10 Years of Bitchery: June Retrospective - More of Your 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.

Each month on the 30th, I'll be highlighting some of the most popular content, including reviews, commentary, rants, kerfuffles, and desperate moments involving o-face and waxed manchest. 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. 

In April, we looked at the most popular reviews for contemporary romance which were many of those with low grades – D-, F+ or F. In May, we looked at the most popular historical reviews, all of which were given very high grades.

This month, we're looking at four reviews that all attracted the same amount of link traffic and attention. Two books were given high grades, and two others were … not. 

I hope you're enjoying the journey down Bitchery Memory Lane as much as I am!

First up in this month's set of four: An Innocent in Paradise by Kate Carlisle. 

Book An Innocent in Paradise - two people kneeling in wet sand, and he's wearing really rumply khaki pants

An Innocent in Paradise by Kate Carlisle
Grade: F+
Reviewed by: Sarah

First, the kneeling in wet sand cover is goofy. How do you end up in that position? And why are so many cover models wearing khaki pants? Anyway.

This is a review for a book that Really Made Me Mad. The heroine is a scientist, masquerading as a cocktail waitress on a tropical island that has plenty of some spores she needs to acquire. The hero is a giant assbag. The cliche total is not measureable according to current mathematics. We need to invent new math to count up all the cliches in this story.

And I am not kidding when I tell you that the heroine's relationship with the spores is 1000 times more appealing than her “relationship” with the hero. 

Favorite quote from the review: 

It's like a bad 80's music video script: Neanderthal Calls Mate! Bartender friend is generous! WTF people? Are the prostitutes dressed in Charmin going to start dancing angrily at the pimp?


Next in the lineup on this trip down Bitchery Memory Lane: 

Butterfly Tattoo

Butterfly Tattoo by Deirdre Knight
Grade: A-
Reviewed by Sarah

I still remember the experience of reading this book. It stole my breath sometimes; I'd be on the bus, gasping, and hoping no one heard me. This book was published in 2009, and at the time of the review, I had a bit to rant about in terms of how sexuality in romance was recognized (or not being recognized), and looking back on how extraordinary this book was at the time for me, I realize how much as changed since then. 

This is a romance between a man whose husband died in a car accident that scarred their daughter. The heroine is a former actress who was attacked by an obsessed fan and left with career-ending scars, and who now works behind the scenes in Hollywood as a writer and producer. There are plenty of obstacles between them, including his questioning his sexuality because he's attracted to a woman. 

From the review: 

Yet Michael is drawn to Rebecca, as is Andrea, and the three of them form fast and deep connections across lines that aren’t normally crossed in a romance. Not only is Michael conflicted about getting over the memory of his first love, but he’s conflicted about being attracted to a woman, about bringing her into his life, about whether he’s gay, or bi, or straight, or just broken.




This book has anal. It's boring anal.

Private Sessions by Tori Carrington
Grade: F
Reviewed by Sarah

Ah, yes. The Anal book. As I wrote in the opening to the review: 

I will state upfront that I had an ulterior motive for reading this book. I read it for the anal.

Yup, you read that right. Blazing anal. Blazing the Hershey highway. Firing up the backdoor action. Hot poop chute lovin’. Avast me hearties, there be anal in this novel.

While at RT, I heard about this book from Andrew Schaffer, who reviews the Blaze line for RT Book Reviews. You should have seen my face. I absolutely did not believe him. But no, there is anal.

Perhaps I could have included more innuendos in the review itself, but probably not. This is probably the worst anal scene I've ever read, and I've read some very strange books that involve the trapdoor out back. And not only is it cringeworthy, but it's otherwise boring. Sexist and boring in the plot department, and outlandishly revolting in the sexxytimes. Of course, you should read it for yourself. Right? Right. 



And the fourth review in today's 10th Anniversary round up: a guest review from SB Nonnie, who also reviewed Pregnesia for us: 

Book Iron Cowboy There's a sunset and a horse because western.Iron Cowboy by Diana Palmer
Grade: B-
Reviewed by SB Nonnie

SB Nonnie is back, this time with a review of a Diana Palmer, which I am given to understand is one of Nonnie's most favorite forms of romance reading. Re-reading this review made me wheeze laugh so hard, the dogs and Hubby came running to find out what was wrong with me. This book is magic, and the review is even more magical. 

Favorite quote:

There are a few things you need to know before you start reading a Diana Palmer novel:

There is a 95% chance biscuits will be involved.

Women’s rights are a nebulous, easily dismissed issue.

Any slang in the book will come straight out of the 70s, along with most clothing styles, despite the fact that the books are meant to be contemporary romances.

The hero will be at least 12 years older than the heroine, who is more often than not between 18 and 23 years old.

The heroine has an 85% chance of getting pregnant the first time they do it, and will know she is pregnant in minutes (due to an aversion to the smell of bacon).


We'll be back at the end of July with another collection of your most favorite entries in the mega-whopping database that is the Smart Bitches content repository. Thanks for taking this trip back in time with me – we'll keep going until it's time to celebrate our 10th Anniversary in January 2015! 

