"I'm In No Mood for Love" - Rachel Gibson - 2006

I should know better.  

Like most romance readers I have quite a few pet peeves.  In contemporary romances the number one thing I hate is name dropping.  I blame Sex and the City for the worship of designer labels, and I'm a girl who knows designers, loves Project Runway and is addicted to fashion magazines!  Throwing around the name encrusted on the heroine's sunglasses (p. 16) is just not necessary.  It does nothing for character building or plot momentum - it does not read well.  To me it only seems shallow and takes me right out of the story - and "I'm In No Mood For Love" had characters so unlikable and a plot so thin it really couldn't afford to lose me.  I finished this book, if only to get a complete list of labels and name brands. 

Wal-Mart (x2)
Nordstrom (x2)
Nieman Marcus (x2)
Club Monaco (x2)
Eddie Bauer

DESIGNERS (Includes Antiques):
Michael Kors (dress)
Hugo Boss (suits)
Calvin Klein (cologne)
Bebe (coat) x2
Kate Spade (purse)
Escada (perfume) x2
Versace (sunglasses)
Seiko (watch)
Ray-Bans (his sunglasses)
Coach (bag)
Estee Lauder (mascara and "Benefits Browzing")
Spode (xmas dishes)
Waterford (crystal)
Portmeirion (vase)
Corelle (dishes)
Levi's (jeans, of course)
Gor Tex (hiking boots)
Tulip & Lily (rug)

Lincoln Town Car
'75 Datsun
Land Cruiser
Lexus LS

BRAND NAMES - FOOD (Includes Chain Restaurants) 
Cap'n Crunch
Lucky Charms 
Wheat Thins
Camembert cheese (Not necessarily a brand name, but specifically mentioned.)
P.F. Changs
Burger King
Mrs. Powells (cinnamon rolls)
See's Candies

BRAND NAMES - BEVERAGES (Includes Alcohol)
Dos Equis
Diet Coke
RC Cola
Dom Perignon
Pyramid Ale

Misc. Brand Names
Double Tree Hotel
RITA Award (complete with copyright and explanation)
Chap Stick
Lasik Surgery
Muzak (x3)
Atkins (diet)
South Beach (diet)
Joy (even dish soap gets a shout out!)
Irish Spring
Platinum Visa (of course)
Ortho-Evra (yep, just saying birth control patch wasn't enough)
c9 xmas lights 
Do people actually know that means this kind? 

Total: 72 brand names!

 Give me a made up restaurant/hotel name anyday - Shop Local (real or fake)!
Give me less focus on clothing/shopping/consumerism - and focus on creating some characters who actually like each other, and maybe there would be a chance in hell I could like them too!
I could even handle a few of the brand names, but 72, seriously?  
Is she looking for some free samples or what?

Oh, one other pet peeve.  Misuse of popular culture references.  References in general can make me uncomfortable, I've found in romance, mostly the item in question is too cool (tying to hard) or just lame, not too many authors can find a balance to my liking (which is why I love Ms. Crusie so damn much)...
Gibson's references fall on the lame side of the spectrum and her copy editor must have been slacking during the H/H's discussion of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" - Charlie is the boy who wins the ticket, Willy is the owner of the factory.  That's why the book is called, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!"  Oh, and they misspelled Mr. Wonka's first name throughout.