If you read the description of this book and thought "Hey, that sounds pretty interesting. And look, the main criticism of it seems to be that it's ju...moreIf you read the description of this book and thought "Hey, that sounds pretty interesting. And look, the main criticism of it seems to be that it's just like her other books... but her other books are popular bestsellers and I've never read any of them, so I'll probably really like this!"
You thought wrong.
By page 9 the good guy, bad guy, goal and love interest are all set up so neatly and so quickly you'll immediately be on the alert for the clever plot twist to shake it up. I was, but spoiler alert: it never comes. Lizzy, the main character, is so passive she occasionally protests going along with whatever Diesel (the Good Guy, and don't for a second think you'll get any backstory, motive or reason to question him at any point of this void-of-character-development book) says and then suddenly she's doing it in the next paragraph. It's literally one big book of: "Do this!" "No" "You really need to, though," "No" Next paragraph: "I can't believe that just two days ago my life was normal and now I'm doing this thing that I don't want to do. I just want to make cupcakes!"
I'm not exaggerating.
Also, were we supposed to find the monkey funny? He says "Eeep!", flips people off and eats Froot Loops. He's messy, doesn't get along with her cat and all the characters kind of want him gone. Did you crack a smile as I described him? No? Well, too bad, because by the time you make it to the 2/3rds mark, the author is pretty obsessed with him. She'll updated you on what he's doing far more than anything else related to the actual plot. If you don't want spoilers, look away for this last bit: At one point Lizzy fears she's been raped while she was unconscious. She discusses her fears for a paragraph and then the monkey pukes and that's all they can worry about. That's right, keeping up with the monkey is more important to the author than her strange, never fully explained subplot of making bad cupcakes because of possible rape!
In the beginning it was almost so bad that it was at least amusing, but that fizzled quickly. One star read for me, for sure. If this was just like all her other books, I'm guaranteed to never read another Janet Evanovich book again.
I was going to give this four stars, because the sections on each crazy King or Queen were an interesting albeit brief overview. The book also did a g...moreI was going to give this four stars, because the sections on each crazy King or Queen were an interesting albeit brief overview. The book also did a good job of not just going through the same monarchs that you usually hear about (Erzsébet Bathory, Vlad the Impaler, Marie Antionette [though I don't know that I would have labeled her 'insane'...]), so I appreciated hearing the history of some lesser known historical figures.
That said, I found myself really wishing they would have thrown a few years in there besides the birth and death year, just so I could get a better sense of the order of events. I understand the book was going for a very brief overview of each monarch, but still, adding a year or two into each section wouldn't have taken up much room. Also, there were a few minor errors and then the massive error with Maria Theresa of Spain. I would have understood better if they'd mixed her up with almost any other Maria Theresa, but to mix her up with Maria Theresa of Austria was unbelievable to me. Maria Theresa of Austria is such a major and distinct figure in history that I genuinely don't know how that error could have slipped past anyone. That knocked off a star for me, all by itself. (less)