Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Shirley Jump

What Jayne’s Been Reading and Watching Recently

What Jayne’s Been Reading and Watching Recently

Most books that I finish get their own reviews but here are some that either I didn’t finish or I didn’t think warranted a separate review.

The Terrorist – Caroline Cooney / Fabulous writing. Intense, page turning, I was 50 pages into it before I even realized it when I finally came up for air. In this YA book, young Billy, who died from a terrorist bomb in London, is made memorable, in fact so memorable, that he seemed that way for a long time. As long as his family will miss him terribly, I suspect. They are stunned, disbelieving, in denial and full of rage. This leaps off the page as does his older sister Laura’s rage and determination to find the people who killed her brother. This is a powerful evocation of grief and loss and revenge. I’ve reviewed another Cooney book here that has romantic elements. B

AmazonBNSonyKoboBook DepositoryApple

Mistletoe Kisses with the Billionaire – Shirley Jump / Confined by all the category conventions. I kept reading because there was one big difference and that is that the hero is the one who came back to the little town first and who seems like he’s more likely to stay. He’s the conscientious one to the heroine’s “I gotta get out of this place” persona which is the reverse of what I’m used to seeing but it’s still not enough to overcome every small town convention and a matchmaking grandmother. Sorry but I bailed at the 1/3 mark.

AmazonBNSonyKoboAREBook DepositoryApple

Brooklyn Love – Yael Levy / 4 women who are followed through the ups and downs of searching for love and marriage in the world of Orthodox Jews in NYC. It expanded this world for me which is what I look for in new-to-me settings and situations. However, the ultimate fate of two out of the four women is – to say the least – a major downer. One finds happiness in her unexpected marriage, one looks to have found her Mr. Right, but the minute a scandal hits his family, one immediately tosses in the towel on the man she was all set to upend convention in order to marry and the last woman appears to be headed for a life of married living hell based on what we’ve seen of her fiance. Wow, way to end the story. D

AmazonBNSonyKoboAREApple

The Nabob’s Widow – Elsie Lee / When Elsie Lee’s name is mentioned, voices intone in hushed or squeeing reverence, “The Nabob’s Widow!!” Comments to a post here continued this tradition and I decided to finally readit and find out for myself how good it is. With that decision made, I headed to a couple of online USBs I have bookmarked and, taking a deep breath, began the search. I found a used paperback copy in pretty good shape for a price that didn’t make me wince too badly and clicked my way to a purchase. It arrived and I sat, reverently gazing at this Holy Grail of trad regencies. I hoped it would do for me what it appears to have done for so many others – turn me into one of those bouncing, happy readers who gush whenever the book is mentioned. Alas, the book falls into the category of “would have liked it better years ago.” Reading it now…I think my high expectations might have had a hand in why the 1/3 of this book that I managed to slog through did almost nothing for me.

I wanted to slap Dianthe. She’s like a pint-sized Mary Poppins – too perfect. Plus – call me a prude – but when I read a trad regency from the mid 1970s, I don’t expect to see the word c*nt used. Also, the Christmas celebration – complete with tree (which I thought wasn’t an English custom until after Prince Albert arrives in the early 1840s) is a minor annoyance. But what’s really the sand in my Vaseline is the fact that the hero’s sister’s son is mentioned – several times – as being the hero’s heir. Is his title one that can be held suo jure? Oh, and the cats. I’m a cat person, I grew up with Siamese but it didn’t take me long before I was sick of ‘em. I stopped at this point and conferred with Sunita who said it was doubtful that soldiering on would change my opinion much. With that I decided that I have too many other books to continue to waste my time and raise my blood pressure.

AmazonBNBook Depository

The Duchess War / Courtney Milan – Since I’d never read any of her books and she’s such a favorite among my fellow reviewers, I figured I’d better get with the program. I started this book and immediately felt as if I’d been dropped into the ocean with no life preserver and the waves were crashing over me. Nevertheless, the set up for the hero and heroine to be pushed together was original and kept me going. Until I hit the scene where the heroine is urging her best friend to marry the cad who was looking into Minnie’s past just because Lydia needed to marry. This after Minnie spouted off statistics to Robert, the hero, about the percentage of unwed women in England and how she needed to marry. How depressing. The hero is an odd duck too spouting off information about political agitation in Leicester to an out of work worker’s organizer. WTF? I don’t mind nuggets of information but don’t just drop them in the story with a clunk. And all the SECRETS and mysteries and the “club” of left handed future heroes…. Sorry but I have too many other books to try and too little time already. DNF

