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Steve's friend Mike got me hooked on Firefly and is slowly sending me the episodes as I have time to get them. It's so terribly wonderful that I'd probably sit here and watch it all day if I could.

Anyway. I'm sure it's time for another Romance Novel Review.

Title: Rightfully Mine
Author: Doris Mortman
Pages: 626
Year Published: 1989

Summary: Amazon has a good summary.

GABRIELLE COCROFT is a hard-working housewife, mother of one, living in Cleveland, Ohio. She has a passing interest in antiques and her son and that's about it. Until the day when her EVIL RICH HUSBAND decides to leave her...

Evil Rich Husband: You interest me no more, Wife! I want a divorce, because I'm madly in love with my blonde, pretty, super-star girlfriend whom I met while snorkeling alone in the Carribean while you thought I was conducting business! Mwahahaha!
Gabby: *goes crazy, gets in the car, drives to NYC*
Son: OMGWTFBBQ!!!?!?!?!? *throws tantrum*

GABY finds work as a salesclerk for some big-name RETAIL STORE. After a few months of her son throwing continual tantrums ("WHYYYYY AREN'T YOU HOME TO TAKE CARE OF MEEEE?!"), and living in a strange city, she decides to take an antiques class where Fate Intervenes and she meets a Handsome Rogue Frenchman named ARMAND.

Armand: Je ne sais pas, my little flower.
Gaby: *sighmelt*
Armand: Antiques are good for you. They capture the soul of ze time! Nevermind all ze Ikea crap, eighteenth century bureaus are where it's at, biyotch!
Gaby: *shows off antiques knowledge about bureaus, surprising herself and anyone else who would read this book*
Armand: *perks up* Come work for MEEE at my antiques shop! We will drink ze wine and talk about BUREAUS!
Gaby: YAY!

GABBY begins working for ARMAND as his service clerk, and eventually ARMAND cooks up a scheme that involves an antiques fair. Several long scenes later, it turns out his plan has been FOILED by the EVIL VINCENT PRADO!

Vincent Prado: Mwahahaha! Armand, you are nothing more than dust beneath my impeccable pink leather kidskin heels!
Armand: You rogue! You gay metropolitan man of ze impeccable taste! HOW DARE YOU BESMIRCH ZE NAME OF THE LAFITTES!
Vincent Prado: Speak to the Armani, Armand, the moustache does not want to hear it! *flounces away*
Read more... )
Reviewer's Notes: Gaby, despite being this "savvy, strong business woman in the 80's" just kind of follows people around aimlessly and does what they tell her. She has little personality, and could probably be replaced with a clever REALDOLL.

By the Numbers:
"Love" Scenes:
References to stolen/misplaced/otherwise lost virginity: 0 (cain't have virginity if there's babeees involved!)
Plot "Twists": 28.5
Number of Men Lusting After the Heroine: 3
Number of Mary Sue Incidents: 3 minor
Number of Fights/All Out Wars over the Heroine: 4
Times "Fate" Intervened: 18 billion
Times "Fate" Intervened by 500 or more miles: 2/18 billion
References to "bureaus": 368

Overall Grade: C+. I know more about bureaus now, but I was also incredibly, incredibly bored. Gaby is a forgettable character who flails about a lot and cries some more. If it involved more handsome men and less whinging, it may have been a good book.
I nominate this to be the best exchange I have ever read in a historical romance novel. Probably kind of NSFW. )

Title: The Love Slave
Author: Bertrice Small a repeat offender
Pages: 449
Year Published: 1995

Summary: Regan is one half of a twinset in the land of the ancient Celts. Aside talking with an incredibly annoying burr that makes one reread the page atleast five times to figure out what she said, she is also (of course) fantabulously beautiful, and makes many manroots spring forth and grown men cry. At the tender age of 15, she is shipped off to a convent to live out her days, because of course, her fantabulous beauty makes it somehow necessary.

But lo! The convent mistress is really an awful slave trader (because really, how often does that happen)! Regan isn't even in the convent long enough to make the stableboy wibble before she's shipped off to a slave trader in Dublin. Fate intervenes (oh nebulous fate) to take Regan to the one slave trader in ALL of Dublin that could possibly know her worth. Snippet:

Slave Trader: You're beautiful and after I have you trained in the EROTIC ARTS, you'll bring me many favors from the Caliph! MWAHAHAHAHAHA.
Regan: Ok.

