Monday, July 31, 2006

Down with snobby bookstores!

The current Publisher's Weekly has an interesting article, Romancing the Store, written by Debbie Macomber and a Harlequin editor. Basically a grip about how independent bookstores don't carry series romances. The gist is that series romances do a lot to shape the romance genre and to some extent all commercial fiction and that stores are missing out by not carrying them.

One interesting point that is made, which I'd never thought of is that series books are more experimental - editors are willing to take on daring/outlandish books because the investment is so small. And that the biggest trends in the romance genre grow out of these experiments (like romantic suspense and paranormals).

I don't read many series romances. As a relatively new romance reader, I feel like there are so many regular romances out there I haven't read, that I don't feel like I want to waste my time on series. I know I'm probably missing out on some really great stuff. But I hope that if editors at the big publishers are doing their job right (and we hope that they do at least most of the time) then really great authors/books will be pulled out of series and put into full-fledged romances.

This article also made me think of how sad I am when I go into independent bookstores and see that their romance sections overall are so tiny. Really, like one shelf. There are some great independents in NYC that I love going to--Coliseum on 42nd, McNally Robinson in Soho, and BookCourt in Carroll Gardens. I don't know if they're too snobby or what, but their romance selection is PITIFUL. So I end up shopping at B&N even though I'd rather buy independent. (Well, it also helps that there's a B&N on about every second corner. Really, there must be at least 50 of them in the city.)

Oh, and another factoid from the article that I didn't know: 40% of all fiction sold in the US is romance! That's cuz we're crazy rabid readers. No other genre like it. :)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Title: Date Me Baby, One More Time
Author: Stephanie Rowe
Published: 2006, Warner Forever
Category: Paranormal Romance/Comedy
Rating: 6/10

Jay liked it. Ames liked it. Cindy liked it. Yeah, me too.

This is light and fluffy, but light and fluffy done well. It's completely original and ridiculous and over-the-top. In a good way. And pretty damn funny.

Justine Bennet is the Guardian of the Goblet of Eternal Youth (the goblet is named Mona and changes form to become less conspicuous, so sometimes she's an espresso machine). She's been guarding Mona for 200 years, with her backup Theresa, who is an 11-foot dragon. Derek LaValle is after Justine and Mona because killing Justine is the only way to break a curse that has been on his family for 200 years: All men of his family die at the exact same moment on their 31st birthday. So Justine's trying to kill Derek because he's endangering Mona, and Derek's trying to kill Justine so that he can break the curse and live past his birthday. The problem is, they kind of like each other. ;)

The penhas! Hahahahahahahahaha! Definitely my favorite scene. So I don't think I'll ever read it again, but it was good fun.

I was singing a certain song while reading this. Unfortunately. Twin's head looked like it was going to explode after a while. Heh, heh. I really don't understand why they titled it that. I don't see any connection to the plot. And it's just annoying.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Title: Enchanted, Inc.
Author: Shanna Swendson
Published: 2005, Ballantine
Category: ChickLit
Rating: 4/10

A while ago I got a craving for magical heroines. Jay mentioned this one and then I was at the library and there it was, so I took it home. It's ChickLit, and I'm picky about ChickLit. I'm the perfect market for them: single, mid-twenties, working girl. But I must be an odd duck, because I can almost never relate to the heroines. But hey, it's magic. I was willing to give it a shot.

Katie Chandler is a girl from Texas who's been living in New York for about a year. At first she just thinks that city people are odd, but then she starts noticing things that can't be explained. Like people with wings and stone gargoyles that move. She finds out that magic is real, and that lots of magical beings live in NYC. She also finds that she, unlike most people, cannot be affected by spells and illusions. This makes her valuable to wizards, so she goes to work for MSI,Inc (Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc.), a company which creates spells. But only good spells, and the company is under attack by an evil man who wants to sell bad spells.

