Sunday, June 7, 2009

Review- Journal of a Timid Temptress by Deirdre O' Dare

Journal of a Timid Temptress
by Deirdre O’Dare
2007
Contemporary/ Erotica/ f/f/m
Short Story -11K- $4 currently $3
Ebook

Buy it Amber Quill Press

Midwestern college student Geri Wilcox is striving to gain education and experience in the amorous arts that were not available in her small farming community home town. Fate puts her in a class taught by Philippe Reynard, the sexiest and most exciting male she has ever seen.

Exercising all her admittedly limited wiles, Geri brings herself to the professor's attention until, as both his public and private pupil, the lessons she desires are made available and exceed her wildest expectations. Fearlessly breaking taboos left and right, Geri forges ahead with her plan to become much more than a timid temptress...

Journal of a Timid Temptress is a quick erotic read about a young, inexperienced college student who learns more about the erotic world from a professor than what he teaches in class.

Geri is in college and wants to leave behind her boring country bumpkin upbringing to gain some sexual experience while getting her school education. Along comes Philippe, her new hot professor who readily returns her not so subtle advances in between classes. A kink enters the picture when she finds out he’s married with a daughter, but decides she doesn’t care after she sees that his wife is not so hot.

To have some contact with him, Geri agrees to baby sit his little girl. When Philippe and Linds, his wife, get home, he’s too drunk to drive Geri home so Linds does and she comes on sexually to Geri. Linds makes it clear that she knows all about Philippe’s extra curricular activities and is OK with them, but wants in in this case because Geri is so hot.

To Geri’s shock and turn on, her next babysitting job with them consists of being tied up, blindfolded and treated to being sexually seduced and very satisfied by both Philippe and Linds, who like to play games.

Yeah, umm… I’d have to say that this story, while having a lot of highly erotic elements in it, didn’t really do it for me. And it wasn’t the light BDSM in it. Mainly, I couldn’t feel anything for the characters. I didn’t like them nor could I relate to them in any way.

Geri is young and open to new experiences, but the fact that she’s willing to have what she wants with total disregard to Philippe’s marriage, wife and child before she knew their swinging situation, was a put off. I also didn't like that she's not really into Linds, but agrees to be with her to have Philippe.

Philippe is characterized as not having much of a personality except that he basically does as he wishes with nary a care about anyone. It’s obvious that he sleeps with many of his students because Linds says he does. Again, not a great character. Plus, he doesn’t really have much presence or command here. He seems to just go with the flow or does what his wife tells him to.

The only interesting character was Linds, although she was rather unlikable as well. She’s characterized as homely, dominant and basically in her marriage for convenience. Linds is the strongest one of the three but is rather cold and blunt about how she deals with things.

I also got the impression that although she accepts and maybe even likes Philippe’s messing around that she and Philippe aren’t always on the same page. While Geri is blindfolded and being sexually seduced, she hears Linds and Philippe arguing during their sexual encounter and it's not the only time she heard them arguing.

Mostly what I felt though is that even though these three will be living together for a couple of months and possibly become a permanent threesome, I didn’t feel any real passion between any of them. It felt that all are using each other purely for their own selfish desires. As erotica it’s fine, but not necessarily a turn on.

The particular format of this being told as writing in a journal was a bit funky for me in this story as well. The switching between 2nd and 1st person stopped the flow for me few times although it wasn’t badly written. Often there were gaps in what’s going on as Geri shares her experience because of this format. Like during their sexual encounter; Geri explains what she is feeling but forgets to talk about what the other two are doing while nothing is going on with her. While this didn’t work for me too well, I’m sure others would not have a problem with it.

What I did like though is that Linds' confusion about her sexuality was brought up at least once. How she lives in a limbo of not really being a lesbian but not being totally straight either and that explained a little bit about her inner personality as she’s sticks with this marriage so that she can have a respectable life.

