eilonwy2017: (Default)
Apparently Harelquin hasn't learned their lesson about why they shouldn't send me free books to review, for I have received two new ones in the mail. One looks... mediocre, and the other looks *bad*. I have no intention of reading/reviewing them 'till I'm done with the Supernatural books, but it's nice to have options for after. (I also have a NASCAR Harlequin, believe it or not, which was a belated Christmas present from [livejournal.com profile] doctor12am that I want to review.)

Click to see the bad one's cover and read blurb )

So that's what you have to look forward to, post-Supernatural reviewing. :D
eilonwy2017: (Stabbity)
And now, the stunning conclusion of Victoria Bylin's The Bounty Hunter's Bride.

Chapter Nineteen: The Cows are Sick. Again. Also, a commentary on God's anatomy. )

Chapter Twenty: It's all over but the weddin'. Oh yeah, and that pesky Not-a-Villain )

So. There you have it. The Bounty Hunter's Bride, proof that anyone really can get published as long as they find the right niche.
eilonwy2017: (Cow Destruction!)
Almost there!

Chapter Seventeen: When Evil Old Aunties Attack! )

Chapter Eighteen: Daff's Rose-petal lips-- or Dani's milk in a bucket...? Um, ew? )

And on that 'erratic' note, that's all for today's installment. Join me tomorrow afternoon when we finish up The Bounty Hunter's Bride.

I'm considering my next review. I'm (mercifully) all out of Christian romance, but I do have a really bad looking regency called The Irish Rake. I tried to read it before, but didn't get past the first chapter in which our "hero" is busily getting it on with some throwaway character. It would certainly be the other end of the spectrum from the first drivel.

Or, I could just wait and see if Harlequin sends me anything else. They probably will, but I have no idea idea when-- could be months! That'd be sad. What do you guys think I should do?

(Also, I think I might need a Reviewing Icon, which involves Cows and some of the more, um, special lines from BHB.)

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eilonwy2017: (Cow Destruction!)
Chapter Fifteen: Don't get married if you won't have sex )

Chapter Sixteen: The ways of God and the godly god-things He does )

Next chapter: a character (well, caricature) almost as interesting as the cows finally shows up. Alas, only for the next chapter.

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eilonwy2017: (Blow Me)
Well. I finished the book tonight, along with write-ups for the rest of the chapters. It really was quite awful. I also filed my opinion with Harlequin-- I'll either never get a book to read by them again or they'll send me tons because at least my response was articulate and thoughtful, if rather ranty.

Before we get started on the next few chapters (no, you're not getting all of them tonight), I thought I'd share something from the Creationists: Bananas: Proof of God. It just seems like something that this book would approve of. (Although I should point out that neither of these books ever deal with the question of God's existence-- they just assume that a) an evengelical style Christian god exists, and b) everyone knows that but c) some people haven't chosen to be friendly with him yet. Atheists, Agnostics, Evolutionists, Catholics, other religions... just don't exist in these books.)

Chapter 12 )

Chapter Thirteen-- or, can it get any more dull? )

Chapter Fourteen, or, Dance my Little Christian Minions, DANCE! )

I'll post the rest of the chapters over the next day or so. Soon we'll meet the Evil Old Auntie! And I'm taking suggestions for what I should review next. Hopefully something a little less heavy-handedly Christian...

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eilonwy2017: (Not Going to End Well)
I don't know what I'm going to do when I'm done with this book! I'm enjoying shredding it so very much! I'll post a poll regarding what to do after this one, but if you have any ideas, put 'em in comments!

Chapter Eleven

The chapter begins (and crawls) with Dani sitting on the porch, thinking. Then Beau joins her and they sit on the porch some more. Then there’s more sitting on the !#$ porch.

not enough cows )

Number of Christian Things our Heroine does: 3 (but she also decides not to preach forgiveness at Veangeance-Seeking-Beau, because it "isn't her place."

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eilonwy2017: (Clowns: Rossi)
Halfway there! OMG!

I know I complained about the first of these books, but this one is so much worse. It’s far more heavy-handed in it’s proselytizing, for starters—characters within the book preach to others, to themselves, to the reader… Most chapters have bible stories embedded in them, metaphorically (this one is Jonah and the Whale, as a parable of redemption, and more--- but we’ll get there in a bit.) But the worst part is that, if I’m correct in judging from this chapter, it’s the magic Christianity of born-agains, and not the deep inward knowing of God’s love that at least makes sense to me.

Letters from a Dead Man to a Dead Woman. Also, cows. )
eilonwy2017: (Cow Destruction!)
This chapter wants to convince me that the most interesting characters within this book are the cows—and really, given the nature of the rest of the book, that’s not hard to do. It opens with the following sentence: “Dani touched Daff’s udder and winced” (131).* (Daff is the cow, short for Daphne.)