Conveniently for the title of the book, this slave trader decides to ship Regan off to somewhere in the Near East where she will be trained as a Love Slave (capitals necessary) by Karim al Malina (who is a Passion Masta) and then given to Caliph Leader of the Country. She's shipped off to the Arabic lands with Karim, and we see her use her Celtic Logic (+2 bitchiness) to tell the other wailing slaves on the ship to shut up and quit crying, they're giving her a headache (and they are, of course, wowed by this and ask her where she got her inestimetable logic).

And so, we meet Zaynab.

Karim doesn't like Regan's "Christian" name, so he names her "Zaynab", or "the beautiful one" in Arabic (because oh, she's beautiful. Did I mention that?). And so Karim starts to introduce Zaynab to the erotic arts. He teaches Zaynab how to use her body to make men tremble, and pretends to take her immense emotional baggage seriously while getting some action himself. She awes him with her Celtic Logic and he wows her with his dancing manroot. A match made in heaven.

But lo! Zaynab is cruelly ripped away from Karim when she has to go to the caliph, the aging leader of the country. Luckily for her, she's beautiful and has that aura of Celtic Logic which makes her irresistable and so he falls in love with her. But! His first wife in his harem of 4,000 poisons the Love Slave (which is, as I understand it, one of the perils of living in a harem of jealous women who have only one lover and a bunch of gay men living within 25 miles), so the Caliph uses his Moorish Logic (+4 attack to manroot) and gives Zaynab, his beloved and beautiful and oh-so-talented Love Slave, to his virginal Jewish doctor.

The Jewish Doctor is, of course, a prince among his people, until Zaynab absconds with his virginity and he becomes a very randy Doctor indeed. Eventually, after many passionate nights, he is called back to Malina because Prince Karim's (yes, THAT Karim) family has been slaughtered because he married the wrong girl accidentally (how this happens is still a bit of a mystery).

In a bold surprise attack as the story degenerates, the Slaughterer (Ali Hassan) comes back and kidnaps the Love Slave from under the Not-So-Virginal Jewish Doctor's nose! An abbreviated version of events:

Ali Hassan: *rides away with Zaynab, drops her at his camp*
Zaynab: You brute! Let me go immediately!
Ali Hassan: No. You're mine now, and will submit to MEEE! MWAHAHAHAHAHA.
Zaynab: Ransom me then.
Ali Hassan: No. Well, maybe. Only for ONE BILLION DOLLARS 500,000 gold dinars!!!
Zaynab: Meh. Booring.
Ali Hassan: Ok, nevermind. You may stay here the rest of your days and submit to my MANROOT OF POWER! MWAHAHAHAHA.
Zaynab: Ok.

The Jewish Doctor eventually finds her and rescues her, after, of course, she has literally killed Ali Hassan with passion. There is some complicated plot twist that involves an unexpected midnight rendezvous, a contagious disease, the hiring of the services of a courtesan, and dancing the hokey-pokey, and Zaynab finds herself given away to Karim al Malina as a bride, so they can have 15 (no kidding) children and be in love FOREVER MORE, minus harems and poisons and stuff like that.
Reviewer's Notes: Zaynab/Regan (outside of having the weirdest Arabic name I've ever heard) has absolutely no emotion. You could supplement a well-formed potato for her and she wouldn't be missed. In addition, all the men with the except of "the bandit" Ali Hassan are WHITE. Nevermind this is an Arabic country. They all have light skin, with blue eyes, shave, and have blonde/red/light brown hair, which is pretty historically impossible. If all the "love" scenes were eliminated from the book, it would make a short one-act play.

By the Numbers:
"Love" Scenes: 32
References to stolen/misplaced/otherwise lost virginity: 8
Plot "Twists: 8
Number of Men Lusting After the Heroine: 601,502
Number of Mary Sue Incidents: 1 or 2 minor ones
Number of Fights/All Out Wars over the Heroine: 2
Times "Fate" Intervened: 3
Times "Fate" Intervened by 500 or more miles: 1/3
References to "Love Balls": 19

Overall Grade: D+, though some "love scenes" were ok and tastefully done, the heroine could be replaced by a bowl of french fries and a vibrator and no one would notice. Also, making all men in an ARABIC country white, plus excessive mentions of "love balls" = bad.

