KarmaBites

Karma♥Bites’s Mercurial Reads

Eclectic, cross-genre mood reader (but of late, mostly erotica, romance & para/UF—including m/m & ménage).  At times, the realities of life & work tend to dictate how UNreal a world I choose for an escape.

Fair warning:  I may walk like a lady but I cuss like a salty sailor. ^.~




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Currently reading

How to Howl at the Moon
Eli Easton
Progress: 23 %

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Lisa Henry, M. Caspian

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Joey W. Hill

Strain
Amelia C. Gormley
Progress: 57 %

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Maid for It - Lucy Rodgers MAID FOR IT is one of the smartest read that I've had in a while and one of the few which manages to portray the start of a BDSM relationship (specifically, master/slave) in a realistic manner. I highly recommend this novella to anyone who is curious about this genre but prefer to dip their toes in rather than plunge straight into the deep end.
(Psst! It's still free on Amazon as of this review's posting.)

Why it's a smart read: Incredibly well-written, MAID FOR IT follows the budding relationship over the course of several months. It's definitely erotica but die-hard erotica readers (especially of BDSM) may deem the sexual encounters as on the light side. However, I found MAID FOR IT more interesting for its basic psychological insights into a sexually inexperienced female who is also completely ignorant of BDSM. (Thankfully, the female protag is mostly a determined realist, not a weak-kneed damsel in distress.) Now, I'm not saying that it's worthy of Psychology Today, just that it's approachable for the everyday reader. And BDSM is as much about the psychological and emotional needs of the individuals involved as it can be about physical pleasure (or pain).

Written in the first person, the reader is able to follow Gabi's slow progression from "Madre de Dios, what kind of monster have I given myself to?" to "Perhaps he's not really changing me at all but simply showing who I always was" to "Rather than feeling trapped by his demands, I'm freed by the certainty and security they provide". The conclusion feels right and is believable because the ultimate decision is left to Gabi and she can finally make a decision based on free will.

Upon first meeting Gabi, Ben lays out his basic ground rules and then tests her acceptance of them. But when he realizes just how inexperienced she is, he immediately questions how she could even know that she was a submissive. The fact that weeks then pass before a substantive BDSM encounter occurs is more like real life. No self-respecting Dom would throw such a person straight into hard-core BDSM scenes, no matter how much he "senses" the submissive in her. (Yes, it's a fictional story but it's bad fiction when its credibility extends beyond a reasonable suspension of disbelief.)

Why the plot works: Taken as a whole, the storyline seems far-fetched. But each separate plot point is based in reality. Innocent people sometimes do witness criminal acts which place their lives in jeopardy. Every day, women are coerced or abducted into the sex trade. Men do pay to have their sexual desires met. BDSM is a much larger community than most people realize, simply because those in the lifestyle usually don't flaunt it.

My biggest complaint? The ending felt incomplete/premature. Perhaps Ms. Rodgers would consider re-visiting Gabi and Ben in a future book.

Also, I would've liked to have had some of Ben's POV, instead of inferring from his actions. But then again, POV switches may have detracted from Gabi's progress as she comes to understand Ben and her perceptions change, even if her original circumstances don't. Lastly, there were some editing errors but not beyond the "we're all human" range, and I did question certain plot points but none were major enough to tank the book for me. (The author is more than welcomed to PM me if curious about these items.)

Well-written, thoughtful and sexy, with sympathetic characters and a tangible romance. All from a new author who deserves to be read and followed. Well done, Ms. Rodgers!