Book Reviews: Swinger Hunt by Natalie Lou

Warning: The booklet reviewed in this post, Swinger Hunt by Natalie Lou, contains sexual situations and depictions of swinging. If you wish to avoid such depictions, proceed with caution.

Due to the sexual nature of Natalie Lou’s book, do not proceed if you are under 18 years of age. Also remember to keep any discussion which results from this review polite and mature. We are all adults and so should treat this subject like adults. Any bullying, trolling, or inappropriate remarks will result in the participating parties being reprimanded. Please refer to the Comments and Privacy Policy for further information.

As I promised in the previous post, I am bringing you the review of another booklet in this post. Unlike the first one I reviewed today, this book/booklet falls under the category of erotica, along the same lines as 69 Shades of Nashville, although much briefer with less tension. This booklet is called Swingers: Swinger Hunt by Natalie Lou.

We all have secret fantasies. We might even have fantasies which we don’t tell our partners. When we also like to read and write, where else will our fantasies manifest than in our writing? Such is the case with Jen, who writes and publishes erotica under the pen name Lili Von Shtupp. But what will happen when her husband discovers her dirty little secret? Will it lead to an awkward conversation that changes their relationship? Or will it lead many nights of ecstasy as fantasies come to life? (Hint: the answers are “yes” and “yes.”)


Image retrieved from Amazon

Told from the perspective of Jen’s husband, Swinger Hunt begins with him discovering that his wife is not working from home as an accountant as he had been told. Rather, she has been moonlighting as a fairly popular erotica novelist, paying her share of the bills and letting out her hidden fantasy of extramarital one-night stands for both her and her husband. Counter to what you would expect in fiction and in reality—and perhaps a little refreshing for that reason—her husband does not grow angry or jealous but aroused. What follows is a whirlwind of sex and passion.

While the sex scenes are detailed, they are also tasteful. Anatomies are explicitly discussed, male and female fantasies explored, and yet Lou keeps the language mature and sensual. The f-bomb is dropped often, but that’s as much of a sailor’s mouth as you’ll see in this book. The rest are just necessary details to give the reader a tantalizing experience without being disrespectful.

Lou develops an appropriately diverse cast of characters, from the eclectic group of women at Courtney’s bachelorette party to the twins that Jen uses for her own pleasure while on vacation. Given the very few pages that Lou worked with (approximately 38 in total), these characters could not be developed in very much detail. She utilizes appearance to her advantage in developing these minor players, but I still wish that she had spent more time exploring the relationships of at least Jen and her friends at the bachelorette party.

I appreciate that Jen and her husband thought to create a list of rules before engaging in any extramarital activities. It’s something that does not often come up in erotica but that made this story feel much more real. I expected the list to play a bigger part in the story than it actually did, though. It dances at the back of Jen’s husband’s mind but, other than occasionally checking that they’re following the rules, that’s about it. I’m glad that Lou didn’t go down the predictable plot of someone breaking the rules and ruining their relationship, but a little bit of tension in regards to the list would have enhanced the reading experience.

I suppose that the heart of most issues I have with this book comes down to its length. Lou pulled me into this couple’s story and then it came to an abrupt end. She set up so much emotional development and tension, from the list to the sex therapist at the bachelorette party, and yet she focuses only on the sex. Even Jen’s writing career could have blossomed into a larger plot, more complex plot. While I understand if Lou was aiming to just show a couple having happy sex adventures, I felt empty at the end of the story because so much else in their lives could have also been explored but weren’t.

Lou’s main characters have the potential to be very interesting characters. I’m especially intrigued by Jen’s husband. He’s so open and secure in his sexuality. What is he like in other aspects of his life? How do the sexual adventures affect other areas of his life, like work and friendships? Do he and Jen keep it all a secret from anyone who does not participate, or do they brag about to see who else they can snag? Jen and her husband are so confident and happy in their marriage, something rarely seen in erotica, that I want to see the possibilities pursued.

Unfortunately, another downside to the story is that it hasn’t been edited very well. The typical missing, misused, and/or misspelled words occurred through the book. However, I could have tolerated that better if it weren’t for the sections during which Lou inexplicably switches between first person and third person narration. This issue did not start until about halfway through the book, but once it did, it annoyed me a bit. All of these issues could be fixed with more editing.

All in all, I think that Swinger Hunt is a promising start for Natalie Lou. The main characters are compelling, the scenario is unique, and the sex scenes are well-written. I just want to see the work expanded, perhaps including more of the swinging which the narrator mentions at the end of the book. I would also like to see more of their lives outside of the swinging, especially given that their first escapade involved some of Jen’s friends. This book has the potential to be more complex and satisfying than many erotic stories, the same sort of potential that Blackmail and 69 Shades of Nashville have, but it hasn’t met that potential just yet.

You can buy an eBook or print copy of Swinger Hunt by Natalie Lou on Amazon. You can also learn more about the author by visiting her Twitter account or Amazon author profile.

Do you know of any books I should read? Want your work reviewed on this blog? E-mail me at thewritersscrapbin@gmail.com or message me on Fiverr and we can arrange something.

 


Designed by Stephanie Hoogstad circa 2011

Book Reviews: Manipulation by James Edwards

Today I’m sharing two reviews, both for works which are more booklets than full-length books. The first booklet that I’m going to review is Manipulation: How to Recognize & Deal with Emotional Manipulation by James Edwards.

