Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Music Review: Alexandra Stan - "Saxobeats"

I forget how I first heard of Romanian recording artist Alexandra Stan.  I believe I had bought a couple of songs by Edward Maya or Natalia Kills and she came up in the line of other artists bought by customers.  Either way, I'm glad she did.

Her debut, "Saxobeats" is short (considering the number of different songs totals eight) but sweet.  This is the full-listing for the digital version:

1. "Mr. Saxobeat" 
2. "Ting-Ting"
3. "Show Me the Way"
4. "Lollipop (Param Pam Pam)" 
5. "Crazy"
6. "Bitter-Sweet"
7. "Get Back (ASAP)"
8. "One Million" (featuring Carlprit)
9. "Mr. Saxobeat" (MAAN Studio Remix)
10. "Lollipop (Param Pam Pam)" (Club Version)
11. "Get Back (ASAP)" (MAAN Studio Remix)
12. "Mr. Saxobeat" (Extended Version)
13. "Get Back (ASAP)" (Extended Version)

"Mr. Saxobeat" is infectious and has that obvious Romanian-pop feel to it more than the other songs imo.  "Lollipop (Param Pam Pam)" is the second single for U.S. although it was Ms. Stan's debut single and a hit in Romania.  Someone on YouTube called it the "jacked up euro version" of "Fergalicious" and that's not completely wrong.  Still a fun song and while self-indulgent, much less so than "Fergalicious" was in my opinion.  The stand-out song for me on this release is "Crazy", which I don't see as being a single since there's already going to be four from this album and I'm not certain if this album will have more than four singles.  "Show Me The Way" is also single-worthy and I'd love to hear some serious remixes on it.  The remixes and extended versions that are here are nice to have but my ear must be lazy because I don't hear enough of a difference for it to matter other than with the club version of  "Lollipop (Param Pam Pam)".

I'll give it 4 out of 5.

Music vid for single, "Lollipop (Param Pam Pam)".  I would've have linked Mr. Saxobeat but YouTube wouldn't let me embed it:

Book Review: Doukakis's Apprentice

With her family business in crisis, Polly Prince does her best to keep calm and carry on. But hard work alone can't save her London company from a takeover by the infamously ruthless Damon Doukakis…or her traitorous body from the lethal sensuality of her boss! As his new apprentice, Polly accompanies Damon to Paris to negotiate the most challenging business deal of her life! Worse still, Polly must at all costs resist Damon in the most dangerously romantic city in the world…

A number of notes before I get to the meat of the review--as lean a cut of meat as it admittedly is:

1. The title makes me think of two different things immediately.

2. Now that I have that out of the way, Polly is not his apprentice. He accompanies her to Paris, not the other way around. And the description would be accurate if it said "father's business" instead of "family business" since Polly has no other real family. (Yes, I know she considers her staff to be family. I'll get to that.)

3. The Harlequin cover is not the worst cover ever by any means but it really makes Damon look like a sleaze coming on to a buttoned-up trollop. The Mills & Boon cover really shows more of the spirit of the book. She's wearing a fashionable little number like she does in the book and is giving him a sweet kiss befitting of her personality. And he even has a tie with pink stripes on it, which is a nice nod to some of the dialogue in the story. The backdrop for the second cover is Paris, which is far more appropriate than the London setting for the story considering the role Paris plays.

4. This book has good reviews at Amazon but one points out the book needed an editor. If you actually click on the cover over at Amazon to look inside the book, sure enough, one of the errors the reviewer pointed out ("two mugs of and a large muffin") is on the first page. I made it into a bit of a Mad Lib by adding a line next to it. Go nuts:

The reviewer also talked about how names change and in my Mills and Boon epub version both Damon's sister Arianna and his PA change to Analisa and Janey (or was that Jenny). It's certainly no fault of writer Sarah Morgan but the PA's name in particular really confused me.

I've found Sarah Morgan's stuff to be generally enjoyable even if I found "The Greek's Blackmailed Wife" maddening at times.  "Doukakis's Apprentice" thankfully goes in the non-maddening pile with "Blackmailed by Diamonds, Bound by Marriage" and the excellent "Powerful Greek, Unworldly Wife".

