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Posted April 23, 2012
Normally, I hate books featuring millionaires/billionaires/gazillionaires who are dominants because usually the sub isn't and the book ends up reading more like 'Pretty Woman' with whips. In this case, we're talking a three-million dollar payout for six months of a man's life. It also says loud and clear that only the rich get to indulge in all the toys of the BDSM lifestyle. So much for us regular janes who are 'stuck' using clothespins and rope from The Home Depot, lol. Seriously, fancy dungeon descriptions bore me to tears because for some strange reason these fancy dungeons with all the latest and most expensive toys have become de rigueur in BDSM fiction to the point where I think I'm reading through the JT's Stockroom catalogue rather than a supposedly "hot" and edgy tale.
That's one reason why I'm of mixed feelings about this book. The other reason is while the S/M scenes were very intense, I never really felt enough of an emotional connection to either Brandon or Jonathan (though I think I understood Brandon a little more). I felt as if I were really on the outside looking in rather than inside of their minds and souls. I really liked them as characters, but it felt as if both were hiding their true selves from me as a reader. And I'm sorry, but Jonathan's 'research' on Brandon felt a little too close to stalking. Then again, being the only child of fabulously open parents (plus being given a real first name that is hippy to the core) probably means that Jonathan's idea of privacy and boundaries are a damn sight different from anyone else's.
And yes Virginia, I am so done with the abused sub trope. It has been way overused (abused to the point of ridiculousness) and personally I feel validates the vanilla belief that only mentally/physically messed-up people enjoy BDSM.
So why four stars? Well, because I get that this book is titled Power Play: Resistance and that it's the first part of a longer story. I get the "resistance" part and Brandon as mouthy sub drives even me, a former top, to distraction. On the other hand, this world is totally new to him and honestly, Jonathan as a supposedly knowledgeable dominant does a pretty crappy job explaining to his new and highly untrained sub just what is required of him. And yet, I just don't quite understand Brandon's willingness (the money notwithstanding) to submit to a man he barely knows. This is a man with serious trust issues stemming from parental abuse giving up control to a guy he blew in the back of a bar? True love/lust doth this not make.
What also makes me give this four stars is Jonathan. I really need to know more about him, his life and what got him into this world in the first place. He's out of his depth here and as time and patience wears on, he knows it. I like dominants who aren't all-seeing and perfect. I like when they question their motives and/or don't get things right. I liked the fact that while he understood all the mechanics--the panic button, the hanky, safewording--he'd finally come across a man who pushes all the wrong buttons, makes him actually feel something and even re-evaluate his beliefs. In short, Jonathan's that human dominant that so many stories in this vein tend to gloss over.
In spite of feeling that I never really knew Brandon or Jonathan very well, there's something about these two that make me want to read about them again and I'm eagerly awaiting the next book. I'm hoping the next book fills in the blanks
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Posted April 21, 2013
A book definitely only for those with an open mind and an interest in taking a plunge ingo the world of BDSM. While not my chosen lifestyle, I always find peeks into others a major fascination and driver in my choice of books. In this instance, this was an excellent choice. No 2 relationships are ever the same and these characters told a fascinating story into the BDSM world. Very well written! I rate it an intense, emotional must read.
I was leery about buying it based on some of the reviews and then I realised how lengthy and detailed they were. A very good indication to me that the reviewer could not put the book down and that any negative judgements stemmed more from their personal feelings about the lifestyle than a true indication of how good I would find the book. I think I went into it with an open mind and was truly, truly well pleased. I cannot wait to read the next in the series and watch these perfectly imperfect characters and their relationship develop.
Posted February 19, 2013
I don’t understand Jonathan’s move from zero (meeting Bran at the bar) to 200 (spending $8K on a suit, cooking him dinner and
cuffing him to the bed the next night), why he’s so enamored of Bran that he’s pushing so far, so fast. I got the fast face-frak in the
alley the night they meet - people do that all the time, but the rest? Not so much.
I did not find either of the men to be in-character as they were described. Jonathan is not sadistic, or was not portrayed to be,
despite the fact that he said he was more than once - he struggles internally too much to be someone who enjoys giving pain.
This story was not romantic or sexy or sensuous or erotic or even educational about the lifestyle. I just kept hoping there was
something there, and it never showed up. If this is truly an example of a TPE, I want no part of that. At all.
