Archive for category Two and-a-half of 5 *

Wild Thing (and others) – Robin Kaye

Guiltily fun.

Stars: between 2.5 to 3.5 out of five.

Review format: Comment plus links.
Summary:  Well, Robin Kaye writes diverting romantic fiction, and now I have read a bunch of it. Don’t tell anyone. Here’s a summary from the author’s website…Believe it or not, I’ve featured the least-embarrassing cover – of ‘Wild Thing’. To complement the cover, here’s a description of ‘Romeo, Romeo’.  Rosalie Ronaldi doesn’t have a domestic bone in her body … All she cares about is her career, so she survives on take-out and dirty martinis, keeps her shoes under the dining room table, her bras on the shower curtain rod, and her clothes on the couch … Nick Romeo is every woman’s fantasy – tall, dark, handsome, rich, really good in bed, AND he loves to cook and clean … He says he wants an independent woman, but when he meets Rosalie, all he wants to do is take care of her. Before too long, he’s cleaned up her apartment, stocked her refrigerator, and adopted her dog … So what’s the problem? Just a little matter of mistaken identity, corporate theft, a hidden past in juvenile detention and one big nosy Italian family too close for comfort …  (from the author’s website)
Provenance: e-book from my library
Date Read: April 2012 

I have a confession to make. While on a business trip in April, I read a whole bunch of trashy romance downloaded in e-book form from my local library.

So. Romance. No, I haven’t got a genre category to track it here on my blog. But, now I admit: I have read some. I just tripped over a couple of these again online, so I feel they are due a restrained shout-out.

Robin Kaye writes reliably fun romance stories. The female leads have lively, witty narrative voices; and despite the beefcake covers, the male leads are not as bad as you might fear.

In Wild Thing I liked that our fish-out-of-water heroine took such enjoyment in wearing her offbeat ‘goth’ outfits. The trio of gorgeous brothers was just a little too perfect to be true, but hey it’s romance.  Romeo, Romeo was my favourite of the bunch.  It just felt the freshest, and I had the most fun reading that one.  Plus, it was mostly describing just the one absurdly amazing guy, not a family of them.

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The Hidden Family – Charles Stross | DNF

Shoulda stayed hid.Don’t call us. No, really: just don’t call us.

Stars: DNF Two and a half of five.

Review format: DNF rant plus links.
Summary: Miriam, a hip tech journalist from Boston, discovered her alternate world relatives in The Family Trade, and with them an elite identity she didn’t know was hers. Now, in order to avoid a slippery slope down to an unmarked grave, Miriam, known as Lady Helge to the Family, starts applying modern business practices and scientific knowledge to a trade dominated by mercantilists — with unexpected consequences for three different timelines, including the quasi-Victorian one exploited by the hidden family. (goodreads)
Provenance: Borrowed from the library.

I gave The Family Trade a three-star rating, and started into the sequel with guarded expectations.

Um, I like the cover a good deal.

Sadly for me, the negative expectations were quickly fulfilled. The flaws of the predecessor were loomingly prominent in this sequel.   I was hoping that the sequel would surpass the original, but it has been very much the same. There wasn’t one big nail in the coffin – more like a thousand paper cuts.

  • None, and I mean none, of the interesting unresolved topics are being taken up yet.
  • The plotting is mechanical and heavy-handed. Oooh, could the foster mother be any more ambiguous and possibly concealing something? Oh, look, she admits she’s concealing something.
  • Secondary characters who were ambiguously threatening in book one… peel off that stretchy mask with the flair of a Scooby Doo villain and gloat over their revealed black-hat status.
  • An entire new venue (third alternate Earth) pops up in the shooting gallery for double your extended-series enjoyment.

Pah. Removing the bookmark at page 117 of 309. I’m heading to the library to pick up Dragon Haven. Next up on my review list: Tanya huff’s The Truth of Valor.

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Treachery in Death – J.D. Robb

Dallas takes on a dirty cop.

Stars: Two and a half of five.

Review format: Note plus Links.
Treachery in Death – J.D. Robb. Summary: Peabody tackles her first case(s) as primary, and then inadvertently learns of a corrupt group of cops.  Dallas makes it their mission to bring them down.
Provenance: borrowed from local library.
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The Fourth Stall – Chris Rylander

The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander
Stars: Two and a half stars out of five
Summary: Sixth-grader Mac and his business partner/best friend, Vince will help you with your problems—for a price. Business is going well until a third grader claims he’s being threatened by well-known crime boss and dropout, Staples. First time author Chris Rylander weaves film noir and Godfather themes into a well-written story with a great cast of characters that boys will not be able to put down. (from
Audience: I think the target audience is kids in grades four to eight… Caveat – your fourth-grader needs to be a precocious reader, while your eighth-grader may be less-interested in a book about sixth graders.  Also, there are no major female characters, so girls who require a girly book will be disappointed.

The Fourth Stall is a kids’ mystery/suspense book, written in the style of Goodfellas or The Godfather.  I requested it from the library based on the surprising descriptions of wise-guys and moral ambiguity via the Excelsior File.

The writing is funny, and the book certainly starts off with witty narration by Mac.  I was amused, but overall a tiny bit disappointed.  I was hoping for laugh-out-loud funny, even absurdity, because of the implausible film-noir tone.  What happened instead was the threat of takeover was real, and there were moral dilemmas in multiple directions.  The energy level stayed fairly consistent throughout, instead of cranking up to antic.  I had hoped for antic. 😉

Along with the wiseguy tone, the characters are the best part of the book. Mac and Vince are solid leads, while the school bullies are amusingly described.

It’s a solidly-written book, but despite styling it after the Godfather it was too light to interest me as an adult.

I will probably request the next novels from Chris Rylander for my kids only.

Spoilers and other reviews below

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