Emma Sea's Reviews > Power Play: Awakening

Power Play by Rachel Haimowitz
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Jun 09, 12

bookshelves: bdsm
Read in June, 2012

Cat Grant and Rachel Haimowitz are my Dommes

When I started in their service, it was so hard, you know? It hurt. I mean, Jonathan was such an asshole, and such a bad Dom. Not even a Dom! Just a sadistic wanker! It was difficult, and painful. Prolonged.

But rather than fighting the pain, I let it wash over me. Through me. I found the pleasure inside that pain. And that pain/pleasure was gooooood.

And then it got really challenging, and scary, because I didn't know what was coming. I was worried the second book would suck. I was so afraid! But despite my fear I made myself believe in my Dommes. I just let that worry go. I let myself drift. I trusted that they would bring me back safely from the place they'd taken me to.

And then they did :-)



***



Please do not read beyond the spoiler tag if you have not read book one. Just go read it. No actual spoilers for book two follow.

(view spoiler)
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Reading Progress

06/08/2012
1.0% "Hmmmm..."
06/08/2012
8.0% "It seems between books one and two Jonathan was replaced with an alien clone" 1 comment
06/09/2012
70.0% ":-)"
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Comments (showing 1-35 of 35) (35 new)

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message 1: by Ery (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ery Gah!


message 2: by Ery (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ery Or should I say squee!?

Guess I'll start book 1 on the plane!


Emma Sea Erica wrote: "Or should I say squee!?

Guess I'll start book 1 on the plane!"


I'll say squee too! Squee!

Ooh, where are you flying from/to?


message 4: by Ery (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ery Home to Amsterdam. Unfortunately I'll have to work at least some of the time I'm there.


message 5: by Ery (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ery I will cry if it does not meet ur expectation, but I don't think I could live in a world where these two don't deliver. Just call me drama queen.


Lisa Henry Excellent! This will be my reward for hitting all my writing goals tonight.


Leanne Yay!!! I have it downloaded and on the Kindle! It's wet and cold outside so I'll probably inhale it in one go.
Squee!!


Emma Sea Leanne wrote: "Yay!!! I have it downloaded and on the Kindle! It's wet and cold outside so I'll probably inhale it in one go.
Squee!!"


Definitely inhalable in one sitting. It's cold and wet here too. That was great timing for my Saturday night.


Emma Sea Lisa wrote: "Excellent! This will be my reward for hitting all my writing goals tonight."

Does this mean a new Lisa Henry book is on the way??!!!

Squee!!!!


message 10: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Henry Emma C wrote: "Lisa wrote: "Excellent! This will be my reward for hitting all my writing goals tonight."

Does this mean a new Lisa Henry book is on the way??!!!

Squee!!!!"


**looks around all shifty-like**
Mebbe...mebbe not...

No, of course there is! I've just got to finish it! :)


message 11: by Emma Sea (last edited Jun 10, 2012 03:14AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Sea Lisa wrote: "No, of course there is! I've just got to finish it!"

Set your alarm for 3am every morning! Remember: sleep is for non-authors! Both Tribute and The Island are fabulous. Yet, MORE IS REQUIRED! Need more Lisa Henry books!

You know, one of the things I like best about your books is that you don't describe your MCs like it's fan fiction. We get to know people like Shaw slowly, over time. God, I hate the whole opening-sentence-character-descriptor: "The six-foot-two bronzed man stood in the doorway, his solid biceps straining the seams on his tight black T-shirt, his brunette hair with hints of auburn brushing sensuously yet lightly over his collar." Grrr!

Also, while I'm gushing, the opening of The Island is just so good. You really evoke the lushness and heat and the quality of the light. I love it when I can just fall into the world of the book and forget the weird guy on the other side of Starbucks.


message 12: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Henry Emma C wrote: Remember: sleep is for non-authors!

LOL! Thanks, Emma!

I'm not a fan of thorough descriptions, mainly because when I read I like to fill in the blanks myself. Also, it's always more fun to get into the head of a character than describe what they look like or what they're wearing.

Sometimes I neglect description altogether in early drafts. I actually have a sticky note on my computer that says: "Go back and describe John!!!" It has three exclamation marks, so I know I must have meant it when I wrote it.

And that weird guy in Starbucks? I think I've met him as well! :)


message 13: by Ery (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ery I second the squee! On a new LH book.


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

Ery Just read the full (spoilered) review, and all I can say is - astounding review. I got the stomach squiggles all over again. I may need to retread the books just to keep ur points in mind when I do....well...that, and I loved the story so much I want to start all over again :)


Emma Sea Aw, thanks Erica.


