Heating things up for the holidays

When it's cold outside sometimes it's nice to turn up the heat a bit inside. So I started off my vacation last week with some romance reads, all picked up at ye locale pharmacy (and all on sale - score!)

Christmas Wishes by Debbie Macomber

I kinda like Debbie Macomber. I enjoyed the two Blossom Street books of hers that I read and I was looking for something happy and kinda fluffy. This book was actually two (short) books in one - Christmas Letters and Rainy Day Kisses.

Both were light and fluffy and fun. Basically everything I could ask for in a holiday read.

The next purchases were inspired by Sarah and the Goon Squad. Many moons ago she posted about spotting a couple of Nascar romance novels - something she found so amazing she had to take a picture with her cellphone (what did we do before technology?). I said that if I ever found them I would buy them, read them and then blog about them. I've known about the line for quite some time (since before it was actually released...I remember reading a press release about it) and I could never figure out if it was the best idea ever or the weirdest.

First up was: No Holding Back by Liz Allison and Wendy Etherington.

Isabel likes Cade. Cade likes Isabel. They had a one night stand that they are both still thinking about 18 months later. And that they can't act on because he's a driver and she's a PR executive for the top drivers in the sport and their sponsors. It would be a conflict of interest on her part and cost her not only her current job but the VP position she's being primed for.

So of course they decide to sneak around and have a secret relationship.  I'm assuming you can guess where this goes.

The second one up was A Nascar Holiday 2 by a whole bunch of people because it was actually four short stories.

Driver meets girl. Girl meets driver. There are reasons why they shouldn't get together but of course all ends well.

I'm obviously cutting the commentary down a whole lot on these - partly because saying anything else tells you pretty much the whole story and partly because I read them about 10 days ago and don't remember so much.

If you've ever read any of the "cowboy" romances these are actually quite a bit like those. I only read two books but there were 5 stories and basically all the men were more or less the same - strong characters, possibly misunderstood by everyone else, but at their core good guys - at least when the right woman comes along. The women were independent and smart.

I think the one thing that surprised me was that the sex (and yes there was sex) all took place "off camera". If there were movies there would be a definite fade to black.  I kind of thought these would be more along the "erotica" type of books instead of the classic romances. I mean...look at the titles of some of these books - Full Throttle? Speed Bumps? In the Groove? Danger Zone? (ok, now I have a urge to watch Top Gun...) But they were really fairly clean and I think a lot of the YA I read has more swearing and sex in them (seriously).

But the bottom line? It was a smart move on Harlequin's part.  And not quite as silly as I originally thought. It's just a new romance genre.