Author: Jennifer Crusie

Review: Anthology – Santa Baby

Posted December 27, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Anthology – Santa BabyReviewer: Holly
Santa, Baby by Jennifer Crusie, Carly Phillips, Lori Foster
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 31st 2006
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 328
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Get ready for a holiday season you'll never forget with three of today's most sensational writers who know what every woman wants for the holidays. You'll believe in Santa all over again with these seductive stories from: JENNIFER CRUSIEMayhem ensues under the mistletoe as a determined shopper grabs the very last hot toy action figure off the shelf, only to find herself plunged into the middle of a real-life spy game--in the arms of a sexy secret agent. . . LORI FOSTERTwo dedicated coworkers with a lot of secrets (and fantasies!) between them must plan a Christmas party side by side--and discover a love worth celebrating--in this steamy office romance. CARLY PHILLIPSA "mistletoe moment" begins when a no-nonsense lawyer intent on seducing her boss meets his twin instead--after giving him a scintillating kiss that leaves him begging for more. . .

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: I love holiday anthologies. I would say 92% of my holiday reads come in the form of anthos.

This post was originally published January 6, 2009

I bought this anthology because the Jennifer Crusie was one I hadn’t read before and she’s one of my favorite authors. So I’m sure you can imagine my surprise when her entry turned out to be my least favorite of them all.

Hot Toy by JENNIFER CRUSIE

Mayhem ensues under the mistletoe as a determined shopper grabs the very last hot toy action figure off the shelf, only to find herself plunged into the middle of a real-life spy game—in the arms of a sexy secret agent. . .

Believe it or not my big issue with this story was the hero. Shocking, I know, since generally it’s the heroines I have trouble with. Trudy is out looking for a toy for her nephew when she runs into Nolan, a man she dated for awhile. A man she thought was different. A man she thought might be the one. Until their 4th date when he took a call, said he’d be back and just disappeared. His reasons for doing so seemed suspect in the beginning, and unfortunately were still suspect at the end – meaning I didn’t really buy his excuse.

Having said that, a less than stellar novel from Jenny Crusie is still better than some super stellar novels by other authors. I found the novella to have her trademark sass and humor and I really enjoyed Trudy and her sister. I even liked Nolan apart from his situation with Trudy.

Overall a fun, well-written story that probably needed a bit more depth to make it work a little better for me.

3.5 out of 5

Christmas Bonus by LORI FOSTER

Two dedicated coworkers with a lot of secrets (and fantasies!) between them must plan a Christmas party side by side—and discover a love worth celebrating—in this steamy office romance.

Lori Foster tends to be really hit or miss for me. I think I probably love 2 out of every 5 books of hers I read. This definitely falls into the “love” category. It was a sweet, cute story. Maggie and Eric have been attracted to each other for ages but age – and Maggie’s father, Eric’s boss – kept them separated. When they’re forced to work together planning a holiday party things quickly heat up.

The chemistry here really worked for me and the story – while short – really had some great emotional depth. I really enjoyed it.

4.0 out of 5

Naughty Under the Mistletoe by CARLY PHILLIPS

A “mistletoe moment” begins when a no-nonsense lawyer intent on seducing her boss meets his twin instead—after giving him a scintillating kiss that leaves him begging for more. . .

Carly Phillips, like Lori Foster, is an author that’s really hit or miss for me. Something about her writing style bugs me, though I’ve never been able to put my finger on just what. But, like Foster’s entry, this one really worked for me. Actually, this may be my favorite of the collection.

Something about Max and Toni really worked for me. Maybe it was her playing Elf and Max falling like a ton of bricks. Or maybe it was Max being super sexy and Toni falling for him like a ton of bricks. Either way, it as cute and I enjoyed it.

I did have an issue with the ending. I’m not really sure I buy them being head-over-heels in love after one night. I guess on a pure fantasy level it worked, but I definitely had to suspend disbelief. Otherwise it was great.

4.0 out of 5

Overall a cute collection of stories.

Total Grade: 4 out of 5

This book is available from St. Martin’s Press. You can buy it here.


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Retro Review: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Posted March 1, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 9 Comments

Retro Review: Bet Me by Jennifer CrusieReviewer: Casee
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 31st 2004
Pages: 391
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five-stars

Minerva Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man who asked her to dinner to win a bet. Even if he is gorgeous and successful Calvin Morrisey. Cal knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs. Even if she does wear great shoes and keeps him on his toes. When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again.
But Fate has other plans, and it's not long before Min and Cal meet again. Soon, they're dealing with a jealous ex-boyfriend, Krispy Kreme donuts, a determined psychologist, chaos theory, a freakishly intelligent cat, Chicken Marsala, and more risky propositions than either of them ever dreamed of. Including the biggest gamble of all—true love.

