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Book of Poetry: Romantic Poems (XXXX): Least Accurate Title of the Year

James K. Moore, Book of Poetry: Romantic Poems (MooreSuccess, no date listed)

romantic

The cover is the most romantic thing about it. photo credit: pinterest

I have to admit that I’m impressed, in a grudging sort of way, by the poem “You and I” in this collection. It is possible to advance the hypothesis that every major error it is possible to make in the crafting of poetry exists in this single piece.

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Read and Masturbate vol. 3 (2012): Not a Chance

photo credit: Oregon State University

Anonymous (ed.), Read and Masturbate, vol. 3 (No publisher listed, 2012)

ram

Bleed and obfuscate. photo credit: my copy

This is another of those pieces of cheap Kindle porn that seems as if the compiler simply harvested pieces from one of the alt.sex.stories.* newsgroups and cut/pasted to form this. Thievery issues aside, conceptually, such things would be good if the compiler has a little taste. Practically, however, I’m waiting to read my first one that’s actually worth reading. The two stories presented here, both of which have Indian narrators, are just as amateurish as in any other thing like this I’ve reviewed, but there’s a much uglier, darker, and more offensive tone here than usual: both of these stories revolve around rape. (No, there’s no difference between “non-consensual sex” and rape, and if you think there is, you’re part of the problem.) As a result, I did indeed complete the first half of the title’s directive, but the second couldn’t have been farther from my mind. (zero)

Hunting Season (2011): Tease Me, Freeze Me

Selena Kitt and Blake Crouch, Hunting Season (Excessica, 2011)

huntingseason.jpg

This will not be a truly free country until we have the unfettered right to arm bears. photo credit: goodreads

Erotica author Selena Kitt and thriller author Blake Crouch might seem an odd pairing for a collaboration. But hey, look at how many non-noise acts Merzbow’s done collaborations with. (If you haven’t heard his new one with Boris, Gensho, it’s even better than Rock Dream, the collaboration that introduced Boris to millions of noise kids and Merzbow to the wider world.) Sometimes you put two things that don’t seem like they’d go together well in the same dish, and magic happens. “Hunting Season” is quite a nice goat’s head stew, especially given that both authors rein in their normal genre tendencies and write what is, essentially, a contemporary romance novel that happens to be boiled down into eight thousand words, give or take. One of the things that does, where romance novel conventions are concerned, is dispense with the “you thought…” “wait, you thought…” silliness in the space of about a paragraph, when I’ve read books where it can go up to fifty pages. That alone is a refreshing enough shot of adrenalin for romance readers to pick this one up. Crouch does slip in a thriller angle, as ridiculous as it is, and Kitt seals the deal on it with the story’s Big Twist(TM), but in general, I only got impressions of which author was writing which bit, and that is a solid complement to both.

I enjoy both Crouch and Kitt as solo authors, so I went into this one pretty much knowing I was going to enjoy it. If you’re not familiar with one or both, you may want to check out their solo works first (my recommended starting points are Under Mr. Nolan’s Bed for Kitt and Desert Places for Crouch), but if you like those, you’ll want to pick this one up. *** ½

Inner Demons (2014): I’m Gonna Try for the Kingdom if I Can

Inner Demons (2014): I’m Gonna Try for the Kingdom if I Can

Inner Demons (Seth Grossman, 2014)

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Group Scare-apy. photo credit: roger-ebert.com (anyone surprised they hated it?)

I will start off with the film’s two biggest flaws, for those of you who want an excuse to get out of this review early. First, yes, the mockumentary/found-footage horror movie is as played-out as calling pocket aces with deuce-seven offsuit because you have a 32% chance of cracking them. And, perhaps even more appalling, yes, this movie’s scares depend on a plot hole big enough that you can drive a semi through it. So those of you who can’t get past those things, I will let you leave class early.

[pause]

…and now the rest of you are going to hear about the first movie that has actually scared me enough to sleep with a light on since Paranormal Activity 2 (and, for the record, the fifth movie to ever do so; the other three, and take all the time you like to wonder about me, but remember how old I was when the first one came out, were Beware! The Blob, Pet Sematary, and Candyman). Like I said, they rely on a massive plot hole, which I will get to in a second. But when you are confronted with “scrap this footage because of a plothole” vs. “scare the shit out of your audience”, a lot of directors since Alexandre Aja are going to do the latter. And I am here to tell you, when it comes to the scare factor, Inner Demons blows Haute Tension so far out of the water it might be an extra in Sharknado 3.

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The Lucky Little Labrador Goes to School (2012): …but not for characterization

C. J. Smiles, The Lucky Little Labrador Goes to School (Happily Books, 2012)

lucky

That diploma and a quarter… won’t even get you a bus ride anymore. photo credit: my copy

One of the cardinal rules of children’s book writing is to not talk down to your audience. Not only does it show a disrespect for them, but you’d be surprised at how well kids can see through that sort of thing. Smiles’ book has an example that is both more abstract and more subtle than usual, which kind of makes me want to grudgingly admire it while still running it down. In this case, it’s a character; Kevin’s mother is as two-dimensional as they come, nerve-wrackingly shrill until that one moment of revelation when all the sudden her personality changes completely. Ever seen that happen in real life? Nope, me neither. And we don’t do any service to kids telling them it happens, any more than we do service to adults when that sort of thing happens in bad TV shows and movies. The underlying story is a decent one, but the devil, as usual, is in the details. **

Company (2011): We’ll Make You Shout “Encore” And Send Us Out for More

photo credit: Oregon State University

Nathan Fisher, Company (Publisher unknown, 2011)

Company

Surprisingly, the tattoos do have something to do with the story. photo credit: my copy

Company” seems to have disappeared from Amazon, along with the rest of Nathan Fisher’s Testing the Boundaries series. Which is kind of a shame, because when it comes to cheap Kindle porn, 99% of it ranges from mediocre to downright awful. “Company” is average, which is still better than mediocre. It’s a pretty standard story (sexy married couple invites wife’s friend to join them one night) with pretty standard (read: overly beautiful to the point of being flawless) characters, but it’s well-written and the actual sex is realistic enough that it’s better than most of this sort of thing. My main gripe with it is my main gripe with pretty much any ultra-short piece of Kindle porn that’s actually good: Fisher could have made it so much better by building characters we could actually get to know and care about, interesting, flawed people whose reactions to the sex are as realistic as the sex itself. Alas, however, it seems we can’t have everything. ***

You Might Not Still Be an Atheist After Reading This One (2012): Guess What?

Erik Lee Giles, You Might Not Still Be an Atheist After Reading This One (Erik Giles?, 2012)

(Note: there is no release information anywhere on the file, so I am assuming it is self-published through CreateSpace (thus the question mark above).)

Atheist

Note: I didn’t screw up the capture: that’s the actual right edge of the book cover. Photo credit: my copy

I am.

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