Love Her Madly, by Christie Ridgeway

love her madly

Grade: B

Doing it at: 48%

Catnip: Girl Next Door; Best Friend’s Brother; Twins; Deep Dark Secret; Fake Relationship; Rock Stars; Tattoos; Drummers; Light Bondage; Emotional Unavailability; Dual Narrative; Floor Sex

Shame Scale: This story had way better sex than I was anticipating and several moments of Jeez I hope no one looks over my shoulder, but the real shame here comes from the cover. That model reminds me of the man who claims to be so beautiful he’s illegal in his country or some nonsense like that, and bathed in a ridiculous ethereal light. Cover SHAME.

Fantasy Cast: Ian Somerhalder and Rachel Bilson

Book Description:

“Years ago, Rolling Stone magazine dubbed the nine collective children of the most famous band in the world “Rock Royalty.” Now all grown up, the princes and princesses are coming back to L.A.’s Laurel Canyon to discover if love can be found among the ruins of a childhood steeped in sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. “Bad twin” Bing Maddox has wanted his brother’s BFF Alexa Alessio for months, but he’s stayed away because she’s too hearts-and-family for his jaded soul. Ever since a good deed turned to a dark regret, he’s buried his guilt in a series of forgettable flings with women who wanted nothing more. But when delicious Alexa needs a plus one to some upcoming wedding events, he gives in to his urges and goes all out in pursuit of getting her into his bed. Alexa Alessio doesn’t know how it happened—one moment she was being smart and keeping herself separate from seen-everything, done-everything, wildly sexy Bing Maddox and the next she was agreeing he could be her date. Sure she wants back-up when her cousin marries Alexa’s own stolen ex, but Bing’s made it clear he wants her on her back. Her heart says yes—but her common sense tells her it might be the very thing broken when commitment-phobic Bing moves on. She can have him, but can she hold him?”

The synopsis of this one has so much catnip for me: bad boy, weird rock star parent past, best friend’s brother, fake relationship, and a big wedding. I’ve never read anything by the author, or heard of her, so I was a little worried this might be a book with either no buttering the biscuit or really lame buttering the biscuit. Luckily my fears were dispelled by page 10 when I got this snippet:

He wondered what she’d do if she knew how bad that pose made him want to flip up her skirt, rip off her panties, then shove her thighs apart to taste her honeyed heat. The tip of his tongue would slide between her soft folds teasing out the button of her clit.

Once I knew no prude-ery was in store for me, I plunged right in to enjoy the story. Bing Maddox (I know I KNOW) and his twin brother Brody, are the children of a rock star, brought up pretty much feral with the seven other offspring of the band members. They indulged very heavily in the rock’n’roll party life style of their father until their 18th birthday when SOMETHING BAD happened; and they fled to start new slightly more wholesome lives. The twins ended up living in bungalows on either side of sweet, good as gold, pretty as pie Alexa. Alexa and Brody are buddies, they run together most mornings, drink beer and chat, and have zero sexual chemistry. Bing, on the other hand, Alexa tries to completely avoid because even though he’s Brody’s identical twin her feelings for him are completely different. She wants to do all the dark dirty things with Bing. And unbeknownst to Alexa, he wants to do those dirty things right back to her.  The two manage to avoid each other until Alexa mistakes Bing for Brody and spills how her evil cousin has stolen her fiance, is marrying him herself, forcing Alexa to play the happy bridesmaid, AND stealing all the wedding ideas that Alexa was going to use at her own wedding. This cousin Drea sounds real fun right? Alexa ends her rant by demanding that Brody go with her to wedding functions to have her back and prove to the family that she isn’t some pining, heart sick loser. Only its not Brody who agrees, its Bing. I think we all see where this is going, right?

Bing and Alexa think they can go about their arrangement, fool her family, and not give into the desires they have to rip each others clothes off. Alexa because she is scared of how much she wants him, and because she thinks she wants a nice steady boring type guy. And Bing (that name ladies, you just don’t ever stop thinking its ridiculous) because he thinks he’s dirty and irredeemable and would soil Alexa by being with her for real. Of course, their attraction proves to be too much and when Alexa goes to find Bing after a bad night when she fears he may be battling demons they give in to their desires and have hot dirty sex on the floor of what is basically a finished basement. Bing’s Bing’ing her and thinking how he could never get enough and he’ll have to go against his life-law of never sleeping with a woman more than once; and Alexa rolls off him and is all “OH! Thank goodness we got that out of our systems and will never have to have the sex again.” He’s disappointed but figures its for the best and that he’s too big and bad and full of secrets for her anyway.

When we finally find out his DEEP DARK secret, it’s pretty non shocking, as I figured it would be because this is an easy soft kind of New Adult read. I mean that in the best possible way, the characters are likable, the dialog is believable and funny, and the HEA comes before the author wears out her welcome with waffling and drama. The sex scenes were better than I was anticipating; not too heavy on bad metaphors for female moisture and with some light bondage thrown in for good measure. Bing plays the drums and after this and Play, I’m becoming concerned that I might have a legitimate “thing” for men and their sticks. I read this on a sunny, lazy weekend and it was the perfect book to go with the weather. Love Her Madly is the second book in the Rock Royalty series, and I’m already pretty solidly decided on reading the entirety of the series.

