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Faking It

Faking It by Jennifer Crusie 

Faking It (Dempseys #2)Description: LOVE AND DECEPTION HAVE A LOT IN COMMON.
Meet the Goodnights, a respectable family who run a respectable art gallery-and have for generations. There’s Gwen, the matriarch who likes to escape reality, Eve the oldest daughter who has a slight identity problem (she has two), Nadine, the granddaughter who’s ready to follow in the family footsteps as soon as she can find a set that isn’t leading off a cliff. And lastly, Matilda, the youngest daughter, has inherited the secret locked down in the basement of the Goodnight Gallery, the secret she’s willing to do almost anything to keep, even break into a house in the dead of night to steal back her past.
THE RISKS ARE INTOXICATING.
Meet the Dempseys, or at least meet Davy, a reformed con man who’s just been ripped off for a cool three million by his financial manager, who then gallantly turned it over to Clea Lewis, the most beautiful sociopath Davy ever slept with. Davy wants the money back, but more than that he’ll do anything to keep Clea from winning, including break into her house in the dead of night to steal back his future.
AND IF YOU’RE REALLY GOOD AT THEM, THEY BOTH PAY OFF.
One collision in a closet later, Tilda and Davy reluctantly join forces to combat Clea, suspicious art collectors, a disgruntled heir, and an exasperated hitman, all the while coping with a mutant dachshund, a juke box stuck in the sixties, questionable sex, and the growing realization that they can’t turn their backs on the people they were meant to be…or the people they were born to love.

Review: In addition to the books I read, about one a day, I also tend to listen to audiobooks in my car. It fills the time and keeps a monotonous commute from becoming dull. I usually listen to romance novels, although I try to intersperse historical non-fiction books too, just to say I’m using my history degree I spent 4 years and two theses to earn. For romance novels, I seem to be on a Jennifer Crusie kick. I listened to Bet Me,The Cinderella Deal, and Charlie All Night in the last few months. I had just finished up an audiobook, historical non-fiction, and was wandering around my library, looking for a new one. The only Jennifer Crusie audiobook they had on the shelf was Faking It, so I thought, why not?

It took me a while to warm up to Davy and Tilda, the main characters. Part of that is because the problem with audiobooks is I only listen to the story in small parts so it doesn’t flow as well. The other issue is they are both morally ambiguous. Davy was a con man, trying to go straight. Tilda was less morally ambiguous. She was an art forger who was painting murals, which she hates, to support her family. The subplot includes a whole host of fascinating secondary characters from a gold-digger, a hitman, and Tilda’s slightly bipolar sister. While it took me a bit to get into the story, I found myself captivated and amused. I liked the partly romantic subplot of Davy’s best friend, Simon the art thief, and Tilda’s sister, Eve/ Louise. Tilda’s niece, Nadine, who had horrible taste in boyfriends and clearly should have been dating her best guy friend, was delightful.

It also took a while for me to like Tilda and Davy as a couple. They were great when they were making out in closets but their relationship needed a bit of a kick-start. One of my favorite things about their relationship was it featured bad sex! Not bad sex like a rapey bodice ripper, but actual, Tilda just wanted Davy to roll off of her and go to sleep sex. Basically, just lousy, realistic sex. That almost never happens in romance novels. There are usually orgasms galore, even for the heroine’s first time. It was more authentic that their relationship built from that crappy first time and that their sex life did continue to get better. In the end, I especially liked how they accepted each other, questionable pasts, crazy families, flaws and all.

All the discussion of thieves and art made me want to reread Suzanne Enoch’s  Samantha Jellicoe series. It was random but I also learned this week that there’s a museum in Vienna called Museum of Fake Art. I think I’ll listen to the first book in the series, Welcome to Temptation, next.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Filed under Audiobooks, Contemporary Romance, Reviews, Romance Novels

Charlie All Night

downloadCharlie All Night by Jennifer Crusie

Description: “Dumped by her boyfriend and demoted from WBBB’s prime-time spot, radio producer Allie McGuffey has nowhere to go but up. She plans to make her comeback by turning temporary DJ Charlie Tenniel into a household name. And if he’s willing to help cure her breakup blues with a rebound fling, that’s an added bonus.
Charlie just wants to kick back, play good tunes and eat Chinese food. He’s not interested in becoming famous. But he is interested in Allie. And after all, what harm is a little chemistry between friends?
But suddenly their one-night stand has become a four-week addiction. Night after night on the airwaves, his voice seduces her…and all the other women in town. He’s a hit. It looks as if Charlie’s solved all Allie’s problems…except one. What is she going to do when he leave?”

I just finished listening to Charlie All Night as an audio-book. I have about a 45 minute commute to and from work and audio-books are the best way to alleviate the monotonous boredom of my daily trek.

I’ve only recently discovered the joys and humor of Jennifer Crusie. I had read The Cinderella Deal a few years ago but didn’t continue to read her work. Then, two months ago, I found an audio-book of Bet Me at the library and the rest was history. My next foray into the worlds of Jennifer Crusie was Charlie All Night.  

