I am flabbergasted. In a good way. Finding Sanctuary kept me up much later than I'd planned on staying awake. Just when I thought I had an idea of how things were going to go, an extra kink got thrown into the mix, so to speak.
Towards the beginning of the story I had issues with someone making the kinds of decisions that were being made here, seemingly overnight. Or over a couple of nights. But the more character development we were shown, the more it became apparent that this man had been through years of therapy and was having his 'a-ha moment' sort of all at once. All of that work in therapy leading towards this one weekend where everything falls into place. Even at that, it was probably still a little too much for the short period of time the book spans. But it was written well enough, and convincingly enough, that I was fine with it.
Here's the blurb:
Finding Sanctuary is the story of Vincent, a typical, average guy who has begun to unravel. He has a respectable, mainstream life, with a solid job, nice girlfriend, comfortable house—all the material trappings. What, then, is causing this restlessness, these blackouts? The first revelation is that his best friend Eric is also his heart’s desire. But then Eric invites him to a weekend at a BDSM playhouse ... There Vincent will confront his fears and test the limits of his sexual boundaries. Eric has his needs, too—needs that conflict with Vincent’s. Will their fragile new bond survive the weekend? Will Vincent find the sanctuary he so fervently desires?
Another of my pet peeves is the submissive who is "broken", and who must be fixed. But while it seems so for a short period of time, that's not what is going on here. This is a man who has every reason to be broken, but who is not, he's just finally acknowledging his needs. It's not that he needs to be fixed, it's just that he needs to accept what his body has been trying to tell him for some time. He's worked on his issues, worked to fix himself. Sure, he needs a little help from his friend to figure everything out, but it's not his friend, or some Dom, "fixing" him... they are just helping him figure it out. Helping him deal with and understand his feelings.
There weren't that many editing issues, but the few there were just happened to hit on those things that especially annoy me. For instance: Dominate is the verb, Dominant is the noun.
- Bondage and Discipline: 2 of 3
- Dominance and Submission: 3 of 3
- Sadism and Masochism: 3 of 3
- Extra Point: Yes
- The plot was the relationship storyline, and while I had issues with it at first, by the end of the book I was mostly fine with it. BDSM is such a diverse thing, and everyone has such different things that can turn them on - seeing to it that everyone gets their needs met is a pretty important part of a BDSM relationship, and this one is no different.
- Pacing was fine.
- Prose and dialogue were well done.
- Character development was very nice.
The Intensity Level of 9 of 10 might be a touch misleading, as there are some pretty intense BDSM practices explored in Finding Sanctuary. But these intense experiences aren't treated as "oh, look how extreme we are being". Instead, the author helps us to understand why the submissive wants this done to him, and helps us understand the feelings and sensations. For instance, watersports aren't treated as a way to humiliate, or as something gross.The experience isn't seen as being extreme, just something to experience.
I do take issue with the fact that someone who is flogged until he bleeds can wake up the next morning and have something on his mind besides the part of is body that was flogged. But, again, I'm willing to allow for the fantasy a bit. I am easily giving Finding Sanctuary a 9 of 10. The character development was well done, the relationship(s) were mostly believable, and the scenes were well written. And Hot. With a capital H.
- Book Rating: Finding Sanctuary: 9 of 10
- BDSM Intensity Level: 9 of 10 (from BDSM Elements above)
- Heat Level: 5 of 5
DC Juris is a new author for me, and one I'll be paying attention to in the future. I would love to be able to check back in on these two characters in a few months, to see how they are doing. To see how they are incorporating the lifestyle into their relationship during the week, and to travel with them to the playhouse a few times on the weekend to check in on that situation, as well.