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We Saw Fifty Shades Darker So You Don’t Have To

11 Feb

by Elizabeth SaFleur & Madeline Iva

Happy Weekend! We’re here to share with you all our thoughts after seeing FIFTY SHADES DARKER at the movie theatre last night. fifty-shades-darker

Madeline: I loved seeing that group of women who all came into the theatre wearing masks. In fact, my role here is to see the film with eyes of love.  To understand why women love it, why it’s so ridiculously successful.

Elizabeth: This blog post also could be titled, Fifty Scenes of Dakota’s Boobs. Or Fifty Shades of Mixed Messages.

Madeline: You’re in a mood this morning.  I can tell.

Elizabeth: I don’t hate the Fifty Shades franchise. I don’t love it either. I’m neutral, though I was really hoping Hollywood did a better job of portraying the lifestyle than they did previously. Of course, I recognized this story, from the get-go, isn’t a BDSM erotic romance at all.

Madeline: I mean, I agree.–But what is it then?

Elizabeth: It’s a story of a man with PTSD from his childhood who channels his angst by engaging in supposed sadism (I don’t think he’s really a sadist, by the way) with submissives. He meets an ordinary girl who sends this man mixed signals. But she would. She’s in her early twenties and still figuring herself out. But, Jesus, the back and forth!

All that chest--and no touching it. I would go mad.

All that chest–and no touching it. I would go mad.

Madeline: Yes, she’s still figuring it all out.  Jackie and I talked about that with the first movie. This is a strong message that’s getting out into the world these days and I applaud it.  You hear that men? Women are not playing games.  They’re not f**king with you.  They’re trying to figure it out, okay? And sometimes it’s not easy.

Elizabeth: I get why people love 50 Shades. Billionaires, mild kinky scenarios—

Madeline: Yay to mild-kink! Or, as I like to call it, Kinky-lite.  We need t-shirts.  I’ll get my people right on that.

Elizabeth: –especially if you’ve not been exposed before. People also love the luxurious settings, a man changed by the love of a woman. That trope is old as the hills.

Madeline Iva: As old as the hills–and yet there are real haters out there.  Haters who love romance, confoundingly.

Elizabeth: I get why people hate it. Bad BDSM benchmark set, a weak(er) story structure and did I mention the mixed signals from both characters?

Madeline: One thing about the mixed messages: I think that the movie makers had to do it the way that they did. They had to be true to the book and in the book, she’s walking away from kink.  On the other hand, what do we want? We want hot sex scenes in the movie! Like we had in the first movie, only different.  They delivered both.  Could they have delivered a movie that had a lot less sex? I don’t think so.

Elizabeth: The PR/Marketing person in me also thought they missed an opportunity to make the movie the best possible thing ever. No excuse! I mean, built-in audience, Hollywood! We had a row of women behind us who came as a group all wearing masks. You can’t buy this kind of loyalty.50-shades-darker-teaser-mask

Madeline: You think they should have really dug in and changed things, deepened the script, the plot, etc?

Elizabeth: Yes! So, sadly, this movie isn’t going to win any Oscars.

Madeline: So, here’s what I say — is this even really a movie? I mean, I thought of it as something in film form that was an homage to the book.  I think we’re in the early days of a whole new medium. We need to come up with a jazzy name for it.  I mean, that whole weird section with the helicopter crash? “Real” movies don’t actually work like that.  Which is okay–but comparing this to a movie is like comparing apples to…an apple flavored jolly roger candy.  You know?

Elizabeth: It will certainly please the 50 Shades crowd, but in equal measure that it will tick off the real-life BSDM enthusiasts. (I can’t help but think of how this mirrors our very-politically-divided country right now.)

Fifty pull ups. Cause you know *that* joke isn't getting old.

Fifty pull ups. Cause you know *that* joke isn’t getting old.

Madeline: Aren’t they already ticked off? I mean, by this point, I can’t imagine real-life BDSM enthusiasts going see this movie for sheer love.  Me, I was frankly relieved that it was so kinky-lite in the first movie.  FIFTY SHADES DARKER’s little play-time scenes were icing on the cake.  Besides, I brought my husband to see the movie, and was hoping to placate him with all the sexy biz.

Also, as Jezebel writers said: “What was good: basically nonstop puss eating.”

Elizabeth: !

Madeline: So sez Jezebel, so say we all. On the other hand, people kinda wanted to see Christian’s dick.  Not me, just…people.  #dickparity is a thing, I guess.

Elizabeth: What I liked about the movie: Dakota Johnson has got acting chops.

Madeline: I agree.

Elizabeth: She’d better than most people probably realize given she had to develop that character herself. Anastasia Steele’s clothes. I want that La Perla bustier garter set she’s wearing.

Madeline: We all want that La Perla bustier garter set.  And the body to go with it.

And it looks even better from the back...

And it looks even better from the back…

Elizabeth: –Ya know, for sitting around my home office so I can pretend I’m about to be whisked to a ball. Also, her lips. M and I agree – she had the best lipstick. And it stayed on no matter what they were doing like sucking face, which they did often.

Madeline: I liked the sucking face.  Jamie Dornan sucks face well.

Elizabeth: Christian Grey’s boat. Niiiice. Jamie Dornan’s buffness and scruffness – just the way I like it. Oh, and his neck! I just wanted to bury my face in it.

You want to grab him. Admit it.

You want to grab him. Admit it.

Madeline: I did not need him so buff.  But I am obsessed.  (Posting on that later.)

Elizabeth: The general eye candy was great. They live in a beautiful world.

Madeline: I was going through eye candy withdrawl. This movie definitely helped.

Elizabeth: But I can’t get over the mixed signals: “Christian, I can never, ever give you what you need.” Ten minutes later, “Christian, spank me.” “Take me to the red room.” Make up your mind, lady. You’re either into the kink or you’re not.

Madeline: Okay, here’s my take on that — at first in their relationship he wanted total control.  Even to the point of saying he didn’t “do relationships”.  Gah.  It’s like a dance, and he was always leading.

In FIFTY SHADES DARKER, she takes control.  It’s not about consistency.  It’s about her leading. In the past, with all his interactions the dominant dynamic was about them pleasing him.  Now he has to keep up with her, follow her lead, and prove to her that he can please her.  It’s all about her, people! (Which is catnip to us romance ladies.)

She's steering the ship now.

She’s steering the ship now.

Elizabeth: His admission that he’s not a Dominant, but a sadist really bothered me.

Madeline: It was certainly abrupt.

Elizabeth: And they acted like being a sadist must be a very, very, very bad thing. It’s not!!

Madeline: She’s getting on her BDSM soap box people.

Elizabeth: If you’re truly a responsible sadist, you play with consenting adults, and you never harm anyone.

Madeline: Which is different from causing them pain

Elizabeth: Right.  Pain is temporary, and some masochists get an endorphin rush off controlled pain, which registers as a kind of pleasure…so they like it.

Madeline: Yes, yes, yes!

