Anyone But You [NOOK Book]

Overview

A timeless tale from the first name in romantic comedy -- Jennifer Crusie!

Part basset, part beagle, all Cupid . . . can a matchmaking hound fetch a new love for his owner?

For Nina Askew, turning forty means freedom -- from the ex-husband whose career always came first, from their stuffy suburban home. Freedom to have her own apartment in the city, freedom to focus on what she wants for a change. And what she...

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Anyone But You

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Overview

A timeless tale from the first name in romantic comedy -- Jennifer Crusie!

Part basset, part beagle, all Cupid . . . can a matchmaking hound fetch a new love for his owner?

For Nina Askew, turning forty means freedom -- from the ex-husband whose career always came first, from their stuffy suburban home. Freedom to have her own apartment in the city, freedom to focus on what she wants for a change. And what she wants is something her ex always vetoed -- a puppy. A bouncy puppy to cheer her up. Instead she gets . . . Fred.

Overweight, smelly and obviously suffering from some kind of doggy depression, Fred is light-years from perky. But for all his faults, he does manage to put Nina face-to-face with Alex Moore, her gorgeous, younger downstairs neighbor.

Alex looks great on paper -- a sexy, seemingly sane, surprisingly single E.R. doctor who shares Fred's abiding love for Oreos -- but a ten-year difference in age, despite his devastating smile, is too wide a gap for Nina to handle. Ignoring her insistent best friend, some interfering do-gooders and the ubiquitous Fred -- not to mention her suddenly raging hormones -- Nina thinks anyone but Alex would be a better bet for a relationship. But with every silver-haired stiff she dates, the more she suspects it's the young dog-loving doctor she wants to sit and stay!

Jennifer Crusie has written over a dozen novels, and has appeared on many bestseller lists, including those of Publishers Weekly, USA Today and the New York Times.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Jennifer Crusie's many fans will be delighted to discover (or rediscover) her wonderful debut novel. It's an exuberant, romantic, and occasionally goofy comedy, with two unlikely love stories. The first is between 40-year-old Nina, happily divorced and looking for a puppy companion, and Fred, an overweight, grumpy basset/beagle spending his last day in the shelter. It's fortunate for everyone that Nina adopts him, since Fred ends up playing unwitting Cupid, introducing Nina to ER doctor Alex Moore, her handsome 30-year-old neighbor. That's where the second love story comes in, but it's not easy. Nina rules out any man 10 years younger, but she's happy to watch old movies with Alex -- night after night after night.

There are a lot of characters to love here, including Nina's best friend, who has a black thumb when it comes to romance, and her 75-year-old neighbor, who's got a very different attitude. As Alex and Nina inch toward romance, neither is willing to make the first move until they discover some basic home truths about the power of unconditional love. Ginger Curwen
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781460305089
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 10/15/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 53,577
  • File size: 385 KB

Meet the Author

Jennifer  Crusie

Jennifer Crusie has written more than fifteen novels and has appeared on many bestseller lists, including those of Publishers Weekly, USA TODAY and the New York Times.

Biography

Don't expect to see Fabio's flowing mane on the cover of any of Jennifer Crusie's romance novels. She completely eschews the tradition of overwrought melodrama and heaving bosoms to toss a comic gauntlet into the romantic arena. Her fun, funny, and frisky books are a refreshing breeze in a genre that could easily grow stale.

Former schoolteacher Jennifer Smith got her Master's degree in Professional Writing and Women's Literature at Wright State University. She wrote her thesis on women's roles in mystery fiction before trying her hand at penning romance novels using her grandmother's family name Crusie. Despite her impressive credentials, she dismisses her debut novel Sizzle as "lousy" even as her fans clamber to gets their hands on this long out-of-print pulp romance. "That damn book is following me around the way early porn films follow actresses," so says Crusie one her web site of Sizzle.

No matter what the author thinks of her first effort, the astounding string of critically lauded bestsellers that followed it have firmly established Crusie as one of the very best writers of contemporary romantic fiction. Much of this is due to her sharp wit and ear for comedic dialogue, humor being an element often sorely missing in romance novels. From the sly private dick tale What the Lady Wants to the frantic Faking It, Crusie's books contain the perfect balance of suspense, snickers, and steamy love scenes.

What's more, the author has raked up a slew of awards, as well as spots on "best romance novels of the year" for Anyone But You, Temptation, Fast Women, and Faking It. Getting Rid of Bradley scored Crusie a RWA Rita award for Best Short Contemporary Fiction, and in 1996, she received a career achievement award for her work in the romantic comedy genre from Romantic Times magazine.

