Category: Discussions

Retro Post: Books I Have No Desire To Read

Posted October 18, 2017 by Rowena in Discussions | 11 Comments

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This post was originally published December 5, 2013.

booksI saw the post over at The Book Vixen where they listed the books that they had no desire to read and realized that I have a whole lot of books that I don’t care to read either.  Popular books that a lot of people seem to love that I just have no desire to read.

Here’s my list:

  1. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Holly is probably going to kill me for daring to list this book but it’s true. I have no desire to read this book. I can’t even be arsed to be ashamed…I just don’t wanna.
  2. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I know a lot of people from work that read and loved this book. But me? Meh. Not going to touch it.
  3. The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks. I know that this book features the children of Noah and Allie from The Notebook, but meh…I can’t drum up any kind of excitement to want to read it…so I know I never will.
  4. All of the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. My friend Izzy tried to get me to read these books a long time ago and just as then, I still have no desire to read them. Don’t tell Izzy but even when I told her I was going to read them, I knew I wasn’t going to…they were just meh to me. I only watched the first movie too. Oh well.
  5. Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Back when I was really into this series, I wanted Styxx’s story but now that it’s out? Not interested. Not even a little interested either.
  6. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James. Never wanted to read it and I don’t care how many people loved it, I’m never going to read these.

What are you some books that you have no desire to read?


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Ten Books We Want Passionflix to Turn into Movies

Posted September 28, 2017 by Rowena in Discussions | 21 Comments

With the release of Hollywood Dirt and the making of The Trouble with Mistletoe by Passionflix, we’ve been pretty anxious for more of our favorite books to become movies. I watched and enjoyed Hollywood Dirt and I’m looking forward to seeing The Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis come to life as well.

So that got us thinking. There’s plenty of material for Passionflix to choose from for future movies but here’s a list of books that we’d like to see come to life.

Saving Grace by Julie Garwood.

When Lady Johanna learned that she was a widow, she vowed she would never marry again. Only sixteen, already she possessed a strength of will that impressed all who looked past her golden-haired beauty. Yet when King John demanded that she remarry and selected a bridegroom for her—it seemed she must acquiesce, until her beloved foster brother suggested she wed his friend, the handsome Scottish warrior Gabriel MacBain.

At first Johanna was shy, but as Gabriel tenderly revealed the splendid pleasures they would share, she came to suspect that she was falling in love with her gruff new husband. And it was soon apparent to the entire Highlands clan that their brusque, gallant laird had surrendered his heart completely. But now a desperate royal intrigue threatened to tear her from his side—and to destroy the man whose love meant more to her than she had ever dreamed!

Rowena: Julie Garwood is one of my favorite old school romance authors. Her older releases are responsible for why I’m so romance crazy now. Saving Grace is one of my top romances of all time and I would LOVE to see it brought to life, the right way. None of that Rose Hill movie business.

I would freaking LOVE seeing the ending of this book come to life. When Johanna is defending Gabriel to Raulf? When everyone is taking the blame for killing a baron so that Nicholas doesn’t get in trouble? When Johanna is standing there and trying her damnedest to break Hallwick’s stick and then MacBain comes over and helps her? swoon I just want this movie really bad.

Holly: Yes! I would love to see several JG novels made into movies, but Saving Grace tops the list. The MacBain, Johanna and all the rest? Sign me up.

Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh.

Nalini Singh dives into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind-and none of the heart.

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation” – the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was…

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion – and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities – or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation.

Rowena: I love the world that Nalini Singh has created for the Psy-Changelings and I would love to see it all come to life. I’m okay with waiting for it because it would probably be hella expensive but I’d wait. I think of all the books that I want to come to life, I’d want this one the most. I’d love to see DarkRiver, SnowDancer and the Psy’s up close and personally…on screen, of course.

This is such a smart world with lots going on so I think should it ever be turned into a movie, it would be successful. Oh man, to see Lucas, Vaughn, Judd, Kaleb and just…everyone? Gah. I want it!

