6: Dogs and Goddesses

Dogs and Goddesses by Jennifer Crusie, Anne Stuart & Lani Diane Rich

I picked up a passel of books at the VPL’s Spring Book Sale. Check it out. This was Thursday’s stack:

VPL Spring Book Sale

And this was Saturday’s stack:

VPL Spring Book Sale

Yes, I went twice! Why not? Novels were 55 cents! 55 cents, people! At that price, you can’t lose. Or can you…?

(insert ominous movie music here)

My first read was Dogs and Goddesses, a mass market pb that I picked up because Lani was one of the authors. Back in the day, Lani was also a member at the writing site where the original TCers met. Her first novel originated as a NaNo. I want to like her books!

But I’m not going to lie. This book was bad. I never thought I’d say this, but I paid too much for this book. I want my 55 cents back! j/k 😉

Lest you think that I just didn’t like it because this genre of book is just not my thing, do check out the Amazon One Star reviews. They’re like the nicest One Star reviews ever. Unlike the usual vitriol-filled one-star reviews, it’s pretty clear that these reviewers are fans of at least one of the three authors and the one star was given reluctantly.

Most of the reviewers seem to be more familiar with the other two authors (Jennifer Crusie & Anne Stuart). I haven’t read either of them. I have read Lani’s first book (the one that began as a NaNo): Time Off For Good Behavior. I didn’t really like it, but I attributed it to “not my thing.”

Dogs and Goddesses, otoh? Ahhhhh! I only finished it because I think it’s good to read something bad occasionally.You know, as a refresher course on what not to do. Bullet points of commentary:

  • Too many characters. Way, way too many characters! Names would pop up and I’d have no idea who they were. There were three protagonists (each one written by one of the 3 authors; reviewers who were more familiar with the authors said they could tell who wrote what, but the styles seemed indistinguishable to me), plus three love interests, plus the antagonist, plus the antagonist’s minion, plus three other secondary characters, plus several named tertiary characters, plus approximately 10 talking dogs.
  • Why is everyone yelling? I felt like the opening of the book was written in ALL-CAPS. It wasn’t. It just felt that way.
  • Similarly, what’s with the excessively irritable responses to fairly innocuous situations? I think it was supposed to be ramping up the tension. It didn’t work. (Damn it!)
  • Absolutely no getting to know the characters before they are tossed into the plot. I have no idea why I should care about these people. And I don’t.
  • I can’t tell the protagonists apart. I can’t tell the love interests apart. I can’t tell the secondary characters apart. These characters aren’t cardboard; they’re paper. Paper dolls with interchangeable outfits.
  • One character is named “Bun.” There’s no shortage of smart remarks in this book, but no one comments on this. Bun. Seriously.
  • I think this book is supposed to be funny. It’s not. The most amusing thing is the talking dogs.
  • We’re supposed to believe that these three sets of characters are in love. We know this because they keep saying “I love you/him/her!”
  • Their love is instigated by eating magic cookies. They eat so many cookies in this book that I start to feel like I’ve eaten an entire batch by myself: over-full and about to crash down from a sugar high. Blech.
  • There’s a scene where one of the characters paints a wall with a paintbrush (nooooo!). Also she dips the same brush into two different colors without rinsing in between (nooooo!). That is just so, so wrong.
  • WTF was up with those sex scenes? You’ve this silly, silly plot where people are running around scarfing cookies and listening to talking dogs and then all of a sudden we’re being told who’s sticking what body part where. Total discord.
  • What genre is this book supposed to be anyway? Is it Chick Lit (funny)? Romance (sexy)? Paranormal (scary)? I can’t figure it out.