Try Me On for Size by Stephanie Haefner


Grade: DNF
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary
Published: 8/11/14
Reviewed by Anne
288 pages

I don’t DNF (Did Not Finish) a book very often at all.  It was especially disappointing that it happened now.  This book had a lot going for it.  For starters, the premise certainly caught my attention: Mia’s lingerie shop needs a big sales boost to save it from going under.  She and her partner decide on the idea of picking a spokespenis/spokesmodel and making dildos cast from his penis to sell in their store.  And what better way to pick the spokespenis than to try out five different models and choose your favorite?

The first glitch she runs into is one she doesn’t even recognize.  While she’s waiting for applicant number one, Oliver approaches her.  When he realizes she’s been stood up, he decides to go with the flow and pretend to be whoever she’s waiting for.

The book (at least as far as I read) had some enjoyable humor in it, but things went downhill fast.  Here’ are some notes I made while reading, Goodreads updates, and texts to Kate:  (book text in italics, my comments in regular font)

Page 3: spokespenis  Funny!

Page 12: And so far it hasn’t been all that orgasmic  Then you’re doing it wrong!

Page 13: spokespenis  Funny!

Page 14: “Only a real live vagina can get the data we need to do this right.”  Ok, I’m starting to like this – vaginas and data!

Page 15: waiting in a bar for Penis Number One to arrive Funny!

Page 21: “Mia opened the door and led him up to the third floor.  No turning back once she took him inside.  To her bed.  To test out his penis.” Funny!

Page 23: “Okay, so, I’ll need you to just kinda lay there and let me do what I need to, um…do.  Okay?”

“Sure, but shouldn’t I get a condom?”

“Wasn’t this already explained to you?  I need to see how you feel without any barriers.  We did the screening and we’re both healthy and disease-free, so it’s all good.”  Um.  No.  Not all good.  Lying at this point is pretty unforgivable, unless he just happens to have a test at home… (this is never mentioned again!)

Page 27: “Are you seriously telling me you had sex with this gorgeous man and didn’t have an orgasm?”

“I thought the point was to test it out and see how it felt.  Make sure it was the right size and girth and whatever.  I thought I was supposed to retain some sort of professionalism.”

“Seriously?  We’re going into the dildo business.”  Funny!

Page 40: “Oliver would not be celebrating this marriage.  He’d smile and do all the things a groom is supposed to do, but being happy about it?  Nope.”  What?!? He’s engaged?  WTF?

Goodreads update: Ugh. The “hero” is engaged to someone else, and we find this out after he has sex with the heroine. No. This makes me angry!”

Page 51: The thought of her with someone else made him feel as if his intestines were being yanked out through his chest.

An engaged guy shouldn’t be jealous that a woman he just met was having sex with another man.  But he sure as hell was.  OK, I’m reading on, but I really need her (Mia) to be thoroughly pissed that he cheated on his fiancée with her!

Page 51And in the high society they’d grown up in, an easy way to secure one [a proposal] was an unplanned pregnancy.  Nobody dared announce a bundle was on the way without a ring on that finger. Ew.

Page 51He might be working for this company…  Really?  He thinks he might go through with being the spokespenis?  Well, I guess that might be scandal enough to break his engagement?

Page 52: Was Mia in danger of losing her shop, her job?  He couldn’t let that happen.  Seriously?  Why would he care?

Page 53: …he suspected the pregnancy might not even be real. Excuse me, there are ways of checking on that.  And if she was so awful, why have sex with her.  Ugh.

Page 55And maybe, if he annoyed her enough, she’d leave him.  Problem solved.  Not really solved if she’s pregnant!

Page 70: Having him in any capacity would most likely end badly and she couldn’t risk putting the shop…  How would it risk the shop to have a relationship with him if he wasn’t an employee?  This is nonsense.

Page 80: “Hey.  When’s your next prenatal appointment?”

“I don’t know.  Why?”

“I want to go with you.”

He thought he saw a brief moment of panic in her reflection.  She turned to him.  “Why?”

