Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Cuppa and a Book - Menu for Romance

I have to come clean about this book. It was a mistake buy. I was in the Dollar General moseying about and I always check out the books. This one had an attractive cover and so I tossed it into my cart and went about my shopping. It was after I got home and finally got a few books cleared off the top of it that I read the back cover thoroughly. Then I saw the author was a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

I have never read a Christian romance novel. I know for a fact that they are far too timid for my tastes. After all, this is the woman that drools over a vampire with serious BDSM tendencies and pens romantic/comedies with explicit M/F and M/M love scenes. But, in an effort to branch out and read different genres I resigned myself to reading Menu for Romance by Kaye Dacus.

The story revolves around a party planner named Meredith Guidry and a chef named Major O`Hara. They`ve both been in love with each other for eight years and neither has had the chutzpah to make the first move. Meredith, in an effort to move past this crush on Major (I just wish to say I really like his name) makes a New Year`s resolution to meet someone new and end her single status by year’s end.

She starts dating a handsome contractor, but wouldn`t you know it, Ward just doesn`t have what the handsome chef she works with every day has. Major has his own problems that he brings to the non-relationship, the biggest being that he hides the fact that his mother suffers from schizophrenia.

Okay, so we seem to have the prerequisite slew of problems for our couple to work out. I settled in and began reading, waiting for the action/suspense/adventure/romance to begin. I was resigned to having no sex and was okay with that. Well, I read and I waited and I waited and I read. I finally got to the last page of the book and still hadn`t found anything exciting to talk about in my review.

I`m not saying that the book is a bad book but it`s not a great book either. It has no spark. It`s bland. Major needs to ‘BLAM!’ the plotline with some Cajun spices, I mean; they are in Louisiana after all! We spend the entire novel slogging through a blasé romance. There is no mystery to solve or a bad guy to bring down just page after page of two characters bemoaning the fact that they`re tired of being alone yet not being mature enough to say ‘Hey, I think you`re cute! Want to go out sometime?’

Meredith was slightly annoying about her lack of love. But even that whining didn`t bother me as much as Major`s refusal to tell the woman he claims he loves above all others about his mother. I just didn`t get that. And it`s a shame because I really liked Major. He could have been one hell – Oops- heck of a romantic lead if he had just not been such a coward.

So you see, the things that made the book get only three stars had nothing to do with it being a Christian romance and therefore lacking nookie. What made it lackluster were the characters and so-so plot. Ms. Dacus uses detail nicely and when spins a Southern setting perfectly. The secondary characters were quite enjoyable. Actually, a few of the secondary`s were more interesting than the leads.

Overall it was a rather slow read for me but it certainly was not the worst book I`ve ever read. Fifty Shades of Grey has that dubious distinction. Menu for Romance gets three stars for trying really hard to make a fire without any spark.


S. J. Qualls said...

Romance is in the mind of the reader, the writer can pull it out with a word or a dozen pages OR NOT. DH bought me several books at the dollar store. Well... let's just say even I was disappointed. (And I don't need to be shown a lot of skin to visualize the scene)

Some folks just write different. Not every book is good because it's published...

Pamela Mason said...

Give Deeanne Gist's inspirational romances a try. My favorites of hers are Courting Trouble and Deep in the Heart of Trouble. I guarantee sparks and fireworks.