SEALed and Delivered

Jill Monroe — Harlequin (Blaze), 2009 — 9780373795093

I cannot emphasize this enough: I read this book because my BOOK CLUB was reading it. And no, I do not belong to a lame book club. We are awesome. While still relatively new, our past selections have been pretty good. So why this book? Well, someone suggested, and I agreed, that I cannot continue to make fun of / lambast books like this without having ever read one. We were each given two books to read: one more steamy and one less steamy.

Let’s start with the cover. Sadly, this book does not have Fabio on it. Instead, Handsome Stock Model is posing as a Navy Seal. Thus the clever pun in the titled: SEALed and Delivered. The letters are actually in all caps like that. The tag line (or I guess subtitle?) is, “A special package just for her…” and a little circle contains yet another pun: “Uniformly hot!”.

I started off with an open mind, and read the first 100 pages in one night. It was what I expected: not great writing, spotty editing, awkward contradictions, and brazen stereotypes. Not to mention a woman who, despite claiming to be modern and strong, of course succumbs to the hero’s charms the minute they meet. The steamy scenes are just that, full of descriptions as opposed to euphemisms (Blaze is Harlequin’s most racy imprint), yet still almost painfully cheesy and stereotypical. What should have taken me a day to read was stretched to almost two weeks. I just could not pick this up.

In the end, I think Harlequin is much more interesting, as someone pointed out to me, from a publishing business model point of view than for the content of it’s books. Harlequin’s website showcases a myriad of imprints, series, categories, and formats. A set number of titles is released like clockwork each month, to the extent that this novel, though published recently in 2009, could not be found on the site because it is so “old” — that’s why I had to link to Amazon. If you want to write a novel for them, there are precise and detailed instructions. And most telling is the fact that Harlequin’s home page is in effect it’s online store as well — this company makes it clear it is in the business of selling books.

Books that I will continue to roll my eyes at and not understand. I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it through the second one…


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