Review: Mistress on Her Knees

Mistress on Her Knees by Anastasia Vitsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mistress on Her Knees Thou shalt not covet thy host’s submissive
When a Domme loves a Domme, strange things can happen. When a Domme loves a Domme who is her former submissive and cheated with her best friend, all of the usual fun with handcuffs turns into something darker.
Graciela struggles to control her attraction to the headstrong, beautiful woman who broke her heart ten years ago. She offers temporary shelter to a fellow human in crisis, nothing more. But when Trinity buckles under Graciela’s righteous anger and begs for forgiveness, Graciela’s resolve wavers. Can she ever trust again? Does Trinity deserve a second chance, or is this yet another manipulation?

This book was very hard for me to review as, although I liked it, I’m not really sure why. It is thought-provoking and certainly pushed some of my buttons, especially regarding consensual versus non-consensual.

It is a continuation of a free story on the author’s blog called Fire of Desire, but can be read as a stand-alone.

It’s not an easy read by any means. Both POV and time changes occur and if you’re not concentrating it is easy to lose track. The author does not believe in spoon-feeding her readers and much is left unsaid or merely implied.

I found the behaviour of both characters somewhat questionable: Trinity selfishly takes advantage of Mira and then asks Graciela, her former domme/lover, to step in and fix the mess. I’m not convinced Graciela’s fix was the right choice but many readers seem to love her.

After reading the book twice I am left pondering on the nature of betrayal and forgiveness, the price of love and the issue of what constitutes consent.

Certainly not my favourite Anastasia Vitsky book but I am glad I read it and will buy the sequel.

Walking with Alpacas

Last Sunday the family went Walking with Alpacas at Charnwood Forest Alpacas

The alpacas were gorgeous: friendly, charming and like big, fluffy teddy bears.

The weather was lovely: warm and sunny, and the staff were helpful and pleasant.

Even the grumpy teen was charmed.

All in all a fabulous day out. Well recommended.

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Review: Ana Adored: Mistress of the Castle

Ana Adored: Mistress of the Castle by Anastasia Vitsky My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ana Adored: Mistress of the CastleShy Ana has two secret passions: she loves other women and she has always harbored an intense fascination with all things “spanking.” Unfortunately, her current girlfriend, Peyton, has no interest in indulging what she refers to as “sick and deviant” fantasies. But when their latest argument becomes one black eye too many, Ana’s had enough. Finally finding the necessary courage and strength of will, she orders Peyton out of her house and out of her life. Break-ups with abusers are never easy or painless, and in the emotionally chaotic aftermath of hers, Ana turns to the only friend she has – a woman she met online more than a year before on, of all things, a plant forum. Miranda is everything Peyton is not. She listens. She understands. She accepts. And when she unexpectedly offers Ana a plane ticket to fly out to Ohio and meet with her, face-to-face for the very first time, Ana doesn’t hesitate for long. She packs a bag and goes on vacation; ten days, prepaid, at the Castle, the most infamous BDSM resort in the world. On the surface, everything seems so perfect and magical. But Ana isn’t at the Castle long before she realizes she isn’t the only woman with secrets. Miranda Hardwick, the Castle’s most feared and respected Mistress, has a few secrets of her own. As the lines between fantasy and reality and friends and lovers begin to blur, both women quickly realize that if their blossoming relationship is to survive, they’re going to have to put their secrets aside – Miranda, with her strange “emergencies” that keep calling her away, and Ana, with Peyton, who just won’t accept a life without Ana in it.

As usual, another excellent book from Anastasia Vitsky, which I loved. However it does contain scenes of domestic abuse, so you may want to avoid it if you find that triggering. Ana and Miranda are two women who meet online in a plant forum. Ana has a habit of killing her plants and Miranda is the expert she turns to for help. I sympathised with Ana in this because I know exactly how she feels; in fact people have stopped buying me plants. The women’s chat turns flirtatious over the months and when Ana finds the courage to throw out her abusive partner, Miranda invites her to meet. They have the same chemistry in person but both struggle with past issues which makes developing a relationship hard. I liked the fact that it wasn’t love at first sight and that the characters had real depth to them. Some of Ana’s decisions were fairly idiotic, but probably realistic. The BDSM is fairly light if you’ve never tried any kink and want to give it a go. The book is one in a series of ‘Masters of the Castle’ books all set in the same BDSM resort, although most of the others are M/F. The author’s Mira’s Miracle is another F/f also set in the Castle.

