A Likely Lass

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Rabbit Heart (Bad Romance Novel Reviews)

I do have favorite romance novels, though the existence of which may be doubted considering the content of this blog. In fact, my favorite ones routinely feature the Plucky-But-Realistic-Heroine, who is usually not born under a favorable sign, or is pretty but not pretty enough, or is handed some plate of crap that she has to deal with in a non-pretty manner. Usually the hero tries to court her and she’s all “Hey, I have to DEAL WITH MY LIFE, please excuse me”, but he doesn’t give up, or maybe he gives up temporarily but he decides that her Complete Awesomeness is too much to live without… which is kind of how I wish my life went, which is the main reason women read romance novels ANYWAY…

But I tackled “Rabbit Heart” this week, because I thought it would be a good book, a quick escape from the drear of my life this week.

It wasn’t. Oh, my god, it wasn’t. Be warned: the following review contains a metric ton of SEX and RABBITS and sometimes these two terms are connected. Not for the faint of heart.

Hundred words or so: Nicollette Caron is every man’s ideal mistress. Pity, then, that all of her lovers die trying to satisfy her insatiable appetite. Forced to flee town after town so that no one will discover her terrible secret, Nicollette is haunted by the ghosts of her dead lovers as England’s top crime inspector circles ever closer (seriously, this is what is on the cover).

Renowned for his tenacity, handsome detective Jackson Lang will stop at nothing to prove that Nicollette is a murderess. Powerful Lord Baston is equally determined…to make Nicollette his mistress despite her breathless warnings. A fortune-teller foresees that only one man is strong enough to save Nicollette. But how will she know which man to trust until it is too late?
Pages: 353
Author: Colleen Hitchcock
Year Published: 2006

Summary:
Nicolette, or “Nicole” as she sometimes goes by, is a no-name noble sexing her way through late-1800s England. At birth, she was raised for a few hours (!!!) by rabbits which has inexplicably given her an incredibly fast heartbeat that can inexplicably make other people die just by being near her if she’s inexplicably sexually aroused by something like a piece of paper or possibly a suggestive looking fruit. She’s also ungodly beautiful, “intelligent”, has gobs and gobs of money, and of course has a calm logical mind (amid the TORRID ORGASMS and UNCONTROLLABLE LUST).

However, she’s on to her thirteenth victim whom she’s killed by her first sexual encounter with them. Not only has she hidden thirteen bodies all over England of men she’s killed in the heat of passion, but she’s haunted by their ghosts who all inexplicably try to have sex with her though they’re dead (because yay, ghost party, like zombies only less NUUUHHH BRAINNSSSS). As she moves into this little town in the south of England, she’s inexplicably confronted with the idea that she wants to stay in that town. Sensibly and logically, she christens the town by screwing the mayor to death, and not-really hiding his body on the banks of the river.

Meanwhile, the richest and most elegant and DASTARDLY noble in the land, Lord Baston, is having sex with a deaf-mute in 5426758943 different positions all at once (seriously, I am not even kidding. I am pretty positive I picked this book up out of the “romance” section, not the “halfhearted erotica” section).

The town’s hotelier, Miriam, really loved the mayor named Frederick, but is inexplicably taken with Nicolette (my auto-correct keeps wanting me to type Nicorette so excuse me if it happens) and wants to be her bestest friend evar. Since Frederick is “missing” (i.e., his body is on the riverbank sprinkled with pretty flowers, sporting a ginormous erection, yes, seriously), Miriam convinces Nicolette to go to a seer to try to find Frederick (instead of logically searching the river banks where he said he’d be fishing). The Seer sees Nicolette and calls her into her cave where there are bones and candles and all that seer-like stuff there. Of course, she knows all about Nicolette and her string of dead lovers, but promises to keep mum as long as Nicolette “finds the one meant to be”. She doesn’t say anything about Frederick**, really, but with a bisectioned head and multiple personalities, what can you really expect?

So anyway, despite Miriam’s apparent weeping and sadness, they dress up and go to a ball where, inexplicably, Lord Baston has arrived (sans deaf-mute). There is discussion of cleavage for awhile, then Nicholette dances with every man in the room and makes every man’s pants “tighten” and “ready for love” . There is a fight over her between Lord Baston and one of her suitors, where naturally she uses her logic to scream “No, stop it!” and stand aside. This is, of course, the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to the town, outside of some earthquakes and three headed cows and that stuff.

Lord Baston decides he’s going to court Nicolette. Meanwhile, she’s slept with another gentleman and killed him in a carriage with her ORGASMS OF DOOM, which was an accident, but oh well. So logically she stays in town and accepts her suitor’s invitation to dinner, though by now everyone’s seen the mayor’s body sprinkled with flowers and put 1 and 14 million together, though no one really cares for some reason. Nicolette’s trusty servant, Marie, has inexplicably arrived by invisible plane to chaparone her mistress.

During dinner, the deaf-mute (who was hooked on cocaine) inexplicably bursts into the room, bedraggled, weeping, crying and trying to hug Lord Baston for god knows what reason, it’s never really explained. She is taken away by a servant. Conversation continues as normal (invisible mute!) with the horde of townspeople Lord Baston has inexplicably invited to his private dinner. Nicolette inexplicably falls in love with him, while inexplicably counting to herself, one plus one is two, two plus two is four, two plus one is three… go away, voyeur! because she is an insane rabbit woman, and maybe that’s what rabbits think.

Meanwhile! there is a (handsome, charming, rich) detective hot on Nicolette’s trail of murders and evil sluttitude. He’s determined to expose her now that she’s inexplicably killed men and left them with their John Thomas saluting the sky (for SHAME!!).

