Monday, January 23, 2006

January's book challenge - so far

I’m not sure if this is cheating or not. I really wanted to get started on AngieW’s Challenge and was in a slump. I tried 3 contemporary books and couldn’t get past the first page. So I reread a couple of really good ones I liked from last year – the two Crazy books – and liked them even better – but that’s for another day.
I still didn’t want to go back to the 2 that spooked me before and I read good things about Erin McCarthy so I thought I would give this one a try – even though I bought it after the challenge was issued. I didn’t buy it for the challenge – honest!

Title: Houston We Have a Problem
Author: Erin McCarthy
Year published: 2004
Why did you get this book? I’ve seen this author recommended lately and wanted to give her a try
Do you like the cover? Not really
Did you enjoy the book? Not really
Was the author new to you and would you read something by this author again? She is new to me and I’m thinking I don’t think I’ll try her again – but you never know.
Are you keeping it or passing it on? Passing it on
Anything else? I don’t know how to put it but I was never really drawn into the story. When I read a book I like to feel that while I’ve not exactly become the heroine, I at least am right there feeling the same feelings. I never did with this one. I felt very disconnected the whole time, always aware that I was reading a book. In fact, I was so detached, I caught a gaffe and I almost never notice those (for those who have read this one, it’s the scene where the heroine is trying to remove the swimming trunks of the hero, but they are “still damp” Well, they couldn’t have been because he never went into the water because of stitches in his leg.)
Josie is an orthapedic resident, who normally very competent, becomes very flustered when in the company of surgeon Houston Hayes. At these times she becomes a total klutz due to her overwhelming attraction to her. Well, wonder of wonders, it turns out he is attracted to her too despite the issues she has with not being a slender model type. He proposes a one-night stand to alleviate the tension between them. She agrees and they have sex under his hall table, which I thought rather disinterestedly must have been pretty darn uncomfortable. He wants more after that. She does but doesn’t think it’s a good idea. He surfs and gets bit by a shark. She helps him out. And so on and so on and so on.
It’s an OK book, but since I have so many TBR and so many TBB that appeal to me more, I think I’ll skip any further books by her for the time being.


Now, since I seem to be out of my slump, I read a second contemporary for the challenge


Title: Her Sexiest Mistake
Author: Jill Shalvis
Year published: 2005
Why did you get this book? I’ve read her books before and liked them
Do you like the cover? Yes, I thought it was cute
Did you enjoy the book? It was…..interesting
Was the author new to you and would you read something by this author again? No, I’ve read her before and yes I will read her again
Are you keeping it or passing it on? Passing it on
Anything else? First off, Jill Shalvis writes wonderful heroes. I’ve read a number of her books and I’ve always quite liked the way she writes heroes. On occasion though, I have issues with her heroines. And I’ve never had so much issues as I do with Mia, the heroine, (and I use this world with some reservation). I. Did. Not. Like. Her! At all!! She was – to put it bluntly – a bitch. A “self-centered, who gives a shit about what you want ‘cause it’s all about me- no one and nothing else but me” bitch.
Mia Appleby and Kevin McKnight are neighbours. Kevin is a wonderful guy, a high school science teacher who teaches summer school and helps out at the local teen centre in the summer. Mia is an up and coming executive at an ad agency. She had grown up poor white trash and was determined to forge a new life. Added into the mix are Mike, Kevin’s younger ‘player’ brother who happens to be deaf, Hope, Mia’s lost, scared and runaway niece and Tess, Mia’s soft-hearted assistant. Mia and Kevin are very attracted to each other and have already given in to the attraction before the book starts. Kevin wants to get to know Mia better, but she wants none of that. No not Mia. All she is interested in is a booty call with Kevin when she has an itch and that’s all she cares about. She’s the female version of “slam, bang, thank you mam – and now I’m outahere”. What he sees in her is a complete mystery to me. If a hero acted with this kind of despicable behaviour, well he would not be a hero – nope – he would be a kick him to the curb scumbag dog. And that’s what I kept hoping Kevin would do to Mia. There is a huge double standard here and it really irritated me. When Hope runs to Mia’s because of her own unhappy home life does Mia understand and welcome her? Of course not- not “it’s all about me” Mia. Instead she makes it clear that Hope is an intrusion in her life she doesn’t want. At one point the book came oh so very close to being shredded. Kevin, being a compassionate guy, understood where Hope was coming from and makes it clear to Mia he really wants Hope to enrol in his summer school science class. But Mia is insistent that won’t happen as she is sending Hope back as soon as she can . Once it becomes clear she is ‘stuck’ with Hope for the summer, she agrees Hope can enrol in Kevin’s class and tells Hope this – if Kevin will still have her in his class that is. Since it was only two days previous to this that Kevin had made clear he would love teaching Hope, it was just plain bitch nastiness that Mia said what she did.
The way this book should have ended would be for Kevin to turn and walk away from Mia. She didn’t deserve him. So she had issues. So what? She was still a cold-hearted mean spirited, high maintenance, not worth the effort bitch.
As I said, for the most part I very much enjoy Ms. Shalvis books – but not when there’s a heroine like Mia.