The main character Polly Price is an enjoyable heroine and what I liked most about her is that she seemed to be someone I would have as a friend. (And I can't say this for any other romance heroine so far.)  Polly's a quirky yet practical, accessible young lady and doesn't snivel nor stand on a soapbox and list out all of her company accomplishments to Damon despite having every right to do so. While a romance story wouldn't be a romance story without misunderstandings, none of these are the type to induce headdesk or the classic, frustrated throwing of the book into the wall. Polly's reasons make sense and she clearly did everything she could given her circumstances. Most romance heroines don't come off as being generally caring to me. The reader is usually given so much from the heroine's perspective that she comes off as batty, egotistical, or unreasonable. But not Polly. She genuinely cares about the staff at her father's company and I could feel that. Good job, Ms. Morgan.

Damon, on the other hand, is not unlikeable. However, both Ms. Morgan and the heroine Polly call this fellow out on his crap. I'm so tired of heroes deeming heroines as being over-emotional and illogical that I was happy to see this doesn't get past the radar considering he makes the most over-emotional move in the story: Damon bought Polly's father's company just to get at Polly's father for running off with Damon's sister Arianna. And he later uses Polly herself as bait.  What does she tell him?
"I suppose you're sitting there planning new methods to use me to flush my father out of hiding. I'm just a worm on a hook." All the horrors of the night before rushed down on her and Polly touched her fingers to her forehead. "Did you put a hook through my head?"
Nice one, Polly.  Also Damon is Greek but I don't see how it matters in the least. He could've been 100% English and it would've been in the same story. In any case, at least this wasn't drummed into the reader like some stories.

My only real issue with the story is the flow. It felt a little disjointed at times (although that probably isn't the right word for it) and I found myself sorely tempted to skip parts and just move along. The ending was also very sudden and this could've been better if it just moved a little slower. We jump into love and marriage at the end when this story seemed more suited to be a one of the two-book stories. Book One could've ended with declarations of love or at least the promise of a future together while Book Two could involve a hurdle Damon and Polly have to overcome before they get married. Instead, this is another single-story book where it feels like it all had to be shoe-horned in when other parts earlier in the story could've been shortened or removed to expand on the ending.

I give "Doukakis's Apprentice" 4.5 out of 5 acorns. Not perfect, but close.

Monday, August 1, 2011

9 Stupid Comments about Part I of the New Thundercats!

And on July 29th a new generation of furries were born...

The freshly rebooted Thundercats premiered on Cartoon Network this past Friday with a special hour-long event. All in all, it is probably one of the best reboots I've ever seen, the second being the last ill-fated reboot of He-Man. Thundercats definetely stomps that crappy new Voltron toon into the dirt.

The voice acting is good but I wish someone else had been casted as Lion-O because all I hear is Terry McGinnis. The scenary is lovely. Most of the character designs are awesome but Panthro's ugly. He wasn't no supermodel before but, damn, he wasn't freakin' hideous. Lion-O flat-face is kinda creepy. Look at him from the side and he barely has a nose. But this is nitpickery for sure. Now on to the list:

1. I knew this was going to be a good show when Lion-O punched a woman in the face. Okay, so he didn't quite punch her. Whatever, let's watch it on a loop anyway.

Go, Rock, go!
♫ Gonna fly now... ♫

2. Snarf tripping one of the baddies like an old lady was classic. Because this is how old ladies with cats and without Life Alerts die. They trip over cats. Then the cats eat the corpse. This is my future. And Snarf looks the type.

Whatever shuts him up. If you saw old Thundercats, you know what I'm talkin' about.

3. So Lion-O is a precocious, disobediant, red-headed, bubble-brain, stubborn royal with a cute, pet sidekick fascinated with pieces of crap that promise a world beyond the kingdom he knows? Hmmm...

At least someone's not interested in her voice.

And the Little Mer-lion also runs late to important shit.

I bet they all wish they didn't need four for bridge.

If those bombs he bought from that dog-dude had prongs, Lion-O'd probably be combing his hair with it at the dinner table. And he should. His hair's a mess.

King Claudus originally wanted to name him Goku.

