Tuesday, July 12, 2011

June Drive-by - Jennifer

So. June. Well, I read two books. Notorious Pleasures by Elizabeth Hoyt. AWESOME. Also read Pleasures Of A Notorious Gentleman by Lorraine Heath. I liked it fine, but enjoyed Passions of A Wicked Earl more.

I also DNF'd My Reckless Surrender by Anna Campbell right at the end of June or maybe the beginning of July. Very emotional, beautifully written. Really, a beautiful read. However, I couldn't accept her motive--the wanting of a certain home. I was bothered enough by it that I couldn't stick it out. Did read it a good two thirds of the way through though. I think I was emotionally vested--testament to Campbell's ability--and as a result, couldn't read another word toward an ending that would reveal her deception.

My summer fun continues, but I may double this number of reads in July, woohoo.

I hope everyone is enjoying this season and all it offers! Here in Northern Michigan, we welcome summer's HOT because our winter is long and crazy cold. I'm taking every moment to warm my bones. Lovin the hot and sweaty. :-) Hope you are too.

May Drive-by - Jennifer

Wow. So yeah, my May drive-by, in July, LOL. Been wildly busy--having fun, mind you. And reading less and less and less...can you hear my voice fading away? Hoping the reading bug returns soon...at least by Septemberish.

So May...short to match my memory.

Tempted All Night by Liz Carlyle
Exactly the kind of historical I enjoy. Excellent.

Breaking The Rules by Suzanne Brockmann
Reviewed this one. Really enjoyed it.

See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson
Cute and I liked it.

Nothing But Trouble by Rachel Gibson
Liked this one more.

True Love And Other Disasters by Rachel Gibson
Read all of these during playoff hockey (yes, I watched every game cuz I love hockey). This is the one I loved most. Ty was perfect in my minds eye. And when he bought her those skates and told her he wouldn't let her fall? Sigh.

Twice Tempted By A Rogue by Tessa Dare
Didn't finish this one. Thought it a solid read. I just lost interest after awhile. Definitely a "it's me, not you" thing. Life is proving more exciting than the page this summer. Not a bad thing at all.

Sins Of The Flesh by Caridad Pineiro
This one took me by surprise because I wasn't expecting a paranormal. Stuck with it though and enjoyed it thoroughly.

When You Dare by Lori Foster
Formulaic but good. Not going to read any more of these though. There is only one similarly-themed series that caught me hard enough to scramble for the remaining books. That series is the Kelly/KGI series by Maya Banks.

My Irrisitible Earl by Gaelen Foley
DNF. Didn't like the voice and quit this one early.

Lame commentary, I know. Wait til you see's June's drive-by. ;-)

Saturday, July 02, 2011

The Challenge: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

So back in March, Tracy, Nikki, and Holly challenged me to read Bet Me. They were horrified when I said that I didn't care all that much for Crusie, and that I hadn't read Bet Me. They contended that if I read Bet Me, I would lurrrve it.

Basically, if I read it and loved it, I would have to admit it here and shout it out to the world. Fine, but if I read it and didn't care for it, they had to stop bugging me on the Crusie thing. I think that's pretty fair, right? Holly was feeling pretty smug because Casee wasn't a Crusie fan, and she loved Bet Me (after Holly challenged her to read it, too). Paranormals aside, Casee and I have very similar taste in books, as do Holly & I, so Holly was pretty certain that I would love it, too. Nikki lent me her copy back at RT, and I finally got around to reading it this week. What did I think? Read on…

I will interject my Goodreads status updates as I review.

Almost immediately, we are introduced to Min's family – both her extended family (Bonnie and Liza) and her mom and sister. Also, her boyfriend dumps her in the first chapter. Here were my first thoughts on the family.

I hated Min's mother with the burning passion of a thousand suns. She was the worst mother ever. EVER. And yes, I realize that she's supposed to be, but I couldn't tolerate her. Not even a little bit. Getting the picture?

The bet, of course, was between Cal and Min's ex, David. David had just dumped Min, and he bets Cal that Cal can't get Min into bed within a month. Cal turns him down, but David is convinced that the bet? It. Is. On. OK. I can deal with it. But in the bar that night, we also meet Cal's friends Roger and Tony, and Cal's ex, Cynthie. (And if you don't mind my asking, what kind of a psychologist calls herself Cynthie? It has to be the silliest nickname I ever heard for what I assume is Cynthia, and just a tad unprofessional sounding.)

Here are my thoughts on the exes.

Cynthie quickly figures out that Liza is the one she needs on her side in order to break up Cal and Min and get Cal back.

So… in a nutshell: I really liked both Cal and Min, and I really liked them together. They obviously each had issues – Cal's around his father and his dyslexia and Min's around her mother and her weight. Mostly. I say mostly because the other parents were not anything to write home about either. Anyway, I liked that Cal and Min kept getting drawn together, even though they thought they didn't want to be. There were some very sweet things in the mix, like the way that Cal found Min's snowglobe, and that when they were apart, Cal was a total klutz. Also I must admit that I LOVED that Cal thought Min was sexy just as she was. And that he totally stood up for her with her mom. I also liked that he didn't find sexy at first, but grew into it. I adored the way he kept reassuring her that she was perfect as is, and wanted her to eat what she liked. Oh, and he can cook. And yes, the donut scene was very nice. Plus, I did love Min's shoeaholic tendencies. Hello! Right?

I also really liked the subtle ways that Min and her sister supported each other. Though, on a side note, I do have to say that I would never pick a dress that was awful on my maid of honor – especially when she's my sister. Just sayin. Also, I loved how Di stood up for Min at the end, and how Min supported Di when she decided to call off the wedding.

I really liked Cal and his friends. Tony and Roger were great – the perfect foil for him and Min's friends, too. Oh, and I loved how Emilio adored Min because he thought she was great for Cal and because she adored his cooking. And Cal's nephew? Harry was perfection.

OK. Onward.

Did I say that I absolutely abhorred Min's mother? Seriously. Here was my last thought on her:

Between her and the manipulative exes and Min's friend not standing by her against Cal's ex, I was screaming bloody murder as I was reading. They literally made me hate so much that I would never ever reread this, or ever enjoy it overall. Crusie's snarky humor between Cal and Min (and between the heroes and heroines of her other books) works ok, but when she transfers it over to the parents? It's just plain meanspiritedness. And I can't abide that. I certainly wouldn't choose it for a parent – and really? For her mom to never actually see the error of her ways and soften just slightly? And for her only thought as her daughter's wedding is breaking up to be that if Min ate a piece of cake that it would take weeks to take it off? Oh hell no.

I thought the misunderstanding between Min and Cal felt contrived (especially on Min's part, but Cal too). It was like Crusie needed a final conflict to tie it all up, and that didn't work for me.

I don't grade books here on this blog, but if I did? Out of 5? Bet Me gets somewhere around a 4+ for the romance between Cal and Min (if I'm allowed to take it in isolation), a -10 for the manipulative, nasty characturish parents and exes, and a 3 for the friends (it would have been a 4, but I disliked Liza). Overall, a very very generous 3-. Only for Cal.

All in all, not one I would ever choose to read again or recommend to anyone else.

Sorry, Holly, Nikki, and Tracy, but this challenge? It. Is. Over. Thank you for introducing me to Cal and Min, but did they have to bring everyone else with them? No more Crusie for me, k?
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