Tag Archives: reviews

R is for Romancing [A2Z]

Romancing the Stone is an adventure romcom starring Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas. I mentioned it in my review of the romance novel Heart of Fire because that story also involved a heroine trekking down to the jungle, etc. But in RTS we have a city girl (a romance novelist!) who is not an archaeologist and is totally unprepared to brave the dangers of Columbia. However, off Joan goes to rescue her sister, who’s being held for ransom by some baddies.

Joan encounters Jack (popular name for protags), who is also seeking the treasure map Joan needs to deliver to her sister’s kidnappers. Naturally, Jack is the antithesis of everything Joan dreams of in a man, but she changes her mind yada. I’m not too impressed with this storyline in my twilight years, since it mirrors reality too painfully ~ woman having to adapt to man instead of the other way around. In real life, you so often end up alone despite contorting or erasing your self to please Mr. Man, or you wish you were alone.

I mean, how many times are we going to need a snarky macho dude with lightning-quick reflexes to chop off a deadly snake’s head while we are trying to have a convo with him about something important to our heart? I’d rather have the empathetic verbally adept guy with mediocre snake-chopping skillz. Yes, I understand that it only takes the one deadly snake… so you spend your life adapting to snarky jerk just in case there’s ever a snake, and you never find anyone to fucking hear what you have to say.

Be that as it may, RTS is still a fun flick, and Danny DeVito is always hilarious.

Sorry to have digressed into a mini rant in the middle of this thrilling review series that no one cares about! πŸ™„πŸ˜‚πŸ€ͺ

Q is for Quite [A2Z]

Not Quite Dating by Catherine Bybee was a fun, fast read. Not gonna lie to my readers: I chose it solely for the Q factor. Needed one to fill the spot in the alphabet bloggery, and I wanted a book available on Kindle Unlimited. I wasn’t thrilled with the tame cover, which makes the novel appear to be about some prairie girl looking for Mr. Right in a country church, but when you desperately need a Q, you can’t be so picky.

First, the cover is deceptive. No idea why it was chosen since it’s all wrong for the book. The story takes place out in Ontario, CA, and features a hot Texas cowboy trying to seduce a California waitress. There is a lot of drinking and a lot of kissing and a ton of chemistry. It’s not a tame romance novel.

Second, it has a crazy, twisty plot semi-snitched from Taming of the Shrew. Jessica isn’t a shrew ~ she’s super sweet and kind ~ but she is looking for a rich man and won’t consider dating “poor” Jack when he hits on her after showing up in her diner in dusty clothes and driving a beat-up truck. He decides not to tell her who he really is, instead opting to become her friend and “help” her find her dream guy.

Third, though the HEA ending is a given, the path there is not, and the navigation is unpredictable. Side characters are clearly set up for spin-offs of their own, which is a good thing in my book.

The only issue I had with NQD (besides the cover) was that too much suspension of disbelief was required. I’ve always enjoyed the concept of disguised identity romance novels, but they do seem to work better when set in Ye Days of Olde. It’s just not reasonable that people aren’t going to google stuff. And if you have a heroine who doesn’t question outlandish gifts and obvious ridic things, she begins to seem stupid, which is no good.

But here I am, a person who is totally immersed in a show featuring dragons, complaining that some silly woman believed her crappy car burnt up at the Toyota repair shop so they’re gifting her a brand new SUV. Maybe if a dragon had been involved… πŸ‰ πŸ”₯πŸ˜‚

P is for Pickles [A2Z]

Okay, okay… the romcom is called Crossing Delancey, and it stars Amy Irving (also Peter Riegert, which is a P too, but I haven’t been putting male names in these titles because honestly don’t men get enough attention already? Geez!), but pickles are an important part of this movie.

What we have here is a snooty New Yorker, Isabelle, who thinks she is a bit too upscale for pickle seller Sam, even though he is undeniably sexy, witty, charming, and kind. He’s overtly religious, and though Isabelle is Jewish too, she’s more attracted to a narcissistic writer who she thinks is a better match. Complications ensue!

What makes this romcom different is that the heroine is flawed and needs to see the error of her ways to actually become worthy of the good guy. Most romances are the opposite, with a noble female lead and an imperfect dude who has to change to win her lurrrrve. Plus, he must go on quests and solve crimes and do other cool things, while she just needs to be pretty and breathe. Or, depending on the genre, maybe not breathe, but I digress. It’s why we call them fantasies, amirite?

In real life, everyone is flawed and it’s a miracle any two people can stand to be with each other for more than five minutes. Or maybe that’s just me, huh? Probably me. πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€ͺ

O is for Overboard [A2Z]

K

Bonus O for this movie being set in Oregon. Now, I love Goldie Hawn… she’s been a fave of mine since forever. Loved her on Laugh-In, and one of the first romcoms I ever saw starred Ms. Hawn. I think it was called Butterflies Are Free. Besides that, she gave the world Kate Hudson, another fabulous actor! (I’ve reviewed two movies starring Kate in this A2Z challenge: Alex & Emma and How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days.)

In Overboard, Goldie is matched with her real-life sweetie Kurt Russell. Goldie plays a spoiled wealthy wife who is mean to hired carpenter Kurt. When she falls off her yacht and gets amnesia, her husband leaves her in the hospital so he can go party, and Kurt scoops her up to take care of his house and kids.

