Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Love and Death

Mostly love, though. Three romances and a mystery and, tomorrow, pure cheese. (It's a celebrity novel and it's, shall we say, fierce.)

Carly Phillips's 'Serendipity' is the one I forgot the other day and that's not really a surprise. It's not a bad book, but it is fairly forgettable. It's a good choice if you want a nice, un-offensive contemporary with nice, un-offensive protagonists in a nice, small-town setting. It was, in a word, nice. Which certainly has its place, but isn't enough to make it stick in my mind.

Unlike 'A Night to Surrender' by Tessa Dare, which is proving hard to shake. This is one of those books with some absolutely amazing dialogue (I wish I had it in front of me so I could quote bits at you) and a hero and heroine worth rooting for not just as a couple, but as individuals. It's the first book in a series and I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment, not least because the hero and heroine of Book 2 promise to be very, very interesting to watch.

'A Trick of the Light' by Louise Penny is another outstanding installment in her Chief Inspector Gamache/Three Pines mystery series. I love this series because the characters are so rich--and they aren't above commenting on the proliferation of murder in the tiny Quebec village of Three Pines. Although each story can stand alone, I would advise starting this series from the first book, 'Still Life'. Watching these characters grow and change and hurt and heal is, for me, even more satisfying than the inevitable resolution of the central crimes. And, in spite of what I know about these characters (and Three Pines's astonishing crime rate), I still want to go live in their fictional village with their fictional selves.

And, finally, there's Tina Gabrielle's 'In the Barrister's Chambers', which I was really looking forward to reading because the hero is a counsel for the defense, which one doesn't often see in historical romances. And the plot and characters were quite good, but, somehow, the actual writing never quite sparked for me. There wasn't any fizz to the prose. And the couple of diversions into the mind of the villain were probably completely unnecessary. And maybe a little more doubt about the guilt of the accused would have helped. Huh. Well. I guess that was my problem. The romance worked for me, but the suspense plot surrounding it didn't.

Don't forget: Cheese tomorrow. Possibly of the kind that comes in a can. At the very least, plastic-wrapped American slices.

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