Monday, April 14, 2008

One of these things is not like the other...

I picked up Don't Look Down by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer as a bargain book ($3.99--yay!). The reviews for this were really mixed, so I'd put off reading it. I do love Jennifer Crusie, whose Welcome to Temptation, Getting Rid of Bradley, Manhunting, and other laugh-out-loud contemporary romance-with-some-mystery novels have been very enjoyable, so I suppose I can blame Bob Mayer for this convoluted mess of a book. Mayer is apparently a military adventure-type novelist, and my guess is, not a very good one. I have no idea why Crusie, Mayer, and the publisher thought this was a winning combination. It's as if someone said, "People like peanut butter! People like pickles! Let's put 'em together!" Mayer appears to adore a certain word that begins with the letter 'F' and its variations (clusterf*** is a big favorite...I didn't count, but I believe he topped 20 incidences of this one alone). Now, I'm not offended by vulgar language, and I think in some settings, it's the way to go, but not in a contemporary romance novel. It just shows a lack of imagination on the part of the author--really? You couldn't come up with ANY other word to use? Besides, that annoyance, there are passages of military-speak that must be mind-numbing to most of Crusie's fans. Discussions of various weapons and military strategy just didn't go with the rest of the book. Speaking of which, the plot was confusing and convoluted, with an unnecessary and poorly explained plot by the bad guys and inexplicable responses by good guys. The best part of this book is a charming and adorable Wonder Woman Party for Lucy's niece, but even that is constantly interrupted by people knocking on the door in a tiresome fashion. I'm not even going to summarize the plot for you, just advise you to skip this one. They have a second collaboration called Agnes and the Hitman, that got much better reviews, and since I still love Crusie's humor, I may pick that one up at some point. But maybe at the library!

I've starting reading Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swenson mysteries from the beginning, and I'm having a great time with them. I think I may have read as many as the first 3 when they were first out, but I can't remember who the killers were, so it's like reading them for the first time. The first, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, has been re-released with a bonus 100+ page novella at the end that was pretty cute, and some additional recipes. I baked Peach Almond Muffins adapted from the Peach Bread recipe in Key Lime Pie Murder. Yum! Basically, I just dumped the batter into 18 muffin cups instead of 2 loaf pans and cut the baking time. Fantastic.

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