Comments are Closed

  1. Wait, you didn’t include the “I’m in your butt saving your life” review? I can’t believe that one didn’t generate record amounts of traffic to the website! I’ve never forgotten it!

    I do remember Mr. Payne in the Ass review, because that was the one where I finally learned not to drink coffee while reading SBTB. Too hard on the keyboards.

  2. LML says:

    There should be a public service warning at the top of each review reminding readers:
                              Do Not Drink While Reading.

  3. Of course I had to read the review for Iron Cowboy . . . and after laughing my way through it and turning my head sideways a few dozen times, I went to comment only to find the comments turned off. 🙁 So I suppose I’ll leave me thoughts on the review here, if that’s okay!

    5. After the books come in, Sara talks to Tony the Dancer (Jared’s bodyguard. I KNOW. SO WEIRD.) and arranges a delivery time. “The voice had a decidedly Southern accent. Not a Texas one, a Georgia one, if she were guessing. She had an ear for accents. Her Grandfather had taught students from all over the country and around the world at Jacobsville Community College, and he often brought them home.” ORLY? A town population less than 2,000 would be able to not only sustain a community college, but would attract people from all over the country and the world?

    This is actually the most normal aspect of the book, at least for me. Here’s why. I live in small-town-middle-of-no-where Utah. We have a Prep Academy that is very well known throughout the world and more than 90% of the students are from countries far, far away. Seriously! And the population of our town is roughly 3000. Now, one town over, we have a local community college. It is also well known, even outside of the US, with many students from other countries attending. The population of the college town is closer to 5000. So as cliche as it sounds, it’s not the quantity, it’s about the quality, and apparently my area is known for it! 🙂

    So, now that I’ve rambled a bit there, my point is sadly that is the only normal, true part to the book. Everything else Nonnie mentions? Yeah, sounds like typical Palmer crazysauce. No wonder I stopped reading her books. Sadly I have a few left in my TBR pile, but I don’t believe they will ever see the light of day. Perhaps it’s time to rehome them….


  4. I dislike Diana Palmer on principle. Who’s buying this stuff? And a B-? Just for the laughs or what?

    17. The Macarena. Better than the chicken dance, maybe?

  5. JennyOH says:

    You trusted me with your life, but not with your spores

    Officially best thing I’ve heard all day, will hear all week, ad infinitum.  Is this real life?

  6. SB Sarah says:


    Is this real life?

    No. It’s spore fantasy!


    We wouldn’t miss the opportunity to talk about the In Ur Ass review -that was in our first round up: http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/blog/10-years-of-bitchery-april-retrospective

  7. OMG, I need to reread BUTTERFLY TATTOO right the freakin’ now! So. Good!

  8. Holly Bush says:

    I just read Nonnie’s review of Iron Cowboy. The review was hysterical and the book sounds unbelievable! Who reads that stuff?

  9. Karen H near Tampa says:

    I read Diana Palmer way back when and did like her at first.  Then I got tired of the large age differences and the fact that the heroine ALWAYS managed to have an orgasm just from her breasts being caressed.  Personally, that’s never happened to me (though I have a really good time in other ways) and just once, I wanted her to have a heroine who didn’t either.  I’m okay with the biscuits, however, being a Southern woman (and if somebody responds and tells me that was a euphemism to something I don’t remember from the books, I’ll be totally embarrassed).

    I’m really enjoying this trip down memory lane and, again, HAPPY 10th ANNIVERSARY (where does the time go?)!

  10. Shawny Jy says:

    I’m so glad you fixed the link to the Diana Palmer review, and I’m so sorry it took me another 12 hours to getting around to clicking on the link, because those could have been twelve hours in which I could have entertained myself with the mental picture of Sarah stabbing her appendix incision with a pocket knife while swarthy terrorists look on in general shock and confusion as their perfect plan is foiled.

    Seriously. When I finally did read it, I had to stop there and close the laptop while I waited for breath and coherent thought to start again. On certain days, I love Diana Palmer’s crazy sauce, but that review is even better!

  11. Francesca says:

    I reread the Private Sessions review. Now I’ve got the phrase “Chocolate Starfish and the Pink Portal” stuck in my head. Sounds like either a Frank Zappa song or a Sid and Marty Krofft show from the 70’s.

  12. DonnaMarie says:

    I said it back then, I say it again. Diana Palmer wrote about a hundred books back in the early 70’s and has been sitting on a beach drinking mai tais while her publisher releases one every few years without updating them.

    Butterfly Tattoo, how did I miss you? Oh, yes,  you shall be mine.

  13. SB Sarah says:


    Now I’ve got the phrase “Chocolate Starfish and the Pink Portal” stuck in my head. Sounds like either a Frank Zappa song or a Sid and Marty Krofft show from the 70’s.

    That sounds like an awesome 70s funk band. I’d 100% buy all their songs on vinyl.

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