Book Reviews: Erotic Motorcycles, Teachers, and Time Travel

I feel like instead of the usual funny line or snippet of conversation, I should post a nude photo or some such when it’s a review of erotica. . .
Nah. There is a photo I can recommend, of Katherine Heigl in a black leather catsuit, out there in the vasty internet, if that helps.

His Human Rebel
Fourth in a well-written series of male alien master/female human slave stories, this one features a more common soldier rather than aristocracy, as well as the most delightful lead character so far.
Unlike the previous reasons for buying up humans, this time a whole bunch are brought in from a jail to help the war effort. And in fact Cambry does learn to fly, but once Lundric has her in his sights that becomes secondary. . . though she does have a hidden agenda of her own.
There’s a formula to these dominance erotica stories, so I don’t worry about the plot too much. The guys almost always act like entitled Neanderthals, so it’s the female protagonist that will make or break a book. There’s some similarities in them as well, as they start out feisty and learn to love, or at least obey. But the women are sufficiently different to make them unique and entertaining.
In this case Cambry’s pretty awesome, my fave of all the ladies in this series, and that’s saying a lot. Too bad her trust issues keep her from being honest with him—not that he’s earned it, but still—but that’s the way of most romance novels, even the sci-fi erotic ones. Lundric’s even more Neanderthal than most, especially at the beginning, but if she taught him to treat people better then I guess her “sacrifice” was worth it.
4/5

Stay After Class
College senior virgin desperately wants her cork popped before her next birthday, because a psychic told her to. She’s got her sights set on her art professor doing the honors, but the last thing she expected was for him to take her on a long frustrating journey to that point.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand it’s a well-told romance, but on the other. . . I can’t imagine her being that patient with someone who, as much as he wanted to do right by her, was manipulating her the entire way. He certainly wouldn’t have done that with an older woman, or one not as innocent. Despite his claims, it felt like this whole long timeline was more about him; she could have been more open about what her deadline and the dating app meant, but he treated her like a child far too much, and his excuse of “protecting” her was the ultimate in condescension.
As for the characters, Amanda was a lot of fun, as was her BFF. Even their emoji use was on point; the cherry with the fireworks was particularly hilarious, as well as the band-aid. As for him, he seems to be a genuinely nice guy who simply has no idea how to treat a modern woman; he seems to be stuck in some sort of weird age of chivalry, mixed with some Neanderthal “She’s mine” crap. Every other character seemed to be differing shades of evil.
I will admit the author almost got me by including a musical piece by one of my fave musicians, Jesse Cook, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t give any extra credit for that.
3/5

Slave to the MC
In the second book of a series—I did not read the first—a smart sassy part-time stripper deals with trying to pay off her mother’s debts while being the sexual plaything of an entire motorcycle gang, including the wives.
This story is unusual: it’s one thing for a submissive to be such with one master, but to be a more than willing slave to a gang, not just in sex but having her entire life controlled. . . that’s not seen often. The good thing is that, even as she fights it, she realizes she enjoys this kind of thing, which makes it a lot easier to take. She’s surprisingly introspective, and pretty damn smart, at least in her thoughts if not in her life choices.
Wasn’t particularly a fan of the story, since I hate all the gangster stuff, but some of her thoughts were intriguing, and if she’s willing—as she always is—the sex scenes are pretty hot in a primal way.
3.5/5

