Monday, December 10, 2012
A Book and a Cuppa - The Wrangler
Most of the books that I read and review I buy. Either because they`re from a favorite author, or someone recommends them, or a fellow author and/or friend has a new novel debuting. Once in awhile I`ll grab a book at the dollar store or at a library/high school book sale. (I have a bunch of reads from an author event/book sale I attended in October that I`ll be getting to shortly-maybe-God willing and the crick don`t rise.)
The book we`re chatting about today came from my mother-in-law. Now Ma doesn’t usually purchase a lot of romance novels. Those she borrows from me when I`m done with them. If my MIL does buy a book it`s generally a mystery. So when she came into my house with this new romance book, I was rather shocked. After reading The Wrangler by Lindsay McKenna I asked her why she had bought it. Turns out she didn`t. It was a coupon freebie to lure readers into signing up for a Harlequin book club. Ma didn`t like the free book and declined to sign up for four books every month.
You know what, I didn`t really care for the book either. If this is what Harlequin – a HUGE name in romance – is giving out to lure readers they need to find something better as a worm for their book club sales hook.
Now I`m not saying I hated the book. I didn`t. It just was so blah I couldn`t work up enough emotion to grow hate. It was so terribly mundane and vanilla I was embarrassed to admit vanilla is my favorite ice cream flavor. There was no spark between the leading lady Val Hunter and the sexy wrangler Griff McPherson. I mean none. The author tries her best, she really does. Ms. McKenna works hard to make the rather boring plot and characters come to life. She just never really succeeds. I didn`t care that Val and Griff were once big shots who now are back in Wyoming to save the Bar H Ranch. I just realized what was lacking! There was no tension of any kind in this book, sexual or otherwise. Everything just went too smoothly.
Griff and Val were so dewy-eyed after the first meeting I lost interest. They were so smitten they couldn`t not speak about the virtues of the other over and over and over. Please, we know, she is so keen and boffo you can barely stand it. Real people rarely speak like this. Do you go around espousing the virtues of your mate? Do you scamper through the grocery store telling folks why you love your man? No, you don`t. Val and Griff shouldn`t have either. It was annoyingly trite after reaching the halfway mark. Also the dialog was unrealistic. Supposedly heavy drug users refer to marijuana as marijuana. Uhm, wouldn`t they call it pot or weed? Small things like that really stood out to me.
The secondary characters were lacking in originality and personality. Our villain, Curt Downing, was so clichéd I expected him to start twirling a handlebar moustache. Even Gus, Val`s grandmother was cookie cutter. She could have been the saving grace of the book but the blasé feel infected Gus as well.
Then there`s the sex. Well, no, actually there isn`t any. Not until the very last few pages. I kid you not. We get one kiss that Val then freaks out about. That, my friends, is it. We get lots of mushy talk about how they admire each other, look up to each other, and think each other is super keen but not one hot make out session or even a fanny pat. I found it really hard to believe these two lusted after each other. When we finally got to the bedroom scene all the way at the end, I was so bored with the characters I didn`t care. The sex was so-so. Nothing to make you reach for your asbestos gloves that`s for sure.
There were also quite a few grammatical and mechanical errors. I was genuinely shocked to see the Harlequin logo on the covers. I expect some boo-boos here and there with traditionally published books. Admittingly, I tend to give self-published books more leeway than traditionally published books. Many times it’s the author doing round after round after painful round of edits without the guidance of a professional editor in a self-pubbed. Let`s face it, editors are darned expensive! But this Harlequin novel was so thick with errors I was stunned. When I have to stop reading several times and try to figure out where the quotation marks go and to whom, someone in the editing department was napping during revisions.
So simply due to the ho-hum feel of the book I have to slap a two star rating on The Wrangler.