Frederica: Lalalala ... I'm on a boat heading to the Colonies! Nothing could go wrong! Oh wait, that looks like a pirate ship! I'd better warn the first mate.
First mate: Shut up, you're a woman. Your expertise is limited to matching one shade of pink to another shade of pink, and sucking cocks. How would you know what a boat looks like? You wouldn't, that's how. Now shut up.
Frederica: *stomps foot* Curse you, you mansplaining dimwit! I'm telling you, I saw a pirate ship!
First mate: Well, I don't see anything. So I'm going to handcuff you as punishment!
In terms of least favorite genres, zombie books probably rank up there with erotica and new adult books for me. A few years ago, when everyone had WORLD WAR Z fever, and were grabbing up as many zombie books as they could, I was just sitting there, being all like, "You know, I think I prefer vampires..."
Zombies are just gross, you know? Rotting flesh, open wounds, "brainsssss," slowly ambling after the intended victim... I never got the appeal. As far as villains go, they're pretty boring. Give me a sociopathic vampire with Machiavellian politics anytime!
DUST is a very strange zombie book. It's narrated in first person by one of the zombies, a girl named Jessie, who is clinging to the last vestiges of her humanity. Nine years ago she had a family. Now she hunts in a pack of zombies who call themselves the fly-by-nights. They despise humans and think of them as lesser beings, calling them "hoos."
[E]very time I thought about heading back to the human areas and lying in weight upwind and grabbing one of them to snap their neck and eat (but not right away--Mags and Lillian both claimed that the hormones they oozed when terrified made the meat taste much better, a savory pants-shitting marinade), something in my chest and stomach clenched up (78).
DUST isn't the typical post-apocalyptic zombie novel. Zombies have apparently been around for a while, but went epidemic over the last decade? (The book was a little vague on this point.) The zombies live near the Great Lakes in northern Indiana, in a secluded, forested area that's all but deserted because of its nearness to government labs. They mostly hunt animals, which they then eat raw. Even though they move pretty slowly, the zombies are still able to sneak up on animals because the smell of dead flesh doesn't strike them as a threat until it's too late.
At the same time, there is a mysterious plague spreading through the humans. It makes them turn blue and smell like paint-thinner or gasoline. They go crazy, and eat animals--or even zombies. Ew!
One of the best things about DUST is the nontraditional portrayal of zombies. They're actually smarter than humans, for one thing.
Our brains are larger than a human's, more neurons. I read that somewhere, while I was alive. I b et hoos don't like to contemplate what that might mean (74).
They also have their own language. Because of their rotting mouths, they can't talk the normal way. So they have their own way of speaking that's mostly grunting and vowel sounds. There's also various stages of zombie transition--and are they gross and gory as hell? You betcha.
"It's not genocide...it's euthanasia. Then you find out the brain-dead cripples actually think, and those moaning sounds are them talking to each other, god knows what they say but still their own language with its own rules, and then you see a body and a body walking in the trees, always the same two bodies together, like they mean something special to each other. And they laugh, and if something wakes and sleeps and thinks and reasons and laughs and communicates and pair-bonds that means it might even have emotions, it might feel grief and pain--"
Was I supposed to applaud all this? Seriously? My God, Jim, I know nobody credits even full-fledged hoos who can't talk properly with working brains but you're a scientist and all this shocks you? Sad, that's just damned sad (134-135).
Then, as the book goes on, it turns back to the plague and we learn that it's not just affecting humans. No, it's affecting zombies, as well, making them smell like chemicals, making their flesh fill out again, regenerating their limbs, making them...alive. Also, they're growing stronger and starting to crave--gasp--cooked meat!
You had to let yourself be scorched by famine, seared as if someone took a slow blowtorch to every cell, and then feel it consume you from the inside out, Prometheus and the vulture in the same body-- (268).
Initially, I really liked DUST. It's really gory and violent, which I'm sure will put a lot of people off, but after reading the insipid TWILIGHT-wannabe story that was WARM BODIES, it was refreshing to read a story about zombies that actually had zombies that acted like zombies.
However, the second half of the book turn a turn for the worse. There was this weird, almost religious moment, where Jessie ends up talking to the physical embodiment of death(?!), and things started to drag out as DUST took a surreal nosedive. According to the reviews of the sequel, FRAIL, things get even messier and more nebulous as the series go on, so maybe the book is setting itself up for a fall.
DUST was a light read, but not one of the better apocalyptic stories I've read. At least it tried to be its own book and not resort to hackneyed tropes and cliches, so it gets bonus points for that. I'm not sure if I'd read the sequel. I do have a soft spot for books with low ratings, but this one got so tedious I'm not sure it would be worth the effort.
My relationship with erotica novels is only slightly better than my relationship with new adult novels. But, as I keep telling the people who ask me why I bother, sometimes you find a book that proves to be the exception to the rule, who makes it all worthwhile. Not only have I found that with SLAVE GIRL, I think I also may have found a new favorite author. Have you seen her backlist? OH MY GOD. I WANT ALL HER HISTORICAL ROMANCES RIGHT MEOW. ...please? *kitty eyes*
...*hyperventilates into a paper bag*
I applied for SLAVE GIRL on Netgalley because it is an erotica novella that takes place in Ancient Rome. Also it sounded kinky as hell.
Nimia was taken as a war prize during one of the Roman battles with the visigoth. She comes from a tribe called the Phanne and has tattoos all over her breasts and legs. (Something the cover fails to depict. Boooo.) Her owner, a creepmaster named Sygarius, has been giving her "lessons" while keeping her virginity intact the whole time. Because part of the fun is waiting. Apparently, it's almost as delicious as foreplay.
The time for Nimia's deflowering is drawing closer, and then a bunch of Franks her master has dealings with come, and one of them is a sexy young prince, which, if you know anything, you will know is never a good sign. And the prince wants Nimia, too--especially since he can't have her. Nimia is attracted to him, too, and better yet, he seems to know what happened to her people.
I liked SLAVE GIRL. It's cheesy, okay, yes, but original and creative. I enjoyed the writing, which flowed very nicely and conjured up some very evocative (and provocative) imagery. I enjoyed the taboo and kinky sex, especially the play of Dionysus-Bacchus. That was weird as fuck, but also pretty hot. Actually, all the sex was hot. And the plot! OMG. I read this in a single sitting, which was bad, because I was supposed to go to bed and ended up staying up until 3 A.M.
My only qualm, which keeps this from being a 5 star review instead, is that it is too damn short. Apparently it's book one in a trilogy, and oh my god, I volunteer as tribute. GIMMIE ALL THEM.
