Sunny Reviews Parties in Congress by Colette Moody

You know you’re probably going to enjoy a book when the acknowledgement page makes you laugh. That’s exactly what happened with Parties in Congress. Although, just saying I enjoyed it is an understatement. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that made me laugh out loud as much as this one did.

The book centers around main characters Bijal Rao and Colleen O’Bannon. Bijal has just gotten her first political staff position working on the campaign of a moderate Republican candidate with whom she shares political views. Her candidate’s formidable Democratic opponent is incumbent Congresswoman O’Bannon, who is a charismatic, independent thinker, and just happens to be openly gay. The two women are instantly attracted to each other at their very first meeting and it just escalates from there. Their flirtatious banter is both sexy and hilarious all at the same time. I know that sounds strange, but trust me, it’s possible. Given their respective positions, they make a pact to avoid any type of personal relationship until after the election is over. You can imagine how that goes.

Scandals erupt, catastrophes happen, undercover assignments are given and then completely bungled, and clandestine meetings (both planned and unplanned) take place throughout the campaign in which they manage to do everything except avoid each other. Each encounter leads to more of the wonderful banter and hilarious dialogue between not just Colleen and Bijal, but among all of the characters.

The secondary characters have some of the funniest dialogue in the book, especially Fran, Bijal’s very outspoken and opinionated roommate. Bijal’s conversations with Fran are priceless, as is any scene set in the local lesbian hangout called Klit and Kaboodle, or the K and K, as they like to call it. There are many pop culture references that you will love and many lines that you will probably find yourself hoping to remember. I even thought about keeping a list of sayings and funny lines that I want to remember, but I already have the book – I’d just be copying down the whole damn thing.

Hidden among all the hilarity is a really interesting political commentary. I so wish there was a real candidate with Colleen’s political views, because I would be leading the pack to vote for her. And I hate politics. It made me wonder if Ms. Moody would ever have any interest in running for Congress. I loved how she (through her characters) pointed out all the things that I firmly believe are wrong with politics and especially politicians these days. These points were nicely incorporated into the story without sounding preachy or terribly disparaging to one particular political party.

The only issue I had with the book, and I’ll admit this is very trivial and slightly spoilery (that’s your warning), but I found it hard to believe that a lesbian who is as interested in politics as Bijal was, wouldn’t already know what the openly gay Congresswoman from her own district looked like. I understand that the fact that she didn’t was crucial to a key scene, and it certainly didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book, but it was still just a little bit hard to believe. Like I said, trivial, but hey, it’s a review, I’m supposed to point out good and bad.

That said, I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a fast and funny read. This was my first time reading a book by Collette Moody, but it won’t be the last. So, pick up a copy of Parties in Congress and prepare to laugh. And don’t forget to stop by the K and K for your order of faggity-ass French fries.

**Just wanted to post a correction – it has been pointed out that Bijal lived in DC and Colleen represented a district in VA, so she was not actually in Bijal’s voting district, making it a little less likely that Bijal would have recognized her.**

Click here to download a sample or purchase Parties in Congress

Lesfic Roundup – Humour

There are entirely too many lesfic books that have been published, are being published, and are soon to be published to always write a full blown review for each one. I thought I’d try something a little different and provide a bunch of quick recommendations and reviews grouped by sub-genre. There are some older books as well as more recent ones – so hopefully there will be something new for everyone as well as reminders of old favourites that should be re-read.

Most LesFic books have some degree of humour in them – just as they all seem to have some degree of romance. This roundup is going to focus on books where I felt that the authors have written some particularly funny stories – whether the characters, the plots, or the prose. There are so many kinds of humour – from satire that is clever and cutting, slapstick that is ridiculous and overblown, farce which is fast paced and borders on the absurd, to dry or wry intelligent dialogue. Some authors have mastered it while others try, but the humour seems forced, heavy-handed, and over the top. My general rule is that if the author has to explain why something is funny by explaining the context or the popular references it’s relying on, it isn’t satire – and it isn’t funny.

Humour is subjective, so what I find amusing isn’t likely to be what others will find funny. My particular taste in humour seems to be based on smart, witty characters but with a good dose of slapstick and over the top farce, without being mean-spirited. Not too much to ask for, is it?

Greetings from Jamaica, Wish You Were Queer by Mari SanGiovanni

Now this is a madcap romp that runs into the realm of farce without falling into absurdity. SanGiovanni keeps the humour and plot flowing at a great pace and it did make me laugh aloud. The narrator, Marie Santora, inherits her grandmother’s fortune and it changes her life – whether for the better is to be determined. She and her siblings decide to placate their dysfunctional family to Jamaica for a family vacation to soften them up before they tell them how the money will be divided. In the meantime, Marie finally breaks up with her cheating girlfriend and sets off to Hollywood to pursue her dream of becoming a screenwriter and convince her favourite actress to read the script. Marie is stalkerish (in an amusing way) in her pursuit of the actress, causing her to retreat to join her family on vacation. Of course the actress arrives at the same resort and the litany of misunderstandings, slapstick and farce goes all out. I ended up with a big grin on my face when I finished it.