The next day, Nicolette is asked to view Frederick’s corpse by the town doctor. He inexplicably knows about her “condition” with the heart thing though he’s never met her or heard of her and simply by standing next to her he gets dizzy (I personally think that may be her body odor as she inexplicably bathes only once in the entire book). Later, he gets drunk with the detectives and tells them all about “Miss Tweeter’s Thing” which is inexplicably left up to the imagination of the reader. Of course, Jackson Lang, the detective, puts 15 billion and 15 billion together and comes up with a nice sum, so he goes to arrest Nicolette Caron.

…who has gone out on a carriage ride with Lord Baston but he inexplicably knows about the detectives coming to arrest her and intends to spirit her away. Inexplicably, Lord Baston’s servant has fallen in love with Marie for some reason, though it’s unknown why this is important. There is a ferry involved in their “escape”, the deaf-mute inexplicably turns up again and handily drowns, and oddly enough they have to “swim for it” even though they’re on a damn ferry and it’s not like the detective can exactly come swooping in riding a helicopter or something. However, justice does prevail and Nicolette is arrested for sexual perversions and being a crazy rabbit woman.

Of course, she goes to jail and is scheduled to have her head cut off by the inexplicable guillotine, which inexplicably is in ENGLAND and not FRANCE. In a twist that no one could ever expect, her guards attempt to sexually assault her but die in the process, again because of her MASSIVE UNBELIEVABLE ORGASMS OF RABBIT DOOM!!! She writes Lord Baston passionate love-letters and knits the straw of her cell into animal shapes for companionship. There’s a trial, at which evidence is presented that Nicolette just can’t help killing people, but inexplicably its dismissed.

Of course, as Nicolette is led to be killed, she escapes and chaos breaks loose. Inexplicably, one of the townspeople is up on the castle wall (doing what I just can’t imagine) and sees her trying to escape. Inexplicably, it is the detective who was trying to have her killed who is helping her escape. Events unfold rapidly like invisible coffee tables and are thrown about and knock people on the head until it is accepted that Nicolette has died as she flung herself into the sea (really, it was just her dress weighted with rocks) and nothing is ever recovered of her, inexplicably. Lord Baston and Nicolette escape to America and live there after a couple of weeks at sea (invisible spaceship!) happily ever after, presumably having sex in 2039478327543 positions all at once, like he says he likes it. Inexplicably, he doesn’t die from her RABBIT ORGASMS OF DEATH, possibly because he is also a rabbit. It doesn’t say if she has 27000 children because of her rabbit like tendencies, either, which is disappointing.


*Who is homely-looking, as all good servants should be.
**Plot!Device, if you were wondering.


Reviewer’s Notes: This book is just… inexplicable! Full of deaf-mute death and crazy nobles, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who’s been hit about the head with a cement cudgel and can wrap their 2 brain cells they have left to bang together around the inexplicable plot twists and loose erotica threaded together by the hairy underarms of Justice.
By the Numbers:
“Love” Scenes:
8
References to stolen/misplaced/otherwise lost virginity: -10. There are no virgins in this book. 0. That makes less than one virgin.
Plot “Twists”: Divided into two categories: Outrageously unclever: 10, Inexlicably inexplicable: 45.
Number of Men Lusting After the Heroine: 4 towns worth, an entire jail worth, plus a handful, I suppose.
Number of Mary Sue Incidents: 1
Number of Fights/All Out Wars over the Heroine: 2
Times “Fate” Intervened: 8 times, not including Saved By Rabbits.
Times “Fate” Intervened by 500 or more miles: 2/8
References to the supposed love-book “777”: 15000

Overall Grade: D-. This book needs more deaf-mute.

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To Love A Rogue (Bad Romance Novel Reviews)

Hundred words or less: Lovely Lorraine London had a sensuous charm that seemed to ignite the passions of every scoundrel in New England. Born in revolutionary America, she was sold into indentured servitude until she caught the roving eye of Raile Cameron, a renegade gunrunner, who lovingly rescued her (and then they go and do stuff, like throwing themselves into historically important events, eating tea and sandwiches delicately, and being rich).
Pages: 419
Author: Valerie Sherwood
Year Published: 1988

Complete Summary: Miss Lorraine is the resident Indentured Tavern Wench in pre-revolutionary U.S. of A. She’s lovely, oh yes, with long blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and a figure that can make for plenty of retellings with its beauty. Now you might ask yourself, as I did: why am I being asked to love a tavern wench who is the stereotypical blue-eyed, blonde, hand-wringing, OMG Indians! type of girl whose one brave act was jumping on the back of a horse with a pirate? WHY!? I asked myself that through the whole book.

Anyway, so Lorraine is pretty, and if you believe the picture of her on the front, in the 1600’s they believed in gobs of blue eyeshadow and had anorexic tavern wenches at every turn. Lorraine catches eye of Devious, Scottish, Handsome, Baggage-toting Pirate, Raile. Raile is privy to her near-rape (“OMG Phillip I want you! OMG wait, Phillip, I don’t!”), and so offers her a chance at freedom (“Come with me to my ship, Tavern Wench, where we shall make love on the seas and I will pretend to take your emotional baggage seriously!” “OMG yes Raile!”). So they gallop off (on a horse) into the sunset.

But WAIT! There is a plot in the making! When Lorraine takes off, throwing off her shackles of servitude, the young dandy who took her virginity (OMG Phillip Dedwinton) shows up to claim dem papers of indenture, WHILE HE’S COURTING THE BELLE OF THE LAND! (*insert doom music here*). He plans to quietly indenture Lorraine after he marries said Belle, then have them both!)

But Lorraine thwarts Phillips Evil Musings by, of course, running away with a handsome, well-endowed stranger (OMG). They see Indians (“OMG Raile Indians!”), but surprisingly make it through Indian-infested territory with their scalps intact, to board Raile’s ship, the Likely Lass.

