Archive for October, 2010

And this folks, is one of them. I probably would have never spotted this one, but when I saw that Harriet gave it four, and the other two reviewers were wondering how in the hell it ever got published. Library had copies on order so I decided to see for myself and hopefully save the rest of the reading world. Here goes…

Matthew Colgate has gambled frittered away what money his father left him, and he’s in a pinch to get more and cooks up this brilliant stupid scheme to get the gentlemen placing bets on whether his termagant sister Madeline will wed within three days. Of course he sets up a ringer to wed her (with no dowry no one wants her), but there’s a hitch in the plan when Mathew’s arch-enemy Gabriel West pretends to be Madelene’s intended Mr. Brelford and spirits her away to his country manor. There’s a bit more to this pickle, including a mysterious dagger, the Italian count who wants it returned along with possession of Madelene’s virginal body, a kidnapping and an attempted murder or two.

Got that? ‘Cause I’m not sure I did. Now I really, really don’t mind a bit of silly fluff once in a while, but this is just beyond dire, and the plot has more holes than swiss cheese. How does one arrive at a long closed up manor and like magic there’s staff hired (who can be trusted implicitly with every secret), horses for the carriages, and more. Someone attempts to poison his wife and he sends a servant he’s known for a day up with a plate of  food? The characters are cookie cutter cut-outs with some terribly silly names that should draw a chuckle or two (loved the street urchin called Rascal) and that starts with the very first, our heroine’s last name of Colgate. Unfortunately, this came to mind and stuck permanently,

As for the prose? You just go ahead and decide for yourself

“”She tapped her foot, wishing she could at least recall a smattering of Italian when she studied at Filmore’s School for the Proper Raising of Today’s Young Ladies to Become Shining Examples of Womanhood. Nothing came to her.”

No, I am not kidding.

“Continuing his pleasure journey, his kissed his way down to her flat stomach …By the time his tongue had sliped into her wet folds, her body shook from surprise and intense pleasure. He took delight in caressing her with his tongue, with the knowledge that only he could give her the beauty of this moment.”

How sweet.

“”He jiggled his eyebrows lasciviously.”

*rolls eyes*

For those who don’t have enough sugar in their diet,

“To show his infinite love, for that is what he called it, he leaned over to kiss her gently. It was not one of passion, but rather a forever-kind of kiss, a promise they would keep to each other.”

And finally, the sex-in-a-tree-scene. Now I had heard about the sex with trees book  thanks to Katiebabs (*shudders*), but I didn’t quite know what to make of this one,

“His breath came in short bursts, moaning as he kissed her harshly, his tongue mating with hers, accepting no withdrawal, no defeat. With all of his might, he broke from her sweet lips to growl and spill into her hands…What had she done? And in a tree?”

Do yourself and your walls a favor and give this a miss. Wish I had.


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Pirate, by Fabio

So here it is. The worst book ever written.

It was truly just awful.

You know you’re in for a treat when the cover says…

The “Sexiest Man in the World”
Invites You to Join Him in His Romantic Fantasy

I guess it could be said this book is Fabio’s fantasy. A perfect woman spends half the time begging him for sex. Yep, man fantasy right there.

You have no idea how excited I was to finally get this book. Why? Because back in 1993 there was an excerpt of it in a women’s magazine, and I’m pretty sure that was my introduction to the romance genre. As all excerpts do, this one teased me with all the build-up and then left me hanging right before Fabio (er, Marco) was about to deflower innocent – TEENAGED – Christina.
So it’s been seventeen years – almost the heroine’s entire lifespan – but I’ve finally got the payoff.

Once you get past the wonderful cover, you get this:

Which folds out into this:

The word ‘cutlass’ appears about four times every page. I counted for a while because it was driving me crazy. I suppose it’s so we don’t forget that this isn’t Fabio we’re reading about. No, that man on the cover (and, presumably, the naked guy in the water on that poster) is actually Marco The Pirate. Don’t you forget it.
‘Manhood’ is used about as often – both the word and the act the manhood participates in. When it’s not a manhood, it’s a manroot. Or a mast. Or a sword. Or a turgid organ. While on the other hand we have the ‘sails’ of the heroine’s womanhood. Kudos to the author for keeping the nautical theme going.

