Damaged Women & Tattooed Men

This is a post about Brown Family, a “contemporary erotic romance series set in Seattle” written by Lauren Dane. For more details which do not include my opinion visit laurendane.com or goodreads.com.

I’ve read the first instalment of the Brown Family series years ago and I remember I enjoyed it, so when I felt the need to dip my brain into the Cheap Thrill pool, I thought of Lauren Dane.

Coming Undone (Brown Family 2) is nothing to write home about [but here I am, writing a post about it], but it’s a good enough way of spending an evening after a hard day at work. It’s a simple story about a young widow with a daughter who moves to a new city in search of a new life and gets down and dirty with a guy who doesn’t do relationships but does tattoos, family and friends. The widow has a dark past, because someone has to be damaged, I guess. I liked Brody and the [pause to look up name of main character] Elise because they both were almost lifelike.

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There’s a lot of sex in the book which kind of got old real fast. Frankly, even when I pick up a “contemporary erotic romance” I can do without 15 sex scenes, 20 pages per scene. But then again, it is an erotic romance, and I had the same beef with Laid Bare (Brown Family 1) so I really shouldn’t bitch about having to skip some pages.

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After Coming Undone, I’d logged onto Goodreads to see what’s next and imagine my surprise when I realize the two protagonists of Inside Out (Brown Family 3) are one Andrew Copeland [say what?] and Ella Tipton [maiden name Brown?]. I gave it a whirl but gave up because I couldn’t find the chemistry between the non-Brown characters and I couldn’t bring myself to care about Ella, her freckles, her boobs and her funny voice.

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Logging onto Goodreads, again, I discover a totally crazy summary for Never Enough (Brown Family 4) which made me gag.

Gillian Forrester spent her life running…until Miles came along. The moment she held her older sister’s unwanted newborn, Gillian stopped running and began building a life for her adopted son. Now, thirteen years later, Gillian’s sister reveals the father’s identity on her deathbed – a revelation that shakes Gillian to her core. Adrian Brown is the epitome of the successful rock star. It takes a lot to shock him – but the bombshell that he has a thirteen-year-old son rocks his world [PUUUUUUUN! Because he’s a ROCK star!]. And Adrian is even more surprised when the buttoned-up elegant woman who’s raising him ignites his erotic and romantic attention – and engages his heart.

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So that was a no. But I am an adamant creature, stubborn some would say, so I’ve decided to try and to read another Brown Family (and Friends) book – Drawn Together (Brown Family 5) which was doomed from the very start. I mean the main character is Raven who shows up in all the previous books as a crass, impolite woman whose juvenile actions are interpreted with words such as “honest” and “direct”.

So, another DNF.

I don’t understand what’s with Lauren Dane and wounded women and women in peril? Maybe the Brown Family series is the Wounded Female series? Maybe there’s more variation in her other series…Let’s check on Goodreads:

Giving Chase (Chase Brothers #1): …Despite Maggie’s happiness and growing love with Kyle, a dark shadow threatens everything-she’s got a stalker and he’s not happy at all. In the end, Maggie will need her wits, strength and the love of her man to get her out alive.

I think I’m done with Lauren Dane for now. However, aside from Coming Undone, she also gave me an excuse to put a Tom Hardy picture on my blog which is always a plus. So, thanks Lauren.

GotG Vol. 2 – or let’s talk about plot, baby

Three things that saved GotG Vol. 2 from total bust:

  1. The characters and their relationships – namely, the first movie;
  2. The Chain by Fleetwood Mac;
  3. Nebula and Yondu.

I also have to give them credit for avoiding a giant hole in the sky and opting for a subterranean climax.

Twice as many things due to which it sucked:

  1. The unbearable pointlessness of the Sovereign;
  2. Forced humour;
  3. Yes, we get it. Little Groot is cute.
  4. Angst overload;
  5. Drax as a comic relief character;
  6. The James Bondian “let’s pause so I can explain my evil plan to you”.

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Let’s Talk About Plot

Recently, there has been an influx of “big” movies without plot. This post was in my head after the remake of the Fantastic Four. It was there after Dr Strange. Suicide Squad, anyone? I’m really really sorry that it was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 that has prompted me to finally write it.

We really do not need to refer to Aristotle to know that every story needs to have three parts: the beginning, the middle and the end. Logic entails that the beginning serves as an introduction to the story and its characters, the middle is in fact plot development which introduces the conflict and where the story reaches its climax, while the end gives us resolution and conclusion (we should be so lucky).

