Dark Desire (Dark Saga 2), by Christine Feehan

1 Star

dark desire

“The Queen of paranormal romance.”
USA Today

I’m a masochist. That’s the only possible reason I continued this story. In fact, there is a story here. Feehan just buries it under a junkyard of redundant melodrama. I seem to find these books engaging from the start, but quickly lose interest once the initially strong and defiant female characters cave to the sexy force of their alphas, cuz vaginas, yo. Besides the repetition, that’s my major issue with the writing. The characterization is just irritatingly inconsistent. We start with an independent survivor and end with one of those creepy sex dolls you can order online.

Shea has a blood disease and must take “transfusions”… orally. Oh, she’s also a doctor and doesn’t realize that that’s not a thing. That’s just drinking blood, but whatevs. She travels to the Carpathian Mountains to find information on her birth father while looking for a cure. There, she finds Jacques, her (unbeknownst to her) Carpathian lifemate, who’s been buried for seven years. Imagine her shock when he also has to have oral transfusions! She saves his life and then… well, nothing really happens. There are some Bad Vampires trying to kill them. There’s a battle scene. There are several timeline inconsistencies (kind of Feehan’s thing). The book is finally over after 300 pages of this shit. I’m pretty much done.

Review Word Count: 224

Series Reading Order (sans novellas)
1. Dark Prince
2. Dark Desire
3. Dark Gold
4. Dark Magic
5. Dark Challenge
6. Dark Fire
7. Dark Dream
8. Dark Legend
9. Dark Guardian
10. Dark Symphony
11. Dark Descent
12. Dark Melody
13. Dark Destiny
14. Dark Hunger (manga)
15. Dark Secret
16. Dark Demon
17. Dark Celebration
18. Dark Possession
19. Dark Curse
20. Dark Slayer
21. Dark Peril
22. Dark Predator
23. Dark Storm
24. Dark Lycan
25. Dark Wolf
26. Dark Blood
27. Dark Ghost

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Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades 1), by E.L. James

1 Star

fifty shades of grey

I first read Fifty Shades in the height of its popularity, because there must be something to this, right? Spoiler alert:

I reread this series to drunkenly mock an illegal download of the movie. Two years later, I found all of my initial complaints valid. First, it’s not difficult to believe this was fanfiction, because it reads like fanfiction. We experience every selfish thought in Ana’s hateful head as we’re walked through each mundane moment of her day. During the first read, I was wondering if I had the wrong title. This wasn’t sexy at all, because nothing was happening. Once James finally got to the sex, it was just… bad…. and not because of whips. J.R. Ward totally pulled that one off and I’m not even into BDSM. It’s bad because it’s intensely repetitive and childishly worded in a super creepy way.

“I … quickly tie my hair in pigtails. …The more girly I look, perhaps the safer I’ll be from Bluebeard.”

Second, it’s not about a consensual kinky relationship or just one with an alpha male, like most paranormal romance. It’s about a woman who’s pressured to submit and share sexual quirks under threat of losing affection. It’s not that Christian spanks Ana. It’s that she cries, because she doesn’t want it. I’m no stranger to erotica, and that’s exactly why this book failed. The characters are assholes. It’s not sexy. Even if you don’t consider the relationship abusive, MY VAGINA FELT LIKE DRAGON SKIN.

Review Word Count: 246

Five Ways You Offend Women by Insulting Fifty Shades of Grey

Series Reading Order
1. Fifty Shades of Grey
2. Fifty Shades Darker
3. Fifty Shades Freed

Alternative Erotica Suggestions
Bared to You, by Sylvia Day
Knight, by Kristen Ashley (she calls him daddy, so there’s that)
Rush, by Maya Banks

Claimed (Brides of the Kindred 1), by Evangeline Anderson

1 Star

claimed

The most important part of writing a book review is to consider a title solely within its own genre, taking care not to compare East of Eden to The Hunger Games… and Claimed still gets one star. Intended as campy sci fi erotica, this isn’t the next Star Trek, so much as the next Deepthroat Nine… and I was cool with that. The problem was that, even after pinpointing the author’s target, Claimed was still one of the worst things that has ever happened to me (of course, I recommend it as a Hate Read).

The tale opens with some vague back story, about how the Kindred saved Earth from the Scourge for the low, low price of our ladies. There exist three species of Kindred. Beast Kindred are larger, angrier, and have penises that swell up so they get stuck to their gals while they Forever Bond. Tranqs are basically alien vampires. Twins are exactly as kinky and incestuous as they sound. Alrighty. Let’s have some alien sexy times… or not.

While there were a few sex scenes in this erotica, it’s mostly just angst. The heroine is completely unwilling and hateful, despite having feelings for the hero. The hero is heartbroken that he’s unwanted. The household appliances are alien creatures… and that’s about it. We get just a glimpse of the villain, because he’s not sexy, but mostly we read about how miserable the leads are, which is not even hawt on a completely ridiculous alien spaceship.

Series Reading Order
1. Claimed
2. Hunted
3. Sought
4. Found
5. Revealed
6. Pursued
7. Exiled
8. Shadowed
9. Chained
10. Divided
11. Devoured
12. Enhanced
13. Cursed
14. Enslaved
15. Targeted

Review Word Count: 250

This Man (This Man 1), by Jodi Ellen Malpas

1 Star

this man

Have you ever bitten into a burger only to get one of those hard bits of cartilage? This book is like that.

Being a fan of alpha males, this series was recommended to me numerous times, before I finally decided to give it a try. This, however, was one of those books that actually took me multiple tries to even finish. Not only was the text bursting with Britishisms to the extent of rendering it nearly unreadable, but the characters were deplorable. Jesse was batcrap crazy, Ava a moronic masochist, and I’m pretty sure Kate was the worst best friend since Wormtail betrayed the Potters.

Worse even, than muddling through stories of people I hated and their “jumpers” and “posh flats”, were the stories themselves. This Man has literally no plot to move it forward, save for the rapey and psychotic romance. The sex is plentiful, but it’s so redundant and unappealing, with descriptions of “hot minty breath” that I was left dry as the Sahara, as well as bored. As a mystery, the Big Reveal is weak. As a romance, the relationship is abusive. As erotica, my vagina felt like sandpaper. I do, however, regularly recommend this one to those fans of The Hate Read.

Series Reading Order
1. This Man
2. Beneath This Man
3. This Man Confessed

Review Word Count: 218