Sunday, January 2, 2011

Random Romance Sunday: Aces And Eights

The Book: Straight For The Heart by Marsha Canham

The Particulars:  Historical romance, Bantam Dell, 1995, Out of Print

The Blurb:
"The Game Is Called Cutthroat Gentlemen. Quick and Vicious ... Just The Way I Like It Sometimes."

She risked everything to play a man's game in a man's world. As the elusive, mysterious Montana Rose, she was known as the queen of the Mississippi riverboats, a sensual and dangerous Southern beauty who was willing to gamble everything, even her life, on each cut of the cards.

Intent on calling her bluff, the equally devious and dangerous Michael Tarrington is determined to teach the fiery lady gambler a lesson in seduction. But instead, the rakishly handsome Yankee finds himself swept into her world of illusions, treachery, and smoldering passions that threaten to cut ... straight for the heart.
Is It In Wendy's TBR?:  Amazingly enough, no.  Reading this back cover blurb this is just the sort of book I'd "rescue" if I were to stumble across it in a used bookstore.  I know how I am....

Any Reviews?:  A couple actually.  Booklist gave this one a very quick write-up, ending on this vaguely positive note:
"Canham deals out plenty of surprising twists in her paperback historical fiction."
Publishers Weekly is a bit more thorough, although not all that positive:
"Canham's (In the Shadow of Midnight) latest is deftly plotted, and Amanda is sympathetic, if a bit insipid, while Michael is engagingly complex. But secondary characters are flat and stereotypical, and readers who dislike excessive violence will find the concluding chapters disturbing."
You can read both of these reviews in full, as well and see some customer reviews (ranging from 2 to 5 Stars) over at Amazon.

Anything Else?:  Initially intrigued by this back cover copy, I'm glad I never have stumbled across this book at a used bookstore and fell under the spell of impulse buying.  Why?  Because turns out our fair heroine in this story has a scheming twin sister.


Every romance reader has at least one trope that makes them go a big rubbery one.  Twin stories happen to be one of mine.  These stories seem to have two speeds - either one of the twins is a eviiiiiiiiiil or we get the ol' Parent Trap trope where the twins "switch places."  Neither of which flips my switch.  I don't loathe these as much as the soul mates trope - but yeah.  It just ain't my bag baby.

That all being said, I do know readers who lurve stories about twins.  I also know that Canham has a bit of a loyal and fervent fan following out there in Romance Novel Land.  So feel free to use the comments section to convince me that this is one twin story I just might want to give a whirl.  What can I say?  I love me American settings.


nath said...

Hmmm, I don't really mind twins... but I do like that she's a lady gambler LOL. Although seeing this is a western, I don't know... very unlikely for me to rescue it :P But I do kind of like the cover :P Very 80s, without being too 80s :P

A Library Girl said...

I like that you recognize that just because something doesn't float your boat doesn't mean it doesn't float someone else's. Twin stories aren't my thing either, but, from the standpoint of someone who does love the soulmate stuff, I appreciate it. :)

The post-Civil War aspect probably would've turned me off on this one - not my favorite historical romance time period. I haven't read too many books with gambler heroines though, so maybe that would've brought me back...hmm, probably not, I've got enough on my TBR pile.

Jane Unplugged said...

Have to agree with you on the twin thing but I'd take a look to hopefully be proved wrong. I still come across twin (or really similar looking sisters) in Harlequins where they swap places and it does annoy me just a tad. Also, the mysterious woman thing in the Canham book.. or maybe I'm just in a bad mood...

Dr J said...

Thanks for the good review. I think sometimes the "twin thing" is used as a way of spicing up a story but I, too, get a little impatient when they do the exchange thing and try to fool everyone. Patently dishonest, it seems to me.

And yes, Wendy, I did read all those books and no, I don't really watch TV much--usually when my hubby drags me into the family room to see something or someone I know tells me I "have to watch this." I used to watch lots of TV and got no reading done. Books are better . . .

Happy New Year and keep us informed as you do so well!

Anonymous said...

i enjoy your terminology of "rescuing" books from a used book store. im totally stealing that! semantics are everything.

re: Twin Romances, when i first found romance novels when i was 12, i ADORED Jude Deveraux's Twin of Ice/Twin of Fire duo. saw it in the library last year after not having read it in 15 years, tried a re-read and it was a wall banger *sigh*

A Library Girl said...

@lustyreader - I hate it when books I used to love when I was younger don't stand the test of time. It's made me afraid to read some old favorites - I'd rather not have the warm, fuzzy memories ruined, lol.

Wendy said...

Nath: I love the gun on the cover. I'm not sure what that says about me! LOL

Library Girl: I like post-Civil War depending on where it's set. Out west = yay! The South = I get slightly hesitant. All the destroyed landscape, wounded vets, carpetbaggers and Jim Crow can make that setting/time period tricky for authors.

Jane: I like mysterious women, but, not so much. I've certainly read a few that I did end up enjoying, but still a hard sell for me. Usually my hand has to be forced.

Dr. J: Dude, I cannot believe you read almost 600 books! Of course if I gave up TV, I might finally be able to get my TBR under control!

Lusty & Library Girl: I loved Deveraux's Velvet series when I was a teen, but have actively avoided rereading it for that very reason!