Taliaschild by Anastasia Vitsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Six years after the mysterious talisman brought Queen Vina to Talia, it chooses a new owner in Sonna, a child of the streets. Unprotected by her amputee father and beaten by her mother for failing to bring home scraps for the family to eat, Sonna runs into the self-assured Kira, daughter and heir to Vina’s queendom.
Weary of endless rules and duties involved in training to become the future queen, Kira leaps at the chance to escape with a new friend. When she places the priceless talisman around Sonna’s neck, neither can remove the jewelry.
Alarmed at Kira losing the talisman’s protection, Vina and Talia take drastic steps to protect the princess. In the process, the entire earth descends into chaos.
Five years later, nineteen-year-old Sonna forages for two-day-old fish heads while dodging street pimps. The talisman leads her to the mysterious Nicodemus, who offers one command:
“Go to Kira. She needs you.”
Baffled, Sonna embarks on her journey. What can a pauper offer a spoiled princess? Will the street child end up surprising them all?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which is a sequel to Taliasman. Another story based on a fairytale, this time the Snow Queen, with a hint of Disney’s Frozen.
I thought the characters were excellent and I really liked Sonna, the street urchin. Kira was a bit of a spoilt brat but it was somewhat understandable.
I could have done without the visual of two-day-old fish heads but it certainly makes one appreciate access to plentiful, tasty, fresh food.
As is her wont, Ms. Vitsky likes to play with word choice and skip backwards and forwards in time, creating a believable world. Scenes are painted with enough description to imagine but leaving room to fill in the details yourself.
There is some spanking and love making at the end but it is sweet and innocent, rather like the girls themselves.
Another great book which is well worth checking out.
Silver Wings by H.P. Munro
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When in 1943, twenty-five-year-old Lily Rivera is widowed, she finally feels able to step out of the shadows of an unhappy marriage. Her love of flying leads her to join the Womens Airforce Service Pilots, determined to regain her passion and spread her wings, not suspecting that she would experience more than just flying.Helen Richmond, a Hollywood stunt pilot, has never experienced a love that lifted her as high as the aircraft she flew…until she meets Lily.
Both women join the W.A.S.P. program to serve their country and instead find that they are on a collision course towards each other, but can it last?
This is a great book. I love historical fiction and it is even better when it contains a sweet, lesbian romance.
The author has clearly done her research and it is well written, with likeable characters and believable scenarios. The way the WASPs (Womens Airforce Service Pilots) were treated during the war was quite shameful.
I would definitely read more of Ms. Munro’s work.
Mistress, Please by Anastasia Vitsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Thou shalt have no other Mistresses before me.When traveling abroad to visit clients, professional Domme Trinity Maddox loses her passport and her job. She has no one to ask for help but Graciela Fairbanks, her former lover and Domme who threw her out for cheating ten years ago.
Graciela tries to forgive, but old hurts and arguments arise on both sides. Trinity is grateful for a second chance with the woman who first taught her about love and submission, but she resents Gracie’s assumption they will return to their old roles. Gracie demands obedience; Trinity needs assurances of love.
Can Trinity let go of her pride to accept Graciela’s forgiveness? Or is submission too high of a price to pay for happiness?
This is the sequel to Mistress on Her Knees, a book I was rather ambivalent about. I enjoyed this one more.
The disaster with Mira is now in the past and Graciela and Trinity are attempting to fix their own, broken relationship. If they will manage remains to be seen. Personally I would not forgive unfaithfulness.
As we learn more about the characters I became more sympathetic to them both. Graciela’s motives seem less vengeful, although it is hard to tell, and Trinity seems more willing to accept her submissive side.
Learning about new cultures is always fascinating and Trinity’s introduction to South Korea is entertaining. The introduction of new characters was interesting and I really liked Rachel and Pierre.
The book does end on a cliff-hanger, so no happily ever after yet, but the author is currently serialising the third book, Mistress’s Release on her blog.
Gemstone by Anastasia Vitsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There is more information about the book in the following post by the author: GEMSTONE Kink & Faith Series
Can lies build a foundation for love?