Adara That was an astoundingly good review. I linked to it within mine because I think others should read it. =)


Emma Sea Adara wrote: "That was an astoundingly good review. I linked to it within mine because I think others should read it. =)"

Wow, thanks Adara.


message 18: by Eve (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eve Just finished book one so I could read all your spoilers...(spoiler in a spoiler in a spoiler???) and wanted to comment on how awesome your review is! Fabulous, like the books...


message 19: by Emma Sea (last edited Jun 12, 2012 01:35PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Sea Eve wrote: "Just finished book one so I could read all your spoilers...(spoiler in a spoiler in a spoiler???) and wanted to comment on how awesome your review is! Fabulous, like the books..."

Thanks Eve :) But tell me, did you like PP1? (Actually like is kinda the wrong word, yeah? It's more gut-wrenching than likable).

EDIT: Strike that. Just read your status; YAY!!


Darkm This review is very interesting. :)
I've only read the first one and need still to read this, but I think I don't agree about something (view spoiler)


Virginia Great review. I loved these guys.


message 22: by Emma Sea (last edited Jun 21, 2012 03:14PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Sea Virginia wrote: "Great review. I loved these guys."

Thanks Ginny. I loved the books. Jonathan, not so much. I love what the authors did with the guys.


Emma Sea Darkm wrote: "This review is very interesting. :)
I've only read the first one and need still to read this, but I think I don't agree about something "


Darkm: come back when you finish book 2 and we'll debate Jonathan's motivations and desires! I don't wanna spoiler anything for you


Darkm Emma C wrote: "Darkm wrote: "This review is very interesting. :)
I've only read the first one and need still to read this, but I think I don't agree about something "

Darkm: come back when you finish book 2 and ..."


I will :)
And don't worry, I thrive on spoilers!


Steelwhisper How could a sadist ever be able to find fulfillment with a masochist? He can't: it's inherently impossible

I beg your pardon, but this is utter and complete nonsense! I am a sadist, I play exclusively with masochists. Playing with subs who dislike pain makes me physically sick.


Emma Sea Steelwhisper wrote: "How could a sadist ever be able to find fulfillment with a masochist? He can't: it's inherently impossible

I beg your pardon, but this is utter and complete nonsense! I am a sadist, I play exclusi..."


That's because you are not a twisted abusive fuck, and Jonathan is.


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

Steelwhisper wrote: "How could a sadist ever be able to find fulfillment with a masochist? He can't: it's inherently impossible

I beg your pardon, but this is utter and complete nonsense! I am a sadist, I play exclusi..."


I think (am guessing) that we are supposed to take away from this that submissive fantasy that Brandon's complete submission, including a scene where he goes way past his pain limits as a "gift" to Jonathan, is beautiful in its generosity. I will admit, it lost me completely as far as this book went. A sub who will so willingly ignore his limits seems like someone a top couldn't trust and a top that pushes a sub to do this is problematical to me. I hated this book. It felt like it was all about conditioning submissiveness in Brandon through various psychological techniques rather than bringing out any natural submission in him.

What do I know, though. I'm not in the lifestyle. It obviously spoke to many. I wanted brain bleach when I was done.


Steelwhisper Emma wrote: "That's because you are not a twisted abusive fuck, and Jonathan is. ..."

No, it's above all because I am a BDSMer and Jonathan isn't.

As to sadists liking to cause pain, it's complete and utter bullshit that a masochist doesn't experience pain as pain. They do. They are capable of "working" it. Still it hurts absolutely THE SAME WAY as for anyone else!

And I can assure you that every sadist (BDSM-lifestyler) worth their salt is capable of making even the most extreme painslut scream and squirm and stay within the boundaries of SSC or RACK.


Adara Steelwhisper wrote: "And I can assure you that every sadist (BDSM-lifestyler) worth their salt is capable of making even the most extreme painslut scream and squirm and stay within the boundaries of SSC or RACK."

Yep. ^^
=)


message 30: by Steelwhisper (last edited Feb 24, 2013 12:32PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Steelwhisper Kate wrote: "I think (am guessing) that we are supposed to take away from this that submissive fantasy that Brandon's complete submission, including a scene where he goes way past his pain limits as a "gift" to Jonathan, is beautiful in its generosity...."

I had massive, and I mean truly horrific problems with both books. As you quite correctly say, and that as someone who isn't even into the lifestyle, a submissive/bottom who goes beyond their limits without informing the Dom is a hazard to himself and to the Dom. This sort of thing can cause a complete burn-out/shell-shock. It's one of the things guaranteed to be traumatic to any BDSM Top.

