Author: Maya Banks
Genre: Contemporary romance, poly fiction, PWP?
Setting: Seems to be a small town in Texas, but I wouldn't swear to it in writing.
Reason for Reading: It was included in a list of poly fiction, and I try to be pretty exhaustive in my reading of poly-themed books. Sadly, this is not very difficult!
Finished In: Hours. I picked it up Saturday afternoon on my way home, I finished it Saturday night.
Copyright Date: 2008
Two panels. On the right is a woman in black lingerie (silly because the protagonist makes a point of mentioning several times that she only wears white granny panties). On the left are three bare-chested studs. One of them is fiddling with his hands in this way that people seem to only do when they are models. The second's hands are somewhere off the page. The third has his arms crossed over his chest. No faces or lower bodies are visible. Tagline: "What three men want. What one woman needs."
First line: "Regina pulled her police cruiser to a halt outside the dilapidated old farmhouse and radioed her twenty." Did that make you wince, too?
Themes: Group sex, kinky sex, male-led relationships, dysfunctional families.
Best part: The sex scenes were both smokin' hot and written very realistically. The author also manages to treat serious poly issues, like safer sex, jealousy, and how to maintain boundaries between multiple relationships.
Worst part: The editing, DEAR GODS the editing. It was so bad it hurt my brain a lot. On the other hand, it made the book unintentionally hilarious, such as when a doctor tells Reggie, "Your X rays came back negative." That's right, folks, she's the amazing boneless woman!
Imaginary Theme Song: "Take it Off" by Ke$ha. Strangely there are precious few songs about quads with three men and one woman, but the thumping beat of this song plus its devil-may-care attitude captures a bit of the book's mood.
Grade: B/D. If you're looking for quality, this ain't it. But it is a REALLY fun read. My lover read parts of it to me outloud and I laughed so hard I was almost in tears.
Recommended for: Fans of romance and anyone curious about what nonomonogamy might look like in a romance setting.
Related Reads: Um... all I can think of is Broken by Amy Lane, and there is magic in that one. There are just not a lot of poly romance novels out there that I know of.
Reggie Fallon is a loner. Estranged from her wealthy politico family, she doesn't fit in with them nor truly on the police force where she works. Once three boys shared her dreams and friendship. But a year ago, one night changed everything with the men those boys had become. Now a killer is stalking Reggie and the men aren't willing to let her keep her distance anymore. They'd do anything to keep her safe and show her how they really feel about her. Will she let them?
I think this book is well worth reading if you're able to take it lightly. If you can, as I did, imagine the heroine as a bratty submissive who keeps a secret diary that reads like, "They all think I'm this take-charge policewoman. But I've been hiding from the truth - I want to be loved, dominated, and taken care of by a group of men," then it is fun and yummy. If you don't do that kind of insertion then it could also quite reasonably be read as a feminist horrorshow. Don't buy it. Get it at the library or borrow it from a friend. Grade B-/D. Major flaws but I will likely read it again.
ETA: It's worth noting that I don't think the poor editing reflects on Banks as an author. This is actually very frequently a problem with altsex writing. The community is not large or very resource-rich, so it's hard for people who write kinky books, poly books, even plain old queer books to get mainstream attention, to get published by the mainstream press. The romance genre, also, has a crazy fast turnaround rate that doesn't necessarily allow for a lot of time for the books to get edited by pros, unless you're someone like Nora Roberts. This is something that I see a lot in reading poly books. I am definitely willing to copy-edit hopeful poly books in exchange for free copies of them and a credit in the acknowledgment. So, if you want to put my skills as an English degree-holder to good use, let me know. But there's only one of me. I wish there was a better solution - spellcheck just doesn't cut it, it takes a real human to spot problems like this.