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REVIEW: Crazy Love by Tara Janzen

Dear Ms. Janzen:

Crazy LoveWork has been kicking my ass and your book was to be my reward. Some fucking reward. Your Steele Street/SDF series has been a fun and sexy ride up until now. In this latest entry, your fun and sex took a back seat to cheesecloth plots, inconsistent characters, and half finished ideas. To further sink the ship, you employed an irritating literary technique that took place in the first six chapters:

You.
Need.
New.
Critique.
Partners.
Or.
New.
Editor.

I mean, seriously, that is some stupid shit writing there. Was it is supposed to be some stylized way in which the hero tended to think in lists?

Because.
Not.
Easy.
Reading.

Skeeter Bang is a street girl that Hawkins aka Superman saved and brought to Steele Street. In the previous books much is made of Baby Bang’s almost precognitive ability to “know” things. This woo woo stuff that you made such a big deal of in previous books was entirely glossed over here. Skeeter Bang’s loss of paranormal ability was just one of the many backstories that you changed, dismissed or ignored in Crazy Love.

Skeeter Bang and Dylan Hart are an age challenged couple with Skeeter barely 21 and Dylan Hart some inappropriate age older. I mean, you never come out and say how old Dylan is (I did a search for it on my ebook), but you have him go on and on about how she is too young so I am assuming that this is a May/December romance. The plot is that Dylan has to go to Washington DC to steal a document from a Senator. Skeeter is assigned as his backup/partner over Dylan’s protests.

The entirety of how the stealing is done; how the two escape from trouble, how the bad guys are thwarted, is told to us in summary fashion. I.e., Dylan got in and stole the document. Dylan and Skeeter escape. Dylan and [insert character] went and got the bad guy. If you want to skimp on the suspense plot then, Geezus, make the rest of the book worthwhile.

Dylan longs for Skeeter but has schziophrenic reasons for not acting on his feelings. First it apeared that it was because she was too young. Then it appeared to be because he didn’t want to hurt her because he would eventually leave her. Then it appeared to be because if he had sex with her (even though having sex with her would be worth more than even his last shred of integrity and that making love to her will be as close to heaven as he can get), he is sure that he won’t have any interest in her after that.

I was so tired by the 6th chapter of his “will he or won’t he” conflict. It was uninteresting. I reached the point that I wanted Dylan to either get it on or shoot himself to put the reader out of her misery. I don’t read these books for the ever changing characterizations, the endless car details or the flimsy suspense plot. I read it for the fun and the sex. THE FUN. THE SEX. Bring on the fun and the sex before I poke my eyes out. I do not want to read endless internal conflict about whether he should bone her or not. I mean, we all know he is going to bone her or they wouldn’t be in a fucking romance novel.

Unfortunately for me (and frankly for the rest of your readers), no boning takes place until chapter 20. I guess you must be tired of writing sex scenes because the two you wrote were virtually identical. Did you use the copy and paste feature? Perhaps you were struggling to finish the manuscript (5 books published in 2 years is tough) so you said, “what the hell, I’ll just use the sex scene from the previous chapter and none of my dumb readers will really catch on.” I do understand that this series is all about cars, but enough with the car sex. It is sexy and believable for people to have sex in places other than cars.

And the Travis story? PUHLEEZE. This is a guy who imprints women sexually to make them happy. He’s a peace loving man who all of a sudden talks and acts like every other guy at STEELE Street. Who’s a crack shot and can work the blade like Creed? Nope, not buying that lame horse.

And then. And THEN Travis monologues about his past women and how he is batting a zero less than zero but doesn’t bring up the character you addressed in the last novel. Do you need a flow chart or something? Remember Jane Linden? You made a big deal of her and Travis in Crazy Kisses. I remember several significant scenes involving Travis and Jane. But apparently those are meaningless because they didn’t serve to move the Crazy Kisses plot forward and they have nothing to do with Travis now. Why should I invest any emotion in these characters when they are throwaways? When the characters change from story to story?