Holly: I don’t know. I’d love to see the entire series made into movies or a mini-series, but I’d be scared they couldn’t capture the characters properly.

Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James.

No woman could resist him—except the one he wanted most…

Cool, Calm, Collected…

Nothing fazes Taylor Donovan. In the courtroom she never lets the opposition see her sweat. In her personal life, she never lets any man rattle her—not even her cheating ex-fiancé. So when she’s assigned to coach People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” for his role in his next big legal thriller, she refuses to fall for the Hollywood heartthrob’s charms. Even if he is the Jason Andrews.

Confident, Famous, Irresistible…

Jason Andrews is used to having women fall at his feet. When Taylor Donovan gives him the cold shoulder, he’s thrown for a loop. She’s unlike any other woman he’s ever met: uninterested in the limelight, seemingly immune to his advances, and shockingly capable of saying no to him. She’s the perfect challenge. And the more she rejects him, the more he begins to realize she may just be his perfect match.

Rowena: If I remember correctly, Julie James wrote this book as a screen play before she was encouraged to turn it into a book. I’m not sure why it wasn’t turned into a movie because holy cow, it would be GREAT as a movie. I’d love to see that court scene with Taylor’s skirt come to life and I’d love to see who they would cast as hot shot actor, Jason Andrews.

Holly: I’ve read this book so many times I wore out two print copies. I would love to see Jason and Taylor battle it out in a RomCom.

For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne.

Will a budding wedding planner and her bad boy neighbor stop banging heads and start hearing wedding bells in the sexy second novel in USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne’s irresistible new series that marries Sex and the City with The Wedding Planner?

When small-town girl Heather Fowler finally gets promoted from assistant to actual wedding planner, she’s determined to make it as one of Manhattan’s elite Wedding Belles. Unfortunately, her first client demands an opulent black-tie affair at the Plaza…in five months’ time. Heather’s days quickly become a flurry of cake tastings, dress-fittings, RSVP cards, and bridal tantrums. But what she’s really losing sleep over is the live music blaring from her playboy neighbor’s apartment all night.

Five years ago, Josh Tanner was an up-and-comer on Wall Street, complete with the penthouse and the migraines. But a grim cancer diagnosis made him realize there is more to life than the corner office. If only he could convince his pretty, workaholic neighbor to let loose, too. As Heather lets down her guard, Josh is surprised when he starts falling for the sweet, vulnerable woman hiding beneath those power suits. Soon, it’s Heather’s turn to convince Josh to take the biggest risk of all: love.

Rowena: Ooh, I’d LOVE a wedding planner movie! I especially would love to see Josh and Heather’s romance come to life. I’d love to see the Wedding Belles in action, the pretty weddings they’d plan and I’d love to see where Josh and Heather live, see them bicker their way toward that happy ending. I want this very much.

The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years #2) by Sarina Bowen.

She’s hiding something big. He’s hiding someone small.

Scarlet Crowley’s life was torn apart the day father was arrested for unspeakable crimes. Now the shock has worn off, but not the horror.

It’s a safe bet that Scarlet is the only first year at Harkness College who had to sneak past TV news trucks parked on her front lawn just to leave town. But college will be Scarlet’s fresh start. Clutching a shiny new student ID — with a newly minted name on it — she leaves it all behind. Even if it means lying to the boy she’s falling for.

Bridger McCaulley is a varsity hockey star known for being a player both on and off the ice. But a sobering family crisis takes that all away. Protecting his sister means a precarious living arrangement and constant deception. The only bright spot in his week is the few stolen hours he spends with Scarlet.

The two form a tentative relationship based on the understanding that some things must always be held back. But when grim developments threaten them both, going it alone just won’t work anymore. And if they can’t learn to trust one another now, the families who let them down will take everything they’ve struggled to keep.

Rowena: This book hit me like a ton of bricks. I was wrapped up in feels from beginning to end. I think it would be perfect as a movie. From Scarlet’s situation to Bridger’s? So much to work with and the underlying issues that are worked out in this story would be perfect to bring to the movie screen. Plus, there’s hockey. I really like hockey players. Ha.

