Danika reviews Sugar Town by Hazel Newlevant

I knew I would like Sugar Town from the cover alone, and from the first page, it didn’t disappoint.

This is a queer, polyamorous, BDSM fluffy love story. Hazel is in an open relationship with her boyfriend, and she bumps into Argent, a confident and kind domme, at a party. They click instantly, and Argent helps Hazel learn more about negotiating polyamorous relationships. All of the relationships are so caring and gentle.

My favourite scene was probably the BDSM scene (which is pretty tame and mostly off-panel, if it concerns you). Argent is using a whip on Hazel when Hazel says “Hang on,” and Argent immediately stops, checks in, and finds out that Hazel pulled something in her back, though she was thoroughly enjoying the scene. They cuddle and watch cooking shows instead. It’s BDSM as a completely consensual, mutual, and even kind activity for partners to enjoy together. That’s something I very rarely see.

Do I keep using the word “kind”? I can’t help it. Sugar Town is a sweet, soft story. Everyone in it treats each other with respect and caring. They check in. They talk about their feelings. Hazel is still figuring out jealousy and other aspects of polyamory, but that’s okay. They’re not simmering underneath, they’re freely discussed. They’re not perfect–Argent mentions experiencing suicidal thoughts, Hazel is self-conscious and doubts herself–but they  are supportive of each other and the rest of the people in their lives, whether they’re friends or partners.

I also loved the art style, which reinforces that warm and welcoming feel. I want to crawl inside the pages and curl up there. This is definitely one of my rare 5 star ratings: I loved every panel, and I know I will return to it when I need something hopeful to dive into for a little while. What a treat.

Julie Thompson reviews Freiya’s Stand by Anastasia Vitsky

Freiya’s Stand gives room for queer women to embrace their religious faith, kinky desires, and career aspirations, as well as room for dreaming. Freiya and Sabrina live strictly compartmentalized lives as teachers at St. Agatha of Sicily, a private Catholic school for primary and secondary students, lest anyone find out that they’re dating. Both women grew up in Catholic families and value their faith, even though this sets them at odds with school policy and family. The couple alternates commute routes, maintains a professional facade, and keeps spanking behind closed doors. They also face staff lay-offs, dwindling funds, large classroom sizes, and reduced support for teachers. When the principal mandates all teachers sign a “Covenant of Faith” condemning “perverted sexuality” and other “immoral or unethical behavior”, Sabrina and Freiya butt heads. Sabrina wants to sign the form, but Freiya resists. Most of the faculty eventually go along with it in order to keep their jobs. When Freiya fails to play ball with the new requirements, her life falls under the principal’s close scrutiny.

The novella alternates between past and present, illuminating pivotal moments in the women’s lives that color their relationship, family interactions, and careers. Quick pacing allows Vitsky to move between key events and establish character personalities. Sabrina is an exemplary high school English teacher with exacting standards, both for her students and for her choice of ketchup. Freiya, a new kindergarten teacher, has a soft heart for her students and a penchant for culinary confections. Sabrina’s Gran is the most vibrant and essential secondary character. A full-length novel treatment would give room for fleshing out events mentioned only in passing and for less nuanced characters that seem to exist primarily as plot drivers. Certain elements of the conclusion (the final two to three pages, in particular) feel rushed. It works well, for the most part, as a novella. Overall, Freiya’s Stand is a thoughtful and engaging tale.

Freiya and Sabrina have a consensual kink arrangement. This drives their dynamic at home, as well as how they behave in the wider world. One of my favorite moments involves Shakespeare and spanking. I’ll let that sit with you until you read it for yourself! While Sabrina assumes the dominant role, Freiya is vocal in what is and is not okay. Readers first encounter this aspect of their relationship after they disagree over the “morality” contract at school. Some of the interplay between emotional and physical exchanges becomes muddled as their stress increases. It does not cross over into domestic abuse. However, some readers may find certain passages distressing.

Catholicism also plays an integral part in how the characters view themselves, deal with challenges, and guide their lives. Both women value their faith, but don’t agree on how it intersects with their sexuality and public life. This provides much of the friction between them throughout the story. This is the second story that I’ve read in which the reconciliation of faith and queerness are central themes. The other story (which I definitely recommend) is Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown.