I’ll start out by saying that Charlie All Night is no Bet Me. Crusie’s humor is present throughout the book but listening to this book after Bet Me, something just falls short. There were parts of this book that weren’t believable and just seemed to be thrown in to keep the plot moving. For example, Ally meets Charlie at a bar and picks him up to avoid an awkward conversation with her ex (and boss who just demoted her). Charlie, of course, turns out to be the new DJ who Ally will be working with. That part is fine although I do question Ally’s tendency to get involved with co-workers. Seriously, isn’t there something in the company’s handbook about employee relationships? What bothered me was that Ally and her roommate, Joe, invited Charlie to sleep on their couch after one dinner conversation. Sure, he’s a new co-worker and all but inviting someone to live on your couch for an entire month is a little ridiculous.

The other major plot fail was the reason behind Charlie’s arrival at the radio station. Essentially, his father’s college roommate (the radio station owner) hires him to investigate a threatening letter the station receives. Charlie, who apparently bounces from job to job without settling down, and who can clearly see his father’s manipulation, agrees to help out, despite never being on the radio before.  Without spoiling the ‘mystery’ he is supposed to solve, this plot point was a little thin and made the pace of the story seem forced.

Okay, now that I’ve ranted about the parts that bothered me, let me explain why I did like the book.

1. Watching the relationship between Charlie and Ally bloom. While I had problems with the plot, I did like watching Ally and Charlie slowly fall in love. They did fall into bed fast, and get stuck in a rut of sleeping together without building a relationship. However, once Ally realizes that and a celibacy bet occurs, they start to learn more about each other and the foundation for their relationship is formed.

2. A host of excellent supporting characters. From Ally’s obnoxious ex-boyfriend Mark, who tries, and fails, to copy Charlie as he becomes a successful DJ to Grady, the pot-smoking, Georgian chant playing late night DJ, to Joe, Ally’s roommate who only allows her to order food at restaurants that he hates to cook.

3. Adorable puppy. And the hero playing Billy Joel so the puppy will eat. Tugging at all of the heartstrings

4. Random political issues that Charlie stumbles into just by making observations about the town on the radio. And the assortment of calls from the townspeople.

All together, I’d have to rate this book at a solid 3. The romance is there and the minor characters are great. But the plot requires too much suspension of belief to truly make it a great story. The points that drive the plot seem forced and the characterization of the hero and heroine just fall too short. The story itself seemed too short and while I did support Ally and Charlie as a couple, I didn’t buy that she was reason enough for him to end his fear of permanency. Maybe if I hadn’t listened to this book right after Bet Me, my opinions would have been different. But this just wasn’t my favorite Jennifer Crusie book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Filed under Audiobooks, Contemporary Romance, Reviews, Romance Novels

Audio-Books vs Books

Hi all.

I’ve been listening to audio-books on and off, for about five years.I started in high school, while driving my sister and me to school. We listened to Meg Cabot’s Heather Wells Series and Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone Series on our 20 minutes treks, to and from school. It was a nice way to bond over books and pass the time. But I never really thought about audio-books or whether they were better than regular books. I would just buy the physical copy of a book and take the audio out from the library.

Through out college, during the semesters I commuted, I would listen to romance novels on audio-books. The most notable were books from Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Chicago Stars Series and Julia Quinn’s Just Like Heaven. During this time, I realized the impact of the narrator’s voice and diction on my enjoyment of the story. While I had really liked Just Like Heaven when I first read the book, the narrator’s voice was grating and piercing at times. As much as I liked the story, and to be honest, I’m a huge fan of Julia Quinn, I found myself wishing the audio-book would  end faster, just because I couldn’t stand the narrator’s voice.

Now that I’ve graduated college and moved on to my first adult job (scary, right? I’m still in denial. The real world is terrifying), I have a decent commute to work. I’m in the car for about 90 minutes each day. I’ve noticed that on average, audio-books are about 8 hours long. Unless you’re listening to War and Peace. I’m sure that’s easily 24 hours long. Never-mind, I just googled it. According to Amazon, an audio-book of War and Peace is 61 hours and 8 minutes long. Damn, that’s a long time. So far, most of the romance audio-books I’ve listened to are about 8 hours, which usually takes me about 5 days to finish. Look, see, I can do math. Nice to know my college degree and massive amounts of student loans are good for something.

Anyway, I find myself listening to audio-books pretty regularly. I started out listening to books I read already, albeit a long time ago. This is because I’m cheap (see aforementioned student loans) so I just take out audio-books from the library. (Resisting the urge to go on a tangent about how much I freaking love the library). I discovered audio-books are a nice way to revisit old characters and books that I knew I enjoyed but haven’t felt a burning desire to reread. The issue with audio-books is when I listen to new books. Then I find myself volunteering to drive places or forcing my passengers to listen to my audio-books with me. But really, how can they not appreciate having to listen to  Bet Me. It’s a gem! Seriously, who doesn’t laugh at Bet Me??

I have no self-control when it comes to romance novels and when I get caught up in a story, I binge-read. Binge-reading is hard to do for audio-books though. I’m partly afraid that one day I’m going to run out of gas because I sat in a parking lot listening to an audio-book….

My final verdict for audio-book vs books is I will always buy the physical book over the audio. While audio-books are great, especially for commutes, it’s probably better to not listen to new books on audio. Or at least new romance novels. I could probably listen to a new historical non-fiction book on audio and not want to waste my gas waiting to discover if Henry VIII executes Anne Boleyn or not. (Spoiler Alert: He does.)

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Filed under Audiobooks, Personal, Romance Novels