Now, after 13 crowd pleasers and award winners, Crusie is offering up her first-ever collaboration. She teamed up with hard-boiled action writer Bob Mayer (Operation Dragon-Sim) to conjure up Don't Look Down, a wacky escapade that is equal parts comedy, adventure, and playful erotica.

In Don't Look Down, movie director Lucy Armstrong goes toe-to-toe and heart-to-heart with J.T. Wilder, a green beret who serves as an advisor on a movie that is taking an unexpected turn from romantic comedy to blow-‘em-up action flick. Publisher's Weekly has declared the joint-effort "good fun," and Crusie reveals on her website that more fun with Mayer is on the way. The team is currently working on their second novel together Agnes and the Hitman.

As for future solo ventures by Crusie, there's plenty more in store. She not only has another release slotted for 2006 -- a sexy yuletide novella titled Hot Toy, which will appear in St. Martin's Press' Santa Baby anthology -- but she currently has no less than five additional projects on the burner. Among these upcoming releases are a collection of short stories and a book that Crusie is particularly qualified to create: a guide to writing women's fiction.

Good To Know

Crusie and Bob Mayer are making things a little easier for guys who want to check out their new collaborative novel Don't Look Down. All you have to do is remove the cutesy dust jacket to reveal a tough-as-nails camouflage cover design and voila! No one will ever know you're enjoying a romantic comedy.

Crusie is the proud owner of three dogs, one of which is named Lucy. Oddly, the main character of Don't look Down is also named Lucy -- and happens to be a director of dog food commercials. Coincidence?

Crusie has a few nonfiction works to her credit, including introductions in Totally Charmed, a collection of essays about Alyssa Milano's cult TV series, and Anne Rice: A Critical Companion, which the author wrote under her given name of Jennifer Smith.

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    1. Hometown:
      Ohio
    1. Date of Birth:
      1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Ohio
    1. Education:
      B.A., Bowling Green State University, 1973; M.A., Wright State University; Ph.D., Ohio University, 1986