Fabio/the actual author who is not Fabio is so fond of adjectives I wanted to cry. Or scream. Or do both.

The horrible mêlée seemed almost obscenely incongruous on such a mild September night, when the sea gleamed with tranquil splendour.

Well hell. Fabio’s English language skills are better than mine. That’s quite a sentence there, Bello Mio.

All of a sudden, Marco felt as if a rock had lodged in his throat – and a boulder in his trousers.

Marco the Italian pirate with the flowing blonde hair and the “hard thigh muscles” is doing whatever Italian pirates do when the evil, evil Spaniards start raping and pillaging in an English settlement in South Carolina. After gallantly rescuing a woman who’s being raped by one of those evil, evil Spaniards, Marco sees Christina. He’s twenty-two, she’s twelve. They stand there admiring each other’s beauty. Then he abducts her. And her nurse, so, you know, her abduction won’t be a lonely one. Then he turns the already dreadful child into a selfish, spoilt brat.

You will be happy to know that Marco – the eighteenth century pirate – not only preaches equality, but also practices safe sex (or ‘safe sporting’ as it would be called in this book). Fabio/Fabio’s ghost writer make sure we know Marco keeps condoms in his room – as I’m sure all pirates did on desert islands in the eighteenth century. “Hold up wench while I grab me a condom from the corner store. Arrr!”
To add to the questionable level of historical accuracy, we have Spanish and English wenches declaring things such as:

“…he cast me and the others from the island like so much trash.”
“Hey, take it easy!”

However I suppose Marco’s a good pirate. Everything he does is legal – ordered by the King of England. He’s doing his bit for the war effort. Heaven forbid Fabio was anything other than perfect.

Marco and his men always behaved fairly and humanely toward their captives. Whenever possible, Marco preferred accomplishing his goals without violence. (Where’s the fun in that?!)

Christina is a Mary Sue, naturally. Even at twelve years of age, every single man on the ship wants to marry her. Then Fabio takes her back to his home and his pet cheetah – who never before has liked ‘another female’ – loves Christina. Of course.
The first sixty pages are devoted to showing Marco and Christina – uh – falling in love. The problem is, she’s still twelve. I’m not sure it was necessary for the heroine of the book to stay a child for so long in the story. But while Marco is obsessed with this spoilt, ‘feisty’ child, we do get to read in a bit of detail about the sex he’s having with his wench/mistress/fellow sportsperson.

Fast forward six years.

…they both knew precisely what he wanted to give her. It wouldn’t be a spanking – but it would be very hard and so good.

Feisty Christina has the entire crew wanting to marry her (the paedophiles are into young women these days it seems), and she’s being the feisty thing we all know her to be and playing the men off each other. So Marbio needs to set her straight. With a kissing lesson. He dismisses their pet cheetah, Pansy (yes, Pansy), so they can go for it. Said lesson comes with a whole lot of…sexy…pre-kiss banter. Such as:

“My friend Isabel is seventeen, and already she has a mate and twin babies. Why, only yesterday I watched Paolo and Luisa suckle at their mother’s breasts.” She stared at him, a dreamy look coming over her. “I think I would like a baby, too.”

She was brazen!

“Because if you marry me,” she went on recklessly, “I want many babies.”

Oh, the little tease! Marco could not believe she was enticing him so relentlessly – any more than he could believe his manhood’s turgid rise towards the ripe bait she dangled.

Christina is so feisty (and desperate for ‘many babies’) in fact, that she does very mature and kind things to get rid of Marbio’s mistresses – like put a snake in the bed, pour a bucket of water on them, light a fire, let Pansy into the room.

…tightly pinned against his hungry, thrusting loins, (It’s the ‘hungry’ that frightens me. What does that thing do? Eat?)

Both Christina and Marbio become so frustrated they ask the cheetah for relationship advice.

He felt the nipple of her breast spring to life… (What, as opposed to ‘the nipple of her hand’?!)

Marbio decides he needs to marry Christina off, while the baddies are congregating to kidnap Christina and get some money.
On a side note, I couldn’t understand why everybody was snapping their fingers all the time. Obviously it’s a habit Fabio/ghost writer has, but that doesn’t mean everybody in the world does it.

Hijinks ensue – of the kind that make you want to murder both of them and move onto the next book.