When you, as an author, so completely ignore the world/character building that has gone on before in previous books, its as if you are saying to the reader a) I think you are stupid and won’t remember or b) don’t believe anything I write because it won’t have any impact later on down the road. How can I believe in your story if you keep changing the premise? I can’t. And I can’t buy into the fantasy anymore when the sex and fun are completely obliterated by the weak suspense, the ever changing characters, and the literary technique. It’s ironic that just last year I was all over the net proclaiming your praises. I think right now I would rather pull out my eyelashes one by one before reading another of the Steele Street series. Crazy Me.

Best regards,

Jane

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

37 Comments

  1. Keishon
    Jun 28, 2006 @ 18:02:54

    Jane, take a chill pill, girlfriend. You are PMS’ing there. LOL. Hey, wanna know a secret? I didn’t catch on with the first book.

  2. jmc
    Jun 28, 2006 @ 19:00:23

    Wait! Wait! You mean Jane isn’t in Travis’s future? That totally sucks. What was the point of introducing her and hinting about Travis if she’s going to drop off the page.

    I thought the first book was okay; the second ~meh~; the third was okay; the fourth okay. They all required massive amounts of suspension of disbelief, but that’s okay for me, because it is romance. My main complaint was that they went so fast I had a hard time believing any HEA. Mostly I kept reading because I liked Skeeter. You’ve got to like someone named Skeeter, don’t you? Sounds like Janzen wasted all of that build up.

  3. Keishon
    Jun 28, 2006 @ 19:15:54

    Ok, JMC, let me understand you: first book ok and you read the rest and they were, meh, ok, and ok? I am so glad I just bought the one book. I’m not into the sex and car thing. I hate reading about cars. After reading what Jane went through to get this book, now I understand the review. Later gators. Off to read. A YA novel.

  4. Kristie(J)
    Jun 28, 2006 @ 19:56:09

    Heh Heh!! A real case of you say tomato and I say tomohto *g* cause I really (really) liked this one. I can see where you’re coming from ’cause if I sat down and thought things out on this one it might be a different story with plot holes you could drive a truck through. But for me, I just went with the complete unbelievability and enjoyed it.
    And there was a bit of Skeeter’s woo woo (good term) stuff – when she was so loaded for bear in Washington ’cause she had a feeling. And about Travis; she did mention Jane – not by name, but that she moved to the west coast (or somewhere). So he’s struck out whats her name in the first one, Skeeter and Jane.

  5. jmc
    Jun 28, 2006 @ 20:04:03

    Keishon, I bought the books at a library sale — $0.25 each. They made good commute books — easily set aside when I arrived at the office or when I arrived home in the evening. If I had paid full cover price, I would’ve stopped buying after the first one. Was not that impressed with the main stories, but Skeeter caught my attention and I wanted to like the books.

    What YA are you reading?

  6. Nikki
    Jun 28, 2006 @ 23:16:55

    I liked this book. I wanted more sex and more scenes between Dylan and Skeeter–but overall I liked it.

    I think Travis did mention Jane that she moved and he emailed her for a while then she stopped so he assumed that meant she was dumping him. I think it goes along with his character. Regan rejected him, Skeeter rejected him(didn’t they kiss early in Crazy cool?) and now Jane rejects him. I only hope she addresses this more in Crazy Sweet. Poor guy. I liked Jane better than Red Dog though, but I am willing to give her a chance.

    In my opinion there is definitely some writing fatigue going on with these books. I hope she slows down. The books will come out better.

  7. Jane
    Jun 28, 2006 @ 23:21:22

    Keison – I should have known better but I did think that the first two, particularly were great fun reads.

    Kristie J – everyone seemed to know that something bad was going down in DC. Even Dylan. So the sensing of danger didn’t seem quite in line with Skeeter’s suggested abilities. I was also disappointed that more attention wasn’t given to Skeeter’s drawing talent which seemed so cool to me in previous books.

    Kristie J and Nikki – You know, I caught that “some girl who worked for Katya” line but I still felt that it was an unjust amount of time to spend on a relationship that was not going anywhere. I have a hard time seeing Travis’ transformation to this sensitive imprinter of women to a cold hard killer. The killing in these books is done without any regret or even emotion. It seems quite strange to me.

    JMC – I’ll be interested to see what you think when you read the book.