So, this is completely harmless fluff. A really fast read. And I hate to say bad things about books (I'm too nice, dammit), but then if I'm not honest, what's the point of this blog? So here goes: I thought this book was pretty lame.

It's not bad. I mean, it was cute and mildly amusing. But so fluffy as to be pretty much insubstantial. I think the only thing that kept me reading was the hero, who is this incredibly powerful wizard who is also shy and blushing. And you know I'm a sucker for blushing men. But then the ending was so annoying! So not satisfying. And it totally bated you into getting the next book in the series. I finished this one and I thought, "NOOOOOO! You wicked writer. You didn't give me the ending! You want me to buy your next book!"

And I actually considered going out and getting the second one (Once Upon Stilettos) which is already on sale, because I want to find out about the cute guy. I went to her website and found out that she has at least 4 books planned in this series. Ahhhh! But now it's been 24 hours since I finished it, and I think I can restrain myself. Phew. That was close.

Unless someone can tell me that Once Upon Stilettos was good?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Title: Frederica
Author: Georgette Heyer
Published: 2000, Harlequin (originally 1965)
Category: Historical Romance
Rating: 7/10

I continue my way through Heyer. I discovered her about a year ago and have read a lot of them. And this one ranks among my favorites, which is good because the last one I read (Lady of Quality) was disappointing. But I guess even Heyer's allowed to have a few misses.

The Marquis of Alverstoke is a rich and selfish aristocrat. He's got tons of extended family who are always coming to him expecting him to give them money and do them favors. He doesn't care for his family and is sick of them relying on him. Our heroine, Frederica, a distant cousin of Alverstoke, arrives in London with the aim of launching her sister, Charis, into society. Frederica is the eldest of 5 siblings and has been taking care of the entire brood since her parents died several years previously. Frederica goes to Alverstoke and asks that he help her introduce Charis to the ton. Now, normally, this is just the kind of thing that would annoy Alverstoke, but he's taken with Frederica, so he decides to help them.

As he helps the family he gets to know them--especially Frederica and her two youngest brothers. They get into scrapes that he helps them out of and Alverstoke is constantly surprised by the fact that he likes them all so much. The interaction among Frederica and her many siblings is so funny and true to life--anyone who has siblings can relate to all the squabbling and teasing, but also the loyalty and affection among them.

So this one doesn't have Heyer's most interesting plot, and in fact I thought it dragged a little in a few places, but it's just so nice and cozy! Delightful characters: pragmatic, no-nonsense Frederica; bored and selfish Alverstoke; the very beautiful but idiotic Charis; and Frederica's incorrigible and adorable little brothers.

And every time I read Heyer I'm amazed by all the historical detail she puts in. If you're ever annoyed by a wallpaper historical, Heyer would be a good antidote. Not that I know all that much about the timeperiod, but with a lot of authors you just get the impression of completely modern-day characters plopped into a historical setting. The way Heyer's characters speak and act seems so authentic and true to the setting.

My next Heyer: Devil's Club

Sunday, July 23, 2006

It's epic!

I got the book Irresistible Forces, which is a collection of short stories, because I wanted to read "Winterfair Gifts" by Lois McMaster Bujold. I was really excited because it's a Miles Vorkosigan story covering Miles and Ekaterin's wedding. I just read A Civil Campaign in which these two get engaged and I LOVED it. So, obviously I want to hear about their wedding.

But the story felt a little flat to me. It's told from the point of view one of Miles's armsmen, Roic. It was okay, but it didn't really focus on Miles and Ekaterin very much, which was disappointing to me. And if I didn't know who all these people were from reading an earlier book in the series, I think I would have been really, really confused. She doesn't give much exposition at all.

But part of my disappointment might be because I don't generally like short stories. I don't read them very often. I always feel that the moment I make friends with the characters and start to care about them, the story is over. I understand that the short story can be an art form, and a skilled author can pack a lot of punch in a limited word count. But I prefer full-length books, and I really love GREAT. BIG. FAT. books.

