Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hey, Jealousy by BA Tortuga


Hey, Jealousy starts with a very uncool bondage scene. One that JW must rescue Rory from. We see that the two are good friends, and we learn that JW has somehow screwed up in the past, relegating them to just friends. But now that JW realizes how Rory likes to play... perhaps he can fix that.

Here's the blurb:

JW thinks he’s missed his chance at a romantic relationship with his best friend Rory forever, all because of a stupid moment when he was much younger. Rory wants JW desperately, but he knows his buddy just isn’t into the kind of games Rory likes to play, let alone into long-term relationship with a guy. When JW comes home from a long haul on the road, though, and finds Rory in a compromising position, he knows he’s found the way to correct his youthful mistake. Will Rory believe JW’s jealous response?

It's a short story, and doesn't really give us enough. It does take us to a likely HEA, but I wanted more of them figuring things out in the bedroom. There are no really big scenes, and nothing really creative in the bedroom. But it's a decent enough story of two guys figuring out that they can make it work.

BDSM elements:
  • Bondage and Discipline: 0 of 3
  • Dominance and Submission: 1 of 3
  • Sadism and Masochism: 1 of 3  
  • Extra Point: No
As for the writing elements: there isn't much of a plot to speak of, it's a short so pacing is fine, prose and dialogue are a bit odd but it works for the characters, and character development is okay for the length of the story.
  • Book Rating: Hey, Jealousy: 7 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level: 2 of 10
  • Heat Level: 3 of 5


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Faerie Bound by Jenna Castille


Faerie Bound gives us the story of an Alpha Werewolf with a bit of a problem. Not only is he gay, but he's a sexual submissive.

He's a good Alpha, strong and caring and protective. He's also enough of a bad ass that he can win challenges. So his pack has accepted that he's gay. But he knows they would never understand him submitting to another.

Here's the blurb:

Garrick has spent the better part of his life making his Las Vegas lupin pack the strongest of all the post-war human-born paranormal groups. Now he wants something for himself—a mate. But how will his pack respond if they discover their Alpha is a closeted sexual submissive?

Not the typical faerie prince, Faolan is disobedient, lives in exile and has more piercings than a punk band. He’s also a sexual dominant longing for someone to call his own.

What are a lovelorn faerie and wolf to do? Turn to a paranormal dating service, of course. When Divine Intervention pairs Garrick and Faolan, it’s a match made in BDSM heaven, the resulting explosion a conflagration of passion the likes of which neither has ever known. Of course, the reactions to a wolf/faerie union are just as heated…

While I think calling it a "conflagration of passion" might be a bit of an overstatement, I was convinced that the pairing worked. I was a bit disappointed that we only saw the very beginnings of the relationship. We saw the beginnings of submission, and I wanted to see the pair get comfortable with their life together.

BDSM elements:
  • Bondage and Discipline: 0 of 3
  • Dominance and Submission: 2 of 3
  • Sadism and Masochism: 1 of 3 
  • Extra Point: Yes
As for the writing elements, the plot is excellent, pacing has a few issues but nothing major, prose and dialogue were fine, character development was very well done, and world-building was well thought out and intriguing.

I enjoyed the story, the characters, and most of the scenes. I liked the way the sub plots were wrapped up, and look forward to reading more stories that take place in this world. However, I wasn't pleased with the way the main plot, the relationship, was wrapped up. There were a few loose strings that I wanted to see taken care of before the end of the book.  The story was closer to a 9 of 10, but I took a point off because we didn't get to see the couple settle into their relationship. I didn't feel they had really worked out the terms of their D/s yet, how things were going to work on a daily basis. We never saw them even living together. I do look forward to future books, but I have a feeling future books in this world will probably involve other characters finding their HEA, so this may be the last we get of things from Garret and Faolan's viewpoints.
  • Book Rating: Faerie Bound: 8 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level: 4 of 10
  • Heat Level: 3 of 5
All in all, Faerie Bound is an enjoyable story that is well written with a good plot and subplots. I wasn't pleased that it ended too soon, but it won't stop me from reading the next book in this series, Elf Struck, when it is released.

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Tender Mercies by Kitty Thomas


    I read Tender Mercies in one sitting. It pulled me in and there was no way I could put it down until I'd reached the end.

    What do I say first? I should probably warn that there is a great deal of non-consensual activity. It can be argued that Grace consented to giving up her rights, that she chose to put herself into the situation. And that piece of information does make things more palatable. But still, there is a great deal of activity that I don't believe anyone would ever willingly consent to.

    But the titillating bits aren't the non-consent stuff. Or, not entirely, anyway. But that's about all I can say about that without giving spoilers.

    Here's the blurb:

    "Grace. That word that finally meant something again. Mercy. Favor. Good will."

    Fed up with play kink, Grace Warner moves to an island that embraces erotic slavery to be with a man she met online. Within hours of her arrival, everything is ripped from her, and she quickly learns play is preferable to the realities of actual enslavement.

    Asher Collins has spent the past year mourning and blaming himself for the death of his slave, Darcy. When Grace catches his eye at a showing, obviously abused, he becomes obsessed with buying her and finding a way to atone for his own past sins.