Also, I need to find paperback copies of her retro historical romances because they all sound awesome and original too, including a tale about a Cornish woman who pretends to be a mermaid in order to protect her town. ;~;
Truly, this is a most happy and auspicious day for Nenia Campbell, Hater of Erotica Novels.
A while ago, I went on a downloading spree on Smashwords, grabbing all the free porn I could. Because...it's porn, and because it's free, and because some of it is very good and some of it is hilariously bad. It's pretty much a win/win situation, either way.
THE EXAM is part of a series called Doctor's Orders and features light medical play. Which is interesting, because I am one of those individuals who suffers from "white coat syndrome." Going to the doctor's has never been a fun experience for me, and I can't imagine getting aroused by it. But if you do, good for you, whatever floats your boat, we're all into something.
Our heroine in this novel is Claire. One day, she gets a mysterious invitation from someone called "The Doctor" telling her that she is overdue for an appointment.
Claire goes to what turns out to be a large mansion and sits in the foyer. While there, she encounters a woman in a bikini whose hands are handcuffed behind her back. The woman is on her hands and knees, sweeping the floor with a brush in her mouth. Instead of wondering what kind of "Doctor" she's seeing, Claire gets turned on.
The Doctor appears (by this point, I am imagining him as the Whovian Matt Smith, which made reading this extra fun), and takes Chloe to an examination room. She's put in stirrups, felt up, and felt down, fingered, la di dah. Then she's put into a sex swing and fucked from behind by another man while the Doctor keeps telling her to "trust him."
After all this, the Doctor lets her down, helps her dress, and schedules another appointment.
I get that these shorts are the equivalent of pure fantasy, and don't make a lot of sense. Probably because they're supposed to be like those thoughts you think to help yourself get off? I dunno. But that sort of storytelling doesn't work for me. I have to have an actual plot in my porn. The PWP approach just makes me roll my eyes and laugh. I'm not judging the people who like this sort of thing, but I, personally, cannot compartmentalize my reading standards when it comes to pr0n.
Best (by which I mean, worst) line in the book:
My nipples are already hard, and getting harder, like two mini erections (11).
Books are like fetishes; for every person who finds one super hott, there's one who finds it super not. To me, this book was super not.
With a handful of exceptions, Netgalley is pretty much the only way I ever get around to reading NA. I don't have a lot of money to spend, since writing doesn't make much, and my prior experience with the genre as a whole has made me very reluctant to spend cash on something I know I'm not going to like. At least with NG, I can read the book for free and then make my decision on whether the book is something I'd be willing to shell out money for in the future.
I found ALL NIGHT LONG incredibly offensive.
Homosexuality is portrayed as a joke, like something you'd use to punk your best friend ("Sorry, brah, I told the girl who was into you that you were gay. She slept with me instead, trolololo").
The character development is completely lacking. In fact, the characters' motivations as a whole were highly questionable. In terms of emotional depth, this has all the complexity and layering of monster porn. If you asked a high school girl to write kinky fanfiction about her favorite rockstar, you would probably get something pretty close to ALL NIGHT LONG. It screams "self-insertion fic".
The book is about Ash, who is the guitarist of a band. He's got frenemy issues with the singer, Xane, whose kinky fuckery and ill-treatment of women has rendered him a total heartthrob. Ash ends up meeting Ginny in his dressing room (women only come backstage for one thing, y'know), and ends up pretty much forcing himself on her. He spends a split-second debating on whether this makes him a bad person, but after that heartbeat of conscience, abandons himself to The Big D.
So they have unsexy sex with unrealistic dialogue and I am just sitting here, with the book equivalent of, "Is it over yet? Can I go to sleep now?"
It was that bad.
Then Ash's bandmates come in and start watching Ash and Ginny have sex. Just watching, and making comments. The female member of the band calls Ginny "a tart." She ends up leaving but the other two stay and watch, and one of them starts filming it, and doesn't stop even when it's pretty obvious that Ginny is uncomfortable. And why doesn't Ginny tell him to stop? Because Ash seems into it, and she doesn't want to displease him. I'm sorry, but no.
No amount of fame entitles you to treat women like assholes.
After this horrifying bit of horribleness, Ash shows the video to Ginny, and she learns that the band keeps an entire library of all the women they've porked.
After this, Ash keeps trying to force anal sex (and since this is a NA romance, we know he'll get his way. Because sex is about giving into the guy's wants and needs and completely ignoring your own). He talks about some of the other bandmates' fetishes, and maybe Ginny ends up banging them all, I dunno. I stopped caring. Because at this point, it became clear this book was going to infuriate me.
I am shocked and appalled that this has been published by HarperCollins.
My track record with NA has been less than stellar. I don't know why I keep coming back. Maybe it's because I harbor a hope, however irrational, that one day I'll find a book--multiple books!--that ends up redeeming the whole genre for me.
So far, that has yet to happen.
So far, I have only found books that reinforce my intense dislike of the genre as a whole.
Especially this one.
When I saw the cover on Netgalley, I thought it was incredibly beautiful. And I loved the idea of a romance set at a carnival.
Here's what happens in this book, though.
***MAJOR SPOILERS TO FOLLOW***
Charlie, the MC, hooks up with a carnie named Blue.
Charlie decides to drop out of college so she can stay with this guy she just met that day.
Charlie has weird passive-aggression with her ex-boyfriend, Dylan.
Charlie and Blue have lots and lots of sex.
Charlie learns that Blue does drugs (molly).
Charlie starts taking molly.
Charlie and Blue do lots of molly.
Charlie and Blue have lots of sex.
Dylan gets killed by a semi.
Charlie has sex with Blue without a condom, pops Xanax, and goes to the funeral.
Charlie and Blue do lots of molly.
Charlie and Blue have lots of sex.
Charlie learns that Blue is a coke dealer who killed a man.
Charlie learns that Blue's crazy ex-boss is chasing after him.
Blue does lines of molly of Charlie's body during sex.
Charlie gets kidnapped by Blue's crazy ex-boss.
Blue's crazy ex-boss dies.
Charlie and Blue do molly.
Charlie and Blue have lots of sex.
I had a lot of peeves with this book, aside from the stupidity of the plot.
First, Romanian and Romany are used interchangeably. I guess the author doesn't know any Romanians because if she did, she would know that they would be VERY OFFENDED by this.
Then, there's the slut-shaming.
"Playing hard to get?"
"I'm certainly not easy."
"Good. I'm not a fan of easy" (14).
If I did have a penis, I'm almost positive my list of sexual partners would be more than one (20).
We may love each other like sisters and never fight, but there is plenty room for judging, like the time she got chlamydia from some--admittedly cute--guy at a college party (37).
