Tag Archives: erotica

SBD: non-hero sex?

My belated SBD:

First let me go on record as being a reader who isn’t offended by reading a love scene (or sex scene, as the case may be) between one of the main characters of a romance and another character who is not going to be the ultimate hero or heroine. If it fits with the plot of the book and the flow of the story, then I’m okay with it. That’s assuming, of course, that there is no pledge of sexual fidelity between h/h; if there is and the nookie occurs anyway, that’s cheating and it’s an entirely different kettle o’ fish.

I purchased Laura Baumbach’s The Lost Temple of Karttikeya [The Collector 9] ; I’d read her earlier m/m book A Bit of Rough and was interested to see what she would do with a romance that included a bit of adventure or paranormal. I knew from the blurb that the heroes of the book would be Brandon and Christian. And I knew from the excerpt that Brandon is seeing someone else or hung up on someone else at the beginning of the book. Fine. The opening chapters (chapters!) consisted of a long, long love/sex scene between Brandon and the other guy. In and of itself, that doesn’t bother me; Brandon’s lovesickness* over this guy plays a role in the book. The details? Graphic and quite titillating. Again, not a problem. Of ~400 e-pages, the first ~60** are the sex between a hero and a non-hero, who in fact turns out to be a slutty user who abandons Brandon, leaving him heartbroken and desperate enough to go on a Quest for a Magickal Artifact which will win him back. Of course, in the process, Brandon has the Hot Monkey Lovin’ with someone else and falls in love all over again, but this time with a Very Nice Guy.

But I digress. The initial scene. After finishing the book, I felt a little perplexed by the length of the first love/sex scene. Okay, I’m all for the hotness and I get that this is erotic romance. But since as a reader I’ve done my research (read the blurb before buying), I know who is going to get the HEA. And I’m not sure how using +10% of the book’s entire word count on a love/sex scene not between the two heroes furthers that goal. I mean, yes, it shows me that the Evil, Slutty Ex is Teh Secks God (which also means that he’s gotten around, which is bad in Romancelandia – is that the same for m/m Romancelandia?) and that he has Our Sweet Hero by the cock and balls. But still…was there any other point to it? Because upon reflection, it reminds of Skanky Villain Sex, thrown in to pad a book and make the reader aware that the villain is a bad, bad dude. Here it just contributed to my general disenchantment with Brandon as a hero. If he’s so needy and desperate that total tool with a good technique can whip him that easily, how/why should I believe that his HEA with Christian is EA? What if the tool reappears or changes his mind?

Plus, that scene is longer (I believe) than any love/sex scene between Brandon and Christian. What’s up with that?  Are you telling me that ESE’s technique is better/hotter/more page-worthy than Christian’s?  If so, the author is breaking a major Romancelandia rule:  True Love Sex is the Best Sex. 

I dunno.  I kind of had a point and then lost it.  But suffice it to say that something about this first scene seems wonky to me in the scheme of things, even if I can’t articulate exactly what.

*After a bit, I was totally irritated with Brandon’s obsession with this guy and his complete lack of self-respect and testicular fortitude.   But that’s a separate issue.

** The details of the book indicated that it is 55,887 words long; probably a good 6,000-7,000 of those words were spent on this scene.  About half way through the scene, I wanted to tell them both to come already so the actual plot could start.

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Dirty by Megan Hart and the new Ward/Bird series book

Now that I’ve read Dirty, I get the clear divide among readers. I fall in with the readers who had a ~meh~ reaction. It’s one of those books that was well-written but just didn’t work for me. It all comes down to narration: Dirty is told in first person POV from the perspective of Elle Kavanaugh. She’s very remote and detached, and it was hard to like her or even to care. The story was told in a monotone. Because the narrator was so detached, everything seemed grey. Even the sex seemed clinical and boring to me. Published by Hqn’s Spice line, I think it was supposed to be straight erotica, not erotic romance, because the publisher said the HEA was not required for the line. (There’s a nominal HEA here.) As a piece of erotica or erotic fiction, it didn’t work for me — it wasn’t hot, it was like reading a sexual instruction manual. Insert Tab A into Slot B. If I didn’t know the publisher, I’d’ve thought this was straight up women’s fiction. C+ from me.

BTW, Jessica Bird (aka J.R. Ward) has a new series book out. I bought a copy (it seems to be a compulsion) and read it. Bird/Ward really seems incapable of writing a well-rounded heroine. By well-rounded, I mean a character who has flaws and strengths and who is not a complete doormat. Meet Lizzie Bond, yet another meek little woman to get walked all over by an uber-alpha Ward/Bird hero. What the hell is wrong with me? I know that I don’t like Bird’s series books (now that I’ve read three of them), but I bought this one anyway. My reader card should be revoked.

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The rundown

I’ve read a bunch of books in the past week or so, some good, some not so much.  The slump, I think she is over!

Dipped in Chocolate by Renee Luke

I read this one last week?  10 days ago?  The second story was okay, and third story was good but needed more space.  I hated the first story:  the heroine deserved to be bitch-slapped and the hero a boot in the ass.  And the heroine’s fiance?  No, she couldn’t just wise up, the author had to make him petty and foolish.  Yeah, no, not a HEA I believed.  The second and third stories both suffered from a major head slap moment from the heroine; in the third story, there was enough back story for the heroine’s TSTL moment to be understood.  Not so much for the heroine in the second book.  All in all, a C book.  (I’m not sure it’s relevant, but I’ll mention, the first story was B/B, the second B/W I think, the third W/W.)


