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Saturday, July 07, 2007

TBR Challenge for July

The TBR Challenge for July is to read a book with the title printed in gold.

To participate, leave a comment here or on your blog.

I chose:

*** Into the Night by Suzanne Brockmann. Contemporary romance.

It had been in my TBR pile for a year or so--bought to fill out an order at
Half.com. And, unfortunately, it reminds me why I'm not a Brockmann fangirl.

No, this isn't the first Troubleshooters book I've read, though it's the first since I started the blog. And I've overheard enough discussions about the series that I wasn't at all confused by any of the characters.

Still: ho-hum.

Into the Night begins with a prologue: the SEALs rescuing an unappreciative French reporter in Afghanistan. It was obvious from the outset that the reporter was female, though our heroes didn't figure that out until she'd already been rescued. Baby-duck-like, I assumed she was the heroine, but I wasn't too pleased by that--she was obnoxious.

Turns out, though--and if you haven't read the book yet, you can thank me now for this: that prologue has nothing to do with the plot of the book, except for a teeny-tiny mention of a photo the reporter took that shows up later, and really makes no difference. Even our hero, Lt. Michael Muldoon, breaking his kneecap during the rescue has nothing at all to do with the rest of the plot.

It wasn't until chapter 3 that I figured out who the hero and heroine were. This is not a good thing.

We meet White House PR assistant Joan DaCosta early on, yes, but she spends her on-page time evaluating every single male she meets as a potential bedmate. Er, okay. Heck, I'm all for a single woman having fun. But there's nothing that tells me that Michael is anything special for her. Quite the contrary. She seems decidedly uninterested. Turns out he's *gasp* 7 years older than she is.

Which point is beaten to death. Michael, who apparently has a fetish for older women (because this is the only reason we're given for him being attracted to her), spends a good half the book trying to get her to go out on a date with him, and she keeps refusing because he's too young for her. Over and over and over again.

But don't worry--once that gets stale, we jump to other, apparently completely unrelated plot lines.

There's a couple who met in WWII. Yes, I know all the Troubleshooters books have a WWII plot line. I'm fine with that. Much, much later (again, if you haven't read the book yet, you can thank me for this) we discover that they're Joan's grandparents, and they're also connected to the other plot thread. Would it have hurt to point this out sooner so readers like me don't wonder if some pages from some other book got stuck in the middle of this one by mistake? It's not like the revelation of the relationships is part of the plot.

Vince and Charlie (which confused me, too--for the longest time, I kept thinking there were a couple of old war buddies, Vince & Charlie, and there was Charlotte, married to Vince.) meet after Charlie's first husband is killed, and Vince collapses after trying to get in to see Charlie's senator boss. There's a mildly affecting story there, with Vince having thought for 60 years that he was her second choice, but we don't get to that point until near the end of the book, and there's a lot of repetition every time this plot line is revisited.

And then there's Sam and Mary Lou. Thanks to all those overheard conversations, I know all about their story. I just don't really care.

Mary Lou is young, got pregnant and trapped Sam into marrying her, which she admits. But now she's all sad because he doesn't love her, so she tries to make up for that by being SuperWife™. She's also a recovering alcoholic. She meets an Arabic gardener, and becomes friends with him despite the fact that she's a Southern Racist™. She also befriends Donny The Nutjob next door, who (you can thank me for this, too) turns out to be Joan's brother, and the grandson of Vince and Charlie.

I know I'm supposed to hate her for separating wonderful, honorable Sam from The Love of His Life™, Alyssa, but she just seems very young and miserable. And vastly more important, she's trying very hard to change a bad situation. Sam, however, is an idiot, and a whiny one. It's marginally possible that I'd be more sympathetic if I'd read more books with him in them, but I have no sympathy whatsoever with someone who enters a situation of their own free will and then does nothing to improve it, instead just whining about it. This really, really, does not make me want to read a book with him as a hero. Yuck.

And let's just not talk about their baby, because it pisses me off.

Last but not least are the errors.
  • You don't call a senior chief petty officer "senior" for short (well, maybe, in jest, but this wasn't.)--you'd say "chief" or "senior chief." Yeah, that was exceedingly minor, but it bugged me.
  • There is no way that a 25-year-old could have been an officer for 7 years. You have to be 21 to become a military officer. This might have been cleared up in a previous book--maybe he was prior enlisted?--but as it stands, it's wrong.
  • You do not go to OCS in college (no, this wasn't the same person mentioned above). That would be ROTC. OCS (officer candidate school) is for enlisted personnel who want to become officers.
  • One does not become used to drinking beer mixed with lemonade in Germany. For one thing, you cannot find "lemonade" in Germany--I had a terrible time trying to explain to a babysitter once what was in the pitcher in our refrigerator. "Limonade" is soda. Like Sprite. And that's what they're mixing with the beer. How hard would it be to get this right?
  • And then what made me toss the book across the room: the heroine complained about her "unfashionably large breasts." Is that even possible? I'm looking at all the oh-so-fashionable actresses with their balloon-sized implants and wondering how the heroine can walk upright if her breasts are unfashionably large.
*sigh* Yeah, I know those are all nitpicky, which is why I left them for last. They wouldn't have irritated me nearly as much if the book itself hadn't been so boring.


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Ouch! what a review! - but then again I *know* how you really feel about Troubleshooter series hehehe....so I don't blame ya..I still love ya anyway ;) :)
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