Control by Charlotte Stein

4/5 stars.
(ARC) ebook, 238 pages.
Read from January 02 to 13, 2014

Well out of all the Erotica I’ve read so far, this one, surprisingly, has been my favourite. Ms. Stein has found the perfect balance of smut, character and plot. She was able to provide the reader just enough information about the characters for you to invest into them but didn’t divert so far that you forgot you were reading a piece of Erotica. The story plays with the idea of both female and male dominance and the author was very effective in showing both of these stances in the same story.

Madison, the main female in the story, which seems to be a popular name to use in Erotica as it’s the second piece I’ve read that has used the name for their main female character, owns a bookstore. Not just any bookstore but one that specifically sells Romance and Erotica. In her pursuit to find some help running her store she encounters Andy and Gabriel. While she doesn’t hire Andy, she has rough dirty sex with him on a regular basis. Andy himself, is rough and takes great pleasure in taking control of any sexual encounter. She hires Gabriel because she is enthralled by his passive and quiet nature. Gabriel is the exact opposite of Andy, in every aspect, and what Madison will end up discovering through the many sexual adventures between and with both of them (at the same time) is a side of her she didn’t know about and a pleasure and a love she didn’t know existed.

This book has some immensely erotic scenes that would get just about anyone’s heart racing. I would highly recommend this book to any Erotica lovers or new comers into the genre who aren’t afraid of something new and a little adventure.

Book Lovers by Shawna Kenney

3/5 stars.
(ARC) ebook, 256 pages.
Read from November 05 to 07, 2013.

Confession: this was my very first piece of Erotica. I may be hooked…Thank you Netgalley for introducing me to this genre.

There were some very good stories in this novel, some much better than others and some that I was able to relate to more. My favourite story by far was “A-Z”, not only was it exceptionally written (as was promised with this collaboration) but it was extremely sexy. I actually re-read the story because it was so hot! There were others however that did very little for me as I was not able to relate either to the sex scene or the story that was being told, but there were some that surprised me. Regardless, I still appreciated the stories in and of themselves for the most part.

This novel is truly a remarkable collaboration and I did love how each story was so unique and different from the next. Some stories were based on tragic relationships, existentialist thought or were completely fixated on the erotic associations of physical books and literature. I loved it all.

I feel that this collaboration was successful in portraying smut for literature geeks and would recommend it to a few of my nerdy friends.

Sixteen, Sixty-One by Natalie Lucas

4/5 stars.
(ARC) ebook, 320 pages.
Read from September 11 to 15, 2013.

Firstly, I would like to thank Netgalley for allowing me to get my hands on this extremely intriguing, tragic, horrifying and inspiring memoir. So far out all of the books I’ve read this year, this is the one I’ve had the most trouble putting down.

Natalie is a fifteen year-old teenager when she first meets Matthew, a sixty year old man. At this point in Natalie’s life she is feeling some of the emotional turmoils and insecurities that come with being a teenager, and like so many teenagers, Natalie wants to know where she fits in and who is. While Natalie’s family life is normal and healthy she is not close to her father, who was divorced from her mother and is distant at best. Matthew starts to become this sort of father figure(in a loose sense of the word) for her. He offers her the comfort of fatherly advice, love and the direction that she has been craving, along with philosophy, ambition, purpose and sense of belonging and understanding. He makes her feel special. Who wouldn’t want that?

They’re interactions at this point, while appearing innocent, were peculiar right from the beginning and it didn’t stay innocent for long. Matthew emails her often and has too much of an interest in seeing her. His topics of conversation start to become increasingly inappropriate. He asks her to lie to her mother so that their time together doesn’t start raising questions, he drops hints about his mischievous past of “Bunburying”, asks to read her diaries and leave them with him, as well as inquiring about her growing curiosity in her own sexuality. There are warning flags all over this behaviour but Natalie is fifteen and she has come to trust this man who has provided her so much comfort and insight.

Shortly after Natalie turns sixteen, she loses her virginity to Matthew, who is now sixty-one years old. Forty-five years… the two of them are separated by four and a half decades of an age difference. It took me a long time for that fact to really seep in. Forty. Five. Years…

Natalie does love Matthew and the relationship hints at romance during the first portion of the book it is quickly wiped away with the graphic scenes of their sex life and the appearance of Matthew’s true colours when she decides to go away to college. While experimenting in college, Natalie tries to find a way to define herself but her current identity has been built upon lies. She has to find her way out of the smothering embrace of Matthew’s control. As things escalate with Matthew, Natalie is sucked into an awful array of turmoil.

While I could never feasibly imagine being in the exact situation that Natalie was in, she described her story so well that I felt it. Their were moments in this book where I wanted to cry and scream and others where I just wished that I could cause Matthew mass amounts of pain. My biggest and only frustration with this novel actually has nothing to do with the novel itself but that <spoiler> Matthew didn’t get punished in the end. I wanted justice. He should have be jailed as a pedophile, beaten and shamed. With that being said, that likely would not have not done Natalie any favours in the end. Even though it would have been completely undeserved, she would have likely received some backlash from some small minded people if she or her family had taken retribution with Matthew. I still would have liked to have known what happened to him regardless, but it’s not his story, it’s Natalie’s.</spoiler>.

I wish I could meet Natalie. I wish I could tell her that she didn’t do anything wrong and that there was no way that she could have known that this was all going to happen. I wish I could tell her how amazingly strong she is and how much her story touched me. I hope that she has been told these things by those that care about her and that she has found peace (and her true self) by writing and sharing her story.