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.

Continue reading

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:

Grey, by E.L. James

Grey

Grade: D-

Doing it at: 20%

Catnip: Panty Sniffing; Nipple Orgasm; Light Bondage; BDSM; Hate Read; WTF

Shame Scale: If you make it all the way through this book it’s because you really loved the first one and needed more, or you’re masochists like us. Either way: Red Hot Burning Shame

Fantasy Cast: We’re going to be safe and just go with Dornan and Dakota.

What do we taste like: Mint and tea and an orchard of mellow fruitfulness

Book Description:

See the world of Fifty Shades of Grey anew through the eyes of Christian Grey.

In Christian’s own words, and through his thoughts, reflections, and dreams, E L James offers a fresh perspective on the love story that has enthralled millions of readers around the world.

Christian Grey exercises control in all things; his world is neat, disciplined, and utterly empty—until the day that Anastasia Steele falls into his office, in a tangle of shapely limbs and tumbling brown hair. He tries to forget her, but instead is swept up in a storm of emotion he cannot comprehend and cannot resist. Unlike any woman he has known before, shy, unworldly Ana seems to see right through him—past the business prodigy and the penthouse lifestyle to Christian’s cold, wounded heart.  

Will being with Ana dispel the horrors of his childhood that haunt Christian every night? Or will his dark sexual desires, his compulsion to control, and the self-loathing that fills his soul drive this girl away and destroy the fragile hope she offers him?

This book is intended for mature audiences.

Disclaimer: We love romance, the trashier the better generally. We love formulaic plots and alpha heroes. We love accidental pregnancies and #teamanal threesomes. We are in no way book snobs: check out some of our top rated reviews. So if we say this book is capital B Bad, you should probably trust us.

Mary: Alright friends. We sucked it up and read this fucking horrible book for YOU, and as much as we’d like to never give it another thought, it’s time to put on our DJ’s (our Dom Jeans) and get this over with.

I confess that I read the original trilogy, and while the writing was terrible, I did actually enjoy the plot. #sorrynotsorry. There’s a stalker! Kidnapping! A Virgin! A helicopter crash and missing hero! Accidental Pregnancy! All the catnip. The story as a whole is dare I say it, kind of enjoyable? It’s tempered with some of the most WTF dialogue we’ve ever read, but I don’t think it’s fair to categorically write this series off. What I’m saying is that if you enjoyed the original Fifty Shades series, I’m not judging. I kind of did too.

And of course, C and I saw the movie. It was our very first Drinking at the Movies, the very first time we ruined a movie for an entire theatre, even before we had a blog. It’s how we fell in <3.

C: I made it through the first book, and a few chapters into the second one and then I just couldn’t finish. To me, the Fifty Shades trilogy, is the definition of Can’t Even. When we pre-ordered Grey, I thought that it would be ok. We could mock it, I could take one for the team. It surely wouldn’t drag endlessly and make me contemplate what exactly I was doing with my life. It wouldn’t make me yearn for Faulkner and consider writing hate mail to E.L. James, counting her piles of money on her full-sized bed made up with Shabby Chic sheets. But it did. It made all those things reality.

can't even

M: This book was a complete verbatim 576 page rehash of the original book – with ALL of the dialogue, ALL of the emails, ALL of the contracts. The only difference really is that instead of hearing about Anastasia’s stupid inner goddess doing gymnastics moves on the pommel horse, we get Christian Grey’s obnoxious inner monologue and notification every time his dick twitches.

And I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that having him clarify his inner thoughts was completely unnecessary. It’s not like anything he was feeling wasn’t completely obvious the first time around. E.L. James is probably a lovely woman, but subtlety is not one of her strengths. We were hoping we’d get some new insight to the series. I actually had just assumed that this would be Christian’s perspective for the whole trilogy. But Grey only covers the material in the first book – none of the fun action-y parts. Not even any butt stuff. I was hoping that in the time since her arrival on the writing scene, we’d see some improvement in James’s style at least. Tragically, not the case.

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M: I don’t think there’s a person alive who doesn’t already know this story from pop culture osmosis. Anastasia is a plucky, young virgin, who captures the eye of Seattle’s most eligible billionaire when she literally stumbles into his office for an interview for her college newspaper. Christian is pretty much instantly enamored with her; she bit her lip, his palm twitched, we all know the rest.

