Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fortune by Annabel Joseph


We first met Ryan in Deep in the Woods, he was a fun guy and a pretty serious dominant. And a great friend.

We get to know him a whole lot better in Fortune.

Here's the blurb:

Kat doesn’t know whether or how to end her six-night-a-week party habit, not to mention her unhealthy addiction to meaningless sex. Then an accident lands her in the hospital. She wakes to find a menagerie of origami figures—and a gorgeous neurosurgeon—beside her bed. The complexity of the paper creations is nothing compared to the complexity of dark-eyed, authoritative Ryan, who seems determined to give her life some direction. Trouble is, Kat’s just as determined to resist his efforts to tame her wild side.

With persistence, Ryan draws Kat into his world of dominance and submission, where quiet commands and lengths of rope awaken needs and desires she never knew she possessed. But Ryan’s intimate, erotic shibari sessions frighten Kat as much as they excite her, for each simple knot requires infinite trust and inspires complicated emotions.

Then a family crisis tests their love and threatens to snap the fragile ties that bind them. Will fortune ever smile on this unlikely couple, or will fate tear them apart?

Normally I have a problem with Doms who spank someone before the whole "consent" talk happens. But in this case it was okay. Kat did consent to it, in her own way... and she never would have had the conversation if she hadn't already experienced some kink first.

The whole set up worked for me. The "vanilla" woman who is really submissive and a touch masochistic but never realized it. Authors have to be careful with that or it doesn't work. Annabel Joseph made it work. Quite well.

The cranes were almost a character within the story. A powerful presence. The character development in general was powerful, and to make origami cranes have enough of a presence to qualify as a character... it takes a skillful author.

I appreciated the levels of consent in place throughout the book. I also appreciated the way the BDSM was integrated into real life. And the way the relationship progressed. This is a love story, a romance. Sure, it's between a Dom and a sub. But it's also between a doctor and a translator. A man and a woman.

And I loved the way Kat's family was integrated into the story. Even the painful parts.

BDSM elements:
  • Bondage and Discipline: Yes, but the bondage was artfully done. 3 of 3
  • Dominance and Submission: Yes. And it was very realistically done. 3 of 3.
  • Sadism and Masochism: Oh yes.  2 of 3
  • Extra Point: Yes.
There is one group scene between friends, an extended version of what happened in the first book. An M/M/f/f scene. And it's hot. Capital H. Hot.

As for the writing elements: The plot worked. Nicely. The pacing was well done. Prose and dialogue were skillfully woven together. Character development was most excellent.
  • Book Rating: Fortune: 10 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level: 9 of 10
  • Heat Level: 5 of 5
Both of these books can be read as stand alone books, but both books are excellent, so you may as well read the first book first, then read the second.

1. Deep in the Woods
2. Fortune

Jesse by Jan Irving

Jesse by Jan Irving

Jesse is a touching story of loss and then a start to a new life. I read the story because of the promise of BDSM, but the sex wasn't a very large part of the book.. which was fine, as the story is a good one. Here's the blurb:

When Jesse Coulter roars up on a Harley one dusty afternoon back into ranch foreman Kyle Jacob's life, Kyle is confronted with everything forbidden he has wanted for years. Jesse is twenty years old, with a ruff of dark hair and blue eyes that remind Kyle of the heart of a lit gasoline flame, yet Kyle can’t let himself touch Jesse because not only is he too young, he's the brother of Kyle's lost lover Mac.

That they also share an uncanny telepathic bond hasn’t made things any easier for an ordinary working cowboy; Kyle is drawn into Jesse’s dreams of him as the hot older man Jesse holds captive, pleasuring him every night with Jesse’s raw man-takes-man brand of lovemaking. But Kyle and Jesse face other problems to their unconventional romance. Jesse has custody of his vulnerable younger brother who aches for a stable home, and an enemy from Kyle’s past is threatening not only his beloved draft horses and carriage business but the new life and family he yearns for.

I'm having a hard time saying much more without giving spoilers. I do think that we're being set up for a book with David, the younger brother, as the focus. And I would enjoy reading more about him, once he's grown up and figuring things out.

BDSM elements:
  • Bondage and Discipline: No. Well, except in a dream. But the dreams are kind of real. Sort of. 1 of 3.
  • Dominance and Submission: Yes, but it's not pervasive. It's perfect for the story, but still only a 1 of 3.
  • Sadism and Masochism: No. 0 of 3 
  • Extra Point: No, the story is about emotions and life, not so much about sex. The sex is hot, and is all about power exchange when they have it... but it's not the focus of the story. The relationship is the focus of the story.
The sex is most definately all about power exchange when they have it. And there is even the use of a few toys (plug and gag). There is no impact play, it's not that kind of power exchange.

