Oh Dear God: Red Knight Rising by Alex Ironrod

An Open Letter to MLR Press:

Red Knight Rising by Alex Ironrod

Dear MLR Press:

(A) I will pay NINE DOLLARS for this only if you PROMISE to use my profits to hire someone who knows how to use use Photoshop. That is one of the WORST covers I have seen in a long time. I’d blame it on the designer, but I think the real punishment should be administered to the editor who approved that freakish mess of crap.

(B) Alex Ironrod. Ironrod. Alex IRONROD. Really? Are you trying to insult us?

Then again, after reading the blurb and the excerpt, maybe you are.

Good luck with that.

Thanks but no thanks,

Kelly


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Spice and Smoke by Suleikha Snyder

  • Spice and Smoke by Suleikha SynderTitle: Spice and Smoke
  • Author: Suleikha Snyder
  • Series: N/A
  • Genre(s): Contemporary, M/M, Erotica (?)
  • Publisher: Samhain, April 2012
  • Purchase: Amazon, $2.66
  • Tropes: Star-Crossed Lovers
  • Quick blurb: Bollywood celebrities reluctantly star in their own personal soap opera.
  • Quick review: Bollywood + angst + humor + HEA + great writing = I want MORE
  • Grade: A

Longer review coming soon, but for now… Wow. I need to read it again with a more critical eye, but I definitely *need* to read it again.

When the cameras stop rolling, the real scene begins.

To their adoring public, Avi Kumar and Trishna Chaudhury are Bollywood’s sweethearts. Behind closed doors, their open marriage lets them freely indulge in all manner of forbidden passions. The arrangement suits them both, but as they begin filming on the set of their new movie, the heat of new and rekindled flames singes the pages of what they thought would be a fresh script.

When costars Michael Gill and Harsh Mathur arrive on set, the sexual temperature goes up exponentially—at least for Trish. She can’t take her eyes of Harsh, for whom she’s carried a torch for years. Avi’s instant attraction to Michael, however, bounces off Michael’s solid wall of resistance.

Meanwhile, ex-boyfriends Vikram Malhotra and Sam Khanna, cast as fictional enemies, are finding it harder and harder to control the very real demons that once cost them the love of a lifetime.

Once the music starts, though, they all have no choice but to dance . And pray the fallout doesn’t ruin all their careers…and destroy their love.

Bollywood + Sexy Times + Gratuitous Musical = Kelly Hands Over Her Debit Card.

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One-Quote Review: Thief of Hearts by Karen L. Syed

  • Thief of Hearts by Karen L. SyedTitle: Thief of Hearts
  • Author: Karen L. Syed
  • Genre(s): Historical, Short Story
  • Publisher: Echelon Press, February 2012
  • Purchase: Amazon, free
  • Quick blurb: TSTL heroine + angsty kidnapper = amateur mess.
  • Grade: D

The difference between her present dilemma and what always miraculously happens in her dreams made her sad, and a little frightened.

It made me a little nauseous.

Hot on Her Trail by Sable Hunter

  • Title: Hot on Her TrailHot on Her Trail by Sable Hunter
  • Author: Sable Hunter
  • Series: Book 2 in the Hell Yeah! series
  • Genre(s): Contemporary, Erotica
  • Publisher: Self-Published, February 2011
  • Purchase: Amazon, free in Kindle Lending Library (regular $4.99)
  • Tropes: Insta-Love, Virgin Heroine, Cowboy Alpha Male, Serial Killer, Magical Orgasm Cure, TSTL
  • Quick blurb: Homeless orphaned dyslexic pregnant virgin hides out in baby daddy’s barn to escape her bipolar stalker/serial killer.
  • Quick snark: A return to Tebow Ranch, where the women are childlike virgins and the men are misogynistic fuckwads.
  • Grade: F

Soooo, after laughing my way through the first book of this series, I strapped on my big-girl undies for Book 2:

Jacob McCoy wishes for a wife and a family. Tis the Season for miracles when a young woman shows up on his doorstep: homeless, in danger and expecting a child – Jacob’s child.

