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I Read (Almost) a Whole Romance Novel, and All I Got Was This Stupid Migraine

Some Like It Wicked by Teresa Medeiros / Sarah Larson

Book Reviews | November 3, 2008 | Comments (59)


Ugh. I seriously don’t even know where to start.

Those of you who know me are likely well aware that romance novels aren’t exactly my cup of tea, to say the least. However, the Pajibettes wanted a girly book review to place at the altar of the Godtopussy, and what’s more girly than a romance novel? And for the first five minutes after I agreed to do this, I laughed to myself about the ridiculous ease of a puff piece review of some heaving bodice ripper … and then ten seconds later I realised that I didn’t even know where to start in finding a romance book to review. It’s not a good sign when you stall out in step one, kids.

So anyway, I recruited the aid of my friend Morgagod, who reads (and LIKES!) the Anita Blake series, and we went on a field trip to a couple of book stores and I did a little digging in their romance sections. I had gotten it into my head that I didn’t want anything totally wacky or straight-up porny, but just a recently released (in paperback) “normal” romance novel that did not have vampires or werewolves or people who turn into cats or have sex with ghosts or have two penises each or travel through time or some shit, and lemme tell you, it turns out that a recently released romance novel without any of that is not terribly easy to find. At least, not one which costs less than five dollars (that’s my cap on joke purchases).


After a thoroughly unsuccessful half hour of searching, I decided to focus on only books with pink or purple covers, and only ones with “wicked” or “rogue” or “scandal” or something like that in the title, because those ones seemed to be generally free of vampires and whatnot. I read the back blurbs of a shit ton of those ones, and picked the stupidest-sounding one of them all. It’s called Some Like It Wicked, by Teresa Medeiros. Here are a bunch of actual phrases from the back cover that convinced me this was the winner:


- Highland beauty
- cares nothing for propriety
- storms the grounds of Newgate Prison
- restore her clan’s honour
- disgraced nobleman
- notorious rogue
- wicked rake
- sensual prize
- tomboy… blah blah… blossomed into a headstrong temptress
- knight errant
- damsel in distress
- adventure and peril
- vanquish her enemies
- discover a passion beyond their wildest dreams

Guess what? The ridonkulosity of that shit don’t even begin to cover it. In the first chapter alone, we’ve got a 10-year-old Scottish girl shipped off to live with uptight English relatives when her parents are murdered, and at age 15 she finds her shrieking harpy slutzilla cousin dry humping a Navy Lieutenant in the barn, so she naturally falls immediately in love with him even though he never learns her first name before he sails off into the deep blue sea (sadly, he does not get bitten in half by a shark while discussing the murderous properties of ice).

Cut to five years later, and Girl (her name is Catriona, which is dumb as hell and I refuse to call her that) is dumping tea in the lap of a Marquess who just broke his engagement to Cousin Slutzilla, and after he storms out, Girl gets into a fight with her uncle about how she wants to scamper off to Scotland to save her outlaw relatives and win back her land or some ridiculous thing that would literally have never entered the head of an early-19th-century woman, and her uncle says he’s doubling her dowry and marrying her off to the first fool who will have her. Mr. Tea-Lapped Marquess overhears the whole thing, and focusing primarily on the “double dowry” part, announces he’s going to marry Girl just as soon as he’s done with some sort of Marquess business which I can’t recall, because what the hell does it matter anyway.

The POINT here is that Girl brilliantly decides to hunt down Navy Lieutenant dude and marry his ass instead. Even though she met him five years ago for like ten minutes and hasn’t seen or talked to him since. Even though he’s in prison. Even though he’s the bastard second son of… an Earl? I don’t remember. Anyway, his brother died (of dysentery, but it wasn’t nearly as cool as Oregon Trail) so he’s technically the heir now even though his father hates him, and he got knighted in the Napoleonic Wars, but he’s still in debtor’s prison and is famous amongst the ton for being some kind of thieving man-whore or whatever. Girl still wants to marry him, because she is functionally retarded. Navy Lieutenant’s name is Simon, by the way, but that’s my cat’s name and I don’t like to associate his delicate nature with man-whoring thievery, so from now on Navy Lieutenant will be referred to as Jailbird.

