Thursday, October 30, 2014

Review: Laser

Laser by Viola Grace

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Romance Review

Looking for a fluffy space opera? Terran Times Second Wave is the series to read. Ms. Grace is known for her short and enjoyable alien erotica. In LASER, this one mixes a bit of Robocop slash Lindsey Wagner Bionic Woman.

Lee is seeking off-world work. At the right place, wrong time, Lee is blown to bits. Very little of her remains from a terrorist attack. Fortunately for Lee, her father loves her deeply and will do anything to preserve her life.

Lee's new life is to be a kind of emergency response enforcer. Paired up with Lukar, an alien, they travel the universe to protect or evacuate. The plot of the story is good. The sex in the story is what keeps a reader's attention. This is one which is deliciously good with smexy fun. Lukar and Lee fumbling a bit at the beginning and then quickly ravaging each other is great. It may seem a little fast for some, but keep in mind this is a short story with a focused beginning, middle and end. The sex is the bonus for some happy erotic times.

The conflicts arising in the story are mild and swiftly resolved. Ms. Grace tries to inject a little behind the scenes manipulation of mating between Lee and Lukar. It's so transparent, it comes across as tongue in cheek matchmaking shenanigans.

Ms. Grace brings an entertaining space traveling erotica in an easy bite-size piece. This entire series is a delectable sampling of sensual play. The characters in each book are different aliens on different planets with different jobs, yet they all possess the same pleasurable erotic chemistry. Recommended for space opera fans who enjoy a bit of cybernetics.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review: Monkey's Uncle

Monkey's Uncle
Monkey's Uncle by Tymber Dalton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Romance Review

Scared of the ebola virus news in current events? Let Ms. Dalton give her theories on how it will all play out.

Book two in the Drunk Monkey series is just as fun as the first. This time, the team is heading to Mexico. Mexico is known for passionate Latina women and lust driven one-night stands to take a man's mind off the world imploding, right? Did they mention the nurse who gleefully castrates men caught sexually violating women? Sometimes, when a small community bands together, justice is swifter than expected.

India Pelletier finally feels at home in Mexico. She's the nurse running a clinic without a doctor. She is waiting patiently for a doctor to arrive to help her. When her term is up, she knows she can go to other places, but where would it be safe? Back home in the US, the Kite virus is becoming more prevalent. Her parents have thrown their life savings away to a con-man. Perhaps staying in Mexico is the best choice, if only she could find a man to help alleviate her lonely nights.

When the Drunk Monkeys blow into town on a mission to find the next doctor on the list, India is caught up in their harebrained schemes. Twins Oscar and Yankee are paired up with India. For those who love twin ménage, this book will appease the need for two studly brothers performing the horizontal salsa with a hot nurse. Hello, Nurse!

What makes this book so fun is the snarky dialogue between the characters. India is a fiery woman who knows what she wants. Her courage and kindheartedness is admirable. Her fierce vengeance when someone commits a wrong is bloodthirsty and satisfying. Oscar and Yankee are rather forgettable when paired up with India. The sex they have together is hot yet it doesn't really do it for me. For those used to Ms. Dalton's kinkier sex, this may be a bit too tame. Still, the sex is just a small part of the story. This series is more plot driven and it's a blast to read.

The suspense when trying to find the mole and the doctors on the list is what keeps a reader coming back to this story. How will it all end? How will they find the doctors? Will the virus mutate out of control and become even deadlier? The story catches a reader's attention and keeps it until the book is done. Warning, do not start this book late at night. Recommended for apocalypse lovers who are ready for the zombies.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Review: The Sapphire Dragon

The Sapphire Dragon
The Sapphire Dragon by Tianna Xander

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Romance Review

Powerful dragons and out of control witches make a volatile mix. Ms. Xander pens lovely dragon paranormal stories. Her Project Dare series is fabulous and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The Dragon Bound series, however, is not working for me. It's difficult to write this review because the writing is well done, but I just couldn't stand the main character.

Daisy is a witch with more power than any of her sisters. She's seen how happy her sisters are to mated dragons, yet she doesn't want to have anything to do with a dragon, even if he's her perfect mate.

Ms. Xander did an excellent job of creating a selfish and shallow coward. Daisy is afraid of her powers and hides from it. She is also a racist against dragons. One could say that it's a person's personal preference. However, I counter it with, she won't even get to know a person because of what they are so that does make her blindly judgmental. In addition, after she learns more about this lovely Sapphire dragon, Jarrod, she finds she wants him badly. Yet the minute she finds out he isn't a human, she treats him horribly.