Holly: Dude. SO.MANY.FEELS with this book. This would make an excellent dramatic romance.

The Kingpin of Camelot by Cassandra Gannon.

The Queen: Guinevere must save Camelot. Ever since Arthur died, the evil Scarecrow has been trying to marry her and gain the crown. If she and her daughter are going to survive his mad schemes, Gwen needs to find Merlyn’s wand. Fast. Unfortunately, the only man strong enough to help her on her quest is Kingpin Midas, a flashy, uneducated mobster dealing with a curse. Gwen is a logical, rational woman, though, and she can draft one hell of a contract. She’s pretty sure she can come up with an offer not even the kingdom’s greatest villain can refuse.

The Kingpin: Anything Midas touches turns to gold. Literally. The curse has helped him to rule Camelot’s underworld with an iron fist. He has more money and more power than anyone else in the kingdom. He’s convinced there’s nothing he can’t buy. One look at Gwen and Midas knows that he’s about to make his most brilliant purchase, yet. He’s about to own the one woman in the world he would give anything to possess. All he has to do to claim her is somehow win a war against the smartest man in Camelot, hide his growing feelings from Gwen, deal with his overprotective bodyguard’s paranoia about the queen’s hidden motivations, and adjust to a five year old demanding bedtime stories from a gangster. Simple, right?

The Contract: Gwen’s deal is simple: If Midas marries her, she’ll make him King of Camelot. It’s a fair bargain. Midas will keep her enemies away and she’ll give him the respectability that money can’t buy. She never expects Midas to agree so quickly. Or for their practical business arrangement to feel so… complicated. Midas isn’t the tawdry, feral animal that Arthur railed against. He’s a kind and gentle man, who clearly needs Gwen’s help just as much as she needs his. In fact, the longer she’s around Midas the more Gwen realizes that their “fake marriage” might be more real than she ever imagined.

Holly: I just discovered this author. She tells wonderful stories. This was a fun book and it would make an excellent movie. Think live-action Shrek-type fairytale complete with The Scarecrow (who is made of birds) and King Midas the underworld Kingpin who can’t touch anything without it turning to gold. Plus Avalon, an adorable little girl and Tristan, her mighty protector. Seriously, this would be an awesome movie.


Daisy’s Back in Town by Rachel Gibson.

When Daisy Monroe walked out of Lovett, Texas fifteen years ago, she thought she’d left troublemaker Jackson Lamott Parrish behind her. But some things you can’t just leave in the past. Now she’s back and she needs to clear the air by confessing to Jackson the reason she left him all those years ago. But Jackson doesnt want to know. When she walked out on him, he vowed he’d never let a woman get close enough to hurt him again.

As Daisy tries to pursue Jackson to tell him the truth, he tries just as hard to stay out of her way. Except, maybe, sometimes, not quite hard enough. One things for sure, the sparks are still flying between them. Will they ever be able to forget their troubled past for long enough to enjoy the present?

Holly: I haven’t read this in a number of years, but it’s one of my favorite Gibson novels. I can just see Jack threatening to fuck Daisy into a faint on the hood of his car, as they try to undo 15 years worth of anger and hurt.


Back to You by Jessica Scott.

He’s in for the fight of his life . . .

Army captain Trent Davila loved his wife, Laura, and their two beautiful children. But when he almost lost his life in combat, something inside him died. He couldn’t explain the emptiness he felt or bridge the growing distance between him and his family—so he deployed again. And again. And again . . . until his marriage reached its breaking point. Now, with everything on the line, Trent has one last chance to prove to his wife that he can be the man she needs . . . if she’ll have him

. . . to win back his only love.

Laura is blindsided when Trent returns home. Time and again, he chose his men over his family, and she’s just beginning to put the pieces of her shattered heart back together. But when Trent faces a court martial on false charges, only Laura can save him. What begins as an act of kindness to protect his career inflames a desire she thought long buried—and a love that won’t be denied. But can she trust that this time he’s back to stay?

