Ranger Daddy

Posted on December 25, 2012 by .

Transcript of book chat with Amy and Anne:

(Warning:  There are spoilers below the fold!)


Anne: Amy, I’d never clobber you. I was afraid you’d clobber me, in fact.
Amy: *laugh*
Amy: I’m way too much of a panty-waist for that.
Anne: I did clobber “Ranger Daddy,” though.
Amy: So I see. I gave it a fairly deep clobbering (for me), too.
Anne: Yes, I am impressed by how much you panned it.
Anne: I don’t think I’ve seen such a severe slamming since that Pagan-whatever-it-was.

Amy: I kinda feel bad for not warning you that the premise of the Harlequin AR series is not what you might expect.
Anne: No, that’s not so bad. I was surprised by the super-traditional values, but explicitness is not what I am looking for in a romance novel at all. Just chemistry between the characters. In fact, a lot of the slow-burns to relationships satisfy me more than anything that is too . . . fast.
Anne: It’s just–I didn’t believe in these characters at all. They were not at all real.
Anne: (to me)
Amy: Yeah, but the picket-fences-as-romantic goal is pretty far afield, for you. But yeah, the big trouble here was that we had a whole herd of cardboard people.
Anne: I am sure there are books in this line that would satisfy me.
Anne: At least enough not to be frustrated.
Anne: To tell the truth, it is the clunky writing more than the conservative agenda that really got to me.
Anne: LOL, indeed, most Regencies are pretty “picket fences” when you come down to it.
Amy: yeah, Winters just had this….you said “expository”…style, that just seemed unreal, and contributed to the shallowness of the characters.

Amy: You expect a certain amount of shallowness from side characters, but even those were worse than usual.
Anne: I couldn’t tell them apart, except for little Nicky, who was insufferable and unbelievable, too.
Amy: Yah. Hate to say it, but the two most interesting characters were Nicky, and that dog that Jeff was dog-sitting.
Anne: LOL, what did you like about the dog?
Anne: And I think that is about the meanest thing I have ever heard you say about a book.
Amy: I’m not a dog person, generally; as you know, we have cats here at my chateau. I prefer dogs that *do* something useful; “working dogs”, they call them in the West, and this one was a working dog–knew how to do something useful.
Anne: Ah yes!
Anne: Hero-dog beats out hero-ranger in Amy’s heart.
Amy: Which, of course, we’re told about. A lot.

Anne: Did you get the feeling that Winters was filling the required word-count?
Amy: Oh, definitely.
Amy: There were too many minor conflicts going on.
Anne: I mean, you know something is bad when you start thinking your own fanfiction is better.
Anne: Wait- what minor conflicts?
Anne: I don’t remember any minor conflicts?!
Anne: I only remember the wooden dialogue and the fact that Gabi and Jeff never do anything.
Amy: You had her ex. And his ex. And the storm. And the motorcycle crash. And her trip back to LA…any *one* or even two of these could have been turned into big plot drivers, but they weren’t.
Anne: Oh, yeah, that stuff.
Anne: I forgot that.
Anne: Heh.
Amy: She just kept putting in a new wierd twist, and then they overcame it. Ta-Dah. On to the next..

Anne: Well–I for one can’t get over the idea that Gabi’s lawyer would give a total stranger all kinds of details about her case and location–especially when her ex is an angry, violent, stalking, armed maniac.
Amy: Yeah, that shows a clear lack of good research. The attorney could be disbarred in nothing flat for that.
Anne: ::sigh::
Anne: Well, I am at least grateful that again we picked up on similar problems.
Anne: Again, I am much harder on the writing style, but you pick up on all the same slightly problematic themes.

Amy: I’ve been bracing myself for the question you haven’t asked yet.
Anne: Oh.
Anne: Hm.
Anne: I’m wracking my brain trying to think what question that might be.
Amy: “What on earth were you thinking?”
Anne: Ha!
Anne: Well, I assumed you were thinking that it looked like a promising book.
Anne: That’s what I think when I recommend one.
Anne: I had the advantage with Passion to Protect, since I had already read it when I said we should tag-team it.
Amy: Well, yeah. When we got the idea for Tag Team Tuesday, we both picked one. I had a stack on my desk, and that was on the top of the pile, and the back-cover blurb looked like it might be interesting.
Anne: Perhaps you were looking for something westerny but not too westerny?
Amy: Yeah, I do have a lot of Westerny ones.

Anne: Well, the sad truth is authors of series romance have to turn out a LOT of books, fast.
Anne: Some are really, really good at it and have such impecable knowledge that they write hits over and over.
Anne: Some–maybe–just don’t have the resources to pull off a five or six book per year deal.
Amy: It’s not just writers, of course. The entire process must move at light speed, from writing, to editing, to printing and production…occasionally a real stinker slips through.
Anne: When I write, I can write maybe 1500 words in a day. If I’m really into it, 3000. And they need to be edited and reedited and reconsidered and beta-read.
Anne: And this one is a real stinker.
Amy: Indeed.
Anne: Though somehow it wasn’t quite bad enough for either of us to rate it “couldn’t finish it.”

Amy: Any last minute thoughts, before we put this one to bed?
Anne: Yes.
Anne: What’s with all the recent “abusive-rampaging-ex” stories?
Anne: “Ripped from the Headlines” syndrome?
Anne: A convenient way to manufacture conflict?
Amy: Maybe so. I’ve seen a *lot* of those in the last couple of years’ worth of Harlequin releases, across all lines.
Anne: Hmmm.
Anne: It’s worth considering. I wonder what is in the psychology of readers right now that they want to buy that–over and over.
Anne: Anyway, I think my final though is a great regret that I can’t think of anything nice to say about Ranger Daddy.
Anne: I want to end on a positive note.
Anne: Can you do it?
Amy: Hm.
Amy: This was our first Harlequin AR review–I had higher hopes for it. The positive is, erm…it gets better. I’ll find us some good ones. I promise!

My ratings:

Story Quality:
Character Chemistry:
Explicitness:

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Posted in: Book Reviews, Tag Team Tuesday