The conflict in this story is as expected and moves quickly. The resolution to the conflict is predictable and works. Ms. Xander is too kind and gives dumbass Daisy a happily ever after. She doesn't deserve it. Jarrod is being punished for the rest of his life with a terrible mate. I feel bad for him. Too bad a better sister isn't matched up with him. Because of my loathing for Daisy, this story was difficult to read. If I can't find anything I like about a character, the rating tends to be lower. This paranormal romance is recommended to dragon lovers.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Review: Taming the Mistress

Taming the Mistress
Taming the Mistress by Sindra van Yssel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Romance Review

All dominatrixes secretly yearn to be dominated by an alpha male. Not! Seeing this title did not exactly give me the warm fuzzies. Since it's a Ms. Van Yssel book, however, I want to see what this book is about.

Mistress Sue is a dominatrix who is tired of being alone. Going to a weekend at the Bondage Ranch, she plans for a good time with her submissive only to find out he's not worth her time. Feeling apathetic to a previously erotic feast, she ends up fading into the background and observes. Whilst she quietly watches, another watches her--Dane. Dane is a Dom who shares mutual friends with Sue. They have yet to cross each other's paths even though they have been at the same events over the years.

For many female dominants, this theme is aggravating. It perpetuates a myth that every female dominant is just waiting for the right male dominant to show her who's really the boss. It's insulting and annoying. Fortunately, Ms. Van Yssel isn't trying to say this at all. What she shows is a lifestyle which doesn't require categorization. Also, as long as people are enjoying themselves and their needs are met, why are labels needed?

It's interesting how Sue and Dane are from two different styles of the lifestyle. Sue prefers high protocol and all the trappings that go with it. She also is concerned with how she physically carries herself as a Domme. While Dane is into the informal, almost to the extreme opposite spectrum with being a Primal. This is the first BDSM book I've read where one of the main characters is Primal. It's a nice representation, if a bit tame, of the Primal mindset.

For those who haven't encountered it before, it's not pet play where one dresses up like an animal and is treated like a dog, cat or pony. It's also not Furries where one dresses up like cartoon animals whilst having sex. There are some similarities between pet play and primal play when the person behaves on a base level of almost animalistic behaviour. Common scenes do involve animalist noises, wrestling and rough body play. For those who are into Primal, it's a freeing experience where they can just be who they are in their skin. The way Ms. van Yssel blends the two styles of BDSM into a relationship is beautiful.

At the heart of this story, it's about change and communication. Sue and Dane's needs have changed. By communicating and finding another to grow with, it helps them both find what they truly desire. It's good to see Sue relax more and explore other sides of herself she's kept repressed. It's also good to see Dane wanting more and finding a woman to match his almost feral passion. His need to build a long lasting relationship with a woman is also romantic.

The BDSM is awesome as Ms. van Yssel consistently delivers an accurate view into the lifestyle. The different scenes, variety in body shapes, preferences and fetishes are carefully exhibited with utmost respect. This is why Ms. Sindra van Yssel is always in my top recommendations for BDSM Gateway books. Her books are realistic even with her happily ever afters. This story is a smooth read with endearing characters and hawt rope bondage. Recommended as BDSM Gateway book for those who want to learn more about Primals.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Review: The ACT Itself Volume 1, Number 1

The ACT Itself Volume 1, Number 1
The ACT Itself Volume 1, Number 1 by BearManor Media

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Those who enjoyed Penthouse and wanted a kinky taste, this is the magazine for you. This is a spicy collection of biographical excerpts, sexy stories and au natural photos. There is a nice mix of stories. The magazine is split into Fiction & Poetry, Essays and Pictorials.

My favourite one is written by Michael M. Jones. Sexy, erotic and delicious is how I'd describe his story. The Sea's bargain is my favourite because it includes tentacles and f/f sex. I'm a water lover so everything about this story strokes me just the right way. It leaves me wanting more. The cuckold one on the other hand isn't to my taste. I usually enjoy cuckold ones, but this one didn't excite me.

The photography is surprising. Instead of bimbofied plastic sex toys, these are real women with real bodies and shockingly, pubic hair. Women are all of healthy size reminiscent of a time when voluptuous women were the ideal sex bomb. Everything Old is New Again photos are all tastefully done in an artsy manner. Some of the women come across sweet and and innocent. Others are suggestive and erotically hawt. Perhaps this is the point so that they can be used as fodder for sexual fantasies of violation.