AmazonBNSonyKoboAREApple

*****

A few things I watched recently:

Garrow’s Law and City of Vice are both UK productions set during the 18th century that explore historical personages and institutions. I knew almost nothing of 18th century English barrister William Garrow before starting this series but watching justice be meted out – or not – in cases based on actual ones in which he was involved is fascinating. I can certainly say that the juries are out for a whole lot shorter amount of time than the case I sat on. City of Vice tells the story of how the Bow Street Runners were founded by the Fielding Brothers in an effort to stamp out the rampant crime afflicting London. It is also supposed to be based on actual crimes and cases. Most of the crimes dealt with in both series seem to center on sex and violence so these are not series I would recommend if you’re looking for placid village cozies.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams – Werner Herzog takes us to the Chauvet Cave in France where some of the oldest cave paintings in human history were found. The documentary goes slightly off the rails when he attempts to wax rhapsodical about philosophy and “what ifs” but this wonderful glimpse of the beautiful images there is well worth sitting through that.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi – another documentary here. Do you like sushi? Watch this to see a master at his craft as he perfects the product he and his staff offer at his restaurant in Tokyo.

Top Secret Rosies: Female “Computers” of WWII – Here is the story of some unsung heroines of WWII who used their brains and mathematical skills to help win the war.

Ken Burns – Prohibition – Burns’ documentaries are hit or miss with me. I enjoyed this one though I could have done with fewer images of barrels of booze and beer being bashed. The recollections of those who lived through it are the best part.

REVIEW: If the Red Slipper Fits by Shirley Jump

REVIEW: If the Red Slipper Fits by Shirley Jump

Dear Ms. Jump,

I was looking for something fun and quick and found it here. Maybe parts of it are more Romance Land than believable in real life but the ride was so much fun that in the end, I didn’t care.

Sarah G has put her life on hold until now. Something about the sexy red stiletto heeled shoes that she brought home from her job on a fashion gossip rag called to her. But when she and her sister got into a spat, sister Diane tossed one of them out the window of Sarah’s NYC apartment. Where it was found by….

If the Red Slipper Fits  Shirley JumpCaleb Lewis, son of legendary fashion designer Lenora Lewis, who’s been struggling at the helm of his mother’s business since her stroke over a year ago. His late night partying might keep his anxiety about his mother’s health and the health of the company at bay but it’s been noticed and commented on by several reporters including…

Sarah, who Caleb has sought out to confront about the unflattering articles. When he realizes the shoe belongs to Sarah and she desperate to get it back, he strikes a bargain with her. Write an in-depth and truthful story about LL Designs to counteract the tripe she’s been writing about him and she gets the shoe back before her boss finds out it’s missing. But will their blossoming feelings withstand the harsh lights once someone spills the news Caleb’s trying to conceal?

Early on, when Sarah was being described as the motherly sister who’d silently taken on all the family problems without complaint, I sighed “oh no. Not a martyr.” And behold, the next page has Sarah insisting that her pampered sister start to take on responsibility. Then Sarah is put behind the 8 ball by Caleb but she doesn’t cave in to him. She gives as good as she gets, zings him and acts like a woman with professional confidence. And it was good.

And Caleb isn’t the party hardy playboy of Sarah’s articles. He’s a hardworking businessman who is genuinely afloat in this business he had to suddenly take over. But he cares and works damn hard to keep it going and not see his mother’s life’s work sold down the river or the people who count on their jobs out of work. Sarah’s impressed with how ‘hands on’ he is – talking to designers, talking to shop owners, talking to those who’ll tell him the truth and she admits as much to him. And it was better.

These two communicate and negotiate and actually keep their promises to each other. Well, Caleb has to discover on his own that Sarah didn’t do what he thought she might have but he does this before he admits to her and to himself that he loves her. I love the way this is out of the way by the time Caleb and Sarah say their “I love yous.”

I did think that Caleb sitting Sarah down with a sketchpad to design a shoe for him then totally yanking the next collection days before fashion week is stretching things like Play-Doh. And even though I was glad to see Sarah’s sister and father suddenly stop hanging around her next and owning up to depending too much on her, it might have come too conveniently and quickly after ten years of this behavior. But I chalked it up to page counts and said “I’m enjoying myself otherwise so okay.”

But all in all, I had a great time reading “If the Red Slipper Fits.” Once again the “Romance” line comes through for me and I do plan on looking up anything else you’ve written for Harlequin. B

~Jayne

Book Link | B0041KLE64 | Amazon | nook | BN | Borders
| Sony| eHarlequin