Neptune Rising
by HA Fowler, paranormal (2006)
Cobblestone Press, $3.99, ISBN 978-1-60088-103-9


The main reason I buy this book is because the nipple of the guy on the cover says hi to me. Upon closer inspection, that guy is not that cute and his pectoral muscle is freakishly small and the huge shiny nipple is located too high up his chest to be even within the range of anatomical possibility. Ugh, it's like I've been tricked by a giant nipple alien pretending to be human into purchasing this book. Did I mention that Neptune Rising costs $3.99 but it has only 49 pages and only 44 pages have anything to do with the story?

Of course, if the story is good I won't be making such a fuss. However, the heroine Kimber Andrews is a 35-year old woman who carries a laminated card called "Kimber's Perfect Man" (it contains a list of what she wants in a man, a list that she made in her college days) everywhere she goes. I wonder whether she wears it around her neck like a gruesome necklace that warns people who see her: "Warning, lifeless desperate cow approaching!"

Kimber's best friend Tiff Douglas is similar to Kimber in that Tiff is an adult woman whose mind is still stuck in Valley Girl mode long after she can no longer be mistaken for a dumb teenaged girl. Tiff is a HP - High Priestess - of some bizarre version of Wiccanism where you only become a Witch in order to get a man since the religion has all kinds of cute spells to summon men and all that. So what these two dumb bimbos do is to cast a summoning spell so that Kimber can get her dream man. I quote from her list the traits of Kimber's Perfect Man: "He must be kind, generous, impossibly sexy, completely alpha, tall and muscular with broad shoulders and big thighs, intelligent, funny, accent nice but optional, dominant in bed - "

Big thighs?

Never mind the big thighs. What kind of 35-year old woman will stick to such a ridiculously juvenile list of traits for a dream man? What about stability, security, wealth? My goodness.

Okay, maybe you can say that I shouldn't be taking this story seriously. But me, I have my limits when it comes to tongue-in-cheek stories. When the story is trying to pass of dumb things like that stupid Kimber's Perfect Man list as something a sane and romantic 35-year old woman would do, that's no longer tongue-in-cheek for me as much as it's my tongue sticking out at the monitor.

She ends up summoning Hart Campbell, some kind of Guardian who without a by-your-leave shoves his tongue and three fingers into her choo-choo tunnel. Honestly, from HA Fowler's description, I don't know whether I am reading about some ghastly surgical procedure gone wrong or what.

A second finger followed, then a third, and he was fingering her hard, sucking and flicking in time with the frantic thunder of her heartbeat. She couldn't tell if it was split-second or a thousand spectacular years before reality went supernova. She greeted sweet Armageddon with a scream so loud and raw that some distant part of her thought that someone was bound to call the police. With all that shouting, swordplay, and orgasmic shrieking coming from her usually quiet apartment, her neighbors were going to think that something is amiss.

Most likely, Mr Giggles living next door would tell Mrs Giggles, "What's that sound, dear? That sounds like a sheep being hacked apart with a chainsaw."

"Oh, pay that no heed, dear," says Mrs Giggles. "Remember that creepy girl with this big 10"x10" laminated card around her neck? That girl who always stands in one corner, reading that card and speaking aloud to herself while looking at people funny whenever they walk past her?"

"Ah, that girl!" says Mr Giggles. "I suppose that must be her finally doing her own version of The Exorcist. Shall we call the priest?"

"Let's just email the priest. Our phone bill is running high this month. Stupid American Idol."

And speaking of armageddons and supernovas, it does feel that the apocalypse have arrived, doesn't it? The swordplay, by the way, is a reference to some earlier scenes involving swords and barbarians that I really don't want to get into or my head will explode.

Hart gets off on the taste of her womanly fluids, if you know what I mean.

One sip of her was enough to rocket him to his own orgasm, and it took all his will to hold back and be certain she found her own pleasure before he took his own.

How nice. Where I come from, if that guy rockets himself to the wazoo while stretching the woman wide open as he frantically licks and slurps like a messy dog, that guy will be called a premature ejaculator. I suppose people are kinder in a place where rockets, armageddons, and supernovas are the signs of an impending apocalyptic orgasm. When one sees lights during these grand times, that's just Xenu coming from a distant galaxy to join everybody for a group shag. Don't mind the UFO, honey!

The rest of the story veers from bizarre and comical really bad sex scenes to cringe-inducing attempts to be cute (the heroine calls the villain Dirk the Jerk because she's so cute that way, what with her list and baby namecalling and all - did I mention that she's supposed to be 35?). The author doesn't know that sexy and vulgarity aren't always the same thing. Telling me crudely that the heroine masturbated to all her Gerard Butler movies on Valentine's Day and then expecting me to giggle when this 35-year old woman acts like a clueless moron who needs artificial stimulants to get with her man? I don't know what to say except "No freaking way!" Great, now I sound like Kimber myself.

HA Fowler drops Diana Gabaldon, Anne Rice, and plenty of metatextual romance community jargons here. Maybe if Kimber isn't such a brain-damaged epitome of everything embarrassing about the no-life pathetic romance reader stereotype, I will go, "Awww! Give Ms Fowler her Snark of the Year award!" Maybe. As it is, this story is a painfully unfunny showcase of truly horrific gynecological accidents passed off as sex scenes coupled to a supremely embarrassing heroine and tired overused vampire/mate/destiny clichés. Neptune Rising may be all about the supernova orgasms but it can jolly well sink into the black hole that is created from the suckage of its very own bad sex scenes and stupid characters for all I care.

Rating: 04


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