The Essays showcases snippets of a porn star's life and are okay to read. It's just enough to satisfy a reader's curiosity. It does not lure a reader to pick up the full story to read. It was good to have perspectives from both male and female. Surprisingly, one of them is of John Holmes. The one from the Miss Swedish Erotica is illuminating and quite humourous. I will never look at a lacey white scarf the same way again.

This magazine is one to watch and collect. Recommended to those who like nonfiction mixed with their fiction.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Review: Magic City: Recent Spells

Magic City: Recent Spells
Magic City: Recent Spells by Paula Guran

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Magic City anthology reminds me why I love science fiction/fantasy. This collection features some outstanding stories and authors. It does also contain a few duds which I'll leave unmentioned. There are also a few which are quite forgettable. I will focus on the ones which excited me. When a short story generates an exhilaration which ends abruptly when the last word is typed, I love it.

In STREET WIZARD by Simon Green, the story is tightly written with my kind of humour.

Never even react. It’s hard to tell what a Grey is thinking, what with that long flat face and those unblinking eyes. I wish they’d wear some kind of clothes, though. You wouldn’t believe what they’ve got instead of genitals. (loc. 231-232)

In PARANORMAL ROMANCE Christopher Barzak, Mr. Barzak presents a clever way of describing the six degrees of separation between two people. It's something to remember and use in future conversations. For math geeks like me, I can immediately visualize the Venn diagram. Forcing me to visualize it, helps me connect to the story better.

Trent was the manager of a small software company and Gary worked at an environmental nonprofit. They’d met in college ten years ago, but had circled around each other at the time. They’d shared a Venn diagram of friends, but naturally some of them didn’t like each other. (loc. 286-288)

Mr. Barzak continues with unique imagery associated with emotions. He possesses a way with words which arouses me. It also describes so keenly a feeling I've felt with my own mother. The way Mr. Barzak expresses it, it's sharp and witty.

Then the phone went dead. Sheila looked down at it for a while as if it were a gun that had accidentally gone off, leaving a bullet lodged in her stomach. The bullet sat in Sheila’s stomach and festered for the rest of that night, and the feeling was not unfamiliar. Sheila’s mother had a habit of mugging her with unwanted surprises. (loc. 350-353)

Mr. Barzak continues with his biting commentary in a depressing turn of phrase.

She’d [Mary the client] go home and, for five to six weeks, she’d [Mary the client] love her husband. Sheila couldn’t work a permanent fix for Mary, because Mary had fallen so out of love with her husband that no spell could sustain it forever. Their relationship was an old, used-up car in constant need of repairs. Sheila was the mechanic. (loc. 365-367)

The entire concept of how Sheila uses her magic to help a wife is mind-blowing for me. It's provocative in how a love spell is used and it is also disheartening the lost love between a husband and wife. The scenario fascinates while saddens me. Pulling this much emotion from me is always a good sign for a great read.

GRAND CENTRAL PARK by Delia Sherman is a piece which reminds me of Pan's Labyrinth because of the way the fae are presented. Ms. Sherman's descriptions are vivid. Her story is a dark and gritty film playing in my mind. Thoroughly enjoyable.

SPELLCASTER 2.0 by Jonathan Maberry starts of a bit confusing and I nearly skipped it. After the first few pages, I'm spellbound. Mr. Maberry also invokes strong imagery in his scenes. This story reminds me of the movie Next with Nicholas Cage. The ending is similar and haunting.

Anthem chewed a fingernail. Despite the fact that she painted her nails, they were all nibbled down to nubs. A couple of them even had blood caked along the sides from where she’d cannibalized herself a bit too aggressively, and there were faint chocolate-colored smears of it on the keyboard. (loc. 875-877)

WALLAMELON by Nisi Shawl broke my heart. This is a moving story of childhood friendship and lost innocence. It's hard for me to explain why this story moved me. It's best experienced rather than told. There are too many spoilers to explain why I loved this one.

SEEING EYE by Patricia Briggs is a masterfully written piece. It reminds me again why I love her books. This is a tightly woven story with threads in mythology. Beautiful.

New to me author Nancy Kress pens a fantastic piece, STONE MAN. This little taste of her writing will entice those who have never read her before, to find her books and read it.

IN THE STACKS by Scott Lynch is an absolutely fantastic short story. It takes the simple concept of a library and returning books and making it a terrifying deadly quest. The creatures Mr. Lynch conceives are ingenious and original. The adventure is exciting and a bit exhausting. When it seems as if it is all over, Mr. Lynch nails the reader with a surprise conflict. Truly marvelous and well done. One of my favourite stories in this anthology. A new to me author, Mr. Lynch is one I'd love to read more.

