Monday, September 27, 2010

Handcuffs and Leather (Rawlings Men book One) by Kim Dare

 

I read and reviewed the second book in this series, Handcuffs and Glory Holes two months ago, and I'm just now getting around to reading the first book, Handcuffs and Leather. Both are short stories, not novels. Which is really too bad, because the premise of both books would have easily extended to a novel length book.

I felt like Handcuffs and Glory Holes could have been the first two chapters of a twenty chapter book. Handcuffs and Leather felt like the first five chapters of a twenty chapter book. The story takes us just far enough to get the idea that the couple is going to be able to work things out, but not as far as I wanted to be shown. They were just getting started on what looked to be a nice D/s relationship. I enjoyed the parts we were shown, but I wanted more. 

I generally have a problem  when a therapist or psychiatrist gets involved with a patient, but I was mostly okay with the way it was handled here. Still not the ideal, but things were stopped early enough, and since there was no ongoing therapy needed, and that was confirmed by a second professional, it worked okay with the story.

Here's the blurb:


All Constable Hadley wants to do is put the last few weeks behind him. As if being taken hostage wasn’t bad enough, he’s had to deal with all the stupid publicity that’s surrounded him ever since. And the fact that he hasn’t slept since that night isn’t helping him feel any better about the world, either.

The last thing Hadley needs is a shrink wandering around inside his head trying to dig up all his dirty little secrets. When he finds out he’s being sent to Dr. Rawlings—the man he’s had a crush on for months—Hadley knows his life has finally hit rock bottom.

The only thing that could make things worse for Hadley would be Dr. Rawlings finding out how Hadley feels about him. But fate wouldn’t be that cruel to him—would it?

Kim Dare seems to have a good understanding of the whole Dom/sub dynamic, and she is able to get pretty deep into the psychological and emotional dynamics of a BDSM relationship. She does tend to go light on the physical aspects of things, and that shows up in the Intensity Ratings. Handcuffs and Leather gives us a fairly intense first scene between an experienced Dom and a new sub, and gives us the promise of more physical intensity to come, but ends before we actually get to see it happen.
  • Bondage and Discipline: There is one really nice bondage scene. There is also the promise of punishment by denial. 2 of 3
  • Dominance and Submission: Yes, and it is very nicely described. 3 of 3
  • Sadism and Masochism: No.
  • Extra Point: No.
As for the story elements: the plot is a good one - too bad it was used on a short story. The pacing was perfect. Prose and dialogue were both good. Character development is well done.

  • Heat Level: 5 of 5
  • Book Rating: Handcuffs and Leather: 9 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level: 5 of 10

Rawlings Men series
1. Handcuffs and Leather
2. Handcuffs and Glory Holes
3. Handcuffs and Headlocks (September 29)
4. Handcuffs and Trouble (Nov 24) 


    Sunday, September 26, 2010

    Master Preston’s Bright Bottom by Lee Benoit

     
    Master Preston’s Bright Bottom is a Torquere Press Sip about a service submissive who proves himself in the only way he knows how when the Master he has his eye on turns him down -- he offers non-sexual services that the Master is very much in need of. In this case, handyman services.

    Here's the blurb:

    Months ago, Paulo had one, intense public scene with Master Preston Rose, and now he can’t stop thinking about it. When he hears that Preston needs a handyman and gardener, Paulo offers his strong back and clever hands for manual labor. He'd rather offer his mouth and ass, but it's a start.

    Preston, overwhelmed with work and secretly suffering painful arthritis in his hands, accepts Paulo's help with misgivings. He hasn’t had a sub of his own in years and Paulo's lack of experience is a big red flag. Preston wouldn't choose Paulo even if he was looking for a new sub, which he isn't -- is he? Working for Preston and getting to know the reclusive Dom, Paulo's more determined than ever to remain a part of the retired Dom's life, but will all of his work be enough to earn him the collar he dreams of?

