Well, out of these, I didn't really like any of them. ;) Two novels about literature, two thrillers/mysteries.
Let's start with The Rule of Four.
The Rule of Four: Ian Caldwell, Dustin Thomason (FICTION):
Lurching novel (literary thriller) about a renaissance era book which is supposedly impossible to deciper and filled with clues. Kind of like a renaissance Finnegans Wake? I'm not sure as I don't know alot about renaissance lit (my speciality was gothic/romantic). Touted as a thinking person's The DaVinci Code. I really wanted to like this but I barely finished it. Generally, the story is interesting and the plot twists are okay, the four main characters do complement each other, but it suffers too much from repetition. Having said that, I do think it is more intelligent than the DaVinci Code which is really not that original anyhow (as the key to the story is based upon Holy Blood, Holy Grail). The book spent 6 months on the NY Times best seller list. Also, there is an accompanying game: http://www.randomhouse.com/bantamdell/theruleoffour/
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385337116/103-8377763-7365405?v=glance&n=283155
The Bronte Project: a novel of passion, desire, and good PR: Jennifer Vandever (FICTION):
Well, the first thing that is always a little odd is when you read about a character that umm... sort of sounds like you physically. It's kind of like reading about your sister doing something. ;) This novel is mostly a coming of age tale of a young graduate student 'the silent Victorian' who is writing her thesis on Bronte. Along the way, she is dumped by her longtime boyfriend and takes up with an assortment of odd characters. Generally, an easy read and it does ring rather true of the odd characters who seem to fill English Lit programs. Overall enjoyable, but nothing too spectacular. The ending seems at once too obvious and on the other hand, peculiar in terms of the rest of the story. Next up, I'm reading the DeKooning biography.
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307236919/103-8377763-7365405?v=glance&n=283155
Metro Girl: Janet Evanovich (FICTION):
Alex Barney receives a mysterious phone call from her brother in Miami, drops everything and heads to find him. Along the way she means NASCAR guy (who really does call himself that), a stereotypical gay guy, a bunch of stereotypical Cuban American women (who work in a cigar factory), and let's see anymore stereotypes? Metro I think is supposed to refer to Alex as metrosexual in that 1)she goes by her last name Barney 2)she used to be a mechanic and 3)pink mini skirts? no, wait, there must have been something else.
Anyhow, I read it for the S. Florida scenery but I felt guilty about reading all of the stereotype stuff (or actually, the author presents the characters as stereotypes but then throws something in so that it can be a "nonstereotypical" representation... umm... I don't think that is how it works...) The mystery/story is ok, but the story is very uneven. There are some very serious elements to the story, which seem to just not make sense. At one point, Alex is knowingly driving around with a bomb in the back of her car. Yep. Honestly, I kept thinking/hoping this one would get better.
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060584009/103-8377763-7365405?v=glance&n=283155