BDSM Reviews

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Lessons Learned: Book Two of the Eldritch Legacy by Katrina Strauss

Reviewed by Elise Logan
Title: Lessons Learned: Book Two of the Eldritch Legacy
Author: Katrina Strauss
Publisher: Aphrodite’s Apples
ISBN: 0-9787401-7-3
Genre: BDSM erotic fiction
Publication Date: September 25, 2006
Rating: 5 out of 5

This is the second installment of Katrina Strauss’s Eldritch Legacy. The story takes place in a fictional kingdom which seems like an amalgamation of Regency England and the French monarchy during the French Revolution. There is a lot of background politics to keep things interesting.

In this story, Camille has published under her own name rather than using a male pseudonym. Her friend Nicolette takes her to meet Stefan Eldritch, a notorious rake of a poet. Camille and Stefan are immediately drawn to each other, and their developing relationship is fascinating to watch. While Camille is attracted to Stefan, she doesn’t trust him – his well-deserved reputation as a dilettante certainly doesn’t help.

The characterization in this story is wonderful. The characters of Camille and Stefan are beautifully drawn by the author, and their relationship seems to grow naturally from their interactions with each other. Secondary characters are also well executed, so that you feel as if you know something about them, something that makes them more than cardboard place holders. One of my favorite characters is Curtis, who the reader doesn’t meet until late in the story, but who is interesting, engaging, and truly sweet.

Stefan’s need to dominate Camille sexually drives the couple through several scenes which culminate in an intense (and extremely hot) cropping scene. For the most part, the need to dominate manifests in bondage and in other areas, but there are a few scenes with pain play, and they are well-done. The sexual encounters in this book are scorching, but they also contribute to the overall arc of the story.

Strauss does a masterful job weaving together background information to bring the story to a head, creating a suspenseful and exciting crisis. The characters are true to their natures, and the ending is not a clean and perfect “happily ever after” for everyone involved. This story is a bit more realistic than the prototypical romance, which is a breath of fresh air.

This story exhibited the characteristics I look for in a good story. The plot was interesting and engaging. The characters were well-drawn and developed naturally through the book. The sex scenes were blazing hot. And the whole of it was presented in a unique and different framework. I am eagerly looking forward to the next offering in this series.

Posted by Elise Logan :: 8:40 PM :: 0 Comments:

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Disciples of Pleasure Book 1 of Elsa’s Erotic Escapades By: Desiree Erotique

Disciples of Pleasure Book : Elsa's Erotic Escapades
Written By: Desiree Erotique
Published By: Mardi Gras Publishing 2006
(Note: This book will not be made available until October.)
Genre: BDSM Paranormal/Contemporary

This novel scored a 3 out of a 5.

Disciples of Pleasure begins with a young woman frustrated with the current path in her life. While dreaming of finishing art school she's stuck working at a greasy diner. To top it all off her love life is empty and the one sexual encounter she can remember isn't even worth the effort to fantasize about.

A man she hardly knows does stand out at her. And the familiar rise of lust has her delving into her own panties for a quickie by her car. No sooner has she finished than the strange woman that sits by the window every day. Curious she watches the woman approach. And a turn of sexual events she never expected lands in her lap. She's tossed into the back of a car and lugged to a completly different dimension.

And it's on Nemi, the parallel world, that she learns to let go of her inhibitions and accept a role she was meant to play. The guards on Nemi are quick to administer punishment and just as eager to have a sexual encounter with a girl right where she stands. Everything is so new to Elsa that she is frightened and uncertain. Pride and fear bring on punishments that she is unsure about. Yet, with every sexual encounter she finds herself trapped in this world even more. So the question isn't if she will play the role she has agreed to. The question is, how long will it be before she finally submits her heart, mind, body and spirit to a sexual people that she does not understand?

This book has many levels most of which deal with this lifestyle on a purely sexual and fantasy level. Yet, in here she traps the very people who threaten Nemi's existance. Those people are the conservatives who refuse to accept a person who does not follow their very strict standards in life. I enjoyed how she made them prisoners. And maybe I am delving too far into this, but by not being more open minded are they not trapping ourselves anyway? Well done Desiree. It was nice to see that brought out into the open in a creative manner.