    BDSM elements:
    • Bondage and Discipline: 3 of 3
    • Dominance and Submission: 3 of 3
    • Sadism and Masochism: 3 of 3 
    • Extra Point: Yes
    As for the writing elements: the plot is a good one, and beautifully crafted to give us situations that make us think about the ramifications of slavery without a safeword - the good (i.e. exciting) parts and the bad parts. The pacing was beautiful, prose and dialogue were fine, and character development was superb.
    • Book Rating: Tender Mercies: 10 of 10
    • BDSM Intensity Level: 10 of 10
    • Heat Level: 5 of 5

    Tender Mercies isn't for everyone. If you are sensitive to non-con BDSM and rape in a fictional setting then you probably want to pass on this one. However, Kitty Thomas writes non-consensual situations that make you think, really think, like nobody else. So if you can deal with it as part of the larger picture, then the story is a good one.

    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    Alphabet Soup by CB Conwy


    I loved A Russian Bear, so I jumped at Alphabet Soup as soon as it was available. The story takes place in the same world as A Russian Bear, and we even see Tom and Mischa a few times at the club. But the story is completely different.

    I think there will be some people who will probably enjoy Alphabet Soup more than A Russian Bear. I'm not one of those people, though. For me, Alphabet Soup had too much angst, and too many therapy scenes. If you like angst, and if you like the idea of being restrained to a bondage table and forced to talk about your past while laying face up with your arms bound above your head and your ankles restrained to the other end of the table, then this one is for you. (Select the spoiler text to view it.)

    Here's the blurbL

    Andy knows exactly what he needs: scenes hard enough to take him out of himself. Then he meets CK, and everything is turned upside down. CK is relaxed and gentle and nothing like what Andy's looking for. Despite that, or maybe because of it, Andy's still attracted to the stranger.

    CK is new to the city and the club, but definitely not to the scene. Andy's ideas of BDSM are very different from CK's, but there’s still something about the man that draws CK. Something fascinating and completely unpredictable. The results can be amazing scenes or complete disasters. Andy is difficult to get to know, and CK has to work hard to find the reason for Andy's erratic behavior. CK is nothing if not stubborn, though. He's very determined to help Andy, and Andy's ready for it, but there's so much Andy's trying to forget.

    Like the conscientious Dom he is, CK guides Andy's recovery, one scene at a time. Very much against his principles, CK finds himself falling in love with the man he's trying to help. Now he has to fight not only Andy's past, but his own conscience as well.

    I appreciated that these two had chemistry and that was the main draw for them. I also appreciated that both were willing to work to see if the relationship could work out between them. A few of the scenes were ultra simple, and yet still quite hot.

    BDSM elements:
    • Bondage and Discipline: 2 of 3
    • Dominance and Submission: 2 of 3
    • Sadism and Masochism: This is where we have trouble, because according to the story, impact play for the sake of pain is wrong. There is masochism, but it's treated as being wrong, so I'm going to give it a 0 of 3. 
    • Extra Point: Yes
    As for the writing elements:
    • The plot is the story of the characters coming together and working out their baggage.
    • The pacing was mostly good.
    • Prose and dialogue were fine.
    • Character development was nicely done. 

    I've debated back and forth on the rating and finally settled on a 7 of 10. During parts of the story I was thinking closer to five of ten, but now that I've finished it and I take everything into consideration I think it deserves higher than that. Some people will likely rate it higher than a seven, but for me the emotional angsty stuff overtook the physical stuff and it just managed to annoy me in several places. CB Conwy is a gifted author with a knack for describing the physical as well as the emotional when it comes to kink. This particular book just didn't work all that great for me.
    • Book Rating: Alphabet Soup: 7 of 10
    • BDSM Intensity Level: 5 of 10
    • Heat Level: 4 of 5

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    The Prince's Boy Volume One by Cecilia Tan


    We are warned at the beginning that this story was written as a serial, and thus it has something exciting in every chapter. I did find this to be the case, but it wasn't a problem for me. Not all of the titillating bits were my thing, so I still found that the enjoyable bits (for me) were mostly spread out enough that I wasn't on sensual overload.

    As for the story, I must warn that this is Volume One, so it ends on a cliffhanger. I went looking and discovered the rest of the story is being given out one chapter at a time over at Circlet Press. It looks like there are another few weeks left until we reach the end of the story, so I'll be checking in on Wednesdays for a while, I suppose. Yes, the story is that interesting.

    This is fantasy... a world where there are kings and whipping boys and magic. And, of course, there is more than one kind of magic, with one being seen as good and one being seen as bad -- Day Magic and Night Magic. The world building is very well done, I felt the rules of this world were well defined and I had no confusion about what was and was not possible.

    Some of the BDSM activity is consensual, some is not. The story is a good one, the characters are well developed. I went looking for the next installment more for the story than the sex, though I will also say that there are areas that the sex carries the story, so that isn't the case throughout.