    Before I break down the BDSM elements, I should explain that the submission here is mostly of the non-sexual variety. There is very little sexual activity, and that will show in the breakdown. It's still a charming little story showing the heart of a service submissive.

    BDSM elements:
    • Bondage and Discipline:  No, the relationship is not that kind of relationship. It might get there later, but for now... not so much.  0 of 3
    • Dominance and Submission: Yes. Again, mostly of the nonsexual variety, but it's there. 3 of 3
    • Sadism and Masochism: No.  0 of 3
    • Extra Point: No
    As for the writing elements, the plot is a nice one. Pacing was good, prose and dialogue were well done, and character development was very well done.
    • Short Story Rating: Master Preston’s Bright Bottom: 10 of 10
    • BDSM Intensity Level: 3 of 10
    • Heat Level: 2 of 5
    This is an author I don't believe I've read before. I'll be keeping an eye out for other books by Lee Benoit.  I checked out her website and discovered she has a page of free stories up, and one of them, Lua-de-mel, immediately follows the events of Master Preston’s Bright Bottom. It's a nice little clothespin scene, and it was nice to see this couple interacting in a scene.

      Logan's Project by Chris Owen

       
      Logan's Project is a short that takes place on a construction site, between a "suit" and a rather large demolition expert.

      Here's the blurb:

      Logan is a man who likes to be involved with his work, and turning a warehouse into trendy housing is no different than reading reports at the office. Except it is different, since even the dirt and grime of his building can turn him on. The other thing that turns him on is the demolition man, who Logan thinks of as Mr. Big.

      Mr. Big isn't adverse to a little off the clock adventure, but which one of them is really in charge? Does it even matter? And just how down and dirty can Logan and Mr. Big get, playing games on the job site?

      The story is not really a BDSM story. There is a little bit of discussion about which man will top, as both would prefer to top, which means one of the men has to agree to be the bottom... but that's not top/bottom as in Dom/sub, but more as in pitch/catch.

      Logan's Project is a fun little short about two men having sex on a construction site after hours. No romance at all, just down and dirty sex.
      • Short Story Rating: Logan's Project: 9 of 10
      • BDSM Intensity Level: 0 of 10
      • Heat Level: 3 of 5


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      Saturday, September 25, 2010

      Corporate Needs by Bridget Midway

       

      Corporate Needs is the third book in Bridget Midway's Corporate series.

      We first met Princess in the first book in this series, Corporate Desires, and now we see her again, still as a Domme, but she's not enjoying it anymore. It's now just a drudge of a job.   

      Here's the blurb:

      Princess Watkins was damn good at her job as a Dominatrix at Suite Surrender, an exclusive BDSM B&B owned by her friends May and Winston Biggers. At least she thought she was before Winston decides to bring in his friend, Dominant Erik Hendrix, for consideration as his replacement as Dungeon Master over all of the Doms and Dommes working there. Erik Hendrix expected to be made Dungeon Master at Suite Surrender. What he didn't expect was to be competing for the spot. He also didn't expect that his competitor would be a very sexy Domme. Too bad he has a strict policy against dating another Domme. With her skills questioned, Princess wonders if maybe she should go "vanilla" and date the dull, new accountant. But with her strong pull to Erik, she's also starting to question her role as a Dominatrix.

      I didn't enjoy the second book in this series, at all. Some of the same things caused problems in the third book - the pacing had issues, some of the submissives' needs seemed to be ridiculed, and there was the idea that an overweight submissive was somehow lesser. I appreciated that the submissive in this case stood up for himself, finally.

      The plot was better in the third book, but most of the BDSM just didn't work for me. For instance: Being hit with a single tail hurts. Yes, it's possible to turn the hurt into pleasure, but it still hurts. It's sensation that can be transformed, so that it hurts and brings pleasure at the same time, but to say someone expected it to hurt but only felt pleasure... totally blew that entire scene for me.