Twin and I once saw an interview with Peter Jackson talking about the Lord of the Rings movies. And he kept saying "It's EPIC!" in that New Zealand accent with the great inflection on the "e" in epic. I swear he must have said it five times. Now we always say the word that way. (I'm not making fun of the accent, I'm jealous of it. It's so much cooler than us flat-voiced Americans.)

So some of my favorite eeee-pics:
  • The Far Pavillions by M. M. Kaye - (1135 pages) A book so big, they had to put it in two volumes. A classic about forbidden love between an Englishman and an Indian princess.
  • The Order of the Phoenix - (870 pages) Here's hoping #7 is the longest yet.
  • Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman - (703 pages) I heart Llewelyn Fawr, Welsh prince and LEGEND.
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - (850 pages) I didn't like the sequels, but you just have to love this first one.
  • Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati - (876 pages) Also the first in a series, all of which I love. New one out in October!!
  • Desiree by Annemarie Selinko - (495 pages) As a young woman, she is engaged to and then dumped by Napoleon, then later ends up being the Queen of Sweden.
  • Kathryn in the Court of Six Queens by Anne Merton Abbey - (454 pages) Spans all six of Henry VIII's wives.
Now that I'm looking at this list, I notice that except for Harry Potter, they're all historical fiction. I guess it's just a genre that lends itself to epics. :)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Title: Duncan's Bride
Author: Linda Howard
Published: 1990, Harlequin
Category: Comtemporary Romance
Rating: 6/10

A couple weeks ago Avid Reader was having a discussion about Linda Howard's books. I'd never her read her before but was looking for a good one to start with. A couple people were fondly reminiscing over this older one of hers. I actually thought it was a historical--the title sounds historical, doesn't it? Anyway, the copy I got from the library is actually a collection of three books titled Finding Home. It also includes Chain Lightning by Elizabeth Lowell and Popcorn Kisses by Kasey Michaels. The Lowell appears to be about a bitter divorcee so I think I'll skip that one, but I'm going to give the Michaels a go.

So, Duncan's Bride. Madelyn Patterson is a Virginia girl living in New York. (Hey, like me!!) She's got a boring job and doesn't really like living in the city. (Again, sounds familiar.) So when she sees an advertisement in a Midwest paper for what is basically a mail-order bride, she actually decides to take a risk and go meet the man, Reese Duncan. (Yeah, not me. I would never be that stupid. But then I'm not a romance heroine, am I? *sigh*) Reese is a Montana rancher who was divorced 8 years previously. His first wife took him to the cleaners in the divorce, finagling in her settlement half of his total worth. To pay her off, he had liquidate his successful ranch and sell off a bunch of land that had been in his family for generations. He is therefore a BITTER, BITTER man. But he wants kids, so he's decided that he'll get himself another brood mare wife. He's not looking for love, just a uterus/housecleaner/cook.

Madelyn falls for him immediately. Though I never understood why. He may be handsome but he acts like an asshole about 90% of the time. "Woman, where's my dinner?!" Ugh. Luckily, Madelyn doesn't put up with it. Thank God or I would have chucked this book fast.

This is straightforward romance. There is no plot except for the course of these two people's relationship. Reese has to get over the bitterness and hatred left over from his divorce and come to trust that Madelyn. There are some sweet parts and I really liked the heroine. Her patience and steadiness were just what Reese needed to get over himself. I don't think I could have been so forgiving.

The mail-order bride thing is unbelievable. Really, no one who did that could be this normal. If that happened in real life, the girl wouldn't find a hot, rich rancher. A psycho with an obsession for knives would be more likely. But it was only mildly annoying to me.

I'm going to try one of Howard's romantic suspense novels next.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Help a reader out!

So I've got a craving. I want to read a book about a witch. I'm not crazy about paranormals generally, but there's something about a heroine with magical powers. Probably because I want magical powers. I think I deserve them.

