Friday, November 27, 2009

Review - Take a Chance on Me

Title: Take a Chance on Me
Author: Susan Donovan
Publishing Date: 2003
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: Requested from paperbackswap after realizing it made Kristie J's top 16 list. Also, it met the requirements of my RT Reading Challenge.

I was in the mood for a light, funny romance and after hearing this was one of Kristie J's favorites, I decided to move Take a Chance on Me up in the TBR pile. If you are a fan of light-hearted contemporaries, then this is a story for you.

Thomas Tobin unexpectedly finds himself the temporary owner of a Chinese Crested dog named Hairy, when his owner is found murdered in his kitchen. Since that fateful day, little Hairy seems to have issues with anxiety. Thomas takes Hairy to see Emma Jenkins, an animal behaviorist who might be able to help Hairy with his anxiety issues. See, it just so happens that Hairy happened to witness a murder and Tobin needs Emma's help to make sense of it all.

One of the things that really stood out for me in this book was Donovan's ability to clearly describe her characters. Sometimes, I'll read a story and the character descriptions are kind of vague or glossed over. That is definitely not the case here. I had a very clear picture of what Emma or Thomas looked like, and now that I think about it, the secondary characters too - even little Hairy.

What is also nice about Take a Chance on Me is that yes, it is a light-hearted book and there are plenty of funny moments in it, but that is not all. This book also has some bittersweet more poignant moments as well. Emma has just divorced her ex-husband and is learning to value herself and also draw boundaries. Thomas is a big cynic who thinks all relationships are doomed from the start because he sees the worst of humanity through his job day in and day out. It is a nice change of pace for both Emma and Thomas to meet and interact with each other.

The only excuse I can find for not rating this book higher is mainly because I found Thomas to be a big stick in the mud the first part of the book. He was kept giving Emma mixed signals because he was mixed up himself, not sure of what he wanted. He does come around and the journey is a fun one to read.

Here is what others had to say:

Book Binge
Penelope's Romance Reviews
Tracy's Place

This book can be purchased in print or kindle format from Amazon.


Patti said...

I've been on a Contemporary roll, this sounds right up my alley!

Penelope said...

I love, love, love this book!!!!! Sexy, baby! I loaned this to a friend who has a Chinese crested and her dog nibbled on my book. Hee awesome!

Kristie (J) said...

Ah yes - I get your point about Thomas - but doesn't Hairy deserve to up it a bit? *g* To me, he was the real star of the book. I mean - how often do we get the internal dialogue of a dog!! *laughing*
And some of the moments with Hairy were just so damn funny - his fixation with Thomas's underwear, his having to wear maxi pads - and the visual of Thomas - this big bad rugby playing hero, having to put them on poor Hairy. I think you should give a bonus 1/2 mark for Hairy alone :-)
Although - every time I see the title, I get the ear worm of ABBA's song running through my head - so that might deduct a point.
And I also thought Donovan did an excellent job on the character of LeeLee (I think that's her name). I found her to be a standout secondary character - also Emma's Dad was good too.
I've been trying to get Lea to read this one - she has a Chinese Crested too.
Anyway - I'm glad you enjoyed this one!!

Jill D. said...

Kristie! I did love Hairy! There were definite laugh out loud moments with him :) Oh yeah - and I am glad I am not the only one who breaks into Abba when they hear the title.

Okay, what other Susan Donovan would you recommend? Did you read The Kept Woman? That one sounds good to me, so I might give it a try. Her writing style is really easy to read.

~ames~ said...

I loved this book too - and not just because of the dog. LOL Although, it's a big draw still.

I like that part when Thomas bites her ear in the parking lot and then drives away. Bite and run.

Pearl said...

I recently read Knocked of My Feet by Susan Donovan for a reading challenge and loved her writing. Have this one somewhere on the reading pile and am going to dig it up because I loved your review of it!

Jill D. said...

Ames - LOL, Bite and Run! If I remember correctly Emma was pretty pissed when he did that. I was right there with her, actually. But I liked how there relationship developed over the story and took precedent over most of what else was going on.

Pearl - I am looking to read another book by Donovan as I enjoyed her easy writing style and likeable characters. I might just have to give Knocked Me off My Feet a try.