Friday, January 12, 2007

This is NOT a Review: Hells Belles

This is not a review of Hells Belles by Jackie Kessler. If you want a review, mosey over to Mrs. Giggles' Romance Novel Central or Bam's site. As with other entries in this series, which were also not reviews, all descriptions are half-assed and ratings are assigned wholly by whim.

Synopsis: Immortal succubus demon Jezebel goes AWOL from Hell after a bureaucratic reorganization of the Inferno repurposes her skillset to an emotionally unfulfilling post. She tricks a witch into making her appear human and heads to New York City to strip, shop and narrate her story in witty, sarcastic first person prose studded with country music and 2002-era pop-cultural references.

As Bam noted in her review, this book reads more like chick lit than romance - but fear not! Hell's Belles avoids the most annoying cliches of the genre, borrowing only the sex-positive (+ 2 crisp fives, tucked politely in the side strap), girl-bonding (+ a 20% tip), uncomfortable footwear (-$10 per warm domestic beer) aspects. A classy rhinestone-studded pair of 7" Clear Heels to Jezebel because she never says, "I can't help but wonder..." .

Refreshing fact: This book is delightfully angst-free.

I really like how Jezebel is completely not guilty about sex or stripping, or pretty much anything (+ 1 hour in the Champagne Room) . She also deviates from her chick lit sisteren in that she's not so much neurotic as clueless about certain human emotions. Yes, she does some dumb-ass stuff that seems to happen solely to move the plot along, but Jesse is a likable narrator, and it's easy to forgive her these tiny flaws when she's got so much else going for her.

Like many a chick lit, the romance in this book is pretty underdeveloped. I don't quite get what Jezebel sees in her true love, nor, what he sees in her. Still, this being a paranormal tale, we poor readers do get some sort of explanation about fate, and people who were "meant to be together" during the chunk-o-exposition toward the end of the book. Like that's supposed to help ( -$25 copay for Valtrex prescription) .

Good/bad news is, this is first in a series (-$25 copay for refills - serialized novels are a gift that keeps on giving), so more detailed characterizations and explanations may be forthcoming.

Hell's Belles
is well-written, fun, fast and endearingly predictable. I'm not quite sure it's worth the $15 over-sized paperback format, but otherwise I have no complaints. Also, I adore Jackie Kessler's website design (+ a brand new $20, still warm from the ATM) even if it does feature a blog by her novel's main character (-$4 ATM surcharge).

Rating: 36-24-36 (Only if she's 5'3").