Gemma Parquin has a secret. By day, she’s the center of her church’s social life. By night, she’s Mistress Lorelei on Kinklife, online disciplinarian of babygirls and all who need spanking, whipping, and—her personal favorite—figging.
No one suspects, until neighbor Celine Daniels comes across Gemma’s Kinklife profile. Stunned and nursing a secret crush, she creates an account under the name starrygirl793 and “catfishes” the Mistress…and gets more than she bargained for. Before she knows it, Celine is also leading a double life.
Meanwhile, Gemma’s best friend sets her up with an online dating service. Enter Stella, who is everything Celine is not—sophisticated, successful, and straightforward. But she doesn’t understand the kink Gemma holds dear.
How can Gemma trust Celine, who has lied to her? Or give up Mistress Lorelei in order to be with Stella? Should Gemma give up on love altogether, or can she still find happiness?
I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy this book as I’m not a huge fan of love triangles nor am I particularly religious but I bought it because I’m a huge fan of Ms. Vitsky’s books and she often manages to surprise me.
Gemstone was no exception. It was both well written, as always, and amusing. I stayed up til 2am to finish it as I wanted, no needed, to know who Gemma would choose. One of the women behaved rather badly and I was quite surprised that Gemma gave her a second chance, although I could understand why she was reluctant to choose the other.
The church ladies made good secondary characters and their antics were fun to read. A couple of the Church references were over my head but I was able to figure them out from the context and a bit of googling.
The kink and sex scenes were fun, although somewhat shocking from this author, who normally prefers hints and fade to black.
Desire in Any Language by Anastasia Vitsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
On her own for the first time, Mira is studying abroad for her translator’s certificate. Unfortunately, the heady excitement of dance clubs, late-night parties, and endless shopping quickly distracts her from her educational goals. Mira’s advisor offers her private tutoring, but the combined pressures of culture and language difference threaten Mira’s progress at school. She is unable to get her act together until she makes a discovery that horrifies and tantalizes her: in her new country, corporal punishment is a way of life.
The secret to her academic success just might also fulfill her wildest, unspoken dreams.
This is a coming of age tale about a young girl studying abroad who is struggling to cope with adult responsibilities and feels the need to be held accountable for her actions, or rather inactions.
In order to fulfil her desires Mira makes some mistakes and suffers for it, but I found it realistic considering how young and naïve she was. I liked her and though her struggles to come to grips with a new culture were interesting.
Her crush on her tutor was cute but not romantic love. In fact, the story hardly counts as a romance since the actual love interest only appears briefly in the final chapter.
This would have been annoying if the sequel, Mira’s Miracle had not been available immediately and in that case I may have been tempted to only give 4 stars. The books really need to be read together.
Gay Pride and Prejudice by Kate Christie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
For the Bennet sisters, life in quiet Hertfordshire County is about to change. Netherfield Hall has just been let to a single man of large fortune. But while it is true that such a man is generally considered to be in want of a wife, it is equally true that not all men desire female companionship, just as not every woman dreams of being married.
Like other variations on Jane Austen’s classic romance novel, Gay Pride & Prejudice poses a question: What if some among Austen’s characters preferred the company of their own sex? In this queer revision of the acclaimed original, Kate Christie offers an alternate version of love, friendship, and marriage for Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, and their friends. But even as the path to love veers from the straight and narrow, the destination remains much the same.
A queering of Pride and Prejudice – how delightful!
I loved this book and thought Kate Christie did a great job making just enough changes that the same-sex attractions seem realistic. Her additions fitted well with Austen’s original style.
The new Mr Bennet was particularly funny.
A great read, if you like the classics but heterosexual romance isn’t your cup of tea!
The Way Home by Anastasia Vitsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Natalie always wanted a little sister. Kat didn’t know she was allowed to want anything…or anyone.
