Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chronicles of Surrender series by Roxy Harte


I read the first three books in this series years ago. And I loved them. So when the new ones came out, my intention was to read the first three books again, before reading the next two. However, trying to fit time to read five books in... I just kept putting it off, until I finally realized it wasn't going to happen. So I spent an hour skimming through the first three books, slowing down for the really good parts -- the peppers, the kitty cage, the final scene before... well, that would be a spoiler.

There is no way to review the books without giving spoilers. The characters change and grow so much during the series that they are barely the same people they were at the start. That's a good thing, though. In real life our experiences change us. It's supposed to work that way.

If you, like me, read the first three long ago then I highly recommend you buy the next two books in the series.

If you've never read any of the books, then... wow. This is a great series. At first it's about kink, and power exchange. Then it's about some of the different, well, flavors, of that kink. Different Doms do things different ways. And sometimes a Dom has to alter things to make sure a submissive's specific needs are being met. As feelings start to enter the equation, things change. So many different kinks are explored, the mental parts just as much as the physical parts. It ends up being about how to make a relationship work, how to do the kink and have a somewhat normal life, too. It's 24/7, and certainly in the ball park of TPE, but the day to day stuff is not so over the top that it could never actually work that way.

Some of the books in the series get a 10 of 10 from me, others get an 8 of 10. The series as a whole gets a 10 of 10.

BDSM elements:
  • Bondage and Discipline: 3 of 3
  • Dominance and Submission: 3 of 3
  • Sadism and Masochism: 3 of 3
  • Extra Point: Yes
Simply saying that the sum adds up to a 10 of 10 for the intensity doesn't really say enough about the ways the BDSM is handled in this series. Some of the aspects are handled very creatively, some are cut and dried, some are gentle and tender, some are incredibly harsh, and some are tender and harsh at the same time.

As for the writing elements:
  • The plots in most of the books are exceptionally well done. There were a few things that made me stretch a bit for the believability factor, but the series as a whole is good enough to forgive those parts.
  • Pacing is fine.
  • Prose and dialogue are nicely woven together.
  • Character development has depth and interest for not just the main characters but a few of the secondary characters as well.
The Chronicles of Surrender books are romance books at heart, though a few of the books head off into the spy and intrigue stuff and that takes precedence over the romance here and there. I didn't feel the BDSM was over the top, though some people may be uncomfortable with a few of the scenes. I think we are supposed to be uncomfortable with a few of them, and I also think the author does a good job of explaining why the intensity, and why those particular kinks, are a turn on for the characters.
  • Series Rating: Chronicles of Surrender: 10 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level: 10 of 10
  • Heat Level: 5 of 5 
The books in this series are:
    1. Sacred Secrets
    2. Sacred Revelations
    3. Unholy Promises
    4. Echo Of Redemption
    5. Cries of Penance
    It looks like there is a new book soon to be released in this series, titled Vow of Silence.  It appears this is Dr. Psycho's book, and the warnings have me more than a little bit interested.

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    Manning Up by JT Steele


    Manning Up didn't work for me. The prose was awkward, the characters didn't have much depth, the "magic" wasn't explained and didn't feel plausible, and the outside conflicts weren't things I wanted to have intrude upon my entertainment time. Also, I felt as if it were billed as a BDSM story, but it wasn't. There was some kink, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it BDSM.

    Here is the blurb:

    Elijah Kerrigan is gay with two big strikes against him: his father is a preacher and he himself is a professional baseball player. Divorced from a sexless marriage, he feels that coming out of the closet would destroy his life and, worse, hurt his parents whom he deeply loves. He plans on being alone for the rest of his life, but he doesn’t count on meeting Wesley Grayson.

    Wesley Grayson is a tall, handsome young artist and the son of a famous rock star. The moment he lays eyes on Elijah, he knows the two of them are destined to be together. Wesley's developing psychic powers leave him so drawn to the handsome ballplayer that he is certain he’s found his eternal soulmate. Out of the closet and comfortable in his skin, Wesley introduces Elijah to hot, kinky gay sex and a leather club that melts his boy in his arms. But that doesn't make the relationship easy; Elijah's still deeply in the closet.

