Sarah’s Seduction, by Lora Leigh

Sarah's seduction

Grade: C-

Doing it at: 13%

Catnip: All in the Family, Threesomes, Fivesomes, Light Orgies, Mysterious Stalker, This Shit Is Bananas, WTF, Butt Stuff; Aftercare, #TeamAnal

Shame Scale: Red Hot Burning Shame

Fantasy Cast: Josh Hartnett x 2, Anne Hathaway, Matt Dillon, Christina Ricci

What do we taste like?: Like nectar. Like the sweetest honeyed drug.

Book Description:

Book 2 in the Men of August series

On a hot summer night six years before, Brock August showed Sarah Tate a passion that would nearly destroy her. But fear and innocence drove her from his arms and into a marriage she neither wanted nor found happiness in. Now Sarah is free and she wants that night she lost. One night, a few stolen hours to know the heat and passion of the man she never forgot. But Brock has other plans in mind. A secret, a passion, a desire his brothers share. A desire Sarah will be unable to deny. That is, if she can escape the dark designs of the stalker intent on destroying the August men.


This is the sequel to Marly’s Choice, the bananas romance between three brothers, and Marly, their “ward,” of sorts. I won’t say I was dying to read this book, but I was looking forward to seeing how much crazier this story would get when the men added another woman to their harem. Some back story: The August brothers – Cade (the oldest), and twins Sam and Brock, suffered some sort of traumatic abuse when they were older teens. As a result, they’ve found that the only way they can express their love for each other, and reinforce their bond as brothers, is to share their girlfriends with each other. In Marly’s choice, Cade finally took Marly as his woman, but she takes care of all his brothers as well. Sometimes all of them at the same time. The Family that plays together, stays together, and all that.

Also, I want to mention that I read most of this book on an airplane, sitting in between my husband and a stranger, with large print. I’m kind of proud of myself for that, because it definitely took some balls.

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Sated: A Dark Romance, by Charity Parkerson

Sated

Grade: C

Doing it at: 17%

Catnip: This Shit is Bananas; Threesome; Foursome; WTF; Rock Stars; Hot Cop; Multiple Timelines; Butt Stuff; Team Anal

Shame Scale: High, high shame.

Fantasy Cast: Just pick a hot band of guys and sandwich in a virginal blonde.

What do we taste like: Innocence. “Like ambrosia — sweet and citrusy”

What does he smell like: Spicy chocolate

Book Description:

(Dark Romance, F/M and M/M scenes, Rock Star Romance, Ménage, Sexy Detective, Alpha Male, Supernatural themes)

“Losing her mind wasn’t an experience she enjoyed.”

After a steamy night of passion with a dark stranger, Arbor’s life takes on a surreal edge. Disturbing dreams, lapses in memory, and entire buildings going missing are only a few of her problems. Her search for answers leads her to Detective Trey Murphy, the man in charge of investigating satanic and ritualistic crime for the New Orleans area.

Where do you turn when your mind is the enemy?

Meeting Trey only adds to Arbor’s confusion. By day, he keeps her captivated and gains her trust in a way no one else ever has. At night, Arbor’s every fantasy is brought to life by two sexy men who steal away her inhibitions. Torn between what her heart knows is real and what her eyes show her, Arbor must find the truth before she loses herself completely.

But, then again, sometimes reality is more twisted than any dream and love is the cruelest form of insanity.

**Author Note**

Warning: This isn’t your typical love story. It’s dark with scenes some may find disturbing. Sometimes love is senseless, and the heart is so very stupid.

We requested an ARC of this book, because: cover, description. I was assuming we’d get some bananas shit, because that guy in the middle looks like a zombie. But after reading, I think it was probably just bad graphic design that has him looking like a corpse compared to the fleshy stock photo models (and possible Jensen Ackles?) behind him. That’s not to say this book wasn’t bananas though. Because it definitely was.

This book switches back and forth between different perspectives and timelines. We open in a bar, while Killian watches Arbor reject the advances of Trey. He decides to approach her, and they have a hot, deja vu connection. Killian excuses himself to go join the band, because of course he’s in a band. He has tattooed on eyeliner and that sounds ridiculously unattractive to me, just saying. Some kind of fight or riot breaks out in the bar, and Killian and his hot bandmate Lyric (with tousled blonde hair, no eyeliner tattoos) escort her out of the bar through some kind of underground tunnel? None of this made any sense, and it’s never really explained.