Elizabeth: Harming someone is completely different.

Madeline: Noted.

Elizabeth: I had an issue with the symbolic kink. The movie brings out the usual kinky props, but clearly for symbolic reasons. There’s the blindfold and the cuffs but within one minute they’re having sex. They bring out the spreader bar and within one minute they’re having sex.  He gives her four spanks and then they’re having sex. I get it. They’re young, full of hormones and hot. But don’t expect any real BDSM. The movie had tons of sex and a little slap and tickle.

Madeline: I didn’t mind that at all. Huzzah to symbolic kinky sex!

Elizabeth: Speaking of the spreader bar. People…please DO NOT go to Amazon, buy the first spreader bar you see and do that flip move that Christian did to Ana without a lot of practice.

Do not try this at home...

Do not try this at home…

Madeline: It did look…quite…gymnastic.

Elizabeth: I’m not quite convinced that spreader bar exists in real life.

Madeline: A retractable spreader bar.  Yeah, that was a new one to me too.

Elizabeth: So don’t risk spraining an ankle or wrenching a back.

Madeline: Her breasts were like a third character in the movie.

Elizabeth: If there was an opportunity to show them off, the movie did.

Madeline: It’s actually in her contract–she must be topless or naked at least every fifteen minutes of the movie. (Joking.) But reading interviews, I think the actress has made this her thing.  And if an actor is a bit of an exhibitionist, who are we to complain? (I’m looking at you, Orlando Bloom.)

Elizabeth: Why couldn’t we get his glory to be the third character? Equal rights, man.

Madeline: #DickParity — starting that hashtag right now

Elizabeth: This movie was more sex positive than the last — and Ana wasn’t as big as a doormat as she was in the first movie.

Madeline: Amen to that!

Elizabeth: Oh, and for grins you really must check out this post from a Redbook writer, I Tried All the Sex From Fifty Shades Darker In One Weekend. Hilarious.

Madeline: I can’t believe Redbook did that…that is awesome.  Final comments?

Elizabeth: Bottom line: If you are a 50 Shades fan, you’ll love this movie.

Madeline: Durh.

Elizabeth: If you are a real-life BDSM lifestyler, you’ll probably stay away anyway. Christian is someone who needs to be “cured.” Yeah, right.  But what he needs (IMHO) is help with his PTSD, not his BDSM proclivities (though I’m not convinced BDSM even really is his thing).

Madeline: What is his thing?

Elizabeth: Okay–Growing up, Christian discovers how to use kink to channel his anger from his childhood trauma.  And so maybe when he gets together with her, and they bond, that anger starts to go away? And that’s why he walks away from it all.

Towards the end of the series, he says he doesn’t want to do it anymore.  In the third book he doesn’t want a red room in the new house.

A Dominant, meanwhile, that’s their main thing–being in control.  If he actually can be happy without being in control, yeah, he’s not a Dominant.  And a sadist — I’m sorry, but you don’t just actually decide not to be someone who gets off on pain.  It’s like trying to pray your way out of being gay.

Madeline: So if this was real life–which it’s not–Elena would be right.  Ana and Christian together as a couple would be a compromise for him.  A compromise most couples don’t survive.

Kim Basinger plays Elena in the movie--which makes it all very meta.

Kim Basinger plays Elena in the movie–which makes it all very meta.

Elizabeth: Right.  If it was real life.

Madeline: Which it’s not.

Elizabeth: I don’t care if this story is fiction, that idea should be sorted out. Okay, Hollywood, can you do that for us? So we’re ALL happy? See built-in audience above.50shadesshouldersleeping

And don’t forget out V-Day Giveaway.  Subscribe to Lady Smut — push the pink bottom at the top right of your screen and you’ll be entered to win. 

Includes massage oil, candle, lip balm, and soap. Continental US only, please!

Includes massage oil, candle, lip balm, and soap. Continental US only, please!

Fifty Shades Darker Celebration & Valentine’s Giveaway

9 Feb

by Madeline Iva

Are you going to see FIFTY SHADES DARKER this weekend? We are!fifty-ball

Well, Elizabeth SaFleur and I are. We’ve already got our tickets and we’re taking our spouses.  Not only that–we’re holding a celebration event on Facebook to chat with y’all about the FIFTY SHADES DARKER movie.  We hope you join us!50shadesshouldersleeping

Go to our event on facebook, press the *interested* button, then tell us what you thought about the movie:

  • What did you love? The actors, characters, settings, costumes, plot?
  • How did FIFTY SHADES DARKER compared to the book and the first movie?
  • Do you love billionaire romance themes in general? Or BDSM romances in particular? ; >

We’re also blogging about fascinating aspects of the movie here.  (Don’t worry, we’ll post everything over at the fb event too.)

  • Reasons Why Billionaire Romances Are Never Going Away
  • My obsession with Jamie Dornan
  • 5 Ways In Which Real Life Millionaires Aren’t Like Us
  • Jackie Horne from ROMANCE NOVELS WITH FEMINISTS will stop by. We’re discussing where young women are going with BDSM and how this is or isn’t reflected in the movie.
  • Joey Hill shares with us how to get kinky with her 10 favorite kitchen items.

50-shades-take-2

Admittedly, not all of us at the blog are 50 Shades lovers.  You might not be either — that’s why we have other smexy Valentine’s Day posts to offer you this month.  pantiesCheck out our posts on:

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

This Valentine’s Day weekend, we’re offering a Kama Sutra giveaway from Lux Aromatica that includes massage oil, soap, a candle, and lip balm.

To enter the giveaway, hit the SUBSCRIBE button on our blog now–it’s the pink button up at the top on the right–and fill out the form.  One random winner will be chosen from central Virginia where Kerensa’s stores are located and one random winner from the nation at large. (Continental US only, please!)

We look forward to seeing you all this weekend, even if you’re just stopping by to say hi. — xoxo

wickedapprenticefinal-fjm_low_res_500x750Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

 

 

The Devil Is Back in the Bayou

9 Jan

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

Lady Smut favorite Megan Crane is back in the bayou with her Devil’s Keepers motorcycle club in Devil’s Mark. I took a look at the first book in the series, Devil’s Honor, last fall.

Look! A blurb!

Holly Chambless is tired of being the squeaky clean daughter of Lagrange’s holier-than-thou mayor. When her father is charged with corruption, she realizes that her whole life’s been a lie. Now’s her chance to do all the things she never dared, like scoring a job at a bar where reputations go to die, or reconnecting with the biker who sparked a secret hunger in her all those years ago. Holly isn’t a wide-eyed girl anymore—and this time she wants a taste of what has always been denied.

Killian “Uptown” Chenier has no time for stuck-up princesses. He likes fast bikes and wild sex. Sure, he remembers Holly. He sent her running with a wicked smile and a lesson about prying eyes. And sure, she’s grown up smoking-hot, with a body he’d like to personally desecrate. But Devil’s Keepers business is real and intense. Her daddy stole from the club, leaving his pretty blonde daughter a walking target. And when Uptown takes aim at what he wants, he never misses.

