Here are mini-impressions on two of this month's reads:
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
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!
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