Bitchin' Blog Posts
: Dudes Reading Romance
by SB Sarah | January 17, 2012 | Tuesday at 12:55 am | 29 Comments
DocTurtle has returned with Chapters 1 and 2 of The Iron Duke. Want to read along for future chapters? You can get a copy at Goodreads, Amazon, BN, Sony, or Kobo.
Chapter 1: Cool Britannia!
This book begins with a bang…particularly if by “bang” we mean a hand grenade filled with tiny bits of exposition. There’s a lot of ground to cover in seventeen pages, but Meljean Brook runs the route with a solid pace, and she takes time to set the mood while she’s at it. I’m enjoying the book so far.
Where are we? It’s London, at some unspecified steam-powered time in the speculative past. Coal-fueled cars compete with spidery rickshaws in the city streets, airships make regular rounds between Britain and the Continent, and nanotech-enhanced buggers compete with the recently-returned-from-the-New-World bounders for a slice of the smog-covered pie. It doesn’t get much cooler than this gadget-filled steampunky London that never was. (I promise to never again write a sentence with so many hyphens.)
Our story opens at a fashionable ball thrown by the Marchioness of Hartington. Our heroine, Mina Wentworth, trades bons mots with her preggo…
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by SB Sarah | January 04, 2012 | Wednesday at 12:54 am | 52 Comments
Awhile back, in 2009, DocTurtle, a professor of mathematics, was a guest reviewer here as we schooled him on the best of romance. You can see the complete DocTurtle archive to see his serial reviews of An Infamous Army by Georgette Heyer, Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase, and Sex Straight Up by Kathleen O'Riley. He didn't finish Dark Lover by JR Ward, but he gave it his best effort. Something about "tenure" and a "packet." And things that were due.
Every now and again, DocTurtle and I would exchange an email, but he was buried with work and reviewing was put on hiatus - until I received an email from him a few weeks ago, and he agreed to read and review another novel - though he did ask for not Dark Lover.
So here's DocTurtle, for those of you who haven't met him yet:
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by SB Sarah | September 23, 2009 | Wednesday at 10:37 am | 39 Comments
Could it be? Why, yes! It’s a summary of Chapters 41 through 44 of J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover!
Howdy all! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had a chance to sit down and snark on a few more chapters of Ward’s much-vaunted vampire tome. (I blame my tenure packet, due in a little over a month to my department Chair.) I need to get back in the saddle and ride on through these last chapters, as there aren’t many left.
These last few chapters are for the most part short, silly, and incredibly oy-inducing. I hope y’all enjoy.
Chapter 41: Looooooving you…is easy ‘cause you’re beautiful…
On page 305, Beth wakes up beside her lover, and when he too awakens she finally professes her love to him: “I love you,” she says. This comes 44 pages after Wrath had said the same to her, but hers is a bit more tender; his “I love you” had been followed by “damn you! Goddamn you, don’t you let go!”
Here’s a question that’s sure to cause most of the Bitchery derisively to snort “Feh. Noob!”: in a typical romance novel, who says…
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by SB Sarah | August 26, 2009 | Wednesday at 11:44 am | 86 Comments
What do you get when you take a math professor who is curious about romance, the crahkalicious Black Dagger Brotherhood, and the internet?
Why, DocTurtle’s Black Dagger Brotherhood Madlibs of course.
Thanks to DocTurtle, we have so much fun, we might end up crashing the UNC Ashville server. Oh, it’s just a beautiful thing. Enjoy!
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by SB Sarah | August 20, 2009 | Thursday at 11:31 am | 48 Comments
Chapters 31 through 35 of J. R. Ward’s Dhark Lover, as told by DocTurtle
We’re finally more than halfway through this beast of a book, and the action’s picking up. What’s in store for us yet? As I look back over these chapters (please remember that I long ago finished reading the book), I find myself worrying that I may run out of things to snark: how many times can you make fun of sentence structure, silly names, and overblown product placement?
Then I realize that here and there are scattered pockets of comedic wonderfulness, hiding in the pages of the book like the “flavor booster” nuggets of powdered cheese I loved to find in the poorly-stirred mac ‘n’ cheese I’d make myself as a ten-year-old. Chapter 39, in which we meet the Scribe Virgin, is one such highly entertaining chapter. Similarly risible are any of the chapters in which Butch and Marissa interact, at which times Marissa acts like a poorly-programmed sexbot with a broken linguistic processor.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. For now, let’s content ourselves with a few more mundane episodes, starting with…
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by SB Sarah | August 19, 2009 | Wednesday at 10:56 am | 58 Comments
My Date with a Vampire continues as we pass directly through the dark, dark center of J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover! Chapter 26: Sex + exposition = sexposition
As this first chapter of the second half of Ward’s novel begins, Beth and Wrath wrap up their first dinner date with dessert: “Whole strawberries on a gold-rimmed plate. Some chocolate on the side to dip them in. A little cookie.” And not one of them with a corporate sponsor! How sad.