Pages: 440 (agonizingly slow) pages
Author: Bertrice Small
Year Published: 1980

Summary: Theodora, or "Adora" is the daughter of a Byzantine prince, John Cantacuzenus. At a young age, she is wed by proxy to an Ottoman sultan, Orkhan, and sent to a convent 'till her monthly flow appears (which would evidently make her "prime" for "breeding"). Until! She falls over the garden wall ("Oh noes! The garden wall has flung me over itself! Oh!"), directly into the hands of the prince, Murad. She was thirteen at the time, and had grown tall and had long, beautifully shaped arms and legs, a slender torso, firm, high, cone-shaped breasts (WTF?) with long pink nipples (double WTF!?), and a beautiful heart-shaped face. Her skin was like smooth cream... she never tanned. Her dark, mahogany colored hair with its golden lights... Her violet eyes were startlingly clear, and as candid as they had always been (because every man wants a girl with long nipples and purple eyes!).

Anyway. They become sort-of lovers, until Adora is sent to the Sultan, who forces her into bed after two other virgins (because yay, virgin party!). Eventually, she gives the sultan a son, but a son who was injured. So she takes the boy across the sea, to Bursa, where he is supposed to heal. On the way, they run into a storm and almost drown ("Oh noes! The sea has flung itself through my window!"), but they are waylaid by none other than the pirates of Alexander the Great ("Yarrrrr! Princess Adora of the Purple Eyes!"). She, of course, seduces Alexander the Great, but retains her honor (because drugged sex = honor intact). This romantic interlude in the gold-infested palace gives the author Adora time to show off her fancy "Greek logic" (which would be a great perfume name, come to think about it. "Seductive yet smart, with a hint of smarmy... Greek Logic"). Alexander mopes after her but eventually ransoms her and the boy back to her husband for ONE BILLION DOLLARS!!! 100,000 GOLD DUCATS!

So. Then, she goes back to the Sultan, who conveniently dies, and Murad takes the throne. He gives Adora (whom he lusts after and rapes once or twice) an ultimatim: Either marry Murad, or marry Murad! Adora uses her Greek Logic (+2 intellect) to deal a crushing blow and... runs away back to Constantinople, after dyeing her skin brown so no one can recognize her (because, you know, bright violet eyes are SOOOO common - she was using her Greek Logic again, if you couldn't tell). Adora is conveniently married off to Alexander, who just happens to show up at a dinner party (YARRRR! SurpriseyarrR!).

But Adora's sister schemes in secret! Because... uhm... something or other to do with Adora's beauty or something. She plots to have the beloved Alexander killed and Adora signed off to Sultan Murad as a slave! In fact, she does so, over the course of two chapters (two agonizingly awful chapters). Then, Adora goes home to Murad and the Ottoman empire (motto: Rest your feet and we'll cut off your legs!). At first, she hates Murad and his 50-virgin harem. Then, using her Greek Logic, she comes to the conclusion that she should love him. After that, of course, it's all babies and war and some complicated things that result in Murad's death and Adora's eventual consignment to the glue factory convent, where she will be made into a pair of nice shoes ending out her 90 year life happily, and surrounded by peaches and virgins.

Reviewer's Notes: The Beauty of Greek Logic unaccountably uses Victorian British slang, knows complicated medical techniques that weren't invented until the 1400's, and transforms from sweet Christian Girl to bloodthirsty heathen. Over half the book could have been eliminated if the author was forbidden to use the word "manroot", "pearls", or talk about any historical event that did not happen. Overall, the entire story revolves around a thinly veiled Mary Sue.

By the Numbers:
Sex Scenes: 15
References to "stolen/misplaced/otherwise lost" virginity: 25
Plot "Twists": 9
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine: Entire Byzantine Empire, +5 Ottomans (motto: Put up your feet and you will be beaten to death.)
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine that Heroine Loves: 2
Number of Mary-Sue Incidents: The entire book is a Mary-Sue incident.
Number of Fights Over Heroine: 2 important battles, 1 minor fight
Times "Fate" Intervened: 2
Times "Fate" Intervened by about 500 miles: 2/2

Overall Grade: F, for child pornography, excessive sex scenes and explanations of the word "manroot", virgins virgins everywhere, and murdering all of history.