While Journal of a Timid Temptress didn’t really grab me, especially for what I read it for, the f/f, I’d say purely on a sexual/erotic level this book is done fairly well. There are quite a few of the usual sexual fantasy type scenarios that many people will enjoy if taken solely as erotica and read mainly for titillation.

Sex rating: Damp panties: graphic situations. f/f, f/f/m, strap on vaginal/ anal male, light BDSM, hand cuffs and blindfold.

Grade: C-

25 comments:

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

Not sure if I would be into the kinky babysitter gets it on with mom and dad.

A strap on is involved? Hopefully the children don't go looking through mom and dad's closets like I used to!

MB (Leah) said...

Well, she didn't start out as the baby sitter. She's Philipp's student and she wants him so she agrees to baby sit.

Yeah, this story is full of you know the Teacher/student/baby sitter/D/s fantasy stuff. But was kind of flat for me.

I do like the Teacher/student thing if it's done right. But in this case the student is more self aware than she lets on and the teacher is just limp with no balls really. So it didn't work for me at all.

Baby sitter/ married man fantasy, um... no, not for me.

And they had tons of BDSM paraphernalia. Would be shocking for a kid to find.

kirsten saell said...

I also didn't like that she's not really into Linds, but agrees to be with her to have Philippe.

That's the sticking point for me, really. If there's f/f interaction, I want it to be because both women want it, not just because one wants it, and the other is only willing to do it to get what she really wants.

kirsten saell said...

That said, I'm cool with all kinds of babysitter/older couple, teacher/student, "power imbalance" kink. If it's done well, it can really up the turn-on for me. But the BDSM toys and stuff kind of leave me cold. I like the power dynamics, but the "lifestyle" and its accouterments aren't what gets me going.

MB (Leah) said...

I want it to be because both women want it, not just because one wants it, and the other is only willing to do it to get what she really wants.

Yes, this was an off point for me. It made Linds, the bisexual wife, look pathetic that she would sleep with a woman who didn't want her and made Geri look so shallow. It's not really the kind of dynamics I want to read in any sexual scenario much less f/f.

MB (Leah) said...

I like the power dynamics, but the "lifestyle" and its accouterments aren't what gets me going.

Yes, in this case it was more accoutrement use and less power dynamics involved. Very light stuff for my taste, which was fine. LOL

That said, I'm cool with all kinds of babysitter/older couple, teacher/student, "power imbalance" kink.

That power dynamic is one of my favorites usually. The older experienced person initiating the younger less experienced person. In this case though that imbalance of power really didn't exist. For me anyway.

JenB said...

I've read a couple of this author's books and her writing just doesn't work for me. Sounds like this would be no exception. :(

M. A. said...

I want it to be because both women want it, not just because one wants it, and the other is only willing to do it to get what she really wants.

Yes, this was an off point for me. It made Linds, the bisexual wife, look pathetic that she would sleep with a woman who didn't want her and made Geri look so shallow. It's not really the kind of dynamics I want to read in any sexual scenario much less f/f.


This doesn't sound like my type of read so I can't comment on the book's quality, but fromt the plot description it sounds like the storyline relied upon the stereotypical f/m/f fantasy prevalent in male pornography (the concept of two women getting together to gratify a male).

I think that's where some f/f erotica goes wrong. There's nothing romantic or empowering about that stereotype. I doubt you'd ever read that kind of cliche in a m/m/f or m/f/m story. The males are always into each other and have chemistry together, they're not just getting together to please a woman in their lives.

MB (Leah) said...

Jen- I see that she writes mostly m/m, for Amber Allure at least. So I probably wouldn't check more of her books out since I have tons of m/m to read already by authors I know and like.

MA- I would agree with you normally, except in this case, the strongest character was the wife, Linds. She's the one who seems to be the controller in the marriage and she's the one who came on to Geri, the girl, and practically told Geri that if Geri wants Philippe that Linds was going to be part of it.