With three villians in this novel she has much going on. The two Leather Wives create humorous display of topping from the bottom as they seem to actually be manipulative submissives. With these two wives, it was a great place for Desiree to introduce the hero of the story. As for the thrid villian, he appeared, disappeared and I'm hoping to learn more about him in the next book. These beings are able to cross over into Nemi and entice the ones who know no better into coming to them before they take them away and enslave them in a world they are better off not knowing.

What can I say about the hero? Robert is tantalizing and cute all at the same time. He allows himself to be drawn in by two women that even though he knows better, one of them has the look that he's always wanted. A devil in sheeps clothing. He redeems himself admirably when he finally realizes his charge is Elsa. The woman he's wanted ever since he met her at the diner. He takes charge of her as no other in the Nemi world or her own world has done before.

I enjoyed reading this twisted tale. Although, there were some words advice that I would like to impart on this piece. I understand when Robert's moment of change occured. When he finally realized that what he had was nothing of what he truly wanted. Yet, for Elsa, who seemed desitined for a life of boredom until she came to Nemi and who by all accounts has acted virginal until her new world, I did not feel as though the author delved into her psyche as much as I would have liked. She seemed to accept her plight with only a few moments of fear. Since this world was such a physically sexual world it would have only seemed fair that she would have had some moments in her own head where she thought... WTF?

The other issue I had with this story was the women seemed more like slaves than submissives. There was no discussion of likes and dislikes and the way the Guards took advantage of the women seemed less than appropriate. No still means no when you're a submissive. The only choice the woman actually had was rather she would follow the Mistress into the other world. After of which all choice was taken from her. To me that is not submission. However, that did not ruin this read for me, it just made me question the difference.

After reading this novel, I do have a few words I would like to say to Desiree. And that is, that she is a very talented writer. She's able to weave a BDSM world and make it her own. She has the voice and ability. As intelligent and knowledgable as she is about this lifestyle, I feel she could truly make heads turn by producing more in depth work. I would like to see her delve into the psychological world of BDSM, and if she did so I feel she truly could change how the lifestyle is presented to the world. She has an amazing talent and I can only see those abilities growing with the more she writes.

Thank you, Desiree for an insightful piece. I look forward to the next installment.

Posted by Miranda Heart :: 7:28 PM :: 2 Comments:

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Secrets Revealed by Katrina Strauss

Reviewed by Elise Logan

Title: Secrets Revealed: Book One of the Eldritch Legacy
Author: Katrina Strauss
Publisher: Loose ID

ISBN: unavailable
Genre: BDSM erotic fiction
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

This first installment of the Eldritch Legacy is a fantasy of magic and court intrigue. It is not, however, for those looking for a clean happily ever after sort of fairy tale. The characters in this work are complex and shadowed. This is a dark fantasy, and the characters are definitely not Disney. Though the early part of the book focuses on the enslavement of Inga and her introduction to life under the whip, the latter part of the book gives a more thoroughly developed picture of complicated and conflicted characters. While I would have enjoyed seeing more of the character development in the beginning of the story, the rich character and plot development in the last third of the book are worth the wait.

The wait isn’t without its rewards in other ways, as well. The first portion of the book awakens our innocent (very innocent) main character, Inga, to the domination of Lord Eldritch. Lord Eldritch is a legendary figure in the land, a bogeyman used to frighten children. Under his tutelage, Inga explores her sensual response to pain. As the story progresses, there is significant change and development on the part of several characters. There are also a number of exciting scenes which use various fun equipment. Truthfully, though, my favorite scene in the story was a dominance scene toward the end which involved no toys at all (just goes to show that the author doesn’t need the props to make her scenes work).

