Saturday, March 03, 2012

WEM IV: Trouble in a Pinstripe Suit by Kelly Hunter and Sweet Enemy by Heather Snow

The past week has been pretty quiet. I've been busy at work with another grant application deadline. Ugh. Luckily, I cheered myself with some books! I can't wait to show you all my haul! :)

There was only 5 votes for this week's poll ^_^; So I decided to review both books that had gotten votes LOL. I also thought it'd be a good time to ask you what do you think about the poll itself? Is it annoying to vote each week? Would it better to have polls from time to time only? Let me know what you think :)

In the meantime, enjoy!

Trouble in a Pinstripe Suit by Kelly Hunter
published by Harlequin Presents in March 2012

Restoring a dilapidated hotel doesn't come cheap, but Mia Fletcher doesn't want to accept financial help from Ethan Hamilton. This dangerously sexy businessman isn't someone who takes no for an answer, however, and soon their flirting turns into something more...

Mia knows Ethan isn't a forever kind of guy, but she cannot resist taking what he has to offer by getting him out of his immaculate suit and into bed! Surely their explosive affair will burn itself out—unless Mia can tame his untouchable heart...
Genre: Category romance, contemporary
Series: None

What do you need to know? Trouble in a Pinstripe Suit was originally released in the UK and Australia first in June 2007 under the title of Sleeping Partner. The story is about Mia Fletcher who debarks to Penang, Malaysia, after inheriting a dilapidated hotel from a mother whom she thought had died 24 years ago. Obviously, she's emotionally conflicted... but is still trying to understand the woman her mother was. One thing she's determined to do though is to stay clear from Nathaniel Hamilton, the widower her mother chose over Mia's father, and his son, Ethan. However, Ethan is determined to offer his help and act as the big brother... However, the attraction between each other is nothing like brotherly/sisterly feelings.

Why this book? I enjoy Ms Hunter's category romance books. Her style really suits the genre and her stories are quite original and refreshing. Plus, I enjoy the exotic settings :)

So my thoughts? I usually enjoy Ms Hunter's category romance books and Trouble in a Pinstripe Suit was no exception. I thought the H/H were both likable characters. It was nice to see Mia discovering herself and literally blooming. As for Ethan, he was nearly the perfect man: attractive, attentive, nice and helpful. I thought Ethan and Mia handled the start of their relationship very well given the awkwardness of the situation... The only thing that mar the romance for me is that Ethan was yet another hero who could not open himself to love and commitment because of his past marriage. Otherwise, I enjoyed this couple and their banter.

One thing I really enjoyed in Trouble in a Pinstripe Suit was the exotic setting. Ms Hunter definitively has a knack for writing them and making the culture come through vividly :) I also liked how complex the relationship between Mia's parents and Ethan's father was. How deeply they had loved and how deeply loss have affected them. It made it real and more poignant in my opinion. However, I wished Mia would have found more answers about her mother and her choices. It's clear she loved both men, but at the end, what made her choose Ethan's father and therefore, forfeiting Mia? And I really liked how Mia's father came around. He was portrayed as a very stoic and strict man at first and it seemed he was emotionless... but instead, it was a man who felt too much and got hurt, and therefore shielded himself... Even if it pushed his daughter away a little. Like I said, complex :)

My Grade? B-.

Sweet Enemy by Heather Snow
published by New American Library in January 2012
Geoffrey Wentworth, a war hero and rising political star, never wanted to be the Earl, but when his brother dies, he knows his duty—take up the responsibility for his family’s estates. His mother’s definition of duty differs from his, however, and can be summed up in one word—heirs. When Geoffrey rushes home to answer her urgent summons, he finds himself host to a house full of women, all vying to become the next Countess of Stratford. But his love is Parliament, where he wields his influence and reputation to better the lives of ex-soldiers, until a tempting houseguest and a secret from his past threaten his freedom…and his heart.

Liliana Claremont, a brilliant chemist, doesn’t want to be any man’s wife, much less a Countess. If she had tuppence for every time she’d been told her place was filling the nursery, not experimenting in the laboratory, she could buy the Tower Bridge. However, when she receives a coveted invitation to the Earl’s house party, she trades in her beakers for ball gowns and gladly takes on the guise of husband hunter—for the chance to uncover what the Earl had to do with the murder of her father.

Liliana believes the best way to get the answers she needs is to keep her enemy close, though romance is not part of her formula. But it only takes one kiss to start a reaction she can't control...
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Veiled Seduction series, Book #1

What do you need to know? After her cottage has been ransacked, Liliana finds some secret correspondence  which belonged to her father. From these letters, Liliana figures that there was some sort of foul play in her father's death. If her father has been murdered, Liliana is determined to find out the culprit and the answers seem to be at Somerton Park, the Earl of Straftord's country home.

