book online and save yourself a trip :)

AL: You know what I really enjoy? When I discover an author based on someone's recommendation that I probably would have never discovered on my own. And given Harlequin's mammoth publishing schedule, there's just oodles of new-to-me authors waiting in their ranks to be "discovered."

Kati: I didn't mean to "slam" HPs. I totally "get" why a lot of readers love them. My only beef is that they've overrun the Desire line...and ::sob:: that used to be my favorite! My problem is that when so many people "think" Harlequin they immediately think that ALL the books are HPs. And they're not. HP is one line (OK, two if you count SD) and not all Harlequins fit the mold of that line.

Liza said...

I love the Super Romance line and have been reading them for years. I haven't read this book yet, but I'll add it to my tbb list. Thanks for the suggestion Wendy. Blaze is my favorite line right now, but I do tend to look at each of the lines to see who released books each month.

Anna said...

I grew up reading my Mom's Harlequin cast-offs. I think most of them were Super Romances or American Romances. Then I grew up and thought they were beneath me - except for the Blaze line. I loved them. However, lately I've been reconsidering them, mostly because of your blog posts. I read one of your recommends last year (ex-rock star dad, wanna be rocker son.....forget the title) and really enjoyed it. This book looks like a good title to pick up too. Thank you for forcing me to reconsider Harlequin. :)

Lori said...

I went to look at my last order, and yup - this one was in there. It shipped today. So I should be getting it in about... oh... 2 weeks or so, LOL. One thing Harlequin aint, is efficient with their shipping. But that's ok. I have other things to keep me occupied. Don't even ask me why I don't buy their stuff in ebook instead. For some reason, I like reading categories in PB. I'll read anything else in ebook. Weird, no?

Anonymous said...

I had read Harlequins for years finding such authors as Stephanie James (Jayne Ann Krentz), Nora Roberts, Elizabeth Lowell, Linda Howard, and Kathleen Korbel to name a few that I followed to mainstream novels. I had quit reading HQN but when I bought a Kindle, the price seemed reasonable again and I have started picking them up upon recommendations from the blog crew.

Regards, Ruth

Wendy said...

Liza: When Blaze first launched it started out a bit bumpy for me. Too many good girls who wanted to be "bad." Admittedly not a favorite storyline for me! But I tried them again recently, and have found some I've really enjoyed. And I'm really hoping they keep up with their historical offerings.

Anna: His Secret Past by Ellen Hartman. Ex-rock-star hero, documentary filmmaker heroine. She's got a new book out this month - The Boyfriend's Back - and it's ready to go on my Sony Reader.

Lori - LOL, I'm the exact opposite. I pretty much only read Harlequins in ebook format anymore. It's been convenient for me, and really helps with my storage space....or lack thereof.

Ruth: It's been wonderful for me to make the switch to ebooks for my HQ fix. So dang convenient, and I love that I can load up my reader with a ton of titles!

Kelly in Hockeytown said...

I wholeheartedly agree with everything Wendy said in her post.

I absolutely despise/loathe HARLEQUIN PRESENTS and what has has been done to SILHOUETTE DESIRE(S).


Samanthadelayed said...

Wendy. I found the Kay Thomas Januaray release.I added it to my pile of books to take home :D

azteclady said...

Okay, the fact that I know own this book? Entirely Wendy's fault. Period.


Wendy said...

Kelly: WooHoo! Hockeytown! I really, really, really miss the old SDs. That used to be my favorite line, hands down. Then they went on a run of sheik stories, and then it completely morphed into HP II: The Revenge. Oh well. At least I still have HSR and SSE.

Samantha: I met Thomas at RWA last year, and she was really nice. I have the January book in my TBR....just haven't gotten to it yet. Another blogger (I want to say JenB) just read her April release and really liked it.

AL: Hey, I'm totally comfortable taking the blame on this one ;)