So Girl somehow convinces Nobleman of Contrivance (to whom Jailbird owes a shit ton of money) to release Jailbird from prison, on the theory that being married to Girl is greater punishment than rotting in Newgate (this is the one and only bit of the book which possesses a whiff of logic). Girl thinks they’ll have a quick and painless marriage of Highland adventure and dowry splitting and then come back to England and just get an annulment (she suggests this as though an annulment is something one can simply pick up at an apothecary). Jailbird, however, demands that they get sexified as part of the bargain, and Girl is dumb enough to agree. This scheme is not only historically absurd, but asininely stupid. I hate this book.

Speaking of historically absurd, on page 77, Jailbird tells Girl to call him “sweetcakes.” Are you goddamn kidding me? PEOPLE DID NOT CALL EACH OTHER “SWEETCAKES” IN THE 19TH FUCKING CENTURY. On page 87, Jailbird is described as being — and this is a direct quote — “…as large and exotic and dangerous as an African tiger drowsing in the sun.” I hope this is a reference to a million-year-old sabre-toothed tiger fossil, because THERE ARE NO FUCKING TIGERS IN AFRICA. On page 122, Jailbird starts thinking about French letters. This book takes place in 1810, so it’s fascinating to me that he would refer to condoms using a term which would not appear for like FORTY-FIVE FUCKING YEARS. I don’t know who Teresa Medeiros is, but for her sake I hope she was high as hell when she wrote this book, otherwise she’s just unfathomably stupid.

I can’t even handle this. Look, these two dumbass jackholes don’t even have actual sex until Chapter 17, and it takes up more than 15 pages but it’s totally boring and not hot at all, and Jailbird uses myrrh-scented oil as a lubricant, so you know Girl is totally gonna get a yeast infection. That ain’t sexy. Then they break up and Girl runs away, but they get back together when Jailbird asks her to have sex in front of witnesses. Seriously. Then an entire Scottish clan swears fealty to Girl as their chieftain. Girl is, I’d like to point out, female. THERE WERE NO FUCKING GIRL CHIEFTAINS OF SCOTTISH CLANS. Jesus God, this book sucks.

I’m done. I’m only on page 340 and the book is 372 pages long, but I can’t read another 32 pages of this. I surrender. I’m going to go read some literature of a higher caliber, like Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in Her Pocket.

Sarah Larson is not the scorpion-eating famewhore who once dated George Clooney. She lives in Minnesota, where she is usually up to no good. You can find her monitoring the imminent undead armageddon at Zombie Forecast, or hardly ever updating her woefully neglected blog at Unscheduled.


Fantasy Girls | Kissing Jessica Stein



Comments

I have been waiting for this one all fucking day!!! Ok, now I'll go read it. YAY!

Posted by: Lainey at November 3, 2008 3:32 PM

I find the existence of an ad for Twilight on this review even more awesome.

Sarina, where in the hell is my RTR of whatever unholy Meyer book you were drinking yourself into a stupor about?

Also, was this book a historical Harlequin romance novel? Did it have a Fabio descendant on the cover?

Posted by: Melody at November 3, 2008 3:37 PM

Look, these two dumbass jackholes don't even have actual sex until Chapter 17, and it takes up more than 15 pages but it's totally boring and not hot at all, and Jailbird uses myrrh-scented oil as a lubricant, so you know Girl is totally gonna get a yeast infection.

Oh sweet humping pirate wenches, I just laughed for a good 5 minutes straight. This review was awesome Sarah.

But I have no sympathy. NO. SYMPATHY. Why? Because for my book club (shut up) I had to read an 896 page monstrosity called Outlander. The description:

While on her second honeymoon in the British Isles, Claire touches a boulder that hurls her back in time to the forbidden Castle Leoch with the MacKenzie clan. Not understanding the forces that brought her there, she becomes ensnared in life-threatening situations with a Scots warrior named James Fraser. But it isn't all spies and drudgery that she must endure. For amid her new surroundings and the terrors she faces, she is lured into love and passion like she's never known before.

Fuck you up your pee hole, Diana Gabaldon. Some of the sex dialogue was, VERBATIM, "Ride ye I will!" and "I gave ye my soul now I give ye my cock."

GAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH.

