Book Review

Maharaja’s Mistress by Susan Stephens: A Dueling Review

F+

Title: Maharaja's Mistress
Author: Susan Stephens
Publication Info: Harlequin 2011
ISBN: 978-0373528318
Genre: Contemporary Romance

The heroine has a bowl cut in the front. I'm not even kidding.I received an email from reader Maria, who told me about this book and said it was UNREAL in its bizarre badness. So of course I forwarded her description to RedHeadedGirl, who replied, and I quote, “WHAT IS THIS FUCKERY I NEED TO READ IT”.

Seriously, you guys. The official book description does NOT even TOUCH the crazysauce that floods this book. This is what it says:

Monte Carlo is abuzz with news that Ram Varindha—young, hot and royal—is without a co-driver for the biggest rally event of the year. Though it’s been years since she last saw him, Mia leaps at the chance to get up close with the maharaja!

With time to spare before he takes on more serious royal duties, bedding this beauty is top of Ram’s list. But Mia has long known Ram’s reputation. Is she just in for the hottest few nights of her life, or could her dream of finally taming Ram’s playboy ways become reality?

Maria’s description reveals much more, and is in all frank honesty ENTIRELY ACCURATE:

Majaraja’s Mistress features a horribly disfigured/visually impaired eye patch wearing interior designer cum race car co-driver who wants one last chance at a race. She also wants to hook up with her brother’s old school chum who happens to be a a race car driver and a Majaraja. But wait, IT GETS BETTER!

Down on her luck she lives in an apartment with three models in Monaco and works as a sexy pirate (not a typo) receptionist in a hair salon run by a Liberace type. There are also multiple scenes involving an elephant parade and a superyacht (not at the same time tho).

I honestly said to myself, “Self, there is no way that Marie got all that right. Seriously. Maybe she is mixing up two books..” BUT NO. IT IS THAT CRAZY.

If you’ve been wondering when the next OMGWTFWOW book would come down the pike, well, here it is. And not only did RedHeadedGirl read it, but I read it along with her.

RedHeadedGirl’s full summary:

So it’s like this:  Ram is the ruler of a small India-expy country called Ramakesh or Rammalammadingdong or something, and he grew up in England with Tony and Tony’s little sister Mia.  They always were the type of friends that fought with each other all the time, and when Ram went off to be a playboy and rule his country, Mia went into a full on danger-seeking mode to… fill up the empty hole in her life or something.  She eventually gets into a car accident while rally racing and has a bunch of scars on her face and loses the sight in one eye (thus necessitating the need for an eye patch) and gets a job in Monte Carlo as the receptionist for a hair salon.  As you do.

Ram is in the process of resigning from his playboy life, and is doing one last rally race as his farewell tour, but loses his co-driver, and Mia jumps in to offer her services, even though they haven’t seen or talked to each other in years.  Also she can only see out of one eye, but that doesn’t seem to matter for driving a racecar around the streets of Monte Carlo.  You’d think that this whole race thing would be a major plot point, but it just sort of happens, and then he invites her to see his yacht (the size of a commercial cruise ship) and then sneaks out of the harbor of Monte Carlo without her noticing that the ship is moving, and basically kidnaps her to Rammalammadingdong, but they have a lot of (boring) sex along the way, so it’s fine.  She agrees to redecorate his yacht, because apparently she was going to be an interior designer before she burned half her face off, and it’s all good.

They get to Rammalammadingdong, and there’s a huge welcoming celebration with elephants (bejeweled elephants) (really), and a lot of misunderstandings about what Ram wants from her, and what she wants from Ram, and what Ram wants to do with his little country he’s been ruling while being a playboy, and if they will ever sit down and hash it out, it’ll be ok.

So here we go, a dueling review from RedHeadedGirl and me for Maharaja’s Mistress.

Sarah: I have lost count of the number of times I have left a note in this book that reads, “What?!”

RedHeadedGirl: I’ve got “what” “wait what”  “that is not how this works” and “ow.”

Sarah: Are these two the most mercurial people ever? “I want you!” “Go away!” “No, wait, I want you again!” 

RedHeadedGirl: These two have the most acrobatic and most boring sex ever.  I didn’t think that was possible.

