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.

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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.

 

Fifty Shades of Consent

If you ever read a book that falls into the category of adult or erotic fiction, I am quite sure you are fully aware that there are many, many ways a woman can say yes without actually uttering the word. Sometimes she says no, repeatedly, but still manages to have consensual sex. However, once she gets that elusive guy no other non-raped woman was able to tie down, there are no more nuances. Only white, hot light.

If it’s so important to have the element of inability to control oneself, I think that the erotic fiction trend would benefit from implementing the nature of consent as depicted in Beautiful Bastard.

Chloe Mills is unable to say no to Bennett Ryan. Even though she hates him, she is attracted to him and there’s no helping it. Note that she never says no to Bennett. Once, she even orders him to get on his knees. I’m not a fan of multiple POV, but in Beautiful Bastard Bennett’s point of view functions to level the playing field. He is no different than she is, which is something that all writers should strive towards (to please me). He is also unable to say no, even though he knows he probably should, given the fact he is Chloe’s boss.

Sure, there are a few “usual” problems, some of which definitely stem from the fact that Beautiful Bastard originated from fanfiction. The story gets a bit diluted in the last 100 pages or so, I skipped through entire chunks of book because an intercourse per chapter is in my view a bit too much. There was some strained willing suspension of disbelief as the hate they felt for each other turned into something else. I also think that the familial relations should have been additionally elaborated and put to better use. Authors try to introduce multiple characters, but really the world consists of two “real” people. Other characters have limited use: 1) to enable the protagonists to learn something through conversation; 2) to illustrate just how hot, kind, sweet and complex the protagonists are; 3) to serve as a source of conflict between protagonists.

I think most fans of 50 Shades of Grey might be interested that there are multiple similarities between Beautiful Bastard and 50 Shades, only Beautiful Bastard is not lousy. Also The Office (fanfiction on which Beautiful Bastard is based) is said to have inspired 50 Shades and its brethren. If you read adult/erotic fiction, you like 50 Shades, or would maybe like to find something like it but you prefer female characters with a backbone and male characters who are not pricks, Beautiful Bastard is the book for you.

Please, let me park my own car in front of your pink house.

Erotic fiction or adult fiction or watchamacallit, should not necessarily put me through an entire page about a single kiss or twenty pages about one coitus. The anatomy of a kiss is not something I’m interested in. I’m aware that it includes lips, tongue and sometimes teeth. I would prefer if you didn’t get all naturalistic on my ass. Or on your characters’ asses.

What you show me is more important than what you write. I find it terribly obtrusive when you pause to write: She was sexually attracted to him because __________________. Or: He wanted to have sex with her because _______________.

A good book tells you there’s a pink house and lets you paint some of the finishing touches, maybe choose the roof style, park your own car out front. (KMM, DarkFever)

Keep one thing in mind: Context is King.

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You should practice omissiontiming and dosage which are so sparse as of recently. The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning is the best example of how to do this (even though her Highlander Series is lacking in this respect).

Karen Marie Moning is more than an author, she’s a dealer. She has the merchandise, she is the only one who can supply you with it, and she knows just how much you need to keep you hooked, wanting more.  When Jericho and MacKayla hook up (physically) KMM made it work for another thousand pages or so.

Normally, once the protagonists get together, most contemporary fiction (YA, romance, erotic fiction and other assorted genres) lose some or all appeal. This is because your primary focus is on the (sexual) relationship, with blatant disregard of plot and character development, and your inability (or unwillingness) to omit, time and dose. And then you are forced to put your characters into ridiculous situations, create unnecessary conflict in a poor attempt to keep the interest of the reader.

Even after reading a whole big bunch of Gulity Pleasure/Cheap Thrill (GPCT) books, Jerricho Barrons remains my one and only GPCT bookcrush. He’s not there all the time. Sometimes he shows up once in a few hundred pages, but when Jericho shows up…Well, read between the lines.

Barrons has something the rest of us don’t have. I don’t know what it is, but I feel it all the time, especially when we’re standing close. Beneath the expensive clothes, unplaceable accent, and cultured veneer, there’s something that never crawled all the way out of the swamp. It didn’t want to. It likes it there. (KMM, BloodFever).

Stranded with a Billionaire

AN: This book enabled me to accept the fact that books about falling for a rich dude are not my cup of tea and that I should stop trying. I should stick to normal and paranormal guys.

Logan just bought an island on which, incidentally, Brontë is spending her vacation. A hurricane disrupts her lousy stay, and she is found, believe it or not, Stranded with a Billionaire. They hook up,  and the chemistry between them is convincing. There are funny moments, cute moments and boring moments. Logan is not an irritating bully and Brontë, although naïve to a certain degree, is not an idiot and has a mind of her own.

And then they leave the island.

Once Logan and Brontë leave the windy retreat, the book starts it’s slow, but safe, downward spiral. It goes around in circles, entertaining cliches about love, money and baggage, dabbling with now unconvincing and forced attraction. Once in the real world, everything, including the author’s inspiration and imagination, indicates that Logan and Brontë should break up, because their relationship does not work and because they both seemed as uninterested in it as I was.

In case you liked 50 Shades of Grey or the Crossfire Series, Stranded with a Billionaire might be your cup of tea.  It’s not bad, it got me interested and intrigued. Unfortunately, it lost focus and I lost interest.