Does anyone here read the Harlequin emanga? I'm curious as to how people like them. To me, because of their length (~126 pages), there generally isn't time to get into characters and relationships too much. Just when I'm getting interested they wrap up and end. But they're lite novellas that let me escape into fantasy-land for a short while.
Anyway, these are the ones I've read and my impressions:
Honor's Promise – The original story to this was written by Sharon Sala, one of my favorite romance writers because she writes down to earth stories about normal people. This is a condensed version of that, and one of the better stories here. It's about a normal heroine who owns a diner and finds she has some rich relatives she doesn't know about and is swept into their world. The ending is a bit clichéd (par for the course in these), but I enjoyed the trip. I bought the novel to this after I'd read the manga because I wanted to compare them, and I actually liked the manga treatment better. It removed the book's shortcomings.
The Sheikh's Reluctant Bride – Hoo boy is this old-style clichéd sheik romance. The art isn't that great either. Probably my least favorite of the ones I've read. I'm really not into prince/princess romances though.
Prisoner of the Tower – One of the few historical romances listed, the original story by another good romance writer, Gayle Wilson. I bought the book after reading this one too because I liked the story so much. This takes place in the Regency era, and is a combination of love at first sight, then long separation followed by a beauty and beast tale. It's quite romantic.
Keeping Luke's Secret – I hadn't planned on reading this one but looked at the sample and just loved the art. It's a cut above most Harlequin manga artwork. The story isn't terribly original, but it's a decent enough story about a writer dealing with an actress who wants her bio written and her coolly arrogant illegitimate son who doesn't.
Married Under the Italian Sun – I don't know why I like romances set in Italy, but there you have it. This is actually a nice story about an actress trying to retire from her persona, and she buys an estate with a lemon grove, only to find that the previous owner comes as part of the deal. And he's yummy.
Sale or Return Bride – Boy did this story feel too short. It's got a lot of plot and not enough pages. It was all too abruptly wrapped up at the end, with one major plot point just getting a tiny panel to resolve it. It's about a woman forced by her grandfather into marriage with his Greek tycoon rival because she needs money for her mother's operation, and the reason the marriage is revenge is because she can't have children. And that doesn't even cover it all. Phew.
One Summer in Italy – yep, another Italian romance. I liked both the heroine and hero in this. The heroine was the standard warmhearted woman who breaks through to a child. The father was a serious judge truly concerned with justice, but wary of love and attachment. Plus he's kind of warm and sexy at times. The daughter was a bit precious, but oh well, cute kids are par for romance. Though the ending here was too speedy as well. There was no need for the convict subplot, IMO, and it took up space that could have been used for other things.
I still want to read the Betty Neels since a lot of people love her and I've never read one of her books, and maybe one of Debbie Macomber's.
Anyone else read these or others?