Kat, a shy farmgirl, arrives at her freshman dorm with a backpack, a suitcase, and her mother’s wish for Kat to attend college “at least until you get married”. Her roommate Natalie, a confident and fun-loving social butterfly, decides sight unseen that Kat will become her best friend for life. Natalie teaches Kat about college life, academics, and friendship by taking Kat under her wing…and over her knee.
Then their lives fall apart one fateful night on campus, and for the rest of the decade Kat and Natalie struggle to find their way back to each other. Their way home.
This is a lovely book that I have read many times and with each reading I find something new to enjoy. The book revolves around a ten year relationship between two women: Natalie and Kat, who first meet at university. They clearly love each other but if you are looking for lesbian sex then you won’t find it here. The relationship on the page is purely platonic, although it would be easy to imagine them as lovers. It is hard to imagine that someone would allow ‘just a friend’ to discipline and spank them! What is certain though is that the trauma that Natalie suffers is due to them being perceived as lesbians, whether they actually are or not.
This is not a happy, fluffy romance and although some chapters are delightfully funny, some scenes are traumatic and I cried for them both.
I first read this book several years ago and at first found it both puzzling and infuriating. ‘What’s going on?’; ‘Why on earth did you do that?’ I wanted to demand of both women several times whilst reading.
I have read the book quite a few times now and although I still don’t have all the answers, it is a testament to Ms Vitsky’s skill as an author that I cared enough about them to want to know.
The book is mostly about Kat and Natalie but there are also a few secondary characters that I liked: Natalie’s mother, Mama Jane, is lovely and Lily, the elderly lady next door, is great.
The main thing I didn’t like abut the book, other than wanting more, was the only POV being Kat’s. I felt that Kat’s viewpoint was not necessarily reliable and I would have liked to know what was going on in Natalie’s head.
The book doesn’t end on a cliff-hanger, however many issues are left unresolved. Some of them will be addressed in the sequel: Lighting The Way
Taliasman by Anastasia Vitsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Born to a destitute woodworker who wanted a son to carry on the family business, Talia grew up with one phrase on her lips: “If I had been born a boy.” If she had been born a boy, she would have been cherished, supported, and launched into the world with her father’s legacy. As only a worthless girl, she toils all day long to earn her handful of inferior grain.
Far away in the heavenly palace, Queen Vina receives a mysterious coin necklace from Nicodemus, teller of stories. Compelled by the throbbing heartbeat, she scours the earth to come across Talia, enslaved to a family who never wanted her. Rather than admit her motives, Vina purchases the girl with a sack full of gold. Furious, betrayed, and homesick, Talia endeavors to share her misery with the entire palace. Vina, afraid to confess her love, allows herself to become trapped in the role of brutal slave owner.
Talia, bred to expect nothing but misery, faces the first choice of her life. Will she accept love, even if it comes from an unlikely source? Or will she reject the one who offers her everything?
‘If I had been born a boy’ – how many of us have thought that at some point? Talia wants to stay at home as her father’s apprentice but, being a girl, this sadly isn’t an option.
Instead she is sold by her parents to Queen Vina, a woman from a heavenly dimension. Vina has been led to Talia by a magical talisman she received from the mysterious Nicodemus but Talia cannot get past her parents’ betrayal and refuses to accept Vina’s love.
The story alternates between Talia and Vina’s POV but neither woman is a reliable witness and the reader is left wondering what the truth actually is, especially as the scenes have an almost dream-like appearance.
Both women are likeable, if frustrating, well-fleshed out characters, who behave foolishly but believably given their backgrounds. They allow themselves to be manipulated by someone with an ulterior motive and it is hard to see how they will manage to achieve their happy ending.
The world building gives just enough to form a picture without being too much. Personally I dislike large chunks of description so this suits me (I skimmed many descriptive parts of Lord of the Rings, for example!)
Ms. Vitsky delights in ambiguity and leaves much to the imagination, but that is no bad thing. In this case, however I would have liked more information on Nicodemus and the talisman.
Another great book, and a sequel is in the works.
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Ana Adored: Mistress of the Castle by Anastasia Vitsky My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Shy 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.
Seoul Spankings by Anastasia Vitsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Broken-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.