10 Years of Bitchery: April Retrospective - Your Top Five Most Favorite Reviews

During our 9th anniversary giveaway, Kitty commented

Is it too premature to suggest a monthly nod/countdown toward the tenth anniversary? Not suggesting a year of giveaways, but perhaps a retrospective? Once a month look at highlights from a specific year? Just a thought.

Hell, yeah! 

Today's the 30th of April, and our 10th anniversary will be the 30th of January 2015. So on the 30th, I'll be highlighting some of the most popular content, including reviews, commentary, rants, kerfuffles, and random acts of camel toe and man titty. Thanks to Morgan Doremus from Miss Media for digging through the statistics and coming up with all the cool stuff from the way, way back. 

Here's something really interesting she found: the most popular reviews for contemporary romance were those with low grades – D-, F+ or F. But the most popular historical reviews were all very high grades – mostly As. So you like your beats fast, your bass down low, your historical excellent and your contemporary flooded with effervescent crazysauce. I'm totally down with that! 

So, for today's trip down Bitchery Memory Lane, here are the top five most popular reviews in the history of the site. Ready? 

A warning – I'm sure you alreayd know this, but most of these are NSFW, or are EXTREME NSFW. Like, wear a helmet. And maybe some elbow pads. K? 

No surprise here, the most popular review according to our stats is: 

Book 50 Shades. Stupid fucking tie

50 Shades of Grey by EL James 
(DNF – did not finish)

I read this book in November 2011, after so many people told me that I might really, really like it, but before it became The Book That Was Really Everywhere No Really. And I hated it. I felt like it was never going to end. The progress meter never moved no matter how many pages I read, and there were moments that I thought I might be reading this book for the rest of my life. And I gave up. It wasn't arousing or scintillating; it was depressing. But I did learn something: if a book is in deep first person, and I hate the narrator, there is very little that can be done to make the book worth reading. There has to be good crazysauce for me to hateread something, and while there was some excellent moments of WTFery, there wasn't enough for me to keep going. 

Worse, I made myself go back and finish it, once it became The Book That Was Really Everywhere No Really.

Favorite quote from the review: 

Anna narrates and ruminates and navel gazes and ponders her toes and oh, my gosh, when a POV drives you bonkers, it's really hard to enjoy anything about it.


But a close second (hur) behind (hur hur) 50 Shades: 

Book Decadent - it has a new cover with a spoon full of honey ew

Decadent by Shayla Black 

This was one of the first reviews on the site to become very popular outside the romance community. Candy wrote this one in 2008, and it's just glorious. I think Decadent might be the first review of a book truly brimming with crazysauce. From LOLPORN, to Summer Blockbuster Guy, to the phrase we're all familiar with now.

Favorite quote from the review (aside from the obvious): 

Come on, now. Preserving your virginity with buttsecks. Look, I’m all for people enjoying the hell out of anal sex, and I’m all for people having it with as many partners as they can stand at one time. Just don’t pretend that you’re somehow protecting your sexual purity by having it—whatever sort of definition of “sex” you may subscribe to, I’m pretty goddamn sure just about everyone would agree that that having a man stick his cock up your ass qualifies as “having sex” with him.



Book Pregnesia

Pregnesia by Carla Cassidy 

A guest review from SB Nonnie, Pregnesia is not only one of the most popular reviews, but is also a book that continues to sell copies each month. Because, as Nonnie says:

It should probably go without saying that spoilers abound in this, so consider this your official warning. Also, even though I do a pretty good summary of the plot here – take my word for it, the true glory of PREGNESIA must be experienced firsthand.

Pregnesia is also the review that features one of three excellent author responses to reviews that I've ever witnessed. Cheers to Carla Cassidy on that.




Book The Playboy Sheikh's Virgin Stable Girl

The Playboy Sheikh's Virgin Stable Girl by Sharon Kendrick 

I talk about this book when I do my workshop about reviews because it's a perfect illustration of many of the points in the presentation. I might as well stand up, say, “The Playboy Sheikh's Virgin Stable Girl by Sharon Kendrick,” and sit back down and be done.