Cows and Snooping )
* One of my friends feels that you should be able to open a romance novel to any page and find sex. If you tried that with this one, and found that sentence, one might, uh, wonder.

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eilonwy2017: (Cow Destruction!)
I was going to write a few of these tonight but only post one at a time, but I realized several things:
1) there are always more bad books to review
2) drawing this out isn't helping ease my pain
3) my review of chapter 8 is the best of the three, so I wanted to end on it.

Chapters 6, 7 & 8 )
eilonwy2017: (Keslurking)
Chapter Five:
We open the chapter with prayer, naturally. Dani has gone to the graveyard and asks God what his plan for her is (although she also refuses to return home, which doesn’t seem particularly open minded when asking your deity what his play for you is.) Slovenly-Beau shows up, all neat and clean, so I guess I need to find a new name for him. Dani asks if it’s safe to be around him (given that his wife died of a bullet meant for him, she guesses the answer is “no”) and he answers, “as safe…as it is to be on a horse in a thunderstorm” – man, must we keep (metaphorically) beating a (real) dead horse? I mean, sure, I guess I feel for Patrick, being all corpsified via lightning, but I feel worse for the horse not only lost his life but his tail.

On the bright side, I guess, Slovenly-Beau cleans up okay enough to turn his eyes a “truer green.”

Dani continues to try to insist that she can run the dairy farm, and the bible story of the chapter is from Proverbs, but I have to admit it’s not one I’m familiar with. (The book conveniently told me it was from Proverbs; I assume it’s not one that even the book’s expected readership could pull out of their memories like “Cain and Abel” would be.)

They all have dinner with the reverend and his wife, who gives the girls a kitten. Beau warms up to them all a smidgeon and names the cat T.C., for Tom Cat, which everyone thinks is so darn clever, but I think is really lame. Dani assures the kitten they’ll give him milk when they get home, which makes me think they’re all idiots—cow’s milk is not enough for a kitten to survive and thrive on! Cow = herbivore, Cat = carnivore! Trust me! I know these things! I know of what I speak! Morons.

The chapter then switches perspectives to Clay Johnson, the Villain. And just so we know he’s EVIL, and that the book hates horses, we open on him killing his mare. And no, that’s not a euphemism. (She’s broken her leg, so there’s reasoning, but still.) Equines, run from the town of Castle Rock! They want to kill you!

Just so you know that the Villain is actually just Misguided, he considers praying, but thinks he’s too evil. He even (almost) cries over his horse. And he references Noah’s Ark when wondering if his horse went to Heaven. So that’s 5 bible stories so far in the space of 5 chapters.

Our Villain is all tormented about killing Beau’s wife, and almost wants to die. (Not quite, because that’d be a sin and too evil.) The chapter closes with the Villain and his men deciding to raid a horse ranch. (Which makes me think that still more horses are going to die. This makes me displeased.)

In this chapter the book actually has a plot issue because Dani says: “Missing Patrick’s funeral had denied her a line in the sand, a place that marked before and after. She’d found it today in the cemetery.” One imagines someone was kind enough to draw one for her—it’s not hard. Grab a stick, even Lavinia can do it. (Sorry—I’ve been grading Shakespeare papers…) But my point for bringing this up is not the poor use of metaphors (although that’s enough of a reason) but because in the first chapter Patrick’s body was still in the front room of the house. I don’t know about you, but most funerals I’ve heard of/attended/seen involved the body being put into the ground.

The only stupid metaphor I noticed was: “Beau Morgan had cleaned up on the outside, but his soul was full of grit” (77). Mmm, crunchy.

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eilonwy2017: (Genius or madness?)
Chapter 3:
How many bible stories can one book reference? We opened, as you might recall, with Cain & Abel. Now our Hero is informed that the decision he has to make requires the Wisdom of Solomon, which launches into a brief retelling of the tale. We get it, Ms Bylin, you’ve read your Old Testament, very good.

This chapter is almost entirely from Slovenly-Beau’s point of view. He speaks with the lawyer, who tells him he’s found an aunt of the girls, but the aunt only wants the oldest one. While telling the lawyer to offer the aunt money to take them all (or none), he notices that Dani and the girls have left the ice-cream shop, so he dashes out to the street and chases them to the parsonage. Okay, I admit to being amused when the reverend’s wife, upon seeing Dani and the children being followed by the Slovenly-Beau goes and gets a shotgun. Mwahahaha. But then she recognizes him and hugs him, dammit. The book could have been far more interesting. She tells Slovenly-Beau that he is slovenly, and to go take a bath, so he does. But first he goes to the saloon—even though he hates saloons. He doesn’t drink, he informed Dani in chapter one (and neither did the Hero of the previous book. Must be a trope—no drinking allowed.) There he finds information about Clay Johnson, and we get some backstory of how he’s been chasing the killer for several years and through several states. It’s declared to be a game of cat and mouse, but frankly it just suggests to me that Beau isn’t a very good bounty hunter.

