Sunday, February 18, 2007

Two for the Price of One

Normally the concept of TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE grabs and holds one's attention. We immediately rush to the store eager and willing to buy as many goodies as possible. TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE is usually a good thing. It wasn't the case with Eloisa James' PLEASURE FOR PLEASURE. At least, not for me. Once upon a time, I tried reading an older James' title...something with the word DUCHESS in was DUCHESS IN LOVE. I couldn't get through the third chapter. So much was going on that I didn't feel much of a connection with the lead characters and if I don't feel that connection right away, like any good girl with a short attention span, I will close the book immediately and send it right on over to my local Used Book Store.

I felt the same way with PLEASURE FOR PLEASURE, but unlike DUCHESS IN LOVE, I actually loved the book's premise, that of a woman with low confidence who allows a friend of her family's to help her gain it. Josie Essex is called the "Scottish Sausage" by a member of the ton and now finds herself unable to find a husband. She thinks she's fat and wears outlandish corsets that only serve to...well...make her look like a stuffed sausage. She soon stops wearing the dreadful garment and with the help of the Earl of Mayne, a close family friend (who has been linked to all of her sisters), she tries to get the attention of the bachelors of the ton...or something like that.

It seemed like a good story, but I never realized that the lead characters would share their book with the hero's sister and younger lover. What a mess! I found myself disliking the lead characters' story soon enough and wanted more and more of the other (which I thought deserved its own book). The heroine was a big knucklehead and I honestly didn't understand (I never do) what the hero saw in her. He was almost 20 yrs older than her...apparently saw her grow up and that really disturbed me. Yes, I know that back in the day age differences weren't important, BUT I live in 2007 and in 2007 it would gross me out to discover that Bob Saget or John Stamos was dating one of the Olsen twins. Might have been acceptable for that time but so was not bathing and I don't see much mention of that in these novels.

But I digress...besides the little age issue I had with the novel, I couldn't get over how fast the hero went from being head over heels in love with the woman of his dreams (oh...did I mention he was in love with this French prude...possible lesbian?) to immediately wanting the heroine all to himself. Tha f*ck? It made no was too quick; there was no time for the hero to even get over the other woman. Perhaps had the heroine been depicted as a woman of the world, an Angelina Jolie type, I might have seen why and how the hero could fall so in and out and then right back into love so quickly. Sorry...I know Angelina Jolie, I've seen most of her movies, Angelina Jolie was in a movie I watched last night...Eloisa James, JOSIE IS NO ANGELINA JOLIE!!! And the love story you depicted for her was beyond unbelievable; it simply bored the shite out of me!

Now for the second love story, that of the secondary characters, Mayne's younger sister and the darling Darlington, the man who is the cause of Josie's low self-esteem (he's the one who called her "Scottish Sausage" to begin with), I enjoyed this one. I really did. Of course, I would have loved to see it developed further. We were merely given a few love sessions and then instant love on the part of Darlington for the beautiful and sexy Griselda (I hate that name!). It was easy to see why the two would fall in love though...they were cute together and I absolutely loved Darlington's wordplay. I was only disappointed I couldn't read more on the two.

I wish James would dedicate her novels to one couple at a time. Has she ever done this? I've not read many of her books. DUCHESS IN LOVE turned me off. I had to read this one though because so many people spoke fondly of it. James' is a great writer, I'll give you that. It's obvious she's no dummy, but her style doesn't suit me. It actually makes me quite sleepy...and frustrated...and anxious. Chapter 1 and 2 were dedicated to the leads; Chapter 3 to the secondaries; Chapter 4 back to the leads and so on and so forth. So much alternating really pissed me off. Everytime I'd get into one love story, the author would take a break and give me another one. Argh! Frustrating! Too much was going on in this novel and I developed a headache soon after starting it. By the time I finished it, I had a full blown migraine. I think I'll pass on the next one and if I do ever decide to give the author another chance, I'll make sure to take a Tylenol Migraine.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Tagged by Holly

I think I've done this once....actually, I think I've done this twice or three times. Oh, well...

10 Weird Things About Myself:
1. I like burnt popcorn with a dab of dijionaise (yeah...I'm pretty sure I've done this list already).

2. When I was 13, I begged my mom for a perm so....I got the hairstylist to cut my bangs and then perm them...only the bangs. I looked like a poodle!!! Not very attractive AT ALL!!!

3. I put my PJs on as soon as I get home from work, even if I have to go out an hour later...I won't change into anything but my PJs and then change into other clothes if I go out. A few people have told me that's weird, but I don't think so. Is it?

