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tamabam

tamabam

My alternate identity is Tammy Walton Grant at GoodReads

SPOILER ALERT!

Some "kinky fuckery" here, mixed with some crappy writing and an irresponsible omission.

A Marriage of Inconvenience (The Attic Series) (Volume 1) - Elise Hepner

So a friend of mine on facebook (who shall remain nameless, mostly because I haven't told her yet that she owes me $2.95 for the cost of this book) shared a truly excellent book ad the other day.  There was a beautiful shot of a man's arm in a french-cuffed white shirt, a heroine named Izobel, and a quote that was straight out of "Alpha/Dom speeches 101".  It had me.  And when my friend said she'd had a look at the sample and it was promising, that was all it took for me.  CLICK. 

 

And two hours later?  I'm done the book, I'm annoyed, borderline offended, and thinking that was $2.95 and two hours of my life I'll never get back. 

 

This should have been good.  Elise Hepner has taken two of my favourite tropes (marriage of convenience and best friends boinking) and mashed them up with a measure of kink thrown in for good measure.  Pretty standard for a contemporary romance these days, and I was looking forward to reading what this author's take on these standards would be.             

 

What I got was a disjointed, choppy, cheat of a story, with two-dimensional characters and flat dialogue.  The entire premise of the book was based on a need for the marriage in the first place, and 3/4 of the way through the book the premise is erased - just like that - and never mentioned again.  Not only that, but an icky, almost offensive connection between BDSM and the hero witnessing his mother's murder that had me thinking someone needed to take Bash to a psychologist, and quick.

 

Izzy and Bash have been friends forever (except for that time between middle school and high school that they weren't, and really who cares, but the author thought we should so she stuck in a weird flashback to start her story) and apparently Izzy is in love with Bash.  Don't know why really, even with all the telling the author does.  I never got the connection between them, never saw the foundation for what was to come. 

 

Somehow we are able to determine that Izzy's mom has cancer, is quite ill, and is in hospital having chemo.  Also somehow, through the garbled conversations and inner-voice meanderings of these two, we are told that Bash and Izzy have decided somehow to get married to make her happy before she dies. They share a couple of heated kisses at the hospital and somehow there is a wedding ceremony.

 

The wedding night doesn't happen, as Bash takes off from the romantic, rose-petal-strewn hotel suite and goes to some Dom/Sub club called The Attic where Izzy catches up with him in a "scene".  Then the book got weird.  For me, anyway.

 

There are flashbacks to Bash's mom's death - at the hands of a boyfriend who beat her for his own pleasure - which has somehow molded Bash's sexual proclivities.  This was where things got creepy for me.  I don't mind a little bit of BDSM in my books;  I've read that stupid 50 Shades, and virtually every contemporary you pick up nowadays has a hero who likes a bit of rough play.  What I DON'T like is when the hero is described as having a "not-so-secret love of BDSM", but his behaviour as portrayed by the author is closer to that of a sadist.  He considers himself a monster, and tells Izzy so. 

 

It just got worse for me after that.  Their first sexual encounter is rough, and Bash spanks the shit out of her.  For a first-timer, I found it a teeensy bit hard to believe that all it took for her was a bottle of champagne and a couple of hours surfing bondage porn on the internet to discover that she was really a sub and wanted to be bruised during sex.

 

And when he takes her to the club where they ARE the scene?  That was where the author lost me.  He puts her head in a STOCK for crissakes, flogs her, puts on nipple clamps and yanks on the chains, has some big-time anal involving a dildo (after never even having TALKED about that type of sex), drips hot wax all over her and jerks off onto her back. That's pretty serious for only her second time having that type of sex.  And also?  No mention of a safe word.  At any time.

 

Now, I'm not much of a serious student of BDSM but I've learned a couple of things since "the book that shall remain nameless" came out:

 

1)            BDSM seems to be all about the sub's pleasure.  The dom gets pleasure from giving pleasure to the sub, the sub relinquishes all control to the dom. Of course, that's pretty simplistic as I believe there is a lot of stuff about control, blurring the line between pain and pleasure, anticipation and most of all TRUST involved in that type of thing.  None of that was done here.  Bash seemed to have a need to cause pain (for some unclear, creepy, psychologically-fucked-up reason) and Izzy seemed to think that she would endure whatever she needed to because she loved him (and OH! she discovers that she likes it.)