Witchy books I've loved:
Dime Store Magic and Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong
The Three Sisters Island Trilogy by Nora Roberts
Sweep (a YA series) by Cate Tiernan
Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart (this is kind of a stretch because the heroine's not a witch, but she is telepathic which is cool too)
Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris (again not a witch but also telepathic)
Harry Potter (obviously)
Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud (he's a wizard actually, but close enough)

I've also read Bewitching by Jill Barnett but I didn't love that one so much. Actually not at all. And I tried the first Kim Harrison book but couldn't get into it.

I think what I really want is a contemporary romance with a witch heroine. Is that picky enough for you? Hee hee. I'm so difficult.

Any suggestions out there?
Title: Glory in Death
Author: J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts)
Published: 1995, Berkley
Category: Romantic Suspense
Rating: 6/10

In Death #2. I'm going to be brief here.

Plot: Homicide detective Eve Dallas is working on a case involving the murders of several high-powered, successful women. It becomes personal when the murderer targets Eve herself.

Verdict: Very good, though not quite as good as the first one. I was surprised by who the murderer turned out being. Though it wasn't who I wanted it to be!

Random (small) complaint: It occurred to me as I was reading this one that I'm not getting a very good sense of setting for this series. They all take place in NYC and I live in NYC so I know what it should be like, and I'm just not feeling it. I think NR does small town settings much better.

Is Roarke going to be a suspect in all the books?!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fiona tagged me!

1) When did you start blogging and why? In February of this year, so I'm a relatively new blogger. I started because I'd started reading some romance/reader blogs and they looked like fun! Plus there's only so much yapping about books that Twin will take. Her eyes glaze over and she starts nodding. It's much nicer to chat with people who are crazy like me.
2) What don't you talk about? I guess I don't talk about my personal life much. My life is really not thrilling. I'm saving you from boredom, really. :)
3) Are you and your blogging persona the same person? Umm, I guess so. I'm sadly honest in real life. Probably the worst liar ever, which totally sucks. It's not a morality thing either, it's just that people can tell when I lie. This is a bad thing, like when I want to call in "sick" to work.
4) How do you use blogging to build friendships? I like hearing what other people are reading and what books they like. Our favorites tell a lot about us, so I love getting to know people that way!
5) How would you describe your writing style? Concise. I'm a pretty quiet person in real life, tending to think things out before speaking. And I think that comes through in my writing as well.

Who shall I inflict this on?? I haven't had time to bloghop much this week, so I might be double tagging people, but oh well. Hmm. Samantha, Mailyn, Ames, jmc, and Jay.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Title: Naked in Death
Author: J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts)
Published: 1995, Berkley
Category: Romantic Suspense
Rating: 7/10

The first in J.D. Robb's In Death series. I've been meaning to start this series for a really long time. For one thing, everyone seems to love the hero, Roarke. Hmmm, handsome, powerful millionaire who's also sweet and caring. I get it. :)

Eve Dallas is a New York police detective living in the year 2058. When the granddaughter of a senator is murdered, Dallas is the primary investigator for the case. Soon she has a serial killer on her hands as more victims are discovered. Among the suspects is Roarke. (Sidenote: Why doesn't he have a first name? It seems kind of stupid. He's a businessman, not a pop star!) Luckily she quickly clears him of suspicion, so they can enjoy some hot nookie. Really good plot, I kept changing my mind about who I thought was guilty.

I ended up really liking the futuristic setting (even though it threw me for a loop a bit at first). The suppositions that NR makes about what life might be like in 50 years were really interesting and, for the most part, believable. Like Kristie said in the comments on my last post, some of those things (like the video phones and whatnot) are already starting to come true in the ten years since the book was published. I hope that NR has predicted the truth on other stuff too. That complete gun ban would be great for starters.

Eve is a fantastic character. Tough and smart. She's got integrity but is at the same time endearingly flawed. And she's got lots of issues that I'm sure will be worked through in the next, what, 25 or so books!

