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November 3, 2008 |

By Dustin Rowles | PaEHba Day | November 3, 2008 |

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.

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

Some Like It Wicked by Teresa Medeiros / Sarah Larson

PaEHba Day | November 3, 2008 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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