(no subject)

Jun. 10th, 2005 12:03 pm
teabiting: (Default)

Hunnert Words 'r so: Mourning the death of her late betroth, desperate to escape an unwanted marriage to a tyrannical duke, Lady Aurora Demming does the unthinkable. By marrying Nicholas Sabine, a dangerously handsome and seductive American, accused of piracy and awaiting execution on the gallows. For this scandalous marriage, Nicholas vows to be her husband for only one day, and spend one night of blazing passion in his arms before his hanging. In exchange, Aurora escapes her impending marriage and gains the independence she has always desired with widowhood. But neither of them expected that their one night of hot passion would change their lives forever.
Pages: 367
Author: Nicole Jordan AKA Anne Bushyhead
Year Published: 2000

Aurora Demming: *weep weep* Oh, my poor Geoffrey, Earl of March, lost at sea and presumed dead! Now I have to marry Lord Toad! *weep weep*
Nicholas Sabine: *being beaten by thugs* YARRRRR LEAVE OFF YEH HOSERS! YARRR!
Aurora Demming: *runs up* Stop it, you bad men! Stop it!
Hosers/Bad Men: *stop beating, look around*
Nicholas: YARR I'm a PIRATE. Yarr. Will you marry me, beautiful lady woman, because yeh saved me?
Aurora: *adjusts skirt* Sure.
They GET MARRIED THE NEXT DAY AND SPEND THE EVENING CONSUMMATING THE MARRIAGE. Because NICHOLAS says so, and LORD TOAD will not want "seconds". The next day, NICHOLAS is hung to pay for his piracy, and AURORA goes back to England.

Aurora: Oh my husband! My dear husband who was a filthy pirate but touched me so nicely! Woe! *weep weep*
Unexplained monkies..? )
Overall Grade: C+, for decent pace (until the middle where it DRAAAAAGGGGSSS ONNN FORREVERRRRR), Pirates, unexplained monkies. Marks taken off for excessive beating, inexplicable urchin boy, and horndog hero.
Other Reviews: To Clove A Rogue, The Tea Planter's Bride, and Traitor's Kiss.

Yes, to CLOVE a Rogue. Hunnert Words 'r less: Lovely Lorraine London had a sensuous charm that seemed to ignite the passions of every scoundrel in New England. Born in revolutionary America, she was sold into indentured servitude until she caught the roving eye of Raile Cameron, a renegade gunrunner, who lovingly rescued her (and then they go and do stuff, like having sex, throwing themselves into historically important events, eating tea and sandwiches delicately, and being rich).
Pages: 419
Author: Valerie Sherwood
Year Published: 1988

Complete Summary: Miss Lorraine is the resident Indentured Tavern Wench in pre-revolutionary U.S. of A. She's lovely, oh yes, with long blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and a figure that can make for plenty of retellings with its beauty. Now you might ask yourself, as I did: why am I being asked to love a tavern wench who is the stereotypical blue-eyed, blonde, hand-wringing, OMG Indians! type of girl whose one brave act was jumping on the back of a horse with a pirate? WHY!? I asked myself that through the whole book.

Anyway, so Lorraine is pretty, and if you believe the picture of her on the front, in the 1600's they believed in gobs of blue eyeshadow and had anorexic tavern wenches at every turn. Lorraine catches eye of Devious, Scottish, Handsome, Baggage-toting Pirate, Raile. Raile is privy to her near-rape ("OMG Phillip I want you! OMG wait, Phillip, I don't!"), and so offers her a chance at freedom ("Come with me to my ship, Tavern Wench, where we shall make love on the seas and I will pretend to take your emotional baggage seriously!" "OMG yes Raile!"). So they gallop off (on a horse) into the sunset.

But WAIT! There is a plot in the making! When Lorraine takes off, throwing off her shackles of servitude, the young dandy who took her virginity (OMG Phillip Dedwinton) shows up to claim dem papers of indenture, WHILE HE'S COURTING THE BELLE OF THE LAND! (*insert doom music here*). He plans to quietly indenture Lorraine after he marries said Belle, then have them both! (*evil cackle cackle*)

But Lorraine thwarts Phillips Evil Musings by, of course, running away with a handsome, well-endowed stranger (OMG). They see Indians ("OMG Raile Indians!"), but surprisingly make it through Indian-infested territory with their scalps intact, to board Raile's ship, the Likely Lass.

Of course, then, it follows that Raile will insist on Lorraine pretending to be his mistress ("OMG Raile how could you suggest such a thing ROFL") because, he says, it will protect her from the Evil Crew, who are a bunch of Frenchies picked up in Bordeaux, no papers, evil looking pirate Frenchie scalawags, who would be absolutely SCANDALIZED if they heard that under the bins of 'cheese n' woolens', they were carrying lots and lots of GUNS. They would be so scandalized they would turn this ship around right now, mister, and there would be NO BARBADOS BEACHES FOR ANYONE.