Because, apparently, you should only stand by your friends until they get an STD.
Cassadee James is your basic fake bitch. Two-faced and she has the laugh of a donkey crossbred with a goat. Mentally, she never progressed past knock-knock jokes and basic algebra. Physically, she's been carrying around love potions shaped like tits since the sixth grade (45).
And where would we be without some random girl the MC hates for no reason?
If anybody deserves her herpes, it's probably him (47).
Really, really hates for some reason?
[She's] dressed in jeans and an Ohio State jersey. The game was the previous day, so I'm not sure if she's being a skank or has simply lost track of her days (115).
And that's one of her friends.
Not only is this woman-hate disgusting, it's also blatant hypocrisy. Charlie sexually torments her ex-boyfriend because she can't sort out her feelings for him. She also has sex without a condom. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think people who have unprotected sex should call other women sluts and speculate on how many STDs they have.
The blatant stupidity:
His rock hard, slim abs are like Mount Rushmore with six presidents instead of four (27).
What does that even mean?
From the television, there's a familiar mating call, the atrocious sound of Sarah Palin thinking out loud (33).
She makes [red hair] look effortless and beautiful and somehow gives off the illusion that she actually has a soul (36).
If she comes within five feet seven inches of me, I'm going to Caty with a 'D' her ass. That's a Mean Girls reference, by the way (45).
We're shooting lasers at each other, unable to turn away. Will people notice? Would people notice two elephants locked in a loving embrace in the middle of a flat field? (48)
"We're young and stupid, and drug use doesn't always mean drug abuse" (85).
My cheeks flush, filling with happiness--much cheaper than Botox injections (111).
Laughably bad sex scenes:
And he drives into me, filling me to the hilt. My vision goes black. An entire galaxy exploding painted before my eyes. I pull him closer to me as he begins thrusting erratically. He's not making love to me--he's fucking me (29).
My entire body cries out for release, perfectly timed with the earthquake beginning to rumble above me. I wonder if this is how Californians feel right before the plates shift. Helpless (30).
His cock reaches the hilt, and he stays there while he slides my bra off my arms and empties a line of the drug in the fold between my breasts. If I did any more molly, I'd probably get lost in some magical world of rainbows and butterflies, unable to ever find my way back. But he's much more experienced than I am (171).
And the pièce de résistance:
The headboard slams against the wall, making sweet music--it's the drums. Blue's grunts are the bass and my moans are the vocals (172).
Stereotypical NA sentences:
I'm still unsure of where exactly we're going or what we're doing, but no matter how ridiculous a thought, a fraction of my being still believes he's taking me out into the middle of nowhere to murder me (69).
At some point in a NA, the heroine must always joke about the love interest's plans to rape/murder her. This is just a must. It makes him seem dark and dangerous and oh-so-Charles-Mansony.
His bleach white boxers are almost see-through and they compliment the dark tone of his tan skin in a sexually compromising fashion (72).
A minority character is referred to in an I'm-trying-so-hard-not-to-sound-racist-right-now burst of white guilt that only those from the Midwest can really pull off.
Oh hi, I'm Maddie Taylor! I wear glasses and play violin and piano. I also play guitar but no one must ever know because I'm so prepz and prepz aren't allowed to be emu!
HI. I AM JARED CROSS. YOU CAN TELL I AM A MANLY MAN BECAUSE I HAVE HELLA TATS AND I GO THROUGH WOMEN THE WAY I GO THROUGH CONDOMS WHEN I GO THROUGH SAID WOMEN. EXCEPT SINCE THIS IS A NEW ADULT NOVEL, NO CONDOMS ARE PROBABLY INVOLVED.
Oh.em.gee. Jared is so hott! But he treats women so badly. But he's so hott! I AM SO EMBARRASSED AND AWKWARD. PLEASE LOVE ME. I DESPERATELY WANT TO BE ZOOEY DESCHANEL. YOU LOVE ME, RIGHT?
I AM GOING TO TREAT YOU LIKE I'VE NEVER SEEN A WOMAN STRUM A GUITAR BEFORE.
OH MY GOD THE GUY OF MY DREAMS JUST ASKED ME TO BE IN HIS BAND.
...I'm going to say no. Because I'm a woman and cool things aren't allowed to happen to me, and if they do, I'm not allowed to approach them with enthusiasm.
I AM GOING TO WAIT OUTSIDE YOUR COLLEGE CLASSROOM AND GET YOU TO CHANGE YOUR MIND.
Did I tell him where my classroom was? Who cares? He's hott! OK! I'LL BE IN YOUR BAND.
SEDUCING SARA is a perfect example of rape culture masquerading as a romance. It is one of the most disturbing things I've read in a while.
The book opens with one of my worst nightmares as a woman--
Sara is riding in an elevator when an attractive man comes in. He hits the "emergency stop button", trapping her in the elevator; then he pins her against the elevator and starts molesting her while he pinches her nipples.
When a man gets into an elevator with a woman, she usually doesn't fantasize about being sexually assaulted by him.
(I blame FSoG for making rape synonymous with courtship.)
So later, Sara is working late in her office all by herself. Elevator Molester comes into her office and casually demands that she take off all her clothes. The MC doesn't call the police. She doesn't tell him to go fuck himself and try to kick him in the balls. Instead, she says, "But...but I could get fired for this!"
Elevator Molester says, "No, you won't."
The MC says, "OK!" And starts stripping off her clothes.
Now she's naked. EM reaches into his shirt pocket and pulls out a set of nipple clamps that he just happens to carry with him into the office. He removes the adjustment screws because he wants it to hurt as much as possible. After this delightful bit of foreplay, EM whips out his cock. The MC is like, "Oh my! I don't think that'll fit inside me!" And he's just like, "I'LL MAKE IT FIT. >:D"
Yeah, like that's not completely terrifying.
After they have sex, EM reveals that he's the owner of the company and offers her a position as his personal assistant, hinting that she'll have to be at his beck and call for whatever he wants.
Because sexual harassment suits are just those sheer lacy bits of nothing the boss asks you to wear when he wants you to work late, right?
The book was so bad I looked over the spoiler for the next chapter and saw this quote:
Mark came over with the egg and rubbed his fingers along the lips of her labia, finding her hole. He slipped the egg inside of Sara.
It says something about the quality of the writing when it takes me a moment to figure out whether "slipped the egg" is the author's attempt to refer to ejaculation or a vibrating sex toy.
Okay, I get it, NA. You want to be YA dressed up in mummy's clothes and pretending to be a grown-up. You want to drink the cash-cow's tasty, tasty milk because it does your wallet good.
