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Liz Loves Books

I love to read and to talk about books. I review many of the books I read. I do not accept any author/publisher submissions for reviews. I do not read or review ARCs. I do not enter any giveaways or contests. I obtain the books I review by purchasing them at the same price they are offered to the general public at the time of purchase. My reviews are intended for the use of my fellow readers. They are not advertising or promotion. They are not beta reads or constructive criticism or editing or advice to the author. My only obligation to the author is to pay the price charged for the book at the time of purchase. My reviews are sometimes critical and I will not stop posting critical reviews just to spare delicate authors' feelings. I am happy to make new friends, but friend requests from authors or promoters who have few or no books (and/or friends) in common with me and write or promote categories I do not read (especially new adult) will be ignored. I used to read more self-published books. After recent meltdowns by self-published authors, I now only read self-published authors I've previously read or who have been recommended to me by fellow readers I trust. I also used to read young adult/new adult books but rarely do so now.

Venus in Blue Jeans (Konigsburg, #1)

Venus in Blue Jeans (Konigsburg, #1) - Meg Benjamin I’ve had this book in my tbr pile for quite a while. I finally read it and it is a cute, funny contemporary romance between a vet and a bookshop owner who are both outsiders in a small central Texas (hill country) town. For the most part I enjoyed both the story and the characters and I loved Ms. Benjamin’s descriptions of Konigsburg and its colorful folks who live there. Ms. Benjamin knows Texas and writes it well.This is primarily a romantic comedy with a touch of suspense tossed in. There is a predictable and annoying lust-at-first-sight moment, but the hero and heroine’s status as outsiders and general likeability gives the romance a better foundation. The heroine is fairly hesitant to become involved. I felt that this was reasonable given the background we have for the heroine. While her second guessing her choices in partners is mostly due to one very bad relationship, some other bad relationships are also mentioned and it’s enough to establish a pattern. I did question her being this introspective about relationships at the ripe old age of 23, but chalked it up to maturity gained from her parents’ rocky relationship and separation. The hero is less reticent, though he flops about a bit toward the end and over-reacts badly in a way that seemed out of character. The romance moves along fairly predictably, with an equally predictable suspense plot spicing things up a tiny bit. There’s really little mystery to it, though. Fortunately the romance and secondary characters were enough to hold my interest.The dialogue throughout is very funny, as are many of the situations. I think this book worked quite well as a romantic comedy. It’s a bit slapsticky at times, but the slapstick works in this story. It’s certainly better as a romantic comedy than it is as a mystery.The secondary characters are half the fun here. There’s plenty of quirkiness and none of it is the awful contrived nonsense that frequently passes for “quirkiness” in so many small town romances and cozy mysteries these days. The villainess, Margaret Hastings, is a little over the top awful, but she’s also hilarious. Ms. Benjamin has written several other secondary characters quite believably, especially the heroine’s parents and there’s a secondary romance that’s just present enough. And then there is the dog. The dog almost steals the show here. I think some readers may feel that the dog does steal the show. The town itself is very well written, though I would have liked a bit more description of its appearance. I spent quite a bit of time in the hill country as a kid and I couldn’t quite place its location. Johnson City’s mentioned more frequently than any other hill country location, so I assume its meant to be somewhere near there. It’s described as being small enough that the hero walks from town to the farm/ranch property with a barn that he’s renting. That didn’t make much sense to me as property in Texas tends to be really spread out and usually fairly far from town and this town is large enough to be a tourist attraction year round and host several large events. Also, I don’t remember mention of a church. I can’t think of a single small (or even medium) Texas town that isn’t dominated by its churches and church activities usually play a huge part in the social life of a small Texas town (along with high school football - another thing that wasn’t mentioned). Those are fairly minor quibbles, though. I generally loved Konisburg and I wish I could visit it Or maybe move there. I love the hill country and that's probably why I've gone on and one about this.I’m glad I finally got around to reading this book. It was funny and I found the main characters engaging and their romance enjoyable and I loved the secondary characters and the town.