Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘humorous romance

Just Reviewed Two Christmas Romances at SBR

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Folks, it’s not every day that I get to review a Christmas-themed romance, much less two of them.  Yet that’s exactly what I just did over at Shiny Book Review (SBR), so go take a gander here.

To give you a bit more information about the two books, the first is ‘TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS by Sabrina Jeffries.  This is a romance set in Regency-era England between two flawed but engaging humans, Pierce, an Earl, and Mrs. Camilla Stuart, a respectable widow with a young son.  The set-up is interesting, the romance convinced, yet some of the ending (which I can’t really talk about much or I’ll spoil your reading pleasure) didn’t quite scan to me.

Even so, it was a diverting read and I’ll gladly read more of Ms. Jeffries in the future.

The second book is WHAT HAPPENS AT CHRISTMAS by Victoria Alexander.  This is a romance set in Victorian-era England between Camille, Lady Lydingham, and the “man who got away,” Grayson Elliot.  Both are now older, wiser, and available, yet there’s a great many hoops to jump over, not the least of which is Camille’s impending engagement between herself and Prince Nikolai of the Principality of Greater Avalonia.

Ms. Alexander’s book is one that’s difficult for any reviewer to do justice because it’s a flat-out farce.  Yet I did my best because I really enjoyed this book, mostly because it’s extremely funny.

At any rate, please go read my review, then go take a gander at the books.

Happy holidays to all!

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 23, 2012 at 12:13 am

Just Reviewed Susan Donovan’s romance “Not that Kind of Girl” at SBR

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Folks, here’s the link to my new review:

http://shinybookreview.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/susan-donovans-not-that-kind-of-girl-when-opposites-attract/

As always, I had more thoughts than I could cram into any one review — some being irrelevant from a reviewing standpoint — so I’m going to elaborate on them here.

I really liked Susan Donovan’s writing style; it’s perky, blunt, and gets the job done without interfering with the narrative, which is a lot harder to do than it sounds.  I also liked her take on the whole soulmate concept, with a matchmaker with a gift (that may be Divinely inspired) to bring two people together who normally wouldn’t give each other a second glance; this being the third in a series and me not having read the other two didn’t stop me from understanding what was going on at all.

All that being said, the way the two at the heart of this story, Roxie and Eli, make love just made me feel sad.  Or want to throw things.  (Or maybe both.)  Because here you have two people who fall in love quickly and are right for one another, but the guy has to always prove he’s dominant at all times, never letting his guard down at all, never being playful, never enjoying the moment for what it is.  And that does not ring true to me.  Not at all.

Look.  I’ve made no secret of it that I found my soulmate in my late husband Michael.  The two of us, on the surface, would’ve been much like Roxie and Eli in that Roxie’s passions are all on the surface (me) and Eli’s calm, cool, collected and seems to hold all of himself in reserve unless it’s needed (Michael).  Granted, this is at best a rough approximation — I’m leaving out Michael’s delightfully rude sense of humor here, or the fact that I’ve taught a lot of young kids music lessons so if I hadn’t learned a bit of patience now and again I’d have done them no good whatsoever — but I can see enough parallels here to want to discuss why the way these two in NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL don’t behave right in bed.

Simply put, I don’t think a guy who’s always that calm and controlled externally is going to be that way in bed.  So I don’t see why someone would insist on behaving the “alpha male” at all times — there’s no need for that between two lovers who wear no masks and understand each other intimately in all senses — nor do I see how a love affair can proceed without some humor in the bedroom, especially as there’s plenty of humorous moments going on outside of it to make me believe the couple at hand does understand when something is funny.  (And trust me; down deep, where it matters, the way we make love as human beings has to be about the most inefficient process there is.  We may as well make fun of it, and ourselves, as we abandon ourselves to it.  Otherwise, why bother with it at all?)

So Ms. Donovan did her job — the couple is realistic enough that I wanted to scream at Eli to knock it the Hell off, thank you — but the way that all happened just did not sit well.  I realize some people have relationships like this — psychosexual behavior being what it is, some people must need that, right? — but Eli the dog whisperer had none of the other markers for this personality type.  And Roxie — well, I can see why she’d want to get “permission” to be abandoned in bed (this is fairly common), but why would she put up with a guy who’s so damned humorless in the bedroom when she obviously has enough smarts to make a living at her man-hating Web site “I-Vomit-On-All-Men?”

So there you have it; a pleasant, funny beach read that has this one sour note in it.  As a musician, I guess I can’t help it that this one sour note keeps drowning out the rest of the harmony and the melody, and as a writer/editor, I wonder why it is that someone didn’t ask Ms. Donovan to please put something in there that showed that to Eli, this was all a game, not to be taken seriously, rather than the dead serious “I am Mr. Macho Man at all times” Caveman nonsense.

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 31, 2011 at 1:42 am