Hijinks ensue! Very fun movie, if a bit crazy. But aren’t they all? Mostly you have to suspend your disbelief altogether for movies, whether romances or thrillers or whatever genre. Just too many insanely ridiculous coincidences, amirite?

N is for Notting [A2Z]

Not gonna lie… I don’t enjoy many of Julia Roberts’ films. Pretty Woman? Meh. Steel Magnolias? Barf. Mystic Pizza? Nah. That one where she took swimming lessons and pretended to drown to escape an abusive monster husband? Eh.

But then we have Notting Hill. What is the difference between Notting Hill and those other movies? I’ll give you a hint and it rhymes with Clue Plant. 🀣🀣🀣

So, there you have it, peeps. Notting Hill: a reason to watch Hugh Grant do his witty, who me gosh I hadn’t realized I was quite this adorable no really would you like a spot of tea or perhaps later oh now is good well then now is good for me too.

/fans self/

M is for Married [A2Z]

Multiple bonus M’s manifest in today’s romantic comedy Married to the Mob. We have the stars Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Modine mixing it up with the Mob. Michelle is a Mafia wife married to a macho man who doesn’t believe in monogamy. When he is caught messing around with his boss’s mistress however, macho man is found murdered. That’s when Matthew moves in to solve the crime, and fall for mama Michelle.

It’s all fun and games until someone gets a bullet in the head. And heart.

If anyone has it in for the obnoxious Alec Baldwin, you’ll be happy to watch this flick. Even if not, Michelle P. is fun to see as a gum-snapping brunette.

L is for Lose [A2Z]

Here’s Kate Hudson again (we saw her way back in my first A2Z review for Alex & Emma), this time paired with Matthew McConaughey, in a very cute, very sweet romantic comedy: How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days.

The protagonists are at odds because Andie has committed to write an article about winning and losing a boyfriend in 10 days for the magazine where she works. When she’s out with coworkers they “randomly” choose Benjamin to be her pigeon.

But it’s not random because both are being sabotaged by other forces. Ben thinks he’s entering into a harmless bet, but little does he know…

I really enjoyed this movie. There was a lot of great acting by the side characters also, notably Kathryn Hahn and Bebe Neuwirth.

J is for Jennifer [A2Z]

Jennifer Crusie, that is! There are so many good romance novels by Ms. Crusie, and I believe I’ve mentioned a few times that the first one I read, Welcome to Temptation, is the book that inspired me to write my first romance novel. I dabbled as a teenager, but WTT made me realize I didn’t have to be afraid of letting my humor shine through my writing.

However! My favorite Crusie romance novel is one of her spin-offs to WTT called Faking It. This book is just so much fun, with so many great characters, not just the hero and heroine, who are marvelous, but all the side characters as well. We even get a 50-something mom who loves word games and is still sexy enough that two (two!) age-appropriate studs fight over her. Is it any wonder I love this book? πŸ˜‚

If you haven’t read any Jenny, or for some reason have missed out on this one, I highly recommend Faking It… loads of laughs, delicious muffins, and larceny too.

Side note: I panicked when I realized I must have donated all my old hardcover books, and I gulped at paying full retail price for new Jenny. She is not on Kindle Unlimited. But then I remembered this big building full of books near the park where I walk sometimes… I wandered in there, renewed my expired card, and found Faking It on the library shelf. Amazing! πŸ˜€

A2Z Observations

We’re 10 days into April now, marking a third of the journey through my first A2Z bloggery challenge. Now, to be honest, I didn’t join in to get motivated to blog daily, since I do that already. I joined because I thought it would be fun to have a daily themed post.

Well, it’s not. 😱

Yes. Sacrilege. Allow me to pontificate. It’s a burden to write the posts that I’ve planned out on my list. It feels like work, bleh. It’s not fun like the other posts are, the genre challenges, the impulsive poetry, etc.

Another issue is that people aren’t responding to the romance novel reviews much, except to drop likes. I thought I had more romance readers here who would be interested in these books. Guess not. Maybe if I reviewed something “rapey” like The Flame and the Flower I’d get a conversation going haha.

But people are responding to the romantic comedy movie reviews, so I’m modifying my list to include more movies and fewer books, except for the reviews I’ve already scheduled. I’d rather go for the reliable over the uncertain, and it makes me a little sad to have a post with likes and no comments. Dunno why people can’t extrapolate things I say about romance novels into general discussions about other books and writing too, but like whatever. We’ll just focus on movies. πŸ™„

Further, with my regular newsfeed still overflowing with favorite bloggers posting great stuff, I don’t have time to wander to the A2Z page and check out new peeps. I’m already much too busy with blogging and working and everything else. That “make connections” part of A2Z is a bust for me, unfortunately. I don’t know how I used to have any spare time. Where did it go?

I think in the future if I do A2Z again it will be with a much more casual approach, not a theme/list. This feels way too much like actual work. 😝

I is for Intolerable

Intolerable Cruelty, starring two of the most beautiful people on the planet, is a very funny romcom romp. It’s a Coen Brothers movie, so you know there’s great dialogue and great directing. Con after con abound, and you’ll go a bit dizzy trying to keep them straight and figure out who, exactly, is the most unethical character. I found it fun, even if it plays fast and loose with actual California divorce law.

One thing that’s particularly amusing on a rewatch is how people tear up prenups just like Queen Cersei would do. πŸ‘‘