    Two homophobic thugs team up with a female tabloid writer and threaten to expose Elijah's secret. Will he have to abandon the best thing he’s ever had to keep his family and his career? Wesley has no intention of letting go of him, but, in the end, unless Elijah mans up, it may not be his choice.

    The "magic" was supposed to make us think they knew they were destined to be together forever within hours, but I wasn't convinced. Also, we were supposed to believe that Wesley miraculously healed because he had sex with his soul mate. I love a good urban fantasy story, but I need to be convinced. I need to have the world explained to me.

    BDSM elements:
    • Bondage and Discipline: There are two play pretend punishment spankings, so I'll give it a 1 of 3.
    • Dominance and Submission: 0 of 3.
    • Sadism and Masochism: 0 of 3 
    • Extra Point: No
    As for the writing elements: The plot didn't work for me, pacing had issues, prose and dialogue didn't flow smoothly,  the characters were not fully developed, and world-building was practically non-existent. 
    • Book Rating: Manning Up: 4 of 10
    • BDSM Intensity Level: 1 of 10
    • Heat Level: 1 of 5

    I hate writing what amounts to a bad review. Unfortunately, this story just didn't work for me.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Angel and the Assassin 2: Be Brave by Fyn Alexander


    Angel and the Assassin 2: Be Brave follows about six months after the events of Angel and the Assassin. Angel is in school now, and Kael is teaching at the SIS Academy.

    I see a lot of people talking about TPE and what that kind of relationship looks like. Everyone has their own ideas and their own fantasies, but when it comes to implementing it in real life over the long term, I think Kael and Angel's relationship is about as close as I've seen to a realistic depiction in fiction. Kael has rules, and Angel makes his own decision within the boundaries of Kael's rules. Angel shows respect, but he also cuts up and kids around. And when he disagrees with Kael about something he doesn't keep it to himself, he communicates his thoughts and feelings whether they be popular or unpopular with Kael. Theoretically he's supposed to respectfully disagree, but that doesn't always happen. Just like in real life.

    There was a good bit more going on besides the relationship in the second installment. Kael probably has as many issues to work through as Angel, and I like that it isn't just the submissive having to work through his crap.

    Here's the blurb:

    MI6 assassin Kael Saunders was supposed to kill Angel Button after he witnessed a kill. Not only did Kael refuse to hurt Angel, but he took him home and fell in love with him. Living together now in a loving D/s relationship, Angel wants to follow in his daddy’s footsteps while Kael is determined to keep his boy out of the dangerous world of international assassins.

    During an assignment Kael finds a little girl who is caught up in human trafficking and determines to rescue her. When he is taken prisoner Angel sets out to find his beloved Daddy and bring him home.

    I don't know if the author has planned for more books to follow, though with the way this book ended I think the possibility is certainly there. I would pick the third book in this series up in a heartbeat.

    BDSM elements:
    • Bondage and Discipline: 3 of 3
    • Dominance and Submission: 3 of 3
    • Sadism and Masochism: Most of the BDSM is about painful pleasure that is worked up to, it's not really about pain. 1 of 3 
    • Extra Point: Yes
    As for the writing elements. The plots were very well done with a few pleasant surprises, the pacing was perfect, prose and dialogue flowed nicely, and character development continues to be exceptional.
    • Book Rating: Angel and the Assassin 2: Be Brave: 10 of 10
    • BDSM Intensity Level: 8 of 10
    • Heat Level: 5 of 5
    I would not recommend reading the second book until you've read the first book. You can read my review of the first book here.

    1. Angel and the Assassin
    2. Angel and the Assassin 2: Be Brave

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Angel and the Assassin by Fyn Alexander


    I read Angel and the Assassin in preparation for the second book, Angel and the Assassin 2: Be Brave.

