Have you ever read glowing book reviews and thought, “Pshaw, that sounds like the author’s granny wrote it?” All praise and no substance? Or have you ever read a critical review of your book and wanted to throw something at the wall because the person only said, “Stupid story” without any reasons?
Let me introduce to you La Crimson Femme of Goodreads and BDSM Book Reviews fame! Not only does she make getting a 2-star review from her seem like an accomplishment, but she also offers a wealth of reasons why she critiques the books she reads.
A warning: Today’s content is quite different from the usual Fika material. There is reference to decidedly “adult” practices and even some on-stage demonstration. If you are faint-hearted, you may wish to read a nice, innocent story instead. If you are naughty *coughlikeSueLyndonandReneeRose* you will be on the edge of your seat.
Welcome to Fika!
Strolls in with a fresh bacon wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese. Is this where the bacon lovers are gathering today? This is currently my favourite bacon dish and I thought I’d bring it along to share.
My name is La Crimson Femme. On Goodreads I’m also known as BA, short for BookAddict. I’m a kinky switch who is passionate about reading books. I’m known for reading all sorts of kinky books and moderating the BDSM group on Goodreads. Ana kindly requested me to guest post on her blog. Here I am! * Sets the dish down on a table. Hops a step, hands fisted on my hips. *
La Crimson Femme: Psst, Ana, where is everyone?
Anastasia Vitsky: BookAddict, this is a virtual interview. There is no audience. It’s just you and me. By the way, why do you have two names? It’s confusing.
La Crimson Femme: Well, there are kind of two of us. BookAddict is the one who is a book slut. She reads basically anything. I have to keep her reined in. She becomes overwhelmed by all the books she sees and just wants to read them all. I tie her down and makes sure she follows a schedule. If I weren’t around, she’d end up spending all her time on Goodreads when we should be reading and reviewing. You may address me as La Crimson Femme. I’m the Domme; she’s the sub.
Anastasia Vitsky: So…there are two of you? *blinks*
La Crimson Femme: Shh, don’t say it too loud. She doesn’t understand that she’s not exactly alone. *Looks over my shoulder at the raven black haired girl sitting in a chair, engrossed in a book.*
Anastasia Vitsky: Okkaaay…Moving on, tell us about your reviewing habits and how it started. *slowly steps back away*
La Crimson Femme: Right! Thanks, Ana. Back to the point. I started out writing notes for myself. This way, when friends asked about books, I could send them my short opinion. Before book review sites for erotica was popular, I’d have a hard time finding erotic books to read. Some of the books I read, I wish someone wrote a review which was more than just, “this book is awesome!” I found a couple of early erotic review sites which provided strict rules stating all reviews must be complimentary because the books were donated by the authors. For me, this defeats the purpose of reading a review. I want to know the good, the bad and the ugly.
BookAddict: *Head pops up, stands up from the chair in the corner and pushes La Crimson Femme aside* I LOVE the bad and ugly! The more depraved the better! Will there be torment?
La Crimson Femme: *Glares at BookAddict. Grabs BookAddict by her long tresses and drags her back to the chair. Quickly whips out some rope and ties BookAddict to the chair, tightly. Dusts hands and walks back to Ana. *
Where were we before we were rudely interrupted? Oh yes. My style of review varies a bit based on the review site requirements and how the book impacted me. For example, some review sites require I provide a short summary of the book before I review it. It shouldn’t be the same as the book blurb. I thought this was an odd request until the review coordinator explained not everyone reads the book blurb and not all reviewers actually read the entire book.
What I’d like authors to know about my reviews – is the rating systems mean very little to me. My reviews tend to provide more value than the number of stars or paddles. This is because I’ve always been a better essay writer than a multiple choice taker. But seriously, my reviews explains why I enjoyed the book or what didn’t work for me. I also explain what I’d recommend for any of the points which didn’t work for me. I try to use specific examples which are measurable and quantifiable. This way, both authors and readers alike can decide if this would be sticking point for them. I fully understand and appreciate what I like will be different than what others prefer. Without ruining the book through spoilers, I provide just enough information for my fellow readers to decide if this book will be a good fit for them. Because ultimately, my goal now, is to match the book to the right reader. No one wants to spend money on a bad time.
BookAddict: Oh, is a bad time when a big bad Dom forces us to do things we love but don’t like to admit we enjoy? *Big brown eyes widen with excitement* Do we get to be flogged? Will there be anal? I like anal.
La Crimson Femme: *Purses lips, reaches down into a bag and rummages through it.* Ah hah! I have just the things. Sorry Ana, give me a few minutes and let me take care of this brat. She needs to be distracted so we can continue our conversation.