4. At first I thought Tygra knew that was Cheetara he was winking at but in the second part he's all surprised to find out it was her. So he was just flirtin' with some random cleric. That's balls. No, really. That cleric could've been a pretty guy with really smexy eyes. Or had a Mileena-mouth. Or have been an older woman. Do tigers like cougars?

Tygra don't care. Cause that how Tygra rolls. Giggety.

5. When General Grune returned, I realized while he and the king cement their bromance that Claudus has odd yellow things above his eyes and I don't know what the fuck they are.

"Dammit, they're WHISKERS. Gross, fat, yellow whiskers."

6. Grune has one huge ol' fang. HAH. While I'm sure this implies that he once had two fangs and is a bad-ass who lost one due to the ravages of war, I like to think that dentists in Thundera are just really, really shitty.

He also opens beer with it.

7. Awwww, isn't thievery adorable!?

"Robble, robble!"

8. Apparently, cats are the man, dawg. As in THE MAN. So to speak. Because they is oppressing other species.

"This purple shit ain't fruit."

9. The conversation on Lion-O's end of the table must SUCK.

This also makes the footsy a bit awkward.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Music Review - Lady GaGa: "Born This Way"

In many ways Lady GaGa reminds me of M. Night Shyamalamadingdong. When "The Sixth Sense" came out, people--yours truly included--applauded his originality and couldn't wait for the next pile of shit he'd fart out. We were riveted by what twist we'd see next. And as some of us gobbled up "Unbreakable", then "Signs", then "The Village", we began to drop off like flies. Would his biggest twist have been no twist at all? I think so. Lady Gaga could only benefit by taking some notes.

In many ways M. Night Shyamalan reminds me of Lady GaGa. When "The Fame" came out, people--yours truly included--applauded her originality and couldn't wait for the next oozy dance-track she'd poop out of her plastic-lined, rainbow-colored keister. We were riveted by what kind of fucked-up outfit we'd see next. And some of us gobbled up "The Fame Monster", then "Born This Way". That's right. "Born This Way" is Lady GaGa's "Signs". I have not tested if it can also be killed with water.

Some of our old love for Lady GaGa is still in this album. Each beat is poppy and slick, none of the tracks inspiring me to press the skip button. Unfortunately, they don't really inspire much of anything. Don't get me wrong, I found some of "The Fame" to be lacking as well. But that album bore out some damn infectious hits and I don't see any of that here. "Born This Way", the title track, is pretty much a rip-off homage of Madonna's "Express Yourself". I think most people know that and it's actually okay because GaGa does her own thang. It's catchy and listenable, heads and tails above the rest. I really like "Government Hooker", "Heavy Metal Lover", and "Electric Chapel", too, but not quite as much. "Just Dance" from "The Fame" still kicks all of their asses before school and takes their lunch money.

I'd like GaGa to be less daring when comes to costuming and put just as much adventure into her actual music. This album seems determined to showcase Lady GaGa's vocal limitations. She repeats the same words so often you'd think someone taught a parrot to imitate Lady GaGa and it put out this album. Come on, GaGa, you already did this repetitious thing with your last two albums. (Or one and a half if you prefer.) Someone give this woman a meat thesaurus.

There doesn't feel like there's any variety in the sound of this music either. Many of these songs sound like the same damn song with minor differences. She is electro-pop's answer to Nickelback. I wish she had just dialed it back for some of this stuff. You don't have to sing that loud or use a synthesizer all the time. "The Queen" and "Marry The Night" sound like they're going to be something different and then someone decided they needed to be noisy and obnoxious instead.

Thematically, "Born This Way" the album feels superficial. There's religion, fashion, and people being who they are and special and loving themselves or some shit like that. Big whoop. We GET it already: you were BORN THAT WAY. I picture the brainstorm session for this: people, Red One, and GaGa around table that looks like a giant egg covered with purple spots and wondering what words sound cool when repeated by chic gays in teh club.

Finally, that cover's ugly. Why didn't she ask her monsters for help? I've seen fanpages made by fourteen-year-olds edgier-looking than that... back in, like, 1999.

