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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

TBR Challenge for September

September's TBR Challenge was to read a book with a verb in the title. I chose:

Tied With a Bow.

I got this anthology because somebody had recommended Madeleine Oh. I don't remember who, or why--just her name was in my little book of recommendations. As is obvious from the title and the cover, this is BDSM erotica.

  • **** "Two Days, Three Nights" by Dominique Adair. Erotic romance.

    Victoria Brittain has a secret admirer. She receives a gift of lingerie with no name, just the instruction to wear it to the company party that evening. She complies, enjoying the anticipation, and wondering who it is.

    It's good news and bad news. The good news is it's William Hunter, whom she's lusted after for the past year. The bad news is, he's a client. He takes charge of an incredible sexual encounter in her office during the party, then invites her to his home for the weekend (the 2 days, 3 nights of the title).

    This was my favorite of the stories. It's pointed out that Hunt had known from Victoria's ex-fiance that she enjoyed "kinky sex," so you know his approach didn't just come out of the blue. The romance is sweet, with both of them being surprised by the strength of their feelings for each other, and the emotions are realistic. The sex scenes are hot, clear, and plentiful, while still leaving enough space for a believable story.

  • ***½ "Anne's Birthday Bachelor" by Jennifer Dunne. Erotic romance.

    Workaholic Anne Logan hasn't had a date in far too long, and because she's responsible for every little detail at work, what she wants most is for a man who'll take charge of everything. So when her best friend Sarah attends a bachelor auction and bachelor Garrett describes taking care of a woman's every need, she knows exactly what to get Anne for her birthday.

    According to the rules of the auction, there's no sex allowed on the date, not even a good-night kiss, but between Garrett being completely in charge (he'd even asked Sarah about Anne's food preferences so he could order for her), and the "accidental" touches and friendly flirtatious conversation, Anne's more than willing to have a second, more private date beginning immediately after the official date is over.

    This story gets props for having the most fun and unusual description of an orgasm I think I've ever read: "You mean, does playing the game while you make love always feel like someone's opened the top of your head and filled your brain with Pop Rocks?" But that also brings me to my main objection. Despite that great description, the characters remain matter-of-fact, nonchalant, casual. They might as well be discussing the weather or a grocery list. The actions are steamy, but their thoughts and dialogue are tepid. And calling their D/s play "the Game" started bugging me after a while. I appreciate the point that it's a game rather than a lifestyle for them, but it started feeling like I was being bashed over the head with it.

    The ending, though, was clever, happy, believable, and fair to both of them--and unusual, at least to me, and I read enough to be thrilled by an unusual ending.

  • **½ "Power Play" by Madeleine Oh. Erotica.

    Annie's master Mark and Tom's mistress Claudine give Annie the gift of Tom for her birthday. Sub Annie had planned to dominate Tom, but he dominates her instead.

    This story is all about the sex. Which is hot, but there wasn't enough emotional context for me to really enjoy it. There's a brief bit confirming Annie's devotion to Mark and Tom's to Claudine, but as Mark and Claudine are perfectly fine with the arrangement, there's no conflict there, and no conflicted emotions from Annie or Tom.

    Maybe I'm jaded, but I need more story with my sex scenes.


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