Book-of-the-Month Discussion…

tangled-up-in-loveToday is February’s Book-of-the-Month discussion.  The book chosen by blog readers was:

Tangled Up in Love by Heidi Betts.

 

As always, I will talk about different aspects of the story individually.  I encourage you to share your thoughts if you have read this story (either here or through e-mail).  Please keep the discussion rules in mind, however.  These rules can be found by clicking here.

 

My discussion will contain no spoilers (and is basically an informal review/discussion in a different format), but I cannot promise that the comments won’t…so please read at your own risk!

 

Keep reading to see my discussion…

 

 

– My general (and random) thoughts:

I have to confess that initially I was a little worried when I read the premise because I know NOTHING about knitting and was worried that I might not enjoy the book…in fact, I felt a little like Dylan when he learns that he has been challenged to learn to knit…but I then realized that it didn’t really matter because while knitting is a part of the story, it is not the focus of the story.  The story focuses on the fun and competitive relationship between two rival newspaper columnists, Dylan and Ronnie, who take turns challenging one another to complete various tasks.  Ronnie’s latest challenge to Dylan:  learn to knit.  The book is really a fun and entertaining read about two supposed enemies who discover something more.

 

– Hero:

Dylan Stone

He is a newspaper columnist who beat out rival columnist Veronica Chasen for a position and ever since the two have had a rivalry through their newspaper columns going…a sort of “Anything you can do, I can do better” type of thing where they challenge each other to complete various tasks.  Dylan is interesting to me as I loved his sarcasm and wit and admired his determination as he refused to back down from a challenge no matter how silly it made him look.  What makes these challenges even funnier is the fact that he’s such a “guy” if you know what I mean…he has the stereotypical male attitude and behavior, but he comes across as very likeable.

 

– Heroine:

Veronica (Ronnie) Chasen

She’s a bit more complex than meets the eye and we learn quite a bit about what makes her tick as the story progresses.  I was touched by her story and, as with Dylan, I loved her sarcastic personality.  She is very determined to prove herself and to succeed at everything she does, but she has her reasons.

 

-The relationship:

Dylan and Ronnie have a great sexual chemistry and I really enjoyed the humorous banter between the two of them.  The sparks definitely fly as these two butt heads almost every time they meet.  When we first met the couple, I was curious as to how the author was going to take them from being competitors/enemies to being something more as these two really didn’t seem to care for one another despite their attraction and I liked how she turned even sex into a competition for them.  It fit these characters and their existing relationship with one another and I could easily buy it growing into something more.  It was as if they had been having foreplay through their columns.

 

There were a couple of instances where I was a bit baffled by their actions, but these started to make sense as we learned more about the characters (I don’t want to say exactly what out of fear of spoiling something). In all honestly I really enjoyed watching their relationship grow and change.

 

– Secondary characters:

I loved, loved, loved the secondary characters.  These characters include Dylan’s guy friends and Ronnie’s gal friends as well as matchmaking Aunt Charlotte.  They all added some humor to the story and were definitely scene-stealers, in my opinion.

 

I was especially taken with Gage, Jenna, Zack and Grace.  Gage and Jenna are going to be featured in the next book and it should be quite interesting considering their relationship in this one.  But I have to confess that I was really interested in Zack and Grace as it seems this loving couple have a story I’d really, really like to read.  If I didn’t know this was the first published book in the series, I would have thought I missed Zack and Grace’s book as little hints about their relationship are dropped in this one…so I hope that they will get a book…maybe a prequel or something…as I’d love to read it!

 

As for Aunt Charlotte, she is an interesting character who adds a bit of whimsy to the story.  And it may just be me, I wish she had been featured a bit more as it seemed like she was meant to possibly play a bigger role than what actually comes across…I know that might not make sense without having read the book.

 

– Favorite thing about the book:

The individual get-togethers between the two groups of friends…I enjoyed seeing Ronnie and Dylan interact with their friends as they discussed and tried to figure each other out.  There are some great moments in these scenes.

 

– Least favorite thing:

As I mentioned above, I kind of wish Aunt Charlotte had either been featured more or something.  That’s the only thing I can think of right now.

 

– Would I recommend the book?

If you like fast-paced, sexy contemporary romances with fun premises and humorous banter, then yes, I would recommend this one.

