Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs or Why does it always have to be cancer.

SPOILER ALERT:  This review gives away the ending!  Don't read any more if you are currently reading or going to read this book!

 I love chick lit. I look for Sue monk Kidd and Kristin Hannah regularly.  Really, I do but I do have an issue with stories that require the main character to die to move the rest of the characters forward.  In "The Friday Night Knitting Club" Kate Jacobs creates a lovely group of women from all backgrounds, education and ages and weaves them together in a lovely pattern of friendship.

"The Friday Night Knitting Club" was a lovely story.  I looked forward to finding out what Derwin was up to or was Anita going to finally go out with Deli Shop owner.  Was Peri going to get all her purses done for Bloomingdales?  It was pleasant and entertaining.  Their stories made me grin. Then there were conflicts in the story like Derwin's separation from her husband or Cat finding out that there is more to life than shopping at Saks or planning parties. I wondered how Lucy was going to deal with unemployment, being an unwed mother and the fact that she never told her lover she had gotten pregnant.  I cheered for Georgia as she protected her daughter from her ex lover/absentee dad until she knew what his intentions were and I loved it when they first kissed again.  All that was great.
Then Ms. Jacobs kills off the main character and of course it is cancer of the female variety.  Georgia Walker had paid her dues and was turning a corner in her life.  Her knitting business was getting noticed.  Her daughter, Dakota,  was growing strong and smart.  She was rekindling the lost love who was father to her little girl.  Her friends we moving along in their lives too.  Then it was just too good, life was going along just too nicely, people were succeeding so of course the only thing we could do was give Georgia ovarian cancer.  OK, I can deal with that.  It was wonderful how each of the women dealt with her illness and applied it to their own lives and made commitments to be more aware of what made them happy.  Yeah!!!  Very Life affirming.  So why couldn't Ms. Jacobs let Georgia live?  Why is it, to be a great female bonding novel someone must die of some dang cancer?  Why can't we get the lessons and affirm ourselves and the go on and live some more? 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Argeneau Series by Lynsay Sands makes a great light snack!

I haven’t posted in a while. I feel bad about that but life has an annoying way of getting in the way of doing other stuff. Not posting doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading. I don’t know about any of you, my friendly visitors, but reading is my sanity and life line during crazy times. Now I have to get busy sharing with you what I have been reading.

Lynsay Sands’ Argeneau series which includes A Quick Bite, A Bite to Remember, Vampires are Forever, The Accidental Vampire and Bite Me if You Can are some of the best fun I have had in a while. The Argeneaus are a close knit, wealthy, Canadian family and they are all vampires. These are not bad vampires, they aren’t even blood sucking ones. Ms. Sands has removed any nastiness from the classic evil creatures and turned them into just another powerful, wealthy, Canadian family trying to make their way through the centuries. She has set up an entirely interesting plot line that explains the whole vampire story which begins in Atlantis. Nothing is as we have been told from the story of Dracula. In fact, it was a drunken Argeneau who gave Bram Stoker the story for the Evil One. The family has never forgiven him for spreading such lies. Since the creation of blood banks the Vampire community has banned biting and the Argeneaus have their own blood bank service.
I found these books to be light, frothy and fun. Ms Sands has a lovely tongue in cheek style that kept me grinning through every book. Each story focuses one of the family members as they discover their life mate. (Life mates are people who cannot be read or controlled by a given vampire which makes them extremely attractive to the vampire). Yes, the term life mate has been used before by other authors and I did find this to be a small flaw in the story.

In "A Quick Bite" Lissiana Argeneau faints at the sight of blood and that prevents her from using bagged blood so she has to eat “off the hoof”. Enter Greg Hewitt, hunky psychologist; Lissiana’s mom has hired to help her daughter overcome her fear of blood. Lissiana can’t control or read him and he sure is tasty.

In "A Bite to Remember" private investigator Jackie Morrisey is hired by the Argeneau family to help Vincent discover who is sabatoging his stage productions. Yes, Vincent discovers that Jackie is his life mate but Jackie, who is aware of vampires, isn’t crazy to join their ranks. Figuring out who is making his cast anemic and convincing Jackie to be with him forever makes for a fluffy funny read, kind of like watching “Pillow Talk” with Doris Day and Rock Hudson.

“Vampires are forever” takes us around the world in a search for Marguerite, the matriarch of the family. No one else in the family is available for the search but young Thomas. He is fun, easygoing and never really taken very seriously. Everyone treats him like he is 18 even though he is 200. He is a very accomplished songwriter and has written most of the music for Vincent’s shows. Since vampires are not at their best during the day Inez, a vice president at the London branch of Argeneau Enterprises is tasked to assist in the search. You guessed it, she is his life mate. The hunt is on and so is the love and the laughs.

“The Accidental Vampire” brings Victor Argeneau and Elvi Black together. The family hears that a vampire is openly living in a small town in Canada. She is biting the locals and now has put a personal ad in the paper looking for another vampire to make a love connection. Victor is the family “enforcer” and goes to investigate. When he arrives he discovers Elvi and a town who loves her just the way she is, or do they? Someone is trying to kill her. Victor must solve the mystery to save Elvi, his life mate.

In “Bite Me if You Can” Lucian, the family’s rogue hunter, is tracking an elusive vampire who is turning humans to create a Vampire army. During a raid, he and his team rescue a young woman, Leigh, who is in the early stages of being turned. They can’t punish her for being attacked so they take her to a safe house to go through the change. Going through the change is horribly painful and scary. No one else is available to babysit except for taciturn and gloomy Lucian. You have guessed it already, yep, they are lifemates. I think this story was my favorite. Lucien has spent centuries being an alpha male and is a fish out of water when he has to show understanding to another and be a care-giver instead of a life-taker. Watching Leigh make Lucian human while she gets used to being vampire is delightful. Oh, and then there is the little problem of the rogue wanting her back to give the story that little extra bite, hehehehe.

There are 9 episodes in the series at this time. They don’t have to be read in order but I think you would enjoy them more if you did. Whatever the order is, if you enjoy light humor and romance then sink your teeth into the Argeneaus. You will be glad you did.

By the way, checkout Lynsay's website! Not only do you get the low down on the next Argeneau episode but her other books as well. Her bio page is too funny! Her blog is a hoot! She is a very funny lady!