The Barter System by Shayne McClendon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Riya O'Connell is doing her dissertation on male sexuality and as the final piece of her research will be spending a week with eight different "subjects" and in return for their assistance with her research she will attempt to fulfill their biggest fantasy. We come to learn more about Riya's motivations and her own personal sexual journey as she goes through this process. Riya learns a lot about everything and finds that it is difficult to move between subjects without losing part of her heart to each one.
Is this premise a bit preposterous? Sure. Did I care? Nope. I'll mention that I have an advanced graduate degree in psychology and the research I did during grad school was nothing near as interesting or "fulfilling" as all this. I'll also say that Riya's journey ends up being a fantasy I think many of us would love to live. I completely adored Riya's character and watching her open up and learn to embrace her sexuality and feminine power was pretty spectacular. She is kind, loving, smart, and hot. A character that it was a total pleasure to follow through this book. It's hard to even know where to start in terms of choosing a favorite "subject". The author did a great job of creating very diverse, endearing, and completely sexy male characters. Whoo!!! I couldn't have even guessed at the fantastic way things ended up, or the emotional journey I would take along with Riya.
I was pretty thrilled to read the updated version because I enjoyed reading it the first time around so much! I found that all of the revisions and added content only helped me to connect even more emotionally with Riya especially, but also with some of the subjects. Everything I loved about the book the first time around was still there, but there was more of everything, which I enjoyed a lot. I would definitely recommend this for people who have not yet read this book, but I also recommend it for those who have. This was a book that I always intended to re-read at some point, and this gave me the perfect reason to do so sooner.
*an ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review