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Archive for the ‘D’ Category

It’s a bird, it’s a plane…….

Posted by Wanderer on July 12, 2009

Highland Fling by Katie Fforde: So we start out with meeting Jenny Porter, who recently started a new career as a virtual assistant, and her boyfriend Henry. A virtual assistant (as we are told over and over) is someone who does various tasks for clients that hire her over the internet. Her current assignment is to travel to Scotland to assess an old family-run mill recently purchased by her current client, M.R Grant-Dempsey. With Henry’s disapproval of her new job we, the readers, are already made aware that Henry = ass therefore, Jenny should go to Scotland and hopefully find Mr. Not-An-Ass.

Jenny Porter, a ‘virtual assistant’, spends her life sorting out other people’s problems. But when one of her clients asks her to go to Scotland to do a little hands-on investigation into a woolen mill he has a financial interest in, it doesn’t turn out to be the working holiday she hoped for. For not only does her role at Dalmain House include rather a lot of unexpected tasks – of which the cooking is the least taxing – but she also finds herself charmed into helping run ‘The Homely Haggis’, a mobile burger bar.

But it’s when her abrasive customer, Ross Grant, turns out to be someone she can genuinely talk to, that she really gets confused. And when Jenny finds herself torn between loyalty to her client and letting down the people of Drumossie, her problem-solving skills are stretched to the limit. It’s a pity they don’t seem able to stretch to sorting out her own, increasingly complicated personal life.

On the way to the mill Jenny meets a lady working a booth selling food and drinks who happens to be an in-law of the family who runs the mill (her husband is second son, Ian). She is also extremely pregnant and in need of a trip to the bathroom so asks Jenny to hold down the fort while she steps out. It is then that a customer, a Mr. Ross Grant, approaches and he and Jenny take an instant disliking for one another. That meeting alone was the beginning of the annoyance factor for me because the argument they had was ridiculous. It was just the beginning of a series of similar meetings that raised my own level of annoyance with each encounter. At one point they even started cursing at each other. That actually caught me off guard until I listened further and realized yes, I agreed with Ross when he told Jenny to, “Shut the fuck up”. Bad sign, right?

Another issue I had with the book was how Jenny became the savior of all and solver of everything. Want to save the mill? Jenny’s your gal. Have agoraphobia? Jenny can cure you. Planning a big dinner at the last minute? It’s Super Jenny to the rescue! Seriously, no one can do that…….well, maybe Martha Stewart. I didn’t care for any of the secondary characters (except maybe a little for Ian and his wife) and I definitely didn’t believe in the romance build-up between Jenny and Ross. Also, the mysterious client’s identity wasn’t such a mystery. I realized who he was from the start and I didn’t even have to use my Matlock deductive skills (yes, my mom was a big fan of that show as well as Perry Mason, Murder She Wrote etc…which gave me my mad skills at Clue).

The main reason I pushed through this was that it was an audio book and the narrator, Julie Franklin, did a decent job differentiating the characters. Ultimately, I used the book as background noise while at work. I still got the gist of the story but I never felt a need to give it my complete attention.

This was my first book by Katie Fforde and I’m afraid it didn’t leave a very good impression.

Final Grade:

Barely readable. Only discipline and willpower kept me from shaving my head and running naked for the hills. Great litmus test for my bad ass reader super powers.

Around the Net:

The Romance Reader : 2 stars

Posted in Audio Books, Clipper Audio, Contemporary Couplings, D, Reviews, Wanderer | 2 Comments »

Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding

Posted by Mistress on August 11, 2008

This book surprised me. Usually for me reading Brit chick lit results in eye clawing and mental shrieking. What can I say the phrases used and the regurgitated spunky yet clueless inner monologues irk the depths of my soul. I didn’t have those issues with Olivia Joules and the overactive imagination. So pigs must be flying in hell That doesn’t mean I like this book though. Olivia annoyed the shit outta me. She is another in the long line of too stupid to live heroines who taint my reading life. We discerning booksluts ought to rise up and cull them from the literary herd braveheart style.
In a commercial break from my murderous rant lets get back to the review at hand. Olivia J-O-U-L-E- S (like the unit of energy not the shiny baubles will be from here on out referred to as OJ the orange of juice not the former football playing murder suspect.) is a failing journalist seemingly plagued by attention deficit disorder and paranoid schizophrenia.
Her situation translated: Poor me, my career is stagnant because I keep handing in articles about the stupid shit I make up instead of my assignment
My response to her situation translated: Cry me a river bitch
Anyways things kick off when she’s subtly demoted from news to the style section of whatever newspaper she works for and is sent to some skin cream launch in Miami. Enter mysterious French Arabic dude who wants to make sweet jihad all over her zexy body. He supposedly makes slug skin cream and movies. She instantly decides he’s Osama bin Laden ( <-her words not mine) but then decides he’s just an al-Qaeda operative so she’s game for tongue wrestling. Stuff is blown up and * shock & awe* our jet setting sheik has dropped it like its hot flying the coop. So now OJ and 4 out of 5 doctors agree slug cream dude is a terrorist . So it makes perfect sense that she follows him to LA then accepts an invitation to his resort in (tropical place). C’mon look at that face of course she can trust him. So what if she doesn’t know him from adam and if he continues to lie about being a director? At least he’s stopped lying about being french. Now Ladies, that’s nothing to shake a stick at. All the while during OJ’s travel awkward and clumsy hijinks ensue. I guess they are supposed to funny but they just cement how much I loathe her. Pop quiz time kiddies: You just accepted a strange man and possible terrorist’s invitation to go diving at his private tropical resort. En route after some travel issues you find 5 kilos of cocaine in your carry on luggage ( btw why is coke always mentioned in 5 kilo bundles in film and novels? Why not 3? Or 8?). what do you do? Well if your OJ you flush it down the the porta-potty toilet and continue on with you to your death wish destination. Ha ha ha ha…. What a bunch of giggles. This is my stop, time to get of this ride. After 3 failed attempts to finish the remaining 1/2 of this bunk; it’s time to throw in the towel. I can’t bring myself to read anymore . Someones obviously gonna it eaten by sharks at some point coming…if only it could be her. If any of you fine folks out there in the e-world possess the perseverance to complete this book; please drop a comment with your take on it. Did it make you laugh? Cry? Tremble with rage and annoyance? Edit: found anothers blogger’s review for this & died laughing. Check it out it’s brilliant

Posted in Contemporary Couplings, D, Mistress, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

Noble Destiny by Katie MacAlister

Posted by Mistress on August 7, 2008

Straight from the bat I am telling you that this book isn’t for me. I found the heroine grating on my nerves – not tstl annoying, just plain old annoying – and the humor, at it’s best, tiresome. To be fair, google for other reviews and will find many glowing things said about this book. It worked for them and I’m cool with that. It, however, didn’t click with me and I can tell you now that I wouldn’t recommend it to friends. What, you may ask, is it about Noble Destiny that turns me off so? Here’s a little background..

Widowed Charlotte Collins is a social pariah because she’s…erm…brain dead (there is literally no other way to put it). Some years back, out of sheer boredom, she runs off and marries an inappropriate dude in an inappropriate way. Now, he’s dead and there’s hell to pay. Obsessed with regaining her previous social standing (she was once the season’s incomparable) she decides that the only way to gain back footing is by marrying well and marrying fast. She sets her sights on an earl, Alasdair “Dare” McGregor, and successfully entraps the poor sucker into matrimony. Except she doesn’t want to marry him anymore cos dude refuses to spend his fortune marrying her at bloody Westminister Abbey (well, among other things). Anyway, whatever, long story short, they marry. In the first sentence I see what kind of a character Charlotte is, I figured; MacAlister was pulling a Cullman – slaughter the lead and then redeem, and I’m all for that, a good trouncing is always fun, so I mustered as much patience as I could and trodded forward. I kept waiting and waiting for blessed redemption but, thank god, I didn’t hold my breath.

Princess Charming acts like a whiny ass bimbo throughout the book. It’s all about me, me, me, me, me. She truly is an incomparable, for there is no other heroine more vain, shallow, and selfish. She doesn’t give a rats ass if what she wants is unreasonable. Her wanting it (whatever it is) is reason enough and it should be done now. Husband dear is nothing but a sap who scrambles around like a puppy trying to grant this brain dead brat her every whim. Unfortunately, redemption was half baked and came a little too late. The dead, black, frozen thing in my chest (occasionally called a heart) couldn’t be induced to care.

My second major quibble is the author’s attempts at humor. The heroine’s misuse of words is one such thing and it’s agonizing to read. That shit gets old really really fast. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe my pathetic little asian brain can’t get it, that’s why I’m the only person who seems to dislike this book. Maybe the author was just being really precise and delivered an accurate portrayal of women in 1800s England and I just cannot appreciate that much detail. I don’t know. But like I said earlier, this was my first MacAlister book and am now disinclined to read the rest.

*edit* For the sake of fairness I have now actually read the book preceding (Noble Intentions) AND succeeding (The Trouble With Harry) this one and I am happy to report that they were a joy to read. I may still not recommend this one to friends but I certainly would encourage them to read the other two. I may even go as far as beg the author to write a fourth one cos I am absolutely dying to read about Nick and Thom (secondary characters in the last book).


Posted in D, Historical Harlots, Reader, Reviews | Leave a Comment »