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
The last thing Nina Askew needed was Fred.
"I want a puppy," she said to the brown-uniformed woman behind the scarred metal counter at Riverbend Animal Control. "Something perky."
"Perky." The woman sighed. "Sure. We got perky." She jerked her head toward the gray metal door at the end of the counter. "Through there, one step down."
"Right." Nina shoved her short dark curls behind her ears, grabbed her purse and walked through the door, determined to pick herself out the perkiest birthday present on four paws. So what if yesterday had been her fortieth birthday? Forty was a good age for a woman. It meant freedom. Especially freedom from her overambitious ex-husband and their overpriced suburban castle which had finally sold after a year of open-house hell. There was something good: she was out of that damn house.
And now she was forty. Well, she was delighted to be forty. After all, that was the reason she was getting a dog of her own.
The attendant joined her and said, "This way," and Nina followed her toward yet another heavy metal door. She was going to get a puppy. She’d always wanted a dog, but Guy hadn’t understood." Dogs shed," he’d said when she’d suggested they get one as a wedding present to each other. She should have known that was A Sign. But no, she’d married him anyway and moved into that designer mausoleum of a house. And then she’d spent fifteen years following her husband’s career around, without a dog, in a house she’d grown to hate. Sixteen years in the house, if she counted this last year in divorced-woman limbo, waiting for it to sell. But now she had freedom and an apartment of her own and a great, if precarious, job. The only thing she needed was a warm, cheerful body to come home to.
The attendant opened the door, and the faint barking Nina had heard before became frantic and shrill. Nina stepped into the concrete cell block and stopped, blown out of her self-absorption by the row of gray metal cages where dogs barked to get her attention. She let her breath out, horrified. "Oh, God, this is awful."
"Spay your pets." The attendant stopped in front of the next to last cage. "Here you go." She jerked her head again. "Perky."
Nina went to join the woman and peered into the cage. The pups were darling -- some sort of tiny, bright-eyed, spotted mixed breed -- climbing over one another and tumbling and whining and barking. Perky as hell. Now all she had to do was choose one . . .
She moved closer and glanced in the last cage almost by accident. Then she froze.
There was only one dog in the cage, and it was midsize and depressed, too big for her apartment and too melancholy for her state of mind. Nina tried to turn back to the puppies, but somehow, she couldn’t. The dog had huge bags under his dark eyes, and hunched shoulders, and a white coat blotched with what looked like giant liver spots. He sat on the damp concrete like a bulked-up vulture and stared at her, not barking, not moving. He looked like her great-uncle Fred had before he’d died when she was six. She’d liked her uncle Fred, and then one day his heart had gone, as her mother had put it, and that had been it.
"Hello," she said, and the dog lifted his head a little, so she stooped down and reached through the cage doors to scratch him behind the ears. He looked at her and then closed his eyes in appreciation for the scratch.
"What’s wrong with him?" Nina asked the attendant.
"Nothing," the attendant said. "He’s part basset, part beagle." She checked the card on his cage. "Or he might be psychic. This is his last day."
Nina’s eyes opened wide. "You mean . . ."
"Yep." The attendant sliced her hand across her throat.
Nina looked back at the dog. The dog looked back at Nina, death in his eyes.
Oh, God.
She stood and shoved her hair behind her ears, trying to look efficient and practical in an effort to be efficient and practical. She did not need this dog. She needed a happy, perky puppy, and on his best day, this dog would look like a professional mourner. And he wasn’t even a puppy.
Any dog but this one.
She looked down at the dog one last time, and her hair fell forward, a curly black frame for his depression. He bowed his head a little as if it had grown too heavy for him, and his ears sagged with the bow.
She could not take this dog. He was too depressed. He was too big. He was too old. She took a step back, and he sighed and lay down, not expecting anything at all, resigned to the cold hard floor and no one to love him and the certainty of death in the morning.
Nina turned to the attendant, and said, "I’ll take him."
The attendant raised an eyebrow. "That’s your idea of perky?"
Nina gestured to the puppies. "They’ll all be adopted, right?"
"Probably."
Nina took one long last glance at the tumbling, chubby puppies. Prozac with four legs and a tail. Then she looked at the other dog, depressed, alone, too old to be cute anymore if he ever had been. "I have a lot in common with this dog," she told the attendant. "And besides, I’d never sleep again knowing I could have saved him and didn’t."
The attendant shook her head. "You can’t save them all."
"Well, I can save this one." Nina crouched to the dog’s level. "It’s okay, Fred. I just rescued your butt."
The dog rolled his eyes up to stare at her.
"No, don’t thank me. Glad to do it for you." Nina stood up and followed the attendant down the hall. At the end, she turned, and Fred moved forward, pressing his nose through the bars. "Hey, it’s okay," Nina called to him. "I’m coming right back as soon as I get you sprung from this joint."
Fred moaned and stumbled back into the depths of the cage.
"Oh, yeah, you’re going to cheer me up," Nina said and went to sign the papers and pay the fee.
He didn’t get much happier when the attendant opened the cage and he waddled out into Nina’s arms, fragrant beyond belief. "You stink, Fred," she told him, and then she picked him up and held him to her, telling herself that her silk suit was dry-cleanable, and that at least it was brown and so was a lot of Fred so the dog hair wouldn’t show. He looked up at her and she added, "And you weigh a ton." He was like dead weight in her arms, round and bulky, and most of his weight seemed to be centered in his rear end, which gave him a definite droop as she balanced his hip on hers. Still, as much as he reeked, it felt good to have her arms wrapped around him. "I saved you, Fred," she whispered into his ear, and he twitched as her breath tickled him, patient but not by any means enthused about the new turn of events.
