BDSM Reviews

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Devil In Winter by Diana Hunter

TITLE: A Devil in Winter
AUTHOR: Diana Hunter
PUBLISHER: Ellora’s Cave
ISBN #: 1-4199-0730-1
RELEASE DATE: December 2006

Reviewed By: Canice Brown-Porter
Rated 4 out of 5

Kevin’s Christmas holiday plans have been turned upside down. Living in New York, he always flew home to Texas to spend time with his parents, brothers, and various relatives. The big holiday get-together has been tossed aside this year because his parents have decided to take a 40th wedding anniversary cruise. And, everyone else has already made alternate plans, and none included him.

He’s lost the one woman he loves and it looks as though he will be spending Christmas in the City, alone. At least, until his ex-girlfriend’s little sister catches him peeking through their windows. Anna threatens to call the police, and Kevin panics. Whisking her off in his car so he can try to reason with her holds all the connotations of kidnapping. Especially when he ties her up.

Her struggles against the ropes tug at his Dominant nature, and he could swear Anna enjoyed be bound. But, her threats of kidnapping charges and calling the police hold a whole different perspective. Realizing he can’t make her understand that he just wanted to apologize to her sister, Kevin releases her and offers her the use of his phone. Knowing he’ll be jailed for the charges, he’s surprised when her call his placed to her parents and she explains she’s been detained. And, that she’ll be bringing a dinner guest with her. Him?

Why hadn't she called the police? And why was she taking him to dinner at her parents' house knowing her sister would be there? Just what was Anna's ulterior motive?

The only problem I experienced with this story occurred whenever Ms. Hunter referred to Kevin’s Dominant side as a “beast within” or “dark animal”. These references conjured up negative images of him and pulled me out of the story. I stumbled over them. I found the scenes bordering on vanilla-kinky to light BDSM play.

Overall, Ms. Hunter has written an amusing and insightful romance about human nature and the inner struggles of relationships. It brought to mind the saying about “can’t see the forest for the trees”. The storyline was great and I was pulled right in. Her skills at craftsmanship are outstanding. The sex was hot. The characters were human...flaws and all.

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Posted by Brenda (aka: Canice Brown-Porter) :: 7:24 PM :: 3 Comments:

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Dark Garden By: Eden Bradley

Title: The Dark Garden
Author: Eden Bradley
Publisher: Bantam Books
ISBN: 978-0-553-58973-3
On Sale: May 29, 2007

Available through preorder: and Barnes and Nobles

Rating 5 out of 5

Rowan is a Dominant. She's great at her play and has submissives waiting to serve her at every play party. Lately, however, something has been missing from her life. She's started a story about a submissive woman, but even her writing isn't bringing out the usual mind clearing that she seeks. No, there is something else going on and when she meets Christian Thorne at a play party one night she finds out all too quickly and to her dismay what she's been missing.

Christian is an artist and Dominant. He's moved recently from overseas back home in Venice, California. Immediately he sets out to involve himself in the local BDSM scene and is struck by the beautiful and Dominant Rowan. He sees something in her that Rowan had hoped she left behind many years before this. His goal is to prove to her that she does have a submissive side. He challenges her to thirty days with him and if he can't bring out her submissive nature then he'll leave it alone.

At first it seems as though there is nothing to lose only gain from the experience. But, even from the first moment that she allows Christian to tie her up in the most romantic way, using flowers as rope, she can't keep old memories from being forced upward. She's put her past behind her or so she believes. She's too proud to ask for help and runs at every turn. She fights her submissive side that came to her so easily from the moment she walked through the door. Something about him brings out the side of her she put aside so long ago. Rowan finds herself unable to control her submissive role, but too frightened to fully give in. Admitting to herself that she's a submissive at heart would break through the walls she has so carefully built.

Christian has his work cut out for him. He's always taken care of his family, always made sure they wanted for nothing, that he was there for them through everything. With his mother gone now and his sister happily married, he has no one left to take care of but himself. Seeing that he could be there to move Rowan to a better place with herself and bring to life a side of her he knows is there seems like the perfect solution. In too deep, Rowan does the only thing she knows how to do. Runaway. This is a fight Christian can't win. So he leaves it up to her figure out what she needs. That's if she wants to truly move forward in life.

It's hard to explain all the emotions going through me about The Dark Garden. I don't know rather to laugh, cry or shudder in ecstasy. Eden Bradley is an amazing writer. If she doesn't become the next big name in erotica I'll be a monkey's uncle.

