Book Reviews: Temptation, Art Mice, and Old Comedians

This weekend I spent 3 hours at a models’ gathering and 2 hours watching volleyball. Photos of models: 3. Photos of players: 600+

Temptation Resorts (Marnie)
This is a short choose-your-own-adventure erotic story that takes place in what I might term a sex resort. Having been drunk when she filled out the questionnaire, Marnie isn’t ready for all the BDSM play that’s been programmed for her visit, but since she’d paid a lot to come here and no one but her travel buddy Jess knows her. . .
Books like these don’t really need plots, of course, just put the main character in a situation and have her react from there. And of course the point is you can choose which way she goes, playing it safe or going for it. The choices here, however, left me wanting more, and the erotica, while okay, wasn’t all that satisfying. There were moments when I thought the spanking and such went too far, especially for someone who was doing it for the first time, double especially for someone who wasn’t sure she wanted to do it in the first place. Thankfully there were a lot of good moments, some funny dialogue, but I think it could have been better.

Temptation Resorts (Jess)
Like its predecessor, this is a short choose-your-own-adventure erotic story that takes place in what can be termed a sex resort.
I don’t want to compare it to the first in the series, other than to say I liked this a little better. For one thing, this has a better set-up, involving Jess’s boss and how she got the idea to go there. Because she ran into people she knew, it wasn’t as easy to let go of all her inhibitions, afraid or ashamed of what might happen back in the real world.
The dialogue was better than the erotica, though; the situations were ripe for some good sex scenes, but I didn’t feel the heat.

The Adventures of Artemous
This is a delightful little book about a mouse that works as an art restorer, able to climb into the paintings to make his job easier. . . so basically he’s the Gumby of the visual arts. Obviously a way to get small children into the appreciation of art, it succeeds magnificently. It also pushes the “You can be anything you want to be” notion by having Artemous not just be a restorer, but also enjoying plenty of pastimes in the paintings, such as playing a musical instrument, dancing ballet, going to the opera, even helping a royal child with her dress, all done in a fun matter that kids should enjoy greatly. At the end there’s a list of the examples used, a selection that includes modern art as well as famous works throughout the history of painting. Just delightful in every way.

Roll Against Discovery
A shy woman goes to an anime/sci-fi/comic book convention-type thing, where the last thing she expects is to fall in love, or end up in bed with not one but two guys. I love that setting—anything so out of the ordinary is always welcome—but sadly it wasn’t used all that much.
This is the third in a series, but stands alone well. What I most liked is that while this book falls into the erotica and romance genres—the latter one unconventionally—at its heart is a coming of age story for our plucky heroine. It was a bit of a stretch to see her lose her inhibitions so quickly, but I suppose it was easier to do it in that environment, where no one but her brother and his friends knew her. As in all examples of this genre, there’s misunderstandings and strong silent men who don’t want to air their feelings, leading to sadness before they earn their happy ending, but the spunkiness of the formerly shy protagonist made her so endearing I was rooting for her all the way.
So, with gay marriage legal, is polygamy next?

Off and Running
A journalist gets a big break, chosen to help write the autobiography of a famous comedian from the past, only to have the man suffer a stroke, leaving everyone at the mercy of the comedian’s not-very-stable son.
Right away there’s the mention of Y2K coming in a few months, which shows this is an old book. It can be broken into sections, going from the interviews for the book to going on the run to being hunted by seemingly everyone in California, from Mt. Whitney to Death Valley. As one might expect, the protagonist is a deeply flawed individual who basically gets through this with sheer stubbornness. The occasionally grouchy comedian has his moments, but the most memorable character has to be the son, who is seriously one of the most fucked-up villains ever. There’s plenty of digs at the news media, both subtle and not, plus the way network TV works, but the most scorn is heaped on the publishing world, where even a somewhat honorable author feels it’s okay to make stuff up in what’s supposed to be a biography.


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