REVIEW: Her Magic Touch by Sable Hunter
At the end of the Hell Yeah! Book 2 review, I mentioned that a few glimpses of the main characters of Book 3 made me cautiously optimistic that we would finally get a grown-up female worthy of being called a “heroine.”
I was wrong. So very, very wrong.
I also bitched and whined about the misogyny in the previous book, but Oh. Dear. God.
This was worse.
Therefore, I’m subtitling this review:
Continuing Adventures In Epic Assholery And Virgin Sacrifice: A Misogyny Manifesto
NOTE: For the purposes of this review, I’m defining “misogyny” as:
- Infantilizing or otherwise demeaning and marginalizing women;
- Inferring or stating outright that life without a man is not worth living;
- Demonstrating double standards regarding male and female sexuality (e.g., manwhores rewarded with virgins);
- Depicting assertive female characters as sluts;
- Referring to female characters as “fresh meat”;
- Repeatedly comparing female characters to abused or abandoned animals; AND/OR
- Depicting a woman in premature labor serving coffee and doughnuts to lazy-ass men who are perfectly capable of getting the fucking coffee themselves.
It can be a little confusing, so here’s a handy dandy flowchart. Also available in printer-friendly PDF. It’s even color-coded for extra impressiveness! (Yes, I have a day job. Shut up and keep reading, and stop picking on me because I worked really hard on this and now you’re hurting my feelings.)
But wait, there’s more! In addition to the character inconsistencies, eye-rolling “coincidences” and inane detail we’ve come to expect, we also get a whole muddle of unnecessary paranormal nonsense – all of which completely distracted me from the Bad Sex. And of course that just sucked all the fun right out of this, officially making it the Absolute Worst Book I Have Ever Read.
(No, I have not read The Book That Shall Not Be Named, because I refuse to pay $10 for a crappy self-pubbed ebook. I only budget $5 for that sort of thing.)
Let’s get this over with – I need to cleanse my brain with… Something. Anything.
WARNING: This review/diatribe contains irrelevant analogies, bad sports metaphors, gratuitous musical interludes, self-indulgent run-on sentences (heh) and buckets of righteous indignation (it’s a manifesto, duh), with definite overtones of Mean Girl. It’s also very long, so I hope you brought snacks.
Status Updates: Read With Me Vicariously
Status: 35% (Sunday, April 15)
Oh holy crap, I was NOT expecting a paranormal. So far I’ve literally had to put this down and walk away three times. My Kindle notes consist of numerous “WTF???”s and “Huh???”s, several “OMG”s and “GAH!!!”s, countless “asshole!”s and “dickhead!”s and two or three “dumbass!”s. It’s great fun, if you have a high pain threshold.
Status: 65% (Wednesday, April 18)
Still struggling to finish this unholy mess. Instead of a Magical Orgasm Cure, we get a Catholic /Druid/Voodoo Cure. This happened much earlier than expected, so I guess the last third of the book will be locating the Random Villain via psychic readings. The suspense is killing me.
Status: 85% (Thursday, April 19)
I completely and unequivocally revoke my previous comment about this book being great fun. It wasn’t the suspense that was killing me.
Apparently there’s no end to the Epic Assholery – it’s RELENTLESS. I honestly have no clue how ANY woman could find this “hero” anything other than a complete and total DICKHEAD. I need a shortcut key on my Kindle for easier “ASSHOLE!” notations.
And the so-called “heroine” is just as bad. A Voodoo Priestess SHOULD NOT BE A DOORMAT. I mean, really – use your fucking MAGICK already and hit him with a stunning spell or something and put the rest of us out of our misery.
I don’t want either one of them to have an HEA. I want him to fall off one of the stupid cliffs he climbs and I want her to crawl back under her grandmother’s cauldron and I want them to NEVER EVER see each other or talk to anyone else EVER AGAIN.
The Random Villain has completely disappeared – but at least he POISONED THE WATERHOLE before he left, so maybe we’ll get lucky and Tebow Ranch will be like
Chernobyl and the Homeland Fuckwadery Police will cordon it off for the next 500 years.
(moment of silence to re-bury the memories….)
My Kindle took a much-needed rest at that point. I have never stopped reading at 85%. Ever.
I had to summon my Inner Goddess for the strength to continue, but I managed to finish it – without any inebriated e-mailing of the author! I know, right??? I was, however, forced to make a separate “Sable Hunter” collection on my Kindle because I don’t want her books contaminating my real books. The entire McCoy family* is now in digital quarantine.
FUN FACTS: My Kindle clippings for this book totaled 730 highlighted passages and 198 notes. I tried to do a scrolling screen capture, and my laptop almost melted.
Misogynistic daredevil asshole, paralyzed in a motocross accident, hires ugly voodoo priestess, who doesn’t know she’s really a guardian angel, to restore his manhood. Also, celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse makes a cameo appearance.
The opening scene….
Ready, set, asshole:
Joseph McCoy’s philosophy was simple; every woman needs multiple orgasms in order to be happy. Without a doubt, he had done his part in spreading happiness to as many beautiful, deserving women as possible. The latest candidate for his benevolent attention was leaning forward, displaying her silicon enhanced chest for his viewing enjoyment.
I hope you didn’t fall out of your chair yet, because that was just the first half of the first paragraph.
As he felt his dick rise to the occasion, Joseph checked the clock on the wall. Hell! He didn’t have time to diddle with this little darlin’….
“When you played for Texas, they called you ‘The Stallion’. Would you care to elaborate on how you acquired that particular nickname?”
Stretching his long muscular legs out in front of him, Joseph crossed one custom cowboy boot over the other. “Well darlin’,” he graced her with a slow, seductive wink, “I’m not certain how I got HUNG with that handle, but I assure you that I’ve tried to live up to the image.” He couldn’t help but chuckle when her gaze slid down his body and got slowed down by the speed bump of his erection. Teasingly, he put his thumbs in his belt, one on either side of his signature Superman belt buckle –
Hang in there, almost done….
and caught her eyes as she looked back up, letting her know that he knew she was ogling his manly credentials.
Still with me?
That was just the kick-off of a scrimmage at the Real Assholes of Texas training camp. Joseph plays running back. You know, like Doak Walker, whose namesake award our hero won in college.
