Anyone But You
After getting a divorce and turning forty Nina is finally getting the dog she always wanted. Only instead of a cute puppy she guilts herself into taking smelly middle-aged Fred home from the shelter.
Alex is under pressure from his family to move into a lucrative medical specialization despite the fact that he's happy working in the ER.
When Fred ends up in Alex's apartment rather than Nina's one flight up a connection is made despite the fact that he's ten years younger than Nina.
Typically for a Crusie novel this has good dialogue, likeable characters and the usual flaws. What marks this effort down a little is the section towards the end of the book where folk act stupidly in out-of-character ways for no reason than to introduce conflict and extend the story. I feel it's a lazy device overused by authors when there are more interesting ways to keep conflict between characters available.
Welcome To Temptation
Sophie and Amy Dempsey head to the small Town of Temptation, Ohio to film an audition reel for an old friend hoping to break back into the movies after her career derailed.
Sophie is determined to lead an ordinary, normal life given their family legacy of con men and grifters.
One thing leads to another and gossip swirls around the new arrivals, the filming threatens to turn seedy and Sophie starts to fall for the town Mayor.
This is an excellent example of Crusie's work. There's cracking dialogue, a great heroine and an intriguing mystery holding things together.
I read the sequel to this - Faking It - in January and going back to this one makes more sense of some of the things in that book and gives the character of Davy Dempsey a bit more depth.
No one in their right mind is going to read as many of this writer's work back to back as I have but if you want to try her stuff this is one of the good places to start.
Nell is stumbling through life after her twenty-two marriage ends in divorce. Looking to start again she takes a job as a temporary secretary at a small Private Detective Agency.
As she drives her new boss crazy trying to modernize the office she starts to find a purpose in life. It doesn't hurt that the Agency's caught up in a juicy puzzle involving murder, embezzlement and adultery.
Maybe I'm just getting tired of reading this author's books or this really is a pretty perfunctory entry in Crusie's canon. There's just so many scenes of women being morose over failed or failing marriages and there's no fun to be had in that.
Crazy For You
Quinn just wanted to keep the stray dog but when her boyfriend takes the dog to the pound she suddenly realizes that she needs a whole new life. Unfortunately the asshole ex-boyfriend isn't going to take no for answer.
The tone of this one was weird. The usual Crusie wit is on full display and then suddenly you get whole sections of the ex-boyfriend being creepy as hell and even, unforgivably, trying to get the dog put down.
Thankfully the plot ends with Quinn happily in a relationship with someone the complete opposite of the asshole.
Fake Marrieds Meme
The Cinderella Deal
Desperate for a position at a conservative college Lincoln invents a fiancee. Daisy's life is in chaos - her plans to become an artist have hit the skids and her savings have run out.
Linc offers a way out - her back rent paid if she pretends to be engaged to him until he gets the job. Of course events conspire and to keep his new job they have to follow through and get married.
I've read a lot of Crusie's books recently and while they're all reliably enjoyable this is the first one I've loved.
By far the best execution of the fake marrieds meme I've come across so far, Crusie nails the transitions from dislike through to committed love perfectly.
I particularly loved the whole section from "my house is suddenly full of good people doing interesting things and I kind of like it" through the "looking after each other while sick" bit. So sweet and perfectly nailing what a fake marrieds story should be.
Kate is a high powered business consultant. Feeling lonely and frustrated with her job she takes her best friend's advice to visit a resort for executives in rural Kentucky.
Once there she starts going on one disastrous date after another while making friends with the locals including the resort owner's laid back brother Jake.
This one is a lot of fun, really good dialogue, interesting characters and for once the sex scenes were less than embarrassing. As always the plot was paper thin and the outcome predictable but it's hard to care when a book is as enjoyable a diversion as this.
Trust Me On This
Alec's attending an academic conference to hear his aunt speak. As a federal agent he's delighted when a most wanted con man turns up on the scene.
Dennie's also at the conference having found out a famous academic is getting a divorce. She's hoping to get the big interview that will advance her career.
Of course there's a comedy of misunderstandings and Alec thinks that Dennie is in cahoots with the con man.
There's lots of fun dialogue in this one but the con plot is woefully underdeveloped - a great con is something to be cherished - and most of the side characters are barely one-dimensional. I still don't really get the point of including the con man's real assistant at all since she's barely in the book and the only important thing she does is mentioned in passing by another character.
Also the romances are incredibly perfunctory in this one. Characters meet, are attracted, briefly resist it, have sex and then are absolutely ready for the commitment of marriage to the extent to changing the rest of their lives to make it happen.
Getting Rid Of Bradley
Lucy has just had her divorce come through. Moving on with her life gets complicated when a police detective turns up saying that her life is in danger from a dangerous embezzler who happens to share her ex-husband's name.
This is a decent but slightly disappointing effort from Crusie - it's just a bit lacking in terms of sparkling dialogue that her other books excel at.
I saw bits of a film based on this on a Satellite channel the other day so I decided to check out the original novel.
This is a fun look at three women reassessing their relationships in light of their marriages being declared technically illegal after the paperwork doesn't get completed.
The three lead characters have a bit of depth and are fun to spend time with. The secondary characters are all one-dimensional and mostly they're despicable.
The best thing is that much of this is dealt with a degree of levity and only taking things seriously when getting to the heart of the issues with each couple.
Angels have come to Earth with death and destruction in their wake. No one knows why they're here but the survivors group into gangs/militia or try to scrape by under the radar.
Penryn has survived despite having to protect a wheelchair bound sister and an insane mother.
After an attack that sees her sister carried off she interferes to save an angel who has his wings cut off in order to secure his help in rescuing her sister.
This messy novel mashes up Biblical stories and dystopian fiction. It has quite a few horrific moments and some creepy sexual undertones which I found rather unpleasant.
One thing I can say for certain is that I never knew where the plot was going which is a relief after so many predictable reads recently but I'm not sure that the author knew where it was going either.