Of course, then, it follows that Raile will insist on Lorraine pretending to be his mistress (“OMG Raile how could you suggest such a thing ROFL”) because, he says, it will protect her from the Evil Crew, who are a bunch of Frenchies picked up in Bordeaux, no papers, evil looking pirate Frenchie scalawags, who would be absolutely SCANDALIZED if they heard that under the bins of ‘cheese n’ woolens’, they were carrying lots and lots of GUNS. They would be so scandalized they would turn this ship around right now, mister, and there would be NO BARBADOS BEACHES FOR ANYONE.

But there is a Secondary Plot afoot! Someone in the crew is a murdering Frenchie bastard! Is it the genial, kind-hearted doctor, who woos Lorraine when he finds out she is not REALLY sleeping with the well-endowed and masculine captain? Is it Little Johnny, who takes the tea and cakes to Lorraine, and is awestruck by her beauty? Is it the paranoid first mate, or maybe the happy but sinister-looking gunner? Is it one of the nameless crew people, who all like Lorraine when she’s had too much wine? Or is it the Big Hairy Mute, who has an ‘air of violence about him’ like too much Calvin Klein?

Eventually, they get to the Caribbean, and some towns, and there is much merry making, and Lorraine almost falls into the bed with Raile (“OMG Raile you bought me HAIRPINS! OMG love me now!”), but they don’t, of course, because Puritanical Lorraine feels its improper to jump into bed with a man whose had many women in many different countries and who still carries around emotional baggage by the name ‘Laurie-Ann Why Did You Leave Me’.

So there is a fire in one of the towns, and of course Lorraine is swept up in running around like a chicken with her head cut off, like everyone else in the town. But she eventually recovers what little sense she has, rounds up a carriage, and goes tearing off to the fire to find a girl with a baby whom she doesn’t really know but hey, plot. They are, of course, returned unhurt (“OMG thank you God for OMG saving us from the evil fire”).

But there is an Auxilary Plot to the Plot! Captain Bridey, commander of Fleet o’ Trading Ships, has seen Lorraine! Worse, he remembers her! But Lorraine conveniently forgets all about that in the arms of Raile (“OMG Raile take me! OMG Raile don’t touch me!”).

But on the high seas there is passion AT LAST. Half of the crew gets killed by the murderous frenchie, and it is exposed that the mute (“OMG Gaultier! OMG you’re not mute! Stop trying to strangle me OMG OMG!”) is the strangling killer. He falls off a cliff or something, and teaches us all the important lesson of Don’t Trust A Man Who Won’t Talk To You Because Likely He’s A Lady-Killing Arse.

So somehow or another, Raile finds out that Virginia is in dire need o’ dem guns, so they travel back to Virginia, at the time of Bacon’s Revolt. This is where Lorraine turns into a Mary Sue, briefly. She meets Bacon, almost seduces him, but leaves (“OMG Bacon yer so handsome and rich and beautiful, have some tea”). But Phillip finds her (“OMG Phillip what are you doing down here ROFL”), scoops her up and takes her back to Rhode Island in shackles to be his love slave. But there is a Kindly Inkeeperess who takes pity on Lorraine, and conspires to smuggle Lorraine away from Evil Bastard Phillip (“OMG st00pid Phillip! How could he have married the Belle and try to screw me now OMG BAD!”), in a barrel.

So Lorraine goes to Barbados again, where she finds out that her father was rich, becomes an heiress, buys a couple of plantations and lords it above the tonne of Bridgetown, Barbados. Phillip eventually comes sniffing after her, but in a calculated BDSM twist, she imprisons Phillip on her plantation and tortures him to get her articles of indenture back (“OMG liek serioushly, Phillip, give them to me now or I shall squeal and stomp around!”). He doesn’t, but Raile shows up with the disputed articles, Phillip is hanged or summat, and Lorraine marries Raile and all live happy ever after (“OMG Raile you pinched my nipple!”). THE END.

By the Numbers:
References to “stolen/misplaced/otherwise lost” virginity: 19
Plot “Twists”: 8
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine: 200,000
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine that Heroine Loves: 2
Number of Mary-Sue Incidents: 1
Number of Fights Over Heroine: 3
Times “Fate” Intervened: 5
Times “Fate” Intervened by about 500 miles: 3/5

Overall Grade: C+, for somewhat historical accuracy and pirates (ARR!), but points taken off for the Mary-Sue incident, the mute being “the murderer”, and Lorraine being a general idiot.

Traitor’s Kiss (Bad Romance Novel Reviews)

Hundred words or less: Nara meets Rolfe Daniels, whom she could have SWORN killed her uncles. They go around the world chasing relatives and fighting tigers and narrowly avoiding both death and sex, and manage to piss most everyone off with their constant shallowness.
Pages: 422
Author: Jane Toombs
Year Published: 1990

Complete Summary: So there’s this girl, Nara. Nara is blonde and blue-eyed, and oh-so-pretty. She’s SO pretty, men will fall all over themselves the instant they see her “corn-silk yellow” hair. She lives (of course) in a mansion on the southern coast of England. Conveniently, she falls for a sailor with Green Eyes. She’s off playing hooky one day, and meets him at the beach. They flirt.  She’s a coy little minx gives him the slip and takes off in a sailboat. She sails along for about fifteen minutes, absolutely ELATED that she gave the Love of Her Life the slip. Then- Oh NO! A squall! She tries to turn the boat but FAILS! The boat hits a ROCK! Oh no! 22 pages into the book and you’re already hoping she’ll die.

She doesn’t die. And that’s just the first time she doesn’t die, for four hundred pages.

So. Her boat hits a rock, and she has to swim for it. Conveniently, there’s an island not ten feet away. But her daddy taught her that her evil skirts of doom would drag her under, so of course she strips down to her cheap negligee and swims for it. However, she gets caught in the current and can’t get ashore. She swims for about ten minutes and then gets tired, and starts to “feel faint and cold”. She’s just drifting off into the netherdeeps, about to die, but she doesn’t. Because her sailor who conveniently got to the island in a raging squall, pulls her out of the ocean. They shack up in a, uh, shack, conveniently located on the island, and you think that the flirting might go somewhere! But it doesn’t happen.