Posted by: Julie at November 3, 2008 3:38 PM

Oh, Sarah. Thank you for sharing your pain. I legit spend my whole summer every year on the beach tanning and reading trashy romance novels, but even this one seems out of control. Also, I always stop reading right after the two main characters have sex, because usually the pages following are worthless.

Posted by: Marra at November 3, 2008 3:42 PM

The fuck kinda' book club are you in, Julie?

Posted by: Lainey at November 3, 2008 3:42 PM

Sarah,

I must admit I didn't read your review when you e-mailed it to me. I wanted to save it for today so I could bring some joy to my tedious job.

You succeeded.

I printed it, walked outside, sat on a bench and laughed my ass off. There are not enough words for me to express how much I appreciate your courage to read this fucking "book" about "fucking." This is an excellent review. I laughed my ass off.

Posted by: Sofía at November 3, 2008 3:44 PM

It's me and 6 other people, there's 6 girls and my best friend Jay. We rotate every month who gets to pick the book, and Outlander was the choice of the one girls because she's obviously sadistic. Jay showed up to meeting having not even bought it the book, his excuse was "Fuck that shit." :p

Posted by: Julie at November 3, 2008 3:45 PM

the roommates and I had a dog-eared (and highlighted!) old romance novel we found somewhere that we would break out when we were drunk

we recited passages of that ratty old thing for laughs so many times I think our neighbours had it memorized...

good times
good times

Posted by: Bethy at November 3, 2008 3:45 PM

I tried to read an Anita Blake book and all I got out of it was that werewolves are hung like fire hydrants and blood is sexy sexy sexy.

Posted by: Julie at November 3, 2008 3:48 PM

Oh my God, I seriously can't handle my typo in the last sentence. Dustin, if you prettyprettyplease capitalise the H in the word "has" of the Junie B. Jones title, I promise I'll sneak a snack down to the dungeons for you.

And for everyone who's been asking about the RTR of Eclipse, yes it's still happening. It took me a little over a month to force my way through the book, and the review clocked in at well over 10,000 words. I've been whittling it down, but I can only take so much of that Twilight stuff each day before I start talking to myself and throwing things. Also, sometimes the deciphering of my drunken ramblings is a bit of an issue.

Posted by: Sarina at November 3, 2008 3:50 PM

This review ranks in my Top 10 of Pajiba reviews. I cannot express my love for it without getting me some myrrh-scented lubricant...

Posted by: Lindsay at November 3, 2008 3:51 PM

...I start talking to myself and throwing things. Also, sometimes the deciphering of my drunken ramblings is a bit of an issue.

Sooo, just like any other day then?

Posted by: Lainey at November 3, 2008 3:53 PM

First of all, I must say in my defense I am addicted against my will to the Anita Blake series. It was an accident. That series is like Heroin. It might have been good at one point, however when the writer forgets a character's name, sexual preferences, and several plot points,I give up.

I am glad my coworkers already consider me a little crazy, because I was cracking up like an inbread hyena reading this. Good job Spazzy McGee, you do us proud.

Posted by: Morgagod at November 3, 2008 3:56 PM

I can't get past the Oregon Trail reference. I LOVE that game, Siranha. Love it.

And apparently there's no defending my taste in books, as I actually enjoyed Outlander way back in the day when I read it. And I enjoyed the Anita Blake books until she started having sex with anything and everything that possessed a penis (and as I understand it, now she's doing chicks, too)...

But yeah, this is why I don't read historical romance anymore (I did, in high school), because I spend more time seeing red over the ridiculous shit these authors try to pass off as "history". They actually made her chieftain of a clan?!?! Excuse me while I go twitch in a corner.

Posted by: lizzieborden at November 3, 2008 3:56 PM

Formula for a Historical Romance

- Set in Ireland or England, or maybe the Southern States.
- Heroine must have:
eyes of A) jade; B) voilet; C) amber
hair that cascades in a waterfall
slim, boyish hips and high, firm breasts
- Heroine must feel unattractive, although men swoon about her.
- Hero must have long hair, broad shoulders, smouldering eyes, and must be at LEAST a head taller than every other man in the novel.
- Couple must initially hate one another, but be attracted to each other.

And the piece de resistance is the deflowering scene. Heroine must fight madly against it, but Hero knows that "no" really means "fight harder" and in the end she is quivering with anticipation and her loins are on fire blah blah. The sex is fabulous and the live happily ever after. DOES IT BOTHER NO ONE THAT THESE NOVELS ARE SINGING THE PRAISES OF RAPE???????

