Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pink Heart Picks - Born On The 4th of July

This month PHS Editor Donna Alward chats about the book club read for the month - the Blaze line's BORN ON THE 4th OF JULY.

I saved this read for when I was flying – it was on my ereader and I love how I can take so many books on holiday and fit them all in my purse. And what a great way to while away a few hours!

I don’t read a lot of Blaze. Actually, my reading varies a lot so I don’t read a lot of anything in particular (except Romance in general). It’s been a while since I read one and I was really looking forward to it. And I love military heroes so that was already a plus before I even went to the first page.

This book is 3 novellas by three really talented authors.

I discovered Jill Shalvis a while ago and love her writing and hers was the first story. I have to admit that I was surprised to be thrown right into the hot stuff in the first scene Wowza! This is a friends to lovers story that is simply great – a strong hero and an even stronger heroine who never pities him but pushes him, unlike everyone else who tries to baby him after he’s been wounded. I really liked the additional injury of hearing loss for this character. In some ways her heroine reminded me of my Lily in Her Lone Cowboy – the hero needed someone to be strong and steady rather than sympathetic. Jill’s heroine looks beyond the injury to the man she’s been in love with for quite a while.

Rhonda Nelson’s story had a touch of southern charm that was great, and the thing that really grabbed me was the conflict arc. The hero has very valid reasons for being angry with his father, and all that is unresolved when he goes home for his Dad’s funeral. Chase grew up never feeling good enough and finding out how much his father loved him after his death is really touching.

One particular scene was awesome after a slow beginning heat-wise, and made me laugh with the mention of sweet potato casserole in her hair (and yes, you have to read to find out, I’m not saying any more). There’s a lot packed into this short story – a great sexual relationship, a solid emotional conflict, and in particular I liked the ending. A lot of soldier stories end with the hero either leaving the military or staying stateside but this guy was Rangering on and I liked that.

Karen Foley’s contribution was great and I have to say I was reading and my jaw dropped once as the heroine was very, very naughty. I am not sure I’ll look at marshmallow crème the same way again. What pulled me out of this story a little was the politics of the hero’s job – he was a sniper and the “morality” of his job came up more than once which surprised me. You gotta love it though when you have a Marine coming across the sand in his dress blues on the 4th of July. Foley really knew how to wrap this one up.

Before I sign off and announce next month’s pick, I do want to pose a question for you readers about euphemisms. I of course write for Romance where the bedroom door is closed, but I read across most lines from Inspy to Erotica. There were 2 euphemisms in these stories that, well, I just don’t find sexy and it wasn’t down to one author either. Euphemistic language is certainly quite common especially as things heat up, so I’m wondering – are there any specific words that draw you out of the story?

Next month’s pick is the opposite end of the spectrum – Love Inspired’s   THE COWBOY'S SWEETHEART by Brenda Minton.  Join me on August 24 to read my review and discuss this book!


  1. Funny, I found the whole military thing didn't do it for me. I feel the dichotomy between the characters in the books and the real men I know are having a dreadful time right now made it difficult to slip into the story so easily. Being an old-fashioned kinda gal, too, some of the red hot action so quickly felt a bit...weird. How can you go to bed with someone when you don't even know which school he went to?! But these are all personal reactions, and I know some people will disagree.
    In terms of the stories, I did find it hard to accept that Chase's father had really loved him. The contrast between his horrible treatment and the kindness shown to Rorie was just too far apart. The settings in Karen's story were perfect, especially that fab hotel and the cinematic moment when Matt came over the sand to her, and the fireworks at the end.
    Euphemisms are again I think very personal. You may crack up when one is used, as it takes you right out of the scene, and someone else may think it the perfect term to intensify the moment. Shaft's one thing, stick's another - you get what I'm sayin'?! As long as an emotional connection seems to be there between them, I can stay 'in the moment' reasonably OK.

  2. I'm so excited that you're discussing BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY! The story that I wrote, Packing Heat, was special for me as it was based on a true life story involving a Marine sniper. I do know what you mean about euphemisms, and when I'm writing an intense love scene, I try to avoid them as much as I can. Words that pull me out of the moment? Hmm...rod, for some reason. Maybe because it reminds me of this guy I used to work with...

  3. I just wanted to stop by and tell you how much I enjoyed this month’s pick even though as a rule I prefer full length stories.

    Since I wasn’t popped out of the stories by any euphemisms and I can’t recall any I guess they didn’t bother me. Things that pop me out of a book are more likely to be mistakes in the continuity of a book.

    I enjoyed all three stories but wish that Ronda Nelson’s one could have been a bit longer. It left me feeling like there was more to the story.

    I really loved Karen Foley’s Packing Heat. I found both the hero and heroine to be people I could relate to. I think she did a credible job of portraying what a lot of soldiers must feel.

    I’m hoping to get my hands on next month’s pick as I really enjoy Brenda Minton’s books.

    Kaelee on eHarlequin

  4. Karen - thanks for popping in! It was a treat to read the whole book - I truly enjoyed all three.

    Alison - hmmm, food for thought about the dichotomy between characters and the guys you know. As an author who has written military heroes, I know I always try to get it right and do justice to it.

    Kaelee - thanks for joining us again! You strike me as another person who reads really widely - glad you'll be joining us on the 24th August!

  5. Donna, I didn't mean the writing wasn't great - I just meant that if you have knowledge, you can't 'unknow' it. Does that make sense? However hard I tried to be dragged into the story, I am aware that some serving soldiers have yet to enjoy their home-coming and that nagged at the edge of my brain and stopped me slipping right into the story.

  6. Alison - what about Rhonda's hero - who was going back into active duty?

    Fingers crossed that all soldiers get that special homecoming. :-)

    I meant to say to Kaelee as well - I usually don't go for novellas either, but I saw the line up of authors and subject matter and couldn't resist.