P.S. Stay out of Seinfeld's box.

Average album, average rating. 3 out of 5 acorns.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Book Review: The Heir From Nowhere

Heh, heh, come on, you and I know he came from somewhere. *snort* Straight from the back:
"You don't know me, but I'm having your baby."
Don't you fellas hate it when that happens?
Dominic Pirelli's carefully ordered world falls apart when a female stranger phones with staggering news: an IVF clinic mix-up means she is carrying the baby that he and his late wife dreamed of having! Though he distrusts her motives, Dominic is determined to keep waiflike Angelina Cameron close. Taking her to his luxury home, the hardened tycoon reluctantly begins to admire Angie's strength and gentle beauty as her body swells with the precious life inside her. But when their baby is born, who will have custody of the Pirelli heir?
Both of them, of course. The book can't end any other way!

Firstly, I must applaud this book for being one of several new books by Harlequin where someone with a brain finally decided to have names that don't have "billionaire", "mistress", and "secret baby" in the title. Also, that cover actually looks like how I pictured these people, depicting them in the pool. Yay for having an event that actually happens in the book.

Author Trish Morey has written a romance novel that won't have you plucking out your eyes or, to use a more realistic reaction, throwing the book across the wall in fury. She presents two flawed people who manage to both be kinda likable.

Heroine Angie Cameron is down on her luck. Her rat of a husband is leaving her and taking all of her good shit and half of her home. Angie and her husband used an IVF clinic but her hubby called it the last straw on their strained marriage when the clinic gave Angie the wrong embryo and she decided to have the baby anyway. As we learn later, Angie was once an abortion possibility herself and she doesn't want to deny the baby a right to live. Fair enough. No, but really, whether you're pro-choice or pro-life, you will agree this boner is a total jerkwad. So she contacts the would-be daddy so the baby can live with his or her natural family after entering the world.

Dominic Pirelli is handsome and rich like most of these Harlequin alpha-male bastards. However, he started out poor, living a scant neighborhood or so away from despondent Angie's current location. He has a somewhat tragic past and hopes by making a lot of money, he can help the people he loves. Unfortunately, the poor fellow ends up losing everyone along the way. This chap just can't catch a break. And his outlook doesn't improve when the IVF clinic admits their whoopsie. Yowch.

So when Angie contacts Dom, he thinks "oh no, this chick just wants to sell me my baby back." She looks sick and poor and while he can't fault her for the poor part, the sick is something else. Dom's deceased wife—that's right, the baby-mama's dead—had an eating disorder and died from it. And poor Dom's all "sigh, not this shit again."

Through a sequence of events, Dom gets to know her little by little and decides his best course of action is for his baby to grow somewhere safe: his giant-ass beach-side mansion. Hey, sounds good to me. So he moves Angie in and the whole growing-closer-together thing begins.

This book never felt like it had a slow spot and every part serves a purpose whether it be in the over-all plot or establishing the characters in the book. Dom's PA Simone seemed a little useless but that was only because I initially expected her to have a slightly larger role in the book. I actually wouldn't mind if she appeared in an equally superfulous role in several different Trish Morey books. Kinda like that Richard Scarry book "Postman Pig and His Busy Neighbors" where you had to look for that pickle in each picture. Ms. Morey, make Simone your pickle!

All in all, this book didn't really stay with me but it was an enjoyable read. Not too much drama and two leads who seemed to be decent people. Because I would've liked a slightly bigger moment to come along and complete the book—we were a little luke-warm here—I'm taking off a tiny sliver of acorn. Also calling the kid AC-DC wasn't cool. That poor child.

4.75 out 5 acorns. ¾

Friday, May 13, 2011

Book Review: The Eleventh Son

From book description:
On one of his missions, Xiao (the Eleventh Son, known as the Great Bandit) meets Shen, the fairest woman in the martial world. By the will of fate, he rescues Shen several times, which plants the seed of love in both of them. However, Shen is married to a rich young man who is also an outstanding martial artist. As if things were not complicated enough, Xiao has his own secret admirer, Feng, an attractive swordswoman with a quick temper.

