RITA Reader Challenge: Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist

  • Love on the Line by Deeanne GistTitle: Love on the Line
  • Author: Deeanne Gist
  • Series: N/A
  • Genre(s): Historical, Inspirational
  • Publisher: Bethany House, October 2011
  • Source: Amazon, $8.54
  • Trope(s): Virgins, Alpha Males, Cowboys
  • Quick blurb: Undercover lawman gets unexpected help – and more – from a spinster switchboard operator.
  • Quick review: The sexy times may be “clean,” but whoo-whee, Gist knows how to write kissing scenes.
  • Grade: A

Cupping her neck, he ran a thumb from the tip of her chin to the indentation between her collarbones.

She opened her eyes. “Now I know why cats purr.”

If you shy away from inspirational romances – or even if you actively avoid them – get off your high horse and read some Deeanne Gist. Start with Maid to Match, and then read this.

Read the full review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

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The Cowboy’s Princess Wife by Mysty McPartland

  • The Cowboy's Princess Wife by Mysty McPartlandTitle: The Cowboy’s Princess Wife
  • Author: Mysty McPartland
  • Series: N/A
  • Genre(s): Historical
  • Publisher: Secret Cravings Publishing, January 2012
  • Source: Amazon, $4.99
  • Trope(s): Virgins, Alpha Males, Cowboys, Mystery Marriage, I Hate You Except When We Kiss
  • Quick blurb: Scottish Princess shows up on doorstep of Cowboy Earl claiming proxy marriage.
  • Quick review: I can’t decide which was worse – the bad history or the bad editing.
  • Grade: F

In the interests of fairness, and to prove that I’m an Equal Opportunity Crank, I decided to try out another title from the publishing house that signed Sable “Hell Yeah!” Hunter.

I chose The Cowboy’s Princess Wife because of the bodice-ripping title, the author’s stripper-rific first name and the blurb:

Even though she made a promise to her dying grandfather, Carlin only intends to deliver the letter to the Earl and leave. When he refuses to let her go she takes time to contemplate the situation and being attracted to him decides to give their marriage a chance.  Her husband was so annoying at times she re-thinks her situation and once again makes plans to leave.

Surprised at finding two beautiful women in his parlor Haydon cannot deny the overwhelming attraction he feels towards one of them. He is shocked senseless when he finds out his father has married him to the woman he desires. Bound by duty and honor he can never let her go. However, it doesn’t take him long to become irritated with her and all the crap she fill his house with. What makes him furious though was all the deception.

Can Haydon keep his princess wife safe? Can their love for one another over come all the obstacles?

Verb tense disagreement, missing commas and a house full of crap in the blurb? Wheee, let’s get started!

But before we get carried away….

Let’s take a look at the dedication page:

Author Dedication page - The Cowboy's Princess Wife

Reason #1 Why Secret Cravings Publishing Is Collectively Smoking Crack

The opening scene….

With her heart beating wildly in her chest, her stomach twisted in a knot of nervous tension, Carlin thought she just might be sick.

Oooh, barfing in the first sentence! But if this is a historical, shouldn’t she be casting up her accounts?

Her eyes wide open, she kept sweeping the area with fearful apprehension. Dear Lord, what had her sweet grandfather forced her into she silently asked?

All righty. So that’s the way it’s going to be. Thanks for the early warning.

Lord, she didn’t want to do this, did not want to be here, well she couldn’t do anything about it now since she already arrived, she despondently told herself.

I’m silently telling myself despondently that I don’t really want to read this but I paid $5 for it because I’m trying to prove a point so I’m damn well going to finish it.

“Och, Carlin, it dinna look too bad.” Layla tried to reassure her cousin….

Fake Scottish brogue and historically improbable character names. The WTF list is growing and we’re only on the fourth paragraph.

She definitely could feel herself becoming annoyed.

Well, we wouldn’t want her to waffle about it, so it’s a good thing she’s definitely definite.

Continue reading

Badass by Sable Hunter – The Full Review

Badass by Sable Hunter

  • Title: Badass
  • Author: Sable Hunter
  • Series: Hell Yeah! Book 4
  • Genre(s): Contemporary, Erotica
  • Publisher: Self-Published, March 2012
  • Purchase: I don’t want to link to it, but I suppose I should: Amazon, $4.99 (courtesy of Jane at DearAuthor.com)
  • Tropes: Unrequited Love, Virgin Heroine, Cowboy Alpha Male, Simile Sex, Misogyny
  • Quick blurb: Preacher’s daughter undergoes self-imposed slutification to earn the love of a biker cowboy Dom.
  • Quick review: Not nearly as painful as the last one, but demeaning treatment of female characters is stomach-turning.
  • Grade: D-

All right, so I may have gone overboard with the length of my last review. Smarminess levels were appropriate, but I freely admit I have difficulty shutting myself up sometimes.

To avoid a repeat of that tl:dr trauma, and because I am a Geek and a Nerd and a Dork with NO LIFE, I decided take the opportunity to use a social media site I’ve been dying to try:

Live-Tweeting and Storifying Isaac & Avery’s Story (Hell Yeah! Book 4)

Prologue and Chapter 1
In which preacher’s daughter runs away to Shady Lady Ranch in Nevada for Self-Imposed Slutification under the tutelage of mentors Destiny, Desiree, Roxy and Claret.

Chapter 2
In which Avery Rose and her pink Miss Kitty luggage and sleeping bag arrive back in Kerrville on Harley Sportster. Bar fight, blow job in hotel room, ecstasy, he leaves.