As for the writing elements: The plot was excellent, even though I had a decent idea of what was going on and how it was going to end, the journey getting to the end was a nice one. Pacing was well done. Prose and dialogue were skillfully woven together. Character development was excellent.
  • Book Rating: Jesse: 9 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level: 2 of 10
  • Heat Level: 3 of 5
This is the first book I've read by Jan Irving, but I will certainly be looking for more books written by this talented author.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Velvet Dragon by Sean Michael

Velvet Dragon by Sean Michael

Velvet Dragon is a new book in the Velvet Glove series by Sean Michael. I've really enjoyed this series, as it has shown different couples with very different ideas of what BDSM means to them. Some stories are more physical, others are more mental. Velvet Dragon falls more on the mental end of the scale.

Here's the blurb:

Serius is an expert in whipping; his beauty is a riding crop, but he's an expert with all manner of whips, floggers and paddles. He's also a man looking for someone special to be his sub; he believes in order, discipline, submission, but he also wants a challenge. When Hercules promises him the perfect sub in exchange for his working at the exclusive Velvet Glove, Serius believes it's possible he just might find the man he's looking for.

Dragonne has the appearance of the perfect sub, but the truth is he's never truly submitted. He's never been pushed past his boundaries, never had to use his safeword, never been broken. He has built a wall of control around his core, and wonders if anyone can breach it. Can these two men find what they're looking for in each other?

I'm not sure the blurb really tells us much about this particular story. Yes, Serius is good with whips and the riding crop, and he does use these items on Dragonne to an extent that most submissives would not be able to handle. But the extreme stuff is mostly glossed over. The true "breaking point" with Dragonne is mental, not physical. He's been trained to control everything - feelings, emotions, level of pain, etc. He thinks he is submitting, but when he's told he's not, he has no clue how to do more than he is. What he doesn't understand is that he is submitting his control to them, and Doms don't want his control, they want to make him lose his control.

Serius figures this out, so we see a lot of non-BDSM activities... like eating and drinking from each others mouths. Yes, it's written very sensually, but it lasted too long for me. But I suppose it had to last that long, because it's the feeding, drinking, kissing, talking, and cuddling that work to break through Dragonne's control, not so much the intense BDSM play. 

BDSM elements:
  • Bondage and Discipline:  0 of 3.
  • Dominance and Submission:  2 of 3.
  • Sadism and Masochism: Yes, though it's not the focus of the story. 2 of 3. 
  • Extra Point: Yes
As for the writing elements -- the plot was the story of the relationship, and this was a different path to a BDSM relationship than I believe I've seen written before, so points for creativity. Pacing had some issues. Prose and dialogue were fine. Character development was well done. World-building was consistent with previous stories in this series.
  • Book Rating:Velvet Dragon: 7 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level: 5 of 10
  • Heat Level: 3 of 5
Velvet Dragon was not one of my favorite stories in this series, but I appreciate that Sean Micheal continues to show us the various ways that people can incorporate BDSM into their lives.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Review: My Two Doms by G.G. Royale

My Two Doms by GG Royale

My Two Doms is the story of a woman who falls in love with two men. When they find out, she uses emotional blackmail to force them to like each other and get along with each other enough for her to "keep" both of them. The kicker here is that the men are Doms and the woman a submissive. Do you see the problem?

I don't know any Doms who would have gone along with this. I know some who may have been talked into it if approached in a different way... but none who would allow for the emotional blackmail approach.

I realize that when not in a scene they were all equals and Haley had every right to "fuss" at Gregory and Jason as she did (even if she came off whiny at times, another annoyance). However, most Doms, by definition, tend to have control issues. And they tend to balk when someone tries to control them, especially if they feel they are being put into a corner. 

Here's the blurb:

Haley has been seeing two very different doms, and they both made her happy in their own way. Gregory...older, calm, and willing to show her off. And Jason, a possessive and fiery younger man.

When the two men finally meet up, Haley realizes she doesn’t want each man on separate nights anymore; she wants both of them together! But the two doms are so different -- and so often at each other’s throat -- that she doubts she can have what she desires. Will a surprise weekend together help the men bond or just cause more conflict?

There were a lot of reasons the story didn't work for me. First off, I didn't really like Haley all that much. She seemed... shallow. She didn't know either man very well, so how could she have known she loved them so much? And to expect an environmentalist to get along with someone who works for an oil company? She should have known ahead of time that was a huge stumbling block, but didn't even realize it until the men started asking where the other worked.