Not only are you disappointed by the lack of Nara being hit by an oar or spontaneous gorillas, but you find out that Sailor Boy is really Nara’s Cousin Rolfe Daniels! The shock!

So Rolfe and Nara get rescued magically by the Parent Brigade, who come into the squall of hormones and repressed desire to bring the two hating-yet-yearning lovebirds ashore, to real land. Rolfe is exposed to be a dirty, lying traitor who killed(!) her uncle and a couple of cousins in a boating accident. Nara knows he’s a dirty lying traitor who just wants to inherit the rights to the manor, stealing away her rightful inheritance (which would have come, of course, from her father)! But no one believes her. And she still loves him. Er, hates him.

Nara’s father decides that what the whole family needs is a relative-scouting expedition to India. Her father hires a couple of shady lawyers to come along, and reveals that his son from his first wife might still be alive in India. That means that Rolfe(!) would not inherit the Big Manor on the Cliff and would be penniless! But they all go anyway, to India. On the five day cruise around the horn of Africa and such in the 18th century, her father mysteriously dies in Rolfe’s arms, proving that Rolfe is a no good dirty liar! But no one believes Nara. In fact, in her grief, she almost has sex with Rolfe, after being accosted above-decks by a fat and sassy gentlemen! But she doesn’t, because she’s a no good tease.

And so it goes. More people die, Nara gets kidnapped and someone tries to kill her (YAY!) but death is ever so narrowly avoided by the quick thinking of Rolfe Daniels! Impostors trying to claim the throne to the manor come forward (because only Nara’s father, conveniently, knows what his son looks like), and try to alternately rape or kill Nara, but they are thwarted by the invincible Rolfe Daniels who swoops in to rescue Nara, feels her up in a temple to the War God (trapped as they are because of a fierce and horrific rain storm) and then takes her home in the morning and leaves her there for a few hours. More lawyers come to dupe Nara out of her supposedly impressive inheritance, plotting to kill her, but Nara only gets kidnapped, and sent to a sultan who plans to use her as his Virgin Love Slave. BUT! She conveniently vomits all over him and he sends her away in disgust. She escapes with a priest and a monkey, into the forest where she is attacked by a tiger. Who rescues her but Rolfe Daniels! In an effort to escape the Evil Sultan, Rolfe takes her deep into the forest and washes the vomit off of her in a crystal clear waterfall (I swear I am not making this up). They become clean and obviously desirous of each other, and Nara decides to finally give up her virginity to the virile Rolfe Daniels. Their hips become magically fused together, and “his hardness” slips into “her softness” and I forget what else happens because I fell asleep at that point and drooled all over the book and I can’t make out the letters anymore.

The point is, they finally got it on. But oh no! They’re chased out of the waterfall by a tiger, and chased up a tree! But everyone knows tigers can’t climb trees, so Nara and Rolfe do the most clever thing and have sex in the tree, because, you know, sex makes every situation better. Rolfe lays claim to her (the dirty lying bastard) by saying “Nara you are mine forever.” Of course, they are rescued again by someone, narrowly escaping the Evil Sultan’s goons who want to bring Nara back to the palace for Day Late Virgin Sex with the Sultan (who has conveniently changed his mind about the whole ordeal and thinks that a woman puking all over him is rather sexy). BUT! They are CAPTURED on their way back to port by an evil lawyer who want to kill them and take the treasure manor and Nara’s mother! But they escape when one of those false “sons” of Nara’s father whacks the evil lawyer over the head with an oar, and he drowns. The “son” leaps off the boat and takes off for jolly old England, leaving Rolfe and Nara to follow.

Rolfe of course proposes to Nara,  and they have a beautiful wedding and *gasp* it turns out Rolfe isn’t REALLY a liar and it really was an accident and who knows what the hell happened to the “son” who came to England and Nara feels just wonderful and they make love on the beach some more and thankfully, after four hundred pages of large print and sheer horrificness, it ends with the words, “He was today and tomorrow and forever. All else was the past.” THE END THANK ALL THAT IS HOLY.

By the Numbers:
References to “stolen/misplaced/otherwise lost/about to be lost” virginity: 25
Plot “Twists”: I lost count after 56
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine: 200,000
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine that Heroine Loves: 0
Number of Mary-Sue Incidents: 0
Number of Fights Over Heroine: 5
Times “Fate” Intervened: 29
Times “Fate” Intervened by about 500 miles: 10/29

Overall Grade: F! God this book was HORRIBLE! Don’t EVER READ IT. If you see it, close your eyes and run away. Who cares if you run into anything, it’ll be less painful than reading this book. Holy god, what a literary trainwreck.

The Tea Planter’s Bride (Bad Romance Novel Reviews)

Hundred words or less: An exotic flower from a faraway land, Celia came to London tobecome a proper English rose — a wide-eyed innocent, newly awakened by womanhood’s kiss…yet burning with a sensuous heat inflamed by gypsy blood. To one she is promised — a man of wealth and power and property. Yet another will own her heart. He is Grant Hamilton, a daring and unpredictable American rogue who senses a kindred spirit in the stunning, copper-eyedbeauty whom he has agreed to escort through London’s social whirl. Yet Grant is determined to resist his own secret yearnings for the exuisite enchantress.
Pages: 410
Author: Rosemary Rogers
Year Published: 1995

Another month, another romance novel. This month, I give you Tea Planter’s Bride. Not only does the back of this novel proudly proclaim “The Blossoming”, but on the inside cover (surprisingly sparing the front cover) there is the requisite Dashing Heroine Swooning Mightily into the Rock Hard Arms of the Suitably Rakeish Male Pursuer.

