The Horse Master of Shanhasson by Joely Sue Burkhart

I found this to be a very strange story. It has a BDSM theme, but the premise for why the High Queen required this treatment was unbelievable to the point of ridiculousness, and the author’s choice for how the BDSM scenes should be executed bordered on the unpalatable. I love a good BDSM story, but this just wasn’t one. Those aspects of the story felt so awkwardly written that, to me, it came across as abusive.

What the author does do right, however, is the romance. If you look at this story from that angle alone, I thought the plot very well done. The horse master was a wonderful character, and the fantasy setting made for a very unique vehicle in which to tell this story. I really liked how he gentled and tamed the High Queen, bringing her down from that abused mindset and fleshing out the affection they had for one another until it budded into the beginnings of real love. Their romance was beautiful and touching and sexy as hell where and when it should be. The insertions of the BDSM scenes, I feel, were unnecessary and ruined what would otherwise have been a unique and enjoyable story. 3 Stars

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Dumpsterotica: How Dirty Are You? (An Erotic Comedy) by Allie Beck

I was not so fond of this story, but I have a feeling that this is more my problem than because of anything the author’s done. Technically, this story is very well written. The author knows how to tell a story, knows how to punctuate, and has put obvious effort into making this as polished and professional as anything you’d pick up off a book store shelf. My problem with it revolves around the characters: I just didn’t like them and I don’t see how this book can be billed as a comedy when it wasn’t funny.

This is the story of two people who have little respect for one another and can’t communicate. Marcia is a wife with a very unhealthy (in more ways than one) obsession with her electric toothbrush. She hasn’t achieved an orgasm with her husband in the four years they’ve been together. So, instead of seeing a therapist to figure out why, she cuts him off from sex almost entirely (once a month, if he’s lucky) and masturbates every day. I find her attitude to be so selfish, it’s appalling. Joe, on the other hand, isn’t much better. Frustrated and desperate, he begins arranging ‘date nights’ for the express purpose of getting his wife plastered on enough champagne to finally get her into bed. Why anyone would want to stay married to someone who withholds their physical affection, is beyond my understanding. I’d have advised Marcia to see a professional about her hangups and Joe to see a divorce lawyer. He deserves better than a woman who thinks nothing of holding her husband sexually hostage while she gets her rocks off on a daily basis.  Where in any of this is there supposed to be humor?  It’s possible it was while they were in a restaurant dumpster, having sex while wallowing around in the cast off food, getting it on their faces and in their mouths, but I was so disgusted at that point maybe I just didn’t notice.  I won’t be reading the second in the series.  3 Stars

Dragon Actually by G. A. Aiken

This book was originally titled ‘To Challenge A Dragon’ and G. A. Aiken is an alias of Shelley Laurenston.  I’ve heard a lot of good things about her other works, so I was really looking forward to reading this story. I love a good fantasy romance and if it’s got dragons it, so much more the better. But the writing in this was so bad, I couldn’t enjoy any of it. The author has a love for fragmented sentences that takes what could have been a wonderful story and drop kicks it right down to good story, annoyingly told. The dragon waffles so badly in and out of character that he can’t be taken seriously. The heroine, for being such a strong warrior, acts more like a spoiled teenager, perpetually on the very of either stupidity or a tantrum (this gets very tiresome, very fast). I honestly thought for a while that maybe the author intended this to be a young adult fantasy, right up until the dragon started fantasizing about bending Annwyl over and fucking her (author’s wording). There are spots here and there that are funny in ways that left me thinking maybe the writing was simple for a reason and I just don’t get the humor. But I kinda of feel robbed for paying $5 for a story that is, at best, worth half that. 2 Stars

Daddy’s Tails Trilogy 1 by Tasia Winters

There are massive differences between writers and storytellers.  Ms Winters is a fabulous storyteller.  The power exchange in this trilogy are phenomenally good.  Master Victor is spellbinding and believable.  The tension in these pages upgrades the bdsm eroticism from merely hot to bonfire proportions.  It’s almost hypnotic, it keeps you wanting to turn the page.  Much as Tasia was taken out of her comfort zone, as the reader, at times I found myself being pulled out of mine as well.  But that’s all right.  That’s part of what makes a good fantasy.  My problem with the book stems from the author’s inability to cross over from being a wonderful storyteller, into being a writer.  This book has the potential of being not just good, but great.  Unfortunately, before that can happen it has to be edited.  The author has NO grasp on even basic punctuation and how it should be used.  Wrong, incorrect and missing words abound.  Had a good editor seen this before I did, this review would have been 5 stars.  This is a very rough draft version of a book that should not yet be published.  Also, this is not a Trilogy as advertised.  The third story is simply a repeat of the later half of the second story.  Sadly, I doubt the rest of her works are any better, so I won’t be continuing the series. 2 Stars