Sarah: I cannot think of a single metaphor that HASN’T been used. She’s a hurricane. She’s a fallen angel. She’s a storm again. WTF?

RedHeadedGirl: Flinging off of peaks into bottomless pools of pleasure. Plus also elephants.

Sarah: I JUST READ THAT PART. 

And they are Bejeweled Elephants! And also Political Manipulation Elephants.

RedHeadedGirl: OK, I finished it. Basically nothing happened, right?  I didn’t fall asleep and miss it?

And yet all of that nothing was packed in crazy sausage casings.

Sarah:It was two cardboard people moving around in a plot of WTF.

My overall thought: This was the most bizarre book. It was if there was a plot and there were two people in the book but the plot and the characters had nothing to do with each other. Things would happen with elephants and yachts and kidnappings and palaces. Meanwhile, the two people in the plot would shout or murmur cliches at one another, all of it completely unrelated to the plot. 

I must have highlighted 60 different passages and written “What?” “Huh?” 

RedHeadedGirl: My overall thought: I have no idea what this book is about.  That’s okay, because it has no idea what it’s about, either.  Nothing happened around the rally race, the elephants, the giant yacht, and the random forays into interior design.  I feel like Ram was barely cardboard, more like a manila folder character (hot? check. Rich?  Check.  Huge dick? check.) and what’sherface was barely in the same book as anything else that happened. 

I think my favorite note is “Worst ‘where is this relationship going”’ conversation EVER.” 

Sarah: Ram: WHAT?! WHY is his name RAM? Is that some sort of SIGNAL? 

I know a lot of writers talk about plot driven and character driven stories. This was a story where the plot pretty much told the characters how to act. Like the backdrops were film directors talking to the actors: “OK, we’ve arrived in the Rumperkesh or wherever it is. And they have to get off the boat. And here are some elephants. Ok. In this scene, Ram, you get all pissed off without explanation, and Mia – no, no you cannot wear your pirate costume right now, we’re all done with your being a pirate girl. Mia, you have to get excited to ride an elephant while also recognizing with your savant PR skills that Ram’s negative reaction would be disastrous for his assumption of leadership.

*sigh*

That means: get Ram to ride the elephant because it’ll make him look good. Now you have to make sure to fight because we need some make up sex in the next chapter.” 

Seriously. I never understood for a minute WHY they were reacting the way they did to anything! 

Inconsistencies abound, too, which further compromised my ability to understand what the hell was going on. At one point Mia recalls (she spends a lot of time walking around in a reverie) the salon owner pushed her into his salon off the street after seeing her through the window and falling instantly in platonic flaming gay man love with her unique look and style or something. In the next chapter, Mia recalls brazenly going in to ask for a job.

Also of note: Tony, Mia’s brother, is some kind of pivotal figure in both Mia’s and Ram’s lives, but he doesn’t have one scene, nor does he appear to care that his sister is living in alleged misery as a one-eyed pirate in Monaco. Ram similarly has lots of thoughts about Tony, but Tony himself never appears. He’s an excuse, not a person.

RedHeadedGirl: One of the most aggravating things to me in this pile of nonsense was the Truly Exemplary Examples of Telling, not Showing.  She’s a brilliant rally car driver (…without depth perception, but whatever), we know because she says “I’m a brilliant rally driver.”  She’s the bestest interior designer?  We know, because she was thinking about colors and stuff, but the author danced around the specifics- WHAT kind of designs was she thinking about?  She handled herself well in the random contractor meetings off-stage?  IT’S LIKE GREEK DRAMA WHERE ALL THE COOL STUFF HAPPENS OFF STAGE. (except for the utter lack of drama.  I hate that, and so does the Dowager Countess of Grantham.)

And Ram and his Magic Dick- he was an accomplished lover and “took her with skill” or something.  And she screamed a lot.  The sex was SO BORING.  The author rammed it down our throats that it was passionate and acrobatic and fantastic.  I saw no evidence of that.  But I was kind of gagging, so…. 

Sarah: Come on, his name was RAM. That wasn’t enough of a clue?

Looking over my notes, YES. This was all telling and not showing ANYTHING. 

And did you count the cliches? I reached 54 uses of cliches by chapter 9.