“Isn’t that something dads-to-be do?”

“Maybe, but that’s not how I’m doing it.  I don’t want anyone there with me.  It’s a doctor’s appointment.  It’s private.”

There’s a red flag, and he just lets it go!

Page 90: “Have dinner with me tomorrow night.  I’ll take you on a real date.” Really?  What about your pregnant fiancée?

Page 92:”…Eww.  I can’t be married to some low-class Chippendales wanna-be.”… “I don’t care.”If he didn’t really care he should break things off.  He’s an ass.

Page 93Why couldn’t he just tell her he didn’t want to marry her?

He knew why.  The miniscule chance in the back of his head that maybe she was telling the truth about the baby. …  He had to find out for sure, before this went too much further. This is stupid.  Marrying her would bring a lot more drama than having a baby out of wedlock.  And he’s cheating!  Scummy!

Page 103:… he was a jackass for keeping it hidden.  Holy hell if she ever found out. Uh, yeah, he’s a total jackass.

Goodreads update: Alright. I’m going to dnf this one. I’m on p. 100 of ~260 and Oliver still hasn’t told Mia about his fiancee. And instead of manning up and breaking up with his fiancee, he just tries to be so awful that she’ll dump him. His fiancee is written as a one dimensional bad guy. She’s probably lying about a pregnancy, she’s shallow, lazy, and manipulative. And he has no problem having unprotected sex with Mia. Ugh.

Email to Kate:  I really hated this book.

So, that’s all I’ve got.  I’d say stay away from this book, unless you can work with cheating.  Disappointing.

Spirit Bound by Christine Feehan


Grade: F
Hotness Level: Blaze
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Magic, audiobook
Series: Sisters of the Heart #2
Published: 12/27/14
Reviewed by Anne
404 pages

So, I have to tell you, I really grew to hate this book.  In fact, I stopped listening to it when I was on section 18 of 21, because it was just making me too angry.  I didn’t set out to hate it!  I was really looking forward to it – Christine Feehan was my gateway author into vampire romance with her Dark series.  I loved her Drake Sisters series even more.  Spirit Bound is even set in the same town and world as the Drake Sisters series.  I went into this book expecting it to be pretty good, but things went downhill pretty fast.

First, let me give you the set up.  Judith is one of 6 magical sisters.  They aren’t biologically related to each other, but formed a family in their adulthood after surviving traumas in their pasts.  They live together on a farm in California.

Stefan is an secret agent for Russia.  He had a horribly traumatic childhood and has spent his entire life doing undercover work in one situation or another.  Stefan is assigned to insinuate himself into Judith’s life so that he’ll be there if she’s pursued by a master criminal who is known to be obsessed with her.  Oh, and Stefan has magical powers, too.

OK, pretty decent set up.  It gets complicated pretty quickly, but Feehan handles that well and it’s easy to understand.  The audiobook narrator was decent and I have not audiobook related complaints.  I enjoyed the magic in the story and I loved the sisterhood!  What I didn’t enjoy was the hours and hours I felt like I spent in Stefan’s head thinking about how he’d never allowed himself to love anyone, but now he was falling for Judith (before he even met her) and how he had decided that he was never going to love anyone, but his heart was opening to her without him even asking.  And his childhood was awful and he learned early never to trust anyone, but already he’s trusting her.  And he was never going to love anyone, but he’s falling in love with Judith.  Oh, and did I mention that Stefan was never going to allow himself to have loving feelings for anyone, but Judith has already taken over his heart?  Because Feehan mentions it a lot.  A. Lot.

We get some of the same head time from Judith, but it’s not quite as bad as Stefan’s inner monologue.  There are a couple bad guys in the story, but the one in town directly pursuing them (Ivanov, I think) is a sadistic, cruelty loving, bad guy who is into sadism and likes to hurt animals and people just for the joy of it, because he’s a sadistic bastard.  Yes.  He’s a very, very bad guy and the story is filled with Stefan remembering horrific anecdotes from his childhood (he grew up with Ivanov) so we can be impressed with how awfully sadistic he is.  Sheesh, that got old.

