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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

Daughter of Mystery
Heather Rose Jones
Progress: 251/399 pages
50 Girls 50 and Other Stories
Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta, Gary Groth
Space Battle Lunchtime Volume 1: Lights, Camera, Snacktion!
Natalie Reiss
Progress: 20/120 pages
Fluency
Jennifer Foehner Wells
Progress: 58/367 pages
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: A Novel
Becky Chambers
Progress: 148/441 pages
The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas, Bill Homewood, Naxos AudioBooks
Progress: 667/3165 minutes
A Matter of Oaths
Helen S. Wright
Progress: 101/277 pages
Report on the Selected Problems of the Technical Departments of the University of Illinois Library
Raynard C. Swank
Progress: 20/42 pages
Medical School for Everyone: Grand Rounds Cases
Professor Roy Benaroch, The Great Courses, The Great Courses
Progress: 34/725 minutes
Don't Look Down - Jennifer Crusie, Bob Mayer Lucy Armstrong is a director who mostly does dog food commercials. She really enjoys her work, but she agrees to finish a four-day action movie shoot so that she can check up on her sister (Daisy) and her niece (Pepper). It's quickly evident, however, that there's more to this shoot than Lucy realizes. The movie's script doesn't make sense, Daisy might be on drugs, and Lucy's ex-husband and the movie's stunt coordinator seems to be involved in anything and everything fishy that's going on. Captain J. T. Wilder, a Green Beret, has been hired by the movie's lead actor to be his stunt double, and he, too, can't help but notice how badly everything seems to be going - everywhere he looks he sees military-related details in the movie that aren't even close to accurate, and he's the only one who believes Pepper when she says she sees something she thinks is a ghost hiding somewhere outside the movie shoot. Then J. T. gets a call from the CIA and finds out that there really is something fishy going on. Suddenly, J. T. has to deal with potential danger, movie crew members who may or may not be trustworthy, people trying to kill him, a little girl who's too energetic and precocious for her own good (Pepper gets into trouble a lot - there's a sniper and an alligator to deal with, after all), and raging hormones (the movie's female lead has great breasts, and Lucy inspires fantasies about Wonder Woman and her Lasso of Truth).It took me a while to warm up to this story, and, overall, I didn't like it as much as Crusie and Mayer's [b:Agnes and the Hitman|384457|Agnes and the Hitman|Jennifer Crusie|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1316125627s/384457.jpg|1734360]. However, it was still a fun read, so I'd recommend it to someone looking for a book that mixes suspense, romance, action, and a bit of humor.For a while there, I was a little annoyed by Pepper, who, as I've already said, has a habit of being too precocious for her own good. I think Pepper is maybe 5 year old, although I might be off by a year in either direction. Pepper talks a lot (and never with contractions), is determined to be a good assistant for her aunt Lucy, and is really lonely. She wants a Wonder Woman Barbie and her Animal of the Month is the alligator - what a coincidence. Although I did have a tendency to dislike Pepper, without her several things couldn't have happened. In the end, Pepper's the one who makes it impossible for everyone to pull out of the operation (basically, continuing to shoot the movie, something that it integral to a plan to get lots of money and/or some jade phallic symbols), since no one can back out after she gets kidnapped. Also, Pepper is the inspiration for the book's best running joke, which is basically anything to do with Wonder Woman and Lucy. Several characters note Lucy's resemblance to Wonder Woman, and I loved reading about J. T. trying to deal with the thought of Lucy and some Wonder Woman underwear. It was very funny stuff.I didn't always like J. T. either, although I don't suppose my reasons were always all that fair. J. T.'s basically a military man through and through. Anytime he looks at just about anything, he thinks about it in military terms, sometimes at the oddest moments (such as when J. T. is trying to find Pepper, who has gone looking for moles). J. T.'s been to Iraq several times, and he's had some unspecified bad experiences that lead him to occasionally drink more than he should. When he first arrives at the shoot, his eye is caught by both Althea, the movie's female lead, and Lucy. Althea is a beauty with a great body and terrific breasts, and Lucy is a strong, competent Amazon of a woman. Assuming that Lucy isn't interested in him, J. T. falls into bed with Althea pretty quickly, something that's liable to turn off some romance readers. I, for instance, would rather not read about the male lead in a romance of any sort having sex with someone other than the female lead, even if the sex isn't actually described in detail, the male and female leads aren't actually in a relationship yet, and the reason for the sex isn't too far-fetched. I just don't find it very appealing, and I held it against J. T. a little.However, as in [b:Agnes and the Hitman|384457|Agnes and the Hitman|Jennifer Crusie|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1316125627s/384457.jpg|1734360], Crusie and Mayer go with the "a dependable man who knows how to save a woman in trouble is a sexy man" idea. It worked in that book, and it works in this one, too. J. T. is there to help save Pepper whenever she needs it. Lucy's more than strong enough to take care of herself (at least in situations not involving people with guns), but J. T. can back her up in any areas she has trouble with - he actually appreciates that she's a capable woman, and she actually appreciates that there are some things he can do for her better than she could do for herself. This will all be very refreshing for anyone who's ever read a romance novel where the male lead is so determined to protect the female lead that he seems to have no real recognition of any strengths she might have and where the female lead responds by doing stupid, badly thought out things in order to prove her competence and independence. J. T. also engages in more "dependable is sexy" activity when he actually remembers to pick up a Wonder Woman toy when Lucy asks for one. It's stuff like this that made this book a really enjoyable read for me.Basically, I enjoyed this book for its flashes of humor, its somewhat engaging suspense and action, and its "dependable is sexy" aspects. However, I thought the book also had a lot of weaknesses. I already mentioned the problems I had with some of the characters - Lucy was the only character that I don't remember ever disliking, even a little, since it was great to have a heroine who was genuinely competent, caring, and intelligent (all this makes me wonder how she ever managed to fall for the slimeball who eventually becomes her ex-husband). Another thing I disliked was how messed up time seemed to be in this book. There is a lot going on in this story, with the CIA, a kidnapping, accidents, questions piling up, and a relationship developing between Lucy and J. T. Somehow, all of this happens within four days - this is something that's really only hitting me now, as I'm writing this post, since I think my mind just blanked out the "four days" bit while I was reading it and assumed everything was taking place over a much longer time period. Now that this issue is occurring to me, the amount of stuff that's crammed into this story is just mind-boggling.(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)