      BDSM elements:
      • Bondage and Discipline:  Some. 1 of 3.
      • Dominance and Submission: Yes, but as in the second book, it's kind of a confusion of who is feeling what and when.  2 of 3.
      • Sadism and Masochism: No, I don't believe I saw much sadism, and the biggest masochist was once again the person that was seen as an overweight submissive who didn't matter. He does stand up for himself, eventually, but I can't give points for S&M. 0 of 3
      • Extra Point: No
      As for the writing elements, the plot had promise but wasn't executed as well as it could have been. Pacing was much better in the third book then in the second, but still had a few issues. Prose and dialogue were fine. Character development was okay.
      • Book Rating:: 6 of 10
      • BDSM Intensity Level: 3 of 10
      • Heat Level: 1 of 5
      The romance did finally work for me towards the end of Corporate Needs. I don't believe we were given a strong idea of how the relationship will move forward, but we do have a decent idea that it will work out.

      1. Corporate Desires  
      2. Corporate Seduction
      3. Corporate Needs

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      Corporate Desires by Bridget Midway

       
      Corporate Desires follows a few years after the events of Corporate Seduction. Edna Zulma, formerly known as Madame Z, is living with her mother after spending a few years in prison. She's broke, she has a jerk of a parole officer, and she ends up with a job working for a... well, here's the blurb:

      Fresh from her recent incarceration, Edna "Madame Z." Zulma wants a normal life. Unfortunately between her new boss and her parole officer, she's finding it hard to be plain ol' Edna. Throw in the very sexy office manager, Burton McCutcheon, and Edna is starting to think about the BDSM lifestyle again. Burton's goal of staying focused as he tries to start his own business is affected as soon as Edna Zulma arrives. When he discovers her BDSM past, he decides to fulfill her fantasies...and his.

      There were multiple problems with the plot for me, but the biggest was why Edna spent time in prison at all. Supposedly it was for tax evasion, but we are also told that she donated every bit of the income generated to charity - not just the profits, but every bit of money given to her... and she was operating the business on money willed to her. There would be no tax evasion there. None. At all. She wouldn't owe taxes on any of that money.

      That wasn't the only issue for me - supposedly the state took all of her money away from her and that's how she went from multi-millionaire to flat broke. That doesn't happen, either.

      And then the radical personality change from Mistress Z to Edna Zulma... it just didn't work for me. I didn't feel that the story explained the personality change - the Madame Z from Corporate Seduction would not have done so many of the things that Edna Zulma did in Corporate Desires.

      As for the BDSM portion, we end up seeing Edna topping one boss and submitting to the other.  It physically nauseates her to top her boss, and that whole story line just didn't work for me. The author didn't make me understand why it bothered her so much - this was something she enjoyed doing for so many years, why is it suddenly something she isn't capable of doing?


      BDSM elements:
      • Bondage and Discipline: Yes, but it's kind of stumbled through, it's not really done as something that is supposed to turn you on. 1 of 3
      • Dominance and Submission: Again, it's there but it's all jumbled up. 1 of 3.
      • Sadism and Masochism: The masochism is certainly there for one individual, but it's not treated with respect. The masochist is ridiculed by the author, the way his needs are handled within the story bothered me a great deal.  
      • Extra Point: No
      As for the writing elements, I had a whole lot of major issues with the plot. Pacing was rough. Prose and dialogue were mostly okay.  Character development tried, but because the main character was such a drastically different person in this book than she was in the previous book, I can't say it was very good.
      • Book Rating: Corporate Desires: 4 of 10
      • BDSM Intensity Level: 2 of 10
      • Heat Level: 0 of 5
      Again I will say that for people in the BDSM lifestyle, it bothers us to have someone's needs be ridiculed. I had a lot of problems with the plot and with the drastic change in characterization of Madame Z / Edna Zulma - but my biggest problems involved the lies that were told, the flimsy blackmail (Madame Z would have never agreed to be blackmailed into topping someone, especially with no legal standing for any of it), and the way the biggest submissive in the story had his needs put down and ridiculed by the author.
        1. Corporate Desires  
        2. Corporate Seduction
        3. Corporate Needs


