Monday, September 29, 2014

The Ingredients of Bliss by Lisabet Sarai: Review

The Ingredients of Bliss
(What’s her Secret? Imprint)
by Lisabet Sarai

One sexy French chef. One kinky American TV producer. One ambitious Chinese gal who thinks she wants them both. The ingredients of bliss? Or a recipe for disaster?

Accomplished cook Mei Lee ‘Emily’ Wong knows exactly what she wants—her own show on the Tastes of France food channel. But life is full of complications. First, her deceptively nerdy producer, Harry Sanborne, initiates Emily into the delights of submission. Then her boss, legendary chef Etienne Duvalier, begs her to dominate him. Emily just can't resist—especially when Harry orders her to explore her inner Mistress. Suave and sexy Etienne will do whatever she asks—in the bedroom if not in the kitchen. And Harry, her lovingly diabolical Dom, adores pushing Emily’s limits.

When the network sends the trio to France to shoot a series of cooking shows on location, Emily knows her career is on the upswing. Her plans fall apart in Marseille as a Hong Kong drug syndicate kidnaps both Etienne and Harry. The Iron Hammer Triad mistakes Etienne for notorious gangster Jean Le Requin, who has stolen their drug shipment, worth millions. Emily realizes she must find the real Le Requin, retrieve the purloined dope, and bargain it for Harry’s and Etienne’s lives. The secret she’s been keeping from Harry might prove useful. Still, what chance does one woman whose knife skills are limited to chopping vegetables, have against the ruthless cruelty of two criminal organisations?

Reader Advisory: This book contains female dominance and submission, anal sex, public sex, ethnic slurs, threats of violence and a scene of attempted rape.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Physically unassuming, Harry Sanborne is a confident and experienced Dominant who expertly weaves exquisite pain and sensual pleasure together in the bedroom.

Etienne Duvalier, a confident and demanding chef, enjoys nothing more than sexually submitting in every possible way.

Desired by both men, Mei Lee ‘Emily’ Wong struggles to understand her attraction towards two men who couldn't be more opposite. How can she find equal pleasure domination and submission?

THE INGREDIENTS OF BLISS is an erotic adventure that explores multiple facets of the BDSM lifestyle. As Emily embarks upon a journey to discover her true sexual identity she explores dominance, submission, pain, pleasure, denial, gratification, and much more. The scenes are descriptive and well detailed, drawing readers into the character's experiences.

Set in San Francisco and multiple locations in France, the scenery and culinary aspects are a feast for the senses.  The blend of American, Asian, and French cultures is well done, and brings additional contrast to this already multi-faceted story.

What starts as a slow and steady storyline quickly builds in intensity. Action, adventure, mystery and emotional turmoil is slowly added, until it culminates in an epic and explosive crescendo.  While the plot focuses primarily on Emily's journey, I would have liked to see more time devoted to Harry and Etienne's emotions. I especially enjoyed the well written and detailed BDSM aspects, exquisite scenery, delicious culinary experiences and cultural dynamics.

I would recommend THE INGREDIENTS OF BLISS to readers of BDSM/Erotic Romance who are looking for more than a romance, but also a well rounded story that allows readers to experience an adventure of self discovery.

I started both writing and cooking at an early age, and I've continued to indulge both passions as I've matured. Usually I'm an improvisational cook; I'm not all that fond of following recipes, and when I do, I almost always introduce my own variations. My philosophy tends to be the more spice, the better.

You could say the same about my writing. Since the release of my debut novel Raw Silk in 1999, I've published lots of erotica and erotic romance in almost every sub-genre– more than fifty single author titles, plus dozens of short stories in various erotic anthologies, including the Lambda winner Where the Girls Are and the IPPIE Best Erotic Book of 2011, Carnal Machines. My gay sci-fi erotic romance Quarantine won a Rainbow Awards 2012 Honorable Mention.

My lifelong interests in sex and the written word became serendipitously entwined more than a decade ago when I read my first Black Lace book by Portia da Costa. Her work inspired me to take my fantasies out of the closet (and the private email files) and expose them to the world. The rest, as they say, is history (although granted, no more than a minor footnote!)

In addition to writing, I also edit erotica and erotic romance. My editing credits include the groundbreaking anthology Sacred Exchange, which explores the spiritual aspects of BDSM relationships, the massive collection Cream: The Best of the Erotica Readers and Writers Association, the charity anthology Coming Together: In Vein, a collection of vampire tales that benefits Doctors Without Borders, and six volumes of the Coming Together: Presents series of single author charitable erotica books. You'll also find me writing the newsletter and occasional articles for the Erotica Readers and Writers Association and monthly reviews for Erotica Revealed.

I have more degrees than anyone would ever need, from prestigious educational institutions who would no doubt be deeply embarrassed by my chosen genre. I've always loved traveling; my husband seduced me in a Burmese restaurant by telling me tales of his foreign adventures. Since then I have visited every continent except Australia, although I still have a long travel wish list. Currently I live with him and our two exceptional felines in Southeast Asia, where I pursue an alternative career that is completely unrelated to my creative writing.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for taking the time to read and review my book, Carly! I am glad that you enjoyed it.