Review: Make Me

Make Me
Make Me by Tamara Mataya

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Protecting a family member, especially a beloved twin sister at any cost may seem noble. However, maligning an entire group of people because of misconceptions in the attempt to save a sister who does not want nor need to be saved is a different story. Sloane Winters is a holier-than-thou journalist who is a know-it-all. She's young yet feels she knows how the world works because of her time out in the world as an investigative journalist.

This book is a hard one to rate for me because the character is so loathsome. Sloane is a judgmental tattle tale busy body. She thinks she knows better than her sister, Tessa. Yet she never once tries to understand from Tessa's perspective. The nasty vitriol spewing from Sloane's filthy mouth is abhorrent. The first twenty percent of this book will likely loose most of the kinky crowd readers. It is insulting, demeaning, condescending and hateful. Honestly, Ms. Mataya would be better served to edit the first twenty percent of her book down to only five to ten percent otherwise many kinky readers may "do not finish" (DNF) the book. I nearly sent this book back with a DNF review which is almost unheard of for me. I'm the one all DNF books from other reviewers go to for review.

From a BDSM perspective, Ms. Mataya does an excellent job of capturing those who don't understand the lifestyle and want to throw us in jail or mental institutions. Sloane's outrage ironically stems from her own attraction to the lifestyle which she doesn't fully acknowledge. Nothing like self-hatred to make a person feel righteous and justified. Her experience with Darko Aralica who is a "premier" dominant at the exclusive BDSM club, The Underground, is interesting. It's not to say that this can't happen. The submissive training she experiences at his hands are what lure newbies into the lifestyle. They believe all they need to do is find a dominant and this is what will happen. Unfortunately, this is probably the only fictional part to the BDSM aspect which may dismay some kinky readers. The impact play, sensation play and even the negotiation are all realistic. The bondage scene seems to be fine, it wasn't detailed enough for me to make any good assessment. None of the BDSM scenes in this book turned me on nor interested me. It is because the scenes are told more than showed and there is a distinct lack of sexual or erotic chemistry between the two characters. The only scene which really stands out is a video replay of chains being used on a submissive.

Yes, Darko wants Sloane. Yes, Sloane falls for this "evil" tempting man. Yet, the sensual tension isn't there. Darko doesn't come across as a dominant for me. He is supposed to be some kind of uber dom yet his actions didn't impress me or make me want to kneel for him. Perhaps Ms. Mataya needs to observe more dominants to capture the essence which makes them so dominant and then translate the "domliness" into written words. Sloane's apparent submissive demeanor didn't work for me either. Since I felt no respect for Sloane and even her past abuse didn't move me, it is very hard for me to enjoy this book. Writing it in switching first person makes it even harder for me to enjoy. Mainly because first person writing is daring when the main character is a little shit like Sloane.

One could argue Sloane turned around and sees the light through her experiences at Darko's hands. That is a valid point but unfortunately, first impressions leave a lasting mark and the plot didn't do a good enough job to turn me around and like Sloane. She's still like a smear on my shoe I'd like to wipe off. Her sister Tessa on the other hand is interesting. I look forward to seeing how Tessa's story will be. Near the end of this book, it does a decent set up of Tessa's story. Especially as it seems Tessa's dominance will require a strong male submissive from her past.

My recommendation for Ms. Mataya is to spend more time with character development. Make the reader root for the characters. Create characters with more layers. Add in more erotic chemistry between the two characters by showing action rather than telling their feelings. I also recommend getting rid of writing in the first person voice. Some authors can pull it off. In this book, it is not the case.

Despite all these misgivings, the last third of the book did improve and brought more enjoyment. When Sloane stops denying and faces reality, it's a good day. Her conflict with Darko is predictable and resolves in a nicely done manner. It's plausible and brings about a start to a happily ever after. This book is recommended to romance readers who question the lifestyle and want to see both sides.

*provided by BDSM Book Reviews

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