But they make it to bed eventually, with riveting conversation such as:

“I don’t think I mind -”
“Mind what?”
“That you are huge. In fact, I think I shall get used to it.”

Yeah, there’s some more of Fabio’s fantasy for you.

But it’s still not enough for Marbio to marry her, and when the brilliant, genius of a heroine is abducted, instead of fighting the bad guy off she decides to allow herself to be abducted so that Marbio can feel good rescuing her.

“The night is young,” Carlos replied. “I prefer to fill my gut before I plug a squirming wench’s belly with my manroot.”

It turned out Marbio was kind of a dickhead. Christina is captured and kept prisoner and abused for weeks, and when he finally turns up he acts all pissy because she isn’t grateful enough about – oh all kinds of things. He decides that she needs to love him more, and come begging to him (which is precisely what she’s been doing for the entire book!) and until then he’ll ‘bed’ her but not love her. Yep, this pirate’s a stellar hero who will make you swoon.

Christina has a few dozen more TSTL moments; Marbio experiments with a bit of light bondage (it involved bound hands and a hammock. “Now swing, cara.” “Swing? Which way?” “Every way.”); all the women end up pregnant to the wrong men; and then the story’s over.

The epilogue very kindly shows us a confused Marbio ‘cutely’ not knowing how to deal with his baby daughter. But he’ll have to figure it out fast because Christina is already pregnant with the next one. At the rate they’re going they’ll probably be able to fit in – oh – about twenty-six kiddies before menopause. How romantic.

The only positive I have to say about this book is that I’ve finally fulfilled a lifelong dream by reading it. I’m not sure it was worth the wait.

So, this wasn’t exactly a review. But you get the picture.

*This review (or not exactly a review, depending on your point of view) is courtesy of Zosia and was reprinted here with permission.  Thanks Zosia!!

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Nauti Boy

I know I shouldn’t review Lora Leigh books. It’s just that when I heard the heroes of this series were a bunch of redneck relatives who participated in family spankathons…well…the book just had to be read. In Wild Card Lora Leigh taught me the only way two married souls can truly be connected is to have buttsecks. In Nauti Boy, she taught me the way to cure the trauma of sexual assault is to lose your virginity to your stepbrother and his two buttsecks-obsessed cousins in a gangbang with a stalker looking on. Of course, these heroic men will come with perfectly normal names. Such as Rowdy, Dawg and Natches.

Oh yeah baby.

Lora Leigh has a terrible effect on me. When I read her books I turn into that fifth grader who thought it was hilarious to see drawings of ‘boy bits’ on the bathroom walls. It’s embarrassing, the way her writing makes me do these things. I’m no prude, really I’m not. But when I read Lora Leigh, I’m ten.

Rowdy wants Kelly, but she’s a little young.
So what’s a man to do when he wants to sexify his underage stepsister?
Rowdy chooses to be patient, and goes off to be a superhero in the Marines until he won’t be arrested for doing the girl in the forbidden regions. They could have moved overseas – the age of consent in Australia is sixteen, and if they wanted to stay closer to home, they could have tried Canada.

Rowdy has a reputation for naughty sexcapades with his cousins. I can’t get past their names. ‘Natches’ makes me itchy, and I’m sorry, but ‘Dawg’ is something with four legs and a tail. Is Lora Leigh joking, or does she really think men with names like that will turn us on?

Dawg, Natches and Rowdy Mackay. They were the bad boys of the county. The three of them had been the terror of Somerset Kentucky when they were young. Fathers locked their daughters up at night in fear of the three of them. They hadn’t exactly gained a good reputation where their women were concerned.

It’s quite a community these characters live in. I thought it was a bit strange that the first conversation we see Rowdy have with his father is about all the girls he’s spanked with his cousins in the past.

“Rowdy, I know you don’t understand—”
“Sure I do, Dad.” He turned back to his father then, a tight, cold smile on his lips. “I spanked Calista a little bit, screwed her ass and did it in front of witnesses.” He watched as Ray Mackay’s face nearly turned purple. “And to add to that distasteful little venture, me, Natches and Dawg shared her for a while. I understand completely.” He was aware of Maria standing outside the door; he prayed Kelly was out of earshot.

But I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when we got our first visit into Rowdy’s father’s head to learn the father’s first sexual experience with his wife was when her first husband shared her in a threesome. How utterly romantic.

