Friday, September 23, 2016

Review - - Practice Makes Perfect

Practice Makes Perfect
By Sarah Title
Publisher: Kensington / Lyrical Shine
Release Date: August 30, 2016


Pembroke College librarian Helen Lee is an aspiring erotic romance novelist who has been building her rejection file for some time. The latest entry in her “Nope” file doesn’t faze her until she reads the editor’s comments noting that her manuscript shows promise except for the boring sex scenes. The editorial advice? Spice it up. Helen reassures herself that she is no virgin lacking personal experience, even if her time recently has been spent mostly with her aging basset hounds, George and Tammy, and her fantasy life is richly erotic. Perhaps she should apply her skills as a trained researcher to her writing problem.

Helen’s colleague and close friend Henry Beckham, a bow-tie wearing history professor whose current research focuses on a historic local brothel, knows Helen has a problem; he just can’t seem to find out what it is. Then, he finds Helen in the middle of a huge, teary pity party with a disco sound track and discovers her secret.  Henry is the kind of friend who has to help solve a problem once he knows about it. First, he buys Helen a Scientist Barbie and a G. I. Joe to use in simulated sex scenes. When that idea fails spectacularly, Henry offers himself in the cause of sex research: he will be her “sensual guinea pig.”  To Helen’s surprise, Henry proves to be a doctoral level kisser and an inspiring muse who gives Helen exactly what she needs to add spice to her novel. But their hearts don’t recognize all the steam generated is only research. Are they risking their friendship? Is the risk worth taking?

This novella is the third of Sarah Title’s stories set in Willow Springs, Kentucky, following Home Sweet Home and Two Family Home, but it was my introduction to this author. I had no problem reading it as a standalone, and I was charmed by Title’s voice and her humor, which ranged from witty asides (Helen’s thought that she could join Jonathan Franzen on a writers tour for authors who write bad sex scenes) to hysterical broad humor (the Barbie-G. I. Joe scene). I had a highly personal appreciation for Helen’s situation as an academic who loves reading and writing romance, and I adored nerdy Henry who turns out to be an exciting lover.  I can also almost guarantee that George and Tammy will win the hearts of canine-loving readers.

If you like romance that keeps you laughing and reminds you that sometimes reading is just fun, I recommend this novella. I have added the two earlier Willow Springs books to my TBR list. (The heroine of the first one is an English professor!) And I’ll be keeping an out for future releases from this author. I have already added her upcoming The Undateable (February 28), which features another librarian heroine, to my 2017 book calendar. I encourage you to give her a try.



  1. You know, I may be in need of a friend like that. For research purposes of course.
    The book sounds so much fun.

  2. This book is great! Sarah Title is one of my favorite writers.

  3. You had me when the professor bought her dolls to help her. Adding this to my TBR list.