The bit from Dani’s point of view is just of her running down the streets with the girls, hoping she doesn’t trip (as she wore nice shoes to meet her bethrothed-who-is-now-dead.) While running she notices the sun glint off of some metal, and is reminded that God had told people to turn swords into ploughshares. Good grief. That’s 3 individual bible stories referenced, can we go for 4? It almost makes up for the lack of Heroine Doing Christian Things.

Favorite line of the chapter: “The cows had no mercy…” (43). It’s better without context, so I shan’t give you any.

But this is pretty good, too: “He blinked the image away, but the rage stayed in his blood, swimming like a thousand fish” (52). Seriously? A thousand fish? That’s the best metaphor she could come up with?

Chapter Four:
The first half of this chapter is Dani’s perspective—the reverend’s wife, and then the reverend as well, tell her the backstory of Soon-to-be-Clean-Beau’s wife’s death. She gets very sad and goes to the church to pray. Now-Clean-&-Fresh-Beau arrives and the reverend tells her where Dani is (in church) and he’s all, “I can’t go in there!” but finds her crying in the cemetery. Why it took the author 16 pages of boring exposition to tell us this, when I could do it in a paragraph (admittedly sans details), I do not know.

One bible story referenced—the reverend looks like Moses about to deliver the 10 commandments. And four instances of the Heroine Doing Something Christian.

I’ve decided that the book is better if you take all the metaphors as truth, like the one in chapter two, where Slovenly-Beau lives between the canyons of good and evil. To that end, I share the following:

“At the sight of his wife, Reverend Blue’s face turned from stone to living flesh” (56).
She’s the anti-Medusa!

“He put bibles in jail cells for men who spat at him” (60).
The ones who kept their saliva to themselves got copies of Vogue.

“I rode into their camp and introduced the Father, Son and Holy Ghost” (60).
Then everyone sat and had tea and crumpets.

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eilonwy2017: (Faerie with books)
Chapter Two:
Chapter 2 finds all of our main characters, in a make-shift fake family, heading into town so that Dani can return her hired buggy, Beau can visit the lawyer, and Dani can kidnap the children and take them to church. (No, seriously—she thinks to take them to the reverend, because Patrick had said such nice things about him, in order to keep them safe from Beau.) Beau admits to Dani that he’s going to sell the farm and send the girls to boarding school, at which she, naturally, protests. Then he sends them for ice cream. Thinking this is the chance to escape, Dani tries to get the girls to the church, but the littlest girl starts crying about ice cream, and when she looks up, Beau is staring at them through the window of the ice cream parlor.

The chapter opens with this gem: “Looking at Daniela Baxter, Beau felt the cut of sudden change” (22). The “cut of sudden change”? I’ll admit it, I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean. Later he declares of Dani, that, “She looked like the kind of woman who’d want to go to church on Sundays” (24). I’m… not sure what that means, either. I mean, I’m sure he’s right, our Heroine does, in fact, go to church on Sundays, and then some. But how does she look it? But then again, this is a very inspirational book. Apparently, “the cows had names and liked it when her pa sang hymns” (28). Even the dairy cows want to praise the Lord.

Much of this chapter is from Beau’s point of view, and we learn his backstory—he had a wife. The wife is dead. The wife was killed by Clay Johnson, who he is still chasing. Aha! We have found our story’s Villian. We also learn that Beau, “like most shootists, he lived in the canyons between good and evil” (23). Given that this is an Old West ™ book, I’m not sure if those are actual canyons or only metaphorical ones. I like to think that he lives on a plateau between two canyons actually called Good and Evil. This makes me much happier than anything else in the book.

Weird metaphor for eyes in this chapter? (it was “dead grass” in the previous, if you recall.) “dull pewter.” (The girls’ eyes were this color because they were crying so much.)

Tally of Christian Things Our Heroine Has Done (in this chapter): 6 -- again, a conservative count, given the metaphors and backstory. And one of those six is a full page prayer.

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eilonwy2017: (Reading)
Victoria Bylin
The Bounty Hunter’s Bride

The cover, to start with, is pretty bad. That’s not unusual for Harlequin imprints, but still… It shows a bride in an Old West ™ town, which is drawn in Old West ™ brown. The woman is staring off to her left as if dreaming of being in any book but this one. She’s holding a small posy of wild-flowers in a very masculine hand that seems incongruous to her lacey dress. In the background a random cowboy on a bay horse is staring at her, while behind him there’s a guy on a wagon evidently pulled by a headless-horse with five legs. There are some other people and wagons in the distance, far smaller than perspective would indicate. Best of all, there’s a tagline that reads simply “The love of a good woman…” with nothing before or after it. What about the love of a good woman? I do not know. You can see the cover here on Amazon.

Back Blurb & Chapter 1 )

August 2017

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