Wrath takes especial pleasure in feeding Beth a strawberry, even as she questions him about his whereabouts and goings-on from the night before. Licking a dribble of juice from Beth’s face, Wrath decides that dinner has come to an end, and they adjourn to the bedchamber, where Beth’s lesson in Vampire Biology continues. She now learns that they’ve no need for condoms since vampires aren’t susceptible to human diseases and she’s clearly not in any danger of getting preggers (“you won’t have your first needing for another five years or so after the change”).
After Wrath takes a few minutes out to answer a phone call, they return to their regular foreplay, already…
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by SB Sarah | August 13, 2009 | Thursday at 11:29 am | 30 Comments
Chapters 21 through 25 of J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover
Almost halfway through this sucker. Time to put on my shitkickers and wrap-around Ray-Bans and dive into the next set o’ chapters…
Chapter 21: This chapter brought to you by TBS, and by Sam Adams, America’s World Class Beer™
“I’m Tohrment, a friend of Wrath’s. You can call me Tohr.”
Yup, Tohr’s stopped by to keep Beth company and to keep an eye on her. (For those of you who are fans of the Western-footwear-whose-name-shall-not-again-be-written: Tohr’s rockin’ ‘em.) Wrath’s most comfortable with Tohr keeping tabs on Beth because Tohr’s deeply entrenched in a multiple-century relationship with a vampire named Wellsie, whom he mentions briefly now and whom we get to meet in a later chapter.
“Does Wrath have a shellan already?” Beth asks Tohr.
“I think you’d better talk to him about that,” Tohr tells her. Uh oh. Now it’s Beth’s turn to feel a jolt of jealousy.
Not much else to this chapter, except for the revelation that Tohr likes oatmeal cookies, roasted garlic, and Godzilla movie marathons.
Chapter 22: Chicago Manual of Style? We don’ need no stinking…
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by SB Sarah | August 12, 2009 | Wednesday at 7:43 pm | 13 Comments
I didn’t realize at first that *Medusa’s Master* was part of a series -quite an extensive series at that. Nonetheless, one of the best things I can say about the novel is that it’s admirably self-contained, and retains focus and pacing even when a platoon of guest stars invades the book in later chapters.
Although labeled as a “H.O.T. Watch” novel, Dees’ introduction and the text make clear that the book is also seventh in the “Medusas” series, focused on an elite Spec Ops force made up wholly of women. Korean-born Katrina Kim (called “Kat”) is just five-foot three, but she’s a trained sniper, linguist, electronics and black-ops specialist - and immediately on meeting H.O.T. Watch operative Jeff Steiger deep in a hidden Caribbean base, she flips him painfully flat on his face with one expert martial arts move.
Impressively, this leads neither to a knock-down brawl nor to a dozen chapters of macho posturing. Quite the opposite, in fact; Jeff and Kat quickly develop a sincere, if wary appreciation for each other’s abilities. However, they’re also victims of what Jeff calls “Cupid’s Bolt”, as Dees plays the Love At First Sight…
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by SB Sarah | August 12, 2009 | Wednesday at 11:15 am | 29 Comments
Chapters 16 through 20 of J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover, as filtered through the mind of a snarky mathematician
Well, we’ve made it this far, folks! Shall we go on? Yes, indeed we shall! The next several chapters are filled with more action than the last several, and so they read very quickly.
Chapter 16: Fill your glasses, ladies and gentlemen…
…the drinking game recommences. There’s not a great deal of action in this chapter (Beth returns to Wayne Manor with Wrath while Butch curses himself for putting her in a position where harm can and almost certainly will come to her…and that’s about it), J.R. delivers a goodly number of her own patented style of incomplete sentences, viz.:
“What had she done? To her body last night. To her life right now.”
“It was an absurd switch in scenery. From the violence in that back alley, to rolling lawns and flower beds.”
“Because she was an idiot. Who evidently had a death wish.”
“Wrath cocked an eyebrow at her. Smiled tightly. Didn’t answer.”
“She’d been raped, beaten, and strangled. Not in that order.”
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by SB Sarah | August 06, 2009 | Thursday at 11:22 am | 105 Comments
Killing me softly with this tome: Chapters 10 through 16 of J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover
Oy. Another six chapters. The action’s heating up and the plot takes a few odd turns, but the characters are pretty much stuck in place. There’s pretty much no characterization beyond “Beth is bold and sexy” and “Wrath is a total bad-ass.” These characters are flatter than a stretch of Interstate in Indiana.
Let’s pick up where we left off… Chapter Ten: Mangled metaphors on aisle six
Beth lies in bed near the end of her steamy Wrathful night. She looks over her partner dreamily.
“He was huge. And stacked.”
“He had no hair on his torso or arms and legs at all…even down there…why he’d go the Full Monty with a razor was a mystery.”
“His abdomen was ribbed as if he were smuggling paint rollers under his skin.”
Now that’s romantic. Six points for proper use of the subjunctive mood, but only one for metaphorical flourish.
The two of them make small talk, and it’s evident already that they’re falling…
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by SB Sarah | August 05, 2009 | Wednesday at 11:18 am | 39 Comments
On, on, deeper into J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover!
