I didn't want to go into full reviews for any of these books so I'm introducing quick reviews!
The title: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists
The author: Gideon Defoe
Publication: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2004
Got it from: The library
Ridiculous is not too strong a word to describe this silliness. A whopping 135 pages long (with comprehension exercise and words to know included), the joke of this whole book revolves around how absurd pirates are. The Pirate Captain and his crew live in a strange 19th century/modern world hybrid where people are dispatched in various gruesome ways and their love of ham is a running joke. Sprinkled throughout are factual footnotes on historical personages appearing in the book - or, indeed, anything. Most of the humour is groan-worthy bad, but there are some genuinely funny moments such as when The Pirate with a Scarf and Erasmus Darwin play a game of Animal, Vegetable or Mineral while meeting their doom strapped to the cogs of Big Ben. Special note should be made of the fact that the chapter titles (Battling the Octopus!, etc), while appropriate to most pirate adventures, have absolutely nothing to do with the content of the respective chapter. Teenage boys and pirate fanatics will love this, everyone else can skip to the cute Aardman movie released last year based on the book.
The title: Mr. Darcy's Guide to Courtship
The author: Emily Brand
Publication: Old House, 2013
Got it from: AG, B-day 2013
Speaking of foolishness, we have this book, written as if it had been dictated by a pre-Lizzie Mr. Darcy. "The Secrets of Seduction from Jane Austen's Most Eligible Bachelor" reads like a one-note joke - he's a jerk! Ha ha! It stretches the limits of credulity to suppose that a man who could fall for Elizabeth Bennet would ever advise women to not be opinionated and lively. But no matter how tongue in cheek this book is meant to be, there is simply no excuse for paragraphs like this: "Ladies, if you have failed to secure a husband by the age of thirty - at which point the bloom of youth will fade most desperately - admit defeat and harden yourself to the idea of not being worth looking at. A single woman of nine and twenty ought not to expect to feel or inspire real affection again." Here's some advice of my own: "Young women of six and twenty should not attempt to imitate the wit and genius of Jane Austen. Wait a few more years until you have something better in you in than this unfunny, tiresome book."
The title: The Read Deal
The author: Debbi Rawlins
Publication: Harlequin, 2010
Got it from: MC, B-day 2012
I enjoyed this book much, much more than I thought I would. Emily Carter is hoping to break out of her stay-at-home rut so she signs up for a sightseeing adventure in New York City over Thanksgiving. On an impulse, she buys a copy of Erotic New York and accidentally ends up leaving it behind in the cab she's sharing with a good-looking guy. The guy turns out to be Nick Corrigan, a star baseball player. I don't normally go in for sports-themed romance but this one worked for me as it takes place in the off-season. It dealt a lot more with the realities of sports fame than the game itself. What really worked for me is how darn likeable the characters were. The romance was definitely pure fantasy, but the warm-and-fuzzy kind that felt so feel-good and satisfying. And I love holiday getaway romance, especially the cold-weather kind. Total thumbs up.