She had me on the edge of my seat from page one. Not with the actions, but with the emotions of the characters. Christian and Rowan are an emotional pair that had me teary eyed from the first bondage scene. I could so easily identify with Rowan. Her inner struggles. What it would mean to give up that carefully laid facade to someone that you barely know. Worse, if it all goes wrong, she's the one left to pay the price. There is a moment from her past that she doesn't want to share with him, but, don't we all have secrets that we don't want to part with? Secrets that were just too terrible for us to give over to another? It's her story to tell, so I won't go into it. But, it lays the foundation for an inner struggle that isn't easily relinquished. Rowan was just so real as a heroine, so complex. I loved the way Eden refused to let you out of her head no matter the circumstances.

I've never seen scenes describing subspace in such a literal sense that made you feel raw and open the way Rowan was in this book. It was amazing that you knew the exact moment she gave in without reading that she gave in. That's when you know an author has dragged you in so completely. You've become the character without knowing it. You're drifting on the edge as she is drifting. Her moments written from the Dominant perspective had me panting for more. He's so in tune with her. He learns so quickly what every little breath means, what each move represents, he can read between the lines when she talks to him and he demands without pressuring her, her complete surrender. A more perfect Dominant, I've never seen. He was a beautiful specimen of how a Top should behave. He may have wanted more, he may have wanted to push her further, but you would have never known it because he was doing this for her. It showed in every page, every scene and every emotion. The play scenes in this book, put simply, were powerful. By the end of each scene I was wishing my husband was home and unable to walk because my knees were too weak.

I've read a lot of great books, even through BDSM Reviews, but, I've never been this emotionally involved with the characters. Every time Rowan cried, I cried, when she was happy I was happy. It wasn't the description as much as it was the sheer realness (is that even a word) of her character. Who hasn't had their doubts about the role they have chosen? And that was the valuable lesson she had to learn. This lifestyle is not about choosing who you want to be. It's about sinking into the role that was chosen for you. Eden taught this lesson better than I've ever seen. I hope to see it again.

There is a bonus story to this novel. It's the story of Decker and April. At first it seemed as though they were just going to be a little side note to the story line, but I felt as though they received equal book time. Normally, this bugs me. It'll drag me out of a story and I'll toss the book in the piles of books that I've never finished reading for one reason or another. Decker and April's story was so intriguing and so sweet that I couldn't bring myself to become as frustrated as I generally do. Instead, I felt as though this brought a lighter side to the story that would have been too heavy otherwise.

April is a character that knows who she is and what she wants. She's accepted her submissive side and has found the man she wants to further her education. This man however, has a nasty reputation of playing with a woman once and leaving her behind with her half in love with him. This is a story line you don't want to miss. I found it to be the perfect opposite of Christian and Rowan's story. Plus you get to see a rougher side to BDSM that you would have otherwise missed out on through Rowan's self discovery.

I'm still reeling from this book and probably will be on a high for the next several days. It was everything and more than what I had expected. How Eden Bradley will top this, I don't know, but I definitely want to find out.

Posted by Miranda Heart :: 5:55 PM :: 3 Comments:

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Bound By: Sasha White

Title: Bound
Author: Sasha White
Publisher: Berkley

Score: 5 out of 5

I was told Bound wasn't "really" a BDSM novel. I'd like to state for the record here and now, that Joe is Dominant and Katie is submissive. The rules are different for each individual. Those in this lifestyle actually have lives outside of Dominating and submitting. And believe it or not, sometimes a submissive has a say so in how their life is conducted. This was the beauty of Sasha White's, Bound. It isn't your typical BDSM story line. The characters are going through so much more in their lives besides sexual self discovery. Katie has plans, Joe has plans and they just happened to cross paths at a time in their lives when they needed one another.

First off this novel was written in first person. Which I would like to inform you, I dislike first person. The reason I dislike first person, is you have to be so close to your character that there is almost no distinction any longer between you as the author and your proposed character. Nothing is left out for the reader, not to mention it has to be worded in such an entertaining way that the reader has to give a damn. Ms. White had a huge hill to climb with me to make this story worth my while. I graded this book harder simply because first person is a distraction for me, leaving me open to be more critical. In so doing, she raised my own standards for reading and I won't put a book back just because it's written in first person. She did a wonderful job of getting inside the characters head. I loved reading about Katie and all the tangled mess she got herself into.

Bound is a typical story line. Katie is in a small town trying to get out. She doesn't want to change herself for a man like her mother does. She doesn't want the suffocation of a relationship where she isn't allowed to grow. Most of all, she just wants to go somewhere where everyone doesn't know her. In her quest to do that she catches the attentions of Joe, the security guard at the casino she works for. On a dare she puts on a show for the hot security guard, on the security camera and on the phone. He's instructed her to go home and get ready for him.

