Monthly Archives: January 2014

Clearing the erotic short story shelf, part II

I so enjoyed chipping away at my erotica shelf that I decided to do it again. This time I made a point to try and hit all the really short ones. So, I got to spend my day with lots of little erotic bites. Jealous? You should be.

 All of these were free at the time I downloaded them, but I know at least half of them are perma-free from Amazon.

Her Billionaire, Her Wolf

Her Billionaire, Her Wolf, by Aimélie Aames

The first half of this was good, if a little cliché. The poor girl who nabs the billionaire’s eye has been done and done again. Unfortunately, the whole thing fell apart when it took a drastic left turn from its plot up to that point and then just ended at 60%. (The remaining 40% appeared to be a preview of the next instalment. I didn’t bother reading it.) I’m sorry, but that ticks me off. This is not a complete story. It doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, it ends on an incompletion. I was left with more questions than answers and there were more open threads than closed….wait, there were no tied up threads. NONE. At a stretch, it could be considered the first chapter of a longer work, but if you take that route then you’re faced with having to pay for each and every chapter. No. I refuse. The author can obviously write. I have no complaints in that department, but I will not be continuing this series.

Rafe's Rules

Rafe’s Rules, by P. J. Tallis

Before I get into the meat of this review I would like to congratulate Ms. Tallis on writing a short story that has a beginning, middle and, wonders of all wonders, an ending. This should not be at all notable, but I have read SOOO many stories lately that don’t end. They’re either serials or just cliffhangers. Drives me nuts. So, thank you Ms. Tallis for ending this. It just proves that it can be done, even for stories that have sequels. Where I might otherwise have called this a 3 star read, I ADDED a star for the blessing of an ending.

As for the rest of the story, I rather enjoyed Rafe as a character. She was a hard drinking, hardass of a woman who was willing to do whatever need be to get a job done. I thought some of her risks ridiculous, but it was still a fun read. I have to admit that her narrative style wore on me, however. There were just too many asides to the reader for my taste. For the most, though, part I don’t consider my time to have been wasted.

Attracting Anthony

Attracting Anthony, by Amber Kell

If I dramatically suspend my disbelief, I could call this a fun read. I didn’t completely hate it, but the fact that I think the idea could have been something really good leaves me disappointed with what I read. The characters had no depth, even worse they were painfully cliché—the ultra dominant Alpha, the gorgeous twink (Can I say that as a straight woman? Hope so.), the hard-up BFF, the servile pack mates, the posh vampires, etc.

The plot was thin, at best. Alpha spots his destined mate, recognises him immediately by his smell and sets about claiming him (no room for plot development there). Said mate is hesitant but really wants to be dominated, too bad he happens to have so much power and wealth of his own. This is where there could have been an interesting inter/intrapersonal journey for the characters. Given another 100 pages or so, this could have been developed into a rich and satisfying story. Instead, it was rushed and blunt in its presentation. It essentially boiled down to a good pounding in bed, a pretty necklace, possessive demands and an inferred happily ever after. Meh!

Wedding Night SpankingWedding Night Spanking, by Leena Darling

Meh. I suppose this is a matter of taste. It story is essentially just one longish scene encompassing a husband and wife’s first wedding night sexual encounter. The writing was fine, but I just didn’t find it sexy. Instead, I found the whole thing abusive and thought Rick infantalized his wife and insulted her intelligence. I rather like the occasional spanking story, but though this included spanking, it was much more about enforced submission and male mastery of his possession (ie: wife). Nope, not my cup of tea. There was no fun in it for me.

Honeymoon Spanking

Honeymoon Spanking, by Leena Darling

Again, like the first story, I didn’t particularly care for this. However, I got the two at the same time, so it would annoy me to have the second unread on my TBR list long after reading the 1st. So I went ahead and read it hoping I might like it more than the first. I didn’t. I still found Rick’s discipline to be actual disciple (like a father spanking a daughter) rather than sex play and I disliked it. This is a personal preference of course. I enjoy a spanking scene when it’s encompassed in sex and there is fun to it. But a sobbing woman saying, “It hurts” isn’t sexy to me. Especially when it isn’t mediated by arousal. Here the beating and the sex are two separate incidents and as such I couldn’t over look the abusive nature of Rick’s spankings as I can in other instances. Nope still not my cup of tea.

Of Pets and Pleasures

Of Pets and Pleasures, by Annette Gisby

Some aspects of this I really quite liked. It was sweet in its own way. But I also appreciated that the humans weren’t made out to be universally good. It was clear that their intercessions had been the original reason that the aliens found themselves in the social position to become slaves in the first place. And despite the way the Master is kind to his slave, shows affection even, there is no mistaking his status as a possession. This added a little depth to the story. (There wasn’t much else.)

I did find myself cringing a little at the way the slave was continually referred to as a youth and was so small. It was stated that he had reached his mating age, whatever that be, but he was presented in a childlike way. creepy. All in all it was an enjoyable 20 or so minutes I spent reading it.