We meet Celia, the heroine WILD GYPSY BEAUTY of the story, undergoing a dressing-down by her EVIL aunt. Now, here’s a twist: not only is this aunt REALLY FREAKING EVIL, but she’s also CHRISTIAN. Aunt Evil goes on and on about how horrid Celia is, how very like her dead Gypsy mother with loose morals Celia is. But why is Aunt Evil so mad? Because of course there is the convenient plot twist surprise of Celia escaping the clutches of Aunt Evil by the writ of her (dead) father’s will. It makes her fabulously wealthy, and she is bourne out of the conspiring hands of Aunt Evil by a suddenly appearing Aunt who Celia didn’t even know EXISTED! Not only is this aunt fabulouslywealthy as well, but she brings in tow the HANDSOME AMERICAN STEP SON IN LAW (who also happens to be a dastardly rake – I do so love dastardly rakes).

OF COURSE the handsome step-son in law (Grant) is utterly and completely CAPTIVATED by Celia’s WILD GYPSY BEAUTY. Celia goes on to be the toast of the London Season, even meeting “Prinny” (What kind of name is that for a Prince?) who is also suckered in by her WILD GYPSY BEAUTY, but of course Grant is the object of her secret desires. He kisses her, their lips vacuum-sucked together by mystical forces, but ultimately rejects her because, like Madonna, she’s a VIRGIN, and if he were to compromise her purity, Aunt Wealthy breathing down his neck and well, for a DASTARDLY RAKE of COURSE he has some morals! Just this once!

In fact, Celia has this habit of wandering off scantily clothed alone (because it’s so hard to remember to dress in something other than a flimsy nightgown if you’re a WILD GYPSY BEAUTY) and just-so-happening to run into Grant’s hard, muscled, and conveniently naked body. Oh the virginity! They make out a bunch of times, lips becoming sealed together by mystical forces beyond their control, but of course she retains her virginity, because Grant is a tease. On one of these Half Naked Excursions, Celia meets another man who is a convenient plot twist Gypsy who takes her to her people and reveals her to be a Princess of the Gypsies (we should all be so fortunate) and the Big Momma of the Gypsies reads Celia’s palm and declares that Celia has much evil surrounding her but gives her Celia’s mother’s castanets and sends her out to dance with the rest of the convenient plot twists Gypsies. Celia is found by Grant, their lips become magically sealed together for Grant cannot resist her WILD GYPSY BEAUTY, but he’s a dirty tease and marches her back to Aunt Wealthy anyway.

Eventually it is revealed that Celia, in the midst of her Season, has a fiance! Yes, that’s right- Celia was not born in England, but in tropical Ceylon. Her betrothed (a conveniently Evil Man named Ronnie, who has many perversions with a taste for cocaine on the side) takes care of her Massive Tea Plantation and screws around with multiple women while Just Narrowly Avoiding Syphilis. So of course Grant is Utterly Jealous.

Celia recieves another convenient plot twist letter from said fiance begging Celia to go home to Ceylon. You’d think she would, and the book would end there, she weds the bastardly Fiance and the book can end. But of course not. She must make a scene. “Oh Aunt Willie (seriously) I Must Go to Ronnie! He needs me on that great ol’ tea plantation! I simply must go! No I will not hear your Perfectly Reasonable Excuses! I must go to Ronnie immediately!” So Aunt Wealthy sends along said step-son-in-law secretly to watch over the WILD GYPSY BEAUTY.

Who shows up but Aunt Evil? And Aunt Evil’s protegee, Celia’s ex-best-friend Anthea, goes along as well. Celia meets her balding fiance at the docks. And who shows up but Grant? Fiance of Doom conveniently passes out on a cocaine binge shortly thereafter prompting Celia to run Nakedly Through The Forest to the Hard Waiting Arms of Grant, where their lips become vacuum-sealed together by mystical forces beyond their control again.

So of course Mr. Fiance becomes a bit of a bastard about the whole matter, drugs Celia, and kidnaps her, while blackmailing her family to stay quiet because OMG he took nekkid pictures of her when she was young! The horror! He marries her in a secret ceremony but passes out on a cocaine binge again and forgets to take her virginity. One of Mr. Fiance’s Lovers helps Celia escape, Grant is searching for Celia, they narrowly miss each other, and Mr. Fiance finally wakes up and starts taking pot-shots at Grant presumably with a gun of some sort.

Grant and Mr. Fiance finally come face to face in a clearing, with Celia watching from above because the girl has figured out how to climb a tree. Suddenly, quel horror! A convenient plot twist rogue elephant comes charging into the clearing, tramples the evil Mr. Fiance, Grant finds Celia and their lips become fused together again, they promise never-ending love, and the rampaging plot twist Evil Rogue Elephant is brought down. Cue lights.

By the Numbers:
References to “stolen/misplaced/otherwise lost” virginity: 32
Plot “Twists”: 16
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine: 200,000
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine that Heroine Loves: 2
Number of Mary-Sue Incidents: 0
Number of Fights Over Heroine: 2
Times “Fate” Intervened: 14
Times “Fate” Intervened by about 500 miles: 6/14

Overall grade: D-, for child pornography, rampaging plot twists, stereotypical stepmothers, stupid Gypsies, more rampaging plot twists, and rampant fusing of lips. But Grant is sure a likable fellow, so I’ve got to give credit where credit is due.

Adora (Bad Romance Novel Reviews)

Pages: 440 (agonizingly slow) pages
Author: Bertrice Small
Year Published: 1980

Summary: Theodora, or “Adora” is the daughter of a Byzantine prince, John Cantacuzenus. At a young age, she is wed by proxy to an Ottoman sultan, Orkhan, and sent to a convent ’till her monthly flow appears (which would evidently make her “prime” for “breeding”). Until! She falls over the garden wall (“Oh noes! The garden wall has flung me over itself! Oh!”), directly into the hands of the prince, Murad. She was thirteen at the time, and had grown tall and had long, beautifully shaped arms and legs, a slender torso, firm, high, cone-shaped breasts (WHAT?) with long pink nipples (double WHAT?), and a beautiful heart-shaped face. Her skin was like smooth cream… she never tanned. Her dark, mahogany colored hair with its golden lights… Her violet eyes were startlingly clear, and as candid as they had always been (because every man wants a girl with long nipples and purple eyes!).

