Harlequin Romance review

Introduction

Harlequin Enterprises Limited is the global leader in series romance and one of the world's leading publishers of women's fiction. The Toronto-based company publishes over 110 titles a month in 28 languages in 114 international markets on six continents. These books are written by over 1,100 talented authors worldwide, offering women a broad range of reading from romance to psychological thrillers to relationship novels.

 

Let's see how this works in more detail.

Selection

As mentioned, there is a wide range of women's fiction to be found at eHarlequin, from tender romance to erotica to suspense novels. The books are produced mostly in mass market paperback format – but some imprints such as MIRA or HQN or Spice are offered in the more expensive trade paperback format.

 

Most of the published content falls into what is usually referred to as category romance – novels with predefined sets of rules determining everything from their length and general settings to the tone of the language, the level of explicitness in describing love-making scenes an so on. However, some imprints such as MIRA Books, HQN or Spice Books publish mainstream romance fiction by renowned authors.

 

Below you can find a list of all imprints and their belonging series that are published under Harlequin Enterprises' wing, with a short description of each.

 

Harlequin Series

Harlequin American Romance – romance the all-American way. From Texas to Alaska, from ranches to big cities, the couples in these books are finding love, often with the help of well-intentioned members of their community.

(Length: 55,000 - 60,000 words)

 

Harlequin Blaze – sensuous, highly romantic, innovative stories that are sexy in both premise and execution. The tone of the books runs from fun and flirtatious to dark and sensual, with an emphasis on the physical relationship developing between the couple – these books tell it like it is inside and outside the bedroom.

(Length: 55,000 - 60,000 words)

 

Harlequin Desire – passionate, provocative romance novels filled to the brim with intense storylines featuring wealthy and powerful heroes and strong-willed, independent and complex heroines.

(Length: 50,000 - 55,000 words)

 

Harlequin Historical – covers a wide range of British and European historical periods from ancient civilizations up to and including the Second World War. Enter the world of chivalrous knights and unconventional ladies, roguish rakes and impetuous heiresses, rugged cowboys and spirited frontierswomen...

(Length: 70,000 - 75,000 words)

 

Harlequin Intrigue – shared dangers lead to shared passions... You'll find yourself on the edge of your seat as characters conquer everything from kidnappings to murder mysteries, only to find themselves irresistibly drawn to one another.
(Length: 55,000 - 60,000 words)

 

Harlequin Medical Romance – intensely emotional romances and pulse-racing medical drama set in today's medical community. The stories capture the pace, warmth, tensions, dilemmas, traumas and triumphs of modern medical professionals.

(Length: 50,000 - 55,000 words)

 

Harlequin Nocturne – dark, very sexy read that takes the reader from everyday life to an atmospheric, complex, paranormal world filled with characters struggling with life and death issues.

(Length: 70,000 - 75,000 words)

 

Harlequin Presents – take an impossibly wealthy tycoon, add a glamorous setting or two and a big dash of passion, and you've got all the ingredients for an international romance that will sweep you off your feet. Highly charged attractions become intense, emotionally exciting, seductive romances...
(Length: 50,000 - 55,000 words)

 

Harlequin Romance – short romantic reads with a lower sensuality level, focus is on emotional depth, the excitement, the anticipation and the sheer rush of falling in love.

(Length: 50,000 - 55,000 words)

 

Harlequin Romantic Suspense – suspense, emotion and glamour combine to create highly-charged books with believable characters who fall in love under larger-than-life circumstances.

(Length: 55,000 - 60,000 words)

 

Harlequin Special Edition – contemporary romances featuring heroines who are trying to find the balance between their work life and personal life on the way to true love.

(Length: 55,000 - 60,000 words)

 

Harlequin Superromance – offers more than the romantic relationship by providing a variety of stories that portray the complete lives of the main characters. It's mainstream romance with the promise of happy ever after.
(Length: 60,000 - 65,000 words)

 

Silhouette Series

As of April 2011 the popular Silhouette series are being issued under the Harlequin label. Silhouette Desire thus became Harlequin Desire, Silhouette Romantic Suspense became Harlequin Romantic Suspense and Silhouette Special Edition became Harlequin Special Edition. See above for more information on each series.

 

Spice Books

New single-title imprint for bold, pushing-the-envelope erotic fiction for the modern woman, delivering high-wattage sexual content set within the context of contemporary mainstream fiction.

(Length: ~100,000 words)

 

MIRA Books

MIRA publishes the brightest stars in women's fiction, including today's bestselling authors such as Debbie Macomber and Carla Neggers.

(Length: 90,000 - 100,000 words)

 

HQN Books

HQN publishes outstanding mainstream romance fiction for readers around the world, featuring such bestselling authors as Barbara Delinsky and Fern Michaels.

(Length: ~ 90,000 words)

 

Kimani Press

The home of Kimani Romance, Arabesque, Sepia, Kimani TRU and Kimani New Spirit, Kimani Press brings out the exceptional books by award-winning African-American authors each month.

(Length: ~ 75,000 words)

 

LUNA Books

LUNA Books delivers a compelling, mythical, magical female-focused fantasy with vivid characters, rich "other worlds", strong, sympathetic women and romantic subplots.