Kawaii Love

Kawaii Love, by Roxie Feurouge

When I downloaded this book it was called Seducing the Weeaboo. (A weeaboo being a person who is obsessed with Japan/Japanese Culture/Anime and tries to act as if they’re Japanese, even though they’re not.) And if memory serves, it had a girl in a Lolita-style dress on the cover. (The story actually further defines her attire as Gothic Lolita. Think lots of ruffles, petty-coats, and bows, like a hopped up Little Bow Peep.) So between the title, cover, blurb and my own manga/anime fandom I went into this expecting some serious WTF kind of action. I thought that might be part of the fun. I’m even fairly familiar with some of the motifs spoofed here. Despite that, I just wanted to cry for it.

The problem had nothing to do with any of the anime references. A yaoi cat-boy is pretty classic and I’d probably have been disappointed if one didn’t show up. My complaint was with the not sexy sex and the lack of logic. For example, Jack has to ram painfully through her hymn but the girl owns numerous dildos/vibrators. What exactly has she been doing with these if she still has an intact hymn? Plus, she’s said to be 20 on page one, but 18 late on.

Jack was cruel, vulgar, unconcerned with her pleasure and the fisting was just too blunt to be enjoyable. I’d even let it slide on its lack of possibility if it hadn’t just been stated as non-erotically as a chore list. Now, Ms. Feurouge can certainly write, but this a serious disappointment for me. I’d give it a one star if I used star ratings here.

Darkling Mine

Darkling Mine, by Andra Sashner

I thought that this was a sweet little fantasy story. There was sex, but I don’t know that I’d qualify it as erotic. There’s only one mild sex scene and a couple inferred instances of sex. But Bjorn and Pet were a cute couple and watching Pet finally accept Bjorn, who had essentially thrown himself at him, was nice.

I’d love to see this expanded into a longer work. The vampire mythos seems to be different than the norm, but I was never quite able to come to terms with it. This was made more problematic because it left me uncertain what Pet’s circumstances were really supposed to be when he and Bjorn met. Was he newly made? Was he born a vampire? Was he struggling for some particular reason? None of this is answerable, because I don’t know the pertinent fact’s of Sashner’s vampires. Similarly, though Bjorn was a Viscount, I have no idea about what the political structure of the country might be and therefore what social power he might wield.

All in all, however, for a 35 page story I enjoyed it.

What He Wants

What he Wants, by Eden Cole

This was an all right GFY story. I enjoyed the friends-to-lovers theme and I thought watching the men come to their decisions was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, after that it seemed to shift into a high gear and everything went a little too fast for me. Yeah, I get that it’s a short story, but it had room to expand. Plus, I would have like to see both men play both roles, as opposed to just the one. It left the story feeling uneven.

Chipping away at the erotic short story shelf

I keep saying that I don’t read short stories, but I’m apparently a liar, because I seem to download a whole heck of a lot of them. Today I made an effort to read a few and chose erotica as the theme. Be warned, some of these are not for the faint of heart. Then again, some of them turned out not to be erotic at all, just incredibly sweet.  Most of them came from the Amazon free list and may still be free.

Serpentine TongueSerpentine Tongue, by Kayden McLeod

Eh, it was OK I suppose. I imagine some people will really enjoy it. Personally, I found it to be a continuous string of painful fantasy & romance clichés. I found myself cringing after a while. But I’ll be the first to admit these tropes are so frequently used because people generally like them. So there will be a subset of readers who are thrilled to see so many of them together in one place. I’m just not one of them.

I did very much appreciate that Siobhan was a truly strong female lead. She was equally as strong as the male leads; certainly, she was given more time to demonstrate her strength. There was one fairly mild ménage scene (the only sex in the story) that I liked well enough. I even liked all three of them…I think.

I say I think because they all felt a little shallow and could have done with a little depth. I also found some of the language stiff. Part of this was the effect of ‘fantasy language.’ Yes, I made that phrase up, but I imagine any frequent reader of high fantasy will recognise what I mean. The fae always seem to be written to sound posh, for example. But some of it was just stilted writing.

All in all, I don’t consider this one a fail, but I’m not rushing out to find out if there is a sequel either.

The Dragon and the WolfThe Dragon and the Wolf (Things in the Night), by Mandy Rosko

This was almost good. It started off well and remained good for about 2/3 of it. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the pace skyrocketed, the romance popped into existence out of the ethers apparently, there was an almost sex scene (or rather, there was sex just no sex scene, leaving me feeling cheated) and then the whole thing just ended. It felt very much like the first couple chapters of a longer piece, as opposed to an actual short story.

I could try and excuse it as a prequel, but it’s not the first in the series and the sequel is about another couple entirely. This suggests to me that there isn’t to be much more of Westley and Chris’ story, even if they do happen to be in the next book.

The writing seemed pretty good, but it’s a teaser at best.

