Tuesday, September 27, 2016

One Night In Venice by Bella Donnis

Rating: WARTY!

This begins a pair of (very negative) reviews of short, appallingly badly-written "lesbian" stories!

I was having a little bit of trouble deciding on a good ebook to get into, which is sad, given how many are available to me! In fact, it's downright pathetic. We're spoiled rotten these days with the riptide of ebooks out there. But the plenitude is also the penury given how sorry some of these books are. Yet despite the rising tide of ebooks promising a bounty to anyone who casts a wide enough net, I still managed to haul in two really awful (or is that offal?) ones. This was the first.

This one, fortunately given how things turned out, was free on Amazon (and available on B&N which is where I got it - I always check alternates before I buy from Amazon). So I opened it to find it was only twenty eight pages! This was actually its best feature, but truth be told, I couldn't even finish that much, it was so bad! It felt more like it was one of those book teasers, which isn't a bad idea and which is eminently suited to ebooks. You know, one of those shorties that lures you in and persuades you to buy the full length version? I don't do that, but you can't blame an author for that when competition is so tough. This though, it turns out, is the whole thing - not an intro, but the entire "novel" (as far as I could tell).

It's about this woman whose boyfriend dumps her via a text message when she's in Venice, waiting for him to come out to join her. It was this idea - that she finds herself cruelly ditched and somehow falls into a relationship with a woman - which intrigued me and persuaded me to take a look. The trip was supposed to be a foursome; now it's a three's-a-crowd situation. She only became acquainted with this couple through her AWOL ex, so the other woman is someone she hardly knows, but she's kind to her, even though the guy - a friend of her ex - is ham-fistedly cruel.

The problem is that the writing is so clunky and the interpersonal dynamics so lacking in credibility that I quickly became convinced that I would not even be able to make it through twenty-eight pages of this. I was right! I quit on page twenty because it was awful. 'Subtle' and 'leisurely' are two words which have quite obviously been struck from this author's lexicon (always assuming they were ever present in the first place).

The unsuspecting reader is smashed brutally and repeatedly over the head with a hyper-sexed woman who seems to harbor absolutely zero grief for the demise of her relationship, and who is ogling the other girl like a dog in heat. I'm surprised there wasn't a description of her tongue lolling out dripping saliva. She's all-but humping her friend's leg. If a guy behaved like this it would be sen as entirely inappropriate and the guy would be rightfully termed a dick. So what does that make this woman? A clit? Somehow that doesn't seem to carry the same deprecative weight. Why is that? Because guys can be dicks but women can't be clits?! If that's not sexist, what is?!

Abandon hope (and seek hops!) all ye who enter here looking for romance! There is none to be found in these pages. Yes, we're seeing the friend be kind to the main character, but what she gets in return is pure, adulterated lust. It's all about how beautiful she is, how hot she is, how perfect her "tits" are, how sexy she is, how great her hair is. There's not a single solitary word about what's beneath that depth of skin. We really hear nothing of the kind of friend she is or might be, about whether she's reliable or trustworthy, or whether she has integrity, and would make a decent companion. Nope, it's all sex and only sex, which is nowhere near enough for me to want to read a novel, or even a short story such as this.

The blurb says, "Warning: This lesbian erotic romance story contains extreme graphic and sexual content, specifically lesbian sex and should not be read by those under the age of 18." Seriously? Lesbian sex is extreme? LOL! Like no young adult has ever has such thoughts - and even activities?! Besides, if it's aimed at adults, then why is it written at the level of young adult or even middle-grade in parts? And I take exception to the word "erotic"! There's no eroticism here; it's all crude, juvenile sexcapades and that's all there is. If that's your cup of tea, then by all means quaff deeply, but with lines like "I scrutinised her firm buttocks," it sure as hell ain't mine.

The real problem with this when you get right down to it, is that it's not a novel. It most closely resembles an old telegram, because everything is telegraphed. Everything is so glaringly obvious. There is no subtlety here. Obvious, that is, to everyone but the main character, who is so profoundly stupid that despite her leering, salivating, Shylock-like obsession with pounding the flesh of the only other female character in the entire book, she completely fails to realize that she's bisexual. I'm not a fan of novel in which the author goes out of her way to demonstrate how stupid her main character is. And yes, there's a difference between lesbian and bisexual which this author doesn't seem to get. However, since sexuality it not a binary scale but a sliding one, I'll let that...slide!

This stupidity and crudity is what turned me off the novel completely. What had attracted me was that this was a Brit language novel, which may cause some readers a headache or two unless they are British or at least an Anglophile, but that was nowhere near enough to offset the shabby writing. The panting, tongue-lolling dog into which the main character morphed was more reminiscent of a lame rip-off of Kafka than ever it was of Austen. There was nothing romantic, sensual or subtle here at all. I cannot recommend this. It read like a "lesbian" novel written by an inept male author, and I'm truly sorry if that's insulting, but I gotta call it like I read it!