Review: More Than Neighbours


More than NeighborsA few months ago, I saw several offers for ghostwriters in the romance genre. I wasn’t qualified for those, but that gave me the idea that maybe it would be easier for me to get published through Harlequin than through finding an agent and then a publisher (not that I even tried finding an agent, but it does look awfully hard).

So I looked up Harlequin guidelines and then found they offered free trial books in each of their romance series, so I downloaded them and looked through the blurbs to find one that would possibly be acceptable to me and chose More Than Neighbors, by Janice Kay Johnson.

In the end, I gave up the idea of writing Harlequin romance books because that could probably not hold my interest very long, but the particular book I read was… quite alright.


The book was better than I expected. Although it mostly focused on romance like all Harlequin romance books, there was more to it. It touched themes like parenting, autism, labels, grief, self-esteem and abusive relationships. I didn’t find them very powerful: I found the melodrama a bit too much at times and didn’t like that everything was spelt out, but still, it’s much better than what I expected.

The story is slow, with a lot of descriptions. It’s a slowness that makes you dream about those countrysides landscapes, woodworking and cutting horse competitions, not one that makes you wonder where that story is leading (anyway, you know where it’s leading: it’s a Harlequin). There are, however, some possibly irritating repetitions.

carouselleriecreative_pinkishblooms_elements_berries-11The romance is also fairly slow, which is a definite plus with me (probably a minus for most Harlequin readers). It was a nice romance, too. I’m sometimes disgusted by romance books when the relationship doesn’t look healthy (or is downright toxic), but this one is as healthy as could be. It reflects my idea of a great, empowering relationship.

There is one very explicit sex scene plus a few other sexy bits that I couldn’t enjoy, but I know I’m the exception rather than the rule: for me, it’s like I met these people, you know, went to their house a few times, and then eventually they just stripped naked in front of me and start going at it… nope. Not something I wanna see.

The characters are fairly stereotypical and the gender roles are as traditional as could be, but I expected as much. Ciara sews and cooks, Gabe is a woodworker owning horses. They both have their own issues and are rather believable, but they didn’t jump from the page either. The one really fun character, in my opinion, is Ciara’s son Mark. He’s one of the main reasons why I liked this book.

In conclusion, it’s a decent light book for when you want to relax and not think too much.

Rating: 6/10

Who would I recommend this to? Women who enjoy light romance, especially if they also like daydreaming about rural settings, horses and cowboys.


11 thoughts on “Review: More Than Neighbours

  1. Do you ever do a book review on request from an author? Darlene Polachic, a fellow writer, was telling me today she’s just published an e-book, To Have, To Hold. This is the first in her new Christian Romance series and we were talking about how writers can find someone(s) to do a review for their books. There does seem to be a continuous need for unbiased reviewers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is! The lack of reviews is indie author’s number 1 lament.

      I’ve thought about it and I’ve decided that I’ll take “suggestions”, but won’t accept compensation or favours in exchange, so that I can be 100% honest in my review or decide not to review the book at all if I were to give it a bad one…

      For To Have, To Hold, the blurb seems interesting, but I must admit I know nothing of Christian books and, although I was raised a Catholic, I wouldn’t qualify myself as a Christianism enthusiast… so I don’t know whether I’d like the genre. The closest to Christian Romance books I’ve read would be Anne Brontë’s novels.

      I’ve been wanting to try a Christian novel eventually though, if only to add to my general knowledge…


      • If you’d like to try a Christian novel — well, I’d sooner call this one “somewhat on the religious side” you might enjoy Gone to Green by Judy Christie. I want to review this e-book shortly; I read it last month and thought it was really good.
        I especially liked that the female MC wasn’t the STAR— the “it’s all about me” type. She stood behind her staff and particularly her reporter when he wanted to expose corruption, but she didn’t get in people’s faces in a belligerent way like you see often in books these days. I like books that show common sense, teamwork and consideration for others.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I like trying different things. My first attempts at novel writing were all more or less fantasy. The first book I’ve actually finished is a romance, my second a psychological thriller with some romance.

      I like romance for now because I find it easy to write, as opposed to fantasy or thrillers: those require more planning, which is one of my weaknesses. Also, my strength is characterisation and psychology, which is one of the most important aspects of romance in my opinion. But the goal is to go back to fantasy eventually.

      As for ghostwriting… honestly, I wouldn’t mind. Those offers I talked about offered to provide you with an outline, so it wouldn’t have been my story to begin with. Plus, for me even making a little money with my writing would feel extremely satisfying, even though I make much more as a translator. Translation isn’t my passion; writing is. I’d love to become a full-time writer eventually, so any step bringing me closer to that goal is welcome. ^_^

      Liked by 1 person

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