Killian takes Arbor back to her apartment, and they pretty much immediately jump into some over-the-top analingus. It’s just that kind of book.

“Has anyone ever eaten your ass?” he asked, pushing up her shirt as he spoke. She didn’t respond. It didn’t matter. He already knew the answer.

….

“When my fingers are buried in your sex and my tongue is fucking your puckered strawberry, you’re going to feel fuller than you ever have before. But I promise you, it won’t be the last time.”

….

“Her arousal filled his lungs, feeding his darkest desires.”

For the record: points deducted for use of puckered strawberry.

Killian leaves afterwards, and the next day when Arbor goes back to the bar, all she finds a vacant lot. At this point the book gets pretty bat shit, switching back and forth between multiple timelines, points of view, buildings appearing, disappearing. Arbor starts seeing Trey, a detective, while also dating Killian and Lyric. She is having all sorts of flashbacks and dreams, while Killian and Lyric seem to know all about her.

There’s a twist, and it’s pretty easy to guess, but I’m not going to give it away. The plot went from bonkers to wrapped up in about a chapter, and I felt like the story itself could have been much more developed. And really, while there is a pretty decent original plot in this one, it’s more noteworthy for being one of the kinkier books I’ve read in awhile: Threesomes in a restaurant bathrooms with upright DP. Foursomes with some pretty fluid sexuality. Solid B level doing it, but the plot and writing needed work. If there was a sequel, I’d be curious enough to read it.

Buy on Amazon:

Drinking at the Movies: The Boy Next Door

Note from the Editor: This is not a review as much as it’s an MST3K style recap. All the spoilers and commentary cracking wise. I suppose if you actually want to watch this and be surprised do not read this, however we can’t really see why you’d want to. We might be more encouraging of other people watching this is Ryan Guzman would stop wearing so much clothing. Bottoms up.

The Paperback Purist and I got together for a movie night, and decided to rent The Boy Next Door. We went into this one blind, only knowing that it stars J Lo, and the title makes it sound like Catnip City. Little did we know, this is not just a drama about a hot Cougar and her gorgeous young neighbor, it’s actually a THRILLER.

The movie opens with J Lo jogging, and she is really looking great for an older mom of twins. Voice over flash backs tell us that she is separated from her husband and has a teenage boy. Cut to J Lo hanging out in the kitchen at her best friend Vicky’s house (Kristin Chenoweth). J Lo mentions that her husband is talking about getting back together and she’s considering it. Vicky reminds her about what a giant dog her husband is, because he slept with his secretary and told her that the skank smells like chocolate chip cookies and J Lo is like, “You don’t UNDERSTAND, he’s the father of my child!” That’s a little shitty to say to your unmarried/childless best friend who looks to be in her 40’s and might be sensitive about missing out on those life experiences, just saying.

Later, J Lo is having dinner at home with her ex, John Corbett, and their son, Kevin. Corbett wants them to all go on a family camping trip, but J Lo isn’t having it because she can’t get over his betrayal. She awkwardly bows out and suggests they make it a father-son trip, and Kevin gives his dad a sympathetic look. He just wants his family back together, you guys.

The next day, J Lo and Kevin are rushing out for Kevin’s important appointment with the city’s best allergist, but they don’t really explain what he’s allergic to. Whatever it is, it’s bad enough that he wears an EpiPen on his belt. J Lo is wearing a strapless maxi dress, and she looks better than any person has any right to look in a strapless maxi dress. Seriously, maxi dresses look bad on almost everyone. Their garage door gets stuck, and while J Lo is trying to lift it up, hot neighbor Noah shows up in a white t-shirt with rolled sleeves, and is all “Let me get that for you with my sexy, bulging arms.” He takes a look at the broken automatic opener, and says he can fix it, it just needs a new flux capacitor or some shit. Old guy neighbor/uncle informs JLo that he’s the only family the kid has after his parents died in a tragic car accident.

Noah and Kevin head down to the hardware store, and Noah tells Kevin that he’s almost twenty. That makes him the perfect age for an acceptable forbidden affair. Legal, but barely. They pick up the parts they need, and Kevin gets all flustered because the girl working at the counter is Allie, the hottest girl in school. Noah wing-mans for him, and then some bullies come in and harass Kevin, calling him The Wiz. Poor nerdy Kevin.