And I have to give NR snaps for addressing some pretty weighty issues. I don't want to give away the ending, but you all who've read it know what I'm talking about. I was fairly appalled by who done it.

I'm already half way through #2. I needed me some more Roarke. The button!! AHHH!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Misleading covers

Me: reading page 2 of Naked in Death "Huh, how did I not know that the In Death books were set in the future?"
Twin: not interested at all "Oh?"
Me: "Yeah, she's talking about airtraffic and airbuses."
Twin: looking at me like I'm an idiot "Jennie, dear, some kinds of airplanes are called airbuses."
Me: "Oh. No, I think it's the future..."

I read another 2 pages.

Me: "HA! Now she's talking about droid cocker spaniels! Definitely the future."
Twin: derisive snort

I guess most people just know what the deal is with these books right off the bat. It is a really well-known series. But there's no cover blurb--just a big photo of NR on the back. And the cover illustration doesn't give any clue that it's futuristic. It's a little misleading. This annoys me. I like to have some idea what I'm getting into when I start a book.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Title: Midsummer Moon
Author: Laura Kinsale
Published: 1987, Avon
Category: Historical Romance
Rating: 6/10

I picked up this book because everyone is always talking about Laura Kinsale like she's the most wonderful romance writer ever. I read Flowers from the Storm a while ago and had very conflicted feelings about it. It's beautifully written, but somehow I just didn't like it all that much. I'm still trying to figure out why. Anyway, I wanted to give her another shot, so I read this one.

And I'm kind of conflicted about this one, too.

Ransom Falconer, Duke of Damerell, travels to meet a man named Merlin Lambourne who is the inventor of a telephone-like device, which Ransom thinks could be used to help the British defeat Napoleon. Turns out that Merlin Lambourne is a woman, a beautiful young woman who is a genius. She's also very absent-minded professor-ish and naive. Ransom stays for dinner as he tries to talk Merlin into making some refinements to the speaking box, and accidently gets drugged with some kind of hallucinogen/aphrodisiac. He loses control and proceeds to seduce her into bed. And she's so naive that she's all, "Oh, what are you doing? Oh, what's that? Oh well, okay that feels good."

My favorite line:
"Oh, my," she said to the depths of his coat. "I do believe there was something in the salt."

It's certainly an original version of the innocent girl gets ravished scenario.

When Ransom comes back to sanity, he realizes that he's ruined the girl. So he takes her home with him and tries to talk her into marrying him. She, however, is working on inventing a flying machine and Ransom has this mortal fear of heights. This creates much tension as he tries to get her to give up the project as a lost cause.

It's got some really funny parts and I do think Kinsale's writing is very good. But somehow it was just okay for me. Like in Flowers from the Storm, the characters are interesting and complex, but sometimes really annoying. Merlin's naivete gets old pretty fast. And Ransom can be incredibly bossy and manipulative. Also like FftS, it's a story of two incredibly different people who fall in love. I think that's part of my problem with these books. I just don't see why these two people who have nothing at all in common fall so passionately in love. But it is waaaaay less angsty than FftS, which is a good thing in my opinion.

Anyone have any other Kinsale suggestions? Otherwise I might have to give her up as not my cup of tea.

BTW, isn't that cover classic?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Title: Bodyguard
Author: Suzanne Brockman
Published: 1999, Ballantine
Category: Romantic Suspense
Rating: 6.5/10

This is the first time I'm participating in Angie's TBR challenge. This month the challenge is to read a romantic suspense, and I've read so few of them that I thought it would be good excuse to expand my horizons a bit. :)

Alessandra Lamont's good-for-nothing ex-husband has just stolen a million dollars from a mob boss and been killed for it. Now the mob thinks Alessandra has the money and puts out a contract on her. Harry O'Dell is a loose-cannon FBI agent, still reeling from having his wife and son killed in a mob-related accident two years previously. Now Harry is assigned to protect Alessandra.

