Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Crazy Wild by Tara Janzen

...the story of the romance between Creed n Cody. I chose this as my 2nd novel in the Crazy series because, to be frank, I quite wanted to read an english romance with an hispanic hero. But no. Creed Rivera turns out to be a blond surfer type. Oh well.

And Cody is unfortunately a deeply flawed heroine. I didn't really believe in the HEA. Gratitude is at best what Cody feels towards Creed. imo. And that's with me being kind to her.

What I did enjoy in this story is the beginnings of the romance between Skeeter and Dylan. Which was the subject of the 1st Crazy book I read, Crazy Love. My question was answered. Dylan is about 32 yo. And he is very much aware of the age-gap between him and Skeet. Nevertheless. In this story he teases himself with the idea of marrying her. But then decides to stay well out of her life. There's a fantastically tender moment between Dylan and Skeeter in the Humvee when he kisses her scar after she rescues herself from the revolting putative letch Reinhold.

The weird thing is. That scene between Skeet and Reinhold is almost a mirror image of the situation Cody faced in Karlovy Vary. But Skeeter doesn’t take the easy way out. Like Cody. Skeeter just pretends to co-operate and then totally kicks ass. Unlike Cody. Ok. Cody probably did what she did because she was scared and felt like she had to bargain for her life. And well done to the author for bringing in a situation that isn’t rape, that looks like free-will but isn’t. Trouble is. I couldn’t help but feel that Cody again took the easy way out when she conveniently fell for Creed. She was quite right too. Cody took one look at Creed and realised he had the ability to solve all her problems for her if she just treated him nice. A hard-headed business decision. But not a romance on her part at all. It just confirms my suspicions. Some people always take the easy way out. Even if they have to compromise their self-respect. Others. Like Skeeter. Wouldn’t consider such an option in a million years. I didn’t dislike Cody. Or her story. I just didn’t empathise with her either. Just another hard-body on the make. imo. That’s probably why the author stuck her in the harsh regime of Leavenworth military jail for a while too.

I loved the ‘days of the week underwear’ thread in the story. And the fact that the women were obviously young and pretty. If it weren’t for the repeated detailing of J.T’s horrendous death the book would have been irredeemably lightweight. Not least because. With the best will in the world, I just don't buy Denver, Colorado as the tango magnet portrayed in the book.

I suppose I ought to go next for the novel where Tony Royce turns bad. But I think I’ll go probably get the Christian Hawkins story next. But not too soon. I didn’t much go for Red Dog either. The heroines seem a bit wet really. Apart from Skeeter of course.

I like so much about Skeeter in this novel. Her spooks when she goes into the police station. Completely understandable bearing in mind her previous career as a wall-banger. Her pretend obedience to Dylan when he’s in ‘boss’ mode. But the best scene is when the slimey Reinhold runs his fingers through her hair and she thinks ‘double wash, double rinse.’ I thought that was A+ attitude! What didn't work with Skeet was her clairvoyance. Which I notice. Was almost completely dropped for her own story, Crazy Love.

Crazy Wild is quite a big book. I read it in a day and a half between 2 full work days. Because I enjoyed it a lot. Unlike the p.o.s that was Harmony’s Way. Which took over a week to slog through. Even Cody isn’t as much of a ‘free-will’ serial victim as the awful Harmony. Whose choice of the short-tempered oaf Lance as her ‘mate’ is entirely in keeping with her loser life-style. But stop. I don’t want to get started on her again.

And lastly. Come ON November!

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Harmony's Way by Lora Leigh v2

Way way TSTL.

I’ve totally changed my mind about this book. The heroine, Harmony, has got to be ONE OF THE MOST STUPID, HYSTERICAL, MORONIC, slappers ever to exist on this earth. I so wanted her to die in the final shoot-out The whole plot is nonsensical, nazi-loving, cultist rubbish. It’s not even entertaining. None of it makes the slightest sense whatsoever.

I hardly know where to start.

The plot was just about Ok until about the middle of the book. Ok, because the early sex scenes hooked me in, but then terminally boring ‘Breed’ hicksville politics take over.

But then in the second half of the novel…. Well. The first thing that turned me against Harmony is when she doesn’t know she’s pregnant. BUT HER SHIRT-TAIL BROTHER WHO SHE HARDLY SEES DOES KNOW SHE IS!! I can accept that her lover Lance, the nominal hero of this story, does know of her condition. After all. He heard it on the wind. (Unfortunately the same wind wrongly also tells Lance that he will die in the final shoot-out.)