Their relationship is complicated by the fact that, A – they’ve never met before and B – she’s a virgin. Jessie is determined not to be a burden to the McCoy family. As far as she’s concerned, she is just passing through. Jacob has a different opinion – he wants Jessie in his life, in his bed and in his heart.

It’s a good thing I suited up in protective gear, because in between the vomit-inducing Insta-Love and some serious WTFery, this book PISSED ME OFF. Therefore, I am subtitling this review:

A Return To Tebow Ranch: Where The Women Are Childlike Virgins And The Men Are Misogynistic Fuckwads.

This is going to take a while, so fasten your seatbelts – it’s going to be a long and wild ride. Like getting your bra strap caught on the fake horns of a mechanical bull and you can’t get off until someone takes pity on you and unplugs the damn thing.

Warning: If you don’t like spoilers or dirty words, go elsewhere. You know, in case that “fuckwads” thing wasn’t a big enough hint.

Read the rest of the review at DearAuthor.com

Cowboy Heat by Sable Hunter

  • Title: Cowboy Heat
  • Author: Sable Hunter
  • Cowboy Heat by Sable HunterSeries: Book 1 in the Hell Yeah! series
  • Genre(s): Contemporary, Erotica
  • Publisher: Self-Published, October 2010
  • Purchase: Amazon, free (now regular $4.99, free in Kindle Lending Library)
  • Tropes: Insta-Love, Virgin Heroine, Alpha Male, Wicked Ex-Wife, Magical Orgasm Cure, Plot Moppet, Simile Sex, Sports Metaphors, Religious Metaphors, Cowboy, Sensitive Artist
  • Quick blurb: Virgin cancer patient, artistic cowboy, orgasmic brownies. You do the math.
  • Quick snark: A truly astounding collection of Sex Similes.
  • Grade: D-

I’m always on the lookout for cheap, fun and short erotica, and this one caught my eye because it was free, it had decent ratings on Amazon and Goodreads, and the blurb was intriguing:

Aron McCoy has sworn off women – except for sex. When Libby Fontaine arrives at Aron’s Tebow Ranch, she is determined to cram a lifetime of living into a few short months. The doctor has told her that she can’t count on her remission from leukemia being a permanent one. Their attraction to one another is instantaneous and overwhelming. But when Aron finds out that Libby is innocent – he backs off. He has nothing to offer a girl who deserves white lace and promises. Then Aron catches Libby pleasuring herself in his stock tank and hears her cry out his name – and the heat is on.

I wasn’t expecting award-winning literature, but this went straight onto my “Thank God It Was Free” shelf. Inconsistent characterization, random point-of-view changes, painful dialogue, laughable sex….

And the similes. MY GOD, the similes.

You’ve never seen a collection of Sex Similes like this, and you likely never will. Here’s a quick sample to get your juices flowing:

Twin globes of perfection hung down like the most delicious melons. Sweet Jesus! Honey-dews!

No, really. And that’s just a teaser.

(Didja get that “juices flowing” metaphor? <snort> I crack myself up sometimes.)

Read the rest of the review at DearAuthor.com

Love, Come to Me by Lisa Kleypas

  • Love, Come to Me by Lisa KleypasTitle: Love, Come to Me
  • Author: Lisa Kleypas
  • Series: N/A
  • Genre(s): Historical
  • Publisher: Penguin, August 2011 (first published June 1988)
  • Purchase: Amazon, $7.99
  • Tropes: Bodice-Ripper, Insta-Love, I Hate You Except When We Kiss
  • Quick blurb: Rebel-in-Yankee-Territory gets the hots for a New England snob.
  • Quick review: Great setting, so-so heroine, inconsistent hero. It kinda sorta almost works.
  • Grade: C

Full disclosure: I own every one of Kleypas’ historical romances, and her recurring character Marcus Marsden, Earl Westcliff, is my Fictional Boyfriend.