There’s a long game being played in this series, a game in which the fabric of the Devil’s Keepers is slowly unraveling. Allies are being outed as having worked against the club for some time. Other allies are dying out, leaving holes where once they served the club in significant ways. Whether the club remains a knotted mess or if these dangling strings can been sewn into something new and stronger on the other side remains to be seen as the series plays out.

Click on image to preorder!

Click on image to buy!

Against this backdrop of dangers club business, club members are having their proverbial hearts ripped up, down, and sideways. First up was Greely’s reunion with the one woman who rooted deep and sliced hard, the daughter of the club’s now dead back-door doctor. In Devil’s Honor, it’s Uptown’s turn as the Lagrange mayor’s pristine daughter in back in town after her father’s humiliating denouement as the righteous community leader secretly in the club’s pocket to lying scumbag with his own nefarious agenda, an agenda that’s put the club in jeopardy.

Holly is facing a life crisis. The entire structure of her house on the bayou mud is wobbly and weak. Everything she thought she new about her father–about herself–has been proven a lie. Sick of her Teflon-coated goody two-shoes reputation in Lagrange, Holly decides to explore her nearly non-existent wild side. First by strutting into the local strip club to ask for a job. And next, to finally indulge the temptation that has taunted her since her teenage years–Killian Chenier.

More than anyone, Uptown hates Mayor Chambless–and he has good reasons too. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t had a hankering for the mayor’s daughter since she caught him banging a groupie in the graveyard years before. Ravaging Holly and thus destroying her reputation is Uptown’s perfect revenge all wrapped up in a tight, sexy package with a bouncy pony-tail that won’t quit. She has a sweetness that won’t quit even in the face of biker bitches and foul-mouthed degenerates. Holly might want to lose her inhibitions with a bad boy biker, but when it comes down to it, Uptown knows a good girl like her isn’t going to want trailer trash like him long-term. But the more he makes use of her, the more he realizes that while Holly might come from slime like the mayor, she couldn’t be more genuine. And that’s a problem for the man who is planning to break her in order to beat her father into the ground.

All her life Holly has play the role written for her. Now with her family’s reputation in shambles, everything that formed the buttress of her life has collapsed. Now she’s not only confused about who she is, but who she is meant to be. Strutting into a motorcycle club’s strip joint is the first step in her plan to blow up the stultifying expectations that no longer fit her life. Getting Uptown Sinclair to fulfill a dirty temptation from long ago is even better. But as more and more revelations of her father’s duplicity are revealed, Holly wonders if being bad isn’t exactly the best plan for a good girl.

Devil’s Mark is a fast read. It plunges forward with a quick pace that doesn’t allow for things like sleep. As club business gets messier and messier, Uptown’s conflict grows. He’s not going to stop using Holly for his and the club’s ends, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t start to have serious problems with it. He’s never forgotten her, not from the first moment when her wide-eyed shock at his open-air sexcapades made him want to do filthy, delicious things to her. Now she’s a woman at his mercy and as he claims her for his own–inside the club and out of it–for the first time, he wonders what he’ll do if the choice is his brothers or Holly.

Sexy, sweet, endearing, and the right kind of dirty, Devil’s Mark plunges more deeply into the dirty water of the Lagrange bayou. As things in the Devil’s Keepers club race to deadly conclusions, a good girl will find out if her bad boy is worth all his sexy promises…and if she’ll survive taking the risk.

Devil’s Honor and Devil’s Mark are available not and will whet your appetite for the upcoming Devil’s Own coming in May 2017.

Follow Lady Smut. We make great deals with all kinds of sexy devils.

1st-3-covers-dkmc

Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her debut romantic suspense novel, WILD ON THE ROCKS, will be available on April 14, 2016. Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via  @kierstenkrum.

It’s the End of the World and They Know It: Kit Rocha’s Beyond Surrender

5 Dec

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

This is it. Beyond Surrender is the ninth and final installment in the erotic romance, dystopian Beyond series from Kit Rocha. The end of the world as they know it.

And everyone does not feel fine.

(For all of the Lady Smut reviews on Kit Rocha’s Beyond series, click here.)

Look! A blurb!

The final book in the bestselling, award-winning series…

She’s the heart of O’Kane liquor.

He’s the brains of the revolution.

They’re facing a war that could end their world. Again.

On December 13th, the Beyond series comes to its climactic conclusion with Nessa and Ryder’s story–and the final battle between the sectors and Eden.

Well, that didn’t say much, did it?

Beyond Surrender is structured around the final romantic match up of Ryder and Nessa. Nessa is the O’Kane princess, the one who brews the liquor that the O’Kanes bootleg out to other sectors and Eden–the booze that keeps the money coming in. Since he was a young man, Ryder has been raised by Jim Jernigan, the once-mighty, now dead leader of Sector Eight, with the sole purpose of someday being the blunt instrument of the inevitable revolution.

That day has come.

beyond-surrender

Click on image to buy!

After the rash of assassinations in game-changing Beyond Ruin (Book #7) that wiped out whole sectors and their leaders, Ryder is the heir to Sector Eight and the leader of Sector Five after years spent undercover for Jernigan as a lieutenant to the execrable Mac Fleming. Now that war has come to the sectors, he’s teaming up with Dallas O’Kane, leader of the revolution, to marry years of Jernigan’s precise preparation with Dallas’ ruthless ambition for freedom. Ryder has spent his entire life in the service of someone else’s ambition. As the conclusion to his life’s work finally plays out, he realizes he has no idea what life to lead when it’s over–providing he survives.

Nessa has known Dallas O’Kane her entire life. She arrived in Sector Four barely a girl and has been the kid sister of the O’Kane gang ever since. She’s been sheltered in Sector Four; though not ignorant, she’s spends most of her time with her casks, brewing and stewing about the next batch. She’s removed from the day-to-day struggles of life in Sector Four, removed and protected, rarely even needing to leave the safety of the compound, especially when the apocalypse is knocking. Although, when you have a gang full of growling, grouchy older brothers and murderously protective older sisters, getting laid becomes can be more than problematic, but finding a real relationship in the slums of paradise is near impossible. Nessa’s watched from the sidelines as members of her extended family have found their mates of the soul and body, sure she’ll never find a man with whom to share that deep connection. Enter Ryder, who never looks at her or treats her as anything less than who she is–a complicated, intriguing, sexy woman.

But this is Sector Four, so of course, it’s not that easy. Nessa keenly feels the responsibility that’s been on her shoulders all her life, that of keeping the O’Kanes in business and money. One mistake could wipe out their livelihood and plunge them back into the madness and need that heralded the early years after the solar flares. To make matters worse, everyone she’s ever known and loved is now in acute danger. She fears seeing who will and who won’t survive The War now that it is upon them. Drawn to Ryder for a number of complex reasons, she decides to cling to the pleasure and comfort he offers for as long as they have it–and the time in which to enjoy it. If it’s the end of the world as they know it, best go out with a spectacular bang. It’s the O’Kane way.