Holly: This is another book that got me right in the feels. Scott deals with some pretty real issues in her novels, but I loved the way Trent and Laura worked together to come back to being a family. A military family dealing with the aftermath of a solider coming home from war. I’d watch that.


Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews.

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night….Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

Holly: The world-building in this book (in all Ilona Andrews books, if I’m being honest) is so stellar I’d love to see it made into a movie. Dina, her Inn, Sean the Super Werewolf, Arland the Vampire…this would make an excellent movie.

Rowena: Yes. I would totally watch this movie. I’d love to see who they’d cast as Dina, Sean and the Vampire hottie guy and the inn! I would LOVE to see the inn come to life. Great pick, Holly.


The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook.

After the Iron Duke freed England from Horde control, he instantly became a national hero. Now Rhys Trahaearn has built a merchant empire on the power – and fear – of his name. And when a dead body is dropped from an airship onto his doorstep, bringing Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth into his dangerous world, he intends to make her his next possession.

But when Mina uncovers the victim’s identity, she stumbles upon a conspiracy that threatens the lives of everyone in England. To save them, Mina and Rhys must race across zombie-infested wastelands and treacherous oceans-and Mina discovers the danger is not only to her countrymen, as she finds herself tempted to give up everything to the Iron Duke.

Holly: Brook is another author who excels at world-building. Her Steampunk world really came to life. I have no idea who I’d like to see cast as Mina and Rhys, but I want to watch their movie.

Obviously there are many more we’d like to see Passoinflix take on, but this is a good place to start. Do you agree with any of our choices? What movies do you want to see Passionflix bring to life?


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Retro-Post: Book Confessions: I’m a Prude

Posted September 15, 2017 by Holly in Discussions, Features | 19 Comments

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

Holly: I can’t even remember what book I was talking about in this post, but the sentiment remains. I hate the selfishness of historical heroines who refuse to consider the consequences of their actions.

This post was originally posted on April 16, 2010.


Here’s a little known secret about yours truly: When it comes to historical romance novels, I’m a complete prude. I can read the dirtiest of the dirty erotica, in public, and be fine. The sexual escapades and antics of modern-day heroines from contemporary romances don’t phase me a bit. But I have a higher standard for historical heroines.

I’m all about a woman acting outside of propriety, but not at the risk of complete ruin for either herself or the other characters involved. For example:

I’m current reading a historical romance novel set during the regency period. The heroine is in love with her brother’s best friend, and has been for years. She’s been out in society for 3 seasons now, but has refused all offers because she’s holding out for her one true love. The hero is resistant to marriage in general and marriage to the heroine in particular. Plus, her older brother, the hero’s best friend, has warned him off her. Which is all perfectly fine and well, but she’s decided this season that she needs to up the stakes and make him realize he really wants to be married. To her.

So she starts touching him at inappropriate times, cornering him as often as possible for kisses and even showing up in his bedchamber in the middle of the night wearing nothing but her night rail, then trying to seduce him.

I have several issues with this.

1) The heroine thinks to herself, many times, that she’s hurting her younger sisters by not accepting a marriage proposal from someone else. Neither of them are allowed to come out until she’s wed, so as not to take attention away from her. There is even an example given of a younger sister garnering more attention than the older one, so we as the reader can understand what a travesty this would be.

(As an aside, I found this fascinating. Generally in regency set historicals more than one sister is out at a time. I love that this author has taken a different approach here.)

Now, I understand the heroine wants to marry for love. I truly do. And I want her to. But her next youngest sister’s debut has already been delayed one season because of her actions. Since the hero has heretofore shown zero interest in her, I wonder at what point will she have to give it up and move on? Or will she continue to pine for him indefinitely, leaving her younger sisters to wither away as well?

2) If the heroine is compromised, she’ll be ruining her sisters’ chances as well. Any scandal that touches her touches her family, so there’s a double whammy where her sisters are concerned.