BDSM elements:
  • Bondage and Discipline: Bondage is creatively done and fairly well described. No real punishment scenes, just quick discipline, mostly. 2 of 3
  • Dominance and Submission: Yes and no. Within the scenes she is mostly submissive, but still plotting even during a scene. 1 of 3
  • Sadism and Masochism: Yes, and it is well done and fairly accurately described. 2 of 3. 
  • Extra Point: No
As for the writing elements, the plot didn't work for me, as I couldn't suspend belief enough. Pacing was fine, prose and dialogue were well done, character development was also fairly well done (even though I didn't like the main character very much).
  • Book Rating: My Two Doms: 6 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level: 5 of 10
  • Heat Level: 3 of 5
I enjoyed the BDSM scenes within My Two Doms, and felt that the author did a fine job with the mechanics of writing. However, the characters and plot just didn't work for me.

As an explanation for the labels I've used, which may seem contradictory to the story explanations: There is no action between the two male Doms, they both focus exclusively on the female submissive. Also, while kitty and pony play are both talked about, there is no actual kitty or pony play, so I didn't label it as such.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Breaking Skye by Eden Bradley


Breaking Skye is a short story with details of a woman's first two BDSM experiences. For someone's first two experiences, they are good ones, I think. The second scene might be a bit intense for someone that new to the scene, but it worked out okay.

To get away from the story for a moment, I'd just like to say that Eden Bradley writes beautifully. Her descriptions include all five senses in a way that really resonates, and it brings her world to life for me. I think she could write about sitting in a traffic jam and make it interesting. So while the story itself wasn't the greatest, the telling of the story was very well done.

Here's the blurb:
Skye Ballard has always wanted to experience her fantasies of sexual submission. She craves to be commanded, taken over. She is convinced that all it will take to purge this yearning from her system is one night. Skye searches out the perfect Dominant for the job-it must be a man who is powerful, attractive, and naturally dominant. But when she meets Adam Dunne, she finds a man beyond her wildest dreams. Adam convinces her one night will not be enough for what he sees as a process, rather than a single experience. Skye soon discovers that being with him only makes her crave more. And while he begins with the idea of training her to be the perfect submissive-for someone else-soon all he can think of is making her his, making her yield. All he can think of is breaking Skye-and keeping her for himself.

I'm not sure that Breaking Skye was the correct title here. I mean, sure, she had to be shown how to submit, shown how to let go and enjoy. But I believe that Adam needed "breaking" more than Skye.

BDSM elements:
  • Bondage and Discipline: Some bondage. 1 of 3
  • Dominance and Submission: 2 of 3
  • Sadism and Masochism:  2 of 3 
  •  Extra Point: No
As for the writing elements, the plot is predictable, pacing was okay, prose was beautiful, dialogue was good, character development was well done for being a short.

Breaking Skye gives us the beginning of a story and then ends as soon as we get to a HFN place. If you're looking for a short story, a quickie you can read and be done with, then Breaking Skye is for you. 
  • Book Rating: Breaking Skye: 8 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level: 5 of 10
  • Heat Level: 2 of 5


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bound by Leather by Mychael Black and Shayne Carmichael

Bound by Leather by Mychael Black and Shayne Carmichael

Bound by Leather is another short story, and once again I find myself disappointed in a book that begins a really good story and then just ends. The character building was going well, the possibilities in the relationship were beginning to come into focus, and there was reason to hope they might have their first real scene soon. And then it was over.

Here's the blurb:

In the world of werewolves, to harbor submissive desires is looked upon with disdain. To be gay and submissive is a double threat. To satisfy his craving, Nathaniel seeks acceptance at a BDSM club...and is quick to receive it.

Master Raphael's interest in the beautiful wolf is quite obvious to the club's clientele, and it isn't long before the two are paired for play. Yet, Raphael isn't known exactly for monogamy. Could Nathaniel turn him into a one-man, or one-wolf, Dominant?

BDSM elements:
  • Bondage and Discipline: 0 of 3
  • Dominance and Submission: This is a dom and a sub, but the story doesn't show us the actual act of submission. The the wish to submit. 1 of 3
  • Sadism and Masochism: None. 0 of 3 
  • Extra Point: Yes
As for the writing elements, the set up for the plot was there, but the story ended before I felt there was a resolution. Pacing was okay. Prose and dialogue were fine. Character development was coming along nicely, and world building was okay.

I don't know how to rate this one. The writing was good, this is a talented writing team. But the story didn't feel finished. It just didn't feel like a good place to end things.

  • Book Rating: Bound by Leather: 6 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level: 2 of 10
  • Heat Level: 1 of 5
I liked these characters, and would be interested in a story that tells us how these men work things out.  


