Merry Christmas everyone!

I wanted feel-good mangas for the holiday season. So part of this selection consists of sweet light stories and the other part of Christmas theme Harlequin comics.
These are only a few of my December acquisitions. Among them, there are the San Rimini series and the Princess Swap duet the publisher has started translating into English but hasn’t yet completed. In case they would forget about these pending series, I at least have the raws to get an idea of what’s going on for other characters.

Harlequin comics

As usual, if someone is interested in scanlating one or more stories presented in this post or listed in my Harlequin & Romance comic raws collection, you can submit a request for the raws HERE.

Princess Swap
The first story of Jessica Hart’s Princess Swap duet is already translated and published. I still wanted the raws for both books while waiting for the publisher to release the second story in English.

  1. HQcOrdinary Girl in a Tiara (translated)
    By Jessica Hart & SHIOMIYA Yuki

    (Click on the cover to read a sample)

    Newly single Caro Cartwright has decided that when it comes to life (and men), ordinary is good. Until her best friend, Princess Lotty, begs her to stage a diversion by masquerading as Prince Philippe of Montluce’s latest squeeze….
    Playboy Philippe thinks their attempt is doomed. How can he pretend to be in love with someone like Caro, who’s so…unglamorous? Then Caro starts winning hearts left, right and center—including his. Can Philippe convince Caro not to settle for normal—but for an extraordinary life as princess of Montluce?

  2. HQcThe Secret Princess
    By Jessica Hart & KAWAKAMI Chikako

    (Click on the cover to read a sample)

    Royal Exclusive: “Perfect” princess goes AWOL!
    Frustrated with the merry–go–round of political dinners and enforced good behavior, Lotty’s determined to try a normal life on for size. However, she’s completely unprepared for her sexy new boss, Corran McKenna.
    Bored with people bowing and scraping, Lotty doesn’t mind Corran’s frowns, but his wicked grin causes trouble! A no–strings fling with the only man who’s ever seen the real—rather than the royal—her is irresistible, but what will happen when her real identity becomes headline news?

San Rimini

Here are all books of the San Rimini series.

  1. HQcGoing To The Castle
    By Nicole Burnham & NAKAMURA Chisato

    (Click on the cover to read a sample)

    As crown prince of San Rimini, the playground of Europe’s jet set, tabloid cover boy Antony diTalora spends his days going through the motions of giving to charities and making public appearances for the royal family.
    The last thing Antony needs is his father’s ultimatum, giving him one year to find a suitable wife. Especially when he finds himself attracted to the unglamorous—and entirely unsuitable—American relief worker Jennifer Allen.

  2. HQcThe Prince’s Tutor
    By Nicole Burnham & HIMURA Soraha

    (Click on the cover to read a sample)

    A sworn bachelor, Prince Stefano diTalora has been living the high life—his days filled with ski trips and speedboat races, his nights spent in posh casinos with the créme-de-la-créme of San Rimini society. The last thing he needs is his father’s badgering that he clean up his act. Or the mesmerizing woman his father hires to do the job.
    Amanda Hutton is in a bind, behind on her rent and between clients. When King Eduardo diTalora offers her a job in his royal household, it sounds like a dream come true—until she meets her new student. Her lessons in etiquette and diplomacy are designed for children of dignitaries, not for a grown man. And certainly not a man determined to thwart her at every turn. But can she risk turning away from the job—or the man who needs her help?

  3. HQcThe Knight’s Kiss
    By Nicole Burnham & HIMURA Soraha

    (Click on the cover to read a sample)

    When beautiful Princess Isabella of San Rimini needed an expert to catalogue the artifacts stored in the royal palace, all roads led directly to dark, mysterious Nick Black—a contemporary example of potent masculinity if ever there was one. Yet thanks to a medieval curse, Nick Black had been around for a long time…a very long time.
    In fact, once he’d been known as Domenico of Bollazio, an ambitious knight who would never know peace—or mortality—until he learned to put someone else’s welfare before his own. In taking this assignment, Nick hoped to find an ancient trick to break his curse. Little did he know that close contact her lovely highness, Isabella, might help him to find mortality—and love—the old-fashioned way!