30th Century: Escape
A military woman from long in the future sends troops back to the 27th to fix history so humans don’t get genocided, but instead of heading the mission she slips off to the 21st to start a new life.
This story had a lot of potential, but the writing was surprisingly stilted for someone who’s published so much. On the other hand, this might be his first work of fiction, and if so the inexperience shows. The conversations feel wooden and the descriptions lack style; oddly enough, that happened more and more toward the end. Having read other sci-fi erotica recently, this simply pales in comparison. In fact, it’s odd that it is listed under erotica, as there aren’t any sex scenes until the last half, and even then it’s lackluster, pedestrian. One of the main reasons is the use of the word penis. . . exclusively; apparently the author lives in an ivory tower or cave where he’s never heard of another word for the male organ.
It’s not just the sex scenes, though; there’s not a lot of emotion in the writing, period. She cried, she felt sad, that’s it; no elaboration. By contrast, the science stuff goes on for pages. Her dissertation defense lasted far too long, making me think this was the whole point of the book, with the rest just framing. And most of the science was far over my head even when she was asked to explain it in layman’s terms. Annoying.
Some of the writing is just ridiculous. “You are the mother of the children. . .” Did you really think she didn’t know that, Jen? Another example: “Jennifer gritted her teeth, hoping she was not talking over his head. If she was, would his attraction to her die?” Seriously? What a modern 21st century woman, let alone 30th. More to the point, in the few scenes we get of the 30th century—as well as the 27th—they show worlds that don’t seem all that different from today, especially socially as compared to technologically. That makes no sense; not much thought was put into that. Another problem was all the characters I had to keep track of, particularly the women, as some of them had similar names.
I wanted very much to like this, which might account for some of the disappointment. I enjoyed the premise, all the way up to her being alone on the island. Once she was rescued it went downhill. Jennifer is for the most part a likeable lead character, though there were times when she was simply too good to be true. The anthropology and archaeology of the Pacific Islands was interesting, as it fit into my own hobbies, but in the end it didn’t lead anywhere, so I suspect it was just the author’s pet.
And it was so sad that we never saw the dolphin again. . .
2/5

;o)

Book Reviews: Erotic Paris, NY, Hawaii, Elsewhere

“Come straight home after school! No stopping for ice cream or tramp stamps!”
“Space already taken,” she smiled sweetly on her way out.

A New York Minute
A TV personality whose dream of having her own talk show came true finds it gone when a big corp buys up the network and cancels the show. Her wallet and ego force her to accept a contract with the new owners, not knowing she’ll get a job she hated earlier in her career—at least it’s in Hawaii—and be put in the proximity of a guy she can’t stand/wants to have sex with.
Yes, it’s one of those plots where the two characters—arrogant guy, arrogant girl—hate each other but can’t deny the sexual attraction, and angry sex somehow becomes love. Even though I could see why she was so mad, it got tiring after a while. Of course what happened between them might not have if there wasn’t someone way worse to make her look so good in comparison, and it’s not like he’s a prize either, at least till the obligatory redemption. The positive note I have for her is that, even though she had every right to hate Bridgette, she earned my respect when she admits the girl actually does pretty well in front of the camera.
For having a plot I can’t stand, I actually enjoyed the writing quite a bit. I didn’t expect to like these characters considering how they started, and they’re still not amongst my faves, but their witty banter grew on me.
3/5

The Handy Men
A woman defies her idiot parents by buying a small hotel by the seashore, and is in lust for the two handymen even though she knows they’re a couple. The guys want her too, but it’s never that easy, is it? Especially when three’s a crowded bed.
What always saves these silly premises is the banter, which is witty here. Loved the female main character, and thankfully the guys weren’t jerks. The parents and ex-husband were sick one-dimensional villains, but Barbie was a pleasant surprise, though I have no idea why she’s marrying the ex; he’s not that rich.
There is one plot point that annoyed me. Toward the end she’s in need of $60,000. She tries to scratch it together, and so do the guys, and there isn’t one single thought of combining. Communication, people!
But there is one part that I so thoroughly loved it inspired me to raise the score half a point. Here’s the passage:
“It’s from Jerry Maguire.”
“The‘show me the money’ movie?”
“You’re hopeless with the classics,” Dean said.
“No. The classics are movies that happened before we were born. Casablanca and Somewhere in Time.”
Dean shook his head. “Bogart didn’t get the girl, and Christopher Reeves slowly withered away and died.”
“Because of love.” Jack sighed in contentment. “Isn’t that romantic?”
“You have issues.”
“Love hurts.”
Other than it being Reeve instead of Reeves, spot on. Can’t believe my two fave movies are the example!
3.5/5

