Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Okay, so I'm back.  This should be the last big gap for a while, and I had a really decent excuse for this one.  I went to Japan!  For my honeymoon!  And then we moved out of state and I'm going back to school and everything is wonderful.  But that means no big vacations or plans for a while (YEARS), so I'm stuck writing.
Getting back into the reviewing aspect of the game by posting a review of a book I picked out last night, the top free seller on Amazon, which happened to be (drumroll please) LOVE WILL FIND A WAY, by Barbara Freethy.  I was going to post it tomorrow but I ended up reading the whole thing today, and I wanted to write about it while the details were still fresh, and also avoid doing any real work on my novel and still pretend to be productive.

The book wasn't bad.  It wasn't inspired, or particularly special, and it was one of those books that makes me want to forget that I read it as soon as I put it down, but it still wasn't bad.  I read it all in one sitting, so that's saying something.  I also read incredibly quickly, so it's not saying much.  And I feel all the worse about it because I read it so all of the questions I had would be answered, but I was even more disappointed when those questions were answered by uninspired, boring answers.
To start - the book features a single, widowed mother (the single parent thing being a running gag I only realized when I read the chapters at the end of the book featuring other works... is that really a romance genre? single parent romance?) who is trying to find the answers about her husband's death while trying to resist the only other man she's ever loved.  The insurance company has ruled his death a suicide, leaving her no options but to try and prove otherwise, which strikes me to the quick about the legality of that all, but who ever said fiction needs to follow the rules?  I personally hate it when things don't make sense, but seeing as this was the top selling book last night I'm obviously in the minority.
So she goes to her husband's best friend, Dylan, a bigshot... what, architect?  No... he just builds things.  Reads blueprints.  I dunno what those are called but he's good at it and it only matters so that he can build the house that his love interest - Rachel? - has always wanted.  I'm getting ahead of myself; I have been drinking.
Books like these make me need a drink.
So the whole thing is about did he cheat or didn't he cheat, Rachel's younger sister being terrified about being found out to be an artist like she's secretly working for Al Qaida, her underwear being in the husband's apartment but secretly being totally innocent, and a lot of thrown in drama to make the story interesting.
Let me be the first to tell you, it didn't really work.
There were a lot of interesting questions, from the get go.  I enjoyed the drama and the tension of did he cheat or didn't he, who is this mystery woman, and how far down does the rabbit hole go.  But it really felt that the author could have done something truly shocking, something to really make us think, and then just went with the safe, commercial ending.  OH, he wasn't cheating.  He just had a daughter sixteen years ago and was trying to do the right thing.  Of course... how family friendly.  And Rachel immediately accepts this other child into her life, because she's also wonderful and perfect.
What's the deal, Barbara Freethy?  Why shy away from a bit of a tougher issue?  Why make everything happy and rainbows at the end, why aren't some of these characters left with a bit of pain?
Happy endings are perfectly boring, and so was this book.  I was interested until I actually found out what the secrets were, and then I felt like my time had been wasted.  There's way too much old drama being brought up, when I'm getting old enough now myself to look back and see how much of a moron I was when I was a teenager.  But to these characters, there's enough from eighteen to call up an ex and do the "if you ever loved me," bit.  If an ex did that to me I'd probably laugh in his face and hang up, if I even remembered his name.
It's a silly premise, silly, flat characters, and a boring, safe story.  Commercial, sure.  But not at all artistic, and too commercial to spend money on, because it's all too clear how it's going to end and even the mystery, which had so much promise, disappoints in the end.  But not to be too critical, at least it's readable.  The words themselves aren't too bad, it's just the plot that suffers.  Sorry, Barbara.  It was so very, very clear from reading those last twenty pages of first chapters that you have a formula, and it's not that good of one.  Challenge yourself a little... you'll enjoy it more.

Otherwise, I'm going to pick another book to review, which should be going live on Sunday.  I'm going to try to hold myself to two reviews a week, now that I don't have school for another six weeks and I haven't found a job yet.  Haven't been looking too hard, either, but don't tell anyone.  Top seller on Amazon is still... God damn it, it's the same book.  Okay, I'll check again tomorrow.  The same book?  Really?

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