 

2)            YOU NEED TO HAVE A SAFE WORD.  If I've got my head and wrists in a fucking stock, you've put clamps on my nipples and decide to splash melted wax on me, you better fucking believe there should be a word for me to scream at you to let you know I've had enough.  I would have thought this was basic, and I'm surprised that an author of erotica would overlook this.  It's irresponsible, IMHO.

 

There were other problems I had with the book as well - in addition to the bait-and-switch with her mother's illness (aw shucks! They switched the biopsies! I'm really fine and not dying and probably didn't need all the chemo I just had!)  Bash is referred to as a workoholic by Izzy. Um, doing what? Don't think he went in to work during the entire span of the book. He drives an expensive car, and dresses well, but doesn't every contemp romance dude? And what does she do? Details, that's what was missing.  Substance, depth,  character, emotions.  Wasn't feeling it.

 

As a matter of fact, I wasn't feeling anything by the end other than somewhat annoyed.  And wondering if I actually did practice BDSM, how PO'd I would be at the portrayal of my "likes" in the bedroom being linked in a novel to a boy watching his mother being beaten to death by a sadist because it pleased him.  I also wondered if Jenny Trout has read this - and what she would have to say if she did.

 

Can't recommend this one.  I didn't buy the romance, I didn't buy the characters, and I sure a s*** didn't buy the dom/sub aspect (although what I will say is that those scenes contained the best writing in the novel). And where was the frigging SAFE WORD????

 

1 1/2 stars, rounded up.

September 2015 isssue is out!

Reblogged from Literary Chanteuse:
— feeling amazing

 

The September issue of InD'tale magazine has published! If you're a subscriber, just look for it in your inbox! Everyone else, pop over to www.indtale.com and check it out!!

Source: http://www.indtale.com

"You've seen me naked, so I'd say you're definitely qualified to say which is my best side."

Reblogged from tamabam:
That Night with the CEO (Harlequin Desire) - Karen Booth

One of my favourite contemporary romance authors debuts with Harlequin Desire this month! Karen manages to push all of my "like" buttons every time out, and her latest effort, "One Night with the CEO" is no exception. (copy of the book provided by the author in exchange for an honest review).

 

To summarize: Melanie Costello is working her butt off to keep her small PR firm going. No small feat, after her business (and romantic) partner defected with one of their clients. When telecom mogul Roger Langford retains her to repair his playboy son's image after his latest tabloid scandal, she comes face to face with her best-kept secret: her one-night stand with Adam Langford.

 

Adam is gorgeous, interested, and still out of reach, now more so than ever.  Can Melanie keep a professional distance from Adam? If she can it will make her career.  If she can't, more than her firm is on the line - her heart is at risk as well.

 

So here's the thing.  I am SO excited for Karen - she was with Ellora's Cave, did three books with a small-press, re-released her old stuff herself, and this is her debut with Harlequin. So cool! The only drawback to a Harlequin is that an author is constrained by the company's guidelines, and I believe that includes the length of the book.  I would have loved to see more of both characters, and as I know how good she is at character development, it's hard not to feel a bit like she was just able to scratch the surface with Melanie and Adam's story.

 

That being said, Adam Langford is a hard-working, custom suit-wearing, stubble-bearing, swoon-worthy Hero, well worthy of all of Melanie's efforts.  Melanie is a heroine we can all relate to: burned once, she has trouble believing Adam could be as into her as she is him.  With snappy banter, sizzling chemistry and a sigh-worthy happily-ever after, "One Night with the CEO" is a worthy companion to a cold drink and a lounge chair in the summer sun.

 

And, I also need to say this:  Best. Cover.  Whew!

 

PS: Checkout Karen's backlist - this is just a taste of what she can do.  :)

 

"You've seen me naked, so I'd say you're definitely qualified to say which is my best side."

That Night with the CEO (Harlequin Desire) - Karen Booth

One of my favourite contemporary romance authors debuts with Harlequin Desire this month! Karen manages to push all of my "like" buttons every time out, and her latest effort, "One Night with the CEO" is no exception. (copy of the book provided by the author in exchange for an honest review).

 

To summarize: Melanie Costello is working her butt off to keep her small PR firm going. No small feat, after her business (and romantic) partner defected with one of their clients. When telecom mogul Roger Langford retains her to repair his playboy son's image after his latest tabloid scandal, she comes face to face with her best-kept secret: her one-night stand with Adam Langford.