Bran is too Alpha to really be a sub - he struggles too much internally to enjoy submitting to someone else, and he does not enjoy
the pain. His body responds, no doubt, and he says he’s having some of the best sex of his life, but seriously, except when he's
actually orgasming, he's not enjoying any of it. Three million dolllars is not worth the kind of mind-frak Jonathan’s putting him through.
Jonathan punished Bran more than once for using his safeword. It’s only OK to use it if Jonathan thinks Bran is actually at his limit.
I get the concept of not using the safeword willy-nilly, but there were at least two times that Bran's internal dialogue told me he was
at his limit, and Jonathan ignored it and kept going. What's the point of even having a safe-word?
Basically, at the end of this book, I’m left wondering why Jonathan wants to Top someone he can't respect, why Bran can’t tell Jonathan
and his three million to buzz off, and why either of them are even doing this. Except for the first time in the alley, none of the sex was
hot - I didn’t get the feeling Bran was willingly engaged at any time, just his body.
If my mind is elsewhere during sex, as in “not there at all” there is something wrong, and the person with me should notice. I’m not
talking about the pain/pleasure of subspace, but the mind going away because what’s happening to the body is unacceptable.
Aside from all that, the book was well-written and I found few errors of the technical kind. Any BDSM errors are in my own mind,
because my personal experience with the lifestyle is minimal. Other people obviously enjoyed the book, and maybe this review,
with details about what I didn't like will help someone else decide to read or not to read, based on their personal preferences.
Posted November 29, 2012
I don't like BDSM books. I try to push my boundaries every couple of months which is why I read them occasionally. I don't get the need to be submissive or to dominate. I can't understand why anyone would crave that so it makes it really difficult for me to connect with the characters. That's the problem I had with this book. I didn't like, care, or respect Bran or Jonathan. I actively disliked both of them the entire time. I never felt any connection between them either. For me, this was one guy torturing another guy while the guy being tortured tried to maintain his part of the agreement in order to get a big payout at the end. This was more horror than BDSM for me.
That leads me into why I rated this book a 4. I like horror. I enjoy the slightly nauseous feeling I get as well as the rage it invokes in me. I can be horrified but completely enveloped into the book at the same time. This book did exactly that for me. I couldn't put it down! I'm sure it helped that the writing was fantastic too.
The only reason it's not a 5 star book is because I wasn't at all interested in Bran and Jonathan having a relationship. The ending was all about their feelings and them trying to move forward together into a healthy BDSM relationship. I have no interest in that aspect of the book and I'm guessing that's where the series is leading. For that reason, I won't be reading the next book even though I did enjoy this one.
Posted October 25, 2012
Awesome, but not for the fainted heart.
First off, this is not a book for everyone. Do keep the publisher's warning in mind if you're considering this book. It is certainly not a light read. It is positively not a romantic read. It is an amazing, overwhelming read. It touched me in ways I never thought a BDSM book could. It grabbed me from beginning to end. It was intense, emotional, utterly fascinating and everything in between.
In no way do I consider myself a knowledgeable person in anything concerning the BDSM lifestyle so keep in mind that what you are about to read are only my opinions and thoughts on this book, its characters and its writing. Does it depict a fair and realistic view of the lifestyle? Heck if I know! It's fiction and entertaining, at least for me. So here I go.
Brandon has had a hard life and has made something of himself all on his own. He keeps to himself, works hard and tries to work on his dream. So when the opportunity to make that dream come true arose, he went full out to get it. Did he think it through enough? Did he fully know what he was getting into? These are some of the questions that have been coming up in review sites. But for me, it doesn't matter. He knew what he wanted. He went after it no matter the cost. Was it fair? Consensual? Abuse? Torture? The answers vary from reader to reader. For me it was what it was. Brandon was not misinformed. He had the opportunity to educate himself, ask questions and set limits. He consented. Be it in the form of a signed contract or just by not using his safe word or walking out. For me it was not abuse nor torture. Yes, the scenes were hardcore. He was beaten and humiliated and a whole other set of things. But he was given the choice. And he kept making the wrong one.
"Learning to trust someone like that, so deeply, so completely. Learning to move past your strongest barriers, face your deepest fears...It would change your life, Brandon. And not just because of the money waiting for you at the end."