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Boys and girls who are writing superhero movies as of recently have decided to forgo introduction and plot development for something I will call a reminder. For approximately one hour (if we’re lucky, it’s just one hour) we are reminded about how cool the characters are, how familiar we are with them and the “universe” and how much we love it all. The reminder is also full of WHAM! BAM! KAPOW!

And then WHAM! BAM! KAPOW! – the climax of the movie. The end.

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Pretty much like the structure of this post.

So, what is wrong with Ghost in the Shell…

….aside from all the painfully obvious things such as:

  1. Not enough ghost, a lot of shell;
  2. Two-dimensional characters;
  3. Explaining of things that are obvious to a 2-year old;
  4. Non-existent villain;
  5. 1995 view of the future
  6. Pathetic attempt at exploring the discorporation of consciousness?

All those things fade in the wake of the fact that 21st century has no fucking imagination whatsoever.

Cyberpunk is not a novel concept, but still it is a concept (or genre if you will) that can be perfectly set into modern society because we are in fact living it.

  1. Mega-corporations rule the world (and control our lives)? Check.
  2. Seamless merging of life with information technology? Check.
  3. Unbelievable technological and informational advancement? Check.
  4. Artificial intelligence? Check (more or less).
  5. The lines between real life and online life blurred? Check.
  6. Big Brother’s watching us? Check.

And what does Hollywood do? It takes a 1995 classic Japanese anime and makes a live action movie without adding absolutely nothing to it. I don’t think any of us here, in 2017, perceive that in the future we will be driving our own cars (made in the 80s, from what I could tell).

Mind you, I did enjoy the movie at several points, most of which included Michael Pitt and Takeshi Kitano. It is not total bullshit. There were  moments in the movie which made my time (and money) worth the while.

However, the movie has left me with two very important questions:

1. If I were to make a cybernetic soldier, would I make it/she/him 160 cm tall?

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2. Can we somehow stop them from ruining Akira?

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The First Cheap Thrill of 2017

During my seven-day tryst with flu, I have come to recognize there are some, albeit few, benefits to being unable to exercise any type of exertion. Putting aside that you might have to do some actual work while burning up at mild 38.5 degrees Celsius, you don’t (really) need your mental faculties to be at their peak to engage in these benefits.

  1. You can read silly books to your heart’s desire
  2. You needn’t explain to anyone why the fuck you are watching Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Jane Eyre AGAIN.

Flu is what brings about the first  Cheap Thrill of 2017 to my blog.

I’ve stumbled upon Storm and Silence on Goodreads (trending in some context) so I’ve decided to take it up when shit got too real.

Key words: 19th century, London, feminist, suffragette, tall, dark, curt, brooding, gender bender, guns, fights, France, balls (the kind you need a gown for), commerce…

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Storm and Silence (read here) suffers from a serious case of ADHD. Its story lines disappear and reappear indiscriminately, with no sense of proportion and position in the grand scheme of things. For example there’s a story line about Ella (sister) and her love problems which took up so much of Thiers attention (for some unfathomable reason).

Boring. Uninteresting. Superfluous. Boooooooring. Skip-skip-skip. Don’t care.

After putting the reader through superfluous torture with Ella, Thier decides he no longer has any interest in it and ends the blasted thing in just a couple of pages. Could’ve done that sooner. Like before introducing Ella as a character.

There is more than one thing that warns against reading Storm and Silence such as:

  1. The main character Lilly, whose point of view we follow, balances on the edge of lunacy for the best part of the book.
  2. It takes I would say about two thirds of the book to actually get an inkling that  Rikkard (blah name) Ambrose (that’s the tall, brooding dude) is supposed to be an actual human being
  3. The end of the book is stupid, ridiculous and impromptu as the conclusion of the Ella-storyline.

However…

It’s kind of a cute book, with all its quirks and general “is-this-really-a-book” feel. I liked it. It was fun. Even when it was irritating the shit out of me I still had a grin on my face. Despite all of the above, Lilly grew on me and I ended up really liking Ambrose even though it took forever for him to take shape. Yes. It is possible it was the flu doing the liking.

However…

I have also red In the Eye of the Storm (read here). Unlike Storm and Silence, the no. 2 actually gives of a unified feeling and can be mistaken for a book. In the Eye of the Storm can face many historical romances and not blink. While Storm and Silence dabbles with adventure, In the Eye of the Storm brings it on and takes it seriously. The major fault which both instalments share is the extent to which you have to suspend your disbelief in order to digest some of the things that happen.

However…

We who are in the business of Cheap Thrills and Guilty Pleasures suspend our disbelief like you wouldn’t believe. So, I intend to read the third book here and I fully expect to be entertained.

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Of Rakes and Romance

What are you doing? Are you really reading a book with rhyme in the title?

