Book Reviews: Erotica Edition

I have incredibly simple tastes when it comes to food.
Okay, women too.

In the world of competitive beach volleyball two women end up falling for each other, despite their pasts and neuroses conspiring to screw up the relationship.
The writer has drawn some excellent characters, with witty dialogue abounding. I’m sure she had a ton of fun with stuff like the sawing babies in half line. There’s also some psychological stuff that’s pretty fascinating, especially the reason for a past lover’s suicide and how religion played such a big part in it.
Now comes the bad/ridiculous stuff. The author posits that someone could come in never having played volleyball and becoming this good in a couple of years. Not possible. It’s an insult to all volleyball players who spent years honing their craft. The whole premise is ridiculous, and unnecessary in this story. Even worse are the simple volleyball mistakes. Apparently she didn’t know the last set only goes to 15, and you have to win by two.
So this is a tough one. On the one hand, there’s the typical lack of communication that so many romance authors think is necessary for a good story–quite the opposite–and in this case it’s taken up a few orders of magnitude. But on the other foot, it’s hard to fault Tatyana for her silence. For her guilt, yes, and Kris is just as screwed up. Can’t help but think that if either had been brave enough to see a psychiatrist, they would be living happily ever after a long time ago. It’s almost like they enjoy their guilt, are addicted to it.
Other than their neuroses, I liked the characters, but in this case it wasn’t enough.

Communication Skills
A woman who describes herself as strong ends up falling for a dominant jerk and gives in to his every whim, even sacrificing all she’d been working for to please him.
A third of the way through, I’m not liking it, but I can’t figure out why. By the end I was simply tired of this relatively short novel, especially with her closing gambit to prove her submissiveness. She shouldn’t have gotten respect for what she did against the overly prideful dom.
I’ve read other such stories before—strong woman realizes she’s submissive—but something didn’t ring true about this one. I wish I could put my finger to it, but it just seemed off. I simply didn’t find any of this convincing.

Bordello of Vampire Pleasure
Three shorter stories are put together here, all taking place at the titular establishment. In the first a woman wants to get over a breakup by playing at being a dominatrix, while in the second a man ends up being dominated. As you might expect, in the third they end up together.
The sex is surprisingly uninspiring, probably due to the lack of variety in the writing style. It seems like every sentence started with “he” or “she,” giving it absolutely no flow. Sentences like “Her naked torso had curves he wanted to explore” make it sound more like a report than fiction. At one point there was “shuttering” in pleasure instead of “shuddering.” I’m guessing no editor was used.
If this was meant to be a love story. . . no, that wasn’t convincing either.

Shattered Sapphire
Third in a series where several women are kidnapped to serve as sex providers for wealthy men, held for a year and then given a lot of hush money and sent home. The first one was pretty good, but I missed the second one.
In alternating chapters between the two leads, we have the one girl who actually treats her sexual captivity as a dream come true and the owner of the brothel falling in love. Strangely, the story starts after the year is over and she’s been released, and is of course disappointed to be going home to her disapproving family.
She’s a fantastic character, a free spirit when it comes to sex, yet still girly enough to buy a stuffed animal and name it. He’s much more human here, as he’s finding out himself, but still a rich jerk.
Unlike the first book, which was very erotic, there’s very little of that here. Strange that the one character who actually went into the situation enjoying sex and wanting to be there has so few sexual encounters written about her.
The romance isn’t much better, as there’s very little of it. Despite the flashbacks, I know I wouldn’t have understood any of this relationship without having read the first book, so it’s imperative to read that beforehand in order to see how it came about. Yet even with that I find it hard to believe they fell in love.



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