Blargh. I could write one of those things in my sleep.

Hrm... maybe I should write one. How much do you think I could make? Enough to quit my day job? Enough to pay off my mortgage?

Posted by: Pea at November 3, 2008 3:56 PM

Hah! I read most of Outlander once, on the recommendation of a friend, and for the first three-quarters of it kept thinking, "Ok, it's going to get good....now." But it didn't. I gave up.

I thought that's what she was reviewing at first. Then I thought, "Who decided it would be a good idea to rewrite Outlander?"

When I was in high school, I would find the raunchiest romance novels I could, and skip right to the sex scenes. I discovered that Lace was actually pretty good when I read the whole thing a few years ago, and the sex scenes were still hot.

Posted by: Alexandra at November 3, 2008 3:59 PM

P.S. To rip off Clueless, searching for historical accuracy in a romance novel is like looking for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie.

Posted by: Alexandra at November 3, 2008 4:04 PM

When I was in sixth grade I found a romance novel that belonged to my step-mother. I read it cover to cover and was even stupid enough to take it to school where my social studies teacher confiscated it. Of course as a 12 year old I was fascinated and didn't understand half of what was going on. Can you imagine how fucked up I was because I thought that was how sex was going to be?! I'm actually still recovering from it.

Posted by: Austin at November 3, 2008 4:05 PM

Oh my God, HI MORGAINE!

Holy shit, you guys. This is the first time a person from my fleshlife has played in this here sandbox!

Everyone should give Morgagod a word of thanks, because she is the reason I found this book to review. Also, one time in the middle of the night about two years ago when I was heavily under the influence, we cooked up a scheme to write a bad romance novel, just to see if it would get published. We decided on Halloween that we're seriously gonna try to do it. Buckle your chin straps, bitches.

Posted by: Sarina at November 3, 2008 4:06 PM

And apparently there's no defending my taste in books, as I actually enjoyed Outlander way back in the day when I read it. And I enjoyed the Anita Blake books until she started having sex with anything and everything that possessed a penis (and as I understand it, now she's doing chicks, too)...


Lizzie-

I enjoyed Outlander too. Although, I gave up part of the way through the fifth (fourth?) book. I just couldn't handle it anymore. At least it tried to be historically accurate.

Oh, and try the book on CD version of the Anita Blake books. They cut out most of the sex and Voila! A plot appears!

(please don't ask me how I know that)

Posted by: Morgagod at November 3, 2008 4:08 PM

Oh maaan this is the best book review of all time! hahahaha Sarah...oh Sarah you poor poor girl. This was fantastic. I could see your mind disintegrating with rage as the review wore on, what with the caps lock and all, I could almost hear the teeth grinding and 'grr' sounds. Beautiful!

Julie, I read that too! Oh that book is sooo embarrassing and long and the sex scenes are so completely uncomfortable and weird (I think it's in the second book where she pretends to be the man who raped her husband to...heal him? it's very bizarre) and the whole thing was so fucking long and rambling...And can you believe that there are like six books to that damned series? SIX!

Marra, when I was younger I used to look at these books at bookstores and just look for the bits with the sex. Very easy to find, but totally not worth the search most of the time...

Posted by: figgy at November 3, 2008 4:08 PM

Of course I would hunt you down for this! I was part of the nefarious plot. Who else could you call for this kind of crazy?

I would "hug" you but I might catch your chiggers... or possibly an earwig.

Posted by: Morgagod at November 3, 2008 4:11 PM

Julie
I had Outlander recommended to me by a dear friend, only to be subjected to that ridicularious (ridiculous+hilarious) pillow-talk. Remember the part where he won't stop fucking her and then there is some nonsense about her moving past the pain into crazy orgasm land? How uncomfortable was that to read?
I never had the heart to break it to my friend that I hated this book.

Posted by: Blonde Savant at November 3, 2008 4:13 PM

Blonde Savant, that's the "ride ye I will" scene! Ha! My roommate and I would open to a random page, point to a sentence, read it out loud, and roll around in our living room laughing.

To be fair I can see why people would enjoy the book-I did read the whole thing, and I'll admit that certain aspects of the plot had me going "Aw FUCK, I have to keep reading to see what happens now."

