First off, I just want to say that it was really annoying that the publisher submitted the book backwards. Page 1 on my e-reader was actually page 377 of the book, and you can imagine my confusion when, after I started reading, I found myself reading the epilogue! Reading graphic-novels is difficult enough on an e-reader, and having to keep scrolling up and down was a pain.
If the artwork had not been as good as it was, I probably would have just saved myself the trouble and DNF'd. But I really loved the drawings. They were very old-fashioned, and kind of reminded me of 90s shoujo manga, like Hana Yori Dango.
Also, I feel like the artist really captured the personalities of the characters in the art. The way Mr. Collins was drawn, for example, was hilarious. And Mrs. Bennett--oh my God, she was drawn in some of the most hilarious chibi forms that I have ever seen. And Mr. Bennett was quite dashing in this adaption! I think I had a crush on him that rivaled Mr. Darcy (although Mr. Darcy is quite dreamy as well).
Obviously, there is only so much you can do when you are cramming a 400-page book within a 300-something page graphic novel, and there are a lot of "several days later"-type segues, and some characters, like Georgiana, don't really appear at all. (Which is a shame, as she is one of my favorite characters.) The scenes with Mr. Bingley's evil sisters are also cut. Most of the focus is on Elizabeth and Darcy, and Jane and Bingley. Which I guess is what teen girls want. Still, that made me sad.
I think this book would be a good tool to help teens understand what is going on in the big book. It's also a nice thing for an Austen fangirl to be able to read in between novels. Reading the manga really brought me back to the fond nostalgia of reading about and falling in love with Mr. Darcy the first time.
Still, I wish publishers would take more care when formatting the ARCs they submit to Netgalley. I mean, I don't get paid for this, you know? You might make it easy for me to read...
A BRIEF HISTORY OF CHOCOLATE is less about the origins of chocolate than about the aggressive marketing campaigns of Mars, Cadbury, and Nestle. Still, it makes for an interesting read, especially since there are all these really great illustrations of vintage candy wrappers interspersed throughout the text.
This book chronicles all the attempts to make chocolate appealing, whether it was by selling it in bricks, or marketed as a giant Easter egg, or branding it with the help of popular TV shows and cartoon, or splitting it up into pieces so it looked like you were getting more for less, or even filling it up with nougat, fruit, peanuts, hazelnuts, mint, or cornflakes. Some bars fail, others succeed, and some change names (like Snickers used to be called Marathon, apparently--who knew?).
I think there is a bit of a cultural gap, however, since this book is about the UK history of chocolate, and some of these things (oh, who am I kidding, most of these things) I had never heard of. Or I'd only heard of them in books, like the Milk Tray. (Thank you, Louise Rennison.) There's also some slang that had me scratching my head, though I was mostly able to wing it from context.
Overall, this was interesting. And it made me eat chocolate in the middle of the night. (Note: don't read this book when you are hungry, or you are going to eat more than you should of things that you shouldn't.)
Not to be confused with THE BILLION DOLLAR MILKMAID. Where are all these breast-obsessed billionaires in real life? I feel like I should have seen them on the cover of grocery rack magazines, caught in flagrante delicto with a pregnant woman and a milk pump.
THE BILLIONAIRE'S MILKMAID is terrible, even for free porn. Luckily, it is of the "it's so terrible it's good" variety of bad porn, but the line is a fine one. Sometimes it's just "so terrible that it's terrible." I skimmed some sections.
Jessica Browning works as a project manager in a Big Company. She just got off maternity leave, and her husband ran off with the delivery nurse, leaving her all on her lonesome as a single mom. Life is hard.
(Hard being the operative word, here.)
One day, Jessica is freaking out because her boobs have left huge wet circles on her blouse and she's got her breast pump but there's nowhere she can pump her milk! Because the bathroom is, well, the bathroom and unhygienic (spoiler alert: plothole here), and she can't pump her breasts in her car. Because...well, because reasons!