Those were the two questions which still plague me, as I’m nearing the last page of Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (oh yes, that IS the title). The answer to the second question (which is, obviously, yes) makes me smile every time.

I’m actually reading a book which someone decided to name Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake. Not Nine Rules. Not The List. Not Nine Rules to Break. Not even – Romancing a Rake (I hate that word because it makes me think of someone romancing a garden tool, which is really not my cup of tea, regardless of bullshit I read).

Writing a review of this book might seem unnecessary, but having in mind that I have read REALLY BAD erotic novels, and even worse historical romances, I feel the need to mention that this is actually readable. Yes, it’s unimaginative, unoriginal and rife with unnecessary and easily avoidable clichés, but it is still a fun read. And the title is so ridiculous that it alone makes the experience more worth the while.

Let us explore other titles in the series:

I mean, come on! Really? Nine, Ten, Eleven he’ll take you to heaven.

I’ll end this with a few images which will additionally clarify what it is that I’m actually reading.

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Yes, I do own Nine Rules to Brake When Romancing a rake, thanks to my friend over at Anatomy of Reading and Other Demented Things.

 

I’ve Made a Boo-boo

I’ve screwed up. Like BIG time. I got this idea that it would be FUN to read Grey. I know! What a crazy, crazy idea. I should blame Leo DiCaprio. I’m quite sure I did not come up with this idiotic thing all by myself.

And then, my sadistic reading buddy over at Anatomy of Reading (and other demented things) decided to go along with my idea, probably anticipating that I would not be able to endure it and that she’ll have the last laugh, making me finish what I’ve started.

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Curse you, Leo! Curse you, reading buddy! Curse you, tiny toilet!

Fallen Too Far

I know you’re bound to wonder why the fuck I decided to read this book, but frankly I’m not in the mood to explain my current life situation which lead me astray. Suffice it to say, I’ve been having a rough couple of months and it started to show on my general psychological state. I googled summer+romance+book and this one was among those that Google pooped out. So blame it on Google.

I’m not gonna write a review. For the first time (possibly ever?) I’m gonna summarize an entire book, trying not to be judgmental or make any sort of opinion about it.

Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines tells a story about a nineteen year old Blaire who sets off to join her estranged father after the death of her mother. She’s a competent, no-nonsense girl, used to dealing with all sort of crap, having lost a twin sister in a car accident and taking care of her sick mother during her formative years.

After selling pretty much everything she’s got to pay for medical bills, Blaire goes to Florida to get some help from her father who has remarried. Once she reaches her destination, she founds that her father has left for Paris and the nearest thing she has to a relative is Rush Finlay, her (sort of) stepbrother she has never met or heard of. Rush is very hot, very rich, very popular with the ladies he’s a womaniser, unwilling (or maybe unable?) to settle down. Reluctantly, Rush offers Blaire to stay in a small room in his house (her father and Rush’s mother Georgiana live in Rush’s house). Rush’s stepbrother Grant is glad for this because he’s a happy-go-lucky guy, while Nannette, Rush’s stepsister is actually quite bitchy about the whole situation and Blaire in general. Rush’s terms which govern Blaire’s residential situation change on a daily basis, because he’s eager to have her stay.

Blaire gets a job at a country club, serving drinks to golfers. She manages to earn quite a sum on tips, having a skimpy uniform and ample bosom.

There’s instant attraction between Rush and Blaire, which develops and grow over time. Rush adamantly tries to curtail the attraction. They live together, make attempts at friendship, something they soon fail at. Inevitably, they hook up, because Rush simply isn’t strong enough to resist Blaire and the attraction they share.

When it seems that Blaire and Rush are gonna settle their differences and that their story will come to a happy ending, pending Rush’s explanation of his initial reluctance, things do not go as well as planned.

Blaire wakes up to realize that her father Adam and his wife Georgiana (Rush’s mother) have returned from their trip. She overhears a conversation revealing that the angry and vile Nanette is in fact her stepsister. Before meeting Blaire’s mother, Adam was in a relationship with Georgiana who was pregnant with Nanette. Adam decided to leave Georgiana to start a life and eventually a family with Blaire’s mother. He lied that Georgiana isn’t pregnant with him but with some other guy (I think Rush’s father, I’m not sure).

So. Ok. Adam left Georgiana who was pregnant with Nanette to be with Blaire’s mother and then, after the death of one of his twins, he abandons Blaire and her mother, and Georgiana takes him back. Georgiana has three children with three different guys. I think. Or is it two? I dunno.