LGBT+ folks can still lose their jobs in many states or have limited protections based on sexuality and gender identity. Visit the Human Rights Commission at HRC.org for more information. It is heartening to see local religious congregations marching in support at Pride and to see rainbow flags near the front doors of churches, welcoming everyone.

You can read more of Julie’s reviews on her blog, Omnivore Bibliosaur (jthompsonian.wordpress.com)

Aoife reviews Of White Snakes and Misshapen Owls by Debra Hyde

of white snakes and misshaped owls

Miss Charlotte Olmes is the classic turn of the century ‘woman detective’ – clever, enlightened, and progressive, with a penchant for cross-dressing. She lives with her companion and partner Joanna Wilson, who appears slightly more respectable – but I mean, they’re a live-in lesbian couple in 1880s New York, so respectability is somewhat relative here.

After a morning spent instructing a society lady and her maids in parasol self defence, Charlotte and Joanna’s services are engaged by the lovely Miss Tam, whose employer has gone missing. Their investigation takes the reader on a rather enjoyable tour of period New York, complete with violent street gangs and Chinese/Irish racial politics. It’s evident that Hyde did some research on her setting; I particularly liked the ladies’ trip to the morgue and police station.

White Snakes is the first novella in the Charlotte Olmes series. At 73 pages, it’s short and sweet; a quick, light read. Hyde’s writing is fun and fairly well crafted, and her language did an excellent job of conveying place – although, while I appreciated the inclusion of appropriate slang, it did lessen my engagement because I had absolutely no idea what it meant.

I didn’t enjoy it so much as a mystery; while the majority of the ‘clues’ were laid out for the reader, the necessary context was not quite so clear, which left me kind of detached from the mystery storyline – in my mind, the best kind of mystery is where the reader can guess the killer or the criminal or whatever, but only if they read carefully/cleverly. While I can kind of see the enjoyment of only being ‘along for the ride’ – as if you were Hastings in an Agatha Christie, perhaps – it just doesn’t do it for me. It was written with split perspectives between the killer and Joanna, which was fine; I personally would have preferred it to be all Charlotte and Joanna all the time, partially because it’s so short, but it did work, and I did enjoy a couple of the not-ladies scenes.

I loved the dynamic of Charlotte and Joanna’s relationship – it rather reminded me of the Amelia Peabody series, just with wlw and BDSM. They were sweet together, with a good working relationship, and great chemistry. I really liked that Joanna was the narrator; Hyde did a really excellent job of establishing them as equals. It would have been very easy to write them as one fully dominant and one fully submissive, but despite the shortness of the book, Hyde neatly sidesteps that cliché and, in doing so, created much more three-dimensional characters. I wasn’t super into the whole language of exoticism and orientalism that accompanied the Chinese characters, an unfortunate and fairly common convention in period mysteries; it wasn’t the worst, but it did detract from my overall enjoyment. Ditto with the pity-attitude towards sex workers – obviously historically women haven’t always had a lot of choice with regards to this, but that doesn’t need to translate to a disrespect of sex work.

I’d love to see it fleshed out into a full book. I wanted to spend more time with Charlotte and Joanna – particularly in the space where they’re just Charlotte-and-Joanna, not Lady-Detective-Charlotte-and-Companion-Joanna or Charlotte-and-Joanna-having-hot-sex. Those sides of their relationship are both well done, but I’d liked to have seen equal time between the three to fully explore all the versions of themselves that they are with each other.

Overall; fun and too short. I’ll probably read the other books in the series if I can get my hands on them, and I’d like to check out some of Hyde’s longer works. According to the bio in my edition, ‘all of her work is available in ebook, and her short story backlist is about to be republished in a mini-anthology format with Sizzler Editions’. So if you read and enjoy this, you might want to check that out!

Trigger warnings for descriptions of violence and a (not very graphic) murder.

This and other reviews by Aoife can also be found at https://concessioncard.wordpress.com/.

