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.


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