BDSM Reviews

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Corporate Seduction by Bridget Midway

Reviewed by Elise Logan
Title: Corporate Seduction
Author: Bridget Midway
Publisher: Midnight Showcase
ISBN: 1-411676106
Genre: BDSM erotic fiction
Publication Date: 2006
Rating: 4 of 5

There are a number of things to like about this twist on the story of the office romance. The first is that the author doesn’t take the easy road for the plot development of the book. Instead, she makes an effort to give us something a little different. A second thing to like about this book is that many of the conventions of the BDSM lifestyle are incorporated into the story. At one point, the Mistress of the club is extraordinarily clear about the role of power and power play in BDSM, and is also very clear about how rules are to be followed. A third thing to like about this book is the wealth of variety in the backgrounds of the characters. I appreciate having characters cross social, economic, and cultural lines. It makes reading much more entertaining.

There are, however, a few things which keep this book from being as fabulous as it could be. The main problem lies in characterization. May, the main female character, vacillates between resentful and repressed and confident and strong. Win, the main male character, likewise vacilates among dour stuffed shirt, imposing Dom, and stressed executive looking for a little release. The inconsistency creates fits and starts in the growth of the characters, which is a bit distracting. Another difficulty for me was the characters engaging in actions which I would consider unacceptable – violating the stated boundaries of a sub, for example, or engaging in punishment while supremely angry. However, the fantasy element of the scenarios takes the edge off of the behavior in the context of the story.

The story is interesting, the scenes are engaging, and the plot is anything but pat. Aside from the difficulties mentioned above, this work is well-crafted and shows a considerable amount of thought and consideration for the BDSM lifestyle. All of that together makes this a book worth reading – and enjoying.

Posted by Elise Logan :: 8:25 AM :: 0 Comments:

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Wulf: Tales of the Chosen

Reviewed by Elise Logan
Title: Wulf: Tales of the Chosen
Author: Kayelle Allen
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
ISBN: 1-59578-282-6
Genre: BDSM erotic fiction, sci-fi/fantasy, M/m, e-book
Publication Date: 2006

Rating: 4 of 5

This is Luc’s story. Okay, truthfully, the story is primarily Wulf’s story, but the story exists because of Luc’s position in the Chosen series. Let us be clear, then, that this is a part of a larger series. This story can be read alone, but it takes some time to get up to speed on the slang, the characters, and the world the author has built.

That said, I thought the world-building for this story (and, by extension, the world for the series) is very well-developed. The author’s web site offers maps and some other goodies to round things out, if the reader is so inclined. The characters of Luc and Wulf are well drawn, and the supporting characters are interesting in their own right. I was particularly intrigued by Luc’s android servant McDoth and by Wulf’s friend Feeyona. There are a number of interesting little ideas thrown into the world Ms. Allen has created, each of which contributes to the overall fullness of the world in which she sets these tales.

The story is a well-written romance, but has a few rough spots. This romantic tale is sweet with a dominant edge. There is practically no pain play – the only thing approaching it is a single spanking scene – and the Dom element is somewhat erratic. Luc, the Dom, exhibits ruthlessness in many areas, and the character is generally portrayed as dominant in all areas of his life. However, there are several instances in which Luc’s Dom persona struck me as more façade than reality. The other real issue I ran into with this story was a lack of resolution of some elements. Truthfully, I don’t know if these are elements that have been addressed in other books in the series, but they crop up in this story and are left without resolution, which is a bit jarring. Especially in romances, the reader expects resolution of all of the major relationship problems – and this story leaves at least one hurdle (a secret held by one of the characters) completely unresolved.
Even so, the story had very strong points, and is definitely worth reading. The plot produced unexpected twists which kept the pace lively, the characters were exceptionally well done, and the setting was different and interesting. The relationships among the characters are very human – sweet, sad, angry, romantic, and, most of all, true. That is the heart of this story, and it is why I enjoyed reading it.