My Best Friend’s Girl by Dorothy Koomson

I picked this up after reading KarenS’s review.  Loved this book — consumed it in one sitting, was up until 1am reading.  It’s chick lit or women’s fiction, and the focus isn’t the romance, although there is one.  Actually, there are two potential heroes.  The heroine and both heroes are damaged human beings who are just trying to do the right thing.  This book made me think long and hard about whether I could be that forgiving and open hearted, and truly, I’m not sure I could.   A for this one.

Prairie Moon by Maggie Osbourne

I’ve read a couple of reviews of Osbourne’s I Do, I Do, I Do, but haven’t seen it on the library or bookstore shelves.  But I found a used copy of Prairie Moon at the library.  Road romance, Western, set in the post Civil War.  I liked that the relationship development between the hero and heroine wasnt rushed.  The BIg Secret *was* a serious, important one, not trumped up.  One thing was a little freaky for me, making me think the heroine needed therapy (yeah, like that was available in 1874), but otherwise a very good book.  B+ from me.

Pleasure Planet by Evangeline Anderson

I liked Anderson’s The Assignment, a M/M novella.  I have not been impressed by the transition to print.  This anthology?  D+.  Lots of sexual tension, but the plotting was clunky and the stories were straight out of a scifi B movie.  The first story:  time travel.  And the heroine keeps going back to fix things to get her fiance to marry her, but keeps messing stuff up.  But she’s fixated on him, despite the hunky scientist who created the time machine.  Second story?  More time travel, this time with clones who are mentally connected to the original DNA-owner.  Convoluted plot and abbreviated world building.  Meh.  The third story had the most promise, I thought, being a sort of neo-Regency.  It needed more page space though, and suffered from some cliches that perhaps could’ve been avoided in a longer format.

Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell

Well, this book has been the subject of lots of discussion in blogland.  It was sitting on the display rack at the self check out stand at the library, so I checked it out.  I’m not going to address The Scene for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that it has been discussed to death.   To say that I hated this book would be an exaggeration, since I don’t feel that passionate about it.  But I was disappointed by it; not because of The Scene, but because of the characters, the clunkly pacing, the unbelievable HEA.  The hero was a selfish, psychotic, abusive dick.  In the 21st century, his behavior is called stalking and would result in a restraining order.  I didn’t believe his poor abused me excuses or his redemption; too little, too late.  The heroine?  In serious need of therapy.  And her thought on p. 250 about how she shouldn’t’ve run away?  ::head to desk::  The scooby doo ending?  Blech.  The idea that the lack of heir and social issues wouldn’t matter?  Y’know, I don’t expect a huge amount of realism in historical romances, but this?  A duke saying that having an heir doesn’t matter?  Social standing doesn’t matter?  I call bullshit! on that.  C-/D+ from me.

I’m reading The Great Snape Debate now; tried the anti-Snape half first.  Lot of assumptions based on stuff that is NOT written in the books.  Maybe it came from JKR?  I don’t know, but I’m disappointed.  Maybe the pro-Snape half will be better.

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Natural Law by Joey W. Hill

Here it is. It isn’t a review, really, because I couldn’t get myself organized enough for that. More a plot summary (small spoilers, I think) and my rambling thoughts.

And I’m off and rambling (instead of running)

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I forgot!

I forgot to share my joy yesterday — opening day in Balmer! Cold, but clear. And a win, with a beautiful game pitched by Daniel Cabrera. Plus, the O’s won the series in NY. :happysigh: That so seldom happens that I can’t be too mournful that they blew a lead and what could’ve been a sweep.

And I learned that the new head groundskeeper at the Yard? A woman. The only one in the league, I think. Is that cool or what? That’d be a cool profession for a romance heroine, don’tcha think?

On the book front, still mired in bleh-dom. I picked up a copy of the e-book Anchor & Storm after reading KarenS‘s mention of it. Continue reading

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Double Dare by Saskia Walker

I received a bunch of recommendations when I blogged last week (or the week before?) about The Power of Three. Saskia Walker’s name was one of them, so I picked up a copy of her book, Double Dare. I have to admit that I had passed the book up a couple of times before because of the cover.
Check it out.

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The Power of Three

Tara Marie’s post reminded me that I told Sybil that I would blog about The Power of Three. What is The Power of Three? It’s the recent frequency of threesomes in erotic romance. What’s behind it? Is there a point to it? What do I think about it? The question came because of a superfluous group sex scene in Michelle Pillow’s short story in the anthology Taming Him.

My short answer to Sybil’s original email: I haven’t spent a huge amount of time pondering the rise of the threesomes or foursomes or group sex in erotic romance. It doesn’t offend me, but neither does it particularly float my boat. I think the 3+ scenes that I’ve read have been in erotic romance from ebook and boutique publishers rather than NYC/mainstream publishers for the most part.

My only slightly longer opinion: Like “regular” sex, 3+ sex needs to fit the story. Flipping through the erotic romances I’ve read, it’s hard to think of many in which the 3+ sex played a role in developing the the story, instead being titillating filler. Even in Pillow’s story, it was tacked on, just sort of there. Offhand, the only book that I can think of in which is is more than just padding to the story is Emma Holly’s Menage. ETA: SarahF reminded me that Chris Owen’s 911 includes a threesome as an integral part of the story. Not tacked on, not hurried, but a piece of the story that is addressed and developed.

What do you think of The Power of Three? If you read erotic romance, what do you think of them? Read or skip?

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