Sunday, January 10, 2010

Random Romance Reviews

I thought I'd write a quick blog to review the books I read over the Christmas holiday.  First up: Believe by Victoria Alexander.  Now, Alexander is a writer I enjoy.  I am almost always pleasantly surprised after I read one of her books.  So even though Believe is a re-issue, her name alone was a selling point for me.  Another selling poing was the cover.

Come on, is that or is that not a holiday-themed cover?  I bought this book because I wanted to read a Christmas story.  BUT THEY TRICKED ME!  This was a freakin' time travel book.  I hate time travel!  The only Christmas stuff that was involved was that it was Christmas time when the heroine travel back to King Arthur's court.  Yeah, that's right.  And who is the hero, you ask?  Galahad.

I got about halfway through this book before I quit.  The heroine's use of modern language and Galahad's acceptance of it was too much, but also I was just bored.  Time travel is dumb, authors.  Stop using it!

Next up, A Precious Jewel by Mary Balogh.  This is another re-issue by an author I like.  There's nothing wrong with this book, per se, but it didn't appeal to me.  The heroine is a prositite who becomes the mistress of her favorite client, the hero.  Strangely, the fact that the heroine was a prositite didn't bother me much at all, but the fact that the hero was not very smart did bother me.

I guess I'm just really stuck in romance novel cliches, or maybe I'm just enforcing my own view of what is attractive onto the story, but I like the uber-capable manly hero.  For instance, in one scene the hero is struggling to keep his estate books, and when the heroine looks over his shoulder, it takes her about five minutes to figure it out.  It takes the hero two hours, though.

There's nothing wrong with that, really, but I guess I just didn't think that there was a whole lot else about the hero that made up for that.  The heroine disagreed and saw beyond his weaknesses, but she's a better person than I am, I suppose.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips is another favorite author.  Her books always seem so effortless written.  But I do have one complaint: she really seems to like writing about famous people.  Think about it!  Pro football players/owners/agents, pro golfers, computer moguls, first ladies, and actors.

That last group is my least favorite.  I know actors are real people with feelings and problems, etc, but I just can't relate to these characters.  I especially dislike it when she writes about child actors grown up, people that have always been famous.  That is who What I Did For Love is about.  The heroine and hero are both actors.  In fact, they rose to fame as teenagers when they started in a hit sitcom together.  It ran for eight seasons until the hero's bad-boy behavior brought the show to an end.  Georgie, the heroine, grew up to marry an action star, but he left her a year later for a glamorous do-gooder actress.

Yes, it is a blatant rip-off of Brangelina.  The similarities were impossible to miss, and I found myself getting annoyed at how pitiful Georgie was portrayed.  The last thing Jennifer Aniston needs is someone writing a romance novel based off her life that portrays her as a insecure, baby-hungry lady.  (Even though in this book, the Brangelina couple does not come off well.)

Anyhoo, Georgie is so sick of being pitied in the tabloids that when she accidentally marries her former co-star in Vegas (after they're both roofied) she begs him to remain married to her for the good press.

And you can guess what happens next.  Again, there was nothing wrong with this book, and I found it really entertaining to read, but I just couldn't bring myself to care about the problems these famous beautiful people have.  Everyone has problems.  I don't like it how romance authors try to endear famous characters to us by showing up how fucked up their lives are.  It never really works out, though, because the authors can't make them too messed up, otherwise they're unlikeable.  But to me, they're unlikeable merely because they're so privileged (and don't seem to acknowledge it).

1 comment:

The Reading Nomad said...

Hm. You're right. I mean I love watching movies. The better the actors play, the better the movie ends up being.

Nonetheless, I wouldn't -- ever -- want to meet any of the actors I like. It'd mess with my (pathetic) illusion.