Well as you know, I've been on a Jayne Ann Krentz's kick. What helps is that most of her books are available at the library - UNBELIEVABLE!! LOL :) Let just say that's rare ^_^;
So let see what I've been reading...
Family Man by Jayne Ann Krentz
published by Simon & Schuster in July 1996
Almost a decade of working for the high-powered Gilchrist family empire has made Katy Wade sassy, spunky -- and secretly determined to open her own business. There's one last problem she has to solve before she feels free to leave. The Gilchrists need an heir apparent to save their mysteriously floundering fortunes, and there's only one man for the job: Luke Gilchrist. All his life the Gilchrists have made Luke pay for his father's scandal, and now he's a renegade who's sworn he'll never go home -- except to get even. Katy must persuade Luke to use his business expertise to rescue his family, but one look in his sexy green eyes, and she knows why they affectionately call him "the Bastard."
What she doesn't know is that Luke's decided he wants her even more than he wants revenge. He agrees to play savior, but only with Katy at his side. It's a high-handed tactic sure to make this saucy red haired angel madder than hell, but she's the only one who can turn this devilish rogue into a family man. Luke may be an SOB of a CEO, but he knows the bottom line is heartbreak...unless he can trust Katy with his secrets and she can believe in his love.
Genre: contemporary romance
The Story: The Gilchrist family has always been a family-operative business and is now in difficulty. The matriarch's only hope is to convince her grandson Luke to take charge... Only problem is Luke's father was disinherited by the matriarch when he left Katy's mother at the altar and both sides have been at odds ever since, even if only Luke remains - his parents and wife having died in a plane accident. Luke has no interest in his family or coming to terms with them... however, he is intrigued by Katy, the matriarch's personal assistant.
After her parents died, Katy had to raise her younger brother. Luckily for her, the Gilchrist's matriarch took her under her wing and thus, has earned Katy's loyalty for life. However, Katy has had enough of dealing with the melodramatic family and wants to start her own business. Her only hope is to convince Luke to come and take charge and thus, she will be freed... Only problem is Luke doesn't want to...
My Opinion: I read this one on Li's recommendation. In the back blurb, it says that the family affectionately call him "the Bastard." Ugh no!!! They call him that way to be mean, especially since he is NOT a bastard!! Basically, Family Man was an okay book - it pretty much follows Ms Krentz's outline - heroine meets hero for some business reasons. H/H are wildly attracted to each other and quickly get into a relationship... but their HEA ending is threatened by a villain because of said business. Then, you add a mix of colorful secondary characters - most of them, family relatives.
Although Family Man is formulatic, I didn't mind, because I didn't expect it to be otherwise. My main problem with this book however is everyone's perception of Luke. I mean, the Gilchrists have basically been ignoring Luke even before he was born! They've treated him like a non-relative, even calling him a bastard just because the matriarch didn't approve of his parents' marriage... and now that the business is going down, he has to come and clean up everyone's mess? Seriously? Sure, family is important and family bonds/relationships are too... but hey, it goes both ways! That's why Katy's arguments to get Luke back to help annoyed me so much. She just expected him to come back because it was his duty as a member of the family... Like I said, seriously?!?! Even when he finally agreed, everyone was suspicious of him, expecting him to cross them, to get revenge. Ugh.
Another thing that I found annoying was Katy's generalization of the Gilchrist family. How she was used to deal with them and how "Gilchrist" Luke was acting. I mean, it annoyed him and it annoyed me as well.
Otherwise, the rest of the story was all right. I mean, it doesn't stand out from other JAK I've read... Luke getting closer to his family, him mentoring Katy's younger brother... Katy and Luke falling in love. The parts that stood out the most would be the ones with Luke's dog, Zeke. LOL, it was so funny how he became addicted to pesto and how he wouldn't go anywhere without his bowl! The whole sabotage plot was a bit weak, but I liked the resolution of it. Very clever.
My Grade: C. It would have gotten a better grade minus the annoying bits I explained.
Perfect Partners by Jayne Ann Krentz
published by Simon & Schuster in April 1992
Midwestern librarian Letitia Thornquist didn't have the right stuff to run Thornquist Gear, Inc. That was the bottom-line opinion of Joel Blackstone, the seasoned CEO who had built the small Seattle sporting goods store into an industry giant. But Letty's rich Uncle Charlie willed her the company, and now she was bubbling with enthusiasm to have Joel, a perfect mentor, show her the ropes.