Ryder’s entire life has been planned for him, by his mother and by Jim Jernigan who made Ryder the tip of the paranoia sword for the war Jernigan saw coming decades ago. He aligns himself with Sector Four and the notorious Dallas O’Kane to keep on the front lines of the war; leading a sector was never his goal nor his training. Nessa is an unexpected if welcomed surprise, but as they cling together in the days before the final battle, living whatever moments they have left to the fullest, Ryder finds himself worrying what happens next. Any future he sees after the war is hazy: a cabin in the woods far from the complications of whatever is left over when the battle haze clears. Slowly he begins to realize this too was never his dream, merely a fixation to honor his dead father’s dreams. But when all his lifelong plans and strategies are no longer required, when the world he knows is no longer the world he lives in, how will he live in a future he never expected to see–and where might Nessa fit there?

For a while now, for me, the Beyond books have been less about the romantic relationships and more about the exceptionally drawn and deeply believable world in which they’re taking place. Rocha’s Eden and sectors with its complicated loyalties, interwoven alliances, and fierce allegiances has offered more layered and complex intrigue for me than who’s banging whom. Interestingly, in a series that’s featured enthusiastic orgies and polyamorous relationships, this final couple seems to be the sweetest–the most innocent of the O’Kanes (not an easy thing to find in Sector Four) falling for the most noble of spies. Ryder’s shown up in a number of previous books, most notably in Beyond Addiction (one of my faves) and the question of his true purpose and loyalties has been teased for a while. Nessa has floated on the fringes since the beginning, with her wild nail polish and multi-colored hair, and it’s fitting that this last book should be hers.

Beyond Surrender is a deeply satisfying conclusion to this series. I have great respect for an author who can put an end date on a popular series rather than drawing it out ad infinitum to keep the credits rolling. It’s hard to let go of something this all-encompassing and, even though there is more on the horizon for this world, leaving Sector Four and all its denizens can be no easy task and no easy decision to make. Which is why it’s extra sweet to see all the favorites return, some more briefly than others, in Beyond Surrender to take their curtain calls while two people, whose lives were planned for them one way or another, decide to fall for one another literally as the end of their world approaches, and it’s that hope, that gentle push of burgeoning love, that gives them the courage to plan for a future.

I *highly* recommend re-reading the Beyond books and novellas from the beginning as a refresher course in who’s who, who’s where, and who’s doing what to whom. It’d do a body good to refresh yourself before diving into Beyond Surrender. This series has a lot of players and they all show up for the final reckoning. And there is loss; seems like an apocalyptic requirement. Plus, Gideon’s Riders, the heroes of the upcoming eponymous series, make an appearance, including the couple of the first book of that series as Ashwin, that twisted, superior killing machine takes another step toward possessing or destroying Doctor Kora.

With Beyond Surrender, Kit Rocha ends this best-selling series with all the fucked up madness and fun and sexy times that define the world of the O’Kanes. It may be the end of the series as we know it, but you’ll feel more than fine.

O’Kane for life.

Follow Lady Smut. We’ll mark you for life.

Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities strait is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her debut romantic suspense novel, Wild on the Rocksis now available. Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.

I’VE SEEN STRANGER THINGS THAN BAD MOMS WEARING CROWNS

1 Dec

 

by Madeline Iva

How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was inspired. As promised, I binge-watched a ton of TV and movies letting my brain waves rest for a few days. And yes, I’ll be talking about foreskin before I’m through with this post. But let’s talk about STRANGER THINGS***–before we get to the turtleneck.

STRANGER THINGS takes place in the 80’s and yet I noted how it was different from the actual movies of the 80’s:

1) Weirdness wins!

2) Unlike any proper 80’s horror movie, the popular ‘slut’ doesn’t get slaughtered in the first act. Instead her stodgy ‘good girl’ friend is the one who ends up bloody and eventually missing. Huzzah!

Anorexic girl with a P.E. folder--so 80's it hurts!

Anorexic girl with a P.E. folder–so 80’s it hurts!

3) The weirdest of the weird in this show is a girl named Eleven–AND I LOVED HER CHARACTER SO HARD. She’s beautifully androgynous, as well as full of raging destructive and weird powers.

Note to self: Why am I not writing characters like this?

Warning: you're about to get a skewed sense of this TV series, as scene through the distorted lens of my obsession with Eleven.

Warning: the skewed sense you’re getting of this TV series is because it’s through the distorted lens of my obsession with Eleven.

4) The single mom Winona Ryder (who’s a mess) doesn’t need a man in the end.  I walk around with romance colored spectacles all the time, so I’ll admit I kept a keen eye on Winona, wondering if she and the gruff, hulking chief would connect as they started working together to find her missing son. Nope. By the end of the season she’s still a single, shambolic mom–and perfectly content to stay that way. For her it’s a happy ending (but not for everyone else—bwa-ha-ha!)

STRANGER THINGS explores how parents had to communicate with their children before cell phones existed.

STRANGER THINGS explores how parents had to communicate with their children before cell phones existed.

Ultimately, this show was mega-inspiring. Totally rad. Hella bitchin cool. To the max.

Speaking of BAD MOMS–No—I can’t go there yet.

Let’s talk about the Bad Mom with a Crown first.

THE CROWN — It’s like Mad Men for women. Elizabeth is not well educated, or at all prepared to be queen. She was only in her twenties when her father surprised everyone by dying and leaving her to inherit the crown. Her work in the first season is to repair her own deficiencies in the very best British way—by honestly admitting them and tackling them head on.

THE CROWN--in which power carries a handbag and waves funny.

THE CROWN–in which power carries a handbag and waves funny.

I like this show. Yes it’s British propaganda and yes, the attitudes of the people are excruciatingly conservative. But upholding traditions four hundred years old necessitates a bit of a conservatism, doesn’t it?

What I enjoy is that Elizabeth is not the kind of person who glitters, charms, or has brilliant moments of insight. She’s not the princess in a fairy tale who sweeps through the grand palace. She is excruciatingly ordinary.  She sighs over the necessity of living in a giant, ugly, palace and she dresses up with the same stoic attitude I have while doing stomach crunches at the gym. She’s also not really a mummy. Charles and Anne have their nurse, and that should be sufficient. Elizabeth seems at her most content as a mother watching from a distance while her handsome husband plays with the children out in the yard. The show portrays her without a maternal bone in her body. (Why is this so exciting to me?)

Huzzah to Clair Foy, meanwhile.  She’s the actress playing Elizabeth AND also Anne Boleyn in WOLF HALL.  Nice work if you can get it.

While I’m not saying Elizabeth’s not smart, at the same time she clearly wasn’t precocious or intellectually curious as a child. Punctilious in her duties, she’s a bit of a worker drone all in all. She loves horses, her husband, and her sister–perhaps in that order.  But in the beginning she makes mistakes in these most important relationships, promising her husband and sister things that she can’t deliver because she didn’t at first understand the forces who control and apply pressure to someone in her position.

