Friday, October 12, 2007

Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie

Ahhh Friday night! Other people are out partying, drinking, and having hot sex. Me? I'm sitting at home watching reruns of What Not to Wear, waiting for the new season of Blood Ties to come on in a couple of hours, listening to Andrea Bocelli, catching up with some internet reading, and trying to think of a good way to encapsulate my reading experience of the most excellent Welcome to Temptation.

As I said in previous entries, I've never been much of a contemp reader. Or comedy for that matter. I tend towards the long angsty historicals. But I like to think of myself of at least open-minded and ready to try new things if given enough reasons. So on the strength of some very strong recommendations, I picked this one up at my library last week.

First off, I will say that the beginning chapters were a little shaky for me. And that may have more to do with my inexperience with this author's style of writing. I felt a little bit like I was coming into a story that was already in full swing and I was missing some things. Who are these two girls and what's going on? Then all of the sudden more characters keep popping up. ack! Am I slow on the uptake? Oh wait, no, it just takes me a few pages to get things straight. Cool. Alright, I think I'm tracking now...

Do I need to do a plot synopsis thingy? Everyone else in the romance reading universe but me seems to have read this book already. Basic premise: Sophie Dempsey and her sister Amy have a little video business where they tape weddings and somehow they get this gig doing a video for a one-hit wonder "movie star" in said star's podunk hometown. Then there's the local mayor, Phineas Tucker. Yeah, that's right, his name is Phineas. *snort* I know I certainly was skeptical about the romantic hero potential of a character with such a name. But there's something mysteriously sexy about the nickname Phin. Oh and talk about sexy. *fans self* Phin has this very casual, elegant and self-assured manner that borders on flippant at times but ultimately just seems very...what's the word...effortless? Oh and he's freakin' FUNNY!

Sophie jerked her head around to look at him. He had stretched out on the dock with his hands behind his head, and he was looking at the stars, too, pretty much ignoring her.
"She fell in love with a bear?"
"No, a bear ate her." Phin rolled his head to look at her. "Appalachia is not big on silly love songs."
"A bear ate her," Sophie shook her head. "Leave it to you to think that's romantic."
"The song's beautiful," Phin looked back at the stars. "It ends with her ghost wearing a crown of sorrow. Very romantic."
"Dead women are not romantic," Sophie said flatly.
"Okay, she's not dead," Phin said. "The bear ate her, and she came her brains out."
Sophie felt her laugh spurt before she could stop herself. "Oh, very nice. That's not romantic either."
"It is if you do it right."
Sophie thought about it. "I must not be doing it right."
"It wouldn't be you that isn't doing it right," Phin said. "It'd be the bear."

I really did laugh out loud when I read that scene. One thing that Crusie obviously does well is humor. But it doesn't feel forced (*cough*Evanovich*cough*) or wander toooo far into schtick. Yeah, I guess the word I was looking for is effortless.

Ok, so certain town folk are convinced that the video Sophie and Amy are making is actually porn. Phin is being leaned on by some in the city council to shut the production down; in the meantime he and Sophie are getting into a relationship. It starts off as just sex, no strings attached. This was actually pretty refreshing to me. They're two adults, indulging themselves without loads of guilt. It's interesting to see how their sexual chemistry turns to affection which turns to a deeper connection which ultimately leads to love. I felt that despite all the zany goings-on and wacky characters wandering in and out of the plot (did I mention we get a murder mystery thrown in to boot?), there is still a pretty consistent focus on Phin and Sophie and what's going on in both their heads.

I have one (minor) complaint and that has to do with the random movie quotations that Sophie likes to throw in. I found it odd that this would bother me because in real life, I myself like to quote movies. So call me a hypocrite. But half of the references went straight over my head (my fault for having been brought up outside the US) and the others weren't all that hilarious. Not to mention I didn't always see the extra "" marks and just read them as dialogue and then got confused. But this is a minor thing and didn't detract too much from my overall positive experience.

I really enjoyed this book. It was easy to read and made me laugh. The dialogue was witty and the characters were interesting. The only real question I had upon finishing it was....does smooth-lovin'-criminal Davy Dempsey get his own book?

Grade: A-


Kristie (J) said...

So are you willing to venture more than just a toe into contemps now having read a keeper :)
And yes - Davie does get a book of his own book - Faking It. Now it's just me I know, but I've tried a few times to get into this one but just never could. Very odd for a Crusie book for me.

Kristie (J) said...

