Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Doing Ireland! by Kate Hoffmann

Title: Doing Ireland!
Author: Kate Hoffmann
Published: 2007, Harlequin Blaze
Category: Category Romance
Rating: 4/10

I am still trying to keep an open mind about Harlequin categories. There's been a lot of talk in blogland lately about how if you completely ignore the ridiculous titles and cheesy covers, you can find some good stories in them. I've only read a few and so far have not found much to convince me of this. But I still try. I won a whole bundle of Harlequins from Devon (thanks, Devon!) and I had to read this one first. Because look at that title! That's just funny. And it's from the "Lust in Translation" series. *snicker*

Claire O'Connor gets dumped and loses her job, so what does she do? She jumps on a plane and goes to the Isle of Trall in Ireland to get some water from this spring that (according to legend) will make people fall in love. She thinks she'll bring some water back and make her ex see the error of his ways. But once she arrives at the charming little inn and meets its owner, Will, she's not so excited about going back. Because he is HOT, you see. Then they give each other water from the spring and they just don't know if it's true love or magic. Or lust. Oh noooes!

Okay, I was seriously rolling my eyes through this. It was quite readable (I did finish it) and there was some funny dialogue. But it was all such standard, everyday, cliched romantic fantasy that it just wasn't very interesting. Oooh, you're pretty. Let's make out! Oooh, you're nice too! Let's have sex! The characters were beautiful, rich, funny, confident. I saw no weakness, no quirkiness, nothing unique to make them interesting, and they didn't change or grow in any way. It just all struck me as very vanilla (I don't mean mild as in no sex; there was LOTS of sex, it is a Blaze after all). I just mean that it was all really predictable.

That's my opinion. (I say this because I haven't given this low a grade in a while. I feel mean. Other people might think this is the greatest book evah. This amazon reviewer said it was "FABULOUS!")

And I'm not ready to give up on categories. Not yet, anyway.


nath said...

Seriously, the storyline sounds a bit ridiculous. The problem with categories romance is that they're short... so not much time to develop a courtship... :( So they fall in bed way too quickly in my opinion.

Jill D. said...

"Lust in Translation"? Seriously?

I am not a big fan of the category romances myself. Usually because they are too hit or miss for me (lots of variety in quality). Also, as Nath pointed out, they are short -- not much time for character and plot development. I usually will read them if I am glomming an author and she has written category romance, case in point, Anne Stuart. I did read a Blaze last year Beyond Breathless by Kathleen O'Reilly. It wasn't too bad. I rather enjoyed it.

Samantha said...

Hmmm, you know I'm not even sure I've ever tried a category romance. Maybe I should give one a shot? Maybe pick up one of them NASCAR ones the barnes and noble near me keeps pimping. :P I don't like NASCAR but I have to say I'm extremely curious about how that category would work. :P

And I agree, the title of this book is pretty funny. :)

Jennie said...

Nath--They did fall into bed quickly in this one. I know what you're saying about them being short, but I still think it's possible to make a shorter romance more effective. I'm sure it's hard to do, but still possible.

Jill--There is a lot of variety of quality. And I'm not sure that I want to spend my precious reading time sorting through the bad to find the good.

I've gone back and read all of Jennifer Crusie's categories (except that one really expensive one). Because I love her books so. I still need to read more Anne Stuart.

Samantha--Ooh! Read a NASCAR one! Do it! You can be the guinea pig and see what they're like. Fast cars, faster men. Come one, sounds great! :p

Jennie said...

Sam--I meant "come on" not "come one." I wish you could edit comments. ;)

Samantha said...

lol Jennie! I didn't even notice your slip there and yes yes we should be able to edit comments. Even though that would take some of the fun out of things. :P

If I can find a NASCAR book for cheap I'll definitely pick it up and review it for the sheer novelty of it. Plus I'm curious about if the heroine and hero in those books are required to boink in the car on the track and if they are, are they sponsored? You know like the heroine having a tattoo for Wonder Bread stamped on her arse or something. :P ... lol God that was a bad joke. :P

nath said...

Jennie, you should try Kelly Hunter. She wrote two Harlequin Presents - Wife for a Week and Bedded for Diamonds. Once you get past the covers and titles, they're great reads for category romances imo.

Jennie said...

Samantha--Lol! I'm sure there's plenty of sex in cars. Though those cars are really small, aren't they? (You can tell I know nothing about NASCAR.) Sounds uncomfortable to me. :p

Nath--Thanks! I'll put Kelly Hunter on my list. :)

Estara said...

I'm not up-to-date on current categories but I recommend all the reissues of Nora Roberts category romances, some are weaker than others but the McGregor series in particular is perfect.

CindyS said...

You probably already know this but I think the Blaze line is the silliest of the lot. I used to read tons of categories and found the Desires and Silhouette Intimate Moments to be the best. I haven't read any in a long while so I don't know how they fair today. I tried maybe two Blaze titles before deciding I couldn't afford to waste any more money on them.

Some of the older categories though - crazy sexual tension - crazy!! I miss those days.


Devon said...

Ha! You know the title (and the miniseries title) is why I bought this one for the contest. It sounds like it suffered from the downfall of weak Blazes--amazingly contrived storyline to get the H/H into bed. I couldn't resist throwing it in there, even though the one I tried by this author was a DNF. Ah well. I've actually read some of the others and there are better ones in the bunch.

I like Sarah Mayberry if you ever want to give Blaze another go.

Jennie said...

Estara--I've never read NR's categories -- I'm still working my way through her enormous backlist of single titles. Plus she publishes at least 2-3 titles a year, which kind of satisfies my Nora fix. But I'll keep the MacGregors in mind. :)

Cindy--I thought Harlequin Presents was the silliest line, with all those millionaires and mistresses. But then I don't know much about it. I'll look through my bunch and see if I have any Silhouettes.

Devon--Hee! I had to read this one first. And it was enjoyable in a cotton candy kind of way. I think I want to read the HQN Presents next. Because I've never read one and I think I need to experience it. :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with you completely - I've come to accept that the majority of category romances are short, sweet pieces of fluff that could have benefitted from actually being full-length.