jmc_bks: (title2)
For today's SBD: another author beloved by readers but whom I just don't get.

Kresley Cole.

I've read so many awesome things about her Immortals After Dark series, and about her books generally. Cracktastic seems to be the adjective used often.

I picked up a copy of Cole's Pleasure of a Dark Prince. It was sort of different, in that it wasn't limited to just the typical werewolf and vampire, but it seemed kind of convoluted and didn't stand well on its own. What was the big conflict, not just for this book but the series over all? I don't know. How did everyone come to be relocated from Europe to Louisiana? Not clear. What are the underlying rules of the world? Never explained. The hero was the Dark Prince, readers are told. Told told told, not shown. And the book is peopled by a large cast of characters who are not introduced or explained in a very helpful way. Midway through, a couple of characters sounded familiar, so I checked LibraryThing: turns out I tried one of Cole's books earlier. DNF. Oops. If I'd realized, I probably wouldn't have bothered with this one at all.

The nail in the coffin for me? The hero and heroine are doing just about everything possible in bed short of actual penetration...but they both consider it Not Sex. Oral sex is not sex, and apparently digital stimulation to orgasm isn't sex either. [How very Clintonian.] And since they haven't had sex, they (or she, rather, since she's the one who cares) are chaste. WTF?

I'm sorry that's lame and pathetic and is such a narrow view of sexuality that I couldn't go on.

Done. Stick a fork in me.
jmc_bks: (Default)

Okay, the basic set up of this book fails. Hero, the best man/man of honor for bride does not get along with bride's brother. Hate. Refusal to be in the same room. For years. But bride reassures him that brother (rancher still living/working in her hometown) won't be at her wedding...which is being held in her hometown. So he's okay with spending a long weekend there, because his nemesis won't be there.

Hero is painted as being smart and good with people, but it doesn't occur to him that BFF's brother not being at her wedding is, well, weird? That it's a little odd for otherwise close family to be out of town or otherwise unavailable or absent from big family celebrations? Especially since the wedding wasn't a spur of the moment thing?

The whole set up feels kind of forced, petty, and juvenile. Why waste energy on lies or bitching? It's her wedding, suck it up and be pleasant for a weekend.

There'd be no book then, I guess. Eh. Deleting that sample from my reader. Next!

TBR: DNF

Apr. 21st, 2010 08:52 pm
jmc_bks: (Default)
I'm failing Avidbookreader's TBR Challenge 2010.

This month's TBR book, Girl Overboard by Justina Chen Headley, was very appealing.  Loved the blurb, liked the non-white heroine/protagonist, enjoyed Chen's debut, Nothing but the Trusth (and a Few White Lies).  But I couldn't get past the half way point of Girl Overboard.  There wasn't anything wrong with it, truly, I just kept picking it up and putting it down.

For a review from a reader who loved Girl Overboard, check out Jia's post at Dear Author.



jmc_bks: (Stupid)
The date for posting about your February read for Avid Reader's TBR Challenge was last Wednesday, but I missed it.   Better late than never, right?

The proposed theme for February was virgin heroes, but I couldn't find one on my TBR shelves.  It's possible that he could've been hiding there, but I didn't feel like making a huge effort to find one.  Instead, I pulled Kathleen O'Reilly's August 2009 Harlequin Blaze Hot Under Pressure from the shelf.

She hates flying... Until he gives her a reason not to!

Boutique owner Ashley Taylor hates flying.  Especially when there's a sugar-fueled little hellion on board.  But then David McLean (sexy!) sits next to her, and suddenly Ashley finds herself hoping the delay will last forever -- and that 

David won't notice her comfy pink bunny slippers (sadly, the opposite of sexy).

David
does notice Ashley, and when the flight is delayed overnight, they can't get to the airport hotel fast enough.  Off with the slippers and in with the zing!  Fortunately, America is filled with cities -- L.A., New York, Miami -- and nothing says "smoking-hot passion" like an intercontinental affair.

