Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Chapter Excerpt, Review, & Giveaway: Twisted by Lola Smirnova!

Title: Twisted

Author: Lola Smirnova

Release Date: January 21st 2014

Genre: New Adult/Suspense/Thriller

Book Summary:

In the corrupt economy of post-Soviet Ukraine opportunities are scarce. Young and eager sisters – Natalia, Lena and Julia – harbor dreams of a better life. Naïve and tempted by the allure of ‘quick’ money, the girls set off on an adventure that changes their lives forever.

Can they stay out of trouble enough to fulfill their ambitions? Can they hold on to their idealism in a world where depravity and danger are constant companions? How far are they willing to go to make a buck?

Twisted is a disturbing behind-the-scenes look at a world that most will never see. It is shocking, raw, and explicit.

“Twisted tells the story of a young Ukrainian girl named Julia, whose family is struck with poverty after the fall of the Soviet Union. Her two older sisters leave home and become sex workers, glossing over the more distasteful aspects of their occupation, planting the seeds of both curiosity and greed in young Julia. She eventually finds the lure of easy money too beguiling and begins her journey into the darker aspects of drug abuse, drunken stupors, and the horrid and loveless life of a sex-for-sale prostitute... Twisted is an amazing book that is well written and provocative. This book is a worthwhile read.” - Michael Alexander’s BDSM Review

“The characters are real, dialog intoxicating, and the plot well crafted.” – Reviewed by Gary Stout at Readers’ Favorite

Lola Smirnova is currently working on her second novel Crave – a sequel to Twisted. To learn more, click here


Chapter 2

My name is Julia. I am from Ukraine. I work as an entertainer in one of the many cabarets in Luxembourg City. In other words … I am a prostitute.

Luxembourg City is the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the pint-sized, landlocked country in the heart of Western Europe. By Shanghai, London or New York’s standards, it wouldn’t be strange to have sixty champagne bars in one city, but it does sound quirky when you consider that Luxembourg City is twice as small as Orlando Disney World.

This sleepy and conservative locale, the world’s eighth-largest banking and financial centre, motherland of prioress Yolanda and the 100-watt radio transmitter, is stuffed with sex-orientated ‘establishments’, like the one where I work. What’s more, they are jam-packed with able-to-eat-a-horse-for-the-dough girls from different countries – mostly, of course, Eastern Europeans, who would do anything to make an extra buck.

Champagne bar, whorehouse, brothel, house of assignation, bordello, den of vice; call them what you like, it does not change the core of these places. Although they are often called cabarets, and occasionally there is even strip-dancing involved, you shouldn’t associate them with merrymaking or extravaganza. ‘Trade’, ‘sex’, ‘transactions’, ‘carnal’, ‘barter’ or ‘perversion’ would be the better words to portray this type of nightery.

This is a place where one man can spend thousands of euro in an hour or sip only Coke all night long; where the currency is not money but champagne; where often nobody is really interested in the champagne’s quality or taste, but rather finds its value in the size and quantity of the bottles; where the sanctity of the sparkling drink of the gods and the missionary position are lost in the blue confusion of fake orgasms and sex noises.

It works as simply as a jukebox – to get music, you have to stick in a coin. If you want a girl to lavish attention on you, pay for her champagne.

The cheapest option is a €25 glass of bubbly, which gives you 15 minutes of an affectionate and solicitous bond with a girl at the bar. Pay twice that price and your ‘date’ drinks piccolo, the 250 ml bottle. In this case, the time you spend with her is doubled, but the storyline stays the same. Next: the demi-bouteille, a 375 ml bottle that costs about €180 for half an hour. This ‘denomination’ grants a little bit of comfort, because both of you can move to a dim semi-private lounge, as well as the confidence that physical manipulation will be involved. And last, but not least, is the ‘full house’ for the standard bottle, the price for which varies. It kicks off at €250 for questionable swill, which is reasonable damage considering that in addition to a drink, you get screwed for an hour in the séparé – a private room, most commonly upstairs. You could be asked to pay up to €650 for Cristal or Dom Perignon, where, of course, you cough up not only for sex but also for the champagne’s snobbish name, fine finish in the mouth, and the supplementary fondness and devotion. Sad to say, these pricey bottles – and the one-and-a-half litre magnums that go for €1,000 or more – are a rare occurrence in these clubs.

