A sweet short story with two characters that I really enjoyed. I could have done with a bit more of the smexxin, because it was over pretty quickly afA sweet short story with two characters that I really enjoyed. I could have done with a bit more of the smexxin, because it was over pretty quickly after the buildup. Yet, with a story as short as this, you can't expect to get too much of anything. I enjoyed it very much!...more
This book is about the journey of a man into BDSM with the right teachers. Ethan is an m/m erotica writer. He does everythiUpdated 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.
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 :)...more
I can't help it -- this is still my favorite book from Kate McMurray!
Matt Blanco is a Brooklyn boy, born into a crazy Italian family and famous as a top professional baseball player, nearing the end of his long career with the Brooklyn Eagles. He is also gay. There's never even been a rumor of his sexuality, though he's a perennial bachelor, because of his complete dedication towards discretion. If baseball wasn't the true first love of his life, then he might be miserable. But things start to change when a rookie joins the Eagles out of the farm system.
Iggy Rodriguez is a magnificent player, the kind of player who will probably eclipse Matt's own fame and talent. And he's incredibly beautiful. Matt, normally the welcoming unofficial captain, is nervous around him because of his attraction to Iggy, no matter that he's thirteen years younger than him and his presence on the team shows that the Eagles are most likely slowly pushing out the older guys to make way for new, young talent.
Iggy has his own problems concerning Matt. The Great Matt Blanco is his all-time idol and crush -- a man who he fantasized about as a teenager as he looked down from the walls of Iggy's bedroom. Meeting his idol is one thing, but to find out that he's also gay and in the closet and that they have a mutual attraction? That blows his mind.
The two find a way to make it work, always putting discretion above all else. They manage to go years in love and playing together until the magic just can't last. Matt's having problems with his knee and it looks like it won't hold out much longer. Looking at retirement is like the end of his life. Navigating the world of professional baseball with such a secret is hard, but as their lives change around them and pressure mounts, both Matt and Iggy have to find a way to put their relationship above the sport they both love.
First, Kate's love of baseball really comes through in this book. I mean, the sport is shown from both positive and negative angles, but the love of the game is central in the book. It's what initially bring both Matt and Iggy together, and it is at times what keep them together as their common language. Second, Iggy and Matt are amazing characters. It is only in the first few pages of the book that we're shown the dichotomy between the young and old on the team, pitting both Matt and Iggy at different ends of their career. But it is a central theme. It's a bit obstacle, mostly to Matt who has a problem facing the end of his baseball career, but also in the sense that Matt, who already has a problem with change, doesn't want to rock the boat to sacrifice Iggy's career. But the dichotomy between the old and new as they're presented also works well for their relationship. Even though it means that they often clash, they're two sides of a coin also. Where Matt represents a more classic vision of the sport and the culture, Iggy is the idealist who breaks through his stagnancy, to show him that there is hope that there could be a real active out gay athlete.
And third is the main reason that I think this book is so successful. We already have a great setup story and background of professional sports. And we have two really wonderful characters with a great shifting dynamic. What makes them come together to work so well in this book is the pace of the story. The whole story covers roughly three to four years. We're given several major sections of the story in real time with transitions of quick narration to bring us forward. It moves at a quick pace which keeps the story in momentum, but which also allows the characters to grow farther than you might expect. I remember when I first read this, I kept feeling like I was probably getting toward the end, only to realize that I still had half the book left to read. The forward momentum brings the story into new times and into new shifting dynamics between Iggy and Matt, showing how they work around them, how they adapt to new times and how they, eventually, use that time to grow closer and carve a life for themselves.
The story really is beautiful. There's no needless angst, only what is appropriate for the situation and isn't long-lasting. And, after all that, the story ends beautifully. Every time, every damn time I cry when I read the last 7 to 8% of the book, from the 12 year old fan that comes up to Matt in the stands to the purple hats to Iggy playing in the game. The story ends on a high, very optimistically but not unrealistically, and with Iggy and Matt in a really good place. I couldn't be happier.
I think I appreciated this book more the second time around. And I know that I appreciated it more after reading all of Kate's books back to back. I can see where there are some sylistic differences between this book and some of the others. None of the others are formulaic, but something about this book just really works for me. It will always be a book that I'll come back to and read over again. And it's one that you should read as well!
First Read - 4/25/12 to 4/26/12
4.5 stars (rounded up to 5 because this book just had that... indefinable something that made it a truly wonderful read).
I honestly haven't read a book in a while that drew me in so well as this. It took me a while to get into the story, probably because I was going up against all my preconceived notions about m/m closeted athlete books, but around the quarter mark everything clicked, the setting, the narration, Ig and Matt together and the perfect amount and use of angst all rolled into one.
As far as the technical aspect, I thought it was played perfectly, not overhanded but enough to immerse the reader into the characters who speak baseball in a technical way and live it that way. That particular aspect of the book reminded me quite a bit of the Kyell Gold Out of Position books (though not football and not anthropomorphic characters, obviously).
The sense of change over time is a big part of this story, which is what really facilitated the talk of changing views of gay athletes in a successful way here. That also gave the story a more epic quality, as the time, experiences, and relationships grow and change, which added more layers to Ig and Matt, as well as their surrounding characters, though mostly the atmosphere of baseball. From the first paragraph about the OCD of baseball players and their longstanding rituals and traditions, to the ending where (view spoiler)[a 12 year old gay kid can come out to an openly gay player in the stands at a game (hide spoiler)] outline in a broader spectrum the changes that are being singled out here, within the relationships and personal lives of the characters, specifically the challenges that Iggy and Matt both face.
I ended this book just thinking that Kate McMurray must have been writing in the sweet spot, because I could definitely feel it when I was reading. There's a lot of love put in to this book and I felt like somehow, in a way that I can't describe, Kate McMurray wrote the first m/m book about closeted gay athletes that I felt really hit the mark, at least with me.
So bravo! I laughed, and cried.. yada yada. It was good :D...more