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Review: Seoul Spankings

Seoul Spankings by Anastasia Vitsky

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Seoul SpankingsBroken-hearted when her live-in boyfriend impregnates her best frenemy, Indigo Adams accepts a one-way ticket to Seoul, South Korea, and a challenge from her Great-Aunt Matilda: Forget that boy. Go and make something of yourself.

Bruised from an international public relations nightmare as the new heir to the multi-billion-dollar Han Incorporated, Hyunkyung Han seeks positive publicity in the form of a wedding. She consults with Madame Eve to find a nice, well-behaved Korean American with bilingual and bicultural skills.

Instead, Madame Eve sends Indi, a naïve philosophy major graduate working for minimum wage at the local pub. Enraged to find Indi can’t speak one word of Korean, Hyunkyung orders her sent home on the next plane to Spillville, Iowa.

Then Hyunkyung shakes Indi’s hand, and the sparks fly. With all of her professional responsibilities, how can Hyunkyung allow herself to fall for the wrong woman? How can Indi feel attraction for a woman who despises her?

Seoul Spankings offers a light-hearted romp through the perils and joys of navigating an intercultural romance. Certain to delight all fans of a happily ever after with a kinky twist.

I loved this book although it would have been nice if it was a bit longer.

The two women find that their first meeting does not meet their expectations and sparks subsequently fly.

The Good: The characters were flawed but likeable and their interactions were fun. I found the fact that Indy had been sent as almost a ‘mail order bride’ by her great aunt, whilst thinking she was going for a job interview particularly amusing. The ex-boyfriend’s comeuppance was also very satisfactory.

The Bad: I’m not hugely keen on books written in the first person. It’s very easy to get wrong and much harder to pull it off successfully, but the author manages it here. Still that is a personal preference and I know plenty of people who love first person.

I would read a sequel as I would like to know where Indy & Hyunkyung go from here.

Review: Living in Sin

Living in Sin by Anastasia Vitsky

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Living in Sin Sick of playing “roommate” for the sake of her girlfriend’s religious, tight-knit family, Audra issues an ultimatum: Tell your family, or I move out. After all, Audra’s family supports her and loves Ciara as a second daughter. Why would Ciara’s family be any different? Audra’s tired of hiding the reality of their lives. She puts Ciara first, so why can’t Ciara do the same?
Caught between her family and her girlfriend, Ciara resents being forced to choose. She tries to keep the peace by accepting her aunt’s endless blind dates and comforting her mother, who cares for Ciara’s dying grandmother. How can Ciara shatter her family by forcing the truth on them? How can she face life without Audra if she does not?
Agonized and at her wit’s end, Ciara receives an unexpected spirit visit that asks her hard questions. Does love require self-sacrifice? How much can she give up without losing herself?

This is a story about two very different women in a relationship: Audra is out and proud and accepted by her family. Ciara is hiding in the closet worried that she will lose her family if she tells them she is a lesbian and leads them to believe Audra is just her roommate.

I wasn’t overly keen on either woman initially: I thought Audra was too impatient, but worse was Ciara going on blind dates with men her family foisted on her. Whilst she kept them platonic, it seemed highly disrespectful to the woman she claimed to love.

Both women grew on me as they made an effort to understand each other and I was pleased that they seemed to have resolved their differences with the aid of a little ‘mystical’ intervention by the end.

The book was short and more length would have been nice, especially an epilogue at the music festival.

