I really should not read Hollywood novels. I'm not like some industry ~insider~ or anything, but I feel like you don't have to be to understand that sI really should not read Hollywood novels. I'm not like some industry ~insider~ or anything, but I feel like you don't have to be to understand that so many details in this book are wrong.
*A callback audition for a major network TV show would not be held in an auditorium. It is not the school play. *Said network show would not get picked up for 13 episodes before the pilot is even filmed. *I'm not sure how an accident on Highland would cause everyone to "bail onto Fairfax" when those streets are like two miles apart. *All of the Valley is not Burbank. I'm really not sure how you would stand on Mulholland Drive "looking out at the lights of Burbank." *As far as I know, there's no room at San Diego ComicCon called "the Sayers Room," and people certainly aren't allowed to stand up against the back wall for panels when the rooms are full. Also, audience members can't stand up in their seats to ask questions!
All of these issues appeared relatively close to the beginning of this novel, but I kept reading. I kept reading because, in spite of all these errors, the characters' emotional realities and the way their relationship developed rang really true to me. Those details, Turner seemed to get right: what it would be like to suddenly have your first acting success, to get to know your castmates, to have to deal with a deeply closeted boyfriend with whom you nevertheless felt a profound connection. Vince's character voice felt authentic, even if his environs often didn't.
But those mistakes kept yanking me out. And they got worse and worse as the story progressed. I didn't believe the way Turner had her imaginary network deal with promotion or controversy, I didn't believe her depiction of how talk shows work, and I didn't buy the supposed turn-around time between when episodes are filmed and when they air (this was significant to the plot). Things that I might have otherwise let slide became glaring, because unfortunately, Turner had lost her credibility with me through all these mistakes. She even misspells Emmys. ("Hold my purse for a sec, my Emmy's really heavy" = okay; "OMG, we're going to the Emmy's!" = NOPE.) I started skimming the last third of the book because, despite caring about Vince and Alex, I had lost faith in their world.
I'm sad to see that Turner hasn't published another book (this one is, I believe, from 2011) because there's a lot of promise in this: she's a good writer. But she badly, badly needed a good editor....more
Pretty gosh darn delightful. Jason, the socially inept, work-obsessed scientist who doesn't think he has any room in his life for love, is exactly thePretty gosh darn delightful. Jason, the socially inept, work-obsessed scientist who doesn't think he has any room in his life for love, is exactly the kind of character I adore, and Easton maintains his POV with charm and ease. I was a little squicked by how childlike Milo was, but there's something so innocent and sweet about these books that stops them from devolving into creepytown. The virus plot was also genuinely suspenseful (and with such potentially scary consequences!) and the world building continues to be excellent. I'm hooked and will totally be there for any future books in this series....more
Assholes fake date. I love fake dating, and I actually enjoyed how douchey these guys were -- it can be quite fun to see jerks overcome by emotions thAssholes fake date. I love fake dating, and I actually enjoyed how douchey these guys were -- it can be quite fun to see jerks overcome by emotions they don't want -- but this dragged, relying far too heavily on internal conflict (poor communication) rather than the seemingly copious opportunities for external conflict (homophobic dad, the media).
This was also one of those claustrophobic books with like four characters in it. If your series is called Bad in Baltimore, maybe you should provide a sense of the city and its people? Instead it felt like 90% of the book was Nate and Kellan arguing in their apartment....more
Well-written, but increasingly problematic as it goes along. The main issue is: if you make Cinderella a dude, all the female characters you're left wWell-written, but increasingly problematic as it goes along. The main issue is: if you make Cinderella a dude, all the female characters you're left with are extremely unpleasant. No one gets their eyes pecked out by birds in this, but it's still not pretty. Also the ending is extremely rushed and suddenly (even more) unrealistic.
I really liked the fairytale quality of the first third, though....more
I enjoyed this a lot more than How to Howl at the Moon. I saw some other reviewers complain that it's weighHahaha guess who read another one of these?
I enjoyed this a lot more than How to Howl at the Moon. I saw some other reviewers complain that it's weighted much more toward plot than sexy stuff -- really, like 90/10 -- but that's exactly what I enjoyed about it. The wacky world of Mad Creek starts to feel like a real place in this book; a totally decent CW or MTV show could be set there. (It makes much more sense as a community than Beacon Hills tbh.)
Also, Roman is just a deeply endearing character. And this book is funny! And love interest Matt reacted a lot more normally to the whole "my boyfriend's a dog sometimes" revelation. Phew.
