Category: 3.5 out of 5 Sting Factor

Emerald Keep by A. Catherine Noon & Rachel Wilder emeraldcover

Link to buy Emerald Keep

Story Rating: 3.5 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 3.5 out of 5

Review:

This is the second book in the series and it is probably best to read the first one. Full disclosure, I did not read the first book and was still fine reading the second. Based on context clues it is easy to figure out how the keeper, hunter and seekers relate.

The characters in this book are all likeable except for Teeka. For me, Teeka is annoying and childish. His lack of maturity and overall whiny personality is annoying. For the story to keep hammering home from all of Teeka’s mentors and elders that Teeka is selfish, juvenile and inconsiderate, it became old fast. Quill is of more interest and I wish there is more about him. Quill’s childhood is infinitely more interesting than pampered Teeka’s child.

The world building is quite good. I loved how the authors blend a technological world with the Bedouin culture. This fascinated me as did the animals. My favorite in this book are the truffles. Great description and antics of these adorable animals makes me want a pair too. All of these help drive the plot of why Teeka and Quill are targeted by a mysterious force. From a plot device, the resolution to the conflict is just odd for me. It feels as if they changed direction in the middle of the book and decided third book is necessary. I could care less about Teeka and his problems. I want to learn more about Quill and the man hunting him.

Hopefully another book will follow and feature Quill’s powers and this new group of people. People who scare Quill and make him want to kill them all. Quill is a character who has more depth. He’s a man to be admired. Learning more about Quill’s powers and how he can be potentially more is something I look forward to in the next book.

The sex in this book is just okay. Teeka and Quill like to play around the bath. It can be erotic, but since I didn’t like Teeka, none of the sex scenes did anything for me. Most of them were bland and too vanilla for me. From a romance perspective it is sweet manlove.

This book is recommended to those who enjoy a world that seems to live simpler and blends technology in the background.

Reviewed by Book Addict

strictlycoverStrictly Business by Sheryl Nantus

Link to buy Strictly Business (Hooded Pleasures)

Story Rating: 3 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 3.5 out of 5

Review:

Strictly Business is a technically well-written femdom book with an original premise, but it failed to resonate with me or hold my interest. It took me a lot longer than it should have to read because I could only manage to stay focused for short periods of time, in part because the story was somewhat predictable and way too angst ridden. The strictly business aspect of the title refers to the relationship between a professional dominatrix and one of her clients, who were brought together by Hooded Pleasures, a discrete agency that serves newbie submissives whose social standing and fear of scandal prevents them from joining a BDSM club in order to hook up with a domme.

The conflict comes into play when both parties in this business arrangement start to connect emotionally with each other. It is easy enough to see how this might happen in such a situation. Curiously it is the domme who has the most difficulty with this development. Uncharacteristic for a woman who has gravitated toward being dominant in her relationships with men, she has a history of being dumped by her lovers.

An indecisive domme anguishing over her past and fear of being hurt again is kind of a buzz kill in an erotic book. In some respects this feature was reminiscent of a romance novel, only superimposed upon a kinky backdrop. While the D/s activities depicted were fairly intense, there was a sort of clinical distance and politically correctness about them that made me sense that they were drawn from research rather than firsthand experience. Doubtless there are many readers who will enjoy this book and not be bothered by what I perceive to be its flaws.

Reviewed by Jim Lyon

Indecent Hunger 1-5 by Annabella Fox indecent

Link to buy Indecent Hunger: An Unexpected Awakening (The Indecent Hunger Series Book 1)

Story Rating: 3.5 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor: 3.5 out of 5

Review:

These books give us the story of Jennifer and Patrick. Readers are in for a wild ride in this story. Jennifer seems to be one of those people that always has some kind of commotion going on in her life. From catching the boss’s eye to her ordeal with her father and his debts to an obsessed man and more it seems that something is always going on with Jennifer. At times I wondered if Jennifer would ever have a quiet life and we would focus on the relationship between her and Patrick. Their story moves at a fast pace sometimes too quickly. I would have enjoyed seeing more of their relationship in depth. Each of these quick books gives readers a look into Jennifer and Patrick’s lives. We also get to meet some interesting secondary characters. I would have loved to learn more about them and their interactions with Patrick and Jennifer.

Everything happens rather quickly and we soon get to see Jennifer and Patrick working through their attraction and making some hard decisions. I would have liked to see more of the relationship between Patrick and Jennifer instead of everything that kept happening to Jennifer. I did not really feel the connection that the Jennifer and Patrick had. The emotions were not there for me and the characters fell a bit flat. I did not find myself immersed in their story and it soon became a dry read for me.

Reviewed by Gabrielle

thegoodgirlThe Good Girl and Other Dreams From the Cage by Adele B. Sweeney

Link to buy The good girl and other dreams from the cage

Story Rating: 4 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 3.5 out of 5

Review:

Adele B. Sweeney’s The Good Girl and Other Dreams from the Cage is an anthology of 23 short stories with varying degrees of BDSM overtones written from a female submissive’s point of view. Mostly the vignettes seem to involve the same woman in scenarios with or orchestrated by an emotionally distant lover. Overall, there is a minimalist, subdued and understated ambiance to them even though they contain substantial D/s elements.