Ogling his manly credentials, indeed. I don’t remember learning that in journalism school.
But then again – DAMN, that was a good opening, story-wise. We’re hooked with the first sentence and by the end of the first paragraph, we know exactly who our “hero” is. Yes, he’s an asshole, but we know immediately what to expect from him and we can maybe even hope for his redemption. If Sable Hunter can write like this, WHY WHY WHY does she insist on burying her talent underneath truckloads of nonsense? Gah.
Texas Motocross, Marble Falls Raceway:
If he could win today, the Yamaha sponsorship would be a sure thing. Afterwards, he would call that hot little reporter and ease the ache in his dick.
Eh, he’s got the Yamaha thing locked up even if he doesn’t win – corporate sponsors love an athlete who can maintain a stiffy even while racing a motorcycle.
But then: big jump, big rock, big crash. And just as in the previous book, a really well-written dramatic scene is completely wasted to make room for the utterly ridiculous.
Cady’s mysterious dream(s)….
Sometimes things aren’t necessarily the way we think they are. Sometimes they’re not even close.
Some people think this is a good book. They’re not even close.
We meet our heroine, Acadia Renaud, as she’s pacing the marble halls of Heaven, arguing with Master Gabe. I have questions about that, but I’ll save those until later.
Acadia, known as Cady, has seen Joseph’s accident from above, but is unable to do anything to help. She’s so upset she huffs around in consternation and thinks naughty words. Until:
“You are going to earth.”
“We are doing to send you back to the beginning. You can’t just drop into the time/space continuum fully grown. We’ve processed the paperwork; you are going to have to be born and grow up and make your way in the world just like any other human being.”
(I’ll save all my questions about the logistical stuff too.)
And then…our heroine wakes up. Alone.
Like a teenager, she grabbed her pillow and practiced kissing. She ought to be good at it by now; this pillow had seen a lot of action over the years.
Cady is lonely because she’s plain. You know, homely. How ugly is she? Our heroine is so ugly, she’s a 28-year-old virgin.
But never fear – Cady has *~*hope*~*, helpfully supplied by her Granny Fontenot, an old hoodoo woman who lives deep in the bayou country of Terrebonne Parish.
Her grandmother had pulled the cauldron close and had pushed both of their hands down into the dark water. Cady would swear on a stack of Bibles that the water had gone from stone cold to almost boiling in a few seconds.
That bit was purely for fun, but this next bit is important, so PAY ATTENTION:
“Sweet girl, one day you will be as beautiful on the outside as you are within. There is a man destined to fall in love with you, never doubt it. At first, he will be attracted to your sweet and gentle personality. Soon, he will begin to see you in a different light – and when he does, you will grow more beautiful everyday. His love will make you beautiful – not only in his eyes, but in other’s eyes as well.”
So while our heroine doesn’t know she’s actually a Guardian Angel, she does know she’s got a raging case of The Uglies and must Earn The Love Of A Man to be cured. Kinda like Nanny McPhee, but different.
You’ll notice I didn’t say “the love of a GOOD man.” Even an asshole will do.
Nope, no misogyny here….
So then Cady has ANOTHER dream, in which she wakes up in Joseph’s hospital bed and finds him sprawled on the floor. He’s shirtless, so she immediately recognizes his pecs from previous dreams and gives him a big ol’ smooch.
Acadia knew true happiness for the first time. For she had not only kissed Joseph, but he returned her kiss – and oh, it was glorious!
Jacob, despite his paralysis and sprawled-on-the-floor predicament, responds in his usual manly manner:
Her kiss was so precious; her taste was the sweetest nectar….
All that pillow practice is finally paying off, girl – woohoo!
It was nothing like the meaningless, faceless lust he had exchanged with countless women whose names he could not remember. He felt something – he could swear he did – below his waist – a twitch – hell, was he dreaming!?!?
I think that was foreshadowing, but I’m not sure for positive. I’m also not sure what narrative purpose this dream serves, other than to reinforce the already blindingly obvious fact that Joseph is a manwhore and then leave him twitching helplessly on the floor.
The voodoo/hoodoo/catholic/druid stuff explained….
In New Orleans, traditional witchcraft is a combination of the Celtic craft, voodoo, hoodoo, with a little Appalachian Granny Magic thrown in for good measure. If you asked them what their religion was, they would tell you Catholic. Their everyday life, however, was filled with mojo bags, spells, charms and a constant awareness of the supernatural.
The more you know.
Cady’s Aunt Honoria is THE Aunt Honoria. You know, the High Priestess of Santeria and administrative assistant to Her Supreme Highness Head Witch and Highest of All High Priestesses Nana Bogart. I think we’re supposed to actually know who this Bogart woman is, but we’re a little light on the voodoo up here in the Land o’ Lutherans, so I’m just going to smile and nod and pretend I recognize her because I’m pretty sure I don’t want to piss her off.
Aunt Honoria summons Cady’s presence to share a different version of the future:
“I see darkness ahead for you. I don’t know what that entails, but I am afraid for your life.”
But Cady knows – or maybe she doesn’t, it’s very confusing – that Joseph is a McCoy, so he’ll be worth the risk of Death and Darkness.
Cady had never experienced joy with a man. If there was any chance of knowing a man’s love, even for a little while – Cady was willing to step into hell for the opportunity.
Remember, kids: Life without a man isn’t worth living.
Misogyny? What misogyny?
Meanwhile, back at the hospital….
Joseph was ready to go home. He had one of the cute little nurses’ aides get all of his gear together.
Nope, no misogyny here. Move along, folks.
Was he going to have to live like this forever? Was there anyone in the world that could help him?
The soundless cry rose from his heart and reverberated out into the universe – and lo and behold – as the old fairy tales read – someone was listening. A connection was made. Help was on the way. Sometimes there are wonders in this world that will literally blow your mind.
If you need a cookie break, take one now, because that was just the end of Chapter One, and you’ll need the sugar high to keep your spirits up.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch….
Snarling, he realized he hadn’t ‘evacuated his bowels’. What a crock of shit. He couldn’t even tell when he needed to take a dump!
Luckily, Mr. Limpdick McCrankypants has his big brother Jacob for manly support:
“You will make love to a woman again, Joseph. Don’t you dare give up!”
