Review: Just a Spanking by Lisabet Sarai

Just a Spanking
Lisabet Sarai
Books We Love [link to buy]
ASIN B006V2W680

Story rating: 3.5 out of 5 paddles

This is playful, high-quality sexy fiction. There are eight stories here, several of which have appeared in other anthologies. I could really have used a table of contents in this one, but that’s an e-book formatting thing, and not something I am grading the anthology on.

I had expected Just a Spanking to be a one-note anthology, and I was okay with that since spanking is a note I really love. The fact that it’s more expansive than that came as a pleasant surprise. The stories are all told from a female point of view. They contain less plot and more action, but they are driven by the characters’ connections to one another, which makes them satisfying. The kink ranges from verbal domination to caning, includes spanking, rope/cable bondage, and some humiliation.

Pick it up if you’d like something that’s an easy, quick read and like your BDSM on the light to medium side with just a few sharper moments for spice. Just a Spanking would be fun to read out loud or share with a partner. My gratitude to the author for the fact that not all the characters are white, able-bodied, young people.

Downsides? Mostly just the ones that come with all short stories: they’re short, so there’s less time to get to know the characters. Hard to call that a flaw, when a good short story does leave you wanting more. The real problem I had was word choice. I realize that diction is a very individual thing for each writer, and each reader has peeve words that they can’t stand, but there were a few un-sexy word choice issues here — mostly of the clinical variety — that kept popping me out of the stories. I will point out that this would not have stood out if everything else had not been so good.

Sarai’s prose is otherwise solid. I was not constantly grating my teeth over grammar, sentence structure, and improper or insufficient use of commas.

The stories:

Just a Spanking – There is very little that is as wonderful as a good spanking, and this captures the appeal of that perfectly. It’s also sharp and clever. I actually laughed out loud at the end.

Wired – A very nice office-based fem-dom piece with light bondage and some really hot sex. I love a writer that knows how to convey a man’s attractiveness.

Ruler – Historical/semi-historical piece, didn’t like it as well, but the caning and spanking was nice. Didn’t like the viewpoint character, but didn’t hate him enough to really enjoy seeing him get his ass beaten. I loved the premise but was lukewarm on the execution.

Silver Bells – Here’s a nice couples male dom piece with a pretty hot three-way, anal, bondage, and D/s. A Christmas story, and I always love those! It’s also really rather sweet. I loved these characters, and loved that the relationship between the main character and her husband was so deeply affectionate, and her husband and his buddy really did come across as old friends.

Sundae, Bloody Sundae – A f/f piece told from the top’s POV! Really evokes the protective feelings and desire to control, as well as the appeal of a good sub. And about a quarter of the way in it takes a completely unexpected turn down the mineshaft of eating disorders. I’m not really sure how to feel about it. On the one hand, fantasy is fantasy,and I can’t deny that the control/loss of control part of an eating disorder has an inherent power dynamic all on its own. I admire a writer who isn’t afraid to explore difficult material. On the other, the dom’s behavior was manipulative and in many ways quite cruel in a context that, as I am personally aware, is not nearly as simple as fiction or fantasy would have you believe. I felt upset for the sub at several points. I’d like to believe in a happily-ever-after for this couple, but I don’t know that I do. Recovery is a bigger bitch than any dominant woman I’ve ever met. Still, a decent story, and Lisabet doesn’t fall into the trap of fetishizing or idolizing the eating disorder or the sub’s thinness. Also bonus points for the dom not realizing what the problem was right away. At least that reinforces the point that it’s not easy to tell who has an eating disorder. So, big ol’ trigger warning on this one. I am actually glad, though, to see the issue discussed at all, and this was a fairly sympathetic treatment of it. I’m an eating disorder survivor and it didn’t make me feel like shit.

Stroke – Really interesting, really good piece about an older Dom who has had a stroke, and the nurse with unsatisfied submissive urges who tends him. There was a lot to like here. I love a good verbal domination scene, just love it, and this one was beautifully done. Just smack-on. Also good to see an older character get some action, and I really appreciate the way this story doesn’t treat disability like something that prevents you from being a good dom, or makes you less dominant. The most intense story in the anthology, and there’s barely any sexual contact. My favorite of the lot.

Quiet Evening At Home – Good story with two very sexy women who discover that they have the same boyfriend, and decide to punish him for cheating. The sexual tension between the female leads was simmering hot, and I wish the story had not ended where and when it did. We get to see the punishment, which is some light bondage and spanking, and that’s fun, but it stopped just when it was getting really hot between the girls. And I just know that they were going to be much,much harder on him, and I am sorry to have missed that.

Limbo – In the near future, a secret network of induced astral-projection parlors allows people to leave their bodies and travel elsewhere. Naturally, like any new technology, it is immediately used to facilitate sex. I loved the touch of the viewpoint character’s lover creating a setting from her stories. And I love the idea that in the dreamlike astral reality, lovers aren’t limited by the necessity for safety that separates fantasy from reality. Dreamlike, the borders of one identity flowing into another, emotion as sensation. . . and limbo as time apart, not time spent together. Very good story, a loving story that leaves us in a good place, perfect for closing the anthology.

Reviewed by Naamah

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *