Monday, November 18, 2013

A Perfect Rant

So I did a couple of things last night that are pretty rare for me.

(No, I didn't work out at the gym.)

(No, I didn't cook dinner...ha ha! Funny.)

(No, I didn't flat-iron my hair.)

What I did is...

A. Read a PRINT book. Carumba!

B. Read a mainstream contemporary romance.

C. Read my first ever Kristan Higgins book.

Last night I was stuck in bed because Lucy my weenie dog fell asleep on my lap and I didn't have the heart to move her.

So I reached over to my nightstand to grab the first thing I could for reading material. I had a stack of books I got at the NJRWA conference, and right on top was THE PERFECT MATCH by Kristan Higgins.

I wanted to DNF the book pretty much right away. The whole beginning felt very contrived (gyn appointment for 35 year old...EGGS ARE DYING, HURRY UP AND GET A MAN), accidentally getting caught naked in front of wanna-be boyfriend's parents while attempting to seduce him (EGGS ARE DYING, HURRY UP AND GET A MAN), and it goes on.

And if you think I'm over-doing the EGGS thing, let me tell you that the EGGS have a deep POV in this book, in italics, from beginning to end.

Yes, the EGGS have a POV.

Now, I get it. This is humor. This is also the main reason why I don't read very much mainstream contemporary romance. The whole "my eggs are dying I must find a man" plot device is not that successful for me. I know. For a big chunk of women's fiction and contemporary romance, this is a go-to plot device. We're getting older, we're getting desperate. Yada yada yada. Just doesn't work for me.

But what REALLY doesn't work for me is the TSTL heroine. And this heroine, although a successful business woman, has not one, but two BEST FRIENDS who are complete assholes.

She keeps saying how her best guy friend is "a nice guy" when in reality, He uses her for casual sex, is totally clueless about how in love she is with him (sure, I believe that), and just weeks after she asks him to marry her and he rejects her, he gets ENGAGED TO HER BEST GIRLFRIEND. And he's all..."You're okay with this, right?"

That's your best guy friend? Really?

And now for THE OTHER BEST FRIEND. Her bestie gal pal, who consoles her after this paragon of masculine virtue rejects her, is really an insecure back-stabbing bitch who steals her life-long crush, seduces him, gets engaged to him, pretends she's carrying his baby, and has the UNMITIGATED GALL TO ASK THE HEROINE TO BE HER MAID OF HONOR AT THEIR WEDDING.

That's your best girlfriend? Really?

This is another plot device that seems good on paper--HEY! Let's have the best girlfriend and the life-long crush get together and squash the heroine's hopes and dreams and scare her dying, 35-year-old eggs.

On paper, yeah, good.

But in reality, if you're a person who has such incredibly bad taste in friends, is totally clueless about people you think are "nice" actually being "assholes" and then CONTINUING TO BE NICE TO THEM AFTER THEY KEEP TREATING YOU LIKE makes you look bad. Really bad.

Too Stupid To Live-Bad.

Also, I'm not even going to get into the fact that the heroine DECIDES TO MARRY A PERFECT STRANGER TO HELP HIM GET HIS GREEN CARD even after HE IS A TOTAL JERK TO HER AT A BAR.

(Another winning plot device).

But he has a sexy British accent, so there is that.

And then the hero saves the heroine's life not once, but TWICE!

1. Heroine almost dies by drowning.

2. Heroine almost dies by fire.

(If there had been an earthquake, that could have been the perfect triumvirate of near-death, water, and fire.)

And then, after the hideous best friends crushing her, two near-death experiences, her eggs screaming for mercy, and her new man telling her he does not love her thereby crushing her poor soul yet again, we finally get to the end.

What I wanted...

1. Asshole friends to be publicly humiliated.

2. A super-satisfying HEA for the hero and heroine after going through hell.

3. A nice sex scene would have been good.

What I got...

1. Asshole friends storyline NOT RESOLVED. They are having problems, but we never hear about what happens to them. Um...really? After all that business, there is NO RESOLUTION.

2. Hero and heroine make up in the hospital in about 5 seconds. Not kidding. This is ONE page of the book. After all that angst, ONE FREAKIN' PAGE. Not satisfying.

3. No sex scene.

So now you know what I didn't like about this book.

But there was something I DID like.

The romance.

The hero is absolutely fantastic. He has an adorable British accent, I loved his flawed character, he is crazy sexy. He is the man. Their romance worked, in spite of the gimmicky plot devices that threatened to destroy an otherwise lovely romantic story.

I read this book in one sitting, desperate to finish and find out what happened, to see the H/h get their happy ending. And that's a big deal. That's what romance is all about.

My conclusion about Kristan Higgins...

1. Skip the generic, over-done, not believable, gimmick-y plot devices.

2. Focus on the romance.

3. One melodramatic near-death catastrophe would be sufficient.

As you can tell, I am pretty conflicted about this book. I loved the romance and couldn't put it down, but I was beyond frustrated with many character and plot issues.

I'm not sure if I'll be reading any more KH, but that could be more of a result of me not loving mainstream contemporary romance than a reflection of the author.

If any of you have a favorite KH book, especially one that is not so frustrating to read, I would love some recommendations.

What a way to start the week,


Anonymous said...

I would encourage you to try one of her earlier books written in first person to see how that affects your perception of her heroines. (I mean, maybe it was just this heroine--but she does sound like a typical Higgins heroine--so I wonder whether seeing her from the inside would influence your opinion of her.) I suggest this not just because you might like the others better, but because I want to know the outcome of my little proposed experiment. :-)

Penny Watson said...

Hi carefulcopyediting! Do you have a rec for me? What's your favorite KH book?

Unknown said...

I love books by KH and my favorite is Catch of the Day, if you are up for trying another one by her I suggest that one.

fourdognight said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Oohkay, all of my various IDs apparently want to post a comment... Let me try this again.

So hard to decide! I like Catch of the Day, but Fools Rush In might be my favorite. I also like Just One of the Guys.

Penny Watson said...

Thanks, Amy. I will take a peek at Catch of the Day!

Penny Watson said...

Thanks carefulcopyediting. A vote for Fools Rush In. Will check that one out, too. :^)

Tales of Whimsy said...

Ew. Sounds way generic.

Heidenkind said...

The heroine could have also almost died by forgetting to breath. Then it would be earth, air, fire, and water.

Heidenkind said...

Or breathe, even.

Julia Barrett said...

Not going there. A heroine like that would make me want to bash myself over the head.

Penny Watson said...

Juju...Not sure if you would like this one. I think it would be too frustrating for you to read.

Penny Watson said...

Tasha...A volcanic eruption would also have been exciting.

Penny Watson said...

Julia...this was NOT your kind of heroine.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. I've been wanting to try Kristan Higgins. I guess I'll start with a different one.

I loved the rant. It's a 5 star rant.

Penny Watson said...

Jessi...thank you. I haven't had a good rant for a while. :^)

Silvia Ami said...

Uhm, I think "Fools Rush In" heroine is more TSTL than Honor... There's only FC that I hated more than Millie (among KH books) and she's Lucy in "The next best thing".
But "de gustibus non disputandum est" (There's no arguing about tastes) and obviously we can't like all the same stuff.
"One of the guys" is one of my favorites, I'm always in for a book with jocks or tomboy heroines (I loved that crazy dog!) :)

Penny Watson said...

Thanks, Silvia! It's funny...readers are coming out of the woodwork on FB, Goodreads, Twitter, telling me what books they did NOT like. I still think I'm just not cut out for mainstream contemporary romance.

Geekamicus said...

No sex? Seriously? Where did you find this book? Why waste a sexy British accent and not have sex? Don't authors know we need to live vicariously? Did I say that last bit out loud?

JenM said...

I tried 2 of hers - Fools Rush In, and Too Good To Be True. I found them to be more Chick Lit than romance and disliked them both. Both heroines were TSTL and both books reminded me of why I never read Chick Lit these days. I know she's very popular, but she just doesn't work for me and my guess is that if you didn't like this one, she's probably not for you either.

Penny Watson said...

Hey Geek! There was a bit of sex in this book, but not really enough to make it satisfying (did I just say that last bit out loud? Hee!).

But there was NOT the HEA sex scene, let's-wrap-this-puppy-up-with-some-super-satisfying-I-totally-love-you-sex. Didn't get that.


Waste of British accent.

Penny Watson said...

JenM--I think you might be right. Thank goodness for Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors! Something for everyone! :^)