Noah fixes J Lo’s garage door (really, not a euphemism), and then mentions the bullying. She explains that a few years ago, Kevin was stung by a bee and had a severe allergic reaction, and peed his pants. Now the kids at school call him The Wiz, and I know that’s not supposed to be funny, but man, that’s pretty clever for some bullies. Pretty soon, Noah is coming over all the time, hanging with Kevin, staying for dinner. He is really into classic books, and J Lo is a high school English teacher, so there’s some boring flirty banter about how cool and sexy books are. Noah even brings her a first edition copy of The Iliad, and LOL x 1,000,000. Yes, I’m sure you found a copy of a 3,000 year old book at a garage sale, for a buck. The cover looks like the kind of book you buy at Urban Outfitters and use to stage houses, all deep green and shiny gold.

The weekend that Kevin goes on his camping trip with his dad, Vicky talks J Lo into going on a blind double date with her. While she’s getting ready, she spies on the naked hot neighbor through the window, and he catches her checking out his (fantastic) ass. J Lo’s date turns out to be a bit of a prick and says something disparaging about teaching kids literature, so J Lo storms out. When she gets home, she starts in on a bottle of wine, and morosely smells some chocolate chip cookies. Because that’s what her husband’s mistress smells like. SAD. When Noah calls and asks for help defrosting a chicken (again, not a euphemism), she heads over and they share a romantic dinner. Noah tells her that she is the sexiest woman he’s ever seen, and then starts kissing her. Finally. There has been way too much plot in this movie, we came for an illicit love affair, you guys. Noah is pretty smooth, but J Lo protests, because “it’s wrong.”

Reasons why I don’t have a problem with this even though I’m a mother of two boys and should probably care: Boy next door 2

1. Look at this picture of Ryan Guzman in sweatpants!

2. I don’t think he goes to her school (YET)?

3. He’s “almost 20.” Adult enough for our standards (This made me LOL so hard. Because no actual adult I know refers to themselves as almost anything. He’s 19. Just man up and say so. -PP)

4. He’s much taller than her.

5. J Lo might actually be old, but she looks like she could be in her early 30’s and he looks way older! At least 25…

Poor lonely J Lo eventually gives in to the gorgeous boy who is going down on her while she’s still leaning against the wall. As anyone would, amiright? YOLO. There’s lots of delicious bun squeezing, and then J Lo wraps her legs around him and he carries her to the bedroom. His room is on the second floor, but this is a movie and we’re pretending, so they leave all the stairs out of it. boy next door Things look to be pretty satisfying for all parties involved, but J Lo wakes up in the morning with some belated second thoughts, and tries to find her clothes and rush out of there. But Noah made her breakfast! And put it on a tray! His feelings are clearly hurt, and at this point we’re thinking J Lo is a dummy. At least drink the kid’s coffee and let him down gently! He punches a wall (our first clue that he might be unbalanced), and she tends to his bloody knuckles – but sticks to her guns and tells him it was a mistake and won’t happen again.

But uh oh! Noah is about to go crazy. He gets into her high school class by emailing the administrator from her computer and making it look like she requested him. He starts creepily following her home from school. And showing up when her husband is there, making loaded comments like, “It was really wet here this weekend.” “I love your mom’s cookies.” Also, he’s dressed fantastic for a high school student: Boy Next Door, The At this point PP and I started googling the movie and realized it’s a thriller. BOO. I thought we were going to get a drama about a slightly inappropriate love affair! Noah basically insinuates himself into their family, hanging out with Kevin, showing up for dinner. Kevin is boxing with Noah and has some kind of allergic reaction, I’m not really sure what happened because we weren’t paying complete attention – this was where my husband distracted us when he walked in and was all “Who is that?” “Umm, it’s JLo…” *Deep sigh* – Noah runs (very sexily) to get Kevin’s EpiPen, and there’s a brief moment where he looks confused about where to stab Kevin with the giant needle, but he must hear us screaming LEG!!!! because he gets it in the right spot and saves the day (he almost stuck him in the heart just like Travolta sticks Uma in Pulp Fiction. Calm down, kid. It’s not an overdose). I’m not sure what the point of this scene was other than to show us how fragile Kevin is. Unless Noah caused it and we just didn’t notice – which is entirely possible because by this point, Noah is full on crazy stalker.

