Mr. Milan reviews Proof by Seduction

Courtney’s Note: This review was written by Mr. Milan. Courtney edited it only for length. We all know that Mr. Milan has no bias towards Courtney. None.  Admittedly, he is married to her, but a little thing like that would never lead him to soften his reviews.

Hello again. I’m Mr. Milan, Courtney’s husband. She’s asked me to read and review her debut novel, Proof by Seduction, even though my review of her novella was less than stellar.

Maybe Courtney thinks this time I’ll succumb to the temptation to speak well of her novel for the sake of domestic peace. Maybe she hopes my tastes have changed, that a story without any swordplay, without any characters attempting to vanquish their enemies by force, without an ending that pays the price of the hero and heroine’s triumph in gallons of spilled blood, will magically earn a good review from me.

Though I love her dearly, Courtney thinks wrong. I read Proof by Seduction from cover to cover, and I thought it sucked.

Courtney’s biggest failing is that she consistently fails to focus on the most interesting parts of her own story. Before I get into my review, I want to present this tendency of hers in pictorial form. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I thought I would provide an illustration, or in this case, two.

This is how Courtney wrapped her Christmas present to me:

Courtney's gift to Mr. Milan

Are you seeing the problem? Bows. Ribbons. Curls. Flowers. The present inside was great, sure, but what was with all that stuff on the outside? I showed her how to really wrap presents with my gift to her:

Mr. Milan's gift to Courtney

I’m sure you can all see my point here: Courtney focuses on the uninteresting parts. But let’s get back to Proof by Seduction. Courtney gives us a hero, Gareth Carhart, the Marquess of Blakely, who she tells us has lived in the jungles of Brazil. Great. She has my attention. That’s cool!

But does Courtney give us any scenes to flesh out that adventure? No. Lord Blakely must have had to defend himself from jungle predators in Brazil, right? How did he do it? Did he shoot them? What kind of gun did he use? Who manufactured it? What did the after kick feel like? How many guns did he have? I want to read about that one time when Lord Blakely and his party were surprised one night as they sat around a campfire, listening to monkeys howling in the jungle blackness, by an an enormous jaguar who managed to drag away two of Blakely’s companions (to be eaten later) before coming back for Blakely, who had just managed to load his rifle and…

But instead, all we learn about the Brazil trip is… that it taught Lord Blakely how to make his own breakfast.

Memo to Courtney: Breakfast? If you want to write a really good book, write about the exciting stuff!

Courtney’s story telling ability when it comes to her heroine is no less frustrating. Jenny Keeble is the only character smart and resourceful enough to challenge Lord Blakely (who presumably doesn’t carry rifles in London, for some odd reason), and I have to admit that their (metaphorical) dueling reminded me (metaphorically) of the light saber battles between Obi Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader, or Luke Skywalker and the Emperor, or Yoda and the Emperor. Two skilled combatants, evenly matched, kicking each other’s butt.

So how did Jenny get to be such a bad ass? We’re told she was sent to a school when she was four and abandoned by her parents, and that she was a troublemaker. She pissed off the old schoolmarm so much that years later, the old crone wants to see her get what she deserves.

Wow! Jenny must have been a real cool dude in school. Courtney, show us scenes of her being bad ass! But alas. Does Courtney give us any examples of Jenny being a rolling terror in her school girl days? How about a scene where she’s throwing spit wads at the teacher when her back was turned? Or how about the time when Jenny learned to do a karate chop and she broke this other girl’s arm, and then she whirled around and did a groin-kick to this other prissy girl, while ducking under the teacher’s arms? Where are those scenes, huh? What a missed opportunity!

Courtney could have earned a whole extra Sherman Tank from me had she written about just one of Jenny Keeble’s schoolyard fights, preferably with blood and/or breaking bones.

To sum up: Proof by Seduction has a great hero and heroine, but Courtney doesn’t write enough about why they’re great.

Bottom Line: One and a half out of five Sherman Tanks.
half a sherman tank

31 thoughts on “Mr. Milan reviews Proof by Seduction

  1. That was great Mr. Milan…you should start your own romance book review blog, although, I am afraid you will be handing out a lot of bad reviews. They will be entertaining ones though.

    Sorry Mrs. Milan…I liked his review…even if I disagree with his assessment :)

    Mr. Monica read the review as well and siad “I thought it was spot on..and I didn’t even read the book” … looks like Mr. Milan may have a blogging career ahead of him.

