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Agony/Ecstasy: Original Stories of Agonizing Pleasure/Exquisite Pain Paperback – December 6, 2011
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
4 Stars from RT Magazine: A BDSM theme runs throughout, from the playthings found in Eric's basement in Shoshanna Evers' "The Wooden Pony" to the redemption won in the post-Titanic drama "Kiss of Life" by Lily Daniels. There are various timeframes and sexual encounters between all kinds of people, some in unusual situations.
From the Author
I'm Jane Litte, a blogger, reader, and now a collector of stories. Agony / Ecstasy is an anthology that will be published by Berkley in December 2011. The anthology is a collection of very steamy stories that explore the twin concepts of pain and pleasure.
I hope you contact me to let me know what you think of the collection, good or bad, so that if I ever have the opportunity to put another together, I will have a better idea of what you, the reader, is looking for.
Top customer reviews
11 Agony Stories:
These had a pain theme. This meant one of the characters was being physically hurt, whipped, pinched, bit, cut. The characters enjoyed feeling pain, but it didn't do anything for me. I couldn't identify with them, and there wasn't enough else to draw me in. I have liked a number of BDSM stories, so it wasn't that. It was just this didn't work for me.
The best of the Agony stories was Wicked Wedding Night by Margaret Rowe. It was similar to the Kate Pearce books about a guy who was tortured in prison and now must cause pain to his female partner in order to have sex. It had a happy ending which I liked. But the pain to his partner didn't do anything for me.
Caged by JK Coi had potential. A werewolf was imprisoned. The hanging, unfinished ending was the problem. I wanted a lot more on this.
10 Ecstasy Stories:
I was surprised that some of these also had pain. A few of these could have been good. But because they were so short, things were missing. My favorites were the following.
Into the Red by Cameron Belle. Very intriguing about two men. Tom is a gladiator type warrior who fights in a televised arena. Brendan is a doctor who examines Tom.
On My Skin by DL Galace. Girl is depressed and down on her luck. She gets a tattoo. Good. Had potential, but I wanted more background about her, and more about him as well. The ending was too abrupt.
Rescue Me by Meljean Brook. Bad guy Shaw kidnapped and tied up girl. I wanted to know what happened to Shaw. This was good, but too many unanswered questions.
Just Say Yes by Helenkay Dimon. Female boss and male assistant have hot sex. It has potential.
It's possible to have entertaining short stories with happy endings. There were five short stories in "Sauce for the Goose" which I thought were very good to excellent. So it can be done. But it wasn't done here. The average number of pages in SFTG was 12 pages per story.
Story length: 426 pages. Swearing language: strong, including religious swear words. Sexual language: strong/erotic. Number of sex scenes: each story has at least one. Settings: various times and places. Copyright: 2011. Genre: erotica.
Transfixed (story one) & Transformed (story 2) by Anne Calhoun:
This pair of stories were the best in the book, IMHO. Although the Slot A/Tab B aspects of the story were very hot, the real meat of the erotic content was in the thoughts and feelings of the characters as they interacted with each other. In a very short number of pages the author managed to make her characters seem very real - so real in fact, that by the end of the anthology, they were the only characters who's names I could still remember off the top of my head! Cole & Marin put more meaning into one kiss than some people put into an entire relationship. I particularly loved this, as it proved that even after multiple sexual encounters, one kiss done right can be the most erotic thing of all. 5 stars.
Wicked Wedding Night by Margaret Rowe:
Historical about an innocent miss who entraps a Viscount into marriage, only to discover on her wedding night that he's got mucho psychological problems (paging tortured hero 27B) and he likes tying women up and flogging them in the bedroom. Our hero thinks the two issues are intertwined. Our heroine suspects they are not as she has no psychological problems but enjoys it all as much as he! This story is rich and emotionally lush. It feels like an entire historical romance compressed down into one wedding night snapshot. My second favourite of the anthology. 5 stars.
Safeword by Delphine Dryden:
Fun exploration of a sub who is comfortable with her sexuality teaching her vanilla friend to be her dom. He seems up to the task and really gets into it, enjoying himself as much as his new tutor enjoys teaching him. There is a real vibe of friendship and trust between these characters that leaves you with a smile on your face. Also: hotness! 5 Stars.
Rescue Me by Meljean Brooks:
I had to read this one twice. First time through, I actually skipped most of the erotic content because I couldn't really get into it while wondering what was going to happen to the heroine. I was very conscious of the fact that the stories in this anthology were not necessarily going to have Happily Every After Endings. Basically, the suspense plot was too well done for me to enjoy it as erotica. I went back and read it again for the erotic content after I knew the ending, but by then the moment had passed for me, so to speak. 4 stars
Bruised Ego by Christine D'Abo:
I really liked this one. It was definitely erotica, but of the sensual rather than sexual persuasion (although it has sexy times in it). I found it to be more about the intersection of sensuality, sexuality, self acceptance and our desire for validation by others. All interesting ideas that Ms D'Abo swirls into a very short but non-the-less interesting story. 4 stars.
Bachelorette Party by Jessica Clare:
This one was kind of cheesy, and you could see the ending coming a mile away, but you know what? I really liked it! It was short, fun, hot and had a sweet ending. 4 stars.
The other stories were 3 star reads for me or lower. Some were DNF's. At this point, however, I have amassed enough 4 & 5 star reads (7 out of 12) to say that this anthology was worth it's purchase price. I've had some enjoyable reads and found some new-to-me authors to dive into, which was my main purpose for buying it. From reading other reviews, I can see that some people didn't like the ones that I did like, and vice versa. I guess that's a sign there is enough variety here for there to be something for everyone. In closing, I will say that the whole 'flip book' bizzo was a complete dud for me as I read it as an ebook.
Most recent customer reviews
I'm not usually a fan of anthologies, so I was a bit hesitant to read this, but I ended up really enjoying it.Read more