In the Land of “Meh”

[Some SPOILERS]

is where you will find these erotic stories: Eva Clancy’s Lord Atwood’s Lovers (novella) and Janet Mullany’s Hidden Paradise (novel).

I feel that perhaps I am not equipped to review Clancy as my fault with the book may just be a product of the topic and the format and so my dislike of those things will always lead me to a feeling best described by a single motion: shrug. But I will charge forth anyhow.

From Goodreads:

To the rest of the ton, Lord and Lady Atwood seem to have the perfect marriage. They wed for love and their marriage bed doesn’t lack for passion—but Imogen is haunted by the memory of her first marriage…while Charles harbors secret thoughts and desires he’s been unable to confess to his wife.

Then Charles’s ex-lover, Alexander Lambert, arrives in town, throwing Charles into a tailspin—and awakening a surprising attraction in Imogen. Now, both have to face the possibility that they may need more than just each other to be truly complete…

Like other threesome novellas, Lord Atwood’s Lovers plot just turns too quickly for me: Imogen is so easily accepting of bringing someone else into the relationship, it just so happens that Charles’ ex-lover and Imogen are attracted to one another. Sex scenes are fine but not burning. There is literally no question as to what will happen. Just…meh.

I give Lord Atwood’s Lovers 2.5 out of 5 stars.

___________________

But at least Clancy’s was a novella. Unlike Jane Mullany’s which was book length. I decided to request an ARC of Hidden Paradise because the premise and the cover were both intriguing:

Summary of plot from Goodreads:

Louisa Connelly, a recently widowed Jane Austen scholar, needs some relief from her stifling world. When a friend calls to offer her a temporary escape from her Montana ranch, she is whisked into a dizzying world of sumptuous food, flowing wine…and endless temptation.She’s an honored guest at Paradise Hall, an English resort boasting the full experience of an authentic Georgian country-house weekend. Liveried servants tend to every need of houseguests clad in meticulous period costume: snug breeches, low-cut silken gowns and negligible undergarments.

It’s Mac Salazar, a journalist immersing himself fully, deeply, lustily in the naughty pleasures of upstairs-downstairs dalliances, who piques Louisa’s curiosity—and libido—most. He’s a dilettante straight out of a novel: uninhibited, unapologetic and nearly insatiable. But Lou’s not romantic about this much, at least: Paradise Hall is a gorgeous fantasy, nothing more. A lover like Mac is pure fiction. And the real world beckons….

This is a book full of people who just go along with things because they do. Whoops! I’ve happened upon you having sex with a woman from behind. I’ll just duck behind this plant and watch. And then later I’ll join that guy and hide behind some bushes to watch some other people have sex. Then I’ll have sex with that guy. But I push him away and he has a threesome, which I say and don’t much care about because I’m having sex with this other guy. But the first guy loves me (how we got to that point, don’t ask me) so I’ll just fulfill my fantasy of having sex with two guys at once. And HAPPILY EVER AFTER. Or something. It was an exercise in the ridiculous and I couldn’t believe how much I wanted this erotica to end. There are lines like: “I want to curl up with you and let our smell ferment.” Nope. Not sexy.

Also, weird homophobic statements (“He was damned if he was going to spend time hopping around like some fairy”). I get that Mac’s homophobia makes him participating in the threesome at the end with another man a true show of his love for Lou but give me a break. Homophobic sentiments like that don’t make me root for the male protagonist or hope that the woman ends up with him.

I give Hidden Paradise, I don’t know, 1.5 out of 5 stars.

___________________

I’m not going to leave this review SO negative. I almost never talk about reading male/male romantic novels because they are written by women for women and there is something that makes me slightly uncomfortable with that (also, even I find myself drawing the line at bringing up erotic anal sex scenes). But I still consume m/m romance and erotic novels and novellas on occasion.

This is all to say, if you are looking for good erotica novellas, I’m going to tell you to go read Ava March (her website is NSFW). Her Bound series (Bound by Deception, Bound to Him, Bound Forever) was compelling narratively, which is often not true of either erotica OR novellas, and the whole damn thing was just out-of-this-world HOT. For a taste of March’s writing, here.

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