J Lo confronts Noah in the school gym and tells him she wants to start over with a clean slate. She’s an idiot and way too moral. That night, she has dinner with her ex, and when they get back to her place, he’s drunk and asks to crash on the couch (even though he drove her home literally 2 minutes earlier). Noah sees his car in front of the house and starts having sexy red tinted psychotic flashbacks of getting it on with our girl.

He confronts her in the morning on the way to school and calls her a fucking whore; says “game on.” He is creepy as hell. She tells her son Kevin to stay away from Noah. He’s acts all teen and is like, “He said you would do this mom!” At school, Kevin is harassed by the bullies again, but Noah flies in out of nowhere and pretty much kills him.

VP Vicky reveals they don’t have his transcripts. He was kicked out for disorderly behavior. He calls her a pathetic old woman. “Dried up dirty fucking cunt” “You’re expelled!” But I don’t think it works that way? Can you just expel someone in the heat of the moment, or don’t you need to file paperwork and get another adult to weigh in?

Later, at the spring fling J Lo’s chaperoning (poor Kevin has to go to a dance with his mom as a chaperone. School must be so hard for this kid because you know everyone gives him crap for how hot his mom is), she has to go to the bathroom because the water is overflowing out of the boy’s room, and she finds the wall spray painted with “I FUCKED CLAIRE PETERSON.” Noah shows up and tries to dry hump rape her, but she knees him in the balls, and tells him to fuck off.

So Noah goes home and fucks Kevin’s crush, the hardware store girl, in his room with loud music on and the windows open and all the lights on. Very deliberate. Poor asthmatic/allergic Kevin.

She shows up to school the following Monday and her classroom is covered with streamers made of photos of them boning. Here comes the principal! In a panic, she locks both her students and the principal out and tries desperately to hide the evidence. There are hundreds of copies. And they continue to cascade off the printer while she’s tearing them down. She’s stuffing them behind her desk, while the principal is trying to key in. She manages to get all the copies shoved under her desk just in the nick of time, and is all casual, “I had a personal call.” No worries, brah.

Shitty dad (John Corbett) shows up after school and gives his teenage son the keys to the purple Dodge Challenger. They have a little father/son chat that we both kinda zoned out of. We were way more concerned with the twisty road home that everyone in CA has to take to get anywhere apparently. Then the brakes go out. ON DEVIL’S CURVE. Good thing they crashed on the part where the giant water buckets were! Obviously, creepy neighbor sabotaged the brakes.

When J Lo gets home, she finds the dented car, and Noah is there. She is pissed because he video taped them. J Lo has the best skirt ever, that would only look good on a perfect ass. He tells her to come over later to get the video. She shows up after dark and loses her shit. “What do you think? We’re going to date? We’re going to go on family vacations?” Noah completely loses it, and she finally starts to see that she clearly fucked the wrong “almost 20-year-old.” The video is proof of their love! A promise for a better life! None of the proof will see the light of day, IF, she lets him show her what’s possible. She hits him with a door.

J Lo doesn’t know what to do anymore. She shows Vicky the torrid photo of them, and she is literally the best friend ever, because she completely disregards the fact that she’s a high school official and J Lo’s boss and legally required to take some kind of action on this. She’s all, “Obviously we can tell he’s a psychopath from this photo. No one will see this video. Ever.”

They set up a plan to lure stalker Noah away from the house so J Lo can sneak in and get the video. Vicky drives JLo’s car as a distraction and J Lo knifes into his house through the screen door. Noah is doing his normal “follow J Lo home from school” routine, but then he figures it out and Vicky is like GTFO OF THERE!!!

So JLo finds the camera, and a bunch of other hidden cameras. Follows them downs to the basement to the stalker shrine with a mattress that probably smells like cum and a room covered in giant pictures of her. There are pictures of her sleeping all over. It’s just like in Fall with Me. On his computer she finds the video of her, and pictures of her sleeping. She deletes the whole folder. He’s a very organized stalker, because she also finds a folder labeled “Dodge Challenger” on his desk top containing all these files that are like “Brakes.” hahahahahahha Also: “2006 Minivan”

JLo does some amateur detectiving on “the Sandborne case,” the crash that killed Noah’s parents. The police assumed the dad was drunk because he had a history of drunk driving. They didn’t do any tests or anything, they just assumed, you know? The brakes went out? Nahhh. Also – the crumpled up/burned out shell of a minivan is just sitting there in the police garage. The keep things like that around in the garage, I guess. One more question, is it a 2006 minivan? “Yes. Is there anything else I need to know?” the cop asks. NOWHYWOULDTHEREBE?!