Anyway. They become sort-of lovers, until Adora is sent to the Sultan, who forces her into bed after two other virgins (because yay, virgin party!). Eventually, she gives the sultan a son, but a son who was injured. So she takes the boy across the sea, to Bursa, where he is supposed to heal. On the way, they run into a storm and almost drown (“Oh noes! The sea has flung itself through my window!”), but they are waylaid by none other than the pirates of Alexander the Great (“Yarrrrr! Princess Adora of the Purple Eyes!”). She, of course, seduces Alexander the Great, but retains her honor. This romantic interlude in the gold-infested palace gives the author Adora time to show off her fancy “Greek logic” (which would be a great perfume name, come to think about it. “Seductive yet smart, with a hint of smarmy… Greek Logic”). Alexander mopes after her but eventually ransoms her and the boy back to her husband for ONE BILLION DOLLARS!!!100,000 GOLD DUCATS!

So. Then, she goes back to the Sultan, who conveniently dies, and Murad takes the throne. He gives Adora (whom he lusts after) an ultimatim: Either marry Murad, or marry Murad! Adora uses her Greek Logic (+2 intellect) to deal a crushing blow and… runs away back to Constantinople, after dyeing her skin brown so no one can recognize her (because, you know, bright violet eyes are SOOOO common – she was using her Greek Logic again, if you couldn’t tell). Adora is conveniently married off to Alexander, who just happens to show up at a dinner party (YARRRR! SurpriseyarrR!).

But Adora’s sister schemes in secret! Because… uhm… something or other to do with Adora’s beauty or something. She plots to have the beloved Alexander killed and Adora signed off to Sultan Murad as a slave! In fact, she does so, over the course of two chapters (two agonizingly awful chapters). Then, Adora goes home to Murad and the Ottoman empire (motto: Rest your feet and we’ll cut off your legs!). At first, she hates Murad and his 50-virgin harem. Then, using her Greek Logic, she comes to the conclusion that she should love him. After that, of course, it’s all babies and war and some complicated things that result in Murad’s death and Adora’s eventual consignment to the glue factory convent, where she will be made into a pair of nice shoes ending out her 90 year life happily, and surrounded by peaches and virgins.

Reviewer’s Notes: The Beauty of Greek Logic unaccountably uses Victorian British slang, knows complicated medical techniques that weren’t invented until the 1400’s, and transforms from sweet Christian Girl to bloodthirsty heathen. Over half the book could have been eliminated if the author was forbidden to use the word “manroot”, “pearls”, or talk about any historical event that did not happen. Overall, the entire story revolves around a thinly veiled Mary Sue.

By the Numbers:
References to “stolen/misplaced/otherwise lost” virginity: 25
Plot “Twists”: 9
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine: Entire Byzantine Empire, +5 Ottomans (motto: Put up your feet and you will be beaten to death.)
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine that Heroine Loves: 2
Number of Mary-Sue Incidents: The entire book is a Mary-Sue incident.
Number of Fights Over Heroine: 2 important battles, 1 minor fight
Times “Fate” Intervened: 2
Times “Fate” Intervened by about 500 miles: 2/2

Overall Grade: F, for being a terrible Mary Sue and vast, complicated explanations of the word “manroot”, virgins virgins everywhere, and murdering all of history.

Best exchange ever (Bad Romance Novel Reviews)

I nominate this to be the best exchange I have ever read in a historical romance novel. 

(At the conclusion of the novel, in which Sigimor tells his wife, Jolene, (finally!) that he loves her, every last inch of her, as they’re about to have a love scene):
“I intended to hint ye down all the way to the gates of Drumwich if need be, to get back what ye stole from me,” Sigimor said, kissing her breasts.
Jolene struggled to speak clearly. “I stole nothing from you.”
“Aye, ye did…” (cups her breasts) “Ye took these pale beauties from me, walked away with these sweet rosy nipples that give me so much pleasure.”
“I am very sorry I could not leave them on the pillow for you to enjoy at your leisure,” Jolene replied.

Rightfully Mine (Bad Romance Novel Reviews)

Title: Rightfully Mine
Author: Doris Mortman
Pages: 626
Year Published: 1989

Summary: Amazon has a good summary.

GABRIELLE COCROFT is a hard-working housewife, mother of one, living in Cleveland, Ohio. She has a passing interest in antiques and her son and that’s about it. Until the day when her EVIL RICH HUSBAND decides to leave her…

Evil Rich Husband: You interest me no more, Wife! I want a divorce, because I’m madly in love with my blonde, pretty, super-star girlfriend whom I met while snorkeling alone in the Carribean while you thought I was conducting business! Mwahahaha!
Gabby: *goes crazy, gets in the car, drives to NYC*
Son: OMGWTFBBQ!!!?!?!?!? *throws tantrum*

GABY finds work as a salesclerk for some big-name RETAIL STORE. After a few months of her son throwing continual tantrums (“WHYYYYY AREN’T YOU HOME TO TAKE CARE OF MEEEE?!”), and living in a strange city, she decides to take an antiques class where Fate Intervenes and she meets a Handsome Rogue Frenchman named ARMAND.

Armand: Je ne sais pas, my little flower.
Gaby: *sighmelt*
Armand: Antiques are good for you. They capture the soul of ze time! Nevermind all ze Ikea crap, eighteenth century bureaus are where it’s at, biyotch!
Gaby: *shows off antiques knowledge about bureaus, surprising herself and anyone else who would read this book*
Armand: *perks up* Come work for MEEE at my antiques shop! We will drink ze wine and talk about BUREAUS!
Gaby: YAY!

