Gina in the Floating World by Belle Brett

A stellar debut erotica novel about a young and ambitious woman in Japan in the 1980s.

4/5 stars.
ARC ebook, 328 pages.
Read from September 11, 2018 to September 14, 2018.

Erotica novels are a great pick-me-up and an escape from everyday life, that is if they’re done well. I am very selective when it comes to choosing an erotica novel; the plot either has to sound extremely interesting or the sex scenes have to sound insanely hot. What’s even better is if the two, the plot and the sex scenes, come together to create a book that completely consumes you with intrigue, which, with erotica novels, more often than not, is not the case. This book is a rare exception. Thankfully you won’t have to wait long to get a copy as you purchase this gem for yourself on September 25, 2018.

Dee Dee, or as her clients know her, Gina, has come to Japan for an internship to help her get some international banking experience so that she can get into a coveted university program. This is also how she became an escort. After her housing situation falls through she desperately needs to find income to manage the rest of her internship. Through an acquaintance, Dee Dee becomes Gina, her working nickname, and starts working at a bar in which she entertains male-clients. It’s uncomfortable for her at first but in the beginning its harmless work. She just has to look nice, deal with the crude comments from customers, flirt and sing karaoke. She then, however, starts going out on paid dinner dates in which her customers pay for her time.  Here she meets an older man, potentially a gangster, who takes extreme interest and care in her. He pays her handsomely for the time they spend together and while she is attracted to him her morals question whether or not she should engage in sexual acts with him for money. One thing leads to another and Gina finds herself with multiple clients in which she avalanches into the world of prostitution. The term ‘floating world’ or Ukiyo (浮世), was coined in the Edo period in Japan which describes a pleasure-seeking type lifestyle and popular art form.

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Source: Culture 24

Gina is definitely living life at its best in the floating world. She is taking risks and doing things she had never even dreamed of doing but her two lives, Dee Dee’s and Gina’s, are at odds and her life as Gina has begun to get dangerous. Gina needs to find a way to escape from the floating world that she is deeply entwined in before she is trapped in it forever.

The sex scenes are not as numerous as other erotica novels nor are they as long but it’s quality over quantity for this book. I wasn’t even bothered by the fact that the steamy sex scenes didn’t kick in until a little bit later because the plot was so captivating. The ending is that of an empowered and self-sufficient Dee Dee who has learned more about herself and her life with the short time she has been in Japan than she ever would have at a bank or at back at home. The unique plot setting, along with solid writing and character work make for a story that is interesting on its own, even without the sex. What also made this book a success for me is that the author did not have to stretch my reality too much to make this story interesting and sexy at the same time.

The one thing I did find disappointing in this book is that the plot did not feel like it was set in the 1980s at all but perhaps that is because I have no point of reference for what Japan would have been like in the 80s. There are a couple of music references that indicate the 80s but I found even the clothing description could have easily been applied to the present day.

This novel is a perfect place to start for any first-time erotica reader, though it may set the bar pretty high for anything afterwards. I really enjoyed reading this book and will be placed on my short list of recommendations for this genre.

 

The Secret by L. Marie Adeline

I wish that there were more erotica novels of this calibre.

4/5 stars.
ebook, 288 pages.
Read from July 12, 2017 to July 13, 2017

When I first started reading erotica I was ready to ditch the genre completely as I was tired of the slew of bad writing and bad romances (cue Lady Gaga). A friend of mine who seemed to understand my woes made this recommendation. The book sat on my TBR pile for a very long time until I had actually almost forgotten about it. As fate would have it, my library happened to an ebook copy while I was in the midst of a reading slump and I thought, why not? It has been one of the best erotica pieces I have read so far.

“Sex creates chemicals that can be mistaken for love. Not understanding that about our bodies creates a lot of misunderstanding and unnecessary suffering.”

Cassie is in her early 30s and the only sex she has ever had was from her previous deadbeat ex-husband who has since passed away. Cassie works long shifts as a server at a small cafe and has no idea where she is going in life. Feeling lost and insecure Cassie seems to have resigned herself to her dreary and mediocre life. She yearns for some romance and excitement, even a good fuck would satisfy her at this point as it has been years. At work, she watches this one couple that comes in from time to time and they are completely in love.  It makes her heartache.