26 Hours in Paris
(I had to restart this about halfway through because a power outage screwed up the kindle and I lost all my notes; hopefully my annoyance of that doesn’t come through.)
Reporter plots a trip to Paris to write about finding love, only to have her friend/boss tell her “one true love” from the past that she’s on her way. So things do not go as she expected.
It takes one hug from this guy and all her plans evaporate; wonder what it’s like having so much power over women. Though his inner thoughts about not taking no for an answer. . . there’s a fine line between determined and psychopath, especially when they’re rich.
Having read this author’s Greece story before this one, I can say I didn’t like Kat anywhere near as much as Bethany, and Marko is a far cry from Paul and Justin. The story of his cousin is nice, but not enough to overcome how I felt about him. In the other story Paul and Justin could be jerks at times, but Marko takes that far beyond. I can honestly say I hate him. I’ve been having to deal with guys like this all my life, who screwed up women’s lives and expectations until they assumed every guy was like that.
The writing is just as excellent as the other story, though. Their banter, when he’s not being a pompous ass, is close to scintillating. There’s a few places where there’s way too much inner monologue, which was my main beef with the other book. Even Marko tells her at one point, “No thinking. . . you promised.” There’s a few really good scenes, particularly their trek up the Eiffel Tower and when Antoine makes himself the third wheel. The sex club was a strange twist though, changing the tone of what had up to then been more of a romance with sex rather than romantic erotica.
The plot twist toward the end was only to show her insecurities and have him do his “I know what’s best” routine some more, which is annoying but apparently necessary in the genre.
I probably would have liked this a little bit more if I’d read it before the Greece one; I know I’m not supposed to compare, but I can’t help it. I still wouldn’t have liked it more, though.
3/5

Atonement
Serious warning: do not read this book without having read the previous ones; it just didn’t work with so much having happened that I haven’t read, and brief mentions aren’t enough. Most of what happens here is how the three are dealing with what happened in the earlier stories.
What I do get is that a married couple have invited another man to bed with them; the two guys have been friends for years. But it’s not just so he can get it on with the wife while the husband watches; the two men are lovers with each other as well. In his inner monologue the husband isn’t so sure about this, his objections being more about his new bisexuality than jealousy. And the friend can’t understand that she actually loves him just as much and is treating him like a second husband. A lot of his introspection deals with how weird the situation is for him.
And yes, there’s so much introspection! No wonder this book is so long. In fact, this story is all introspection and sex except for his dad visiting and her quilting class, along with various parental responses to the unorthodox relationship; nothing much happens until the end. Most of her story deals with her being the happy homemaker and lover to two men, although she does get jealous at the relationship her husband has with his AA sponsor, especially when she learns something that happened in a previous book. . . which of course leads to another long introspection. It is a valid point, though; the people in AA know more about her husband than she does, even though he’s supposed to be more forthcoming with her.
In the end I’m just not sure how I feel about this. Didn’t love it, but liked it enough, mostly because of the funny moments, of which there are a lot. There’s plenty of good writing when it’s not taking forever to get to the point.
3/5

;o)

Book Reviews: Erotic-tock

“Wow! Where did you learn to kiss like that?”
“Marine Corps.”

Fallen
A vampire hunter is captured by his prey, but rather than killing him they turn him into one of them. After finally escaping their torture he goes for revenge. . . then meets his supposed soulmate.
There’s long chapters with the antagonist and his wife, as though trying to humanize him, make him seem like he’s just protecting his family rather than a monster deserving of his fate. From what I gather he was the protagonist of the first in this series, so that’s probably for the new readers like me. For a rich girl Cassie is quite likeable, as is the wife, but the guys were mostly unlikeable; the antihero/deus ex machina was the most interesting, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s featured in the next book.
All in all, an okay fantasy story, erotic in very small does.
3/5

His Human Slave
The title says it all: Earth girl is chosen as the perfect mate for the leader of an almost annihilated race. He expects complete obedience, she’s not built for that, so they clash while he teaches her to enjoy the sex and the punishments.
I enjoyed the anthropological aspects of an alien learning to deal with a human female, and having even worse luck than human males. There’s a few instances where I chuckled, “Dude. . .” The shower scene was both erotic and hilarious.
I’ve reviewed enough master/slave stuff to be bored by it, so I concentrate on the story and the characters, both of which are excellent here. Especially pleasing to find an author who knows her craft so well; I can definitely see why Zander fell in love with Lamira.
4/5

One Week in Greece
It seems like the new in-thing in erotica is ménages, though oddly enough it’s almost always multiple men with one woman. Wonder if it should be called reverse Mormon.
Businesswoman goes to Mykonos to close a deal on a hotel for her father’s chain, and runs into “the guy” from her past, except he’s now in a homosexual relationship. Turns out they’re both bisexual and they both want her, but make up dumb excuses in their heads to leave her alone, not counting on her own desires.
Early on there’s some inner monologues, and even conversations, that lasted too long, making me want to skip. Thankfully that disappeared as it went on, but all three of them—more so the guys—do way too much thinking. And oddly enough for something listed under erotica rather than romance, there isn’t much sex going on. I would call it a romance—albeit between three people—with some sex rather than a romantic work of erotica.
Once they’ve finally gotten out of their own way, I loved the relationship between the three of them. Unlike most books, I can read about them talking as they take in the sights for as long as they want, because it all sounds so fun. The humor and good cheer carried this story.
4/5