It is a shame, however, that it needed to be written. Love is love and I’ve never understood why it is anyone else’s business who people chose to love, or why some parents’ love for their children is not unconditional.
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On the Bonfire – Re-blogging and Ranting

Lego Advert 1981 This constant ‘genderising’ of everything is driving me insane, and it seems to be getting worse. IN the 1980s we have the following, fabulous Lego advert. Then in 2012 we had the whole Lego Friends controversy.Now it’s not the sets themselves that bother me – I actually like some of them. It’s the marketing. They have “For Girls” all over the box.
This of course leads to two problems: First it suggests that the other sets are only for boys and second, that boys cannot play with these sets. The same is true of the whole Rebelle series of Nerf guns.When, and by whom, was it decided that pink and purple were for girls and orange and green were for boys? Personally, I like purple and orange but not pink and green.
OMG! I’m having a gender identity crisis – or just maybe assigning gender to colours is crap and people should be able to like what they like without worrying about what ‘message’ it sends!
Then again what would be even nicer is if we stopped thinking in binaries altogether, since not everyone considers themselves to fit within the gender binary.

Good Morning, Good Morning!

bonfireboxes1 copyTheme: Get it off your chest.

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Written by Emmeline May*, Brilliant Guest Blogger

Lately I’ve been building a bonfire in my head. It’s a pretty big bonfire. I’ve stopped expressing myself in actual words and have found myself merely screaming “F**K THIS SHIT. PUT IT ON THE BONFIRE!” at the computer screen. Or the TV screen. Or, on one occasion, at my friend across the table at lunch, which surprised her so much she dropped her fork.

The bonfire is made, largely, of pink and blue boxes. Pink boxes contain all the things which tell women how and what they are meant to be and like. Blue boxes contain everything men are meant to do and be and want.

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Review: Galveston 1900: Swept Away

Galveston 1900: Swept Away by Linda Crist

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Galveston 1900: Swept AwayOn September 7-8, 1900, the island of Galveston, Texas, was destroyed by a hurricane, or “tropical cyclone,” as it was called in those days. This story is a fictional account of Mattie and Rachel, two women who lived there, and their lives in the months leading up to and during the time of the “great storm.”
Forced to flee from her family at a young age, Rachel Travis finds a home and livelihood on the island of Galveston. Independent, friendly, and yet often lonely, only one other person knows the dark secret that haunts her. That is until she meets Madeline Crockett.
Madeline “Mattie” Crockett is trapped in a loveless marriage, convinced that her fate is sealed. She never dares to dream of true happiness, until Rachel Travis comes walking into her life. As emotions come to light, the storm of Mattie’s marriage converges with the very real hurricane. Can they survive, and build the life they both dream of?

I absolutely loved this book.

I love historical fiction, especially if is about an event or era that is new to me and I have to admit that I knew absolutely nothing about Galveston or its storm of 1900.

Historical fiction with a lesbian romance is even better and I loved Mattie and Rachel and their slowly developing relationship. The secondary characters were all good too and their work and daily lives were well fleshed out and interesting.

Obviously, being set against the backdrop of a hurricane, there is plenty of heartbreak and some beloved, and not so beloved, characters do not make it.

There is information online about the actual storm and looking at the pictures of the devastation, I am surprised that anyone survived at all.

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Review: Trail of Broken Wings

Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Trail of Broken WingsWhen her father falls into a coma, Indian American photographer Sonya reluctantly returns to the family she’d fled years before. Since she left home, Sonya has lived on the run, free of any ties, while her soft-spoken sister, Trisha, has created a perfect suburban life, and her ambitious sister, Marin, has built her own successful career. But as these women come together, their various methods of coping with a terrifying history can no longer hold their memories at bay.

Buried secrets rise to the surface as their father—the victim of humiliating racism and perpetrator of horrible violence—remains unconscious. As his condition worsens, the daughters and their mother wrestle with private hopes for his survival or death, as well as their own demons and buried secrets.

Told with forceful honesty, Trail of Broken Wings reveals the burden of shame and secrets, the toxicity of cruelty and aggression, and the exquisite, liberating power of speaking and owning truth.

A heart-rending but ultimately uplifting book about one family’s struggle to come to terms with the years of abuse they suffered at the hands of the patriarch. I found it hard to put down.
I liked how the women gradually opened up to each other although I found myself thinking: “For goodness sake, just talk to each other!” quite a few times.
The book changed POV quite frequently and I was impressed that each woman had a distinct voice.