Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Soon...very soon.

In about 30 days Lover Unbound will at long last be published. I know it will disappoint. But never mind.

Over on the amazon.com boards, the publisher's shill, has been hinting that Tohr may return in one of the upcoming novels...as a bad guy. What a very good idea. And the people who he should hate and want vengeance upon are surely Z and Bella. I'd love another novel featuring those two...

Oh dear. A new synopsis of L.U. has appeared on the amazon boards. "...not for those new to the BDB universe or romance traditionalists." it says. Presumably that means the author has decided to continue down the perverted pathway. Did I mention that imo Butch's black ejaculate scene in L.R. was totally, totally gross? However. Why is all the sex so gynologically described in these novels so repetitive? All they feature is the missionary position. The average contemporary has more variety than that. Boring.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Goddess of the Rose by P.C.Cast

A really good story of which the romance forms a relatively small part. A 'magic kingdom with dark twists' story.

The heroine is a complete nut-case. She Has Issues. She should have started talking to her psychiatrist friend long before she began having strange dreams. I suggest that she should have sought help when she first started cutting her hands and feeding her blood to her roses. That is not normal behaviour. Even for a rose enthusiast.

This is the first romance I've read in quite a while with an undercurrent of man-hate in it. Also there are far far too many women in this story. Mothers, grandmothers, goddesses, handmaidens, actresses to name but a few. Already I feel sorry for the hero. Living in this Land of Women. Some of whom are quite vindictive.

But my main gripe is that by page 91 there has been absolutely minimal interaction between the hero and heroine. In fact. I don't even know the hero's name yet. So I'm bored already. Also at 35 y.o. the heroine is a bit old.

Let's look at Mikki's little job. She's an 'executive assistant' in a large hospital. Ok. Another name for a gofer. And what, I suppose, is the dream of an immature gofer. Why. To Be The Boss and have gofers of their own. Which is exactly what happens in Mikki's fantasy. But a 35 yo? Come on. She should have more options than that about what to do with her life. Plus. She can't handle a guy who has different reading tastes from her but is more than happy to accept love from someone who is essentially a slave with a magic dick.

Getting to the crux. This is a novel about carnal love between a woman and a beast. The hero has cloven hooves and horns. And then the author wimps out by having the pagan goddess Hecate take away his ability to consumate that love unless the heroine begs for it. I mean. The poor guy doesn't control his own fertility. If that happened to a female character do you think it would be acceptable? In a pig's eye it would. That's what I call man-hate. Also the hero is really simplistically portrayed and doesn't really act out of free-will.

But the whole novel is such a slog. tbh. I never liked roses that much anyway. I could hate them after reading this story. Poor Mikki is a slave to the stupid plants. And, as becomes obvious as the novel progresses, she's also somewhat dumb. She must have seen the movie Jason and the Argonauts. Hecate is not a benign goddess. Plus. Those dogs which accompany her should have given Mikki a big clue as to the true nature of the Realm of the Roses, which actually turns out to be a realm of nightmares rather than nicey-wicey dreams. It is not acceptable for a thinking human being to give up her life for the sake of flowering vegetation. Mikki returns to the Realm of the Roses. But I would never have done so. The place is drenched in blood. Not just Mikki's but all the previous Empousa's too. Ugh. It's a place with a history of ritualistic murder. And the chief executioner is Asterius! Eww. I couldn't really connect with Mikki. She's too earthy and, to repeat, is basically a man-hater.

I think I figured out why the heroine is 35 y.o rather than, say, 25 y.o. Because that somehow makes it more acceptable when she makes the decision to kill herself in order to save the Realm of the Roses.

What I liked about the novel is how Mikki's strange little behaviours are amplified in her fantasy world, but her other worries (job dissatisfaction, lack of a love-life) are completely solved. I thought the author handled Mikki's re-entry to the real world in a very clever, seamless manner. Mikki never spared a single thought for the pain her friends might have felt about her attack and consequent departure back to Roseland. Another characteristic of the mentally disturbed. The more I think about the plot of this novel the more it creeps me out.

But. A few years ago I might have loved this story. Mainly because nowadays I hate all this 'fantasy world' rubbish. I actually think this world is more than sufficiently interesting and complex as a setting for romances.

Cold As Ice by Anne Stuart v2.

