Saturday, August 14, 2010

Review- The Song of the Sirens by Monica Conti

The Song of the Sirens
By Monica Conti
Jan. 27, 2010
Contemporary/ Lesbian erotica
4.1K- FREE!!!!
Ebook- Smashwords

Get it at Smashwords

This is the torrid tale of a lesbian writer who discovers the hidden world of the taboo in a New Orleans dance club. Intensely erotic, the story intercuts sexual episodes with observations about the nature of desire.

I’ve heard of Smashwords and thought it to be a site much like Lulu where authors self publish and I guess I’ve worried that I’d have to slog through tons of crap to find a gem. I became curious and typed in “lesbian” and a lot of books came up, some by authors I’ve reviewed and know and others that looked rather interesting. I noticed that some are free so I read this book since there were a few stars along with it with nice comments.

Just a brief synopsis- I won’t give names because they only get mentioned right at the end of the story. Monica Conti actually refers to her main character as “the writer.” The writer works at a normal job as a writer for a magazine. She has to be fairly straight laced during the day but wishes to let loose her more darker, sexual side at night. She ends up in a strip club and has women dance for her. She goes there almost every night and all the girls come to know her and like to dance for her. She doesn’t care that she’s the only female customer. Since this is a short story, it’s mostly about this short period in the writer’s life and what goes on in her head and sexually about it.

To say that this short little story was a delicious find is to put it very mildly. I was immediately sucked in by the clean, elegant and poetic writing style of Ms Conti. Not only did the writing style grab me, the little details that were picked up on in how the characters see things and think, quietly stand out in crisp, expressive ways. Reading this reminded me of those moments when we are totally present and the minutest of details become the focal points. In short, Song of the Sirens read like looking at picture or movie in which I was drawn in and made part of.

I’ve read a lot of erotica. There’s a lot of really bad erotica out there, which I paid for unfortunately, that is labeled erotica due to the graphic nature of how the sex is written, or by the fact of lots of different sexual scenarios, with the focus purely on the sex. Much of it is coarse and written in a more pornish way with no regard for the sensuality around sex.

Then there is high brow erotica. This type of erotica is my favorite. It’s classy and turns sex and eroticism into an art. It’s usually beautifully written and inspires not only sexual titillation, but something more sublime and sensual. This is the type of erotica I prefer to read, but it’s hard to find and it’s a matter of taste.

Song of the Sirens is just that type of erotica for me. I was taken into a dark, seedy, sexual world but didn’t feel icky or like I needed a shower afterward. I felt, wow, this is something I’d totally want to experience. Monica Conti has a beautiful way with words and storytelling, really getting into the head of her characters.

Since this is a free read, it’s a nice glimpse into what kind of stories Ms. Conti writes. I’m definitely going to buy another of her books to see if the same writing quality is there.

Heat level- 5- erotically written with graphic terminology. Strap-on.

Grade: B+


M. A. said...

WARNING: MAY contain spoilers!

I just read "The Song of the Sirens by Monica Conti."

First thing ... I can't say enough good about this short story's overall artistic quality. The author has a clear understanding of the short story's form and purpose. Her voice is engaging and distinctive. Monica's erotic journey is compelling, sensuous, and interesting. Description and setting are utilized very well. Atmosphere is just right -- this is a fantasy and it reads like a fantasy.

Editorial quality is excellent, WAY above par for some professional publications. There were a few minor issues. I found the prose redundant in places. Towards the final third or so of the story, sentence structure weakened -- I'm wondering if the author wrote this tidbit in one sitting and maybe "lost steam" toward the end. Even saying that, "The Song of the Sirens" is an entertaining quick read. I've paid money for ebooks I liked less.

I would have liked to witness greater character development in Monica/The Writer. The build-up of her experience is so intriguing, I felt the climax fell rather flat. I can't really say what I expected, only that I expected more than what occurred. There doesn't seem to be any really good reason for Monica/The Writer to take Tammy home for a casual encounter. Earlier in the narrative, the author did a great job building credible chemistry between Monica/The Writer and Fantasy. In comparison, Monica seems to take Tammy home almost from boredom and idle curiosity than any real attraction or passion. There was no build-up or portrayal of attraction, all of a sudden Tammy's there and Monica decides she wants her. We're told rather than shown that Monica just suddently wants Tammy. I found it disruptive and out of place with the story's earlier development.

The erotica is VERY GOOD. I loved how the narrative retained an erotic tone throughout the story. I thought Monica's fascination with the dancers was very credible. Interesting trivia: originally, baladi dance ("bellydance") was intended to be viewed exclusively by women.

Definitely an above average short story. Well worth the reading time.

LVLM(Leah) said...

M.A.- nice take on this story. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of writing in this story considering that this author is self published (I think) and that it was for free!

It makes me pissed off with all the crap I've bought that wasn't even close to this sort of quality.

Yes, I agree, there were some funky parts and I agree about her taking Tammy home. However, since this is purely fantasy and erotica, it didn't bother me too much.

I still haven't bought any of her books, no time, but I do intend to. I'm curious if all her writing is like this.

M. A. said...

I'd definitely read more of Monica Conti's work. Her style is absolutely tantalizing.

I haven't read enough self-published stories to really formulate an opinion about what readers should expect in terms of quality. This story is definitely very good, I would have considered it well worth the $2 or $3 shorter ebooks normally cost.

This is truly an excellent example of erotica. It engages the reader's senses and emotions. It is very sensuous and the sex scenes don't take over the narrative.

I would definitely have paid for this and thought I got my money's worth. Kudos to this author.