Meanwhile, Noah has Vicky gagged and tied up. J Lo calls Vicky’s cell, which Noah picks up, and before he says anything, J Lo blurts out the whole story – that she knows Noah killed his parents. Somehow he conveniently has a recording of Vicky all ready to go that says “come over,” so JLo does, obv. It takes awhile though, because it’s fully dark when she shows up and she has to use her cell phone flashlight. The house seems deserted, and she doesn’t bother calling the cops. (“Or leaving.” – my husband who had decided to join us)

A cat bursts out of nowhere and gives a horror movie yowl, scaring the shit out of J Lo, who then stumbles upon Dead Vicky. Super dead. She runs to the car and calls 911, but Noah gets her out of the car before she gives them info. “Why did you kill your parents?” “I would never hurt my mother. My cheating father, and his whore, got what they deserved. Let’s go in this barn.” Where John Corbett is hung from a ladder, and Kevin is tied up. When and how did Kevin get there? Wasn’t he just eating a chip sandwich?

“Kevin, slow your breathing!” She gets out his EpiPen, like it’s an inhaler. I don’t understand if he’s allergic or asthmatic, or if they’re just acting like they’re interchangeable. She hits Noah in the face with a cat’s-paw pry-bar. Obviously, he gets up immediately and drags her around. Fight scene. John Corbett really needs to escape and prove to his wife that he loves her!

Noah starts spilling gasoline everywhere. “Time to make a choice. Live with me or die with them!” JLo’s poor decision-making leads to a struggle and her knocking a LIT ZIPPO out of Noah’s hands, which immediately sets the spilled gas ablaze. Luckily, it remains very contained in the horse stalls so the fighting can continue for a while. John Corbett escapes, tries to be a hero and gets shot. JLo is distraught for him. Meanwhile her kid is about to burn to death. I don’t know why they don’t both go to their kid. At this point, we are both yelling at the TV to save the fragile, allergy-ridden kid. Who gives a fuck about their cheating husband when their kid is there???

Finally, J Lo stabs Noah in the eye with the EpiPen in the movie’s most shockingly graphic shot. He shoots his gun all over but doesn’t hit anything because he can’t see. She sticks her finger in his eyeball. Super close up. Somehow Kevin has escaped and saves the day. Then JLo pulls a chain and drops an engine on him. He’s dead. They rescue John Corbett and they’re a family again. Then it ends.

Seriously. Just ends. They load Corbett into an ambulance and the barn continues to burn in the background and then the credits. Meh.

Never Never (Parts 1 & 2), by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

never never

Never Never part two

Grade: A

Doing it at: N/A (We’re invoking the COHO exception)

Catnip: Deep Dark Secrets; This Shit is Bananas; First Love

Shame Scale: Negative shame, which is like pride? I don’t know, it’s confusing liking a book with no sex so much.

Fantasy Cast: Logan Lerman, Lily Collins

Book Description:

Never Never, a novella series. Book one of three.

Best friends since they could walk. In love since the age of fourteen.
Complete strangers since this morning.
He’ll do anything to remember. She’ll do anything to forget.


Cleone: We can’t tell you anything about this book. Its one of the few books I’ve ever gone in to completely blind and I would strongly advise anyone who wants to read this to do the same. Never Never is a serial collaboration by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher, part one came out late last year and ended in a cliffhanger, part two came out on 05/17, and did the same.

Mary: We are romance junkies. It’s formulaic and predictable. We get happy endings. This is definitely a love story, but frankly it’s genre defying. It’s Colleen Hoover, and she’s never written anything that deserved less than an A. We even built a no sex exception for her into our ratings matrix, because we love her books so much. She’s an automatic pre-order. I’ll even order her books before she releases a description for them. And Tarryn Fisher. Her books are dark, and frustrating, emotional and heartbreaking, with terminally flawed characters… Everyone should read ‘The Opportunist’ (Love Me With Lies Series).

I think I read that they wrote this by emailing chapters back and forth to each other, which is brilliant. I’m not a writer, but I appreciate the craft that must have gone into this one. Originally it was going to be a stand alone, but then a few weeks before the release date, suddenly all our pre-orders were canceled and it became two parts. Then three… God help us if it grows to four.

