Wednesday, June 13, 2012

REVIEW: Like It or Not edited by S.L. Armstrong

♥ Just a quick note of caution before I allow Candace to take it away - this is a taboo anthology dedicated to pushing the boundaries of consent. ♥

This is one dark and edgy collection of taboo stories, let me tell you! Personally, I love the erotic power exchange of dominance and submission, but not even I was prepared for the extent to which some of these stories pushed the boundaries. That's not to say they're unnecessarily cruel or sadistic, not at all. In fact, they are all high charged, very erotic stories, but they do have their often times shocking, and sometimes violent moments.

When they say Like it or Not, they aren't kidding around!

Out of Options is a great kick-off to the collection. It sets just the right tone, and just the right expectations, with its mix of reluctant sensuality and sexuality. Connor's confusion comes across beautifully, as he first denies his kinky desires, then craves them . . . only to regret the extent to which they're fulfilled, before ultimately craving more. My only complaint is that it ends just when it's really starting to get good - with heels and a dress!

Obedience Classes is a complete change of pace, and one that kind of shocked me a bit. It's a werewolf tale, one that delves deep into the wilderness pack mentality and pairs up a rebellious young wolf with his new gay Alpha. Beautifully violent, especially under the light of the full moon, if you can imagine such a thing.

What It's Worth is probably the most unrealistic story of the bunch, one that seems to stray a bit too far into non-consensual fantasy, but one which I still thoroughly enjoyed. Just the idea of a young virgin reporter being forced to perform for his story gave me goosebumps, and I like his curious mix of fear and curiosity.

Blindside is a much softer, more playful story, but something about it bothered me. I think it was the peer pressure, the fear that it might all be a prank, that simply struck too close to home.

Unnatural Means is one of the darkest stories in the collection, but boy was it a good one. I'm always up for a little heresy in my erotica, and the idea of a confessor taking sexual advantage of presumed witch . . . who just may have a little magic . . . really set me off.

Salting the Earth was definitely the most fantastic of the bunch, but a great piece with which to end things. Here we have a missing sister, a protective older brother, and rather perverse Faery King who won't give up his secrets easily, much less take 'no' for an answer. This was just a magical read, even if it did send chills down my spine.

Not an easy read by any means, and definitely not recommended for anybody who is not 100% comfortable with the idea that 'no' can, under the right circumstances, mean 'maybe'. Like I said in my opening, the stories can be cruel at times, but they are always erotic . . . for both parties . . . and that is what sets non-consensual apart from the ugliness of rape.

Available at Amazon and Kobo.

[Reviewed by Bobbi]

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