Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Triple Shot of Kleypas

Okay, I finally succumbed and read me some Lisa Kleypas. At the Bosun’s nag…er…urging, I read Sugar pop, then Blue Eyed guy and Silver Tongued whatever.

(Go ahead, slap me now. If I get around to it, I’ll look the real titles up and fix this. If not? I’ll face the music. Or the Bosun will go into our blog and fix it for me.)

So! What did I think?

Great characterization. Wonderful sense of place, grounded in tiny details that really plant your feet in Texas. (The only thing I didn’t care for. I mean…Texas? They think they’re all that when everyone knows California is where it’s at!)

Loved the heroine in Sugar Daddy. Loved her voice, got her to the marrow. But felt she was made one dimensional in the tiny guest appearances made in the next two books. Which I understand, because you can’t have the guest star hogging the camera. But her man remained constant with dimension, and she felt phoned in. (I’m just sayin’!)

Blue Eyed – Not sure I bought the easing of her well-earned complication phobia. But…wow. Liked his persistence and again, the details in this book was incredible. Kleypas says so much with so few words. The real hominess of her prose is a delight.

Silver Tongued – Felt a little inconsistence with the guy presented in book two. You know, the hero? He had enough lines in book two that I wasn’t sure she’d kept true to the man she created when she gave him his own book.

And now that you’re all totally mystified… I read all three of these books in three days. Which means…nuance probably flew right over my head. Character names also went in one eyeball and out the other. If I were a scrupulous book reviewer, I’d go look them up, along with my favorite lines. (I’m not, this is more an impression of some books than a review.)

I commented to Terrio that I thought them very simple love stories.

I felt her bristle across the continent.

Now, to me, simple doesn’t mean bad. It means…not complicated, not convoluted, not a dozen layers to keep track of, no uber villains or maniacs…no aliens. Just a love story. I really nicely told love story, very fleshed out and told in exquisite detail. In language that wasn’t pretentious, overblown or trying to be witty. It just was enough.

I like books like this. I like that I can just read them without a need for a period dictionary nearby. They take my mind away from where I am, without causing me undo stress. (Jim Butcher takes me away, and wrings me out and makes me feel apprehensive about what is going to happen to Harry. For example.) Kleypas didn’t. I never had a doubt where things were going, but it was interesting to find out how they got there and to enjoy the skill at which she drove this bus.

Thumbs up for all of them!

So, you rotten crew. You badgered me into reading Eloise James. You pestered me into SEP. I was cajoled into reading Jennifer Crusie. I willingly picked up Kristen Higgens (dogs on the covers) and I’ve read Jill Shalvis after she was a guest on the ship. Who is next? And when are one of you going to try one my favorites?



Marnee Bailey said...

I'll try your faves, love. Tell me where to start.


I think it's Sweet Talking Stranger, isn't it?

I liked these books too. The first two better than the last. But all were good, I thought.

I really liked Julie James, Chance. Especially her most recent. And I recently read Rachel Gibson's Chinook Hockey series and thought they were good too.

Terri Osburn said...

You're lucky you brought this around to be very complimentary, though how would you feel if someone reviewed your books (and this IS a review, as that's what we do on Tuesdays) but couldn't be bothered to get the titles right?

That's a matter of respect, author to author.

MsHellion said...

*LOL* I know Sugar Daddy's hero is Gage, isn't it? And I think Smooth Talking Stranger is Travis...and I'm drawing a blank at Blue Eyed Devil for some reason and he was the hottest hero of the bunch. But I forget character names too...except in Harry Potter. Probably would help if I reread them as much as HP. I forget my own characters, so I'm not trying to be disrespectful--it's just there are a lot of really great stories out there and sometimes they're a little similar.

BUT I think Kleypas does emotion like none other. Her stories may be "simple", but you read 3 books in 3 days; you didn't put the book down; and you seemed to have enjoyed them as much as you were able to for something that didn't have a maniac villain in them. Why is that? The emotion. I think romance readers like to read for the relationship and the emotion--you know because we live with guys who don't communicate all the time...or we don't--so it's a little fantasy fulfill to have the relationship where all the emotion is laid out there. *shrugs* To me, reading is about STORY, not plot. So I always care more about the character and rarely much about the outside circumstances (basic plot) contributing. I want to see how the character reacts to conflict, I want to feel their emotions. (Gee, I sound like an emotional vampire now. Ick.)

Thank you for taking the review today...and thank you for focusing on the positives. :) (And Sugar Pop made me laugh--but only because I think you're an irreverent beast. *LOL* I've been hanging out with Lucy too much lately; irreverence only makes me giggle now. Lord, you ought to have heard what Deerhunter said about the Virgin Mary the other day...and I was laughing so hard I nearly fell out of bed. Oh, I love it when the prozac works.)

Terri Osburn said...

Seriously? You people are killing me.

Sugar Daddy - Gage Travis
Blued Eye Devil - HARDY CATES (and Haven Travis)
Smooth Talking Stranger - Jack Travis

And *I'm* the one with memory issues on this crew?

MsHellion said...