But that inspiring pep talk isn’t enough, because Joseph’s beloved Playboy magazine comes in the mail and no matter how hard he tries…. Nothing. Nil. Nada.
I was going to copy in that whole extremely descriptive paragraph, but the important facts are that the centerfold’s name is Lisa Reinhart and we never find out if Joseph’s urine catheter survives intact.
Is this Heaven? No, it’s New Orleans. No, wait, it’s Heaven.
Master Gabe reappears in Cady’s dreams to give some final (?) advice, which she doesn’t seem to appreciate.
“I read every word of the memo you sent me,” she assured her superior. “But since I won’t have any memory of my existence here, how will any of this information be of help to me?”
That was Cady asking Master Gabe, not me asking the author.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch….
It’s now younger brother Noah’s turn to pull Poor Joseph out of the doldrums:
“Just because you’re off your feet for awhile doesn’t mean you have to be so damn cranky. You make me think of that bull we used to have – you remember Hannibal?”
If it were me, I would have named him HanniBULL. Get it, get it? I crack myself up sometimes.
But Poor Joseph is determined to prolong his pity party:
“Yea, I remember him. He was a big, grey Brahmin bull. His dick was so long when it was hard, he stepped on it.” As soon as he said the words, he sobered. Would he ever get hard again? Would he ever know what it was like to slide into a woman’s hot, wet pussy again? Shit!
Noah, however, is undiscouraged, reeling off a string of hilarious – I’m not being sarcastic this time – dick jokes. Other Brother Isaac gets in on the act and manages to get Noah yelling “MY DICK IS SO BIG…” right as the Baptist preacher walks in the door.
And yet again, a well-written – and truly funny – scene is completely ruined by an immediate plunge into a Morass of Misogyny.
(What’s my alliteration score so far? Am I close to earning my letter for my letter jacket?)
Joseph gets some good news….
You’ll recall that Joseph is understandably upset that paralysis has Taken Away His Manhood. Lucky for him, one of his friends knows somebody who knows somebody whose brother’s uncle’s step-cousin’s dogsitter had a similar type of erectile impairment:
“I’ve seen a miracle, Joseph. I can give you the name of a woman who can give you back your manhood.”
Our hero cuts off his BFF’s explanation of voodoo vs. hoodoo and empaths vs. traiteurs to get to the more important employment questions:
“What does she look like, this miracle worker?”
You’d be correct in thinking that’s not on the Equal Employment Opportunity hiring checklist. But let’s keep in mind we’re dealing with not just a McCoy, but with an impotent McCoy, and they’re bad enough when they can pop wood.
(Oh good lord, I can’t believe I just wrote that. I’m blaming certain m/m authors who may or may not read this blog but who shall remain nameless. You know who you are.)
Whoops, where were we? Oh, right – the Morass of Misogyny:
“I don’t want a beautiful woman to see me this way. If I’m going to let somebody watch my urine flow through a tube into a bag, I want her to be so ugly that I don’t care one way or the other.”
Misogyny? What misogyny?
During a brief phone interview with the Cady the Physical Therapist Voodoo Priestess Unknown Guardian Angel, Joseph initially believes that he could “put up with anything for a month, even an ugly woman’s hands on him.” But when she informs him they’ll need to (gasp) be on a first-name basis (shudder), his non-existent manhood clenches:
Now wait a minute. He didn’t need some wallflower getting any ideas about him. He might be paralyzed, but he wasn’t desperate… Joseph had never been comfortable around unattractive women. And now, he wasn’t comfortable around attractive ones.
Nope, no misogyny here, better keep looking.
Joseph decides he’s man enough (>snort<) to withstand the Onslaught of Ugliness and offers Cady the job. She, of course, accepts immediately and drives 606 miles nonstop to Meet Her Destiny.
Wait, back up, I forgot the Dream Sex!
During the phone interview with Joseph, Cady is able to voodoo-sense his concerns about her falling in love with him. But, alas, it’s already too late.
How do we know it’s too late? Because after she hangs up the phone, she immediately has Dream Sex with Joseph. And not just pillow-kissing Dream Sex:
She was going to have to change the sheets. Cady looked at the huge wet spot staining her pale pink bottom sheet. Her encounter with Joseph might have all been in her mind, but her orgasm and ejaculation were real enough to force her to strip her bed and do a load of laundry.
I know I said I was going to save all my questions about the paranormal stuff until later, but I must know: Is this type of Creamy Dream Sex typical of angel/mortal couplings?
Also: If a girl angel loses her virginity during Dream Sex, does it still count? Or will her hymen just keep growing back like Jessica’s on True Blood? Can STDs be transmitted during Dream Sex, or are angels immune like werewolves?
Meanwhile, back at the ranch….
I just love saying that. It’s now time for some spooky paranormal foreshadowing:
Acadia Renaud drove under the Tebow Ranch sign. As soon as she did, she felt it. Evil. Flashes of red obscured her vision. Something was very wrong at this place. A sense of foreboding enveloped her. Parking, she sat for a few moments; waiting to see if she could glean more information from the black cloud of ominous emotion that had crashed into her spirit.
Believe it or not, this Odor of Ominous Foreboding is NOT wafting from Joseph and His Amazingly Magnificent Misogyny. There’s a Random Villain in our midst, but he’s kind of an enigma (see below), so we’ll worry about him later.
Cady stopped at the door, an overwhelming feeling of destiny swamping her senses. She didn’t know what the future would hold for her here at Tebow Ranch, but whatever was ahead was going to be a wild, wild ride.
Oh, honey – you have NO idea. You should have just stayed right there and let yourself drown in the Swamp of Destiny.
Hmmm…. Drowning in the Swamp of Destiny: A Memoir by Cady Renaud.
Or maybe a voodoo-themed “Swamp of Destiny” restaurant chain. You know, like Planet Hollywood but with alligator gumbo on the menu and over-priced cocktails served in little miniature cauldrons and shrunken heads on the walls.
Or, better yet…. Wait for it….
Swamp of Destiny: A new HBO miniseries from the producers of Game of Thrones.
Sweet Jesus Honey Dews, the possibilities are endless. I’m claiming copyright on that RIGHT NOW: Swamp of Destiny©. Swamp of Destiny™. Swamp of Destiny®.