Not since he started dating Maria, and realised what love really was. He had known her forever. She and her husband had been regulars at the marina, their boat docked close to the office. Hell, during their younger days, when pleasure had been all that mattered, he and James, Maria’s husband, had shared Maria at one time.

Rowdy finally returns to ‘claim’ Kelly when he’s thirty and she’s twenty-four (and there’s some bizarre talk about how Kelly’s too young; last I checked, twenty-four year olds were out of school and quite legal).
But when he returns he discovers Kelly has been attacked by a stalker, and is all jumpy. The stalker tied her to the bed, cut her, and tried to rape her up the bum.
In Lora Leigh’s land, everybody loves buttsecks so much it’s even the rapists’ preferred technique.
Well darn, he thinks. He’d been planning on sharing her with his cousins on his boat, the ‘Nauti Buoy’. But no matter, after less than twenty-four hours at home he’s sharing her bed, and coming out with such reassuring things as:

“Easy, baby.” His voice was drowsy, calm. “It’s just a hard-on.”

What’s the best way to ‘cure’ a woman of her near-rape trauma?
That’s it Rowdy. You’re home for a couple of days, so it’s time to bring in a couple of cousins and you can sex her up real good. She’ll love the backdoor action once a few friends have done their thing with her. Especially as she’s a virgin. How sensitive and considerate of you.
In short, the stalker is caught, and they live happily ever after. Kelly becomes a sex-crazed ‘kitten’ (I’ve noticed Lora Leigh is always telling us the women are like ‘kittens’), and a bunch of people who have nothing to do with the story but who participate in a lot of group sex turn up in the epilogue for no apparent reason.

She was a little sex kitten waiting to purr, and they were ready to stroke her.

The end.

Now I’m a little confused. The ‘Nauti’ is just juvenile spelling – like that book I read recently where one of the characters was called ‘Summa’. It’s the ‘Buoy’ I don’t get. You see, I was under the impression Americans pronounced the word as ‘boo-ee’. To me, the play on words makes perfect sense because we pronounce ‘boy’ and ‘buoy’ the same way. But how does an American author make that play on words when she doesn’t pronounce them the same?
However, that’s probably a pretty stupid question, considering I’m talking about a book with a hero named Rowdy and a bunch of people who think rape trauma is cured by an incestuous foursome.

As with every other piece of Lora Leigh writing I’ve ever read, the characters are constantly flying off the handle for no apparent reason. One minute they’re having a normal conversation; the next they’re screaming at each other. I guess Leigh’s trying to show passion and emotion or something, but nothing happens to justify the outbursts.

The book finishes with an epilogue that advertises another one of the author’s series. One moment we’re with the characters we know, and the next six new people – the heroes and heroines of the other series – are there, doing some promotion while pretending to matter to the story. Then – in a double-promotion whammy – we cut to epilogue number two and Dawg promoting his book, standing there naked while he orders the woman he ‘loves’ to do the business on him.
Lora Leigh’s nothing is not shameless in trying to force us to buy more books.

*This review is courtesy of Zosia and has been reprinted here with permission.  Thanks Zosia!

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Champion, by Fabio

In this edition of Fabio’s personal ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ series, he’s a Venetian knight. He’s also been a ‘Pirate’, a ‘Viking’, and…’Dangerous’. As Niccolo the Knight, he goes to a magical kingdom to rescue the feisty Princess Aurora and claim his rewards of marrying her and getting her babies and her fortune.

Yeah, doesn’t sound so romantic to me either.

In what is beginning to appear to me as a pattern for these books, this one also has a scene where Fabio worries his penis is just too big for the poor heroine. This, of course, gives the heroine the opportunity to congratulate and compliment him on the turgid organ behind the codpiece in his leather trousers.

“I am hurting you,” he said contritely…
…”Your barb is sweet, milord. And wondrous large.”

Right from the outset I had a problem. This is the real Princess Aurora:

She stars in The Sleeping Beauty and dances the Rose Adage.

She DOESN’T frolic in the forest while complimenting Fabio on his ginormous barb. I don’t like having my fairytales ruined.

