Fiction: “Decadent” by Shayla Black

Oh … Oh holy dear God in Heaven above. I … all I can say is, wow.

It’s not a good ‘wow,’ okay? I don’t even want to talk about it, but the thing is, this blog kinda means I should, so I will.

But before I get into this, I am going to link (and possibly quote from heavily – not sure yet) to the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books review of Decadent. In addition, I am thisside of sleep-deprived and shouldn’t be writing at this time of night-slash-morning, but anyway, for the first time, I really can’t talk about this kind of stuff in euphemistic terms.

And so: CAVEAT LECTOR. (Lector? hold on, lemme double-check this … hey, I was right!) This entry will definitely include discussion of adult topics, especially of the sexual variety. If you don’t want to know this stuff, then for the love of God, don’t click the cut-link. Readers of my blog who may be under the age of 18 should probably skip this entry.

It should go without saying that readers of my blog who may be under the age of 18 shouldn’t be reading this book anyway (and I don’t think there are any underage readers, but you know my motto: “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you”), but then I continue and say that no one of any age should be reading this book because holy God … so bad.

Also, I would like to apologize to my mother (if she happens to read this), and remind her that she has to have a sense of humor when it comes to her warped eldest child.

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Fiction: “Bound and Determined” by Shayla Black

It should not take someone a month to read Midwestern Philosophy. Midwestern Philosophy should not be so boring. And I’m sorry, but this one was. Horrifically boring. And look, Midwestern Philosophy plots are supposed to be ludicrous. In fact, here on loan from the American Midwestern Philosophical Society is an Actual Scientist with the Actual Scientific Formula for Midwestern Philosophy:

Man + Woman
———————-    x   Close Quarters = Sex every other chapter
Crazy Plot

(yes, it’s an actual formula. created by scientists. or, philosophers. whatever.)

And going hand in hand with ludicrous plots is the idea that you are to read Midwestern Philosophy at Ludicrous Speed. One should not be spending a month trying to get through the Ludicrous Plot to get to (or through) The Good Stuff.

Here’s the gist: Kerry’s brother, Mark, has been framed for embezzlement at his job at this bank. There’s this supersmart and superhott (yes, with two t’s) computer geek named Rafe, and Kerry tries to call him and ask him to help her brother out, and it’s convenient, because he’s coming to Tampa anyway (seriously? what great romance ever happened in Tampa?) to help with security measures at That Same Bank. But when he refuses, rudely, instead of giving up and going on with her life and hoping for a miracle, she KIDNAPS HIM FROM THE AIRPORT. She takes her to her adopted uncle’s Love Shack on the Beach (because of course one exists) and when Rafe realizes that he hates the idea of bullying her into leaving, he agrees to broker a deal: he’ll help her try to prove her brother innocent, and he gets to have sex with her for the entire weekend.

Surprisingly, no one’s Virgin Alarm went off (TM – it’s programmed to go off before you do!). Surprising, because Kerry is a virgin. Usually in Midwestern Philosophy, that card has already been played. But, whatever, because even though he was rude on the phone (horrors!), Kerry is Very Attracted to Rafe, and totally agrees with no pressure.

And … *sigh* The ‘mystery,’ if you dare to call it that, is predictable. The story sets up three people who could be the embezzeler, and of course only two of them have a real motive (and one of them is supposedly ‘in Love’ with Kerry, which Kerry doesn’t believe), and it turns out it’s the third. But she wasn’t just doing this for the money; she was doing it for a shitload of money!

In the end, as tends to happen, love conquers all and all that crap. And apparently, for a virgin, she gives great helmet. (sorry – I couldn’t resist.)

I wasn’t going to do this, because really, I don’t want to degrade the value of the label on something like this, but I really feel that this book deserves a Chuck Bass Stamp of Disapproval:

Look at him. He’s totally saying, “Why Shayla Black, you can’t possibly comprehend the magnitude of what you’ve done. Not only have you bored the upper Northeastern version of Blair Waldorf to tears, but you have managed to earn my disapproval. My cardigan has more sexual appeal than that escapade in Chapter Five. Frankly, your sex scenes lack imagination, and I can’t be bothered to assist you in that arena at the moment. My sister, however, is probably available, and Lord knows she’ll sleep with anything. She slept with Humphrey. Also, I’d like to point out that my cardigan has sharks on it. I’m surprised you didn’t throw in a shark attack; you did set your story in Florida. Oh, goodness, look at the time. I must be off; I have important, wealthy things to go succeed at, because I’m Chuck Bass. My final word of advice: be more like me; be more evil. For evil will always triumph because good is dumb.”