I get that.
BUT STILL I HATE YOUR GUTS FOR IT THO.
PIECES OF OLIVIA had me giving it the side-eye from the first page but I held out some hope that this book was going to be different (never a good sign) because the author had written a science-fiction book that some of my pickier GR friends actually liked, called GRAVITY.
Now there is nothing inherently wrong with writing about cutting in books, as long as it is portrayed as the serious psychological issue that it actually is, and not something to be glorified, trivialized, or romanticized.
The best book I have read on the subject was Patricia McCormick's CUT.
THE SPLINTER by Remittance Girl was not bad, either, and it's self-published. So it is possible to be a self-published author and write about self-harm in an informed manner.
On page 15, we encounter the love interest, Preston, who is your typical alpha male, slightly douchey-a-la-John-Mayer white cis male protagonist. He immediately gives Oliva, the MC, a nickname. What is this clever moniker you ask? "Small Town." Because--get this--she moved to Florida from a small town.
Oh, but if you didn't find it funny the first time, don't worry. It'll only be repeated fifty more times.
So Olivia is a rich girl and could have gotten into an Ivy League but she went to a shitty school in Florida because...it pisses off her parents! And because running away from your problems is what being a (new) adult is all about! And because all other NA heroines do it, so why not Olivia?
I mean, let's take a moment to think about what these books about becoming an adult are about:
-being as intolerant and bigoted as possible about as many issues as possible
-fucking off some more
-finding and dating the most misogynistic guy ever whose ego rivals the size of his dick
-getting married and having hott babiez with said misogynist
-YAY! HAPPILY EVER AFTER
What I don't get is why so many seemingly sensitive, literate, and educated women are falling over for this bullshit time and time again. And why the heroes of these literary monstrosities are being touted as the perfect book-boyfriends. Yeah, maybe in 1959. But now? Uhhhh...how about no?
Olivia is the perfect example of intolerant protagonist. There is less slut-shaming in here than in K.A. Tucker's and J.A. Redmerski's work, but Melissa West has a different target.
THE MENTALLY ILL.
According to Oliva, the mentally ill should:
-never talk about being mentally ill
-shouldn't talk about medication
-shouldn't see therapists (it's like admitting you're cray)
-shouldn't try to develop empathy
"[I]t was either come across as a bitch or come across as crazy. I chose the bitch route. At least that resulted in a bit of respect. Crazy just equaled crazy" (28).
Olivia also compares working class people to being "one step above beggars" and marvels at the fact that, as a shopper, she could be single-handedly responsible for letting them pay their bills or eat.
I'm not going to say too much about this, except for the fact that a big, fat fuck you is in order.
Also, watch this video. The 1% have problems too, you know! *tear tear, sniff sniff*
Next, let's discuss the fact that Ms. West seems to have no idea what real college students are like.
-Olivia and her friend giggle over Zac Efron, High School Musical, and Miley Cyrus. No.
-They talk about how much they love shopping at J.Crew and Banana Republic. No.
-When Olivia goes to a party, people keep trying to force her to drink. Unless you are at a very, very hardcore frat party, most people will respect you when you say you don't drink. A lot of people think it's refreshing actually--especially when the night comes to a close and designated drivers are needed.
-Olivia is an English major and has a poetry class. When she gets on the professor's bad side, she thinks a good way to get in the professor's good graces is to suggest that instead of the material on the syllabus, she can read THE POETRY SHE WROTE HERSELF to the class during readings and discussions.
Actually, let's stop right there.
First off, no professor would tolerate that. They'd probably mock you, and with good reason. A nicer one would probably refuse and tell you to stick to the syllabus, please; lesson plans were designed to reflect the material on midterms and finals. Everyone in the class would memorize your face, and would hate you/make fun of you for the rest of the year. NO ONE WOULD DO THIS.
But because this is Special Snowflakeland, the professor thinks this is a great idea and lets her do this. People applaud Olivia's bravery, and some leg-humping-weenieboy named Taylor decides to compliment her on it every chance he gets. Oh--which reminds me!
There's a pathetic little love triangle. Taylor is never a serious contender, but it's important to have at least two male characters telling the female MC how awesome she is/how much they want to pork her, because female MC's opinions just don't carry the same amount of weight.
Around this point we discover that Preston is a womanizer and that women seem to recognize him--and be upset with him--wherever he goes.
Olivia is jealous but she tells herself she's not. Because emotions are weakness!
Not everyone realized that distraction was the best medicine (55).
Denial--not just a river in Egypt.
Obviously, all these girls totally treat Olivia like shit. Stupid girls. Don't they know how awesome Olivia is? And how her magical vagina will tame his womanizing ways?
(She's like a cock-cage. Putting the eroticism into forced chastity bitches.)
Here's the poem Olivia thinks is on par with Yeats and Keats, btw.
It came one day, fast and great. The world changed through heated eyes. The screams drew close... The house, it quaked. Voices were smothered in ash. The house, it is where I remain (65).
I bet she totally had an Anne Rice novel sitting next to her while she wrote that.
And that her favorite movie is Donnie Darko.
Seriously, can you BE any more cliche?
THEN let's talk about Olivia's therapist, Rose Campbell.
-She smokes in her office while clients are there.
-She talks openly about her religious views (or lack thereof).
-She actually encourages her emotionally disturbed client to leap into a relationship with a womanizer because it's what she wants, so why not?
I was shocked. I had never heard someone her age ever suggest that believing and/or following God was an option (94).
What's separation of Church and State again? Also, DO YOU NOT HAVE INTERNET?
Olivia "I want Preston."
Therapist: "Then why are you still here?" (113)
DID YOU SERIOUSLY TELL YOUR CLIENT TO LEAVE THERAPY TO BE WITH THE BOY SHE WANTS TO FUCK? DID YOU SERIOUSLY JUST DO THAT?
Just who is Rose Campbell, exactly? The Nick Riviera of psychology?
Preston thinks he can totally cure Olivia's depression with his cock. He's all like,
"Let me be what you need" (98).
Which maybe sounds all swoony if you're hormonal and under eighteen, but if you've been around the block and actually know people with mood disorders, you'll know that people with mood disorders can be very unstable without medication or treatment, and that sexual relationships are often the last thing they need in their life.
What's that you say?
Well, these "adults" act more like middle schoolers than actual adults. I never think "adults" when I read NA. I think, "whiny children." If I'm being generous. Usually, it's "whiny bitches" or "whiny fucking fuckers where's my bitchslap button at motherfucker I'mma cut someone!!!!"
