I have read several installments of the Arcane Society books, written by Jayne Ann Krentz and Amanda Quick (two pseudonyms for the same author). Jayne writes the contemporary novels and her counterpart, Amanda, writes the historic episodes of the Society. Although I'm not a huge fan of the psychic genre, I always enjoyed these because they had a good mystery, a good romance and the psychic element was not overwhelming. But not this time.
I made it the half-way point of Fired Up and the plot was practically non-existent - the mysterious, long-lost lamp that would save the hero from turning into a psychic monster took about 15 minutes to locate. What little character development and story existed was squeezed between lengthy, tiresome descriptions of the psychic lights and colors and magic powers and what-have-you. Even the romance scenes were perfunctory. I figured if I was half-way through a book and couldn't figure out at least a glimpse of the point and really didn't care, I was wasting my time.
Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard was the second book to receive a failing mark. The cover art is yummy, the synopsis sounded delicious...
Lunch in Paris is a memoir about a young American woman caught up in two passionate love affairs—one with her new beau, Gwendal, the other with French cuisine. Packing her bags for a new life in the world's most romantic city, Elizabeth is plunged into a world of bustling open-air markets, hipster bistros, and size 2 femmes fatales. She learns to gut her first fish (with a little help from Jane Austen), soothe pangs of homesickness (with the rise of a chocolate soufflé) and develops a crush on her local butcher (who bears a striking resemblance to Matt Dillon). Elizabeth finds that the deeper she immerses herself in the world of French cuisine, the more Paris itself begins to translate. French culture, she discovers, is not unlike a well-ripened cheese-there may be a crusty exterior, until you cut through to the melting, piquant heart....and after reading Julie & Julia (review coming soon) and successfully completing four recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, my mouth was watering for more French recipes and culture, but I soon lost my taste for it. (Ok, enough with the food metaphors, already.) Ms. Bard's antidotes were precocious and pompous. Her arrogant attitude that life would be meaningless if she had to live it in the U.S. (or even in London) was annoying. Rather than getting a vicarious taste of life in France, I just felt offended. I didn't even make it to the half-way point on this one before I bid Ms. Bard a not-so-fond farewell and good riddance.