Therefore, I was compelled to purchase the recent reprint of one of her earliest novels, Love, Come to Me, despite the promise of an unhealthy amount of bodice-ripping:

Bewildered, startled, she felt his lips against hers, tasting her in a way she had never dreamed of. His mouth was blazing and hungry, she was shaking, this time not from cold but from a heat that burgeoned deep inside her.

When strong and handsome Heath Rayne pulled lovely young Lucinda Caldwell from a winter river, he rescued her from an icy death. But soon he was plunging her into a torrid torrent of passion that this New England beauty had never suspected could claim her. Heath was unlike any other man Lucy had ever known — a dashing, mocking, sensuous Southerner who came as a stranger to Lucy’s Massachusetts town…and stayed to conquer all the odds against him…as he stripped away Lucy’s last shreds of resistance to the demands of desire and the flaming fulfillment of love…

It’s a good thing an introductory Author’s Note was included in this new edition – Kleypas herself sums up my own reaction:

I hope you enjoy the story of Lucinda and Heath, which was written with an enthusiasm that will hopefully atone for any weaknesses that I must cheerfully ascribe to youth and inexperience.

It’s very obvious this was the work of a rookie novelist, with a LOT of angsty, repetitive internal monologuing. But overall, it’s oddly charming, with enough sparks of Future Kleypas flaring up to keep me interested.

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The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen

  • The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie KlassenTitle: The Maid of Fairbourne Hall
  • Author: Julie Klassen
  • Series: N/A
  • Genre(s): Inspirational, Historical
  • Publisher: Bethany House, January 2012
  • Purchase: Amazon, $8.99
  • Tropes: Disguised as a Servant, Reunited, Pirates
  • Quick blurb: Rich girl fleeing icky arranged marriage hides out as a housemaid in former suitor’s home.
  • Quick review: A valiant, yet ultimately unsuccessful, attempt at a predictable plot.
  • Grade: C

I’m not one for the fangirl “OMG YOU HAVE TO READ THIS” stuff, but Julie Klassen’s books have tempted me to engage in some literary peer pressure. “It’s not a preachy inspirational, trust me!”

I was drawn to her books by the intriguing titles, beautiful covers and well-written blurbs, and all four of her previous novels exceeded my expectations. I’ve read them all several times, and I still can’t decide between The Silent Governess and The Apothecary’s Daughter for my DIK list.

I had The Maid of Fairbourne Hall on my “yay coming soon!!!” wishlist for months and bought it the day it came out. But then it lingered in Mount TBR for another few months because, oddly enough, I was afraid I wouldn’t like it. I call it “Book Anxiety,” which I may write an essay or treatise about sometime.

ANYWAY, I’m not sure if it was the title, the blurb or the cover that made me anxious….

Pampered Margaret Macy flees London in disguise to escape pressure to marry a dishonorable man. With no money and nowhere else to go, she takes a position as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected in hopes of winning his dashing brother. Praying no one will recognize her, Margaret fumbles through the first real work of her life. If she can last until her next birthday, she will gain an inheritance from a spinster aunt—and sweet independence. But can she remain hidden as a servant even when prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall?

Observing both brothers as an “invisible” servant, Margaret learns she may have misjudged Nathaniel. Is it too late to rekindle his admiration? And when one of the family is nearly killed, Margaret alone discovers who was responsible. Should she come forward, even at the risk of her reputation and perhaps her life? And can she avoid an obvious trap meant to force her from hiding?

On her journey from well-born lady to servant to uncertain future, Margaret must learn to look past appearances and find the true meaning of “serve one another in love.”

I did a mental “huh?” double-take when I saw the “disguised as a servant” trope, and after reading – well, score one for the Book Anxiety.

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