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Book Review: Chapter Five and the Axe-Wielding Maniac

Chapter Five and the Axe Wielding Maniac

Author: Marie Sexton
Genre: Romance / Comedy
Published: 2014

“Too bad nobody had given me advance warning about the axe-wielding maniac. I might have made myself a bit more presentable.”

It’s an incredibly rare thing, but every now and then you land up downloading something from Amazon that you are absolutely convinced will be rubbish but that somehow turns out to be a decent read. I wouldn’t have thought Chapter Five and the Axe-Wielding Maniac would be such a find – it’s only 38 pages long, so I was expecting the usual poorly written pseudo-porno setup between an author and a maniac on the run, and if there was an unnecessary amount of thrusting then so be it. What I had instead was a quick little read that was both humorous and touching enough to earn a recommendation.

The Plot

Josh is a 42-year-old author who’s having a bit of a rough time in life. His partner of many years has recently left him and he’s sequestered himself at the family cabin in a vain attempt to get over his writer’s block. None of this is helped when the rather excitable and bouncy (and considerably younger) Rad Fox rocks up on his doorstep with a crowbar and pickaxe asking to dig up the floor in Josh’s lounge. Josh is a sensible being and decides that this is a decidedly unsafe and weird request, and bids Rad to be on his way.

But Rad’s not without his tricks, and knows the way into a man’s heart and lounge – with a good coconut chicken curry. Through the course of the evening’s conversation it comes out that the request to dig up the lounge isn’t as bizarre as it originally sounded – turns out that way back in the day Rad’s grandfather and Josh’s great-uncle were a couple in a far less forgiving time, and mementos of their relationship are buried somewhere under the lounge.

What follows is a surprisingly touching story of lost love, adventure, and sexual re-awakenings.

The Writing Style

Praise be to Mother Isis, not a run-on sentence in sight!

Given that this is a very short read I commend Marie Sexton for being able to construct a fully coherent story with well-realised characters. Both Josh and Rad have their own distinct personalities with just enough back story for them to make sense. There are moments of genuine humour as the encounter between the two is set up in a very clichéd manner only to have (particularly) Josh react in very real and lucid ways. There are also moments that are genuinely heartfelt, and again points must go to the author for being able to squeeze this into a very short amount of space.

What I also liked is the way the two sexual encounters were dealt with. There’s nary a raging cock nor flying bodily fluid to be found, for which I am eternally grateful. More people need to learn from Ms Sexton’s example that balls-to-the-wall vulgarity does not necessarily equate to erotic or romantic writing. The sex itself isn’t really described beyond the fact that it happened, with the first time being a lusty and animalistic affair while the second time is a more tender and slow approach, which makes complete sense in the context of the story.

The Feelings

Very pleasantly surprised.

I’m not very big into romance stories, so you need to tickle something in me to get my attention. Unlike most of what I read for this blog, which seem to want to tickle my prostate with a rusty rake, Chapter Five and the Axe-Wielding Maniac goes for the light and fuzzy with just the right amount of situational comedy to elicit a few laughs and the occasional raised eyebrow. In amongst all this it also manages to touch on shifting societal values, issues of perception when it comes to aging, and a very realistic approach to an adventurous new relationship.

Props also to Marie Sexton for being realistic enough to admit that there is a very real danger of concussion when you have sex up against a solid fireplace.

My Final Rating: 6 / 10
Buy Chapter Five and the Axe-Wielding Maniac at Amazon.com

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Posted by on August 23, 2016 in Book Review

 

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Book Review: Fangs, Fur and Mistletoe

Fangs, Fur and Mistletoe

Author: Selena Blake
Genre: Romance / Science Fiction
Published: 2012

Dear God, when will I learn? Normal people have a stop-gap between ‘what the hell is this?’ and ‘click to buy’ where one pauses to deliberate on the choices you are about to make. I, apparently, lack such a stop-gap, and that’s how I landed up reading Selena Blake’s debut Mystic Isle novel, Fangs, Fur & Mistletoe. I’m not romantic in the slightest, I’m fairly sure the sex described in this novel isn’t physically possible (or, at the very least, would be tremendously awkward to execute), the book decimated both established vampire and werewolf lore in the space of a few pages, and I was ultimately left with more questions than answers by the time I’d concluded its torturous 96 page length. To top it all off, because I actually finished the book, the recommended page on my Kindle is currently being blighted by others of its kind. This is where e-books fall far short of their paperback cousins – deleting a book just isn’t as effective as killing a particularly awful one with fire.