One thing I find by the way shocking and also a heritage of books like these and a tendency within the US BDSM scene is:

"...he is just a sadist."

Hello? When did that happen? I'm aware that there are people around who state "just a painslut/masochist", but now they reached the point where a whole entire part of BDSM (which contains S&M) is denigrated? I'm not really astounded when reading books like these which distort the lifestyle beyond recognition. But damn, it bloody hurts.


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Steelwhisper wrote: " But damn, it bloody hurts.
"


Are you aware that both authors say they are life stylers? That actually made both books worse for me.

Sometimes I think this genre (BDSM) has been overrun with authors who are curious or fascinated by BDSM, but they don't participate in it. So they write about the parts they are comfortable with: the concepts of dominance and submission, a little humiliation, some sexytimes, maybe a little flogging or spanking. But hurting someone intentionally? Wanting to hurt someone and getting a sexual thrill out of the tears? They cannot wrap their minds around that part. It feels wrong to them and so they dismiss it or somehow avoid it. I wish there were BDSM books written from the Dom's POV, but I think it's beyond most of these authors to imagine themselves into that role. They can't do it, they can't understand it.


message 32: by Steelwhisper (last edited Feb 24, 2013 01:50PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Steelwhisper Kate wrote: "Are you aware that both authors say they are life stylers? That actually made both books worse for me..."

Yes, I am. Which makes this much much worse for me.

I think there may be several forces at work there. There is that which you just described, authors who either are no lifestylers or barely dipped the toe in, who either shy away from the deep end or misconstrue things, write samey things.

But then there are also lifestylers around, and the vast majority of those write what I tend to call "mindfucks/wank-off material for lifestylers". I've nothing against such stories, but I hate when they get called BDSM. That implies they are actually BDSM, and coming from people you know are lifestylers this sure as hell gives the wrong message.

One consequence is that spiral of higher-farther-faster. By now things are at a point where a perfectly normal, well-written and truly realistic BDSM scene gets called "soft BDSM", "bad BDSM" or "unrealistic BDSM". I've seen all of those in reviews of stories which were close to the real thing or even right on. This sort of skewing of the public opinion, for this is what it is, is harmful to the lifestyle itself.

Another is that again the stories tend to get very samey. Baldly put over 80% of all BDSM is missing from books, and a lot of which is missing is misrepresented to the point that such notions start to spread as "only a sadist" or "only a masochist". S&M is a very wide field within the lifestyle and contains some of the most exciting and beautiful play you can think of--with players who are, the moment the scene is done, on eyelevel and have a totally different relationship with each other than that of D/s players. And it is just as wonderful, just as exciting and exactly as loving! And I'm not even yet talking of all the other tastes. There are so many!

So yes, it hurts when you see things like this happen.


Emma Sea Steelwhisper wrote: "No, it's above all because I am a BDSMer and Jonathan isn't. "

Touche!


Ayanna Coming in late to the game, but...

(This is about Emma's review proper)
Interesting that you should point out the whore thing. Reminds me of discussions we had in AP Lit after we read Siddhartha. (This was after the teacher imploded our metaphysical synapses with a section on different philosophies and we learned that morality may not exist.) Is prostitution inherently immoral? And is prostitution of the body any worse than the sort of prostitution we do of our intellect to the college board for the sake of the grades and test scores so we can then prostitute ourselves to the different colleges we apply to?

The weird/awkward thing is I read book 2 first and then couldn't force myself to read book 1...


message 35: by Steelwhisper (last edited Feb 25, 2013 12:59AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Steelwhisper Ayanna wrote: "Is prostitution inherently immoral? And is prostitution of the body any worse than the sort of prostitution we do of our intellect to the college board for the sake of the grades and test scores so we can then prostitute ourselves to the different colleges we apply to?"

That depends. No. And no.

For me the question isn't whether it's immoral with regard to the prostitute's activities. I do consider that basically normal work.

No, it's whether it's unethical by the john (whichever kind). Because to me the one thing which condemns prostitution (and certain kinds of work and marriage arrangements) is the inherent powerslide which some prostitutes cannot escape from. That is not ethical, and acting in an unethical way is, if you want to call it that, immoral.

I do not agree by the way with regard to the alleged genius of these books. I think that far too much is being interpreted into them, simply because they touch very problematic topics. Instead past works, the way this has been marketed and still is being marketed, alongside how other stories by these authors recently have been pushed suggest that this is as exploitative--financially and of the lifestyle--as the rest of them. Nothing wrong with the first, it's the second which irks.

If you want a book which takes up the very basic themes and conflicts and delivers the full works truly brilliantly you need to read The Remains of the Day for example. There's little sex in that of course. ;)


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