So she is pacing in the hall with the pump, and her shirt is getting damper and damper, and then she runs into this guy who tells her he knows a place (wink). Several creepy winks and pointed stares at her breasts later, he leads her to an empty conference room (oh! not a serial killer van, after all!), and she can pump in peace. But while she is draining her milk, she thinks about this hot man, and gets a little too excited. Pretty soon milk is squirting everywhere and she decides to masturbate with the milk pump. Because that's totally sanitary, right?
Her pussy was soaking wet now, panties so far beyond damp it was like a monsoon hit her down there, and if she were Anastasia Steele her Inner Goddess would be treading water in a 19-foot tsunami right about now (10).
Oh yeah, totally sanitary.
Later that day, she has to milk herself again, but oh noez! The super sekrit conference room is being used for an actual conference!! Luckily, Creepy McWinkyface appears again and takes her into another room, and he eyes her breasts and makes comments that would get him slapped with a sexual harassment suit in real life, but Jessica McStupidpants just takes it in stride and makes some of her own.
"Are you here for-" he pointed very specically at each of her breasts, eyes lingering so obviously she thought they might be glued, literally, to her, "that? To milk your breasts to feed your baby?" His jaunty smile was a challenge, as if he were saying, Just you try not to be aroused right now (16).
And then they go into this other conference room and begin to fuck.
And of course, he decides he's going to help himself to a nice warm glass of Jessica.
This wasn't foreplay--this was everyplay. Foreverplay. No-man's-landplay (22).
Isn't that profound?
Cervixes get rammed. Seed gets spewed. A conference table gets covered in various juices.
Meanwhile, I'm just sitting here, all like,
Also, the second half of this book is all advertisements.
Lady Aislinn is a lady...except when she's not. And this is usually when she's fucking the satyr that lives in the woods outside her manor. The story opens up with her clothes being super uncomfy because she can't wait to tear them off and have sex with him! And they do that. But then her father's steward comes in and starts talking to her about boring things like dresses and shoes while the satyr is busy giving her oral sex under the table. When the steward finally goes away, the satyr tells her that she has to make a choice. She can be a lady, or she can be a wanton sex-goddess. Which will she choose?
The answer is (not) surprising!
Ordinarily this book costs money but Smashwords is having its semiannual Summer/Winter sale, so I got it for free. Woo. I probably wouldn't have picked this out for myself, but I read it as a buddy read with my friend and fellow writer, Wart.
Since this book does ordinarily cost money, I feel like I can be a little harsher about it. The writing was good. There were no typos (most of these quickie erotica tales are horribly written, with typos, homophone errors, and tense irregularities). It was also nice to see consensual sex for a change, as most monsterotica tales are quite rapey. Lady Aislinn knows what she wants and isn't afraid to take charge. So in that sense, SHE CRAVES THE SATYR was refreshing.
I do think that this story is horrendously overpriced, however, considering the page count. Especially since the last few pages are...you guessed it--ads!
"Just think, by yielding your body to us, you're saving lives. You'll be a hero really. All of our cows are heroes" (44).
It's the American way.
Emily Hart is freaked out when she receives a horrendous picture of her missing best friend-slash-roomie with her boobs hooked up to metal devices while she's surrounded by leering doctors. Especially the call from her ex-boyfriend comes and he says, "Your roommate is in trouble. I know where she is, but I can’t help her. You need to get down to Austin, and you need to get here quick. I don’t know how much time she has left if you don’t."
Especially since Emily left this guy because his hardcore BDSM ways were freaking her out. So how did he find this place?
(Spoiler alert: He works there.)
So rather than calling the police--you know, the rational thing to do--Emily waltzes into Karnil Pharmaceutics and takes a tour of the factory while also snooping around and trying to scope out information. And the factory is so hot, so she unbuttons her top and flashes her cleavage around, not knowing that the scientists are eyeballing her for their cause.
Just when it starts to look like a misunderstanding, Emily drinks some coffee and all of a sudden her boobs start to swell. The scientists drug her, and perform some tests. Her ex-boyfriend cackles and makes some creepy comments like, "Now they can be happy together." UM, WHAT?
Happiness--your definition clearly differs from mine.
When Emily wakes up, she's hog-tied, naked, and hooked up to a giant milker. There's some light F/F, and then Emily receives her first milking and it feels so good, guys, oh my god, she can't stop orgasming. And she thinks, "Hey, this isn't so bad. Hey, I could do this for a living."