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        Thursday, September 23, 2010

        Little Fishes By Syd McGinley (A Healing Heart Sip)

         
        Healing Hearts from Torquere Press
        I've enjoyed the Dr. Fell series, and these two characters are sort of an off shoot of that series. Tommy and Dr. Tanaka aren't quite the typical BDSM couple. In some ways they are, but Dr. Tanaka seems to follow the Zen philosophy in everything he does - and that includes how he Tops.

        Little Fishes is about meeting your lover's family, and about the surprises you sometimes encounter, things you learn about your partner that they haven't shared with you.

        Little Fishes is not focused on sex, but on the relationship.

        Here is the blurb:

        Dr. Katashi Tanaka may be in hot water when he takes his boy, Tommy, to meet his family. His little sister, Mariko, is irrepressible and sure to gossip with Tommy, and his mother may be the only person alive who can oblige Dr. Tanaka to do anything. Tommy learns some secrets about his stern owner that may ruin not just their spa getaway but their whole relationship.

        I don't believe the "entire relationship" is ever in danger, the blurb is trying to add more drama than there actually is. There is plenty of drama, no need to add more in the blurb.

        BDSM elements:
        • Bondage and Discipline:  There is one scene, no bondage, a touch of discipline, and some talk of later discipline.  1 of 3.
        • Dominance and Submission: Yes, we see that Tommy is completed devoted to Tanaka. 3 of 3
        • Sadism and Masochism: No, not in this particular story. 0 of 3
        • Extra Point: No
        I want to be clear that this couple has done some extreme things in previous stories, but this particular story happens to be more about the relationship than the sex or the scenes.

        As for the writing elements, the plot was wonderful for such a short story, prose and dialogue were fine, and character development was very well done not only for Tommy and Dr. Tanaka, but for the rest of the Tanaka family as well.
        • Story Rating:Little Fishes: 9 of 10
        • BDSM Intensity Level: 4 of 10
        • Heat Level: 1 of 5
        You can buy Little Fishes from the Torquere site, and since this is part of their Healing Hearts series, all proceeds go to Doctors without Borders.   

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        Tuesday, September 21, 2010

        Toy Box: Public Places

         
        Toy Box Public Places cover
        I wanted this anthology because of the piece by Jay Lygon. I loved Chaos Magic, Love Runes, and Personal Demons, so when I found out there was a short with Hector and Sam in Toy Box Public Places, I was all over it. Even though sex in public is not one of my things. I take the whole consensual thing pretty seriously, and if someone hasn't consented to watching something, then that's a problem for me.

        Luckily, that was not a problem in Public Places. Nothing happens in front of people who haven't consented to watch.

        The Touch of Nostalgia by Heidi Champa is the first story, where two people meet and head to a back room to have some hot stranger sex. It's not BDSM, but it's just rough enough to not be totally vanilla, either.

        Poke on the Water by G. R. Richards ends up with a threesome. This story did the least for me of the three in the anthology, though I'm sure there are others who will say it was their favorite of the three.

        And finally, Brat by Jay Lygon has Sam and Hector together after a long absence while Sam has been busy with his various jobs. Hector is taking Sam out of town for some marathon sex, but Sam's head isn't in the right place and he's being a bit of a brat. Never fear though, Hector knows just what Sam needs. I did appreciate that Hector checked in with Sam once though, in the past Hector has had a bit of a temper, and it was nice to see him totally in control in this short.

        I'm not really sure how to go about rating the anthology as a whole. Only one of the three stories is BDSM, and while that one had a nice scene in it, it doesn't feel right to rate the whole book based on one story. And if you've read the other books in the Chaos Magic series then you pretty much already know what kind of scene it was without my having to spell it out for you.

