Book Review: The Wedding Date.

I haven’t done too much on this blog that can be considered ‘research’ for my HS Reunion manuscript.  In fact, I think this is my first official post related to the book — even though I finished the rough draft in May.  Oops.  I think that’s because it’s a straight rom-com, which I have plenty of research in already.  Having lived almost forty years, and a fan of obvious tropes, sitcoms, chick lit, and other Basic™ romance, I felt more than adequately prepared for the challenge ahead.

So, The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory was on sale, marked down from its usual $7.99 (!) to either .99 or $1.99, which made it reasonable.  And with a lot of travel in the next few months, I guessed there would be some down time for me to read the book.

To start, although I’m self-published, I do always compare traditionally published books to my own.  In the case of The Wedding Date, I definitely found my work to come out ahead (and wondered why on earth Penguin would publish this novel in its current form).

Where did the book go so wrong?  While I loved the initial trope of Meeting In A Condensed Space (in this instance, trapped in an elevator), followed by an even better trope of Fake Dating (the best!), the book kind of ran out of steam at the 20% point, after the pair go on the titular ‘wedding date.’  There was no conflict.  I mean, other than the hero/heroine live in two different cities (but see each other all the time) and have a few communication errors, there’s really nothing going on.

Oh, except the boning.

I unapologetically love romance novels, and am nearly always reading one.  I have read some amazing sex scenes — ones charged with passion and tension.  Ones that are beautifully written and do right by the characters.  I can tell you that The Wedding Date is filled with absolute vanilla nonsense, that somehow is both what I would consider a ‘clean’ read (i.e. the descriptions are quite limited when it comes to anatomy) and ‘turning the lights out’ as in, the author leaves the audience to imagine what happens.

The problem is that the main characters bone a lot.  Like, half the book is just them having sex.  Great, kudos for them.  However, when sex is written poorly and while it appears they are fucking just to fuck, it doesn’t add anything to the book, especially when it’s poorly written nonsense.  If there’s any silver lining, I am glad the author focuses on safe sex, and they use a condom every time (no mention of birth control for the heroine).

So, if I learned anything from reading this book, it’s to make sure the sex in my novel is there for a reason.  That it’s well written and not just to take up space.  In my current draft, there are three separate scenes where the characters are intimate, but now I’m wondering if the third one isn’t a little gratuitous.  Also, writing smut has always been a weakness of mine, so when I go back to edit, I’ll need to make sure that the scenes are worth reading and not clunky Tab A / Slot B descriptions.

Also, why are these characters ALWAYS EATING?  Nearly every scene revolves around food in some strange way.  I’m not saying people don’t need to eat, but the constant eating made me feel full.  Also, who eats donuts that much?  Have the characters, one of whom is a doctor, never heard of diabetes?

Finally, while there is no doubt I’m happy to see representation with a POC lead, I wish it had been with another book.

Am I encouraged to read another book by Ms. Guillory?  No, unfortuantely, I am not.

Have you read The Wedding Date?  What did you think?  What are you favorite romance/chick lit tropes?

Book Club Questions: Foul Is Fair.

foul is fair book club questions, foul is fair book club

I cannot establish how much I’m infatuated with this book.  The language, the fierceness, the unapologetic nature…

Anyway, are you here for the book club questions?  I hope so!  If you haven’t read Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin, yes there will be spoilers ahead, so I highly recommend you finish the book first.  Spoiler alert: I read it in one sitting.  (Buy it here, in care you’re looking).

  • How do you feel about the inciting action taking place ‘off screen?’ Do you think it was an interesting choice by the narrator/author?  Do you think it makes the event stronger to only occur in flashbacks and conversation?
  • Violence is a key theme in the book.  Do you think it’s overused or realistic in the context of what happened to the protagonist?
  • Revenge at any cost.  Do you agree?  Do you think that the end justifies the means?
  • Parental oversight is used sparingly in the book, as are the involvement of parents overall.  Does this ring true for the novel, or is it a convienent plot point?
  • Who is your favorite character?  Why?
  • If you had to trade places with any character in the book, who would you choose and why?
  • What made the setting unique or important?  Could the story have taken place anywhere?
  • How reliable is Jade/Elle as a narrator?
  • Do you think this novel would be better adapted as a film or series?  Any suggestions for a dream cast?
  • The language in this book is unique.  Do you have any favorite quotes?
  • While there are many comparisons, describe at length the allusions and similarities to Macbeth.  Do you feel the ‘modernization’ of Shakespeare’s tragedy works in the context of the novel?
  • What do you think of representation/diveristy in the novel?  How are the POC/non-binary characters portrayed?
  • Who would you recommend this book to?
  • This book is listed as Book #1, what do you think will happen in Book #2?  Will there be another tragedy involved?
  • Based on this novel, would you read other work by Ms. Capin?

Would love to hear your suggestions for other questions to accompany this amazing book.  Please list them in the comments below!

Week by numbers.

As usual, it’s been awhile.

  • 60,315.  Yes, that’s the new word count of The Heist.  I cut close to 20,000 words, including almost everyone’s back stories.  I still don’t like the book. I’m going to try ‘reading’ it, and incorporating all my notes and then sending it to friends.
    • As I read through it for the 900th time, I’m sure some additional scenes will need to be written, and probably additional scenes cut.  Honestly, chopping so much was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done.
  • 15,000+ average number of steps per day, during our visit to the Czech Republic last week.  I highly recommend Prague and Brno – it was a perfect escape from Dubai.
  • 1, new niece!  Welcome to the world, Kallan!!!  I can’t wait to meet you in November.
  • 1, invitation to speak at PechaKucha Night Dubai.  I’m still mostly unsure of the direction of my speech under ‘Food For Thought’ is going to be, but I’m sure I’ll get there.  I’m about halfway in coming up with 20 slides (with no words…send help).
  • 1, hopeful trip I have upcoming to Bangkok.
  • 26, million views I have on Google Maps.
  • 0, kilograms lost.  Given my current schedule of halfway decent eating and exercising for two weeks at a time, then a week of travel with tons of eating and drinking, I haven’t completely given up.
  • 4, weeks of Couch to 5K, which I’m hoping will have some sort of impact on the above number in the near future.
  • 1, podcast I’ve been a guest on.
    • 2nd, season of CSR of One starting soon.  Please subscribe!

How has your week been?

Sunday Sentence.

“I think we seldom regret the risks we take as much as the times we did not try at all.”

Gail Carriger, Imprudence

As much as I love Ms. Carriger, I certainly did not love this book (and the series is tedious in a strange way).  Anyway, at least there was something quotable!

 

Sunday Sentence.

They want me to be a doctor. I want to be the queen.”

Foul is Fair, Hannah Capin

Y’all, this book.  Given the subject material (a relatively horrific rape, not written into the book, but with plenty of references dropped in), I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the manuscript.  I’m 16% in, and am fairly certain I’m going to stay up reading this tonight.  The language is perfectly violent.  Don’t EVER underestimate young women.  They’ll come after you with a smile on their faces…