~edited by Jane Litte
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Publish Date: December 6, 2011
With historical, contemporary, and futuristic backdrops, this outrageously diverse collection of original stories explores every conceivable variation of BDSM erotica--from knitting circles to the Titanic to a retelling of The Little Mermaid. Featuring all-new stories by Meljean Brook, Jean Johnson, Bettie Sharpe, Jill Myles, Margaret Rowe, Sara Thorn, and more, this book has everything a reader could hope for in an erotic romance.
I'm just going to jump right in to my thoughts on this one:
I'm not usually a fan of anthologies, so I was a bit hesitant to read this, but I ended up really enjoying it. I like reading BDSM if it's not too over-the-top, and these stories were just the right speed for me. It's kind of silly, but I thought it was very cool that the book had two sides - you read the Agony side, then flipped it over for the Ecstasy stories.
My favorite story (actually two) was Transfixed (on the Agony side) by Anne Calhoun, and her other story, Transformed (on the Ecstasy side). Very good BDSM stories; she's a dom and he's a big burly guy who likes to be hurt. I'll say again: Very good. I've added Ms. Calhoun to my "authors I must try" list.
Also on the Agony side:
Safeword by Delphine Dryden - short, sweet, friends to lovers. Hero was kind of a nerd. Very cute.
Bachelorette Party by Jessica Clare. At first I wasn't too into this but by the end I enjoyed it.
Wetwire by Snny Moraine was an original concept and I enjoyed it. Set in the near future, an interesting twist on gaming.
On the Ecstasy side:
Rescue Me by Meljean Brook had me confused at first but once I figured out what was going on I really enjoyed it.
Silverhouse by Sarabeth Scott was way too short - I wanted more! I liked the couple and their master/sub relationship in a historical setting was unique but good.
I also liked Bruised Ego by Christine D'Abo; I'll be looking for more by this author. Kind of made me think of Willing Victim by Cara McKenna for some reason - maybe the boxing in order to be hurt? I'm not sure - very good though.
There were only a few stories I didn't care for, none of them DNFs though, which I guess is the benefit of them all being short. I liked the mix of historical, contemporary, and paranormal/sci-fi. I didn't care for either GLBT story (there were only two - one f/f, one m/m), which kind of surprised me.
I would definitely recommend Agony/Ecstasy for readers who aren't sure if they'd enjoy BDSM-type reading, as well as readers who are already fans of the genre. I've discovered some new-to-me authors I'll be pursuing in the future.