He perked up a little when she carried him out into the May sunlight, but he seemed annoyed when she tried to balance all of his weight on one hip while she maneuvered open the door to her white Civic.
"I was planning . . . on getting . . . a puppy," she told him, breathing hard as she used her other hip to push the car door farther open. "I wasn’t planning . . . on getting a . . . part basset . . . part beagle . . . part lead-ass." She managed to heave him into the seat and close the door, and then she leaned against the car to get her breath back. Fred rocked back and forth as he situated himself on the blue upholstery, and then he turned and smeared his nose on the window. "Good." Nina sighed. "Make yourself at home."
She got in the Civic and stuck the key in the ignition. Fred put his paws on the window ledge and smeared his nose higher. Nina thought longingly of the puppies. "You’re making me ill." She leaned across him and began to roll down the window halfway. "Don’t jump out. Things just got better for you."
Fred turned at the sound of her voice, and as she stretched over him still cranking the window, he looked deep into her eyes. Nina stopped rolling and stared back into the warm brown depths. He really was a sweet dog. Of course he wasn’t being peppy. In his situation, she’d be cautious, too. He didn’t know anything about her. She didn’t know anything about where he’d been. Maybe his previous people had been mean to him. It didn’t matter. What mattered was that he needed love. Everybody needed love. Even she needed love. And now she had Fred.
Fred.
Nina closed her eyes. Terrific. She had Fred. Even her best friend was going to think she was nuts. "You bought a what?" Charity was going to say, and then when she saw Fred, middle-aged, broken-down and tired, she was going to -- Nina looked into Fred’s patient brown eyes again and felt ashamed. "It’s okay, Fred." She stroked the top of his head. "You’re my dog now. It’s okay."
Fred met her eyes, squared his shoulders, and lunged at her, licking her from chin to forehead with one sweeping slurp.
"Oh, Fred." Nina burst into tears and wrapped her arms around him. His body was fat and warm and wriggly, and Nina hugged him tighter, so glad to have someone alive in her life again and so relieved to finally be able to cry out the frustration and loneliness that she didn’t even care the someone had four legs and smelled like rank canine. "We’re going to be so happy, Fred," she told him, sobbing. "We really are. We’re going to be wonderful together."
Fred sighed and began to lick the tears from her face, which made Nina cry even harder. It was the best she’d felt in weeks.
She gave one final sniff and let go of Fred to put the car in gear so she could show him his new home and call his aunt Charity to come meet him.
"You have family now, Fred," she told him. "You’re going home."
Alex Moore was stretched out on a bed in an empty examining room in the Riverbend General ER, trying to forget his family and get some sleep before another emergency erupted when his older brother came in and dropped a brown paper bag with a six-pack of beer in it on his stomach.
"Hey!" Alex curled to absorb the blow and then saw it was Max and stretched back out again. Pain in conjunction with his family was nothing new. "I’m sleeping. Go away. And take that damn beer with you before somebody sees it."
Max pulled the beer out of the sack and peeled off a can. He popped the tab and left the five remaining beers on Alex’s stomach as he collapsed into an orange plastic chair. The chair scraped and screeched on the floor, and Max’s purple silk shirt clashed against the green wall. Alex winced and closed his eyes, hoping Max would take the hint and leave.
Max didn’t. "You know, if you didn’t spend your nights chasing women, you wouldn’t get this tired during your shifts," he said and sipped his beer.
Alex didn’t bother to open his eyes. "I did not spend my night chasing a woman. I took Debbie to dinner. She started talking about kids. I took her home. Story of my love life."
"It’s because you’ve got that blond good-guy look," Max told him. "You’ve got nice guy written all over you. Now me, I look like a rat."
Alex kept his eyes closed as a hint. "Yeah, you do. Go away, rat."
"Of course, it’s too late to pretend you’re a rat around here since everybody knows you. You should have changed the subject. ‘Speaking of kids, Debbie, how about some sex?’ You got to learn to be faster on your feet."
Alex thought about snarling at him to go away and decided against it. He liked Max, and given his family, a relative he was usually happy to see was a rarity. "I don’t want to be faster on my feet. I just want to spend some nice quiet evenings with a woman who wants me more than she wants kids or a wedding ring. All the women I know have biological clocks and a burning need to commit. I want a woman who has a burning need to be with me and watch old movies and laugh. But right now, all I want is to sleep, which is why you’re leaving."
Max swallowed some more beer. "It’s because you’re a doctor. Women always want to marry doctors."
Alex opened one eye. "You’re a doctor. How come it doesn’t happen to you?"
"I try not to date anybody more than twice," Max said. "It keeps the subject from coming up."
"That’s real mature of you, Max." Alex closed his eye again. "Now go away. For once there are no disasters out there, and I need some sleep."
Max sipped his beer again. "This is your last day as a twenty-something, kid. How does it feel to be old?"
"You tell me," Alex said. "You’re the one pushing forty."
"Thirty-six is not forty," Max said with dignity. "And you’re going to lose your hair before I do. It’s already creeping back from your forehead. I can see it from here." He tipped the beer into his mouth this time and sucked up the last half of the can.
"Tell me you’re not still doing rounds."
"Finished an hour ago." Max pitched the can into a nearby wastebasket and slumped, as much as he could, in the plastic chair. "You off soon?"
"Three more hours. Go away."
"So you ready for tomorrow?"
"It’s my birthday," Alex said with his eyes shut. "It’s not something I have to get ready for. Other people have to get ready for it. You, for example. Go buy me something expensive. You make the big bucks."
"Exactly," Max said. "And you know why."
Alex groaned and rolled away from his brother, who lunged to get the five-pack of beer as it tipped toward the floor.
"Hey!" Max said. "Avoid reality if you have to, but don’t spill the beer."
Copyright © 2005 Jennifer Crusie
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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 217 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(80)