In reading the comments to my first post on this bit of dreck I feel as though I’ve found several dozen kindred spirits. Now on Chapter 33, I’m having to backtrack a bit to keep up with the chapter summaries (but what fun they are! well worth the trouble), and I too am sick and tired of gratuitous references to gangsta rap artists (J.R., puhleeze: just because you know who Jay-Z is doesn’t mean you’re still wit’ it. Embrace your badass old school self!) and prominent product placements. Can somebody please tell Ms. Ward that though specificity makes for a strong setting, that’s no excuse for plastering every page of one’s book with billboards for Pepperidge Farm and Chrysler’s Town and Country.
Meanwhile, as romances go, I’m finding this one decidedly…unromantic. As someone pointed out in the comments to my post, there’s really no meaningful treatment of the feelings these two have for one another: one minute they’re off, another minute they’re on. Wrath comes around too quickly for it to be believable. “Human? Pshaw! Weaklings, hardly worthy of a warrior’s…
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by SB Sarah | July 27, 2009 | Monday at 11:13 am | 111 Comments
He’s back! After the splendid members of the Bitchery recommended many, many books for Dr. Turtle, aka SBiT Patrick, the choice was Dark Lover by JR Ward. Behold: Chapters 1-5. Let the mhahgic begihn!
If you’re not familiar with the styling’s of DocTurtle’s romance blogging, he reviews the book chapter by chapter. Ergo: SPOILERS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD ARE BELOW THE FOLD OK?!?!!
Hey, all! DocTurtle…or SBiT Patrick…or whatever we decided I should be called on this blog…here, ready to say a few words about my latest reading assignment for SBTB, J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover, the first of a long series of Black Dagger Brotherhood novels and my first paranormal romance. This book features vampires, vampires, and…more vampires. They’re terrifying and ferocious, but they’re sexy as hell.
I started the book last night, I’m about eight chapters in now (the first five are blogged about below), and as a paranormal newbie the first question I have is to what extent Ward elects to adhere to the “canonical” vampire mythology, if there is such a thing? I also wonder to what extent the amount of sex and violence Dark Lover has…
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by SB Sarah | June 08, 2009 | Monday at 10:41 am | 89 Comments
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago (ok, it was January, but online that’s, like, nine years ago or some shit), DocTurtle read and blogged about his romance exploration, a readerly tour of romance 101 directed by recommendations from the Bitchery. First he read Sex, Straight Up, because he dismissed the category genre in an offhand remark and I challenged him to put his reading where is snark is. He agreed, discovered the Power of Lurrrrrrve™, and went on to read Heyer’s An Infamous Army. Then, he picked up Lord of Scoundrels, the book that drags people into romance whether they like it or not.
And then, behold, there was a semester, and as a math professor, DocTurtle was a busy busy turtle. He comes bearing apologies and a new appreciation for romance.
It’s been a long, long time since I last posted on this lovely blog. In the time that’s passed since my last contribution, I’ve had time to pop in and read the posts Sarah’s left, occasionally browse the comments, chuckle to myself, but do little else.
Shortly after I began reading and blogging about Loretta Chase’s wonderful Lord of Scoundrels, the spring…
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by SB Sarah | March 01, 2009 | Sunday at 12:27 pm | 28 Comments
Scrinnameless, who I call “Scrin” for short, is a 22 year-old geology student who is reading Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Sharing Knife: Beguilement. Bujold! (no, that is not going to get old any time soon) He finished the book!
So everyone’s warned Dag and Fawn away from each other. Apparently, Dag’s superior is afraid that if he opens himself up, he’ll take in love like a starving and thirsty man would take in food and water—and try to go too far, too fast.
Still, I know they’ll end up together, even if it’s only for a little while. The real interest I have in this relationship is seeing what comes next.
And…Yep, it comes to a head. There’s a party (which Lakewalkers like to do quite a bit) and as the festivities wane down, Dag and Fawn go off to go get busy.
I suppose I should say that I found the love scene to be tastefully written and didn’t make my face burst into flame.
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by SB Sarah | February 28, 2009 | Saturday at 12:16 pm | 11 Comments
Scrinnameless, who I call “Scrin” for short, is a 22 year-old geology student who is curious about romance, and at my suggestion has taken to reading Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Sharing Knife: Beguilement. Bujold! (snrk) We have an intermission and recap of the book.
I’m halfway through the book, so I’m finding it appropriate that I recapitulate my views on the book so far.
World-building: Given that this is a very small part of the world, seen from the eyes of two people (usually), what I’ve seen is pretty limited. Most of it’s actually been about the Lakewalkers. Of course, this is expected. The Lakewalkers are the source of ‘magic’ here, and any fantasy writer explains the magic somewhere (if a writer doesn’t do that, I think they have to remove the stars and crescent moon from their pointy hat or something). Anyway. The normal people are shown to be normal people—provincial and superstitious.
The Lakewalkers can be pretty bad themselves; They are dedicated to fighting unholy monsters which must be stopped or else a single one could ruin the world, but some of them can be lazy and they can…
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