Rule, by Jay Crownover

Meet our friend, and guest reviewer, The Paperback Purist. PP is a reader of Books: real literature type books in actual paper book form. At least she was.

Mary and I weren’t content to be in this trash book vortex on our own, so we decided to corrupt some friends to join us on our journey. And PP was ripe for the ruining. Two weeks ago she was reading Gaiman for fun, was horrified at the thought of reading electronically, and wasn’t spending her days ruminating over the 300 synonyms for cock that pop up in our book selections. Flash forward and she’s burned through Bared to You, Beautiful Disaster, Sweet Filthy Boy, and is currently reading a book with stalkers and virgins and BDSM. How did we break our friend you ask?

We gave her Rule.

rule 3

Grade: B+

Doing it at: 24%

Catnip: Tattoos; Piercings; Odd couple; Best Friend’s Brother; Deep Dark Secret; Virgin; Dual Narrative

Shame scale: Medium, it’s still a sex book. And the guy on the cover is cute.

Fantasy casting:  Random tattooed internet guy and Amanda Seyfried

Book description: 

“Sometimes opposites don’t just attract – they catch fire and burn the city down

Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight-A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn’t want – and the only person she’s never tried to please. She isn’t afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won’t listen.

To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess – and his dead twin brother’s girl. She lives by other people’s rules; he makes his own. He doesn’t have time for a good girl like Shaw – even if she’s the only one who can see the person he truly is.

But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love…or each other.”

Once I gave in to Cleone and Mary’s insistence that I give up my quality literature and delve into the dirty written-word underworld, I found myself unbelievably hooked. This one was an easy start to my decent into romance. Jay Crownover is a quick read, her characters are likeable and real, and even though the story line was fairly predictable, I wasn’t reading this expecting a M. Night Shyamalan twist.

Shaw is the typical good girl. She’s rich, smart and beautiful. And her life is somehow still tragic. Her best friend is dead and her parents seem to barely tolerate her. Lucky for her, her dead friends’ parents love her, and invite her to Sunday dinner every week. Sadly, she has deal with waking the dead friend’s super hot twin brother and his flavor of the week every Sunday as well. (coughMANWHOREcough) This is just awful for her, mostly due to the secret feelings she’s carried for him from the beginning. Rule is a tattooed/pierced rich bad boy who is young and rebellious.  And he’s a successful tattoo artist. And he’s just plain pretty.  And he loves random women.  These two HATE each other at the beginning. HATE. But swimming just under the surface is some good old fashioned lust. Tequila helps. And right away, virgin Shaw is smitten.

The budding relationship that follows is challenged by seemingly everything: disapproving parents, stalkers (the ex-boyfriend always seems to be a stalker), jealousy….and a giant secret about the dead best friend/twin brother (I’ll let you figure that one out.) We get to see the couple go through the make-up/break-up routine more than once. And Rule is so emotionally disconnected at times that Shaw just has to save him. And by save I mean blow.

But Crownover keeps the sexy times hot and consistently spaced, so just when you reach the “come-on-get-naked-already” point in the story you are rewarded with a pierced penis description. That alone makes the 40 pages in between worth reading.

I will read more by Jay Crownover. She writes well, and her story sucks you right in. Also, she has an entire series devoted to tattooed men. Sign. Me. Up.

Check it out on Amazon:

Vincent, by Sarah Brianne


Grade: D

Doing it at: 64%

Catnip: Mafia; Best Friend’s Brother; Dual Narrative; Girl with a hard knock life; Alpha Hero; Sociopath; Everything’s up-to-date in Kansas City; Red Hot Burning Shame

Shame Scale: This is the definitive shame book. The protagonists are 18. The mafia in question is the Kansas City mafia. The writing is…not good. The cover model looks like a sociopath-spoiler alert he is. Being unable to put this one down gave me a lot of red-hot shame.

Fantasy Casting: Colton Haynes and AnnaSophia Robb

Book Description: Vincent knows the glamorous side of the Mafia, being born a soldier.

Lake lives on the opposite side of the tracks, born the daughter of a soldier.
The light and dark side of him are at constant war, but he is letting his darkness reign.
She is trying to find peace, and she will soon be far enough away to find it.
Discovering that his boss owns her, showed him how little he knew her.

Knowing all about him only makes her want to hate him.I’m a fu**ing made man. 

I’m just fu**ing trailer trash.

Vincent is banana pants guys. Both the character and the book itself. It’s part of the Made Men series, and mafia MEN made me think the main characters in this would be grown ups, instead our story opens with Vincent and Lake in high school, and we only get a few months past their 18th birthdays. But don’t worry! Just because our hero is only 18 doesn’t mean he hasn’t had a lot of sex. Oh no, he’s had sex with every girl in his school AND their moms. At Vincent and Lake’s high school graduation the girls and their moms cheer loudly and unashamedly for their teen sex god. Lake at least has the good sense to be embarrassed by this and flees. She doesn’t have much in the way of good sense besides that move though. Lets get into the plot.

