Monday, September 27, 2010

What I Did for Love, Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Published: 2009, William Morrow
Category: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 7/10

SEP books are a little bit hit-or-miss for me, but every few months I crave one -- mostly because I think Phillips has such a good sense of humor. Her books always have some great, funny dialogue.

Georgie York is a young actress who has been in the public eye since she was a teenager starring in a popular sitcom. At the beginning of the book, her life isn't going so well: her career has stagnated and she's just been dumped by her perfect actor husband (think Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt). Through crazy events I can't quite remember, she wakes up from a drunken Las Vegas night married to her old costar Bram Shephard. Bram is a serious bad-boy movie star (gorgeous but selfish and spoiled). Georgie is appalled to be married to him, but can't face the embarrassment of another high-profile divorce. Bram, on the other hand, is getting some great publicity and career boost out of the marriage. So the two make a pact to stay married for a year.

I think every one of is fascinated to some extent by the movie star lifestyle, and this book definitely satisfies that. I'm not one to follow Hollywood gossip, but even so it was still amusing to read about it all. It helps that the main characters are fairly down-to-earth and nice -- Georgie especially is way more normal than most stars probably are. There's a nice big cast of characters, and we actually get two little romantic subplots that are quite nice.

So my verdict is -- slightly ridiculous plot, but still a satisfying read.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Maybe This Time, Jennifer Crusie

Author: Jennifer Crusie
Published: 2010, St. Martin's Press
Category: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 7.5/10

Jennifer Crusie is one of my all-time favorite authors, and we have been waiting a looong time for a solo book from her. She's been co-authoring books, but it's been years since we got an all-Crusie book. I should have been counting down the hours until this was published - but what with all my crazy summer, I'd pretty much forgotten about it. Until the other day I was browsing through my library's new books, and I saw it on the shelf! A loud gasp escaped me as I snatched it off the shelf and held it up like the holy grail. The little undergraduate next to me gave me a funny look. But that's okay. I took it home and had a lovely Saturday, reading all day long stretched out on the couch.

Andie Miller is ready to get engaged, but before she can go through with it she feels like she needs some closure with her ex-husband. So she visits him to return years of uncashed alimony checks. He's having a slight crisis -- he's become the guardian of some young cousins and he needs someone to take care of them. He offers to pay Andie a boatload of money to go out to their house in rural Ohio and see what's what. Andie's got a soft heart (plus she could really use that money), so she accepts. What she finds is an ancient, dirty, creepy house, a hostile and weird housekeeper, and two seriously messed up kids. It comes out that the house is haunted -- so not only does Andie need to help these troubled children, she also has to figure out how to exorcise some ghosts. And decide if she's still in love with her ex-husband.

This was a good read, though I don't think it'll be a favorite Crusie. It had many of the things that I love about Crusie's books: an extremely likable heroine, funny dialogue, and complex relationships that really seem genuine (Andie's relationship with Alice is especially well done). The love story is classic Crusie and very satisfying.

What didn't sit so well with me is the ghostly aspects of the book. It's not something Crusie has done before, and I'm just not sure it works for me. This may be just a personal thing -- I'm really not a fan of ghost stories. But the combination of light romantic comedy and dark, gothic thriller seemed an uncomfortable mix -- it wasn't scary enough to be a serious ghost story, but the ghost story was serious enough to make it certainly out of the realm of light comedy.

Still, it's a Crusie book, so I have no reason to complain. I plowed through it in a day and it was a highly enjoyable day. Here's hoping she writes many more. :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wake up, bloggy!

I am going to try to revive the blog! I've haven't really been posting with any frequency for years, but I want to start again. I've missed it. Life has finally settled down a little, I've been reading more again, so hopefully I can get a couple of posts up a week. We'll try anyway. :)

Some life updates, for those interested:

I haven't mentioned this guy yet, have I? I met my very own real-life hero over two years ago. He's better than any fictional hero I've ever read about. His name is Collin. He fully supports my reading habits, even though sometimes he likes to read the back cover copy in a dramatic voice and make fun of it. That's okay. I make fun of his fantasy sports, so we're about even.

Twin got married! Wasn't she a beautiful bride? And she's so happy! She had the most lovely wedding I've ever been to -- full of personal touches and happy people. Twin has disgustingly good taste, so the whole day was gorgeous. She's been posting about it on her blog.

I graduated from the library science program at UNC Chapel Hill in May. I'm a librarian! So exciting. Less exciting was the job search that followed -- but I was extremely fortunate and got a fabulous job as the Web Librarian at Appalachian State University. So Collin and I have moved to Boone, which is a small town in the mountains of North Carolina. And they pay me to play with the web all day! Score.

All right, I've just finished the new Jennifer Crusie book -- let's see how long it takes me to get a review up. :)