4 Star

(80)

3 Star

(40)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(8)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 217 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Meh...

    This is my second Crusie novel and I was not impressed. After I read Bet Me, which turned out to be my favorite book of all time, I knew I'd be difficult to please. Anyone But You is cute and it's a quick read, but only because it was so short, not because it was a page-turner. Maybe it's because I didn't personally relate to it. I found the underlying story of Charity's novel much more intriguing than Alex & Nina's romance. As I mentioned, this was only my second Crusie novel, but there seems to be a slight theme: the men are madly in love with their women. I love that about her books. I don't think reading about a man's strong devotion ever gets old, for me anyway. It's romantic and adorable. I wouldn't say pass on this book, but perhaps stick it at the bottom of your list.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2010

    Wow!

    This was my first Jennifer Cruise book. I was soooooooo engrossed in her story I could not put the book down. Loved all the characters except for the nasty ex-husband. Buy this and you will not be disappointed. I will be buying more JC's books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2013

    Fun read. I was able to really get into the characters

    This book was a very fun read. Characters were well developed. Storyline was engaging. I longed to get back to the book.

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  • Posted September 7, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This book is a light, airy read. One can get through it quickly

    This book is a light, airy read. One can get through it quickly in one sitting. The parts of the book that I loved the most were Fred's antics and Alex's mad devotion to Nina. Other than that this book was closely related to all the other books that I have read by this author. To say they become redundant after a while is an understatement. But, it was a cute, quick read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2013

    Too cute

    Sooo cute. You will just love

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2013

    Liam

    Lol k

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  • Posted May 13, 2013

    This was a cute story but was predictable. This was my first bo

    This was a cute story but was predictable. This was my first book by Jennifer Cruise but I will try others.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    GOOD BOOK

    I LOVE THIS BOOK GOOD

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    Loved it

    Too funny. Loved it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2012

    A cute story

    Shows opposites attract whether humans and animals or two people.

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  • Posted June 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Anyone But You By Jennifer Crusie Nina is turning forty and aft

    Anyone But You
    By Jennifer Crusie

    Nina is turning forty and after years of being married to a controlling man she is finally free and has decided her life needs a cute perky puppy, but then she sees Fred. Fred is mild aged and smelly and on his way to being put down in the local shelter. When she brings him back to her apartment she teaches him to use the fire escape to let himself out and in, on one of his excursions he stumbles upon Nina’s downstairs neighbor thirty year old gorgeous doctor Alex. Soon Nina and Alex find themselves in a fun and flirtatious friendship but nothing more Nina knows she is too old for him until one day she winds up in his E.R. and realizes he isn’t as immature as he seems.

    This was such a cute book with witty commentary and the most adorable dog. It is funny and well written the two combined bring to life a beautiful romance. The trials the two must overcome to be together are realistic which adds to the drama of this novel and in the end, like all good romances, there is a happily ever after. If you are a fan of contemporary romance, you should definitely give this one a try it is sure to please.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2012

    Rather Lame

    I was told this author was good. Well I am not impressede. I rarely quit a book once I started one but I put this down. No more for me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Excellent

    Cruise never fails to deliver a fun and sexy read

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  • Posted July 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Fun, quick read

    This was a really fun, quick read - perfect for the summer. The characters were very likable and realistic. I enjoyed the set-up - younger man (with issues) falling for an older woman (with issues). The story unfolded naturally and it was nice rooting for the main characters. Take this to the beach or the pool!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2011

    Super cute story!

    Loved this one from the beginning, just could not put it down! The few antics by Fred the dog make it even funnier. Very short and well worth the read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    Character is too funny.

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  • Posted April 18, 2011

    Not my favorite book by Crusie

    I usually love Jennifer Crusie books but found this one to be lacking her usual humor and fun story telling. It was ok but I really wouldn't recommend it unless you truly can't find anything else to read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2011

    Enjoyable and fun read

    Started reading this about 10:00 pm and finished at 3:00 AM; needless to say, I enjoyed this book. Crusie is an easy read and her characters are real in their thinking. Sometimes her endings are altruistic, but if you aren't looking for a depressing book this is your author. This book is a sure thing for laugh out loud enjoyment.

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  • Posted March 30, 2011

    Short easy read

    I've read other Crusie books, and this one was not one of her best. It's on par with Manhunting, a little more on the serious side, not as humorous as some of her other ones. It was short, so she didn't develop the supporting characters as much; the storyline was meaningful but it could have been more well written. Welcome to Tempation is my favorite so far, and I have yet to read Bet Me and Agnes & the Hit Man. I hope to see more sassy and witty books from her. Overall, it's a quick fun read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2011

    Come on, take a break

    Take a break from thrillers and mysteries to enjoy the one sit, entertaining, fun read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 217 Customer Reviews

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