OK, so I cracked the cover of a book which is set in modern day, so must be a contemporary. It's part of Harlequin's "Now that you're an aged hag with lumpy bodies and older children, you might enjoy these" line. Otherwise known as "The Next Novel" line.
The book is Treading Lightly by Elise Lanier and it has a cute cover. It's sort of a persimmon orange with lots of decorative scrolling, featuring a metal hamster wheel in the center. Bright, catchy, without being cartoony. Neat cover.
The Book? I hate it.
I'm on page 35 and I've already found an excellent example of Suisan's Primary Pet Peeve: Expository dialogue.
It's right up there with "monologuing" from The Incredibles. No one speaks this way. No one says, "Remember when we went to Bermuda that time after Jimmy dumped you? We were sitting in the bar and that really old, fat guy came in with his trophy wife? And she ordered a Scotch on the rocks and he ordered an umbrella drink, and you said, 'Two months, tops.' and she heard you? And then she gave you that look that would have melted glass?""
Instead good friends say, "Remember Bermuda? 'Two months, tops.' Yeah, well, that's the look I got from Annie today."
Maybe I go into contemporaries with a chip on my shoulder. (Just a little chip. It's the size of Plymouth Rock and carved into its face is: Impress Me.) But I keep finding junk like this:
Page 29. Mother is at the doctor with back pain and doctor orders rounds of tests. She yelps at the cost.
"X-rays? It sounds expensive. Is it covered by my plan?"
"Yes, Janine." He'd rolled his eyes. "But does it make a difference? If this were Craig's back, would you ask that question?"
"Of course not! How could you even ask me that? If this happened to Craig, I would do anything he needed. No matter what the cost. And you know that!"
"Yes, I do. And you deserve the same quality of care...."
Hopping in her seat, Suisan is. There is not one sentence after "It sounds expensive" that is not crap. And there's the ever-believable comment made by her doctor on page 31, said on the Spur Of The Moment, mind you.
"My dear, you've got the stubbornness of a two-year-old toddler, the eating habits of an eight-year-old child, the figure of a sixteen-year-old boy, the mentality of a thirty-year-old wildcat, the mouth of a forty-year-old sailor, and the bones of a seventy-five-year-old woman." He'd tried to use humor to help defray the emotionalism of the diagnosis, but she'd been thrown into a state of shock....
Yeah, me too. Because I'd be anxious about how long it had taken my doctor to come up with that list. Did he do it in the car on the way to work? Had he been compiling that for weeks? Months? Mouth of a sailor? Well, fuck you too. None of your business, bub. Body's yours to to treat. Leave my language to me.
So I'm on page 37--she's just bought a treadmill which is going to be the ex machina to bring her together with love of her life who is going to sweep her away from her miserable life. Goody.
Soon to be mailed to me from PaperbackSwap is Blaze by Carly Phillips. Yeah, I only got to the Bs in the list of contemporary romances on PaperbackSwap before I ordered one. Or there's Manhunt by Janet Evanovich, which doesn't have the traditional back cover blurb, but instead a letter from the author. Cabin romance--but it's contemporary...We'll see.
And I know this one isn't contemporary, but then I hate contemporaries, remember? I bought it because I liked the cover and because the hero's name is Fox Tremayne--didn't actually read the backcover blurb in the store. I was too burned out from reading other backcover blurbs. Now that I've read the backcover blurb, I may actually like Deception by Teri Lynn Wilhelm.
My five year old (Happy Birthday!!) is sick today. Yesterday she threw up on two sets of sheets and four blankets. (Missed the towels every blessed time.) So I'm off to lie down with her on the couch and keep reading these books I love Oh So Well.