RedHeadedGirl: I’m in law school: we don’t DO math.  I can’t count that high. 

The Amazon Product Description on the hardback edition says this:  Vampire hunter Rand Wilder hated vampires-even if they were as beautiful and alluring as vampire princess Dominique Valois. For years he fought the beings who had killed his father, resisting their dangerous sensuality. Yet even Rand was tempted…

…..not this book

The MMP edition says this: Monte Carlo is abuzz with news that Ram Varindha—young, hot and royal—is without a co-driver for the biggest rally event of the year. Though it’s been years since she last saw him, Mia leaps at the chance to get up close with the maharaja!

With time to spare before he takes on more serious royal duties, bedding this beauty is top of Ram’s list. But Mia has long known Ram’s reputation. Is she just in for the hottest few nights of her life, or could her dream of finally taming Ram’s playboy ways become reality?
STILL NOT THIS BOOK.  
Sarah: How is he a playboy? Based on what, countless descriptions of him as dangerous and sexy? And what about this part:

Ram had announced he would shortly be quitting his playboy life to serve his people in the independent state of Ramprakesh, but before that he was to enjoy one last indulgence—a timed rally car race across Europe in his super-car.

How does one quit life as a playboy? Do you resign? To whom, Hugh Hefner?

RedHeadedGirl: OBVIOUSLY. 

Of course he’s a playboy!  He’s got fast cars, and elephants, and a yacht bigger than Rhode Island!  He quite possibly runs around fighting crime at night (that is what playboys DO right?  Or have comics books been lying to me this entire time?)  (Okay, you’re right, he doesn’t have a lot of time to FIGHT CRIME in between all the Ramming he does).

So… he wants to restructure the government of Rammalammadingdong to not be a…. what was the structure before?  Oh right, we don’t really know- so they can be self-determining and also he’s actually running shit and not being a playboy so… he wants to sneak in quietly and not be like “EVERYONE CHILL THE FUCK OUT I GOT THIS.”  I mean, I understand thinking a Surprise Bejeweled Elephant is a bit much, but.. did he really think that no one would notice the yacht the size of Rhode Island? 

Sarah: I’m still not sure what qualifications he has to run a country, or how he did it from afar before he resigned as a playboy. (Did he write that resignation letter on rally car stationary, you think? Did it have matching envelopes? Did they say “Vroom vroom!” on the front corner?)

AND another thing: how did the author manage to pack so much detail into every sentence, while revealing absolutely nothing about anyone? Example the first: Mia’s model roommates. Because of course she has several roommates who are (a) models (b) gorgeous (c) friendly (d) incredibly generous and (e) leave en masse when the hot Ramrod walks into their flat.

“We’re going to clean up your act and send you out looking like a princess.” a pretty dark-haired eastern European called Xheni who had recently been scouted by one of the top model agencies assured her.

First: WHAT? I do not understand the parts of that sentence.
Second: XHENI? Someone needs to ascertain the location of JR Ward at this moment and make sure she is not in Monaco with these people. 
Third: WHAT?! 

Here are my top five highlights of nonsensical wtfery from this book. 

“Hairpin bends could come and go, but where Ram was concerned arousal was for ever.” 

If longer than for ever, or longer than four hours, please consult a physician. 

“How could she begin to tell them about Ram when he had flashed across her world like the brightest of comets leaving her to clutch in vain at his sparkling dust?”

DO NOT INHALE.

In a scene with Mia and her Magical Model Roommates talking about Ram:

“When Ram was in town there was a buzz of sexual excitement in the air; they’d all felt it.”

I am willing to bet an entire dollar that Ram wears Axe Body Spray. 

 

“Ram was quite an operator – if you liked your men straight up.”

As opposed to… resembling a corkscrew duck weenus? 

“A blur of hungry female eyes only proved that Ram could turn any club steamy. He had set this one on fire the moment he had arrived – and now it was a raging inferno.”

DEFINITELY Axe Body Spray. This book is the definitive argument for scratch-and-sniff romance.

And, the sex. At one point, parts of Mia’s body were “moistly preparing for his most thorough and prolonged attention.”

MOISTLY?