So in this instance it was the bisexual wife who was the controller of all three. But the fact that she herself pushed to be with a woman who didn't really want her makes her a pathetic character to me. It came across as Linds being cold and only in it for her own sexual gratification and less about wanting a real relationship.

In this case it's even worse because it made the female bisexual character out to be THAT sleezoide guy in f/m/f who is in it for his own gratification.

That's what happens in erotica sometimes. Although most of the erotica I've read the characters are really passionate for each other.

Erotica doesn't have to equal crappy pr0n situations in which people are just satisfying their own sexual needs without caring for the other person.

kirsten saell said...

I doubt you'd ever read that kind of cliche in a m/m/f or m/f/m story.

Female bisexuality has been co opted by the porn industry for so long for the gratification of straight guys, I'm pretty sure it's at least partially responsible for the animosity and "us or them" mentality you often find against bisexual women among the lesbian community.

I've often wondered if the emerging popularity of m/m for a female audience won't lead to a similar backlash from the gay community in the future. And I wonder how far away we are from a "Guys Gone Wild" phenomenon, where ostensibly straight men are filled with liquor and convinced to make out with each other on camera, lol. I've actually looked at porn clips that are all about "turning" or deflowering the straight guy, so the idea doesn't seem that far fetched to me.

At the same time, when I hear the odd gay man complaining about how female authors "get it wrong" when they write m/m, I always direct them to the plethora of "lesbo porn" that abounds on the internet. They ought to either accept that fantasies for women shouldn't have to reflect the reality of gay men's lives any more than the abundant f/f material out there for straight guys does the reality of lesbianism--or if they must fight the good fight, the problem is really more pressing elsewhere.

I'm getting kind of desperate for books that portray female bisexuality or f/f sensuality in a positive, healthy light, and books like this one (and others I've read recently) seem to really undermine it. The wife in this is a desperate and self-serving user, and the girl no less so, allowing herself to be used in service of her real goal. Bisexual women are either asshats, or not really bisexual at all. I think Leah's right--it is worse than that sleazy f/m/f, and it makes me kind of relieved that more women don't read f/f/m at this point, because I'd hate for them to think this is what female bisexuality is.

I mean, I can accept that men will get it wrong, because, well, they're not women. But when female author after female author not only gets it wrong, but protrays bisexuality in a way that does a disservice to women like me, who would really like to live openly as bi and are sick of every man winking and asking if they can watch, and every freaking straight woman backing away as if I'm going to pounce on anything with tits, well, just ...sigh.

Boy, I'm long-winded this morning. LOL

M. A. said...

In this case it's even worse because it made the female bisexual character out to be THAT sleezoide guy in f/m/f who is in it for his own gratification.


I don't see anything wrong with portraying a female character, whether het, bi, or lesbian, as being the "sleaze" type. There certainly are women IRL who use and manipulate others for their own satisfaction.

In order for it to qualify as romance, however, the "sleaze" character has to experience growth/change.

Think of more mainstream romances where the male hero starts off as a complete jerk, using blackmail or other coercion to force the heroine into marriage, ultimately seducing her and falling in love with her. That can be very romantic if it's done well and the hero is able to redeem himself.

That's what happens in erotica sometimes. Although most of the erotica I've read the characters are really passionate for each other.

Erotica doesn't have to equal crappy pr0n situations in which people are just satisfying their own sexual needs without caring for the other person.


I think the "fine line" between erotica and porn is just what you said. Porn is meant to titillate and/or arouse its audience. "Erotica" is obviously meant to titillate/arouse but it must also appeal to the audience on an emotional level.

If you don't feel that emotional response and sense of connection for the characters and their experiences, the read rings hollow.

M. A. said...

I can accept that men will get it wrong, because, well, they're not women. But when female author after female author not only gets it wrong, but protrays bisexuality in a way that does a disservice to women..."