        It was a nice little short read, and I'm glad to have been able to check in with Hector and Sam again.

        Sunday, September 19, 2010

        Training to Pleasure by Julian Masters

         

        Training to Pleasure had the potential to be a good story. Unfortunately, Mr. Masters was sorely in need of an editor. There are way too many punctuation marks! And lots of other odd punctuation that made reading and staying with the story a challenge. Also, compound words were seperated - so anyone was any one. That may sound like nitpicking, but it happened many dozens of times, making me stop and look at it, read through it again, and then realize how it should have been written. And there were other editing snafus, where it appears he reworded part of a sentence and didn't go back and fix the other part of the sentence to fit with the reworded portion. I could continue on with my problems with the  writing, but I'll stop there and get to the story.

        The story is one of a woman brand new to the ideas of BDSM who finds an experienced Master online, and then follows as they begin a relationship. It's a cyber relationship for a few months, and then they meet and it becomes a real life relationship. The first part of the book had some pretty big pacing issues, as the action was pretty slow to get started.

        Some parts of the story didn't work so great for me, but others did. Or, I should say, they really did. There is a scene where he gives her a taste of something she doesn't want to experience anymore of, and then tells her that he wants her to resist him. If she manages to keep him from taking her for thirty minutes then she won't get more of the bad thing. If she can't last the entire thirty minutes then the longer she lasts, the less she will have to endure of the bad thing. That turned into a very nice scene.

        I also appreciated that we are shown two strong individuals coming together in a power exchange relationship. No one is broken, no one needs to be "fixed". One has a kink to Dominate, the other has a kink to submit. That's it, nothing is broken.  The training also has some Zen type stuff, some of which was a nice touch.

        Here's the blurb:

        Kate is hard working, successful, responsible and smart-yet something is missing from her life. The men she dates quickly bore her in and out of bed. A girlfriend loans Kate an erotic novel of dominance and submission that ignites a firestorm of longing and desire she cannot ignore. Perhaps she has been looking for the wrong type of man in all the wrong places her whole life?

        Kate goes in search online, learning all she can about her need to surrender her heart and body to a truly masterful man. A chance encounter in a chat room leads to her eventually meeting James at a beautiful English country house and spending an exquisitely erotic week together that will change both their lives forever.Note: This story was previously released in 2003 under author name Sir Julian. It has been revised and extensively expanded.

        Training to Pleasure was a nice story of a couple's journey towards a Master/submissive relationship. There is a little bit of well done puppy play, and a nice description of a colonic (kind of one step beyond an enema) that is also well described. Impact play is not a huge part of the training, but that's okay because the things done in place of impact play are quite creative and (other than a few instances) fairly well described. 

        The poor grammar and lack of editing was a real problem for me, though.

        BDSM elements:
        • Bondage and Discipline: Yes, but nothing too extreme. 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 was the story of how the relationship progressed during their cyber chats, their first date, and then a week in a rented country home in the middle of nowhere. There were no outside influences, which was fine for this story. Pacing had some issues, there was the aforementioned slow start, but there were also too many info dumps and over-describing of mundane things that were not a big part of the story (another place a good editor could have come in handy). Prose had serious issues, dialogue flowed in most places but had issues here and there. Character development was fine.
        • Book Rating:Training to Pleasure: 6 of 10
        • BDSM Intensity Level: 8 of 10
        • Heat Level: 5 of 5
          
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        Saturday, September 18, 2010

        Punished by Brynn Paulin

         

        Punished is yet another office romance. Another secretary who doesn't have a clue her boss is kinky, and another boss who has no clue his secretary is kinky, until fate intervenes to show them. In this case fate takes the form of said secretary paying at a club to be spanked, and her boss being the one being paid to spank her.

