July 25, 2009

Book #51: Crazy for You

Jennifer Crusie's Crazy for You shares a title with my favorite Madonna song. The Madonna song is better.

Quinn MacKenzie is a high school art teacher who's living with the town's favorite baseball coach and pretty much just coasting through life. When she and her coach boyfriend have a disagreement about a stray dog she wants to keep, it spurs Quinn to finally make some changes in her life. She moves out, buys a house, cuts her hair, and keeps the dog. She also decides to pursue her sister's ex-husband Nick.

While Quinn is making the zany changes in her life, and pursuing the ill-advised affair with her sister's ex, who has always had the hots for her, Bill the baseball coach is convinced she'll come back to him. But when she doesn't come back fast enough, he starts breaking into her house and vandalizing things so she'll realize how much she needs him, and he begins stalking her. His cluelessness might have been comical if it wasn't so goddamned scary. As a result, it cast a pall over the entire rest of the story.

Book #50: Poppy Done to Death

Poppy Done to Death is the eighth book in Charlaine Harris' Aurora Teagarden Mysteries. This series is okay, though I still don't enjoy it quite as much as Harris' supernatural Sookie series.

Per usual, quiet librarian widow Aurora Teagarden, has bodies practically dropping at her feet with alarming regularity. How she hasn't been considered a murder suspect yet is simply amazing. This time around, it's her philandering sister-in-law Poppy. Roe and Poppy weren't especially close, but she feels obligated to find out who killed Poppy, while also protecting Poppy's privacy at the same time.

In the midst of all that, she's still navigating her love affair with famous writer Robin Crusoe, an unexpected visit from her teenage brother, and another unexpected surprise.

Not sure if this is officially the last Aurora book, but it had a definite air of finality about it.

Book #49: Deadly Kisses

Deadly Kisses is the final published book in Brenda Joyce's Deadly Series. Apparently she's written one additional book in the series, but her publisher is holding it hostage due to a perceived lack of interest. Bastards.

Debutante sleuth Francesca Cahill encounters her most personal case yet when her fiance, enigmatic billionaire Calder Hart, is suspected of murdering his former mistress.

While Francesca struggles to solve the case, Calder tries to distance himself from her in an attempt to spare her reputation. Since Francesca has finally decided that she's in love with Calder, she makes this fairly difficult for him.

By the end of the book Francesca and Calder are back on track, but her parents are still insisting that they wait a year until marrying. I really would have liked to find out what that year might hold for them.

July 12, 2009

Book #48: Deadly Illusions

Deadly Illusions is the next to last installment in Brenda Joyce's unfinished Deadly Series.

Turn of the century sleuth Francesca Cahill finds herself on the trail of a slasher. A madman with a knife has attacked several women on the Lower East side of Manhattan, and the victims' proximity to Francesca's close friends, the Kennedy family, has her especially worried.

Francesca also has to contend with the jealousy of her smoldering fiance Calder Hart, as she resumes her investigative partnership with Calder's brother, police commissioner Rick Bragg.

In the later books of the series, Joyce has fleshed out the secondary characters' relationships and those have become nearly as interesting as Francesca and Calder's steamy courtship. Again, mysteries? Secondary.

Book #47: Deadly Promise

Sixth book in Brenda Joyce's Deadly Series, Deadly Promise takes place in March 1902, a mere three months after the first book in the series.

In her latest adventure, Francesca Cahill is searching for several young missing girls from a poor Irish neighborhood in New York. She and police commissioner Rick Bragg begin to suspect that the girls are being kidnapped to work in a seedy bordello.

Francesca and Rick's partnership is threatened by the recent return of Rick's estranged wife, and Francesca's announced engagement to Calder Hart. Calder, Rick's younger half brother and arch nemesis was introduced as a wealthy and reckless playboy, but has become a fascinating character, for the audience, and Francesca.

Now I can't put these books down.

July 07, 2009

Book #46: Deadly Caress

Deadly Caress is the fifth book in Brenda Joyce’s Deadly Series, and I'm so freaking hooked now.

Turn of the century sleuth Francesca Cahill is on the case after one of her closest friends art studio is vandalized, another artist has disappeared, and her brother's mistress has been murdered.

And can I just tell you how much I dislike the word "sleuth"? It's thrown about all over this series in all seriousness, and it may have been a word in use at the time. But it just makes me think of Nancy Drew mysteries and cheesiness.

So murder mystery blah blah blah. Really, the thing that is making this series better and better, (oh, and hotter) is the love triangle between Francesca, Rick Bragg, the police commissioner she's been on the verge of having an affair with, and his rich and mysterious brother Calder Hart (who is now pursuing Francesca). The mysteries? Way secondary.