Review – Safeword: Matte by Candace Blevins

Publisher: Excessia
Publish Date: Out Now!
How I got this book: eARC from author

Matte, pronounced mah-tay, is the word used in some forms of martial arts to stop a fight. It’s the Japanese word for stop or wait. Sam (short for Samantha) has made a hobby out of learning the various fighting disciplines, but she also happens to be a sexual submissive. What better safeword than matte?

Sam wants to find someone to submit to who she can’t beat in a fight. She’s tried to make it work with men from the scene who know nothing about fighting, but it doesn’t feel real to her – she needs someone who can truly control her. However, after dating from the fight scene and discovering not all guys like to spank their girlfriends, she’s decided to just back away from the whole dating thing for a while… until Fate decides to step in.

Warning: This title contains graphic language, consensual BDSM, bondage, and use of toys including crops, clamps, canes, and floggers.
*Blurb from Goodreads*

I was super excited to read this book. BDSM romance, LOVE IT! Mixed martial arts hero AND heroine, LOVE IT! However, the execution of this book wasn’t where I had hoped it would be, instead I found myself both loving and hating this book.

Sam is desperate to find someone who can dominate her. She is a world-class fighting champion, and stronger than most men. She wants someone who can prove to be stronger than her, can take her down and force her to submit, unfortunately the only men who can do that are her fellow fighters, and most of them are not into her scene. When she first meets Ethan at a competition, she writes him off as just another fighter.

Sam runs into Ethan later at a BDSM party, and their chemistry heats up once again as the two start to play together. They embark on a relationship that is mutually satisfying for them both, in ways that neither of them expected.

There were some incredible moments in this book, and some not some incredible moments. Let me start with what I really liked: the BDSM relationship between Sam and Ethan. Unlike many other BDSM books I’ve read, the vast majority of the relationship and play between Sam and Ethan takes place behind closed doors. One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from readers in regards to BDSM romance is that so many of the books out there take place in sex clubs. While Sam and Ethan have one scene they do together at a party with others watching, it doesn’t involve sex and all their intimate moments are with just the two of them. I know that aspect will appeal to many readers.

Also, the BDSM relationship itself was handled beautifully. Sam and Ethan were open and honest with each other. They had very blunt communication about what they both were looking for, how they felt about their scenes, and all other aspects of the BDSM play. In my opinion, Blevins handles that aspect of their relationship with class and grace and in a way that came across genuine and real to me as a reader. Plus, a few of their sexy scenes were pretty damn hot.

Now for the one thing that continually seemed to pull me out of the story and ruin the book for me: the continual references to Ethan cockzilla. The first time Sam seems Ethan in the flesh, she actually refers to his peen being the same girth as her fist. My first reaction: OH HELL NO! I do not find that sexy. To me that sounds painful. I kept trying to read their sexy scene and I kept picturing an arm-like appendage hanging from between his legs. It completely pulled me out of the sexy times and instead had me cringing.

Then, there was some specific word use that continually threw me off guard and pulled me out of the flow of the book. “Pulsing monster” was one that gave me a not-so-great imagine in my mind. During that same scene, Blevins used the verb “tearing” to describe what Sam was feeling and again I was more appalled than anything else. I was so dismayed that I even started the #NotSexy hastag on Twitter. To top it all off, the most unromantic and least sexy quote I’ve ever read almost caused me to stop reading.

“He was like this giant fucking machine, with this huge cock tearing into her, dilating her more than should be possible outside of childbirth.”


It was really hard for me to take this book seriously after all that, and that was 60% in.
All in all this is a hard book for me to rate. There were aspects of it that made it outstanding and incredible, and others that had me wanting to cross my legs and run. I struggled with how to rate this book, especially since the BDSM aspects of the relationship were done superbly. Had the rest of the book lived up to that portion of the book, A all the way. Instead, I had to constantly stop and re-read sections, my eyes bulging from my head, wondering if I really just read what I had read. It pulled me out of the story and gave the book an air of ridiculousness that wasn’t sexy or romantic for me. If you don’t mind the giant peen and overly imaginative prose, and are a fan of the BDSM genre, you should definitely give this book a try. However, for me, it didn’t work.
I finally decided to give Safeword: Matte a D+


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12 thoughts on “Review – Safeword: Matte by Candace Blevins”

  1. LOL! There was a guy with this problem in my high school. He was hot as hell but no one would have sex with him. Poor Cockzilla.

  2. @Pam: That is so sad… I feel bad for that kid. 🙁 But I wouldn’t do it either…. Cockzilla = scary!

  3. Oh dear. I read Rainbow and picked this one up at the same time. Uh, I’m not sure I’m ready for dilation to that degree and a penis with the girth of a fist. *crosses legs*

  4. Oh yikes, I knew a guy like that in college. I didn’t believe the rumors…and when faced with the pulsing monster itself I beat a hasty retreat. SO not sexy. Poor guy.

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