Saturday, February 25, 2012

Week-End's Minis III: Because of the List by Amy Knupp

Guess what? We're having snow!! Yep, about 6 inches of snow has fell since yesterday afternoon ^_^; The weather for the past couple of weeks has been so mild that I think people started to hope LOL. This week, I actually walked in the mud because the snow was almost all melt! It definitively felt like spring... and then bam, snow! And the wet, heavy kind also! I wished I had taken pictures so I could show you the contrast! And according to forecast, we're getting another 4-6 inches in the coming week. Oh joy ^_^; I don't mind snow, but it makes traffic nightmare-ish!! Luckily, this coming week is spring breaks for most students and so, there won't be such an impact. Yay! So how's the weather where you live? LOL.

I haven't been reading much. I'm waiting for the new releases and unfortunately, none made it to the bookstores yet T_T Hopefully by Tuesday, they'll be there... Otherwise, I might go in severe withdrawal! The good news is that I've been blogging a lot! So much that it's taken a bit of a toll on me ^_^; It seems I can never reach the right balance between reading and blogging LOL. Anyway, because of that, I've decided to only write one mini-review and this week's winner is Because of the List by Amy Knupp! :) So enjoy!!

Oh and don't forget to vote for next week's book :) By the way, the poll is new every Saturday!

Oh and for those who were wondering, curling has been very good :) Strong field this year and many tight games... In the end, 4 teams came on top: Manitoba, BC, Alberta and Quebec. My favorite team is Manitoba, so I hope they'll win... but I'll be happy if Quebec does :)


Because of the List by Amy Knupp
published by Harlequin in November 2011
Taylor McCabe likes equations. They make sense. But one buttoned-up computer whiz plus an injured army pilot simply does not add up. It's time to get over her childish crush on Alex Worth, her brother's best friend, and find a husband. Enter The List—Taylor's ten must-have traits for a viable suitor.

But her plan goes awry when Alex insists on vetting each contender. The way he dismisses them feels like the actions of a protective boyfriend. Strangely, his attitude makes her even more attracted to him. Too bad he doesn't meet even one of her requirements...
Genre: Category romance, contemporary romance
Series: None

What do you need to know about the storyline? Alex was Quinn's, Taylors big brother, best friend. They grew up and went to war together where Alex was a helicopter pilot. Unfortunately, during a mission, Alex crashed... and Quinn died. Alex is determined to overcome his injury and return to war, because flying gives him a sense of purpose and that's what Quinn would have done. In the meantime, he feels guilty about the death of Quinn and decides to keep an eye on Taylor, especially since she's started dating. That's what her big brother would have done... or a protective boyfriend.

Why this book? Lori reviewed it back in January TBR Challenge and she enjoyed it. Then, Hils picked it up and also enjoyed. So I thought Because of the List was worth a try then :) Plus, I enjoy the SuperRomance line :)

So my thoughts? I enjoyed Because of the List. I thought the writing and the characterization were solid. Ms Knupp did a great job taking things slowly and really developing the romance and the characters. Perhaps at time, it felt a little draggy, but I think draggy is better than rushed, because at least, you get the answers and it's more believable. Also, I felt this story was very realistic - the emotions the characters felt and their actions, but none was overdone. I especially liked how both Taylor and Alex handled their grief for Quinn and came to term with it.

I thought all the characters were likable, from our H/H to the secondary characters which were mainly Alex's family. I liked Taylor because she was sensible and a total brainiac. Yet, Ms Knupp didn't fall into stereotypes. Instead she layered the character. Taylor was a bit of a geek, was a bit shy and liked organization, but her world wasn't just about her work and computers. She liked shoes, enjoyed shopping and wasn't totally socially-awkward. When she struck a friendship with Alex's sister, she opened up and it was fun to see and the friendship between the two women was great :) I also thought her list for the perfect man was hilarious because it was so impossible! LOL.