Friday, October 22, 2010

Bound by Desire by Missy Lyons


Bound By Desire is an FBI story that just didn't work for me. I have this thing where I always say something nice, even if it's a book I didn't like. I'm having trouble finding something nice to say. Here's the blurb:

Denise has always been a strong woman and the men in her life have expected her to be just as demanding and dominating under the covers. Despite a successful career, and graduating at the top of her class in the FBI academy, she never had the same success in love. Her secret desire to feel conquered, and completely ravished in bed, has kept her from finding a man to whom she wants to submit. Then she meets Victor.

Unfortunately, Victor is her boss at the FBI. This woman has a degree in criminal justice, has worked as a copy for years, made it through the FBI academy, and is finally working as an agent. She's going to risk throwing all of that away for a man? Really?

BDSM elements:
  • Bondage and Discipline: 1 of 3
  • Dominance and Submission: 1 of 3. It was there, but it wasn't convincing.
  • Sadism and Masochism: 1 of 3
  • Extra Point: No
As for the writing elements, the plot was the relationship and it didn't work for me. I thought there was going to be an FBI plot, but all cases were quickly solved and were not really part of the plot. Pacing had problems. Prose was terrible, and dialogue was even worse. How many times do you call someone by name during a conversation? And what's so bad about contractions? Most people use them when they talk. Even FBI agents. Character development was not consistent.
  • Book Rating:Bound by Desire: 3 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level: 3 of 10
  • Heat Level: 0 of 5


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Blood Slave by Michelle Houston


Blood Slave is a short read that consists of two closely related stories.

Here's the blurb:

Sometime in the near future, vampires have been found to exist and have been hunted down and systematically infected with a virus that causes them to lose their sight. But they have found a way around it, through the use of blood slaves.

Where The Blind Leads: Brandon is one of those possible slaves, and if his interview goes right, he will become his master's new eyes, food supply, and lover. After his master is done whipping him and testing his sexual abilities.

Leading The Blind: Nicholas used to be one of those slaves, but through the slow infection of the virus, he has been turned. Now he is facing a future he knows nothing about--dominating another. His old master decides to step in a find a new master for Nicholas, a mortal man who is not only willing to dominate a blind vampire, but also to be his blood slave.

First, let me just say that the first story is hot. I'll even go so far as to say Smokin' Hot. It's short, but it packs a nice punch. The second story isn't quite as hot, but there is some emotion in there, and it's also an enjoyable read.

BDSM elements:
  • Bondage and Discipline:  No physical bondage, but a metaphysical one that is perhaps more encompassing than ropes and chains. And there is the promise of discipline. 2 of 3.
  • Dominance and Submission: Yes. 3 of 3
  • Sadism and Masochism: Yes. 2 of 3. 
  • Extra Point: Yes.
As for the writing elements, the plot is creative and different and I enjoyed it. The pacing is fine, prose and dialogue are well done, character development is good for the short story we are given, and world-building is well done and gives us a different take of the world of vampires. 
  • Book Rating: Blood Slave: 10 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level: 8 of 10
  • Heat Level: 5 of 5
It's possible that the intensity level isn't giving a totally accurate picture this time. Most of the time I believe my ratings system works, but in this case you should be aware that it's a pretty hard core BDSM situation, and that if the story was longer then these particular couples most assuredly would have done enough for their relationships to warrant a 10 of 10.

I enjoyed Blood Slave and recommend it for those who appreciate the idea of consenting to be a slave, but then losing the ability to withdraw consent once it is given. The slaves in this world still have control, as they can change Masters at any time, but once they consent to becoming a slave there is no going back to being a free person.

I would be very interested in a full length novel written in this world. The world building is an interesting concept, with lots of possibilities when it comes to how vampires interact with each other when their slaves are their eyes. What would a party would look like, how would political meetings work, how would vampires police themselves.... I can imagine all kinds of fun rules for the slaves in those situations.

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    Make Me (Hawkeye 3) by Sierra Cartwright

    Make Me

    Make Me is the third book in the Hawkeye series. I loved the first book, Danger Zone, I thought the second book was okay, and so I was hoping for a lot from the third book. It was not as good as Danger Zone, but it was still an entertaining read.

    Here's the blurb:

    Competent and in control, Ms. Inamorata, Hawkeye’s righthand woman, has the perfect relationship with hunky fellow operative Wesley Lowell. Several times a week, she shows up at his house, has fabulous sex, meaningless conversation, and then returns home and to her regular life.

    Dynamic and determined, Wes has had enough. He’s tired of playing by her rules. He wants more than passion from Inamorata, he wants commitment. One evening, as she’s yet again climbing from his bed to leave him in the middle of the night, he acts, snagging her wrist and refusing to let her go. He bends her over the bed, and takes her the way he wants to: hard, fast, dominating.