  2. *waves* Hello Mr. Milan thank god your wife doesn’t write m/m romances! BTW major major brownie points for reading a romance book – I can’t get Mr. Smokin to read any of my books! Should I cover my romance books with Maxim clippings, think that’ll work?

  3. *just peed my pants laughing*
    Mr Milan should do this more often, with a romantic suspens preferably! How can one not love this review, even if it’s just 1.5 tanks and sorta negative LOL

  4. Hilarious. I’m laughing so hard right now.

    But, Mr. Milan, what did you think of Jenny and her knife-wiedling skills? Surely, that was some form of bad ass to wield another 1/2 Sherman Tank.

  5. Holy cats. Mr. Milan, you are one brave man. Or a man with no sense of anticipation of future events. Which admittedly sometimes goes hand in hand.

    Either way, I await with great impatience the day we get to read your book! Maneating felines, roundhouse school kicks, Star Wars worthy battles, and Sherman tanks – I agree, your book could not possibly be boring.

    Even so – my desire to read Ms. Milan’s story is completely undiminished. Such is the frustration of a reviewer’s life (I’ve been there).

  6. I can see why you were disappointed, bloodthirsty reviewer that you are, Mr. Milan. Perhaps you should read my book (available, ahem, via my hard drive). There’s lots of fighting – the fist to face combat kind. It surely warrants at least three Sherman Tanks. Let me know if you’re interested.

  7. And now I’m in love with another woman’s husband.

    Awkward.

    But Jenny really knows how to make citrus fruit cower in fear — and that aint nothin’.

  8. I will not under any circumstances permit my husband to read any of my books. I do not want to hear him say, “What? We’ve never done that.”

    I do not know who is more tank-worthy—Courtney for letting Mr. Milan read PBS, or Mr. Milan for reviewing it.

  9. Oh, my!

    Courtney, he’s a keeper! 1 1/2 Sherman tanks? LOL very loudly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Actually I agree with wanting more scenes bad, bad Jenny scenes from her childhood. Acting up and acting out! She’s comes off far too sweet to have ended up such a firespitter.

    Boy, Mr. Milan! I am a fan of such a brave husband! And I can guess what you’ll be getting for dinner while Courtney does the book circuit! Crow, maybe?

  10. I waited for this review with only slightly less anticipation as I did for the book itself, and it was *almost* as much fun, though way too short! Ha! Thank you to both of you for being such good sports (and entertaining writers!)

  11. …this is exactly why I’ve stopped trying to lend my husband my good books. Though he’s got a point, I’d have loved to read more about Brazil and Jenny being horrid to her teacher.

    Still, I loved PBS, and I’m seriously looking forward to Ned’s book. Ned was adorable.

  12. Mr. Milan, does Courtney not even get points for the use of the word “eviscerate” and all the gruesome visual images it creates? Okay, so the victim was an orange, but still. It’s a really cool violent guy-type word.

  13. Bugger. Mr Milan you have now set a precedence for husbands of yet-to-be-published-but-oh-so-close writers. For one, you unwrapped a present which wouldn’t have fooled blind freddy.. Second you actually read the damn thing and third you wrote a review. I’m billing my reading time to you. Where shall I send the invoice? The fact I got forwarded a link to this here blog should be proof enough of your wrong doing. 1 sherman tank :)

  14. Mr. Milan, after I picked up my jaw that had dropped to the floor…and reread the “review” in case I had lost my faculties and the ability to understand english…then I nearly toppled out of my chair laughing like a rabid hyena…kudos to you for having brass cajones….and the hilarious ability to give a review that only whets one’s appetite to buy and read your lovely wife’s book..which I have definitely placed on my “to buy” list. I can only imagine the pithy commentary your patient wife must have made upon reading your highly objective review. Dare I say that the wish of being a fly on the wall to witness said moment has given me a great big smile. I look forward to your future reviews, should you still be of this mortal coil.

  15. LOL
    *crying from laughter*

    Wow, that sounded like something my husband would turn out about my writing. “Needs more fighting and guns.”

    Haha :)

  16. Mr Milan You are a gem indeed.
    Laughed till my side hurt.
    You are so a keeper in my book.
    Have a good one.

  17. As I tell people who say negative things about my books, “So when are you going to write your own book?”

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