Megan Casey reviews Tell Me What You Like by Kate Allen

 

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From a few things I had read about her books, I expected Kate Allen to write about “big tough butches in leather jackets they never took off.” In fact, that’s exactly what Officer Allison Kaine thought when she found herself in a bar full of leather-clad lesbians. What she discovers (and what I discovered) is that leather dykes range anywhere between “packing” ultra-butches and submissive lipstick lesbians. Some are lawyers, some work in animal shelters, some may even be police officers. The trick is in how well they are captured in the writing, and Allen makes each of her characters not only come alive, but come alive with interest. One of the many things I really liked about this book is that Allison and I are learning the same things at the same time, having the same questions—first wary, then joyous—about what it would be like to be part of this odd enclave of leather dykes that even other lesbians shy away from. In fact, an important subplot of this book is the way in which lesbians who are not into the S/M theme disapprove of the practice as a form of violence against women.

The story begins when one of these leather dykes is murdered outside one of Denver’s lesbian bars. Because Officer Allison Kaine routinely patrols this bar, she gets involved in the case—much to the anger of the cops actually assigned to it. Allison is uncomfortable with the assignment until she gets to know several of the regular attendees of “leather night” at the bar. One of these, Stacy Ross, is a paid dominatrix whose business card reads: “Anastasia—Tell Me What You Like.” And wouldn’t you know it; against her better judgment, Allison ends up falling for her.

Meanwhile, other dykes (Allen rarely if ever uses the word “lesbian”) are being killed—dykes that had a tie to her new friend Stacy. If Allison doesn’t find the killer soon, Stacy may be arrested for the crimes.

Allison’s investigative technique is one of her strongest features. While interviewing suspects, she often delves internally into the philosophy of interrogation. For instance, here she is questioning one of the suspects’ partners: “The trick with this kind was to handle her gently, not excite her to the point where she wouldn’t speak. Playing it right was crucial; this woman would tell her everything she knew if she thought it would protect her girlfriend.” What Allison ultimately finds (and what I—what we as readers find) is a community of women whose lifestyles may seem strange, but who deal with the same emotions and foibles and self-doubts as the rest of us.

It is refreshing that Allison is simply a police officer, not a lieutenant or a detective as is true of so many other lesbian mystery protagonists (see Kate Delafield, Carol Ashton, Caitlin Reece, Rebecca Frye, Frank Franco, et al). Women can be strong role modes without having a high rank. Similarly, Tell Me What You Like is one of the strongest entries in the lesbian mystery field.

Allen’s use of first-person point of view is done so well that I no longer feel guilty for taking other authors to task when it is done poorly—which is often if you have read my other reviews. No awkward internal dialogue or descriptions of random minutiae. In fact the book as a whole is as close to A+ as you can get without being perfect. I only noticed one segue glitch, where a proofreader or typesetter screwed up, and a section near the end where an editor seems to have talked Allen into having the murderer go on and on in his confession, revealing details that are not brought out in the story—details that would have changed the tenor of the investigation. It was bad advice.

Still, almost everything about this book is first rate; the professional writing, the S/M vs non-S/M debate, and the intense characterizations make this an important book. Kate Allen and her character Allison Kaine are among those solidly within the pantheon of lesbian mystery icons.

For other reviews by Megan Casey, see her website at http://sites.google.com/site/theartofthelesbianmysterynovel/  or join her Goodreads Lesbian Mystery group at http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/116660-lesbian-mysteries

Danika reviews Lost Boi by Sassafras Lowrey

LostBoiI don’t even know where to start in describing how much I loved this. I am tempted to just tell you “This is a queer punk retelling of Peter Pan.” If that intrigues you (as it did me), don’t hesitate. It will be all you dreamed of and more. And if that doesn’t interest you–if a D/s leather queer homeless youth interpretation of Peter Pan complete with sex worker mermaids, pigeon fairies, and Leather pirates doesn’t sell you on it–then it probably won’t be your cup of tea. But because I have a lot of feelings about this book, I’ll elaborate anyways.