So – so far my challenge of contemporaries hasn’t been fairing to well. I’ve started another one and if it doesn’t go better, I think I’ll lay aside the contemporaries and look forward to next months challenge.

10 comments:

CindyS said...

Ugh. Now I have a bad taste in my mouth!! I'm wondering if writer's are trying to flip the stereotype of 'male rake' to the woman. Thing is, what we find reprehensible in the man, we find equally bad in the female. If she had started out as a bitch but grew into a better person then I'm okay with this but when the character remains the same? Ugh. Ugh.

Almost as bad as the book the SB were talking about where the so called heroine *kidnaps* some kid off the street. Uber Ick!!

CindyS

Tara Marie said...

I like Erin McCarthy's books, but can understand some not liking them. For me, they're no brainers, entertaining, in the moment reads.

So, why don't you tell us what you really think about "It's all about me" Mia--LOL.

Kristie (J) said...

LOL- I was in a rather bitchy mood myself when I wrote that. I should tone it done I suppose - but the character just struck a hot button with me. I just got so angry with her when she used this poor really wonderful guy for sex and then just left him - literally on the floor - and it struck me - would we accept that in a hero??? I don't think so. See, this one drew me in. And to Cindy - she did see the light - eventually, but she hurt other people too much by then for me to buy that it was anything more than a momentary glimmer.
That's why I'm not not recommending this book because I think it can generate great discussions and she's a very good writer. And Kevin is wonderful.

Jay said...

aww, I'm sorry you didn't like Houston. I don't think that's her best work. But like Tara said, EM is good for when you want something light and easy to speed through. Meaty, she's not.

I hate it when I end up hating the heroine. It seems I always have way more burning hate for a heroine than I do for a hero I don't like.

Kristie (J) said...

<"It seems I always have way more burning hate for a heroine than I do for a hero I don't like">

Jay: Me too! Why is that do you suppose? I can forgive a lot more bad behaviour from a hero than I can from a heroine. I don't if it's because I'm harder on women than men or (and I think this is more closer to it) that I think women are *egads I can't believe I'm saying this* smarter than men. Therefore I accept bad behaviour more from the hero because they really don't know any better whereas women should know better.

Nicole said...

I haven't read Houston yet, but I've liked a few of the Erin McCarthys that I've read. You might try The Pregnancy Test sometime, I really liked that one.

Jay said...

It's sad to say but I think I'm more forgiving of heroes I dont like because I'm more used to dealing with male assholes in real life. If you're a female and I dont like you, I don't hang around you. But every guy's got a bit of asshole in him that you've just got to deal with.

ag said...

Jay - your comments are spot on.

For me, I have to like the heroine in order to enjoy the book. Otherwise, the romance just loses its appeal.

Kristie - hope your mood's improved and that you have better luck with the next contemp you read.

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