 

Adam is gorgeous, interested, and still out of reach, now more so than ever.  Can Melanie keep a professional distance from Adam? If she can it will make her career.  If she can't, more than her firm is on the line - her heart is at risk as well.

 

So here's the thing.  I am SO excited for Karen - she was with Ellora's Cave, did three books with a small-press, re-released her old stuff herself, and this is her debut with Harlequin. So cool! The only drawback to a Harlequin is that an author is constrained by the company's guidelines, and I believe that includes the length of the book.  I would have loved to see more of both characters, and as I know how good she is at character development, it's hard not to feel a bit like she was just able to scratch the surface with Melanie and Adam's story.

 

That being said, Adam Langford is a hard-working, custom suit-wearing, stubble-bearing, swoon-worthy Hero, well worthy of all of Melanie's efforts.  Melanie is a heroine we can all relate to: burned once, she has trouble believing Adam could be as into her as she is him.  With snappy banter, sizzling chemistry and a sigh-worthy happily-ever after, "One Night with the CEO" is a worthy companion to a cold drink and a lounge chair in the summer sun.

 

And, I also need to say this:  Best. Cover.  Whew!

 

PS: Checkout Karen's backlist - this is just a taste of what she can do.  :)

 

Half-assed, half-baked and, sadly, LAME

L.A. Fire - Sarah  Bailey

To be fair, the word "sadly" is only in the title so it flows better. 

I've given up trying to figure out why I keep reading these freaking books (although I blame "e-book spice" on twitter for showing me tons of 50 Shades rip-offs every frigging day). Perhaps my book ADD is spinning wildly out of control, aided by the ubiquitous iPhone and access 24-7 to so many books I can't keep up.

Anyhoo, on to the latest version of billionaire bdsm boyfriend.

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I loved the name, and liked the book. Win win.

Trials of Artemis - Sue London

It has a spinster, a rake, a tryst that begins with mistaken identity, a shotgun marriage, a mouthy heroine, a clever Hero, some witty dialogue, lots of banter. London does a really good job of it that part. I enjoyed the book almost all the way through.

I was skimming towards the end, though, and that was because of this: too much tell, not enough show. 



INORITE? Anyone who has read my reviews knows how much I usually like to be spoonfed. In this case, though, I wasn't choking on pablum so much as I was needing to SEE what was going on, not just be told about it.

And the ending seemed a teensy bit convenient, but what the heck. It's a first book.

There was something here good enough that I'm going to keep reading the series. I believe London will get better - and when she does, she will be great. 

3 stars, and I'd recommend it.

...just waiting for the world to get sick of reading about really rich guys tying up their girlfriends so that they can spank them...

Locked  - Maya Cross

In my endless quest to find a "better" version of FSoG I keep picking up these billionaire BDSM books. (And, to be fair, it's hard to find a contemporary these days that ISN'T an homage to that stupid book.)

This one is set in Australia which immediately gets points from me, if for no other reason than I can imagine the hero talking dirty in an Aussie accent. The heroine is also NOT a clumsy ingenue. She's a lawyer with a snarky sense of humour and a potty mouth. Again, immediate points from me for that.

I'm not sure if I liked it enough to pay for the next two installments; on the other hand I've paid for some pretty bad books recently so I can't really use that as a yardstick.

What to do, what to do...

SPOILER ALERT!

Wherein she reads a free book and then bitches about it.

Inner Moonlight - Carrigan Fox

This was an Amazon freebie. Briefly, it's about a woman named Elena. She fell in love with Alec when she was 14 and they were together until he was killed in a car accident 16 years later. She's wracked with guilt about the accident, and has struggled all her life feeling as though she didn't deserve the life she had. Complicating things are her feelings for her dead hubby's cousin. She's known him all her life as well, and they fight like cats in a sack. Whatever shall she do?

Here's what I liked:

It was FREE.

The heroine swore. So did her sister, so did the hero. Just like real folks, and what a refreshing change. The f-bomb got dropped in conversation (sister says, "Oh for fuck's sakes, Elena!") They sounded like real people, and I liked that quite a bit. They insulted each other, flirted, and everyone that needed to had great chemistry. 

The scenes with Elena and P.J. were good, and the subplot with Elena's sister and the hot cabin owner next door was nicely done.

....and that's about it.