And don’t even THINK about plagiarizing that. I’ll out you on Dear Author and stick a Twitter hashtag (#SwampStealer) on you so fast you won’t even have time to post a whiny half-assed apology on your own blog. And don’t bother me with that “Sable Hunter used it first” crap. She used “swamp” as verb, and I’m using it as a noun, so it’s completely different.
Oh god help me, there’s another one coming….
Diddlin’ with the Darlins’: A Memoir by Joseph “The Texas Stallion” McCoy.
This, my friends, is why I write snotty book reviews instead of fiction.
One of the only good things about this book was the full-text copy/paste of “Joseph Meets Cady” from the previous book. Kinda like one of those dead-virus vaccinations you get before travelling to a developing country.
In spite of himself, his face broke into a grin. He didn’t care how many times this woman emptied his pee bag. If he had special ordered a homely woman feature by feature, he couldn’t have done better.
Misogyny? What misogyny?
Our hero is distracted from this Horror of Homeliness when his future sisters-in-law (our previous heroines) arrive:
Libby and Jessie came skipping through the living room on their way inside with big bouquets of flowers from Libby’s garden. Now, this was how women were supposed to look!
Yes, SKIPPING. Misogyny? What misogyny?
But Joseph’s attention returns to our heroine’s unattractive appearance when Libby teases Cady about their adjoining rooms.
She must realize that there was no way that she could ever be his type. Why, Joseph McCoy had dated some of the most beautiful women in the great state of Texas.
Misogyny? What misogyny?
As Libby shows Cady to her room, Joseph feels compelled to explain his rehab plan:
“If she can help you, does it matter how she looks?” Jessie was smarter than the average bear.
Misogyny? What misogyny?
“In addition to her having the right certification, I insisted that she be homely. If I’m going to let a woman see me at my worst, I don’t want it to be a good-looking woman. And Cady Renaud suits me just fine. She’s coyote ugly.”
Ohhh, THAT misogyny.
And take a WILD guess who overhears him.
Thus endeth Chapter Three. I told you you’d need that cookie.
Decision time: Should I keep reading?
Oh, HELL NO! But I did anyway.
Crappity crap crap, I completely forgot about my extended sports metaphor. The quarterfinal round of our Man-Meat Marathon kicks off with Joseph’s teeny tiny little conscience crawling out from under its rock.
Closing his eyes, he knew what he had to do. He left to go and apologize to Cady….
Out of nowhere, Joseph felt a chill down his back. He remembered that Ms. Renaud practiced a form of witchcraft. Suddenly, he couldn’t get out of the room fast enough.
I got chiiiiills, they’re multiplyin’, and I’m looooosin’ control….. Oh, sorry. You should also consider that an apology in advance for what I inflict on you later.
Just outside, Cady slid down the wall of the house until she could sit on the ground…. Desperate to just get away, she had gone out the closest exit she could find – the window.
If I ever get to be a Voodoo Priestess Guardian Angel, I’m going to make DAMN sure that I get a pair of wings that work, because there’s NO WAY IN HELL I’m crawling out of windows to avoid obnoxious assholes.
Above the sound of crickets and the occasional mooing of a cow….
That’s not particularly relevant, but it was too good to leave out.
Could she deal with this? Could she put aside her crushed hopes and take care of business? …She wanted, no she needed to protect and help him despite his rejection of her as a woman. Chewing on her lip, she decided what she would do: she would toughen up, get in his face and do everything in her power to get him back on his feet. And along the way – if they became friends – so much the better, friendship was better than nothing.
Which sign goes better with that ankle-length denim jumper she’s wearing: “Hi! I’m a Martyr!” or “Kick Me, I’m a Doormat!”?
Oh Sweet Jesus Honey Dews, writing that just made me realize that she climbed out a window while wearing an ankle-length denim jumper. I pity the poor stunt double when this gets made into a Lifetime TV Movie.
But that’s missing the important literary subtext of this passage: Cady does indeed find the inner strength to “get in his face.” Well, not his face, exactly. You know what I mean. Anyway, for Cady, “getting in his face” is a euphemism for…. Um, well, I guess it’s a euphemism for waiting around for Joseph to treat her like cow shit stuck to the bottom of his custom-made cowboy boot. Again. Which is coming up right about…now.
Those of you still rooting for Joseph will cheer as he pulls off the mother of all backhanded apologies:
“Cady, I’m so about what you heard me say. I’m not usually so stupid.”
No, but you’re always an asshole.
He tried not to look at her and judge – but could she have picked a more unbecoming outfit? He tried to decide if she were overweight. Hell, it was hard to tell. Hell, it was hard to tell. Her clothes didn’t touch her anywhere and she was wearing one of those dresses that women usually wear when they want to cover up a multitude of sins. Her hands were small and delicate and the feet that were peeking out from her floor-length skirt were narrow and sorta pretty. But a woman had to have more than cute hands and feet – what was in-between was pretty damn important. Hell! He was doing it again! What the fuck difference did it make how she looked? Wasn’t she exactly what he had hoped for? “It’s none of my business how you look or how you dress. I respect your ability and I need you. From this moment on, I promise to treat you with the respect you deserve. Okay?”
Well, since you asked so nicely…. Fuck off, douchebag.
But instead of pushing him out of his wheelchair and yelling “NUMBNUTS HAHAHAHAHA” while pointing at his perma-flaccid member, Cady leaves her last two milligrams of self-respect at the barn door and returns to fulfill her promise to Restore the Manhood.
The worst thing that could happen would be if she were foolish enough to develop a lasting crush on him. Right now, it was just wishful thinking.
A lifelong crush is the WORST she can imagine? AFTER he calls her “coyote ugly” and she climbs out a window??? The mind-boggling hypocrisy of that so-called apology must have made her forget the Portentous Shiver of Doom she experienced at the Mouth of Hell. Oops, I mean the gates of Tebow Ranch. Sorry, my bad.
Voodoo to the rescue….
To get all our ducks in a row with the series meta-timeline, we’re now in the frantic search for Jessie, our beloved Homeless Orphaned Dyslexic Pregnant Virgin heroine from Book 2.
