Paradise Island
by Gena Hale, contemporary (2001)
Onyx, $5.99, ISBN 0-451-40982-5

Science fiction author SL Viehl decides to write romance novels now as Gena Hale. Welcome aboard. And Ms Hale, next time tell off your editor, because dang it, romance is not synonymous with letting hormones taking over one's rationale and it is definitely not Big Misunderstandings. Like they will say, "It's not that easy, honey."

Excuse me, am I being condescending? I think it's fair play, because I feel condescended upon while reading Paradise Island. It's a screwed-up story of people with their priorities all f- er, screwed up. It's about this marine archaeologist Luke Fleming, whom I'm told is so hot that female groupies take the time to swim across oceans - okay, they take a boat - to throw themselves at him for some Fleming Orgies. Nice. And apparently, Luke is working on some secret World Peace Project that will make James Bond proud.

Then one day, a near nekkid, beautiful woman is washed up on his beach. Naturally, his first thought is "Nice jugs." Then, "She must be a Spy! A seductress out to get my body! Bitch!" Uhm - Luke, I know you think women are all hungry after your body, but she is, er, getting barbecued by the sun.

Our heroine wakes up. Ohmigod, she's got ahm-nee-sia! Naturally, her first thought, "What a rude man! Where's room service!"

Both of them seems so wrapped up in trivial nonsensical nitpickings that they don't seem to get the big picture. Hello, amnesiac heroine, you're alone in a strange island, so shouldn't you at least sit down and try to talk to the hero and ask what the heck is going on? Instead of grumbling about his rudeness, his perpetual erection, and the lack of clean towels? And oi, dummy Lukey, are you some sort of quasi-necrophilic pervert? Here we have a woman worse for wear, and all you can think about is her breasts?

Like I said, it isn't just heaving breasts and bodice - or in this case, towel-ripping, honey. The chemistry must be there, and in this case, the only chemistry going on is my adrenaline-induced surge, urging me to knock the heads of these two twits together hard.

Heroine Jade - Luke calls her that because of the jade ring she is wearing, but considering his attitude towards women, I wonder if he is thinking of the other meaning of the word "Jade" when he names her that - soon tries to save the show. She tries to save the world. But Luke, our smart secret-agent-cum-marine-biologist, still thinks she's a jade out to boink all the secret information out of him. And on what basis does our Einstein Bond come to this silly notion? Because why, she gives him an erection!

Nice, Lukey. You've found your Whore. All you need now is a Madonna and your life will be perfect.

Yeah, there are bad guys around. What. Ever. Relationship development is basically Luke's erection bursting out of his skintight jeans and uga-wugga! Manhandling! Sexy sexual harassment and molestation! And shame on Jade, whose body immediately wets, puckers - whatever - to attention at our King Kong Luke's manly virility.

The final ending cements our heroine's humiliation. Apparently there is a bet going on about whether she has or hasn't slept with Luke. Hell, she is even grilled by reporters - "How do you intend to prove you slept with him?" Instead of turning away, our heroine happily lets on that she is pregnant with his baby. Woo-hoo! Can the sexist overtones of Paradise Island sink any lower? Thankfully it's the last page and I never have to find out.

Sexist, insufferable jerks and doormat women populate this Paradise Island. Welcome aboard.

Rating: 28

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