I finished January with the real romance The Vow. I shifted right into novelized romance for almost the entire month of February. Bad idea? Perhaps. But ya know, a little too late to make a change.
The first book I labored over was Juliette by Anne Fortier. No, no. Don't write that title down. Don't make a note. Just listen. I want to save you time and energy.
I found the book, you remember, one Saturday while I was at the library with my dad. It looked interesting and after Beauty (by Robin McKinley) I am afraid I am a sucker for any "re-told" classics. I'm also a sucker for Shakespeare fiction. What can I say? It must be the English Major in me!
The story is about Romeo and Juliet, but with the twist that it actually happened in Siena, Italy. Over the years the story got distorted, retold and eventually, good ol' Billy Shakespeare picked it up.
The beginning was slow, but sometimes books are like that. I kept expecting it to pick up and get good. I remember thinking, "Well, I'll give it the ol' Nancy Pearl 50 page try," only to find out that the next time I took a whack at it, I WAS on page 50. And still nothing. But something in me really kept thinking, "Maybe it gets better. The whole book can't be THIS bad."
Well, let me help you. It can be.
It wasn't until I finished it and picked up other books that I realized what was missing: good dialogue. Instead of moving the book along by informative dialogue coupled with some necessary descriptive passages, I found thoroughly wordy paragraphs describing conversations and events with a smattering of actual rote and cliched conversations thrown in. (Not to mention the two dimensional characters she created that, frankly, I had no interest in.)
I was very disappointed but I didn't even have enough in me to summon a "meh" about the whole book. I would say skip it.
I think this is also when I picked up a few Sarah Addison Allen books. She is such a beautiful guilty pleasure of mine that I'm not even sorry to admit it. I read Sugar Queen and The Peach Keeper. Everything she writes is so infused with magic that, even though you know there is no magic in food to attract men, family or love in general, for the duration of the book you actually entertain the possibility that baking that pie you've been thinking about might change your life. Even if it doesn't, you'll have a yummy treat to eat while you read her books. It's a win-win no matter how you spin it.
And then, my friend Rachel told me about The Mortal Instrument Series by Cassandra Clare. And then, she let me borrow them on my Kindle. Needless to say, I tore through those four books in a matter of weeks. I think two, max. Maybe two and a half. There was a little sprinkling of Harry Potter (and making fun of Harry Potter) in there, and a little something else that smells highly of magic. I will see what I can do about getting her to do a review, since they were her find.