3) If there heroine is caught in a compromising position with the hero, he’ll be forced to marry her. Although it’s early in the book yet for me, I’m going to assume she doesn’t want to force him – she wants him to realize he loves her, too, and propose on his own.

Yet she doesn’t consider the consequences of her being in his bedchamber – in her house, by the way – in the middle of the night. She doesn’t think about her reputation or what the hero’s feelings will be if he’s forced into marrying her. Wouldn’t it upset all her plans to make him fall in love with her if he’s forced against his will?

Although I’m talking about a particular book above, this is something that bothers me 99% of the time in historical romances. Heroines who seduce – or are seduced by – the hero because they “love him” make me want to bash my head against the wall. I realize these novels are fiction, but what would happen to a young woman during the regency era if she were compromised? The total ruin of her reputation wouldn’t only reflect badly on her, but on her family as well. Younger siblings wouldn’t have a chance of gaining a decent marriage and the scandal could follow them for the rest of their lives. While it may sound romantic to be willing to risk all for love, the practicalities of the scenario make me want to scream.

Am I alone here?


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Bookish Thoughts: Full Book Lists Wanted, The Ripped Bodice is Accepting Patrons, Passionflix, Series Reading and #ShallowReaderBingo

Posted August 17, 2017 by Holly in Discussions | 10 Comments

Wanted: Full book lists on author websites

Authors, please include a full list of your works, including short stories, on your website. I’m the type of person who likes to read a series (especially long ones) in order, including novellas. If I can’t find the information on your website, I’m going to be pretty annoyed. As an example, I’m going to use Ilona Andrews. On the Kate Daniels page, it lists only the full length novels. However, there is a link to the full list, including anthologies.

Clicking the Small Magics anthology link takes me to a full page list of the stories set in the world, including all short stories and where they fall in the line-up.

Authors, seriously. I need this in my life. Please, if you haven’t already, go update your book lists. Keri Arthur, I’m looking at you. The title of your novella and what anthology it’s available in would also be much appreciated!

The Ripped Bodice (the only exclusively romance bookstore in the Northern Hemisphere) is now accepting Patrons

From their latest newsletter:

Today we’re taking a new step that we hope will help us to continue to grow and thrive for years to come. Many members of the romance community have expressed a desire to support The Ripped Bodice from afar.

We’re excited to announce that we’ve launched a Patreon, and you can become an official Patron of the Ripped Bodice.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I think it’s great for those who want to support them but don’t live close enough to do so in person (I live in SoCal, but the 2.5 hour drive makes it hard to get down there on the reg). On the other hand, why offer a crowd funding service instead of pushing their online bookstore? Unless this is a way to help offset the cost of author and reader events at the store? That would make sense. Anyway, here’s the info:

Why become a Patron?

Our page has detailed information about giving levels and some of the fun and exciting things you’ll receive every month. While we will never stop communicating and sharing the goings on at the store with the internet at large, some of our behind the scenes tomfoolery will be moved over to the Patreon and be available just for our patrons.

For the first month of our Patreon, all our new Patrons will get 10% off our fly new gear!
Discount code only available till 9/5/17 (code comes in your thank you email)
You can check it out here!

You can donate $3, $5 or $20 (or more!) per month for various offers and discounts from The Ripped Bodice. Check out the Patreon site for details. There’s a Sherry Thomas short story being offered for new members, thanks to Berkley and the author!

Passionflix – Turning your favorite romance novels into movies and series… On Demand

Have you guys seen this? I can’t tell you how excited I am! Passionflix is a subscription streaming service that turns our romance novels into movies on demand. I’m not going to lie, I’m a little nervous about the quality of the movies being produced. We’ve all seen the traveshamockery at Hallmark and Lifetime (remember Rose Hill, the made-for-t.v. movie of For the Roses by Julie Garwood? shudder). Still, I’m hoping for the best.

