Saturday, September 29, 2007

New Release

Gentle Readers who have followed ramblings on this blog since the beginning will recall that Lani Diane Rich holds a special place in Apprentice Writer's heart. She actually achieved what many a November writer dreams of by getting the novel she began and completed during National Novel Writing Month published. She then went on to write full-time, and took the time to respond to Apprentice Writer's newbie questions on the NaNoWriMo message boards to point her in the direction of what has become her writing group, and was an engaging speaker during one of the group's monthly meetings, talking about 'How to Remain Professional While Working in Your Pyjamas'. Anyone familiar with Lani will be unsurprised to learn that she gave this talk while, yes, wearing her pyjamas. (For people who worry about such things, no need for alarm: a robe and bunny slippers were involved as well.)

But all this and $5 will buy you a latte. The question for readers of this blog is: are her novels funny? Of three novels read from two months to a couple of years back, Apprentice Writer recalls the following:

Time Off For Good Behavior
About a unique single woman with anger management issues who learns to tackle her problems in a way that doesn't involve legal consequences. This novel contained the new word creation 'pencil face', which Apprentice Writer still isn't sure the meaning of but nevertheless loves. The story builds well and is emotionally satisfying. But is it funny? Yes, in a wry, women's fiction sort of way.

Maybe Baby
About a couple who reunite to thwart crime involving an endearlingly odd rare bird. The premise is original, the characters unusual and likable, the story had good tension and was very entertaining. But was it funny? Yes, in a zany caper kind of way.

The Comeback Kiss
About a prodigal son who returns to his hometown to rectify a longago wrong and is drawn into solving arson cases. The main character was a secondary one in Maybe Baby, and it was lovely to get to read his own story. In the 'uh-oh' department, there is a rekindling romance scene which curls toes - unfortunately, with disgust rather than heat. The hero spent the evening in a smoky pool hall, next morning before he has showered or brushed teeth or eaten but not before he has had a cigarette, the heroine turns up and they kiss. Shudder-inducing even now. Still, the mix of characters and pacing keep the pages flying. But is it funny? Yes, based on a lot of the quirky characters' behaviour and manner of speech.

Why is Apprentice Writer taking the Gentle Reader on this trip down memory lane?

On October 1, Lani's latest novel, Crazy in Love will be released. Ever the innovator, she invited her readers to blog about it. Dilemma: blog helter-skelter like a rabid fangirl, regardless of how the actual book turns out? Or maintain integrity and avoid accusations of bias by waiting to form a full opinion?

Apprentice Writer chose the golden mean. Based on a 3 out of 3 rating history in previous books, and an excerpt of the new novel at, it looks like Crazy in Love will be another winner, humor-wise. Lani is especially adept at doing 'quirky', and so far, it looks like Flynn and Freya (sisters introduced in the first chapter) will get a high rating on the Quirk-O-Meter. Also, Apprentice Writer is fascinated by the names chosen; alliteration is always good in her book (helps to remember which characters belong in the same family), and how is it that one is named for the Nordic goddess of something-or-other, while the second is named for the Irish somebody of something-or-other? Maybe they are half sisters.

These questions and more can be answered at your local or virtual bookstore on Monday.

1 comment:

Wylie Kinson said...

I haven't read her yet - but on your recommendation, will look out for one of these titles next time I visit Chapters. Thanks M!