  8. Kristie(J)
    Jun 29, 2006 @ 00:26:56

    I agree with you that Travis’ transformation is one of the big plot holes. That part bothered me – that he would take such a 180 like that although I did get a kick out of his nickname and yea you’re right – there should have been more about Skeeter’s art in there too except for that one scene on the plane.

  9. sybil
    Jun 29, 2006 @ 01:22:53

    hmmmm Keishon I think you should read it and just get the hating it over so you can throw it in a box ;)

    So you done with the series jane or will you take the next crazy trip.

  10. Karen Scott
    Jun 29, 2006 @ 06:07:20

    I am not looking! I am not effing looking!!!

    They don’t hav sex til the 20th Chapter? WTF? God I hate that! Travis and Jane don’t get it on, nooooooo!!

  11. Anonymous
    Jun 29, 2006 @ 07:03:19

    I agree with Jane to some degree…well okay mostly all of it. I thought Dylan and Skeeter’s book was going to be the best of the best. There was barely any sex…barely. And Dylan dreaming about pink leeches….Agh. I finished this book in about 4 hours, and that with me taking breaks and going back to it. I’m dissapointed. …okay I’m jumping back to the sex part-2 sex scenes and both of them in cars? What is up with that? and then Travis is all of a sudden going on missions, when he has barely any training at all-a model going on missions. hmmm yeah. I’m going to say it again. I’m dissapointed. Red Dog came out of the blue and it’s true what happened Jane. I thought there was a sexual intensity between Travis and Jane and that alone would have merrited a book, with the ever loving urchins-the rats. **sigh** If you ever read this Tara-Know that I’m a reader from New York that is dissapointed (and the only reason why I keep using that word is because I truly mean it) and know that you could have done so much better with Skeeter and Dylan. :-(

  12. Jane
    Jun 29, 2006 @ 07:35:19

    Kristie J – I think I was so disappointed because I loved the pairing of the Goth princess with super cool Dylan. Skeeter (Baby Bang) was such a cool heroine, given the build up in previous books.

    Syb’s right, Keishon, you need to read it just so you can be part of the crowd of haters.

    Sybil – I think I am done with the Crazy series. The set up for the next book is high in the ridiculous chart for me, given both the characters complete change (they are like different people). I’ll pass on Crazy Sweet and pick up Janzen on the next go around. Ballantine is notorious for releasing the last book in successful series in hardcover so I wonder if that is in the cards for Janzen or whether they will wait until the next series.

    Karen S – This is a public service for you readers. Don’t you know that I am putting that stuff in because we all are going into the books for the FUN and the SEX? I just want you to know that you aren’t getting any SEX until the last 1/4 of the book.

    Anonymous – I would kiss you but I don’t know who you are. That and because I gave up kissing anonymous strangers a few years ago. I am glad I am not the lone voice in the wilderness. ;)

  13. Holly
    Jun 29, 2006 @ 15:49:50

    Oh.Hell.No.

    All the other reviews I read for this sounded good, so I assumed it was worth the money. But no sex until chapter 20? Travis working as an agent? No Jane?

    Oh.Hell.No.

    Dammit to hell and back, I was excited for this book. I loved Baby Bang in the previous novels.

    Thanks, Jane. You’re the best. ;)

    Oh, and what’s up with the…list typing? The book isn’t written like that, is it? You totally made that up, right? Didn’t you?

  14. Jane
    Jun 29, 2006 @ 16:11:36

    Holly,

    It’s

    Oh.
    Hell.
    No.

    And I didn’t make any of it up.

  15. Holly
    Jun 29, 2006 @ 16:15:04

    Well.
    Hell.

    Alright, I’ll put it at the end of my pile then.

    You’re the best, Jane. (I had to say that, you know, cuz it comes with the job of being your bitch. ha ha)

  16. Dylan
    Jun 29, 2006 @ 18:50:47

    LMAO, this was a funny review to read. I’m totally laughing here, so wait…Holly recommended these books to me and she always know what kinds of books I like, so maybe I’ll just put this at the very bottom of my TBR list…very bottom.

    Great review, had me laughing out loud!

  17. Jane
    Jun 30, 2006 @ 08:37:00

    Holly – I can’t believe I get to have you as my bitch for just adding colored bullets to your site. That’s awesome.

    Dylan – I am sure that there are authors saying right now, “see, she’s just mean because she’s trying to be funny.”

