I know "I hate Christmas" 20 times with no indication why is supposed to arouse my curiosity. Unfortunately, it doesn't. It creates a hole for me to fI know "I hate Christmas" 20 times with no indication why is supposed to arouse my curiosity. Unfortunately, it doesn't. It creates a hole for me to fill in missing information in an attempt to make sense of the situation. By the time she got around to the reason for the incessant "I hate Christmas" theme (around the 25% mark), it had taken on so much weight, I expected the reason to be "I was raped at Christmas" or "My family was murdered at Christmas," and the actual reason for her PTSD-esque symptoms was feeble in comparison. I'd prefer "I hate Christmas once" to arouse curiosity, "I hate Christmas because XYZ" once so I know what we're dealing with for the rest of the story and can sympathize with what the character is actually going through (which I could have here if I hadn't spent a quarter of the book guessing at high drama), and the rest of the story getting the whole backstory and DEALING WITH IT.
There's a lot of unsubstantiated "lust" that seems to arise from a couple of tepid, stilted business conversations. If these people are so damn physically sexy that they're incapable of being looked upon without getting tingly genitals, the people with the tingly genitals should be giving some more thought to that. Otherwise, "all she could think about was sex" seems kind of out of the blue and inappropriate to the situation.
She stuffed wet, snowy boots into her bag and changed into shoes, and I thought, There's nothing else in your bag, which you're taking to a business meeting? (As it turns out, at least her laptop was in the bag with her wet, snowy boots.) And he LET her stuff her wet, snowy boots in her bag with at least her laptop, knowing he was taking her into a house where people throw their wet, snowy boots by the door, which seemed weird not to mention. "Hey, why don't you wait five seconds and take those off inside rather than ruin your electronics and probably obscenely expensive designer bag." And that was where I knew this book and I had to part ways because I wasn't enjoying anything about it enough to distract me from nitpicking....more
Gave up about halfway when she abandoned her assigned duty to go get laid/pursue her stupid revenge plot. There's only so much time I can spend with sGave up about halfway when she abandoned her assigned duty to go get laid/pursue her stupid revenge plot. There's only so much time I can spend with selfish, childish, irresponsible people, and that was the limit.
It was pretty obvious the motivation behind the stupid revenge plot could have been eliminated at any point in the last nine years with a thirty-second conversation ("How could you, you bastard?" "I didn't. I have no idea what you're talking about. Why didn't you tell me at any point during the last NINE YEARS?" "Because I like feeling like a martyr." "Oh. Well. Stay out of my life or I'll get a restraining order.").
And even if she didn't want to have that conversation, there is no reason other than her poor-me mentality the inciting event had to ruin her life. First, move out of the podunk town where EVERYBODY knows. Second, change your name if you really have to. It's probably the easiest and cheapest legal procedure in America. After that, it's just one of infinityjillion titty pictures on the internet, and odds are about one in infinityjillion that anybody will ever find out and give a shit unless you become famous, in which case it will only help your career....more
The things I liked ultimately were overwhelmed by the things I didn't ("baby" x infinity, incessant manologuing, adventure plot absurdity, everycharacThe things I liked ultimately were overwhelmed by the things I didn't ("baby" x infinity, incessant manologuing, adventure plot absurdity, everycharacterineverybookitis, prolonged insulting dickheadedness on the hero's part [probably because, unlike the heroine, I don't melt when an insulting dickhead tacks "baby" onto the end of being an insulting dickhead]), "get on the pill immediately because I'm a spoiled brat who won't use condoms and I don't care if I give you an STD")....more
Hiring some dude to pretend to be a rapist so you can play the savior is UNACCEPTABLE and NOT AMUSING.
I choose to believe this asshole diQuit at 85%.
Hiring some dude to pretend to be a rapist so you can play the savior is UNACCEPTABLE and NOT AMUSING.
I choose to believe this asshole dies horribly in the remaining pages and Marianne goes on to have a marvelous life and never thinks of him again.