The Plot

Right out the gate I had a problem. Sometimes, when I read a book, the characters will form in my head exactly as the author described them. Other times, my mind will cross-pollute a point of reference and substitute an entirely different likeness for the one intended. Since the novel follows a black vampire named Coco, all I could conjure in my head was Coco Montrese from the 5th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and that image stuck. Not one to be defeated, I powered on. Coco and her coven of vampires (I don’t know – just run with it) are taking a week off to visit Mystic Isle, a sexual resort for paranormal beings. Coco’s just coming out of a rather tumultuous relationship and needs to be banged six ways from Sunday to feel a bit more like herself again.

Littered across this resort is a plethora of poorly constructed paranormal creatures: vampires, werewolves, demons, Adonises (apparently these are a species and not just one mythological man), fae (although not at all resembling actual fae) etc. But Coco’s eyes are drawn to only one creature – a werewolf named Grayson that she met on a battle field 100 years ago (oh yeah, werewolves are immortal now, and vampires breathe and have souls). The attraction and immeasurable horniness is instant, and the two cannot keep away from one another. What will follow is a struggle as old animosities between vampires and werewolves are laid aside, friendships are tested, relationships are formed, and Coco is violently fingered at an erotic orchestra while a randy demon looks on. Brace yourself – things are gonna get really weird really quickly.

The Writing Style

The problem with this book, and I imagine many other books in this genre, is there’s only so many ways one can describe a vagina or two people getting their rocks off. Now, bless Selena Blake for giving it her best shot, but by the time she was done describing Coco’s anatomy I had this vision in my head where all she had between her legs was a layered cake (and, as a side note, the phrase ‘nether lips’ should never, under any circumstances, be applied to any part of a woman’s person). Never mind the fact that vaginas apparently hug things or that, before sex, it’s apparently always a good idea to weigh your partner’s penis (I cannot imagine any situation where the weight of a penis would have any bearing on a sexual act). Maybe my idea of both men’s and women’s anatomy is entirely off, but I’m fairly sure that none of these things hold true in real life.

Then there’s the fact that it’s incredibly difficult to keep pace with any form of dialogue that’s taking place when Grayson isn’t pistoning Coco into a palm tree (the book’s words, not mine). This is because the characters apparently feel the need to have an entire internal monologue between every phrase they utter. At some points you need to turn back more than two pages just to remind yourself where this conversation started and where it might be going. Not that the dialogue is tremendously important since all you’re really doing is waiting for the two of them to make the beast with two backs, but those of us who can’t quite bear the notion of a 14 inch penis near us (this is an estimated measurement based on numerous paragraphs devoted to the exquisiteness of Grayson’s manhood) would appreciate some properly constructed dialogue before the floor needs to be mopped again.

The Feelings

Confusion and a complete shutdown of sexual desire. Confusion because, whilst you’re being told that two people are having sex, you can’t quite picture how it’s being accomplished. Believe me, I tried to figure it out. I even brought a female friend over and read the book to her and asked her if she knew how such things could be done – she didn’t have a damn clue either. Then there’s the fact that, for all the book is entirely devoted to non-stop rough sex and people orgasming so hard its a miracle they have any bones left, at no point is any of it actually erotic. It’s the literary equivalent of watching fat people make amateur porn on a betamax tape.

Certainly, novels like this fulfill the needs of a certain kind of reader, and given that Selena Blake is apparently a rather prolific author someone’s obviously reading and enjoying her work. How this has a 4.5 rating on Amazon is something the Good Lord only knows, but I for one will be avoiding any further jaunts on Mystic Isle. The only thing that stops me from giving it a bottom-of-the-barrel rating is the fact that I’ve read In The Velociraptor’s Nest, and even Selena Blake cannot detract from the sheer awfulness that is a Christie Sims novella.

My Final Rating: 2 / 10
Buy the Book at Amazon.com:
Fangs, Fur & Mistletoe (Mystic Isle, Book One)

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2014 in Book Review

 

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