    Here is the blurb for the first book in this series:

    Kael Saunders loves to dominate handsome, masculine men like himself. Being in charge is his way of life whether it be in his work with the Secret Intelligence service, his personal life, or in the dungeon. The last thing he expects when he is out on a hit is to fall in love with Angel, an eighteen-year-old boy desperate for the love and guidance of a Daddy. Yet Angel also has a passion for being spanked and restrained. Two very different men find love in a world of skilled assassins, Bosnian terrorists, and dungeon play.

    I'll get the controversy out of the way first: I have no issues with what grown adults choose to call each other in a consensual power exchange relationship. If they want to call each other Sir, Master, Daddy, pet, slave, sub, boy... I don't care. If you've got a problem with the Daddy honorific then you may want to skip this one. If you can substitute Daddy with Master then you should be fine.

    There are a lot of situations where I'd have problems with a thirty plus year old Dom taking on a barely legal young man in any sort of slave relationship - but the set up for this relationship made it okay for me. Angel had been wanting this, had magazines about it, had dreamed of finding his own leather daddy. And Kael was responsible with the power he was given. I didn't agree with everything he did, but that's okay. Overall I thought he was a responsible Dom who was worthy of the trust he was given.

    Now for the fun stuff... Fyn Alexander writes hot sex and great D/s. It was tender, it was rough, it was harsh, it was sweet. There was communication. And did I mention the sex was hot?

    One of my pet peeves is when conflict involves a lack of communication, and that carried the story for a brief period of time. It didn't annoy as much as it normally does though. For these two particular characters the lack of communication was plausible. Plus, it didn't last too terribly long. Had it stretched out much longer it would have caused a problem.

    I want Kael's dungeon. Seriously.  And I wouldn't mind being under his flogger, either. There is a flogging scene in this one that has to be one of the top three or four descriptions of a good flogging that I've ever come across.  Yum.

    BDSM elements:
    • Bondage and Discipline: 3 of 3
    • Dominance and Submission: 3 of 3
    • Sadism and Masochism: 2 of 3 
    • Extra Point: Yes
    As for the writing elements:
    • There were a couple of plots, all of the nicely done, and all of them worked well together.
    • Pacing was perfect.
    • Prose and dialogue were well done. 
    • Character development was exceptional.  

    The heat level on this one is easy - it's a five of five hands down. 
    • Book Rating: Angel and the Assassin: 9 of 10
    • BDSM Intensity Level: 9 of 10
    • Heat Level: 5 of 5
    I'm about to open up Angel and the Assassin 2: Be Brave and I can't wait to see what happens next. Will there be color in the apartment? How much will Angel have grown up? How much farther will things go in the dungeon now that the pair have been together a while?


    Monday, April 11, 2011

    Purple Passion by Sindra van Yssel


    Purple Passion is the first book I've read by Sindra van Yssel, but it won't be the last. In fact, if my TBR folder weren't so full right now I might just start buying up her back list and reading them all, after finishing Purple Passion.

    Darren was pretty close to my definition of the ideal Dom. First and foremost, he's a good guy, next is that he's honest even when it's not easy to be honest. And finally, he's come to terms with his kinks and doesn't apologize for them. Oh, and he's pretty creative with them, too. A nice addition.

    Darren McCorvey can’t believe his good luck when sexy violet-haired Lisa Martinez sits across from him at a table in a restaurant. Never mind she’s only at that table by mistake -- she certainly didn’t intend to join a bunch of BDSM aficionados -- he recognizes a submissive streak inside her that she thought was nothing but a weakness. She can’t believe this hunky guy is interested in her, but the things he’s into attract and scare her all at once. She pretends she’s interested to piss off her controlling ex-husband, and doesn’t intend to let it go any further. And Darren has no intention of falling in love, ever again. But after one fierce kiss it doesn’t seem to matter what they intended, what they’ve feared, or what obstacles their pasts can throw in the way.