C: The authors drop you into the story in the middle of the action and leave you to piece out what is going on, its disorienting and riveting. I couldn’t put the book down and I screamed out loud when it came to a jarring stop. You could wait until this mystery has a conclusion to meet Silas and Charlie; but then you couldn’t spend the next few months puzzling over the ending and cursing the authors with us.

M: I realized part two had been released when I wrapped up a book around 1:30 am on release night, and thought, “I’ll just read a few pages and go to sleep.” Next thing I know, it’s 3 am, I’m keyed up and unable to sleep – going crazy with predictions and questions, and I find myself on Twitter, calling out the authors for DOING THIS TO ME. Book one left us in the middle of the story with no goddamn clue what was going on. By the end of book two, I *think* I’ve picked up enough breadcrumbs to form some shaky predictions.

I dare you to start this series at a time when you can’t read it in one sitting.

Check it out on Amazon:

Heaven, by V.C. Andrews. A Hillbilly Introduction

heaven 1 Heavencover2

Grade: A

Doing it at: No D in part one of our story

Catnip: Hardship Porn; V.C. Andrews; Rags to Riches; Evil Stepmother; This Shit is Bananas; Deep Dark Secrets; WTF

Shame Scale: It is impossible for me to be ashamed of my V.C., these books and all their nonsense are part of me.

Fantasy Cast: someone so 70’s and the blandest guy you can imagine for Logan Stonewall

Book Description:

Of all the folks in the mountain shacks, the Casteels were the lowest — the scum of the hills.
Heaven Leigh Casteel was the prettiest, smartest girl in the backwoods, despite her ragged clothes and dirty face…despite a father meaner than ten vipers…despite her weary stepmother, who worked her like a mule. For her brother Tom and the little ones, Heaven clung to her pride and her hopes. Someday they’d get away and show the world that they were decent, fine and talented — worthy of love and respect.
Then Heaven’s stepmother ran off, and her wicked, greedy father had a scheme — a vicious scheme that threatened to destroy the precious dream of Heaven and the children forever!


I don’t know about the rest of you, but for me some of the first really trashy stuff I read was V.C. Andrews. My friends and I discovered Flowers in the Attic (I wish I could remember who showed me the majesty so I could thank them!), passed it around and moved on to the other series. These books are what we spent our babysitting money on, the lift the flap surprise covers were doorways to insane plots and we LOVED them. I especially loved Heaven, which in my humble but completely correct opinion, has the craziest story. This shit is bananas B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Lets jump on in to Hill People drama and relive our formative shame reading years.

Our book is set in the Smoky Mountains, outside of a tiny town, in a little rickety shack much like the song Fancy by Reba McEntire. Only this family isn’t as classy as the family who had to pimp out their daughter to survive. The Casteel’s are hill scum, they’re eight people shoved into a wee bitty shack that may have seen better days, but probably not, it was likely always crappy and falling down. Heaven’s paternal grandparents live there, contributing nothing to their family because they aren’t aging well:

Granny was in her mid fifties. Chronic arthritis and various other undiagnosed aches and pains made life miserable for Granny, and the loss of most of her teeth made her seem twice her age.

but the older Grandpa grew the less he liked to fiddle and the more he liked to whittle

Heaven’s moody, shiftless, alcoholic, whoring dad hates her. I mean he isn’t particularly nice to anyone else in the family but he especially hates Heaven Leigh (we are just gonna roll with her name, it’s the least ludicrous thing going here). It hurts Heaven’s feelings to be hated by her daddy, until her Granny tells her the big deep dark secret of her life. Heaven doesn’t have the same mother as the other four Casteel kids! HER mama was a city gal, a not even old enough to drive pretty as a picture rich girl who abandoned her fancy life for Heaven’s handsome slick talking daddy. Angel. That’s right ANGEL mother of HEAVEN.Granny shows her a fancy city folk suitcase that’s been wrapped up and stored under the porch, in it are a bunch of fancy rich people clothes. AND a doll that looks just like Heaven, only with silver blonde hair. Heaven’s real mama came from a family who made fancy-ass expensive dolls, this is important to remember for later. How Heaven didn’t figure out that she had a different mother than the other kids, when her own brother is the same age as her and they aren’t twins, I do not know. Once Heaven knows that she isn’t pure hill trash (only 1/2, like me!), she hates her daddy even more.

