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Dear Sissybug Book Club:
A Sisterly Review of Beth Ciotta's 'Her Sky Cowboy'

Dear Sissybug,

As you well know, today's correspondence is regarding Beth Ciotta's Her Sky Cowboy.

Why, out of all of the books on God's green Earth did you choose this book? I'm tempted to choose 50 Shades of Grey for the first book in October just to get back at you, so prep for my swift retribution. Vengeance shall be mine! (Don't worry; I'm not going to choose 50 Shades of Grey. I don't want to read it either.)

I wanted to like this book. Really, I did. Immerse me in a world where contraptions like motorized kitecycles exist in Victorian England, and I am prone to forgive even the most egregious of errors.

But this book... Dear God in Heaven, this book.

Before I start ripping it apart further (because, trust me, I will), I'll give you a quick rundown even though I know you've already read it:

Amelia is a plucky inventor's daughter who idolizes her harebrained father and his ideals and wants to restore his sullied name back to glory after he dies in an explosion that may or may not have been a suicidal act. She has a run-in with ex-military-turned-pirate Tucker Gentry on board his piece-of-shit illustrious airship, and they immediately have eyes for each other because they're both so damned attractive and/or sexy that they can't control their bodies or minds for even one second. There are Big Bads, titillating sexytimes, and "pebbled buds" (more on that later), and many a hijink ensues.

But not even the most diverting of hijinks can make up for the inconsistent silliness that this book lobs at its readers.

One thing that the book did right was set up the premise really well. Not only that, but the premise is actually really good in regards to the world in which we find ourselves upon opening the pages.

It is set in Victorian times, but history has been altered by people from the future. These people, called Mods, came from the 1960s by way of a time machine, and they brought some of their technology with them, thereby changing the course of history drastically. This is, by far, the most interesting part of the story, but Ciotta spent more time having her characters heave their bosoms all over one another than on the singular bright point of her novel. Being that we're reading the 2nd book of the trilogy (there are THREE of these books???) for the 2nd post this month, they had better delve more into that, or I am going to be really pissed.

Problem #1: Dialect is not this author's friend. You don't need to hit me over with a bat made of British witticisms to inform me that your main character is from England. I mean, good gravy. Amelia utilized terms like 'crikey' and 'blinking hell' so much that I wanted to claw my eyes out with a dull fork. And Ciotta's attempt at Southern American is just... dismal. So hokey and forced. I eyerolled throughout the entire book and prayed for someone to show up who was from middle America just so she wouldn't have a dialect to butcher.

Problem #2Characters were inconsistent as a politician. At first, Amelia came off as this headstrong, independent woman hellbent on getting her way, but once she met Tucker she vacillated pretty wildly between stubborn adventure seeker and naive damsel in distress. I mean, this woman who is supposedly this bastion for independent thought immediately goes out and beds the first man she meets because he's just sooooooooooo hawt. In what world does that make sense? And she wasn't the only one who flip-flopped. All of the characters were subject to multiple personality syndrome.

Problem #3: Characters were cardboard cutouts. This one kind of goes hand-in-hand with Problem #2, but I feel it can be addressed as it's own separate entity. All of the characters - Amelia, Tucker, etc. - were mere stereotypes that Ciotta shoehorned into the plot, and I found nearly everything to be unbelievable or cringe-inducing. They had no depth, no motivating purpose. They were simply living out the plot that Ciotta decided for them.

Problem #4: "Pebbled buds." The below is an excerpt from the novel to which someone actually said, "Yeah, looks good."
She eyed his jutting erection, then yanked her chemise over her head, giving him a prime view of her full breasts and pebbled buds.
 "Good enough." He closed the distance between them, pressing her back on the bed and kissing her dizzy. "We're closing in on our destination, darlin'. Don't have time for slow."
"Don't want slow," she rasped, wrapping her legs around his thighs and grasping his spectacular rear.
 "And there's a matter of restraint. I've been hard for you since-"
"Shut up and give me a fast and furious ride to the stairs."
Smiling, he slid deep. "Hold tight, Flygirl."
"You too, Cowboy."
No. Just... no. Pebbled buds?? Admittedly, I can see how someone might describe nipples as that, but... it's just so damned cheesy and awful. I had to put my Kindle down so I didn't throw it against the wall in a blind rage.

All in all, this novel had great potential, but it fell terribly, terribly flat pretty much across the board. I give it an A+ for world creation, but a D for character development and plot. I don't think it's horrible enough to give it an F, but I did consider that for a moment. A C was too generous, but I guess the A+ for world creation brings our average up to a low C for the whole grade. That's how grades work, right? I don't know. Math is not my strong suit.

Just FYI, Amazon reviewers gave this book an average rating of 4 stars. They should all be ashamed.

Love from your highly unimpressed and very much wary Sister Person,
Stefers the Great

To see Sissybug's review, go HERE.

* Her name is Jennifer Trela, but she will be referred to as Sissybug in these posts because REASONS.

** Did you know that bi-monthly means not only twice a month but also once every 2 months? I, for one, am flummoxed. How are you supposed to know which it is? I'm sure most circumstances could be solved by using a bit of deductive reasoning and paying attention to context, but I wonder how many misunderstandings were spawned by this. English language, go home. You're drunk.


Jennifer Trela said…
Okay, technically YOU chose this book. I was all, "Hey, I'm going to read this," and you were all, "OMG WE SHOULD READ IT TOGETHER!!"

So, you know, your fault and all.

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