I enjoyed the book overall, but I felt that the lack of characterization at the beginning of the story really slowed things down. I found myself spending a lot of time asking myself about the characters and their motivation. Through the first half of the book, Eldritch was nearly completely opaque to me as a character, with near psychotic mood swings which make Inga’s growing devotion something of a mystery. I felt that without the insights into his character provided by some “straight time” later in the book, his character would be completely lost. Inga is conflicted in the beginning, but sets aside her misgivings, her innocence, even her ethics with hardly any internal dialogue or explication. I felt that there were several points in the book where this lack of internal dialogue/explication made it difficult to sympathize with her. Her later character development clarifies things a great deal.

In short, this story has a lot going for it, but it started slowly for me.

Posted by Elise Logan :: 7:59 PM :: 0 Comments:

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Review of Carrie's Story by Eden Bradley

Title: Carrie's Story
Author: Molly Weatherfield
Publisher: Cleis Press, 1995
ISBN: Not Available
genre: BDSM erotic fiction
rating: 4 out of 5
Reviewed by Eden Bradley

This novel by Molly Weatherfield is, in my opinion, a modern-day classic. While the material is fairly extreme, and much of the practices are not necessarily to my taste, it's beautifully written in what I thought to be a lush literary style.
Carrie lives within the slave mentality, in which she goes from her lover, Jonathan, to several very formal training environments, including a slave auction and pony training. This author doesn't hold back, so be prepared for graphic details.
While this sort of extreme slave lifestyle is not my cup of tea, I did love the way the author explores the psychology behind it-always the most fascinating part of fetish literature for me. A gorgeous use of language and the intimacy of first person point of view drew me into the story. Even though Carrie and I are very different people, I was able to sympathize with her struggles, and eventually, with her yielding. All in all, a starkly beautiful and gritty book that I enjoyed thoroughly.
Available though Cleis Press.

Posted by Eden Bradley-Eve Berlin :: 5:26 PM :: 1 Comments:

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Come Hither: A Common Sense Guide to Kinky Sex By: Dr. Gloria G. Brame

Title: Come Hither: A Common Sense Guide to Kinky Sex
Author: Dr. Gloria G. Brame
Publisher: Fireside
Genre: BDSM Nonfiction
ISBN: 0-684-85462-7
Rating: 4 out of 5

Dr. Gloria Brame’s book has the ambitious task of attempting to introduce the reader to all things kinky. It does a better job at introducing and discussing BDSM than other kinks. Nevertheless, the book touches on subjects ranging from BDSM to infantilism, from shoe fetishism to a fetish for toy balloons.

For the purposes of the BDSM reviews, there are several things to recommend this book. The most useful thing about the book is Dr. Brame’s willingness to propose alternatives for toys. She makes a number of excellent suggestions on how to create makeshift toys as well as her suggestions on toys on which it is worth spending more money. The middle part of the book is essentially dedicated to the “kink” of BDSM. The rest of the book has strong references to BDSM, and it is clear that this is an area where Dr. Brame has some experience and knowledge. She has a clear understanding of pain play and some really good suggestions for improving it.

Another nice thing about Dr. Brame’s book is the way she works related sexual practices into BDSM. I think it’s a pretty well established fact that there are a number of overlapping areas where BDSM meets other alternative lifestyles. The gay/lesbian scene gets some play in this book, as do fetishism, transgender/transsexual issues, and a number of other interests. This is where Dr. Brame’s book differs significantly from other introductions to BDSM – she is extremely inclusive. When she says it’s a guide to kinky sex, she means it in the general term, not as a narrow euphemism for only BDSM.

A long discussion of roleplay versus lifestyle makes for some interesting reading. Most introduction books either assume one or the other or gloss over the differences. Dr. Brame discusses the differences in a way that (I think) helps explain both choices clearly, and may help shed some light on an area where communication is often a bit muddled (at least in my experience).

Dr. Brame also gives us a number of quizzes and games in this book. The Kink Quotient Quiz is fun, and the “Ready…or Not?” might be very helpful in determining if a beginner is ready to actually begin. At the end of the book, she provides a fun party Trivia game (a torturously difficult one, with appropriate consequences!) as well as suggested reading and viewing.