Posted by Elise Logan :: 12:32 PM :: 1 Comments:

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Unbound Commitment By: Sierra Cartwright

Unbound Commitment
By: Sierra Cartwright
Published by: Ellora's Cave 2006
ISBN: 1-4199-0823-5

Rating 5 out of 5

As a woman in charge in her business, Rachel finds her secret longings for submission to be strange. Without her best friend Cindy she never would have gotten herself into this. The experience of being a slave for the next six days to a very tough Master that only goes by the name of Sir James. So with the help of her friend she calls him.

He isn't as game as she is, and so the next three weeks are spent on the phone. He commands actions from her and like a dutiful slave she obeys them. After a time, Rachel begins to push for a meeting. She needs this, she craves this. But she certainly wasn't prepared for this. Giving up everything of who she was before accepting her position as slave. But, how hard can six days be? Bat her eye lashes, get all pouty. The way she's done with every other male in her life to get ouf of doing things she didn't want to do. Oh, the surprise she has when he walks through the door of his Colorado cabin and she is standing insted of kneeling, answering her phone instead of waiting on his command. And for the first time in her life she trembles with regret.

He thought he was getting an experienced slave. He thought the problems he had with Mechelle were going to dissipate with another slave. He thought he hadn't misjudged yet another woman. He thought wrong. Rachel is nothing that she says she was. She is untrained, unprepared and too self centered to be a slave. As much as he hates the idea of taking on someone that obvious lacks skill and training, he seems drawn to her perserverance. So he agrees to the next six days. He isn't going to let her get away with her deceit. She will pay the price for what she has done. He is a demanding slave owner and will take nothing less than complete and total submission. Like everything, his Dominance is going to come at a price. And he isn't very willing to pay that price.

The next six days are the most grueling for Rachel and Sir James. Her limits with herself are tested and his patience is tested from minute one. Rachel fights to give up her own self-reliance. She tries desperatly to understand his commands, the uncomfortable positions and those damned enemas. Before she is fully aware of it, she begins to understand it. Through it all Sir James offers her the keys to her car, offers her to use her safeword. She can back out any time. She can leave him before he leaves her. So when the time comes she has a choice to make. Give it all up for him or go back to her regularly scheduled life. For the life of her, she has no idea which one she wants.

At the time that I opened this story and saw the word slave, the hair on the back of my neck stood on end, I crossed my arms over my chest and scowled at my screen. I did not want to turn down another novel. I continued to read. By the end of page one I was laughing at the easy conversation between Rachel and Cindy. Rachel's perception of slavery. I think I even said aloud once or twice... oh boy this girl has no idea what she's about to get into. Because, if Sir James was anything like that description I would be quaking in my boots.

The best part about it. Sierra Cartwright delivered. She wrote a real life Master and slave story. She left nothing out, all the horrible duties we like to sheild our eyes from were in this book. I can't stress enough how real this was. Her talent with words astounded my senses. She left out a full description of Sir James, to allow the reader to picture who they wanted James to be. She left out a full description of Rachel leaving it open to make Rachel who the reader wanted Rachel to be. So the hottest celebrity in Hollywood and I went on an adventure I won't soon forget. Most of her imagry was in the form of dialogue. This normally would have thrown me off, left me confused, but she stayed in the moment. There was very little time for outside thoughts. The scenes weren't suddenly stopped to reminisce or to feel. By staying in the moment, I had no choice but to stay in the moment and enjoy the roller coaster of emotions that filled her story.

Although, I enjoy all aspects of this story, there are certain parts that stand out as above the rest. The natural flow of events helped to drag me deeper into it. I was able to walk through the rooms with this couple. Go through the steps of their everyday life. Sir James even did dishes. At Rachel's moment of change it fit, it was natural. Her outburst was only expected, considering the amount of emotional stress she had been through with Sir James. As a reader I was never concerned with what might happen next, I was just happy to be have been invited in. If I were to match the flow with what he was trying to teach her, I must say if it wasn't done intentionl then I read too much into things. Throughout the whole story James is constantly telling Rachel, be in the moment. Stop focusing so much on the outside and focus on the inside. In this book you have no choice but to be in the moment. Never once does she send you anywhere else. Best of all, I was looking forward to how she might please him next.

