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Two Hot – Two Reviews (Part 1: Mike’s back cover review)

December 9, 2011

So I was checking in the delivery a few weeks ago and saw this Harlequin called Two Hot which sounded so freakin’ odd.  It seemed to be that the woman was having sex with two guys, happily–not the usual “I’m with this jerk, and can leave him for this perfect hunk of manmeat who also happens to be rich.”  I read the book–which was TERRIBLE–and complained to my husband about it.  He read the back and starting riffing on both the names of the characters and the plot of the book.  All well-deserved, mind you.  He made me crack up so much that I begged him to write it all up for a guest blog.  Here is what he had to say (my review will follow, by Monday):

So the other day I found myself staring at the back of a romance novel. This was because I was trying to get my wife to pay attention to me, but the back of the novel was in the way of her face. At any rate, I ended up reading the cover and it was hilarious. I doubt it was supposed to be, but I couldn’t stop laughing. At first it was the red text – the eye-catching bit at the top: “Forbidden Fantasy #2 Being desired by more than one man…”

Think about that for a minute. Roll it around in your head. What nightmarish Victorian nunnery did this person grow up in that being desired by more than one man is a forbidden fantasy!? It doesn’t say “having sex with more than one man.” Merely desired. Is this to suppose that normal women go through life anticipating, nay, hoping that all men will treat her with utter indifference (or, mayhap, scorn!) except for that one man – that one, exceptional, odds-defying man – who will break through the bleak parade and actually desire them? Also, I’d hate to think of the women I used to desire who got stuck with men who are apathetic just because I desired them, which only one man may do. I guess they spend their nights weeping, unnoticed by their apathetic, more compatible husbands. Still, better to spend your evenings with red eyes than to admit to the Forbidden Fantasy of being desired by more than one man. So Forbidden! So Fantastical! So…

Wait. If being desired by more than one man is a Forbidden Fantasy, why is it number two? What the hell is number one? Being desired by one man? I have to assume that the setting of this book is some sort of Amazonian/Orwellian wasteland where women rule the crumbling landscape and men are a dying oddity, where women that are not disgusted by the desire of a man are guilty of thoughtcrime and must submit to execution under the watchful gaze of Big Sister. We have always been at war with Themyscira.

I imagine that Forbidden Fantasy number 3 is holding hands on purpose.

Naturally I had to read the actual blurb to see if it was penned with the same golden ink. Now, I haven’t read the book, but I think I can recreate the entire thing, thanks mostly to the names the characters were given. Zoë McNamara is getting a doctorate in Being a Woman in a Romance Novel and Thus Being Largely Incapable of Controlling Her Emotions (BWRMTBLICHE PhD) at the prestigious Lengthy Majors University. She is obviously the child of a Scotsman and a hippy, both of whom enjoyed lying on their back at three in the morning trying to connect random syllables into potential names for their daughter. While she’s attending LMU, she meets Jed Calhoun and is immediately struck by the size of his Confederate belt buckle and the amount of chewing tobacco he can fit in his lip. She can’t get him out of her mind, and who could blame her? The John Deere hat with the grease stain, the trucknuts on his pickup, the thick, rolling mullet – a girl can only take so much before being smitten! The blurb describes him as a “big, blond enigma”, and it’s obvious the enigma is why Jed Calhoun – professional bass fisher, amateur toilet seat tosser – is anywhere near a grad student when it’s the middle of cow pie bingo season! Still, she decides to have a one night rodeo with him in his Ford. The gunrack was a good handhold.

But then! After an evening with Jed Calhoun – Nascar tailgater and deer head decorator – Zoë goes home, showers for a few hours to get the stench of Busch out of her hair, and goes to class. On her way she meets Ethan Blair, striking in his tight black turtleneck and circulation-defying black jeggings. The way he saunters into Starbucks, orders an organic lattefrappemochacoffeehalfcaffalpacino, sets up his macbook, and begins to blog about the perils of corporate greed… why, she must have him too! But surely Zoë can’t entertain the notion that Ethan Blair – professional record collector, but only of records you’ve never heard of – could possibly desire her. After all, to be desired by more than one man is a Forbidden Fantasy (#2), and she’s already indulged in Forbidden Fantasy #1, i.e., a man talking to her about something besides housework. But indulge she must, because it’s her final exam for her BWRMTBLICHE PhD, so she goes up to him and strikes up a conversation. At first this seems difficult, since Ethan Blair – professional blogger – only listens to music no one else has heard and watches movies by holding the filmstrips in front of a candle. Things go more smoothly when Zoë says she does everything ironically, and the next thing you know we’ve entered the Forbidden Zone.

As much as I’d like to assume that the whole thing ends with the most comically bizarre threesome since Ronald McDonald, the Burger King, and Wendy got together, my wife informs me that the catch is that Jed Calhoun – who loves PBR but thinks it’s too fancy for him – and Ethan Blair – who hates PBR but drinks it ironically – are the SAME PERSON. This blows my mind. It’s one thing to be given a stupid name, like Zoë, who sounds like she was named after an obscure Star Trek planet, but to think someone deliberately gave himself either Jed Calhoun or Ethan Blair? It strains credulity, unless… YES!

Ethan Blair – who drinks Merlot in shotglasses for reasons you wouldn’t understand – finally cracked under the strain of doing everything ironically. Years of pretentious pressure snapped his fragile superego and he became his diametric opposite: a beer-swillin’ squirrel-huntin’ tractor-pull-enjoyin’ yokel that loved everything made in the Yew-Ess-ov-Ae. At night, when the Macbook is closed, he takes off his black turtleneck and puts on a pair of overalls he keeps hidden from his normal self. So the book is like Fight Club with hicks and douchebags.

At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what the story is.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rachel permalink
    December 12, 2011 3:59 am

    This was hilarious…. there should be more snarky male recaps of crappy chick romance books.

    • December 12, 2011 7:05 am

      I don’t think I could get him to read the whole thing, but he already has another back cover he’s writing about. Not sure when he’ll get the review done, but probably sometime this week.

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