Why this book?  Because I have read and enjoyed a couple of O'Reilly's earlier Blazes.

What did I think of this book?  Only the fact that I was reading it while on a plane kept it from being a wallbanger.  Seriously, if the entertainment choices offered by the airline had been better, I would've abandoned this book.  But I was a captive audience.  The problem wasn't the writing, it was the characters and the set up.  I thought the heroine was a spineless enabler, and long before I knew what her sister's problem was I despised them both.  The hero...I liked him only marginally better. 

Also, in what world do khakis and a white shirt equal copier repair guy?  I've spent my entire adult life working in offices and I have NEVER seen a copier repair guy in khakis and a white shirt.  Ever.

SPOILER:  

And for the love all of all things fraternal, would contemporary authors PLEASE stop having characters hook up with the siblings of their partners!?!  Dumping your fiancee for her sister?  Not on.  Being friends with benefits with your dead husband's brother?  Also not on.  Sleeping with your husband's brother and then divorcing him to marry the brother?  That's family wrecking, and it belongs in lit fiction, not category genre romance, please.

Three times in the span of a month just pushes all of my squick buttons.  

The only thing I really appreciated about the book was the easter egg of seeing Jamie and Andrew Brooks from an earlier book.


 

jmc_bks: (title2)
It seems sort of appropriate to SBD about the reading-related resolution I made this year.

The heart of the resolution is not new -- reduce the TBR mountain -- but the mechanism for it is different.  Instead of deciding that I must read X number of books, I must clear X off the shelves each month no matter what, whether I've read them or not.  And I'm not permitted to buy any new books unless I've done so.  (Yeah, so I can't use the gift cards I received until I've reached this month's quota.)

So, yesterday's weeding, all RWA books:

Fortune's Woman by Raeanne Thayne. Eh, after skimming the first 10 pages, I couldn't be arsed to continue.

Her Very Own Family by Trish Milburn.  CBA

The Doctor's Royal Bride by Jessica Matthews.  CBA complicated by the fact that I hate made-up European principalities.

Virgin Mistress, Scandalous Love-Child by Jennie Lucas.  Only read the first 10-15 pages of this book and it ENRAGED me.  The asshat, sexist, conclusion-jumping, excuse-grasping hero was a total dick.  The heroine was too sweet, too innocent, too downtrodden and pathetic to believe.  Actually ripped this book in half.

I did manage to read slightly more of Rescue Me by Christy Reece.  How many cliches could be crammed into the prologue?  Skanky, hypersexualized mother who hates her daughter and hits on godson; insecure teen with a crush who "knows" she'll marry him because...because; a hero who at 21 is already smarter, braver, etc.  He prevented a terrorist attack!  He speaks seven languages and has a couple of black belts!  He invented a new explosive as a science project!  

Chapter One: I was completely creeped out by the heroine pretending to be someone else in order to have sex with the hero.  And the results were quite predictable, if ridiculously over the top.

Chapter Two:  head hopping!  Tattoo seemed unlikely given the harped-upon social status, controlling mother, and complete lifestyle change.

Also, spying and security contractors and quasi government agencies?  Not appealing to me any longer as plot points, settings, or characters, for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with the author or the books themselves.

That said, the rest of the first two chapters were enough of this book for me.  
jmc_bks: (Default)
My contribution to Keishon's TBR Challenge is another DNF.

Title: The Proposition
Author: Kate Bridges
Copyright: 2004, Harlequin
Setting: Calgary, in the 1890s

Sergeant-Major Travis Reid was coldhearted trouble...but for the sake of the child she'd lost, Jessica Haven was ready to travel with a man who hated the sight of her. Still, the trail-toughened Mountie was her last, best hope for justice--and maybe her one true chance for love!

Travis Reid had been ready to dismiss Jessica Haven, the mayor's spoiled daughter, as the flighty society miss he remembered, concerned only with her own comfort. But the determined young woman surprised him with her unexpected verve and sensuality. And their trek across the wilderness was fast becoming a journey of the heart!