    Here's the blurb:

    In a fantasy world where male/male lust fuels Night Magic, Prince Kenet lives a sheltered life. Isolated from the war that threatens the kingdom, he and his whipping boy Jorin are of age, but still sneak forbidden pleasures in their bed at night. When a dark mage tries to bespell Kenet into sexual submission, the prince and his boy are thrust into the world of intrigue, sex, and war.

    Volume One of The Prince's Boy collects chapters 1 through 56 of this wildly popular gay erotic web serial by Cecilia Tan. Begun on July 29, 2009, chapters were posted weekly, following the adventures of Prince Kenet and his whipping boy, Jorin. Drawing on complex themes of dominance and submission, the need for secrecy in a world where homosexuality is not accepted, and the intertwining of sex with magic, Tan weaves a complex, sex-filled adventure that is part  "Three Musketeers" and part  "Claiming of Sleeping Beauty."

    I'm not sure I agree with the last part, as I don't really see it as all that similar to either the Three Musketeers or the Beauty series, but that's okay. It's an enjoyable story with interesting plot lines and good reasons to throw in a lot of sex with elements that include various BDSM type activities.

    BDSM elements:
    • Bondage and Discipline: Most is not consensual, 3 of 3
    • Dominance and Submission: A decent amount is consensual, sort of,  3 of 3
    • Sadism and Masochism: There is a good bit of pain, but most of it is not really enjoyed in a masochistic way, 1 of 3 
    • Extra Point: No
    As for the writing elements plot pacing prose dialogue character development world-building
    • Book Rating: The Prince's Boy Volume One: 8 of 10
    • BDSM Intensity Level: The pain and subjection is intense at times, but the sum of the parts is only a 7 of 10 
    • Heat Level: 5 of 5
    Cecelia Tan has done a good job of creating an interesting world with intriguing characters.  I am looking forward to seeing where the story takes us next.

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    Vow of Silence, Chronicles of Surrender series, by Roxy Harte


    We've met Dr. Psycho / George on many occasions in this series, and we finally see things through his eyes.

    With Garrett and Thomas and Celia gone, George is running things now. There are changes, and I'm not sure I like the changes he made, though I understand the need for them. But that's life. Things change, whether you want them to or not.

    Meanwhile, his personal life has all kinds of things going on, and we finally learn why he chose to stop being a practicing psychiatrist.

    I'm pretty sure Roxy Harte is starting another long series arc with this book, and it's one I look forward to following along. The ending was a bit of a cliffhanger, though I suppose one part of the story was sort of tied up for the end of the book.

    Here's the blurb:

    Is love enough to sway destiny?

    George Kirkpatrick is reeling from the loss of his friend and boss, Garrett Lawrence, the owner of Lewd Larry’s Fetish Fantasy Nightclub. He finds solace in the arms of a very vanilla woman…until a female from his past returns to further complicate his life.

    Lin Kuan, a renowned San Francisco metal sculptor, met George Kirkpatrick under false circumstances. She believes she's dating a psychiatrist, not a sadist. Too late she discovers she's in love…and is determined to change him.

    Gigi Marconi seeks penance in pain, but not for the life she ruined. Will the vow she made as a child destroy her before she has a chance to face the truth? Or will the love of the man she once betrayed be her salvation?

    There were a few things that didn't exactly work for me, the "very vanilla" woman's reactions to a few things seemed off. But that doesn't mean it couldn't have happened that way, just that it's not how I would have expected it to work out, I guess.

    Vow of Silence is a dark book. Much of what happens isn't BDSM between people who happen to have that particular kink. It's BDSM as practiced by people who have been wounded in some way emotionally, and who deal with those wounds by searching for physical and mental pain, or by giving physical and mental pain to others. That's not to say the sex and the scenes aren't hot and inventive and well described, because they are. And most of the scenes are consensual. But there were times I felt guilty for enjoying the submissive's pain, if that makes sense. Which it doesn't, because it's a fictional story and fictional characters. But the author created the story and characters well enough that I felt guilt, so I guess that's saying something.

    BDSM elements:
    • Bondage and Discipline: 2 of 3
    • Dominance and Submission: 2 of 3
    • Sadism and Masochism: 3 of 3 
    • Extra Point: Yes
    As I finished the book I would have expected that I would give the intensity level a 10 of 10, because the BDSM is quite intense. But once I started breaking it down, the relationships don't have a strong punishment component. And the D/s, while present, is quite shaky for most of the book. So, while the BDSM is intense, the sum of the parts is only going to be an 8 of 10. It does get the extra point, because the main theme is strongly related to BDSM.

    As for the writing elements:
    • The plot was different and interesting. It was not nicely tied up at the end, we will have to wait for the next book for that, I assume.
    • Pacing was fine
    • Prose and dialogue were fine, though I expected the voice to change more than it did between characters.
    • Character development was well done.
    Vow of Silence is easy for me to rate - it was an entertaining read, and the Heat Level says all that needs to be said about some of the scenes.
    • Book Rating: Vow of Silence: 9 of 10
    • BDSM Intensity Level: 8 of 10
    • Heat Level: 5 of 5
    I am anxiously awaiting the next book in this series, though I don't see a mention of a title or when we may see it.