I think it really depends upon how informed the author is and what kind of story s/he wishes to portray. My guess would be that the author of this particular story has a negative view of bisexuality or is poorly informed and built a character at least partially based upon a pornographic cliche.

There are GBLT people involved in "open" het marriages or even non-open het marriages. It happens. And obviously the character/s are interesting enough for us to be discussing our impressions and theories about them but no, it does not create a positive portrayal of bisexual women.

I'm intrigued by your comments about how the M/M craze is impacting view of men. I admit I've been kind of wondering how male models feel when they're hired to pose for "clinch covers" for a gay male romance and such.

kirsten saell said...

I admit I've been kind of wondering how male models feel when they're hired to pose for "clinch covers" for a gay male romance and such.

Probably less weird than the ones who posed for innocuous solo photos, which were then posted for sale on a stock site, and then integrated into a m/m cover. In those cases, they're not going in knowing what the pics will be used for, and have no choice about how the purchaser uses it, either. I always wonder how those covers might impact their lives--especially if they're straight.

M. A. said...

*shrugs and smiles* That could make for interesting stories at the dinner table.

Cathy in AK said...

And I wonder how far away we are from a "Guys Gone Wild" phenomenon, where ostensibly straight men are filled with liquor and convinced to make out with each other on camera, lol.

This may not be far off, Kirsten, but I'm betting we won't see the videos advertised on TV as we do "Girls Gone Wild" even with the naughty bits blurred : )

I'm getting kind of desperate for books that portray female bisexuality or f/f sensuality in a positive, healthy light...

You do a very nice job, and I just finished "Ammonite" by Nicola Griffith. Good stuff. And if you can wait for some day, have I got an unpubbed for you ; ) If you can accept the initial relationship being based on lies and deception then becoming positive : )

From the review, I have to agree that the characters don't come off as sympathetic or very likeable. I want to have some kind of positive feeling toward them, or at least have them grow on me, no matter what the dynamics are. Geri doesn't seem nearly as innocent/timid as she is portrayed if she's making this kind of effort and agreeing to have relations with a woman she doesn't even like, let alone is attracted to, just to get the man.

kirsten saell said...

If you can accept the initial relationship being based on lies and deception then becoming positive : )

Well, if you want to get technical, my Healer's Touch is about one woman using another to seduce a man--not that different a premise than this one, really. But the difference is in the way it's presented, how deep an emotional connection the women discover, how sensitive they are to what they're doing and why, and how it affects the other characters.

The same premise in one author's hands can be a deeply emotional and sensual experience, and in another's, it can leave you wanting a shower.

MB (Leah) said...

Cathy-- I looked up that book on Amazon, "Ammonite" by Nicola Griffith and it looks interesting.

Did the author go into any sexual aspect of having an all female population?

I read most of the reviews posted and like with a lot of Sci-fi and "Oprah" type books, you get a lot of over intellectualized blah blah about a book that doesn't tell me anything. So I'm curious.

One guy, Mike5566 hits on some interesting points based on what the author wrote in the end about how women have to have male traits to be considered heroic.

This hits upon what we here bitch about in the lack of good quality f/f and the generalized, but not true for me, idea that men are more interesting and dynamic.

kirsten saell said...

This hits upon what we here bitch about in the lack of good quality f/f and the generalized, but not true for me, idea that men are more interesting and dynamic.

In romance, anyway, I can see where this idea has its roots.

The default for romance is m/f and the default readership is female. It's the hero the reader has to fall in love with, so the more dynamic the better. It's the heroine the reader must identify with, so the more relatable (and sometimes more generic) the better.

We've all read m/f romances where we remember lots of details (physical and personality-wise) about the hero, and the heroine is kind of just a shapeless blur in our memory. And I think in the best f/f, one heroine is more dynamic than the other (the female hero of an F/f romance, like in Mia's The Garden House).