Xiao is drawn into a messy fight for a legendary saber, the Deer Carver, and is accused of stealing it. Xiao finds out that the person who has set him up is a mysterious young man with an angel’s face and a devil’s heart. Before he can pursue any further, Shen’s grandmother is murdered, and Xiao is named the killer. It appears that things are spinning out of control…
"The Eleventh Son" is a wuxia novel written by prolific Chinese novelist Gu Long, who wrote over sixty novels before dying at age 48 in 1985 from too much drinky-drinky. To my knowledge, "The Eleventh Son" is the only one officially translated into English. For those of you unfamiliar with the wuxia genre, wuxia stories are based in the times of long ago, chronicling the adventures of Chinese martial artists bound by honor and full of secret fighting styles and techniques. My usual example when explaining wuxia is to say wuxia stories are the book version of the movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", which in turn based on the fourth book of the Crane-Iron wuxia series by Wang Dulu. [And surprise-surprise, it's not published in English either.]

"The Eleventh Son" has a great start, the story opening with the reader meeting Feng. Feng Seniang is beautiful, over-30, bitchy and awesome. As much as I wish the entire story were about her, she only features in the beginning and the end of the story. Boo hoo. Feng's BFF is Xiao Shiyi Lang, the titular eleventh son whose eleventhness doesn't figure squat except for the sad fact that the other ten are dead and he's oh-so-ronery. Xiao is a sinfully-clever, notorious bandit who has the misfortune of being the scapegoat of the so-called ideal gentlemen. It's not the name of their gang or anything, it's basically a group of characters in the story thought to be honorable and chivalrous. Except they're all nasty rats.

Xiao and Feng begin a mini-quest of sorts for a powerful blade called the Deer Carver, which is being escorted to Shen Manor with the aim of getting an owner. Xiao is blamed for the theft of the Deer Carver and even though he and Feng managed to steal it before the final destination, the one they swiped was an obvious cheap copy. A plot is afoot. It is later that Xiao ends up finding the person who has the real Deer Carver, a fiendish character named Little Mister. Little Mister passes for a scampish, adolescent boy but is actually a beautiful woman and never bothers to change a disguise or anything. She just manages to pass for both and dudes lust for her and shit. Yeah, I'm not touching that one.

Xiao also manages to meet Shen Bijun, a woman otherwise known the prettiest lil' piece in the martial arts world. Shen is married to Lian Chengbi, a man who is handsome, refined, reknowned, wealthy, and about as much fun as a box of paperclips. Xiao is constantly rescuing Shen and the two of them eventually form a couple destined to an ill-fated love. You will literally shake your fist as poor Shen is put through hell, with people she thought she could trust betraying her left and right. She in turn betrays Xiao more than once and you really feel for the poor guy. Although Shen's grandmother does indeed die and Xiao is blamed for it, it's really the least of their problems.

Despite the depth their feelings grow to, these two break each other's hearts again and again. The love story here is poignant and pretty much rivals any Harlequin I've ever reviewed here, making it ironic that this is also my first non-Harlequin review. The story is strong and sorrowful. That's no spoiler, you know how this will likely end. Though there is some unintentional lulz at Shen telling Lian she will not be unfaithful over and over again. Come on, lady, you're in love with another man. It really doesn't get worse than that.

At under four hundred pages, "The Eleventh Son" is a brisk read and a great introduction to wuxia for the uninitiated. It is translated by Rebecca S. Tai and is published by Homa & Sekey Books. I give it my highest recommendation.

5 acorns out of 5.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Book Review: Stay Through the Night

Liam Jameson is a world-famous writer of paranormal thrillers. But fame has its price, and now Liam lives reclusively on a remote Scottish island. Then Rosa Chantry knocks on his door and throws his world upside down. His desire for her is strong, but his conviction that he cannot satisfy a woman is stronger. But Rosa is persistent, and so is Liam's need for her. She is determined to ease his fear that the past has robbed him of his power as a man...
Okay, so this book's a bit older [from 2006] as I tend to try to review the more recent fare. I stumbled upon it and I figure I may as well blog about it since I haven't been reading all that many Harlequins of late. It's by Anne Mather, who also wrote "The Greek Tycoon's Pregnant Wife" which did make my Favorites list so I was open to reading another one.