But for the most part I wanted to beat my own ass with a leather strap.

Posted by: Julie at November 3, 2008 4:18 PM

Oh, and try the book on CD version of the Anita Blake books. They cut out most of the sex and Voila! A plot appears!

So, the cds are about twenty minutes long then? I mean, if they cut out all the sex...?! (ooh, burn!)

I think I read the first few Outlander books, and enjoyed them (although apparently I blocked out the parts about the guy being raped... I really don't remember that). I know folks who've read every last one, but I just haven't been able to get back into them. meh.

Posted by: lizzieborden at November 3, 2008 4:19 PM

That sounds very appropriate to the genre, Julie.

Posted by: Sofía at November 3, 2008 4:20 PM

But for the most part I wanted to beat my own ass with a leather strap.

hey now, wait til next weekend, a'ight? ;)

Posted by: lizzieborden at November 3, 2008 4:21 PM

figgy holy shit I was so disturbed by that I blocked it out entirely. But it totally worked, because I couldn't put that shit down.

You guys, how fucked up must Diana Gabaldon be to not only imagine this shit, but write it down.

Posted by: Blonde Savant at November 3, 2008 4:22 PM

we recited passages of that ratty old thing for laughs so many times I think our neighbours had it memorized...


Bethy-

I have a few friends that do the same thing. Our favorite line is "He was hungry and untamed, intent on one purpose"

It was also one of the stunts for a bachelorette party, the bride-to-be had to get a guy to read a scene from a romance novel to her (from the same book). We have it on video. Classic!


Lizzie-

The one I listened to was a typical length. However... have you ever noticed how many serial killers and mass murderers are in St. Louis? It seems more dangerous than Cabot Cove.

Posted by: Morgagod at November 3, 2008 4:24 PM

I think this is one of the best book reviews ever. Not because it sounds like a book that I would survive looking at, or your humor--but your dismay. Although, I have to admit I was a little disappointed. From the back cover descriptions, I was hoping it would be a thinly veiled 'novel' about Sarah Palin and her rogue ways.

Posted by: Girl With Curious Hair at November 3, 2008 4:25 PM

I am loving the hell out of this. I love your stuff, Sarah. You're brilliant!

Sidenote: Sooooo... with this day of Paheeba, does that mean there's a Gay Pajiba Day on the way, because that would be tons of fun too.

Posted by: Saint Saturn Sunshine at November 3, 2008 4:26 PM

Claire was nearly raped, what, twice? And it was mentioned much much more than that. I think Ms. Gabaldon has a bit of a rape fantasy fetish. Well, more of a "I was mere inches away from being raped but my strapping young husband has saved me AGAIN and now we shall have wild sex in a haystack" fetish. Which is fine for her and all, but I don't find it all that alluring.

Posted by: Julie at November 3, 2008 4:29 PM

he never learns her first name before he sails off into the deep blue sea (sadly, he does not get bitten in half by a shark while discussing the murderous properties of ice).

Sarina, are you my soulmate? Do you have the other half of this chicken sub?

Chiggers... *teehee*

Posted by: jM at November 3, 2008 4:51 PM

Jailbird uses myrrh-scented oil as a lubricant, so you know Girl is totally gonna get a yeast infection. That ain't sexy.

Sarina, you are beautiful.

And Pea, several years ago, after reading this romance novel my ridiculous sister had me read, I got it into my head that I could write one. I wrote about 100 pages before Katrina took it away from me. I don't remember much about it, but I did use the term "quivering loins" and it was set mostly in England. It were awesome. You could whip one out in your sleep...logic isn't necessary for those who read this shite.

Posted by: jamiepants at November 3, 2008 4:53 PM

This is only the second review I've read today but this has already become the greatest Pajiba day EVER. You just inspired me to dig out a romance novel that my friends gave me a while back, inspired by the reference to Thor (the name of my penis) on the back page. A Very Virile Viking. Set in... Hollywood?

I can already tell this is going to be amazing-the main guy is named after the author's grandfather, and gets mistaken for an "act-whore." Bring it on, Sandra Hill.