Why this book? I've read a couple of Ms. Bridges' books, and liked them to varying degrees. And her chosen setting -- Canadian historicals! -- is relatively rare, and rather distinctive.

What did I think of the book? Well, I never got past the first chapter. It wasn't bad, it just didn't hold my attention. This was one of the books I took with me on vacation, and I ended up enjoying some of those other books more. I set this one aside when I found a copy of Sweetheart at a local independent, and just never got back to it. I may pull it off the shelf again sometime, though.

Afterthought: I went to Ms. Bridges' website, intending to provide links, but discovered that most excerpt links on her backlist page are dead, which was a little irritating.

TBR day

May. 22nd, 2008 08:26 am
jmc_bks: (Default)
Yesterday was Keishon's TBR Day, but I forgot to post.

Let's see, the books I pulled from the TBR pile:

Samurai Girl: Book of the Flame by Carrie Asai. DNF. I didn't realize that this was a mid-series book when I picked it up. It did NOT stand alone. I had no idea what was going on -- the plot picked up right in the middle; that kind of narration works on TV, especially for shows like Alias but didn't work well here, because there was no recap to catch me up.

Beyond Daring by Kathleen O'Reilly. The Paris Hilton clone as a heroine did not work for me. DNF.

Forbidden Shores by Jane Lockwood. Another DNF. Caribbean-set historical wasted on a dishwater heroine, lackluster hero and Too Evil bad guy.

It is becoming clear to me that there was probably a reason all of these books were in the TBR pile.
jmc_bks: (Chocolate)
I saw sugar free Peeps at the grocery store last weekend. They stopped me cold. How do you make sugar free Peeps? I thought marshmallow was just processed sugar, more or less.

On the other side of the Peeps display nestled a variety of Mary Sue easter treats, including vanilla butter cream eggs and pecan caramel logs. Mmmm. I don't jones for Mary Sue candy during the year, but when it starts appearing at the grocery store, I have a hard time resisting. In fact, I have to just avoid that aisle of the store in order to leave without purchasing vast quantities.

On the reading side of things, I don't have much to say.

  • I started Demon Night but couldn't get into it, kept getting interrupted. I've set it to the side and will pick it up when I'm feeling better about reading.

  • Found a copy of Elizabeth Elliot's The Scoundrel. Everyone seems to love her historicals, but it didn't work for me. Wallbanger because the hero was an @ss, the heroine was a Mary Sue (not the good kind mentioned above, either), the plot was riddled with cliches.

  • Read and liked Drew Zachary's The Painted House, which was sweet, if a little bland in terms of plot/conflict.

  • The Ties That Bind anthology had one story I liked (friends to lovers) but was otherwise forgettable.
 
jmc_bks: (title)
'Tis Monday and thus time for SBD. Which I haven't done for a bit. So here's mine:

The Scorpion and the Frog

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion says, "Because if I do, I will die too."
The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp "Why?"
Replies the scorpion: "It's my nature..."


From this website. The fable is often attributed to Aesop, but may be older.

To see a cartoon-illustrated version, go here.

How’s this relevant to SBD? And what could it possibly have to do with an urban fantasy novel with a part-demon psion as protagonist? Well, in some ways, Japhrimel was the scorpion and Danny was the frog. But then again, not so much.

The third book of the Dante Valentine series, The Devil’s Right Hand, includes “extra” materials that address the different attitudes toward truth and lying that humans and demons have. At one point, Danny herself mentions that she feels as if she and Japhrimel speak different languages and struggle to communicate. In the end, for me, their conflict comes down to their essentially different natures. For all that Dante becomes part demon in Working for the Devil (Book 1), her sense of truth and justice remains based in her original humanity. And for all that he has Fallen, Japhrimel’s concept of truth is based on his millennia-long existence as a demon.