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This review was originally posted on June 2, 2008.

This wasn’t my first Crusie book. Years ago I read Charlie Something-or-Other. I didn’t really care for it. In fact, I had no idea why everyone was so crazy about this author. Yes, the book I read was an early Crusie novel. That’s why I wasn’t in any hurry to give her another try. Look at Linda Howard, Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught…all authors whose earlier works are more loved than their more recent books. That’s my excuse for waiting so long to read Bet Me. I guess I have to thank Holly b/c I would have most likely not tried to read it again if she wouldn’t have coerced pressured bullied suggested it in such a wonderful way. (Holly: Am I good like that, or what? It’s ok, you don’t have to bow down to my greatness..we know. We know. LOL)

That being said, I’m so glad that she persevered b/c I loved this book.

Min Dobbs decides to teach Cal Morrisey a lesson when she overhears him making a bet that he can get her into bed. Deciding that she will string him along for three weeks until her sister’s wedding, Min accepts his invitation for dinner. It only takes one dinner for Min to admit that she doesn’t have it in her to string someone like Cal along. At the end of the night, they part ways, both satisfied that they will never see the other again.

Fate definitely had a way of laughing in their faces. Again and again Min and Cal ran into each other. Yet each time they parted, that was it. They were never going to see each other again.

There is really no easy way to review this book other than to say if you haven’t read it, you’re missing out. Crusie has some of the best dialogue that I’ve ever read. The relationship between Min and Cal was far from an easy one. Though they both had admitted to themselves that the other is “the one”, they both had hangups that wouldn’t let them admit it out loud. Add in Min’s jealous ex-boyfriend and Cal’s rational ex-girlfriend and you have a book that you can’t put down.

I loved everything about this book from how it began, to the continuing conflict, to both Min and Cal’s parents, to the ending. Everything about it just hooked me from page 1.

5 out of 5.

five-stars


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Guest Review: Hot Toy by Jennifer Crusie

Posted October 21, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Hot Toy by Jennifer CrusieReviewer: Tracy
Hot Toy by Jennifer Crusie
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Genres: Anthologies (multiple authors)
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four-stars

Tracy’s review of Hot Toy by Jennifer Crusie

Mayhem ensues under the mistletoe as a determined shopper grabs the very last hot toy action figure off the shelf, only to find herself plunged into the middle of a real-life spy game and in the arms of a sexy secret agent…

Trudy is a good aunt. She wants her nephew Leroy to have a wonderful Christmas but the only thing he wants this year is a Major MacGuffin action figure that spews toxic waste. Leroy’s father was supposed to buy it for him but he ran off with the nanny instead. Trudy is out at an old toy store in the hopes that they still might have one. She doesn’t find the right doll but she runs into Nolan who she went on three dates with and then he never called again.

When Trudy finds last year’s Major MacGuffin on a shelf she’s thrilled. When she runs into her father’s old research assistant and he tells her that he heard of a warehouse that has this year’s doll she’s excited but leery to get in the cab with him. When Nolan pushes his way into the cab to go too she decides it’s a good thing – until they all get to the warehouse and things start to get a little hinky, Reese isn’t who he says he is, neither is Nolan and they’re both after her MacGuffin! She’s not giving it up and she’s certainly not going to be trusting either of them!

This was the second time that I’d read this short novella but it was just as good the second time around. Trudy is such a character. She loves her family and will do just about anything for them but she does it with attitude – which I loved. Then there’s the way she stands up to Nolan which was classic. I wish I’d had the guts to tell guys off like that when I was dating (way back when). Lol

The story is sweet and cute but also has sarcasm, adventure and romance all wrapped up into a nice little package. If you haven’t read this one yet you’ll definitely want to – it’s a keeper.

Rating: 4 out of 5

This title is available from St. Martin’s Paperbacks. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

four-stars


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Joint Review: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Posted May 19, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 7 Comments

Joint Review: Bet Me by Jennifer CrusieReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Published by Macmillan
Publication Date: December 30th 2008
Pages: 432
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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five-stars

Minerva Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man who asked her to dinner to win a bet. Even if he is gorgeous and successful Calvin Morrisey. Cal knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs. Even if she does wear great shoes, and keep him on his toes. When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again.
But Fate has other plans, and it's not long before Min and Cal meet again. Soon, they're dealing with a jealous ex-boyfriend, Krispy Kreme donuts, a determined psychologist, chaos theory, a freakishly intelligent cat, Chicken Marsala, and more risky propositions than either of them ever dreamed of. Including the biggest gamble of all-true love. Bet Me is the winner of a 2005 RITA Award.

