Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Straightforward, bare-bones BDSM love storyDec 4 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
Bottom line: Bare bones, extremely straightforward story of initiation into BDSM, flavored with a little romance and interrelationship and group politics for tension. The story mirrors a conventional male/female love story, with the submissive introducing the dominant to tenderness, as opposed to impersonal sex.
Trigger warnings: Frank, explicit descriptions of BDSM activities, including bondage, suspension, canings, whippings, and being penetrated while bound, as while as being required to give oral sex while bound. Questionable consent, with character emotionally manipulated into giving blanket consent without knowing the details of what she consents to; power and mind games used to maintain consent. Breaking and entering of a home. Being bound and abandoned for an extended time.
How does it treat women/same-sex relationships? The story is set in the present, but no characters (not even minor characters) are men. Some of the BDSM players and relationships mirror conventional gender roles. If you see BDSM as inherently sexist, then the story is inherently sexist.
Does it have explicit sex scenes?: Yes, throughout. All sex scenes are matter-of-fact and sparse, but clear. Few scenes go into really out-there BDSM techniques; the only one that comes to mind for me is a suspension scene. Safer sex is *never* mentioned, which was my major complaint with the sex scenes. Safewords are also never mentioned.
Would I read it again? No, probably not. I wouldn't yell if I had to.
Would I publish it? Yes, though I'd charge less for it than I paid. It's a read-and-toss one-shot romance novel.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Well written book, but so wrong ...Nov. 21 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
I think this is a well written hot book, that keeps your interest from start to end. But it's also extremely disturbing (and I feel a bit like a pig for enjoying it, because I know it's very wrong).
Basically, I think that the main character is a total idiot begging and claiming out loud to be badly abused. She's a novice with no experience at all that willingly throws herself to 24/7 total and absolute submission to an stranger, without never knowing what will be done to her and even without never discussing and establishing any kind of boundaries and safety.
I can understand safe BDSM play, with predefined script, accorded boundaries and safewords. On the other hand, 24/7 BDSM lifestyle creeps me out, I don't think about being mentally healthy for the submissive (and we better don't start talking about daily training punishments, that mind conditioning is a hideous brainwashing), I can't understand it but I guess for some people it may work with a lot of trust and care between the partners and very carefully discussed and accorded norms, boundaries and safewords.
There is nothing alike in this book, not even safewords. Laura (I'm very tented to call her "the victim") doesn't knows a thing about what she's committing to (she's even initiated to The Society without knowing anything about them and their harsh rules, they are hastily explained to her only 1 hour before the ceremony). She never has a say about what can or will be done to her, she MUST endure any punishment and sexual activity that her mistress wishes, she must also submit and endure any dominant that crosses her path, even for the dominants that scares her (I thought that trust is the core of BDSM, but here she must submit to dominants that terrifies her).
As Jeanne (her dominant) very clearly says to her, she must left behind any dignity and completely give away her free will. The only one occasion the she dares to say that that night she prefers to just watch because she is tired and afraid of the unknown foreign dominants, she is tied for 24 hours and left alone, terrified that she will be rejected. Safewords are supposed to be a escape if a sub panics and they are supposed to could be used without fearing of any revenge, but Laura has no the option of safewords and knows very well that any further refusal of the slighlest order will imply her automatic abandon. How can this be considered consensual ?.
Free will is one of the most basic human rights. These rights are universal, no one can take them from you, nor can you give them to anyone (you can play like you give it, you really must always retain your free will, the ability to have the last word about anything concerning you if you eventually feel that you need to).
I know this book is very far to F.E. Campbell's utter crap stories of kidnapped womens thrown to terrific sexual slavery, but anyway I have a very hard time to accept this book as consensual SM. In Europe we have jail time for distributing books promoting nazism, how can we do less about books against the most basic human rights ?, this book dangerously borders the last ones.
This is a very well written and arousing book, but it is also very wrong. I know that everybody is supposed to be able to differentiate fiction and reality, but I'm very sad for any idiot that dazzled after this readings could try to follow the reckless Laura's path, she most certainly will finish badly abused and damaged. I'm also concerned about sadists leads to believe that this kind of abusing behavior is right. Read this book, it's a good one, enjoy it, but be alert, remember that this is only fiction, wrong fiction.
