Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A few short reviews

I have not been home for a while, and I packed my Kindle and Netbook but didn't want to have to deal with my laptop. This means I've read a lot, but haven't had the patience to type a full review on this cramped keyboard. I love my netbook, it fits in my purse and weighs practically nothing. Unfortunately, the downside of that is the keyboard is just small enough I can't touch type. So here are the books I've read with a brief review for now - with a full review to come at a later date:

Inferno: Training Session
by Anna Leigh Keaton

What is a couple do when they discover they are both submissive? Find a Dom couple to work with them, of course. This was an enjoyable short story with a satisfying ending. 

Garnet: A Season in Hell
by Syd McGinley

Not what I expect from Syd McGinley, but it was still an engaging story with interesting characters. This is not traditional BDSM, but there is exploration of the mental aspects of a Master/slave relationship where a very rich man has purchased the services of another for six months.There were pacing issues, but nothing terrible.

Threshing the Grain by Teresa Noelle Roberts

This is one of those erotica books you read for the plot and the worldbuilding, with the sex and kink filling in as icing on the cake. Great characters, nice worldbuilding, beautifully crafted plot... I thoroughly enjoyed Threshing the Grain. As a side note, I wouldn't mind reading more stories about the satyrs in this universe. Excellent worldbuilding.

I will give these books a full review at a later date, but I wanted to make a list so I'll remember. My habit is to finish a book and review it as soon as I read the last page. If I need to sleep on it then I write it up, sleep on it, and then make changes the next day. My organizational system doesn't allow for remembering to review a book a week later. Hopefully this will help me with that.

I am currently reading Two Masters for Samantha by Michele Zurlo. This is the third book in a series, and I'm a bit lost with some of the secondary characters that were probably main characters in previous books, but I'm fine with the main characters of this book. The author seems to have a decent grasp of BDSM, though so far the plot has been pretty predictable. I'll wait until I finish the book to say anything else.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Huckleberry, Pink: Dolorosa, and Sky Blue Pink by Syd McGinley

These three books are part of the Dr. Fell series, and I'm reviewing them all together because they are specifically about Charlie (aka Twink) and Ben.

Huckleberry is the story of how these two met and formed a relationship.

Pink: Dolorosa picks up six months after the events of Attitude Adjustments, and shows us Charlie on is own, living in an apartment.

Sky Blue Pink: Flying Pigs picks up two years after the events of Pink: Dolorosa.

If you've read the Dr. Fell series and are already familiar with Ben and Charlie, then I highly recommend these three stories, read in the correct order.

The BDSM is nicely done, the relationship issues are handled well, the various plots work well together, the pacing is perfect, prose and dialogue flow smoothly, and character development is stellar.
  • Book Rating: 9 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level: 8 of 10
  • Heat Level: 5 of 5

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    A Short Leash by Syd McGinley

    I thought I'd read all of the Dr. Fell series as they've come out, but looking through the Torquere sight, I realized I've missed A Short Leash.

    A Short Leash is a fairly short story with a good bit of actual story thrown in. This is the period where Dr. Fell was still working through his feelings, lonely but not ready to bring someone else into his life just yet. Somehow, he ends up "pet sitting" three of his friend's submissives. One of them when his friend has to leave town in an emergency when his mother falls ill, another one that was planned because his friend had been too lenient on his sub and the sub needed some more training, and the final one as kind of a last minute plan. So Dr. Fell had planned for one submissive and ended up with three.

    If you haven't read the series then I'd recommend you start with Volume 1. But, if you're like me and you missed this one, it's a nice little short.

    BDSM elements:
    • Bondage and Discipline: 2 of 3
    • Dominance and Submission: 3 of 3
    • Sadism and Masochism: 2 of 3 
    • Extra Point: Yes
    As for the writing elements: the plot revolves around the needs of the submissives, pacing is fine, prose and dialogue are always comfortable with Syd McGinley writing, and character development is consistent with other stories in this series.
    • Book Rating: A Short Leash: 8 of 10
    • BDSM Intensity Level: 8 of 10
    • Heat Level: 3 of 5

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    Mercy by Annabel Joseph


    Mercy is another story of a submissive ballerina, but while I didn't love Firebird, I really enjoyed Mercy.