The Last Resort
A child bounty hunter—she kidnaps kids that were abducted by parents who didn’t have custody, so she’s a good guy—gets stuck in a snowstorm after her latest mission and, after being crashed into, is rescued by a couple of brothers who are renovating a hotel, along with about twenty construction workers. Love ensues between her and one of the brothers.
She’s an ex-Marine with abandonment issues. Not a typical heroine. (BTW, I was a Marine and I don’t worry about that “always a Marine” nonsense.) He’s never met anyone like her and can’t stay away, which either annoys or concerns his brother—or both. It may be because I just got through watching the series again, but she reminds me of Wynonna Earp: a giggly badass. So of course despite all her issues and quirks I love her. She’s a complex character—maybe a little too complex—so I’m enjoying the game between them, while realizing in real life they’d probably piss each other off so much. Even better, this is one of those rare situations where I actually like the male character too. Not that I usually hate them, I’m just indifferent, concentrating on the female lead. This guy I would like as a buddy.
Obviously if she hadn’t been trapped this story would have never happened, so as a plot device it’s fine. Interesting to think of a baby as a wild card, both drawing them closer and driving them apart. And it has to be said, that little toddler is probably the best character in the entire book!
4/5

;o)

Book Reviews: Suns, Violins, Planets, and Song

Sunrise, Sunset
A Florida woman with balcony views shoots the sunrise and sunset. Her boyfriend and then other people add poems or words to the photos. Simple premise, elegantly done.
Enjoyed the story of each sunset being done by a famous painter, trying to figure out which one it looked like. No surprise that one went first.
“I never met a sunset I didn’t like. It means dinner’s almost ready.” Nice.
As expected, there’s a lot of rebirth and “life goes on” with the sunrise, while sunset is an opportunity to reflect. Other themes include gratitude and, of course, religion.
I’m sure most people would find these photographs great. As a professional photographer for over 25 years, I could quibble about that, but what would be the point?
Yet despite the preeeety pictures I found myself getting bored halfway through. Don’t try to read/look at this in one sitting.
3/5

Violin
Rather than a history of the violin, this is ten essays on various subjects, some a lot more fun than others.
Starts right off with how the violin was widely considered an instrument of the devil; now we know where Charlie Daniels got that idea. Another chapter talks about the violin in fiction—Sherlock Holmes made the list!—but probably because I was looking forward to it so much it didn’t live up to expectations.
Then the real problems start, with chapter 4. To understand anything that’s been said here you need a ton of knowledge about violin playing, or even music in general, particularly notation. Is this really intended for a general audience? Because I’d say there are a lot more people interested in music who don’t know anything about playing it than those who do. Because of this, entire chapters are of absolutely no interest at all. I’d just seen one of Mozart’s concertos the day before I read about it, and still had no idea what this was talking about. What should have been informative became only boring.
So there’s some interesting tidbits here, but so much of it talks in musical terms that leave us non-musicians in the metaphorical dust.
2.5/5

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do… But You Could’ve Done Better
Stories about how people broke up or were broken up with, obviously not edited, with the author including drawings to punctuate the story. That’s it. It’s like one of those Facebook links that take you to Reddit or some such.
The funniest parts were before and after the main event, like the dedication: “To that one dude, for being such an inspirational dick.” And in the blurbs, “Oh my god, you have a book!” – Hilary’s Mom.
But does she really? Other than some drawings that only highlighted the story—without adding anything original—this was all stuff sent to her. But even the stories weren’t that great. The author states in the forward that she drew a doodle in response to her own breakup, and it made her laugh and feel better; great thought, but I didn’t find much that was funny here. Sure, there were a few laughable instances, but most were either sad or simply mean.
2/5