C: I thought we might get some interesting (what, it could happen) insights into Christian’s past and motivations and why exactly he’s fifty shades of fucked up. Instead it was mostly dream sequences in faked, twee little kid voice and his cock’s internal monologue:

My green car is fuzzy. Covered in gray fur and dirt. I want it back. But I can’t reach it. I can never reach it. My green car is lost. Lost. And I can never play with it again.

…..

The sweet appreciative noises echo through me– to the end of my cock.

M: This was the hardest book we’ve ever read. It dragged. I dreaded picking it back up and forcing myself to read a few more chapters. James is verbose and redundant, frequently repeating things in triplicate:

I run my nose from her ear to her shoulder and back again, inhaling her heavenly scent.

Fuck, she smells good.

You smell as divine as ever, Anastasia.”

I inhale her heavenly scent. She smells good. You smell good! We get it, she smells good. If we hadn’t absorbed the fact that Christian loves the way Anna smells of apples and autumn approximately each chapter, we sure fucking get it now. For the love of god please stop talking about her smell. The whole book is like though: Something happens. We hear his feelings. And then sometimes he repeats them out loud. It’s painful.

C: She also has the characters fondly remember things that happened in “happier times” meanwhile the entirety of the book takes place over a month. Thanks for the reminder E.L.,  but I think we remember the painstakingly boring thing we just read two chapters before.

M: There’s so much that’s cringe-worthy about this book. It’s easy to see why the movie was such a bomb, because there isn’t an actor alive who can deliver these lines:

“No fisting, you say. Anything else you object to?” I ask.

She swallows. “Anal intercourse doesn’t exactly float my boat.”

“I’ll agree to the fisting, but I’d really like to claim your ass, Anastasia.”

C: There is nothing likable about Christian. He’s a smirking jerk who wants to fuck and beat Anastasia because she smells like apples and reminds him of happier times — that’s me giving him a motive. I just delved deeper into his psyche than the book ever does. You can all thank me. Seriously, these quotes:

“Are you gay Mr. Grey?” What the hell! I cannot believe she’d said that out loud! Ironically, the question even my own family will not ask. How dare she! I have a sudden urge to drag her out of her seat, bend her over my knee, spank her, and then fuck her over my desk with her hands tied behind her back. That would answer her ridiculous question.

Important lesson, gentlemen of the world, brutal fucking is the only way to prove to women that you aren’t gay. I hope E.L. has some sons.

I’ll fuck her in time. I’ll fuck her bound and with her smart mouth gagged.

What? Me? Make love? Oh, Grey, let’s disabuse her of this straightaway. “No, Anastasia, it doesn’t. First, I don’t make love. I fuck, hard.”

C: At least Mary and I went through this together and got to text through our frustrations

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C: Christian’s insane obsession with Ana’s eating somehow felt even more annoying from his point of view. We should have kept count how often this comes up. I’d go back and count but I love myself too much.

M: Right? We get it, he was starved as a kid and has weird food issues. Ugh, get over it already. Somehow this book managed to make me feel unsympathetic about an abused child, and that’s saying something.

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C: Pretty sure that Christian has the worst internal monologue of any person we’ve ever read. And we read Beautiful Disaster from Travis’ perspective. I read the online only leaked draft of Twilight from Edward’s perspective. We aren’t novice trash readers. We are experts and this was so so bad. SO SO.

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(wanna know something we do like? Orange is the New Black!)

M: A Baby for my Billionaire Stepbrother was better than this, and we’re pretty sure that was some creepy coded incest fetish shit.

C: At least the billionaire in that book didn’t have special jeans he wore just for spanking-sexy times

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C: The most shameful thing of all about reading this book? I had to look up a word. This horribly written book used a word I didn’t know and now I have to do penance by admitting this on the internet for all to know. (The word was louche)

M: hahahahahhaaaah #bookshame

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C: It’s all lowered expectations from here though. Other authors can thank E.L. for our gentler reviews of THEIR crappy books. And we never have to read what Mr. Grey is thinking again. Unless they release the whole trilogy from his perspective. I’ve just jinxed us, haven’t I? We’re fifty shades of fucked.

Click to purchase on Amazon:

Heaven: Living for the City

heaven

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!

