Review

Hot Toy. Jennifer Crusie

book cover

Hot Toy
Jennifer Crusie
Published: St Martin’s Press
Date: 13th October 2015
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 77 – Novella.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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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…

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A really cute, funny, spoof like novella for the Christmas season.  Even though it is one that is previously published in an Anthology – Santa Baby, I had never read it, and of course when I saw that it was by Jennifer Crusie, totally irresistible.
Trudy Maxwell is doing some late night Christmas Eve shopping for her nephew so that he can have Santa bring him what his heart craves for. Trudy is determined not to let him down. However the shops are all sold out of the action figure Major MacGuffin who shoots vile stuff out of his mouth. Not giving in, remembering disappointments in her own youth, Trudy is persistent and eventually unearths last years version of MacGuffin.  
However, close by is Nolan, she went out with him a few times, thought he might be The One, but then she never heard from him again. She is not that happy about that. Turns out he wants a MacGuffin too, and offers her a ridiculous amount for it. As does a lady in the cue and as does Reese, a younger guy who worked for her father for a while.
From there the story takes off. Who is the good guy? Well… I thought I knew… then a little confusion and a lot of action. Trudy is sure of one thing – she is hanging onto her MacGuffin, come what may and whatever it takes. 
It’s short, but it’s a load of action and fun.
4 stars
Review

Crazy For You Jennifer Crusie

Crazy For You Book Cover

Crazy For You
Jennifer Crusie
Published: St Martin’s Paperback 2000
Format: Paperback
Pages: 298
Genre: Contemporary romance
Source: Own book

On Wednesday, Quinn McKenzie changes her life. On Thursday, she tries to get somebody to notice. On Thursday night, somebody does.

Quinn McKenzie has always lived what she calls a “beige” life. She has a good job as a high school art teacher, and she’s surrounded by family and friends who rely on her. She’s dating Bill, coach of the championship high school football and baseball teams and all-around perfect guy. It’s a perfectly happy and secure life, and she’s bored to the point of insanity.

But when Quinn decides to change her life by adopting a stray dog over everyone’s objections, everything begins to spiral out of control. Soon a man from her past comes back into her life and the old attraction is ignited again. Now she’s coping with dog-napping, breaking and entering, seduction, sabotage, stalking, more secrets than she really wants to know, and two men who are suddenly crazy…for her.

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Crazy For You by Jennifer Crusie is a light enjoyable read, with a little darkness thrown in as well. Quinn is a teacher and she is living with Bill, the coach of the baseball and football teams.  He is pretty popular and successful. Under him the teams are doing well.  However Quinn has decided she wants out of the relationship. Bill has sort of taken over everything and when Quinn is given a stray dog Katie he says no, she can’t have it.  He even goes about getting rid of Katie.
Then there is Nick, she is a good friend with him, and once years ago he was married to her sister, although this has long ago broken up.  She is best friends also with Darla – married to Max, Nick’s brother.  There is attraction between Quinn and Nick but he is commitment phobic and also sees Quinn (or tries to) as that young girl from long ago.  
Things are beginning to change.  Quinn strikes out for herself and sets herself up in a house of her own with Katie.  Darla is tired of being taken for granted by Max, she feels all the ‘spice’ has gone from their relationship. And then things go strange with Quinn’s parents.  
Along with all this Bill is not able to let Quinn go. He is convinced all he has to do is be patient and organise things for her, make plans, and she’ll be right back with him.  He is so focussed on the loss that his teams begin to flounder.  This does not please the Principal of the school, who is a **** anyway.  
With humour, good pacing, a cute but scruffy dog, plenty happening this was a fun read.
4 stars

Review

Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Book cover

Bet Me
Jennifer Crusie
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Date: 2004
Format: Hardback
Pages: 337
Genre: Contemporary romance
Source: Own book
Challenge: Reread

Minerva Dobbs knows how to work the odds. Calvin Morrisey always pays to win. But when fate deals the cards, either one is prepared. Because when real life meets true love, all bets are off….

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 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 doughnuts, 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.

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I read Bet Me as a reread for a challenge.  I can’t remember when I read it last, quite awhile ago anyway.  So long ago that I remembered very little of it so … that was great!  
I loved it the first time and enjoyed it again this time.  I guess it would fall happily into the ‘chick lit’ genre.  It was light, funny and moved along at a good pace.
Min was a large young woman who was always under instruction from her mother to eat no carbs or fat.  The message given was that she was ‘not okay’ the way she was.  Enter Cal, who totally sees Min in a completely different light.  Warm, beautiful, sexy and loveable as herself.  Cal himself was rather a winner as well, although he had an appalling set of parents.
Min has a sister Di who is about to be married and that is why all the pressure is on Min to lose weight and fit into a too small bridesmaid dress. Both Min and Di have a couple of friends each, however it’s Min’s friends who were the ones to value, Di’s not so much.
The whole plot works around the fact that Min overhears what she thinks is a bet between her ex David and Cal. David gives Cal a month to ‘get her into bed’. But did Cal actually accept the bet?
An entertaining, absurd, funny story with some things to think about; self acceptance, parental love or lack there of, size and society’s obsession with thin. 
4 stars