PS: I apologize for any mistake in my english, I'm still learning your language.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
More than a romanceMarch 22 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
Laura owns a large collection of lesbian BDSM erotica.. However, she has only read about BDSM and fantasized about what it would actually feel like to be dominated. She meets Adele at art class and is introduced to Jeanne, Adele's mistress. Jeanne is a dominant, rich and an art collector. Laura and Jeanne hit it off right away and Laura soon becomes part of Jeanne's world. Jeanne's every command is Laura's pleasure. This upsets Adele greatly and brings about life changing events for both Laura and Jeanne. I haven't read many books containing lesbian BDSM, but I thought I would give this one a try. Mainly because I've read and enjoyed other works by this writer. Well, I have to say although it is very different, I enjoyed it very much. I loved the characters, even those I wanted to dislike. I hope there will be a sequel as I really wanted to read more.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
BDSM Erotica... but don't be afraid!!Nov. 26 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
I normally read only the romance genre in lezfic but have been more than intrigued by the occasional power play I come across and wanted something more of this. I tried on several occasions to read short story erotica that might contain this dynamic but just couldn't get into it. When I picked this book up on a whim I was surprised that I just couldn't put it down! It was very, very hot and unexpectedly broke down my beliefs that I would find only disturbing imagery, cartoonish porn characters, and cringe-worthy sex that wasn't sexy at all. I didn't think BDSM was for me... but now I see it's a matter of degree and how well the story is told. Not every scene was for me... but I certainly appreciated some of the bondage and all the oral and strap-on action and atmospheric power play.
Also, don't let the cover distract you or put you off. It does look a bit...violent? There is nothing violent here and all sex is consensual. It's a wild story, lol, but it never creeped me out or offended me.
This 137 page story is classified as "Erotica" and follows a 27 year old sub's story told in first person narration... Laura, our "femmish" narrator, is a PhD candidate in art history and had been a secret fan of BDSM for 10 years. When a classmate (Adele) tells Laura she "belongs to somebody," her fantasies manifest at last. This leads to an introduction to androgynous 40something Jeanne, the Dominant who takes a liking to Laura and invites her into the world of female/female BDSM and its secret society.
While I found page after page of BDSM play... I didn't feel shorted on characterization or storyline. There is even a love story here... of sorts, lol. I was amused at the catty drama between subs that the Doms don't want to know about, lol. And despite all the sex, there was plenty of psychological build up that made the intimacy very satisfying... engrossing.
What also surprised me is that I normally HATE IT when writers do not give me detailed physical descriptions of the main characters-- or does for one and not the other (and butches are always favored this way!). I get this is some kind of "Everywoman" technique taught in Creative Writing 101 so many writers deem effective and somehow we, as readers, are supposed to fill in the blanks... but my mind seldom buys into that and I feel robbed of character when I come across this... I prefer to see my women described in detail. I like to watch.
Gowan took this nondescript route as well... but she got away with it, lol. I don't know what color hair they have or what color eyes they have, etc.... but I received glimpses of Jeanne's tailored slacks or of Laura's "glorious" chest and subtleties of height, gender, power, class, and language that loosely defined them. My mind didn't hesitate to fill in the blanks on this one. hmmm... ;) There is definitely a fine line between obscuring descriptions and nuanced characterization... this author knows the difference in this one.
This was something different for me and I very much enjoyed it. So why not 5 stars? Well I have nothing to compare this book to as I have not read other BDSM erotica, but I started to find Laura a little robotic, lol. I wanted her to be a little more human and vulnerable and to occasionally take a night off of craving "abuse" without commentary that cuddling and kissing and sleeping together wasn't enough. She just seemed like an insatiable little robot incapable of love. Now that may be mostly me holding on to the romances I like and not fully understanding BDSM mentality... but oh well. I'll pass on the extremes myself. I also didn't care for the emotional ambiguity in the end... and I wanted a lot of the sex acts to be more descriptive... far too rushed... especially the strap on play which were over in like one sentence almost every time. Hot, but disappointing at the same time. More time with Pat certainly wouldn't have hurt this story, lol. And Jeanne's dark and creepy house assistant (modeled after Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca) is just the best character ever...
FYI: Lesley Gowan publishes other books under her actual name, Anne Laughlin, if you'd like to explore her other work... but she sure seems to have a knack for this little genre and I sure hope she produces more of it... loved it. :)
* I'm interested in reading more f/f BDSM stories... if some of you with more experience would like to recommend other titles... thanks in advance!!
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
EroticaMarch 29 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
First let me point out that the book neither has 204 pages as mentioned on amazon nor 144 as mentioned on BSB's homepage. My copy actually only has 137 (counted) pages. And that's it. I would appreciate if that number could be corrected, especially on amazon. Sorry, but I'm slightly annoyed about this. I'm a fast reader and around 70 pages less than mentioned by amazon do mean a lot less pages to read.
I really enjoy a good BDSM story. I read some in the past and will do so in the future. Don't you tell that to my parents. Pretty please.
"The Collectors" is a nice erotica story written in 1st person POV. And let me assure you that writing a good story in that genre is much more difficult than most would think. The author points out at the end of the book that this was her first book length erotica. Well done. The scenes played out well.
Me giving this story only 3 stars doesn't mean that I didn't like it. Only that when comparing it to other BDSM stories I do believe that there is room for improvement. The story is rather short (with 137 pages) and I wished the author had taken more time with the sex scenes. Some scenes seemed rather hurried and clinical to me. Even with sex scenes you have to build suspense.
Still, I would buy Lesley Gowan's next book. There aren't that many tastefully written lesbian BDSM stories out there. I commend Lesley Gowan for her effort.