Monday, March 02, 2009

book reviews: you don't know jack and the courtesan's daughter

You Don't Know Jack You Don't Know Jack by Erin McCarthy

Rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is one of those books where I felt each cliche eat at my soul.

The tale begins with a cross-dressing psychic telling a group of four women living in NYC (drinking martinis) about their destinies. Our heroine, a hippy-dippy country gal, relocated to the big city and became a social worker due to her big time daddy abandonment issues. We know she's country cuz she has curly hair, big boobs, and sundresses. Naturally, she believes in psychic abilities, and following his/her advice, meets, sexes (and eventually luurves) a secret-millionaire hunk with a heart o'gold.

Hunk and Heroine have a lot of sex, but only in-between all of the times they talk about how she doesn't love him or want to be with him because men who like her and have jobs freak her shizz out (the daddy issues). The cross-dresser reappears at opportune moments to make snarky pop-culture filled comments on the future and give everyone big ole chuckles. A man in a dress! Is funny! The three other friends are like the Three Bears of Manhattan - this one likes Jack and Coke and the Hamptons; this one likes being tall and thin and sarcastic; and this one is obviously Samantha, from Sex in the City, that fun loving slut!

Hunk saves the heroine from white-collar crime, saves all the poor people he can get his hands on through the power of being ultra-rich, and saves the heroine from her daddy issues by bringing back daddy! Societal woe got ya down? Throw money at it! Yay!

The book is light-hearted and amusing, but also a little bit painful, in a social ramificiations kind of way. I laughed, I cried, I tore up that check to the homeless shelter and went looking for my true luuurve to save me and the indigent.

The Courtesan's Daughter The Courtesan's Daughter by Claudia Dain

Rating: 2 of 5 stars

Our heroine's ability to get hitched is severely limited because Mama used to be a courtesan. Mom did eventually make good, married a count, had some kids, but now all these years later, poor Caroline can't seem to get wed.

So Mom, being an incredibly intelligent and conniving former-courtesan, finds a way to purchase a husbands for daughter but girl is all, "who wants a hubs? This is the early 1800s and I want to be a fierce independent woman just like my mom. Which means, I'm gonna be a whore! In 1800s England! What could go wrong there?"

And the potential hubs is like, "no possible wife of mine is going to whore around! Maybe mom can buy me, but no one will buy my pre-wife!! The only way out of this predicament is to seduce the young chit!"

The premise- that a 17 year old girl is "on the shelf" because her mother isn't well breed seems, well, preposterous. Every other historical novel out there has 20,000 men wanting money or a title enough to marry the unmarriable (and eventually fall in true luurve). All of a sudden, what, people in historical romance have standards now?

Also, this was kind of a throw-away in the story, but the hero, he's at one point described as being in his thirties. I just can't get over it. 30-something man with 17 year old girl equals kind of gross.

But my main problem reading this book is that if the heroine had followed through on any of her threats for getting out marrying the hero, then she would have been Too Stupid To Live (TSTL). I don't read books with TSTL heroines. I could have put the book down and walked away. Instead, she just keeps making these stupid, horrid, naive threats and everyone around her kept responding to them. Plotting against them. Acting like they Caroline was truly gonna follow through. So I kept reading, all the while thinking-- is she really this stupid? is she really this naive? am I really still reading this book?

So, I guess you could say, my problem reading this book was kinda reading this book.