LoveSpell, $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52568-2
Paranormal Romance, 2004
Oh, no. Kissing Frogs is one those books that mistake ridiculous and zoned-out plots and too-stupid characters as a form of wacky. There are good forms of wacky, but Kissing Frogs seem to operate under some auto-pilot brain-gone-fishing mode.
Lucy Gordon is a biologist. In bad romance novels, “scientist heroine” usually translates to “complete moron with daddy issues”, and guess what, that’s Lucy! She believes that she has found a new species of frog and hence win world fame and prove to her Daddy that she can do it. Quick, name me the last three famous biologists that found fame by discovering new species of animals. Ribbit, ribbit. She finds a frog after trying to avoid running her car over it (she really has good eyesight, I must say; that or she is driving with her nose plastered against the windscreen). She is so panicked that she kisses the frog and boom! He turns into a man named Wolfe. Wolfe is a medieval prince cursed to be a frog when he knocked up some woman and refused to marry her. Wolfe is a very adjusted guy because he overhears how the modern world works from people talking near his pond. After all, everybody goes to the pond side to talk about important issues in life.
So despite having seen a frog turned into a naked hot stranger, our heroine still takes him into her car, worrying only what will happen when her boyfriend, some Duke, catches sight of this man in her car. That’s just the start of the ridiculous turn of events in this book. Lucy is the too-stupid twit that can’t tell a lie to save her life, and this results in some truly groan-inducing lies, especially one involving a VCR player, that just have to be read to be believed (and weep over). This book is Ms Altom trying way too hard to scream “See? I’m funny! Really funny! Wacky! So wacky!” but at the end of the day, this book has just too many overly-ridiculous scenes that are too dumb to be funny, too many vapid caricatures, and a misguided celebration of female idiocy – how can this supposedly brainy frog expert heroine not know that a frog she claims to discover has been discovered thirty years ago? – as the way to be.
Wolfe has thirty days to get Lucy to love him so that he can break his curse. He succeeds at the end, but instead of me saying “Welcome to the happily ever after!”, I can’t help feeling that Wolfe’s painful purgatory in hell has only just begun.