I never in a million years would have expected to read this book and get a fairytale of the magic and unicorn variety. And who would have thought a man’s mediaeval knight fantasy would be so boring? So filled with magic? Would actually have a princess who frolicked with a pet fawn and picnicked with gnomes?

Aurora smiled at the little man, with his wrinkled, pointy face, beady dark eyes, balding pate, and full beard. “Good morrow, Francis.” She nodded in turn to each of the others. “And Farley, Findley, Finn, Fiske, and Frey.”

Where’s the fighting and the sex?! I certainly wasn’t in it for the Snow White factor.

This one took me forever to read. It seems Fabio and his ghostwriter Eugenia Riley forgot Fabio’s actually not a serious model or writer. These books don’t work when you’re trying to take them seriously. Until the feisty wench of the mystical land of Falconia appeared on the page a few chapters in, the whole thing was a little too, well, normal and boring for my expectations.

But then they arrived in Falconia (which for some reason had me thinking about She-Ra, but I think she lives in ‘Eternia’), and the castle is under siege; they can hear the battering ram knocking the gates down. But for some reason everyone’s ignoring the attack, instead participating in a festival to worship turtles.

“Why, ‘tis a holy celebration, milord – the Sacred Day of the Turtle.”

Don’t worry, it’s not only this town that’s crazy. Their neighbours celebrate ‘The Holy Day of the Cricket’.

That’s what tipped me off to the fact I’d stumbled into The Hobbit rather than Braveheart.

Niccolo clucked to Nero and manoeuvred the charger through the trees. “This is an enchanted place indeed. Blessedly, the gnomes appear to be heading away from us, toward the mountains. They will not molest us.”

Once they’ve encountered turtles and gnomes and peasants wearing their clothes inside-out (I’m still not sure why that happened), they arrive at the princess’ home – the invaders have gone home for the evening, having a break from sacking the castle (seriously, they went home for the day) – to discover there’re actually half a dozen men who’ve come to the castle to rescue the princess and get her babies. He’s going to have to compete for her!

So this was his bride…He did feel relieved to discover that Aurora was neither ugly nor repulsive,

But boy is she feisty.

Princess or not, she was one fresh wench. She deserved to have her saucy mouth scrubbed with lye soap – and her backside thrashed!

But poor Faccolo doesn’t know yet that Princess Aurora has an ulterior motive. She’s cursed! And she wants a sexy man with a big dong her ‘one true love’ to free her of it. She takes the time to notice he is “a giant of a man” with “well-shaped knees”.

In amongst all of the brazens, verilys and half a dozen mayhaps a page, there’s a plot that adds nothing to the story. When it comes down to it, nobody picks up this book for the world-building or the historical experience.
Faccolo spends the entire book wanting to hurt Princess Aurora badly, because like all good old-style romance heroes, he’s been wronged by a woman in the past, and so KNOWS this woman is evil too. For her part, the princess knows she’ll die within a year if she marries the wrong man (it’s that bloody family curse that kills off the women), but she really, really wants to sexify Fabio (don’t we all?) so she decides to marry him anyway.

Beware the barbs… She froze in alarm. Was it the voice of the spirits? Or merely the wind?
When the ominous voice repeated, Beware the barbs, Aurora’s doubts surged into panic. Verily, she could feel Niccolo’s barb against her now – part of her ached to be pierced by it, yet it might well bring her to ruin!

I repeat:

Mayhap he could punish her that way…punish her by making love to her until she could not move,

…the cheeks so flushed with desire, the lips lush and bright, slightly parted…as another part of her would soon become, to receive his deeply thrusting organ.

Too late, our hero realises he’s been a bastard, and he has to go and rescue the heroine from the evil King Basil across the way.

Fabio takes all the men and supernatural creatures with him. Just in time, he gets over his misogynistic grudge and rediscovers God.

Niccolo nodded. “Then let us go fight, men…and gnomes.” He paused thoughtfully. “But first, let us all pray.”

Everything is resolved, and the princess spawns her heir, thus outliving the nasty curse. The epilogue features breastfeeding from start to finish, while the happy King Niccolo and Queen Aurora discuss their next baby and Fabio repays the favour of the manroot compliment by congratulating Aurora on her breastfeeding technique. What a perfect way to finish a fantastic story.

*Review courtesy of Zosia and reprinted here with permission!  Thanks Zosia!

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