Now for the reason it got four rather than five on the scale. There were a few things that annoyed me about this book. First, the overuse of the word “kinky” bordered on the ludicrous. It actually became distracting. I wanted to get a pen and paper and keep score. Second, Dr. Brame’s writing style often borders on condescending, and her assumption that her audience has a limited intellectual capacity can be extremely obvious. Finally, and perhaps most irritating (irritating enough that I considered knocking this book down another half point) is her chapter on “Power Relationships.” In the context of this book, I expected this to be where she addressed dominance and submission more directly (it is rolled into the SM part of the program elsewhere). Indeed, she herself says so in the first sentence of the chapter. Unfortunately, however, the four and a half page chapter (!) instead gives you two diatribes: one on why you should keep your kinky sex life from your kids (because if you don’t CPS will take them from you – a good point, to be sure) and one on whether you should tell your other relatives about your kinky sex life. Now, perhaps I am just being picky, but if you tell me that a chapter is going to talk to me about power relationships, I don’t really want or expect to be harangued about whether I tell Aunt Joanie about my sex life.

In summary, then, Dr. Brame’s book is a nice overview of a variety of alternative sexual practices, with an emphasis on BDSM. If you are considering getting into pain play, this has a lot of good how-to information. There are some definite problems with this book, but there is also a lot of good information.

Reviewed By: Elise Logan

Posted by Miranda Heart :: 6:51 PM :: 0 Comments:

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SM101 (Second Edition) By: Jay Wiseman

Title: SM101 (Second Edition)
Author: Jay Wiseman
Publisher: Greenery Press
Genre: BDSM Nonfiction
ISBN: 0-9639763-8-9
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Jay Wiseman’s introduction to sadomasochism is a down-to-earth, easy to understand primer for the beginner. The information contained in this book is invaluable to those either new to SM or merely interested in the basics.

There are two excellent reasons to recommend Wiseman’s book. The first is the extreme emphasis on safety. The author takes great pains to explain the safeguards he feels are necessary to ensure that a good time is had by all. This includes everything from making sure someone knows where you are to using paramedic scissors and outfitting a first aid kit. He includes sample negotiations for a scene, as well as a sample of rules for a BDSM party or club event. This emphasis on safety is a lovely reminder that BDSM is based on consent – which is a nice teaching point for those who are complete novices.

The second reason is the clarity of focus. Wiseman is focused only on SM relationships and the SM scene. He does not delve significantly into fetishism or sexual orientation or any of a number of other topics. Instead, he gives a clear, concise, and realistic overview of what to expect when it comes to the giving and receiving of pain. This includes a nice instructive section on rope bondage and knots. For those wishing to broaden their outlook to related areas, Wiseman provides a chapter on “Related Practices” which introduce some of the more commonly encountered alternative sexual practices.

The book has a number of helpful additions, including a guide to finding help with problems, as well as a significant and realistic discussion on how to find a date. Wiseman provides a resource guide which includes both recommended materials and NOT recommended materials (though I do wish he had mentioned why he didn’t recommend them) – which is an interesting twist.

It is important to understand that Wiseman’s audience is not the seasoned BDSM player or the professional dominant. Wiseman’s audience is the novice, and it shows in the book. The writing style can, at points, be somewhat pedantic, and Wiseman’s admirable emphasis on safety can sometimes seem overwhelming and burdensome. Additionally, his dominant persona and his strong personal preferences come through loud and clear in his discussion of the “appropriate” behavior for dominants and submissives.

In short, this is the book I would give to a novice in order to establish a good, solid foundation.

Reviewed by: Elise Logan

Posted by Miranda Heart :: 8:12 AM :: 1 Comments:

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Elise Logan

Elise Logan offered to do a review for BDSM Reviews. I feel it is just as important to be knowledgable about this lifestyle as it is to write about it. Plus, we all have to start somewhere. Her first review is in and it will be the post that follows this one. Thank you Elise for contributing to this blog site with an informative book.

Happy reading all!

Posted by Miranda Heart :: 8:08 AM :: 0 Comments:

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