Then Ram challenged her,

“throwing his head back so she saw his full potential, from the thickly corded column of his neck to the impossibly wide spread of his shoulders and his powerful chest.”

Yeah. In case you missed it earlier, he’s a dick. 

Later they are doing it, she’s on top, “riding him with the same wild abandon she had always used to answer the stone wall she came up against with Ram.”  

What? 

And of course, he’s got lots of skill:

“And then he proved it, taking her to heaven and back with artful delay and intuitive strokes that allowed her to climb the mountain only to hover at its highest peak for the longest moment before plummeting down into the deepest pool of pleasure. “

However, before you think they’re mere fuck buddies, “This wasn’t about sex. It was a celebration of a friendship that had survived against the odds.”

Except for the part where they hadn’t spoken in years, and he had no idea she was in Monte Carlo at all, much less with scars and a plot-device-blind eye. We’ll ignore it. Turn a blind eye to it, in fact.

ba-dum-bump

But my absolute favorite part is where Ram asks her out after their nonsensical rally car race around Monte Carlo, then brings her aboard his yacht which, despite being larger, as you say, than Rhode Freaking Island, is all Stealth Bomber Quiet when the engines are fired up, enabling Ram to basically kidnap Mia and take her with him to RampraRomperRoom without her noticing that they’ve left the harbor. And when they’ve been underway for just enough time that he can’t send her back in the helicopter, which of course the yacht has, nor, you know, TURN the SHIP around, he decides he’s NOT going to tell her where they’re going, and storms off all huffy like because, and I quote, he “has things to do.” 

And when she challenges him on that, showing a bit of spine, thank the good Lord, and demands to know WHY he’s kidnapped her, he reveals everything and nothing by saying, “Because the time is right and because I might need you again.” 

HOWEVER, it is all ok and spiffy fine because Ram has made sure to furnish Mia’s suite with a nearly limitless array of elegant and traditional RampraRomperRoom garb that is (of course) in her size and fits her (of course) perfectly. OH – and he wants her to redecorate the yacht. 

Because… wait for it… “Ram was certainly determined to take her on a voyage of discovery.” 

Say it with me now: 0_o?

NO, WAIT. THIS. THIS is the WHOLE BOOK. 

Making love to Mia felt like coming home. His only regret was that Mia couldn’t be part of his future in Ramprakesh. But he couldn’t let her go, either—the details were sketchy… 

The details hardly mattered as he sank deep into her welcoming warmth. 

The details are sketchy through THE WHOLE GODDAM BOOK.

RedHeadedGirl:

“Mia’s heart cannoned into her throat as a familiar black velvet voice growled a suspicious greeting.”

Cannoned? 

“Why not bring the appointment forward?  There had been far too many simpering, low-fat milk-sops in his life recently. Wasn’t it time to walk on the wild side and eat some clotted cream?”

SO WILD.

“There was no easy way for her – no long-distance solution.  Mia needed close-up warmth and support, just as his people needed him in the country, rather than some distant stranger who issued orders for others to carry out.  He would return home and take Mia with him.  When he was sure she was healed she could leave and pick up her life – become the old Mia, rather than this theatrical version.  It was the only way he could live with the guilt.”

Well, where to start?  First, how does he know what she needs?  THEY HAVEN’T TALKED IN AGES.  Second, whatever, distant stranger.  Third, “leave and pick up her life”?  What does that even MEAN?  If this were obviously his fucked up thought process, and there was some indication that he realizes that he’s WRONG, that would be less ridiculous.  Not a lot less, but less. 

Finally, WHAT DOES HE THINK HE’S GUILTY OF?  As far as I recall, he does not know, nor does he ever know that she went into her danger-seeking phase because she missed him.  That could have been fixed with, you know, a CONVERSATION, but why start now?

I had the “men straight up” line highlighted, too.

“…drawing her knees back as he claimed her to her own soundtrack of sighs and sobs….”

o.O

And then, after hours had passed by in hazy pleasure, he…. throws her into a cold shower.  A lot. 

OH!  The room with the erotic pictures on it-

This wasn’t simply a stateroom, it was a collecting pen for a harem—and Ram was no longer simply her extremely accomplished lover, but a collector of living, breathing artefacts, which he kept alongside his inanimate collectables.

WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?  That’s a lot of meaning to ascribe to erotic art. 

“Judging by their elephant-sized jewels they had turned out to honor one man- though it was the people who were the jewels of Ram’s country….”

….?  What?

“She was only now discovering that physical intimacy didn’t open the deepest portals in a persons’s mind, it simply drew a veil of pleasure over them.”

Oh, only now she figures this out. 

….and at this point, I “reached the clipping limit for this item.”

“Sinking into feather cushions covered in the softest of fabrics was a sensual high only Ram could have devised, she decided contentedly.” 

UM EXCUSE ME WHO IS THE DESIGNER HERE.

What I needed from these two is to, well, have some substance to them, and a little consistency, and maybe do something-anything, but what I really needed to see was communication.  Actual, honest-to-dog communication where they at the VERY least acknowledge that they have things to say. 

Even the proposal was terrible. 

He hides a ring in an heirloom lute and when she finds it, he…  puts it on her finger and she’s like

you—? Is this…?’ she blurted.

‘A proposal?’ he said coolly as he selected Mia’s marriage finger. ‘Yes, it is.’

Now, he does eventually actually ask the question, but really?  It’s terrible. 

It’s all terrible. 

Sarah:

Wasn’t it time to walk on the wild side and eat some clotted cream?”

GET THEE TO THE GYNECOLOGIST FOR A PRESCRIPTION, MIA. 

So, what grade would you give this?

Honestly, this book was painful and confusing to read. Both characters were so weakly drawn they had two modes of conduct (Fight and Nookie with occasional breaks for Cold Shower) and I didn’t like either of them. The plot was nonsensical and the only conflict was due to them spouting cliches at and about one another and therefore misunderstanding each other like smiting peaks of honey with waves of passion crashing into fallen angels with elephants.

But worst was all the telling. The reader is told everything, and because none of it makes any sense nor is anything I was told about the characters revealed in their conduct, I didn’t believe any of it. Or care.


RedHeadedGirl: I feel like it is so mired in its own wtfery, it shouldn’t deserve an F. But its so badly written. F+?

Sarah: Yes! The elusive F+: it’s horribly written—but there’s exceptional comedic value if you go in preparing for the wtfery.

With elephants.



This book is available from Amazon | Kindle | BN & nook | Kobo | AllRomance | Harlequin.com

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Lobo says:

    As an Eastern European I can tell you no princesses have names starting with X at least not until Xena, warrior princess became famous in this part of the world. But by then there were no princesses to be found here you know because communism etc. happened.
    I was reading aloud from this review to my man as he was interested why I was laughing so much so you made his day too:)

  2. 2
    N says:

    When I started reading this review, I was certain I’d be heading to the comments to launch into my (well-practiced) rant about authors setting their stories in a country/culture of which they don’t seem to know much. Then I hit the little quoted snippets and, oh wow. If she wrote those massively convoluted and mostly icky sentences, background research shouldn’t be high on her list, anyway. And if you guys read through a book littered with phrases like those, I think you’re entitled to as many Ram (the God) / ram (the animal) quips as you like. My favourite was ”…when the hot Ramrod walks into their flat.” Hehe. Ramrod.

  3. 3
    Rei says:

      “Why not bring the appointment forward?  There had been far too many simpering, low-fat milk-sops in his life recently. Wasn’t it time to walk on the wild side and eat some clotted cream?”

    I am tempted to buy this book just for that line.

    Clotted cream.

    Wild…clotted…cream.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like scones as much as the next person, but as sensual pleasures go they’re really pretty innocent. Oh, baby, you are the cream tea of my desires! With you, the jam always goes on second!

  4. 4

    I picked this up because it was one of Harlequin’s new multicultural romances where ethnicity doesn’t matter.
    But I discovered that nothing really matters in this one. And I don’t know a lot about rally driving, but I thought Monte Carlo was famous for Formula One?
    I was going to review it, but I didn’t know where to start. There was just – so – much.
    And nothing happened inside the character’s heads. Romance is about internal feelings and emotions. There kind of weren’t any.
    Can we have F+ with elephants as a new grade, pretty please with sugar on top?
    How do you make elephants boring?