Every time I talk about this book, at least three people in the room buy it right then and there. It's always – and I mean always – in my affiliate statistics each month because it's a glorious, perfect example of USDA Grade-A, locally sourced, organic and free range crazysauce. Let this be your example: a negative review can absolutely without question sell books. Just ask your local virgin stable-girl.

Favorite quote from the review (I bet you can guess!): 

Kaliq dismounted with the same speed and grace as he would remove himself from the body of a woman he had just made love to.



Book Ravished by the Triceratops

Ravished by the Triceratops by Christie Sims and Alara Branwen  

RedHeadedGirl reviews are always pretty freaking spectacular, but there's something very unique about Ravished by the Triceratops, though I can't quite put my finger on what it is….

This is a brief review of a very short (yet oddly expensive) book, and remains one of our favorites, too.

Favorite quote from the review: 

Why does she need to be naked?  WHY NOT.  THERE ARE DINOSAURS.  DON’T ASK QUESTIONS. 




Thanks for taking this trip down Bitchery Memory Lane with me. Next month – some of the most popular and highest graded books in our database, and we'll keep going until it's time to celebrate our 10th Anniversary!

Did any of these reviews bring you to the site for the first time? Do you find yourself thinking, Fucking her ass, saving her life at odd moments? 

No? I'm alone in that one? Ok. No worries. 

Comments are Closed

  1. Amanda says:

    I recently had a friend text me. I guess she was going through the archives. All she said was “PREGNESIA?!”

  2. Kim W says:

    There’s this one review where the MC was a were-something-weird.  A badger maybe?  That one made me snort laughter.  I *almost* want to read that book.

  3. Qualisign says:

    Brought into the fold by Pregnesia and kept there by the Bitchery.

  4. AnnB says:

    Ah, the memories!

  5. Jewel says:

    Oh no, I often think ‘fucking her ass, saving her life’ at odd moments. In fact, I had to search for that review and get my hubby to read it because I could not adequately explain it on my own.

    So now whenever we come across (hur) logic that is not logical, we use that line.

  6. ppyajunebug says:

    Ahhh, Pregnesia.  That title has amused me for YEARS.  I even managed to work it into a blog post I wrote about amnesia because WHY WOULDN’T YOU???

  7. Jennifer in GA says:

    The Pregnesia review brought me to you, and I’ve never left.

  8. E. Jamie says:

    @KimW The hedgehog book, right???? Can’t remember the title (my brain wants to say ‘Hedging Her Bets’…but, really? Lol!!!! Oh my goodness!

  9. Sarina Bowen says:

    And… there goes the next half hour! Except I already LMAO at the Triceratops review when it was originally posted. So I will only need a few minutes to reacquaint myself with its awesomeness.

    But a good drubbing has always tickled my fancy. A.O. Scott’s NYT review of the DA VINCI CODE film is still my go-to read for when I need to laugh until I’m snorting my coffee.

    This is something that Dorothy Parker also knew well. Which is probably why she once wrote: “this is not a novel to be cast aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

  10. Sarina Bowen says:

    …and the husband, from his office down the hall, is like “Beehatch, what’s with all that cackling?”

  11. Seeing each of these book reviews again was like being at a family reunion, because the best reunions have love with a dose of crazysauce mixed in. They all made me smile, and one or two made me laugh so hard I scared the dog.

    Ten years of bitchery? Hard to believe, but it’s harder to imagine Romancelandia without the Smart Bitches.  Mazel Tov in advance!

  12. redheadedgirl says:

    Yup, the were-hedgehog book was “Hedging Her Bets.”  It was a thing.  It happened. 

    I honored to have Ravaged by the Triceratops on this list.  HONORED. 


  13. denise says:

    OMG—this is the crazysauce that keeps me coming back every day!