One could argue that Dante’s expectations and treatment with Japhrimel are always consistent – he falls in love with her and Falls because she treats him as a human. Shouldn’t he then expect her to treat him as human on all levels? But that doesn’t work for me on a basic level – treating him as human is a one-way transaction that Dante undertakes on her own; expecting human reactions from him would require consent/agreement to that behavior that he clearly never gives, for all that he Falls.

In the end, I abandoned the series because Dante seems utterly incapable of accepting their different natures, ignoring what Japh is (demon) in preference for what she wants him to be...and then feeling betrayed when he doesn't live up to her expectations of humanity from him. There’s the old chestnut about marrying a man and wanting to change him, which is what I felt like Danny does in the third and fourth books. She is constantly trying to impose her worldview on him, without understanding that for him, “truth” is negotiable, and the most important thing is survival.

Plus, there’s the whole “I trusted you” whine, which is constantly belied by her behavior. His first concern, however patriarchal and patronizing, is Danny’s safety; hers is never him.

Having said all of that, I do think Lilith Saintcrow is a fantastic writer and builds an excellent alternate reality. This narrator just didn’t work for me.
jmc_bks: (barbapapa)
The holiday weekend in books: not very felicitous.

1. Down Home Zombie Blues by Linnea Sinclair. CBA --> DNF. Which is a shame because I’m sure this is a good book. 

2. Under the Rose: An Ivy League Novel by Diana Peterfreund. C. I didn’t hear much about this follow up to Peterfreund’s debut, which was promoted all over the place. No budget? Or was she burned by the overexposure? (I thought it was average.) Also curious about the format change – from hardback to trade paperback. The book itself? Eh. I didn’t mind spending 3 hours on it; I’m glad it was a library book, though. It seemed predictable to me, and I have an inkling about where it is going in the future (also predictable). Mostly I just felt impatient with the narrator, who never struck me as being as smart as I was told she was. 

3. If You Could See Me Now by Cecilia Ahern. DNF. Pretty cover. But if I had known from the backblurb that Ivan was imaginary, I wouldn’t have bothered even borrowing it from the library. Imaginary friends are okay for children but scream mental health problems to me in adults. Requires a suspension of disbelief that I can’t manage. 

4. Murder in Chinatown by Victoria Thompson. C. Interesting glimpse of turn of the century Chinese-Irish community. Okay mystery. All of the personal stuff that is hinted at between Sarah Brandt and Det. Sgt. Malloy? Eh. In the indelicate words of my impatient grandfather: piss or get off the pot. UST shouldn’t be stretched out forever; my limit is about 4 or 5 books; this series is long past that point. 

5. The Food of Love by Anthony Capella. DNF – not because it was bad but because I realized that I’d already read it. Went looking for a copy after reading Capella’s The Wedding Officer; realized I’d already read it a couple of chapters in. Good but not really worth a re-read IMO. B-/C+ 

6. Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas. I actually have a bit to think about and to say about this book, but I’m saving it for Monday’s SBD. Unless I come up with something better for SBD, then I’ll post my opinion about Sugar Daddy earlier.

However, I did receive a Barbapapa book for Christmas! And a copy of Allende's YA book La ciudad de las bestias. And two Borders gift  cards.  Yay!
jmc_bks: (TDS)

I picked Gwynne Forster's Naked Soul off Mt. TBR for my commute read this morning.  I've reached page 46 and the book is verging on DNF.  The hero and heroine are both judgmental twits; she's very pretentious, snooty and self-centered, while he's controlling and overbearing.  I'm having a hard time believing that Ms. Forster will be able to redeem them in 240 more pages.

Plus, there are little things that irritate.  For example:  the heroine's grandfather's name changed from Judah to Jonah.  And there's an 18 year old running an office in the U.N., which I find very hard to believe.  Etc.

jmc_bks: (seagull)

I've been struggling with a head cold for about a week, and I noticed yesterday (when I gave in and went home early) that my congestion is cut in half once I've left the building.  And this morning, it worsened signficantly about 30 minutes into my work day.  I work in a huge building that it relatively new, but I'm wondering about the air circulation and filtration.  