(Length: 100,000 - 120,000 words)

 

Worldwide Mystery

Amateur sleuths, traditional cozies, police procedurals, private-eye fiction plus suspense and adventure – written by award winning authors.

 

Carina Press

A digital-first imprint from Harlequin, Carina Press offers weekly releases of eBooks from talented authors in a wide variety of genres, including contemporary romance, steampunk, erotic romance, gay/lesbian fiction, science-fiction, fantasy, or any number of other fiction genres.

How to Buy

Many of Harlequin's imprints and series offer the prospective reader an option to sign up for their direct-to-home continuity programs. These go under the name of Reader Service now, but not to worry: it's still the same old Harlequin Romance stuff. It works like this: first you need to choose the series you'd like to sign up for. You'll be offered 2 free books up front, a trial run of a sort. All you need to do is give Harlequin your address and e-mail, so they know where to send the books. That's it. No credit card info or anything else is necessary. Your free books should arrive within 25 days.

 

Important: these books really are completely free, there are no shipping fees or any other hidden charges involved, and you are not obliged to buy anything. If you don't like the books, or if you change your mind, simply return the shipping statement marked "Cancel" to eHarlequin or call the toll-free number enclosed with the shipment and that's that. The books and mystery gifts you received are yours to keep, just for giving a Harlequin Reader Service series a try.

 

If you do like the books and would prefer to keep receiving new ones each month, do nothing: about a month later a new batch of books will arrive (2 to 6, depending on the series), along with the bill – and so again the following month, for as long as you wish to keep your membership. Each month when a new shipment arrives you will have the option to pay the bill and keep the books, or send them back and cancel your subscription.

 

Harlequin Online Store

Signing up for a continuity program has some advantages: it's convenient, saves time and in some cases money, plus, let's not forget, there are free books involved. However, this is by no means a requirement to avail yourself of some quality romantic reads; eHarlequin.com can be used like any regular online store. You can browse books by category, format or miniseries or search for a specific title or author. Choose up to 30 items per order, mixed from as many categories as you like. There are some other advantages to online shopping, but more on that in the next chapter.

Savings

Shopping at eHarlequin online store gets you 20% off the cover price on each book, every day. But that's not all. eHarlequin also features several other continuous or time-limited promotions, such as Freebie Fridays, Sales & Specials, Books on a Budget. Look for "Special Offers" on the store's main menu. It is also possible to save on shipping: if your total order amounts to $25 or more (before taxes), shipping and handling is free. Also, shipping is free for first time buyers no matter what amount they have spent. See our Harlequin Coupons page for more details.

 

Things are a little more complicated when it comes to continuity programs, as they are priced differently. Depending on the series, you can save from 17% to 45% off the cover price – most of the time, though, this will also be around 20%. Free shipping offer, however, is not available for continuity shipments.

Alternative Formats

Larger Print

Some of the most popular Harlequin series are now available in larger print format, featuring a 20% increased type size. They are also priced a little higher.

 

eBooks

There is a fully featured eBook store in function at eHarlequin, offering most of the titles that are available as printed material, plus some exclusive stuff obtainable in electronic form only. The eBooks are provided in Adobe EPUB format which is well on the way to become a new standard.

 

eBooks are sold at 10% discount compared to regular ePrices. Exclusive deals with savings up to 50% are available on a regular basis.

 

Some of the continuity programs are now also available in eBook format. Specifically, these are:

eBook continuity programs offer some added flexibility; for example, you can choose how many books from each series you'd like to receive per month.

 

Audiobooks

Most of the content published by Harlequin Enterprises is now available in audiobook format. Harlequin has partnered with Audible.com, the leading provider of premium digital audio information and entertainment, to transform its vast library of romance literature into audiobook format and distribute it over the Internet.

Conclusion

Wide selection of reading material
Savings
Free book giveaways and other offers
Choice of alternative formats
Free shipping on orders above $25
Continuity books aren't always the lower priced

There is whole a lot to like about eHarlequin. They seem to have all the bases covered nicely. The selection of reading material is as broad as can be, you save money with each book you buy at the online store (plus there are always opportunities to save even more than the standard 20%), and it is gratifying to see that Harlequin are very much on top of the current trends and are offering their vast selection of romance literature in both eBook and audiobook format for those who are looking at extending their reading opportunities.

 

About the only gripe we've been able to come up with has to do with the pricing of Themed Collections books. The fact is, subscribers to some of the continuity programs (such as Harlequin Intrigue, for example), pay more for the exact same book than people who simply buy it at the online store. Which, in our humble opinion, is kind of unfair; you'd think Harlequin would want to reward its subscribers for supporting its business month in and month out with at least a symbolic gesture. Granted, it's only a few cents per book we're talking here, but still... it's about the principle of the matter.

 

That said, there is no doubt that the benefits of shopping at eHarlequin or signing up for one of their continuity series outweigh this minor issue by a large margin: the fact remains, if you are looking for inexpensive romantic entertainment in written form, eHarlequin is the place to go.

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