Rachel is your typical, I can do it my way, have it my way kind of girl. While secretly she longs to submit it all to the one man that can accomplish this difficult task, inside she is afraid that this might happen. Past relationships have taught her that the ultimate submission she seeks is strange and weird. She is painted as a freak by her exhusband. At the time that this opporunity arises with Sir James, she is in a dead end boring relationship with a man that treats her like gold. What could be more annoying than dating a man who doesn't want to give you a spanking?

What I liked best about Rachel is that although she wants this and is afraid to get it, she refuses to leave no matter how difficult. She knows she needs this despite her own misgivings. She was a character that it was easy to get into the pace of, understand her mind. She made normal mistakes. Her body ached the way it would carrying out positions she had never done before. I cried when she cried, laughed when she laughed, bit my nails when I saw she was about to get into big trouble, covered my eyes in a few places as truly this woman would not just shut up sometimes. And most of all, I wanted to be Rachel. Ms. Cartwright actually made me want to walk in someone elses shoes. By the end of the story Rachel is anything but typical. She is a determined woman and she won't stop at anything to get what she needs in life.

Sir James is another story all together. He's tough. No is not in his vocabulary for his slave. He expects and will receive nothing less than complete submission. And he does it in a way that the slave does not and can not say no to. And nothing is more hot than a man you can't say not to. James at all times has Rachel's best interest at heart. He never asks for more than she can give. No matter if she believes she can't do it. Because he took the time to understand Rachel, because he understands himself, he is able to build a confidence in his slave.

He has patience and respect for his slave. There were many times that he was not just Rachel's Master but he was also her friend. He inquired about her past, her life, where she saw herself. He delved into her fantasies and found the reasons for those fantasies. Knowing what was in her head helped to define how he would direct their play. This went a long way in my book. A man who can decipher a woman's needs through actual conversation says much about a man.

They sat down to dinner and breakfast. To keep her on her toes he would stop their simple conversation and command an action. He made it clear that at all times he was the Master, even when it seemed as though he was just a friend. Even though he wants all of Rachel, there are parts of him that are not open. Areas of himself he won't let Rachel into. This creates a conflict for the both of them. He knows that without opening up to her about himself and his past, that he doesn't stand a chance of having more from her.

The play scenes between James and Rachel are amazing. At all times James was very aware of what Rachel was going through. It did not deter him from his decisions. I was amazed at how I actually cried at the end of their first scene. Rachel was so vulnerable, so open it left me in tears and utterly exhausted. In turn this only heightened my respsect for James as a Master. Their final scene where he makes her fantasy come true brought a sweet smile to my face. I have never seen anything like that before in any of my readings.

To finally sum up the story, this was probably the most beautiful Master and slave story I have ever had the opportunity to read. Anyone looking for a real life look into this lifestyle would do well to purchase this book. Sierra Cartwright is an author with her own voice and an open imagination. Thank you Ms. Cartwright, I couldn't put your book down it was that entertaining.

Reviewed by: Miranda Heart

Posted by Miranda Heart :: 8:46 AM :: 0 Comments:

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Topping Tora By: Laura Bacchi

Topping Tora
By: Laura Bacchi
Published By: Liquid Silver Books 2006
ISBN: 1-59578-294-X

Rating: 5 out of 5

If it had not been for her best friend Sasha, Tora never would have found herself auctioned off at Club Xotica. The club that she decided she would be someone's bottom for six days. That someone happened to be Jovan, who did everything in his power to be there that week so that he could purchase her and have the opportunity of a lifetime to Top her. There is no way that Tora is going to let him, her rival, Top her. He steals leads right out from under her, he thinks he's better than she is and for the life of her she could never stop thinking about him.