Often only ancillary characters are named and the dominant male is simply referred to as The Man. A recurring theme is the narrator’s morbid need for a display of caring and affection from the somewhat boorish men she is drawn to. Although there are elements of dark erotica throughout this anthology, there is a literary aspect to the stories that mutes their sexual titillation somewhat. I found this book to be an easy and enjoyable read, but those who crave backstory, HEA and sizzling hot D/s sex may have a different take on it.

Reviewed by Jim Lyon

Our Kinky Secret by Melissa Silvey our-kinky-secret

Link to buy Our Kinky Secret

Story Rating: 4 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor: 3.5 out of 5

Our Kinky Secret is a femdom work-in-progress being released in e-booklets of approximately 20 pages each. It has an interesting premise: a domme who has been inactive for six years or so decides to get back in the scene via a kinky online dating service. After screening the responses to her ad in the personals section she focuses on one that seems to match her personal needs. The wannabe submissive she reaches out to turns out to be a famous movie actor whose fame has made it difficult for him to explore his submissive inclinations.

This is an erotic story after all, so things move along quickly and within days D/s liaisons are underway. Overall, the naughtiness they engage in is very erotic and imaginative, but more BDSM-lite than hardcore. It seems that the domme and her “temporary” submissive are headed for a long-term relationship, but since this is a serialized story, as of volume two that development has yet to be revealed.

Reviewed by Jim Lyon

askinkyAs Kinky As You Wanna Be by Shanna Germain

Link to buy As Kinky as You Wanna Be: Your Guide to Safe, Sane and Smart BDSM

Story Rating: 3.5 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 3.5 out of 5

Review:

This book is a good beginner’s look at the world of BDSM. It touches on many of the important aspects of the lifestyle but does not go into much detail or lengthy explanations on any of the subject matter. AS KINKY AS YOU WANNA BE YOUR GUIDE TO SAFE, SANE AND SMART BDSM does include some interviews, a word glossary and a resource guide that gives readers some more things to look at after reading the book. These give readers a glimpse into a world and lifestyle that many enjoy.

With the recent infatuation and interest in this world this light book is an easy read that works as a nice introduction to a kinkier lifestyle and gives readers some things to think about in a new way and may help with easing into the communication on some subjects that some people would like to try but are afraid or do not know how to broach the subject.

A few erotic short stories are also added to the book and were well written. I was glad to see that things like safety and communication were also included. This book is a quick look at another world for some readers. It is not a technical how to book but a good way for beginners to dip their toes into the big pool.

Reviewed by Gabrielle

Finding Submission by Megan Michaels finding

Link to buy Finding Submission

Story Rating: 4 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 3.5 out of 5

Review:

In a foolish act of defiance, Avery Beauchamp finds herself on the wrong end of the law. As the daughter of a prominent judge, she knows her daddy will come to the rescue. What she doesn’t expect is the solution that the local judge suggests. Clean house for lawyer Preston Harrison.  Rather than take punishment for her actions in the conventional sense, Avery agrees to clean house for the cute Preston Harrison, convinced she can wrap him around her little finger once she gets him alone.

She couldn’t have been more wrong.

This is an adorable story about a woman who has been spoiled her whole life, but deep down is a nice woman. Preston discipline’s Avery bringing out the sweet submissive nature he knew was beneath the surface. There isn’t a bunch of angsty conflict in this story and Avery is pretty damned accepting of Preston’s punishment. When I started the story, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it since spoiled little rich princesses are not characters I want to read. Thankfully, Avery had some depth which made the story better.

The kinky scenes were very good and fun to read. I found Avery’s trust in Preston a little unbelievable, but this is fiction not real life so I went along for the ride and had the fun the author intended.

All in all, this book was a fun read with none of the over-the-top conflict that could interfere with the basic story. I liked Preston and the way he handled Avery was sweet and satisfying.  Everyone gets their kinky happy ending and Avery and Preston seem well suited for each other.  I’d read another book by Megan Michaels.

Reviewed by Jennifer Leeland

temporaryTemporary Dom by Holly S. Roberts

Link to buy

Story Rating: 3.5 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 3.5 out of 5

Blurb:

Luke Isaak, the drummer for Blood Rights, is on a mission. Machala Winters got away once and Luke is determined it will never happen again. She’s perfect for his sadistic proclivities though the first time she held herself back and drove him crazy.

Machala knows what she wants and if Luke would accept her submission and stop prying into her past, he would be at the top of the list. Some things are meant to stay buried and a certain Dom needs to respect her privacy.

Sometimes love hurts in more ways than one. And sometimes a Temporary Dom holds a girl’s heart forever.

Note: This is Book III of the Bad Boys of Rock and a spin off from the Club El Diablo series. It can be read as a standalone novel.

