All About Romance

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I’ll give the author credit for taking risks. The lead heroine – because yes, there’s a strong secondary romance – has been homeless and on the run for the last six years. This isn’t a glossed over homelessness, she genuinely suffers the afflictions one would expect from living that type of life. But despite interesting characters, No Ordinary Home ultimately has too much going on, with too many serious problems resolved very quickly at the end, and I can’t recommend it.

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Happy Marriage?! (Hapi Mari in the original Japanese) is the Japanese Manga version of a Harlequin Presents novel. Executive Hokuto Mamiya must marry humble “office lady” Chiwa Takanashi to please his nepotistic corporate chairman grandfather, who loved Chiwa’s grandmother. Chiwa accepts so she can settle her father’s debts, thereby drawing herself not only into professional challenges (can she help him inherit the chairmanship? can she have a career of her own?) but also his family drama (was his mother really murdered by his father?). While this series certainly has some of the negative elements of a Presents, it elevates itself by doing the one thing a Presents too rarely does: it lets the hero change. By the end, I liked both protagonists, and I was happy to see them able to move forward in their lives together.

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