Weekly Reader - September 7, 2008

All my book reading was crammed into the end of the week this time. I had an eye infection that derailed several days of plans. Don't you hate it when that happens? I learned that I spend a lot of my time on the Internet, watching television, reading, or playing my Nintendo DS - all of which were difficult with my eyes a scratchy, watery mess. Thank God for antibiotics.

I'm doing some market research on Harlequin - (funny story at the end of post, BTW), so my reading this week is oriented to Harlequin America, a market I'm considering. It's always a dilemma when you review books. The good ones are easy to gush over. The bad ones leave a problem in how much to say without offending anyone, since the Internet has a long shelf-life. I read one this week that was particularly bad and one that was particularly brilliant. I toyed with just not reviewing the bad one, but that smacks to me of walking away from a difficult task, so I tackled it. See what you think.

U.S. Marshal Charity Caldwell has been in love with Adam Logue for what seems like forever, but the fellow marshal sees her as nothing more than a friend. Scarred by the shooting of his first love, Adam doesn't think he's capable of being in a serious relationship ever again.

Charity has faith that one day she'll get married and have the children she so desperately wants. The problem is, she doesn't want to spend her life with anyone but Adam. So with the help of his matchmaking family, she launches a plan to help Adam think of her as more than a friend, and even more than a woman -- it's a plan to make him see she'll be the perfect wife!

Romantic Times Magazine gave this book a 3 star. Here's what Kristi Alhers, the reviewer, said: "To Catch a Husband, by Laura Marie Altom (3), is an entertaining read. Adam is so clueless that the reader won't be able to help but fall in love with him and root for Chastity.

The cover of this book is beautiful. It's what made me pick it up. Unfortunately, for me the story didn't match and this one doesn't get a letter grade. It gets a "Do not recommend." I didn't find it an entertaining read as Ms. Ahlers suggests. I struggled through the whole book on annoy mode. Adam is past clueless and into dense and callous with Chastity's feelings. Chastity is wishy washy and difficult to relate, too. I wasn't engaged with either one of them and the only reason I finished it was because I kept thinking there has to be something redeeming about this book. I was disappointed. I didn't find it. Usually when this happens, I'll go right out and buy another of this author's books to see if this one was just an aberration or just me not getting the plotline. I do have another of hers in my pile, so stay tuned while I read that one to give you the scoop. Reluctantly I have to say that this one wasn't even a wallbanger for me. It was a "I can write better than this" career starter.

I haven't read any Harlequin Americans in quite awhile. Since I'm thinking of submitting a manuscript I have to them, imagine my trepidation after reading this. "Holy moly, now what?" I asked myself. Then I picked this next one out of the pile - I got this one from the Harlequin book signing.

Advertising executive Samantha James is looking for a ballplayer who can turn the city's losing team into a winning package. From the moment she sees pitcher Jarrett Corliss in that steamy locker room, she knows she's found her star candidate. She also knows she needs to steer clear of the arrogant player outside the boardroom. Jarrett agrees to be Samantha's poster boy on one condition - that she goes out with him. Even though the team's owner has forbidden fraternization because of recent scandals that almost brought down the ball club, Jarrett isn't about to strike out. He needs the team to win this season to save his career, but he also needs Sam.and this is the one time where he hopes his pitch lands a home run.

Since I was over on RT's site, I looked up the review for this one as well. It got four stars. The reviewer, Whitney Kate Sullivan, had this to say: "Lisa Ruff's Man of the Year (4) is a fast-paced, complex story to cheer for. As Jarrett fights for Sam's heart and she fights for her professional dreams, Ruff reminds us that one goal doesn't necessarily have to come at the price of another."

Patti's score: A+
Fast paced, emotional, three-hanky read. The writing style is sophisticated and blends into the background, NEVER interferring with the story. (I wanna do that when I grow up. :-D) Jarrett is over the top in his courtship of Samantha and it works so well with this story. Go find it, read it, and enjoy!

Last book - you're going to laugh at me.

Five-year-old sisters Boo and Lindy want a daddy – and anything goes in their quest, including a secret spell known only to the twins. On a lonely country road, Chad Applegate appears out of nowhere to help the girls and their mother rescue an injured dog. Robin Harmon's stubborn independence and breathtaking curves mesmerize the handsome pumpkin farmer, and her daughters charm him. They, in turn, are fascinated by his tales of pumpkin magic. Despite Chad's captivating blue eyes and tender kisses, Robin cannot believe his happily-ever-after promises. Experience has proven those kinds of dreams never come true. Will Robin deny the possibility of forever or will her daughters' daddy spell work its magic?

Yes, I reread my own book. I hadn't read this since it came out. Frankly, after editing it twice for TWRP, then reviewing four sets of galleys I was heartily sick of the story. I've launched a new publicity campaign for this cute little story, though, and decided to refresh my memory.

If I had to rate this I'd give it a B-. However, I was left pondering if there ever comes a time when you read your own work that you don't keep editing in your mind and say I wish I'd done this or fixed that or said that. How many years have to pass before that is possible do you suppose?

Finally, my funny story. To assist with my market research, I trekked this week to my favorite used book store - The Book Rak. I thought I'd buy 3-4 books from each of the Harlequin/Silhouette lines - American, Super, Blaze, Special Edition. All the ones I have on my shelf are old, so I wanted to see the market trend. I came out with about 20 books. My daughter waited in the car with the baby and when I got back in with my pile, I said: "Ok, I've got enough for my market research now." Anne said: "Whatever excuse you need to use, Mom." Does this kid know me or what?


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