Recap: September 2015 + Highlights & Discussion on Equity in Erotic Romance

September 2015 was an awesome month for me. I had a couple of my reviews quoted on author websites: meredithwild.com and avongalewrites.com. Yay, me!

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Meredith Wild and Avon Gale write in different romance genres but have similar themes, particularly, equitable and reciprocal power exchange.

In Meredith Wild’s billionaire, erotic romance Hacker series, Blake and Erica negotiate Blake’s need for control and Erica’s need for independence. Blake and Erica have to learn how to trust each other with their secrets and vulnerabilities.

In Avon Gale’s bisexual, M/M erotic romance, Let the Wrong Light In, Avery and Malin struggle to figure out what each other needs, how to give each other what they need, and how to build a relationship in which the more often submissive partner feels safe and not degraded.

While BDSM is a component in both relationships, it doesn’t define them. Neither partners have absolute control in the relationships. To earn their happy endings, these couples have to be open and honest with each other and to be respectful and considerate of their partners’ needs, while balancing their needs to build an equitable, fulfilling partnership.


Trigger warning for the following discussion: rape, sexual assault

I chose not to review a book by one of my favorite erotic romance authors, because I’m not a fan of rape or sexual assault as a plot device and BDSM incorporating rape fantasy, objectification, and the treatment of subs as slaves, whether or not it is consensual. It’s just not my kink. I’m okay if the story is about healing from rape or sexual assault. I am not okay if the assault is a plot device to:

  • shock readers
  • portray the hero or heroine as “strong”
  • portray the villains as even more villainous
  • portray the hero as even more heroic
  • manufacture sympathy for the hero or heroine
  • manipulate reader’s emotions

In the case of the book I didn’t review, I thought that the assault was used as a plot device to manufacture a situation in which the hero and heroine were forced to spend time together. It was also suggested that the heroine became a domme because she had been a victim of attempted rape in the past as well, and wanted to feel powerful and in control. I’m not interested in power reversals that merely replicate the misogynistic paradigm with the genders switched. I believe that feminism is about equity and equal rights, empowerment not power.

I’m not going to judge you on whatever turns you on, as long as you’re not hurting anyone, physically or psychologically. But I also reserve the right not to read about your kink or like it. I’m not sure I’ll feel safe reading erotica or erotic romance in the future if I’m not informed about what kinds of kink the book contains.


 

FROM LOVE TO LIKE:
ARCs I Reviewed, Books I Reviewed, Books I Read, and Audiobooks I Borrowed

 
ARCs I REVIEWED

M/M ROMANCE


BOOKS I REVIEWED

M/M ROMANCE


BOOKS I READ

  • 9. ONLY A KISS by Mary Balogh
  • 10. REMIND ME by Ann Marie Walker & Amy K. Rogers (eARC – did not review)
  • 11. BREAK ME DOWN by Roni Loren (eARC – did not review)

M/M ROMANCE

  • 12. TRUST THE FOCUS by Megan Erickson REALLY, REALLY LIKED!
  • 13. FALL FOR ME by Ann Lister (no rating)

AUDIOBOOKS I BORROWED

  • 14. DRIVEN by K. Bromberg

M/M ROMANCE

  • 15. ETHAN by Nicole Edwards


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