 

– Final thoughts:

As a fan of Ms. Betts other books I had been looking forward to reading this one and I wasn’t disappointed.  It had the great characters, fabulous humor, and sizzling romance that I had expected.  Ms. Betts is great at creating sexual tension and sparks between her leads…and now that I think about it many of the books that I have read by her (from her historicals to her Desires) are filled with sexual tension and mutual attraction…the kind where you know when the characters finally do give in to their attraction, they’ll probably spontaneously combust or something…and boy, does this couple fit that description!

 

I love books that can make me laugh and this one definitely achieved that with all of its characters and dialogue.  This was a fun and interesting start to what promises to be an entertaining series and I look forward to reading the next one…and you know, considering I knew nothing about knitting when I started this book, I kind of want to learn now.

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10 Responses to Book-of-the-Month Discussion…

  1. Laura J says:

    This book had me laughing from the first sentence. Not a good thing when you are reading it at a stop light.

    I also like how she has set this trilogy up. I’m not sure I’ve read a series where the books 2 and 3 characters already have or had a relationship. And you haven’t missed anything for Zack and Grace, Jennifer, *g* Heidi planned it that way. I’m really looking forward to their story too because of how she set their story up. Gage and Jenna have a lot of pent of passion for each other that this second book should be extremely hot.

  2. […] some of you may already be aware, Dylan & Ronnie’s story is being discussed today over at Jennifer’s Random Musings as February’s Book of the Month.  Whoo-hoo!  Happy Bunny […]

  3. Pam says:

    Wow, Jennifer–I hate to be a copycat, but I pretty much agree with everything you said! I’m really looking forward to more with Aunt Charlotte, as well as Zack & Grace, Gage & Jenna (and seeing more of Ronnie and Dylan!!!)

    Call me sick and twisted, but I loved how the knitting needles were either envisioned or used as a weapon–kinda like Ronnie’s tattoo. Where so many authors would have pulled back and not used the needles or had that specific tattoo (Going with the theme of no spoilers here), I LOVED that Heidi went there. Thank you for not treating us like delicate little flowers!

    And another thing I loved (possible spoiler–reader beware) was the ending. Yes, it was wrapped up, but not so neatly that I would have difficulty buying it. It fit Ronnie and Dylan, and it worked. Beautifully!

    And dangit–now that I’m thinking of what else I loved about Heidi’s fabulous, sexy, story, I have to say the Chinese food. Except now I’m hungry for it. And I want to read TANGLED UP IN LOVE again. So much for my weekend…

    Thanks for a fun discussion, Jennifer, and thanks to Heidi for a YUMMY book! Can’t wait for the next one.

  4. Heidi Betts says:

    Hi, guys! I’m so excited that you’re discussing TANGLED UP IN LOVE today. And lucky for me, everyone seems to have enjoyed it so far. (Whew! Can you imagine the embarrassment if you didn’t? ;-P)

    I’m not going to hover & don’t want anyone to feel awkward that I might pop in from time to time, but I *will* be here to answer questions anyone might have about the book or series. Just let me know. (Of course, I may not be able to answer everything for fear of ruining future surprises, but I will try. *g*)

    Jennifer~ You’ll definitely be seeing more of Charlotte in the next two books. She’s so much fun & my editor is absolutely ga-ga over her. LOL It’s hard to include her *too* much because the focus of a romance really needs to be on the main h/h, but I do stick her in as much as possible, just because I enjoy her so much myself. And I have something really cool in mind for her at the end of the series. 😉

    Laura~ You are very right. I’ve been getting a lot of letters asking for the title of Zack & Grace’s story so they can *go back* & read it, but there is no “back.” Zack & Grace’s story is yet to come. (KNOCK ME FOR A LOOP, February 2010) I realize it’s a little confusing to see them engaged & happy in TANGLED UP IN LOVE…what the heck do they need their own book for if they’re already in love? But, oh, the things that can go wrong along the way. *vbg* You’ll find out even more about that in the next book, LOVES ME, LOVES ME KNOT, which will be out in August, then there’s *plenty* to keep those two busy in their own book. You’ve just gotta trust me. 🙂

    Pam~ So sorry to be ruining your weekend with a re-read of TANGLED. Oh, wait–no, I’m not. *vbg* As for the tattoo & needles…well, I did warn you that this was “not your grandmother’s knitting romance.” There is nothing calm or quiet about this trilogy…& no holding back. They’re “Chicks with Sticks” & they know how to use them. 😉

    And, darn it, now I’m hungry for Chinese food, too!