GABBY begins working for ARMAND as his service clerk, and eventually ARMAND cooks up a scheme that involves an antiques fair. Several long scenes later, it turns out his plan has been FOILED by the EVIL VINCENT PRADO!

Vincent Prado: Mwahahaha! Armand, you are nothing more than dust beneath my impeccable pink leather kidskin heels!
Armand: You rogue! You gay metropolitan man of ze impeccable taste! HOW DARE YOU BESMIRCH ZE NAME OF THE LAFITTES!
Vincent Prado: Speak to the Armani, Armand, the moustache does not want to hear it! *flounces away*

GABY begins using another large antiques dealer to sell ARMAND’s now-worthless merchandise (because obviously everyone would quit buying at a good antiques dealer because VINCENT PRADO told them to). She lies about herself and what she’s doing, and in so, gets offered another job at CASTLETON’s to be a yet-better-paid antiques dealer. She becomes close to the VP (GARRET CASTLETON) of Castleton’s, who of course likes her very much, the impeccable Frenchwoman who knows much about bureaus.

Reader: *snore*

Several hundred pages later, amid the bureaus and the folk art and the flamboyant gay men, we meet one mysterious Belgian man named MAX RICHARDS, who only appears briefly in all his close-mouthed glory. The head of the large antiques dealer (CASTLETON’S) falls madly in love with GABY and wants to make sweet, sweet love to her in the Rocky Mountains. Everything goes well until GABY’s son comes to visit unexpectedly.

Garret Castleton: I love you, Gabrielle!
Gabby: YAY.
Son: OMGWTFBBQ!?!?!?!? *throws tantrum*

However, GABY isn’t to be tied down. Though GARRET is handsome, charming, and insanely rich, she doesn’t “love” him, therefore, when he proposes, she says no, and sorry. He then kicks her out of CASTLETON’S for lying on her resume and she mopes about for about fifteen pages.

Gaby: OH WOE! WOE WOE IS ME A POOR WOMAN IN A WORKING MANS WORLD!
Chelsea Reynolds: *appears*
Gaby: Shit.
Chelsea Reynolds: I UNMASK YOU, GABRIELLE COCROFT!
Gaby: *cries and flails and tells her life-story*
Chelsea Reynolds: Ok, peaches, I’ll find you a job, because I love you and we were pals at college and now that I’m filthy, filthy rich and have a billion million dollars, I can make you a happy woman. That, and my tongue. *makes tongue motions*
Gaby: Ok.

CHELSEA holds a party for GABY and makes her into an antiques broker. GABY goes and travels around the world and brokers antiques for people and-

Son: OMGWTFBBQ!?!??! *throws tantrum*
Chelsea: *tongue motions*

her son begins to hate and resent her. EVIL RICH HUSBAND tries to come back in GABY’s life but she tells him to go somewhere hot and fiery. He threatens her with UNMASKING, and she threatens to cut off his manhood. Then Max Richards comes in and they find a tapestry together and she falls in love with MAX and tells him the truth about herself and he’s mad and doesn’t talk to her for a few months until he shows up at her door:

Max:BONJOUR GABY MARRY ME PLZKTHNX
Gaby: YES! YES I SNAGGED ME A RICH ONE! I MEAN! YES!

And they live happily ever after in the Swiss Alps with Max’s 10923847542 children, and ARMAND is restored to fame, VINCENT PRADO is caught and sent to prison because he was smuggling diamonds, and GARRET CASTLETON decides to be friend-like to GABY once he talks to MAX RICHARDS who threatens him with the BRASS KNUCKLES. CHELSEA REYNOLDS goes through Alcoholics Anonymous and everything is tied up nice and neatly, of course, with pain and prison for the evil, and happy rich men for the non-evil.

Reviewer’s Notes: Gaby, despite being this “savvy, strong business woman in the 80’s” just kind of follows people around aimlessly and does what they tell her. She has little personality, and could probably be replaced with a loofah.

By the Numbers:
“Love” Scenes:
3
References to stolen/misplaced/otherwise lost virginity: 0 (cain’t have virginity if there’s babeees involved!)
Plot “Twists”: 28.5
Number of Men Lusting After the Heroine: 3
Number of Mary Sue Incidents: 3 minor
Number of Fights/All Out Wars over the Heroine: 4
Times “Fate” Intervened: 18 billion
Times “Fate” Intervened by 500 or more miles: 2/18 billion
References to “bureaus”: 368

Overall Grade: C+. I know more about bureaus now, but I was also incredibly, incredibly bored. Gaby is a forgettable character who flails about a lot and cries some more. If it involved more handsome men and less whinging, it may have been a good book.

Crown of Swords: Robert Jordan

The entire ending of what seems like half of the Wheel of Time books can be summed up as the following:

Rand: *gets angry, decides to kill one of the Forsaken, assembles army/friends/peasants/rabble*
Forsaken: Mwahahahaha! I am confident I will beat you into submission, little boy!
Rand: I am the Dragon Reborn!
Forsaken: Oh yeah? *balefire*
Rand: *balefire x2*
Forsaken: *dodges, runs to palace*
Rand: *follows*
Forsaken: Mwahaha! I am in my own element! You will DIEEE! *balefire*
Rand: *dodges, palace falls down around his ears*
Forsaken: *runs away*
Rand: *follows, palace falls down some more*
Forsaken: *balefire*
Rand: *balefire x2*
Forsaken: *runs away*

Etc., etc., until THE END:

Rand: *balefire x40967^10*
Forsaken: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! *bursts apart*
Rand: Haha.
Rabble: HORRAY LORD DRAGON!
Rand: Now crown me, you idiots. But I really don’t want the crown! *fights with himself*
Lews Therin: KILL THEM ALLLLL!
Rabble: *confusion*
Rand: Ok, you can crown me now.
Rabble: *crown*
–end–

Dear Mr. Jordan:

Please make some other ending than Rand killing the Forsaken. Obviously, you are quite enamoured of this ending, as you’ve used it for many of your books. However, it would please me mightily if you thought up a brand-spanking new ending. Like maybe Rand falling down some stairs and not being able to balefire the hell out of the world. Or someone close to him dying. ANYTHING BUT ANOTHER FRIGGIN’ CROWN.