  14. MissB2U says:

    I just love all of this.  I love all the smart, funny people here and the excellent writing that they share be it a review or a comment.  I can’t wait to read the rest of the posts as the 10th anniversary draws near!

  15. Rosa E. says:

    I can’t adequately express how much I love this site. I started reading around summer of 2005? 2006? and I’ve been coming back ever since. I’ve giggled over mantitty and crazysauce in my high school library, in college philosophy class, and now here in my own bachelorette pad (with several shelves full of muscular heroes and half-naked swoon poses, naturally). I remember reading pretty much all these reviews when they came out, and it’s wonderful to see them again.

    Because seriously. Pregnesia. That’s a book title.

  16. The first post that brought me here wasn’t actually a review, although those are what keep me coming back.  I found this site because of the Cassie Edwards thing back in 2008.  There was a post on Amazon’s message boards with a link to your post, and being in college at the time where everyone and their mother drummed “plagiarism is evil” into my head once or twice a semester I was intrigued about an author doing it.  I’m still astounded that she got away with it for as long as she did.  How did other people not notice?  It boggles the mind.  (I even recommended that post to one of my professors a couple years after the whole thing went down because about half of her students were involved in some plagiarism thing and they couldn’t understand why what they were doing was wrong.  I don’t know if she used it, though.)

    Decadent is my absolute favorite review on this site and I have sent it to countless people—the last time as recent as early December after explaining about it to someone at the NYC NaNo TGIO Party. I am surprised that the reviews of Red Hawk’s Woman and Savage Moon aren’t among the 5 most popular. Those are among the posts I re-read when i need a laugh.

  17. Just heard you speak at CN Spring Fling last week. I had to buy TPSVSG. Now to convince my local library to do the same.

  18. Michelle says:

    I found you guys via a link from TVTropes around 2009-2010, which had a quote from Beyond Heaving Bosoms and a link back to this site, at which point I binge-read the “greatest hits” reviews. I think “Dear Sister” was the first one I ever read.

    (Oddly, that was the first TVTropes article I had ever read as well, making the Day I Discovered Smart Bitches and the Day I Discovered TVTropes one and the same, better known as the Day My Productivity Went to Shit.)

    And I actually picked up a different Carla Cassidy book SOLELY BECAUSE of her response to the Pregnesia review. 🙂

  19. KellyM says:

    Those reviews weren’t the first thing that brought me to the site.  I think i read a random click bait story somewhere that had a quote from you in it.  I had never realized that there was this whole wonderful online community of romance lovers out there.  BUT these reviews were some of the first that i read when i got here, and they’re part of the reason that i kept coming back over the years.  And YES i do find that “fucking her ass, saving her life” pops into my head at VERY odd moments.  So thanks for that too.  😛

  20. Maite says:

    I arrived here through the Pregnesia review, (probably from a webcomic). Re-discovered the site through TvTropes DarthWiki (And as I had to find the exact page [So bad it’s horrible/Literature], still have five tabs opened. Which are indexes. Sigh.)

    @Michelle: Tvtropes also sent me off to Cracked, so I understand the loss of productivity and importante information being replaced by trivia.

  21. Rose says:

    I found SBTB because of the plagiarizing of the black-footed ferrets, and I would appreciate it if someone could write a were-ferret romance for RHG to review.

    Pregnesia is the standard to which all romance reviewers should aspire – and Ms. Cassidy’s reply is something more many authors would do well to learn from.

  22. SWSteph says:

    10 years?! But you don’t look a day over 5! I swear you don’t! Do you use moisturizer?

    I found SB way back in the day through a link on some news-ish website that was making a big deal out of the “Bitches” part of the name. Back before Candy left for law school and founded the Mullet Defense Foundation. The Decadent review hooked me but good.

    Later the Bitchery and SB Sarah helped me woo a gentleman of military tendencies from half way around the world (he was an undercover romance reader – the bitchery helped me with recommendations of books to send him). It worked and we’re now engaged – this website is better than eHarmony!  🙂 

    Happy Anniversary Smart Bitches!