As for Jonathan, I think that he suffered also. A self-confessed sadist who tried at every turn to get Brandon to submit to him, Jonathan's part in this journey was very complicated. He has been painted as an abuser by some, unrecognized as a Dom by most. But was he? I don't know if he was a Dom or not. It's not my place to say. But he was not an abuser. He was very clear on what he wanted from Brandon - total submission. He saw something in him that he felt he could enhance and bring to the surface. Was he mistaken? Most likely. I don't see Brandon as a submissive person. Just like I don't see Jonathan as an abuser. Yes he took great pleasure in inflicting pain, but he was very tender and very caring to Brandon, when Brandon pleased him. He also questioned himself and wanted Brandon to experience the best of the lifestyle. He wanted him to let go, to trust, to open himself to a new world and just LET GO.
"It's all right to let go, Brandon. It's all right to want. You don't have to be on guard all the time."
In all honesty, I cried and laughed throughout the book. Yes, laughed. Brandon knew what he had to do yet he kept being stubborn and doing his best to test Jonathan. Did he suffer? Heck yeah, he did. But he could have avoided it. Was it painful reading what he went through? Of course it was. I DO have a heart. I cried with him, I laughed at his outbursts and his inner rants and in the end I was yelling for him to safeword, to get out of Dodge. To claim his dues and get on with his life if he could. But he was so proud. So unwilling to let go of that hard won pride, the one he had to build for himself alone in the world at such a young age, he held onto it, time and time again. And that pride was what brought in the shame - in himself, his desires, his needs. For me, it was the shame, along with his pride that made it all so hard and painful.
" Shame has no place in these walls. This, here, now? Is all about your pleasure. Embrace it. Let it wash over you. Be strong enough to be helpless to it, to succumb to it, to revel in it."
The authors, Rachel Haimowitz and Cat Grant, outdid themselves. I thought the writing was excellent. Every scene carefully thought out, every word deliberately placed, every emotion described for its utmost impact. The characters were complex and exactly what the story demanded. The reactions, the outbursts, the submission, the sex and the dialog worked seamlessly together to bring this story of need and want and pain and hurt to the page.
It left me reeling, apprehensive, anticipating - it made me want more. Yes, I wanted more. I wanted them to get through this, stay together in this journey of self-discovery and acceptance. I wanted them to connect, to find what they both were looking for and to find it with each other. Am I willing to continue to see Brandon being beaten and broken down? In a heartbeat. Because when he went there, when he first let go and accepted it, albeit for the wrong reasons, it was beautiful. Can you imagine how it could be if Brandon truly let go? If he gave himself to the unknown and trust Jonathan to catch him and guide him through it? I think it would be an amazing read. So with that being said, I bid you farewell and happy reading. I'll already be immersed in book 2 as you are reading this.
"Submission is strength. Willpower. Iron control. It's trust, and relaxation, and rest, and pleasure."
Posted April 9, 2012
This was an incredibly intense read both mentally and physically and I'm literally exhausted after reading it. As a reader of a few books based in the world of BDSM I thought I knew what to expect, but this book completely caught me off guard. The scenes were of a level I never read before and won't be something I soon forget. And with this being the first book in the Power Play series this experience isn't over yet.
Jonathon and Brandon's relationships starts off innocently enough with a drink at a bar where Brandon clearly seems to be the one in control, but things soon change completely and Brandon's forced into a subservient role to Jonathon to get what he needs to take over the company he works for. Their time together doesn't go as either planned due to neither of them being truly honest with each other and it's only at the end of the story where there's finally hope for the two of them to have a mutually satisfying relationship with each other.
Even after reading this story I still don't understand the desire of participating in a BDSM lifestyle, especially for someone like Brandon who was mentally and physically abused by his father. To put himself in a similar situation will either end up being a mistake or being very therapeutic for him. Jonathon too was a conundrum that I don't have any better understanding of from when I first started reading. He seemed caring one moment then cold the next and I'm hoping that the next installment will dig deeper into his psyche now that these two have come to a better understanding.
This is definitely not a book for the weak of heart. Having an open mind is a necessity to immerse yourself in the world presented here, an intensely emotional world nicely balanced with the physical aspects. It's an intriguing and thought provoking story that has me wanting to come back for more and hopefully gain more insight into this lifestyle.
Posted October 6, 2013
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Posted October 28, 2013
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Posted May 6, 2012
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