Snarkling Clean

Snarkling Clean- because you don't have to cuss to make fun of stuff. Two dedicated readers discuss romance novels- from what made us weep with joy to what made us want to poke pencils through our eyeballs.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Little Foxes Spoil My Vine

Sorry it's been so long in between posts, gang, but Valentine's Day is the Christmas of Hallmark. I've been pulling a lot of hours which will only get longer until Feb. 15, but I will try to update. Aside: did anyone see that Fabio ad in the Superbowl? Hilarious.

So I read Jayne Ann Krentz' Falling Awake.

I love JAK. I know a lot of people like to snark on her; so do I, but I can't deny it. I fall in love with every one of her heroes. They tend to be alphas that are brainy, charismatic but not male models. And her heroines are smart, self-sufficient, and usually have small fronts and big backs, if you catch my drift. Attractive, but not gorgeous. I do like that dose of reality.

JAK does corporate stuff pretty well, and I like her suspense. I don't happen to mind that she concentrates on the romance and the intrigue doesn't get going until well into the book. Unlike the conventional suspense wisdom, I don't need to trip over a body on the first page.

So after being a dedicated fan for *coughtwentycough* years, I've noticed that she seems a little...I don't know. Tired might be the best term. All her regular devices and characters and plot points are there, but the spark is missing. (I know people accuse her of writing the same book every time, but guess what? So does almost every other author. You heard it here first.)

In Falling Awake, Jayne introduces us to the concept of level five lucid dreaming. It's a state where certain gifted people can direct their dreams, tapping into the observations we've stored in our minds during waking hours but to which we've paid no attention.

I don't really have time to review the whole book here, but suffice it to say it's definitely a good library read. I would have been disappointed if I'd paid $24.95, though.

Good plot, plausible paranormal element, (though if you want paranormal Gift of Gold is much better) fairly good twist at the end. I like the hero, the heroine, and supporting cast. But sometimes little things authors do bug me. I get distracted by them, and it interferes with my enjoyment of the book.

Authors, even single title successful ones, must have to pad their word counts. How do I know? Because no one really speaks like romance heroines. Generic example- in the middle of an action scene, what woman utters, "Oh my goodness. I really hadn't considered the ramifications of what we did by breaking into the Abraham Lincoln Memorial."

In this book, the heroine works for The Belvedere Center for Sleep Research. It is called that, every word of it, every single time it is referenced. Never the sleep research center, never the center, never even the Belvedere. It is always The Belvedere Center for Sleep Research. I can say it in my sleep after reading it 20,000 times. It became a PnL (point and laugh) moment for me- I could almost hear the sitcom version. Every time the actors get ready to say it, the studio audience joins in and- cue laughter. Right now I had to really think to remember the heroine's name, but had no trouble at all recalling The Belvedere Center for Sleep Research.

Another thing. JAK's books have always made the attempt to be mature. The heroines are almost always business owners with previous love lives, even if they've never had one with the cosmos like they do with the hero. They are vegetarian, herbal tea snobs, (JAK has a bit of an agenda, methinks) and wine fanatics. They live in America, but drink wine with dinner every single night. I'm okay with that, just don't know any American who does it. Drink some water once in awhile, okay, Jayne? I digress.

One scene in particular blew the chances of this one being a keeper. The day after our heroine has had spectacular tea and crumpets with the hero, she's having lunch when her ex stops by. As they talk, she shows a somewhat unnatural interest in the pickle that came with her sandwich. For two pages, we get to read about her delight in wrapping her mouth around the large, long, firm, broad tipped pickle. I GET IT, JAYNE. I'm 41 years old, not fourteen. Her ex is staring in horrified fascination, as is the hero. After the ex leaves, the hero remarks on her enjoyment of her lunch. She's surprised.

"Oh, I guess it does sort of resemble-"

"Yes, it does."

I needed that explanation, thank you. I was waiting for another pickle description in a romantic scene which thankfully never came, but come on. Is JAK trying to win a teenybopper audience or what? Not that I'm a bastion of maturity myself; thanks to Jayne I have found that I could not be anywhere near a pickle for a week without laughing.

What about you? Are there any author tics that ruin an otherwise good read?


Blogger Bernita said...

I love this blog.

8:18 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Now see, that would be a moment of good comedy. The heroine could be acting innocent and absolutely killing the poor, helpless pickle while the hero comments on it.

Okay, but back to your question...there have been some love scene moments that made me laugh out loud because they were so improbable. I won't post it here, but she made the hero sound like a cow. Ugh.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Camy Tang said...

I have more pet peeve author tics than I have brain farts. (ooh, there's one now)

I just read a book where the hero and heroine have been in a terrible mudslide. So what do they do? Tea and crumpets of course. Without baths first.

Or a certain author whose characters always speak in fragmented sentences. Get. On. With. The. Story.

And then there are the authors who feel the need to dump the character's last ten years in the first ten pages.

There are also a few authors who adore the nifty time-jumps from present day to two years ago, or ten years ago, or fourteen hours ago. And then back to present day. And then back to twenty hours ago. And then back to present day. I'm not at a tennis match, people.


12:45 AM  
Blogger quirkychild said...

Oh ick. I'm never eating a pickle again.

But yeah, sometimes an author can get on my nerves, can't think of particular examples at the moment...well, I do have a thing about Christian Romance covers.

They ALL LOOK THE SAME! Every single one of them. The same misty, pastel color palette no matter if it's set in the present, the Gold Rush in California, or Regency England. There's nothing wrong with it, but after 500 of them, it gets a little tired!


Okay, I'm better now...

1:54 PM  
Blogger Missie said...

the time jumps irritate me too. Give me some background info, but I don't need to Quantum Leap everywhere, thank you very much.

What really hacks me off is when the couple realizes they are meant for each other forever and ever amen DURING TEA AND CRUMPETS! I am sorry, is that the ONLY way you people can figure it out? What about all those millions and millions of marriages down through the ages where the couple didn't partake of an afternoon delight before the vows, but still managed to have a great life together? Was that all flukes? "I think I may love him...oh, wait, now I really know. Oooh, baby." Yick. I realize I am not making any sense, but a constipated baby who hasn't slept in dang near 3 days will suck the witty repartee right outta ya, just FYI.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

If that pickle scene had happened in real life, I'd probably be very uncomfortable around that person. I'd keep thinking "SoandSo can't be near the pickles, because..." I agree, I'd also start laughing as well.

On topic - "The Yellow Wallpaper" hits you over the head with the symbolism. I mean, the bed is NAILED DOWN!

10:25 AM  

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