    I actually wasn't thrilled with the way things started, but it worked okay as a way to introduce Lisa to the lifestyle and to let the two characters meet.

    The author handled the newbie explanations well, so I didn't feel as if she were talking down to the audience. And I love the way she had Darren introduce some of the new things to Lisa.I especially liked the way he helped her deal with bondage when he saw how scared she was.

    BDSM elements:
    • Bondage and Discipline: 2 of 3
    • Dominance and Submission: 3 of 3
    • Sadism and Masochism: 1 of 3 
    • Extra Point: Yes
    As for the writing elements:
    • The plot was mostly the relationship, with a few smaller side plots here and there that added some depth.
    • Not a thing wrong with pacing. This was a very enjoyable book to read.
    • Prose and dialogue were very well done.
    • Character development was beautiful

    I'll definitely be keeping my eye out for more books by this author. Note the Heat Level? 
    • Book Rating: Purple Passion: 9 of 10
    • BDSM Intensity Level: 7 of 10
    • Heat Level: 5 of 5
    I highly recommend Purple Passion, it's a very sweet story, and the D/s is smokin' hot.

      Saturday, April 9, 2011

      Beautiful C*cksucker II - Such a Good Boy by Barbara Sheridan

      Barbara Sheridan Beautiful Cocksucker II Such a Good Boy

      I read the first story immediately before reading the second, and I'm glad I did. Beautiful C*cksucker II - Such a Good Boy takes place 22 years after the events of Beautiful C*cksucker, and it answers a lot of questions about what happened to those characters after the end of the book.

      Here is the blurb for Beautiful C*cksucker II - Such a Good Boy:

      For too many years, career obligations and cultural expectations cost Mikisaburo Nabeshima the possibility of love.

      Now older, wiser, and infinitely more alone, personal business takes Miki back to New York where another chance encounter with another handsome policeman rouses suppressed desires.

      David Kirkland is a brash young cop who grew up on New York’s meanest streets. When the man he believes killed his foster mother is set free, Dave vows revenge. If he needs to leave the country and go undercover with a sexy but infuriating older man then so be it, though he never expected the business arrangement to turn personal.
      As Dave confronts a deep seated need he’s never fully acknowledged, the killer they're after proves more deadly than they anticipate.

      I've now read two books by Barbara Sheridan and my impression at this moment in time is that she is a huge tease. We did get more action in this book than the earlier one, but she still gives us the set up and then doesn't give a conclusive ending. And all of the good sex we keep hoping to see, where there is actual submission that sticks... we are led to believe that if it does happen, it does so after the end of the book.

      BDSM elements:
      • Bondage and Discipline: 0 of 3
      • Dominance and Submission: I think it's going to be there at some point, but it really isn't there very much during the events of the book. 1 of 3
      • Sadism and Masochism: Not really, it's hard to give it more than a zero, but there is a touch and I can't give it a half point. 1 of 3 
      • Extra Point: No
      This story is about the lifestyle, but it's also about two humans who come from different worlds and different generations, and it's about a police investigation.  I did enjoy the fact that the BDSM doesn't happen overnight, but I don't really appreciate that we never got to see it happen. We got all of that build up and then... it may or may not happen later, you be the judge.

      As for the writing elements:
      • The plot is well thought out and well executed.
      • Pacing had a few minor issues but overall was fine.
      • Prose and dialogue we well done.
      • Character development had depth and interest and worked for the story.

      Once again, I don't know what to rate this one. I liked the characters and the plot and the story, but for the second time in a row I felt like there was all of this build up that wasn't followed through. How to show pleasure and displeasure at the same time?
      • Book Rating: Beautiful C*cksucker II - Such a Good Boy: 7 of 10
      • BDSM Intensity Level: 2 of 10
      • Heat Level: 3 of 5

      Beautiful C*cksucker by Barbara Sheridan

      Barbara Sheridan Beautiful Cocksucker

      This one has been around a while, but I figured it should read it before reading the followup book.