THE SLAUGHTERED LAMB by Elizabeth Bear is another fantastic read. Fans of fae and the Hunt will enjoy this one. What I liked most is the surprise cross dressing werewolf. Ms. Bear is new to me and definitely one to look up and find more of her books.

WORDS by Angela Slatter is an imaginative work of art. It reminds me of the words spoken in speeches in the Phantom Tollbooth. WORDS is a darker story with a macabre twist. Ms. Slatter is also a new to me author who writes in a dark manner I adore. Her character sticks it to those who try to persecute her. I loved the ending.

DOG BOYS by Charles de Lint is a wonderful paranormal piece. Mr. de Lint is a famous name even if I haven't read him before, due to my preference of female writers. After reading this story, I regret passing his books by because if they are all like this, I've missed out. I should have read him years ago.

STRAY MAGIC by Diana Peterfreund is the last story in this robust collection which I really enjoyed. It's a sweet interpretation of a dog's loyalty. This one hit home due to a personal experience with an abandoned dog. The way Ms. Peterfreund writes from the dog's perspective is moving and heartbreaking. The faith the dog keeps despite all odds is why people consider dogs as man's best friends. The hopelessness of the situation and main character's cynicism against humans is counterbalanced by the love and devotion of a dog. It is a story which reminds the jaded, without hope, there are no miracles. Loved the message and the happily ever after.

This magical anthology is highly recommended for those looking to sample authors they haven't read yet. It's a treasure trove of new authors to follow and read.

*provided by NetGalley

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      Magic City: Recent Spells



Friday, October 24, 2014

Review: The Inner Room

The Inner Room
The Inner Room by Claire Thompson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Doctors and nurses exemplify sexy power exchange in erotic novels. Usually it's the doctor giving the orders and the nurse agreeably obeying. In a switch up, Inner Room features a dominant nurse and a submissive doctor. Staying along the lines of a male dominant and a female submissive, it still changes up the traditional roles of who is the doctor and who is the nurse. Dr. Marissa Roberts works a stressful job. She is literally responsible for saving lives. Her decisions can possibly end a life. With this kind of responsibility, she fantasizes about giving away her control. With a kinky interest, she finally accepts a friend's introduction to the wild side. Marissa becomes a submissive in training at a local BDSM club. Apprehensive of the stigma associated with being both a submissive and in an alternative lifestyle, Marissa is relieved when she doesn't seen anyone she knows at the club. When she is assessed, her fears materialize; the experienced dominant is none other than Cam Wilder, a nurse at her hospital.

Ms. Thompson does a lovely job with the BDSM. The scenes are erotic. The training is believable. The power exchange between Cam and Marissa is delightful to witness. The ups and downs of a newbie to the lifestyle is accurately captured in this story. The tentativeness of a new submissive wondering if perhaps she's not normal are all good to see. There is one particular passage which is of concern. Some may agree with this philosophy, this reviewer does not. Specifically, using BDSM as a cure for a past trauma can be possible, just usually not advisable. In the way it's presented in the book, it is makes sense.

If a client came in to see you, and told you she was new to the scene, but had found her soul mate, and D/s had become a central focus of her life, but a recent traumatic event had made her unsure about continuing, what would you say to that client?”

Cam didn’t even have to think about the reply. “I’d say BDSM would be the very best cure for whatever ails her. I’d explain to her that what happened has less than zero to do with BDSM, with the intensity, the exchange of power, the passion.”

“And you’d be right,” Jack replied. (pg. 135)

Ms. Thompson's conflict is seemingly mild at the beginning of the story. Marissa's wariness in exploring her sexuality is understandable. When the main conflict occurs, it is biting and a bit shocking. It's not a huge surprise because Ms. Thompson does a good job of setting it up. How quickly the situation escalated is the shocking part. The traumatic event in this story is all too real. The misconceptions of BDSM are laid out in black in white. The way a kinky person can be persecuted and violated is all too chillingly plausible. The resolution while a bit unrealistic is definitely satisfying. When the men come to the rescue of a damsel in distress, it is heartwarming. Because sometimes, it is nice not to have to solve big problems by oneself. Support through friends, particularly intimidating male friends generates a warm fuzzy feeling. It's the kind where a submissive feels loved, cared for and protected. It is a heady sensation which Marissa definitely appreciates. Recommended for kinky readers who enjoy a protective dominant.

*provided by BDSM Book Reviews

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