Turn Me On, by Kristin Hardy

>> Thursday, March 11, 2010

TITLE: Turn Me On
AUTHOR: Kristin Hardy

PAGES: 251
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Blaze

SETTING: Contemporary US
TYPE: Category romance
SERIES: 1st in the Sex and the Supper Club series

REASON FOR READING: I've liked previous Hardy Blazes, even gave one (My Sexiest Mistake) an A-.

Members of the Sex & Supper Club cordially invite you to a sneak preview of intimacies best shared among friends

When a gang of twenty-something women get together, men are always on the menu!

Stripping school? Exhibitionism? Fetishes? ... all sexy, all topics for Sabrina Pantolini's uncensored sex TV series. True Sex explores wild secret sensual desires and will be her masterpiece. Friends at the Club agree that covering voyeurism, lap-dance lessons and X-rated toys - the more off-beat the better - will rock everyone's world.

Including her own.

Stef Costas is Sabrina's most dangerous decision yet. Bringing him on board as director for the no-holds-barred project is like throwing gasoline on a fire. Her once sizzling affair with the enigmatic hunk burned them both. Badly. Now their relationship is strictly business - unless, of course, the scorcher they're filming turns into their reality, and the go-for-it producer goes for it, again...
Sabrina Pantolini and Stef Costas were college sweethearts. Their relationship ended when the more traditional Stef decided that Sabrina's Hollywood royalty upbringing and what he saw as her party-girl behaviour didn't mesh with what he required in a serious relationship.

Years later, Sabrina (after a few years of being a party girl for real) is trying to get her career as a producer off the ground. She's half-sold the idea of a pilot to a network. The programme is to be a documentary series called "True Sex", exploring real people's sex lives. She has everything lined up, when her director quits.

Over those years, Stef has become one of the best documentary directors in the country. He's about to begin the project he's been working towards all his life, when his funding suddenly gets cut off. One of his connections promises to help, but Stef needs to do him a favour first: help out his niece by directing this pilot for a documentary series she's producing.

Of course, neither Stef nor Sabrina are happy to find themselves forced to work with the other, but they've got no choice. And working on the hot-hot-hot subjects of the documentary is not helping to keep things cool.

This is one of those "look how edgy I am!" Blazes. It clearly aims to have modern characters who are (especially the heroine) really cool and relaxed about sex, but what it feels is self-conscious. There's, for instance, the obligatory scene where Sabrina gets together with her girlfriends to talk about sex, and that felt really, really uncomfortable. Not the explicitness of the conversation (we don't really hold back all that much with my friends, either), but the feeling that they were all trying as hard as they could to be edgy and out there.

Same thing for the scenes of them working on the documentary. Supposed to be edgy and out there, but while entertaining enough, I didn't find them particularly hot. Maybe it was because while the documentary's intention is described as exploring all the different ways people live their sexuality, from the scenes that were described, it seemed to be mostly about exhibitionism. I'm afraid that doesn't happen to push any of my buttons, so coupled with that very self-conscious feel I've mentioned that I detected in these scenes, I found these scenes a bit meh.

The romance wasn't too interesting, mainly because the conflict depended on Stef being a bit of a self-righteous prig and getting all judgmental about Sabrina. Oh, he's hot for her and happy enough to hook up when they get turned on by what they've been filming, but can he trust her when he suspects she might still be as much of a party girl as she was all those years earlier and have all those slutty Hollywood values? I could never warm up to either of these characters.

This is not a bad book, by any means. I suspect it will work much better for other readers (actually, I suspect it would have worked for me a few years ago), but it didn't do it for me.



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