Debasement

Debasement (His Nemesis #1), by Jack Brighton

In theory I thought the dirty debasement promised in book would be hot, but the reality of it…or rather the reality of reading it was more than I could actually stomach. It was everything it promised, true—rough, kinky, abusive, and at some points arousing. But I just couldn’t get down with spitting in your partners face during sex, and other such not sexy things (even if the MC was a dislikable character). I may have liked it if it hadn’t been taken quite so far. This is of course a personal line. But I found that this one way overstepped mine and I didn’t particularly enjoy it.

Pharon's DemonPharon’s Demon, by Anne Marsh

This is not a book to be taken seriously, not at all. I mean really, a female pirate who likes to get caught…because being caught apparently equals sex. I guess it never occurred to anyone to just shoot thieves. Go figure. It’s ridiculous. Having said that, it’s supposed to be and when taken with the appropriate truck load of salt it’s a lot of fun. I noticed a few typos and at 38 pages it’s not very long, but it was an enjoyable quickie. 

On an unrelated side note, except for the fact that this short was apparently later expanded into a longer piece involving cats, I have no clue what the lion on the cover is about. There’s not a single cat in the book.

Hazing MoonHazing Moon, by Layla Cole

I was surprised by this one. I had VERY low expectations, but ended up enjoying it. Despite one character being blindfolded and tied to a pole it managed to avoid feeling like (or being) rape. Amazing that. I liked Christopher’s shyness as well as his dominant streak. Hard to imagine the two in the same person, but it worked. I got less of a feel for Logan, but liked what I saw. It well written and fairly well edited.

I do have a complaint about it being the first in a series. I seriously dislike serial short stories. If you’re going to write the pages anyway, why no just publish it as a book so I don’t have to buy each chapter? When it comes down to it, that’s what I see a short story series as—a book you have to pay each time you want the next chapter. The fact that it’s called an instalment is just semantics, IMO. I refuse to buy subsequent chapters on principle. Then again, it’s possibly a stretch to call this a chapter even, it’s more like a 29 page scene and little more.

Something SweetSomething Sweet, by Megan Derr

This was a very short, very sweet clean M/M read. I enjoyed it. There were quite a few editorial errors—swapped names, missing words, etc. But they didn’t detract from the “awww” effect any, or how much I liked Sherlock and Basil. They were like shy little boys all grown up…ok, that’s exactly what they were. But it was still fun to see. It passed a pleasant 20 minutes. This wasn’t the first Megan Derr story I’ve encountered and enjoyed and I expect it won’t be the last, especially if she keeps them on the free list.

Review of Anne Marsh’s Tempted by the Pack (Blue Moon Brides, #1)

Tempted by the PackI grabbed Tempted by the Pack, by Anne Marsh, off the KDP free list. At the time of posting, it was still free. 

Description from Goodreads:
Once in a blue moon…
For Rafer Breaux, life in the Louisiana Bayou is harsh, violent—and deeply sensual. The Cajun werewolf lives for his Pack and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep his brothers safe. The longer a wolf lives without a mate, the harder it becomes for that wolf to shift back. To remember that he is a man—and not a monster. And those mates can only be found during a blue moon. When a blue moon finally rises, Rafer will need every weapon in his sensual arsenal to tempt one special woman into his arms and the heart of the Pack.

The Pack hunts for mates
Fighting to keep her family farm, Lark Andrews isn’t looking for love. Even if the very sexy Breaux brothers make her dream of hot bayou nights spent in their arms. When the blue moon leads Rafer to her door, however, Rafer has her rethinking her position on all work and no play. Now, the bayou nights are heating up as Rafer fights to convince her, one sensual touch at a time, to give love and passion a chance. But Rafer isn’t a one wolf deal. Is there room in Lark’s heart—and bed—for Rafer and his Pack?

Review:
I’ll give this 4 erotic stars. ‘Cause we all know to expect a little less from an erotic title. There wasn’t a lot of character or world building. There wasn’t any time for the characters to get to know each-other and there was only a brief wrap up at the end. (The vamp issue seemed to just disappear.) But honestly I don’t expect anything more from erotica. What I did get from this book, which was more than I expected, was some really good writing outside the sex scenes. I don’t mean to say the sex scenes weren’t well done. They were fine. But the first couple chapters leading up to the meeting of the pack, claiming, and lots of sex were surprisingly good. Much better than a lot of others. I especially liked the use of regional dialect, without it being so heavy as to feel forced.

I did have a little trouble getting my head around the idea of Lark mating with a single werewolf but having sex with the whole pack. It felt very much like the author was trying to eat her cake and have it too. IMO, Lark needed to mate the pack or mate a single member of the pack. Trying to accomplish both was too much. I was also repeatedly irked by Rafer being referred to as Alpha, when he was the Beta of the pack. I get that this was being used as an adjective not a title, but it still irritated me.

Despite a few complaints here and there, I basically enjoyed Tempted by the Pack. The whole vampire/werewolf drama was given a new twist that would be fun to see expanded on. I’m looking forward to more of Anne Marsh’s works.