Wednesday, August 20, 2014

TBR Challenge 2014: Digital Review: Soloplay
The Book: Soloplay by Miranda Baker

The Particulars: Erotic romance, digital-only, book two in series, 2011, Samhain

Why Was It In Wendy's TBR?:  When some authors "recommend" books I treat it like "white noise."  But then there are some authors who genuinely recommend books and I actually believe them.  Which is how this book landed in my digital TBR - it was recommended by Jill Sorenson.

The Review: Remember when erotic romance was fun?  Yeah, me too.  The last couple of steamy offerings I've read have featured protective, dominant possessive Alpha-hole "heroes."  Reading one story featuring such a character device is more than enough for me - try reading two in a row.  Yeah, I missed "fun" sex.  Seriously authors, sex is supposed to be fun.  And if it's not fun?  Your characters are doing it wrong.


Which brings me to this book.  Stay with me here folks, I'm well aware this plot description sounds like a hot mess rolled into a migraine from Hell, but trust me.

Alisa Mane is a frustrated librarian who has never had an orgasm.  Her latest disastrous attempt has the guy accusing her of being frigid and leaving in a huff.  Alisa is hurt, embarrassed and then gets really angry.  Why can't she "get there?"  So she decides to do what any good librarian would do - research.  There's an upscale, and discreet, sex toy shop not far from where she works.  She'll just go there, peruse the offerings, and see if she can solve her dilemma the old fashioned way - with something battery operated.

A gal who works at the shop, Crystal, helps Alisa start to find her groove thang.  Mores the pity that Crystal is a lesbian and Alisa likes men.  But never fear!  Crystal has an idea.  SoloPlay is looking to expand their line of quality toys and needs beta testers.  Alisa signs on and boy howdy!  She hasn't had this much fun in....well, ever.

Mark Winters owns SoloPlay and this new line of original products is his baby.  And SoloGirl (code name for Alisa) is the best product tester ever.  She picks nothing but winners.  Her critiques of the products are spot on.  Which means now that Mark wants to test his DoublePlay products?  He wants her to sign on.  But for that - he needs to find her and her partner.  The fly in the ointment being she's not all that happy to be found and she has no partner.  Well, until she propositions him....

What I enjoyed so much about this story is that Alisa doesn't behave like countless erotic romance heroines who have come (ha!) before her.  When her ex accuses her of being frigid, she doesn't take his word as gospel.  Oh sure, she knows something isn't right - but she doesn't automatically jump to the conclusion that she's "broken."  She goes about fixing herself and she has wonderful orgasms prior to meeting Mark in the flesh.

Can I get an amen!

The crux of the conflict is part ethics, part product testing.  Mark finding his best beta tester and then agreeing to test products with her should be all sorts of squirky, but somehow manages not to be.  Then there's the issue that as Mark and Alisa are falling for each other, they both think the other one is only there for SoloPlay, the money, the free sex toys, etc.  Once the testing is done they both have to take the risk, take a leap of faith, and really talk to each other.  To share parts of themselves that go beyond getting naked and kinky with all sorts of party favors.

This is a perfect example of when a story finds you at just the right time.  Yes, the plot sounds silly.  Yes, the sexually frustrated librarian heroine who has never had The Big O should get on my last hot nerve.  Yes, the ethical and business issues should have pushed me right over the edge.  And yet?  No, no, and no they didn't.  This was a quick, fun read that reminded me that not all erotic romance is over the top angst featuring idiot a-hole heroes who fancy themselves as Doms while looking to pull the wool over some silly 20-something-girl's eyes by selling her a You're-A-Sub bill of goods.

Download SoloPlay now and tag it "break glass in case of emergency."

Final Grade = B


LynnD said...

"Seriously authors, sex is supposed to be fun. And if it's not fun? Your characters are doing it wrong."

Yes, Yes, and YES!

I might have to buy this one once my TBR mountain becomes more manageable.

azteclady said...

Super Librarian, awesome rant writer, and book pimp extraordinaire.

Seriously, Wendy, super achiever much?

: - p

SonomaLass said...

Thanks for this review; I need some fun, sexy romance right now. Don't you love it when a book is so good that you overlook the things that would normally annoy the crap out of you?

Hilcia said...

Fun sexy times! This one sounds like fun. The book I read this month was not in this category, but still a fantabulous read. I will take your recommendation for those times I need to "break glass in case of emergency."

Wendy said...

Lynn: The last two erotic titles I read had more Over The Top Billionaire Angst than you can shake a stick at. I love angst, but enough already. Bring back the fun!

Wendy said...

AL: I try ;)

Wendy said...

SonomaLass: Definitely one of those books that won't change your life, but hey - it was fun! I need books like that every so often. And yes, if I hadn't been so charmed I would have easily been annoyed by quite a few things here - but the author makes it all work.

Wendy said...

Hils: I saw your TBR read, and yeah - that's a totally different sort of erotic read from this one! LOL