UNTIL NOW. All month long, I'll be reviewing grownup romances for your ebook downloading needs (and needs-to-avoids)! And to help ease the transition from reading YA to romance novels -- 'cause even a book with more than one sex scene is way smuttier than my usual fare -- here's our old friend, BOOZE.
THE OFFICIAL FYA SMUTTY BOOK DRINKING GAME
This drinking game is a bit different from what we usually do; it can vary from person to person, depending on what your threshold for romance novels is. Basically, just classify your reaction to the stuff that icks you under one of the three L's. (The possible causes are obvs calibrated for me, but they should give you ideas of what you can and can't deal with.)
(Not) Recommended Bevvy: The Wink
Symptoms: Withering stare, crinkling of forehead, getting off on being withholding.
• Overreliance on fancy words.
• Specific phrases that are repeated again and AGAIN. (These tend to be fairly obvious by the third or fourth iteration.)
• Euphemisms for genitalia.
• Tongues 'dancing'/'duelling'/participating in any other kind of sports.
• Discussing sex in animal terms. (E.g. 'mating'; using the words 'male' and 'female' instead of 'man' and 'woman'.)
Remedy: Take a drink.
Recommended Bevvy: Astronaut Mike Dexter
Symptoms: ALL YOU NEED ARE EYE ROLLS.
• Grammatical or spelling mistakes. (You are a BOOK, dammit; act like one!)
• Hands grazing or caressing (face) cheeks.
• Sex that invokes food imagery ('meat' -- shudder), or verbs that also double as actions on a battlefield* (e.g. 'impaling', 'pounding', 'pummeling', 'slamming').
• The word 'lovers', unless between 'meat' and pizza'. (Related: 'lovemaking', 'making love'.)
Remedy: Take a shot.
Recommended Bevvy: Gin Martini
Symptoms: Painfully contorted facial muscles, uncontrollable and audible wincing, barely suppressed vomitting, highly questionable wardrobe choices.
• Words including, but not limited to: 'diddle', 'flesh', 'moist', 'panties', 'suckle', and OH GAWD I fear the kinds of search terms that this post will be a result for.
• Women of a Certain Age being reminded of their shriveling ovaries and impending spinsterhood. (Bonus chug if the woman in question is in her 20's!)
• Both intentionally and unintentionally heinous, tone-deaf shit that makes you FOAM AT THE MOUTH. (E.g. gross possessiveness, slut shaming, fat shaming, etc.)
Remedy: Chug until the end of the paragraph (or page, if especially egregious).
*'Cause love is a battlefield (omg shut up, self).
OK, y'all. Drinks at the ready? Without further ado...
LET'S GET IT ON with The Last Man on Earth (The Graysons Book 1) by Tracy Anne Warren
Thankfully, this cover is free of romance staples like abs, kissing, or o-face. But this guy isn't really as hot as the character he's supposed to be is, and that smirk conveys douchey more than dashing. Upon closer inspection, this cuff-adjusting pose reaaally doesn't exude the suaveness that it's probably supposed to; dude just looks like he's about to bore me with the world's lamest card trick.*
I also kept waiting and waiiiiting for the book's title to show up in the story, to no avail. Or at least I didn't notice, since the only reason to name a romance novel The Last Man on Earth is for the phrase to be uttered by a saucy dame befitting a pulp noir.
*"Illusion, Michael!" (Not even the last Arrested Development reference, btw.)
Can I Buy You a Drink?:
52 Lucilles, 37 Lizzes, and 53 Lorelais.
What's Your Type?:
Office romance, rivals turned bedmates, secret affair, obstacle ex, commitment-phobe, the taming as they screw.
Twenty-nine year old Madelyn Grayson is an uptight and newly single ad exec, and her colleague, thirty-two year old Zack Douglas, who's notorious around the office for being a philandering cad.
Oh, and Madelyn cooks a lot; she's constantly making food for others or offering to do so. Points for realism, I guess, but her dishes are fairly ordinary and uninspiring. Please pack your knives and go, Madelyn.
Madelyn and Zack have a history of competing for the same clients and butting heads at their NYC-based ad agency (though Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, this place ain't). And soon, they'll be using their butts and their heads for another reason...
(Spoiler alert: THE REASON IS SEX.)
Of all the New Year's Eve parties in all the hotel ballrooms in all of New York City, Madelyn and Zack find themselves at the same one, both without a date as the clock strikes midnight. They share a New Year's kiss, and WHADDAYA KNOW -- the sparks, they fly! As the party winds down, Zack offers to give Madelyn a lift home -- but not before they make a detour to the suite he booked right upstairs.... in bed.
Are They Animals In the Sack?:
Well, there are quite a few sex scenes, but none that actually made me blush or is worthy of the following disclaimers:
Cuddly animal photos in lieu of using, er, alternative language.
This section is supposed to be reserved for mid-coitus exchanges (of words, you guys), but the dialogue in this book is SOOOO out of touch with reality. Granted, I'm no expert on late twenties/early thirties NYC ad execs. Maybe they do speak this way; in which case, I'll learn how to crochet, buy craft supplies, make myself a hat, and eat said hat.
"You no-good, lowdown, scurvy dog!"
Literally the first line of the book. I should have heeded this harbinger of things to come.
"I've had my fill of fun for one night."
Oh, I've had more than my fill of this. And don't call me Shirley.
"What about Eddy?"
"Ancient history. I thought I told you we broke up. Well, never mind, Bruno's my latest."
Ancient history, you say? As in, back when all the cool cats and kittens took their latest to the sock hop? (Someone also uses the expression 'pish-tosh'; the internet tells me this is richspeak for 'bullshit', to which I say, "Pish-tosh." )
"Exactly the reason I didn't. I knew you'd feel compelled to rearrange your entire afternoon because of me. I figured springing myself on you without a word was enough of an imposition."
FYI, this is from a casual convo between sisters. In the words of Rusty Ryan, don't use seven words when four will do.
"Still, you seemed to love it at Mitchell, Brown, and Lovell. From all appearances you were on the fast track to making partner. You never would tell any of us in the family why you left the city so suddenly."
From that same convo above -- now with a visit from the Exposition Fairy!
"Not slow. Dignified. But I can understand that this might not be the sort of entertainment you prefer."
"And how would you know what sort of entertainment I prefer?"
Madelyn shrugged. "One hears things."
Regency costume drama, or sexxay contemporary? Trick question, because the answer is THERE SHOULDN'T BE ANY CONFUSION.
Ms. Perky's Prize for Purplest Prose:
Choosing a winner was hard, but my decision is firm; this passage really rose to the occasion. Furthermore: boner.
Consumed by desire and the overpowering urge to feel the silk of her bare flesh beneath his hands, to sheath himself inside the hot, honeyed depths of her body, he yanked down the zipper of her dress with one hand as he thrust up the long formal skirt of her gown with the other. Slipping a grateful hand beneath her panties, he cupped her rounded bottom and fondled her flesh.
Honourable mention goes to this line, which came too early and too short to whack off the competition.
Rhythmically insinuating the sexual act, he slipped his fingers down and around to touch her intimately.
Cassidy Freeman and Ian Somerhalder as Madelyn and Zack
Just picture these two without the period garb. (And with modern clothes instead, I mean. Get your minds out of the gutter, y'all; that's my job.)
Was It Good For You, Too?:
Let's not fool ourselves, Book; we were never good together. Your personality confused me, and the deeds between the sheets didn't thrill me, either. And really, I only dated you for this long so I could gossip about you with my friends.
FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Signet Select. I received neither money nor froyo for writing this review (dammit!). The Last Man on Earth is available now.