Holly: For years Ween and I have argued over books (among other things), because our reading taste often differ dramatically. But one book we’ve always agreed on (besides Heart of Fire by Linda Howard that is) is Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie. The novel is extremely well written, hilarious and sweet, with witty dialogue and fabulous characters. But don’t take our word for it, go forth and read it yourself!

Wena: Seriously.

This book will forever be that book that made me want to try Chicken Marsala or try the chocolate glazed donuts from Krispy Kreme again because after a while they got to be too sweet. But after reading this book? I wanted to eat all of it. I swear this book made me want to find a hot guy and try out that picnic scene on my own.

For me, characters are extremely important and in this book we have lots of rich, full characters that by the end of the book you’ve already adopted into your fictional family. The hero and the heroine were just hilariously right for each other and it was just a party for my eyes to read about their journey.

Holly: Yep, this book is the sole reason I learned how to make Chicken Marsala.

The cast of secondary characters are amazing, I completely agree. And Min and Cal were so perfect for each other. I love the way they banter back and forth with each other, right from the beginning.

A cell phone rang behind her, and she started. When she turned, it was Calvin Morrisey, back again. He reached in his jacket and took out his phone, the kind that had more bells and whistles than any human being needed, and it confirmed her decision: There was no way in hell she was going to spend three weeks with a soulless yuppie just to get a date to Diana’s wedding. She’d go Dutch on dinner and then say goodbye forever; that was a plan.
She crossed her arms and waited for him to impress her with a business call, but he turned the phone off.
Min raised her eyebrows. “What if it’s important?”
“The only person I want to talk to is here,” he said, smiling that GQ smile at her.
“Oh, for crying out loud,” Min said. “Can you turn that off, too?”
“Excuse me?” he said, his smile fading.
“The constant line.” Min began to walk again. “You’ve got me for dinner. You can relax now.”

I also love the relationship between the friends. Especially the way they look out for each other. Reminds me of us. 🙂

Min tapped her fingers on the bar, trying to vent some tension. “I should have known David was a
mistake when I couldn’t bring myself to sleep with him. We were on our third date, and the waiter
brought the dessert menu, and David said, ‘No, thank you, we’re on a diet,’ and of course, he isn’t
because there’s not an ounce of fat on him, and I thought, ‘I’m not taking off my clothes with you’ and I paid my half of the check and went home early. And after that, whenever he made his move, I thought of the waiter and crossed my legs.”
“He wasn’t the one,” Bonnie said with conviction.
“You think?” Min said, and Bonnie looked wounded. Min closed her eyes. “Sorry. Sorry.Really sorry. It’s just not a good time for that stuff, Bon. I’m mad. I want to savage somebody, not look to the horizon for the next jerk who’s coming my way.”
“Sure,” Bonnie said. “I understand.”
Liza shook her head at Min. “Look, you didn’t care about David, so you haven’t lost anything except a date to Di’s wedding. And I vote we skip the wedding. It has ‘disaster’ written all over it, even without the fact that she’s marrying her best friend’s boyfriend.”

sigh

So what are you waiting for? Rush out and get this book! You won’t regret it and seriously Cal is a to die for hero (as the last JC hero standing is showing us). This book is the reason why I love Jennifer Crusie so much…it is this book that set the bar for my love of Jennifer Crusie books.

Give it a try, won’t ya?

Not only is Cal to die for, but so is Min, their respective families and the secondary characters.

5 out of 5

Wena: Ditto to what Holly said…

5 out of 5

for me too.