At the same time she must face up to people seeing her exactly as she is–warts and all. I admire this and I cringe.  She doesn’t hide or lie about who she is–ever. I, meanwhile, constantly vacillate between anxiously wanting to please people only to swing right around in the other direction where I’m being so intensely, brutally myself that I alienate them. Gah!

In her role as queen, Elizabeth is not nurturing, motherly, or accommodating to others in ways we tend to expect of women; she’s simply in charge. She does her job with exactitude and diligence. Elizabeth learns the very difficult task of figuring out what this other persona is that she’s expected to inhabit–being The Crown. We see her negotiate being that persona out in the world and at home, and perhaps it’s because she has such a firm grip on herself in terms of who she is and who she isn’t that she gets through smoothly most of the time.

When people (i.e. politicians) attempt to walk all over her, she reminds them—in the very best British way–that she is the queen, and a woman of character, and in her own stead-fast way, a force to be reckoned with.

SPEAKING OF BAD MOMS – No. I still can’t.

SPEAKING OF THE 80’s: If you’re looking for a light comedy—check out WORKING GIRL on Netflix. I’d seen it when I was very young and really loved it. Seeing it again, I realized it is a transgressive fairy tale for the 80’s.  (I assume it was made in the 80’s.  The hair is REALLY big, and shoulder pads are everywhere.) It’s a million times better than Pretty Women, IMHO.

Transgressive 80's Cinderella story.

Transgressive 80’s Cinderella story.

Despite what the title suggests, Melanie Griffith is a lowly Staten Island secretary who wants to leave her life as a wage slave and become an executive. (Become an executive–snort–such an 80’s theme!) Her new female boss, Katherine (played SO WELL by Signorney Weaver) points out that

  • you have to finesse the scum bags—Hey, hasn’t Megyn Kelly has been telling us the same thing lately? Nuts to that, a lot of feminists say.
  • you have to make your own opportunities.

Yes! I hadn’t realized how much this movie influenced me.  When I saw it the first time I was a lowly minimum wage worker.  I then managed to become a creative writing instructor through creating opportunities for myself—and not always asking for permission before doing so, mind you.

Although the female boss Katherine turns out to be the villain of the movie, Melanie Griffith takes her advice. She makes her own opportunities. She doesn’t ask for permission. No guts, no glory. And with a lot of support from Harrison Ford, she succeeds.

OKAY – so now let’s all embrace foreskins and talk about BAD MOMS.

The best part of bad moms--the part that made me cry, was where the actresses were hanging out with their own real moms during the credits...

The best part of bad moms–the part that made me cry, was where the actresses were hanging out with their own real moms during the credits…

I watched it at my sweetie’s insistence.  Poor guy, he’s been so sick, he was looking for some light-light-light comedy to watch and because we both really like Kristen Bell, we decided to check it out. But I came to the film with very low expectations having seen Jezebel’s review/snarl/yawn.

Even so, I was mightily underwhelmed. Let us be clear—there was one bad mom in this film.  One. And she was not the lead–she was the rebel side-kick.  But let’s not dwell upon all that was meh about the movie. Let’s dwell instead over the one weird pause in the film where the women stop to have a frank discussion about foreskin.

–Particularly about how to deal with it face to face when knocking boots with a guy.

Let me first confess that the only foreskin I’ve ever seen is on baby boys while changing diapers when I was a nanny. Sweetie says based on what he sees at the gym (not that he’s looking closely or anything) foreskin was once rare for U.S. men his age or older, but now it’s something you’re probably going to encounter as a single woman dating men of the millennial generation.

Just the same I have to wonder–is this really a big deal? Is this a thing? I mean, yes, the evil world of marketing strives to make us cripplingly insecure about our bodies in every possible way. (Vaginoplasty anyone?) Are men being subjected to the same twisted pressures? Are they now expected to feel less-than because of a perfectly natural part of their bodies?

I vaguely recall some TV episode (was it House?) where a teenage kid took a razor to himself because he felt less attractive to girls. Are we really going there?

On one hand, Bad Moms seems to validate this ‘issue’ by showing some anxiety about encountering foreskin.  Yet they also seem intent upon delivering a message of acceptance.

And how could you not love the moment where the rebel Bad Mom side-kick tells Mila Kunis how to manipulate the foreskin during foreplay while using Kristen Bell’s head to demonstrate?

On the other hand, I’m just goggling over the fact that the movie kind of comes to a dead halt to deliver this rather hilarious PSA.

Oh well. Thanksgiving is over. Back to the daily grind for me.

I’m writing my next book about a Wicked Enchantress–who is NOW going to be a beautifully androgynous character full of raging destructive and weird powers. Huzzah!

And if you like weird, powerful, smexy women, then follow us at Lady Smut.

wickedapprenticefinal-fjm_high_res_1800x2700Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

***I must offer up a humble apology to my writer friend S.A. Hunter. She recommended STRANGER THINGS to me back in September before anyone else was talking about it. People, life is too short to sort through all the crap out there. When a good friend makes excellent recommendations, you listen to her. You treasure her. You don’t turn up your nose and shrug off her suggestion as I did. I was wrong to do so, and hang my head in shame. You are the more discerning, better friend, S. A..

 

Indivisible: The Simple Invincibility of Loving

22 Nov
It is as simple, and as powerful, as this.

It is as simple, and as powerful, as this.

By Alexa Day

About 18 months ago, I received news of Jeff Nichols’s film, Loving, with a distinct lack of enthusiasm. I did promise to give the movie a fair chance, but I could not imagine that any film would do justice to the real Richard and Mildred Loving, two people who simply belonged together.

I saw Loving this past weekend. It is magnetic.

From the very beginning, Nichols draws us into a world that never gets much larger than the two people at the heart of the story. The energy that flows between Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, who play the Lovings, is palpable but very gentle, a deep-running but quiet passion. As we follow them to Washington, D.C. and then back to Virginia, with three children in tow, the only thing any of us knows for certain is that these two people belong to each other. They nourish each other, and they grow into and through each other, and they are absolutely bound to each other. They are indivisible.

Given the groundbreaking nature of the Loving decision, I imagine that there’s always a temptation to turn this story into something large and sensational. It would be easy to play to the audience with raised voices and racial slurs and the protracted study of racial inequality in America in the 1960s. Nichols resists this temptation, and the film shines because of his restraint.

The beauty of the Virginia countryside fills the screen with lush color. The changing seasons come to life, softly reminding the viewer of just how long it took for the case to rise from Caroline County to the Supreme Court. Don’t even start me talking about the cars. Every detail is beautifully rendered, but all of that is just a backdrop for Richard and Mildred. They’re a constant in a world that slides around them. It is impossible to look away from them.

The movie never raises the question of whether the Lovings would stay together despite the opposition to their marriage. The film is built on one premise, the unbreakable certainty that neither would abandon the union. A different question arises from that foundation. We never wonder if the Lovings will stay together … but before long, we doubt society’s power to challenge them.