But, through all that inner monologue and driving home of points with lots of repetition, I was still really wanting to know how things would work out for Judith and Stefan.  I was curious and even rooting for them.  But the thing is, the more I got to know Stefan, the more I disliked him.  He’s a controlling asshole with no relationship skills.  He wants to know more about Judith, so he breaks into her home and looks around.  He stalks her, but we’re supposed to be ok with it because he has feelings for her?   He treasures Judith like she’s a thing to be owned.  He withholds information from her even when it seems like he should be coming clean.

And then, as if he weren’t being a big enough asshole, he starts drugging her to get her to sleep through the night so he can go out bad guy hunting without having to explain himself.  He says he does it to keep her safe while he’s gone. What????  Because leaving a strong, independent, and powerful woman totally incapacitated and protected only by a security system that he himself routinely breaks through is a good decision?  And he does it repeatedly.  Repeatedly!  And when another character calls him out on it, Stefan thinks he’s justified because he’s doing it all to keep her safe.

When Judith miraculously is roused from her drugged state and saves his life and then realizes what he’s done and is very angry with him  – only then does he start to reconsider his decision to drug her.  He admits to her that he “probably shouldn’t have done that.”  Oh. Really?  Thankfully, Judith is very angry with him.  Unfortunately, he continues to boss her around, which is how he ‘takes care of her’ and even more unfortunately, she lets him!  And when she’s still kind of upset he decides he needs to have sex with her.  He needs it.  And they start kissing passionately and he realizes he doesn’t know if she’s resisting or capitulating – and he doesn’t care!  He needs this closeness with her.

That was it for me.  I was driving while I listened and I just reached over and shut off the player.  I couldn’t listen to another word.  All I really wanted was for Judith to dump him and find someone better.

I know some of Feehan’s other books have old school “heroes” like this, and I’ve enjoyed them in the past.  I don’t know if I’m growing up and feeling more strongly about consent?  Or maybe that kind of behavior is somehow more acceptable to me when it comes from a vampire with super-human needs?  I don’t know, but this book left me steaming mad and very disappointed, I love Judith and her sisters and their farm and their powers, but I can’t listen to another word..  Please, someone, recommend a sisterhood series that will cleanse my palate of this mess!

Once Upon A Billionaire by Jessica Clare

Once upon a Billionaire (Billionaire Boys Club, #4)
Hotness Level-Inferno
Kink Level-No Kink
Series-Billionaire Boys Club #4
Reviewed by Kay
261 pages

I had such high hopes for this book when I first started it. I love Jessica Clare books. It had a billionaire, a down on her luck but strong heroine, great sexual tension and a decent, if not far fetched premise. These are great things in a romance story but at sixty percent in it all fell apart for me.

Griffin, the hero, is a billionaire who belongs to a secret society of friends and a Viscount in his native country. He has to go home to his homeland for a family wedding. A royal family wedding. He would rather do anything other than that but family is family. His assistant comes down with the chicken pox and can’t go with him. One of his friends’ wives, who he doesn’t get along with, offers him her husband’s assistant for the trip. He’s desperate, so he agrees.

Maylee is from Arkansas and the first person in her family to go to college and get a degree. She sends part of her paychecks back home to her family to give them a somewhat better life. She lives in an unsecured building in a hovel of an apartment. She doesn’t have much but she’s content with her life. When she gets the chance not only to earn doubletime but to travel, she’s so very excited.

When these two meet, Griffin is a total asshat. He insults her at every turn even knowing that he desperately needs her help. To make matters even worse, he becomes attracted to her and still continues to belittle her. This happens through most of the book. At about sixty percent, I’d made my mind up that there would be no redemption for him in my eyes. Not even Jessica Clare’s writing could make him likeable. Maylee was a precious heroine and I cried for her several times while reading this book. She was the one bright spot in this story. If you can stand a constantly cruel hero, give it a try.