Welcome back for part two of our recap of Heaven by V.C. Andrews! As I mentioned in part one, I spent most of my teens obsessed with V.C. Andrews books and as a grown up I still think they’re some of the best trash I’ve ever had the pleasure of losing myself in. Landry’s and Dollangangers and Logans and Cutlers! But especially Casteels.

For “research” I asked my mom if she ever had any clue what I was reading. She replied that she didn’t know exactly but figured I was using my judgement and that if I was reading it was better than doing something else (she has a point). She also has never read ANY V.C. and had zero clue how banana cakes the stories I was devouring were; but she wouldn’t have stopped me either way.

When we left our Heroine she was being sold off by her daddy who needed to get some cash and to get rid of his five kids, after his wife finally got fed up with his whore’ing and diseases and left him cold. Heaven’s Pa has never liked her, and yet he has brought two couples to see about buying Heaven and has given her the choice of who will be buying her.  One of the couples is older, quiet, and obviously well off in a non-flashy sort of way. The other couple is younger, with a handsome man and a glamorous redheaded woman:

Six feet, or very near it, she had to be, even without those high heels. Her hair was a huge mass of auburn red …. hair teased to such exagerated fullness it seemed quite solid. Her eyes were a strange pale color… A pretty face?

Yes. Very pretty.

She had the look of the hill people…

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Heaven doesn’t have much experience with making smart decisions, and she is also easily swayed by glamour. So she picks Ms. Hill People USA and her trophy husband. Heaven is barely in the car and away from her shack before Kitty spills that she knows Heaven’s daddy. She knows him and she hates him. She also hated Heaven’s mom, because when Luke knocked up Kitty he left her for Angel, and Kitty gave herself a home abortion that resulted in her being unable to have any more kids. So, now she’s bought the daughter of Luke’s precious Angel to be her very own daughter. It’s a long drive from hill scum land to Heaven’s new home in Atlanta. Kitty talks a bunch about how awful hill people are, and how glad she is that she escaped and is fancy now with her own hair salon that caters to rich folk and visiting celebrities. They stop for Heaven’s first ever McDonald’s hamburger (Kitty gets real pumped about fast food), and Kitty tries to rename the fourteen year old she’s just paid $500 to own.

“Always wanted a girl I could call Linda. Always wanted t’be named Linda myself. There’s something sweet an pure about Linda that sounds so right.”

LINDA, the sweetest loveliest name of all! Luckily Cal cockblocks this and tells Kitty you can’t just give a teenager a new name to suit your whims. Heaven nods off in the car, she’s had a super exhausting day being sold and shipped off to a new place, and wakes up to Cal telling Kitty to stop trying to give him a handy in the front seat.

What was Kitty doing? I rubbed at my eyes, then leaned forward to find out. Just in time to see Cal pull up his fly zipper. Oh- was that nice? Fanny would think so.

Its a very V.C. thing to make one of the side characters a promiscuous tramp and then let the main character slut shame her about it; Fanny’s no treat but at least she’s not a pious princess.

Kitty and Cal finally pull up to their very nice, very clean, very white (walls, carpet, furniture) house at eleven pm. Heaven is so tired that she’s swaying on her feet, but Kitty isn’t letting her sleep on or sit on or touch anything until Heaven’s been cleaned of all her hill filth.

“Wash that dirty, buggy hair. Kill t’lice yer bound t’have. Kill all t’nasty germs. That pa of yers has got t’have everythin, an ya’ve been wallowing in his filth since t’d ya were conceived. Why t’tales they tell about Luke Casteel in Winnerow would curl hair better than perms…”

“Hot water is what ya have’ta sit in. Gotta scrub ya with a brush, put sulfur an tar soap on that hair of yers t’kill those nits ya must have.”

Despite Heaven’s protests that she really isn’t THAT dirty, Kitty forces her bodily into a steaming hot tub filled with lye and scrubs the skin right off of her while Heaven cries and screams in pain. Only when Heaven is lobster red and sobbing in exhaustion does Kitty decide she’s clean enough and that she can go to bed. In Kitty’s bed. Right between Kitty and Cal. Kitty explains that all hill girls are wild creatures and she can never leave Heaven alone while she’s lying down. Grown up Emily presumes Kitty is trying to keep Heaven from touching her naughty place. Cal is all WHUT?! But Kitty gets her way and poor exhausted skinless Heaven has to spend her first night in a new place sleeping between her new “parents.”