I really liked this book! I don't know why I don't read more romantic suspense. It was good fun. Exciting, but not over the top. Well, maybe one little over-the-top scene, but that's not too bad. Believable, interesting, and likable characters. Usually the bombshell heroine who feels like her beauty is her only worthwhile attribute annoys the hell out of me. They just don't get my sympathy. Oh, poor you. You're beautiful. But Alessandra wasn't annoying somehow. And Harry was just the right mixture of tough and vulnerable.

So here are the rest of Angie's questions:

Why did you get this book? I've never read Brockman before and had heard that she was good.

Do you like the cover? It's okay. The silhouette drawing is kind of nice.

Did you enjoy the book? Very much! Even though I had Whitney Houston shrieking, "And I-uh-I, will always love yoooouuu-hoooo!" in my head the whole time. Any book that can overcome that must be good.

Was the author new to you and would you read something by this author again? Yes, and yes.

Are you keeping it or passing it on? Well, it's a library book, so I can't keep it. But I think I'll definitely be picking up others in her backlist.

Anything else? According to her website, Brockman has an ongoing series of books about Navy SEALs. I'm going to check them out. I am disgustingly liberal/pacifist/anti-military (that doesn't mean I'm unpatriotic, please don't give me any shit), so I would never go for a military-type guy in real life, but in books, hmmm there's something about a guy in uniform. I just saw a preview for the movie Annapolis and had the same reaction. I think it's a conditioned response ingrained in all women. I just can't resist.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Since I was mean to Twin in yesterday's post...

Awww, weren't we cute? Julie says she's on the right and I'm on the left, but I can't really tell which is which in pictures until we're a little older.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Title: A Civil Campaign
Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
Published: 1999, Baen
Category: Science Fiction
Rating: 9/10

I discovered Lois McMaster Bujold through a recommendation from jmc. I read Cordelia's Honor several months ago and liked it very much, so I got this book from the library. It's been sitting on my pile for months and I kept renewing it, knowing that I would get around to it eventually. And I was finally in the mood for SciFi this week.

And I loved this book. I think it was even better than Cordelia's Honor. I went out to the bookstore today and bought a copy because I wanted it to be mine! mine! mine!

A Civil Campaign is one in a long series of books Bujold wrote about Miles Vorkosigan. Miles was exposed to some horrible chemical when he was still in utero and was born with tons of health problems. He's been through lots of medical treatments but his growth was stunted. So he's a little man. But despite this he has, through the strength of his ambition and intelligence, become a very important military leader. He's a fascinating character.

When this book opens, Miles has been discharged from the military. He's fallen in love with Ekaterin Vorsoisson, who is very recently widowed. So he turns his strategic mind to courting her. All kinds of problems arise not least of which is the fact that Miles was involved in the death of Ekaterin's first husband. Both he and Ekaterin know that he's not guilty, but it makes for a sticky situation. Miles's clone-brother Mark is also having romantic troubles--he's in love with a girl whose parents disapprove of him. The clone-brother thing is a long story from a previous book, so I don't know exactly what the deal is with him. But he's way fatter than Miles and is referred to as the fat clone. Hahaha. I'm going to start calling Twin the fat clone. (She's not actually fat. If she were I wouldn't be able to tease her, now would I? But she was a pound heavier than me at birth, and I like to say that she was greedy in the womb and stole my food.)

There are lots of other little subplots that I won't go into. But it's full of adventure and humor, besides the very sweet love story. I don't really read SciFi, but I make an exception for Bujold, because she's such a good storyteller. And her books are so wise. Miles's father tells him, "Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself. . . . Guard your honor. Let your reputation fall where it will." Seems like very good advice.

And there's a scene where Miles throws a dinner party and everything that could go wrong, does go wrong. It is a priceless scene. So, so funny.

