Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top BDSM books of 2010

 

On the BookSeriesReviews site I restricted myself to books published in 2010, and I'm going to give myself the same restrictions over here. This list comprises the books published in 2010 that I've read and reviewed. Clicking on the numbered titles will take you to my review of that book. Clicking on the book images will take you to Amazon's page for that book (or the publisher's page if it's not available at Amazon).

1. As She's Told by Anneke Jacob

As She's Told wins hands down. Anneke Jacob managed to create an extreme BDSM tale that was an incredible read. It is the story of how far you can take a 24/7 relationship. One where there are no negotiations, no safewords -- consentual non-consent. Ms. Jacob managed to get the emotions and the mental stuff just right. And the physical stuff was... Wow.


2. Deviations: Safe Words (Deviations book 5) by Chris Owen and Jodi Payne

I fell in love with Noah and Tobias from the first book in this series, and I've enjoyed their journey through the five books in the Deviations series. I'm hoping for a sixth book.

If you are interested in this series then you should start with the first book, Deviations: Submission.




3. Owned And Owner by Anneke Jacob

Anneke Jacob gave us consensual-nonconsent total ownership in As She's Told.  In Owned and Owner she explores the same types of things, but this time with non-consent. It's a fantasy, written on another world so we don't have to deal with the legalities of owning humans on this world. And the world-building on this other world is pretty interesting. But it is the ownership, and the level of BDSM attained, that is the story here.

It's almost a hetero version of What Worse Place Can I Beg In Your Love?, without the twist at the end. The key points are there - caged when your owner doesn't have time for you, no understanding of the language being spoken around you, used as a sexual object, never treated as a person. One of the biggest points in both books is that, because it's a different planet and different life form, the "pet" is not just treated as an animal, but is actually seen as an animal... a lesser life form.

Both of Ms. Jacobs' works made it so high in the ratings in part because of mental explorations. Sure, the physical parts are important (and well written), but it's the mental gymnastics, the thought processes involved in these scenarios that engaged me.



4. Comfort Food by Kitty Thomas

Remaining on the non-consent theme, Kitty Thomas gives us the story of a woman kidnapped and then systematically trained to subservience.  Comfort Food is a deeply disturbing book -- one I couldn't put down, and one I highly recommend if you enjoy the psychology behind being owned by someone -- the psychology of what it takes to get you from independent personality to someone who is completely and totally owned - physically, mentally, emotionally.

This is not a blow-by-blow book. There is very little sex, and very little of the typical BDSM type of activities. There is punishment, but it's not the norm: chicken noodle soup becomes punishment.  Rather than the physical acts being the focus, the psychology of what is happening is the focus.

Comfort Food is a very well written book, enough so that I've wondered if this might be a mainstream author who wanted to stretch her creative wings a bit and chose to do so under a pen name. Wouldn't be the first time it's happened -- Pam Rosenthal gave us Carrie's Story and Safe Word under the pen name Molly Weatherfield. And let us not forget Ann Rice and A.N. Roquelaure.


5. Duck! by Kim Dare

It's no secret that I enjoy a good urban fantasy, and Duck! is in this list because of a mixture of the D/s and the detailed worldbuilding Ms. Dare builds for us.

I loved the descriptions of shifting from human form to bird form and back again. I enjoyed the experience of coming back to human form -- the need to hear words in order for the human part of the brain to come to the forefront again.  Then, later, sex right after coming back from bird form, when the human wasn't entirely in charge just yet, the idea of that hawk brain taking control while in a human body. Yum.

The D/s is pretty complete in the story, and that combined with a retelling of The Ugly Duckling - it's just an all around charming story with a very satisfying ending. I would love for Ms. Dare to explore this world some more, as I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Beyond Eden by Kele Moon

6.  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.   The BDSM is both tender and harsh. And we see both extremes - extremely tender, and so harsh that blood flows from a whipping.  The Dom is a caring Dom, I would almost go so far as to call him a Service Dom. He does the cooking - he's the nurturer.  Ms. Moon is working on a sequel, entitled Claiming Eden, and I will grab it as soon as it's available.



7. Deep in the Woods by Annabel Joseph

As a side note, If Annabel Joseph's Comfort Object had been released in 2010 it would be pretty high on this list. But, it was released in 2009.

Deep in the Woods is a charming story of healing, growth, and love, all wrapped up in a nice warm D/s relationship that happens to have a Sadist and a Masochist in it.

I enjoyed the physical parts of the book, but I also enjoyed the mental journey. Parts of the book were hard to read, the emotions that were stirred up weren't always pretty. But that's okay, because the ending was very satisfying. And we get to see the couple again, in the future, in Fortune (look down a few spots, it's on the list, too).



8. Master of the Abyss by Cherise Sinclair

Master of the Mountain was released last year, and was an enjoyable book. Master of the Abyss is a stand-alone sequel, and was a very nice read.

I loved that Kallie was this strong woman capable of handling herself in just about any situation, and that she didn't argue too much with herself over her desire to submit to Jake.

And I loved that Jake showed her respect while he Dominated her. He didn't let her get away with anything, he was quick to give punishments when needed... but he didn't expect her to be okay with something just because he said so.

The two characters seemed to be opposites at first glance, but they worked great together once it started happening.   


9. 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.

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.

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.

Willing Victim by Cara McKenna

10. Willing Victim by Cara McKenna

Willing Victim isn't really BDSM, it's a couple who enjoy rough sex and fantasy rape play.  There is a safe word, and the Top is very careful about staging things so the fantasy is there but it doesn't go too far.

The couple starts out just a little rough and then work their way up to some pretty rough stuff. Nothing that leaves marks, but still, some of it gets intense. 

The nice thing about this particular story and situation is that Flynn is a boxer. Laurel watches him get punched in the face by people who weigh more than twice her weight, so she doesn't have to hold back when she slaps him or hits him -- she can fight back full force without worrying about hurting him, and without worrying about actually getting away from him. And he's strong enough, and in control of himself enough, that it's safe to do that -- he can control her without actually hurting her.

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