Here’s what you get for your money:

Becoming a found member ($100 flat fee):

A 2 year Subscription (a 30% savings!)
Invites for a walk on role, Passionflix parties or set visits.
Voting privileges on our exclusive reality shows like Cast Your Book Boyfriend.
Help us find the next romantic leading man.
Discounts on Passionflix Merchandise.
Be the First to Know what’s going on Behind the Scenes.

Be an Early Bird Subscriber ($3.99 monthly fee):
Register your interest now and you’ll be invited to join when we launch for a discounted price of $3.99/month.

I signed up as a Founding Member. Despite my concerns over the (possible) quality of the movies, I’m excited about this.

Here are the movies already in production:

Hollywood Dirt

Alessandra Torre

While making a movie in a small Georgian town, Hollywood’s hearthrob Cole Masten casts spirited local girl Summer Jenkins as his leading lady, on screen and off.

Coming Sept 2017

 
 

Afterburn/Aftershock

Sylvia Day

Businesswoman Gia Rossi is determined to be successful in her new job, but when her ex lover Jax Rutledge waltzes back into her life, their passionate connection ignites not only in the boardroom, but the bedroom.

Coming Nov 2017

 
 

The Trouble with Mistletoe

Jill Shalvis

Real estate developer Keane Winters may have stood up pet shop owner Willa Davis in high school, but now he wants her under the mistletoe and in his life.

Coming Dec 2017

 
 

A Brother’s Honor

Brenda Jackson

While working to prove their father’s innocence and save the family company each of the three brothers come to terms with the past, find their own future happiness and unexpected love.

Coming 2018

 
 

Shallow Reader Bingo

Thanks to Willa on Twitter, I recently discovered Shallow Reader Bingo. You guys, this is amazing! It looks like it hasn’t been updated in a couple months, but I love the idea.

Series Reading – When is it Time To Say Goodbye?

While putting together a list of books I’m looking forward to in September, I started thinking about long-running series. Specifically J.D. Robb’s In Death series (currently at 45 books) and Hannah Howell’s Murray Family series (21 books). I had to stop reading the Murray Family series because I felt like each book was the same, so I’m not quite sure how it ended (or if it did). I’m behind about 10 books in the In Death series, but I wonder if it’s becoming stale (for the record, I’m not suggesting it is, as I’m so far behind, just wondering how long she can sustain it).

At what point should a series end? When the author is tired of it? When it stops selling well? Obviously, there’s no right answer to that question since each series and author is different, but how do you feel about open-ended series?


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Retro-Post: Pushing the Envelope (way) Too Far?

Posted August 15, 2017 by Holly in Discussions | 25 Comments

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

Rowena: Are you in need of a laugh this fine morning? Well, let us revisit an old post that Holly wrote about authors who push the envelope…too far? Haha, trust me. It’s well worth the read. This is a post that only Holly could write.

This post was originally posted on July 25, 2011.
Warning: The following post is graphic and not for the faint of heart. Read on at your own risk.

Sometimes I wonder what the people at Barnes and Noble think of me and my reading because I get some seriously strange recommendations from them. One of the most recent ones was Stroke It by Cassandra Curtis, which I believe is a self-published…I hesitate to call it a novella, since it’s so short, so I’ll just say story. It’s currently free for the Nook, and after reading the blurb I figured why not?

Exhausted after a coast to coast book tour, Laris needs serious R and R. The luxury resort along the Baja coast provides their guests with everything they could desire, including their own personal masseur. Former special ops agent Alejandro Maranta loves his job as an on-call masseur for the resort hotel. Using his unique gift for easing tension, he gives Laris a massage she’ll never forget.

I was surprised when I opened the book to find that it’s only 31 pages – and that includes the copyright, etc. I think the actual story is about 21 pages. Still, it was free and the blurb was intriguing.

Chick is stressed so she books a weekend at a luxury spa to relax. She requests a masseur to give her a “special” massage (it’s implied that there was a bit of matchmaking going on w/ the choice of masseuse) and dude shows up to make it happen.

A guest with a sore neck and lots of tension had requested a personal massage. Nothing unusual about that, except Enrique also used the code words – special services. He grinned, knowing it meant the guest was a woman who needed extra handling. Perhaps she’d heard of the enhanced techniques he’d developed for releasing feminine stress.