  5. 5
    Rose says:

    Bejeweled elephants should be a part of every romance novel. Seriously. Otherwise, WTF? How did this get published?

    As for the names: Was Xheni maybe a stage name? Like a really JR Wardish version of Jenny? Also, Ram is actually a normal (if not too common) name where I live, and on behalf of all local Rams (none of whom are nicknamed Ramrod, AFAIK), I am offended.

  6. 6
    snarkhunter says:

    …this marks the second appearance of elephants in my morning, and it’s only 8:30. I am concerned for the rest of my day. Is this a warning that I’m going to be trampled by elephants? In Appalachia?

    This book sounds amazing. And not in the good way. I absolutely LOVE the fact that she has only one eye but is apparently still able to drive race cars. (B/c that’s a GREAT idea.) /sarcasm. I’ve been wondering lately about disabled heroines—whether they exist. Somehow, this wasn’t quite what I had in mind.

  7. 7
    JennyB says:

    @ Rose: I’m totally using Xheni as my new name!!

    Also, I vow to use the phrase “nonsensical wtfery” at every opportunity.

    Thanks for the morning laugh!

  8. 8

    This, this is what makes me love the romance genre. Because you can’t make this WTFery up anywhere else. Thank you for giving me a hump day smile!

  9. 9
    Sara says:

    OMG. This review. THANK YOU! I was thinking my week was made of suck, but then I read this and could not stop laughing.

  10. 10
    Kim says:

    I don’t usually read bad books on purpose, but I’m definitely reading this one!  As someone who longs for more books with South Asian heroes, I saw the title and got very excited, but now I know that the book should clearly not be taken seriously.  Speaking of authors writing about cultures they don’t understand, there is an attempt by Mills & Book in India to cultivate Indian authors.  I’ve been trying to get my hands on Milan Vohra’s Love Asana (their local author debut).

    For those like me looking for more South Asian romances, I can recommend Anuja Chauhan’s The Zoya Factor and Rekha Waheed’s Saris in the City (Little Black Dress imprint).  Also loved the hero in Meredith Duran’s Duke of Shadows who was part Indian. 

    If anyone has good South Asian romances to recommend, please pass them along…

  11. 11
    TaraL says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who went straight from “clotted cream” to “gynecologist.”

    And ”elephant-sized jewels?” I’m immediately thinking “emergency room.”  Dude. is that your elephant-sized jewels or are you just happy to see me?

  12. 12
    Jeanne Wilson says:

    There’s one review of this book on Amazon.com—“Stunning! The Maharaja’s Mistress was a sensual and exotic journey written brilliantly by the talented Susan Stephens.”

  13. 13
    Anna says:

    i think that if one does fun things with Xheni by like pronouncing it and reformatting it into Zheniya it is a reasonably normal name in parts of Eastern Europe.  i can totally see a model mucking with it.

    sadly that is the only even remotely believable part…

  14. 14

    @ Jeanne,  We did notice that earlier this week- the interesting thing is that reviewer has what, like 500 reviews?  And at least through the first four pages (after which I got bored) they are ALL 5 stars.  Every.  Single.  One. 

    So…. there’s that.

  15. 15
    Saira Ali says:

    @Kim

    Thanks for the South Asian romance recs. 

    If you’re into paranormals, Nalini Singh’s _Blaze of Memory_ features an Indian-American hero. Although it’s full of wtfery like Dev, the hero, smelling like “cinnamon and other exotic oriental spices and metal.” 

    _Bodies in Motion_ by Maryanne Mohanraj isn’t a romance, but it does include romantic and erotic elements. It follows the members of two Sri Lankan families as they emigrate to the US and find love, or not.

  16. 16
    Patricia M says:

    An observation for redheadedgirl:  I went to law school because I assumed that there would be no math involved.  Once I started practicing law, that assumption came back to bite me in the butt, big-time.

  17. 17
    Kerry says:

    “He had set this [club] on fire the moment he had arrived – and now it was a raging inferno.”

    I have been waiting all my life for a romance novel with an arsonist hero!