Oh - and I meant to add that I seem to be on a Blood Ties love fest. I was at my neighbours Thursday night and noticed it on at 10:00. I convinced her to watch it. Then it was on last night, an episode I hadn't seen. It's on again tonight (same eppy as last night) then again on Sunday night - where I get to see what happens to Henry and does he get away from the Vampire Hunter. That's 5 Nights In A Row for Blood Ties. I think it's official. I'm obsessed.

sula said...

Hey Kristie! Yeah, I think I could be tempted into a few more contemps...if given a good recommendation. (hint hint!) lol. Guess that if Davy's story didn't work for you, maybe that shouldn't be my next foray.

Glad to hear that you are catching up on Blood Ties! I am watching the last few episodes from season 1 right now as I transfer them from my DVR. I think you will like how things go down with the vampire hunter. And there are some really great moments in the episodes following. In fact, I think I'm gonna go blog an entry about BT now. *g*

Kristie (J) said...

Weeeellll - if you're looking for contemporary rec's *g* my favourite contemporary is After The Night by Linda Howard and has been for quite a while now. I also adored Drop Dead Gorgeous and To Die For by the same author. Warning about the heroine though. One either loves her or hates her - there doesn't seem to be much middle ground. I'm a love her.
I started off years ago reading historicals only but then slowly began branching out and now I can happily say I love books in all genres.

Rosario said...

Faking it wasn't my fave, either, but as you liked WTT, how about yet another Crusie, Bet Me? It, WTT and Anyone But You are my top Crusie favourites, rotating into first place depending on my mood.

sula said...

Hey Rosario. Nice to see you. :) (I'm a long time lurker on your excellent blog).

I just checked my library's catalogue (god, I love the internet!) and they have Bet Me available, so I placed a hold. Will look forward to adding it to the TBR pile.

Kristie, I guess After the Night MUST be good because it is listed as "lost" in the library system. Someone apparently thought it was good enough to add to their personal collection instead of returning it. boo hiss! They do have Drop Dead Gorgeous however, or they will have it back in a week. Unless that borrower also decides to filch. People these days, I tell ya!

sybil said...

I keep meaning to get to this book. hmmm I haven't read a cruise yet. Although I did read that last book with her, stuart and someone.

I have WTT, Bet Me, Anyone But You and I think Faking It :). Most likely all Ro's fault.

Do let us know if you read more. After the Night is an interesting read. I ended up reading it as one of my first contemps and didn't care for it. A year or so later after hearing Maili rave about it over and over (or maybe that was just the balcony scene *g*) I read it again. Somewhere near the end it dawned on my I had read it before.

Not a flat out fave but I enjoyed it more the second time. I really adore some of her old Harlequin stuff. Go figure.

Sandy said...

sula, this book has one of the finest bits of writing I've ever come across in a romance -- and I think I'll blog about it later today! The scene where Davy meets Phin is one of the funiest I've ever read and I laugh every time I think of "More of the same." Now THAT'S a memorable slogan! And that scene on the dock. Oh my, that scene on the dock! So glad you enjoyed it and I second Rosario's recommendation of Bet Me. Sadly, I think Crusie is kind of lost to us now.

Diana said...

Hey Sula,

Love that reference to the bear -- and then there was the pool table scene. Uh huh. My other top Crusie picks are Bet Me and Anyone But You.

I'm an unashamed Linda Howard geek. Here's what you must read: Kill and Tell (for the balcony scene alone), Cry No More, and Drop Dead Gorgeous. The famous scene in After the Night takes place in a public bathroom, not on the balcony. See? I told you I was a geek.


sula said...

Hi Sybil, thanks for dropping by. :) I too had never read a Crusie (although I had heard a lot about her) until WTT. If you have a chance to bump that one up in your TBR mountain, I would recommend it. Good times fun!

Sandy, I got Bet Me from the library last night. After I finish my current book(s), it's next. That dock scene was...well...unexpected? In a GOOD way, though. lol. I'll look forward to reading your blog. *g*

Diana, totally agree about the pool table scene. If one needed any more proof that those two were a match made in heaven, that bit of compatibility clears it right up. Will make a note of the Howard recs and see what my library has to offer me. Thanks!

lisabea said...

Welcome to Temptation contains one of the funniest sex scenes ever. I guess all I have to say is alarm clock, right? When Phin starts throwing things off the night stand and Sophie begins to freak out that her sister is coming up the stairs to check on her? It was hot AND a hoot.

Loved it.