  5. Liza says:

    I loved Tangled up in Love! I pretty much think I could just say ditto to everything you said, Jennifer. I can’t wait for the next two books in the series. I actually posted my review earlier this month on my blog.

  6. Jennifer Y says:

    Laura J: It was definitely a humorous story and I loved it. And I thought that might be the case with Zack and Grace. Zack cracked me up though in his scenes so I can’t wait to read his and Grace’s story.

    Pam: I, too, loved the tattoo and use of the knitting needles. But one of my favorite parts (possible spoiler) is when Dylan says that knitting is just like sex and proceeds to explain. Then they start trying to come up with book titles so he can write about comparing the two. Also, how Dylan teases Ronnie about her screenname…LOL

    Heidi: HI!!! I understand why you couldn’t include Charlotte too much, but thanks for explaining. OOOH…and I can’t wait for the next books! Now that you’ve teased me about Zack and Grace’s story, I’ll have to go pout in a corner…you tease, you! But I can’t wait to see what direction you take Jenna, Gage, Zack, and Grace!

    Liza: Thanks for commenting and glad you enjoyed the book.

  7. Heidi Betts says:

    Hi, Liza! I’m so glad you enjoyed TANGLED UP IN LOVE. And I have to admit, I did a little snooping & *think* I found your blog & the review you wrote of TANGLED. It was awesome, thank you very much!

  8. Heidi Betts says:

    Jennifer~ You know, when I first plotted out this trilogy, it never really occurred to me that setting up all three couples in the first book was hugely different from what you normally see in a series, or that having one of the couples together in Book 1 even though their *true* story would be Book 3 was going to throw people off. It’s kind of funny now that I look back & think, “Oh, yeah, I guess I can see how that might happen.” LOL It’s been a lot to juggle & a lot of threads to keep track of & tie up, but one of the things I love about it is how much time I get to spend with *all* the characters & how much they all get to grow & transform as the series progresses.

    While I admit that the book titles Ronnie & Dylan were tossing around were mine the “knitting is like sex” thing actually came about after a chat with my agent. It was too funny & I knew I had to use it in the book! And the screen name was just a little nod to my Darlings of the Dungeon over at WIPs and Chains. 😉

  9. Jennifer Y says:

    Heidi: It wasn’t that the couple was already together, but the discussion of Zack and Grace’s first meeting that kind of threw me off…it was hilarious and I could so see you putting that into a book (or rather their book). But I think the way you are doing it is going to be interesting and make the happy ending mean so much more. Same with Jenna and Gage…I love reunion stories or stories where couples have some kind of existing relationship (which kind of fits Tangled Up in Love, as well). While you didn’t drop too many hints about their story in this book, I can’t wait to see how things play out for them.

    And I figured the screenname had something to do with Mistress Heidi…LOL…I actually pictured the image on your blog when I was reading.

    Oh, and I wanted to say that I love humor in books and this one had it in spades, but I liked that it wasn’t necessarily slapstick or over-the-top characters providing the humor, but the dialogue and interactions of characters. This made it even more believable and enjoyable for me. And maybe it’s just my odd sense of humor…

    …but one of my fave interactions:
    R: “Why do you drive a jeep?”
    D: “Because it’s too heavy to carry.”

    That is totally something I would say or someone in my family would say…and I still chuckle over this and some of the other dialogue in the story.

  10. Heidi Betts says:

    Okay, reading the jeep thing again even made me laugh. I’d forgotten about it, but it’s *soooo* something someone in my family would say, too…which is probably why I put it in.

    I’m so happy that you enjoyed the humor in TANGLED & *didn’t* think it was slapstick or over-the-top. That was definitely one of my goals because I hate that kind of humor in books. It just doesn’t feel real to me. I find things much funnier if I can imagine them happening in real life. I’m all for stretching my imagination & going along with certain things because they work for a story, but too much tends to turn me off.

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