Monday, March 23, 2015

The Last Original Wife - Dorothea Benton Frank

The Last Original WifeThe cover of this book had me dreaming of tropical locations and days on the beach.  I'd hoped it would read something like Barbara Delinsky's Sweet Salt Air, which was a drama I rather liked.  But it didn't.  And I didn't like it.  We're presented with two narrators, Les and Wes.  Les is unhappy in her marriage, for a lot of reasons, most of them having to do with Wes.  Wes' friends have all recently gotten divorced and remarried (or, in one case, widowed and remarried) and Les hates their new wives.  She calls them Barbies and thinks that they're stupid and sluts.  She thinks Harold is an asshole for cheating on his (now ex) wife and is pissed when it's hinted at that Wes might have cheated on her during a trip to Atlantic City.

So what does Les do?  She goes and does the exact same thing and cheats on Wes.  But apparently we're supposed to think that it's okay for her to cheat on him, because she was unhappy.  It's never okay to cheat on someone, unhappy or not.  If you're unhappy, you either need to work it out or break it off.  Not be a vapid, hypocritical bitch who thinks more about what her brother's dog is wearing than the effect that a divorce might have on her family.  And then it's all tied up in a neat little package, happily ever after, la di da.  What?  No.

I hated everyone in this book except Danette, who was the best person of the bunch.  Everyone else was a bunch of hypocritical, stereotypical bastards.

Oh, and the amount of dialogue drove me crazy.  All Les ever does is complain and shop.  That's it.  There is more to life than that!  Uuuuuuugh!  And there were some great settings that were completely underutilized, too.  Atlanta and Charleston (particularly Charleston) have so much character, and our author just ignored that completely and moved Les around like she she didn't have a single brain cell to her name.  If you want me to root for the main character, there has to be some redeeming quality.  Les had none, and Wes had even fewer.

Completely frustrating.  One star.  This is why "chick lit" has a bad name.

The Emerald Talisman - Brenda Pandos (Talisman #1)

I have some serious issues with young adult paranormal romances these days, mostly because most of them are terrible.  This one is no different.  Let's dive right in, shall we?

Julia, our heroine, is an idiot.  She thinks words like "obscure" (a word of a whopping two syllables) are "big" and that people should be teased for using them, is taking alegbra at age sixteen (around here, it's taken when you're thirteen or fourteen, in eighth grade, if not earlier).  I work with stupid people all day long (NOT my coworkers, it should be noted--but definitely our customers/clients) and don't particularly want to read about them in my free time.  Doing so just extends the period of time in which I feel the need to punch someone.

It reads like the author just made a character sheet (Q: What type of car does your character drive?  A: A 1984 Volkswagen Quantum) and then dumped every single detail off it into the first chapter.  So basically, you get this: "My name is Julia.  These are my friends.  I can read minds and none of them know.  I drive a 1984 Volkswagen Quantum and work at the best sandwich shop in town.  My mother disappeared when I was five, but my aunt acts as a surrogate mother figure even though I hate her new husband.  I live in the cutest house on the block."  And so on and so forth.  Everything in italics, by the way, is verbatim from the book.

And then there's the biggest problem: the love interest.  Nicholas.  Oh, Nicolas.  Julia, what were you thinking, girl?  He stalks you, doesn't want anyone to know you're together, he may or may not eventually want to rip your throat out and drink your blood.  If that doesn't say "deal-breaker," then I don't know what does.  But no.  Julia meets Nicholas and five minutes later (literally, five minutes later) is head over heels in love with him, obsessing over him, and doing all kinds of stupid, dangerous stuff in the process.

I dream of a young adult paranormal romance in which the heroine actually possesses a brain.  This isn't it.  1.5 stars.