  23. It’s a bit of a comfort to know that 50 Shades was a DNF. That description of the book seeming like it would never end—I’ve been there and it’s brutal. I will not put myself through that for any form of entertainment, I have too much else to read. I think it’s very telling that for a review site going on 10 years, one of the biggest books of the decade was barely tolerable.

    Even more reason for Pregnesia to get its due.*

    (*Did you catch that? Or was it all in the delivery?*)


  24. LaineyT says:

    I don’t really remember what brought me to SBTB but it was reviews like these, the coversnark (can’t wait for that walk down memory lane!), the thoughtful commentaries, the podcasts, the…geez I could be here for awhile.  Honestly, the site is just plain awesome even if it is bad for my budget thanks to the “books on sale” posts ;P

    PS.  And as Kitty proved with this great idea, the SBTB comments are ah-mazing.  So nice to not have to deal with trolls and immature online bickering for a change.

  25. Jo says:

    The Playboy Sheiks Virgin Stable Girl brought me here and I’ve never left 🙂

  26. Erin Burns says:

    I just don’t understand how I never found this blog before. Those are fan-fucking-tastic, and while I can’t say I’ve ever thought “Fucking her ass, saving her life” before, I can almost guarantee you I will in the future, this will add an extraordinary level of enjoyment to future menage readings.

  27. Julie M says:

    Wasn’t there a romance website that was doing reviews and had a romance tv vibe to it? Sarah didn’t you do some video reviews for that site? Romance Novel TV? Whatever it was exactly that ‘s how I found SBTB. And I am sooo glad!

  28. Melanie says:

    A colleague introduced me to SBTB early in the spring of 2008, right after I read my first couple of romances that weren’t by Georgette Heyer.  I read all the archives and have been a daily visitor ever since, so I read the “Pregnesia” review when it first appeared.  I bought a copy—after reading that review, how could I not?—in paperback, because I did not yet own an ereader.  Shortly after reading it, I met that same colleague for lunch.  I brought along “Pregnesia,” thinking to share the craziness, and greeted my colleague by wordlessly holding up the book so she could see the cover.  She exclaimed,

    “You have ‘Pregnesia’!”

    Fond memories.

  29. Milly says:

    I read Decadent last year ‘cuz someone recommended Shayla Black to me.  That review totally expresses everything I thought!  Total train wreck of a book but so WTF’y that I had to keep reading.  I actually added a rating in my Calibre called WTF because of that book!  I remember at one point wishing my iPad was an actual book so I could toss it!  Congratulations on 10 years of awesome bitchery!  Gotta go and find me a copy of Pregnesia now.

  30. cayenne says:

    Egad, the Decadent review. One of my absolute favourites, even with the slightly traumatizing LOLporn.

    I don’t recall what brought me to SBTB, but it’s been a loooooong time that I’ve been gigglesnorting over cover snark, racking my brain to help with HABOs (one day, I will know it before someone else does…one day!!!), and shorting out helpless keyboards with spewed coffee as I chortle over reviews and accompanying commentary. The Bitchery is an awesome place, especially shared with terrific fellow romance fans, so mazel tov on the 10th anniversary!

  31. Karen H near Tampa says:

    I also found this site because of the Cassie Edwards thing and have been a daily visitor ever since.  I even went back to the beginning and read all the posts I’d missed before I started.  I don’t read all the reviews all the way through because some of these books just plain don’t interest me.  And, I’m the kind of person who prefers to read the review after I finish the book (same with movie trailers).

    I was fortunate enough to meet Sarah at RT Orlando a few years ago and she’s totally awesome in person, too!  And she had boob cookies!

    It doesn’t seem like it’s been 10 years already but many congratulations and thanks so much for all the time and effort you put into this site!  I enjoy reading the community’s comments, too.  Smart Bitches Trashy Books is a bright spot in my day (sometimes the only one!).