Why this book? I had my eye on this book ever since I came across it while making my list of new releases. Then Ames read it and enjoyed it, so it sealed the deal for me :)

So my thoughts? Okay, I'm going to start by saying that I wasn't in the greatest reading mood when I read Sweet Enemy, so it might really have affected my enjoyment of it ^_^;  Basically, Sweet Enemy never managed to hold my attention :( I just wasn't into it. While Liliana's idea to go to Somerton Park to investigate was not bad, I was annoyed that she didn't seem to differentiate the man from the earl. I mean, her only evidence is the letters came from the Earl of Stratford... but since the correspondence with her father, there's been two other Earls of Stratford. So it bothered me a tad that she was so suspicious of Geoffrey... Also, I didn't feel like Geoffrey and Liliana had good chemistry. One minute, Geoffrey was attracted and the other, he was angry with her. It just didn't work for me. One minute Liliana didn't want Geoffrey's attentions and the other, she wanted it. It was continuously up and down with them.

I think what annoyed me the most was Geoffrey's reaction to Liliana when he found out her real motives for being at Somerton Park. I understand she was there under false pretenses... but he really acted like an ass :( Another issue was Liliana's scientific background. I had no problem with her being a chemist. I thought that was really well done actually. However, the fact that she was also a "healer" at the same time. The circumstances were explained in the book, but it was still a sore spot for me at the end. I'm not saying she couldn't be both... However, it's clear that Liliana saw herself more as a chemist. Chemistry and medicine are two completely different things. Yes, they are both sciences, but even today, if you ask a doctor about a chemistry question, and a chemist about a medicine question, they will most likely not be able to answer. With a scientific background, I do believe that Liliana is more knowledgeable than most simpering ladies... but it doesn't make her all-knowing. I feel that a lot of historical romance authors do this mistake. They want their heroines to be different, more knowledgeable... but they tend to confuse the disciplines. And another thing, I'd wish Geoffrey would have confront his mother.

There were some good points to the book. I liked Liliana and Geoffrey's characters, but just not as a couple. I liked that Liliana was independent. I liked that Geoffrey was trying to pass some reforms for helping soldiers who came back from war. I liked that while Geoffrey was injured during the war, the injury wasn't a big issue for him. I also thought the intrigue was interesting and liked the way it was unfolded.

My Grade? C-. I definitively had a hard time with Sweet Enemy, hence the grade. However, I feel it was more my mood than the book. As a debut novel, Sweet Enemy wasn't a bad effort at all and I wouldn't hesitate to give Ms Snow's writing another try in the future.


  1. I read TROUBLE IN A PINSTRIPED SUIT (aka SLEEPING PARTNER) earlier this year - it was my last in Kelly Hunter's backlist. Really liked it - loved the family banter in this one. I will get around to writing a review at some point...


  2. You made me want to read the first book!! I t sounds like something I would enjoy a lot!
    Thanks for the review!

  3. How did I not know about the Kelly Hunter. I do still have some books from her backlist to read, but had no idea there was a rerelease!

  4. Li - Looking forward to reading your review, Li ;) I agree, I liked the banter... and also the situations. Given the circumstances, I feel all the characters behaved maturely!!

    Alex - I hope you enjoy it, Alex!

    Marg - The difficulty with Ms Hunter's books is the change of titles!! I find it makes it difficult to keep track. Hopefully, you don't have this one, Marg :) So that means you get one more! :)

  5. hmm.. too bad you didn't enjoy SWEET ENEMY. I have to say the premise sounds like the makings of a really fun book. I do love a science-smart heroine.

  6. ps. I really like this review format!
    What do you need to know?
    Why this book?
    So my thoughts?
    My grade?

    I might just steal that. Giving you credit, of course.

  7. OMG! I totally read your description wrong and thought the hero was the heroine’s widower stepfather! I was like ICK! She gave it a B-?! Is Nath insane!?!?! This must be one hell of a book if she was able to see past that!! LOL Then I did a double-take and realized that the hero was Ethan. Sounds good, I’ll give it a try even though the hero is emotionally unavailable (again!).

    I love the poll! It doesn’t matter if you only get a few votes, I love the emotion of waiting to see if I win and also love the fact that you’re giving us options. Maybe you need to make it more visible so your readers don’t miss it, perhaps that’s why you aren’t getting that many votes.

  8. Christine - Yeah, it's too bad about Sweet Enemy. I really wanted to like it. But sometimes, it happens :)

    Oh and you can go ahead and steal the review format :) I'm actually really enjoying it... I usually try to say all those things in my review, but answering it instead of integrating it in a flowing text is much easier LOL.

    Brie - LOL, yeah, that'd be really icky and totally not my genre. I can get behind a heroine hooking up with her ex-BIL if it's well done... but stepfather? Nahhhh LOL.

    I hope you enjoy this book! I really enjoy Ms Hunter's writing and the location takes your mind off the "cannot commit" hero.

    Thanks for your feedback on the poll! I guess it'll be going back up :) I don't know where to put it on the sidebar to make it more obvious... ah well, I guess I'll keep bothering ppl with the reminders LOL. I'm glad you're enjoying the polls and the options :)