Chapter 3
In which our heroine displays her Shady Lady Stripper Skillz, news of Slutification hits local headlines, deflowering occurs and Isaac shows his true colors as a Manwhore McCoy.

Chapter 4
In which the heroine outs herself as an erotica writer named SABLE HUNTER and then gets a microphone stuck in her mouth.

Chapter 5
In which we enjoy granny panties, Braveheart, bacon and glitter.

Chapter 6
In which we meet villain-bait stock characters, enter our hero’s Secret Basement Sex Dungeon Playroom, push up through the Valley of Delight, rejoice in our heroine’s expanded vocabulary, and get called up to the Big Leagues of Sex. Also, plot moppet puts Sub collar on family dog.

Chapters 7 & 8
In which I attempt to distract myself politics with a hermaphrodite, sex on a mechanical bull, ooey-gooey pumpkin butter cake, some unexpected and inexplicably good writing (!) which segues into abrupt POV change to family dog, yet another kidnapping but this time foiled by family dog, and swelling organs during HEA.

First impressions:

I didn’t hate it. I even LIKED parts of it. I’m in Book Purgatory, actually considering a C- grade. But what if my enthusiasm is merely disguised relief that it wasn’t a CESSPOOL OF CRAP like the last book? I need to think about this.  My worldview has been disrupted. My personal paradigm has shifted. I might need a sabbatical in Kerrville, Texas, to reconnect with my Inner Bitch Goddess.

If my doctor does recommend Cowboy Immersion Therapy, my first shrine of worship will be Hardbodies Bar. If they don’t have Isaac’s black leather Dom hood with the Tebow Rockin’ T ranch brand embossed on the forehead on display, I’m going to be REALLY disappointed.

[Oh, sorry – that was a spoiler. I keep forgetting to despoilerize. You know, because of all the suspense.]

Also, I’m 99 percent sure that me and the mechanical bull should stay far, far apart. But what’s a mental health sabbatical without a visit to the emergency room?

Let’s make it a road trip. You know you want to come with me. No, wait, a bus trip. That way we can drink heavily and let someone else do the driving.

Read the full review at DearAuthor.com

Her Magic Touch by Sable Hunter – The Full Review

  • Her Magic Touch by Sable HunterTitle: Her Magic Touch
  • Author: Sable Hunter
  • Series: Hell Yeah! Book 3
  • Genre(s): Contemporary, Erotica
  • Publisher: Self-Published, October 2011
  • Purchase: Amazon, $4.99 (YES, I paid $ for it)
  • Tropes:  Insta-Love, Virgin Heroine, Cowboy Alpha Male, TSTL, Simile Sex
  • Quick blurb:Misogynistic daredevil asshole, paralyzed in a motocross accident, hires ugly voodoo priestess, who doesn’t know she’s really a guardian angel, to restore his manhood. Also, celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse makes a cameo appearance.
  • Quick review: Continuing Adventures in Epic Assholery and Virgin Sacrifice: In Which Sable Hunter Mistakes Misogyny for Romance
  • Grade: F

NOTE: I’m deleting the separate posts with my “read along” status updates because I was lazy and copy/pasted them into the full review…. And because I figured I should try to contain all the bitchiness within a smaller blogographical area. I’m leaving the Bad Sex roundup intact.

At the end of the Hell Yeah! Book 2 review, I mentioned that a few glimpses of the main characters of Book 3 made me cautiously optimistic that we would finally get a grown-up female worthy of being called a “heroine.”

I was wrong. So very, very wrong.

I also bitched and whined about the misogyny in the previous book, but Oh. Dear. God.

This was worse.

Therefore, I’m subtitling this review:

Continuing Adventures In Epic Assholery And Virgin Sacrifice: A Misogyny Manifesto

NOTE: For the purposes of this review, I’m defining “misogyny” as:

  • Infantilizing or otherwise demeaning and marginalizing women;
  • Inferring or stating outright that life without a man is not worth living;
  • Demonstrating double standards regarding male and female sexuality (e.g., manwhores rewarded with virgins);
  • Depicting assertive female characters as sluts;
  • Referring to female characters as “fresh meat”;
  • Repeatedly comparing female characters to abused or abandoned animals; AND/OR
  • Depicting a woman in premature labor serving coffee and doughnuts to lazy-ass men who are perfectly capable of getting the fucking coffee themselves.

It can be a little confusing, so here’s a handy dandy flowchart. Also available in printer-friendly PDF. It’s even color-coded for extra impressiveness! (Yes, I have a day job. Shut up and keep reading, and stop picking on me because I worked really hard on this and now you’re hurting my feelings.)

But wait, there’s more! In addition to the character inconsistencies, eye-rolling “coincidences” and inane detail we’ve come to expect, we also get a whole muddle of unnecessary paranormal nonsense – all of which completely distracted me from the Bad Sex. And of course that just sucked all the fun right out of this, officially making it the Absolute Worst Book I Have Ever Read.

(No, I have not read The Book That Shall Not Be Named, because I refuse to pay $10 for a crappy self-pubbed ebook. I only budget $5 for that sort of thing.)

Let’s get this over with – I need to cleanse my brain with… Something. Anything.

WARNING: This review/diatribe contains irrelevant analogies, bad sports metaphors, gratuitous musical interludes, self-indulgent run-on sentences (heh) and buckets of righteous indignation (it’s a manifesto, duh), with definite overtones of Mean Girl. It’s also very long, so I hope you brought snacks.

Read the full review at DearAuthor.com >>

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