The Loving Daylights
by Lynsay Sands, contemporary (2003)
LoveSpell, $6.99, ISBN 0-505-52527-5

The Loving Daylights is a contemporary. As part of the BLISS line, it is a spoof of those James Bond movies. Actually, unlike many historical romance authors, Lynsay Sands has no problems moving from historical to contemporary setting. (Of course, those critics that have always accused this author for being historically inaccurate can justifiably sniff haughtily and pat themselves in the back.) But like Simon Cowell on the wretched second season of American Idol, maybe I'm in a bad mood because this book doesn't excite me or anything. It's quite okay, but I'm not too excited.

By the way, this is the third BLISS book I've read and this is the third BLISS I'm reading. That is, this is the third version of the BLISS organization that doesn't seem to be even similar in any sense to that BLISSes that were in the previous two books. I know they leave BLISS as a deliberately vague organization, but three different versions of a supposedly international group? Maybe the editor should have worked out the canon with the authors involved in the project or something.

Jane Spyrus (don't groan) and her dotty grandmother Mary Spyrus are agents of BLISS. Jane's job is to make weapons like those amazing condoms that will constrict until the man is banana mush and tampons filled with tracking devices. A really good spoof will make Jane a Dutch man-hating lesbian type, but romance authors are a bit slower when it comes to politically incorrect spoofs. Toilet humor is as far as Lynsay Sands will go. Her neighbor Edie Andretti is missing, so now Jane, Grandma, and Abel Andretti - groan - will embark on a gadget-filled adventure to rescue the missing woman. The bad guy, Dirk Ensecksi (SNL is not going to give the author a call, that's for sure) is a megalomania out to create trouble to the free world, et cetera, so here comes the amazing Shrinking Condom Woman to save the day, woo-hoo!

Or not.

I find most of the comedy here rather mundane, predictable, and often unfunny. So far, the only BLISS book that works is Lisa Cach's Dr. Yes, because it is the only one that isn't tripping over itself trying to get the heroine into embarrassing "funny" scenes driven by ineptness and sheer moron. Jane is a larger-than-typical heroine type (size twelve) who is the usual shy type, but her coming into herself will be more sympathetic (to me) if she isn't the stupid type who creates missile-launching vibrators and use these vibrators as a microphone in the lab that - naturally - has people walking in to see Jane's Vibrato Blow Show.

While there are some amusing moments, in the end The Loving Daylights gets too caught up in being funny that it loses its direction early on. While not as bad as, say, Nina Bang's "Love Me With Stupid" From Boardwalk With Love, it's predictable brand of ham isn't that good either. I recognize that this book is funny, and I think fans of Lynsay Sands won't be disappointed too much (unless they really want to read a historical instead of a contemporary), but I'm just not moved to laughter. Maybe it's because I find it too self-conscious of its own attempts to be funny. Maybe the next time around the author shouldn't try so hard.

Rating: 69

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