However, dear lord: Berkeley, the university in Northern California, is spelled B-E-R-K-E-L-E-Y. Nothing quite makes me feel like I'm reading a bad fanfic than seeing it spelled "Berkley."
This book is better than a bad fanfic. This book is like a good fanfic! (Seriously: a high compliment.) Get a better beta....more
True crackfic in book form. (In fact, I'm sure Teen Wolf fandom has gone there -- there's got to be a fic where Derek pretends to be Stiles' dog, righTrue crackfic in book form. (In fact, I'm sure Teen Wolf fandom has gone there -- there's got to be a fic where Derek pretends to be Stiles' dog, right?)
I really enjoyed how whackadoodle this was. The early chapters where Sheriff Lance is pretending to be Tim's dog Chance were hilariously awkward, sweet, and occasionally even psychologically interesting. (Uptight Lance enjoyed letting go and letting Tim take care of him!) Unfortunately, I had the exact opposite problem with this book than I had with Crossroads, the last romance I read: here, the plot was super engaging and fun, but the sex was awful. Borderline cringe-worthy. It did not help that when Tim finally finds out that his boyfriend and his dog are the same being, he's like, eh. No biggie. And then they immediately have more poorly described sexytimes.
Er. I am all for the cracky plot, really...but I needed more of a pause there. Considerably more....more
This is a story about MEN. Manly men who CUSS and drink BEER and fix MOTORCYCLES! Manly manly manly MEN!
This poor author tried so hard to butch up herThis is a story about MEN. Manly men who CUSS and drink BEER and fix MOTORCYCLES! Manly manly manly MEN!
This poor author tried so hard to butch up her heroes: STRAIGHT MEN who have never LUSTED after ANOTHER M-- oh wait! Alas, it was deeply unconvincing. Partly this was because the dialogue was terrible: no human beings have ever spoken like this, ever. It also didn't help that the book was just so much tell and so little show, meaning that we never saw the supposed connection building between these guys. The pacing was not good, and there were way too many scenes of one of the guys thinking very pedestrian thoughts that seemed almost like to-do lists: I have to shower and then go to work and then have suppressed lust for my male neighbor and then call mom! Henry James it ain't.
So why even two stars? The sex was hot. Until the sudden obsession with just how gosh-darn big one of the guys' cock was, it was even very hot.
Also, this was nowhere near as bad as the last two m/m romances I read. My, how swiftly my standards have fallen!...more
This is a friends-to-lovers/marriage of convenience story -- with bonus kidfic! -- which should be a blast, but instead the toneGod, this was boring.
This is a friends-to-lovers/marriage of convenience story -- with bonus kidfic! -- which should be a blast, but instead the tone was what could best be described as mopey. With something tropetastic like this, I usually find that the author's best bet is to embrace the silliness and have fun with it; there was nothing fun about Devoted at all. The reasoning behind everything was half-assed, the endless drippy angst was 99% caused by no one talking to each other, the sex seemed perfunctory, and friends-to-lovers doesn't work if the characters never feel like friends in the first place.
But most of all this just. wasn't. fun. So what's the damn point?...more
This was utterly bizarre. I was eager for the "law enforcement partners who are secretly in love with each other" plot, but at best this read like a sThis was utterly bizarre. I was eager for the "law enforcement partners who are secretly in love with each other" plot, but at best this read like a super OOC Due South fic. (It's set in Chicago; one of the main characters even has a giant wolf-dog!) Speaking of fanfic, this also reminded me of a terrible WIP, by which I mean it felt like it had been written serially, with little planning connecting the chapters. Miro and Ian, our U.S. Marshal protagonists, spend every other chapter getting shot at by some maniac; these "action" scenes would in no way relate back to their burgeoning relationship or do anything for character development. When the characters finally came together (pun intended?) it was without any real buildup and with disappointingly little heat.
This book also reminded me of a certain type of bad fanfic in that everyone was gay. The doctor who treats Miro's bullet wounds is gay. The small-town sheriff from a case is gay. A serial killer Miro put in jail is gay-for-him. (A plot point that is never returned to.) The witnesses Miro and Ian are protecting from the mob are gay. (Miro gives them sex advice -- and his personal supply of lube: ew!) Even Miro and Ian's boss is gay and Miro is shocked! shocked! Me? I was bored, bored. Everyone is super cool with Miro and Ian screwing each other, even though they're partners and fraternization is...all right as long as you bring enough lube for everyone, I guess?