  4. HQcFalling For Prince Federico (translated)
    By Nicole Burnham & TAKAI Mio

    (Click on the cover to read a sample)

    Prince Federico diTalora of San Rimini was all too aware of his dreaded nickname, “Prince Perfect.” But when he met his sister-in-law’s friend, Pia Renati, the widowed father became aware of other things. And that would never do. He had his royal duties, not to mention his two young sons, to think about.
    Though Pia was in San Rimini—temporarily—to serve as a de facto midwife to her best friend, the prince with the Mediteranean good looks and unimpeachable reputation soon had another proposition for her: be nanny to his children. Pia, however, found herself wanting to shake up Federico’s family life in a completely different way. But can a man so blinded by duty ever see what’s in his own heart? What if the perfect prince is an imperfect man?

I was worried when I first saw the covers of the books illustrated by Himura Soraha that I wouldn’t like the art. But turns out the drawing is much better inside and lovelier than I expected it to be. It’s not the kind of art style I favour but it is still nice looking.

The Gentleman Thief

HQcThe Gentleman Thief
By Deborah Simmons & MURATA Junko

(Click on the covers to read samples)

Why her family had elected to spend an entire season in boring Bath, Georgiana Bellewether couldn’t fathom. Nothing to stimulate her inquisitive mind ever happened here – until the night Lady Culpepper’s emeralds were stolen! Now, if only she could keep her mind on the case and her hands off the enigmatic man in black – the beguiling Lord Ashdowne!
As the newly made, ever-responsible Marquis of Ashdowne, Johnathon Saxton bemoaned the lack of excitement now marking his days. But when quixotic, exotic Georgiana Bellewether literally tumbled into his arms, he knew he’d caught himself an armful. The woman was a disaster in the making!

It’s the first time I see a Harlequin comics in which Murata-sensei goes full-out comedy. I didn’t know she had this skill but her adaptation of The Gentleman Thief is really funny! I don’t remember much of the novel yet it can only be good because it’s written by Deborah Simmons — I lurv this author’s Harlequin romances, less her books released by other publishers. That’s one very entertaining and lighthearted romp. Georgiana’s faces are well drawn, always cute and amusing, and Johnathon’s chara design is very alluring.


Merry Christmas

And finally, because it’s Yuletide, here are a few seasonal Harlequin comics. This month, I actually bought more books but didn’t want to include in this post the stories with too much angst and bitterness. You can say this is my contribution to the Christmas spirit.

HQcMake-Believe Mistletoe
By Gina Wilkins & SACHIMI Riho

(Click on the cover to read a sample)

When an ice storm left professor Lucy Guerin stranded in rural Arkansas, she was forced to accept shelter in the secluded home of woodworker Richard Banner. Handsome as sin and twice as grumpy, Banner was not quite what Lucy had envisioned when she’d added “eligible bachelor” to her Christmas wish list.
But his awkward kindness – and a rare smile that warmed her insides – were more than she’d bargained for. And his reluctance to open his home – or his heart – to anyone was a challenge she was ready to face. Wasn’t Christmas the season for miracles? Well, Lucy would entice Banner to slip under the mistletoe with her… and then she’d tempt him with a love he could believe in.

HQcTomorrow…Come Soon
By Jessica Steele & TSUYA Satomi

(Click on the cover to read a sample)

Devon’s ordeal was only just beginning
When her father suddenly announced he had enough money to pay for the expensive operation that would end her years as a cripple, Devon was overjoyed.
The joy turned to horror when he confessed he had embezzled the money from Grant Harrington, his boss.
Grant demanded the debt be repaid. And Devon’s horror deepened when she realized payment in cash wasn’t what he had in mind.

The plot sounds classic but I like a lot the impression left by the manga. I only discovered recently Tsuya-sensei’s art style. I had reservation for her adaptations of modern romances as I think her art style has a cute dream-like almost-vintage quality which fits well some sort of fairy-tale like story with an historical setting. However, maybe it’s because Tomorrow…Come Soon is precisely some sort of contemporary Christmas carol, I kinda felt that the art style fits this story. The characters’ design and looks can pass as contemporary yet I feel a hint of old-fashioned appearances reminding me of Hollywood classics from the golden age.

HQcOne Fiancée to Go, Please
By Jackie Braun & HANABUSA Youko

(Click on the cover to read a sample)

Jack Maris is in a pickle. The confirmed bachelor has just landed the job of his dreams, but his new boss, a staunch family man, thinks Jack is engaged. Desperate, he talks pretty waitress Tess Donovan into posing as his fiancee. The little white lie seems harmless enough — until news of their “engagement” spreads all over town. By then, however, the most delicious complication is the attraction simmering between the pair.

