New Book Choice and Further Updates

There’s been a lot going on these past few weeks, both personally and professionally. Made of Fail Productions is restructuring, but as I’ve mentioned that before elsewhere, I won’t really keep harping on it here.

*cough*

Wedding planning has been fantastic; with all the big things out of the way, all I need to do now is wait and prepare for the metric crapload of logistical and minor details. Which, as everyone continually asserts, are going to be what kills me in the end.

Fools. The catering was merely a setback.

In any case, I got a Kindle for my birthday, which means it’s time to stop procrastinating, and reveal Book Three of this forsaken project.

May Gygax have mercy on my soul.

Pleasure 2035, Final Thoughts

I apologise, I’ve lost The Funny™. This book has not been inspiring me to make jokes, it’s been inspiring me to throw it across the room. Not because it’s bad – which it is – but because if you squint hard and look at it a bit sideways, you can see the fascinating story it could have been. Sailboat, sailboat, goddamn sailboat.

There is so much I’d actually want to read, but no, let’s only have plot as a reason to get people having sex. It’s almost reminding me of Cleolinda‘s reaction to Twilight (I apologise for bringing this up yet again) on Episode Ten: Do We Dazzle You; it cuts to a pseudo-Victorian erotic scene as part of Bella’s fantasy, and Cleo protests, “Why can’t we be watching that movie?”

Long story short, this blog has been reduced to me simply reacting and facepalming. That’s not entertaining. That’s not amusing. That’s just watching me rage out; anyone can do that.

    @cleolinda: Oh God. That bad?
    @alliancesjr: It’s not that it’s bad – which it is – it’s that I keep seeing parts that I REALLY wish this book was better so’s I can read it.

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Pleasure 2035, Part 3

Okay, I need to come clean. This weekend I sat down and read through the rest of the book, so the following review is no longer written-as-I-am-reacting, or as I like to call them, “funky fresh”.

Anyway, what we’ve learned so far:

  • Jalopy Mint Alberqueque has creamy blood. It’s actually not creamy, but as I’ve read ahead, I’ve discovered that “creamy” is pretty much the author’s only adjective when it comes to liquids. Or at least bodily fluids. And man does she have cause to use that adjective a lot.
  • There are undercurrents of a halfway-decent dystopian future political intrigue mystery novel in this, and it keeps getting sidetracked with all the sex. And then dropped entirely.
  • Seriously, I’m sitting here, enjoying a bit of rebellion against the caste structure, and I keep getting plotblocked.

I also think that the line spacing is seriously detrimental to this book so far. I mean, it’s one thing to fill up space to be able to pad a few extra pages into your book, but this is absolutely ridiculous:


Personal space.

In any case, here we go again.


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Pleasure 2035, Part 2

So, color me surprised. I don’t know what I was expecting from this book, but there’s a level of underlying complexity in it that fascinates me. Also, re-reading those first couple chapters gave me some more information than I got initially – partially because there was little-to-no editing done on this book at all, and punctuation is all over the place and sometimes whole words are very obviously missing. But still, there’s a lot there (that I sadly have to hunt for). To wit:

  • The distinction between “real” Black women and Blue Honeys. It’s mentioned that there is a distinction, rather, but there’s no indication thus far what it actually means. We know that Mayflower is Black and Jornaldo Mighty Acclamator is Blue, but the latter is just from the summary on the back so far.
  • Mayflower didn’t just grab Druggie Janice and shove her in the robot closet. After she hit the “WASH” button, she grabbed the other guy – druggie girl’s husband – and shoved him in the closet and hit the button again.
  • On that note, it doesn’t specify what the sterilization process is, but it apparently involves water that is hot enough to scald lava. Physical impossibilities aside, that’s a really damned painful way to go.

All in all, I came into this expecting Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep but with additional strangely-written sex and also vampires. What I’m getting is something else entirely. Join me as I figure out what!


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Pleasure 2035, Part 1

Or, How I Learn To Never Issue Challenges To Scottish Women

I’ve actually been sitting on this book for a few weeks now, but there was something very specific that was stopping me from getting this review started. I picked it up at work to do a bit of advance reading, and immediately put it back down.

There’s…a limit to what I feel comfortable reading at work. There is sex on page one. Granted, it’s “off-screen”, and I am not saying I have an issue reading this sort of thing in general, but there’s a difference between reading at home and reading at work in a crowded office building where people constantly ask me what I am reading. (Especially since I appear to have accidentally ordered the Large Print edition of the book.)

I didn’t want to have to explain this to my supervisor is what I am saying.