  18. 18
    mochabean says:

    How is there no Jacuzzi in this, I ask you?  Jacuzzi carried on the backs of bejeweled elephants…tucked away in the aft compartment of the SS Rhode Island…nestled alongside one of those hairpin turns of the rally race?  Lots of missed opportunities, there, I’m just saying…

  19. 19

    (*wheeze, gasp*)

    Can’t breathe from laughing so hard!!!

    It’s been awhile since we had a true WTF fest like this!

  20. 20
    cleo says:

    @ snarkhunter – there was a post recently at DearAuthor about deaf heroines and heroes that listed a lot of books.  Most sounded way better than this one.  And there’s a Barbara Delinsky with the heroine using a wheelchair – maybe called An Accidental Woman – not sure.  Think it’s the sequel to Lake News.

  21. 21

    To quote my beloved Tenth Doctor: “What? What?! WHAT?!

    Thanks, I needed that, Bitchery! ELEPHANT JEWELS is my new Maharaja’s Mistress cover band!

  22. 22

    (1) I bet that 5-star review is from Harriet Klausner, who seems to review every genre fiction title published in North America (and the reviews are all about five lines long, award five stars, etc.).

    (2) Being of the right age to remember them, the Ram-shtick caused my mind to instantly make the leap to the old Roger Ramjet cartoons (“when he takes his Proton Energy Pill[TM], he possesses the strength of 20 atom bombs for 20 seconds”).  Which are, compared to this book, works of high art….

  23. 23
    Sarah J says:

    Oh my God I could not stop laughing. I’ll be giggling all through my next class too.

  24. 24

    [note to self—add sparkling comet dust to next pirate novel]

    Wonderful.  This is just what I needed to perk me up today. My total geek reaction: “Whoa!  I wouldn’t want to be one of the bystanders at that race when Miss ‘I-have-no-depth-perception’ comes roaring around the curve!”

    Thank you. You two are the classic Siskel & Ebert of romance reviews.  Or maybe you’re Crow and Joel.

  25. 25
    redcrow says:

    As an Eastern European I can tell you no princesses have names starting with X

    Umm, we kinda had a princess named Xenia. Which is probably what this mysterious “Xheni” is supposed to be. (I mean a name, not a person, or I’d say “whom”.)

    This wasn’t simply a stateroom, it was a collecting pen for a harem—and Ram was no longer simply her extremely accomplished lover, but a collector of living, breathing artefacts, which he kept alongside his inanimate collectables.

    He keeps his concubines in vivariums alongside his erotic art collection?

  26. 26
    marykate_leahy says:

    This review made my life.  It was absolutely hilarious!  How in Satan’s holy hell did this get published?!  I can hardly pick my favorite quote but it may be the clotted cream.  It’s just that nothing says wild like curling up on the sofa with your cat, a scone and a cup of tea.  Gets me so hot.  Enough to draw my knees back and be claimed to my own soundtrack of sighs and sobs….LMFAO.

  27. 27

    @redcrow

    Seriosuly, that bit- I don’t know where the fuck that came from.  The harem bit, the collector bit- Mia just jumps to that conclusion based on the art alone.

  28. 28

    Well, at least this had some semblance of well, maybe plot is too far-fetched a term, but, er, geography.  The very worst book ever written is Passion by Lisa Valdez, I promise you.  As in your experience here, I lost count of the number of times I said, “What?  He’s doing What?  Where?  WHAT?”  And if you do read it or just happen to come across it, could someone please explain to me how the female got back across London in a cab after the bloke had cut her clothes off her?

  29. 29
    Alley says:

    This wasn’t simply a stateroom, it was a collecting pen for a harem—and Ram was no longer simply her extremely accomplished lover, but a collector of living, breathing artefacts, which he kept alongside his inanimate collectables.

    I’m with redcrow on this one: this sounds like his stateroom is full of women chained to the walls.  WTF?

    This book makes me want to get drunk and just start writing down whatever comes to me.  Clearly, Harlequin will publish it.

  30. 30
    Andrea says:

    @Kerry: LOL

    OMG, this is so a book I will never pick up (I read one of her books – never again I tell you!!) – but it did serve its purpose by being reviewed here!

    One thing though: I know someone who is blind in one eye and she can drive just fine – I think the brain somehow compensates. But does that only work when driving at normal speeds? Or when one has been blind in one eye since birth?

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