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Review of the Month, November 2013: Handcuffs and Lace

It’s a new month, so it’s time for something quite a bit different than last month.

Title: Handcuffs and Lace
Author: Rechan
Type: Novella
Genre: Romance
Formats available: Hardcopy: http://furplanet.com/shop/item.aspx?itemid=483
Rating/advisories: NC-17 Warning: This title is adult in nature and contains M/F erotica
Blurb: [i]Corrections Officer Cheyenne ‘Vi’ Choate is a coyote with a routine. She brings donuts to work for the squad room, works the late shift in the county jail and goes to church with her family on Sunday. After her divorce, after her injury, routine came easy.

Emerson Kendell is a skunk who just wants to go to relax after a long day. When bad luck lands him in one of Vi’s cells, neither of them would have expected what happens next.

The course of love never did run smooth, but attraction plays by even stranger rules. For two lonely souls, a casual act of kindness becomes something more and each will have to navigate their feelings and decide what it is they are really looking for.[/i]

I’ve had this sitting on my shelf since I brought it into my Borders store. I’d ordered multiple copies, of course, so I could get one. They were gone before the store closed down, so someone in my area also enjoyed this!
Alas, it’s one of the titles that I promised to read but has sat on my bookshelf ever since. I will fix that.

I remember reading a few scenes of this story on Rechan’s FA gallery.

One part animal magnetism plus two parts guilt. Fold in a good dose of feral lust with a dash of primal need. This recipe does not contain any damns for conscience or propriety.

A down and dirty story where Duty caves to Lust, and there are no good guys or bad guys, just a man and a woman ending up meeting their mutual needs.

Deliciously descriptive, lovingly detailed, intensely erotic, and definitely depraved. It is the literary equivalent to that porno mag you had as a young teen or that toy your friend purchased for you mostly as a gag… you might not want to admit just how much use you actually got out of it, but neither are you willing to deny that it had a special place for you… if somewhere a good deal lower than the heart.

Here’s the review I gave on Goodreads and various other places:

4/5 stars

A short erotic slice of life novel, ‘Handcuffs & Lace’ left me reminiscing and nostalgic with a hint of pain when I set it down.

I admit I put off reading this book for the longest time. Two friends of mind had already read it and had sort of warned me away from it. Having read some of the author’s other works, I was curious to see what he brought to the table for a longer piece. So when it was given to me to read and review, I decided to give it a chance, and I understand now where my friend’s issues with the book lay.

First off, most will have purchased this as an erotic novel. It’s labeled as 18+, and the cover carries all the notes of an erotic piece. There are three (by my count) erotic scenes in the book and each are extremely well done. Not too long, the right amount of detail and the pacing is dead on for all of them. At no point was I left speed reading through the sex scenes just to get through them, and instead I found myself slowing down so I could enjoy the read. If you are looking for something steamy to read, this book has it, and Rechan delivers.

However, take the erotic scenes out of the story, and suddenly you are faced with something interesting.

If you are reading ‘Handcuffs & Lace’ expecting an in depth story with a plot that will keep you turning the pages, you won’t find it here. In fact, not a lot happens in ‘Handcuffs & Lace’. There is no real climax to the story, there is no tension or conflict, and as far as the story goes not a lot goes on. Instead, you are given a very realistic story about two people starting out their relationship. In fact, it’s almost painfully realistic, and there in lays the strength of the story.

The real charm of this book is the fact that it’s a slice of life book. Once you realize this, the story becomes that much more endearing and special. Instead of hunting for the plot, you can sit back and simply enjoy watching the lives of two people as they share something special and work through the first steps of a relationship. Rechan does a spectacular job providing the little bumps that every budding relationship has. There are a few off moments, like Vi’s injury pretty much seeming to vanish after the middle of the story. But all in all, the story behind ‘Handcuffs & Lace’ is a tender exploration of two people.

Lastly, the furry aspect of this book is handled really, really well by Rechan. He takes a lot into account for how the world would work for anthropomorphic animals. The world building is handled well, and it helped to enhance the suspension of disbelief.

So if you are going to pick this book up for the erotic scenes, you won’t be disappointed. There are some interesting and unique stuff in this book that will keep you reading. If you are picking this up expecting a plotline with the standard rising action and such, you won’t find it and will be left disappointed. However, if you approach this book as a slice of life piece, you will be pleasantly surprised and, like myself, most likely captivated by the awkwardness of these two characters.

Based off this book, I would like to see Rechan tackle longer works that are slice of life pieces. I think he has a real talent for it, and if marketed right, he could have something really special on his hands. He has a good understanding of how people think, and I would like to see what he could come up with.

So in the end, if you want a short, feel good, erotic slice of life book; something that will make you remember every starting relationship you have ever been in, this book is for you. I enjoyed it once I realized that was what I was reading, and I will probably read this again.

Finished this today. Here’s my review:

As mentioned, this story is definitely one of romance and erotica, and does quite the job of reminding the reader of that on every applicable occasions. It doesn’t break from the story itself, which is a nice change of pace from other erotic stories.

Vi was probably my favorite part of the story. She never broke from character and I believed every word that came out of her mouth. She had several arcs going on all at once, all of which added a great deal to the story itself.
I also loved the plays on the species and the descriptions there-in. Probably my favorite use of this was in the shower scene. The time and effort it would take to wash and groom all of that fur would really be bothersome, and that is gone over in painstaking detail in this scene.

From reading other works by Rechan (and speaking with him), awkward, slice-of-life characters are definitely his thing. It works very well in this story.

Emerson, in a complete 180 from Vi, was a character I didn’t like in the slightest bit. It’s not because of his awkwardness, but because of how inconsistent his character seemed to be. In the jail cell he seemed almost manipulative, at dinner he seems clumsy, at the hotel he’s consoling and sweet, (you see where this is going). I never thought like we saw his true character. It seemed to me he was hiding behind a mask the whole time.

Going into slightly more technical items, the POV bothered me. It seemed like it was supposed to be third-person under Vi’s perspective, but several times it shifted over to Emerson or to a more omniscient POV. The story also could have done with another round of editing, then again, what story can’t these days?

All and all this was a fun read. I’d recommend this to anyone who likes a bit of M/F action, especially if they want it to seem more realistic rather than a badly directed porno. I haven’t read much straight erotica so I don’t have any parallel recommendations this time, but if you can even stand the thought of ‘girl parts’ then I’d suggest reading this.