Just from first impression, Lost Boi is a beautiful book. With the black cover, gold framing, and deckle edges, it looks reminiscent of a bible. I also was immediately struck by the perspective of the novel: it’s told by one of the lost bois, Tootles. The whole time I was reading, I was considering whose story this is. Is it Wendi’s? Pan’s? Tootles? I think you could argue for any of those convincingly, but having it from a lost boi’s perspective gives a lot more weight and consideration to their circumstances, to their real experience of living out Pan’s vision of Neverland.

Sadly, I haven’t read the original Peter Pan (but now I want to just to re-read Lost Boi and get even more out of it). But even without an intimate understanding of the original text, it’s obvious how much has been incorporated into this interpretation. Every adaption feels completely natural, even one-off lines like “second streetlight on the right and straight on till Morning street!” work equally well as references and as in their own context.

What made fall in love with Lost Boi was how much it caught me off balance. I loved the variety of pronouns and identities, and how Lowrey doesn’t explain everyone’s gender identity to the reader. It’s incredibly queer, and though I would like to think that I don’t assume people’s gender identities or expressions, I would find myself surprised when descriptions of bodies or clothes didn’t match up with what I imagined. “Huh, so that character wears a sports bra!” “Oh, so one of the bois uses she/her pronouns.”

Beyond the gender and sexuality aspect, there’s also the whole question of the D/s dynamic between Pan and the bois. Pan is significantly older than the other bois, maybe close to twice some of their ages, and consent and safety are not top of his priority list. At times I was uncomfortable with Pan and wondering whether he was a positive character–and then I realized that this is an interpretation of Peter Pan! He’s not supposed to be a perfect person, or even someone you always like. That’s part of the refusal to grow up: his refusal to consider the consequences, or to necessarily take responsibility. Pan/Peter Pan have magic to them, and wonder, and definitely an attraction, but they’re also dangerous and reckless. He’s supposed to be a character that the reader has a complicated relationship, I think, and that makes perfect sense considering the complicated relationships he has with everyone else.

It also made me think about the association of queer identity with youth–how little representation there is for being a queer grown up. And the further you are along the scale of GLBT+, the fewer representations you’ll have of being an adult, or god forbid being elderly. That makes it difficult to know how to be queer and an adult at the same, suggesting that you have to choose one. And of the course the term “boi” itself, a gender identity, is dependent on that association with youth. I loved Sassafras Lowrey’s look at the difficulties of this, and hir acknowledgement that there are things you lose growing up, magic you lose. But ze still offers a glimpse of alternative kinds of adulthood, that you don’t have to lose your identity to become an adult.

The first book I read by Sassafras Lowrey was the collection ze edited about and by queer homeless youth, Kicked Out. That is also an excellent book, but it’s interesting to read Lost Boi with that in mind, because although the Pan and the lost bois’ story is told through the interpretation of Peter Pan, it doesn’t use their homelessness as just a prop in the story, an interesting setting for Neverland. Lowrey cared about the kids who have to live this, and that really shines through when we get glimpses of the lost bois’ lives before Neverland and why exactly they “fell out of the pram”.

This was one of my favourite books I read this year, only the second 5 star rating I’ve given since January (The Color Purple was the first). I highly, highly recommend this one, though do be warned that this has a lot of D/s and the “battles”/scenes can be pretty brutal. In conclusion: “Queer punk Peter Pan reimagining.” Go read it.

 

Krait reviews The Interview by Jacintha Topaz

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I’m pretty much always interested in lesbian erotica, so I was very pleased to have the opportunity to review “The Interview.” It’s a short and sweet story of an interview for a personal assistant job that goes straight into fantasy land. There’s very little padding to this particular story – it opens with Kaylee Hall stepping into an elevator on her way to an interview, meeting a gorgeous woman, and everything spirals out from there. The BDSM themes are very quick to manifest, with Kaylee as a submissive and Doctor Monica Halverson as a domme.

The author prefaces the short story with a note that it’s meant to be “High Fantasy.. unlikely to happen in real life at all,” and I greatly appreciated the note. I love it when authors set up a story with that warning, because it means that I don’t have to consider how thin the walls are or other realistic logistics.

