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.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

"Ready" by Lucy Monroe

I just had to read something that wasn't paranormal next. I've been sharing books with a co-worker lately, and she's actually been raving about this series of books by Lucy Monroe. Yes, they're my books, but I have lots of books I haven't read yet. And, if I know I like an author, and they begin a series, I often pick up the books and wait until the last book in the trilogy is out so I can read them all together. I read so much, I forgot details otherwise.

Anyway, I gladly picked up "Ready," which is the first in a trilogy about three mercenary men and the women they protect. Maybe the prior raving colored my opinion, but I'm afraid I wasn't overly impressed. It wasn't bad...it just wasn't great either. I gave it a 3.5 rating.

The heroine is Lisa Barton, small-town Texan author of...can you guess?..."kick-butt" romantic suspense "adventure novels." Lisa relocates to Seattle because she's being stalked and she's afraid the stalker will go after her brother and his wife. Lisa is the quintessential romance heroine - smart, plucky, and - oh, yeah - sexually inexperienced. Poor Lisa - she married her "best friend," which meant she had a friendly marriage, but blah sex. And he left her for a chance at passion with a sweet young thing.

I expect this kind of heroine in the Harlequin Presents line that the author writes for - I can even enjoy them there, because I pick up category romance with certain expectations. But for more contemporary publishers, like Brava, or even some of Harlequin/Silhouette's more contemporary lines, it seems stale and out-of-date.

Our hero, Joshua - aka "Wolf" - is a mercenary and ex Army Ranger. He's strong, protective and commanding. Yum. He shows up at Lisa's door to make her go home to Texas for the holidays, sure he's the reason she won't go. He'd made a play for Lisa at a family function, but when she backed away from it, he was sure he's scared her away.

Joshua brings in his mercenary partners, "Nitro" and "Hotwire", in to help find the stalker. The names alone made me hard to take these guys seriously, especially because the stalker went by "Nemesis," a ridiculous name that everyone used as easily as if they were in a Batman comic book, facing the latest archenemy of the caped crusader.

Overall, I really enjoyed about 2/3 of this book, despite the goofy names. The beginning was awkward. It seemed the author had a hard time getting started on this, and the scene where Lisa is forced to tell her brother about the stalker was just painful. The author told and over-told you how everyone was feeling, just to make sure you got it. Remember the old adage "Show me, don't tell me"? That was what I was yelling at the book while reading that scene.

Once it got going, though, I enjoyed the story. Lisa and Joshua had a lot of chemistry and the book was seriously hot. This is where the Brava line lived up to its name! Yes, yes, sex was all Joshua thought they could have, him being a mercenary and all. And yes, yes, poor unloved Lisa didn't get enough strokes from her husband or her daddy. But those are both staples of romantic fiction, and I didn't think it was overplayed.

Then came the ending...which was a serious "wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am" ending! It's almost like the author realized she only had five pages left, so she had to wrap everything up in a hurry.

Now, I've read some other novels of Monroe's and really liked them. I'm still planning to read the next book in the series. I'm hoping that my feelings about this one were too influenced by my expectations (based on those ravings I'd heard) or maybe even by how well I'd enjoyed the last couple books I've read (I was spoiled).

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