      It was a nice enough story, believable enough for a first encounter, I think. It left me wanting more, as the ending is a bit too vague for my tastes, but it was an enjoyable and mostly believable read.

      The club they go to had a few things happen that left me scratching my head, things that I don't think would happen at a mixed sexes BDSM club. However, since I've never been to an all guy BDSM club... I guess I can't say it would never happen that way.

      Here's the blurb:
      What NYPD patrolman Ray Watts wants to do is finish his shift and take a much needed vacation. If he has to first suffer through playing chauffeur to some pain in the ass foreign cop visiting New York on a special fact-finding detail then so be it.

      But what Ray gets is a pleasant and arousing surprise when Inspector Miki Nabeshima from Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department shows up and skillfully escorts him into a world like none he’s ever known, a world Ray never thought much about, but once he’s ushered in, he knows he’ll never be able to turn back.

      As the breakdown below shows, most of the BDSM is alluded to, or is watched by the main characters.

      BDSM elements:
      • Bondage and Discipline: 0 of 3
      • Dominance and Submission: 1 of 3
      • Sadism and Masochism: 0 of 3 
      • Extra Point: No
      As for the writing elements:
      • I'm not sure I can tell you what the plot really was. The story is of the couple getting together, but it's not really resolved.
      • Pacing was fine.
      • Prose and dialogue were well done
      • Character development was fairly in depth for this length story

      I'm  not sure what to rate this one. It was an enjoyable read but there wasn't much sex, most of the BDSM was talked about or hinted at and not really shown. It was a bit of a tease, actually. But it was a good story with great characters. And it was kind of sweet.
      • Book Rating: Beautiful C*cksucker: 8 of 10
      • BDSM Intensity Level: 1 of 10
      • Heat Level: 1 of 5


      Sunday, April 3, 2011

      Out of the Woods by Syd McGinley

      Out of the Woods by Syd McGinley

      I read Out of the Woods because most of the time I adore the writing of Syd McGinley. Parts of the story worked for me, but parts did not. At all.

      I like the world and would enjoy learning more about it. I liked the characters. I liked most of the setup and plot(s). But the story moved too slow for me, and I didn't quite appreciate where the story ended. Not a huge cliff hanger, but a big enough one that it bugged me.

      Here's the blurb:

      Wild boy Tarin is determined not to be captured by the men who live in the decaying Before Times buildings on the other side of Tarin’s woodland home, but he’s just as determined to protect the younger boys in the woods.

      No one remembers being a child or knows where all the women have gone or how society crumbled, but for as long as they can remember, boys have lived in the woods and are hunted by the men each Fall. Some boys believe in a mysterious Lady who protects them, while others think the men are magic. Tarin knows better – he’s met a man, and escaped by stabbing him.

      Hunted through the woods as he tries to protect the weaker Cory, Tarin is trapped and claimed by the very man he knifed. All Tarin wants is to stay in the woods and not have to get ‘civilized,’ but he’s carried off into a different world of rules and discipline. Will he be able to survive now that he is Out of the Woods?

      I am intrigued enough that I will probably read the next book. Maybe.

      I find myself having a hard time grading this one on BDSM elements because it isn't BDSM. The "boys" are 18 and 19 year old wild boys who have lived in the woods and survived as best they can since about 10 or 11, and who don't remember anything before that age. The "boys" are captured by the men and then civilized and trained and expected to please their men in all ways. There are boys claimed by the officers and then there are boys are who community property who can't refuse anyone.  I'll talk abut each element, but I'm having a hard time putting a number on them.

      BDSM elements:
      • Bondage and Discipline: Discipline, for the most part, is scary and not tittilating. Bondage is more of being caught and not being able to escape, not so much being bound.
      • Dominance and Submission: Some of the boys do seem to be naturally submissive, but Tarin is not.
      • Sadism and Masochism: No.
      As for the writing elements plot pacing prose dialogue character development world-building
      • Book Rating: Out of the Woods : 7 of 10
      • Heat Level:  2 of 5