Rant, Review

Review: A Taste of Sage by Yaffa S. Santos (2020)

Heat Factor: There’s a fire in this kitchen

Character Chemistry: He’s a manipulative douchenozzle

Plot: It went some unexpected places

Overall: I was so excited about the premise, but the execution was disappointing

Continue reading “Review: A Taste of Sage by Yaffa S. Santos (2020)”
Rant, Review

Review: Under an Alaskan Sky by Jennifer Snow (2020)

Wild River, Book #2

Review of Wild River, Book 1

Heat Factor: Once they hop in the sack, it’s like bunnies

Character Chemistry: I’m not entirely sure that the chemistry is as good if you haven’t read the first book in the series.

Plot: She’s been pining for him for five years. Now that he might be ready to make a move, his daughter’s mother comes back to town.

Overall: I can’t deal with emotional angst when it’s just wrong.

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Rant, Review

Review: Hickville Crossroads by Mary Karlik (2020)

Hickville High, Book #4

Heat Factor: Innocent little high school kisses

Character Chemistry: This person looks into my eyes and I get all the tingles. I am not doing relationships right now. But the tingles…

Plot: Scottish actor embeds in rural Texas high school to understand his next role better, accidentally falls for local girl

Overall: It’s YA, so I shouldn’t, but I want to rant.

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Let's Talk Tropes, Rant

Contemporary Romance Chronicles: The Grand Gesture

Unpopular opinion: Grand gestures are bullshit. 

That’s right. You read me. 

I had no idea how much I hated them until I started reading a ton of contemporary romance. Perhaps the historical romance authors I was reading just don’t go for the grand gesture, but that doesn’t sound quite right. Most of the histrom authors I tend to read are prolific, with huge backlists, and backlists usually include some variety. There’s that Sarah MacLean novel in which the duke gets a divorce through an Act of Parliament for his grand gesture. That did make me rage, TBH. Or there was that Shana Galen book where the hero jumped into the Thames with only the clothes on his back to catch a ship to AMERICA even though he had time to plan for a journey. Ruined the book for me. What an idiot. But most grand gestures aren’t like that in histrom. They’re, like, declaring true love in a ballroom or something. Maybe it’s because of the social male-female power dynamics? Maybe because they’re historically removed and I’m less emotionally invested in people acting like idiots? Maybe it’s because these heroes are all emotionally constipated and just expressing feelings is a grand gesture? 

It will remain a mystery. 

Maybe the reason I get so hung up on the grand gesture in contemporary romance is because I expect modern adults to act with some semblance of modern sensibilities and emotional maturity. It’s a big ask, I know. I live in a fantasy world. 

Continue reading “Contemporary Romance Chronicles: The Grand Gesture”
Rant, Review

Review: Indian Prince’s Hidden Son by Lynne Graham (2020)

Heat Factor: A bonfire in her pelvis

Character Chemistry:

Plot: He comfort seduces her immediately after her father’s funeral. She gets pregnant, but doesn’t tell him. He finds out anyway and coerces her into marrying him. 

Overall: I have so many concerns.

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Rant, Smut Reporting

Unsolicited Advice for Budding Romance Novelists

“…the delve of his tongue into the moist aperture of her mouth.”


Please don’t write sentences like this. 

Let’s break it down, shall we?

  1. Avoid passive construction

“The delve of his tongue” is indirect. We have to keep reading to find out what, exactly is delving.

Also, “delve” is a verb; furthermore, it is a verb that is not particularly conducive to nouning. 

  1. Use fewer words

The key parts of this sentence are tongue – into – mouth. Everything else is window-dressing. Yes, we want evocative adjectives, but overwriting is distracting. 

  1. Beware the thesaurus

At TSR, we are on record with the fact that reading romance novels improved our vocabularies and helped us ace the verbal portion of the SAT. However, just using the thesaurus to find loose synonyms without some thought is not a good plan.

In this case: delve means to “reach inside a receptacle and search for something.” What is his tongue searching for? Her tonsils?

  1. Never, ever, ever use the word moist 

Maybe if you’re talking about fungus. “Moist aperture” is perhaps the least sexy combination of words I have ever read. 

This has been a public service announcement from your friendly neighborhood smut reader.

You’re welcome. 

Rant, Review

Review: Vitality by Crysta Levere (2019)

Heat Factor: A somewhat detached but urgent sexual obsession

Character Chemistry: He wants to exsanguinate her and she has a serious penchant for self-harm

Plot: If you can figure that out, I give you all the props


Continue reading “Review: Vitality by Crysta Levere (2019)”