They Say She Tastes Like Honey by Michelle Sawyer

This book runs on adrenaline. I mean that in a good way. It’s fast moving, funny, irreverent and unrepentant. Macy is a 40-something lesbian living in New York City where she drinks too much, sleeps around, refuses to take care of health as she bounces from crisis to crisis and makes no apologies for any of it. Despite all that, she’s endearing and funny and you just hope that she manages to pull her shit together. There is a bit of romance, where she meets a young woman who gives her the impetus to change, but the story is really more about Macy. One of the best parts of the book is the way that Sawyer has interspersed the story of her childhood as a nice counterpoint (and breathing space) as Marcy wreaks havoc in her present life.

Family Affair by Saxon Bennett

I recently read Back Talk by the same author and, although it was pretty damn funny, I think she hits her stride with Family Affair. Bennett has a deft hand with humour – her main character, Chase, is charmingly neurotic and is surrounded by a large cast of friends and family who would probably all do well to have a few sessions of therapy. This is a smart and funny story that follows Chase as she deals with impending (and unexpected) parenthood. I’m not too sure if I laughed out loud when reading this one (mostly because I read it on the bus to and from work), but it kept a smile on my face the whole time and more than once I found myself identifying with Chase.

Tats by Layce Gardner

A fun and raunchy ride. Not to be read if you’re too politically correct or have a limited sense of humour. Lee, who is entirely too easily swayed by a nice set of tits, seems to drift in and out of situations without much thought to consequence. She meets up with Viv, an ex call girl who’s on the run, and the two of tear through Tulsa, causing havoc and mayhem. I can’t summarize it because entirely too much happens and you wouldn’t believe half the stuff they get into but I dare you not to crack at least one smile (if not fall into a fit of giggles). There’s a few serious parts but overall, the book is pretty much slapstick and farce which works extremely well as Gardner managed to keep both the characters likable and endearing despite some of the antics they get up to. Great dialogue and a rapid pace makes this one a hard one to put down.

Icehole by Kiera Dellacroix

This one isn’t available in print anymore which is a damned shame. This blends science fiction, action/adventure, romance and comedy quite well. It’s also a great parody of The Thing and lesfic in general. Over the top and funny as all hell – this is a fast paced read. Isolated in a super secret military/science installation in the Antarctic, the crew discovers something rather chilling buried in the eons old ice; but, where this book shines is the irreverent (and smart-assed) characters of Quinn and Corky. This book appeals to the ten year old boy in me – Quinn is crude, rather obnoxious and single minded when it comes to pursuing Corky, but she still makes me laugh my butt off.

The Seduction of Moxie Parties in Congress Both by Colette Moody

I couldn’t pick one of these over the other. Both are smart and funny books with completely different premise and feels and both deliver some great laughs. The Seduction of Moxie is definitely a fast-paced and laugh-out-loud read. Moody nails the 30’s style screwball comedies (which I love) in both dialogue as well as farcical situations – adding a fair bit of debauchery and crudity for good measure. If you are looking for a break from the standard lesfic angst-ridden romances, I would recommend this one. Parties in Congress is another winner – this one is set in modern DC during a political campaign. Moody has a great way with dialogue and she sets up some absolutely ridiculous situations and characters that edge into the realm of farce – but I can see every situation actually happening. Her characters are smart, savvy and have a wicked sense of humour.

Jericho Dust Both by Ann McMan

Both were originally online fiction but have since been published. McMan’s books are recommended reads – Jericho being a long but well-paced romance and Dust being much more action packed with some political intrigue. Although the situations and plots are quite different, McMan has a very intelligent, humourous voice and her dialogue between the characters is smart, sassy and hilarious. I wouldn’t put these into the madcap or farce categories – the humour is character and dialogue driven.

The Seduction of Moxie by Colette Moody

Oh, Colette Moody, if I could I’d pay you to write me a short story everyday, I’d get three jobs and risk losing my wife. Well, maybe two jobs and a week or so of sleeping on the couch. I loved your first book but I loved The Seduction of Moxie even more. And I didn’t think that was possible.

This book begins New Year’s Eve, 1930 and follows our dear, sweet, Nebraska girl, Moxie to New York where she eventually meets our other leading lady, Violet. And Violet is leaving in the morning to become a true leading lady in Hollywood. The single night these women spend together drinking and carousing with some hilarious characters is quite memorable. Except that Moxie doesn’t exactly remember all of it. What she can’t seem to shake, though, is how Violet made her feel. The rest of the book chronicles the building of their relationship and the hilarious interactions they have with others.

I pride myself on having a good sense of humor and absolutely love a book that will make me laugh. This one did that and more. Not only did it give me more one-liners to practice on my friends and co-workers (I nearly got written up at work yesterday for telling someone I’d rather shit a hairbrush than do what they had asked) but I was offered fantastically colorful characters whose interactions were just wonderful. I laughed so much that, like Wil Skoog, I nearly peed a little. And look out for little Clitty!

I couldn’t put the book down and, at the same time, never wanted it to end. I can’t wait until Ms. Moody’s next offering. In the meantime, I’ll be re-reading The Sublime and Spirited Voyage of Original Sin. I may post a review for that one, too. Trust me, if you like a hilariously filthy read with a great set of characters – both main and secondary – Colette Moody’s work is some that you absolutely DO NOT want to miss.