Category: 0 out of 5 Sting Factor

Hiding in Plain Sight by Zane Thimmesch-Gill hidingincover

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Story Rating: 5 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 0 out of 5

Review:

UNFORGETTABLE.

The author was raised as a female in a loveless home, one led by a mentally ill father and a weak and fearful mother. The parents apparently could not have cared less when she ran away from home during high school. Although she was taken in at times by a rare friend here or there, her behavior and appearance were so off-putting, she always found herself on the streets again. It was made clear to her that her presence in others’ homes didn’t serve the intended purpose; she was never what people wanted or expected from a guest. A few caring people did reach out to help her, and she was placed in a foster home. But even her foster parents’ awkward and emotionally distant treatment of her contributed to her belief that she was a freakish outcast who didn’t deserve a family.

Before reading this memoir, it might be quite easy to claim some understanding of the difficulties of being transsexual. But it was almost beyond belief how cruel people were to the author. Imagine walking into a store to apply for a job, and the owner takes one look at you and cries out that you’re a freak. Imagine being chased through the streets by a gang of boys who want to pull down your pants to find out “if you’re one of those kinds.” Imagine living every day while hating your body, knowing it only brings stares and hostility. It’s incomprehensible how the author could endure so much pain and rejection without turning to drugs or alcohol, or committing suicide. Prostitution would have been an easy way to make ends meet, and it wasn’t as if she didn’t have offers.

But she had set a goal for herself: she decided she was going to college and would become a filmmaker. And again, the rejection, insults and pain she had to endure to accomplish this are far beyond the pale. And there is more self-doubt and humiliation to endure when she officially transitions to being male—what she knew she was all along— and changes her name to Zane and her pronoun to he.

After reading the book, you’ll want to Google the author to see what’s become of him. Our lips are sealed…

The book has nothing to do with kink, so it receives 0 stars in that category, but it is without a doubt a five-star story. It is a truly excellent read.

Reviewed by Summer

taliaschildTaliaschild by Anastasia Vitsky

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Story Rating: 3 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 0 out of 5

Blurb:

Six years after the mysterious talisman brought Queen Vina to Talia, it chooses a new owner in Sonna, a child of the streets. Unprotected by her amputee father and beaten by her mother for failing to bring home scraps for the family to eat, Sonna runs into the self-assured Kira, daughter and heir to Vina’s queendom.

Weary of endless rules and duties involved in training to become the future queen, Kira leaps at the chance to escape with a new friend. When she places the priceless talisman around Sonna’s neck, neither can remove the jewelry.

Alarmed at Kira losing the talisman’s protection, Vina and Talia take drastic steps to protect the princess. In the process, the entire earth descends into chaos.

Five years later, nineteen-year-old Sonna forages for two-day-old fish heads while dodging street pimps. The talisman leads her to the mysterious Nicodemus, who offers one command:

“Go to Kira. She needs you.”

Baffled, Sonna embarks on her journey. What can a pauper offer a spoiled princess? Will the street child end up surprising them all?

Review:

If you like fairytales about young girls this book is for you. This is a story about a Princess of heaven waiting for her throne, with a boring life, needing to find freedom and excitement. Enter a young peasant girl and love awakens. Warning, girl on girl love blossoms. But what can you expect when the queen of heaven herself takes a young woman of her own. In this book you will find magic necklaces, evil wanna be queens, and other kingdoms. The book is very nicely written and does contain lesbian love minus any graphic details. It is a very short story.

Reviewed by Foxy Loxy 

His Heart’s Desire by J.P. Barnaby hisheartscover

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Story Rating: 4 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 0 out of 5

Review:

It’s Matthew Carpenter’s last night as Santa Claus, a position he stepped into 100 years ago. It seemed like a good deal at the time: play the role for a century and in return he will receive his heart’s desire. As the end of his service approaches, there’s just one problem, Matthew has no idea what to ask for. Even when Father Time arrives to grant his wish, Matthew still doesn’t know what his heart desires. Fortunately, Father Time can see into Matthew’s heart better than the man himself. He can see the desires Matthew hasn’t even been aware he had.

“His Heart’s Desire” is a very short novelette, or a long short story, depending on how you choose to look at it. Either way, you’ll likely read it in a single sitting. Although the author is known for kinky stories, there’s not even a glimmer of kink in this gay romance, which contains just a single love scene. Very little time is put into developing the characters, as befits a short story, but that’s where having Santa Claus as a protagonist is a distinct advantage; he needs no introduction.

The writer is very good at this short length, and also excels at depicting emotions realistically without going over the top. The characters are real enough for you to get into the story, and even though Christmas is over for now, you might still find this and interesting post-holiday read.