Yesterday afternoon while trying to shake off this cold, I started a book called Chemical Reaction.  It turned out to be the biggest wallbanger I've tried in awhile.   A resident sleeping with her boss?  How very appropriate.  Not.  Agreeing to casual sex but deciding she was in love after an orgasm?  There's a basis for True Love. The author certainly hadn't given any other evidence of The Fall prior to the heroine thinking it post-coitally.  Having a conversation about birth control but deciding it wasn't necessary because she can't get pregant.  Of course there are no other possible side effects of sex with a near stranger.  But the thing that really squicked me:  the hero constantly ogling the heroine's breasts and saying or thinking that she was so much woman.  Ugh.  Because breasts are what make us feminine.  I'm actually tempted to shred this book, it irritated me so much.  I resent the fact that I actually paid fifty cents for the thing.  I want my money back; wasting it on a gumball or other junk from one of those vending machines at the grocery store would've been a better use for the change.

jmc_bks: (Default)
I missed my stop on the Megan McCafferty train. Should've gotten off the ride after Second Helpings, but no, I read Charmed Thirds. Well, more I tried to read it and couldn't finish it. It's hard for any writer, IMO, to take a character and transition from YA to adulthood, and I wasn't impressed with Jessica Darling as an adult or semi-adult in TC. So when I saw the ad in my inbox for her upcoming Fourth Coming, I skimmed the information (32% off at Amazon), then deleted it. Nope, not doing it.

Another reader/writer train that I haven't been able to get on is the lurve train for Barbara Samuels-Ruth Wind, which I've blogged about before. Coming off a string of very good books, I decided to give her one last try, and picked up Bed of Spices, an historical that is widely held to be her best work and an amazing piece of fiction. Meh. I had issues with the heroine, who struck me as Mary Sue-ish (everyone loves her! she's a healer! she knows best!) and where I thought the story was going with twin-thing. Plus, knowing that the plague is coming and what happens to Jews (the hero is Jewish) during plague-time, I had a hard time imagining any sort of HEA. DNF. Anyone want a battered copy of Bed of Spices?

Read of review of a nonfiction book on the evolution of food, A Movable Feast: Ten Millenia of Food Globalization by Kenneth F. Kiple, that sounds very interesting. On my TBB list now.

Unrelated to books: on the way home tonight, I saw six cars trying to back down the entrance ramp to I-895. Not only did they have to make it to the bottom of the ramp without causing a collision, but that ramp is set in the 45 degree angle of a busy intersection, so they had to wait until the intersection cleared before redirecting anywhere. One at a time. That gives me heartburn; Poppop (truckdriver) told me once that he saw more people killed that way than in "regular" crashes.
jmc_bks: (Stupid)
I’ve been lax about posting reviews of the few books I’ve read lately. So I’m resorting to using AngieW’s format for last year’s TBR challenge. I tend to be less thoughtful when using this format, but it’s better than another ~meh, read another book and can’t be arsed to write about it~ post.

Read more... )
jmc_bks: (h's iris)
I'd say like a hummingbird, but I'm not that graceful.  More like a bumblebee, buzzing around clumsily.  

I haven't been able to settle on anything all weekend. Sit down, read a few pages, get bored. Turn on the TV, channel surf, get bored. Wander round the book store, nothing interesting, bored, leave with nothing new.

Caught a couple of minutes of the BBC show/miniseries The State Within. Jason Isaacs, mrowr! Armitage = Halliburton, SecDef Warner = Cheney/Rumsfeld combo?   Note to producers and dialogue coaches:  the proper (American) pronunciation of certiorari is not cer-tee-oh-rahr-ee, but cer-sher-or-ee, with the second "r" almost silent, or so I was taught in school.  A check of the dictionary pronunciation key would've caught this -- both the ones I checked have the "ti" making a "sh" sound.   :shrug:  The British pronunciation may be different....but the word was spoken by an American character.

Skimmed MJD's Sleeping with the Fishes. In the intro, she mentions that she scrapped the first version because it was Betsy with fins. And this second version isn't? One note wonder, IMO.

Two DNFs: J.M. Jeffries' A Dangerous Love and Darrien Lee's Talk to the Hand. The heroine in the Lee book was a skanky, cheating, stupid hypocrite (pissed that she caught her bf cheating; but when she cheated, she made sure he didn't find out and she didn't get caught because she loved him so much. WTF?! They why are you cheating?) and the hero was a spineless wuss. I lasted a bit longer in the Jeffries book, but ultimately put it down because the hero and heroine's relationship was utterly inappropriate and unprofessional. Plus I kept noticing serious copy edit errors.
jmc_bks: (flaming june)
I’ve heard such good things about it. And the premise seemed interesting, a meta-romance, I think it's called, with the narrator entering the world of romance reading and writing. Keishon, in case you’re blog-hopping, I’m not wondering why so many others love it and I don’t.  I just don’t -- there’s no accounting for taste, and this book just doesn’t suit mine at the moment.

Another book with an interesting premise that just didn’t hold my attention. This is the second Bird book to do so, the first being The Flamenco Academy which was too W/F for me. I’ve got a couple of other books, The Mommy Club and Alamo House, TBR, but I think I’ll be posting them to my swap group or PBS.
jmc_bks: (TDS)
While I like the idea of behind the scenes cooking stories and the idea behind his odyssey, I'm less enchanted with Bourdain's over-testosteroned voice and style. I suppose the camo shirt he's wearing on the cover should've warned me, shouldn't it? [Talk about the stereotyping and conclusion jumping I just did. Whew! I should be ashamed of myself.] Plus, travelogues are hit or miss for me. I like the idea of them much more than the execution...at least for the few I've read, like A Year in Provence and Under the Tuscan Sun.

Anyone wondering about that Third Space book in my Currently Reading field on the side bar? Yes, I'm stuck. It's nonfiction about arts-in-education written by a name in the local education and AIE scene. I'm supposed to be reading it in preparation for my next full board meeting. Somehow, I keep finding more fun stuff to read. You know I'll be up all night before the meeting finishing it. Ah, procrastination.

Crazy Sweet

Nov. 5th, 2006 10:33 am
jmc_bks: (Default)
I should have controlled my book-buying impulse when it came to Crazy Sweet. Couldn't get past the first 100 pages. DNF. Did Janzen even have a plot in mind when she sat down to type? Angsty, woe is me, I have betrayed him and he'll never forgive me, why won't she let me in and share with me, blah, blah, blah. Gah. I'm sorry I spent a couple of hours even trying to read the book.

Normally, I'd add a book that I couldn't finish to the TBR mountain, because I might come back to it at some point and find it more readable. And generally, I assume that if I buy a book and wind up not liking it, it is my own fault and it's a risk of discovering new authors. But CS irritated me so much that I couldn't keep it. So yesterday I did something I never do: I returned the book. Borders took it back without a problem, but I still feel a bit guilty. It's not like I read it and then returned it, which would feel like cheating. But still...

While I was at Borders, I looked for the latest copy of Rolling Stone, which has Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on the cover. Nope, still had the last issue out, which wasn't bad -- I particularly liked the article on how the last Congress was the worst, laziest Congress ever. Like that's a shock to anyone.

My disassembled kitchen needs to be reassembled. But I think I'm going to ignore it, and walk up to the harbor instead. It's game day and the Ravens are in town, so the people-watching should be fabulous.