While Joseph parks his Mercedes Z-class motorized wheelchair in the middle of the kitchen and whines about not being able to chase after Tiny Little Impotent Penis Guy like his non-paralyzed brothers, Cady quietly retrieves her Secret Stash of Voodoo Stuff:
While the family and authorities searched for Jessie, she lit candles and laid out a map of the local area. Being alone in the house (Joseph must have time-traveled somewhere), she visited Jessie’s bedroom and took a bit of hair from her brush to use as a spiritual connection. Braiding it into a heart shape, she held it tight in one hand while she let the pendulum swing over the map. After a few moments, it settled and stopped very near to the ranch. Jotting down the locale, she placed a discrete call to Kane Saucier.
Yes, the sheriff of Kerr County, Texas, is named Kane Saucier. His brother Zane is an attorney, but Zane is blind, so it’s pretty easy to remember who’s Law and who’s Order. Kane (with a K) has his own spin-off short story (!), which is free (!!), but it’s only available from the publisher’s website and there’s NO WAY IN HELL I’m entering my name and address on that order form. But someone needs to please-oh-please-oh-please download it for me, because I can’t bear to miss out on more sexy dialogue like this:
“I think I’ll mosey over that way and head my little filly off at the pass before she gets corralled by those bow-legged cowpokes.”
No, I did not make that up. Kindle location 5109.
ANYWAY, let’s not lose focus on the real mystery here. Not the spiritual connection part, that’s all cool. I’m talking about the mysterious heart-shaped pendulum made of braided hair. Exactly how much hair did Cady remove from Jessie’s hairbrush to be able to braid it into a heart shape? When was the last time Jessie cleaned her damn hairbrush?
Then again, who the hell cares, because the Magical Hair Heart leads the Joseph-less McCoy Posse directly to the correct abandoned farmhouse three miles away. Tiny Little Impotent Penis Guy gets shot (in the chest, sheesh) by Noah, who thereby redeems himself from getting Jessie kidnapped in the first place, and Jessie gets her Magical Orgasm Cure. You know, for her PTSD.
So, all’s well that ends well. Except we’re only in Chapter Four and Joseph’s manhood is still missing.
Is that a rifle, pardner?
No – it’s the starting gun for the semifinals of our Third Weekly Tournament of Assholes: The Is She Hot or Not? Lightning Round!
Uff da, I wish it was the lightning round. It’s more like the bottom of the sixth with two outs and it’s 97 degrees in the shade with 157% humidity and I’m dying to stand up and sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame just to have a chance to surreptitiously disengage the extremely sweaty undergarments from my tender openings but the batter keeps hitting foul balls and the so-called relief pitcher keeps faking throws to first to hold the runner on base and then another goddamn foul ball and then the guy on first makes an ill-timed attempt at second and gets hung up in a rundown which gives the runner on third enough distraction to steal home and now the game is tied and the face-painted asshole next to me gets so excited he Spills. My. Beer.
That’s what reading this book feels like: One big long pointless run-on sentence. With no beer.
You think I’m overreacting, but I’m not.
The entire rest of the book – we’re less than a third of the way through so far – is an endless repetition of “You’re not pretty enough, WELL MAYBE, let’s have sex with brain-melting orgasms, YEE HAW THAT WAS HAWT NO WAIT NEVER MIND, you need a makeover to be pretty enough, GOOD LORD WOMAN WHY ARE YOU CRYING?”
You think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not.
From Chapter Four – this scene has been edited for length to fit within your gag threshold:
Seeing his discomfort, she tried to make light of it at her expense, maybe that would put him at ease. “Remember, that’s why you wanted a homely therapist.” She spread her hands in concession to the point. “Well, here I am – coyote ugly – whatever that means. So, don’t think of me as a female, think of me as asexual – just a person.”
Actually, he’s probably thinking of you as a spineless doormat. Then again, maybe not:
… Her eyes were the warmest golden brown, exactly the color of an amber jewel…. And her cheekbones were high, and her lips were full and looked so soft and suckable…. He wouldn’t go so far as to say he had been wrong, but he was beginning to think she was kinda cute.
I need one of those bite-guard things to keep my teeth from grinding. Remind me to put that on my Christmas list.
“What is coyote ugly, by the way? Just for future reference.” Cady put her hands on her waist, and Joseph couldn’t help but notice how small it was. He would give a good of hunk change to see what kind of figure she was concealing so completely.
“Is it some kind of ‘dog’ reference? I’ve heard that before.”
That she would admit someone had called her a ‘dog’ brought a funny feeling to Joseph’s chest. That was a shame. But hadn’t he done the same – or worse? She folded her arms under her breasts and he could see that she did have a pair – a rather large pair. Nice.
You might think I deliberately left something out of that last bit to make it even more ridiculous. I didn’t.
“It alludes to a man being so drunk in a bar that he takes any woman home with him…. The stupid comparison comes from a coyote’s willingness to chew off his own leg in order to get out of a trap.”
“Oh…. That is a serious insult.” She could feel tears welling up behind her eyes and she called upon every magical atom in her body to quell them. It would humiliate her even more if Joseph saw her cry over something he said.
You might think this dreadful scene is finally over. It’s not.
“It’s all right. There’s no use for me to worry about something I can’t change.”
“I’m not a beauty consultant, but I am a connoisseur of women and I can see some things you could change easily enough.”
“I tell you what; I’ll let you analyze my shortcomings, if you’ll let me help you in the shower…. Since you smell like a sexy, clean male, I have to assume you are taking sink baths.”
Was she flirting with him? After everything he’d said to her? The hint of sexual tension in the air was pleasurable.
Okay, we’re done. For now. Imagine ^that^ ghastly episode multiplied by an average of five instances per chapter, times nine more chapters.
Our heroine goes back for more humiliation. Every. Single. Fucking. Time. And then she throws herself on a downed power line to save his life.
The angst! The drama!
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’re still in the middle of chapter four – our starting quarterbacks are still in the game, sticking close to the Hot or Not playbook, but the second- and third-stringers have been rotating in and out to keep the pseudo-plot moving:
Random Villainy, condomless sex, Emeril buys dinner, Joseph punches a Marine in the face, more condomless sex in penthouse suite of five-star hotel, non-appearance by menstrual fairy, hints of marriage proposal, boobtastic reporter from page one returns and vows Woman Scorned revenge, Random Villain returns, purchase of pregnancy test, finger-fucking in a restaurant booth, job offer instead of marriage proposal, she hides in room, she forgives him, more condomless sex, Nathan runs away, boobtastic reporter gets revenge by instigating Big Misunderstanding, Isaac apprehends Random Villain (see below), minor character disappears, Nathan is found, Big Storm, Cady FINALLY figures out she’s the World’s Worst Guardian Angel, Cady throws herself on downed power line, awakens to gasp “have them check the baby!”, ultrasound shows twins, Joseph fucks up marriage proposal, she cries, she forgives him.