    Lucy is a 29 year old ballerina working for a ballet company, with a very close friend she's partnered with on stage for around ten years. He's gay, so there is no sexual tension between them, it's a good solid friendship... but more than an everyday friendship, because they know each others rhythms and bodies so well, having danced together for so long. There are some rough parts to the story, and Lucy needed a good friend.

    When Lucy first sees Matthew she is fascinated by him, but it still takes a while for them to have a conversation. This is not one of those books that goes from just-met to happily-ever-after in a month's time -- and if you've read many of my reviews you'll know I appreciate it when an author creates a more realistic time frame for her characters. 

    Here's the blurb

    Lucy Merritt has always defined herself by her body, whether dancing in a small avant-garde company or posing for art. But she has always felt as if something is wrong with her, as if something is missing. She has never been in love. Suddenly, in the darkness of the theater wings, a strangely affecting man enters her life. Matthew Norris, rich, handsome patron of the dance company, has decided that he wants Lucy for his own. He makes her an offer that both frightens and compels her, and they soon begin an affair characterized by only two requirements, beauty and truth. But how truthful are Matthew and Lucy? How much of Matthew's strenuous brand of love can Lucy endure? And how long can their rigid Dom/sub relationship stay frozen in time, never growing, never moving forward? 

    Publishers Note: This novel contains explicit scenes of dominance and submission, discipline & training, bondage, group sex, oral sex, anal sex & double penetration, menage a trois, dubious consent, and both harsh and loving bdsm scenes.

    I didn't like Matthew for portions of the book. Sometimes the difference between stalker and fan can be net worth of said person, and I felt like that came into play here. Also, I'm not entirely sure he deserved to be forgiven for some of the things he did. Even though he didn't have evil intentions when he did those things, they were still things that I'd have had a hard time forgiving him for. I appreciate the way Ms. Joseph had Lucy react though, she may be submissive but she's not a doormat. Or, perhaps it might be more accurate to say she is a doormat in certain situations, but she has her limits to what she'll roll over and accept.

    Matthew had his good points too - a lot of them, actually. I had some questions, at times, about whether his good points outweighed some of the poor choices he made, though. I get that he had his own issues he was working through, but a poor choice is still a poor choice.

    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 had twists and turns and was very engaging and entertaining, pacing had a few issues but nothing major, prose and dialogue flowed smoothly, character development was exceptionally well done.
    • Book Rating: Mercy: 10 of 10
    • BDSM Intensity Level: 10 of 10
    • Heat Level: 5 of 5
    I've commented before that Annabel Joseph's writing style is similar to Molly Weatherfields, and I had the same feeling as I read Mercy. I'm not saying Annabel is Molly, because now that Pam Rosenthal is out of the closet as Molly Weatherfield I doubt she'd pose under a different pen name. But the writing is certainly of the same caliber, and the conversational style of writing has some similarities.
      Mercy was a very moving story, one that I couldn't put down. It's not a comfortable story, nor is it always easy to read, but if you enjoy the more extreme versions of BDSM that also show the emotional stuff around forming this kind of relationship, then this is one you won't want to miss.

      Sunday, January 2, 2011

      Club Mephisto by Annabel Joseph


      Club Mephisto is a relatively short read of a TPE couple when the Master goes out of town and, because his slave completely fell apart the last time he had to leave her behind for a week, he leaves her in the care of another trusted Master while he is gone.

      Here's the blurb:

      Molly is a 24/7 slave dedicated to serving her Master. When her Master’s business calls him away on a weeklong trip, he arranges to leave her in the care of Mephisto, the owner of a thriving local BDSM club. Molly is both excited and scared to be given over to Master Mephisto. His power and mysterious intensity have long compelled her from afar.

      Molly finds herself immersed in a world of strict commands, pervasive sex, and creative torments. Over the course of a week, Mephisto strips away privileges Molly took for granted, and forces her to understand and acknowledge the depths to which she can be made to submit. But a surprising conversation the last day threatens Molly’s worldview, as does the strange closeness that develops between them. As the time of Master’s return draws near, Molly finds herself deeply and inexorably changed.

      Publisher's Note: this BDSM fantasy novel depicts "total power exchange" relationships that some readers may find objectionable. This work contains acts of sadism, objectification, orgasm denial and speech restriction, caging, anal play and double penetration, BDSM punishment and discipline, M/f, M/m/f, M/m, orgy and group sexual encounters, voyeurism, and limited circumstances of dubious consent.

