Thursday, August 16, 2007

Second Chances

A few nights ago, I couldn't sleep. I don't know why - could have had something to do with getting a call after midnight from the police department a few towns away to come pick up my daughter - my daughter whom I had naively thought was spending the night with a friend a few blocks away. It seems she was found in a highly dangerous, gang infested area out past curfew with a couple of her friends. (Long story about the why of that)

Anyway, once she was home and in bed (her second chance used up there - I let her live) I found I couldn't go back to sleep. I had been on a reading spree, but had nothing new around, so I decided to pick up some books from our condo building's library in the lobby. As I rifled through them, I found to my surprise an old category romance by Maggie Shayne. I didn't know she had written category before (I discovered her after her single title series had taken off.) I took it upstairs with me, though I don't often read category, I decided to give it a chance. It was Maggie, after all.

The book was called "The Littlest Cowboy". Sherriff Garrett Brand finds a baby on his doorstep - a baby he's sure isn't his, even though the note attached says the baby was named after him. Chelsea Brennan arrives at the ranch in search of her nephew and answers about her sister's death.

Sounds like normal category fare, no? In many ways, it was. But I also saw glimpses of what made her so popular in other genres. Parts of the book tugged at my heartstrings even when she wasn't trying, some made me laugh out loud. The hero was lovable, the heroine a little hard for me at first, but I came to care about her at the end for her bravery.

I've read a few categories lately and have been happy to give them a second chance. The Silhouette "Raintree" series is another example of category that I really liked.

Another second chance book for me was Nora Robert's "Morrigan's Cross." I'd tried to read it a few times since I'd heard such good things about it, but couldn't get into it. In desperation one night because I had no new books, I decided to give it another go. I didn't reread anything in the first few chapters even though I didn't remember any of it because I'd never made it beyond that point before. So, I started around chapter 3 or 4 and ended up really liking the book and look forward to reading the rest in the series.

I don't often give books a second chance. In fact, if a book does anything to seriously annoy me in the first few chapters, I'll usually toss it aside never to look at it again. (See Marcia Colette's funny take on this issue.)

Now I'm wondering if perhaps I've been too hasty. What about you - are there any books you decided to give a second chance and ended up liking?


  1. Kate, first off a big "mama hug". One of my daughter's pulled a similiar stunt. Except, we lived in the country and it was cornfields and poker with her girlfrieds, and best-bud guy pals. Luckily, the other mama and I discovered the "slumber-party" mishap and made a phone call. Needless to say, the two girls raced home, crying the whole way. Car keys gone, grounded for weeks.

    Now about the books, I've been there like you. I did the same thing with the Morrigan's Cross books. And we know The Nora rocks. I picked it up on an off-day, I guess. I believe in second changes, my daughter lived. hehe. So, sure I give them to my favorite authors too.

  2. My son has told me things that he did as a teenager I'm so happy I didn't know then. I wouldn't have been able to sleep nights. Like drinking booze by the train tracks. Eeeek!

    Second chance books ... I try with authors I love, but lately I haven't had good reads the 2nd time either. I couldn't read The Horse Whisperer because of the horrific first scene, and I tried a couple times. Then I listened to it on tape and got through the first scene (crying as I drove in the fast lane on the expressway). But my reason for not reading it wasn't because his writing didn't interest me, it was what happened to the characters and the horses.

  3. I’ll not embarrass my dear JayLynne by mentioning the time she said she was at an all night Rocky Horror event with friends and...

    But second chances for books? No, I don’t think I ever have. I can’t help but carry the first impression to the second reading.

    It’s true of my own stuff too, and it’s why my novel, Billville, sits half finished. It began to bore me...hell, I knew the ending. Stupid excuse for not writing, huh? I’ll take every excuse I can get.

  4. Thanks, LaDonna and Edie. You know, some of what keeps me awake at night is wondering about what I *don't* know if what I do know is bad enough!

    Jon, you wouldn't have had something to do with the corruption of JayLynne would you? :)

    Actually, I could relate to what you said about your own writing. Which is why I have more than a dozen started WIPs that began to bore me. I figured, if they bore *me*, what will they do to the readers?

    However, stop making excuses and get back to work! You've still got fans out here, Jon, who are waiting for you. :)

  5. We all corrupt our kids by our crude example of what adulthood should be.

    As for writing? I guess I need an assignment.

  6. And people keep telling me not to have kids. Come on. Where's the fun using them to reenact a torture scene for your WIP? :)

    As for second chance books, um...well...they're my house. Still. Those are the ones I'm not ready to barbacue yet because I'm too lazy to get the grill set up. But let's face it. If I pick those suckers up again, they'll have to work three-times as hard to prove themselves. I know. Just call me the Book Bitch. :)

  7. See? That's just one of the many reasons why I'm never having kids.

    I don't think there are any books I've gone back to after tossing them. I'm a fairly impatient person (add that to the above comment). One try is all they get.

  8. Jon - maybe we need to lean on Stewart for an assignment. :)

    Marcia - you kill me. Hey, it's almost labor day - good time for a barbeque.

    Avery - thanks for dropping in. Patience is the key ingredient for dealing with kids. Kudos to you for knowing your limits. ;) I knew mine and jumped right in anyway. That's what I get.


Say what you will...