My favorite book of the year.


Well. I knew Peter Jensen was the hero before I started reading the novel. I like a hero who has the ability to blend in with those around him and only later reveals his special attributes.

But most of all. I related to Genevieve's life experiences. I too have bought over-priced label fashions, come home and considered the waste of money they cost. I too have tired of the world of work despite the good income it brings. I too have seen women make a decision about sleeping with the boss for career advancement. I know the sham that is humanitarian foundations and charities. And I could understand Genevieve's desire for a jungle trek although she should consider the blight mass (or even elite) tourism brings to the affected lands.

So basically. I was hooked on this novel from the very beginning. I kept thinking to myself as I read it. "When am I going to start hating this heroine. When is she going to do something stupid like have sex with the hero just because he's good looking." But she never did. She slept with the hero to hopefully save her own life. (Not to bolster her self-esteem because she has no other problem-solving strategies.) And then hated it and herself for enjoying the experience. Plus she still thought of him as a SOB. And then she cries when she thinks he's dead. Fantastic.

It was the relationship between Peter and Genevieve that kept me spell bound. So I could ignore the fact that van Dorn's scheme was amateurish. That supposed skilled spy Peter couldn't tell that Renaud would turn traitor at the earliest opportunity.

Does that give away too much about myself. I don't care.

I love this book. Particularly in the light of all the horrible cack I've read by authors who have no idea of plot or character development.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Demon Moon by Meljean Brook

The cover is completely misleading.

This is an inter-racial paranormal romance. Hindi and American. So why hide it? Are the readers not allowed to make informed choices before they buy their books?

What's more. Demon Moon is full of the value system of the elitist diaspora of a different culture. While I know plenty of women who are put under pressure by various relatives to marry and/or have kids I'm really not interested in reading about it in anything other than a social tract.

I got to page 50 where the heroine started perusing the on-line marriage ads in order to keep her shitty granny happy and then I gave up. Give me potty-mouthed Abby any day. At least she knew her relations were trash.

Arundhati Roy is not for me and neither is this.

But I'd be more than happy to read the story of Gideon and Savannah, the inter-racial couple from Lara Adrian's gob-smackingly lurid paranormal, Kiss of Crimson.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Edge of Danger by Cherry Adair

I had trouble reading this book with any kind of enjoyment.

First. I do not. Have never. Bought into the love affair that many female american romance writers have with all things scottish. I haven't even watched Braveheart. And I especially abhor the scotts brogue they all love to write. I view it with the same contempt as if they put pidgen english into their writing and we all know they would never dare do that. (A scottish servant features in this story.)

Second. The hero. The drooling, salivating, personal-space invading A.H. hero. Obviously. He has psychic abilities. And he is some sort of special special agent for Uncle Sam. His mission is to retrieve information about a sooper dooper A.I. robot from the heroine. So how does he do that? Well he psychically invades her mind while she is sleeping and gives her hot urges. He voyeuristically watches her during the day while she is working, making sure to lust over every female inch of her beautiful body while doing so. And his excuse. She's his LifeMate. Someone aught to tell that slobbering, disgusting p.o.s that those are the techniques and mindset of a sadistic torturer not a potential lover. Other, more polite, reviewers have used the phrase 'mind-rape.'

But all of that pales into insignificance because eventually the plot resorts to the use of magic. (sigh) I cannot believe that an adult author is writing a novel for adults with a plot that involves magic. Magic is not a viable problem-solving strategy. That's why it appeals to children.

I almost wish I was illiterate. Then I wouldn’t have read this utter tripe. Another novel that takes too many left-curves. Eventually the reader sees the sheer rubbish of it all.

Readers should be aware that there is a high use of profanities in this novel. They are used as adjectives, adverbs, verbs and nouns. Lovely.

Finally. In the mid-80s Stephanie James (aka JAK) wrote some excellent romances for Silhouette featuring wizards and successful women. They did not involve any magic whatsoever and were all the better for it.

Friday, 17 August 2007

Crazy Love by Tara Janzen

Just how old is Dylan? That question is not answered in the book and not knowing the answer kept me from enjoying the story fully. Because I'm not really interested in 'dirty old man lusts after young girl' romances. And especially not interested in 'dirty old boss lusts after the young office girl.'The novel is about number 4 in a series but I'm not sufficiently motivated to buy all the previous ones.