Yes, I'm serious; and I'm sorry I don't remember. I have Julie Garwood books I adore and can't remember any names either. Come on. It's been several years since I read these books; I read A LOT. I don't jot down their names or send them Christmas cards you know.

Marnee Bailey said...

You're right; I should have looked it up for my comment earlier. It was early.

I liked Sugar Daddy a lot. Probably better than the other two. Though I did like them all very much. :)

Maureen said...

Well, I only thought it fair to treat all with similar memory issues.

I really did find the books engaging and I'd love it if she'd write the last one. Thought I think Liberty's sister is gonna have a story to tell. (Her name was Liberty? Dang did I get that wrong?)

This is the review you get after a weekend like I had.

P. Kirby said...

I get titles and characters wrong all the time...although, for reviews, I do the fact check thing before posting. But I sometimes goof up names even with favorite books.

I've only read two Kleypas's: Rainshadow Road and Mine Till Midnight. (Nope. Didn't remember the titles; this is why Goodreads has been so useful, lately.) Any-way, of the two, Rainshadow Road is the only one I really enjoyed. According to my GR review, MTM annoyed me with it's improbability, and its need to set up the romance (h/h) for the next book. Finding I'm not a big fan of historicals, though.

I'm super impressed, however, that you read three books in three days. Wowsers! Even when I devour a book (Hunger Games), it takes at least three days per book.

Sabrina Shields said...

I might be in the minority here but I love Kleypas' historials way more than her contemporaries.

The Hathaways Series is a true love of mine. Married by Morning is still to this day one of my all time favs and quite possibly my favorite hero of all time.

Adore that series!

Sabrina Shields said...

I feel another re-read coming up soon! Just talking about this series has me longing to read it again.

MsHellion said...

I am very fond of Kleypas' historicals, esp the Hathaways series, but there was something a little more raw in her Sugar Daddy book--which is the one I think is best. But the Friday Harbor series is a blend of 3rd person (like her historicals) with her contemporary voice. They're good...but there was just something really magical about Sugar Daddy for me. I read it at the right time or something.

Maureen said...

I found myself smiling a lot. And I credit her way with simple phrases and words to convey a real sense of place. Sometimes playful, sometimes serious. I suppose, to a certain extent, they were colloquial sayings. But instead of being thrown in for effect, they were effortlessly inserted naturally...

Question for those who read her...are all her books first person?

Maureen said...

And nevermind, I see that Hellie has answered that in the comment above mine... My brain is on speedbump mode, so it took several minutes for it to register.

Pat, yeah...when I'm on a reading run, I'm unstoppable. I realized a few years ago that the idea of reading a book to learn technique wasn't something I am capable of doing. If I like the story, everything becomes a blur and I just read. Fast.

Which is why I'm not a good book reviewer. I can give impressions, but specifics don't stick. Doesn't mean I don't notice them or appreciate them, but they just stay as something to admire, not dissect.

Pity, because in a discussion about a book I can hear and understand when other authors discuss what worked and the technique and all of that. "OH, I saw that!" But I don't take it in as a writer...I'm still a reader.

P. Kirby said...

"Question for those who read her...are all her books first person?"

The two I read were third person, I think.

To Kleypas's credit, I noticed that in my review of MTM, even though it was nearly a DNF, I noted at the end that I was interested in reading the love story for two of the secondary characters.

Where, in contrast, the SF space opera thing I just read (actually, DNF-ed) made me never, ever want to read another book by that particular author.

Maureen said...

And Marn! I saw your comment! You'll read something I adore? I'm all a dither! Now, I gotta pick the perfect one to hook you...

Terri Osburn said...

I've only read a few of her historicals and do prefer the contemporaries. The Travis family series (the ones we're discussing today) are in 1st person, but her latest contemporary series is in 3rd, which I prefer. I've read Rainshadow Road but still need to read the one after and I see ARCs of the one after that are already going around. I'm way behind but love this series so I'll get to them.

Maureen said...

It's interesting, I seldom read a book a don't finish. I have authors I read where at the end I am ambivalent about reading anymore of that author...few that I've really hated. But a lot that I just don't return to.

I recently read a Sherlock story which I could appreciate for it's adherence to the canon, but there wasn't a story that I appreciated...I won't read the second book.

I often read authors who aren't bad. They just aren't for me.

Maureen said...

Ter, don't you think the story of the little sister could be phenomenal? I mean, talk about baggage!

MsHellion said...

There are books that I don't finish on my end. *LOL* I try not to review them though because they're just not my gig. Just like I like neutral colors and white walls for my living room--other people actually like to color their walls. *droll look* With paint called FLAME. Or make their bedrooms lavender...and their closets green. Not me though. I don't mind having one room that's a little crazy, but my whole house won't be that way--meaning, I may read a crazy book occasionally outside of my comfort zone or normal picks, but I'm primarily going to read white-wall books. Books suited to my decorating style, if you will.

What irks me is I'll get a book that fits the "norm" I would go for, but the voice and tone of the novel doesn't work for me. I don't get their humor and it doesn't match the emotional expectation I'm wanting. I want to feel when I read...and not just feel pissed I paid good money for a crappy book.