Posted by: Sabrina at November 3, 2008 4:58 PM

My friends and I bought the worst romance novels we could find last summer. Mine was some crazy story about an island off north Scotland, where this woman who was like the lady of the island had to fall in love with a green-eyed man in order for the people on her island to be able to have girl babies again. Or was it boy babies? I don't know, there was some kind of anti-baby curse.
Did I mention that about half of the character spoke in a Scottish "accent"? I threw it across the room at least five times.
Anyway, after the leading man had been described for about the fifty-bajillionth time as having "feline grace", I looked over to see my overweight cat Singe licking her own ass, then looking up at me like, "Whut?"
It was a special moment.

Posted by: Blonde Savant at November 3, 2008 5:11 PM

Ooh, yeah, I actually read romance novels for fun (I have an English Literature degree plus a Master's in Librarianship, so back off, eh?) and even I wouldn't have made it through that one.

My suggestion for anyone who remembers the genre fondly from long Summer vacations, is to try something by Amanda Quick ("Ravished" is a good one). She writes clever near-parodies of Regency romance. Her Jane Austen inspired ladies are self-sufficient, quick-witted and no-nonsense, her heroes tend to be quirky, good-humored and masculine without being creepy raping pigs, and she has very amusing plots with colorful secondary characters. Plus the make-sexy talk is usually fun but still kinda hot.

Posted by: lil_a at November 3, 2008 6:13 PM

I had a roommate in college who swore she learned all the history she ever needed to know by reading historical romance. She swore the research that went into those things was intense.

Umm...yeah. Glad she became a graphic designer.

Posted by: Wednesday at November 3, 2008 6:14 PM

Sarina, I just laughed my entire way through the review. I think my favorite part might have been the part about African tigers and the yeast infection, mostly because your reactions were the same as mine.

Posted by: dene chen at November 3, 2008 6:28 PM

Yeah, Julie and Blonde Savant, Gabaldon is fucked up in the head. She's constantly having people raped or almost raped, then saved by the courageous men who feel that the best way to heal somebody is to fuck them. But it's ok, he's her husband! What-the-fuck-ever.

What really pissed me off is that Gabaldon looooves to repeat her plots. Claire does something stupid because she wants to "help" someone. Claire gets kidnapped. Claire gets raped or almost raped. Jaime goes rescue her. Jaime almost gets killed. Jaime rescues Claire. Jaime fucks Claire. More uncomfortable fucking ensues.

On to next stupid thing Claire does. Yeesh. By the third book I knew the formula so well that I'd skip everything until Claire is rescued again, because then she'd move on to something a bit more interesting.

Heehee..I totally forgot about that part where he takes her 'beyond pain'. Ick, ick. That guy's crazy possessiveness is supposed to be attractive? bitch, please!

Posted by: figgy at November 3, 2008 6:32 PM

Just wanted to say that *if* I was the kind of girl who enjoyed well done historical romance, I would probably only read Georgette Heyer because she does pay attention to historical accuracy and also writes damn fine novels (if I read that sort of thing of course...cough cough)

Posted by: s. pisaster at November 3, 2008 6:35 PM

Many years ago my mother and I went on vacation together to the beach. She decided she wanted a beach read, so we went to pick one up at the grocery store (in addition to said groceries). Well, Mom had left her glasses at the motel, so she couldn't read the covers of the books. She had me to read the backs out loud so she could choose one. I read a couple of them aloud, and then the idea of reading such suggestive purple prose to my mother got to me and I bust into giggles right there. Reading those blurbs silently is one thing, but aloud to your mother is something else! It was kind of like the time we went to the movies and saw "Fatal Attraction." When Glenn Close and Michael Douglas are screwing on the sink, I could not look in Mother's direction.

Posted by: rlr260 at November 3, 2008 6:35 PM

Sweet jumpin' Christ on a cracker sandwich, that was awesome. But I am sorry to tell you that your grade is "Incomplete" until you finish the last few pages of that book, young lady.

Posted by: greer at November 3, 2008 6:39 PM

*sniff* Why, oh why, are so many atrocious romance novels set in the land of my ancestors? I refuse to believe I'm descended from some rogue headstrong Highland beauty with heaving bosoms and alabaster skin. Argh.

On that note, kick-ass review, Sarina!

Posted by: meaux at November 3, 2008 7:41 PM

Why, oh why, are so many atrocious romance novels set in the land of my ancestors?