The uniqueness of such places is that while you, the customer, are having leisure time with your ‘pick’, her mind is constantly dividing the amount that you’ve already spent by five (this is how much commission the house pays her), adding her €60 daily salary and planning how to badger you to buy another bottle, all that while smiling or laughing hard enough to make sure that all of these calculations in her head are not reflected on her pretty face.

Most of the clubs open at one in the afternoon and cease their trading at about four in the morning. Of course, the run has to be split – there are day and night shifts. Even though, practically, there is no big difference between the two spells, the contrast in the clientele is huge.

The day shift – fuck, I hate it! – is all about the married and the perverts, but more often the married perverts. As a rule, they drop by to use their lunch break for a dull, uncomplicated quickie, or for depraved ‘activities’ they have never had the guts to share with their wives and girlfriends. They don’t drink much and have limited time. That is why the club is usually boring and full of freaks, but in the end, who cares if you can get the bottle?

On the other hand, the night transforms the club and fills it with a party flavour – the music is louder, the customers are drunker and the laughter gets more sincere. Even the girls’ sweat looks like a piece of cake. The problem is that the boys often get carried away by the alcohol and the thundering crowd, so their brains switch out of sex mode. If there is no sex, there is probably going to be no bottle either.

But enough, I don’t want to bore you. Let’s set in motion my adventure that, by the way, began without me.

Buy it here: ebook | Paperback

About the Author:

Lola Smirnova is an author from Ukraine, who for many years worked in the sex industry. She recently released her debut novel Twisted. Twisted is a work of fiction, but it is inspired by the author’s real life experiences making a living in the sex trade.
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Wow. This book is one hell of a read, from start to finish.

Based on true events, Twisted is a book about three sisters navigating life in the sex trade. Going into this book, I wasn't too sure what to expect. Whatever I had been expecting, however, didn't prepare me for my reading. This book is intense. It's dark and gritty and crass- definitely not for the faint of heart. The realism is a striking, and often a hard to swallow one.

It's no surprise to my regular blog readers that I often read erotica and sex positive literature. However, that is NOT what this book is about. Sex is in no way romanticized or made to be glamorous. It is a harsh, manipulative, and necessary part of life that fuels a dark life. Add in the seedy nightlife underground, drugs, and alcohol, and this gets all the more real. That's exactly why this book has such a disturbing undertone: this is something that has and is really happening.

Twisted is gripping in an almost perverse way, and the writing itself is really detailed and well done. The thriller/suspense aspect has a sort of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo vibe to it, which I liked since that's one of my favorite books. I was also impressed since (it is my knowledge- correct me if I'm wrong) English is not Smirnova's first language. You wouldn't be able to tell by reading this. I also appreciated that non-English words were in Italics, helping the reader know its meaning by context.

Unrelated to the story itself, I really like the cover of this book. I think it's a good hint of what's inside, and I think it's pretty and quite striking.

This book is an eye opener, and is not one to be taken lightly. That said, it is definitely one worth reading. Be warned that this book is NOT for those under age 18: there is sex, violence, drugs/alcohol, and profanity aplenty. Also be warned that if you're like me, you won't be able to read this in one go- it got so intense that I had to take a breather or two. This is the first book by Lola Smirnova and with writings like this, I'm sure it won't be her last.

Thank you to Book Publicity Services for my copy in exchange for my honest review.


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  1. This book seems to be a lot grittier than what I had first imagined solely on the cover. But I'm even more intrigued to read it now for myself.

    1. Same, it's way more intense than I imagined.