I absolutely do not like hysterical screaming heroines. In the final shoot-out Harmony, aka Death (ha ha ha more like ‘Dope’ or Drudge,) first has an hysterical argument with lover-boy Lance about tactics, and then has more screaming hysterics with bro-Jonas and all his gang who show up to save her and Lance. This is absolutely NOT a woman who has the slightest hope of keeping a cool head in a stressful situation.

And then there’s the anal sex scene. This stupid CUNT allows her lover to use anal sex as a means of imposing a dominance in her relationship with him. Ok, the same thing happened in Megans Mark. But Megan had her head fairly together and was fairly equal with her lover, Braden in all other ways. Harmony on the other hand IS TOTALLY SCREWED UP generally. What’s more. She is a Breed. (feline) A feline submits only to dominant feline males. A feline beats the shit out of any other breed that tries to dominate her. Particularly a human. Harmony should have been the dominant one in the relationship if any of this Breed shit made any kind of sense. About 20 years ago main stream romance writers stopped writing in heroes who used vaginal sex as a means of imposing obedience on the heroine. But this author comes from Elloras Cave publishing so maybe this trait is nowadays regarded as acceptable ‘minority taste’ instead of fucking REACTIONARY PATRIARCHAL shit. btw some people might regard it as a characteristic of an abusive relationship just like the one between Tommy Mason and his wife.
Whats WORSE. Is that, despite Harmony being such a passive heroine, she would actually (going by how she behaves generally) make an excellent hero in a DYKE romance. Then she could scream " Take That You Crazy Diseased Mother-Fuckers!" to her heart's content without compromising her heroine status. Up til that point I thought I was still reading a coherent novel. But once Harmony uttered those words I realised that we had crossed over into Russ Meyer territory. (Not that I ever watched one of his movies)

So tell me. Who was doing all the shooting at Harmony and Lance in the final scene? Like I cared. From what I’ve read in the story, there is no reason the first Leo is so important that necessitates so many people going to so much trouble to retrieve the files Harmony stole. So what Madame LaRue tried to kill Jonas. Does anyone care…outside Jonas and Harmony. It is all completely cultist and hicksville. Small-town inconsequentialities whipped up into cod-importance by closed minds, gossip and inflated egos. Geez.

I would like to say that being an experienced reader I totally recognise plot devices aimed at building readership and getting $$$$ based on books that have been best-sellers. Quite a few of them are used in this novel. And it’s still a tons better read than Lover Unbound. Because, at least the author doesn’t spend pages and pages trying to UNDO plot silliness from previous novels. (Remember how in Dallas, Bobby’s death turned out to be Pammy’s dream? The beginning of the end of the series more like.)

No way am I reading the 4th in the series. (Unless Dawn turns out to be Jonas's mate and she gives him a good whipping plus a session with a strap-on.) I am SO over the Breeds. Ugh. A question I would ask is. Why are all the female Breeds such victims? Ok, they were routinely beaten and rapped in the labs. But so were the guys, according to the baddie Senator in Megans Mark. And none of the stories is about a Breed male not rising above being brutalised. Why am I even bothering to ask? Trying to rationalise sexist clap-trap.

tbh. I've never been impressed by lions. They adapt too well to zoos and safari parks. Even in their native lands no-one is afraid of them because they are too easy to kill with a weapon. And they breed like rabbits in captivity. That's why the 'infertile breeds' strand of the series makes no sense to me. Now wolves, of course, still have the power to make a rancher apoplectic with fear and anger. In America and in Europe. So maybe I should switch to reading the wolf-breed series instead. I'll think about it.

Finally. (Again) I apologise for showing my ignorance and over-familiarity with certain sexual matters. Furthermore I promise not to use curse words in my reviews from now on. This book has cured me of that habit too. Only CAPS allowed in the future.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Harmony's Way by Lora Leigh

What a disappointment this novel was.

I was expecting a hot hot romance between the hero and heroine. Ok, the novel started off like that. But before half-way through it changed into another one of those Peyton Place type books. With the author introducing endless new characters, with all their back stories and thoughts. We even get to know that one of the Breed enforcers has the hots for a sub-hero's mother. Wow! It's a wonder we don't get to meet the Breed pool-man and know all about his sex-life too. I am not one of those readers who longs to live in or learn all about a particular community where everyone knows everyone else's business. And that is just the kind of story that Harmony's Way turns out to be.

As for the smut. There's quite a lot early on in the book. Then it disappears almost completely.

I have to say this about the heroine. Basically. Harmony's a doormat. Big-time.

