Title: Lip Service
Author: M.J. Rose
Review: With the great success of 50 Shades of Grey, which I have not read, Atria decided to re-release Rose’s Lip Service. A Grey before Grey, so to speak. While it enjoyed moderate sales originally it was before its time being mainstream erotic fiction. So I anticipated to read this book on two levels; as a fiction piece by an author I like, and a erotic piece too (or to be crude, a dirty book).
As a MJ Rose novel it works quite well detailing the life of a repressed wife of a controlling, yet distant husband. With the departure of her step son to college she becomes restless in a dysfunctional marriage and begins looking for ways to find her old self. She decides to begin writing again, choosing to do a nonfiction book on a revolutionary sexual therapy institute, run by a close family friend. Part of the process to really understand what is really going in the inside of the institute, she trains to be a phone sex counselor (or in layman’s terms, a phone sex operator).
The story progresses and our heroine gets caught up in the excitement and release these interactions bring, slowly discovering her old self and seeing her current life for what it is, unsatisfactory. All is well until she is called by a patient who is a little beyond her control, who scares her. Rose creates a great thriller laced with a lot of sexual tension. My only complaint was the ending seemed really abrupt after all the build up that went into the story.
As for the second aspect of the book, the erotica of it all; I was disappointed. It seemed to be a continuing process of building to the sexy part, edging ever so close, almost there, and then nothing. I have read more erotic bits in regular fiction that wasn’t billed as erotica, so I expected a lot more. I at least thought someone somewhere would have sex with someone else, but maybe I expected too much. Like I said, I haven’t read a lot of erotic fiction so I may have too high of expectations.
This may say more about me than the book: Fun read, but way too vanilla to excite this reader.
Quick Review: 3 stars out of 5
Why I Read It: I enjoy MJ Rose’s work.
Where I Obtained the Book: Sent to me by the publisher for review.
Synopsis: Lip Service is the prequel to M.J. Rose's Bestselling Butterfield Institute Series which includes three novels - The Halo Effect, The Delilah Complex, The Venus Fix - and the short story collection In Session.
Lip Service probes the secret world of phone sex and one woman who becomes empowered by what she discovers there. Not since Erica Jong's Fear of Flying has a novel so masterfully examined the relationship between sexuality and identity.
On the surface, Julia Sterling's life seems blessed. Married to a renowned psychiatrist, living on Manhattan's tony Upper East Side, Julia deeply loves her stepson, and is forging a career as a journalist.
When a writing job at The Butterfield Institute - a sex therapy clinic - exposes her to the world of phone sex, Julia glimpses a world that stirs her erotic fantasies but threatens her carefully constructed reality. As she explores her emotional and sexual connections to the men she knows and several she will never meet, she confronts evil, perversity, and her own passions.
Tracing the currents of desire, illusion, and psychological manipulation,Lip Service is an astonishingly vivid glimpse into one woman's inner life. At the same time, this electrifying thriller grips the reader as it builds toward a battering climax.
Author Biography: M.J. Rose, is the international bestselling author of 12 novels;Lip Service, In Fidelity, Flesh Tones, Sheet Music, Lying in Bed, The Halo Effect, The Delilah Complex, The Venus Fix,The Reincarnationist, The Memorist, The Hypnotist, and The Book of Lost Fragrances.
Rose is also the co-author with Angela Adair Hoy of How to Publish and Promote Online, and with Doug Clegg of Buzz Your Book.
She is a founding member and board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz.com. She runs two popular blogs; Buzz, Balls & Hype and Backstory.