Where's Your Book Today?

That's what people always say to me at work, if I don't have a book or my PDA or my eBookwise Reader with me at lunch. I love to read and I guess it's obvious. So many books, so little time...and so much dust in my apartment.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Oh, man, I've got to catch up! Part 2

If you caught my previous post, you know I've gotten behind in my comments - or ahead in my reading, depending on how you look at it. This will catch up on a couple of ebooks I read this week.

"Pesky Paranormals" by Tawny Taylor Rating: 3.0
Stephanie Burbank is being haunted by her late ex-husband. Whenever she gets too friendly with a man she's dating, his shorts have a way of catching fire! Her neighbor, Rafe Hammond, is gorgeous and has been dropping hints, and she finally decides to take a chance on him. Turns out he's got his own ghost. This is an Ellora's Cave novella, so I mostly picked it up for the sex. (Yes, I'll admit it, I do sometimes like to read erotic romance just for the turn-on factor). This story definitely turns up the heat, so from that point of view it was effective. The plot was a bit weak, though, and I was disappointed by the "where-the-heck-did-that-come-from" ending. I probably shouldn't buy novella-length stories or anthologies, though, I almost always think the stories are unbelievable and too rushed.

"Shelter from the Storm" by Lara Williams Rating: 3.0
Jennifer Jones is a California party-planner looking for a roommate. She's not looking for love. In fact, she's afraid of love. Life hasn't been particularly kind to Jennifer, and she's trying to just get on with her life and stay in control. Maclain "Mac" Moore is a social worker, recently moved to town, looking for a place to stay. But he's quickly taken with his new roomie. Before they can begin to explore any kind of relationship, though, Jennifer becomes caretaker to her younger half-sister, who hasn't spoken since being found with her mother's dead body.

If I were rating this story based on emotional punch alone, I'd give it a 5.0. Jennifer and her sister are definitely among the walking wounded and Mac is absolutely wonderful with them. In some ways, it's almost too much. The author has a medical/psychiatric background, and her husband is a social worker. So I suspect they've seen worse than comes out in this story. But from a fictional story's point of view, it comes across as too much and a bit soap opera-ish.

I really think this story could have been wonderful with a bit of judicious editing. No, the story wasn't litter with grammatical errors or misspellings/typos, like some I've seen. But I thought it was choppy. The mood swung from serious to almost clownish from one moment to another. Mac was sweet, patient, understanding...then suddenly brash and outspoken. His expectations for Jennifer seemed way to high, way too fast. And I found his usage of British slang confusing - since he'd only transferred from LA to San Diego - until almost 3/4 of the way through the book when his parentage was explained. He's incredibly appealing as a character, and I think most women will fall in love with him. But there was an erratic quality to the story that unsettled me. And that's why I gave the book a 3.0 instead of a higher rating.

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