This book is available from St. Martin’s Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

five-stars


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Review: Faking It by Jennifer Crusie

Posted May 8, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Faking It by Jennifer CrusieReviewer: Holly
Faking It by Jennifer Crusie
Series: Dempseys #2
Published by Macmillan
Publication Date: March 29th 2011
Pages: 352
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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four-stars

Meet the Goodnights, a respectable family who have run a respectable art gallery for generations. There's Gwen, the matriarch who sedates herself with double-crostics and double vodkas, Eve the oldest daughter who has a slight identity problem (she has two), and Nadine, the granddaughter who's ready to follow in the family footsteps as soon as she can find a set that isn't leading off a cliff. Holding everyone together is Matilda, the youngest daughter, who's inherited the secret locked down in the basement of the Goodnight Gallery, the secret that she's willing to do almost anything to keep, including break into a house in the dead of night to steal back her past.
Meet the Dempseys, or at least meet Davy, a reformed con man who's justbeen ripped off for a cool three million by his financial manager, who then gallantly turned it over to Clea Lewis, the most beautiful sociopath Davy ever slept with. Davy wants the money back, but more than that he'll do anything to keep Clea from winning, including break into her house in the dead of night to steal back his future.
One collision in a closet later, Tilda and Davy reluctantly join forces to combat Clea, suspicious art collectors, a disgruntled heir, and an exasperated hitman, all the while coping with a mutant dachshund, a juke box stuck in the sixties, questionable sex, a painting of three evil fisherman closing in on a dyspeptic tuna, multiple personalities, miscellaneous Goodnights and Dempseys, and the growing realization that they can't turn their backs on the people they were meant to be...or the people they were born to love.
Faking It: What has reality ever done for you?

Faking It is the (not)sequel (see the explanation on Jennifer Crusie‘s site) to Welcome To Temptation, which Rowena reviewed here.

This is one of those novels I had to read more than once before I fell in love with it. The first time I read it, I was coming off the high of Welcome to Temptation and had high expectations for how this one would turn out. I was disappointed, no two ways about it.

But there’s a particular scene that stuck in my mind, so I decided to go back and do a re-read several months after reading it the first time. And you know what? I enjoyed it even more the second time around. Then, I re-read it again. And loved it even more. By my 5th re-read, my original opinion of this novel had drastically changed, and it has become one of my favorite Crusie novels.

One of the things I think Ms. Crusie excels at is writing characters with personality and depth. Davy and Tilda are both wonderful characters (from Tilda’s plug-in vibrator to Davy’s shady past) who compliment each other well. Both are quirky and fun, but have hidden depths.

The plot is an interesting and engaging one, if a bit on the ridiculous side. Though I do have to say, no one does ridiculous as well as Jenny Crusie does. As with all her novels, the secondary characters are a complete riot and fully enrich the story. I love Tilda’s crazy family and their interactions with each other.

Nadine sighed and opened a cupboard, taking down a loaf of whole wheat. “According to Grandma, there are two kinds of men in the world, doughnuts and muffins.”
“Is there anybody in your family who’s sane?”
“Define ‘sane’.” Nadine dropped two pieces of bread in Gwen’s yellow Fiesta toaster.
“Never mind,” Davy said. “Doughnuts and muffins.”
“Doughnuts are the guys that make you drool,” Nadine said, taking a jar of peanut butter from the cupboard. “They’re gorgeous and crispy and covered with chocolate icing and you see one and you have to have it, and if you don’t get it, you think about it all day and then you go back for it anyway, because it’s a doughnut.”
“Put some toast in for me when yours is done,” Davy said, suddenly ravenous.
Nadine pushed the bakery bag toward him. “There are pineapple-orange muffins in there.”
Davy fished one out. “You have a thing for pineapple-orange?”
“We have a thing for tangy,” Nadine said. “We like the twist.
“I picked that up,” Davy said. “So doughnuts make you drool.”
“Right, whereas muffins just sort of sit there all lumpy, looking alike, not chocolate icing at all.”
Davy looked at his muffin. It had a high golden crown, not lumpy at all. He shrugged and peeled the top off and took a bite. Tangy.
“And while muffins may be excellent,” Nadine went on, “especially the pineapple-orange ones, they’re no doughnuts.”
“So doughnuts are good,” Davy said, trying to keep up his end of the conversation.
“Well, yeah, for one night,” Nadine said, as her toast popped. She dropped in two more pieces for Davy and then dug into the peanut butter, slathering it on her bread like spackle. “But then the next morning, they’re not crisp anymore, and the icing is all stuck to the bag, and they have watery stuff all over them, and they’re icky and awful. You can’t keep a doughnut overnight.”
“Ah,” Davy said. “But a muffin -”
“Is actually better the next day,” Nadine finished. “Muffins are for the long haul and they always taste good. They don’t have that oh-my-God-I-have-to-have-that thing that the doughnuts have going for them, but you still want them the next morning. ” She bit into her toast with strong white teeth that were a testament to Dr. Mark.

Overall this might not seem like the best novel right off the bat, but if you stick with it and follow through, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what a gem of a story this is.

4.0 out of 5

This book is available from St. Martin’s Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-stars


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