Thursday, May 19, 2011

When Loins Attack: Need Help From Linda Howard Fans

MacKenzie's Mission by Linda Howard
Audiobook - Brilliance Audio

For the very first time I picked up a Linda Howard Audiobook to listen to. It's not only my first audio version of hers I've listened to, but also the first book of hers for me period. The problem? I'm having MAJOR issues with it. This was unexpected because she's a big name author that I assumed would have to be half-way readable to a vast majority of readers in order to have made her books so popular. I'm not seeing that in this book at all. So now I have to ask: Is is just me?

Okay, so the book is MacKenzie's Mission and it will officially be my first ever DNF book or audiobook. A few months ago I talked about not finishing an audiobook but I had managed to work my way to the end. This time, I just can't take it anymore and I turned it off and ejected it this morning on my way to work. Which is saying something because I HATE morning radio and the nimwits who hosts shows and yet that was prefereable to me over this audiobook.

So what's the issue? There are many and I talked about a few of them with some awesome readers on twitter yesterday.

The first might be that I really don't like the hero and heroine and that might be clouding my opinon. In addition, there is a male narrarator and I'm not so hot on male narrators. Why? Because they always make the female voices sound ridiculous. They make them whiney and shakey and little girl sounding instead of like an adult woman.

So those are the issues to start with.

BUT then come the things I started to get riled up over.

The hero grew up on a horse farm and so the reader is treated to EVERY SINGLE reference of the hero to the heroine is full of horse metaphors. I stopped counting how many times he spoke of mounting her, taming her, breaking her spirit, etc. Give me a break already. We get it - you don't have to beat those phrases into the ground.

The heroine is a virgin. Okay. I have no problem with that and had no issue with how it was explained that she is 28 and still hasn't been with a man. Those things were explained well. What did I have an issue with? She has sex 5 TIMES in one night on her first night. NOT ONE SINGLE time is described as gentle and yet the next morning they immediately wake up and she's all "Oh, I'm only sore a little we can get it on" and off they go for more marathon sex. THAT LASTS AN ENTIRE WEEKEND. As a virgin with a supposedly huge, rough man.

Now, maybe this would have been more believable if this was an erotic romance or erotica but this was a plain old romance with a naieve woman and I just didn't buy it.

What else was wrong with that? The entire thing is told through the hero's POV and it's all about getting his pleasure, slating his lust, etc. Not really any mention of caring more about how she feels and if she is hurting than "relieving the tighness in his loins."

Yes, loins are everywhere in this book. Yet another romance book with a built-in drinking game. I mean it's the male POV and all he can think to himself about his man junk is loins?

Then IT happened. The part of the story in which I could take no more. The heroine is accused of something and instead of going with her character's obvious personality traits, she decides to do the most insane, stupid thing ever and it completely flies in the face of everything you know about this character. WTF! STOP. EJECT. I just couldn't take it anymore.

So Dear Readers, I'm asking for any Linda Howard fans out there to help me understand. Is this a one-off bad book? Did you read this book and love it and apparently I'm just not going to like her writing but there are plenty of others who love it? If you've read this book what did you think?

Lastly, what Linda Howard book would you recommend that I read as her best work? I've heard from Twitter to try Mr. Perfect - would that be the "perfect" one to read? (Insert groan over my silliness here)


  1. Oy, the horse metaphors. Is there anything more awful?

    I'm not positive, but this sounds like a reprint of an older Howard novel. An old Silhouette most likely.

    Her romantic suspense titles from the early 2000s are much better. Mr. Perfect, Open Season, Dying to Please. They are solidly RS, though, with violence towards women etc.

    I can't stand most male narrators...with the guy who does the Black Dagger Brotherhood being the exception. The falsetto they use drives me absolutely bonkers.

  2. It's been many years since I read this book -- it came out a very long time ago, so it may not hold up as well in the current timeframe. :) I do remember how excited everyone was about this book coming out, though, because everyone was in love with the hero from the first in the series, Mackenzie's Mountain.

    I am trying to think of the title of the one I like--I recently re-read it, but it's escaping me and I couldn't find the title online either. It's more lighthearted and funny, and involves a trip through the jungle to find an archaeological setting. I'll let you know when I figure it out!

  3. Dream Man is my all time favorite. After that, I think All the Queen's Men (that was a Howard I hope, it's been a while).

    Every time I hear "loins" I think of pork loin because my mother makes it all the time and is constantly trying to force me to even though I don't eat meat.

  4. Every *single* time I've picked up a very mainstream book because it looked ridiculous to me, but it's so popular with others, it's turned out to be even more WTF than I expected. Frankly, the more widely popular a book is, the more likely it is to be rapetastic or just crazy. Which makes me fear other readers.

  5. I think that you would enjoy Mr. Perfect -- it is one of the books that I recommend to my non-romance friends to try to get them hooked on romance!



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