After her car time near hand job discovery, Heaven really shouldn’t be surprised when she wakes up to Cal arguing with Kitty because she’s put on a flimsy negligee (slutty ladies in V.C. books ALWAYS have a diverse collection of tiny nighties) and Cal is standing by the bed with “a huge bulge in the crotch that made me hastily close my eyes again.” She just lies there and quietly sobs herself to sleep wondering what kind of home she’s ended up in.

Spoiler Alert: Not a good one! Kitty expects Heaven to be her maid. She needs to clean the sparkling all white house from top to bottom every day. She needs to go to school and not make friends or be slutty with boys. She has to wear too-big ugly clothes and stupid saddle shoes that she hates. Kitty expects her new baby hill trash to earn her keep and to be grateful. Heaven is mostly home alone with Cal, Kitty works late and arrives home exhausted and grumpy, shoveling in whatever food Heaven has made her and then going to bed. Cal is so young, and handsome, and virile, and loves taking Heaven around town on their secret Saturday excursions. Anyone who’s read any previous V.C. knows where this is going to end up right?

Kitty runs hot and cold with her treatment of Heaven. She’s mostly a terrifying psychopath whose every mood must be monitored to avoid drama and increasingly violent punishments. But every once in awhile she decides she feels motherly and tries to give Heaven some coddling and life advice. Really great life advice, like this advice about men:

“They’re all t’same, ya know, even t’sweet-talkin ones. Like Cal. All want one thing, an bein a hill girl, ya know what it is. All is dyin t’slam their bangers inta yer whammer, an afta they done it, if ya start a baby, they won’t want it…

Let us take a moment to really appreciate the turn of phrase “bangers into yer whammer;” and Kitty’s hill-patois in general.

Heaven decides that she wants to do something nice for Kitty, maybe in a last ditch effort to win her love? Maybe because she’s a GD martyr? The world may never know. She decides to plan a big party for Kitty’s birthday (even though Kitty is Fah-Reaking out about getting old) and invite all her friends and coworkers.

people are stupid

The day of the big party comes and Heaven is all busy cooking and cleaning, and making the house festive for Kitty. She’s hung balloons and streamers, she’s wearing a dress that actually fits for once (which Cal bought for her in secret), and she lies down on her bed to take a rest before the guests arrive. But FIRST she gets out her secret doll, the one that looks just like her real mom. Then Heaven cuddles down and falls asleep as a thunderstorms a’brewing outside. Heaven wakes up to Kitty looming over her, all rage and big hair and crazy eyes. Kitty is enraged that Heaven is sleeping fully dressed on her side hugging something. Because, guys, hill trash girls only lay like that when they are checking for squirrels. Only this time when Kitty starts yelling at her, Heaven has had ENOUGH and starts yelling back. Because as she puts it:

“You can’t buffalo me anymore. I’m not afraid of you now. I’m older, bigger, stronger – and tougher.”

“I’m not weak from lack of nourishing strength.”

All the teenage girl dialog in V.C. books is Super believable.

Heaven may have even bested Kitty and escaped without a loving dose of parental punching, but Kitty notices the Angel doll. And remember that Kitty HATED Angel with all the fire. She goes nuts and they have a big fight over how Heaven won’t be Kitty’s slave anymore. How Kitty is driving her trophy husband away by being a kookaburra. There’s a lot of screaming and lightning flashing outside (and somehow no interruptions by guests for this big ole party), and finally Kitty pulls the trump card to shut Heaven up and make her burn her Angel doll. If Heaven doesn’t stop rebelling against Kitty’s rule, Kitty will never ever tell her where her little brother and sister are. Kitty insists that she knows where Keith and Our Jane’s parents/buyers live and that if Heaven throws her mom’s doll onto the fire and keeps being a good little cinder-ella she’ll tell her one day. So, Heaven lets the only piece of her mom that she has burn up in flames, Kitty punches her in the face until she passes out, and Heaven totally misses the awesome party she planned.