        Here's the blurb:

        Prim Natalia Cooper lives life on the straight and narrow, never veering into naughty territory. But she wants to. One night, years ago, her boyfriend gave her a few swats on the rear as part of their sex play and she loved it. She wants more. But he’s long gone and she hasn’t been spanked since. When she learns of a club where she can get exactly what she needs—anonymously—she’s so turned on and ready she can hardly bear it.

        For Ethan Tavish, The Dungeon has served as a place to exert his dominance without making lasting commitments. He can hardly believe his eyes when he enters the play area to find his secretary, Natalia, bent over the spanking bench in a schoolgirl uniform. They’re both masked, but he’d recognize her anywhere. In an instant, he has a plan to give them what they both want…and perhaps a whole lot more.

        My problems with the story:
        • Ethan starts things at work, which is unprofessional and disrespectful. He had no way of knowing how she would feel about him, personally. He should have asked her out for dinner, or asked her to have a coffee with him, and talked to her about it that way. Until they communicated things and reached a level of consensuality, some agreed upon power exchange, then he had no right ordering her around. 
        • The "conflict" was a bit contrived, and then was extended out longer than it should have been because of miscommunication. Conflict due to miscommunication is a personal pet peeve of mine, especially when it's from snapping shut a cellphone because you don't want to hear the rest of what the person has to say. 
        • I've spoken before about people who meet and agree to marry after only a few dates - another pet peeve. 
        • Oh, and to start out with a belt at full strength the second time you spank someone, in an office where people will hear if you make a noise with your voice... come on, belts make noise when they strike flesh -- that scene was so wrong for so many reasons. 
        • And finally, they never discussed pregnancy or STD's and no condom was used.
        What I liked: Natalia didn't try to deny what turned her on. Once she realized what she wanted, she accepted it and didn't fight with herself about it. She was also honest with Ethan when he asked her questions. I liked that Ethan was a nice guy who could be rough when the situation called for it, and that he made sure of her safeword before he got rough with her. 

        BDSM elements:
        • Bondage and Discipline: Yes, but nothing major. 1 of 3
        • Dominance and Submission: Yes. 2 of 3
        • Sadism and Masochism: Sort of, but it's all spanking and a bit of rough sex, I'm not sure it was actual S&M as much as a spanking fetish on both parts. Not that there's anything wrong with a spanking fetish, I don't want to give that impression. I'm just pointing out that a spanking fetish doesn't necessarily point to S&M.  1 of 3.
        • Extra Point: No
        As for the writing elements, the plot was kind of a tired old plot for me. And very predictable. Punished was a short story so the pacing was mostly fine. Prose and dialogue were okay. Character development was sufficient for a short story.
        • Book Rating:Punished:  5 of 10
        • BDSM Intensity Level:  4 of 10
        • Heat Level: 2 of 5
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        Tuesday, September 14, 2010

        Vampire Mistress (Vampire Queen Book 5) by Joey W. Hill

         

        I chose not to read Vampire Mistress when it first came out because I was aware that Vampire Mistress would give us the first half of a story that would be completed in Vampire Trinity. I waited for Vampire Trinity to come out, so I could read the entire story once I started it.

        Unfortunately, I'm not attached enough to these characters that I feel the need to read Vampire Trinity right away. I have an ARC of Venom that arrived this morning, and I'm going to read it, and possibly a few other books, before I begin Vampire Trinity.

        Some of Joey W. Hill's books work for me in just about every way possible (Rough Canvas, for instance). Others just don't. And there were some word choices this time that jolted me out of the story, things like "not ungently", where I have to do the math and remember that a double negative cancels itself out so she saying it was done gently. This showed up several times in the form of "not un_____ly", and each time it annoyed me and pulled me out of the story.

        Here's the blurb, then I'll talk about what worked for me and what did not.

        Sometimes desire can work three ways...

        In May 2010, Joey W. Hill returns to the dark and seductive landscape of her Vampire Queen novels as a desperate woman finds herself trapped between the desires of two men, each with his own mission of the night.

