Aug 162012
 

If you haven’t read my review for Becoming sage, I suggest you do so first, as this is second in the series.

Local Colorado authors Kasi Alexander and Reggie Alexander do it again; they create a great book of hot BDSM erotica that balances realness and relationships far better than Fifty Shades of Grey ever could. In Saving sunni, the relationship between Sir Rune, sage and sunni (lack of capitalization is on purpose) continues here, but this time, their trials and tribulations are more than the traditional tests of a relationship. There is great commentary on how society and the law tends to view BDSM, as well as some of the protesters members of the kink community sometimes have to go up against.

Like the first in the series, it features sex scenes and kink scenes that are hot, well written, and mirror the type of BDSM/kink I see practiced in my community. There is talk of safewords and limits, of sharing your feelings and reactions, of the education side of things. It demonstrates that no relationship is without its challenges, but that you don’t need a handsome millionaire with mommy issues to sweep you off your feet in order to be kinky.

As a Denverite, I again loved the references that I recognized, from the store sunni worked at to traveling up Colorado Blvd, and of course, the local dungeons that went into the creation of the Keyhole. Knowing that Kasi and Reggie are members of the local community, and live in a real life Master/slave relationship with their third partner (very similar to the book, no?) makes me feel like this text is written more from the heart and experience than from some romantic notion of what power play relationships might potentially be. To folks looking for a great intro into BDSM (particularly from a straight, non-monogamous point of view), I think the Keyhole series is the perfect set of books for beginners, designed to arouse and educate without providing false information or setting up unrealistic expectations. I’d highly recommend this to the person looking for something in the 50 Shades vein, but with more authenticity and a more readable writing style.

To purchase a copy, click here for your own Saving sunni

-Shanna

Jul 052012
 

I’m not going to lie. I was a hold out. I really, truly, based on the feedback of others, didn’t want to read this book. I didn’t. However, after I started to get requests for press snippets based on the book, I figured that I was being pretty ridiculous to not read it. THIS book is the hot subject in sexuality right now; it’s the Rabbit Vibrator of Sex and the City of 2012. I needed to read it.

So I bought Fifty Shades of Grey and brought it with me on our trip to Florida to read over. I had heard that it poorly represented the kink community, that the writing was terrible, that is was boring, etc. I tried to go in with an open mind, but I’ll admit, I had some bias.

My thoughts:

The writing, especially the first few chapters, felt like an 11th grade essay. It was as if someone had told the author that she needed to be more descriptive, so she would use about four or five adjectives every time she tried to describe something. One might call it flowery language. To me, this was kind of annoying. However, as some folks have pointed out, not everyone has the same reading level, and this use of language might make it more accessible to more people. This is a great point, and while I still may grumble about her descriptions of Kate on the first few pages, I get that this allows more people to read. More people reading is awesome, PERIOD, even if I personally don’t mesh with the writing style.

The characters are interesting in that in some ways, they are over developed, in other ways, they aren’t at all. I think it’s nice having a heroine who isn’t blonde and stereotypically thin yet buxom…on the other hand, I think it’s a little sad that she has to get her self confidence (the little she gains) from someone who is not her. I have trouble supporting the idea that we have to rely on partners to love ourselves. Also, I cannot imagine (also noted by Jack Stratton) that someone is ridiculously “old-fashioned” and formal as Mr. Grey would call Ana “baby.” I mean, really? That was not well thought through.

I have some issues with the idea that he wouldn’t even consider playing with her (or anyone else, for that matter) a few times before bringing up the idea of a full time (or full weekend?) slave contract. I feel like if someone did that in our local community (“If you’re interested in me, you must sign a 24/7 contract before we can see if you like this and if we are compatible together”), we would call out that person for predatory behavior (actually, this has happened in our community, and said person was banned from multiple dungeons for poaching on newbies to the scene, and contracting them to his “house” without allowing them to get their footing first).

So yes, I have issues overall. However, I do appreciate that they covered STI testing and safewords (though I would have rather them talked about dams too, and condoms for oral, rather than just penile-vaginal), which are frequently left out of romance style novels and much erotica. I like that they talked about consent. I don’t like that she was banned from discussing things (I think that is a huge part of being kinky is trying new things, discussing your feelings/reactions with others, and tweaking what your like/don’t like), but I get that is was part of his millionaire schtick.

