Listen, reading books is a lot like eating in restaurants. I don't walk into a McDonalds and expect white glove service. So when I pick up a romance novel, I don't expect fine literature. I do expect a good plot and a fun story. Cindy Gerard is a RITA award winning author, an award given by the Romance Writers of America. This novel is the first of series of novels for the Black Ops Inc. "BOI's" and is actually a spin off from an earlier series. Ms. Gerard does what a lot of romance writers do and that is link characters through novels. This story did stand on its own, but I did get the feeling in a couple spots that I was missing something. The attraction between Jenna and Gabe would have made more sense if I had read the previous book.
I have to say after my recent reading list, I was ready for some cotton candy, or as my mother used to call it "popcorn for the eyes." This novel fit the bill, it is a very typical romance with the plucky heroine and the brooding dark hero who had been horribly wounded physically and mentally in the past. He must give up his new love for her own good. Yada, yada, yada. The funny thing about romance novels is that they are strictly formulaic. As a matter of fact, if you are a writer writing romance novels and don't follow the formula, you may have difficulty getting published. Again, back to the McDonalds comparison. When you order a Big Mac, you want to get a Big Mac and not a Filet O'Fish.
Ms Gerard's plot comes together well and I didn't feel like she beat me over the head too often with the reason why our hero couldn't be with our heroine. Even though it was all mental, it was relatively less flimsy than other novels I have read. I had to laugh a couple times at the lines she used. I quote from the novel:
"Holy, holy cow," Jenna murmured as she let the sheet drift back down over Gabe's lap. The man was hung like one of her daddy's prize bulls.
Yeah, that was the first line from chapter 7. I'm not kidding. I laughed out loud. My husband looked at me funny. I read it to him. He rolled his eyes and kept watching football. But that is the fun of reading novels like this. It's not great literature, the author knows it's not great literature. But there is something to be said for writing something that people have fun reading. And the fact is this author has written multiple novels, been published, and won awards. Who am I to throw stones? I can't even figure out a plot line for my own novel and stick to it for two weeks straight. This novel may have even inspired me to look at my novel again and go back to what I initially had thought of writing and that is a romance novel. Maybe I've gotten too wrapped up in writing literature instead of just trying to write a good book that people have fun reading, which is what I initially set out to do.
So my conclusion is if you like romance novels, this would be a good pick. I would happily pick up more of Ms. Gerard's novels when I am in the mood for fluff.
Next on the docket: Reading Like a Writer - A Guide for People Who Love Books and For Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose