Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Friday Harbor Review and Giveaway

As one of "Lisa's Divas", A Tasty Read is helping to promote the Release of Rainshadow Road on February 28th, by getting fellow reader's excited about the Friday Harbor Series.

So, A Tasty Read will be doing a GIVEAWAY of Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor to TWO lucky winners. The ONLY catch is that when you are finished with the book, you need to send me a review of the book to be posted on A Tasty Read Blog.  I want to get the word out there about this AMAZING New Series by Lisa Kleypas....and I need your help to do it!!

To enter the Giveaway....Just leave a comment telling me about your Favorite book by Lisa Kleypas. If you have never read anything by Lisa (which I won't believe), tell me that too!! I'll be picking TWO names tomorrow!! GOOD LUCK!!  (Please leave an email address with your comment)

A Tasty Reader Reviews

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor
Lisa Kleypas
Released Oct 26, 2010
211 Pages
St. Martin's Press
Reviewer: Amy L.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Washington native who currently lives in one of the cities on Puget Sound with a deep maritime history dating back to the 1900s and the word “harbor” in the name. I’m so nuts about where I’m from that I have visible tattoos identifying my love for my home. I am so proud of where I’m from, I’ve been known to buy books on purpose with the hope of reading words like “latte”, “overcast”, and “salmon”. The Twilight series…fuggetaboutit. I’m on it like stink on poo.

So, a book with “Friday Harbor” in the title set my little Evergreen State heart all aflutter. I went into it with a lot of grace and an unfairly open mind. That being said, I’m not sold on Maggie Conroy and Mark Nolan. Mark Nolan is an artisan coffee roast master on San Juan Island. His sister, a single parent of a six-year-old girlie named Molly, is killed.  Mark becomes the child’s guardian. He decides to raise Molly amongst the mellow slice of heaven that is Friday Harbor. Molly is so shocked by the sudden loss of her only parent that she is rendered mute.

Fast forward six months. Mark finds himself in a quaint toy store with his niece. Molly becomes enthralled by the whimsy of the store and the talk of fairies and magic from store owner Maggie Conroy. With curly red hair and chocolate brown eyes and an air of sadness, Maggie seems to be a character crafted straight from the “River Dance” school of Irish appreciation. Anyhoo, Maggie’s brand of magic and belief resonate with the Sweet Molly Nolan and she is quickly talking again.

Mark Nolan, the militant realist, quickly appreciates stomping on all elements of the fantastic is generally not conducive to successfully parenting six-year-olds. He is drawn in by Maggie’s enthusiasm for children in particular and life in general. He flirts and twinkles at Maggie like eye winks are going out of style. He lays it on thick and the grieving Maggie does not know how to appropriately respond to his attention.
Not all is smooth sailing, however, because Mark is seeing someone in Seattle, a perfectly nice ice queen named Shelby. (Seriously, the crafting of this character was incredibly unappealing. Remember Brian Keith’s girlfriend from the original Parent Trap? Shelby totally reminded me of her. Beautiful and vapid on the outside. Ice cold on the inside.) Mark, using his powers of reason, feels like Shelby is a perfectly reasonable choice of partner, because, heck, they work so well on paper. Meanwhile, he’s dilly dallying with Maggie, because he honestly is more attracted to her. But she’s not the appropriate choice on paper. (I don’t understand his logic. Maggie speaks his de facto daughter’s language; as a parent, that would make someone incredibly attractive. Hey, that’s just me.)

Maggie is wounded by her own past and is hesitant to make herself vulnerable. As a widow, she’s conflicted by her attraction to another man and troubled that she could be attracted to a man like Mark, who is so different from her dead husband. But like all red-blooded American women, is drawn to the tall, dark, and handsome. Mark’s reputation for naughty teenage behavior only enhances this mystique.
I have a fundamental issue taking the leap with Lisa Kleypas. To buy into any author’s fiction, one must believe in the world they’ve crafted. Here’s the thing. Lisa Kleypas wrote about a real place. But the snap, crackle, and pop of a successful romantic pairing is not there -that certain je ne sais quoi that makes the reader root for the couple. I really tried, mostly because I care so much about their setting, but I just found Maggie and Mark desperately forgettable.