As total fantasy fluff, “The Interview” has some clever wordplay and good dialogue. Kaylee and the doctor have great chemistry. My only quibble is that I wish it was longer. The story is about 40 pages (excluding copyright info, that sort of thing), and only has one real scene between the two characters. I would have loved to see at least another scene with them, perhaps the night together that the narrative hints at.

In short, if you’re on the market for a short enjoyable story that you can pop like erotica popcorn, “The Interview” is an excellent choice. You just might want to have something else to follow it up with.

Danielle reviews Owning Regina: Diary of My Unexpected Passion for Another Woman by Lorelei Elstrom

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Owning Regina:Diary of My Unexpected Passion for Another Woman by Lorelei Elstrom is a woman-loving-woman’s answer to E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey. Written in diary format, Meg Curtis gives us an up close and personal taste of exploring bondage, discipline, and sadomasochism (BDSM) for the first time. Describing her intense erotic inclination towards the world of dominance and submission, we learn that for Meg, her sexuality is very complex. When realizing she has developed a sincere interest for a woman, having always been with men, she is forced to rethink her sexual orientation. Meg initially struggles with the idea she may be something other than heterosexual, often in conflict with her perception of her future self and her newfound lust. Eventually disregarding the pressure to label herself, Meg is extremely satisfied to indulge in kinky behaviors with another person.

Meg Curtis, 26, meets Regina Baker, 38, at a local yoga class in San Francisco, California and instantly a connection sparks. The two women bond over Meg’s boot fetish and shortly thereafter, Regina senses there may be something worth trying with one another. Elstrom does a thorough job at introducing BDSM and establishing clear boundaries for the role-playing games shared between Meg and Regina. The women often check in with one another outside of the realm of the game to ensure they are on the same page. Adding more rules to maintain a distinction between emotions felt in real life and the harsh dialogue used in the game helps their relationship stay clear of confusion and reinforces consent.

Often BDSM is perceived by society as dirty, abusive, weird, and/or perverted, with a very narrow selection of stereotypical images, such as a woman wearing a latex or leather suit whipping a man’s behind. There is absolutely nothing wrong with BDSM if all of the acts between two (or more) partners are consensual, rooted in trust, and boundaries are respected. Anyone can be attracted to S&M regardless of their experiences. Further, engaging in such behavior allows agreeing adults to explore curiosities and taboo manners in a safe environment. Generally speaking, those who are attracted to BDSM would never intentionally hurt someone outside of the game mode; only in character would they think about participating in such seemingly torturous acts.

All in all, Owning Regina is a strikingly sexy book that I recommend to anyone curious about BDSM. Owning Regina can easily be devoured in one sitting —as the days in Meg’s life go on, there is an urgency for more and Elstrom does not hold back with her delivery. Having taken my first bite into a BDSM fiction featuring two female lovers has opened my mind to endless possibilities outside the lines of a vanilla romance. Aside from the swift declaration of love in a short passage of time (I often find these storylines unrealistic and stereotypical), I found Owning Regina to be a very fun read!

Sarani reviews On Her Lead by Hayley Cooke

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On Her Lead is a collection of lesbian BDSM short stories by Hayley Cooke. Having never heard of Cooke before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but overall, I was impressed by this collection and ended up really enjoying it.

There are six short stories and each explores a slightly different aspect of BDSM. All stories are written from the perspective of the submissive. The stories include a variety of different acts including bondage, spanking, gagging, slapping, obedience and domestic and sexual service.

The writing style is very simple and to the point. There are no frills to the writing and whilst that may not always be ideal, it works quite well in this context, bringing the reader’s attention directly to the actions of the characters.

One thing I found a little disconcerting when I started was that Cooke only gives bare descriptions of most of the characters.  At first, this bothered me, and I kept thinking that I really wanted to know what the characters looked like! But then I realised that the minimal description actually works quite well in this format, and allows the reader to fill in the character details with their own imagination.

‘Coming Home’ was the only story I didn’t like in this collection. Whilst the rest of the stories in this collection were written in first person, ‘Coming Home’ was written in a mixture of first and second person. Second person narrative can be done quite well in erotica, and can be very effective in drawing a reader directly into the story. However, in this instance, the use of the second person narrative came across as quite flat, and I found myself bored and had trouble finishing this story.