Reviewed by Michael Joseph

Tearing Us Apart by Amanda Clay tearingusapartcover

Link to buy Tearing Us Apart

Story Rating: 5 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 0 out of 5

Review:

Thanh—a Vietnamese teenager— is in high school, which normally produces more than enough stress and confusion, but he’s also openly gay, and much more interested in fashion and sewing than sports. Though he has several good friends, he is certainly marginalized. Add to the mix a father who disappeared many years ago under mysterious circumstances, and the presence of a rather annoying and sub-par fiancé in his mother’s life, and the reader will no doubt wonder how much more Thanh can handle before his life begins to unravel. Then, imagine the tension when the star of the basketball team—Duncan— takes a sudden and inexplicable interest in him.

The story is about the developing intimate gay relationship between two teenaged males, and there is great depth in the writing. Told from Thanh’s point of view, the voice resonates with far more maturity and self-insight than a high school boy would reasonably possess. His voice comes through as if looking back on the events many years later, as though the relationship between Thanh and Duncan may have already having undergone processing through the hindsight of more mature eyes. The author shows an excellent grasp of teen self-consciousness and angst, while sparing the reader details of potentially tiresome awkwardness and shallow self-exploration in the young characters.

Amanda Clay is a fine writer with an enviable voice. However, there is no BDSM in the book and there are no detailed sex scenes. Therefore, I am giving the book 5 stars for a beautiful and very readable story, and assigning zero stars for kink.

Reviewed by Summer Sterling

whyamiBDSM Why Am I Kinky? by Stefan Vogel

Link to buy BDSM Why am I Kinky?: Observations & Theories

Story Rating: 3.5 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 0 out of 5

Review:

This is a quick read that states a lot of facts and numbers. It does not go into depth about the subject and just skims the surface of the question of why some people are more inclined to enjoy the aspects of BDSM. It does not judge. It gives figures and quotes from some sexual studies and gives readers the chance to make a decision on their own. It seems to try to help those that are looking for numbers and facts about the kinky side of sexual behavior. This short piece concentrated on the facts and some of the actual workings of the brain and how we as humans may interpret things in our brains. If you are looking for an academic based short read on the inner workings of why someone might enjoy BDSM this might be worth looking into. Each person is different but this may be a nice starting point for those that are interested in looking more into the reasoning behind people enjoying this kind of lifestyle.

Reviewed by Gabrielle

Valor on the Move by Keira Andrews valorcover

Link to buy Valor on the Move

Story Rating: 4 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 0 out of 5

Blurb:

Growing up gay in the White House hasn’t been easy for Rafael Castillo. Codenamed “Valor” by the Secret Service, Rafa feels anything but brave as he hides in the closet and tries to stay below the radar in his last year of college. His father’s presidency is almost over, and he just needs to stick to his carefully crafted plan. Once his family’s out of the spotlight, he can be honest with his conservative parents about his sexuality and his dream of being a chef.

It’s definitely not part of Rafa’s plan to get a new Secret Service agent who’s a walking wet dream, but he’s made it this long keeping his desires to himself. Besides, it’s not like Shane Kendrick would even look at him twice if it wasn’t his job.

Shane’s worked his way up through the Secret Service ranks, and while protecting the president’s shy, boring son isn’t his dream White House assignment, it’s an easy enough task since no one pays Rafa much attention. He discovers there’s a vibrant young man beneath the timid public shell, and while he knows Rafa has a crush on him, he assures himself it’s harmless. Shane’s never had room for romance in his life, and he’d certainly never cross that line with a protectee. Keeping Rafa safe at any cost is Shane’s mission.

But as Rafa gets under his skin, will they both put their hearts on the line?

Review:

“Valor on the Move” paints a quite believable story about what it might be like to be a closeted member of the first family. Set in the near future, when a conservative Republican Hispanic-American is president, it’s quite easy to understand why Rafa would decide to keep his orientation a secret, at least until his lame-duck father is out of the White House.

Things do get quite “complicated” when Shane is rotated into Rafa’s protection detail. The possibility of a relationship between the two men is wrong on so many levels. Emotional entanglements would make it almost impossible for Shane to do his job, not to mention getting him fired. Then there’s the age difference, which would make things difficult in even the best of circumstances. For Rafa, it puts everything he has worked for in jeopardy. He runs the risk of becoming the center of public attention, which is exactly what he has been avoiding for almost eight years.

For a while, at least, this book seems to be one of those stories that’s going to simmer along to a slow boil until one of the characters’ has their hand forced. In large part, that is what happens, but the fallout from the pivotal scene sends the plot in an entirely unexpected direction, and turns the latter half of the book into a real page turner. It’s quite a surprise and very deftly handled.

Story-wise, “Valor on the Move” is a very well-crafted romance. However, when it comes to kink, well, there isn’t any. This is, by no stretch of the imagination, a BDSM story. The few scenes between the characters, which come very late in the story, are basic vanilla sex. You’ll want to read this one for the story, which is quite a good one.