The happy ending….
“Joseph, I’m not blind – I know how I look. But my grandmother used to tell me that when I met the man who would really love me I would become beautiful in his eyes and the more he grew to love me, the more beautiful I would become. That’s you, Joseph – if I’m beautiful, it is your love that made me so.”
And in heaven there was much rejoicing for one who was lost had come home.
And on earth, there was much sorrow for those who think misogyny is synonymous with romance.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present another entry in the WTF Oh Dear God She Really Didn’t Write That Did She? Hall of Fame:
Dr. Angel McCoy stood up to accept the award for her work in stem cell research.
No, that’s not it, keep reading. Dr. Angel’s twin, Gabriel, was born with a severe paralysis and died shortly after birth. You know, that divine retribution thing. Anyway, her parents and four sisters are in the audience (no sons for Joseph, because God actually does have a sense of humor).
Get ready for the Hail Mary pass:
As they watched their daughter accept the Nobel Prize for advancement in medicine, Joseph held Cady’s hand.
Not just any ol’ stem cell award, mind you – the motherfucking NOBEL PRIZE. Now THAT’S an epilogue.
Game. Set. Match. And that’s the end of the sports metaphors because I’m switching to something a little more high-brow. Show tunes, baby. Show tunes.
Acadia loved Joseph almost more than she loved God. And that fact could get her in serious trouble. Angels are supposed to love God above all else. Acadia tried, but Joseph owned her heart.
Remember a few paragraphs ago when I apologized in advance for what I was going to inflict on you later? This would be it. Out of all the snark I’ve written about this dreck, I’m surely going to hell (or maybe even Hell) for this one:
How do we solve a problem like Acadia?
How can we smack some sense into her brain?
How do we find a way to like Acadia?
Words like ‘ugly voodoo angel’ give me pain
Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her
Many a time you feel like being MEAN
But how can we make her heed
The clues she so badly needs
Why does she lose her shit in EVERY scene?
Oh, how do we solve a problem like Acadia?
Damn she just makes me want to stab my spleen
When I’m with her I’m confused, out of focus and bemused
And I never know exactly where I am
Vacillating like the weather, she’s as spineless as a feather
She’s a virgin, she’s an angel
She’s a lamb
She has voodoo nice and sweet, brings an asshole to his feet
She can make a throbbing cowboy lose his cool
She is horny, she is wild, she is clueless, she’s a child
She’s a doormat! She’s a martyr!
She’s a FOOL!
Maria von Trapp might have been a nun, but she had balls under that habit. Cady Renaud, not so much. There are very few one-syllable words pathetic enough to describe her.
There are, however, numerous examples of her pitiable ineptitude and general wretchedness:
Of course she knew what ‘69′ was, but that was like saying she knew what The Kentucky Derby was – it didn’t mean she had ever been there.
Oh. Dear. God.
Cady was running a tub of water and added bubble bath – a little too much bubble bath. Joseph walked in while she was leaning over the tub trying to mash the bubbles down before they floated over the top, just in time to see her fall over headfirst into the tub.
Need proof? Kindle location 4510.
“Could we not talk, please?” Joseph was a master seducer, and he was following a script that he had probably used a million times, and she couldn’t bear the thought of just being a much needed dress rehearsal for his next big performance. “I mean, you can tell me what to do. But don’t say nice things to me. Okay?”
Or maybe you could remind yourself of your “Toughen Up and Get In His Face” Declaration of Womanhood and tell him to FUCK OFF.
Cady loved him so much. With all the energy she possessed, with every bit of magick she could muster – Cady called forth the paralysis that hampered Joseph and invited it into her own body….
After a few minutes, she felt it. Her body began to tingle and not in a good way. …. Good. If she was hurting, that meant Joseph was free from pain for the first time in weeks.
…Now she needed to surround herself with blue light and try to rejuvenate her body. And if she could do it without Joseph being any the wiser, that would be perfect.
Please, by all means, let’s not make a McCoy aware he owes anything to a woman. Even if she’s literally sacrificing herself.
But before we judge our heroine too harshly, let’s recall there’s a reason she is the way she is:
After all, Cady knew what she looked like. Mud fence was a term she was too familiar with.
Other things you should know about our heroine:
- She wears non-prescription eyeglasses, styles her curly lush butt-length hair in a bun and has caramel skin.
- Her signature piece of apparel – the ankle-length denim jumper – is embroidered with kittens. Or maybe it was embroidered BY kittens. There is definitely embroidery involved.
- She’s a close personal friend of celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse. They’re related through voodoo. It’s a New Orleans thing.
- She’s only technically a virgin, because she knows her way around a tampon and a dildo.
But seriously, I think Cady’s Little Miss Martyr von Doormat routine galled me even more than Joseph’s whiny manwhore, because we knew he was going to be an idiot. Cady is supposed to be a highly educated and well-respected physical therapist, a Guardian Angel, AND a Princess Royal in the voodoo world. Talk about potential – can you imagine what a real PNR author could do with a character like that? But instead of kicking ass and brewing potions, our heroine flagellates herself at the feet of a man who treats her like dirt. Again and again and again. And then she drags herself back for more.
Because without the Love of a Man, her life is completely worthless. Even her immortal life.
Misogyny? What misogyny?
Then again, does it really count as misogyny if she’s such a spineless fucking DOORMAT? Or would that be like “she deserved it” victim-blaming? Discuss amongst yourselves.
Summing up Cady in one paragraph:
“What?” It took a moment for Cady to realize that Joseph was through with her. He pushed her – not hard – but hard enough for her to realize he wanted her gone – now. Trying to get her body to follow her mind’s directive – she hesitated. He pushed again and she became overbalanced and tumbled off the bed backwards. With a small cry, she hit the floor. Her torn gown gaped open and she rushed to pull it back together, totally mortified. “I’m sorry. I’ll go.”