But despite all this awful hatred towards the mentally ill, the book didn't truly push me into the red zone until I found out why Preston became such a womanizer in the first place.
Are you ready for this?
His high school girlfriend had an abortion.
"It was the biggest decision of my life and it was taken from me" (133).
OK, first off, it's not your decision, Preston. You are a man and therefore do not have a uterus.
It was your ex-girlfriend's body, and therefore your EX-GIRLFRIEND'S decision.
Yes, ideally she probably should have let him in on the decision but she certainly was not obligated to. Especially if she got the same sort of creepster, ultra-domineering vibes from him that I did. Maybe she thought he'd freak out and "accidentally" hurl her down a flight of stairs.
YOU NEVER KNOW WITH THIS GENRE.
So this is why Preston goes through women like packs of cigarettes.
He was traumatized by the results of irresponsible sex...SO HE HAS MORE IRRESPONSIBLE SEX.
Because that totally makes sense.
To be fair, when he has sex with Olivia (and her depression is cured! HOORAY! ORGASMIC PSYCHOLOGICAL BREAKTHROUGH) he does use a condom. But still.
Of course, this was just icing on the cake for me. I'd started genuinely loathing the book about fifty pages early and thank fucking God it was so short because otherwise I would have DNF'd this sucker so fast, it would be spinning around faster than the goddamn sound barrier.
What an awful book this was. Offensive, bigoted, dangerous, ignorant, and WRONG.
Oh, and to any haters out there, this is pretty much my standpoint on all bad books.
Jessica, the MC, encounters Club Shadowlands by accident when her car gets stalled on a dark and rainy night. If that sounds cliche, it kind of is. She takes shelter at the club nearby, and the sexy manager gives her a set of clean clothing after toweling her off rather invasively. He informs her that it's a private club and gives her a thick packet of rules, which he tells her to read. If she doesn't want to abide by them, she can wait in the corridor with the bouncer. As Jessica explores the club, she quickly discovers that it has a rather interesting theme. BDSM. Dun, dun, dun.
Master Z, owner and participant, cannot get enough of Jessica's curvy bod. He knows that if she gives him the chance, she'll be the perfect submissive. But he wants her to come to him freely, even if that means giving her the chance to run away screaming lol.
What follows is a night of bacchanalia that wouldn't be out of place in ancient Rome. People get whipped, spanked. There's simulated rape (although Jessica and Z do not participate). There's medical erotica, including a staged gynecological/breast exam. There's exhibitionism, voyeurism. Sinclair manages to incorporate a whole bunch of different subsets of BDSM sex, talking about what's typical, what's not, and how it all is fair game as long as the adults are consenting and abide by CSS.
(Consensual, safe, sane.)
The writing is much better than I was expecting. No typos. A little cheesy and over-the-top in parts, but the sex scenes more than made up for it. I didn't really like Jessica's character. Her reluctance didn't bother me--I thought her hesitance and shyness were quite well done--but the fact that she kept kicking people, and attacking people in defense of the women being "attacked" was a little silly and dumb, although the reasons behind this were later explained. It was also annoying to have a small, big-boobed, curvy heroine whining about how "ugly" and "fat" she was.
As a 5'9" woman, I have little patience with tiny people who whine about being found unattractive to men. There are tons of men who won't even consider dating a tall woman, no matter how attractive she is, just because she's tall. And if you're tall and curvy, you can pretty much forget about it.
But again, that's kind of a personal peeve. Similarly, I had to suspend my disbelief when Master Z was portrayed as a mind-reader. It got to the point where I was wondering if there was a supernatural element to this book--psychic? vampire? Nope. He is a psychologist. Buddy, I hate to say it, but being a psychologist does not make you a psychic. So that annoyed me as well.
Still, CLUB SHADOWLANDS is a great book for those who want to know more about the BDSM scene. I found it very informative, and loved the way the participants were described. There are some bad eggs who participate, but they usually aren't welcomed by the group (and are often disbarred from clubs). Most people who participate in the BDSM scene are just ordinary people looking for a way to kick back and blow off steam with their favorite kind of sex. Which happens to be BDSM.
I would consider reading other books in this series.
I don't read much erotica, and that's because of what I do read, I tend to hate about 90% of it. I'm usually pretty leery about selecting erotica titles from Netgalley, but in the case of LORD SAVAGE, I couldn't resist. How could I, with a tantalizing tagline like, "He's the one man in London who can't be tamed." Oh my.
The book is narrated (in first person) by Evelyn Hart (there's a typo in the summary--they call her "Evelyn Hard"). Evelyn is a wealthy widow from New York who has come to Edwardian-era England to mingle in polite society...except it's markedly less polite than she imagines. At her first ball, she sees a man fucking a woman from behind in the gardens below. And though it sort of offends her delicate sensibilities, she stands there and watches.
That man is, of course, Lord Savage. And the best way to describe him is to steal a line from Austin Powers: "Savage by name, Savage by reputation."
He takes an immediate liking to Evelyn and Lady Carleigh, the host of the ball, invites Evelyn to one of her "special gatherings" at her home in Wrenton Manor, of which Lord Savage is a regular attendee. So Evelyn goes, expecting...not what she gets, which is a weird, decadent, orgiastic party of Masque of the Red Death proportions.
Because Lord and Lady Carleigh and Lord Savage and all their friends are into BDSM. And at the party, they play what they call "the Game" where "Masters" take on an "Innocent", who they then instruct in all matters pertaining to the bedroom. And oh man, is it hot.
Like I said before, I don't read a lot of erotica. And when I do, I tend not to like it. So I write a negative review for it and people get mad at me. As if I'm supposed to rate everything positively just because I also happen to be an author and should harbor some sort of understanding for their toils. (Which I do, but I also don't think subpar authors should receive outstanding ratings. It trivializes the high ratings I give to books that actually deserve it. Books like...LORD SAVAGE!)
LORD SAVAGE is proof that an erotica can be sexy, and a man can be alpha, without any whisper of abuse. One of the reasons I hate FIFTY SHADES OF GREY and all its spawn is because they promote awful treatment of women that borders on abuse. The sex in LORD SAVAGE is entirely consensual. On the one instance where the MC is about to slut-shame, her host is quick to correct her, saying that exploring one's sensuality does not make one a slut. (I cheered, I admit it.)
There were some lines of dialogue that definitely mirrored dialogue from FSOG but then the story would veer in a different direction, giving me the impression that maybe Mia Gabriel read FSOG and didn't much care for it either. I got the impression that she was actually seeking to subvert some of the misconceptions about a BDSM relationship, and on that I think she succeeded admirably.