Our next chapter is entitled My Savior, My Father. Its focusing on Cal comforting Heaven – the 16 year old girl he’s supposed to be parenting – after her cruel beating by the psycho hose beast he’s married to. Let’s just have the pedo V.C. quotes speak for themselves on this one:

Did he think his small kisses could ease the pain? Yet they did, a little. “Does it hurt that much?” he asked with pity in his voice. He looked so sad so loving.

His fingertips on my swollen eye were so tender. “You look so beautiful lying here in my arms, with the moonlight on your face. you seem half a child, half a woman, older than sixteen, but still so young, so vulnerable and untouched.”

….

I wanted to speak and tell him I was almost his daughter, and he shouldn’t be looking at me the way he was. But no one had ever looked at me with love before-love I had needed for so long. Why was it making me afraid of him?

In V.C. land no girl is ever safe from any guy. Regardless of age difference or familial relationship. This is a hard fact.

Things spiral from here. Quick wrap up list for book one

  1. Heaven brings home her class hamster. Kitty kills it in the bathtub and pulls the little dead hamster babies out like a string of paper dolls.
  2. Kitty goes into a seeming catatonic state and the doctors can find nothing wrong with her. She just lies in her bed every day, wearing negligees and letting Heaven tease her hair and put on her face.
  3. Heaven starts having reluctant guilt sex with Cal (“He didn’t see other women, he didn’t really have a wife, and certainly he was a normal man, needing release of some kind.”) No girl. No.
  4. Cal and Heaven take Kitty home to her family in Winnerow to see if that will snap out of her stupor and to get some help caring for their veggie lady.
  5. Heaven sees Tom and Fanny. Tom’s living with super mean farmer man and dying to escape. Fanny done got knocked up by the Rev who bought her and is going to give his wife the baby and let her pretend its hers. Selling your kids is a Casteel tradition now.
  6. Heaven sees Logan.

Logan is a complete douche, on top of being the most boring dude alive, he slut shames Heaven since she isn’t pure anymore. Girls who aren’t virgins are basically garbage. Lesson learned!

So, with Kitty dying of what is eventually diagnosed as breast cancer, her siblings not needing her as they used to, and Cal basically done with her now that he “ruined” her; Heaven decides it is time to leave the hills behind forever and head to Boston to meet her mom’s family.

Because its a fresh start and nothing else bad will ever happen to her again! Except there are four more books,  and they just keep getting crazier.

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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

Check it out on Amazon:

Great Bear Inn: Bearback Lust of the Alpha, by Ursula Maya

Great Bear Inn

Grade: D (Probably should be a D-, but it made me guffaw)

Doing it at: 0%

Catnip: BBW; Werebears; Rope; Shifter Menage Erotic Romance; WTF; Free!

Shame scale: Red Hot Burning Shame. Obviously.

Fantasy casting: Some blonde plus-size model and a rugby team

Book Description:

Big, beautiful Hannah is innocent and alone in the mountains. Alone except for the uncommonly big men at Great Bear Inn. The men share a secret, and they are hungry to share Hannah. 

Hannah hasn’t had the kind of appreciation the big men of the mountain have to give her. 

They are the last of their line and Hannah is their only hope. But will she, can she take the heat of their rough and rising needs? 

WARNING: This story bursts with red-hot sex. Not advised to be read in public.

I subscribe to Bookbub emails because free books, and I’m constantly seeing links to BBW Shifter Menage books.  I guess this is a thing?  They’re almost always 99 cents, which is a fortune so I pass, but when I saw that “Great Bear Inn (Sassy BBW Alpha Werebear pack BDSM shifter menage erotic romance): Bearback Lust of the Alpha (Werebear Alpha BDSM Book 1)” was available for free, I thought why the fuck not?  I like to think that I subscribe to the Dan Savage perspective on kink: It’s not my kink, but it’s cool if it’s yours. Obviously, I knew that this was a fetish book going into it.  And I’ll try anything once (or thrice).