There is tremendous comfort to be found in the knowledge that two people would survive and thrive, despite opposition, simply by refusing to let go of each other. At one point, Mildred tells a reporter that she’s aware of the conflict she faces, but that she also knows that she and her husband have many, many allies. No matter what happens, the two of them are determined to live their lives on their terms, surrounded by family and friends.

That sort of confidence is the source of real, lasting change.

Is Loving playing in your town? Go check the website. Then have a look at Grey Villet’s photos of the Lovings.

And follow Lady Smut.

Not the Romance You Were Expecting: Brutal Game by Cara McKenna

7 Nov

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

It’s no secret that we here at Lady Smut are big–like, HUGE–fans of author Cara McKenna. Do a quick search of our site and you’ll see she practically has her own page here, if we did that sort of thing.

big-huge

There’s good reason for this. McKenna writes complex, out-of-the-box, very sexy stories about a man and a woman, or a man and a man, or a man and a woman and a man, that are often deeply emotional and quite surprising. One of the things I like most about her is she seems to come up with pairings and scenarios I would never have imagined. Love in a mental hospital? Check. Love between a prisoner and a teacher? Check. And yet, none of these seems outlandish or disassociated from the real world because she invests her stories and characters with deep authenticity and realness that appears effortless but really, really is not.

Click on image to buy!

Enter Brutal Game, the sequel to McKenna’s popular Willing Victim in which a woman named Laurel enters into a sexual relationship with Flynn, a big, rough, bare-knuckle bruiser with a kink for rape role-play. By the end of Willing Victim, Laurel and Flynn realized they both want more than role-play sexy times and begin their HFN. (For the record, McKenna updated and re-released Willing Victim earlier this year. Lady Smut blogger Alexa Day prefers the original version. I couldn’t tell any real difference, but it’d been a while between readings.)

Brutal Game picks up about nine months after the end of Willing Victim. Laurel and Flynn are still together. “I love yous” have been exchanged and life moves onward apace until something unexpected happens that forces them to deep dive into the depths of their still new relationship and discover whether it can withstand the storm.

Look! A blurb!

Nine months ago Laurel walked into an underground boxing gym and found herself mesmerized by a stranger named Flynn—a man who fights hard and loves harder. Since then he’s taken her places where fear and curiosity clash in exquisite pleasure, where trust is the price of ecstasy, and in time their brutal game has become her kink as much as his.

But when real life intrudes and hard decisions demand action, will these two whose bond is rooted in fantasy take shelter in each other’s arms, or discover that lust is no substitute for a lasting commitment?

Click on image to buy!

Brutal Game is an exceptional story, an emotional tale about what comes after the HFN as a burgeoning relationship is severely tested. It’s the rare romance novel that feels rooted in real life, at times uncomfortably so, where the heroine and hero must confront a life-changing decision with care and grace while discovering whether their relatively new love can endure the outcome. It is emotional, genuine, shocking, gentle, sexy, sweet, and ultimately, truly lovely. A must read.

SPOILER ALERT:

Okay, Imma gonna spoil the holy crap outta this book from here on in because I cannot talk about why this book is so good without revealing key parts of the story. I highlighted the hell outta this story, and you’re gonna hear why. So DO NOT READ FURTHER if you don’t want a MAJOR PLOT POINT ruined for you. And I mean hacked to bloody death ruined. Really. STOP NOW.

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Continue reading

P*ssy, Unchained

18 Oct
Ready to grab your own? Click to buy.

Ready to grab your own? Click to buy.

By Alexa Day
A few days ago, at the Washington Romance Writers Reader and Blogger Appreciation Luncheon, my mom and I shared fried zucchini and conversation with Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Sarah said she was reading The Infamous Miss Rodriguez, which I later used to demonstrate the power of Amazon’s 1-Click Button for Mom. Mom talked about her favorite male/male romances; she’s partial to rock star heroes these days.
And then Sarah asked what I was reading.
“P*ssy,” I said.
Sarah and I were across the table from each other. I wasn’t altogether confident that she’d heard me, but the table went still, so I guess I didn’t have to worry about that after all.
“What?” she asked, tucking one finger behind her ear. The rest of the table might have heard, but she hadn’t.
“P*ssy,” I repeated, just a bit more loudly. I wasn’t trying to get the attention of the entire room, after all. But this time the whole table leaned in, looking for a confirmation that would lead to laughter and relief. Ohhh, everyone would say. We thought you said p*ssy.
When I said it the third time, I felt like E.F. Hutton. And then I felt really, really old for thinking of E.F. Hutton. Does anyone even remember E.F. Hutton? They’re still around, or I would put an ad here.
My point is that “p*ssy” is a loaded word. Just about 24 hours after the Republican candidate for President of the United States bragged that he could, with impunity, “grab [women] by the p*ssy,” here I was, trying not to shout the word over the appetizers. As a culture, we’ve been uncomfortable with the word “p*ssy” and what it represents for a pretty long time.
Enter P*ssy: A Reclamation by Regena Thomashauer. Put very, very simply, the premise of P*ssy is that a woman’s sexual energy is the most powerful force in existence … and that most of us have lost sight of that. Society has made the study of women’s sexual pleasure into something dirty. It has made women’s sexuality subject to the patriarchy. If women don’t want what men want, in the very specific way that men want it, then society decides that we are in need of correction and guidance. The result is that many, many women lose sight of what they want. Their desires are buried and ignored, and they are themselves diminished as a result.
I would submit that a patriarchal society isn’t always to blame for the suffocation of women’s desires. I thought I was in close contact with what I wanted, especially because I have so few people of influence in my life. But it’s been quite a year. Fear around the loss of one job. Frustration with another. Pressure from tight deadlines. A long, long list of tasks left untended for too long. For a long time, all I wanted was to be left alone — not a great place for an erotica writer to be.
The solution? Living a more “p*ssified” life.
P*ssy describes a course of action, a series of lifestyle decisions, and more than one event that had me wishing that I lived in a more sexually open place. (Is there a Demonstration of Extended Massive Orgasm course near me, I wonder?) Along with the guided tour of the female anatomy, P*ssy invites the reader to invest more time in self-pleasure of the sexual and non-sexual kind. The more time we spend exploring our desires and opening ourselves to the sensual world around us, the more powerful we become. We are receptive and transformative. We become “able to live a life that is based on [our] dreams rather than the agenda other people have for [us]” (page 46).
P*ssy leads us to reconnect to feminine intuition, to the deep well of emotion, to the broad spectrum of desires that have all been stifled by the world’s desire to see us safe, nice, and frankly, more manageable. No matter how we might have lost track of that tremendous feminine force — and so many of us remember exactly when that happened — P*ssy reminds us that it’s never too late to find our way home. The journey definitely has its roots in the sexual; you will spend a great deal of time touching and talking to yourself. Ask Your P*ssy, Panty-Free Friday, and an intense study of “Cliteracy” are definitely highlights of the book. But orgasm is a gateway to exalting the entire body. Dance, luxuriant meals, and indulgent self-care soon join a regimen of self-pleasure, which in turn leads to self-discovery and self-knowledge.
Alexa is not about to share Ray Donovan. Click to get your own.

