Monday, February 09, 2009

Review: Dogs and Goddesses by Jennifer Crusie, Anne Stuart and Lani Diane Rich

One of my all-time favorite author is Jennifer Crusie. I love her characters and the wacky situations they get into :) As a result, I pick up everything that has her names on it... even collaborations.

Dogs and Goddesses by Jennifer Crusie, Anne Stuart and Lani Diane Rich
published by St. Martin's Press in February 2009

Abby has just arrived in Summerville, Ohio, with her placid Newfoundland, Bowser. She's reluctantly inherited her grandmother's coffee shop, but it's not long before she's brewing up trouble in the form of magical baked goods and steaming up her life with an exasperating college professor.

And then there's Daisy, a web code writer, and her hyperactive Jack Russell, Bailey. Her tightly-wound world spins out of control when she discovers the chaos within and meets a mysterious dog trainer whose teaching style is definitely hands-on.

Finally there's Shar, professor of ancient history at Summerville College, who wakes up one morning to find her neurotic dachshund, Wolfie, snarling at an implacable god sitting at her kitchen table, the first thing in her life she hasn't been able to footnote. What on earth is going on in this unearthly little town? It's up to Abby, Daisy, and Shar to find out before an ancient goddess takes over Southern Ohio, and they all end up in the apocalyptic doghouse...
Genre: paranormal romance, mythology
Series: none

The Story: Hmmm, the backgrounds in the synopsis are correct, but I find the summary a tiny bit misleading. Let see if I can do a better job.

Basically, Abby, Daisy and Shar are brought together along with 3 other girls to the "Kammani Gula Dog Obedience Course" under different circumstances. Turns out that Kammani Gula is a goddess from the Mesopotanian era who has been 'revived.' She plans to reunite her seven prietess and take over the world.

Abby, Daisy and Shar are descendents of the priestess who used to serve Kammani Gula and actually discover that they are demi-goddesses. After drinking Kammani Gula's tonic, they seem to come into their powers which include being able to understand what their dogs are saying. Thing is, Abby, Daisy and Shar have no intention of aiding Kammani Gula to rule the world or to serve her... as a result, they have to find a way to send her back...

My Opinion: To tell the truth, the only reason I bought this book is because of Ms Crusie. I really enjoy her writing and I think it's unfortunate that she's been writing collaborations instead of coming up with solo books. Holly told me it's because Ms Crusie does not think she could surpass Bet Me... however, to be frank, none of her collaborations have come close to her older books, let alone Bet Me.

Anyway, Anne Stuart wrote Abby's storyline, Lani Diane Rich - Daisy's and Jennifer Crusie, Shar's. None of the storylines were perfect, I had issues with all of them ^_^; Then, when put together into the greater story... well let say the result is a bit confusing.

So let see... Out of the three, I enjoyed Abby's storyline and dog the most. Abby is new to town and seems to never have fit anywhere. She's looking for a place of her own and she finds it in Summerville. I think it would have been better if we were given a bit more of a background on Abby. I dislike how her mother said negative things about Abby and to stranger no less! Don't know though if what her mother said was true or not, since we were not given much on her background. Abby's hero was Christopher, a math college teacher who's a genius and socially impaired. He follows Ms Stuart's hero mold; however, didn't have time to be a complete jerk. My issue with this storyline was the relationship between Abby and Christopher. See, Abby was a virgin when she had sex with Christopher... and well, he reacted dumbly and as a result, Abby didn't want to have a relationship with Christopher and he had to try to win her back. Bleh...

Daisy's story was a bit meh... Basically, her mother skips town as soon as she hears about Kammani so Daisy will be chosen as the priestess instead of her. Talk about a selfish mother!! Thing is, it was never explained how Daisy's mother knew that Kammani was revived. There was no specific dates for Kammani's revival... so how did she know? I liked Daisy's relationship with Noah though... however, dislike how Daisy didn't trust Noah. In addition, I think Daisy's story was the one that had the most holes... like why did Mina (another prietess - the only one willing to serve Kammani and aware of the whole story) hate Daisy so much? In addition, I have to agree with Noah that Daisy was a bit self-centered :(

