Saturday, July 20, 2013

summer post 3

or, things I did not like much at all.

Heirs and Spares by J.L. Spohr.  I got this from Netgally, which claimed it was literature/fiction and romance.  Those are very loose descriptors.  I did not enjoy this book, and unless you get a patron request, please don't buy it.  It won't make romance readers, mystery readers, or historical fiction readers happy.
1.  It won't make romance readers happy: Is there a love story?  Yes.  Is it crap?  Also yes.  It seems at the beginning that this is going to be a winning-the-girl over kind of love story between the spunky, opinionated heroine and the quiet, caring young man who was the second son but is suddenly king.  However, once the female main character gets into the carriage , she resigns herself to her fate.  She has very little personality for the rest of the book.  This made it very difficult to care about here.
Also, not that I'm complaining about it, but all the love scenes are fade-to-black, so your general romance reader may be rather disappointed (I would have found this aspect refreshing if the book had anything else going for it.  As it is, the only the book could possibly have going for it would be the sex scenes).
2.  It won't made mystery readers happy: There's some business going on both inside the castle with courtiers who are trying to serve their own ends, and outside the castle with threats from a neighboring country.  However, these are mentioned only vaguely at first, then (in the case of the inside-job) it's very obvious what's going on, but all is (unnecessarily) revealed to the reader later; in the outside-job, it's mostly just dropped.  There's enough here that it could have been developed into a really great part of the story.  It's not.
3.  It won't make historical fiction readers happy:  The setting and time period are both very vague.  I'm pretty sure the country was made up, so it was up to the author to give it its place in the world.  That didn't happen.  There was no more historical detail than you would find in any other period romance, although certainly the opportunity was there.
Finally, maybe it was a problem with the ebook formatting, but paragraphs seemed to run together, especially in dialogue-heavy areas. It made it very difficult to determine who was speaking.
This book is the first in a series; I can't imagine why. It's a bit... presumptuous?  ballsy?... to book "Book 1" on the cover.  What if it's terribly received and no one wants a second?

Maybe Baby with Hugh Laurie and Joely Richardson. If you have a whiny female character who will experience no character growth whatsoever, this is the actress for you.  I thought this character very similar to the one she played in Nip/Tuck.  It could have been so much better.
I think the movie could have gone a little deeper.  It's supposed to be a romantic comedy about a couple with medically-unexplainable infertility.  There were some good lines, some good scenes.  However, never does anyone mention any non-traditional family options; this just shows that most women who want to have a baby really just want to be pregnant.  Nothing else is acceptable.  I think it has to do with being the center of attention.

The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James.  I normally like this author a fair bit.  This title, however, was well short of the mark.  Did she write it in a hurry?  For seriously about half the lines in the second part of the book, I kept thinking "that's out of character," "she'd never say that," or "where'd that come from?"  A real disappointment.

Worlds that Weren't by Harry Turtledove et al.  The Turtledove story is the first one in the book; I couldn't get into it, despite repeated attempts.  Too many characters, I think, and no sign yet of why I should care about any of them.

Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik.  I am definitely ready for these to wrap up. I think alot more could have been done with the amnesia storyline (not a spoiler, it's on the back cover).  Laurence just floundered about in a kind of uncharacteristic way and kind of screwed up some stuff, but never with any real resolution.  For a plot-line that outrageous, you've got to sell it.  I was willing to suspend my disbelief, but to what end?  Sad.

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