when judging a book by it's cover goes wrong

A confused Captain America "Chris Evans" (with a background explosion)

I am admitting right now that the cover sold me on this one.

Harlequin Intrigue is not the romance I normally reach for - but I thought, This will be so intensely action-packed, but in a campy sort of way!

I grabbed the book with both hands and said "CHRISTMAS CONSPIRACY!" in a super-gritty movie-voice.
In public.  (Yes, I was at my B&N, but it was okay because no one else hangs out in my romance section except for this one kid who quietly reads a massive stack of manga.)

I showed this to Mike when I got home - and I know he's my soulmate, because when I read the back description (while holding the cover in front of him) he screeched at the top of his lungs - "MAC GRUBER!!" - And that's exactly how I thought this book would be! - Fast car chases, bombs, aviator sunglasses, and saving the world with Careless Whispers playing in the background!

Just three pages into the first chapter, and holy crap - this is taking forever...

Concerned that all HQ Intrigues would be like this, I opened HelenKay Dimon's Switched on my nook.  Sweet relief!  (Switched was great! Review coming soon!)  I'm done with Switched, but I feel compelled to "finish" MacGruber before I keep passing it up...

I just passed that 50-page mark (after a lot of eye rolls)... where is sexy action? Explosions? etc.  So far we only have the hero and heroine on the run (dragging their two toddlers along - whom daddy JUST met today! Yippee!), and then little gems like THIS stall the momentum of the book:

Hero -  "I'm checking the SUV for bugs.  Get them out of their car seats."   [He means he's checking the SUV for planted listening-devices, not creepy-crawlies, AND take the kids out of their seats.]

(They discuss how the kids aren't potty-trained.  Great.)

Heroine - "What are you looking for?" - "as she quickly changed both kids, then sat them down on a blanket with juice boxes and a snack."

No, I shit you not.  As they were fleeing her house from the terrorists/murderers/kidnappers - mom had time to grab diapers, a blanket, juice boxes, and a snack...

And here's me:

She sings to them "softly to keep them entertained".
And then he decides to throw out their cell phone and GPS...

What?!  WHAT.  (Is this what mom's want to read in their contemporary Intrigue romances?  No, really - because I don't know these things! - and the above is only ONE example.)  Did she have some Juicy Juice, Teddy Grahams, and Huggies all lined up on a counter ready for her to arm swipe into a massive Vera Bradley duffle bag?

Why couldn't they just drive like hell some more? - OR find a new getaway car?  One that isn't a big flashy SUV.  And while you're at it - time to change your appearance ASAP!  Stop by a CVS and pick up some Clariol Natural Instincts (in any random poo-brown shade, because she's already blonde, and red/ginger would attract attention), then do a gas-station sink dye-job.  Right?

But alas, I'm not the one writing the book.  This is not my Intrigue to tell.  150 pages to go.
All those gems waiting to be discovered/read...

(I can handle grad school, I can handle boring-ass white-papers, and I can handle this... maybe?)

To Be Continued...(?)


Wendy said...

LOLOL! That Goofy picture is priceless.

I heart category romance, but the Intrigue line is fraught with land mines. Dimon is the one and only author who has consistently delivered for me. The others I've tried have ranged from hit-or-miss to OMG WHY?!?!?!?!

Jena Briars said...

YES - oh my God - I'm so glad I listened to your article advice and checked out HelenKay. She IS wonderful!

Despite Intrigue being fraught with land mines... I think I want to open more to see if they're **ALL** like this (and HelenKay is the ONLY stand-alone).