This was certainly not the norm though, and I really enjoyed the other five stories. My favourite story was the first one, ‘Insufficient funds’ in which the story teller runs into her ex-girlfriend and her new partner at a bar and ends up being invited to be their submissive. The ex-girlfriend and her partner are both dominant, strong characters who have firm ideas of what they expect from their submissive.  The dynamic between the three women is engaging and this story probably has the most character development out of the collection.

I also enjoyed ‘Good Girl’, in which a submissive is restrained and gagged with only her phone in her hands for texting her Mistress. The text exchange between the two is amusing and the submissive failing to capitalise the word ‘mistress’ in a text message leads to extra punishment. ‘House Trained’ is the only story that veers from a strict lesbian context. This story involves the main character becoming involved in a submissive relationship with her landlord and the landlord’s male partner. The three characters in this story develop a sexual relationship which revolves around the main character servicing the couple both domestically and sexually. This is a captivating story, and it is fascinating to observe all the characters develop into their roles as the story progresses.

The stories in this collection are less about heavy physical BDSM acts and more about the main character in each short story becoming fully immersed in her submission. This is not the collection you should reach for if you want erotica that contains character depth. However, if you are looking for short, sharp and sexy lesbian BDSM scenes, I would definitely recommend this. The collection is simply written and engaging, and most importantly for a collection of this nature, it is hot!

Marcia reviews Desire: Stories of Longing by K.L. Joy

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Opening with a cover that features rope bondage, and the party following the collaring ceremony of two of lead character Vivianne’s friends, it is immediately clear that Desire: Stories of Longing by K.L. Joy is not straight-forward (pardon the pun) erotica.

The short novel follows new Domme Vivianne as her life in the BDSM scene evolves and blossoms. Under the guidance of close friend Victor and his “wench” Kate, Vivianne learns how to navigate relationships between her own “girls,” proper punishment, and her own dark past. Professionally, Vivianne’s life is also changing. What started as a small side project making corsets has turned into a booming career — and a chance to explore more of the kink scene.

In the first story, or chapter, we meet Vivianne and see glimpses of her world. We also meet her “slut,” Rhiannon, a dedicated sub who often struggles with jealousy. For a reader who is only mildly acquainted with BDSM and kink culture, I found Vivianne’s story relatively easy to understand if not particularly erotic. As author Joy and Vivianne are both Australians, there were a few times when vocabulary tripped me up — something a quick google search took care of, and shouldn’t frighten off any curious reader.

History and details often feel sketchy or glossed over — though this could be because Desire is a sequel. Having not read the first installment (Catalyst: Stories of Awakening), I cannot address continuity or character building, but only what appears within this single volume.

Often, Joy falls back on BDSM tropes to provide characters with the illusion of having fleshed out personalities. At times, we get glimpses of their lives before, but mostly these are only hints that are applied to a dramatic moment and then dropped never to appear again. Many of Joy’s characters live and work in BDSM-adjacent industries (Jaime is the owner and facilitator of a BDSM training lodge, Victor sponsors fledgling businesses and is generally very rich, and Vivianne herself begins to make a living from her corset and costume-making) though for a few characters there is no mention of life outside of sub or dom-space — how does Rhiannon spend her time or energy when not submitting to the whims and desires of her Ma’am, for example?

Because I don’t bring outside knowledge of BDSM culture to my reading of Desire, I frequently found myself stumbling over the doms and dommes referring to their female subs by pejorative terms. I also found the writing of Lola (a character who comes into play about half-way through the novel) to be racist and full of lazy characterization. Her primary identifiers are a taste for bright colors, and salsa music, a great dancer’s body, and her exaggerated written accent. I would be following the story eagerly, only to cringe at the obvious eroticism of Lola’s “foreign-ness.”

Perhaps my problem with the second book in K.L. Joy’s Stories Of… series is that it wasn’t written for me. Those who enjoy BDSM-flavored erotica should consider the series — though far from perfect or truly well-written — as a tertiary addition to their collection.