    Against her own wishes, she responds to his more heated sexual demands. For the first time since they’ve been together, he makes her beg for an orgasm, and beg she does. This oh-so-sexy man turns her life upside down, until she realizes she needs him not only as a demanding lover, but needs him by her side to solve a case that causes past and present to collide.

    We've met Ms. Inamorata before, and she didn't appear to have a submissive bone in her body.  As you can see from the blurb, she apparently does have some submissive tendencies.

    I don't remember Wes from previous books, if he was in them he didn't stand out to me. I liked him though, and I loved his gadgets.

    A few things didn't work for me -- I've never understood the whole "oh no, we're in the middle of a crisis, we should have sex" thing. But all in all, it was an entertaining read, and the BDSM elements were mostly realistic. I liked the way Ms. Inamorata dealt with her feelings, and I loved it when she made sure they separated play from work. Being a submissive to one man should not mean you compromise your career, and she has no intention of doing so. Thank you, Ms. Cartwright.

    BDSM elements:
    • Bondage and Discipline: No bondage, some light discipline. 1 of 3.
    • Dominance and Submission: 2 of 3.
    • Sadism and Masochism: Some. Mostly nipple play, a little first time anal play. 2 of 3. 
    • Extra Point: I've gone back and forth on this, but in the end I'll give it. 
    As for the writing elements, the plot was a good one, pacing was fine, prose and dialogue were good, and character development was well done.
    • Book Rating:Make Me: 8 of 10
    • BDSM Intensity Level: 6 of 10
    • Heat Level: 3 of 5

    Here are the books in the series:

    1. Hawkeye One: Danger Zone
    2. Bend Me Over
    3. Make Me

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    Beyond Eden by Kele Moon


    Beyond Eden grabs you on the first page and doesn't let up until you reach the end. The depth of the characters, the knowledge of how BDSM relationships can work, there are many reasons why Beyond Eden worked for me.

    I'll start with the blurb this time:

    Three lifelong friends find themselves tangled in a web of love, pain and dangerous secrets in this erotic Garden of Eden tale. Tall, dark and handsome Danny Carlow has always gotten whatever he wants except for the two he wants more than anything—his best friends, lovers Paul and Eve. Determined, he waits like a snake in the grass, poised for the right moment to offer them a temptation too delicious to resist. Artist Eve Everton makes the painful decision to leave her true love Paul for the siren call of New York City. Ten years later, with her life in shambles, she returns. When Paul’s waiting arms aren’t available, Eve falls for Danny’s charm and finds herself a willing accomplice in the dangerous games Danny plays. Former college football star Paul Mattling is now a successful attorney with a bright future ahead of him. But behind those brilliant blue eyes are secret desires for a taste of the forbidden. Will he play it safe or give in to Danny and Eve and bite the apple? Reader Advisory: Not for the faint of heart, the pain in this story is vivid and real, the emotions even more so. Haunting and poignant, Beyond Eden presents a darker side of BDSM. You might gasp. You might cry. You might find yourself reading it again and again.

    The blurb is right that we see some of the darker parts of BDSM. But you should know that it's balanced out by showing some of the lighter parts of BDSM. There is one scene where the sub gets cracked up by something and the Dom tries to remain strict and then finally can't manage it, and he cracks up mid-scene, too. These things happen sometimes, it was nice to see it written into the book.

    But the darker stuff is certainly there.... I expected to see the physical stuff, but wasn't prepared for the emotional stuff. Beyond Eden made me cry.

    I had a few problems with Danny's Dominance, but those things actually just made him more human. All in all he's a good Top, and a responsible Master, one that deserves the trust he is given. He deeply cares for Paul and Eve, and the author did a great job of showing the depth of his commitment to both of them. I love that he cooks for them and takes care of them in so many ways.

    BDSM elements:
    • Bondage and Discipline: Yes. 3 of 3
    • Dominance and Submission: 3 of 3
    • Sadism and Masochism: If I could give it a 4 of 3 then I would.   3 of 3
    • Extra Point: Yes. 
    As for the writing elements -- the plot was predictable, pacing was mostly okay with a few issues here and there, prose and dialogue were well done and included several humorous laugh out loud moments. Character development was stellar. Seriously, the character development carries the book.

    There were more editing issues than there should have been. Editing issues are an annoyance that can pull you right out of the fantasy as you are reading. Even with the typos, the pacing issues, and the predictable plot, Beyond Eden still gets a 10 of 10 from me. Did I mention the fully developed characters? And the accurate descriptions of BDSM play and BDSM relationships?
    • Book Rating: Beyond Eden: 10 of 10
    • BDSM Intensity Level: 10 of 10
    • Heat Level: 5 of 5
    According to the author's website there will be a sequel called Claiming Eden. I look forward to its release.