Mark is kind of an eel, slipping from one lady to the next without the courtesy of a backward glance. And let’s not forget that he was seeing one woman “exclusively”; this exclusivity was apparently only limited to the Seattle Metro area. (BOO! HISS!) Maggie is more sympathetic, but can read as simpering, immature, and whiny. She nursed a terminally ill husband for a year-and-a-half. This lady should have balls of brass and the organizational skills of a field general.

It all comes down to not caring enough about the characters to have grace for their faults. And, why don’t we care about these characters…because they are crafted in such a superficial, boring, and illogical manner that the reader can’t take the leap of faith with the author. Kinda ironic for a book with the motif of “magic” scattered throughout.

Mark’s brother, Sam Nolan, a vintner who is co-parenting Molly with Mark, is possibly the saving grace of this book. He’s light, funny, and in spite of being an accessory character, is more fleshed out than the protagonists. I am pleased to know that his story will be the subject of the next installment of the Friday Harbor series, Rainshadow Road, due out February 28, 2012. Which I will probably read, because it has “rainshadow” in the title.

A Tasty Reader

Amy Lineaweaver is a mother, wife, and speech-language pathologist who is a recently moved home to the Pacific Northwest. When not responding to the beck and call of motherhood and wifedom, she is an obsessive reader of romantic fiction. She loves a clean house, a dirty mind, and a filthy mouth.


jen shields said...

A fellow goddess from the Evergreen State! Born and raised there myself, and I too, adore it. Too bad this book didn't seem to do it justise. I've never read Kleypas, but I'm definitely still gonna check one out, just probably not this one...

Amy, I had to say. I love this:

"I am so proud of where I’m from, I’ve been known to buy books on purpose with the hope of reading words like “latte”, “overcast”, and “salmon"."

Gotta love a fellow Washingtonian ;)

Cindy said...

I have read every one of Lisa Kleypas' historical romances and it sure is tough to pick a favorite. I think mine would have to be "Where Dreams Begin". I just loved the story of the rags to riches Zachary Bronson and the high society lady he falls for. A wonderful romance.


jen shields said...

Cindy, the Historical you mentioned, what era was it from? I gotta figure out which Kleypas book to get with my x-mas giftcard!

A Tasty Reader said...

Jen...I think everyone should form their own opinion about a book...thats why I am asking for a review from the winners of the Giveaway!! My trash could be your treasure!!

Cindy....I love "Dreaming of You"...Derek Craven is one of my favorite Heroes of all time and "Mine Till Midnight"...Cam and Amelia...LOVE THEM...and Devil in Winter....Sebastian and Evie are so wonderful together..Still one of my Favorites. And her Travises Series is one of my favorite comtemporaries!!

Amy said...

This was my first Lisa Kleypas. I (seriously) read a book a day, so I'm more than willing to give her other series a chance. I'm not much for the historicals, so I think I'll try the Travis series.

This one didn't do it for me. That's not to say she doesn't have good work. Lisa's right in saying that one gal's trash is another gal's treasure. She certainly has a big following and tons of loyal readers. I was surprised by how much I didn't like it, even though she was referring to my old haunts (the Anacortes ferry landing has particular memories for me ;-)).

Cindy said...

Jen, the book is set in London 1830. It is one of my keepers and I had to go digging for it.

Dreaming of You with Derek Craven would be tied for my next favorite along with Lady Sophia's Lover. Sir Ross Cannon in that book was something else!

jen shields said...

Okay, put "Friday Harbor" and "Where Dreams Begin" on my Goodreads to-read list :) And I'm headed to B&N today on my lunch!