Is it the BEST intro book into kink? Perhaps not. I personally would recommend Becoming sage by Kasi Alexander
(here is a link to my review of Becoming Sage) as a book I feel better fits the reality of the community (and also has a writing style I like better). However, I think this is a good Gateway Book into kink. If people read this, and it gets them hot, and that then inspires them to join FetLife, read kinky erotica, check out local kink events, and to have their desires fulfilled, then it is absolutely successful, whether or not I think it is perfect. So if you or your “friend” (or actual friend) is considering this, remember to take it with a grain of salt (it IS a romance novel), but know that for many folks, this is the book that revolutionized the way they look at sex. And that, my friends, is an excellent thing!
Click here to buy your own copy of Fifty Shades of Grey .

 

 

Nov 302011
 

Becoming Sage by Kasi Alexander

This is my review of Kasi Alexander‘s book Becoming Sage, the first in her Keyhole series. This series is interesting — it is published by a more traditional romance novel company, but also contains more erotica than an average romance novel, and covers BDSM and polyamory; two topics VERY rarely discussed in romance novels. Kasi is one member of a kinky, poly triad that just so happens to reside here in Colorado, and I’ve been meaning to get to this review forever, to support both a local author, as well as a member of my community.

I have to say, when I finally got around to reading the book, I just picked it up to read in bed until I fell asleep. I kind of romance-noveled myself out in High School – my two friends and I would buy them at used book stores, read them, exchange them, discuss them, etc. By the time I hit college and grad school, I was much more into pure erotic (ie; just the sexy times) than I was romance novels. My concern was reading through this whole book, and thought I was going to have to take a chapter at a time. Boy, was I wrong; I powered through the whole book in one sitting.

To be honest, the first thing that really grabbed me, as a educator of kink and poly communities, was the attention to both detail, and to safety. I cannot discuss how much it annoys me to read stranger erotic (or romance, for that matter) and not have any discussion of safer sex, consent, etc. Kasi makes sure that SSC (safe, sane and consensual) is covered, as well as discussions about becoming fluid bound, not using the same toys on non-fluid bound people, negotiation, etc.  While that may not be everyone’s cup of tea, this was the hook that got me; a sexy and romantic story that also covered the realism of communication and safer sex. Moreover, it was built into the story, rather than added in later as an after thought.

M/s relationships don’t really get me going, but I could see how this writing could certainly lend itself to one handed reading for those who are attracted to male dominant, female submissive relationships, and Kasi does a great job of discussing the feminist and potentially sexists aspects of them. I do wish that when they were out and about, they had chatted up, or at least seen more female dominant, male submissive, or male/male or female/female relationships, because I do feel as though the stereotype of both the kink and poly communities is a male dominated relationship, when actually, at least in the community here in Colorado (which is what the Keyhole series is based on), there are about 50/50 for male dominants and female dominants.

Otherwise, I really enjoyed the discussion between the two slaves, and the fact that their Sir messed up sometimes. I will say, that as a reader (and this drives me over the edge within the community and on FetLife as well), that the lower case spelling of sunni and sage made it VERY hard for me to read. Having been a proofreader, I kept wanting to take a pen and make three little lines under the s’s. That being said, I get that this is  popular affection within the community, and my grammar fetish will do nothing to change it.

Whether you are within the community already, or looking to explore, this is a fabulous book to learn about the dynamics in this type of M/s relationship, as well as learn about negotiation, safewords, etc. Being part of the Denver community, and having met Kasi and her Sir and their third partner, I can definitely see many autobiographical elements in the Becoming Sage book, and felt as though I recognized pieces of the Keyhole club, of Mistress Tonya’s pain processing class, etc, which I really liked. That being said, you don’t need to have played in the Colorado kink community to understand what Kasi is describing, and again, I think this is a great step in the right direction for helping BDSM gain some positive visibility in the more mainstream world…in this case, the world of romance. I eagerly look forward to the publication of the second book in the series, Saving Sunni, to come out this spring!

Click here to buy Becoming Sage from the Publisher, and click here to check out Kasi Alexander’s website and blog.

Enjoy!

-Shanna