Planet Song
An advanced long-lived race of fish base their entire civilization and economy on music, particularly sounds made by living beings. Having found the ultimate song—humpback whales—they come to Earth to take some home, in a story obviously inspired by the fourth Star Trek movie. (With a small touch of Harlan Ellison’s original draft of City on the Edge of Forever, where sound could be addicting.)
This is written on a huge scale, taking place over hundreds of years and having around thirty points of view. The main character seems to be one of the very few females of the Fahr species, who manages to work her way into a position of power and then just as quickly loses it. There’s a lot of political wrangling, both within the alien ship and the humans who finally figure out there’s trouble out there. Telescope technology is a fun running theme.
But for such a huge scope there isn’t all the much that takes place; most of it is talking. Thankfully there’s a lot of small touches of humor, and while it never gets boring I wish there could have been more to it. There’s an appendix that explains some of the aspects of the Fahr race that seemed incomprehensible while reading this book, so it might have been more helpful at the beginning.
There’s no actual ending, but since at the start it tells you this is the first of a trilogy, I didn’t mind.
3.5/5

Improper Conduct
The rich daughter of a Chicago politician runs to her first love to help her find her runaway sister. He cons her into having sex with him, not that she’s at all reluctant. In addition to that he makes her live the life of the homeless people she’s encountering—well, he cheats a bit—rather than go right out and find the sister, who’s in danger. He’s a bit of an ass, but then she’s no prize either. By the end they understand each other better, show they regret the times they acted like jerks, and come together. . . and oh yeah, remember about the sister in danger.
This was kinda bland. Can’t think of much to say about it. Actually a good story frame for the silly romance, but they spent so much time denying their feelings I got exasperated.
3/5

;o)

Book Reviews: Ero-tick

Hotel Hookup: Chicago
First I’ve read of this series that obviously takes place in different cities, apparently featuring a one night stand that despite all efforts might turn into something more.
It doesn’t take long to realize I’m not the target demographic here, as Hannah goes bra shopping, which takes FOREVER. So bored I almost gave up on it. There’s so much build-up that this feels like a short story that later got expanded.
Wasn’t sold on the character either. Hannah pretends to be a deep thinker, but she’s quite superficial, especially around men. She’s only interested in looks, but that’s fair, since she certainly doesn’t mind being called a beautiful girl. . . or she might mind if she wasn’t so hot for the guy saying it.
At least the hookup scene was excellent, which only reiterates my belief that so much of this was unnecessary. Less is more here.
2.5/5

The Beginning: I Bet My Wife
A married couple gives in to their sexual urges, which sends her in the arms of other men while her husband waits at home, alternately turned on by what he imagines is being done to her and yet none-too-thrilled, especially when the guy in question is his archrival at work.
Not exactly a new story: be careful what you wish for—as far as sexy wives are concerned—has been around for centuries, and everyone knows what’s going to happen.
The writing isn’t that great, though it’s probably helped by being first person. Unfortunately that first person is the husband, so we don’t get the first-hand account of the sex scenes. Couldn’t help but think this should have been better, or at least put a twist on the same old story.
2.5/5

Bottoms Up
Woman in Tucson who just got fired and has a stalker walks into a bar; what happens then isn’t a joke, unless you count all the drink puns.
Lexi is a little flighty and neurotic, but oddly enough that makes her more endearing. The further the story goes the more adventurous she gets, especially with locations involving the word pool. Oddly enough, the first sex scene isn’t written with nearly the same style as the rest; almost stilted, choppy. Luckily after that it gets better. There’s a few fun side characters, like her best friend who’s engaged to a Brit; of course they walk in on the new couple at the worst time. Unfortunately the villain is so one-dimensional it hardly seemed worth including him. And of course there has to be a girl from Justin’s past to pop up and make a misunderstanding.
Cute, but no big deal. At least it’s somewhat funny, especially the drink names. The hot sex scenes are the highlight.
3.5/5

Blind Seduction
Dominant husband takes submissive wife to a sex retreat, blindfolding her from the moment they’re in the car and giving us the first part of the title. Once there the couple expands their sexual power games in small increments while listening to others’ stories. One guy wants her more than the rules allow.
Though I’m not much for the erotic power genre, I enjoyed this. The couple seems to have the perfect combination of adventurism and trust that only love can achieve. Leslie’s a fantastic character, from her desire for submission to her fortitude in escaping a kidnapping attempt. The subplot with the bad guy hardly seemed necessary, though it did show her strength. Had this just been about the sex it would have been just as good.
And the sex scenes were plenty good, including some interesting psychology into the Dom/sub relationship. A few times their games were interrupted by stories told to them by others, which at the time felt like filler, though it did make it easier to understand what the main characters were going through.
4/5

