More Golden Angel Happiness (and a small gripe)

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I continue to enjoy the novels from Golden Angel (I’ve plowed through most of two full novels and one novella since my last post), and generally the quality is high and keeps me coming back.  Overall the dynamics between the couples work for me, and I enjoy the interactions even though each one is distinct with their own set of kinks.

Out of the latest group of novels I definitely enjoy Patrick and Lexie from Mastering Lexie the best because I can a. relate strongly to Lexie’s journey b. they grow and communicate in their path to couplehood.  Yes, there’s a lot of kinky stuff that won’t appeal to all readers, but the basic romance between the controlling older man and honourary younger sister definitely will appeal to the friends to lovers crowd. I also realized as I read Mastering Lexie that Golden Angel knows how to write interracial romance in a way that avoids fetishizing it. Patrick is black while Lexie is very white, and it honestly isn’t addressed as much of a thing other than Patrick liking the contrast of his skin tone with Lexie’s in the bedroom. I also realized that there’s a lot of variety in the ethnicity and racial make up of the main cast in the Stronghold books, but it’s inserted so casually that it’s not really a thing.  It just is.  Andrew, Patrick, and Jared happen to be men of colour, and that’s totally okay. No one seems to think anything of it one way or the other, and it only comes up when there’s a description of what the characters physically look like.  I don’t know who Andrew’s partner will be, but I know that Jared will also be paired with a white woman, and it’s refreshing. It’s not done to titillate or shock; Golden Angel just pairs off her characters with the most compatible personalities.

Now my minor gripe…I wanted to love Taming the Tease, the second book in the Stronghold series, because it contained a lot of of my catnip elements (a plus sized heroine who wasn’t ashamed of her sexuality, strong female relationships, relating a little too closely to the whole ‘tease’ thing), but Maria and Rick’s story just fell a little flat.  I like both characters separately, but together they fell into a serious case of needing to use their words. Rick was charming and engaging in The Venus School  books, and he honestly seemed like a Dom I’d like to meet.  However, all of that fell away when he met Maria and suddenly became incapable of explaining himself (he’s an English teacher, so his lack of language skills concern me!) and forgot everything he knew about BDSM.  The misunderstandings throughout the story all stemmed from the two just not talking to each other, which drove me nuts! Communication is a key part of the lifestyle (or frankly any relationship), so I wanted to smack them both (at least Maria was a newcomer, so I could sort of understand her issues, but she still didn’t seem to have problems expressing herself most of the time).  The sex was pretty hot, but it didn’t completely make me enjoy the missteps Rick and Maria made outside of groping each other.  It did add some plot to the overall plot arc for all of the books, but it has been my least favourite read in the series so far.

 

 

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Sick Again

I am nauseated and headachy today, so no blog post. If I have the energy later in the week I’ll try to cobble something together. 

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Watch ‘The Expanse’!

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I try not to fall in love with TV series on SyFy because the station has a way of breaking my heart and cancelling them before the story gets brought to a satisfactory end (Alphas, I’m looking at you).  Therefore when a co-worker mentioned that I should check out the free pilot episode of SyFy’s new series, The Expanse, I was a little wary.  I’d seen the ads at the movie theater, and it looked schlocky plus if I liked it who was to say that it wouldn’t just disappear right as I began to care. Then one Sunday afternoon I had some free time and decided that it wouldn’t hurt to see just the first episode; it was streaming on Amazon Video at no cost, so what did I have to lose?

Shockingly I got drawn into the story and characters more quickly than I thought possible.  It’s not the best show I’ve seen by any means, but it’s intriguing, well-paced, and has plenty of stakes.  The diverse cast and intricate universe politics work, and I actually want to see how the plot moves forward from week to week.

I wasn’t shocked to find out the show is based off a series of books after seeing the first few episodes because novels often allow for more world building than just screen writing (not always mind you, but often). I purchased the first book in the series after Christmas, but I’m trying to avoid reading it until the first season is done.

If you enjoy SF, space adventures, and complex politics The Expanse will be right up your alley.  I’m enjoying it immensely so far even if it sometimes makes me wonder how dense some of the characters can be!

 

 

 

 

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Raving about Golden Angel, Erotica Author

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Before people read further into this post let me be very clear: Golden Angel is an erotica author specializing in BDSM and discipline storylines that just might not be everyone’s cup of tea.  If you find the idea of  BDSM disturbing or think that participants in kink are mentally unstable you definitely won’t enjoy Golden Angel’s writing, so it’s definitely best to skip to another one of my posts that you find more to your tastes.