In any case, Kayleigh has challenged me to Pleasure 2035, by Cameo Brown, of which the summary on the back promises vampires, robot sex workers, and undercover mystery and intrigue.

Let’s begin!


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Book Two and Revisions

I’ve been tasked with my second book. The first one was an education on the romance genre in general, and I intended a lot of snark humorous commentary1, which I think I successfully got out of it. I would like to reiterate that I wholly enjoyed reading it, even if I could only take it a couple chapters at a time, and my enjoyment was probably not in the fashion that the author intended. But enjoyment was had, and the book was returned to the library and, well… I kind of want to buy my own copy and read it again and hug it forever.

…damn. I don’t know what happened, but it sucked me in. Which, admittedly, is what books are supposed to do in the first place. That’s why – I apologise for bringing this up yet againTwilight was so successful, both in the “seriously love it to death” adolescent and middle-aged woman demographic (which I saw first-hand, as both my teenaged sister and my mother completely loved that series), and in the “Let’s make fun of it” review crowd, which I am most unashamedly a part of, and that certainly wouldn’t happen if I absolutely loathed the whole thing. If you truly hate something, you want absolutely nothing to do with it. Constantly talking about it means that you derive some enjoyment from it, even if it just means you enjoy pointing out how much it bothers you.

Cleolinda made a remark on Made of Fail’s most recent Harry Potter episode.

…you have to admit to yourself that the phrase “I like making fun of it” involves the words I, Like, and It.

[…]

Life’s too short to go around recreationally hating things.

I believe the latter quote should be embroidered on a pillow and propped up next to her “I just want to be a doper person” cross-stitch, but that’s just me.

My point is that these reviews are honestly because I enjoy doing this, and I don’t want to come off as mean-spirited. I know I started that way in the beginning of Virile Viking, but it turned into honest discussion about the book’s themes and how it works in society. And I get it, I understand its appeal, and I don’t fault the author or the book for being as popular as it is.

But I’m repeating myself.

In any case, I’m announcing my next book, which is Pleasure 2035 by Cameo Brown. I’ll be seeing if I can order it from Amazon – I have a gift card – and it looks like it would be absolutely delightful to read.

I also want to go over some structural changes I’ve been considering. Trekkiegirl, who chose Very Virile Viking for me, is going to give final thoughts and why she chose it for me (which I’m still waiting for but wedding planning is taking up a lot of our free time). To that note, I’m thinking maybe final thoughts for every book by the person who chose it for me, with a similar bit on why it was chosen.

Secondly, I think I’m going to start condensing the posts. There’s absolutely no reason why I had to go seven posts for Virile Viking; I can say what I need to say in two or three. Maybe even one, depending on the book.

I’m excited, this is going to be a lot of fun.


  1. The term “snark” of late has become a bit…hot-button, shall we say.

Final Thoughts – The Very Virile Viking

Well, I think this went fairly well for a first time out. I just want to thank you guys for being so supportive of this project, and giving me a chance to step outside my comfort zone and experience something new.

Taken from the standpoint of someone who had never read quote-unquote Romance Novels before, this book certainly opened my eyes, in ways I couldn’t have realized. Not the least of which was the whole “Rape Is Okay So Long As He Kisses You” aspect, which you all got to see me get blindsided with last month.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun book, and I quite enjoyed reading it (though not for the intended reasons, I’m sure). Don’t tell anyone, but I’m actually interested in looking through the other books in this series – which is apparently still ongoing, I saw one in the “New Paperbacks” shelf at Borders the other day – which means that I unfortunately can be counted in the masses of people hooked by the concept. I still can’t believe the mileage Sandra Hill has gotten out of a simple “There are Vikings, there are modern women, time travel happens and they have sex” concept, but I guess as long as you touch upon those core tenets, you’re pretty free to explore wherever you want. Thinking back on it, the possibilities are pretty much endless.

In fact, I’m going to try to come up with a couple ideas myself. Bear with me.

A journalist from a Big City Newspaper gets sucked into a time vortex and lands on an uncharted island. It’s not nearly as deserted as it appears, however; this island is the personal and private villa of a burly seafaring adventurer, whose desire for excitement and travelling the open seas is hampered only by his loneliness.

Does that sound good? How about another?

Jorgan Morganson thought he could do without women; his heart had been broken far too long. But when his ship gets blown off-course and he arrives in modern-day Texas, he gets swept away by a fun-loving cattle rancher, whose sense of adventure is second only to the size of her heart.

This is easier than I thought. One more as long as I’m on the subject!