"For the first time in my life, I don't have to worry about pleasing anyone other than myself, and dear God, does it ever feel good" (49).
And I'm just sitting here like, "You have beach balls for boobs and are hooked up to a milking machine. This is not nirvana."
But Emily thinks it is.
Because hey, room and board, all the orgasms you can withstand, $50/hr plus bonuses, 401ks, other people have to finish college for this...but not her!
Then Emily realizes that her friend is chained up to the milker across from hers and they have a tearful reunion.
"The only thing that kept it from being perfect here was how much I kept missing you," Nikki goes on. "But now you're here, Em, and we can be together again. Best friends forever, right?" (54)
They are "true moos" again! Hooray!
Now everything really is perfect!
...Except this guy Emily met on the factory tour, Jacob, has called her like a bajillion times because he's worried about her. But Emily lies and says she's back in university because she's on a roll--a milking roll--and ain't nobody gonna stop her now!
You know, as far as wtf erotica goes, this was definitely one of the better ones in the lot. No typos, complex vocabulary, actual plot and dialogue--even complex characterization. Obviously, LOVERS AND LIES is not a contender for any literary awards, but it was pretty well written for the genre.
Once again, I was kind of annoyed that this free copy had a shit-ton of advertisements in the back (about thirty pages worth). I read some of the blurbs and excerpts for her other stories and yeah, okay, while they looked interesting, it's still a bad idea to bog up your books with crap that isn't story. If people are interested in your other books, they'll check out your Smashwords profile...
Note the striking lack of apostrophe on the cover title. This sets the standard for the quality of the writing in the book. BREEDING MY COWORKER'S DAUGHTER is a strange bit of porn that switches gaily between past and present tense. Because let's be honest--you didn't pick this up for the grammar.
Warning: this review contains explicit quotes. Be forewarned.
The narrator (who I believe is nameless) really hates his coworker Jim. Jim is basically the Ned Flanders of the office--he has a hot wife, a beautiful daughter (who the narrator loves to masturbate to--especially the picture Jim has up of her in her cheerleading outfit), and--oh, get this--the asshole loves his job.
How dare anyone take pride in what they do for a living?!
Mostly, though, our narrator, the Dirty Old Man, is pissed off that he doesn't have a hot wife and daughter! I'm not sure whether this means he wants a hot wife and a daughter, like, you know, a whole family affair...or whether he wants a hot wife and a hot daughter, and what his motivations are for wanting these things we can only guess (I think we can guess...).
Finally, she got a really good look at my bulging muscles and huge rod. I felt like she should get to see what I felt was the most attractive part of me, so I gave her a little turn and flexed my sculpted ass a few times for her (8).
I cannot imagine why this guy is still single. Can you?
I will give him this, though--he is unlikely to ever get lost, as he can use nipples like compasses.
Her tits were huge, with erect nipples that pointed towards the North Star (8).
So anyway, one day the girl comes in looking for her father. And as he sits there, eyeballing her schoolgirl outfit (apparently this is what college girls wear these days), and listens to her complaining about her father and how he's mad at her for hanging out with boys(!), Dirty Old Man gets this great idea of how he can help her get back at her father (a.k.a. Jim). They end up having icky sex in the office. Really gross. I mean, there is nothing sexy about this:
She got up on her tiptoes even more as my cock quested in search of her open pussy. When my cock found what it was looking for, it slid it's [sic] way inside (11).
I could feel that I was going to cum soon, so I began to use her like the object she was (12).
I grunted and released a month's worth of semen into her waiting womb. My grunts and her moans seemed to harmonize as rivers of cum began to shoot out of me (13).
The thought of my sperm swimming up inside of her, finding that egg, and impregnating her make [sic] me shiver a little with pleasure, and my cock convulsed one more drop of cum into her (13).
The book ends on this somewhat ominous note:
She may not be pregnant yet, but if I ever saw her again, I would make sure to give it my best shot (15).
Overall, this is not very impressive. Page 13 had some great unintentionally hilarious lines though.