        Gideon Green is a hardcore vampire hunter. But in the past year, his only family, his little brother, became a vampire queen’s servant – and then a vampire himself, giving Gideon a different view of the vampire world. Since Gideon’s sole purpose for over a decade has been killing vampires, the violence that has scarred his soul now haunts his conscience.

        Then he crosses paths with a sexy BDSM night club owner, Mistress Anwyn. Their connection is immediate and intense, but she has a silent partner--the vampire Daegan Rei. When Anwyn is viciously attacked and turned by a rogue vampire, Gideon and Daegan join to protect her through a dangerous transition. As the bonds between the three of them draw tighter, Gideon faces an unbelievable truth...that the path to meaning in his life may be found in surrendering to the desires and needs of two vampires.

        I think I'm going to start off here by talking about the writing elements:

        The pacing was terrible. Way more telling than showing, and so much contemplation and inward searching I was tempted to start glossing over those paragraphs. I think there was possibly more contemplation and psych type stuff than there was action or dialogue. One of Ms. Hills strengths is her ability to show emotions, and have her characters deal with a whole lot of crap and then come out okay on the other side. But it wasn't there for me with Vampire Mistress. Based on the reviews on Amazon I think I'm in the minority, but... there it is. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it, and there were times I almost set it aside to read something else.

        The dialogue was good, no problems with that. Like I said, it was the inner searching stuff that had problems, and there was just so much of it. But prose was... a bit too wordy at times. I know authors are supposed to really describe everything, and give us all five senses as much as they can. But some of the descriptions were overdone for me.

        Character development, for Joey W. Hill, wasn't all that good. I usually fall in love with her characters, and I did not. I like them, but not enough to feel the need to pick up the next book right now. For another author I would have said character development was okay but not great.

        World-building is pretty consistent with other books in this series, and it's well done.

        The plot was, well, it was predictable. It's a good plot, and a nice way to have a BDSM menage with a male Dom, female switch, and male sub/slave. The characters are strong, each with their own issues to deal with (of course), and they mesh nicely with the story.

        I feel like I've talked only about what I didn't like, so I'll point out what I did like: the world building, the conflict expressed between vampire and the vampire's humanity, the camaraderie that Gideon and Daegan find when they begin to find the things they have in common instead of focusing on their differences. I loved that the first time this really happens, for something other than Anwyn, was when they were talking about weapons.


        BDSM elements:
        • Bondage and Discipline: Yes, though not all of the bondage is done with a BDSM purpose. We see the promise of some discipline towards the end, but until that scene it's not really a part of the story. I'm wavering between a 1 and 2, but I think it's a  2 of 3
        • Dominance and Submission: Yes, but it's complicated. And the submission isn't given (for most of the story) because the person wants to submit, but because... well, I don't want to give spoilers, but he submits (or rather, believes he submits) for reasons other than that of a man who wants to submit, so I can't give it a 3. The Dominance is certainly there, but the submission parts need some work. 2 of 3
        • Sadism and Masochism: Not really.  0 of 3
        • Extra Point: No
        I'm going to have to give Vampire Mistress a 7 of 10. I plan to read Vampire Trinity at some point, and I hope that it makes me feel better about Vampire Mistress than I feel at this time.

        There are a couple of really nice (i.e. hot) scenes, but overall the Heat Level is only a 2 of 5 for me.  All in all, I was really looking forward to Gideon's story, and I find myself disappointed by what I've read of it so far. I have been such a fan of Joey W. Hill that it pains me to give a bad review, but I've gotta be honest. So...
        • Book Rating:Vampire Mistress: 7 of 10
        • BDSM Intensity Level: 4 of 10
        • Heat Level: 2 of 5

          1. The Vampire Queen's Servant
          2. The Mark of the Vampire Queen
          3. A Vampire's Claim
          4. Beloved Vampire
          5. Vampire Mistress
          6. Vampire Trinity

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          Friday, September 10, 2010

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



          If you haven't read the first four books in the Deviations series then you probably shouldn't read this review. There are no spoilers for book five in the review, but there are some discussions that will be a give-away to what happened in earlier books. To read the review for the first book in the series, Deviations: Submission, click here.