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    Soft Focus by Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine


    Soft Focus is the first book I've read by these authors, and I wasn't sure what to expect. The blurb looked promising, and a friend recommended it, so I gave it a try. Here's the blurb

    Ethan Bouwer has always been the adventurous sort. A freelance nature photographer, he travels the globe and writes erotica on the side whenever things get a bit slow. Hunting for a topic for his next writing project, he stumbles upon a man named David Turner and the taboo world of BDSM. His curiosity piqued, Ethan discovers that David Turner and his beautiful partner Kiyoshi are coming to town for a convention. Ethan makes arrangements for them to meet, but little does Ethan know that he is about to embark on a safari into a world more wild and untamed than anything he has ever encountered before.

    I'm a bit conflicted about Soft Focus. I liked the characters and the setting, but there was one element of conflict that seemed to be more of an afterthought, like the authors thought there wasn't enough of a storyline so they needed to complicate things with an outside antagonist. I could have done without the outside antagonist, in my opinion it took more away from the story than it added to it.

    The BDSM descriptions are handled well, I appreciated the relationship between David and Kiyoshi. The authors did a good job of showing the give and take that happens in some lifestyle relationships. I also appreciated the way the third person was added in, though there were parts of it that I wasn't comfortable with.

    BDSM elements:
    • Bondage and Discipline: Some bondage, and some threats of discipline. 2 of 3
    • Dominance and Submission: Yes. 3 of 3
    • Sadism and Masochism: It is talked about more than it is shown. 0 of 3.
    • Extra Point: Yes
    As for the writing elements, the plot is decent for a menage BDSM story, pacing had some issues, prose and dialogue were fine, and character development was well done. 
    • Book Rating:Soft Focus: 8 of 10
    • BDSM Intensity Level: 6 of 10
    • Heat Level: 3 of 5
    Soft Focus is a story of three very different men coming together, while one of the men learns about the world of BDSM. The story shows more of the D/s aspects than the physical aspects, though there are enough physical things shown to keep from being a complete tease. I would have liked to see more action, and I wouldn't mind seeing a follow up book as these characters figure out how to make a relationship work.


    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    A Bid For Love by Michelle Houston

    A Bid For Love is a nice little short that packs a lot of emotion. It does not, however, pack a lot of heat. It bills itself as BDSM, but the majority of BDSM action comes from things remembered, not things that happen in the time frame of the story. 

    Here's the blurb:

    Erika had thought that Ryan was out of her life, and that she was over him. When they run into each other at an art auction, and he outbids her on a painting of her grandmother's, she's willing to do anything to get it from him - including agree to spend 48 hours with him. Her head says at the end of it she can just walk away. Her heart isn't so sure.

    BDSM elements:
    • Bondage and Discipline: No. 0 of 3
    • Dominance and Submission: Yes, but mostly it's remembered. 1 of 3
    • Sadism and Masochism: Just a touch. 1 of 3 
    • Extra Point: No
    A Bid For Love does have one nice sex scene in it, and some people might rate it higher on the heat level than I did. That's a pretty subjective thing, so I do want to point out that it's a well written sex scene, even if it didn't do a lot for me.

    As for the writing elements -- the story uses miscommunication as a plot device, and that is one of those things that tends to annoy me. If someone sends you a letter you have to sign for, you really should read it.  There were also a few editing issues. Pacing was fine. Prose and dialogue were good, and character development was well done.

    • Book Rating:A Bid For Love: 8 of 10
    • BDSM Intensity Level: 2 of 10
    • Heat Level: 2 of 5
    A Bid For Love is a sweet story with a nice ending. It's not very heavy on the BDSM, though it is clear that it has been a part of this couple's sex life in the past, and likely will be again in the future.

      Monday, October 11, 2010

      Handcuffs and Headlocks (Rawlings Men book 3) by Kim Dare

      Handcuffs and Headlocks cover

      Handcuffs and Headlocks is the third book in the Rawlings Men series. These are stand alone books, and I think you can probably read them in any order you wish. I've linked to my reviews of the first two books in the series at the bottom of this review.

      With each book in this series it has felt like the beginning of the story, where we're left to fill in the rest of the story as the book ends. Each couple manages to discuss and come to a likely resolution to their biggest issue, but there is so much more the author could have explored within each story. She goes to all of the trouble of creating such interesting characters, and then she doesn't tell the whole story.  Or it doesn't feel like she does, anyway.

      Here's the blurb for Handcuffs and Headlocks:

      Undercover police officer Ed Rawlings isn’t just good at his job—he’s bloody fantastic at it. But there is such a thing as being too good at playing pretend. When reality refuses to come back, even when he’s off duty, something has to change for the hyperactive submissive. Could a no nonsense master be exactly who he needs to help him make those changes?