Alexa is not about to share Ray Donovan. Click to get your own.

It all starts with p*ssy. In my case, if you’re interested, I finally determined that what I wanted was to spend a great deal of time watching Ray Donovan. In his own way, Ray is more overwhelmed than I am. But the ugly truth is that I would rather watch Liev Schreiber be overwhelmed than be overwhelmed myself. (Unless we’re thinking … well, you know.)
I gave Sarah Wendell and the rest of my lunch companions a much abbreviated version of all this. (I left Ray Donovan out of it. I didn’t even really want to tell you about that, but sharing is caring.) Whether people were interested in just the title or in the premise of the book, I’m not sure. At length, Sarah nodded at me.
“I read something much like that once,” she said thoughtfully. “It was called C*nt.”
No one asked her to repeat that.
Are you following Lady Smut?
Alexa Day is the USA Today bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance with heroines who are anything but innocent. In her fictional worlds, strong, smart women discover excitement, adventure, and exceptional sex. A former bartender, one-time newspaper reporter, and recovering attorney, she likes her stories with just a touch of the inappropriate, and her literary mission is to stimulate the intellect and libido of her readers. Check out her new release, Illicit Impulse, for plenty of sex, (experimental) drugs, and friendships with benefits.

The Magicians: A Novel That Stabs Itself in the Heart

6 Oct
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Go ahead and click here to buy, but don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

By Madeline Iva

How do you destroy the genre of your own book? Lev Grossman managed this nifty little trick in his breakout novel THE MAGICIANS–a book that SFF people love to hate.  Meanwhile, everyone else is raving about it.  This fantasy book was clearly a huge best seller, but when checking out the reviews I noticed among the glowing accolades, a few ominous warnings: the book was derivative–HIGHLY derivative, and critics questioned the experience of reading the book, saying “What did I ultimately get out of it?” Nothing positive, I’ll tell you that.

By ‘breakout novel’, technically we’re talking about a novel that sells so well it changes an author’s life forever.  Harry Potter is an excellent example of this.  However, if you look at many other breakout novels, you’ll see that they often conform to a similar structure. While they have a genre framework, the story inside that frame is not really genre at all.  Such is the case with THE MAGICIANS.

Often a breakout novel disappoints readers of that genre.  Why? To hear Donald Maas tell it in his book HOW TO WRITE A BREAKOUT NOVEL, many breakout novels don’t fulfill the conventions that die-hard genre readers expect.  Instead the author explores a literary theme, talking about WWII or about the breakdown of entitled-yet-morally-corrupt-youths, or societal reform almost as if it were as important–if not more–than solving the murder.  These books also don’t end with the bad guys punished, order restored and chaos vanquished, or even with happily ever afters–which is why we read genre, isn’t it?

Here are some examples of break out novels: SMILLA’S SENSE OF SNOW, THE SECRET HISTORY, THE DA VINCI CODE, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, and LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. These books may start off being mysteries, thrillers, or horror novels, but they have literary themes and are written in a literary style.  The genre shell is merely a spoonful of sugar that makes the literary medicine go down.

Case in point: THE MAGICIANS.  When I started reading it – I loved it! I thought: This is my kinda book. Really well written, I lurv the main character and all the other characters, yes! Quentin is a tall, mopey, unhappy brilliant teen.  I was all over that.  He gets invited to a college where he can learn magic. Fabulous!

And then it’s Harry Potter in college–but with a lot of drinking, drugs, n sex.  In fact it was a LOT like another crazy brilliant break out book that I highly recommend: THE SECRET HISTORY. Really, it’s THE SECRET HISTORY meets Harry Potter.  I said to myself—Okay, I’m seeing the derivative stuff they mentioned, but it’s SO GOOD that I don’t CARE.

Even up to the middle of the book, I was like, Where is this going? Not sure and I. Don’t. Care. At page 274 I said to myself FINALLY!! Now we have a direction once again–Here we go! Wheeeeeee!

And then the author ruined it for me. How? Why? What went wrong?

First I have to ask myself: what do I get out of Fantasy? Why do I like it as a genre? I like it because it’s anti-high school irony.  There is an earnestness to fantasy. Enthusiasm and triumphing over difficulties is at the core of many a fantasy novel.  Also there are deeply held values of the characters often in play.  Even GAME OF THRONES has these aspects–(What is GAME OF THRONES, meanwhile, but a breakout novel about a fantasy world that–aside from a few dragons–explores the bloody brutality of what it took to survive in the middle ages?)

The point is, I savor these fantasy qualities because when I’m operating in the real world I feel out of step. I feel the world is too harsh or complicated, or sophisticated. I am looking to retreat into my sensitive shell, to enjoy something simple, and sincere.

Certainly Harry Potter is sincere. Even Game of Thrones is sincere—as my Sweetie said: the bad guys are sincerely bad. And one token of their sincerity (some of them) is that when they realize they’re being bad, they change. (I’m looking at you Jamie Lannister.) This is what I want out of a fantasy book.

THE MAGICIANS is not such a book. When Quentin realizes he’s being weak–he  keeps on being weak. There is no character change. There is no fundamental growth and development. It’s as if the author believes character growth and change are impossible.  All there is is time. Time for one to grow older and see over the scrim of youth to the backstage area, where nothing is as wondrous and captivating as you hoped it would be.

What a jaded attitude — especially for characters who learn magic, and travel to new fantastical worlds.  To embed a theme of chronic dissatisfaction in the face of such glorious adventure and then turn around and claim, it’s not really adventurous, we don’t know what we’re doing, and it’s all going to shit–it’s disgusting, really.  Yes, disgusting.

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This is the one. Click to buy this book.

Now, Donna Tartt does something similar in her book (which came out long before Grossmans, and I highly recommend it,) but there was a point to it.  We know the students in THE SECRET HISTORY killed their good friend.  We’re told that on page one.  The book explores why and how they tried to get away with it.  Relationships are destroyed.  They suffer–and this makes sense to us.  It’s satisfying because THEY COMMITTED MURDER.

I think Grossman is reflecting back some kind of commentary about the lives of the privileged elite – and yeah, I’m calling him that. If you went to both Harvard AND Yale, and you mention that on your freakishly successful book cover jacket, what else could you be?

So what’s he saying? His characters are living lives of fantastical proportions, but it never seems quite real to them.  They are always waiting for their “real” life to start.  It’s like being in a house where all the doors open onto each other. You keep going through doors, but you only end up going in circles.

Which makes the novel rather nihilistic at its core.  This is the antithesis of what fantasy novels and the fantasy genre are about.  Lev Grossman stabs his own novel in the heart until it’s dead and the reader is appalled.