Liam Jameson is a male Anne Rice who was attacked by some bat-shit fan who apparently scarred him everywhere but on his hot face. Rosa is an ignorant, too-thin school-teacher with flame-red hair, cheated on by her slimy ex-husband Colin and easily given to wild goose-chases due to her whining mother who favors Rosa's younger sister Sophie. Loose, spoiled Sophie is a Jameson fan and when she disappears, Rosa is pressured into following a noodle-limp lead straight to Jameson's castle.

I usually like the idea of a marred hero but I got the feeling Liam fell under the whole "hey, I'm scarred but not scarred enough". Although this book cover is less dumb than the usual lot of them, that dude in the picture doesn't have a single mark on him. Liam wears long-sleeved shit because he doesn't want anyone to see his scarred arms, why don't these damn covers ever get things right? [Also, he looks like he's biting the heroine but I'll just leave that as being purposeful since brother there writes wamper novels.]

I found it odd that Liam has some real insecurities about being physically cut up yet the heroine's all caught up with his good-looking face and gorgeous eyes. I know these sorts of books are a fantasy but it comes off a bit of a contradiction, no? Especially when he's hesitant about showing her his body and she's all "ITZ OK I LUV U NO MATTER WUT" about it. Doubt you'd be saying that if he had a donkey's face. While having Rosa have to actually go through more of an acceptance of Liam's scars would have been good, I'll just assume the word limit for the book is why we had to kinda rush on through that.

Liam, at least, isn't the standard romance alpha hero who jerks-jerks-jerks all over the place, calls the woman a whore, and then does three to four sentences of groveling and bad explanations before expecting to be taken back. Liam is just understandably grumpy about having his privacy potentially invaded, generally jaded by women after being jilted by his fiancee, and confused about his attraction to a woman he barely knows. I found him amusing and refreshing.

At least once, "virgin" is used like an insult. Which is funny because, really, does the hero ever want the heroine to be a slutty tramp? It's kinda, like, which would you prefer, dude? In this instance, the jokes on Liam when he finds out Rosa is a divorcee who left a five-year marriage and not the untouched tenderfoot that usually stars in these sorts of stories. Yay. Finally, a story with a woman in it instead of some daydreaming little girl. Anne Mather, I could hug you.

While the book does place Liam and Rosa at odds at times, as what must happen in most romances, it is the tension of two insecure people. It is not done with bile or some action that might overwise be unforgivable like an affair or a hidden baby or stealing daddy's company. The result is that it never made me want to bang my head on the keyboard and made this book a very nice read.

4.5 acorns out of 5. ½

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Book Review: Gray Quinn's Baby

Magenta knows having a new employer might be tricky. But she isn't expecting the old-fashioned ruthlessness of Gray Quinn! However, plucky Magenta is up for the challenge, and tries to beat the distractingly gorgeous Quinn at his own game…. Quinn is no New Man—
Bwuh? "New Man"? Is that some sort of Britishism?
—he wants temptingly innocent Magenta in his bedroom, not the boardroom. But he can make her no promises. He'll give her the night of her life, but he might not be there when she wakes up…. And he definitely doesn't want her taking maternity leave!
Firstly, lol @ that cover. These covers never cease to slay me. The heroine looks like an alien with that long neck and gangly arm and the dude's all squinty like Brenden Fraser and Gilbert Gottfried's long-lost love-child. That being said, I am glad she has dark hair instead of those covers where the brunette heroine magically becomes blonde.

Magenta Steele—yes, I too chuckled at that name—works in Steele Design which is daddy's company though I couldn't be bothered to really learn what she does besides put together "campaigns", have themed office parties, and be the HEEEEEART of the office whatever the hell that tripe means. She meets a smokin' hot biker in the parking lot. This isn't a spoiler, it's Gray Quinn. You know it's Gray Quinn, I know it's Gray Quinn. It's Gray Quinn. Why he's all playing bad boy on a bike in the parking lot when he's, like, thirty-two years old, instead of riding in a car like a normal reclusive rich bloke who just acquired said company is anybody's guess. That's just how Gray Quinn rolls. Do not question the Quinn.

