Sunday, May 4, 2008

A 2fer review

I have been reading quite a bit lately. I seem to arrive home and immediately stick my nose in a book. Hey! Work is not a fun place to be lately. I need some escapism. Oh wait, I don't have to justify my reading habits to this group. You guys get it. :) So here are two books that I read this week. I'm not going to go into much detail with my reviews today. Just a quick drive-by opinion.

Title: Nobody's Baby But Mine
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Genre: Contemporary romance

From Ms. Phillips website:

The Plan: Genius physics professor Dr, Jane Darlington desperately wants a baby.
The Target: Cal Bonner, the Chicago Stars' legendary quarterback, seems like the perfect choice. But his champion good looks and down-home ways are deceiving.
The Explosion: A brilliant, lonely woman who dreams only of motherhood . . . A take no-prisoners tough guy who'll settle for nothing less than surrender . . . Can passion and physical attraction propel two strong-willed yet vulnerable people to a totally unexpected love?
I wrote a bit about this book a few days ago. NBBM is my second Susan Elizabeth Phillips book. I first read Match Me If You Can. I thought it was cute and fun, with a great setting. (Yay! Chicago!) I had high hopes going into this book.

I still can't decide if I liked it. For much of the book I found the two main characters, Jane and Cal, to be very frustrating. Jane set out to get pregnant. She felt that what she did to Cal lacked morals and walked around under a cloud of guilt for most of the book. I had a difficult time sympathizing with her. She got herself into this mess through her own decisions. She knew they were wrong, but did it anyway. Her whole "my baby's daddy needs to be stoopid!" argument held very little water with me. Cal, while justifiably angry, created the horrible situation by forcing Jane to marry him. They did not have to marry, he made that decision, yet he blamed Jane and struck out at her constantly. Of course, this is a romance novel, so there is a HEA. I'm just not sure that it was entirely believable. The animosity? I completely believed. (Oh man, what Jane did to Cal's Lucky Charms was priceless. Yes, I mean the cereal!) The HEA, "we are so in love" part at the end? Also could be believable. How they got from point A to point B? Not so much. It just happened too fast. The story was good. Most of the writing was very good. It just did not gel for me.

I did love the secondary characters. Cal's grandma, Annie, was a hoot. Best character in the book. Kevin Tucker? He has potential as a future hero. (I should check to see if that happens.) Jodie, the gal who helped set the whole "get Jane pregnant" scheme into motion? Completely despicable, as she was meant to be. Because of all this, I can't say it was awful, but it was not great.

Grade: C+

Title: Dancing Shoes and Honky-Tonk Blues
Author: LuAnn McLane
Genre: Contemporary romance

From Booklist

Abilene thinks it a mean joke when her brother signs her up as a contestant for a new reality show called Dancing with the Rednecks until she hears about the $50,000 grand prize. That kind of money would really help her Kentucky family out. Why, there might even be a little left over to finance her own dream, not that she minds waitressing. Tall and gangly, Abliene has two big left feet, and she's more than a bit intimidated by her tall, dark, and brooding celebrity dance partner. Rio Martin isn't happy about being involved in a spoof. He was hoping his appearance would be good publicity for his chain of dance studios. So the two do not get off on a good foot, but Rio is not immune to the leggy blonde who is too naive to realize she's a beauty. It's her spunky, down-home personality, though, that wins him, and the reader, over in McLane's comical and poignant modern-day rags-to-riches romance.
This book sounded totally cheesy, but I am a sucker for shows like Dancing With the Stars. This was a reread for me. (I had to read it one more time before I give it to my other DwtS obsessed friend.) I bought it when it first came out and I seemed to remember thinking it was sweet. If nothing else, I could read it, imagining that I am Abby and Maks is Rio. (Can I just say how sad I was that Maks was not one of the pros on this season of DwtS? It is just not the same without his hawtness!) I loved Rio Martin. I though he was a sexy character who had more depth than I was expecting. He is the Latin heart throb dance instructor that Abby is assigned to work with when she signs on for Dancing With the Rednecks. He did not realize that the show he agreed to take part in was really a spoof on reality television. Rio es no muy happy. Abby is a small town gal who helps her mom run their greasy spoon diner. How could she pass up the chance to win $50,000? That could mean sending her brother to college and making needed improvements at the diner. She is fun, but the whole "I'm a country girl who's not very smart" bit wore thin. Aside from that slight irritation, the book was just like cotton candy: sweet, fluffy, and makes me smile. If you are in the mood for an incredibly lighthearted read and are hooked on DwtS you should make it a point to check this book out.

Grade: B


Holly said...

I agree about NBBM. It was an alright read, but it wasn't the best thing since sliced bread.

Kevin's book (yes, he does get one), however, very well could be. I loved it. It's titled THIS HEART OF MINE and it's amazing. Really. :)

I'm adding the other book to my wish list. Thanks ;)

Carolyn Jean said...

You are so right - How they get from point A to point B is DEFINITELY important!! I need that in a book, too.

Great reviews!

Carolyn Jean said...

Hey Shannon,
I know you are probably at work right now, but when you get home you must check my blog!

Rowena said...

I haven't read the second book but Cal's book wasn't my favorite of the series fav is the same one that Holly mentioned. Kevin's book was the best, loved it and love him!