Finally, Shar... I think her storyline would have worked better if she wasn't 48 y.o. ^_^; All right, all right, I admit it, I've never been fond of older heroines. I like it when the heroines are between 25 and 35 y.o. I find I can relate with them better... At least, Shar wasn't a divorcee with kids, small blessings. Anyway, Shar is the lucky heroine and gets the god as her hero, Sam. Basically, Kammani needs to sacrifice a king (who also turns out to be a god) to start taking over the world. So when Kammani is revived, Sam is as well. Sam was yummy, but a bit superficial... I'm not sure how I feel about Shar and Sam together... I'm not sure they fit well. See, my problem is in the beginning, it was a big deal for Shar to be older... then as the story went, it seems like it was forgotten. I didn't feel like Shar was older by the end... and if you go through all the trouble to write about an older character, it shouldn't be forgotten right? Then, there's the fact that Shar thought that Sam was sleeping around, but she still went to him... because she loved him. Ugh. Woman, stand up for yourself and ask! Make it clear you don't want him to look at other women... So a bit frustrating.

Finally, I have to say that the overall plot was a bit confusing and felt like it was rushed. Actually, the pacing didn't feel right, probably because there are three authors trying to work on their own storyline. It didn't take too much time for the women to figure out what was happening... then, it seems the book went on pause in order to develop the characters and their individual storyline. Once it was "settled," the ending was rushed to wrap everything.

Personally, I could have overlooked a lot of things if at least, it's been funny... but it wasn't really. In the end, Dogs and Goddesses was a meh book, not as funny as I expected and with a few plot holes that left me wondering.

Grade: C-. If you didn't care for The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes, then you'll be disappointed with Dogs and Goddesses, because it's not really better :(

It seems like these collaborations aren't really working. Lucky for us though, it seems that Ms Crusie is working on a solo book. That, I'm looking forward to... but I think that I'll skip any other of her collaborations.


  1. Bummer. I guess just because writers are good, doesn't necessarily mean that more writers are better.

    I enjoyed the of Jennifer Crusie novel I've read (Any One But You.) I think I'm going to go look for Bet Me now.

  2. I'm just not a huge Crusie fan. Never have been, really. Hmmm...

  3. I'm a Crusie fan and am sad to hear that this isn't wonderful. I'm on the same page as you are: why the collaborations? IDK but I wish she'd write another great herself. Welcome to Temptation is one of my favorites!

  4. OH MAN!! I am really disappointed to hear this. I'll probably read it anyway, but damn it all to hell.

    I love Crusie. Why, WHY, won't she just write... aahhhhh (pulling my hair out)!

    Okay, I am done having my tantrum now. Sigh.

  5. Renee - I guess so. See, the key if you're going to collaborate and each write a storyline is balance... and a simpler plotline.

    I really like Jennifer Crusie's Welcome to Temptation, Crazy for You and Getting Rid of Bradley :) Bet Me wasn't one of my favorites, but it was a huge hit.

    Lori - Sorry to hear :( Proves that we all have different taste :P

    Tracy - I agree, I don't understand why she keeps writing collaboration. Agnes and the Hitman was great, but that's because it was very close to a classic Crusie. Anyway, she has a solo book planned, but I'm not a 100% sure of the release date... however, I hope soon. Very soon.

    Jill - Sorry to be the bearer of bad news :( I hope you do enjoy it better than I did.

  6. At our blogger get together this was the book I was reading. However, I wasn't in the mood SPOILER AHEAD for talking dogs last night. After just saying that I read only one book at a time (mostly) I started another book last night and it's a real winner.

  7. Oh dear. I must confessed that after The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes, I didn't let myself get excited about this book.

    I will read it, but I won't be buying it.

  8. All I saw was Anne Stuart. I'm good ;)


  9. Rosie - Well at least, it's not as if the dogs start talking humans... it's more like the heroines could understand them now. Ah well, let me know what you think of it once you're done!!

    Marg - Sucks no, Marg? :(

    Cindy - LOL, yeah, that's the reaction I was expecting from you : If you ever get your hand on this one and read it, I'll be curious to see what you think of it LOL :)

  10. See now I never would have picked this one up- both Cruise and Stuart have been hit or miss with me...

  11. Zeek - Crusie is usually a winner for me. Anne Stuart, a miss... ^_^;