Having said that. Crazy Love still has a lot going for it. Like verve, panache, chutzpah and happiness. The story is set in DC and Denver...in some kind of parallel universe where the SecDef is a 100% good guy and any behaviour by special forces is acceptable so long as they are protecting America's interests. There is a jaw-dropping passage in the book which I will quote;

"...a successful mission in Afghanistan that had netted the US a long sought-after terrorist leader. No-one was naming names. Word had yet to leak out that the terrorist leader was even missing, let alone that he was sitting in a cell in Guantanamo Bay." Hur, hur. As if.

Yet I know this story is fairly typical of a genre. Aimed entirely at women. Where the whole world's problems will be solved by US Special Forces.

Also typically. The mission, no matter how important, can go hang while the main characters sort out their various sex lives. I thought it fairly creepy how Dylan groped poor Skeeter inside the vault. He has to be drugged up to the eyeballs before he can express his emotions to her. Eww.

Here's the moral conundrum. There is no doubt that Skeeter has a big crush on Dylan. And at some basic levels she thinks he would never go for someone like her. (Whatever that means in her mind) So when Dylan comes on to her in the stolen car, does Skeeter really feel free to say no? Wouldn't she have prefered to wait until he'd got his head together again? I just felt it was a strange scenario for the main couple to get intimately acquainted for the first time.

I loved some of the imagery in the novel. The chop shop scenes. The pink butterflies and leeches. The nasty Indonesians. It was such a shame that they had to be despatched off-story. I expect Royce will live to bring more misery to SDF. Like a lot of these so-so novels the big scene happens in the middle of the story and things just fizzle out from then on. I liked Skeeter. I liked the Hawkins family. And the novel is told from the pov of just about all the gazillion characters. The sex scenes are quite anaemic but most of the killing and torture scenes were also lightweight.

The momentum was somewhat spoiled by the Travis and Gillian sub-plot. To which there was no point other than the set-up for a later novel. I did not like Gillian at all. If she was so super brainy why didn't she publish her theories without her ex-husband? The author painted such a negative picture of Gillian. Yet another stupid loser grateful for sex with a younger good-looking guy which she uses as a strategy to cope with low self-esteem.

Also. The cover is embarassing.

Apart from my minor dissatisfactions. A good enjoyable read.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Gideon by Jacquelyn Frank

So bad it stinks.

Another reviewer wrote that they were impressed by the ‘other-world building’ in this book. Other world! Forget it. This is basically the story of the petty squabbles and pregnancy worries of a group of friends, husbands and wives. I finally gave up believing in the ‘other world’ when on page 102, Noah, who is supposed to be the King of the Demons, uses the word ‘cockamamy’. I mean. How is that ‘other world?’

The only unique thing about this novel is that it is the first paranormal I have read to feature a pregnancy out of wedlock. And the lack of physical and mental privacy reminded me of the harshest communist indoctrination policies rather than the paranormal. Maybe that's what the other reviewer meant by 'other world.'

I know I will spend the rest of the novel trying to decide which TV Soap the story tries to emulate. Certainly nothing with class, so that cuts out Melrose Place and Dallas. (Yup, I stopped watching soaps when I left my teens)

Fundamentally. There is a complete disconnection between the narrative story and the dialogue spoken by the characters. Imagine Twelfth Night with a Brooklyn accent. That about sums up the novel.

Something else I don't like about this story is that one of the characters, a pregnant female, gets her stomach kicked in, purely for entertainment purposes of course. Being a paranormal novel, there are thankfully no bad consequences and the character makes a complete recovery. However I personally object to novels that depict cruelty to animals or children. In fact I like to be warned when these acts feature in a novel...so that I can avoid buying them. Also. What is the point of the story spending pages and pages describing all those 'special demon powers' if they cannot ensure the safety of their vulnerable womenfolk? Maybe they should use a good ol' human Smith n Wesson.


That's why I write spoilers...with glee.

That is just about the only incident of note that happens in this story. The rest is mainly endless nit-picking, belly-button examining conversations between characters. Which is, I suppose, what passes for 'character development' with some authors.

btw. In this story the heroine calls the hero 'a tosser' as a term of endearment!!!!! (And he says nothing...poor emasculated sap.)

Beam me up Scotty.