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What I’m Reading: Crusie Time

13 Sep 2010

I’m reading romance again! And loving it! It took Jennifer Crusie to pull off this feat. Maybe This Time had me thinking, Oh, finally! after the first three sentences:

Andie Miller sat in the reception room of her ex-husband’s law office, holding on to ten years of uncashed alimony checks and a lot of unresolved rage. This is why I never came back here, she thought. Nothing wrong with repressed anger as long as it stays repressed.

I smiled more while reading the first three pages of Maybe This Time than the entire 300+ pages of the last romance I finished. A second-chance romance, a slightly bitter heroine with a sharp wit, a manipulative journalist who’s mostly teeth and hair, a medium who isn’t Patricia Arquette, a ghost whisperer with more personality than Jennifer Love Hewitt, and, of course, ghosts, one of whom I wouldn’t mind having around. (True, I no longer read paranormals, but Crusie can write a sequel to War and Peace and I would probably read it.) And the best thing about Maybe This Time, other than its flaming red cover? It’s 100% Crusie. No collaborators! It’s about damn time.

While I enjoyed Crusie’s books with Bob Mayer, the other collaborations weren’t my cup of tea. I love Crusie, I love Anne Stuart, (I’m not familiar with the other authors) but both The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes and Dogs and Goddesses did not have their feel. Their voices rang hollow like ghost writers were trying to mimic them. Seriously. For instance: Stuart wacky? Uh, no. I like my Stuart dark and brooding and seething with an overabundance of emo. Wacky didn’t and doesn’t work for Stuart. Wacky should’ve worked for Crusie…but it didn’t in those two books. It just didn’t. It felt like she changed her writing–and not for the better–to meld with the other writers in an attempt to make the book seamless. Obviously, it failed for me. I prefer my Crusie unadulterated.

(Okay, detour into memory lane over.)

I also started Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. (I know, I know: Why the hell did I take so long to read this book?!?) After the slew of murders and other atrocities in Tess Gerritsen’s (excellent) Rizzoli & Isles series, I needed a laugh. And laugh I did. Many, many times. How can I not laugh while reading a book about an angel and a demon who try to avert the end of the world because they like living in the human world? That’s comedy gold, starting with the very first scene:

“I said, that one went down like a lead balloon,” said the serpent.

“Oh. Yes,” said the angel, whose name was Aziraphale.

“I think it was a bit of an overreaction, to be honest,” said the serpent. “I mean, first offense and everything. I can’t see what’s so bad about knowing the difference between good and evil, anyway.”

“It must be bad,” reasoned Aziraphale, in the slightly concerned tones of one who can’t see it either, and is worrying about it, “otherwise you wouldn’t have been involved.”

“They just said, Get up there and make some trouble,” said the serpent, whose name was Crawly, although he was thinking of changing it now. Crawly, he decided, was not him.

And it gets even better after the prologue. Honest to God.

Finally, Barry Eisler didn’t make my auto-buy list. (Yeah, I’m sure he’s broken up about it, too.) I tried two John Rain books and couldn’t handle all the JR Ward-esque brand-name-dropping and all the Dr. Phil-esque psychoanalysis. I admit it. I don’t like characters with more depth than me. I’ll continue with the Ben Treven series–via the library–because brand names have been kept to a minimum thus far.

After Maybe This Time and Good Omens, I think I’ll go through my Neil Gaiman TBR. Any maybe a couple of stand-alone titles by new-to-me-author Terry Pratchett. I desperately need reading material to offset the economics and accounting texts required for my MBA courses.

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