There was no tension, the kink (mild BDSM) was confusingly written and ill-explored, and I couldn't recognize whatever bizarro world this was set in. Due South's magical realism Chicago made far more sense....more
I'm at a weird place with this romance series where I care far less about the relationship than I do the plot.
Will David and Isaac stay together? Don'I'm at a weird place with this romance series where I care far less about the relationship than I do the plot.
Will David and Isaac stay together? Don't care. Will they reconcile with their families and find emotional stability? I must read more!
This is the middle book in the trilogy and kind of a downer -- there's the expected spiral into bad communication and *gasp* drinking your feelings. I'm hoping the third and final volume will be more dynamic....more
Lots and lots of sexy repression! Andrews obviously did her research; the Amish setting feels authentic. Too bad one half of this pairing feels like aLots and lots of sexy repression! Andrews obviously did her research; the Amish setting feels authentic. Too bad one half of this pairing feels like a bit of a cypher -- it might have helped if, as in Beyond the Sea, the POV had alternated between both guys. The ending is also rushed and seemed too easy. Nevertheless, I will definitely be checking out the sequel....more
An excellent slow-build romance, balancing the ridiculous (boy band member and hot older pilot stranded on a desert island!) aWell, this hit the spot!
An excellent slow-build romance, balancing the ridiculous (boy band member and hot older pilot stranded on a desert island!) and the serious (survival! past trauma!) smoothly and enjoyably. Fanfic-quality smut (honestly: this is the highest compliment I could give) with lots of hot dirty talk. The ending was slightly cheesy, but the book was so much fun I read it in practically one sitting. I will definitely be trying Andrews' other work.
I've seen some people complain about the "Gay For You" trope, which I completely understand -- it can be super problematic and squicky. Fortunately, I think this book is much more in the realm of I Didn't Know I Was Bi! Which is a TV show I would absolutely watch....more
I read this on my phone over a ridiculously long period, pretty much any time I had to wait in line anywhere or my friends were in the bathroom. So itI read this on my phone over a ridiculously long period, pretty much any time I had to wait in line anywhere or my friends were in the bathroom. So it's to the book's credit that I never lost track of the story or the characters. This is a tropey, feel-good gay romance, featuring first times, almost fake dating, and a twist on the Canadian shack. (American RV?) It was a little sappy for my tastes, but I liked that Noah and Adrian had real issues to work through -- and I especially liked how they were handled on Noah-the-closeted-repressed-professor's side. Additionally, Pixel is an extremely cute name for a small dog.
But I must admit that I almost put the book down forever when, in like chapter two, a supposed Angeleno describes Santa Monica as "right outside Los Angeles." NO....more
I care about the English Royal Family not one jot -- but I still devoured Heather Cocks' and Jessica Morgan's "The Royal We" like I was starving and iI care about the English Royal Family not one jot -- but I still devoured Heather Cocks' and Jessica Morgan's "The Royal We" like I was starving and it was a perfect plate of fish and chips. (I actually care about fish and chips a great deal.) Cocks and Morgan are the creators of the perennially hilarious Go Fug Yourself blog, where aside from keeping me fashionable and entertained for something like 10 years, they have also taught me what little I do know about the Royal Family -- mostly that they have a penchant for large, silly hats. I gleaned my rudimentary knowledge of the Prince William/Kate Middleton romance and wedding through the GFY site -- a story which, in The Royal We, Cocks and Morgan reinvent as a pitch-perfect romantic comedy. While studying abroad at Oxford, American Rebecca "Bex" Porter meets her housemate, Nick -- without immediately realizing he's more commonly known as Nicholas, Prince of Wales. Despite the fairy tale setup, the narrative is surprisingly grounded, thanks in large part to Bex herself, who's one of the best romcom heroines I've encountered in a long time: she's adorable, but her flaws aren't; she's a true, realistic everywoman, yet still uniquely herself. I fell in love with Nick through her eyes, then raced through the book, desperate to see if they'd get their happy ending. The journey is wonderfully complicated, and totally dishy, but never trashy, fun. This is the perfect comfort read -- ideal for bed, beach, or plane....more
ACT I Trin: Don't you just love library book sales? So many wonderful works of literature! I hope I can find a copy of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall! (Approximately four seconds pass.) Trin: Hahaha, check out all these romance novels. Can you BELIEVE these? Look, this one's called My Big Fake Green-Card Wedding! Isn't that amazing? Lily: LOL. Trin: Haha, omg, listen to the first line of the cover blurb! "She might be the last twenty-nine-year-old virgin in Greece, but Melina Kostos did not need her overprotective father and brothers handpicking her husband!" This is hilarious! Lily: LOL. Trin: It's only 50 cents! I totally need to buy this, right? Buy it and read it for the LOLs? Lily: LOL. Totally. (Trin buys the book)
ACT II (Greece! A country the author has absolutely been to and can write about with accuracy!) Melina: I want to be in America! Okay by me in America! Everything free in America! Adam: Childcare isn't free, strange woman I just met in an elevator. Melina: You are American? I am a Greek woman, from Greece. Adam: I am an international businessman on an international business trip! Melina: *swoons* Adam: Pity I have to go home to take care of my daughter so my bitch of an ex-wife can go on her honeymoon. How can she be so outrageously demanding? I'll have to get a nanny! Melina: You don't need a nanny! You need a wife! Adam: LOL. You offering? Melina: If you help me get a green card, I will cook for you, clean for you, provide free childcare, and completely ensure that this book won't be challenging any gender roles. Adam: Sounds like a pretty good offer, sweetheart. Melina: Wait! No touchies. And you gotta meet my dad. Er, I mean. You must meet my father. I will now repeat this statement in Greek.
