Saturday, February 2, 2013

Love and War - Themes for the Next Two Reviews

Let’s start with love.  Marina Adair (a local author) wrote Kissing Under the Mistletoe.  To begin with, I was very concerned that I missed my window for reading this book.  I mean, the Christmas season just ended, and how interested was I going to be to read a book in January that takes place in December?  An excellent question, I would say.  Well, it turns out that I was worried for no good reason.  I really enjoyed this book.  The protagonist is Regan Martin who falls for a guy, Richard, that, unbeknownst to her, is married to Abigail DeLuca, the only sister (and a baby one at that) among 5 siblings from a prominent wine family in St. Helena.  The oldest son, Gabe, who is the family patriarch with both of his parents tragically deceased, is determined to make sure that Regan, whose reputation as a wine marketer is growing, never works anywhere near where his sister is. 

To make matters more complicated, Regan has a 5-year old daughter, Holly, whose father is Richard.  Regan gets a job opportunity to work for a winery in St. Helena.  She figures that a move into St. Helena is just the thing to get her away from the DeLuca family in Oregon.  Only, it turns out that St. Helena is where the DeLuca’s actually live.  It’s been 6 years since the break-up with Richard and the initial trouble with Gabe.  And when she gets to St. Helena and finds out that the job is not available, thanks, again, to Gabe, she decides that she’s done running. 

What ensues has very few surprises.  But so what?  It’s a very cool romance with an adorable 5-year old and some really entertaining ancillary characters.  It even has a “dirty jar” that Holly monitors.  Every time Regan uses a bad word or acts rude, she has to put a quarter into the jar.  As you might imagine, the jar has a lot of money in it.  There are several scenes in the book where the “dirty jar” provides some lightheartedness to the story.

If you want complex, read Mailer or Irving or one of those other old guys.  If you want something light, well-written, and entertaining, then read Marina Adair’s Kissing Under the Mistletoe.  And you don’t even have to wait until next December!

Let’s finish up this blog post with war.  It’s W.E.B. Griffin’s 7th Honor Bound book.  I have mentioned before that Griffin has written 6 series.  5 are military-themed and one (Badge of Honor) is a police series.  I read book 1 of Badge of Honor and didn’t like it.  As for the other 5, I absolutely loved Brotherhood of War and The Corps (he’s done with those 2 series, hence the past tense) and absolutely love (notice the present tense) Presidential Agent.  Men at War is okay.  It’s a bit of a throwaway – it’s not that well-written and doesn’t have the same compelling characters that the other series have.  But here’s the interesting part of this whole thing.  Honor Bound was always my 2nd least favorite.  I read it because I was reading all of Griffin’s military series.  Voila, this is no longer the case.  I liked book 6 quite a bit, and I love (there’s that word again) book 7.  Not only does he have the same characters as he’s had before, but he brilliantly brings in a new character that rivals the main protagonist in terms of importance to the story and literary appeal.  That’s tough to do in a book 7!

Empire and Honor makes #41 for me (that’s quite a lot, don’t you agree?).  I’ll keep reading all of his military stuff as long as he (along with his son, William Butterworth IV, who has co-authored 11 of W.E.B.’s books) keeps writing them.

P.S.  What’s the story line in Empire and Honor?  It doesn’t matter.  Just know that, as usual, it takes place in Argentina and involves Nazis who have left Germany toward the end of the war to take up residence in Argentina.  If you like Griffin, you’ll like this one 

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