  18. Holly
    Jun 30, 2006 @ 13:26:30

    Well, yes. I’m easy like that. But don’t tell, cuz it’s our secret.

    Of course, being fickle like I am, you have to share me with others, but you don’t mind, right?

  19. Jane
    Jun 30, 2006 @ 20:38:34

    I am big on sharing, especially since I had a disturbed childhood where I only receive pleasure now when I do share. Helping Holly is the name of the story that features our love bitch for one another.

  20. jmc
    Jul 02, 2006 @ 11:26:11

    Jane, Jane, Jane, I should have taken your review to heart and left Crazy Love at the library, where it belongs and where it should be shelved under D for Dreck: Dismal, disappointing dreck. I’ve posted a review as well. No more Tara Janzen books for me.

    http://jmcarr2001.livejournal.com/73812.html

  21. Devon
    Jul 03, 2006 @ 15:29:50

    I can’t believe it took me so long to find this review. I’ve been looking for more reviews. Now it seems I was not the only one who was disappointed, though I was not as disappointed as you. I was enjoying it, when I realized just how close I was getting to the end. I kept checking to see how much was left. It was like, they haven’t addressed their painful pasts, yet, or the age difference, or the way he’s been treating her or…anything, really. And they never did. They just jumped into bed. There was no real payoff, y’know. Just “that’s it?”

    I will be the lone voice in the wilderness who didn’t like that Jane. I practically cheered when I realized she was out. Otherwise the change would’ve bothered me. But I wanted something else for Travis (and since I always know best), I was happy with the twist. Until the next twist. I’ve read the excerpt a bunch of times, and I’m unsure how I feel about it, mostly because of the un-Travis-ing of Travis, who I personally enjoyed as a character.

    My 5 cents, a day late and a dollar short. That is all.

  22. Yours truly
    Jul 22, 2006 @ 00:36:09

    Speaking of boning, Jane, you obviously have been deprived of a “boning” session for ages, other than by the various mechanical devices you have hidden inside your cage. You should consider rewording your review so that others might want to read it. Phrasing such as “stupid shit writing” and other crap only leads the rest of us to conclude that you wrote this jibberish during one of your regular acid sessions. Well, methaphetamine queen, you wouldn’t know clear, persuasive writing if it bit you on your stank ass or rotted tuna snatch.

  23. Jane
    Jul 22, 2006 @ 00:41:47

    [quote comment="2461"]Well, methaphetamine queen, you wouldn’t know clear, persuasive writing if it bit you on your stank ass or rotted tuna snatch.[/quote]

    MJD, is that you? But if not, “Yours Truly” why are you sneaking around my house trying to catch whiffs of my private parts?

  24. Devon
    Jul 22, 2006 @ 07:41:25

    Hey Jane! “Methamphetamine Queen”? Is that what they call you in the clubs? Are you holding out on us about your wild, secret life of debauchery? Cue the techno music….

    I am afraid that some people wouldn’t know a lucid thought if it bit them on the ass. So sad.

  25. Karen Scott
    Jul 22, 2006 @ 07:54:41

    MJD, is that you? But if not, “Yours Truly" why are you sneaking around my house trying to catch whiffs of my private parts?

    OK, that’s fucking hilarious.

    I wonder what Yours Truly’s problem is? I got a stash of Prozac if life’s getting you down honey.

  26. sybil
    Jul 22, 2006 @ 10:28:31

    aaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwww

    She/he/it loveseses you! Jane you are special.

  27. Holly
    Jul 23, 2006 @ 17:55:19

    LOL!

    Poor Jane! I guess the cat is out of the bag with that whole Tuna thing now, eh? Whatever will you do?

    Some people need lives, babe.

  28. Anonymous back again almost a month later
    Jul 24, 2006 @ 06:07:34

    Why the violence in your words, yours truly?

    The book sucked. Jane was right. End of story.

    Now you should really take a blow of some high and chill.

  29. Gun Diva
    Dec 31, 2007 @ 13:48:16

    Wow. I just stumbled on to this review. Who peed in your Cheerios when you were reading the book? It’s fun mind candy, not literature.

    I actually did not like Jane for Travis and it was good to see that even the Angel boy has a hard time with relationships. Makes him seem more real.

