Friday, June 10, 2005

RTB #5 and Oy Vey!

For your consideration, my latest column over at Romancing The Blog.

Ever been really happy to finish a book? I mean, just glad that the pain and horror was finally over? Well I'm experiencing that relief this morning. I'm done with Return To Me by Shannon McKenna!

This book brought my recent trend of tearing through books to a screeching halt. And I feel a bit like a bitch, since I normally adore McKenna's work. Short stories, novels - whatever. I still attest that she's the best dang writer that Brava's got (my meager little opinion only of course).

But man, what a misstep this story is. I mean, it's just not good. Even with some brief flashes of brilliance (more of Cora and Ellen's mother please!) it can't salvage the gawd-awful romance.

Let me elaborate.

Bad boy hero returns to tiny town that shunned him after his uncle commits suicide. But hero doesn't think it's suicide. Despite uncle being a raging alcoholic asshole, he just wouldn't blow his brains out. Enter heroine - the sickeningly sweet girl he left behind. She's loved him all her life see. Sure she's engaged to the most eligible bachelor in town (naturally an asshole), but dang if her panties don't go gooey thinking about the hero - the guy who deflowered her as a teen.

So what's wrong here, besides the obvious? The hero whines about how he's "no good" for the heroine. Disaster follows him and he will surely ruin her life. The heroine pines away and romanticizes over the boy - but frankly doesn't know dick about the man except that he's so dang hot!

It was like entering an alternate universe and discovering I was back in high school. And no, that's not a good thing.

Then there are the prejudicial townspeople.

Question. If everyone in town is small-minded and hates you, why come back? Why bother? For that matter - why stay? Why not move somewhere else?

That's me talking crazy again though.

My final grade? D+. McKenna has done much, much, much, much better work. This one is a huge disappointment.


Alyssa said...

Return to Me was my biggest disappointment in 2004. I was SO relieved when I read Out of Control this year and saw that she was back on track.


Wendy said...

Oh thank heavens - Out Of Control will be better! Return to Me is still nagging away at me - I keep chanting a mantra about it being McKenna's "off day."

It's not really helping.

lost said...

Thank you, Wendy. I was urged to read Shannon McKenna's books, which I've resisted for a while after trying her debut BEHIND CLOSED DOORS [it seems that I'm the only one who isn't keen on it as I found the h/h throttleable].

What I have are RETURN TO ME and the other one with similar but pink cover, so I hyped myself to read them this weekend.

After reading your post, it looks like I shouldn't bother at all. :(

Wendy said...

I wasn't wild about BEHIND CLOSED DOORS either - so you aren't alone. I rated it a C.

Now I liked SITTING IN THE SHADOWS a lot better. Ended up being a B. Most readers I've talked to say just the opposite. They like BCD better than SITS. Who knows? Maybe you'll be contrary like me :-)

And RETURN TO ME? Big disappointment.

sybil said...

maili! Read the pink cover... I think it is Standing in the Shadows but I can't be assed to look it up.

I loved it muchly. Haven't read Behind Closed Doors or Return to Me or Out of Control... hmmm but I have them all! hee I should read one this weekend. I have heard good things about BCD I am surprised you disliked it maili.

oddly enough I like to read books people really disliked to see if I think they are that bad. Yes I am odd.

Kristie (J) said...

I tried this one too after really enjoying her other books and just couldn't get into it at all. I was debating on whether to try it again for Keishon's challenge but I think I'll look for another RS to read instead.

Jay said...

Can I be the shallow one here and say I've never even picked up one of her books to see what they were about, but I've always been drawn to the covers. I feel like I could stare at the Out of Control or Standing in the Shadows cover for hours.