Thursday, October 4, 2012

Book Review: Lip Service

Author: M.J. Rose
Title: Lip Service
Publisher: Atria Books
Publish Date: Sept 1, 1999
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
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.

Review: I've read M.J. Rose's Reincarnationist series, so when I was given the chance to read Lip Service, I jumped at it. This book is totally different from what fans of that series expect.

It deals with the phone sex industry and how Julia is drawn into it.

Most of M.J. Rose's books are thrillers or at least suspenseful. This book can only be described as psychological erotica.

The parts of the books when Julia is taking calls will leave you hot and bothered. M.J. Rose really knows how to write the steamy stuff. She does it better than a lot of romance authors putting out erotica.

But this story is more than just the phone sex. Julia has a history of mental illness, but her therapist husband is overprotective of her, when it's obvious that it isn't necessary. We don't know a lot about Paul, and I think that's what makes it hard to figure out what is up with him. There are definitely some holes in the plot around her relationship with her husband. The whole part of the IRS checking out his non-profit didn't get finished in the way I thought it would, plus there were so many issues in his relationship with Julia that didn't get addressed.

I couldn't quite understand why Julia stayed in her oppressed relationship. She was smarter and had the support of many people. It didn't make much sense to me, but her staying did help the story along, because you know there would be some climactic thing once Paul knew about her and the phone sex.  I really liked Sam Butterfield's take on role playing and phone sex. It gave a different perspective to something that seems really sleazy.

Overall Lip Service was an enjoyable read. Not at all what I was expecting, but a good read, that kept me turning the pages.

Rating: 4 flowers


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