Now they are stuck with each other for the next six days. On the first night she tries to resist him, does everything in her power to uphold her snarky personality. Yet, nothing phases him and she quickly realizes that topping from the bottom was not what she signed up for. So, she submits. She agrees to this week with him, knowing that after this week is up they would both have had their fill of one another, get it out of their systems and return to work without so much as a smile in passing.

At least that is what they both expect to happen. Their fun week quickly spins out of control when they find a dead body. Then Tora wants to have a Dominant with more skill, more control. They meet someone who she feels could give her all that and more. He does, in more ways than she could have ever imagined. But, when she's kidnapped, Jovan and Tora's worlds are turned upside down and they are met with their biggest challenges yet. If only she survives this ordeal will they ever get to find out.

I finished this book some hours ago and I'm still at a loss for words. To say this book was the best book I've read in five years would be putting it mildly. Laura has a talent that is far above any writer I have probably ever read. The best part about her writing is how it relates to us as individuals.

Jovan, the Dom of the story made mistakes. He gave her a spanking with a paddle and actually missed his target and hit her thigh instead. He was unsure of himself, his skills, his ability to have Tora submit to him. This keeps him from making the stern decisions about her bratty behavoir that he should have been making. Normally, this would have annoyed me, but instead this made me build a relationship with him. He's real. And I don't even have to tell you that he is sexy.

Tora was your typical newbie bottom. She thought the best way to get what she wanted was by behaving bratty. How could she not believe that when Jovan delivered at every turn. This is what brought me closer to Tora. Her secret yearnings to submit to someone much more powerful than herself are finally revealed and she is as scared as a new born kitten. She has no idea how to properly behave and even if she did, her confidence around Jovan plummets. She has set him on such a high pedastal in her mind that she fights him at every turn. Because, no one can top Tora. With the introduction of Pieter, she does find that she can submit as long as she has a firm hand. I couldn't help but identify with her. She's in control, she has an answer for everything and no matter how badly she wants something she can't seem to keep her mouth shut.

The other part that made these two so believable to me was the dialogue. Ms. Bacchi must have truly gone over their dialogue a thousand times out loud to have determined exactly what would have been said. At no time did I feel like any of the characters were pushing to say the right thing. And her visuals. At times they had me running for a cold shower and others they had me clutching my stomach. All I have to say is read the scene with the fly. Amazing. Utterly amazing. Last but never least was the way she drew me in emotionally, in several places through out the book I just wanted to cry. When the antagonist finally showed his true colors I wanted to scream at my book. And when the club owners called everyone slaves I just wanted to laugh. Their lack of knowledge showed the true reasons why they opened this club. And it wasn't because they believed in this lifestyle.

There were two other characters in Topping Tora that deserve attention. Pearl and Elena. Pearl is at the beginning of the book that shows Tora how to actually give an orgasm to a woman. She's your everyday seen it all a thousand times sorta gal. Yet, because of her helpfulness, her eagerness to see to the well being of her guests, she truly stands out above your normal staff member. She is there from beginning to end and she forms a bond with Jovan and Tora that neither of them will ever forget. Then, there is poor Elena. She is a character that is only there towards the end. A woman that truly made me cry. She's that person in all of us that feels trapped by circumstances and never doesn't want to leave her present situation for fear of how the world will view her. I have never said this about a character in my life, but I hope she does well for herself.

As you have probably noticed I have mentioned very little if anything about the sex in this book. There was sex and I remember it was great, but it truly had nothing to do with the book. She had the perfect amount of scenes in there to bring you closer to what was to follow, but, the emotional depth of this story was much more important than what happened in the bedroom. As with everything else in the book, her sexual encounters were vital to the characters, they were real, these two could have truly just been anyone. The way they grow throughout the novel and what they learn is what made them stand out from two ordinary people going about their day.

Laura, I hope to see more from you, you are truly an exceptional author that stole my breath away with Topping Tora. I can only hope this review does justice to what you have written. Thank you.

Reviewed By: Miranda Heart

Posted by Miranda Heart :: 8:30 PM :: 1 Comments:

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