High Class—VIP Desire Agency, Book 2
Australian call girl doesn’t want to admit she’s in love with client; client tries to win her over with money and not taking no for an answer. In real life she’d be calling the police, but because this is a romance, guess what happens?
Despite the not-likely plot setting, there’s nothing here that isn’t typical. I might have been better convinced If there’d actually been a sex scene for her with someone other than him, considering she is an escort. Yet at the beginning she leaves the man who bought her time to go off into an empty room with this guy she apparently can’t say no to.
The romance is equally bland, with the usual misunderstandings and lack of communication. I don’t know if it would even be called a romance; if he wasn’t so rich and handsome, his behavior would be labeled stalkerish, especially when he shows up at the hotel near the end. The best part was their backgrounds, opening up about why they’d become so closed off emotionally, but that hardly overtook how bored and unwilling I was to suspend all belief for most of this.
2.5/5

;o)

Book Reviews: Graphic Pencils

“I make a mean sandwich.”
She cooed, “I make a mean sandwich happy.”

Britannia
A Roman soldier is manipulated by the chief of the Vestal Virgins to become the first detective in history, unless the ancient Greeks had stories they didn’t bother to tell (long shot). Then Nero sends him to the British Isles to find out what’s going wrong, thinking it was actually his idea.
Starts with a history of the Vestal Virgins; seems like far too many of them were blonde. The story quickly moves to northwest Europe, with plenty of blood and gore, as well as magical Druids and devils, so it’s certainly not a straightforward history.
There’s this one panel of artwork that I find so spectacular—though I can’t explain exactly why—full width with a flying sword. You’ll know it when you see it.
In between the chapters are scholarly articles on the Vestals, centurions, Nero—was he really that bad? Yes and no—and Roman Britain.
3.5/5

Letter 44 V.1 $10 Trade Edition
Pseudo-Obama takes over for pseudo-Bush and finds out there are aliens in the asteroid belt who no doubt will invade Earth at any moment. There’s also a mission sent to check out the aliens, launched three years ago.
There’s some really good scenes among the expected storyline; the briefing from the scientist in charge, the three questions guy, for example, was brilliant. I laughed at the baseball breaking the White House window and scaring the Secret Service. Sending conspiracy bad boy on a tour of every embassy is such an awesome twist. And there’s a very cool artistic effect on the flash-bang.
I’m liking the way this is written, though the plot may be too much. Thought there might be something to the scene when General Johnson comes in for the briefing, since they’re talking before the secretary leaves. . .
The scientist repeating that all of them were volunteers is rather ominous. . .
Sadly it ends at a critical juncture; get another ten bucks ready for volume 2.
Almost 20 pages of dossiers on some of the players, creator bios dressed as White House correspondence, and ads for other books.
3.5/5

Small Favors: The Definitive Collection
A lesbian who can’t stop with the self-loving is told to cut it out—there’s a lifetime allotment of masturbation? Wonder if there’s an actual number (asking for a friend)—and is given a helpful little blonde imp to keep her fingers and dildos in check. Little Nibbel is also helpful in letting me know the next section is a dream sequence, so thank you! Plus she’s really cute, incredibly funny in her naiveté. She’s the best part of this, playing a big part in the stor, as well as defining the title.
For me the other best part was how the author wasn’t afraid to break the fourth wall of get meta. Something as simple as “Bet you had to shower after that one!” makes for a big guffaw. Even when the author doesn’t know where to go with the plot we’ll get a line like “Who was that girl on page 104?” I thought it was the neighbor, but I guess I was overthinking it. And I also wondered who was taking the photos.
Very explicit sex is depicted, which is for the most part fine, though I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that, had it been a man taking her so roughly rather than a blonde pixie with a strap-on, there’d be all kinds of protests. There’s a small interlude of Nibbel doing herself on a lightbulb that made me laugh so much. Spaghetti and wooden spoons just got a lot more sexy, but it helps if you have a Barbie-sized pixie playmate. And the safari story was extra hilarious, along with the dramatic cry of, “Alas, we are exposed!”
There’s about 15 pages of early sketches and outtakes at the end, the best feautring Nibbel playing Rock ‘em Sock ‘em. . . better yet, Nibbel being playfully attacked by the dialogue bubbles. . .
Most of it is done in simple black and white sketches, quite effective. When it at a certain point turns to color, it’s a little jarring.
It’s a fun read, if nothing else because it treats sex, especially lesbian sex, as fun. Another reviewer nailed it by calling this “innocent and lighthearted.”
4/5

