Cole Riann's Reviews > Soft Focus

Soft Focus by Reno MacLeod
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Mar 13, 11

bookshelves: m-m, m-m-bdsm-fetish, m-m-contemporary, personally-recommended, m-m-m-and-more, favorites, jessewave, m-m-sexy-to-the-999
Recommended to Cole by: Simsala
Read on February 23, 2011 — I own a copy, read count: 2

Updated Review: *4.5 stars*


This book is about the journey of a man into BDSM with the right teachers. Ethan is an m/m erotica writer. He does everything he can to find a subject that totally enthralls him. Then, he digs deep into research and come out on the other side with a story, hopefully about real men in that situation. On the flight home from his day-job as a freelance photographer on a safari in Africa, Ethan sees a BDSM magazine in the hands of the passenger next ot him, and after striking a conversation with the man about the publication he is reading, Ethan decides that the BDSM community is going to be part of his next project. He records the name of the Dom in the magazine that has caught his eye, and after finding out that he and his sub will be attending a conference near him, he arranges to meet them both at the conference to start his research.

David and Kiyoshi are quite a famous couple in the BDSM circuit. David is a skilled Dom who teaches classes, theory and practical, at different conferences during the year. Kiyoshi, his sub, is also equally famous, both for being David’s long-time sub, and for his own grace, beauty, and submission. They love each other very much, but they have a somewhat tenuous connection. Ethan is completely taken by them, and within only a few hours, decides that if he really wants to learn from them, he will enter into the community for the weekend. He soon learns that almost all of his thoughts about BDSM are completely wrong, though there are many within the community as well who are unable to grasp the finer points. David does not rule with an iron fist, just as Kiyoshi does not relinquish power when he submits to David. The power dynamic is fluid and constantly changing, just as a relationship does. Soon, however, David starts to love the place he has come to settle within the couple’s dynamic. Will they feel the same? Or will they let him go at the end of the weekend as he originally wanted?

The beauty of this particular story is the lens through which the story is told. We are told the story from Ethan’s POV as he learns about the community himself. He is an objective audience to David and Kiyoshi’s relationship (though he soon becomes part of it). Yet, with the possibility of their weekend menage lasting no longer than the convention, Ethan is able to retain the mask of partiality. Therefore, while we are able to see the BDSM community from the inside out at the same time as Ethan is able to understand the true meaning of the community — of power, and the dynamics of giving and receiving it, in a fresh and new way. The dynamic between David and Kiyoshi, and later as Ethan seems to take pleasure in pushing the boundaries of their relationship, helped me to understand the benefits that David and Kiyoshi, and Ethan as well, receive from a relationship in the context of BDSM. Likewise, the way that they viewed the community helped. Though they may seem the perfect Dom and sub in public, it is only that — a display. In private, the one who ultimately holds the power is Kiyoshi. It was fascinating to watch Ethan learn this, and then see the community through their eyes.

For the full review, please visit Reviews by Jessewave.

Original Review: I loved this book so much. Even though I don't read very much BDSM, this is by far my favorite m/m BDSM book, not to mention my favorite so far of Jaye and Reno's books. I admit that there have been times where a book has helped me to understand the BDSM culture, which isn't something that I'm naturally drawn to, but I've always still remained confused. This book changed that for me, and helped me understand the love and trust that is implicit in a BDSM partnership. I appreciate that and value it as someone who doesn't really enjoy the shock and awe factor that many m/m BDSM books employ. A favorite for sure :)
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Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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Jenre You're bad for my purse, Cole! I just bought this based on your review :).


Lily I really enjoyed this one. I'm a big fan of their writing! :)


Cole Riann Jenre wrote: "You're bad for my purse, Cole! I just bought this based on your review :)."

Lol, I know you said once to me that what you loved most about reading BDSM is the trust between partners, so I think you'll love this one Jen. Add that to the explosive writing you always get with this pair and it's a winner :)


Cole Riann Lily wrote: "I really enjoyed this one. I'm a big fan of their writing! :)"

Me too! I just read Damn Gorgeous as well and next I'm reading A Perfect Game.


Lily Cole wrote: "Lily wrote: "I really enjoyed this one. I'm a big fan of their writing! :)"

Me too! I just read Damn Gorgeous as well and next I'm reading A Perfect Game."


I haven't read those yet, they're still on my TBB. Hope you enjoy them. Have you read their StarCrossed series? It's really good!


Cole Riann Lily wrote: "Cole wrote: "Lily wrote: "I really enjoyed this one. I'm a big fan of their writing! :)"

Me too! I just read Damn Gorgeous as well and next I'm reading A Perfect Game."

I haven't read those yet, ..."


No, those are next up to buy, I'm really looking forward to reading them. Damn me for having to wait on my next paycheck!


message 7: by Simsala (last edited Feb 23, 2011 06:37AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Simsala Happy you loved it so much...


Cole Riann Simsala wrote: "Happy you loved it so much..."

Me too! Thank you so much for the recommendation :)


message 9: by Josephine (new) - added it

Josephine Myles Thanks for the rec - sounds like it could be a good BDSM read for me too - I'm not particularly into "shock and awe" either, but would appreciate a novel that focused more on a loving partnership.


message 10: by Cole (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cole Riann Josephine wrote: "Thanks for the rec - sounds like it could be a good BDSM read for me too - I'm not particularly into "shock and awe" either, but would appreciate a novel that focused more on a loving partnership."

What I loved about this book was that there were very few BDSM "scenes", but the whole book was about the power dynamic in a relationship and how it can heighten and bring them closer together rather than be there for sexual gratification. Any actual acts (flogging, caning, and one act of violence that was not for gratification at all) were there to only portray those dynamics. I had borrowed it, but I'm definitely going to buy it so I can read it again whenever I want :)


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

And there's going to be a sequel. Woo hoo.


message 12: by Cole (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cole Riann Luci wrote: "And there's going to be a sequel. Woo hoo."

Woo hoo! I'm reviewing this book for Wave soon, since I loved it so much :)


Simsala Luci wrote: "And there's going to be a sequel. Woo hoo."

Where? When??? :D)))))))


message 14: by Cole (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cole Riann Simsala wrote: "Luci wrote: "And there's going to be a sequel. Woo hoo."

Where? When??? :D)))))))"


Luci asked him in the comments on their interview today at Wave's. He said it was something that they would hopefully work on soon, and it will be about their relationship behind closed doors as opposed to the image they put forth for conventions and such. Sounds great, huh? I can't wait :)


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