Friday, June 17

See, It's not About Sex, and The "Bad Review Test"

Well, I finished A Countess Below Stairs. A sweet book with an interesting time period (post WW I, England) and a heroine who is a Post-Russian Revolution emigre. And, it was "sweet"--no sex, it didn't need it. The next time someone tells me romance is about sex, I'm handing them this book. Romance is about relationships and HEA, sex is a fringe benefit.

I'm still on a reading binge, I finished ACBS before we left for school, started and finished Patricia Grasso To Catch A Countess for my "Bad Review Test" and am about 100 pages into Ruth Wind's In the Midnight Rain, so far it's great. I love rainy days. Junior plays beautifully by himself and doesn't require entertaining and I can curl up on the sofa and read.

The Bad Review Test

I have read two books that qualify for this test, one I read on purpose and the other I read before I saw the reviews.
  1. To Catch a Countess by Patricia Grasso--Mrs. G gave this book a 03, it deserved it. The heroine is dyslexic and in Regency England this probably would have qualified her as "stupid". The problem with this book is she really is stupid and her inability to read has nothing to do with it. She simply does and says stupid things, this may be because she's a sheltered 18 year old, but I hope I wasn't this stupid at 18. And, the hero is a bully. I like alpha heros, but he's not only alpha, he's just plain mean. And, his redemption comes too little too late.
  2. The Cobra & The Concubine by Bonnie Vanak--This book fell into my Bad Review Test by accident. The review over at AAR came out after I read the book, the reviewer there gave it an F. I understood the reviewer's complaints about this book, but it still entertained me. Even if it wasn't entertaining, it would have gotten a higher grade from me simply because of setting and time period (Egypt/England in 1898--is this period considered Victorian or Edwardian?).

So, what does all this show? Who knows?


Angry Woman said...

Hi Tara

I just finished To Catch a Countess and I felt the same way you do. Victoria was so plain silly and Alexander was just damned domineering. I wanted to smack the s*** out of both of them. And the way she lashed out at everyone drove me INSANE!!! She was more like a five year old!!! The characters that really annoyed me the most is her family. They really made me nuts by the way they "pimped" her out to make sure that the two of them get intentionally caught together in bed. And I really wasn't surprised when the Big Misunderstanding happened. It was bound to happen when you got two vengeful women and all that innocent sneaking around.

I was hoping for a better book from Ms. Grasso. I am a big fan of her writing but this one wasn't up to snuff.


Tara Marie said...

Amy--I didn't even get into her horrible family. I can't believe the sisters' allowed the BILs to laugh a her. They were all to obnoxious for words.

Bookwormom said...

OMG- I have this in my TBR. I oughta ditch it now, you think? The last Grasso I read was ok. Just that. Not great. Not awful. Ho hum. The TBR book was from the trade shelf at the library. Maybe I'll return it. :(

Kristie said...

Tara: I agree with you on the Vanak book (but you know that:).
Now taking into consideration that I gave TCATC a B and AAR gave it an F, and AAR gave the other 2 D's, will that make them A's for me??? I agree though, it should have gotten higher than an F on uniqueness alone.
Just goes to show, reviews are great for story outlines and general ideas but basically we are all individual readers with individual tastes.

Megan Frampton said...

Tara Marie:

One of the best no sex, but plenty of spark books I've ever read is Kate Moore's Sweet Bargain. What she does with a few kisses is just astonishing. And the library had TCAC for sale, I might just pick it up to see just how bad bad can be.


Anne E. said...

1898 is still in the Victorian period -- the Queen died in 1901. I like that period of history. If you ever have a chance to invest in it, I highly recommend a course that is available on either VHS or DVD from The Teaching Company on Victorian Britain. YOu might want to check the interlibrary loan program, as I understand some of The Teaching Company classes have been purchased by public libraries. The professor is English, and has the most delightful sense of humor -- plus he is very learned and easy on the eyes!