Hey, kids! I just came back from a trip to Los Angeles to see a taping of The Price is Right before Bob Barker retires (or before people find out the secret of his animatronic corpse), and there are two things I’d like to jot down:
1. It’s actually possible to give bad books the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment. We found out this weekend when my friend Katie did a real number on Carly Phillips’ “Naughty Under the Mistletoe” in the Santa Baby anthology while we were driving from San Jose to Los Angeles. The story itself is terrible (full review to come soon, soon), but snarking and adding colorful embellishments (like copious amounts of buttsex, Tijuana donkey shows, syphilitic whores and the fact that both the main characters were secretly reptilian aliens) didn’t just make the steaming eyeballs, burning touches, curling stomachs, creepy overtones of abuse and the hero’s ever-present spicy masculine scent bearable; they made them downright entertaining. The best (worst?) thing was, sometimes the line between Katie’s embellishments and Phillips’ deathless prose wasn’t entirely clear.
Next time you have a bad book you can’t quite read through, I highly recommend getting together some friends with healthy senses of humor, taking turns reading from it and just making shit up.
2. I know Meljean Brook in real life, and have had dinner with her a couple of times. I approached her debut novel, Demon Angel, with some trepidation. The first work of hers that I’d read, “Falling for Anthony,” was only so-so, and I really didn’t want to have to piss all over a friend’s novel (believe it or not, that hardened black lump in my chest occasionally feels something other than schädenfreude). But my fears? Totally unfounded. I’m only 1/3 way through the book, but it’s awesome, y’all. Sure, it’s a tiny bit clunky in places, especially when high drama is going down or when there’s some infodumping going on, but I haven’t felt this engaged or invested in a romance novel in quite some time. Unless the book takes a nosedive, it’s so far a very solid B+. If you like complicated worldbuilding and an author with the balls to throw Latin at you without bothering to translate the phrases in the text (HOT!), check Demon Angel out.
And yeah, I’m plugging this book before I’ve finished it partially because I like Brook and I want her to do well, but I wouldn’t be doing this if the book didn’t make me squirmy-happy when I read it. Dude, it totally got me through the long-ass process of getting in to see The Price is Right. (Hint: it required getting in line at CBS Studios at 4 a.m., and then being shuffled from line to line for, ohhh, eight hours. I AM NOT JOKING.) Not to mention the fact that I’m slow as ass when it comes to finishing my reviews, and this is a means of assuaging some of my guilt.