Shannon Stacey

The Orchid Hunter

I rarely talk about the books I’m reading. I read once that it’s bad juju to review if you write, and I pretty much agree with that.

But I can’t not talk about The Orchid Hunter by Sandra K Moore, from Silhouette Bombshell.

I was attracted to this book for several reasons, not the least of which was the cover. In my humble opinion, it’s the best cover Silhouette’s ever done. And I love jungle stories and kick-ass heroines, so I’m there.

Even so, I was a little hesitant going in. The heroine, after all, is an orchid hunter, and my only familiarity with botany is using a Supersoaker to blast Japanese beetles off my rosa rugosa. So when I hit the words cymbidium archinopsis, I thought here we go. This is where the author pauses to cut and paste in her thesis on orchids so I’ll have a clue. Where’s my pillow?

But she didn’t. The more technical aspects are cleanly woven in to the heroine’s thoughts and dialogue on a natural, need-to-know basis. I’ve been given all the info I need, and learned a bit, without ever sitting through a botany lesson.

Dr. Jessie Robards is a great heroine—she’s smart, funny, kick-ass, while still having the strengths, faults and emotions of a real woman. There are a couple of moments I particulary respected the author for—her heroine knows there are times/places in the world when a woman keeps her mouth shut and her eyes on the ground and does so. Even with all the technical aspects of botany and bugs, and the Amazon and its indigenous peoples and their plight, there’s no lagging description. No hammered-in Earth Day lessons. The narrative’s tight and clean, and the action’s high.

Overall, this is—so far (I’m not finished with it)—an adventurous and intelligent book that says “she’s an orchid hunter going into the Amazon jungle for the Death Orchid—keep up or stay home.” Sandra K. Moore set a pretty high bar for Silhouette Bombshells with this book. (Yeah, I’ve got a Bombshell ms I’d like to finish someday.)

10 comments to “The Orchid Hunter”

  1. HelenKay
      · April 24th, 2005 at 8:21 pm · Link

    Sounds interesting. Is this your first Bombshell? I haven’t picked one up because I thought the romance and hero’s POV would be limited. Is there a romance or not really?

  2. Shannon
      · April 24th, 2005 at 10:21 pm · Link

    The romance varies greatly, although the hero’s POV is definitely limited in all of them, I think.

    I think the first one I read was CODE NAME: DOVE by Judith Leon, and, quite frankly, it left me stone cold. Almost turned me against the Bombshell line right then and there. While it wasn’t a bad book, exactly, it’s probably not the best choice for an HEA junkie like me.

    GET BLONDIE by Carla Cassidy was another of the ‘launch’ books I read, and it was a good read, and had a much more traditional romance arc, along the lines of a SIM.

    KNOCKOUT (boxing) and URBAN LEGEND (vampire hunter), both by Erica Orloff, and AKA GODDESS (launching her Grailkeepers series) by Evelyn Vaughn are my favorite Bombshells, and all three have less-than-traditional, but satisfying to the reader romance arcs.

    I’ve got THE SPY WORE RED by Wendy Rosnau around here somewhere. I started it, and was enjoying it, and now I can’t find it. It’s probably buried in a pile somewhere. But, in as far as I’d gotten, it had an interesting romantic arc going on, as in she was a seductress by trade, but I think had a Secret Baby by the guy she now working with. I really need to find it.

    I haven’t read any of the Athena Force novels, but I’ve heard they’re good. I just really dislike multiple-author continuities. I’m really anal about series, so if I read the first, I have to read them all, even there’s an author I really don’t like in there. And having to read them in order makes it hard. Then, when one of my auto-buy authors writes one, I’m not going to go back and locate/buy umpteen books so I can read hers. :rant:

    One thing I’ve found with Bombshells is that I like them a lot or I really, really, really dislike them. I’ve never really felt MEH about one. Luckily, they’re incredibly varied in voice, romance, sex, you name it. If you’ve tried one and didn’t like it, I’d recommend trying another. And if you haven’t tried one, my personal recommendations would be KNOCKOUT, URBAN LEGEND AND AKA GODDESS. And THE ORCHID HUNTER, of course.

    As far as if they’re really romances? Some are more traditional HEA romances, some are adventure novels with strong romantic elements, and so far I’ve only read the one I wouldn’t consider a romance at all.

  3. HelenKay
      · April 24th, 2005 at 10:50 pm · Link

    Wow – thanks for the breakdown. Maybe I’ll try Orchid Hunter and see what I think. I hate to cut out an entire line without ever trying at least one. That doesn’t seem too fair. I’ll defintely skip Code Name: Dove. I need a HEA. Thanks!

  4. Shannon
      · April 24th, 2005 at 11:00 pm · Link

    I haven’t finished THE ORCHID HUNTER yet, though, so I can’t guarantee an HEA! But so far there’s a romance to cheer for. :cheer:

  5. Jaynie R
      · April 25th, 2005 at 2:38 am · Link

    I love the Bombshells I’ve read so far, and I’m hooked on the Athena Force series :crazy:

    So far my favourite Bombshell has been The Huntress by Crystal Green, probably because it has paranormal elements as well as suspence.

  6. BJ Deese
      · April 25th, 2005 at 10:09 am · Link

    Awesome, Shannon! I’ve got this book, and I think I’ll read it next. I read this somewhere: in Bombshells the heroine’s POV has to be at least 80% of the book while the hero only gets 20%, at the most. I’ve read one where there was zero hero POV, but I still enjoyed it (I believe it was Personal Enemy by Sylvie Kurtz – still a dang good book with a romance and a lot of action!).

    I just finished a Lyndsay McKenna Bombshell, and it was seriously lacking in action to be a Bombshell. IMO.

  7. Shannon
      · April 25th, 2005 at 3:47 pm · Link

    Okay, THE ORCHID HUNTER now gets an unqualified :thumb: Great book!

    I’ve heard that about the percentage—I think I even heard a writer had to use a calculator to figure it out—but I think that varies, too. And actually, now that I think about it, THE ORCHID HUNTER didn’t have the “hero’s” POV, either. And, even though I’m a very hero-ccentric reader, I didn’t even notice.

  8. AngieW
      · April 25th, 2005 at 5:20 pm · Link

    I would have to agree that AKA Goddess is one of the best I’ve read of the lot so far. I’ve only read about five but I really enjoyed that book- and as a rule, in the past, I havent liked categories so it’s high praise from me!

  9. Alison
      · April 25th, 2005 at 6:23 pm · Link

    Sandra Moore is in my local RWA chapter, but since I never go to meetings I haven’t had the chance to meet her yet!

  10. Shannon
      · April 27th, 2005 at 12:01 am · Link

    Angie, have you read the second Grailkeepers book yet? Ummm….HER KIND OF TROUBLE, I think the title it. I have it here it somwhere, but I haven’t read it yet.

    Alison, you’ve gotta get out more! (says the one who’s husband’s business and sick kids have kept her away from meetings for about forever.)

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