  32. Sarita says:

    Oh man, one of us is clearly psychic, because this morning after not thinking about it for decades I had a sudden flashback to the lolporn. And I never would have remembered the title, but there it is! Excellent.

    I found the site after buying Heaving Bosoms based on the title alone. Favorite quote (paraphrased) “You can make any career sexy by adding danger, except proctology. Because dangerous proctology just makes us want to hide in a corner.” This book was actually what got me interested in the whole romance genre.

    Speaking of tv tropes (which I have a long, sordid, on again/off again relationship with) why is it that they never reference romance novels? They have full page entries and links for prominent fanfics, but I’ve only ever seen romance referenced in broad, vague terms, the whole genre instead of specific books or even subgenres. That’s really too bad. Breakdowns of the tropes in these books, the good, the bad, the smexy, would be awesome.

  33. Bona says:

    The funny thing is that I’ve read NONE of these books but I remember perfectly at least three of the reviews. I was re-reading them this morning and it was… LOLing all the time.

    But I haven’t get to the point when a book is so bad that I could find it good for its crazysauce. My sense of humour is not good enough.

  34. SB Sarah says:


    the Bitchery and SB Sarah helped me woo a gentleman of military tendencies from half way around the world (he was an undercover romance reader – the bitchery helped me with recommendations of books to send him). It worked and we’re now engaged


    Thank you for sharing that!!

    @LaineyT and KarenH:

    The comments and the community here, the fact that y’all are always so interesting, awesome, and excellent, are two of the things I’m most protective and in awe of at SBTB. I love that this is a site where reading the comments is almost always a positive decision, not because everyone agrees and we all sneeze rainbows and unicorns, but because when we disagree, it doesn’t often get ugly.

  35. Kathleen says:

    Count me as another fan brought to the site by the awesome WTFery of The Playboy Sheikh’s Virgin Stable Girl!  This one is all the more bizarre to me because my husband and I own a horse and are both riders.  I have seen a lot of people dismounting from horses, including DH, and I’ve never, ever seen anything like that description. 

    Love, love this website and the podcast – I cut my teeth on Old Skool historical romances.  The first one I ever read as a teenager was Bertrice Small’s The Kadin – I saw that cover and said, “That’s for me!”

  36. DonnaMarie says:

    @SWSteph I remember you!! So glad we maybe played a part in your HEA, Congrats!!

    Has it been 10 years? I was a lurker for a long time, and really don’t remember how I got here, but I’m really glad I did.  I do remember feeling totally vindicated by the Decadent review. So many people were giving it erotica props and it was just eww, eww, EWWWW!

  37. Meredithea says:

    I can’t remember how long I’ve been reading, but I want to say I came over from Tomato Nation? She sometimes helps people figure out books, and I’m pretty sure someone in the comments linked to one of your HaBOs. Anyway, thanks for making the site SUCH a joy to read, day in and day out. I love the community in the comments section. Everyone is so smart and funny.

  38. Barb says:

    I can’t remember how I came to this site (maybe through Charlaine Harris’s blog?) but I’m so glad I did because for me this is one of the most fun places on the internet. The writing, both in the main articles and the comments, is amazing and hilarious and regularly makes my day. And because I work in publishing (sadly, not in romance) I am very grateful to find a group of people who love books so fiercely. So, thank you!

  39. FairyKat says:

    I do hope you are going to do a flashbacks HABO post too! That’s how I came here, fruitlessly searching for a book I’d read once in high school and never forgotten. It was a Laura Black and you guys found it for me in like 25 seconds. I stayed because it’s so much fun and the comments are the best!

  40. Jessica E says:

    When I am not sitting in a hotel room paid for by my company I will definitely re-read the links above 🙂  Until then…I think that my discovery of the Bitchery was courtesy of the book bundles on B&N.  I bought a few of them and loved them and decided to check out the blog that inspired the bundles. Congrats on 10 years!

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