This is a heroine who lets her shirt-tail brother tell her she's having a baby. Because Harmony did not know!!! Her life is controlled by men. The brother Jonas who tells her where to work. The rescuer, Dane who always gets her out of trouble. And the short-tempered hero, Lance who gives her a stiff rogering to ease the pain of the 'mating.' Yeugh!!

Not once does Harmony tell them all to get lost. The author made a big mistake with this heroine. It's one thing being a killer. It's quite another thing being a killer of activists who seek nothing more than to help those less fortunate than themselves. Which is what Harmony is. On so many levels she turns out to be a wet victim who can't get out of a repeat cycle of letting loud, gruff guys decide her life for her. Awful.

I also re-read Crazy Love by Tara Janzen at the same time. The heroine in that book, Skeeter, while still not perfect is totally tons more assertive and less plaintive than the stupid Harmony.

Poor Harmony. What she really needs is a decent education. That might help her decide independently of where to go with her life. GO TO COLLEGE GIRL! Get some qualifications. Do some minoring in women's rights or feminist history. I beg you.

Also I don't like the whole 'Breed' mentality. They live in the US. FOLLOW US law. There's no need to be having 'Breed Law.' What on earth is that all about?

My sympathies were all with Dane, the first Leo's son. He wants to live his life without being injected and examined by the Breed doctors. Good on him. He wants some privacy. Which is more than Harmony gets as the men in her life discuss her fertility like she didn't exist. And all she can do is say 'I'll run away where no-one can find me.' Bwahh! Is she some refugee eejut ninny from a regency romance?

There's something deeply flawed about Jonas's mentality too. He reckons that if the world finds out about the Breed mating heat, people will be appalled. Most people in the Western Free World tolerate so much. Believe me. 'Breed mating heat' doesn't rank very high on anyone's intolerance list. So, as a reader, I could never buy into the reasons for him chasing after Harmony so intensely.

I just hope Tanner's Scheme isn't as hicksville as this turned out to be. Humph!

Ok. Another comment on the ‘world-building.’ The heroine wears black. There are black-clad enforcers in the Breed community. The endless emphasis on pure-humaness. I just don’t get how the Breeds seem to be modelling themselves on the european goosesteppers. Is that balls or ignorance on someone’s part?

And then there’s the fact that in the previous novel, Megans Mark, it was said that Breeds ‘were not born but created in labs.’ But in this book, someone says that genetically altered sperm was placed into specially chosen women. Is that not a description of IVF? As far as I know no-one differentiates between IVF people or forceps people or caesarean people or twins. All of which are ‘born’? There is some crazy mindset on display here. And happily it is not mine.

I’ve never read a series as potentially offensive as this. I feel I’ve been suckered into something that I don’t really understand. Oh well…

I will say this though. There are some excellent alpha names in this story. Merc, Rule...Jonas. You just know that each of these guys will one day get their own book. Unfortunately the hero's name is Lance. Which is not alpha at all. That is a name for a guy who is very good at riding a bi-cyle. Presumably that explains why the hero, er Lance, is basically a bit-part player in his own romance novel. Another mistake.

Definitely finished now.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Not very soon...

I have ordered Tanner's Scheme, the controversial 3rd in series from Lora Leigh's Breeds series by Berkley. Unfortunately it's gonna take 6 to 8 weeks to arrive. Goodness knows why. Just hope I don't have the feds knocking at my door as well. (But that's another story)

So I'm going to do a pre-review based on other reviewers reviews! tee hee.

The heroine is called Scheme!!! On the other hand I've read romances where the heroine is called Autumn, Winter, Summer.... Mind you. I've yet to read one where the girl-heroine is called Davide.

Well. Scheme has had 5 men during the last 10 years and the hero Tanner, has apparently watched her with most of them. Because she's done menage and sex on public camera. Ok. Not your standard romance heroine. I agree with the some of the reviewers on one point. 5 men over 10 years is not a lot for the average single woman. But menage! Camera! That puts the heroine in a class with very few others. But please please don't have the heroine apologising for it. Or even worse, don't have her saying 'Daddy made me do it.' Because that would make her a doormat. Surely. A doormat to her Daddy, her current partner and all the other former partners who 'did her wrong.' We shall see.

The heroine, Scheme is apparently dedicated to helping the Breeds in the Labs. Apparently her Daddy is evil scientist in chief. I think to myself. What would I do. Would I prostitute myself for a cause. The answer is of course, No. I'd do a fun-run or sign a petition. Seriously.

Whatever. I'm sure the book when I read it will be completely indecent. But hopefully true love will win. Or Scheme responds well to Tanner's Mating scent. Yuk!

