A Condensation of Microreviews, or What I've Been Reading

(Yes, that's what I've decided the collective noun should be.)

When the semester gets frantic, my reading not only runs to escapism and engrossment, but the pace also accelerates, as I whip through swathes of books (using them as incentives to finish unpleasant or taxing work) at a rate that makes them almost impossible to recall.  I always mean to slow down and account for these books more fully here, but the very scheduling pressures that make me turn to this voracious style of reading also guarantees that I won't have time for leisurely blog reflection. 

For a number of the books I read over the last few months, I did formulate microreviews, however.  I think I had the intention of expanding on them later, but now so much time has passed that I don't know if I could do so with any hope of accuracy, or without a total reread.  So microreviews they shall remain, forever and anon.

A Most Lamentable Comedy 

Janet Mullany (2009) 

Feb 29, 2012, 5.5/10

As usual with Mullany, I warmed to the writing early, but wanted something a little less … ludicrous from the plot and characterization.  This was an oddly elliptical book as well, always cutting away at the key moment (not just THOSE moments, but yes, those moments too) and moving in anxious leaps of plot.

More than One Night 

Sarah Mayberry (2012) 

Mar 1, 2012. 5.5/10

Charlie’s just been discharged from the military, and feels a bit at sea.  She and Rhys fall into a celebratory one-night stand, and despite/thanks to everyone’s best efforts, conceive.   This pregnancy narrative is sort of the modern marriage-of-necessity story, but there’s not quite enough going on here (despite Mayberry’s dependably full characterization).  The conflict is too insecurity-driven, when he is clearly enraptured by her.  I would have like to get more of a sense of her as someone shaped (not just abandoned) by her life in the military.  As often with Mayberry’s work, I wish there had been a hundred more pages.  That’s both a complaint and a compliment.  A complaintment.

In for a Penny 

Rose Lerner (2010) 

March 4, 2012. 6.5/10. 

A marriage of convenience novel (a trope I love), but I wished for a heroine who was just a hair less bland than the smart but self-effacing Penelope. In other words, I think I might have preferred to read the story of Nev’s spitfire, piratical sister and her love affair with childhood friend (and steward) Percy.  After all, I love (and long for) a good friends-to-lovers romance.  I appreciated both the prose and the pervasive realism of this novel of class conflicts, but there were both odd narrative leaps and outbreaks of conventional romancey sultriness and handsiness that seemed implausible to me. I’d definitely be up for another Lerner.

Secrets of a Summer Night 

Lisa Kleypas (2004)

March 8, 2012. 6/10. 

First in the Wallflowers quartet, but I don’t anticipate that it will be the most satisfying.  Smart but somehow bland Annabelle Peyton resists butcher’s-son-turned-industrialist Simon Hunt, for reasons even they don’t find very compelling. Also: what was up with Simon insulting her reading habits on the honeymoon?  

Crazy for You 

Jennifer Crusie (1999)

 March 15, 2012 6/10 

Intriguing but ultimately troubling commonalities between the obsessive, controlling, abusive ex and the protective, dominating hero.  I liked the possibility raised that not every happy couple needs to be married or live together, but this ultimately fizzled into a more conventional ending. 

Tell Me Lies 

Jennifer Crusie (1998)

March 18, 2012. 5.5/10.  

The spectre of assault and the heroine Maddie's frenetic attempts to cover for those wronging her make this one of my least favorite Crusies. There's also a hero (CL for Chopped Liver, all too appropriately) whose issues get short shrift, but whose determination to care for the heroine comes to seem almost oppressive - the very last thing that she needs, despite some potently evoked sexual tension.

[More soon, as I transcribe these microreviews from my Nook, aide and abettor of frenzied reading binges.]

Friday, April 21, 2012
Washington, DC

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