He shows up prepared to get her to relax. He starts by warming up her muscles and twenty minutes later the ache has left her neck. He stops and she begs him not to.

“Please don’t stop.”

“You want more?”

“Yes.”

“How much more?”

“I-I don’t understand.” She tried to turn onto her side but he placed a warm palm on the small of her back, stopping her.

“I have developed a special technique for easing stress. Inside and out. But it takes much longer than a thirty minute session, and it would require you to take your clothes off.”

“You mean sex?” Was he serious? Oh my…maybe dreams do come true.

“Much more than sex, a special stroke that massages more than muscles.”

“Oh.” Please let this be real..and my royalties cover whatever it costs. She made a fervent prayer. “Yes.”

So far I’m thinking..eh. Chick is willing to pay for sex? With a total stranger? Maybe I watch too much Cops, but I’m thinking hello prostitution sting. Anyway…

She lets him pull her clothes off and before she knows it she’s on the brink of orgasm. Then he tells her he’s ready to give her his “special stroke”. He started to enter her and she feels a pressure at her anus. Then he’s fully inside her front..and he’s sliding into her rear. She figures he’s got some kind of toy and thinks it’s pretty hot.

She has a pretty amazing orgasm and she rolls onto the bed, sated and happy. They start snuggling and she’s pressing against him. Oh, but what’s this? She feels not one, but two erections.

“I thought when I saw you pull something from your case, that you had a sex toy of some kind, maybe one that fit around your penis..”

“Ah..no. I took only condom from my case.”

“Then how…?”

“I am Were.”

Uh..what? I didn’t see that coming. But ok, whatever. The author is trying something different. Except the chick’s reaction? Yeah, that doesn’t work for me. She’s heard rumors about this type of thing existing, but she didn’t believe it.

“Do not be afraid. I would not harm you…or perhaps you are horrified, si?”

“No! I just thought your people were a myth. Do..do you shift?”

He got up from the bed and proceeded to show her, only allowing the transformation to reach halfway, before returning to his human form.

“What are you?” She touched his abdomen with her shaky fingers.

“Half Were-Rhino, Half Were-Panther. I can take both forms or I can take a hybrid form.”

I just hit a wall. I’m pretty sure my head might have exploded. Were-RHINO??? Were-PANTHER??? HYBRID?!?! Then he asks her to dinner and the story is over. There’s no description of him in any form (Rhino, Panther or Hybrid), no reaction from the chick except to accept his invitation to dinner. Nothing. The story just ends.

Look, I understand pushing the envelope. But there comes a point where you’re pushing it way too far. This is it. I spent a good amount of time trying to imagine what this would look like. A huge rhino head on a panther body? A tiny panther head on a rhino body? A panther head with a rhino nose?

Tracy came over this weekend and we got to talking about the book. And naturally – because we’re immature like that – the penis came up. My husband and I were recently watching some program on tv (to my eternal shame I’m pretty sure it was MANswers) and they were talking about an elephant penis. Which is 6 feet long. SIX FEET LONG. So I’m thinking, if an elephant penis is 6 feet and a rhino isn’t that much smaller than an elephant and dude has a rhino penis..how big is it? And how, exactly, would that fit inside her?

My husband heard us speculating about this and took it upon himself to look up the size of a rhino penis. 2.5 feet. TWO AND A HALF FEET. Holy Mary Mother. Can you imagine? I couldn’t either. Luckily for me, Tracy – being the curious sort, you understand – Googled it. And what did she find? Oh look, a video.

So dude whips out one of those? But wait..there’s more. Because he didn’t just have a 2.5 FOOT rhino penis. He also had a panther penis. Can you imagine the logistics? Take a minute. Think it over. I’ll wait.

Are you horrified yet? Oh good, welcome to my world.

The moral of this story? Authors, feel free to push the envelope. As a reader, I want to read about new things. But, for the love of all things holy, think before you do it.


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