I've been told the answer to that question is: Diana Gabaldon.

Posted by: Jay at November 3, 2008 7:43 PM

Bwahahhaahaaa
My mom loves these books, and I will admit to picking one up during the summer months when I ran out of real books to read. We lived 20 miles from town and somehow, needing fresh reading material was not a good enough reason to get me the car keys. Yea Wisconsin educational standards.

Anyway, there are about two authors I can remember being able to stomach - Judith McNaught writes a pretty good story, and if you're looking for some really smutty smut/fantasy and even some politics, try Jacqueline Carey.
Oh, and also anxiously awaiting the RTR Eclipse review.
Though I never did try Diana Gabaldon, though I HATE when they try to "write in" spoken accents. Ugh.

Posted by: hersheygirl at November 3, 2008 8:15 PM

Ladies, I hate to tell you this, but Sarah Larson wins Paheeba. All of you have done an awesome job today, and I love you all, but this just completely takes it.

I just laughed so hard and so long that pseudo Mr. AvB came in to see if I was okay. Tears running down my face, I assured him I was. I almost peed a little, though.

"Sweetcakes"? Really? I almost want to read this now.

Posted by: Anna von Beaverplatz at November 3, 2008 8:26 PM

Confession time:
Sometimes when I'm in a bookstore or grocery store I love (and I mean LOVE) reading the backs of bodice-rippin' novels. I'll stand in the aisle giggling for a while until inevitable an attractive man walks by and assumes I have the maturity of a nine-year-old. But Sarah's pulled quotes from the back of this book are exactly why I love to do it... The language always ends up being so ridiculous.

Plus, once at the beach, my grandmother only had a romance novel with two stories in it. Anyway, it was one of the first ones I'd ever read and it's exactly why I think I have a thing for single dads who are cowboys (don't you effin' judge me). Also, is it weird my grandmother gave that book to me to read when I was 15? This is not the grandmother that told me when I was 14 that it was ok to drink, as long as I did it alone first with out the influence of peer pressure. Ya know, just to see if I reeeally liked it. Ohhh crazy g-mas.

Sarah, this review kicked sooo much ass and had me laughing way too loudly at work. Thanks for the humor!

Posted by: Kayanne at November 3, 2008 8:48 PM

In my youth, I went through a romance novel phase. I didn't take them too seriously and eventually gave up on them.

I will always remember, however, the following description:

"The fuzzy forest that guarded her virginal domain."

Can great literature compete with that?

Posted by: ncnn at November 3, 2008 8:54 PM

You want an entertaining historical romance with no vampires or any of that crap? Go old school. Try My Enemy, the Queen by Victoria Holt. From amazon.com: This is a captivating novel that follows the life of Elizabeth I from her innocent girlhood to her eventual death as a never-married queen. The story is solidly based on actual events and people, from the book's narrator, Lettice, to the Queen's suitors, Robert Dudley and Robert Devereaux. The story is told from the point of view of Lettice, a cousin of the Queen's on the Boleyn side who is a rival for Robert Dudley's (Earl of Leicester) affections and who eventually becomes his wife. Lettice's son from her first marriage, Robert Devereaux (Earl of Essex), grows up to become himself a favorite of the Queen's, a situation not without complications. With some poetic license, the engaging stories of these characters/historical figures are set against the compelling backdrop of Elizabethan England. This book is a most wonderful read.

I went to an all girls' Catholic school run by the Maryknoll nuns in Guatemala and discovered this gem of a book in the school library when I was 13 years old. Almost 17 years and a gazillion books later, it is still one of my all-time favorites.

Posted by: Az at November 3, 2008 9:33 PM

Enjoyed your review - very funny.

Anyone who is interested in historical romance (the hero Francis Crawford is Scottish too LOL) should read Dorothy Dunnetts Lymond series - absolutely brilliant. Apart from the hero Lymond and his family and friends all the characters are real life people from the 15th century. The first book is set in Scotland then the others are in France, Malta, Constantinople, Russia.

Posted by: Sylvia at November 4, 2008 1:59 AM

one of my best friends and i traveled to spain and scotland this summer, so this review plus the "ride ye i will" made us die laughing. i also wanted to bring up that in preparation for our trip, i bought my friend a copy of "the spaniard's defiant virgin," and i kept pronouncing "virgin" as "ver-hin"... you know, to make it more authentic or something. lord.