4. I seem to always get crushes on gay men. I don't know they're gay when I crush on them though...find out later on and then I'm really crushed!

5. There's no balance in anything I do. It's either all or nothing, too much or too little. I'll either go anorexic or eat like a pig (and I've done this) too many books or read none at all. There's got to be a word for this.

6. I have to follow up everything with sound effects. If I trip or fall, I usually have to add a little sound effect action...yell AAAAAAAHHHH or ARGH or something like that.

7. I'm scared of heights, yet I've been rock climbing, bouldering, walk across the Golden Gate every chance I get and am even planning a sky diving trip for later this year.

8. I love to melt chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and then use a fork to scoop up all the cookie dough. Once I'm done with the cookie dough, I throw the ice cream away (no one wants to eat it anyway, after I'm done with it).

9. My taste in men: Scott Weiland (former lead singer of STONE TEMPLE PILOTS), Clive Owen and Ralph Fiennes. Weird because it makes no sense. According to some, how can someone love Ralph Fiennes and Clive Owen and then fantasize about former druggies like Scott Weiland? I don't know the answer but I think he's hot!!!

10. I drink hot beverages with a straw (I still think I started this trend in college).

Misplaced Blame

I'm clueless lately as to what's coming out in the next few months; clueless as to what came out last month. I'm bored and, for a time, I thought there was something wrong with me. I blamed it on anything and everything: seasonal depression, dissatisfaction with my work, love life and LIFE in general. I'm now beginning to realize, as I go through the shelves of my local Barnes & Noble, that it's not my fault at all. The romance genre is no longer what it used to be and therein lies the problem. The stories released today lack imagination, originality and are nothing by copycats of older, far superior romance works. It's sad really. Few authors in recent months have released works that made my toes curl. However, the same cannot be said for MANY other authors who have released books that have forced me to jump off my couch and into my car OFF to the nearest used book store.

I don't know who to blame. Is it the authors' fault or the publishing company that approves the works? I have my favorite authors...we all do. Usually, my favorites release their books once a year, maybe even every 6-8 months, if I'm lucky. I wait...and wait patiently because I know they deliver (err...most of the time), but what do I do while I wait? What books do I read? I have other interests besides romance. I read a lot of historical biographies, non-fictions set in World War II or the French Revolution. It's not all about romance, but I like romances. They're quick reads that don't necessarily require that I sit and analyze for hours on end. They're pure a great piece of chocolate cake. So....while I wait for my favorite authors to release their new books, I pick up whatever new books are published. I'll look at the cover...good, nice, sexy cover. I'll look at the back blurb...unoriginal but probably good. Look at the name of the authors...she's always writing books...she must be decent. I buy the books...several books...and read them.... and realize that I've just eaten a lot of BAD CAKE!!!

The result of eating so much bad cake is naturally an aversion to cake in general....and so today, I'm scared...scared to try out new authors because the standards for getting your novel published seem to have lowered slightly. What else should I think? There are exceptions...there are always exceptions, of course. Some authors I've never been able to get enough of are now authors to stay away from; their motivation for writing is no longer pleasing the fan, but making a few dollars. Trifle and unamusing has now replaced brilliant and humorous. Good work! And then there are those new authors who've written novels that I consider far superior to even those by my favorites.

I actually laughed out loud last night at the backblurb of a romance novel. I don't know if I've ever done that. The story was so stupid, I wanted to take out some matches and have a little bonfire in the middle of the store. I won't mention the name of the book. It might be quite good...looked and sounded like every other book that's been published every month for the last year or so. I won't be reading it, unless it lands on my doorstep via some divine intervention (and that's really the only way because I'm not mentioning the name).

So what to do? Read an old goodie? Go through my TBR pile and read the works of authors whose new works aren't even good enough to use as box stuffing? I've tried that (see post below) and it didn't work. All it's done is upset me even more. Am I taking this too seriously? Perhaps. But you would, too, if you spent a bundle on books that worked better than a sleeping aid. I don't buy books to fall asleep; I buy them to escape the real world, which is all too harsh. I buy them to dream WHILE AWAKE, not while in a coma-like stupor created by said "novel." If I wanted to be in a stupor, I'd take drugs.

I'm now reading FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS. I'll follow that up with some romance novels that have impeccable reviews. I need to ease back into them. I'm going to change the way I purchase romances. I've always been too trusting of covers. They look so nice...they've got to be good, right? WRONG! Expect more selectivity on my part from now on....I guess this means AVON won't be getting as much of my money in the future. C'est la vie!