My only complaint and it's the reason why Because of the List gets the grade it does and not higher despite having solid writing, characters and storyline is the lack of originality. Contemporary romance authors definitively need to start finding original ideas, because it's getting boring out there. Let see, Alex was the wounded hero who was determined to get better, go back and fly again, despite what everyone said about his injury. Rings a bell? There's also the overprotective act brought on by guilt... And the one romance trope that I'm starting to really hate, the no-string-attached sex that quickly becomes a lot more, but one party doesn't want to. Ugh!! This one was even more annoying in Because of the List, because Taylor was obviously not the kind of women to have no-string-attached sex. However, they both ignored that little fact because they wanted each other sooo much. See I'm thinking here, it's not because you want, that you have to get. I'm just really, really tired of this trope because it's been over-used and we all know what's going to happen at the end. If only there was many ways to play it out, it'd be better... but it doesn't. Sigh. And that really dimmed the enjoyment of the book for me... because while there was a lot of positive elements in Because of the List, the crux of the book was the tropes I mentioned above. Nothing outshone them :(

My Grade? B-. Because of the List is one of the better category romance I've read recently :) It was enjoyable with a good story, good development, good characters and solid writing. At the same time, I felt it could have been more, could have been better if the conflict wasn't so familiar ^_^;

7 comments:

  1. Great Mini, Nath! I agree with your take on the book, all of it was well done. And, I knew you would enjoy the geeky heroine in particular. ;P

    The tropes, sigh... they are recycled, there's no question about it. If you read a lot of category romances, after a while when or if you read the first page, you basically know exactly how the book is going to go... it's rare that there is a fresh twist to them. Those are the great ones!

    For me it comes to what tropes I enjoy. From there, there has to be SOMETHING about the one particular book that really catches my interest, and the romance must be complete and well developed with good characterization in the short format.

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  2. It sounds like an okay book :D I like
    The tropes and all, I don't usually mind as long as the writing is good, thought the lack of originality does damper my enthusiasm

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  3. If you had a complaint about it like that and still rated it a B-, then I'm happy :) Unfortunately, there isn't a ton of originality in category - each line has its formula and they stick pretty heavily to it. I agree with you on that point. I thought this one was particularly well done, still.

    I'm glad you enjoyed it anyway.

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  4. Hilcia - Thanks Hils :) LOL, yeah, I have a soft spot for geeky characters LOL. I really liked that Ms Knupp didn't fall into stereotypes :)

    I know that the tropes are part of the category romance deals... but I don't know. I feel that all contemporary romances are using them. Not just the category romances, so that's why it's so disappointing. I'm so tired of H/H that don't want to commit or realize that it's love facing them. And it always comes back to that one, that's another problem ^_^;

    Sometimes, the author will manage to make it really stand out and those books, I really love. I think of Wild Man Creek by Robyn Carr :)

    Ah well :)

    Alex - Well it's true that if the writing is good, it can offset the tropes. But I think I've read 3 or 4 books with this "don't want" to commit trope in a row!! So yes, my enthusiasm is being dampered ^_^;

    Lori - Yep :) Like I said, the book was really solid. Just wished I could have graded higher LOL.

    And I know what you mean about originality in category, especially since some lines are specialized LOL. But still, you want your book to stand out from the lot no? So you have to come up with something...

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  5. And the one romance trope that I'm starting to really hate, the no-string-attached sex that quickly becomes a lot more, but one party doesn't want to. Ugh!! This one was even more annoying in Because of the List, because Taylor was obviously not the kind of women to have no-string-attached sex.

    This! I don’t get these heroines. They are into commitment, they want love and they have a difficult time separating sex from love, but have no qualms about starting a sexual relationship with a guy who’s not going to stay with them? That right there is bad characterization and speaks poorly of the heroine. It makes me feel like the heroine has cero self-awareness because if you don’t know yourself enough to realize that there’s a huge chance you will get hurt in a no-strings-attached relation, then I don’t want to read about your stupid immature self. It may be a mighty penis, but you should be able to resist it. Unless you’re Samantha from Sex and the City, in that case more power to you!

    Also, they have sex once and suddenly they are in love?! Seriously, it's the mighty-penis syndrome!

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  6. I still need to read this one - got it when all the good reviews were popping up. Too bad you had some issues with it but still...B- isn't bad. :)

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  7. Brie - Sometimes, it works the no-string-attached sex... but like you say, most of the time, these heroines want commitment. They're looking for a relationship... but it seems, they'd rather experience and suffer, than let it pass.

    I agree with you. I'd like to have H/H who resist more or wait for the right person.

    In this case, it was more than one time sex... LOL, perhaps twice :) But at least, the heroine had been crushing on the hero for a while and she knew him since she was a teen... so that's something ^_^;

    Leslie - B- is definitively not bad :) I hope you enjoy it, Les!

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