    I’m so sorry you hated this book and just hope that you didn’t scare off too many readers – I would hate to lose out on this series because I love it and it’s fun!

  30. No Angel
    Jun 11, 2008 @ 06:33:32

    wow! i just got found this and i must admit it’s truly a bit of a shock. I have not read this book yet but I’m starting to not really like this series because of the character J.T’s death. I mean they make a big deal about the guy being the best and the coolest and I for one would really want to meet him and he got freakin crucified!!! Please tell me he is not dead or something like that! Im not sure wether or not to pick up Crazy Love but thanks for the heads up! Does anybody agree with me about the J.T thing? I think its a bit ridiculous.

  31. Keri M
    Jun 24, 2008 @ 14:57:18

    I admit it, I read all the way up to Travis’s and Red Dog’s story and I couldn’t read anymore after that. I BS factor/bad writing got to high. I thought that Skeeter got robbed and Jane and her band of misfits would have done Travis proud. I really didn’t like Red Dog.

  32. yanice
    Aug 27, 2008 @ 05:41:38

    …well that just crazy as its sounds,no sex until chapter 20,omg that sucks..i really love skeeter bang her character is so very much likeable like where can i find like her or can i be like her and so on…
    thank you jane for telling it
    you rock…..
    and for travis and jane that just so sad i thought they will end up together i’m waiting for the books to come out..good thing i read the reviews before i buy it….the question is where is jane?

    thanks for the information that you have given jane …..hahaha….
    don’t
    be
    mean…..

  33. Keisha
    Sep 08, 2008 @ 16:19:18

    I know it’s 2 years after publication but I can’t resist.

    Skeeter and Dylan’s story was a big let down. They both got what they wanted, really awkwardly in the front seat nonetheless, but they both thought it was for all the wrong reasons. Skeeter totally didn’t believe Dylan when he said he’d wanted her forever. Baby Bang deserves way better than that. Dylan never would have gotten the nerve to make a move on Skeeter if he hadn’t thought he was dying. In a really far fetched way, the torturing thing got him the girl.

    I hated the whole Jane/Robin Rules thing. Her “rats” were totally unnecessary in Crazy Kisses. Maybe it’s because Kid is my absolute favorite and I wanted the WHOLE book to be about him. However, “poor Travis” was exactly what I said! First Regan, then Skeeter, then Jane, then Gillian gets her freaking mind erased. Ugh, and I can’t stand Red Dog. You actually feel sorry for the super hot model that women are throwing themselves at because of Nikki’s paintings that can’t find “the one”.

    PS- I like the staggered writing thing.
    Fish.
    Net.
    Combat.
    Boots.

  34. kat
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 07:34:29

    Okay, you’re wrong. Dylan did say his age and if I’m not mistaken, I think it was on Crazy Wild, he’s 32.
    Well, I totally loved the crazy series. And yes, each character comes out strongly, you know? It makes the book so much more interesting. About Travis, i think its part of his character being dumped and all that. Tara Janzen writes so good that readers don’t get bored.
    About Dylan and Skeeter, there is more to a book than the sex part.
    but we have different opinions…..so, yeah.

  35. Anne
    May 29, 2009 @ 23:56:36

    Chill.

    Dylan’s age was mentioned. IT WAS MENTIONED. You can find it in Crazy Wild. The book, in my opinion, was really good. Yes, it’s true that there wasn’t many sex parts but oh, come on. No, seriously. You can’t expect Dylan to jump on Skeeter’s bones that easily. His character comes out as smooth, smart, and calculated.

    A novel is more than just the sex part. Well at least that’s what I think.

  36. Im the shit
    Jun 18, 2009 @ 23:53:46

    I
    HAVE
    LOVED
    EVERY
    BOOK
    IN
    THIS
    SERIES!!

  37. Janey
    Apr 23, 2011 @ 09:31:55

    Seriously. The book was great. The entire thing suited their characters and quite honestly, it was not the least bit OOC(out of character). And you gotta admit, with the description of Dylan in the previous characters, the only way for him and skeeter to have something going was for him to be jacked up in drugs. And I cannot believe you’re complaining about the sex. I truly believe that doing the dirty was not the whole point of the book.

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