          Book five of the Deviations series, Safe Words, takes us on the further adventures of Tobias, Noah, and Phantom. The action picks up soon after the end of the fourth book, Deviations: Bondage, and we get to see a much more relaxed household than we've seen in previous books. No one has to be anywhere at seven or eight in the morning anymore, and there are no more phone calls about cows who are close to giving birth at three in the morning, either.

          I think it's possible that I allowed myself to over-anticipate Safe Words. Even if you received what you wanted on Christmas morning, there is still a let down Christmas afternoon because all of the anticipation is gone. That's a little how I felt when I reached the end of Safe Words. Also, without knowing whether this is now the planned final book, or whether the authors have a few more Deviations books up their sleeves... well, I hope to see these characters some more. Or at least some of the characters from this world. How hot would a book from Bradford and Nikki's point of view be? But I should stop with that and review Safe Words, yes?

          We get to see Tobias finding his way as a bit of a mentor at the club, and he even takes on a little of what Bradford has been doing -- playing matchmaker when he sees two people with complementary kinks. There is also some of the spontaneity I was hoping for, where Tobias is sitting at his desk and decides he's tired of sitting there and tromps off to find his boys for an intense scene.

          Also, see that scalpel on the cover? That's a hard limit of mine. Always has been, and until I read this book, I assumed it always would be. When an author (okay, authors) can write a scene with scalpels and make it so intense that it makes me rethink my hard limits, that's some pretty good writing. Not that I'm going to ask my husband to cut me, just that now I'm obligated to read the scene to him and then have a conversation about it.  That only happens two or three times a year, and I read a lot of books.

          Here's the blurb:

          In Safe Words, which picks up where the Deviations series left off, Tobias, Noah and Phan are all working on finding their place, both at Bradford's club and in their personal lives. They're all living together, and Tobias has taken on the roll of full-time Dom, which he loves, but finds incredibly challenging.

          While Noah finds comfort in the new state of things and is looking forward to deeper submission, Phan is finding it harder to strike a balance. Too many changes happening too fast are making Phan act out, and neither Tobias nor Noah are sure how to deal with it. Life is not perfect for Bradford, either, as he discovers new feelings for his sub Nikki. Can Tobias help his friend, manage his job teaching the other Doms, and his relationships with Noah and Phan, or will the house that he's built for himself fall down around their ears?

          The drama/conflict isn't quite as big as the blurb makes it out to be, but that's okay. The guys communicate too well to have things about to fall down around their ears, and that's part of why I like the series as much as I do. Yes, there are issues that come up. Being a couple is hard, being a threesome would be exponentially harder... throw in the 24/6  power exchange dynamic and it just further complicates things. Though, in some ways I suppose it simplifies it, too. (And yes, I wrote 24/6 and not 24/7. Not a typo.)  

          BDSM elements:
          • Bondage and Discipline: Yes and yes.  3 of 3. 
          • Dominance and Submission: Absolutely. 3 of 3.
          • Sadism and Masochism: Ohhhh yes. 3 of 3.
          • Extra Point: Yes
          As for the writing elements: The plot is pretty much what you expect it is going to be if you've read the previous books. Pacing is fine, prose and dialogue are good, character development continues to be exceptionally well done.
          • Book Rating:  10 of 10
          • BDSM Intensity Level:  10 of 10
          • Heat Level: 5 of 5
          I hope this is not the last we see of these characters. If the authors have no where else to go with Tobias, Noah, and Phan then I wouldn't mind seeing books about some of the people in the club.

          1. Deviations: Submission
          2. Deviations: Domination
          3. Deviations: Discipline
          4. Deviations: Bondage
          5. Deviations: Safe Words