Unless, of course, the reader doesn’t particularly care for the fantasy genre and is as jaded as Grossman.  Then they might love the book.

Another crime this book commits is that it starts out a leetle derivative, and swiftly towards the last third becomes crazily derivative. The former magic students enter a world called Fillory where we have trees like Tolkien’s Ents, we had Rams like the lion in Narnia, we had bears similar to The Golden Compass. We had a school for magic, like in Harry Potter.  I suspect Grossman intends to be derivative.  The more derivative the book, the more meta comments the characters make.  The meta elements, like the derivative  elements spread through the end of the book like a virus, snuffing out a fantasy reader’s pleasure. In the end, the amoral laxity that Grossman injects into his book kills the flourishing novel he’s created.

It’s like watching someone kill a unicorn. What’s the point?

All of this is done with maximal writing skill. I hate him. AND I envy him his writing chops. They’re making the book into a series–I wonder if they’re going to change it at all to accommodate fantasy TV viewer expectations?

CAVEAT: I know someone who is ready to defend the novel to the death (and does so frequently). She is willing to take on all comers. So she must have cared by the end of the book. Or loved NOT caring.

Follow us at Lady Smut.  We promise never to kill unicorns.

And come back tomorrow, folks–I’m having cover reveal for my fantasy novel WICKED APPRENTICE, including an excerpt and other fun stuff.  You can already pre-order the book on Amazon.

41tek67q8lMadeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek, is available for pre-order and releases November 1st.

 

 

 

 

Give Me A Side Of Sex With My Frights

5 Oct

By Elizabeth Shore

Apparently, it’s happened again. I blinked and suddenly summer was over. WTF? I was just pulling out my floaty flower-print dresses and strappy sandals five minutes ago, wasn’t I? Now I’m hunting for sweaters and boots. Ah well. Tempting though it may be to mourn summer’s demise, let’s look on the bright side. It’s October, peeps! Fall colors, crisp chill in the air, everything under the sun made with pumpkin, everything under the sun made with apples, and, oh yeah. Halloween!

To be honest, I’m not actually a costume kinda gal, so Halloween parties don’t do much for me. On the other hand, Halloween also means horror movies. Scary, spine-tingling, watching-with-one-eye covered spooky thrillers. Yippee! To be clear, horror movies for me are not slasher gore fests. Too much blood and guts just becomes more gross than ghoulish. What I want from my horror movies is a good and proper scare. The kind where you’re curled up into a ball on your couch, feeling the hairs on your head standing straight up, wanting to look away but no way in hell do you dare. Those are the fun ones, the ones worth many repeat views. I remember the first time I saw When A Stranger Calls, the 1979 version. Teenage babysitter alone in the house with kids sleeping upstairs. She starts getting creepy ass phone calls replete with heavy breathing in which a stranger keeps asking if she’s “checked the children.” Suspense builds as the scare-o-meter jumps with every call until finally, after the babysitter asks the police to trace the calls it’s discovered that they’re coming from inside the house!!! Ahhh!!

That’s the kind of horror movie I’m talking about. And yet, being a true Lady of Smut, I’ll readily admit that if a horror movie also weaves in sensual, sexy, even erotic elements into the plot, it’s icing on the spooky cake. The primal fear and desire instincts work in the horror genre, both on film and in print. Why? I think film writer Martyn Conterio aptly explains it this way: Horror films can be seen as the battleground between the mind and the body. Between fears and pleasures of the flesh. Eroticism is a striking feature of so many classics and cult movies, whether forming a small part of the overall experience or more explicitly focused. Psychological terrain explored in nightmare movies can be freaky, scary and downright weird. For it is true that sex and death rule the cinematic imagination as they rule life.

There are now four weekends until Halloween, four weekends in which to enjoy sexy scary flicks. But what to watch? How to know what works? Why, I thought you’d never ask. Below, in no particular order, some suggestions to get your sexy spook on.

First off, let me say something about vampire flicks. Sex and biting go as well together as butts and plugs. Or…well, you get the point. It works. We all know vampires are hot. This is by far the most prevalent theme in the erotic horror genre and there are several scary sexy vamp movies to choose from, including:

the-hunger

Late, great David Bowie, feeling hungry

The Hunger. David Bowie, Susan Sarandon, Catherine Deneuve. Sexy vampire Deneuve needs a new lover when her current one (Bowie) starts aging too fast. She sets her sights on Susan Sarandon. Lesbian vampire sex! And if you need more where that comes from…

Daughters of Darkness. A tale featuring that most ruthless of beauty seekers, Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who killed virgins so she could bathe in their blood and perpetuate her youth. When a young couple has the misfortune of crossing her path, it’s curtains for the husband, but the Countess decides that his young wife is just the lover she’s been seeking. The two women eventually kill the husband and drink his blood and have hot lesbian relations. Yummy! And lastly on this theme:

Vampyros Lesbos. Just like it sounds.

bram-stokers-draculaDracula. I’m specifically talking about the 1992 Francis Ford Coppola version. Keanu Reeves gets down and dirty with three hot Brides of Dracula. This movie has made numerous “sexiest erotic horror movies ever made” lists. Decide for yourself whether you agree.

Thirst. Korean director Chan-wood Park’s spin on a vamp tale, this one involves a priest who gets infected during a blood transfusion and turns into a vampire. The interesting part of this set-up is that in his former life the priest had made a decision to avoid those tempting sins of the flesh. After his transformation, however…well, he feels a little different.

For some non-vampire sexy scares, let me suggest:

Cat People. This is another one on several critics’ “best erotic horror” lists, largely due to the provocative performance of 21-year-old Nastassja Kinski. She plays a young woman descended from an ancient bloodline causing her to mutate into a murderous blank panther after having sex. Kinski prowls about the film like the panther she is, oozing sex appeal with every scene. Oh, and the skinny dipping scene is hot, too.

Jennifer’s Body. Mean Girl Megan Fox is a succubus who must dine on man flesh to stay alive. Yeah, OK, it’s vampire-ish, but not in the classical sense. Written by Diablo Coty (she of Juno fame), Jennifer’s Body is silly and campy, scary and hot.

Hellraiser. Clive Barker’s S&M zombie flick will be 30 years old next year but hasn’t aged a bit in failing to seduce and scare.

And last but not least…Under the Skin. Never heard of this one? You’re in popular company. Scarlett Johansson plays The Female, a woman who gallivants around Scotland seducing men before ending their lives through submersion in a giant vat of black liquid. ScarJo gives us plenty of skin, and so do others. This isn’t a typical Hollywood film and some have criticized its slow pace. But for sure it’s got the creep factor, and the nakedness, and the seductive pull of a good erotic horror.

Have I left anything out? A sexy fright you think should be on the list? Give me a shout in the comments, and pass the popcorn.

Elizabeth Shore writes both contemporary and historical erotic romance. Her newest book is an erotic historical novella, Desire Rising, from The Wild Rose Press. Other releases include Hot Bayou Nights and The Lady Smut Book of Dark Desires

 

 

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