Thanks,
Mel

PS: If you can, in ANY way, avoid the Aes Sedai breast-baring bit in the future, Please do so for the love of all that is holy.

The Passion (Bad Romance Novel Review)

Hunnert Words ‘r so: Mourning the death of her late betroth, desperate to escape an unwanted marriage to a tyrannical duke, Lady Aurora Demming does the unthinkable. By marrying Nicholas Sabine, a dangerously handsome and seductive American, accused of piracy and awaiting execution on the gallows. For this scandalous marriage, Nicholas vows to be her husband for only one day, and spend one night of blazing passion in his arms before his hanging. In exchange, Aurora escapes her impending marriage and gains the independence she has always desired with widowhood. But neither of them expected that their one night of hot passion would change their lives forever.
Pages: 367
Author: Nicole Jordan AKA Anne Bushyhead
Year Published: 2000

Summary:
Aurora Demming: *weep weep* Oh, my poor Geoffrey, Earl of March, lost at sea and presumed dead! Now I have to marry Lord Toad! *weep weep*
Nicholas Sabine: *being beaten by thugs* YARRRRR LEAVE OFF YEH HOSERS! YARRR!
Aurora Demming: *runs up* Stop it, you bad men! Stop it!
Hosers/Bad Men: *stop beating, look around*
Nicholas: YARR I’m a PIRATE. Yarr. Will you marry me, beautiful lady woman, because yeh saved me?
Aurora: *adjusts skirt* Sure.
They GET MARRIED THE NEXT DAY AND SPEND THE EVENING CONSUMMATING THE MARRIAGE. Because NICHOLAS says so, and LORD TOAD will not want “seconds”. The next day, NICHOLAS is hung to pay for his piracy, and AURORA goes back to England.

Aurora: Oh my husband! My dear husband who was a filthy pirate but touched me so nicely! Woe! *weep weep*

FOUR MONTHS LATER:

Aurora: Oh my husband! My dear husband who was a filthy pirate but left me lots of money and touched me so nicely! WOE! *weep weep*
Ton of England: *mixed sympathy, confusion, and unexplained monkies*
Nicholas: *dyes hair black* Yarrr, no one will recognize me now!
Nicholas: *sneaks up to Aurora and tweaks her bum* YAR! I’m alive!
Aurora: EEE! Get out of my sight, you filthy, filthy pirate! *hits Nicholas with shoe*
Nicholas: YAR YE WITCH! *runs away*
Aurora: *weep weep*
AURORA goes home and gets ready for bed, because it’s really been a very trying day (your pirate husband showing up when you thought he was dead can do that to a gal). NICHOLAS pops in through the window.
Nicholas: I’m home, baby!
Aurora: Nooooooo! Get out! Someone could see you!
Nicholas: No.
Aurora: *beats him with a slipper*
Nicholas: *runs away*

NICHOLAS accosts AURORA over the next five scenes, in various places- the park, a party, on the street- while maintaining his disguise as his COUSIN. AURORA finally gives in to NICHOLAS, they are getting hot and heavy in the sitting room when GEOFFREY, EARL OF MARCH arrives.

Geoffrey: EEEEEEE! *breathes* I’ll come back at a better time. *leaves*
Aurora: OH NO! My dead fiance! *weep*
Nicholas: There there. *arranges himself in his pants again*

Ton of England: *confusion, drinking, more monkies*

NICHOLAS woos AURORA over the next eighteen scenes. AURORA eventually gives in to her animalistic nature, rips off her clothes, and magically doesn’t concieve a child.

Aurora (to Nicholas): I’ve made up my mind. Either make me fall in love with you in two weeks or I’m going to marry the Earl of March!
Nicholas: Oh. *accosts her in her bedroom*
Aurora: *beats Nicholas with a book*

NICHOLAS continues to woo AURORA for the next eighty million years. EARL OF MARCH shows up with only two limbs, an INEXPLICABLE STREET URCHIN is kidnapped, AURORA goes to see the EARL OF MARCH.

Geoffrey/Earl of March: Aurora, I found a French trollop and I love her. I don’t ever want to see you again.
Aurora: Ok. *leaves*
Nicholas: *accosts Aurora outside the door*
Aurora: *beats Nicholas with a fan*
Nicholas: *runs away*

Ton of England: *massive confusion, stampeding elephants, random strangers with knives* *passes out*

CAPTAIN G enters, knows NICHOLAS is alive.

Captain G (to Aurora): Give me Nicholas!
Aurora: I can’t! He’s dead!
Captain G: LIAR!
Aurora: OMG WTF.
Captain G: Don’t give me that tone, or I’ll-
Aurora: *beats Captain G with a brandy bottle until he is unconscious*
Nicholas: *pops out* Nice job, YARRR!
Aurora AND Nicholas: *sail to the Caribbean*
Nicholas: *accosts Aurora on a beach*
Aurora: *beats him with a coconut*

By the Numbers:
References to “stolen/misplaced/otherwise lost” virginity: 2
Plot “Twists”: 4, not including unexplained monkies and inexplicable urchin boy
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine: 4
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine that Heroine Loves: 2
Number of Mary-Sue Incidents: 1
Number of Fights Over Heroine: 3
Times “Fate” Intervened: 3
Times “Fate” Intervened by about 500 miles: 3/3

Overall Grade: C+, for decent pace (until the middle where it DRAAAAAGGGGSSS ONNN FORREVERRRRR), Pirates, unexplained monkies. Marks taken off for excessive beating, inexplicable urchin boy, and horndog hero.

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