HQcMerry Christmas
By Emma Darcy & HASHIMOTO Takako

(Click on the cover to read a sample)

A daughter she doesn’t know and the lover who doesn’t know her!
As a pregnant teenager, Meredith Palmer had been devastated to discover from Nick Hamilton’s sister that he’d had an accident and had no memory of their golden summer romance. Bereft, Meredith had brokenly accepted Denise’s offer to adopt Kimberly. But now, twelve years later, Denise is dead— and Nick has become the girl’s guardian.
Kimberly’s eagerness to meet her real mother has brought Nick to Meredith’s doorstep this Christmas. He can’t remember having seen this intensely alluring woman before, but there is something about her… some tantalizing glimmer of a dream, a memory… that he must pursue.

What an intriguing plot! I would have expected the manga to be overly emotional. But Hashimoto-sensei drew it tactfully right. To counterbalance the regret for Meredith and Nick’s wasted years, Kimberly brings joy and sunshine to her family. I smiled a lot more than I felt sadness thanks to her beaming personality and the warming care of the adults towards her.

HQcChristmas Gift: A Family
By Barbara Hannay & SAKUYA Kaishi

(Click on the cover to read a sample)

He’s discovered he’s a father…
Happy with his life as a wealthy bachelor, Hugh Strickland is stunned to discover he has a daughter! And – although he wants to bring his daughter Ivy home – he’s absolutely terrified. Hugh hardly knows Jo Berry, but he pleads with her to help him become the father his motherless child deserves…
Now he needs to find the courage to be a family…
Now, as father and daughter become ever closer, Jo realises that she’ll soon no longer be needed. But surely the ideal situation would be if they could give each other the perfect Christmas gift: a family…

It’s my first time looking at Sakuya Kaishi’s art and it’s just too cute for my own good. The little girl’s chara design is so friggin’ adorable, I want to hug her and squish her in my arms. And the story is so sweet, my teeth are aching. The heroine with her knee high socks, tennis shoes and short skirt reminds me of those pretty schoolgirls from US sitcoms of the 80’s and at the same time, her puffed out dress at the party scene is just so puffy you can’t miss the Cinderella-at-the-ball reference. My, this is such an effing cute cliché tale!

HQcThe Twelve Nights of Christmas
By Sarah Morgan & AKIMOTO Nami

(Click on the cover to read a sample)

His housekeeper, or his Christmas present?
Unexpectedly homeless for the festive season and exhausted from transforming the penthouse of the hotel where she works into a dazzling winter wonderland, chambermaid Evie Anderson secretly sleeps over. Woken by an outrageously sensual kiss, Evie feels her body come alive…until she realizes her seducer is Rio Zaccarelli, her dangerously attractive new boss!
This Christmas, it’s imperative that Rio’s reputation appear spotless—but innocently enticing Evie is a temptation he can’t resist! Their scorching chemistry leads to twelve nights of endless pleasure. But will it last once the decorations come down?

This one looks so fun, someone should translate it! Come on, it’s really good!

HQcMistletoe and the Lost Stiletto
By Liz Fielding & FUJITA Kazuko

(Click on the cover to read a sample)

Lucy Bright can’t believe it when she’s plucked from secretarial obscurity and transformed into the pampered fiancée of a slick retail guru. But then she discovers it was all a publicity stunt! Rushing away from the media frenzy, she bumps—literally—into the arms of delicious tycoon Nathaniel Hart….
Spooked by their instantaneous chemistry, Lucy flees—but Nathaniel is determined to find his barefoot beauty. Though all he has is one very expensive red designer stiletto to help him!

HQcHigh-powered, Hot-blooded
By Susan Mallery & MOMOSE Natsu

(Click on the cover to read a sample)

Mr. December: Duncan Patrick, CEO Scrooge
His Objective: Lose the “bah humbug” attitude
His Plan: Find the right (temporary) mistress

A powerful businessman, Duncan didn’t like ultimatums, unless he was making them. But the board demanded his public image change. When he encountered sweet kindergarten teacher Annie McCoy, he knew she’d make him look like a perfect angel, though it would take some devilish manipulation.
Once he had Annie playing his pretend mistress, Duncan needed to make her his real-life lover. Could a grouchy CEO cultivate the charm necessary to win the woman he’d almost destroyed?

I’m such a sucker for the type of plotline in which a filthy rich alpha male businessman falls for the mousy heroine. Annie is absolutely lovely — thank you Momose-sensei for the cute chara design! She looks like a softie and I’m all for the strong pigheaded lady usually but I just can’t help thinking that in real life, I’d want to be best friends with such a person as Annie. My, I so wish this manga could be translated soon!