      I was actually a tiny bit disappointed that more conversation didn't happen between Molly and her Master at the end. But the door isn't shut on that forever, so it's possible that conversation happens after we are no longer privy to the story. The story was still a very intense one, and was very well written.

      I loved seeing Molly, a seasoned slave, struggle with trying to learn the ways of a different Master, and struggle to try to learn the lessons he wanted her to learn while in his care. Especially since it seemed her Master had wanted her to learn these lessons while away from him.

      Ms. Joseph has once again delved into the realm of consensual-non-consent, which can be very hot when the Dom or Master is responsible with this much power. That is very much the case here, and it worked for me. Very much so.

      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: There were a few sub plots that worked well even if one of them wasn't tied up as neatly as I'd have liked at the end, pacing was perfect, prose and dialogue were well done, and character development was perfect for the length of the story.
      • Book Rating: Club Mephisto: 10 of 10
      • BDSM Intensity Level: 10 of 10
      • Heat Level: 5 of 5
      This is intense BDSM on all levels, so if you're looking for the kindler, gentler stuff, this one's probably not for you. If you are looking for full out TPE though, then you'll enjoy Club Mephisto.

      Saturday, January 1, 2011

      Candy's Daddy by Cherry Lee


      I feel the need to point out, first and foremost, that Candy's Daddy is a story of two consenting adults who enjoy age play. There are no underage participants in the book. I appreciated that the author made it clear that the "Daddy" had no interests in real children, that his fantasies laid in the realms of treating an adult woman as a child.

      Now that we've got that behind us... age play is not my thing but this book is still up in the 5 of 5 range for the hotness factor. And it is a very well written book, enough so that even though it's not one of my fantasies, the author made me enjoy it as her fantasy.

      The relationship proceeded fast, blazingly fast, which sometimes annoys me. But things progressed so naturally that I was (mostly) fine with the speed.

      I loved that the author pointed out the problems that can result in such a relationship - the loss of the adult self, grasping for who you really are. It happens in Master/slave relationships as well, and even Dom/sub relationships - but with age play I think it could be even more pervasive. I also enjoyed that at times Candy was a little girl who needed to be bathed and pampered, and at other times she was the rebellious teen.

      Candy meets a man named Bob while working as a waitress at a bar. A one night hook up quickly turns into an intense relationship when they both admit to their inclination toward Daddy/daughter play. They play out many scenes that thrill them both. But after Candy moves in with Bob and gives up her autonomy to her new Daddy, she must decide how deep she is willing to go into her new persona.

      Is she a woman playing a little girl or has she become a hybrid of both woman and girl? Can she surrender completely to Bob and be the little girl he’s always dreamed of caring for? Sometimes a woman has to leave the one she loves in order to come back to him completely.

      I loved seeing Candy with her real parents, and the point being made that there was no broken relationship with Candy and her real father, and that she had no sexual urges towards her real father. I get so tired of the broken submissive who must be fixed by her Dom. This is two well adjusted adults who come together because they have complimentary kinks.

      I also liked that Bob didn't allow Candy to play around at being secretive, or telling lies. He treated it as important, outside of age play -- a relationship issue, which is exactly what it was... not something to play at punishing. Kudos to the author for pointing that out.

      BDSM elements:
      • Bondage and Discipline:  No bondage, but there is discipline. 2 of 3
      • Dominance and Submission: Yes, though it's pretty fluid.  3 of 3
      • Sadism and Masochism:  2 of 3.
      • Extra Point: Yes
      As for the writing elements:
      1. I enjoyed the plot, even though it was nothing more than the process of the relationship forming. No outside forces trying to pull them apart were necessary.
      2. Pacing was well done.
      3. Prose and dialogue flowed naturally.
      4. Character development was exceptionally well done for the length of the story (~22,000 words) 
       Candy's Daddy deserves a 10 of 10 for a number of reasons: the storyline, the explanations without talking down to the reader, the respect shown to this particular lifestyle, and did I mention the sex and the play is Hot?
      • Book Rating: Candy's Daddy: 10 of 10
      • BDSM Intensity Level: 8 of 10
      • Heat Level: 5 of 5
      I didn't put this into the Menage genre tag because it's not a Menage relationship. However, there are a few scenes with multiple partners that worked quite well for me.