Odds and Ends

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.


Random Musings

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  1. 1
    Marta Acosta says:

    A friend of mine once made me read THE THORNBIRDS aloud to her on a long road trip in her ancient aunt’s huge bomber of a car.  Sure, I got a headache, but it was great fun because I got to add my own drama.  This is why reading aloud is better than books on tape.

    I’m still trying to figure out what the hell color “ashes of roses” is.

  2. 2
    Meljean says:

    B+, kind of! Now that I have read that, I will never wash my eyes again, or check back here again, in case it takes that nosedive.

    My sister and I once read ANNIE’S SONG out loud to one another on a trip from Yakima back to Oregon. It was especially fun when we got to the part where Annie is trying to talk again.

    Which means that we’re probably both going to hell.

    “throw Latin at you without bothering to translate the phrases in the text”

    But that reminds me to put the translation and source up on my website. Forgot about that one.

    *crossing fingers that it doesn’t take a nosedive*

  3. 3
    bam says:

    Dude, I’m totally sorry now that I didn’t get to go with you to the Price is Right. Man, I would have loved to do MST3K on Santa Baby!

    Reminds me of a funny story: My mom’s friend had also gone to see the Price is Right and afterward my mom asked her “Did Bob Barker ask you to go down?” And I had to yell, “it’s ‘come on down,’ MOTHER, EWWW!!”

    dude, we should go to the Burning Man next year. Or you can come down this year for the Comic Con. :)

  4. 4
    Wry Hag says:

    Bitch ain’t lying about Carly Phillips.  I’ve read her excerpts, and her writing is time-for-self-flagellation dreadful!  Shit, I just do not know how writers like that even get published much less how they make buckets of money.  I need to dumb myself down BIGTIME.

  5. 5
    dl says:

    Yay, I’m not alone…read about 1/2 of a Carly Phillips one time…now I avoid them like the plague.  Was beginning to think I was weirder then usual, because keep reading all these glowing comments about CP. 

    Another reason to lurk around SB…I feel so much better now.

    Hey, I looked at Demon Angel just the other day.  Almost bought it, but been burned so often on unfamiliar authors…but, I’d buy a B+!

  6. 6
    skeptique says:

    I can hardly wait to read your full review. Crusie’s Hot Toy was great. It might have some plot holes, but I didn’t care because I was having so much fun. The other two novellas in Santa Baby: bad Santa.

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