Monday, October 3, 2011

100 Book Challenge Week 1

This week I’ve read some romance novels - the so-called “chicklit” offerings that have been around since the 1800s, and immortalized in my memory by Mills and Boon, Barbara Cartland and, more recently, Harlequin Novels.

Chicklits all seem to follow the same formula: girl meets boy in the first five pages, she melts into his arms and they live happily ever after in the last five pages, and the middle is filled with a merry-go-round of misunderstandings, hurt feelings, temper tantrums and fits of angst that could mostly have been avoided with some simple communication skills.*

Why these are considered the bottom of the barrel escapes me. They’re obviously popular, having been in print for over 200 years, and usually less mindless than the gunk that clogs the TV screen nowadays, but everyone is embarrassed to admit they read them.

Well, I’ve been reading them since I was a starry-eyed whippersnapper, and still read them today. They’re usually light, frothy, no-work reads that are excellent for down time.

*For fun, I shall refer to the formula in future as: g-b; g*b; g+b, or just g+b. :)

Book Review #1: Bewitching
Author: Jill Barnett
Genre: Historical Romance
(Currently only available in Kindle edition.)

Yes, it follows the ancient formula, but with an extremely interesting twist. The heroine is a witch, and the misunderstandings revolve largely around how her human beloved gets to cope with his magical missus. I also enjoyed the new trend of exploring the background, feelings and thoughts of the hero; it adds an interesting depth to the story.

The story tells how the Duke of Belmore discovers a woman on his lap shortly after being dumped by his fiancée. The woman in question, Joy, was attempting a translocation spell and, as often happens to her, got it wrong. She materializes on the startled Duke in the middle of a deserted road. Her first problem is to fabricate an explanation of what she is doing there, her next is how to convince the Duke of her otherworldly powers after he marries her in a snub to the aforementioned ex-fiancée.

There are some brilliant scenes in this book, and I laughed out loud several times. I particularly enjoyed the Carribean cook, the marvelously mischievous weasel, and the consequences every time Joy sneezed.

A standard plot with an extraordinary wit, this was a thoroughly good adventure and I’d love to read some more of Ms. Barnett’s work.

Book Review #2: Lord of Scoundrels
Author: Loretta Chase
Genre: Historical Romance

Another historical romance, but in this one the leading lady is an accomplished, confident, intelligent woman who goes to rescue her idiot brother from the so-called Lord of Scoundrels, It is rumored that he is the devil incarnate, and he certainly considers himself such. So it is with great surprise that he finds himself put firmly in his place by Jessica, who immediately recognized both his arrogance and his weaknesses. That did not spare her from the powerful attraction she felt for him from the moment she laid eyes upon him, nor him from the same emotion. Sparks fly in this novel, both in words and deeds, and it’s quite a ride.

The unusual experience of a totally altogether woman was refreshing, and the repartee between the two protagonists was such fun; you could almost feel the frustration reverberating from the pages as they locked horns.

Oh, and Jessica’s grandmother had me in hoots! I want to be like her when I get older. Wonderful, wise old woman. 

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