I've ordered Soul Deep too. About the hated Coyote Breeds. Where the hero is a native american too. Then I'll give this author a rest.

Looking forward to an old Ruth Wind novel too. In the Midnight Rain. And The River Knows by Amanda Quick. Disappointment a certainty in that one. But never mind. So I'll be building up a tbr pile for the Christmas holidays.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Megan's Mark by Lora Leigh

This book caught me completely by surprise.

I knew nothing about the author and thought I was reading just another standard issue paranormal.

Until about half-way through when the true nature of the story was revealed. Basically it’s smut. Not pink or purple either. A solid blue. Fine.

What I don’t get at all is the cultural arena in which it is set. Something like native american via the mengele labs in the third reich death camps with a bit if IVF-ism thrown into the mix. I’m still shaking my head in mystification.

However since I absolutely loved The Odessa File which I read years ago and which unfortunately spawned absolutely no clones, I’ll stick with the series for a little while.

Btw. For those who don’t know. All feral cats have barbs.

This paranormal romance is so obviously based on the administrative practises (and malpractises) of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. So why on earth keep using the ‘Breed’ word throughout the novel? This word has surely got to be as highly emotive to Native Americans as the n-word is to African Americans. During the first half of the story there are many things the human heroine says to the hero that could be interpreted as offensive casual racism and very hurtful.

The world building itself isn’t particularly robust. I had to read and re-read the first couple of chapters to get any idea of what was going on. I still don’t know if The Council is a government organisation or just a bunch of renegade scientists. I didn’t like the fact that some of the non-humans (Coyotes) were obviously being harshly ‘questioned’ by the good guys. If they had experienced the same up-bringing as the hero then they deserved better. Give them their freedom far away from whips and pain and they would soon co-operate.

Also the ‘shields’ business didn’t make sense. Because of a lack of them, the empathic heroine, Megan has to live away from people so that she isn’t overwhelmed by their emotions. Then the hero, Braden gives her his shields to use. How come he has shields if he is not an empath? And suddenly in the canyon towards the end of the book Megan is lowering her own shields in order to find out who murdered Mark and Aimee. So she does have shields after all! All very confusing. And then astoundingly. In the final shoot-out scene the heroine doesn't recognise the thoughts or even the looks of her own uncle. That is just crazy nonsense.

Sanctuary sounds like a complete nightmare. And the way both the hero and heroine submit to the doctor's tests is just plain stupid.

The hero and all his kind are not born but created in labs from a mixture of human and animal DNA. They are treated abominably by the people who created them; tortured mentally and physically for years on end. Yet the hero is not twisted or bitter. (Though he is understandably a little vengeful) He is not afraid to love and is generally highly respectful to the heroine.

He gives one of the best ‘please love me’ speeches I have ever read in a paranormal to the heroine;

“Feel it, Megan. Feel what I know. My soul would die without yours to fill it. Without you to hold me close in the darkness of the night; without your laughter to bring the light into the darkness that has filled every day of my life for as long as I have drawn breath. For the first time in my life I am alive. I live because of you and the thought of going back to the desolation of being alone scares me to death.”

And it is to the heroine’s credit that she does actually hold out for a bit longer.

Also increasingly as the novel progressed, I began to feel the tragedy of the dead couple, Mark and Aimee. That did surprise me. Although the mystery of why they sought out the heroine at great risk to their own lives was not satisfactorily explained.

Rude, rude, rude.

Both the hero and heroine talk and think dirty with a capital D for large parts of the novel. Until eventually they consummate their emotions…repeatedly. The c-word is hardly used. What is used over and over again is the p-word, the cl-word and the f-word. And the words juices, creamed and suck. All to excellent erotic effects. Even the passage where the hero offers the heroine a contraceptive pill I considered very erotic. I feel obliged to add that the hero really does have something special in his pants. The anal scene is very well done although was the spanking really necessary?

Just for once I was quite grateful when the author obviously began laying the groundwork for the other novels in the series. It made for a welcome break in all the intense emotions.

But none of the good things about this novel can disguise the fact that at the end of the day it is utter sheer bad taste trash that often made me cringe. (Think 'Springtime for Hitler' in The Producers.)

On the other hand I would say its 'an unmissable reading experience' if you're a reader who's traveled along the series romance path. You might be shocked though.