Melina's Father: So tell me, why do you want to marry my Greek daughter?*** Adam: Whoa, she's GREEK? I, like, totally didn't get that. It went straight over my head. Melina: Straight over your...head? What means this phrase? Adam: Will you let me marry your Greek daughter if I pretend I've gotten her knocked up? Melina's Father: It is a pity I cannot KILL the father of my future grandchildren!
(America) Melina: Oh no! I must continue to resist my husband! And yet...if only I could have the courage to explore the curves at his lithe waist, to run my fingers through the golden-brown curls on his very masculine chest, or to inhale his masculine scent of shaving lotion and soap?*** For I am a red-blooded Greek woman, and he is just so very, very...masculine. Adam: Oh no! I want my Greek wife, not just as a nanny and housemaid...but as a wife! The kind one is allowed to have sex with ALONG with using as a nanny and a maid! I never imagined that I could come to want the spouse from my marriage of convenience, because apparently I have not absorbed any pop culture at all over the last 20 years! Melina: At least I am Greek, and thus have an excuse. Adam's Daughter: THIS BOOK NEEDS AN ADORABLE MOPPET! LOVE ME!
(Melina and Adam go to look at erotic statuary.) Melina: This is too much for my 29-year-old Greek virgin self! TAKE ME! Adam: Oh, thank goodness - I was beginning to think you were from Lesbos! (There is fade-to-black fucking.) Adam: OMG! Why didn't you tell me you were a virgin? I'm going to proceed to feel so guilty for robbing you of your innocence in front of the erotic statuary that I'll snub you so you think I think you're a whore! Melina: In Greece, we are hot-blooded and would never do such a thing! But this is AMERICA, so why don't we continue to have stupid misunderstandings to pad out the rest of this novel? Adam: Sounds good! But don't you think we should maybe have a couple of INS agents show up and be ridiculous and unthreatening for a few pages? Melina: Sure. It's better than having your daughter show up again!
(Many misunderstandings and a couple of inept INS agents later...) Adam: Okay, this thing is over 200 pages. Let's stop misunderstanding each other now. Melina: I would like to start by understanding your penis. Adam: Nope, this is one of those rigorously non-porny romance novels. We'd just fade to black again. Melina: All right, then: since women love weddings, let's wrap this up by getting married a SECOND time! Adam: Sounds good! Women also love babies, right? Melina: I guess so...why? Adam: I knocked you up the very first time we had sex. Melina: Just what every Greek woman wants! And hey, that reminds me. Whatever happened to those INS agents? Adam's Daughter: I KILLED THEM AND DRANK THEIR LIFEBLOOD FROM THEIR PULSING NECK STEMS. Adam&Melina: Aww! That's adorable!
ACT III/EPILOGUE Trin: That was awful! It wasn't even that funny - it was just boring! How can people read these over and over again? Gosh, I'll tell you, I have certainly learned my lesson. I'm sure I'll never ever ever read a book I know will be bad just because I think it'll be funny again! Lily: LOL. LOL. LOL. Trin: *shoots Greedo first*
*Yes, I am a chick. But I have sort of always wanted to be Han Solo. Don't ruin my moment. **Characterization may be sacrificed for humorous effect. If you forgive me, Lily, I'll let you take a spin in the Millennium Falcon. ***Actual line from the book....more