The Life After V.1: $10 Trade Edition
Groundhog Day turns into a time travel back to what looks like 19th century England. Then things really get crazy. . .
Then Ernest Hemingway shows up. . .
My initial thought was “That lady sure has a lot of handkerchiefs. . .” Every little thing is controlled in this Orwellian world, so when he steps out of the usual routine to return the handkerchief everything goes crazy, and the story behind the story unfolds.
“I was talking to the dog. . .” Saw it coming, still made me laugh. The dog also does the best sideways-head-tilt puzzled I’ve ever seen in a two-dimensional character. Plus he’s a tease. . .
What kind of people are in charge of this crapsack world? “Let’s see if we can find someone taking a shower or something. . .”
You can see it in Hemingway’s face: “Surely you must be the son of god. . .”
This volume one finishes on a pretty big reveal.
Creator bios and ads at end.
3/5

;o)

Book Reviews: Hookers, Dogs, and Lawyers

“Don’t tell anyone, under penalty of noogie. . .”

Serena’s Plight
. . . turns out not to be a plight at all.
A recent high-school graduate—barely—is offered a business deal by an ex-boyfriend who got into an Ivy League university: she becomes a paid companion—as opposed to out and out whore—he’ll be her pimp, and they’ll both make a lot of money.
This was much better, much more than I anticipated; so much more than just the sex. Love the main character and her sense of humor. I was surprised by her insights, of which there were a lot, as this was first person. Obviously I’ve never wondered what a young call girl thinks of, but the author made me like the character, care about her.
It’s also great how she cares about her boys, helps them with their social anxieties and disorders, especially Bartholomew and James. She’s almost like a therapist with benefits. More than anything else, she’s a good person. Her biggest problem is a couple of her would-be johns are mean to her; she got spoiled by the first couple of nice boys.
It’s not often a book leaves me pleasantly surprised. I look forward to the next.
There’s one booboo: near the beginning Sam says he received a scholarship to be on the wrestling team at Cornell, but Ivy League schools do not award athletic scholarships. But that’s the only nitpick. It doesn’t end in a cliffhanger, but there’s definitely a “to be continued.”
4/5

Fifty Nifty Facts about Dogs
Like the one about cats, this is basically a printed version of a slideshow you click on from Facebook. Dogs stick their heads out cars for the odors? For me that was the most interesting one, along with noseprints for dogs=fingerprints for humans
A few were fun, most were general knowledge. No big.
3/5

Doubt
A newly minted lawyer who used to be a hacker gets an impossible first case: “prove something no one has ever proved before—that GMOs have the capacity to kill people.” Facing an opponent that will kill to win, she has to find a murdered scientist’s paper and then a witness while facing threats from within as well as without.
The great lead character is the best part of a book that could have been serious and dour, but thankfully is peppered with humor. My favorite line was the little kid who admits, “I haven’t pooped since Denver.” Most of this takes place in Los Angeles—the Huntington and UCLA are mentioned—with trips to Vegas, Northern California, and the east coast, though there isn’t much time for sightseeing when you’re being hunted by assassins.
Perhaps one too many twists at the end, but overall just the right amount of suspense without becoming overwhelming.
4/5

Moral Defense
The second in the new series by Marcia Clark, featuring an amazing lead character: a bend-the-rules defense attorney who’s always taking on more than she can chew.
The main case involves a family being murdered, with only one survivor, who is now her client, partly because it’s so high-profile but mostly because it’s personal for her. Another job has to do with a loose end I remember from the first book, so glad to see it picked up here. There’s a couple of other threads as well, so it helps that she has two able and funny assistants. More importantly, a lot of writers would have made the cases tie together at the end, which I always find too much of a coincidence to buy, but thankfully that doesn’t happen here.
What often makes a good book despite other problems—which is not the case here, just an example—is the lead character. It takes skills for a defense attorney to be on the run from gangbangers, drug dealers, and crooked cops all at once, and none of them had anything to do with the primary case. When she stops at In-n-Out I love her even more.
So this was great, but maybe a little less great than the first. This one was a little too convoluted, especially at the end, but still well worthwhile.
4/5

;o)