Anyway, for whatever reason Quinn's smitten with Magenta. I couldn't tell you why. Maybe I wasn't supposed to be able to. Maybe I didn't read closely enough. Maybe Magenta in her gym clothes is just that damn sexy. Perhaps he just likes the bitchy ones and that ain't no crime. He ends up giving her a ride back to her place and all is well. Until Chapter Four.

Chapter Four is the uh-oh chapter. This is the chapter of a perfectly good book where you kinda know something's going wrong but you go into denial and read on anyway in the hopes it will not come to pass. There had already been mention of the sixties hammered in earlier on and I had a sinking feeling it may lead somewhere but I couldn't have imagined this: the heroine gets all dressed up like she's in the sixties, goes to sleep in her office, AND WAKES UP IN THE EFFIN' SIXTIES AND STAYS THERE FOR OVER TEN CHAPTERS.

While I commend this twist on the tried and true formula, I would not have picked up the book if I knew this was gonna happen because now Magenta is IN A DREEEEEEEM and can't wake up. Worse, she's in a sexist dream where all the chicks work the typing pool and get the mens coffee. I tried trudging through it all but this stuff just isn't my bag. Gray Quinn comes in and he's the boss, of course, and they form a relationship, do it, and she ends up with a DREEEEEM baby. BWUUUH? HAHAHA. No, really.

Magenta then wakes up in the present missing her dreeeeem baby but she and Quinn—perhaps feeling rushed that they only have about three chapters to tidy it all together—pretty much pick up where they left off in the dream. There's not much mention as to how she knows who he is (for he never introduced himself in reality) and they interact like old lovers. He takes her home, feeds her, and she begins obsessing that things are happening in reality like they did in the dream. She comes off as "hey, crazy lady" but Quinn—despite voicing some protest—seems relatively cool with it. This leads me to believe he rode that motorcyle too many times with his visor up and all of them dead flies choked his brain stem. At the end, Magenta's pregnant and la-dee-dah everything's Cheerios.

MEH. This made me kinda sad, I do admit. The writing itself is really top-notch and the hero is really good. I guess it was disappointing to start out with a hero like Gray Quinn and feel like we didn't see too much of the REAL Quinn but instead had to settle for DREEEEM Quinn for the majority of the book. The beginning seemed to set itself up for an interesting meeting when Magenta discovers the biker in the parking lot is the new owner of her father's business, but that tension is never hit upon. And although the parallel is obvious that Dream Quinn and Real Quinn are likely exactly alike, it doesn't change that one was still a sixties dream and a product of his own "era" and real interactions would have made a tastier book. It doesn't help that I'm no fan of the sixties either and I just wanted the dream sequence to GO AWAY. I have to wonder if it might've for a while as I got to the point where I just had to scan over the dream as I found it tiresome.

As for Magenta Steele herself, the name sounds pornish and she came through as being sheltered and entitlement-minded. Yeah, her daddy's a sexist pig, but why should Magenta expect to get a company for free? Go work your ass off like Gray Quinn did and get your own company to run, woman. I would like to have been given a reason to like Magenta as much as Quinn appears to. Is it her body, her eyes, her razor sharp wit, her caring heart, her creativity? I DUNNO. If she was even described as being anything other than a "good-looking woman", which could really be ANYTHING, I've completely forgotten. Magenta seems made to be generic so the reader can relate to her, but this quality made her kinda unlikable to me.

Because of the length of the dream, the ending felt rushed despite being about three chapters long. It also turns the focus on Magenta's lost dreeeem baby half-way through, which would've been a more enjoyable concept with a little more time. As Harlequin/Mills & Boon have started doing two-part books, this one probably could've focused on the dream in the first one and taken us back to reality in the second.

As it is, I'm only docking it an acorn for my own enjoyment value. As I said, this is well-written and you won't be pulling your hair out even if you don't dig it. Someone else will love this book, I just know it. If you have a hankering for a book that takes you into a sixties dream sequence for the majority of it, this is the one for you. As for me, I'd rather just read an older Harlequin than be taken there by a newer one.

4 acorns out of 5.