Things I liked:
-The dialogue between the characters is really witty. Reminded me a bit of Lisa Kleypas. Also, Gabriel writes some very wicked dirty talk.
-The sex. Obviously, this is an erotica, and the sex is important. She writes excellent sex scenes, involving, but not limited to, voyeurism, exhibitionism, role play, sex toys, oral, bondage, etc.
-The relationships between the women, particularly between Lady Carleigh and Evelyn, were very good. I liked how Lady Carleigh did not tolerate Savage's violent outbursts, even though they were friends, and how she expressed concern over the way that Lord Savage was treating her.
-The way BDSM was approached. I really liked the message that BDSM should be between two consenting adults, and that the two adults should stick to the rules that they set. I also like how the author pointed out that sometimes BDSM can veer into pain or abuse, and that if that happens the relationship should be terminated, as that is not what sex is all about. That's a great, healthy message.
-The book does not end with a wedding. That made me very happy. Too many erotica novels end up in marriage. Women should be able to enjoy a sexual relationship without having to tie the knot at the end of it. So that was totally refreshing.
-The main character is not a virgin. That was also refreshing.
So yeah, this was a really great book. I enjoyed it a lot, way more than I ever thought I could enjoy an erotica novel. The writing was great, the story was great, the sex was great...I NEED THE NEXT ONE NOW, OKAY?
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.
I will read anything. Well, anything that isn't violent and offensive. Lactation porn is weird as fuck, but I'm sure there are some people who get off on that and you know what? More power to them. Better that than, I dunno, wanting to burn people with cigarettes or cut them with knives.
So, Smashwords is currently having their semi-annual Winter/Summer sale and a whole bunch of books are free. I got the BILLION DOLLAR MILKMAID bundle for free when ordinarily it's like $4.99--which seems excessive, if you ask me, since the whole thing is like 23 pages.
The first installment is pretty straightforward. Amy is a secretary but does not make any money and her boss treats her like shit. She owes a ton of money to creditors. She also has a special...physical condition.
All of this began with a quirk of science; a rare condition that enabled her to pump milk from her breasts continuously. Amy had never had a baby and was often at pains to explain the embarrassing condition to friends and lovers when she had an accident.
While posting on a board for people who share her condition, one of her fellow lactators tells her about a billionaire with a breastfeeding fetish who pays $20,000 per session. Amy happily meets with Mr. King, who tests the merchandise, and Amy enjoys this a lot. Especially since he is so handsome.
She is excited for her first feeding session, and wears a special low-cut dress with nothing beneath it. Mr. King, well, you know, does his thing, and Amy enjoys it so much that she has an orgasm. Then they have sex. And Mr. King thanks her for doing such a good job during their "session." Amy is a little hurt, but then he gives her a gift! And she's like, "Oooh, maybe he does like me after all!" But when she opens up the gift, she discovers that it is a breast pump...
LOL. You know, I feel like there is actually a story in this. Like, the author should have gone hog-wild and written a full-length FIFTY SHADES OF GREY style erotica based off this novel. Because when you think about it, a billionaire with a lactation fetish is much juicier (ew) than a billionaire with a bondage fetish. It would at least make the ridiculously high price worth it. I mean, $2.99 for 11 pages is a bit excessive. Plus, it makes the typos even more unforgivable.
I will say this, though. The Billion Dollar Milkmaid series is much better than the author's other series, Accidental Groupie.
THE ACCIDENTAL GROUPIE was free on Smashwords and thanks to a semi-annual promotion, so were the next two books in the series. Like a sucker, I downloaded them all, because when it comes to books, I just can't say "no"--even when I should.
Sloan is dragged to a rock concert by her plot device-slash-best friend, Lee, to see rock star Killian perform. Killian is your average leather wearing sex fiend with a guitar, and Lee spends all her time on the groupie forums to see what people are saying about Killian's sexual performance. That's all anyone at the concert is talking about. Not how well he can finger a guitar's g-string, but...well, do you really need me to elaborate?
Sloan is bored, obviously. Because I know you spend tons of money on concert tickets only to stand around and whine about how much the scene sucks. So she sneaks out back and sees a guy smoking. She complains about how bored she is to him, and then basically tells him he wants him to stop smoking. He does, and tells her that he's bored as well, and would she like to blow (his cock) this joint with him? Sloan happily agrees and walks off with this total stranger, ditching her BFF.
BECAUSE THIS IS TOTALLY THE SMARTEST THING TO DO IN THIS SITUATION.
Smoker Guy tells her his name is John and then proceeds to take a bunch of back alley exits, avoiding all other individuals on the street. In the book, this is actually because--surprise, surprise! He's Killian! Rock star and sex performer extraordinaire! In the real world, this would be because he's a serial killer-slash-rapist intent on adding Sloan to his latest body count. Isn't romance fun?
Obviously, mistaken identity persists. Sloan unknowingly insults Killian a couple more times to his face. They walk past a group of teens who are pissed off that Killian was a no-show at his own concert (seriously, what kind of rock star blows off his fans to have unprotected sex with some random chick?). Sloan and Killian have sex on the floor of his penthouse and then do it a couple more times just for funsies. At the end, she finds out who he is when his screaming fans all but burst down the door of his hotel room 1D-psychotic-fangirl style. And then she offers to be his groupie.
I should point out at this point that ALL THIS happens in the span of 11 measly pages. Also, the editing is crap. There's tons of typos and the author mixes up the verbs "lie" and "lay." I did not find the sex particularly titillating, either. It's your average "greedy" blowjob, guy-automatically-finds-g-spot-on-his-first-wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am expedition scenario. Not much bang for your buck.
My first introduction to the monster porn genre was CUM FOR BIGFOOT. It was pretty awful--at least, I didn't like it--but I also got the sense that the author was winking at the audience the whole time, like, "You don't seriously believe this, do you?" (Incidentally, Virginia Wade is a lovely person.)
I got CUM FOR BIGFOOT free from Smashwords during a site-wide promotion, in addition to several other books of various genres. Then I went on a downloading binge and added all the books the site currently had listed as "free."
FORCED AWAKENING was one of these.
I should point out that there are trigger warnings for this book. Rape is heavily romanticized and eroticized in FORCED AWAKENING, which I'm sure many people will find offensive.
"Listen closely," Rylan said, "If you try to fight me, I will not be gentle and I will take you here and cause you pain" (5).
"No, I don't want you to," she said weakly, pushing his hands away.
"Yes, you do, Sophie," he said forcefully (13).
Sophie just wanted to take a nap outside on her grandmother's property. Apparently, you can no longer do this without getting raped by a sexy--but evil!--man who claims to be a werewolf. He carries her off back to his lair, but Sophie is so sexy that he has to keep stopping for sex breaks.