Lake’s father is a low-level soldier in the mafia. In Kansas City, A soldier in the Kansas City Mafia. I couldn’t stop marveling at this fact, I made Mary listen to Everything’s Up-to-Date in Kansas City from the Oklahoma soundtrack, I Googled the median population of Kansas City, I literally laughed out loud. I digress, her dad is a not quite made man, her mom has married a rich man with a mean daughter and Lake hates spending weekends there because they mentally torture her and give her the modern-day Cinderella treatment. She has to sleep in the attic, clean the house from top to bottom, and can only eat the food that is leftover on her stepfather and stepsister’s plates. It’s the taunting of her stepsister that leads Lake and her best friend Adalynn to go dancing at a teen nightclub that appears to be a hook up spot. The girls are there, grinding and avoiding the attention of grabby handed teen boys, when Vincent spots them across the floor. At first he’s all “who is that hot piece of ass”, and then he’s all “that’s my stepsister and her best friend who I’ve never found sexually attractive before but now my dick will only be satisfied by her!”. Vincent and his fellow teen mobsters, Amo and Nero, drag the girls out of the club and beat the crap out of the guys that the girls came to the club with as well as the guys who were trying to grope them. These boys really like viciously attacking people, they’re all about blood splattering and bones crunching. Once Vincent gets Lake and Adalynn home, he finds birth control pills in Lake’s purse and freaks out again. See, girls in the mafia family aren’t allowed to date or have sex until they’re 18, and Vincent is now magically obsessed with Lake, none of this will stand for him so he kisses her. This plays out as these things usually do, he pushes her away, she can’t believe how amazing he is at kissing, no one does anything else for a few weeks, etc…

We pick back up just past the high school graduation, Lake’s dad has a gambling problem and he has gotten in over his head. Far enough over his head that he calls Lake and tells her to get her college fund out of the bank and flee town. Ms. Very Little Good Sense doesn’t flee town though, she takes her 20 grand and goes straight to the mob boss (OF KANSAS CITY) and tries to square up daddy’s debt. Unfortunately he owes more than 20 grand, fortunately (?) the bosses Consigliere is on hand to propose a solution Lake can pay off the debt by working as a cocktail waitress in the mafia’s high roller, super private casino. This is where I chime in and tell you that once upon a time I was a cocktail waitress and that hanging out serving drinks in skimpy outfits is not the same as being a stripper and is super lucrative, no shame in that game. But Lake doesn’t feel that way, she’s mortified and shy and not too happy when the pit boss forces her to see the on site waxer who takes every bit of hair off her body. Admittedly that part doesn’t sound that fun.

The other person who isn’t too happy about Lake’s new assignment? Vincent (duh), he’s been assigned to watch the floor of the casino and make sure no one touches the girls who are on the “no touch” list. At first he’s all “looking at 1/2 naked girls all day and getting paid? This one will give me a blow job in the woman’s room? Best Job Ever!” but then he’s all “Hey! Lake is one of these 1/2 naked girls and she just caught me with a trashy whore in the bathroom and other people are looking at her ass VINCENT SMASH”. Vincent takes it upon himself to pay off Lake’s daddy’s debt and demand she be let free from her obligations to walk around 1/2 naked in front of men that aren’t him. The catch is that Lake’s virginal innocence has caught the eye of a high roller who is in town for a month and the boss insists that Lake keep working at the casino until Mr. Rich and Smarmy leaves town. For the month that this is happening Vincent stays at Lake’s house, he pampers her, he cooks for her (all 18-year-old junior mobster sociopath sex god’s love to cook), and he doesn’t tell her that he has paid off her debt. You can imagine how that plays when it all comes out, and so much drama happens that I can’t really recap without this turning into 4000 words.

The writing in Vincent is not good, the author does that thing where she doesn’t use contractions in what Mary and I figure is a desperate bid to seem like a Serious Writer. The male characters and some of the females seem like actual sociopaths

“Maria giggled over her screams. “I really like it when they scream.”

The next loud scream that erupted from Ashley’s throat had Vincent almost in bliss. Me, too”

Descriptive writing isn’t her forte either, this is Lake describing Vincent’s apartment:

“It was warm yet cool, inviting yet structured, and contemporary yet Victorian, all while being dark with no light”

What does ANY of that mean???

I started laughing before this book even started, Vincent is the proud owner of the best chapter titles I have ever encountered And yet, I couldn’t put this down, it was so bad and funny and I just read it top speed. This book is like that pint of ice cream you eat until your stomach hurts even though you’re barely even hungry; your stomach hurts but you’re #sorrynotsorry. Vincent gets a D for not being a good book, it just isn’t. I’m still probably going to read the sequel, because it looks like there might be a mob war coming, in Kansas City. That’s can’t miss shame reading.