Review:

Holly Roberts took a risk with Isaak and Machala. While most romances open with the couple in question meeting for the first time, she chose to feature main characters who have not only met but are already in love with one another. On one hand, the pre-existing chemistry between them helped heavy sex scenes make sense early in the story. However, it also made their happily ever after seem inevitable fairly early on in the story despite the hurdle of Machala’s past that they had to overcome. They were so wrapped up in each other from the very beginning that no other outcome seemed possible. The only mystery that remained was how Isaak would encourage Machala to open up to him.

Some readers may not agree that ‘encourage’ is the right word to chose in this case, considering Isaak’s style of dominance. Although he comforted and held Machala each time one of their scenes led to a tearful breakthrough, he also used pee and enema-play to humiliate and break her will. He employed breath-play without consulting her in advance and then went on to repeatedly ignore her safeword. Regardless of whether part of him was truly doing this for Machala’s good, he was also hoping she would break through that trauma for his own benefit so they could be together forever. In the process, he continued scenes without her consent and risked making the situation even worse. This is not what a good Dom would do, or a good partner, and readers with abuse histories may find themselves triggered by this plotline. It’s with these consent issues that Roberts took her second risk with the novel, as she potentially alienated some of her reader base.

Reviewed by Ethan X. Thomas

Black Widow by Lena Austin Black Widow

Link to buy Black Widow

Story Rating: 3.5 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 3.5 out of 5

Review:

A common storyline in BDSM literature involves some variation of the entrée into the lifestyle by an individual with a natural predisposition to become either a dominant or a submissive. While the theme of Lena Austin’s Black Widow definitely incorporates this basic scenario, her take on it is certainly unique.

A freelance writer with a background in law enforcement, sociology and psychology is presented with a lucrative proposal to write a somewhat scholarly article about the BDSM culture for a prestigious psychology journal. He accepts the challenge and cajoles his roommate from college, who is active in the local scene, to help him go undercover as a potential participant in order to observe the lifestyle in action unfiltered. Things are going well with his research until Calder realizes that the D/s dynamic appeals to him, as does Kelly, a beautiful domme who goes by the name Black Widow.

Unfortunately, Calder’s attraction to Kelly is problematic since he is in no way interested in becoming a submissive. As the reader is to learn, Calder is definitely dom material, and Kelly’s D/s radar detects it. But by good fortune, she has been seeking someone like him to be her equal partner, so at this point the story morphs into a BDSM romance progressing at lightening speed – but not without a few bumps along the way!

Within the context of Calder’s research, this book functions as a sort of BDSM primer for outsiders and newbies. In addition to showcasing basic protocols and conventions, some representative “scenes” are also highlighted. Since the Black Widow is a part-time pro domme, the author carefully differentiates lifestyle and play-for-pay activities and sensibilities.

Whereas I mostly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to new and long term readers of this genre, it has some issues that should be acknowledged. First of all, if lots of kinky sex scenes are on your wish list, you will be disappointed by this book. Virtually all the kinky stuff is devoid of sex, and the really steamy scenes between Kelly and Calder are hot but fairly normal – equal partners, remember?

In many respects the romance has a kind of high school giddiness to it, which seems at odds with the strong personalities of both lovers. Kelly transforms into a domestic goddess to bake a truly decadent cake as dessert for their first dinner date at her house. And within weeks of meeting her, Calder presents Kelly with his mother’s wedding ring and asks her to marry him.

Soon afterward Kelly discovers that Calder is a member of the press club – a fact that he failed to mention – and a major tiff ensues that temporarily scuttles the walk down the isle. After they patch things up and seal the deal with some naughty make-up sex, the story segues to an epilogue that primarily chronicles a slightly schmaltzy idealistic BDSM wedding ceremony in which the bride and groom and all the guests are decked out in fetish-wear while the “official” iterates the meaning of “the bond” and punctuates the occasion by reciting a version of the Apache Wedding Blessing. HEA then fade to black.

Reviewed by Jim Lyon

Her Naughty BoyHer Naughty Boy by Dakota Trace

Link to buy Her Naughty Boy: A Velvet Fist Novel

Story Rating: 4 out of 5 paddles

Sting Factor (kink): 3.5 out of 5

Review:

Although it contains several well-written erotic D/s scenes, Dakota Trace’s Her Naughty Boy is not the standard femdom fare its title seems to suggest. This book is basically about a budding romance in a femdom setting, complete with a HEA following a fair amount of angst and emotional drama between nearly lifelong besties as they struggle to become a couple without putting their friendship at risk. Both Lily and Kyle have some baggage from past relationships that complicate matters, as does the fact that Lily is a lifestyle domme and Kyle is vanilla (mostly), his long-harbored yet unexplored submissive desires notwithstanding.

As a rule I am not drawn to books that delve into the mechanics of complex relationships, but this one I found to be compelling. Anyone involved in the lifestyle, as well those who are BDSM-curious or wannabes, likely will benefit from the insights into D/s relationships explored within the narrative of this relatively short book. In many respects, Her Naughty Boy is also a good gateway book for novices because in the course of Kyle learning the ropes, much of the leather community’s sensibilities and protocols are touched upon in context, and in such a way that they don’t come across to readers as thinly disguised how-to lessons.

Reviewed by Jim Lyon