[Book Review] Control

Control / Charlotte Stein (Powell's Books)

When Madison Morris decides to hire an assistant to help run her naughty bookshop, she gets a lot more than she bargained for. Two very different men are vying for the position...and a whole lot more.

Andy excites her into grasping control, while Gabriel shows her how freeing it can be to just let go. Soon the lines are blurring and Madison is no longer sure who's leading and who's following. In the midst of kinky threesomes and power plays, can she’ll have to finally decide what--and who--she really wants.

Um, wow.  This is the book for the person who thinks that erotica isn't worth their time because it's not pornographic enough.  There is technically a plot, but it's more of an excuse for all the rampant wild sex shenanigans.  And they are rather hot and steamy.

A note to the reader, if you're not used to British slang you might get thrown off at a few points.

The premise is incredibly weak, though I love the idea of a romance and erotica book store called Wicked Words.  I expect weak premise in mainstream porn, I expect a little more effort from published novels and short stories where there are so many more ways to increase sexual tension and how hot a scene is.  The book starts with her having amazing surprise sex that she can barely figure out how they got from interviewing to fucking, and the story continues from there.  On one hand she has her cocky self-inviting booty call of a man, on the other she has her gawky and easily embarrassed new employee who she's drawn to in spite of, or perhaps because of, his innocence.

Somewhere in all this there is a smutty bookstore, behavior that screams of sexual harassment (which she admits to herself is the case), and some sort of development of actual feelings and a relationship.  Gabriel may be inexperienced but he's very well read and very good at putting theory to use.  Andy likes to boss people around in bed and has a voyeuristic streak.  All this leads to a series of hot and heavy interactions right out of a porno.

I think what really bothered me about this is nothing to do with writing style or even the weak plot (though I do like a stronger plot), but the stereotypes.  Madison is the stereotype of the "slutty bookworm" (which Andy calls her more than once), which makes me roll my eyes.  Andy and Gabriel are also stereotypes, but I guess I'm more sensitive to Madison, who is a pair of glasses and a strict bun away from being the stereotypical "slutty librarian."  I do however appreciate her lack of shame about her sexuality.

Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of Netgalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.


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