Sunday, January 16, 2011

Minis: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie & The Homecoming by JoAnn Ross

January has been quite busy for me and I haven't been around much. I miss blogging and blog hopping! However, I have been reading a book here and there. Right now, I'm reading three books at a time, one anthology that I'm reading slowly, Songs of Love and Death: Original Tales of Star-Crossed Love, and El Hombre Que Amaba Los Perros by Leonardo Padura. And, in between the short stories, and single chapters of the Spanish language historical fiction book, I'm also reading my romance.

Here are mini-impressions on two of this month's reads:

Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Minerva Dobbs knows all about risk management, which is why it's such a shock when David, her extremely logical choice for a boyfriend, dumps her three weeks before her perfect sister's wedding: David was not supposed to be a wild card. So when Min overhears David make a bet with his old nemesis--the gorgeous and successful Calvin Morrisey--that Cal can't get Min into bed in a month, she decides that fate has just handed her a stacked deck: she can make Cal sweat his sex appeal and get a date to the wedding, if she plays along and doesn't fold. What follows is a novel of destiny, chaos theory, Kripy Kreme donuts, the spirit of Elvis, Chicken Marsala, and a gamble for the highest stake of all: true love.
Oh goodness, I loved Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie! This was a fun and, at times, overwhelmingly crazed romance with multiple secondary characters playing key roles. I enjoyed every single minute of it. Both Min and Cal were worthy main characters in this crazed farce. She with her personal, self-esteem, weight problems, and he, with his own subtle ones. They were perfect for each other. Coming to that realization was the fun part.

Crusie again writes a fun contemporary romance in Bet Me. This was an involved romance with multiple secondary characters who are predisposed to judge those who are, or appear to be, different. She touches on dyslexia and a few other subjects, however, this time Crusie focuses mainly on a contemporary issue that affects many modern women -- weight, self-esteem and romance. How women view themselves, how they are affected by society at large and by those who claim to love them.  She achieves this by creating fun, ridiculous situations and does it with a masterful touch. I couldn't look away from the pages until the end. In Bet Me, the balance of characters, story, atmosphere and romance worked for me. Grade: A

The Homecoming: A Shelter Bay Novel by JoAnn Ross
This book was a gift from Nath, thank you!
Former Navy SEAL Sax Douchett returns to his home town and is hailed as a local hero. But starting over is difficult when he unearths a long- buried secret that reunites him with a past he's never forgotten. She's Sheriff Kara Conway, a girl who's always held a special place in his heart. But as he cautiously reconnects with Kara and bonds with her young son, another long-held secret in Shelter Bar threatens their second chance at a life together...

The Homecoming by JoAnn Ross is a contemporary romance set in a small Oregon coastal town. This is really more of a small town, family type of romance with a bit of suspense, than a full blown romance. There's sexual tension and some sexual content, as well as that bit of that suspense I mentioned. The romance is warm and the suspense light. The fact that the story doesn't really focus on one or the other, or that it's not outstanding one way or the other, makes this an average read for me.

I liked it, though. It's lulling and warm and flows with nice, interesting secondary characters and atmosphere. Sax and Kara's relationship progresses at a good pace, and there is chemistry between them. There's a great relationship between Sax and Kara's son, Trey, and key to the family oriented atmosphere. There's also a secondary romance involving the Deputy and Kara's widowed mother that progresses rather rapidly, but that in the end helps to resolve personal issues between mother and daughter. A side story involving Sax's experiences in the war and ghosts didn't seem to really serve a purpose in the story. Or better yet, the purpose it served could have been achieved without using those ghosts. Nonetheless, The Homecoming was a quick, pleasant read and I'll look for other books by JoAnn Ross.  Grade: C


  1. I have been meaning to read Bet Me, I usually love Crusie's books, I'm going to try and get.

    I hadn't heard of the other author, but it sounds nice enough. :D

    Thanks for the minis, I like them :D

  2. EVERYONE loves Bet Me! I truly think I and AnimeGirl are the only two people who haven't read it. LOL.

    Mariana generously gave me her entire collection of Crusie books and it didn't include Bet Me! I was on hold at my library for it for so long... they finally informed me it is missing and no plans to replace it. What the heck?! So I think I am going to make a point of buying it. In paper form no less. So I can lend it to all my friends--even those who don't read romance. I'll challenge them all!!! *ahem*

  3. AnimeGirl, I would definitely recommend Bet Me, especially if you enjoy Crusie's books! The Homecoming on the other hand, is not one that I recommend highly, although it is a nice enough read. I have heard good things about JoAnn Ross and some of her other books. So I'm going to try another book from her backlist to see how I like it. :)

    Christine, so you were the lucky recipient of Mariana's Crusie books! Good for you! Ohhh, read it... it's such fun and I do think you'll enjoy the focus of the story on top of the romance and the fun. A Bet Me Reading Challenge sounds good to me. LOL!

  4. I definitively need to re-read Bet Me. I don't know, I wasn't wowed by this one as everyone... I wonder if it's because it was I think of my Crusie glom, hmmmm. Or it's just my particular tastes LOL.

    Is this your first JoAnn Ross? She alternates with strong RS and light RS I find. Although her earlier books were more contemporary... so this is right up her alley :)

  5. I also haven't read Bet Me...I've read Fast Women, Faking It and another one I don't remember right now, but you got me curious... ;)
    I'll look for it when my TBR list is a bit smaller lol

  6. Nath, re: Bet Me, I don't know... that overall first impression usually stays with us after we read a book. Although it can sometimes improve with a re-read. I remember I loved Welcome to Temptation and you weren't crazy about that one. :)

    This is my first JoAnn Ross. I looked her up when I saw this book out and really want to try out her strong RS, but thought I'd read this first. But, I'll definitely try other books from her back list.

    Sonia, Bet Me seems to be a popular Crusie book, and well-liked one. I loved it. I still have to read those books that you mentioned since I'm just beginning to explore this author. Hope you enjoy it when you get to it. :)

  7. Actually Hils, I loved Welcome to Temptation :) That's one of my favorites :) It's Bet Me that I've always feel so-so about. But then again, I love the obscure ones like Strange Bedpersons :P

    I think I read Bet Me when it came out, so that's been a couple of years. I think it'd be nice to re-read it... but you're right though about first impressions being strong, because that's the reason I haven't re-read this book yet ^_^;

    at the same time, you know what's disappointing? That before this year, Bet Me was the last solo book by Ms Crusie. Now that it isn't... maybe it's a good time to read :)

  8. Ohh then it's definitely time for a re-read, Nath. Give it a shot and see if maybe you were "burned out" on her work at the time. That happens to me sometimes with authors. And that IS sad! I'm so glad she's writing solo again. :D Just in time so I can enjoy her new books, lol!

  9. Count me in as one of those who enjoyed Bet Me. :)

    Also Welcome to Temptation & Anyone But You are fun, classic Crusie reads.

  10. I think I should organize a Bet Me Read Along one weekend....

  11. Leslie, I still have to read Anyone But You.. on my pile!

    Christine, not a bad idea! :D

  12. That's an excellent idea Christine! Did you ever read it?

  13. No, I've never read Bet Me before! I'm thinking maybe for the week of Valentine's Day doing a read along. That'll give me time to get the word out.

    Hils, Anyone But You is great! I really liked it! The heroine is 40! :D It was very well done.


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