One day, the young woman in the couple leaves behind a journal of sorts.  Cassie peaks inside to discover what appears to be a record of some seriously hot sex scenes! Embarrassed, Cassie pretends she has not read the journal and gets it back to the owner who was equally as embarrassed. Little did Cassie know, that this little mistake, would open up her whole world. Shortly after another woman approaches her at work and describes an organization that exists to help women feeling exactly like herself, though it isn’t exactly your typical support group. The organization helps to act out the selected women’s fantasies in an effort to increase their confidence again. Each task and fantasy is rewarded with a bracelet charm. Not sure if the whole idea is a dream come true or something completely insane, Cassie follows her instincts…

I have to admit this is a really creative way to get all sorts of sex into one erotica novel. It caters to a lot of different types of fantasies (public, celebrity, etc) as well as appealing to one feeling most women are familiar with, insecurity.  What makes this novel exceptional is that is isn’t a man that makes everything better for the female protagonist, it is her. She makes the decisions that ultimately change her life and how she feels. She isn’t whisked off her feet and ‘saved’ by some rich, hot man who wants to do everything for her. She comes to find confidence all on her own through the exploration of her own sexuality. Now that’s hot! This is what I am talking about when it comes to erotica! I mean, yes, something like this would never happen in real life but the choices and the feelings that Cassie has is very real.

This novel is the perfect mix of story and sex making it an ideal erotica. The story is compelling enough it keep you interested but not overpowering in that you lose out on what you really came to read about, the sex. Cassie also isn’t a helpless, shallow character either. You are really rooting for her as a reader because you know exactly what it feels like.

If you need a recommendation into the world of erotica I highly recommend starting with this book. It’s steamy, exciting and has a story that empowers the female protagonist. Heck, I might even read the other two books in the trilogy I enjoyed this one so much! Overall I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this novel and wish that there were more erotica novels of this calibre.

Shameless Surrender by Jaymie Holland

This super rich, really hot guy, wants to have sex and marry me *swoons*! Barf…

3/5 stars.
Read from October 6, 2017 to October 9, 2017.
ebook, 127 pages.

When I need a short and quick read while I waiting for my library holds Netgalley never fails to deliver. Interestingly, or not maybe not surprisingly, the shortest books are often erotic.

Chessie Lane is an executive assistant to Nick Tarantino and she is madly and hopelessly in love with him. But he does not know it. All her waking and dreaming fantasies are of Nick but when Nick sells his company Chessie is devastated that she will no longer be in his presence. Too chicken and insecure to confess her feelings previously, Chessie considers letting them be known. Before she has a chance to do so she discovers an envelope on her desk and inside of it all it says is: “Tonight“. Could this be from Nick? Is there a chance that Chessie will finally get to act out on her feelings and express her love?

Again, and I have said this before, I know that erotic books are meant to be fantasies and not anything truly feasible but I always struggle with fakeness and unrealism of it all. I guess it kills the mood for me? Like oh! This super rich, really hot guy, wants me and he also happens to be madly in love with me. He also owns a really posh BDSM club that will fulfil all my sexual fantasies, he also wants to buy me really expensive things and lavish extravagant surprises on me and will make all my dreams come true and fill all my insecurities… Oh, annnnnd he wants to marry me *swoon*! Barf. The sex scenes were pretty decent thankfully. That is this books redeeming quality.

I have always had strong opinions on mushy or silly love stories. I am not sure what that says about me as a person. It is not that I don’t appreciate a love story but it better be well done and when it comes to erotica the stories are, more often than not, about really raunchy sex and I guess the added love stories always seem out of place.

I would still recommend this books as just because I do not enjoy that type of story it does not mean that someone else won’t and the sex scenes alone are worthwhile, especially if you like a bit of BDSM. Though the book may be a bit tame for those that are hardcore into BDSM, it is nice for those who perhaps enjoy the basics or the idea of it. Overall, it was the nice quick and easy read that I needed.