The sex scenes...well. Imagine you took a thirteen-year-old girl aside and asked her what her favorite book was. Imagine that she said TWILIGHT. Then imagine that you told her to go ahead and write some porn. (Note: don't do this--pretty sure this is illegal. Also, gross.) FORCED AWAKENING is probably a pretty close approximation of what you would get.
"Sophie lay on the ground feeling like a dirty whore as Rylan panted and rubbed his hard c*ck against her. Sophie whimpered, her thighs quivering, feeling the juices running out of her and onto the dirt" (6).
He tossed her panties aside, saying, "You won't be needing these any more" (6).
"Arrgh!" Sophie cried out. She had never felt such pleasure and she trembled from his hot mouth on her most delicate parts (8).
"Oh, Sophie, you're [sic] ass is so tight. I'm going to take it soon, but not now" (13).
Sophie collapsed onto the damp earth, a heap of sex (22).
"I own your breasts, pussy and ass" (22).
It's all totally worth reading, though, if only for this line:
"I came so hard that I shifted," Rylan said, dazed. "I've heard stories of that happening, but I never believed them. An orgasm has to be so intense, that it shifts our molecules" (17).
He came so hard that it shifted his molecules, guys!
FORCED AWAKENING is pretty bad. The writing is bad. The grammar is bad. Entire phrases are repeated multiple times (and since this book is only 23 pages, it's really noticeable). The sex is terribly written and basically romanticizes the act of rape. There's something in here for everyone.
When I was a kid, my parents bought me one of those child-sized dolls because they were popular at the time. This one was vintage and came with her own fancy clothes and had a painted-on pout and I'm pretty sure it came from the very bowels of hell. Rather than being delighted by this gift, I was freaked out and said, in that ungrateful tone only children are really good at, "I don't like it." And when I woke up in the mornings, I would sit on the steps and peer through the balcony and stare at the doll sitting at my Little Tykes table, like the bitch thought she owned the place, and was convinced that the evil thing wanted to feed on my soul. Needless to say, my parents ended up selling the doll to a collector and my soul and I remained intact.
The takeaway message here is: dolls are evil.
Cassie and her friends find that out the hard way. Poor Cassie. She's just an ordinary little American transplant in Australia, lusting after her friend Aisha's boyfriend, Ethan. She, Ethan, Aisha, and Lacey are hiking through the woods, marveling at cute fluffy wallabies, and taking pictures of nature for a class project. Then they happen upon a creepy derelict mansion and Aisha decides that she just has to snap a better photo.
Aisha then goes missing. And the blame falls on the shoulders of Ethan.
To clear his name, Ethan and Aisha and Lacey go back to the mansion in the dead of night to find their friend. And they end up discovering a secret room filled with dolls and creepy toys and creepy little girls in pinafores who are fed moldy bread and forced to act like dolls--and holy fuck. The reason for this is kind of vague, and rooted, as so many other things are, in conspiracy.
DOLLHOUSE is an indie work, and I was quite impressed by the editing. It has really good writing for indie, and there were no typos that I saw. The first half of the book is a lot better than the last half, but the cheesiness pleasantly reminded me of L.J. Smith's FORBIDDEN GAME trilogy, or Simon Holt's DEVOURING trilogy. Like GOOSEBUMPS, DOLLHOUSE is less about plot consistency and more about scaring the bajeezus out of you. On this latter, it definitely succeeds. I'm creeped out.
The villains were really cool too. I wish we got to learn more about them, and no, I'm not just saying that because I found the Provider hot as sin. (I did, though. I think I have issues.) There's one scene when he is dancing with Cassie and I almost died from jealousy because it is literally RIGHT OUT OF THAT BALLROOM SCENE IN LABYRINTH (although much creepier). So yeah, Cassie, if you don't want The Provider, I will happily take him off your hands for you. Evil's kind of my thing.
One caveat: the book ends on a wicked cliffhanger. I think this will probably turn a lot of people off the books because there's like several really weird twists in the end of the book--one of them rage-inducing--and they all happen in really quick succession, and then when you're trying to work things out, BAM! Cliffhanger punch to the face. It's like stumbling face-first into a wall.
But hey--this book was a lot better than I thought it was going to be and filled me with some nostalgic horror, and reminded me why I hate clowns and dolls. So it could have been worse.
Warning: this review is going to be full of geekery.
I am a huge nerd. You've probably figured that out by now (or at least, I hope you have). But yeah, just in case you haven't, I'm putting it out there. Nenia Campbell is a nerd.
There are going to be lots of little side-rants in this book about manga, anime, Stephen King, fantasy, and various other things. PREPARE YOUR NOGGIN, BECAUSE JOHN GREEN DON'T HAVE NOTHING ON ME. THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE! (Also, I'm female, and being a female geek automatically garners you double coolness points. Female geeks = the shiny Pokemon of the geekoverse. Being a male geek is nothing special. So there.)
Where was I again...?
Oh, right. The book I'm supposed to be reviewing.
Going into PRETTY DEADLY, I wasn't expecting much. The name sounds like a YA PNR--probably one involving a dead girl and a human boy--and I clicked it on Netgalley mostly because of the cover, and also because I am a book magpie. (Actually, I like that name, Book Magpie. If I weren't already The Armchair Librarian, I would totally call myself The Book Magpie.)
So you can imagine how surprised I was when I discovered that, in addition to pretty artwork, PRETTY DEADLY also had a very violent, somewhat sexual storyline about the End of Days, and an anthropomorphized Death hell-bent on stopping his rival, the Ascendant.
There are like a bajillion convoluted storylines in this short, 120-page comic (my version was more like 140 pages, but I'm guessing GR librarians aren't counting the bonus material at the end). There's a man who imprisoned his wife in tower. The woman went mad with loneliness and begged for death, only Death fell in love with her and they had a kid who has major daddy issues. There's a girl who was supposed to have been sacrificed, only the guy who was supposed to do it didn't, so now he's fucked but it's okay because he loved the girl and love > listening to what the gods tell you. There's also this one guy who found an Important Document and who has sex with lots of prostitutes. And also this lady who is made out of butterflies and has sword fights and looks like a female Sephiroth.
ARE YOU STILL FOLLOWING ME? *prods the slack-jawed audience with a stick* Eww, drool.