But there is a Secondary Plot afoot! Someone in the crew is a murdering Frenchie bastard! Is it the genial, kind-hearted doctor, who woos Lorraine when he finds out she is not REALLY sleeping with the well-endowed and masculine captain? Is it Little Johnny, who takes the tea and cakes to Lorraine, and is awestruck by her beauty? Is it the paranoid first mate, or maybe the happy but sinister-looking gunner? Is it one of the nameless crew people, who all like Lorraine when she's had too much wine? Or is it the Big Hairy Mute, who has an 'air of violence about him' like too much Calvin Klein?

Eventually, they get to the Caribbean, and some towns, and there is much merry making, and Lorraine almost falls into the bed with Raile ("OMG Raile you bought me HAIRPINS! OMG love me now!"), but they don't have sex, of course, because Puritanical Lorraine feels its improper to jump into bed with a man whose had many women in many different countries and who still carries around emotional baggage by the name 'Laurie-Ann Why Did You Leave Me'.

So there is a fire in one of the towns, and of course Lorraine is swept up in running around like a chicken with her head cut off, like everyone else in the town. But she eventually recovers what little sense she has, rounds up a carriage, and goes tearing off to the fire to find a girl with a baby whom she doesn't really know but hey, plot. They are, of course, returned unhurt ("OMG thank you God for OMG saving us from the evil fire").

But there is an Auxilary Plot to the Plot! Captain Bridey, commander of Fleet o' Trading Ships, has seen Lorraine! Worse, he remembers her! But Lorraine conveniently forgets all about that in the arms of Raile ("OMG Raile take me! OMG Raile don't touch me!").

But on the high seas there is passion AT LAST, and Lorraine surrenders to the 'burning fire o' loins' and humps Raile until he's exhausted. Half of the crew gets killed by the murderous frenchie, and it is exposed that the mute ("OMG Gaultier! OMG you're not mute! Stop trying to strangle me OMG OMG!") is the strangling killer. He falls off a cliff or something, and teaches us all the important lesson of Don't Trust A Man Who Won't Talk To You Because Likely He's A Lady-Killing Arse Who Only Wants To Masturbate On Your Hair.

So somehow or another, Raile finds out that Virginia is in dire need o' dem guns, so they travel back to Virginia, at the time of Bacon's Revolt. This is where Lorraine turns into a Mary Sue, briefly. She meets Bacon, almost seduces him, but leaves ("OMG Bacon yer so handsome and rich and beautiful, have some tea"). But Phillip finds her ("OMG Phillip what are you doing down here ROFL"), scoops her up and takes her back to Rhode Island in shackles to be his love/slop slave. But there is a Kindly Inkeeperess who takes pity on Lorraine, and conspires to smuggle Lorraine away from Evil Bastard Phillip ("OMG st00pid Phillip! How could he have married the Belle and try to screw me now OMG BAD!"), in a barrel.

So Lorraine goes to Barbados again, where she finds out that her father was rich, becomes an heiress, buys a couple of plantations and lords it above the tonne of Bridgetown, Barbados. Phillip eventually comes sniffing after her, but in a calculated BDSM twist, she imprisons Phillip on her plantation and tortures him to get her articles of indenture back ("OMG liek serioushly, Phillip, give them to me now or I shall squeal and stomp around like a little bitch!"). He doesn't, but Raile shows up with the disputed articles, Phillip is hanged or summat, and Lorraine marries Raile and all live happy ever after ("OMG Raile you pinched my nipple!"). THE END.
By the Numbers:
Good Sex Scenes: 1
References to "stolen/misplaced/otherwise lost" virginity: 19
Plot "Twists": 8
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine: 200,000
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine that Heroine Loves: 2
Number of Mary-Sue Incidents: 1
Number of Fights Over Heroine: 3
Times "Fate" Intervened: 5
Times "Fate" Intervened by about 500 miles: 3/5

Overall Grade: C+, for somewhat historical accuracy and pirates (ARR!), but points taken off for Mary-Sue incident, only one decent sex scene, the mute being "the murderer", and Lorraine being a general idiot.

Other historical romance novel reviews: The Tea Planter's Bride and Traitor's Kiss.