I'm still looking for kitchen curtains, by the way. I just want plain, tan, tab-topped valances for the kitchen window and the back door. Can't find them anywhere in real life, so I'll probably have to resort to the Internet for them.
jmc_bks: (title)
I'm pretty much agreeing with Keishon and May: Warrior & Witch has an excellent idea at its heart, but the construction of the book is lacking. I'm about 2/3 of the way through the book, and I'm about to give up. If I could just read the chapters following Mirage/Miryo, which are full of action, I'd be okay. But that's only half the story; the other half is politics, following the POV of the Void Prime (whose name escapes me right now)...and it is slow and boring as hell. And there are still gaps that are never explained, like how Mirage survived, and how exactly the split souls work. Maybe they'll be explained in the future, but I'm not hanging around for a third book. The first book's weaknesses I could forgive, because it was a debut novel, but they needed to be cleaned up for the second and weren't. Brennan could use a really good critique group and an editor to crack the whip.
jmc_bks: (Default)
Made a library run Friday afternoon. A couple of books that I had on hold arrived, including Sujata Massey's Girl in a Box and Julie Leto's Dirty Little Lies. Also picked up what I thought was a Black/AA contemporary/urban romance in trade paperback: Slick by Brenda Hampton. Hadn't heard of the author before, or the publisher (Black Pearl Books), but the reviews were positive and the cover proclaimed it as an Essence Magazine best seller.

Dana & Sylvia have been girlfriends for what seems like forever. They've never been afraid to share everything about their lives and definietly keep each other's secrets...including hiding Dana's On-The-DL affair from her husband, Jonathan.

Though Sylvia is uncomfortable with her participation in the cover-up and despises the man Dana's creepin' with she remains a loyal friend. That is, until she finds herself attracted to thevery man her friend is deceiving.

As the lines of friendship and matrimonial territory erodes, all hell is about to break loose! Choices have to be made with serious repercussions at stake.


The backblurb sounded a little over the top, but interesting. I like the friends to lovers theme. Sadly, Slick was a disappointment: DNF. The 100 or so pages I read were pretty bad, D/D+ bad, IMO. I kept reading beyond the usually 50 pages because I wanted it to get better. Nah. It's in the return pile.

It was shelved with the romance, but it really wasn't. Straight fiction, maybe? Urban fiction? I'm not sure. The problem for me though, was that I thought the heroine-protagonist was sleazy. Not because she has sex with someone other than the hero (though she does) but because of the dynamics of her relationship with Dana and with the hero. It didn't feel like they were friends or even liked each other. I couldn't figure out why they were "friends" at all. And Sylvia, in addition to being friends with Jonathan through Dana, is his secretary. The interaction between the two of them was utterly unprofessional; beyond that, it seemed inappropriate and over the line among married friends. [I know, the range of professional and friendly behavior is huge, but some of the interaction was just way over the line, IMO.] In fact, I couldn't believe that Sylvia hadn't been fired for some of her behavior in the office.

Part of the problem is the adultery -- on both sides. Hot button issue for me. Dana just seemed pathetic and stupid: cheating and thinking she'd never get caught; cheating with an employee of her husband; with a guy who had multiple other women and at least four illegitimate children. Ick. Then there is the whole poaching problem. If Jonathan and Sylvia had gotten together after his divorce, and the tension or conflict was post-divorce (just because a couple is divorced doesn't mean it is open season on the newly-single ex-spouse of a friend), the relationship wouldn't have bothered me. But Sylvia and Jonathan were doing inappropriate stuff while he was still married. I know, his wife cheated first, but that is a cop out.

Additionally, the language bothered me. I can understand intellectually that BEV is a recognized dialect of American English with its own linguistic value, but seeing "ain't" and using be instead of is/are make me cringe. I can deal with that in spoken English, but have to resist the urge to break out the red pen when I see it in writing. Too much swearing (even more than in Brockmann's SEAL books, which is saying something) and too much urban slang.

I'm sure there are lots of readers who will love this book, but I wasn't one of them. Poor choice on my part. Next time maybe I'll look for an AA historical or other sub-genre instead.

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