To be fair her dad is kind of the worst human ever. When Heaven’s teen mom died, he brought home a new wife right away. A new wife who was conveniently already several months pregnant with his son. Pa doesn’t work, instead choosing to run moonshine across state lines for the distilleries. And the money he makes from that he spends on booze, and gambling and whores at Shirley’s Place down in town. Good old Pa also gives his second wife syphilis, causing her to birth an abomination

I could hardly accept what my eyes told me.

Shocking to see a baby with nothing between its legs.

But what did it matter that this child was neither girl nor boy when it was dead and the top of its head was missing?

If anything is appropriate reading for a gaggle of twelve-year-old girls with over active imaginations, it is surely V.C. Andrews!

This baby is the last straw for the much put upon Sarah, neglected wife of Pa. She leaves and never looks back. And the shock literally kills her granny. Leaving Heaven to mother her younger brothers and sisters with not much help from her invalid grandpa (who is in his SIXTIES but the years ain’t kind to the hill folk) or from daddy of the year. Her almost twin brother is steady and helpful, her next youngest sister Fanny is a twelve-year-old slut who is happily flashing her panties to boys in the cloakroom, the youngest sister is puking all the time for who knows why, and the smallest boy is fine but still another mouth to feed when they ain’t got no food in them there hills.

The school teacher in Winnerow, Miss Deale, tries to help the kids. When the school board refuses to let the Casteel kids take their school books home to do homework or extra studying (everybody knows those Casteel’s will just get the books filthy with their hill people dirt), she lets them take her personal copies. When she sees that they don’t have anything for lunch she tries to make sure they eat. And when she runs into them after church she takes them for a fancy pants restaurant lunch, where little Our Jane pukes everywhere. Little sisters ruining perfectly nice things with their messed up digestive tracts is one of V.C.’s tropes.

Pa starts coming home less and less and there isn’t money or food. And Heaven can’t get to town for school anymore as someone needs to run the house. She also can’t get down to see her town boy boyfriend, Logan, who is the human equivalent of Melba toast in a crew neck sweater. Heaven likes how clean, and sweet, and handsome he is. And Logan likes how pretty and PURE she is. They don’t know each other well, this is the romance of 14-year-old kids. In V.C. land the heroines always end up with their teenage loves eventually. So, if you plan to read this whole series (which I DO recommend) get used to spending time mooning over white bread. Logan’s parents would never approve of him seeing a Casteel because everybody in book land knows they’re the worst of the worst

In town and in school they called us hill scum, hill filth, and scumbags. Hillbillies was the nicest thing they ever called us.

Since they’re so universally loathed, and since there’s only so much one single, woman school teacher can do, no one steps up to see why the kids have stopped coming to school. And Tom’s attempts at stealing to feed his family end up with a burly man with a shot-gun outside their shack.

Pa’s run off, and Our Jane’s real sick, and they’re all going to starve to death. Things are bleak. The kids don’t have anything to eat but “lard scrapings and two dry biscuits”. In Flowers in the Attic when the kids start literally starving to death, Christopher Doll cuts his own arm and lets the others DRINK HIS BLOOD. Sadly, things don’t go so far in Heaven. Pa finally reappears and brings tons of food

two sacks of flour, salt, slab bacon, beans, dried peas, a huge tin of lard, bundles of tied spinach, apples, potatoes, orange yams, bags of rice, and lots more we’d never had before, such as boxes of crackers and cookies, and peanut butter and grape jelly.

I don’t know why I love a big long list of food, but I surely do. This is when Pa finds out that Sarah has left, and there’s much wailing about his plight before he tells the kids he’s going off to get cured of his bad disease — the syph — and that they should burn the bags the food came in and hope they never get the syph from sleeping with a bunch of town whores (I may be ad libbing that last bit). The cabin is cold, the wind blows right through all the cracks, and there’s quickly no more food to eat. The children are inadequately clothed and getting extra desperate when Pa shows up again.

On Christmas Day.

To sell off two of the kids to some rich people.

As one does; he sells the two youngest to a decent seeming wealthy couple. Then a few weeks later he sells Fanny (the slutty one) to the minister and his barren wife. Then he sells Tom to a man who needs help on his farm. And finally he comes for Heaven Leigh.

To Heaven he presents a choice: a staid older couple. Or a beautiful redhead and her handsome young husband. For his most hated child he’s found two buyers. Heaven picks that younger couple. Heaven picks So So wrong.

Read the rest of our review: Heaven: Living for the City

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