Posted by: yumi at November 4, 2008 5:03 AM

I used to like the Anita Blake books my dad gave me the first one to read and I was hooked it was our thing he'd read one then pass it on to my and my sister then we'd all talk about the fight scenes, raising the dead and vampires.
They were a tried and tested formula that worked- A girl fighting vampires and all kinds of spooky, paranormal whatnot, what's not to like?
Until they descended into full on literary porn and it got harder and harder for my dad to look us in the eye when he gave us the books sometimes he would just leave them on the kitchen table with a note telling us what chapters to avoid, and it got harder for us to look at my dad knowing he had read what we had and.....trust me when its gets to a point were you and your dad are sharing the same paranormal porn you need to stop reading that shit and never ever mention those books again, otherwise you might as well buy a one way ticket to Kentucky and hook up with your nearest cousin.

Posted by: nieve at November 4, 2008 7:31 AM

Diana Gabaldon is not a romance novelist! She's a historian who writes historical fiction! And...I loved her books. But I love super long books - I read really fast and run out of books constantly. I read Harlequins when I was 13(what?) and I know from shitty romance novel. Maybe. Quick - Obama!

Posted by: Farfalina at November 4, 2008 1:02 PM

maaan nieve...Anita Blake used to RULE. Laurell didn't just have a truly kickass heroine, she had some laugh out loud funny moments and a nice habit of giving beloved characters their own interesting threads that she followed up in their very own books (Obsidian Butterfly gave the fucking ridiculously awesome Edward his own incredible back story and let us get just the faintest idea of how incredibly awesome he was) but now its....i mean is their even a thread?

At least with Anita she tried though. She took three or so books to really get into the filthy, plotless fuckery..With her other series, the Meredith Gentry books, she didnt even pretend they wheren't fuckbooks from day one and that was just...i mean Fairies having violent, bloody, and oh so graphic orgies and fuck fests...not to mention she took a WILD swing at some point in both series' into like...damn near paedophilia(sex with a four foot tall goblin with a very childlike way about him in Gentry) and honest to god bestiality (sex with half and probably by now, fully changed werecreatures in Anita Blake) which...Look im by no means a prude but there's a line. and its WHAT MAY BE PAEDOPHILIA AND WHAT IS BESTIALITY DAMN IT LAURELL! DAMN IT ALL!!!!!

Posted by: nadine at November 4, 2008 5:51 PM

Right, so I actually have read another book written by Theresa Medeiros. I forget what it's called, but check it out:

A modern day woman get sucked back into medieval times and she has magic powers, but they're not really under her control. While imprisoned in a dungeon, she is hungry and wishes up a roomful of Big Macs. Somehow the hero rescues her from the dungeon or some shit. But the great bit is when the villain visits her cell after she's gone and sees the mountain of food and is all, "WTF???" He muses to himself, "Wherefore didst this food come?", sticks his finger in the Big Mac, tastes it and exclaims, "Ah! Tis a special sauce!"

Sidebar: when I was 13 I read a bunch of Barbara Cartland books that I bought at a garage sale. I re-read one recently out of nostalgia and I can't believe it's taken me 25 years to realize that B. Cart was one seriously fucked up lady.

Posted by: kerin34 at November 4, 2008 10:37 PM

kerin34, you are PRECIOUS to me because of that comment.

Posted by: Sofía at November 4, 2008 10:50 PM

"I surrender. I'm going to go read some literature of a higher caliber, like Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in Her Pocket."
Dear God, why can't I stop laughing? I think I'm recovered and then I keep picturing the cover of that book and it sets me off all over again.

Posted by: BiblioGeek at November 5, 2008 4:00 AM

I love Junie B., BiblioGeek! I own the whole Kindergarten part of the series! I am totally not even kidding. I stopped reading it after the first two or three of the First Grade books, though. They didn't seem as funny to me. Do they get better? Should I start reading the series again?

Awww man, now I'm all nostalgic about Handsome Warren and the time she cut her own hair and ended up with sprigs and how she wanted her baby brother's name to be Mrs. Gutzman (or Teeny). I need to re-read those books.

Posted by: Sarina at November 5, 2008 9:05 AM








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