Monday, January 28, 2019

Mini-Reviews: More Short Erotic Reads

I had the laziest Sunday in recent memory.  How lazy?  I did nothing but read all day (OK, hold up - I did a load of laundry).  Part of the binge were three short, erotic stories.

First up is Flinch by L. Setterby, whose full-length erotic romance, Breathe, was one of my best reads in 2018.  I downloaded this story right after reading Breathe because I had to have more and...well, it was short and free (it's still free as of this posting - at least on Amazon).

David still isn't over his ex, so much so that she's a favorite topic of conversation when he sees his therapist.  David is a masochist and Ann-Marie...well, let's just say she's sweetness and light and David is filled with just enough self-loathing that the thought of corrupting her bothers him.  So because he can't talk about what he wants and needs from her, and she's annoyed that he doesn't trust her enough to open up to her, their relationship withers on the vine.  So it's complicated when he runs into her at a business conference.

This is a very short story - clocking in around 30 pages.  For that reason, it works as erotica.  As a romance?  It's hard to say.  I have no doubt David and Ann-Marie care for each other and are miserable apart - but in the long term can their relationship work?  I'd like to think so - but there's not enough of a word count here to definitively convince me.  But heroes like David aren't exactly thick on the ground in Romancelandia, so for that reason I'm calling this one successful. Plus it gives a good introduction to the author's voice if you've never read her before.

Final Grade = B

Under Her Uniform by Victoria Janssen is one of the slightly longer Spice Briefs and while I dug the setting, this is an instance where author "voice" didn't really click for me.  Isobel Hailey has disguised herself as a man ("Bob") to serve in the British Army during World War I.  Why?  The money is apparently good and she has a mother and younger sister to support.  She's having an affair with two men (one is bisexual, the other gay) who know she's really a woman, but otherwise it's secret.  So her lusting after Corporal Andrew Southey is really pointless.  But it all gets complicated when she's assigned to a top-secret mission and Southey is named her partner.

This one just didn't flow for me.  After I finished it I realized why.  Isobel was a secondary character in the full-length historical erotic paranormal, The Moonlight Mistress.  There's a number of characters on the page and it took me a while to settle in.  I think this is an instance where this short will work better as a companion piece to readers familiar with the full-length novel.  For me?  Janssen writes the setting very well (oh man, the trench scenes are really fantastic) - but otherwise it left me feeling pretty meh.

Final Grade = C

Ritual: Shibari by Saskia Walker was originally published by Spice Briefs in 2012 under the title Forbidden Ritual (which is the edition I had in my TBR).  Imogen is a high-powered executive having a torrid affair with her younger colleague, Giles.  She's submissive to his Dominant, but he knows she's holding back.  When Giles suggests shibari (rope bondage) she's initially hesitant, but ultimately succumbs - only to have her world rocked.

This story has been in my TBR for 7 years and a lot has changed in 7 years.  Namely female sub + male Dom = Wendy snoozefest.  I mean, it's been done.  Ad nauseam.  I'm bored with it.  Let's move on.  But....

Walker can write y'all.  She's probably one of the most under-appreciated, under the radar writers of erotic romance and she writes the hell out of this story.  Imogen is a powerful woman who loves her job and she's 40 (oh thank you baby Jesus!).  Giles is 8 years younger, totally smitten with her, and while he is a Dom, I never felt like he wanted to "break" her.  He wants her to soar - and he knows her holding herself back will keep that from happening.

Look, this still isn't my thing and I'm still pretty well over female sub, male Dom BDSM erotic romance, but this was a very well done short, erotic story.  It also reminds me why I tend to one-click Walker's books.

Final Grade = B


Rowena said...

I'm so glad that you still review. Don't ever stop reviewing, Wendy. I wouldn't have picked up any of these books to read for myself but I still liked reading your thoughts on them.

Kazen @ Always Doing said...

I've been in a mood for erotic shorts lately so I immediately downloaded Flinch and had a look at Saskia Walker's books. I'm not over female sub/male Dom (yet, anyway!) so I'm intrigued. Thanks for these reviews!

azteclady said...

I love that you are (mostly) enjoying what you are reading--enough to do (mostly) nothing all Sunday, but read.

(No comments on the actual reading material because I've been off erotica/erotic romance for a while, even before the reading slump from hell befell me)

Wendy said...

Rowena: I'm just self-absorbed enough to think that people really want to hear me talk about books LOL

Kazen: Walker is consistently good. Others I liked were: Her Fantasy (short), Sex Lies and Bondage Tape (novella length) and the full-length novel, Double Dare.

AL: I really do enjoy erotica and erotic romance but OMG there's so much crap out there. I get tired of wading through the crap after a while, then somehow stumble across one that's awesome and it reminds me why it's so good when done right and...I go back out on a bender. I think that's why I prefer shorter with the sub genre. Fewer pages for things to run off the rails or you find out right away if the dumpster is going to burst into flames.