Teaching her the business was all Joel grudgingly planned to do...until the sensuous curves under Letty's navy suit and the unabashed desire in her wide, innocent eyes left him longing for a personal kind of merger. Soon his sizzling kisses convinced her that she wasn't in Kansas anymore. But no matter how skilled Joel was in the art of love, Letty knew she was at risk in his arms. Behind his tough facade she sensed a world of hurt that cried out for her warmth and understanding. She realized the "L" word might never be spoken if trust didn't make them perfect partners 9 to 5...and in the loving after-hours of midnight to dawn.
Genre: contemporary romance
The Story: Joel Blackstone is the CEO of Thornquist Gear, Inc. and was supposed to buy the business from the original owner... Unfortunately, the owner died and left it to his grand-niece, Letitia Thornquist. Letty is a librarian at an university and Joel has no worries that he'll be able to buy her out and use the company to get revenge on his hometown... However, it turns out that Letty has different plans.
Letty is at crossroads. She was engaged to a professor at the university, but no longer after finding a grad student between his legs. Thornquist Gear, Inc. seems to provide her with new opportunities and a new life and Letty is no fool to let it pass... Only problem: is it safe to start an affair with Blackstone? What interests him? Her, the company or revenge?
My Opinion: Again, Perfect Partners is not a bad book, but it doesn't stand out from the bunch either. It actually was quite bland compared to other JAKs and one of the weakness I think were the secondary characters. They just weren't interesting... they actually were annoying ^_^;
The interaction between Letty and Blackstone was interesting. There were some cute moments. I think that Ms Krentz did go overboard a bit with the librarian stereotype ^_^; It's not because we like to read that we'll read a lot of articles. I was surprised that the revenge plot took so much of the story, but that actually kind of save the book... however, the resolution was just so-so.
My Grade: C. Basically, I think it was missing the omph factor.
Hidden Talents by Jayne Ann Krentz
published by Simon & Schuster in January 1994
Serenity Makepeace knows a lot about whole-grain bread, but she doesn't know beans about business. Her new catalog company featuring local handicrafts will benefit her offbeat artist community in Witt's End, Washington, but she needs a crack financial adviser to make it work. So she charms her way into the office, of Caleb Ventress, only to find a handsome wolf in conservative clothing.
An expert in the art of the deal, Caleb has no talent for long term relationships, and isn't sure what to do about this unconventional beauty who walks into his life. A pass from a paragon of conformity -- even one as handsome as Caleb -- is more than free-spirited Serenity bargained for. But when intrigues back in Witt's End threaten Serenity's plans and perhaps her life, she begins to trust Caleb without reading his fine print...and the bottom line might be true love....
Genre: contemporary romance
The Story: Serenity's mother died in childbirth and Serenity was adopted by the town of Witt's End and has been raised by its people - an eclectic group of people... The economy of Witt's End is going downhill and in Serenity's opinion, the only way to save the town is to start a catalog company offering the crafts of Witt's End's townspeople. In order to start the business, she needs the help of Caleb Ventress.
Caleb Ventress had always lived a strict and rigid life, making up for his father's mistake. However, Serenity is completely different and she brings out a new face of Caleb... Then, Serenity is blackmailed by nude pictures and it reminds Caleb of his own parents' scandal. As a result, he doesn't want to get involved with Serenity... but attraction is stronger.
My Opinion: Out of the three books, I think this one was the best... Although when I first read it, I gave it a lower grade... but in comparison, this one was really better. Basically, it has a theme that I enjoy a lot - the happy-go-lucky heroine thawing out the stuffy hero. In addition, there's a great cast of secondary characters that helps the heroine doing her job. It definitively was an enjoyable book :) The intrigue was also well-written and developed.
My only complaint about this book is Caleb's tantrum scene... when he finally explodes and let his grandfather, aunt and uncle what he really feels. I thought Caleb was a bit harsh. Perhaps they really deserved it, but most of it is due to these people not communicating well.
Otherwise, I enjoyed the book and liked the characters :) I liked Serenity, although I thought she was a bit aloof in the beginning. I mean, dropping during a conversation that you're being blackmailed... well if the opposition doesn't freak out, they just don't care right? Still, she had spunk and she was fun. Caleb is pretty much a carbon copy of most of JAK's heroes... If you liked them, you'll like Caleb. Some funny scenes in addition :) I just like how he got involved in the town's business without wanting to LOL :)
My Grade: B-. Better than Family Man and Perfect Partners... but still missing the omph factor.