This is a really good example of something that will make me Never-Again an author. Sometimes a vast philosophical gulf opens between an author's "This is an okay action for a protagonist in a romance novel to undertake" and how I expect anyone with the capacity for reason and a shred of human decency to behave. Once I know an author cannot reliably provide reason and decency in the characters I'm supposed to be rooting for and the precedent has been set that I may end up wishing horrific death upon one or both of said author's protagonists, I'm not wasting any more of my time. ...more
Another case of "I will constantly obsess about this dilemma, but in a completely vague and abstract way so as to reveal NOTHING abouQuit on page 55.
Another case of "I will constantly obsess about this dilemma, but in a completely vague and abstract way so as to reveal NOTHING about it to the reader until probably five pages from the end of the book." If you want me to believe a character has an Insurmountable Problem, I'm going to need more information. Hide it from everybody else in the book. Have him lie to himself about it if you must. But the reader needs to know the truth to provide context for the character acting like a dumbass; without it, it appears simply a congenital affliction.
Also another case of emotional remove. He does something and then he observes her reaction and then he has some trite physical symptom in response, but there is no PROCESSING of goings on to make them personally relevant or resonant. For all the TELLING me he's full of silent angst and she's been secretly in love with him forever and this marriage is a dream come true for her, there's no sense these people are actually FEELING these feelings. Sex should be pretty emotionally fraught (especially if one person is supposedly desperate to get an heir out of it and the other person is supposedly desperately in love as well as doing it for the first time), but when Sex Happens in Chapter Four, I almost missed it because I was snoozing through the chitchat about fashion and soap until being jarred alert by my own laughter upon reading, "It was too much, this lust for him; she was certain to forget herself." Honey, if you call anything that happened in the past 38 pages "lust," UR DOIN IT RONG. I got more excited than that when I found fresh cranberries in the produce department yesterday, and I've had to wait only ten months to get my hands on them and they don't fondle me back. ...more
Henceforth, the phenomenon of giving the protagonist a goal to which there is no real obstacle, running out of conflict hQuit after Chapter 21 (63%).
Henceforth, the phenomenon of giving the protagonist a goal to which there is no real obstacle, running out of conflict halfway through the word count requirement because the goal has been achieved, and pulling random shit out of a hat to pad the remaining length rather than going back to the beginning and making the goal enough of a challenge to be story-worthy shall be known as "Crazy Brother Alphonse."
Likewise the phenomenon of creating a toothless antagonist and having him passively do damage through a third-party independent agent acting on his own initiative on behalf of said antagonist, who remains blissfully ignorant.
I already have names for allegedly heinous rakes who are always impeccably behaved, allegedly headstrong young ladies who yield to societal expectations whenever anyone is looking, and "You REALLY need to know this life-changing information... but now is not a good time, maybe later, next week, two weeks from Thursday, for your birthday. Just don't make any decisions in the meantime that would be affected by this life-changing information that everyone knows but, for no particular reason, refuses to share with you, or you'll regret it for the rest of your life." ...more
You know those people who are so earnestly, relentlessly PC and enlightened, and tell you all about it every chance they get, you just know they're fuYou know those people who are so earnestly, relentlessly PC and enlightened, and tell you all about it every chance they get, you just know they're full of shit? Well, meet your MCs.
When Kali thought "Hmm, that's an unusual amount of devotion for a man to have for his captain" and then "The only possible explanation is that they must be GAY," I was dismayed there wasn't a full page of "NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT" to follow because without that standard I-am-not-a-homophobe disclaimer, it almost seems like the kind of thinking you get from homophobes, who assign sexual significance to any emotion that passes between men, which CERTAINLY could not be the case here because WE ARE SO ENLIGHTENED, SEE?
When Fletcher was flying his feminist flag (say that ten times fast) by deriding the content of women's magazines, I wanted to say, "Maybe SOME women WANT that lifestyle, and who the hell are you to impose your vision of personhood upon them as if it's not the 'imposing upon them' that's the problem but that it's been the wrong vision until your almighty wisdom came along?"
As dialogue, it's as forced as bad acting. As a screed on equality, it's incomplete. Strewing the pages with soapboxes didn't improve the story in any way and took me out of it every time I bumped my shins into one and had to stop to critique the shoddy construction. And the stops were frequent.
There was also a crazy, petulant, Rumplestiltskin villain tacked on about 3/4 of the way through, who wasn't much of a threat to anything and was easily dispatched, but he did say out loud that Kali's skin was brown, so obviously he was villainous scum....more