This was a novella length, so no big commitment.  Hanna struggles with her weight, her mom bullies her, yada yada yada.  She takes a trip up to the Great Bear Inn to photograph some nature, and upon checking in, the giant, bearded proprietors make it clear they want to get on with the banging, and the plot can fuck right off.  The shifter bits are very secondary to the plot, and felt like they were just shoved in there to make it fit the genre.  Even the sex was fairly formulaic, and entirely too one-on-one for a menage.  I had seriously high hopes for this book, because the cover was all “look, the catnip is all in the title!” All in all, the writing was god awful and they didn’t deliver on all the shit they promised.  I was eye rolling, lol’ing, and highlighting the crap out of all the text I wanted to send to Cleone.  Also, this may seem like I’m nitpicking, but there is a double space between each paragraph, like you normally see when there is a change of scene, and it kept making my brain think we were pausing and moving on to something else with every single new paragraph.

Without further ado, I’m just going to leave these excerpts here for you, because this book really should speak for itself:

Her voice shook, “What if somebody comes?” His voice was a soft growl, “Nobody will. Only you.” He raised his head and looked into her rolling eyes. “A few times, at least. Then me.”

His tongue. Her clit felt it’s wet strength.

When they came, they crested together. They both held each others’ hands so tight it was a wrestle and, as the beads stood out on his brow, he buried his head in her full enfolding breasts and he shouted as he blasted his fountain of love against the soft needing darkness deep within her.

His fountain of love, you guys.

Amazon

Trapped, by Beverly Long

Trapped

Grade: C-

Doing it at: 64%

Catnip: Stranded; Second Chance Love; Dangerous Criminal Villain; Feelings of Inadequacy; Girl with a Hard Knock Life; Dual Narrative; WTF

Shame scale: Medium – Poorly written, not much boning, and a garage sale cover

Fantasy casting: N/A (I didn’t really care enough)

Book description: 

“Elle Vollman hadn’t expected to live when the plane went down. She never thought she’d see her daughter again or give testimony against one of the world’s worst human traffickers. But she learned never to say never because she never thought she’d see her ex-fiancé, Dr. Brody Donovan, again either. Now here he was, amongst the survivors, applying medical care to those in need. Lost in the Amazon and being hunted by more than just wildlife, it will take their combined strength to find help and rescue the others. The fierce jungle has doomed many, and trusting one another is the only way either of them will find their way back…maybe even to each other….

This book popped up in my library “recommended for you” feed (my library knows me so well!), and besides the ambitious plot, I think what really attracted me to it was that it reminded me of this book I loved in elementary school:

Trapped - kids

I’ve always had a thing for stories about people who are trapped/stranded/castaway. Maybe it was my first Catnip? Anyways, it was a library read (free), and I figured if they could possibly pull off a second chance romance with a plane crash in the Amazon, while being chased by evil South American human traffickers in only 219 pages, it was worth a shot.

Spoiler alert: this book was dumb.

Thirteen years ago, Elle and Brody were engaged. A few weeks before the wedding, Elle left a Dear John letter in the mailbox and took off. The spend the next 13 years trying to get over each other. They somehow both end up on the same tiny charter plane in the remote Brazilian Amazon, BUT THEY DON’T NOTICE EACH OTHER TILL AFTER THE PLANE HAS CRASHED. Seriously, there are only seven people on the plane, including the pilots, but they don’t notice each other. Ok. Then, the plane crashes in the jungle and nobody dies. Ok. So then then Elle and Brody decide to take off walking through the jungle with no map, compass, or clear view of the sun, based on Elle’s “If a plane left Brazil traveling North West at 200 miles per hour for 43 minutes” math. She convinces Brody that if they walk due East for two days, they’ll reach this random village where her only friend in Brazil who can be trusted to protect them from the bad guys who have limitless influence just happens to live. This village is composed of 25 thatched huts. And they walk straight to it. No. This is literally impossible. Then a bunch of stuff happens with the bad guys, and then there’s a double knee replacement (?????) and all of the sudden they wrap it up in about a chapter with a miraculous helicopter rescue by his two best friends who were supposedly in Colorado, but were able to organize an Amazon rescue in less than 24 hours (read all about them in the rest of the shitty Harlequin Intrigue series!). I could have done with a little more of the surviving in the jungle plot, less with the human traffickers hunting them plot. It was too much for a short book. And also, preposterous.

As bad as this was, I would have bumped it up to a C+ if the sex was good and there was a little humor. But despite them doing it just under the wire at 64% (just shy of the magic 65% bench mark we’ve set), they only do it two or three times, and it’s pretty bland. I always thought Harlequin books were the ones you read because they were dirty? Didn’t that used to be a thing?

Amazon