At the end of reading this I have decided the following: I'm definitely never again going to bother with the anaemic miserable rubbish of the BDB. Megan and Braden are never anything but happy when they are banging away. Bless them both.

p.s. I need to add that this is a 'Mating' novel. And all other parts of the plot are eventually jettisoned in order to explain and illustrate this aspect of the story. I did a bit of research on the author. Although this is Book 1 in a series by her present publisher, in fact there are 6 previous novels in the series with a different publisher and they are all to do with breeding and mating. I suppose I'll be reading most of them.

The ending to the novel is somewhat weak. Not that the main couple don't have a HEA but that the author makes it so obvious they are just another insignificant pair in her pantheon of characters. As a reader I appreciate an author's skill in making her hero and heroine seem special up to the very last page or so.

And who was the female Breed traitor? The doctor from Sanctuary? Or Aimee? (Am I hooked or what?)

Boy! This review never ends.

I repeat though. This novel is quite different from all the others in my blog. Other reviewers call it 'Hot' but it's basically straight up heterosexual monogamous smut. Set in a highly dubious moral and cultural arena. You have been warned!

I almost admire the author. Takes guts to write stuff like this. And so much of it too.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Lover Unbound by J R Ward

For large parts this novel is just as boring and tedious as other reviewers say it is. For some reason though, I ended up with wet eyes. The pain of Vishous is what did it. His emotional pain when Jane gets killed.

What I didn’t like about the story:

The pervert thread. And the man-love thing between V and Butch. None of it rang true. Boringly lengthy efforts were made in this novel to undo everthing introduced about the aforementioned topics in previous novels.

The endless povs from every major and minor character newly introduced in the book. Like I cared anything about them.

The whole primale thing. You just know Phury is not going to maintain that multiple wives aspect so why have it.

I personally hate arranged marriage romances and harem romances. It’s sexual slavery pure and simple. Particularly those where the protagonists are not happy about the arrangement. It's all about 'the family' owning the female's or male's body. Gross. How convenient that Phury offers to take V's place. Unfortunately no-one offered Cormia an out. But neither V nor Cormia exercised any of the 'BS Free-Will' so derided in the novel. But really. That's purely a strategy to explain why sentient beings allow others to control their lives. Is that not totally culturally backward? Did Harriet Tubman, MLK, Ronnie R just lay down and let others control their destinies? No they fought (peaceably) for their right to excercise FREE-WILL..and for others to do the same. How dare some dime-store novelist come along and belittle the result of their efforts.

The way V mind-controls Jane is nasty. Maybe he’d like to blame Bloodletter and SV for that too. I loathed all this ‘blame the parents’ stuff as well.

I also didn’t like the relentless portrayal of men being wholly dependent on alcohol and drugs as a problem-solving strategy.

I can’t stand the JM character. In novel after novel he whines and victimises himself. No matter who he turns into, he will always be a pain in the butt as far as I’m concerned. But it wasn’t always the case. JM was first introduced as a vulnerable young man who had reached out to Mary. Who was skilled in dealing with that type of problem. And then Wellsie nutured his nutritional needs. But these women have disappeared from the books and what we get is a relentless portrayal of females as semi-hookers or potential ‘mates.’ With JM growing a sort of shadow BDB around himself. With exactly the same attitude to women as Wrath n Co. Horrible.

I had no trouble with the Scribe Virgin being a fallible deity. Because I’ve read Larousse’s Mythology and know that all the pantheons of gods are liable to behave just like humans. But the Omega should have featured more as a cause for her failings. I had no trouble coping with Jane’s death either because I just knew she wasn’t going to stay dead.

The romance between V and Jane wasn’t that great until she agreed to give up her career, social status, income to become a do-gooder at The Safe Place.

I basically skim-read most of this book. Because the BDB are no longer romances but have become something like Gone With The Wind or Peyton Place. All very successful I’m sure but not what I like reading.

You know. The way these novels are moving. I wouldn't be surprised if in Book 6, or thereabouts, Bella goes to bed with Phury because she feels sorry for him. Or such like.

Still. Serves me right for getting involved in hype.

If I buy another in this series (and its a big if), it will be from amazon marketplace at a maximum price of $2.

Lover Unbound. Basically bilge.

I once listened to a radio program about the results of an official public inquiry into years of abuse at a children's home. One of the interesting facts uncovered by this inquiry is that there were children in this terrible situation who had some idea of what was going on and were able to prevent themselves from being abused. Through strength of will mainly but also other strategies. (Not that they were any less messed up unfortunately) I would be much more interested in hearing about that kind of situation instead of the endless recycled stories that seem to make 'being abused' some kind of aspirational goal. That's my 2 cents worth. No offense intended. But not everyone becomes a victim when faced with a given set of circumstances. And I'd like to read more about those that don't.