The problem arises in that we've been exposed to relatively few dynamic romance heroines--ones as interesting and momorable as the hero--and it's hard to write them. It's probably also hard for a reader to believe such a thing exists until she stumbles across one. And because the default hero is male, it's hard to write a female hero without imbuing her with male qualities.

Although I would argue that what some see as "male" qualities are not male qualities, but simply human ones. The idea that characterisitcs such as strength, toughness, protectiveness, honor, etc, "belong" to men as a gender just bugs the bugfuck out of me.

MB (Leah) said...

The idea that characterisitcs such as strength, toughness, protectiveness, honor, etc, "belong" to men as a gender just bugs the bugfuck out of me.

Yeah, me too. This kind of reminds me of some chick flicks that really stuck out for me and made a huge impression on me when I was a teen.

One is Julia- with Vanessa Redgrave and Jane Fonda in which author Lillian Hellman smuggles money in to her Jewish friend in Nazi Germany. I mean wow, talk about characteristics that make a person memorable. These women had them in spades and I remember being almost in love or awe of those characters as fascinating women.

The Turning Point was another for me at that age. Made me really admire women and what we have to deal with.

Same with How to Make an American Quilt, and Tea With Mussolini. All very interesting and dynamic women who have traits of honor, strength, guts and so on.

In f/f romance, yes, I do think one has to be a bit more dominant than the other or you do get that emo back and forth stuff that makes me want to slit my throat.

This is what I loved about your books Kirsten. Your heroines aren't wishy washy, or bland, they really stand out and yet, they don't fall into that "bitch" trap that is so often associated with women who are assertive.

And I agree with your take on the dynamics in The Garden House that Mia wrote, which is why it worked for me.

Cathy in AK said...

"Ammonite" isn't a romance, but there is a relationship in it. The all female society results from a virus on an apparently forgotten planet that was colonized generations and generations ago. It kills male humans, many females, and changes the females in a way that they can still reproduce sort of parthenogenically (hey, it IS sci fi : ) Griffith does a great job giving the characters the full spectrum of personalities, smart to not so smart, loyal to deceptive, peaceful to almost bat-shit-crazy war mongering. Which addresses Kirsten's comment:

Although I would argue that what some see as "male" qualities are not male qualities, but simply human ones. The idea that characterisitcs such as strength, toughness, protectiveness, honor, etc, "belong" to men as a gender just bugs the bugfuck out of me.

Griffith shows us exactly that (which is probably what the one guy, Mike 5566, was talking about)--it's a human thing. I highly recommend the book.

MB (Leah) said...

Cathy- I thought that book looked intriguing. I kind of like the premise and I do read sci-fi and other genres and don't need sex or romance all the time. ;)

Cathy in AK said...

Heheh, I'm not implying you're a one-genre kind of gal, Leah : ) I only mentioned "Ammonite" as not being a romance because some of the previous comments were regarding the romantic dynamic of heroes and heroines or heroines and heroines.

MB (Leah) said...

Cathy- at this point I think the comments have gone all over the place. LOL

M. A. said...

I can think of several really wonderful dynamic heroines. Anne of Green Gables comes to mind. Morgaine and Vivienne in "The Mists of Avalon" were wonderfully fleshed out characters. Louisa May Alcott's Jo March (The "Little Women" series) and Rose Campbell ("Eight Cousins").

I would argue that what some see as "male" qualities are not male qualities, but simply human ones. The idea that characterisitcs such as strength, toughness, protectiveness, honor, etc, "belong" to men as a gender just bugs the bugfuck out of me.


*thumbs up*

I think historical figures such as Queen Cleopatra and Catherine the Great would really get annoyed by these concepts as well. You know, it's a sad commentary on the French that they always referred to Catherine the Great in the masculine format of their language? "le grand" instead of "la grande"? Almost as though to say she could not be truly great without being masculine.

Cathy in AK said...

RE: comments all over the place--Well, this is a great place for lively discussions : )