Just to be clear: He pushes her out of bed and SHE apologizes. Kindle location 2260.
This was hard for a man who prided himself in making women dream, cream and scream on a regular basis.
I think it’s safe to say Joseph McCoy’s reign as Emperor of Assholia will forever be known as the Golden Age of Misogynistic Fuckwadery. However, I predict that Noah the Uptight Self-Righteous Accountant will stage a coup in Book 5. Let’s hope the civil war is long and painful.
Hell, he couldn’t even piss by himself. Every time a nurse came in and wanted to mess with the catheter that was stuck up his dick, he just wanted to throw a fuckin’ bedpan at ‘em.
Heart-wrenching, isn’t it? Let’s a throw a pity party for poor Joseph. Oh, wait, never mind – he’s already sent out the invitations:
None of the women who had once been at his beck and call would even answer his emails, much less their cell phones….. Maybe his current situation was a testimony to how shallow his life had become.
Maybe? MAYBE??? All I can say is quid pro quo, asshole. What goes around comes around. You reap what you sow. Too bad, so sad. Boo-fuckin’-hoo.
“Hey, my face is up here.”
Before his accident, he had enjoyed women eating him up with their eyes. Now he knew they weren’t lusting after his physique, they pitied his condition.
Awwww, poor baby.
Joseph was used to being adored – he expected it. That was one of the reasons being ignored by women after his accident had devastated him, so.
Do you need a tissue?
Long, perfect legs – gorgeous skin – he had never seen a more perfect little figure on a woman before. Granted, he couldn’t see her top – but what he could see was Grade A Number One.
Never mind. Fuck off, douchebag.
During the trip to New Orleans, Joseph gets all pissy with a slightly drunk Marine who’s flirting with Cady in a crowded restaurant. Our hero is patriotic enough to warn off the young serviceman by calling him “soldier boy” before punching him in the face.
He might be a crip, but he was covering the ground he walked on and there wasn’t a man in the bar who didn’t realize that the cowboy had claimed his woman.
Other things you should know about our hero:
- His best friend Beau is a world-famous hunter of endangered Cuban crocodiles.
- He can bench-press 400 pounds.
- He set a free-fall speed record in a jump sponsored by Red Bull. (I have no clue what this actually means.)
- He broke diving records for the longest cave passage (hahahahaha) by proving underwater springs near Tallahassee, Florida, were linked.
- He holds the record for free-climbing El Capitan in California. Ten hours.
- He lost his virginity in hayloft with Tiffany Robinson.
Summing up Joseph in one paragraph:
If he stopped now, it would break her heart. Shit! He was going to hurt her, either way he went. What the hell! He might as well please them both.
A summing up of the summing up….
Before we leave our lovely couple, let’s have one more example why these are the most one-dimensional and COMPLETELY FUCKING RIDICULOUS main characters I’ve ever read:
Laying her head on his shoulder she reveled in the rightness of being with Joseph. So, she endeavored to convey to him how she felt without burdening him with her love. “There is no like you. No one.” She kissed him right over his heart, feeling the strong beat beneath her lips. “Thank you for allowing me to share this precious time with you, Joseph. I’ll never forget it as long as I live.”
“Me either, baby. Let’s take a nap, and we’ll go another round.”
(moment of silence for individual contemplation and reflection….)
Intentional humor or subtle irony? You make the call. But please note that in context, there is nothing that indicates the author is anything other than completely earnest.
Our hero and heroine never change. Cady shows up a martyrific doormat and stays a martyrific doormat throughout the entire book. Joseph shows up a douchebag and does absolutely nothing to redeem himself, even to the point of fucking up his marriage proposal after the Power Line Incident.
They’re both so horrible, the Bad Sex isn’t even funny. What a waste.
Even more reasons why this is the Absolute Worst Book I have ever read:
Inane details…. Joseph likes to wear burnt orange Longhorn lounge pant sets during his physical therapy sessions. I honestly thought “Longhorn” was some kind of specialty Texas brand of flannel, but then I Googled it, and silly me. College football Longhorns. Duh.
Ridiculous character inconsistencies…. He-man Joseph compares his brother’s leather jacket to a Dooney and Burke purse. The man wears Longhorn lounge pants for god sake, how the hell is he so familiar with luxury-brand handbags? Is he a closet metrosexual?
Eye-rolling coincidences…. Cady just happens to be close personal friends with celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse – AND Emeril is a big fan of Joseph’s! I know, right???
Condomless sex…. With a MANWHORE. But it’s okay, because her period is irregular. GAH!!!
And last but not least, let me introduce you to our Stalker of the Week….
Mr. Random McVillainy is out for revenge – but not on our current hero Joseph. Mr. McVillainy is plotting against Jacob, the hero of the previous book. Mr. McVillainy has the impressive timing of invading the ranch at the exact same time as the villain of the previous book. I know, right??? Unlucky for him but lucky for us, Mr. McVillainy is quickly apprehended in a very specific location critical to the plot of the next book (see below).
No need to worry about the actual character name, as he appears only four times, in one- or two-paragraph scenes that pop up out of nowhere like prairie dogs on the open range (if prairie dogs were more like slimy little weasels and not totally adorable). Like most stalkers, Random is kind of a loner, but he is charmingly in touch with his emotions, especially while committing acts of pointless vandalism (CRASH!!! Yea, this was going to help his feelings, quite a bit.).
Random and probably stupid questions about paranormality….
In the spirit of transparency and full disclosure, I am not a fan of paranormal romance. I made it through about four Sookie Stackhouse books, but only because I was attempting to watch True Blood at the time and wanted to claim Alexander Skarsgård as my Vampire Boyfriend (>>>eye-candy link<<gross.
Anyway, that means I’ve never read any PNR with angels, demons or other such magical entities, so I’m in no way familiar with the infrastructure, architecture or etiquette of Heaven (or Hell), which means that I have some rather naive questions about paranormal-type things.
For example, naming conventions. Cady’s heavenly boss is Master Gabe, which I’m assuming is either Archangel Gabriel or one of his namesake minions. However, “Master Gabe” is also the name of a Dom in a BDSM book I read, so I kept worrying that this Master Gabe’s feathery wings would interfere with his flogging technique. Would that be blasphemy?
