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The TV show Blue Peter was a major part of my childhood – as it was for almost every young person growing up in the UK since it was first broadcast sometime in the reign of Henry Tudor. Whenever they did a cookery segment, they would share the results the rest of presenters, one of whom would invariably say something along the lines of “I don’t normally like tomatoes, but this is really good.”
The whole “I don’t usually like X” thing is a mainstay of Amazon reviews. Half of all Amazon reviews seem to go along these lines: “I don’t usually enjoy sci-fi/gherkins/being whipped repeatedly across the buttocks so I was surprised to find myself purchasing this box-set of Battlestar Galactica/jar of gherkin and pomegranate puree/leather flogger. However, to my surprise, I found it completely enthralling/delicious/enthralling and delicious.”
You can see where I’m going with this can’t you?
|Oh look, your sticker is peeling off a bit there. |
Let me just... Wait a minute! That's not even a real sticker.
Two chapters into K D Grace’s The Pet Shop and I was all “Why am I reading this? This is all about a submissive guy being bossed about and punished.” That’s not my kind of thing at all. I like my guys domineering. They’re spankers not spankees. I have no interest in seeing a guy getting his arse spanked no matter how exquisite and muscular the arse in question.
But I stuck with it because it was fun and well written and I was intrigued by the premise of The Pet Shop, the organisation at the centre of the story which hires out human pets to would-be owners for extortionate fees.
Anyway, I’m no quitter, godammit.
And it’s a good thing I didn't quit. Because The Pet Shop isn’t just a story about a sexy submissive man. There’s a whole lot more going on than that. In fact, whatever your kink, stick around and you’ll probably find something you like.
The story’s protagonist, Stella, is the hard-working employee of an environmental agency whose employers decide to provide her with a ‘pet’, Tino, for the weekend in recognition of all her hard work. Expecting a rather more conventional employee reward – like some theatre tokens for example - Stella is surprised to take delivery of a sexy guy who comes compete with collar, lead, instruction manual and near-permanent erection.
|And maybe his own 'busy buddy treat holding jack'.|
That's a real dog toy, by the way. Who the hell designs these things?
When she finds Vincent Evanston , a wealthy, reclusive naturalist and Tino’s alter ego, she discovers a man as different in temperament from Tino as it is possible to be. As their mutual attraction grows, Stella needs to find a way to understand the two seemingly contradictory sides to Tino/Vincent’s personality.
Along the way, we find out more about The Pet Shop and how it operates through Alan and Annie, Stella’s bosses and secret pet shop string-pullers and through Stella’s ongoing quest to understand more about the organisation, even to the extent of training to become a pet herself where she finds herself on the receiving end of a belt whipping for breaking pet shop rules.
Alongside the hot animal sex, spankings and three-ways, there is a nicely satisfying story at the heart of this story. Although K D Grace might want to stop treating story elements which have been clearly telegraphed from the outset as massive plot twists.
The sex is plentiful, frequent and imaginative. This isn’t a story which strives for any sense of realism – there are no condoms to be seen and the Pet Shop proprietors don’t need to worry themselves about any safety precautions when it comes to sending their pets off to their keepers. Nothing bad will happen because everyone is on the same happy, sexy page. That’s fine. This is a fantasy and as a fantasy it works very well indeed.
If the Pet Shop did exist in real life, I don't think I'd want to be either a customer or a pet of theirs. I like talking too much for one thing and some of the things that went on seemed a little too weird – and unsanitary – for my liking. I absolutely loved reading about it though. As my Amazon review will undoubtedly say “I don’t usually read novels about kinky sex businesses where naked human pets eat breakfast mixed with their own spunk from the tits of a paying keeper, but this was really good.”