Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Few Good Men: Musings

Just a couple things of note.  I mentioned considering a Reverse Bechdel a post or two back, but upon further reflection, I'm not sure it's worth the effort.

Also, I'm currently working on reading Gail Dayton's The Compass Rose.  Wow, this novel has a lot of estrogen in it (in an interesting way), but I'm up to page 182, and the males aren't really . . . I dunno.  Things are happening to them that is interesting, but I'm not seeing much of them, their personalities, what makes them tick.  Quite frankly, I don't know what to say about the men, because there isn't too much to say about them.  It's mostly about the main character, the female, after all.

So, I'm not sure if this one will work for A Few Good Men.  The problem is, after I read this one, I intend to read the other yardsale find that looks like it was set in this same world.  So, I'm thinking I'm going to have to find a short Regency romance and read that simultaneously or something.  Because if I get out of the habit of reviewing, I'll probably stop permanently.  Me and my attention span, you know--it's no bigger than a flea's, one with ADHD to boot. 

Well, we'll see.  I may need to just read something else simultaneously anyway to get my man-candy fix.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Few Good Men: Cherry Ripe by Claudette Williams

Gold Stars:  None
Squee Hearts:  None
Black Marks:  one
Testrogen:  Low

The blurb was what interested me in Claudette William's Regency romance, Cherry Ripe.  Shauna Elton is being forced into an arranged marriage by her step-mother Lady Elton.  Before she can learn Lord Damien Drummond is the intended, Shauna runs away, and she is rescued by none other than Lord Drummond, who has never met or seen his intended either.  By a sequence of events, Shauna ends up being the governess to Drummond's half-siblings, twins, a boy and girl Bromley.  Good fun, that.  Too bad lines like the following occur quite frequently throughout the novel:  "Why had he let her get away without bedding her?  What had happened?" (Williams 23).  Why indeed!  Needless to say, such lines don't earn Drummond any points in my book--any good points, that is.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Few Good Men: Reverse Bechdelness

Just for fun, I'm considering another category of judgement for my reviews.  In this case, it's a Reverse Bechdel Quota: two heterosexual men, alone, not thinking, speaking, doing, being motivated by women (this includes sex, lust, love, etc.).  The higher the number, the more often this phenomenon has occurred in the work. 

I think it's not too late to start it on my read-in-progress, The Compass Rose, because 74 pages into it, there has been only one scene between two men alone.  But it didn't leave females alone--in fact, they were in search of the women's tent (camp followers) for you know what.

To be fair, I don't expect this phenomenon to occur in romances.  After all, excluding LGBT fiction, romances are about a male and female getting together.  But I also don't expect to see this frequently in the genres I read either (fantasy, history and classics, horror, and science fiction), for they are so often romantic or romantically inclined.  Oh, well, we'll see :-)

A Few Good Men: Upcoming Possibilties

Another reason why I decided to start this review series was to read--and watch--more fiction.  Well, yesterday, I finished a finished a less-than-50-cent yardsale find, Cherry Ripe by Claudette Williams.  It too is a Regency romance.  And I'm currently reading another, 50-cent yardsale find in the form of Gail Dayton's The Compass Rose, which is a Luna published book.  This does not speak well for coming up with any gold stars, for love-interests are the backbone of these novels.  But Cherry has some interesting peripheral males and so does Compass.  So I should soon have some testrogen to talk about.  I hope.

A Few Good Men: A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer

Gold Stars: None
Squee Hearts: None
Black Marks: None
Testrogen Level: Low

 I came up with this series while reading a Regency romance last week.  Just as I don't like to speak bad about my role model, Georgette Heyer, I don't like to speak mostly bad about the men I review for blog series.  After all, "if one doesn't have anything nice to say, one shouldn't say anything at all" goes the old saying.  But I do have some nice to speak about the main character, Adam Deveril aka Viscount Lynton.

Lynton is of the Quality, but his late father left him with a mountain of debt, and he is considering selling his estates, which cares deeply for, to cover it and to make sure his sisters have their dowries and are cared for.  Though he has some initial qualms about it, he makes a marriage of convenience with a very wealthy Cit's daughter--a Cit being a member of the merchant class who does business in the City section of London.  The problem is Lynton is in love with a woman of his own class, Miss Julia Oversley, and because of his debt state, he has to call off the engagement.  Though that is not the end of their relationship.

A Few Good Men: A Review Series

Ninety percent of the fiction I read I read for the men, for the testrogen effect--the quality by which male characters appeal to female readers.  There are certain standards by which I judge this appeal.  First, the "good guys" receive black marks for misogyny, infidelity, male chauvinism, and womanizing.  They also receive it when a work dictates a cool character's coolness step by step, action by action, like a procedural instead of a novel.  Next, a gold star is handed out when the guy actually cares about something other than the love interest.  Finally, there are bonus points (squee-hearts) when this non-love-interest interest is male, for I love buddy fiction (bromance) and family fiction (in this case, siblings or father-son).  These are the standards by which I rank my "few good men."