Rush knew all this and it was the reason why he did not want to get involved with Blaire. His sister was horribly hurt by the lack of a father in her life and she in part blamed Blaire and largely her mother for this situation, and he felt for her, being something of a surrogate father to Nanette.

Blaire was very upset by the turn of events and the fact that everything she thought she knew about her family and about her life was in fact a lie. She’s especially pissed off at Rush for not telling her the truth. The night of the confrontation she sits in her truck and leaves to return home to Alabama. Rush follows her to try to fix things. Unwillingly she agrees to talk to him, and they end up spending one last night together, because she cannot be with him after all that has happened.

If you want more, there’s plenty of it – PLENTY OF MORE.

If you want to know what I think, you can read it on Goodreads.

Terminator: Daenerysys

  1. Do you want to watch a mash-up of Terminator and Judgement Day?
  2. Do you want to see a chubby, cute Sarah Connor unable to shoot a gun properly because her bewbs are in the way?
  3. You do not require something new, original or noteworthy?
  4. You want to see J. K. Simmons in another role not worhty of him?
  5. You’re dying to see old Arnie beating the shit out of young, CGI Arnie?

If you’ve answered YES to at least three questions, proceed to watch Terminator: Genisys.

Genisys is not new. It is not good. It is not bad. It’s …-ish. It’s not as bad as Jurassic World but the reasoning behind it is the same: Let’s make the same movie(s), try to stir those emotions you have for the original movies by using suggestive music and motifs that get you right in the feels. The thing is, they actually do pull this off a few times.

Because, unlike Jurassic World, the Terminator has a member of the original cast and they know when and how to use the trn-tn-tn-tn, trn-tn-tn-tn. And let’s face it, the fact that they were unable to replace Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn is not really surprising. It’s understandable.

The story is, shockingly, focused on time-travelling to save one Sarah Connor and stop Skynet from nuking the world. Again, shockingly, there are some major disruptions in the timeline. Also, shockingly, we get to hear Arnie say “I’ll be back.” They don’t really do anything new. There’s kinda a new terminator, but he’s not really all that new, more like a fancy T-1000. Skynet is sometimes referred to as Genisys, which is sort of new…ish.

All that being said, I cannot resist a bit of time travel…

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Just in case you did not get the point…

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One question remains to be answered: If 1991 Linda Hamilton was Sarah Connor in Terminator: Genisys, would it be good?

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Burn baby, burn!

Karen Marie Moning: Burned (Fever Series #7)

What is worse than the first fourteen pages of Burned? The remaining 429 pages.

I should have given up after those fourteen pages.
But I didn’t.

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The first fourteen pages of this book ruined one of my favourite characters. The remaining couple of hundred pages mutilate Barrons’ corpse.

I think Moning has lost her interest in Mac and Barrons and chose to come back to them due to popular demand.  MacKayla Lane, her strongest and best character, is reduced to a commentator of things happening around her. Moning gives us excuses for this throughout the book, but it doesn’t make it any better, especially when she turns Mac into nothing more than a sex-obsessed voyeur.  Barrons is something of a comic relief, with only Mac reminding us of his former glory.

With severe dilution of characters, all the faults of the book shined ever so brightly. There’s actually no plot whatsoever. And excuses Moning uses for plot are so poorly executed you can mistake them for plot only if you’re looking for one. The pace is jumbled and you actually get to see when Moning decided that it was time for some character development. My ass. Also, seeing WTF in a book as a part of internal monologue (three times!!!) really pisses me off.

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While I was reading Burned I had my suspicions that Moning made her decisions while keeping in mind the public outcry following Iced and she decided to please the fans. Or try to. Having finished the book, I’m almost certain that most of her decisions were made in order to please the masses so that book sales would be massive.

Even if this is true (maybe more so?), Burned is still a bad book, and sadly I must say goodbye.

Bye

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DUFF, the movie, left me feeling the same way the book did: unimpressed, but mildly entertained. The movie doesn’t attempt to be deep, it does seem to want to touch upon the issue of labelling, however it does so very superficially – it pretty much goes unnoticed.

Even though the movie is very different from the book, it has successfully taken over all of its faults: it’s flaky, all over the place, and it lacks attention span. It was fun to watch, but frankly, I think you’d be better off if you just watched Ten Things I Hate About You again. Because DUFF will not make you feel like this:

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Both have Allison Janney, and Ten Things is smart, fun and also has Heath Ledger and JGL.

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The only part of this movie that left me wondering was the fact that I cannot fathom how do kids nowadays survive high school, taking into account that every one of your embarrassing moments is a potential Facebook post or a YouTube video. Shit. I’m glad I grew up in the era when social networking actually required leaving the house and phones looked like this:

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