In 9 Days by Red Phoenix

Very few first-love stories are written as well or as beautifully as this one. There is no HEA, but there is the hope of one and, were I the heroine, it’s one I’d be willing to wait for. A few days from her 18th birthday, Tessa meets Kevin, a badly scarred student newly transferred to her school. Though she risks censorship from her ‘friends’ and peers, Tessa strikes up a conversation and what unfurls between them quickly becomes the friendship of a lifetime. This is a truly wonderful and passionate true-love story between two teenagers coming of age. It is tender and sweet, sensual when and where appropriate (after legal age has obtained) and I would recommend it without reservation to anyone who enjoys a good romance. Red Phoenix has proved him/herself to be a master in his/her field. 5 Stars

A Bestiary of Unnatural Women by Ashley Zacharias

In the forward, the author asks, “What species are these kinky women who willingly submit to bondage, humiliation, and pain?”  Without hesitation or equivocation I answer, the human woman.  It’s a cliche for a reason; we come in all sizes, shapes and colors.  We come from all financial backgrounds, educations and walks of life.  We love all kinds of men–from the sensitive 90s guy-wannabes to the bad boys that curl our toes–and yet we are as complex a creature as any organism imaginable.

In this anthology you will find everything from ‘damaged goods’ to the fetishly-inclined and the downright ‘insane’.  And yet as I read my way from one incredulous tale to the next, I found myself…not attracted, per se.  I can’t imagine anyone being attracted to what some of these women endure, but I can see the appeal through their eyes and I can admire their strength of conviction.  This is not your ordinary book of erotic shorts.  The stories, although sexually charged and sex-oriented, didn’t strike me as being erotic at all.  But I did find them beautiful in their own strange and very dark ways, even the two stories that absolutely repelled me.  It takes a very talented author to do that.  There are a few minor editing issues, including one really bad formatting one (many, many, many paragraphs are not indented), however the quality of the content more than make up for this in my opinion.  4 Stars, each and every one of which has been very well-earned.

Escape by Melissa Stevens

I am honestly dismayed at having to leave this review.  I don’t want to sound mean, but at the same time I don’t think it can be avoided.  The author’s style of writing is more suited to YA fantasy than adult erotica.  For a while there, that’s what I thought I was reading.  But even with children’s books, your readers expect you to know how to write and that first very basic step in authorship was not demonstrated in this book.  This is rough draft quality, at best.  The author does not have a grasp of punctuation (commas and periods should not be used interchangeably).  She does not know how a published book should be formatted (some paragraphs are indented here but some aren’t, and the lines are double-spaced).  Poor editing and an insistence on descriptively drawing out mundane activities stymy the story instead of moving it along.  The author does show some promise with her world building.  For instance, it’s obvious that a lot of thought went into the social structuring of her were-cats.  She’s developed a convincing hierarchy and social positioning that is both foreign feeling and believable.  But it just wasn’t enough to save the rest of the story, which struck me as being boring, predictable and badly written.

Life After Rachel by Maren Smith

This is a very powerful and emotional story, something you don’t often see in the spanking genre and I hope the author does more of them!  Set in western times, the hero is a man who has just lost not only his wife but the love of his life when she gave birth to their son.  The baby is lactose intolerant, and so when the local preacher discovers a smoking wagon train (attacked by indians–who keep come back time and again) with the lone survivor being a now infantless mother, he takes her back to the hero and for the sake of the baby’s survival, they marry.

So here they are, in the middle of a plain’s wilderness nowhere, with hostile indians in the background, both of them grieving.  The heroine is from a different country so she doesn’t speak English, and the hero is so torn up by guilt and grief for having remarried so soon that being nice to Ana is the last thing he can bear to do.  And yet, there is a love story here.  The more the hero tries to keep his reluctant new wife at bay, the more she starts to get under his skin and the more he’s able to see (as the title of the story suggests) that life does go on.  This is a BDSM story about two people who have loved and lost in the most tragic way possible, and learned to love again.  There are spankings in it, considering who the author is, I’ve come to expect them.  And considering the heavy subject mater, sometimes the spankings come across as being more disciplinary than erotic, but I like that kind at times and those parts were a real turn on for me.  The romance itself was incredibly well-written and memorable.  I read this on the Woodshed first and then had to buy the paperback off Lulu, I loved it that much! 5 Stars

The Devil’s Bitch by Rachel Boleyn

This is a very well-written and hot short erotic horror story.  Laini’s sorority house decides to summon a demon on Halloween.  What could possibly go wrong there?  Let’s start with the moment they succeed and go straight on to every subsequent and torturously delicious moment thereafter.  Both hot and disturbing, seductive and yet shudder-inducingly awful at the same time, this story gives a vengeful, sex-minded demon the respect he deserves!  Kudos to the author.  I loved this story! 5 Stars

Deep Inside by Sandy Stroker

From start to finish, this reads like it was written for (or by) young children but with a very adult theme to it.

The HBN virus is wiping out all sexually active humans. To combat this epidemic, Sydney has been kidnapped to take part in an experiment to save the human race. The problem is…the whole book. The plot is ludicrous, but it’s erotica so okay, I gave the author the benefit of the doubt in the hopes s/he could do something interesting with this wet-dream fantasy in literature form. However, having set up the rules of the world, the author promptly goes on to forget them when they no longer become convenient.

#1, You can’t use sex to combat something that spreads via sex. Maybe I’m wrong, but the impression I’m getting is that’s exactly what Sydney’s being trained for in this Le Femme Nikita meets 28 Days Later (without or without the zombies, I’m not yet sure).

#2, In the first quarter of the book, Fallon clearly states, “the virus is currently working its way through this nation. Once the sexually active have died, the virus will mutate into an airborne threat killing children and anyone with a breath. ” (This is exactly as it’s written in the story, errors and all, by the way.) So my problem here is, how can they keep saying they’ll keep her safe by removing her (in the beginning, it’s just her and Fallon, but I guess the author forgets that and magically inserts other women later on) to a remote location? Is it so remote that the air (complete with soon-to-be mutated airborne virus) not find her there? And if so, how can they then keep her safe? And how do they know it’ll soon become airborne unless it’s already started to make that transition? Oh yeah, I forgot. Because, as Landon says, and I quote, “We know everything here.”

#3, “Your training is not optional. In exchange for your service you will be safe here, away from the disease (because, remember, the air can’t find her here). We will protect you. ” said Landon. (If he can, why isn’t he protecting everyone?)

“What do you mean by my service,” said Sydney.

“We are developing a very small unit of female operatives for our organization to stop the virus from spreading once the population has killed itself off. (Once the population is killed off, that’ll pretty much stop the virus cold, won’t it?) We imagine there will be those in hiding who will continue to have sex (then (a.) the population isn’t killed off and (b.) if they don’t, say good bye to the human race) and perhaps re-ignite the virus again,” said Landon. (Once again, all errors cheerfully included, by the way.) So really, the author is setting up a scenario in which Sydney will be expected to murder anyone the virus didn’t get to for the sin of continuing to engage in sex. Sydney herself and everyone else there (those who didn’t exist until it was suddenly convenient for the author to produce them) is just as suddenly now also immune to the HBN virus because they have an XMY Chromosome. Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t this pretty much nullify the entire problem of the virus? The author has already said she expects the majority of the populace to ‘kill itself off.’ If certain pockets of people have this natural ability to ward off the disease, then just wait. There’s no reason to kill anyone. Just wait until the disease works its way through, then round up the survivors and start again. It won’t be the first time in human history that we’ve come back from an extinction-level event. Why the need to train her (and the other female ‘operatives’ at this facility) to use guns, knives, machetes (omg, they’re going to hack people apart?!?), etc on those they find still alive? They can’t catch the disease! They’re immune to it! They are under no threat whatsoever from the dying and/or equally immune survivors. This story is going to give me a brain aneurism.

At this point, the author remembers this is supposed to be erotica and randomly begins to insert huge blocks of italicized sexual acts that Sydney would like to have done to her. The last thing we are told is for Sydney to ‘make sure you wash deeply inside’ so she can be ready for her next bout of ‘training’. Then there’s another random italicized burst of sub-par erotic fantasy and the chapter ends. That’s right, this is a chapter by chapter release of a longer brain aneurism-inducing story that I have absolutely no desire to waste any more time on.  1 Star and only because I can’t give it zero.