Anastasia Vitsky: *One eyebrow raised, lips slightly ajar, nods her head slowly as she moves her chair a bit further away from the two women and closer to the door. She continues to stare at the two items in La Crimson Femme’s hands.*
La Crimson Femme: *whispers* How many times have I told you not to interrupt when I’m speaking to others? If you can’t sit quietly, I’ll give you something to focus on. Not another word. *Tilts the chair seat back and unties BookAddict’s legs. Forcing the tanned thighs wide up and pushing up the short red skirt, it’s clear, BookAddict is wearing no panties as ordered. * Open your loud mouth and wet the plug.
*BookAddict presses her lips tightly together and turns her head away.*
Are you sure you want to do that? That’s all the lube I’m giving you.
*BookAddict quickly turns her head back and stares as me wide eyed. Her mouth pops open with her short pink tongue wiggling in a come hither.*
That’s what I thought. *After wetting the plug, I shove it hard into BookAddict’s tight little hole. It’s awkward, but with BookAddict’s legs spread wide and thrown over the chair legs, it’s possible. I tie her legs to the chair arms to ensure she doesn’t move. I wrap the rope a few times around her crotch to keep the minx from ejecting the plug from her ass. Finally, I turn anal plug to medium vibration. *
BookAddict: *whines* Oh God! How long are you going to leave me here?
La Crimson Femme: When I’m done with the interview. Perhaps this will keep you from interrupting. *Shows BookAddict the vibrating nipple clamps.* Don’t make me use them. *Walks back to my seat and focuses at Ana.*
*Ana focuses on the nipple clamps and leans further away.*
*I wink at Ana. Slips clamps into my pocket.*
If you ask nicely, I might treat you to a bit of play. Back to reviewing and ratings. I’ve been told I’m a hard rater. Since almost fifty percent of books I’ve read earn a three out of five star from me, this could be true. I prefer to think of it as a bell curve. To be at a three star is not bad. It means I enjoyed the book. This is good. Even a two star doesn’t mean bad for me. It merely denotes a book which was okay. I could even argue an one star isn’t necessary bad either. Just because I hated the book, doesn’t mean it isn’t a well written book and that others won’t like it. I recently read a book which was very well written but I hated it. It was one of the more difficult reviews to write because it takes longer for me to list all the good point and then explain why I still rated it an one star.
Anastasia Vitsky: How does an author get a four or five star rating then?
La Crimson Femme: There is no exact formula for earning a four or five star. What I can share is that each of these books had a profound effect on me. The book must emotionally move me. If the characters are engaging and designed in a way that I can feel what they feel, I will generally rate the book higher. The greater emotion it generates, usually the higher the rating. In a way, I prefer angst. The angst needs to be creative and catch me off guard. If the storyline is well written with hidden meanings, this also does well for me. I thrive on books which makes me think. Just because I love books with sex in it, doesn’t mean it can’t contain ideas which make me want to discuss it with others. As a side note, if the book is going to have sex in it, I lean heavily towards the kinky side. The hotter and kinkier the sex, generally the higher the score too.
Anastasia Vitsky: Any advice for new erotic authors?
BookAddict: SEX! More sex! And if we can have more non con, medical kink and some hot forced F/f would be great! The domestic discipline is awesome. Can we have more strict…
La Crimson Femme: *Big sigh. Reaches into the bag again and pulls out a ball gag. Strides over to BookAddict. * I warned you. Don’t say I don’t enforce my rules. Open up.
BookAddict: *Pouts and shakes her head.*
La Crimson Femme: *Sets the ball gag on the chair between BookAddict’s legs. Reaches down and turns the anal plug up to high. Quickly unbuttons BookAddict’s white shirt and unclasps her front clasps bra. Pulls out the nipple clamps and attaches them onto brown perky nipples. *
La Crimson Femme: *Quickly grabs the ball gag and shoves it into BookAddic’ts open mouth. Forces her head down and buckles the straps together behind her head.* That should keep her quiet until we are done.
Anastasia Vitsky: *nervously giggles* You were going to mention the things to avoid for new erotic writers?
La Crimson Femme: Ah yes. Here are my personal top ten things to avoid.
Top ten things to avoid
- Using too stupid to live main characters
- Throwing in a requisite 4.5 sex scenes
- Writing in first person
- Using dialog overrun with superlatives
- Using a rich, handsome man falling for a poor plain girl
- Creating conflict through “Three’s Company” type miscommunication
- Avoiding research because it’s fiction
- Including tangent stories involving secondary characters with no closure
- Using ex deus machina as a plot device
- Changing points of views between main characters frequently and also changing to secondary characters
La Crimson Femme: Thank you Ana for the lovely time. *Exits while pushing a rolling chair with a tied up and gagged BookAddict in it.*