Yolanda Johnson was at her normal job, when a tornado swept through her office building. Erik Ericsson had been enjoying a bit of leisure time after pillaging the Britons when a freak storm blew him away. Both of them find themselves on a desolate wasteland, seemingly for all eternity. Can they see past their differences and find their way home…and maybe TRUE LOVE?

Actually, now that I think about it, I wonder if she’s already done all these.

Anyway, this book is pretty much wish-fulfillment. Which is probably true of most romance novels, now that I think about it – I am speculating, of course, feel free to correct me if I am wrong on this – and it’s extremely obvious here, especially with how freaking convenient everything is. There’s no suspense, no real sense of worry about the characters at all; given the summary on the back, we know that Magnus is going to get swept into the future, and that he’s going to hook up with Angela.

And that’s really what’s wrong with the book, in my opinion. Since the entire thing is a foregone conclusion, there’s no point to any sort of tension between the characters. Even though Angela protests feeling anything towards Magnus at the beginning, it’s obvious she’s attracted, and there’s no point to her declaring otherwise. There’s no “other woman” or “other man” to cause friction between the two, there’s no star-crossed parting of the ways that might tear them apart later. Everything is engineered perfectly to get them together; hell, it’s Divine Intervention straight from the beginning.

Take a look at it a bit more closely; Angela is divorced, she needs someone who can provide for the vineyard and won’t cheat on her endlessly – and, if the subtext is anything to go by, someone who won’t beat her into submission. Magnus needs a woman who can handle his children and who won’t mind his insatiable love of farming. When Angela stresses about money, Magnus happens to have a chest full of antique coins that sell for thousands of dollars each. When someone tries to sabotage the farm, because there’s nobody there to stand up to bullying? Well, how about a giant norseman who’s ripped like Jesus?

That said, the thought behind it holds up, and that’s probably why all these people reading it have no problem with it. I’m extremely cynical, and I found a lot of this to be ridiculous and self-serving, but it’s also a bit touching. I mean, everyone’s had fantasies about The Perfect Person, who complements you in every way, who understands your needs and fulfills all of them. Emotionally, physically, and sexually, there’s a desire for That Person, and here they are. Angela and Magnus are exactly who they need to be for each other, even if they didn’t know it from the beginning, and that’s the draw. That’s the hook.

Bravo, Sandra Hill. As campy and ridiculous as this book was, I understand it, and I applaud you for your audacity, even if that was not your intent. I’m almost certain you take your writing extremely seriously, and that’s fine; I’m not going to step on your toes. It’s not my cup of tea, but that’s not the point of this blog, is it?

After all, now I know the proper way to deal with feminazis.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlsSyQH0gu8]

The Very Virile Viking, Part 7

Ladies and Gentlemen, we’ve reached the end of this journey. I’m going to push my way to the end now, because there is no conceivable reason to drag it out any further.

Both Trekkiegirl and I will post our final thoughts on the book after this, so there’s that to look forward to. Then I’m going to take a short break, and then I’ll get started on Book Choice Number Two, which I’ve promised Kayleigh she’d get to pick. After that, we’ll see!


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The Very Virile Viking, Part 6

Ohgod, overcooked jalapeño poppers are the bane of my existence. On the one hand, they’re burnt and taste horrible. On the other hand, they’re jalapeño poppers, and I can’t help but take another bite just in case they’re not ruined all the way through.

Alas, they are. It’s like a deliciously-smelling Light Grenade.

Such is the case with this book. While I cannot handle more than a small amount at a time, I keep coming back to it, and regretting it each time.

Diabolical. Sandra Hill, you magnificent bastard.


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The Very Virile Viking, Part 5

Welcome to another edition of “You guys will have my fiancée pick books forever”!

From now on, I’m going to start speeding up the chapters. I’ve been averaging about two or three per post, but I’ve read ahead a bit again, and they’re starting to get very uneventful. As in, nothing happens. It’s like how in The Princess Bride, where the narrator comments on how certain skipped sections of the “real” book were about forty pages of packing and unpacking and repacking? It’s like that.

What we’ve got so far is a book that’s about 90% refusing to accept what’s in front of them, and 10% trying to take what isn’t. The amount of incredulity is staggering, but that’s not my complaint – it’s rather the tacit acceptance of some pretty unbelievable things. If it were me, I’d freak out when I found out I had been flung a thousand years in the future. At the very least, I may have a bit of a “Everyone I know is dead” fugue state. Magnus? Marvel at how it works, then go traipsing out to find if he can still have sex.

You have to admit, the guy is dedicated.

(Again, NSFW tag on this from now on.)


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