Also, the story is being narrated by a skeleton bunny (skelebunny?--anyone remember those Skelanimals? They were like the My Littlest Petshop for emo kids) and a butterfly. Which is weird. But so is everything else in this graphic novel, so that's okay!!! (I'm okay. You're okay. HAHAHAHAHAAHA! JUST KIDDING! NO ONE IS OKAY! EVER. ESPECIALLY NOT IF YOU'RE IN *THAT* BOOK. THE 'OKAY' IS A LIE. JUST LIKE THE CAKE. /spoilers)
Right--so, the book. (I told you this was going to have lots of tangents.)
PRETTY DEADLY reminded me of a lot of things. I mean, it's a western with fantasy/post-apocalyptic elements, so obviously, I was thinking of Stephen King's DARK TOWER series (which, incidentally, was also turned into a graphic novel). PRETTY DEADLY also got me thinking about Samura Hiroaki, a mangaka who did a lot of edgy manga about sword-fighting and death and even a western, which was also featured on Netgalley about six months ago (it was called EMERALD).
The art in this book is gorgeous. The colors are dark and full of shadow, although there are unexpected bursts of light, too. The plot was great. The dialogue...was not so great. At least, it didn't really suit the book. I feel like there were lots of weird tangents in the story, too, like all that stuff with the prostitutes. I mean, naked people are fun and all, but how many pictures of naked boob does one reallllllly need in a comic? Especially since there is not equal opportunity nakedness going on--only one picture of a peen. And yet like fifty of boob. Is this a Rumiko Takahashi manga or what? (hahahaha, but seriously, that woman loves her boob.)
A lot of the manga being marketed today is super light and fluffy and kind of has me rolling my eyes and going, "SHOUJO, PLEASE." The older manga and anime were a lot darker. For example, there were a lot of OVA released direct to video in the 90s by a company called U.S. Manga Corps. (a subsidiary of Central Park Media, which went bankrupt in 2009, apparently. Boooooo.) U.S. Manga Corps released a number of REALLY AWESOME (but DARK! AND HIGHLY SEXUAL!) anime like Birdy the Mighty, Voltage Fighters: Gowcaizer The Movie, Yu Yu Hakusho the Movie: Poltergeist Report, Grappler Baki, Ayane's High Kick, Legend of Lemnear, and Black Jack. While reading PRETTY DEADLY, I was reminded of my otaku adolescence, and in that sense, reading the story really made me nostalgic for all the weird shit I read/watched as a teen.
I think PRETTY DEADLY is probably going to turn out to be one of those everyone-hates-it-but-nenia type books. The kind that falls into a niche that has people going "this is squick!" or "this is stupid" but also has a small (but very vocal--HI!) group of people who go, "this shit is messed up and I love it! WHERE'S VOLUME TWO?" If you're a fan of any of the things I mentioned in those long ranty block paragraphs, you will probably like PRETTY DEADLY. (Well, unless you were hoping for a YA PNR between a dead girl and a living boy. You will probably be unhappy.)
I remember when TWILIGHT first went viral, everyone was falling over themselves to make fun of the genre. And someone wrote this hilarious blog post about what it would be like if Stephenie Meyer wrote a romance novel about Bigfoot. I don't remember the specifics, except that the MC would live in the middle of a national park because she was the daughter of a forest ranger, and the Bigfoots would be beautiful, mostly hairless, bearded men--and I laughed my ass off a lot. I did a cursory search for the OP but couldn't find it anywhere, so maybe the OP removed it, which would be a shame. Maybe they figured that they might want the book after all and removed the post so nobody would steal their idea. Maybe it's already published. But if it is, CUM FOR BIGFOOT is not that book.
karen is such a bad influence on me, I swear. She finds the strangest books on Goodreads and makes them sound so good (or so bad) that I just can't help myself--I have to read them. I blame her for starting the monster porn craze. I had no idea how many different kinds of monsters people out there want to write sex about. All of them, apparently. Everything from zombies to unicorns.
I got CUM FOR BIGFOOT free for download from Smashwords. (Now that my e-reader is finally getting cleared of Netgalley ARCs, I have a chance to actually look at some of my freebies.) The book starts out with three boys and three girls in the woods with a stepfather chaperone. Does one of the girls immediately start fucking the chaperone? But of course! This is porn!
Christopher's stepdad was a naughty daddy. His finger in my pussy was driving me wild, as I quivered with pleasure and need (9).
Who's Bigfoot again?
His huge tool was thrusting and demanding. He took me roughly, his balls smacking against me.
"That's it. Thatta girl. Take daddy's cock, you nasty girl" (12).
Screw Bigfoot (literally).
Sometimes, you just have to channel your inner-V.C. Andrews. And speaking of channels--
He drove deep, practically banging on the door of my cervix (13).
The end suddenly erupted, and wild splashes of whitened cream were tossed out haphazardly into my face, sprinkling my tongue (14).
So the MC fucks stepdaddy-dearest, and NO ONE MUST KNOW because otherwise his wife might find out and get mad (gee, ya think?). Next morning, post-coitus, the girls go out in the woods for fun hiking and camping experience...and get drugged! OH NOEZ!
When they wake up, they find themselves in a cage. Standing outside the cage is a crazy old woman with a stockpiled collection of lubricating oil and sex toys, and her son, Leonard.
From within the tufts of matted hair, the creature released a huge pale cock that defied logic. It was riddled with intersecting veins and bulging on the end like a tennis ball. That massive cock was going to be inside Shelly in a matter of moments, and we were powerless to help her (19).
A.K.A. Bigcock--I mean, Bigfoot.
The MC watches from her cage as Bigfoot rapes her two best friends while the old woman stimulates them with the vibrator.
"Whoooaaarrrr!" roared the animal. A second later, he pulled himself from her. "Aaaarrrhhhhhh..."
He held his gleaming tool as he pointed it at Shelly's belly, spurting a shocking amount of semen, which doused her abdomen and breasts with milky fluid. It was like a fully loaded water gun.
The MC is the prettiest, so she gets saved for last. Bigfoot attempts to woo her, taking her in front of the fireplace, even doing some foreplay before demanding that she suck his water gun. The MC enjoys herself immensely, all thoughts of naughty step-daddy erased from her brain. The two cuddle together and when she wakes up her friends are still traumatized.
But it's OK! She has a great idea! They can have a foursome with Bigfoot, and then run away!!!
It's so easy.
OR IS IT?
My reaction at the end of the book can pretty much be summed up thusly:
The writing is bad, the story is bad, the sex is bad...it's so bad it's almost good, but not quite. Also, there is rape. AND AN OLD VIBRATOR-HAPPY WOMAN WHO SEEMS TO GET OFF ON MANAGING HER SON'S SEX LIFE. WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH THAT???
I am disturb.
karen, how could you have led me astray? :P ...more