Fictional dating seems more appealing than in real life

Shelf Life: Rachael Mason

If real-life dating was as fun as it seems in books, I'd probably be doing a lot less reading. As it is, though, I have plenty of time for books.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, unlike my last date. Well, actually, I'm not sure if being stood up classifies as a date. Whatever it was, it was certainly not the most pleasant experience of my life.

Since then, I haven't given up on dating completely, but I have been avoiding it. I'd rather just hang out with my friends than endure an awkward evening with a virtual stranger.

If given a choice between being out with a boring guy, feigning interest in his business deals or political views, and an evening spent with a good book, I'm going to choose the book most every time. Luckily, there are a lot of dating stories to keep me entertained without feeling like I'm really missing out.

For example, I spent last Saturday night making myself a nice dinner and reading "Plum Lovin'" by Janet Evanovich (St. Martin's Press, $16.95) and I had a great time. While "Plum Lovin'" isn't officially part of Evanovich's Number series, the short novel does feature Stephanie Plum and her friend Lula. Neither of Stephanie's love interests appear in this book, but it's still a good read.

In the book, Stephanie agrees to help a guy named Diesel with his latest case, which involves the owner of a dating agency. Essentially, Stephanie ends up taking responsibility for the clients from the dating agency and ends up helping a few men and women find success in love.

Though the book was shorter than the other books in Evanovich's series, I still enjoyed it. I particularly love reading about Stephanie's dog Bob, who's really big, really bad and willing and able to eat everything. I always laugh out loud at him.

Another book I read recently also focuses on a dating agency. "Dead and Dateless" by Kimberly Raye (Ballantine, $6.99) follows Lil Marchette, a vampire who owns a dating service that specializes in matchmaking for supernatural creatures.

In "Dead and Dateless," Lil is framed for murder and has to hide from the police who are pursuing her. At the same time, she's still trying to keep her business running and find dates for 30 lady werewolves. The thing I liked best about the story is that when Lil changes form, she becomes a cute, fuzzy, pink bat.

This light, fun book is the sequel to "Dead End Dating" (Ivy Books, $6.99), which I haven't read yet. Based on its title, I like it already.

If there's a book you think I really ought to read, please e-mail rachael.mason@gwinnettdailypost.com.