SM Johnson lives in northern Wisconsin with one husband, one child, one dog and one cat. The kid is cool, but the cat is shady. She writes not-quite romance stories with characters who aren't exactly mainstream and don't do what's expected of them. Her favorite winter activity is hibernating with a great book.
Life is messy, let's play in it!
on Sep. 28, 2015 :
Forget FIFTY SHADES! This book gives the reader a much more accurate depiction of what BDSM is really like. Of course, it's still fiction, but the author accurately describes the feelings, conflicting emotions, common practices, and some of the philosophy behind the real BDSM world.
I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series and seeing how Ms. Johnson deals with some of the deeper issues involved.
(review of free book)
on June 11, 2014 :
Fantastic! I read a lot and I have read a lot of BDSM books but rarely do I read a book like this one.
This is the story of young and naive sub (Dare) completely ignorant of the Domination/submission world and caught under a pushy Dom’s spell (Roman). Dare discovered with a certain dose of thrill this unusual world and its pleasures.
At the beginning, I was disappointed that the story went from Dare to Jeff and all the way around again and again, because I loved Dare's innocence. But the other characters are great too and the story of Dare and Jeff intertwined at the end. The author was able to describe the characters’ feelings so very well that I was transported back in time to my youth when my friends and I stood at the top of the cliff; daring each other to leap toward the water 30 feet below. That swooping anxiety and internal dialogue of 'will I or won't I?' This ability of Johnson's allowed the reader to intimately experience the overwhelming early explorations Dare made into the world of Domination/submission.
It didn't hurt that Roman was the 'ideal' Dom either. Jeff's character nicely rounded out the story and being able to experience the story from each character's point of view just sucked me right in. Although there is a ménage relationship within the story, it was written in a way that you got to experience the complications this type of arrangement can engender in an established relationship. This is not your typical BDSM book; nor is it typical erotic romance. It is a study in kink, relationships, submission and human frailties.
Some readers may think that Roman was unfaithful, since he already had a sub (Jeff) and he hid his BDSM plays with Dare; but I can pretty well understand Roman’s point of view. He is also caught in the game of the new sub’s discovery. This is a very exciting and thrilling game. And Roman never thought to break his relationship with Jeff. Many people living in a 24/7 relationship think that a master has a right to have as many subs as he wants and that nothing is due to his subs. That’s not a likable concept for many subs. But how can we pretend that we surrender “completely” to our master’s will if we can’t accept the possibility for him/her to have another sub or at least to play once in a while with another sub? From my point of view, it was Roman’s right to try Dare.
Other readers will probably think that Dare was forced by Roman to play SM. Forced? My Baloney! Dare could have said “no” and leaved at any time. But he stayed and even asked Roman to try other BDSM activities a few times in the story. From my point of view, there wasn’t abuse in this story. There was only a pushy Dom with a hesitant sub.
And don't miss "Out of the Dungeon". That is the continuation of this story.
As I already said, the author’s writing was good enough to make us feel what the characters felt and there is no mistake.
I recommend this story highly and give it big five stars.
(review of free book)
on Jan. 30, 2013 :
This was my first m/m book to read. And I just couldn' get into. It was well written and a good book. Just not for me.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)
on Jan. 29, 2013 :
This was my first m/m BDSM erotic read. Good mix of tender emotions and Intense scenes. Really opened my eyes and gave me a better understanding. I could really relate to Jeff's need to have that feeling of falling in love. Kept me wanting more. I LOVED it! Sign me up for a session with Roman!!
(reviewed 25 days after purchase)
on Jan. 25, 2013 :
The dynamics between the three mc are awesome and sexy. Jeff sounded a little selfish as he wants to fall in love with a new gorgeous guy every few years. But when Roman seems to be falling for Dare, he got all insecure. The interaction between Dare and Roman is really interesting and sexy. Would really want to know what happens in the sequel between the three of them.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)
on Jan. 21, 2013 :
Two words that describe Above the Dungeon to a T. The emotion is not a tear-jerker, emotional roller coaster, but more of a discovery of ones self and all the feelings that go along with that. Everything in this book is intense. Every scene, every conversation, every look is full of promise, discovery, or emotion.