Grade for Bound and Determined: Twilight stars

Fiction: “Addiction” by Charlotte Featherstone

addicted Oh, Midwestern Philosophy.  I turn to you when I no longer want to think about what I’m reading.  I look for a formula in you: boy and girl meet; boy and girl have sex, multiple times, in many different arrangements; there is an argument, or, boy and girl realize they are keeping secrets from each other; they reconcile, and everyone lives happily ever after.

Then I found the Spice imprint of Harlequin, and what the heck?  There’s a deeper plot, and, character development, and … what?  It’s like someone went by and put peanut butter in my nonfat imitation chocolate syrup.  I didn’t read you to have to think, or connect; I just wanted to insert myself into the girl’s part and Daniel Craig into the boy’s part.  Is that so much to ask?

All protestations aside, Addicted is pretty meaty for Midwestern Philosophy.  Lindsay, who goes by multiple titles (he’s Lord Raeburn, but his father’s name is Lord Weatherby), is in love with his childhood friend, Anais.  I have no idea how to pronounce that.  Is it an-i-EES?  Is it an-AY-is?  If only there was an umlaut!  They ‘come to know each other’ (wink wink nudge nudge) in a stable one night, where afterwards, Lindsay proposes marriage.

What’s the problem?  Well, Lindsay dabbles in opium.  And a couple of nights later, after indulging in some opium, he mistakes Anais’s friend Rebecca for her.  And of course, Anais discovers them in flagrante delicto, and she runs away.  Flash-forward to an auspicious ten months later, and Lindsay returns from a trip to Turkey just in time to save Anais from her burning house.  He and his family takes in Anais’s family for the holidays (because yes, it’s Christmastime), and he notices how sick she looks.  DUN DUN DUN.

I think you can see where this is going.  Anais has anemia, she’s lost a lot of blood, she looks pale … meanwhile, she’s also latched onto one of Lindsay’s old friends Garrett Braeburn, who’s helping her.  Lindsay seems to think that he’s giving her a helping hand as well, ifyaknowwhaddimean.  Lindsay’s jealousy and desire for Anais continues to battle with his growing need for opium.

And throughout all of this, Anais and Lindsay still do it.  A lot, actually.

The plot was actually very dense, but as I’ve said, I’m not looking for a lot of character development in my Midwestern Philosophy.  The last forty pages included SPOILER ALERT Lindsay’s withdrawal from his opium addiction, which was a cloudy shade of intense.  It’s not nearly as graphic as it could be, but for its genre, it was practically Fight Club.

Right now, I don’t foresee the need to read this novel again, but I may continue to read this imprint.  Just don’t make the peanut butter chunky, okay?  (Um, I don’t mean that in the way my brain just thought it did.)

Grade for Addicted: 2 stars

Fiction: “Good Girl Gone Bad” by Karin Tabke

Good girl gone badSo after the masochism of Wideacre and the intellectual stimulation that was Watchmen (sidebar: what’s with the ‘W’ titles?), I needed to read something that was considerably less of both. Luckily, Midwestern Philosophy is about as far away from either of those as you can get.
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Fiction: “Six” by Opal Carew

sixI wasn’t going to admit reading this book, because it is yet more Western Philosophy, with even less plot than Stranger. Six individuals meet in the Bahamas for a weekly retreat to … uh, engage in deep discussions of philosophic ideals. It wasn’t anything special, and it certainly doesn’t merit more than a paragraph stating “Yes, I finished reading this book in March.”

So there. And now, onto our regularly scheduled programming.

Grade for Six: 1 stars

Fiction: “Stranger” by Megan Hart

strangerBefore I go further, I have to tell the story of how the genre of Midwestern Philosophy came to be.  My roommate, Amelia, and I were shopping at Border’s.  I was looking for the previous book by Malcolm Gladwell, because Matt recommended it to me and I wanted to read it.  Well, since Malcolm Gladwell is a non-fiction author, Amelia and I were walking the stacks, searching for Malcolm Gladwell.  As I walk down the aisle marked “Western Philosophy,” on the left shelf is where we discovered the stash of Penthouse letters and books with stories about bondage and who knows what else.  Amelia and I goggle, and immediately determine that from now on, our name for pornography was going to be Western Philosophy.

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