      Derby FitzGerald doesn’t do pretend. Losing track of reality when you’re teaching martial arts would be bound to get very painful, very quickly. But maybe there’s such a thing as taking life too seriously too. Could a confused cop be precisely the right person to remind him of that?

      The story mostly worked for me. I liked both characters and could see where the author was taking things. I was also pretty happy with the resolution we were given at the end. Though, as I said, I would have loved for her to give us more of the story.

      BDSM elements:
      • Bondage and Discipline: Not really. 0 of 3.
      • Dominance and Submission: Yes. Sort of. 2 of 3.
      • Sadism and Masochism: Just a touch. 1 of 3.
      • Extra Point: No
      As for the writing elements -- the plot was unique, pacing was fine, prose and dialogue were fine, and character development was well done for the length of the story.
      • Book Rating:Handcuffs and Headlocks: 8 of 10
      • BDSM Intensity Level: 3 of 10
      • Heat Level: 1 of 5

      1. Handcuffs and Leather (my review)
      2. Handcuffs and Glory Holes (my review)
      3. Handcuffs and Headlocks
      4. Handcuffs and Trouble (Nov 24)


      Sunday, October 10, 2010

      Dom/sub by Roxy Harte & B.D. Dark


      Dom/sub is two stories, one written from the perspective of the Dom, and the other written from the perspective of the sub.

      The first story is one that many long term couples who explore a BDSM lifestyle have to come to terms with. In the beginning it's all about pushing limits, finding boundaries and then going beyond those boundaries. It can be quite a rush. But eventually you reach boundaries that you really shouldn't cross, eventually you can't find that rush anymore because you've crossed every sane boundary you can find. The story does not give us the solution to the problem, it just points out that the problem can exist.

      The second story is one of loss, one I personally had a hard time reading. Not because there is anything wrong with the story, but because we're currently dealing with some health issues my husband is having. The idea of losing him is one I've had to deal with, one I probably haven't dealt with as well as I should. There is a good ending for the young lady in the story... or rather, the promise of a new beginning. I guess that's the best one can hope for sometimes.

      Here is the blurb:

      Domination and submission, yin and yang, two halves that make a perfect whole. This duet of stories walks the razor's edge of the real BDSM scene.

      Dominance, by B. D. Dark
      A man indulges in his long-held secret desire to exercise power and control over a woman. He meets his perfect match in Kim, another newbie to the scene, who wants to give herself to a master. Together they experiment, pushing sexual boundaries to the limit. What is his role as a Dom? Should he end the torture even if his submissive begs for more?

      Submission by Roxy Harte
      Julia is the grieving submissive of Master Jasper. After two years, three months, and eighteen days of crying she decides enough is enough and decides to get laid, even if it means nobody is going to get hurt. What she doesn't expect is to be set up by her friends on a blind date with a professional Dominant who goes by the name of Lord Draco. The question is, how far is Julia willing to go for pleasure...and pain?

      Publisher's Note: This book contains very explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: BDSM, including anal sex, bondage, clamps, domination/submission, exhibitionism, hot wax, ropes, and spanking/flogging.

      BDSM elements:
      • Bondage and Discipline:  Yes. 3 of 3
      • Dominance and Submission: Yes. 3 of 3
      • Sadism and Masochism: Yes. 3 of 3  
      • Extra Point: Yes
      I want to state that, even though the book is going to get a 10 of 10 for an intensity level, some of this is based on things that are talked about and not really fully described. 

      As for the writing elements, both plots were good. Pacing was good, prose and dialogue were good. Character development in the first is not explored very well, but it's not that kind of story. Character development in the second is much more fully explored. 
      • Book Rating:Dom/sub: 9 of 10
      • BDSM Intensity Level: 10 of 10
      • Heat Level: 4 of 5
      There are descriptions of some fairly hard core BDSM practices in Dom/sub, though they are talked about more than described in the first story. The second story has one complete scene that is very hot, if you like that kind of thing. Which I do.

        Ellery's Duty (Thrown to the Lions book 3) by Kim Dare

        Ellery's Duty is the third book in the Thrown to the Lions series. I've read the first two books, but that was before I was reviewing BDSM books over here. I enjoyed both of the earlier books, though I would consider all of the books in this series as BDSM lite.

        The first two books of the series involve a submissive human who volunteers to be "thrown to the lions". This basically means they are cuffed and blindfolded and taken to a home with a lot of men wearlions, and then they are "used" for an hour or so (with a safeword) before being returned to the chauffered car and then returned to the office that originally made the arrangements. The purpose of this, we learn, is so that the werelions can learn how to be with a human without damaging the human. The men are paid rather well for this.