Reviewed by Michael Joseph

temporaryTemporary by Kim Carmichael

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Story Rating: 3 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 0 out of 5

Review:

Emily and Ivan have known each other all their lives and for a year they’ve been lovers. But Ivan doesn’t want Emily’s older brothers to know about their sexual relationship since her family is the only one he’s known. Emily has decided to quit torturing herself and tries to put distance between them. Just as she makes her move to walk away, her family begs her to work with Ivan to keep the family tattoo parlor “Permanent” running.  Disaster strikes and Ivan and Emily are forced to deal with legal issues threatening the business.

First of all, this book isn’t very erotic and it has no BDSM elements in it. I would classify it as “sizzling” but it lacks the real flavor of an erotic romance. I like Emily. I’m not a big fan of Ivan who, along with the rest of the cast of characters, does a lot of shouting, pounding on tables and other things of that sort. The story itself isn’t bad, though I found it a bit clunky. The way the characters interact is a bit shallow and unbelievable but I wouldn’t write the book off entirely.  Some of the conflict between Emily and Ivan felt forced.

This is the second in a series and I didn’t feel at all lost which is an amazing thing to pull off so kudos to the author. The story itself is solid with a nice suspense plot that wasn’t too complicated and gave me time to focus on Emily and Ivan. The ending is satisfying and happy, and the resolution is totally believable. Emily is a wonderful character and the tattoo storyline was very good.

It was a tad difficult for me to get past the general awkwardness of the book as a whole, but I did want to finish it and I’m glad I did.

Reviewed by Jennifer Leeland

rockstarRock Star by Nan Comarque

Link to buy Rock Star

Story Rating: 4 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 0 out of 5

Review:

Maggie Ward is Finn Carter’s lawyer, with him since he was a fifteen year old unknown rocker just hitting the big time. Now, he’s an international star with a belt full of conquests and a wall full of gold records. I love the give and take in their interactions, the way she sets him down and yet, gets flustered (without showing it). I love the way the respond to each other. This is a fabulous love story about two people who know what they want but think it’s out of reach. A motorcycle accident places Finn in Maggie’s house where the smoldering sexual tension finally reaches fever pitch and the hot sex ensues.

This is NOT a kinky book at all. There isn’t any. Unless you count the one byplay where she says “Whatever you say, Finn.”  and he replies “That’s what I like to hear”.  No BDSM. No real kink. It’s erotic. It’s a good story. I enjoyed it, but if you’re expecting any kinky stuff here, then you’ll be disappointed. The only other issue I had with the story was the unprotected sex was way beyond stupid knowing what she knows about him. He sleeps with a lot of women and having sex with him was inviting all of them into her bed. It’s addressed, but not enough for me.

Onto what’s great about this book. I loved the way Finn pursued what he wanted. He knew from the beginning and set out to get it. Maggie’s reluctance is completely understandable and very real. And the characters?  Perfectly drawn. Finn is, as expected, a little dysfunctional and screwed up. Maggie is uptight and job centered. I liked both of them and I rooted for their happy ending.

This book isn’t about over the top angst or anything. It’s a simple love story with some great sex and great characters. I’d definitely read this author again, but this time I’d be ready for the lack of kink.

Reviewed by Jennifer Leeland

islandsIslands by R. J. Raiment

Link to buy ISLANDS

Story Rating: 4.5 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 0 out of 5

Review:

When I began reading this story it reminded me of Robinson Crusoe.

Islands is the story of two men from the late 1700′s whose ship is caught within a large Pacific storm well off the coast of Africa that strikes and sinks on the rocks just off the coast of a small island. Both men were seaman on the ship who knew each other, but were not friends. The narrator, Tom, is straight and the other sailor, Peter is gay.

There are several sex scenes, but don’t read this looking for them as while they are somewhat detailed, they are not major factors in the story. Their relationship and friendship maturing into a loving relationship is the focal point of this book.

This story is highly recommended. Readers will become involved with the need to survive accompanied with loneliness, coping with a conflicting desire to be found and finally the need for human touch and comfort.

Reviewed by ronni

gavegoodfaceGave Good Face by HR Carlton

Gave Good Face

Story Rating: 1 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 0 out of 5

Review:

Gave Good Face starts out by introducing us to male model Lot Reardon. He is getting ready to leave a shoot when his manager asks if he can stay and do an extra shoot with  Pasha Rossdale who is one of the biggest names in modeling at the moment. Lot is excited by this offer and jumps at the chance to work with Pasha. During the shoot, both Lot and Pasha notice the chemistry between each other and leave together.

As Pasha’s fame rises and Lot’s claim to fame is coming to an end, he becomes extremely jealous of all the offers that Pasha is getting. He is especially jealous with an offer to be the face of a well known makeup company modeling with another hunky male model. Lot’s past has been eating away at him since the relationship started and has become more visible to Pasha leaving her to wonder what Lot is hiding from her.

I was rather interested in finding out what the secret Lot was keeping from Pasha in the story, but once I found out I was sorely disappointed. The story line about the model with their career coming to end while their partner’s is just taking off seems rather overused. The sex wasn’t much and there was nothing at all kinky taking place. All in all I found this a disappointing read which is too bad because I was really interested in reading this book.

Reviewed by Tequila Rose