Dare fled his life to start over in the city. He’s staying with his cousin and working in a gay fetish bar. Roman owns the bar and the dungeon below it. Jeff is Roman’s slave.
Roman takes a liking to Dare and brings him into the BDSM lifestyle as well as an introduction to enjoying men in a sexual way. Dare takes it all in stride while questioning things as he goes. It wasn’t an easy introduction for Dare, but he handled it well. Jeff takes all this in stride since it’s Roman’s will.
This was an interesting story and one I loved to read. SM Johnson did a fantastic job with delivering a wonderful story and giving each character so much depth. A wide range of emotions were dealt with in this story. We had fear, jealousy, love, new love, lust, infatuation and acceptance.
My only problem with this story was the changing of the POV. We kept flipping from Jeff’s POV to Dare’s POV. On top of that it switched from third person (Dare) to first person (Jeff). Every time there was a switch I was dropped out of the story. My suspension of disbelief was interrupted, and it took me a few minutes each time to get back into the story.
Overall a very good story and I plan to read the second one in this series. I have to see how things turn out. There was no great cliffhanger at end of the story, but there were some unanswered questions.
I received a copy of this book from the author.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
on Jan. 19, 2013 :
Above the Dungeon is another book that I can add to my list of annoying 1st/3rd person narrative flip-floppers. But I think I must be getting use to it since that didn't bother me nearly us much as it has in other books. I actually think it kind of works, since Dare, whose chapters are in 3rd person, is kind of an observer. He's not totally part of the action. Then there's Jeff, who has the 1st person chapters, who is a 24/7 slave to Roman, the club owner and Dare's boss. These two POVs are extremely different from one another, and the narrative style definitely exaggerates that fact.
At first it feels like there are two separate plots happening here. We have Dare, who is quite up tight, and stumbles into a job as a bartender in a gay club. Roman decides to take him under this wing and give a tour of the BDSM lifestyle. While this does interest Dare, he's struggle with what it means for his sexuality. Eventually he learns that sexuality is not set in stone or black and white; there's a whole spectrum of gray. Meanwhile, we also have Roman and Jeff's long term relationship. Jeff longs to fall in love again, and wishes Roman would, too. But there's the issue of jealousy and what bringing a new man would mean for Jeff's position as Roman's slave. Eventually these two plots merge together seamlessly.
I found the glimpse into a 24/7 slave relationship very interesting. I hadn't read about that before, so I felt like I was learning right along with Tristan (another man considered into the Roman/Jeff relationship) and Dare. Even though it's a whole different lifestyle, Roman and Jeff do have some of the same issues as "normal" couples. I enjoyed reading about them. I also loved watching Dare open up. He was very wound up, but Roman knew exactly how to loosen him up.
I ended up really enjoying Above the Dungeon. It was only my second M/M erotic novel, but I found that I didn't even think about the fact that it was only men. I just liked the overall story.
(reviewed 16 days after purchase)
on Sep. 29, 2012 :
This book made me rethink my views on love and fidelity, it's a great BDSM book, it surprised me that it was written in the POVs of the three involved and I just want to know what happens with these guys.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Katy Beth McKee
on Aug. 30, 2012 :
I won this book as a prize in the MM Romance birthday party. Wow, this story is so hot. Jeff has been with Roman for a long time but he loves to fall in love but suddenly Roman has noticed someone else. Dare has run away from his life and is being drawn into this new life. I loved how you really got into both Jeff and Dare's head to see the story from the both the perspective of someone who has lived the lifestyle and someone who doesn't have a clue but seems drawn to the lifestyle. Roman is so much of both men's world but you realize how they are part of his as well. My favorite quote that illustrates this point is found on p127(on my nook)Jeff is thinking, "Surely I created Roman the Master as effectively as he created Jeff the slave, through my ability and willingness to be transparent, to share with him my darkest desires, holding nothing back."
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)