Danika reviews Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica edited by Sinclair Sexsmith

I had high hopes for this collection, and I am very happy to say that it lived up to them! In any anthology, the thing I’m most looking for is consistent quality of writing. Every collection will have some I like more and some I like less, but that should be because of personal taste, not because the writing was sub-par. Say Pleasewas obviously very carefully put together. The stories definitely show a higher standard of writing than I’m used to in erotica collections. They also show a range, from light BDSM to heavier stuff. The relationships are loving and committed, completely fleeting, or in between.

In a conversation on Lambda Literary, Sinclair Sexsmith admits that this collection is labelled “lesbian” BDSM erotica for marketing purposes and that she considers the collection queer, and that she is seeking to broaden the definition of “lesbian” for collections like this. (I can definitely empathize with this–I chafe at calling this a “lesbian book blog” and in name excluding lots of people I want to include, but I can’t find a better word.) There is definitely a lot of gender dynamics at work in Say Please. One of my favorites was “Strong” by Xan West, which features a trans butch dom and a genderqueer sub that switches between playing girl and playing boy in a scene. As Sexsmith mentioned on Autostraddle, this collection is reflective of her taste. There is a lot of strap on use in Say Please: the vast majority of stories use one. There are also a couple “Daddy” stories, as well.

One of notes I kept writing while reviewing this book was “So short!” The majority of the stories show a very small section of time. As much as I was left wanting to see more from some stories, I appreciate it overall, because many erotica stories overreach and end up losing my interest. Luckily, lots of the stories are very succinct in establishing a relationship dynamic and personalities between the people involved. “Going the Distance” by Elaine Miller was another one of my favorites because I immediately enjoyed the playful relationships that so clearly shone through in such a short space.

Probably my favorite story, however, was written by the editor herself (“Not Without Permission”). Again, the small details quickly contextualize this night in the rest of their lives.

I really enjoyed this collection. I ended up reading it almost in one sitting in order to have this review up in time for the blog tour, and I don’t exactly recommend it. My partner said I had a “contact BDSM high… without the contact.” You end up vicariously experiencing all of these scenes. It was a little overwhelming, but definitely not unpleasant.

Check out what other people have said about Say Please on their blog tour! Link are listed below.

April 1      Say Please release party in SF
April 1 Viviane http://www.thesexcarnival.com
April 3 Rachel Kramer Bussel http://lustylady.blogspot.com
April 4 Giselle Renard http://donutsdesires.blogspot.com
April 5 Evoe Throw http://www.wholesexlife.com
April 6 Liz http://AlphaHarlot.com
April 9 Roma Mafia http://www.romamafia.com
April 9 Daniela http://www.thecsph.org
April 10 Official release date! Sinclair http://www.sugarbutch.net
April 11 Dede / deviantdyke http://deviantdyke.blogspot.com/
April 12 Helena Swann http://www.cuntext.com
April 13 Kim Herbel http://www.butchlesque.com
April 13   Say Please release party in NYC
April 14 Lily Lloyd http://theblackleatherbelt.com
April 15 Kelli Dunham http://www.kellidunham.com
April 16 Lyzanne http://sexpositive.tumblr.com/
April 17 Lula Lisbon http://www.lulalisbon.com
April 18 Ali Oh http://www.madeofwords.com
April 19 Jameson http://www.ftmbutchdude.com
April 20 Rhys http://girlfriendjunction.org
April 21 Charlie Ninja http://charlieninja.tumblr.com/
April 22    Say Please release party in Boston
April 22 Meredith Guy http://meridithguy.tumblr.com
April 23 Wendi Kali http://astrangerinthisplace.blogspot.com
April 24 Lolita Wolf http://leatheryenta.com
April 25 Audrey at Babeland http://babeland.com/blog
April 26 Seth B http://smokebellyscorner.wordpress.com
April 27 Danika http://www.lesbrary.com
April 28 DL King http://dlkingerotica.blogspot.com
April 29 Kiki http://kikidelovely.wordpress.com
April 29 Kyle http://www.butchtastic.com