Also, the bureaucracy in Heaven:
He filled out his part of the form and handed it to her with instructions on where to go to arrange for her transfer.
So Heaven isn’t an earth-friendly paper-free workplace? Sheesh, even back in 1946, Clarence didn’t have to bother with paperwork when George Bailey was about to throw himself off the bridge.
Also, heavenly transportation:
“Acadia!” Master Gabe caught up to her just before she stepped onto the escalator. “I need to give you a bit more advice.”
Escalators? Are angels not allowed to use their wings while in Heaven? If you can’t have wings to escape annoying assholes and you can’t use them in heaven, then WHAT IS THE POINT OF BEING AN ANGEL?
Also, heavenly curfews:
A horn blew and a bell rang out – heralding the last call for those who were scheduled to depart the hallowed halls.
How does “last call” in Heaven work with various time zones and the International Date Line? If the angels miss their window, do they have to wait 24 hours, or can they just be transferred back to yesterday? Is that considered time-slipping or is that only for mortals?
I’m not even going >THERE< with my questions about the Voodoo/Hoodoo/Appalachian Granny Magic stuff.
For all you paranormal readers or voodoo practitioners out there: please be assured I am not making fun of you. I am, however, making fun of the author’s completely self-indulgent whim of including angels and voodoo in the book at all. None of the other books have it, it’s a confusing and possibly insulting mishmash of spiritual beliefs, it’s completely irrelevant to the actual plot (or lack thereof), and there’s absolutely no consistency in how and when it’s applied throughout the book.
Speaking of irrelevant self-indulgence:
Dear God: After I die, I would like to be an Office Worker Angel. Or maybe a Bus Driver Angel. I don’t I think would I would make a very good Guardian Angel. Thank you for your consideration. And for chocolate. Amen.
Another gratuitious musical interlude: A dream deferred….
I was totally planning on expediting my trip to Hell by bastardizing the lyrics to the Schoolhouse Rock “Interjections” song. Sweet Jesus Honey Dews!
For those of you young’uns who just went “huh?” – look it up on YouTube. I don’t have time to fill in all the gaps in your pop culture education. I have bad erotica to read, dammit.
Anyway, after a few chapters of exclamation point hunting, I realized the options for rhyming were significantly limited, so instead, I’m gifting you with a condensed version of Up the Mountain of Manhood: Joseph’s Epic Journey.
- Hell! (no time for diddlin’)
- O God! O God! O God! (motocross crash)
- Shit! Damn! (dream sex with kissing and possible twitching in the nether regions)
- Hell! Damn! Fuck! (dream sex with orgasm)
- Shit! (Strip Truth or Dare)
- Hell! (Cady lets her hair down)
- Ow! (the real physical therapy begins)
- Wow! (actual kissing with definite tingling in the nether regions)
- Hell! (Cady gets a makeover)
- Shit! (Cady gets a bikini wax)
- Damn! (blood rushes south)
- Holy Shit! (penetration)
- Fuck Yes! (orgasm)
It’s actually quite poetic and lyrical, in a weird sort of way.
Speaking of Bad Sex…..
Example #437 why I should NEVER be allowed to write fiction
So way back up there in the rundown of Chapters 5-13, you might have noticed a reference to finger-fucking in a restaurant booth. Yes, they sat on the same side of the booth. ANYWAY, after this extremely descriptive episode, Joseph meets and greets his fellow Texans, shaking hands with half the population of Kerrville and handing out beer to the rest.
During the entire scene, which includes the Marriage-Proposal-No-Wait-Just-Kidding-It’s-A-Job-Offer, THIS is what I fixated on: “He didn’t wash his hands after finger-fucking her. Why isn’t he washing his hands? OH GROSS he just touched that poor waitress on the arm. He still hasn’t washed his hands. Oh Dear God DO NOT take that beer bottle from him. WHEN is he going to wash his hands???”
Listen up, kids: That’s what reading this dreck will do to your brain. Or maybe it’s the menopausal hot flashes. Either way, you’re fucked.
The Misogyny Manifesto
Forget it. The manifesto part, I mean – if you’ve read this far, I hope I don’t have to convince you any further about the misogyny.
I’m sorry if I got your hopes up, but I’m going to allow my lingering TANGENTY ALL CAPS TANGENTS to fester in the Swamp of Destiny for another week while I read Badass: A Memoir by Isaac “Bad Boy” McCoy.
Why? Because of this sentence right here:
With one graceful movement, Isaac tore a whip from the wall and let the long black snake slice through the air coming down with a stinging blow on the bare hands of the man who dared to breach his inner sanctum.
No, not THAT kind of inner sanctum, THIS kind of inner sanctum:
“I’m a Dom, Kane – a sexual Dominant.”
Oh, HELL YEAH! Indiana Jones + Sex Dungeon = Put that in your pipe and smoke it, George Lucas.
In addition to the Big BDSM Reveal, we also learn that Isaac sneaks food to the dog under the dinner table. My expectations for Master Isaac have increased exponentially.
My standards are still low, but my expectations are high.
The wrap party
Before we sing Happy Trails for this week, I’d like to leave you with these inspiring glimpses into the afterlife:
“What difference does it make if I am beautiful or not? I only want to help Joseph. He won’t care about how look. Will he?” Her innocent question caused Master Gave to take a deep breath and consider carefully before answering. Acadia was strong in many ways, but her little spirit was fragile. She didn’t realize how easily she could be broken.
But then the heavenly last call bell rings:
The conductor motioned for her to follow him. “Hey, cutie! If you’re going with me – it’s time.”
Yes, Virginia (>snort<), there really is Misogyny in Heaven. Can I get an Amen!?
No? Didn’t think so.
More irrelevant self-indulgence, this time in pretentious footnote format:
* I cannot believe I didn’t notice this before, but lookie what I found on the title page:
Six brothers. One dynasty.
If Nathan the Plot Moppet gets his own book about losing his virginity, I’m going to have to get my Xanax prescription refilled early, and my doctor is going to ask why, and how in the HELL YEAH! am I going to explain that?
Unless, of course, the de-virginizer is a cougar. Like a Dynasty-era (nice segue, huh?) Joan Collins kind of cougar. How totally wicked AWESOME would that be???