I'm not sure why the author felt the need to throw a whole PILE of extraneous filler into what were the bones of a good story. To create tension, maybe? Anyway, I didn't think it worked. By 2/3 thru I was ready to kick Elena in the ass. I have no patience with the "I'm not worthy" trope when drug on too long. No wonder her sister was saying, "Oh for fuck's sakes!"

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Oh, Otis.

“We love having authors on Goodreads. But, we are a site that's focused on readers.  If there is a choice between what is best for readers and what is best for authors, we will always err on the side of readers.” 

 

"I've watched us deal with many author flame wars over the years, and they all started with an author commenting on a negative review of their own book first." 

    •  
      "I agree that it's a shame some books have to suffer ratings that clearly are invalid. However I can't think of a way to prevent it, and I didn't see any ideas in the thread either (I did skim though). I hope you'll appreciate that if we just start deleting ratings whenever we feel like it, that we've gone down a censorship road that doesn't take us to a good place.” 

 

All quotes deleted from Goodreads, October 2013.

HO-LEE COW. Dirty, filthy, smutty, raunchy, hawt, debauched, depraved, nasty.....

Make Me - Charlotte Stein

...and that's just the threesomes. 


5 stars are for those - if I were rating on story I'd knock one off. Something about the dynamic between them made me uneasy right up until the end, when the author resolved it for me. Unfortunately, the book was so short that there was no time to develop the relationship between the three any further. 

I'ma start a shelf called three-way just for this.

Shameless Self-Promotional Plug

So, once a month I write a column in a digital magazine called InD'Tale (www.indtale.com)

 

I'm fortunate enough to be able to blab about virtually anything I want, and this month it's about the seven basic plots in literature.  And The Flame and The Flower, and Fifty Shades of Grey.

 

Come see me.  :)

10% Done

Make Me - Charlotte Stein

"OMG I can't read this without squirming. In both ways, good and bad.

 

Other reviewers have called this the filthiest thing they've ever read - so I simply must to find out.

 

eta:  I think I might have to agree.  

Methinks I like Booklikes

Here are the two coolest things about Booklikes that I've noticed since I started:

 

1.    Yay!  I can have titles on my reviews!  (Followed immediately by this thought:  "Crap! Now I have to think up clever titles for my reviews!")

 

2.    Seeing familiar avatars show up in my "followers" space.  Makes me feel all warm-hearted and gushy.  

 

Now I need to go figure out how to format.  

 

 

 

 

What, ho!

The Corrupt Comte - Edie Harris

Well, here were two protagonists I'd yet to meet in a historical: the Hero was a spy, whoring himself out to men who would sell their secrets for sex and the Heroine had a crippling stutter.

This novel is dark in tone, explicit in its manner and would have been immensely satisfying if I'd had more of a sense of connection between the H/h. There was a bit of an "insta-love" thing happening, and while I normally will swallow that whole without complaint, in this case I felt there needed to be a bit more development between the two to explain how deeply they were committed to each other. As an erotic romance it worked for me completely. As an emotional romance, it didn't quite make it. Perhaps it was the page count - at 262 pages the author might simply have run out of time.

 

*Spoiler-ish content below*

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Steve writes a Sequel - Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep - Stephen King

I love Stephen King's work. I grew up with Stephen King, been reading him since I was 12 or 13. His writing has impacted my reading choices, my movie choices, my writing voice and my love of pop culture. I've learned TONS from him - he just jams so damn much stuff into his narrative you can't help but learn something - and certainly not the least of which was the expression "Jesus jumped up Christ in a sidecar". I have virtually every single one of his books. They fill a bookcase in my family room; the shelves groan under the weight of all of those hardcovers.

For each of his books that have scared the ever-loving crap out of me (The Shining, 'Salem's Lot, Pet Sematary, Bag of Bones) there have been almost the same number that have moved me to tears (Lisey's Story, Insomnia, The Green Mile), left me feeling "meh" (The Tommyknockers) or been in a genre that, dammit, as much as I try to like it, I just don't (The Dark Tower series). 

So I am what Steve refers to as his "Constant Reader", and this is my take on Doctor Sleep.

 

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PSA - Shorten your posts in the feed! (reblogged from willaful)

Reblogged from willaful:

If you don't want to annoy lots of people with big assed posts on their dash... Use the page break function. Makes things so much less huge.

 

_________

 

Spread the word!

 

This adds a "Read More" button to expand the post.

 

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