        We meet Kefir in the first two books. He's a rarity among the lions, not very dominant at all. He never joins in when the other lions are enjoying the "sacrifice".

        In the third book, one of the human Doms decides that he wants to see for himself how the submissive men are being treated when they volunteer to be thrown to the lions, so he submits himself.

        You can see where this is going... right? Here's the blurb:

        As a well-respected dominant, Ellery has been watching the subs from the local leather bars disappear into the lions’ den for far too long, and he’s not convinced that everything is as fine as they all claim it is. He’s determined to find out what really happens in there. If the only way he can do that is to volunteer to be thrown to the lions himself, so be it.

        Kefir’s never worked out what the other lions find so interesting about the human sacrifices who visit their den, but this new man is unlike any other human he’s ever met, and Kefir’s captivated. Can the smallest lion in the pride claim a man like Ellery as his pet—is that even the way Kefir wants to think of his human mate?

        While all three books are written as stand alone books, I think that you should read at least one of the first two books before reading the third, so you can get an idea of how the Lion/Human relationship is supposed to work, as opposed to the way it works out in Ellery's Duty.

        BDSM elements:
        • Bondage and Discipline: None. 0 of 3
        • Dominance and Submission: Yes. 3 of 3
        • Sadism and Masochism: No. 0 of 3 
        • Extra Point: No
        As for the writing elements, the plot fits in with previous plots and gives a nice twist to the series. We also get an idea of who the next book will about, and that also promises to be an interesting plot twist. Pacing is fine, prose and dialogue are fine, character development is well done, and world building continues to be creatively written with this series.

        If you enjoy Urban Fantasy and also like M/m erotica then this series might be a good match for you. If you enjoy BDSM lite then that's another plus. If you want your BDSM to be a bit more hardcore then you'll likely be a bit disappointed. 
        • Book Rating: Ellery's Duty: 8 of 10
        • BDSM Intensity Level: 3 of 10
        • Heat Level: 2 of 5
        Remember, the heat level here is how I personally saw things, and the lighter stuff doesn't really work for me all that much. If you prefer D/s without a lot of the other elements then your heat level will be higher than mine.

        1. Ryland's Sacrifice
        2. Marrick's Promise
        3. Ellery's Duty
        4. Cameron's Pride (Dec 8th)


        Thursday, October 7, 2010

        Signed, Sealed & Delivered by Sierra Cartwright


        Signed, Sealed & Delivered is a short(ish) story of a woman who travels from America to London to submit, for two weeks, to a Master. When she learns of him, of how he trains submissives, she uses her hacking skills to track down a way to contact him, and then over months of correspondence convinces him to take her on.

        We get a play by play of the first three or four days, and then things skip to her final day.

        I was mostly impressed with the first days, the descriptions of the mental and physical things done to her. It was a fairly good description of the mental thought processes, and of the difference between an erotic spanking and a spanking that is meant to hurt... the difference between fantasizing about being on your knees and actually having to spend some time there.

        I was not so impressed with the final day, nor was I all that impressed with the ending.

        Here's the blurb:

        Alana Simmons is obsessed. She had a number of ho-hum frustrating experiences with BDSM. They've whetted her appetite, leaving her hungry, wanting more, needing more. So, with her usual determination, she seeks ultimate experience with reclusive trainer Sir Ethan Kendall.

        Alana's persistence intrigues Ethan. She'll get more than she bargains for if she comes to England, Ethan informs her. He's not into dabbling, he's serious about his subs embracing the entire experience, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

        Certain that's what she wants, she follows his directions, landing on British soil where she's met by his chauffeur, the compelling Thomas.

        Although she'd convinced herself she was prepared for every possibility, Alana could never have imagined everything the men would demand from her. Her life will never be the same.

        BDSM elements:
        • Bondage and Discipline: Bondage is not explored, discipline is. 2 of 3
        • Dominance and Submission: Yes. 3 of 3
        • Sadism and Masochism: Some. 2 of 3
        • Extra Point: No
        As for the writing elements, the plot had a nice premise, the pacing was okay, prose and dialogue were well done. Character development was enough... we learned what we needed to about them, but we only learned about the BDSM portion of their characters. I don't suppose the story was long enough for us to learn about the other parts of their lives, but they weren't fully three dimensional characters for me.
        • Book Rating:: 7 of 10
        • BDSM Intensity Level: 7 of 10
        • Heat Level: 3 of 5
        I got stuck on defining a genre for this one, it can technically be called M/f, M/m, MMf, and Mmf. It is primarily M/f, but since it is also more than that, I don't want to mislead by putting it there.

        All in all, I enjoyed the characters and the choices they made. I wish the ending had been more convincing, and a bit more fulfilling. But it certainly starts out with a bang.