If I have learned nothing else from reading this book, it is that I will never, EVER buy a book as a gift that I have not personally read, ever again. Never, ever.
Topping From Below - Laura Reese
An explosive, erotic novel about two sisters, each of whom embarks upon a voyage into the heart of evil and a game with a seductive man who knows no rules or limits. Only one returns. Successful, attractive, and in control, Nora seemed so different from her shy, terribly vulnerable younger sister. Grieving for Franny, Nora reads her diary and is stunned when it reveals a secret sadomasochistic affair with a mysterious professor known only as M. Nora vows to seek justice for the sister she never really knew and undertakes a daring scheme to seduce this lethal and manipulative man in the hope of uncovering information about the murder. Instead, she finds herself in thrall to his bizarre sexual magnetism, trapped in a passion so dark and perverse, and yet so compelling, that she is willing to risk her life. And she is in danger, although it may be from someone much closer to her than M., someone so close she might not see it until it is too late. With an ending as startling as it is haunting, Topping From Below is unlike any novel you’re ever read. Ever.
So full disclosure, I bought this book at Barnes & Noble on clearance. It was around Christmas time and they had some really great clearance books, so I actually bought three copies of this. Two of my friends got it in this little hodge podge Christmas gift from me, and then I kept one. Both friends read the book and didn't say much other than it was definitely interesting. I just now got around to reading it and holy SHIT. I don't know whether to be mortified that I gifted friends this book or scared that they didn't tell me how incredibly screwed up and terrifying it is.
Because this? This is not like Fifty Shades of Grey at all. Not at all. Yes, it has the BDSM element to it, but this is now the third book with a BDSM element that has literally scared the Jesus out of me. The difference between this and erotica books similar to Fifty Shades and Sylvia Day's Crossfire series is that this version of BDSM is heavily violent. It's violent and it's incredibly degrading. For all of the people who tout Fifty Shades as not a romance and a horrible example of a sexual relationship? You people are absolute pussies because that's nothing. That looks like light slaps on the ass before climax. This is a whole other ball game. There is one scene towards the beginning that absolutely should have made me stop reading (but I didn't because I thought SURELY that has to be the worst), and it's where a woman has her nipples suckled by piglets. No, I'm not kidding. No, I'm not even going to re-type it out to emphasize it because the sheer thought of this?
There is something really wrong with you as a human being to even think of this, let alone subject another human to this.
I can read a lot of really questionable things, but this one.... this one really was too much. Just way too much. Not to mention the characters? I hate them all. I hate them. I feel kind of bad for Franny, the sister who was murdered, because I think she was looking for a relationship to be loved and maybe was looking for an older guy to be kind of a father figure as well, combine that with her obvious low self-esteem and right there, you have a woman who says "go ahead, abuse me- I won't mind!" all over her. So in walks Michael, a classic abuser, who sees that and snatches her right up for what he calls play time. Well she ends up murdered so her sister Nora decides to figure out how to make Michael pay because she's certain it's his fault. Except she's an asshole too, who basically was so self absorbed she couldn't see the issues her sister was having, and she then starts up a relationship with Michael to basically drudge up evidence that he killed Franny. Except it all goes to shit because OBVIOUSLY IT WOULD. The author gives Michael a kind of lack luster "justice" and after I read it I had a feeling of, "Are you serious? This is IT???" and it's just bizarre. I finished the book feeling angry and disgusted. If you have this on your "to-read" shelf, I highly suggest you ask yourself how hard core of a BDSM book do you want because this is not the fairy tale, let's-just-have-fun type BDSM. Not at all.