Tag Archives: sometimes the book is just not that good

Love and Liability

love and liabilityLove and Liability
by Katie Oliver
Published by Harlequin UK
Genre: chick lit 
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
2 / 5

 

About five pages into this book, I started to think it sounded familiar. Then I realized that I’d read another of Katie Oliver’s books, Prada and Prejudicewhich I … um … did not quite enjoy.

I wish I could say that my opinion of this one was better, but, well. It isn’t.

The basic story is fine. Holly James, daughter of a well-to-do family, is a junior writer for a teen-geared magazine in London and has been assigned to interview Alex Barrington, an up and coming – and single! – solicitor. They meet, sparks fly, and a romance blooms.

Problems ensue from there.

For starters, Holly professes to LOVE her job at BritTEEN, yet she would rather write about the plight of teenage victims of homelessness. She wants to befriend a young homeless girl she passes every day, yet she is so out of touch with homelessness that she thinks bringing a rucksack full of snacks with her when she spends a few days shadowing the girl is a solid idea. She loves Alex, yet she thinks he is inconsiderate, possibly cheating on her, and more concerned with winning an election than keeping promises. She is attracted to a restaurant owner, yet she claims she doesn’t care about him, yet she really does.

One of the characters has a sister who is bipolar, and sometimes I felt like this book was, too.

It reads as if Katie Oliver started writing it, put it away for a few months, and came back to it having forgotten what she already wrote. Some scenes directly contradict others, and no one is consistent. For instance, an American photographer Holly knows through work falls for a brittle magazine editor. They have an argument, but she tells him she can overlook their differences. Two scenes later, the photographer tells Holly that the editor is furious with him and that their differences are insurmountable.

Alex and Holly say terrible things to each other. In fact, they don’t seem compatible at all. Yet they supposedly love each other? The one character Holly does seem to click with is someone she happily forgoes, even though he rescues her time and again when Alex is nowhere to be seen.

It is nonsensical, and I’m not sure who to blame. Katie Oliver? She writes her stories and submits them to a publisher. So her editor, maybe? Someone has to read this before it’s published, right? And someone else SURELY notices the vast number of contradictions in this book!

We won’t even get into how much of this is a basic retelling of Oliver’s first book. The two have so much in common that it’s easy to get them confused: heroines who are daughters of wealthy men and who routinely borrow from Dear Old Dad to make ends meet, raucously humorous mishaps a la Bridget Jones, cold and apparently unapproachable love interests, and a threatening force who poses great danger.

I don’t even know why I’m giving this two stars. I guess it’s because some of the characters are likable. Or maybe it’s because I know there is a good book in there somewhere, but the problem is that it doesn’t know how to find itself.

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Slow Seduction (Struck by Lightning)

slow seductionSlow Seduction (Struck by Lightning)
by Cecilia Tan
Published by Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
272 pages
Genre: erotica 
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
1 / 5

Join me, will you, in emitting a heavy sigh for yet another erotica trilogy.

Is there a law somewhere – a regulation – that all erotica must come in threes? Is it not possible for a writer to just tell a story and end it on the last page of ONE BOOK?

Apparently not.

Oh, what E. L.  James hath wrought. And, no, Cecilia Tan, that is not a compliment.

So here we have the second book of the threesome. I didn’t read the first one, and while having done so would have helped understand one of the major plot points, I have a feeling that said major plot point would still be a mystery.

Following the predictable course of erotica, we have Karina, in the last year of her graduate studies (yes, she’s another young one), getting over the broken heart left her by James (yes, he’s another older, richer one), who apparently did not like that Karina “broke through his walls” and “saw the real him” and “forced him to realize that he can love.”

Does this sound like other erotica we’ve read? Yes, it absolutely does.

So Karina heads to London to work at an art gallery, but more importantly to try and track down James. It turns out that, in addition to his BDSM lifestyle, James is also an international rock star. And apparently also an artist.

To find him, she accepts an invitation to The Crimson Glove, a BDSM playground. Damon George, another purveyor of spanky panky, wants to take Karina under his black leather belt, so to speak, and help her understand the Mind of the Dominant in hopes that she can get James back.

One thing leads to a spanking leads to another thing, and Karina’s plan works. Sort of. I mean, it can’t work too well, because a third book must be written.

We know nothing about James, and that’s what I wonder about the first book. Is he in it more? Do we know him? Or is he still a mystery? I suspect the latter, and I suspect I would end reading Book One much like I did Book Two: asking what in the world is so great about Karina.

Yet again, we have the dull heroine. Oh, she’s supposed to be high spirited, but she isn’t. She’s a sniveling, whiney, woe-is-me-I-miss-James-I-love-James-my-heart-cannot-go-on-without-James kind of character.

Now, Damon is a bit more interesting, but even then, we’ve read him before.  Nothing about him or Karina, or James, for that matter, stands out.

Which brings us to the sex scenes.

Again, nothing new here. They’re hot, but since Karina has a “no penetration allowed” clause, you might suffer from blue, er, ovaries for most of the book. I don’t think you will need to strap on your vibrator for this one.

Give it a pass and read Blindfolded Innocence instead, which at least has an interesting heroine AND super hot headboard rockin’.

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Filed under Christian Grey continues to cause problems, erotica, not as hot as it should have been, sometimes the book just isn't good