I'm definitely going to pick up another Miles book. The only question is which one. I think Komarr, which is the one just before this one, or Diplomatic Immunity, which is set just after. Wikipedia has a list of the Miles books in chronological order.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Title: On the Way to the Wedding
Author: Julia Quinn
Published: 2006, Avon
Category: Historical Romance
Rating: 5/10

This is the last book in Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series. Eight books about eight alphabetically named siblings--Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth. I think I've read them all, but then they all kind of run together in my head. I might have missed Daphne, as I can't remember anything at all about that one.

I've read some reviews around blogland, and most people are not happy. I think it must be horribly stressful for writers of much-beloved series like this. A lot of people are invested in it to a scary degree. I didn't hate it like some people did, but it wasn't great either. Good thing I'm not a RFG.

All of Quinn's books are very light and fluffy. At the best, they have a sparkling kind of wit that is delightful and rarely found elsewhere. But for me, they can easily cross over into the silly. I can't read her very often, but she seemed appropriate for a holiday weekend. :)

This one is Gregory's story. He falls in love at first sight with a beauty, Hermione. But, though he can hardly believe it, it turns out that she doesn't feel the same way. Hermione's friend Lucy decides to help him court Hermione. Then Lucy falls in love with Gregory and Gregory falls in love with Lucy, but she is already engaged and has to marry someone else to save the family. High jinks ensue.

Good points:
  • I liked that the love-at-first-sight turned out to be false. I actually do not believe in love at first sight. (Don't hate me!!) I think it's a total crock. You may be very attracted to someone the instant you see them, and I'm sure that that can often turn into love. But making it into something that can be instanteous, I think belittles the idea of love.
  • The prologue rocked. Great way to set up the book.

Bad points:
  • Why does Lucy turn into such a loser at the end??? SPOILER ALERT. Why does she marry Haselby? If she had any backbone at all, she would have found a way to get out of it. Instead she just goes ahead like a moron, thinking she can't do anything about it.
  • Why does Gregory just keep saying "I love you" like it's the cure-all for everything? He must tell Lucy that a hundred times in the book. Yes, we all like to hear it, but it loses its impact if you never say why you love them. He just sounded like an idiot, like those were the only three words in his vocabulary.
  • What was with the epilogue? Anyone else think that was weird? Poor Lucy! Jesus, Gregory, give the girl a break.

My favorite Bridgerton book is actually Eloise's story, To Sir Philip, With Love, though I seem to be the only one.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Title: Twelve Sharp
Author: Janet Evanovich
Published: 2006, St. Martin's
Category: Mystery
Rating: 8/10

I love the Stephanie Plum books. I discovered them just a year or so ago. I read number 5 first, I think, and thought it was a riot. So I had to go out immediately and get the entire series and read them all at once. And you'd think that reading 10 books in the same series all at once like that would get old, but I just inhaled them.

So of course I was eager for Twelve Sharp. And it delivers like always. I don't know exactly why they're always so funny. It's basically the same jokes over and over: Stephanie's cars exploding, Lula's trampy clothes, Grandma Mazur's antics, Stephanie's ineptitude at bounty hunting and her compulsion for donuts. But they don't get old. The jokes are funny every single time.

In this one, Ranger's daughter is kidnapped. Reports of the kidnapping suggest that it was Ranger who did it, so the police are looking for him to arrest him. So he has to stay at Stephanie's apartment to hide. (Ooooh!) Turns out some crazy guy is impersonating Ranger, and he's decided that he has to have Stephanie to round out his little stolen family.

And the Ranger-Stephanie-Morelli love triangle continues. I can see why Stephanie would have trouble deciding between them. They're both great. But really they're pretty similar. Hot cop. Hot bounty hunter. And they're both bad boys who are really more tough than bad. But if I were Stephanie, I'd go for Morelli. It's the nice girl in me.

Anyone else out there read this series and have an opinion? Morelli or Ranger?