Saturday, May 3, 2008

A wrap-up of April's reading and...

I am now on the audio book Dragonfly in Amber. I think I truly managed to quell my obsession with All Things Jamie-and-Claire, and hmmm - I'm not getting through it as fast as I would have thought. And because I'm determined to get through them in order, I now have 2 credits which I'm not planning to redeem. I did get LaVyrle Spencer's audio of That Camden Summer, but have not listened to it.

What did I read in the past month? Well - using the AAR Top 100 Romance Novels list, I decided to start reading Lisa Kleypas. And now that I've read Prince of Dreams (a while back), Someone to Watch Over Me, Then Came You and Dreaming of You (the #2 in the Top 100), all I can say is: IS THAT ALL THERE IS? Then Came You was filled with bone-jarring typos - what a poor editing job! The hero practically raped the heroine more than once. The heroine decided to knock him out and tie him up - not for raping her, but to keep him from marrying her sister. Why? Well, mainly because the heroine is meddling. The sister - actually in love with someone else - wants to marry the hero anyway because that is how it's done. The author doesn't prove to me that the marriage shouldn't take place, that the hero will do anything worse than not being in love with his fiancee which could change... But then there wouldn't be a story, right? And to that I say, and who cares?

Someone posted either a review or a forum post talking about the Laugh Out Loud moments in this book. Laugh out loud at someone getting knocked unconscious and tied up? I Don't Get It. Am I just a curmudgeon or do I just not like the popular Lisa Kleypas' writing??

Dreaming of You was better than Then Came You - fewer typos. But she comes nowhere near Loretta Chase or Jo Goodman in prose, the ability to use words to draw a picture, evoke an emotion, show the reader. And the hero Derek Craven that everyone loves so much? Me - not so much. Well, she does have him say some wonderful things that do not make up for the lack of... well, whatever, lack of story line, character portrayal.

Silly me, I've already ordered several more Kleypas books - well, I'll muddle through. To be sure it wasn't me just being contrary, I did re-reads of Morning Glory (love it), Captives of the Night (love it); and a couple of Goodman books (the sequels to Season to be Sinful, which is loaned out to Susanne, or I'd have re-read it as well). And still loved them. And there's a major difference in the style.

Also read this month: Susan Anderson, Baby, I'm Yours - a contemporary. 4 stars! A bounty hunter mistakes an identical twin, one of whom is jumping bail, and drags her across the country by Greyhound bus while she tries to convince him she's the wrong twin. She sets it up well enough: the wrong twin had a vacation from her job and was supposed to be in Europe. Unfortunately, there was some issue with her plane ticket and she didn't get to go at the very last minute. The one issue I had with this was how hard it was for me to believe that identical twins raised together would be so incredibly different in education, accent, manner of speaking, etc. I don't know that much about twins, but from what I've heard/read, they are very close, even having their own language as children. But I went with the leap, and enjoyed the ride.

I finished Ceremony in Death (JD Robb) and Vengeance in Death. I took a break between them, and did appreciate Vengeance more that way. So I plan a break between each of them, and now have about 6 waiting.

I read all 4 of the Jo Goodman Compass Club books: Everything I Ever Wanted, Let Me Be The One, All I Ever Needed and Beyond a Wicked Kiss. I gave them each 4 stars but did not put them on my Keeper/Re-Read list. I did like them but wasn't consumed by them.

I read 2 LaVyrle Spencer books - wow! Another new keeper/re-read author. The 2 I read (That Camden Summer, Morning Glory) are early 20th century and rural America, and both beta/mild-mannered heroes. In fact, That Camden Summer doesn't even have an explicit sex scene (shock) but still the tension created was enough to make it incredible. I need to explore her books more - apparently she's retired. I rented the movie Morning Glory, with Christopher Reeve. I liked it ok - and actually they stuck pretty close to the book, leaving out the part where the hero goes to WWII, and changing a couple of minor points. Since I had just read the book the day before, it was hard to compare them - I had the story so firmly in my head, it was hard to say if the movie covered something or I just knew it. I can see where, although a picture is worth 1000 words, those words are not necessarily the ones the author would have chosen and so someone seeing the movie may miss some of the subtle things going on, especially in their minds. I love how Spencer had the hero and heroine have such similar thoughts although they didn't share them or even let them show on their faces. This can't just be shown by even good actors - you need to see or hear the words Spencer wrote to appreciate it.

I picked up 4 used books at Hastings: A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott (4 stars) and 2 by Elizabeth Lowell, Always Time To Die (4 stars) and Beautiful Dreamer (3 stars) as well as a Nora Roberts, Blue Smoke. Lowell is an author that sometimes I love and sometimes not so much. Sometimes the same treatment she gives one story just doesn't seem to work in the next one. Sometimes she just drums and drums some point over and over into the reader's head and I just want to say OK WE GET IT PLEASE DON'T SAY THIS AGAIN. Beautiful Dreamer was like that - ok, she loves her ranch and it has no water. Got it, stop driving it into me. I did do a re-read another Lowell book (which one? cannot recall). I gave Blue Smoke 4 stars - liked it a lot. It's about a woman arson detective and her journey from child watching her parents' business burn down to what she is today. Her hero sees her and is in love at first sight, even though it's years before they meet - it's a nice treatment of the hero. Another mostly beta hero - and I liked it.

So I read 14 or 15 new books in April (I marked 3 of them as being read on 5/2, and I think I read 2 of those in April.) I don't keep track of re-reads, but I think I did 4-5. And the only audio books have been Outlander and now I'm in part 3 of Dragonfly in Amber, both re-listens.

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