Reviews

The Scarlett Letters: My Secret Year of Men in an L.A. Dungeon, by Jenny Nordbak

kiki_readz's review

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3.0

Wasn't a fan of the writing style but there is a certain chapter apparently about a well-known celebrity... Let's just say whoa. Had many interesting insights I recommend but would say it's only okay.

bookgrrl's review

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medium-paced

5.0

queen_a's review against another edition

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adventurous inspiring lighthearted fast-paced

5.0

bookworm71387's review

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5.0

First and foremost, I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press Netgalley and Jenny Nordbak for my advanced copy of The Scarlett Letters My Secret Year of Men in an L.A. Dungeon in exchange for my honest review. I want to start off by saying I picked this book simply based by it’s description. I use Netgalley as a way to sometimes step out of my comfort zone with books and enjoy books as a new experience. This book was one of those times and I am so glad I did. If you are looking for some kind of fifty shades reboot to spice things up in your reading you WILL NOT find it here. This is so MUCH better.
“On an unorthodox quest to understand her hidden fantasies, Jenny led a double life for two years. By day she was a construction manager, but at night she became Mistress Scarlett.´
This is straight forward and honest and hands down the best book I have read so far in 2017! Jenny sums up her year with chapters titled after clients that impact or teach her something, while the tales are erotic there is an underlying strength and courage that makes this story even more relateable and enjoyable. I wont give too much away but I will say that if you pass this one up you will be disappointed. I believe every woman should go on an eye-opening journey of their own, but for now go on this 5 star Journey with Ms Nordbak, absorb it enjoy it and share it I have already shared it with every uptight female in my life and trust me they need it I may even buy a paperback copy for my sister just to watch her blush!

onthesamepa9e's review

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5.0

This book was absolutely incredible!! I received it about a year ago because I follow the author’s podcast, but my stance was “I like this author but I’m not a nonfiction reader.” However, my sister started reading this book two nights ago and was like “You HAVE to read this book!!” and once I started it couldn’t put the book down!! Literally it was like 3am when i finished it and I was crying. It was such an incredibly written book, with a well crafted and fascinating story arc.

The biggest thing that hit me was watching the author forego the expectations of others & learning to be authentic. Personally I tend to get really caught up in meeting people’s expectations, & I end up feeling shame for not being able to fit into their boxes, and anxiety that people wouldn’t accept or value all of who I am. It was so encouraging to see her learn to prioritize her own needs, find her tribe and be unapologetically herself- something I really needed to hear & had me tearing up! Probably one of the best books I've read all year

sar_go's review

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medium-paced

4.0

brainyheroine's review

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4.0

This is NOT "True Life : 50 Shades of Grey", no this is the honest, true, kinky, and emotional account of Jenny Nordbak who transformed herself into Mistress Scarlett. I tend to avidly avoid romance novels, but as this is a memoir I, like every other person who reads this book, was curious about her experience and I will not lie, the mindset it takes to be a Domme. If you read this you won't find it to be a "how to", you won't find many tips and tricks laid out, you're going to get the truth. Truth and trust are reoccuring themes in Jenny's story, as they are in any BDSM relationshp. There are also hilarious moments, a few times I couldn't stop laughing and I won't be able to think about the term "prep work" without a chuckle. What comes out of Jenny's pain, and the magnificent person Mistress Scarlett is will break your heart a little, but the one truly beautiful thing here is that while this tale is sexy and true and tabboo, everything happened. This all really happened and she holds nothing back. When you read this, because most of you will read this, be ready for the honesty.

interfectrix's review

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emotional funny inspiring lighthearted reflective fast-paced

5.0

crystalisreading's review against another edition

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4.0

I don't usually offer ratings or content warnings, but this book is NSFW, and is for adults only. Not for the faint of heart or squeamish. There's multiple instances of drug use as well as the to-be-expected kinky sexuality throughout. It is, nevertheless, a compulsively readable memoir. Not high literature, and more of a reflection of sex work than of BDSM, but fascinating in its glimpses of the extremely wide range of possible kinks.
Nordbak's story is mostly focused on her time in the Dungeon, but it also encompasses her personal life leading up to, during, and after her time in the dungeon. She'd been through some trauma in her life, and her ability to move forward and keep trying new things was good. I was, however, extremely turned off by her use of illegal drugs. At least she was honest about it, I guess, but the drugs and the way she got them really drove home her lack of responsibility to me. And her privilege. As a white girl from a successful family in L.A., she got a pretty useless sounding college degree (me too--no judging there), but had a mom running a business, so she got a good job that she kept even when she was totally distracted by her work at the Dungeon and admittedly regularly cutting out early from her full time work to go to the Dungeon. So she had a job for which she was not qualified, because of personal connections, and was able to use drugs without fear of repercussion, because she was a privileged white girl. And that's a part of her reality that she doesn't address. She also seems to dismiss how her choices affected other people's feelings, specifically how she treated a woman in her life during this time. Polyamorous relationships, as I understand them, are supposed to be about caring for all the people you're involved with, not just your 'primary' lover. What Jenny describes felt more generically "open" than polyamorous, and not very kind to at least one of the other lovers in her life.
So as much as I enjoyed the journey in this story, of reading about Jenny's clients and coworkers, I can't say the overall story was satisfying. Jenny spent most of the book searching for herself, and even at the height of her involvement with and enjoyment of her work dominating at the Dungeon, she still sounded like she was lost and trying to impress others. She admits as much several times throughout the book. If you aren't secure in your own identity, no change of culture or scenery or activities will fix that. So perhaps that's why it's difficult for me to really buy the HEA ending she assures the reader she's gotten. Because seekers who need external validation and identity won't usually stay satisfied, unless they've truly changed internally. One can hope for her sake that the latter is the case for Nordbak.
Regardless, the story, as it pertains to her clients, her coworkers, and their subculture, offers fascinating glimpses into a necessarily private work, and as such kept me reading far too late most nights until I was finished with the book.

bandherbooks's review

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4.0

A fascinating glimpse into a woman's experience exploring her boundaries while learning the ins and outs of being a Switch in an LA dungeon.

I have a bit of a crush on Jenny Nordbak after hearing her speak on a variety of podcasts, and this was a super illuminating read.

I had some wide-eyed moments, and definitely learned about a new kink (or three). Definitely worth picking up!