The issue this booklet addresses is very personal for me. I have experienced notable emotional manipulation from more than one person in my life (I will not say who for obvious reasons). Perhaps I’ve even emotionally manipulated others without realizing it. The point is that it’s a problem which hard to admit happens in the first place, let alone take steps to fix it. However, I’m sure that many of you also struggle with being emotionally manipulated and need help as much as I do. That’s where Manipulation comes in.


Image retrieved from Amazon

Edwards presents a lot of helpful information in a very short amount of space (about 40 pages). The organization is solid, first showing readers signs of emotional manipulation then illustrating the different kinds of manipulators and, finally, giving advice on how to deal with manipulators, whether it’s at work or at home. As with most books and booklets of this kind, Manipulation does not serve as an end-all strict guide to dealing with manipulators. After all, manipulators are people, too, and so each one needs a personalized approach in order to minimize the amount of hurt feelings and dehumanization. Instead, Edwards gives readers tools and guidelines to help them take control of their lives again.

I think that the best part of this booklet is that the information validates a victim’s feelings and experiences. Most of what Edwards says really clicked with my situation. Contradicting you to get what they want, making you feel insane or like you’re losing your memory, belittling your problems, and even flat out getting mad, I’ve experienced all of these forms of emotional manipulation. Seeing that I’m not the only one, that it truly is common and I’m not just being paranoid, has brought me some relief. I’m too afraid to compare notes about this situation with anyone but those closest to me, and so being able to get a perspective with some distance from me really helped.

For me, the advice on how to deal with a manipulator is obvious but not so easy to act upon. Edwards is on-point with how to approach the situation. The problem just lies with what individual readers feel they can and cannot handle.

The only real qualm had with this book was the amount of proofreading errors. At first, they were minor and did not detract from the work. However, the errors became hard to bear in the last fifth or quarter of the book. I could still understand most of what Edwards said. Regardless, several sentences and phrases were difficult to decipher because words were missing, misused, or were repetitive. This issue is just a matter of more thorough proofreading. Therefore, I don’t hesitate to recommend the booklet on that basis. I just wish that the author/editor put more work into proofreading the last ten or so pages.

Overall, I think Manipulation by James Edwards is a necessity for those undergoing emotional manipulation. Whether you are suffering from it, know someone suffering from it, or even suspect that you might be a manipulator, this booklet will give you a more unbiased perspective on the situation. Moreover, it will help you and the manipulator or victim to reach a solution which, given some time and patience, will benefit everyone. The proofreading is a big issue, but it’s worth overcoming to get the information this booklet provides.

You can buy an eBook or print copy of Manipulation by James Edwards on Amazon.

Do you know of a book I should read? Want your work reviewed on this blog? E-mail me at thewritersscrapbin@gmail.com or message me on Fiverr and we can arrange something.

 


Designed by Stephanie Hoogstad circa 2011

Marketing: The Forgotten Step in Writing

Writers like to let their work speak for itself. Unfortunately, even in the modern world that alone will not get people to read your writing–perhaps especially in the modern world. Readers are bombarded every day with new material, from novels and poetry to news articles and magazines. How can we make our writing stand out from the rest? Well, how does any product or service stand out? Through marketing.

Marketing spreads the word about a poetry collection or book series as well as it does for a car or smartphone. To the writer, a book is art. To the public, it’s a product. Like any other product, it must be marketed or its audience won’t grow.

If you’re published traditionally, your publisher will help you with some of the marketing. (Just remember that you still have a lot of heavy lifting to do as well.) If you’re self-published or published through a smaller press, you’ll have to take on more of the marketing yourself. In fact, you have to do it all yourself if you’re self-publishing. Some self-published writers can afford to hire someone to handle the marketing campaign, but most cannot.


Image retrieved from Snap Editing

Right about now you might be thinking, “I’m a writer, not a marketer!” Well, yes and no. You are a writer, but that doesn’t exclude you being a marketer.

Many writers are unintentional marketers. Do you tell people about your latest work as soon as it’s published? Give out free copies to friends and family? Then you’re already marketing.

Of course, there are more “professional” ways that writers can market their work. Let your audience read the first couple chapters of your new book for free on your website. Host a giveaway. Hold a book reading at your local library. You can even make a book trailer, if you’re so inclined.

Even the most experienced and famous writers market their own writing, whether or not they realize it. While the Boy Who Lived is still the face of the franchise, J.K. Rowling handles the bulk of marketing for her books just by staying in the public eye. The same rings true for Stephen King. Even Anne Rice and her son Christopher market their own books; after all, they regularly discuss their writing and occasionally hold giveaways. (Giveaways which my mom jumps on every chance she gets.)

Now, when your entire public life is essentially a marketing tool for your writing, you have to be careful. Everything you Tweet, post, comment on, whatever could bite you in the butt and shrink your readership. This issue has been debated in regards to J.K. Rowling recently. Conversely, you can also gain readers through advertising or posting something which alienates others. Regardless, that’s all best left for another time and another post.

You can’t assume that someone else will market your writing for you. You can’t even rely on word-of-mouth or reviews from loyal readers. Don’t shy away from marketing your work just because you aren’t a “professional” marketer or business person. As writers, we have to take control of getting our writing noticed. Otherwise, we might never be anything more than someone who put pen to paper.

Do you market your writing? How? With all the “marketing for writers” resources out there, have you found any that are helpful? Leave your thoughts and advice in the comments below.

 


Designed by Stephanie Hoogstad circa 2011