Katie loves the control Joe has over her, yet refuses to give up everything. She just wants to be his little slut in the bedroom. Do everything he says in bed, but when playtime is over she wants to go back to her regularly scheduled life. Get out of the small town. Move to a big town. No strings attached relationship. Joe is all to happy to oblige. Katie has a best friend and that best friend is a closet lesbian with a live in girlfriend. As Katie winds her own twisted knot of problems with Joe, her mother and her mother's little secret, her best friend is there to finally tell her like it is. And it isn't pretty when Katie has to finally face herself. She has a lot to overcome and it almost seems like there will be no end. Thankfully, there is always Joe to give her the freedom she seeks.

The sex between Joe and Katie had me reaching for toys I had long put away. Everything was so believable. Sasha stayed in the moment and didn't let up until the scene was over. They are an amazing duo and if they can ever work through their differences, they'd make a great team. This how Bound was not your typical novel. Joe isn't her opponent. They don't argue and fight through out the whole book to build sexual tension. Ms. White had that down to a "t", the problem didn't lie in the relationship. It was Katie. Joe has his own issues, but they are never at each others throats about it. It was a nice break from the usual.

Here is where I feel first person succeeds when done properly. You saw Katie's disbelief in the situation, her own disgust with herself, her indecisiveness. Nothing was left out. Even with the door wide open in the bedroom scenes, this story was more romantic than erotic. The sex was there because that's all Katie craved from her partner, but there is much more going on than sex and sexual behavior.

I'm not going to give away anymore of the story line here. There several little secrets in this book and I think as a reader you shouldn't be privy to them. They need to be discovered by you. Some will make you cringe, others will make you smile. But, what I want you to take from this book is that although a person doesn't want to admit something about themselves it doesn't make it any less so. Katie is your typical closet sub. Only she knows her feelings and she has a hard time admitting them, even to herself. She isn't very willing to let go of the idea that being submissive some how makes her weak. Every true sub I've ever met had more strength than even the most powerful person you can think of. In this case, it makes me wonder about Katie's future and if she'll ever finally let go of her inhibitions.

If it isn't obvious, I'll say it again. Bound is an intriguing novel. Anyone looking for a light read to curl up to, this one is it. I can't wait to read more from this author.

Posted by Miranda Heart :: 9:14 AM :: 1 Comments:

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I, Domina by Lanna Morris

Title: I, Domina
Author: Lanna Morris
Publisher: Aspen Mountain Press
ISBN: 978-1-60168-024-2
Reviewed By: Heidi Cook
Rating: 4 out of 5

Elizabeth has had enough. Enough of her job, enough of her cheating boyfriend, and enough of anything to do with men and sex. She has decided that it is time to take a stand, time to get even and then some. On the suggestion of a friend she looks into becoming a Dominatrix, and soon finds herself being interviewed by the Madam Samantha, the best dominatrix in the BDSM community of Australia. The only snag is that she has absolutely no experience in BDSM except what she has picked up online; will she be good enough to become as big as she yearns to?

In I, Domina the reader follows Elizabeth around as she gets plunged into the deep end of the BDSM world. It is written in the first person and so everything that Elizabeth experiences the reader does too, in every cringe worthy detail. This book had me in places laughing out loud and then a couple of pages on cringing at Elizabeth’s ineptness.

Lanna Morris has written, at least in the most part, a light hearted BDSM book. Once you get further into the book the reader will witness how Elizabeth’s refusal to take orders gets her into much more trouble then she thought possible, or even legal. In some scenes it is almost painful to watch the interaction that occurs between Elizabeth and the other doms as her resistance causes them to use more force then they would normally use, at least on someone who is so untrained. However as is the theme with this book just a few pages on and you’ll be laughing and cringing again at her antics.

I have mixed feelings about this book, on the one hand I enjoyed the humour that Lanna Morris managed to create with her character but on the other, I felt some of the scenes involving her peers were a bit forced and more then a little harsh; on a least one occasion she is practically tied down and gang-raped by them. Although as a whole this book works and is a very interesting concept, I’ve not read a book that uses the perspective of a trainee before, especially not one so free willed as Elizabeth. This will be an intriguing read for anyone who is already involved within the BDSM scene, however I would strongly recommend those who have never read a BDSM book before, who are easily offended or against the idea of forced sex not to read this book.

Posted by Nicole Gestalt :: 4:41 PM :: 0 Comments:

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