As I revealed in my Ravishing Ruby review I enjoy a lot of kink in my BDSM stories, so when a friend recommended Golden Angel’s Venus Quartet to me I was intrigued.  The tale of a young woman exploring her darker desires and meeting the man (or men) of her dreams via a school to teach her how to embrace various aspects of sexuality.  Yes, it’s as silly a plot as it sounds, but Golden Angel manages to weave engaging sexual encounters together with likable characters in a way that made me actually care about their lives outside of the really hot, sometimes kinky sex.  However, I think I’m enjoying her sequel to The Venus Quartet,  The Stronghold Series,  even more than the first if that’s possible.  I love learning more about the various doms at Stronghold, a BDSM club where the various cast members gather to indulge their desires, and I can’t deny that Angel’s geek girl persona in Stronghold appealed to me from the get go.

Even if you love kink not everything in Golden Angel’s stories will appeal to you.  I have to admit that I found the obsession with anal to be a little much, and I have never had a desire to be in a menage a trois (although it does add some great conflict to one set of characters’ story).  I’ve learned that honour bondage is an interesting idea, but it’s just not as hot to me as actual bondage, and heroines who don’t know what they really want drive me batty (okay, I didn’t need BDSM erotica to make that clear to me…probably another reason I love Angel; she is no nonsense about what she wants and needs from a relationship). I haven’t tried any of her domestic discipline stories because I don’t know if it’s exactly my thing, but when I finish the whole Stronghold series I’ll probably at least give them a try.  She’s a solid writer who knows how to create fun, sexy tales, so it’s worth a try (it doesn’t hurt that she doesn’t charge ridiculous prices for her ebooks either!).

Besides being able to write steamy sex scenes Golden Angel is just a solid writer, too.  Yes, there are a few little errors in the manuscripts, but it’s nothing that jerked me out of the stories.  She has knowledge of basic grammar and punctuation and seems to comprehend that just stringing together a bunch of sex scenes doesn’t actually make a complete story.  There’s definite arcs to each of her books, and The Venus Quartet has an overarching plot for all four stories.  It helps that she knows that BDSM is not the same as abuse, and all the submissives retain agency in their encounters with their dominants.  It’s not used as an excuse for men to do horrible things to women in the name of being in charge.

I don’t want to really go into the plots for the books I’ve read so far because part of the fun is learning  where the story is going as you read while enjoying the wonderful smut! If you like various flavours of kink, enjoy fun romances where respect and agency between the characters is as important as the sexy times, and just want to enjoy a fantasy for a little while I can’t recommend Golden Angel’s works more highly.  Maybe some of the stuff I haven’t tried yet might crank your chain even more than the series I’m talking about here! If you do check out her stuff let me know!

Her website has loads more information on her writing and where to check it out!

 

 

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Ravishing Ruby by Lavinia Kent Book Review

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All good things must come to an end, and Lavinia Kent’s latest novel, Ravishing Ruby, probably spells the end of her wonderful erotic Bound and Determined series by giving the charming Madame Rouge her own happy ending. Months have passed since the passionate encounter between Ruby and the man who caused her to break her rule about sleeping with clients, Captain Derek Price, but she can’t help remembering the night they shared.  When circumstances bring the seafaring American back to London he can’t stay away from Ruby’s high class brothel despite a new fiancee tied to a desperately needed alliance.  Can Derek and Ruby find their way to a more lasting bond with one another without breaking the ties to others most important to them?

Ruby has been one of my favourite characters in the Bound and Determined novels from her first appearance in Mastering the Marquess, so seeing a full novel featuring her definitely appealed to me.  After reading Kent’s first novella in the Bound and Determined series, Revealing Ruby, I wanted more of Ruby and Derek’s story, needed to see the forthright, strong madame get her own happily ever after.  At the same time I didn’t think Kent would actually attempt it because historicals involving non-virginal, unmarried women are extremely uncommon. In fact I’m not sure I’ve ever read one where that type of  character was portrayed sympathetically or allowed to be a protagonist.  When I saw the latest ARC for Kent’s work featured Ruby again my heart soared.  The writing doesn’t try to dichotimize Ruby at all; she is neither Madonna nor whore.  She is simply a women with limited choices based on the time period and her social status.  Instead of allowing herself to become a victim Ruby took agency over her choices and made a path for herself in the sex trade and uses her position as madame to allow other young women to do the same.

One of the strengths of featuring Ruby as a protagonist, in my opinion, is because while she is a product of her time her attitudes and pragmatism translate easily to modern readers.  Rather than allowing herself to be married off to a man her grandparents find suitable after she is ruined Ruby decides to never let a man have control over her destiny again.  In the Regency era this limits her choices, and her bold choice to purchase the best and most discreet brothel in London to manage would cow a less determined woman.  She recognizes how her choice is a lonely one, but not having to bow to a husband’s whims or force herself to hide her true self means more to Ruby than companionship.  At the same time her weekly visits to her grandparents’ home in her less flamboyant guise and under her true identity, Emma , show a desire for connections to family despite the need to avoid mentioning her situation, something that can still resonate with 21st century readers.

I also enjoy Derek as a hero because his flaws center less on sexual proclivities and more on familial expectations and other relatable baggage.  He wants a wife to forge an alliance for his family’s mills in America, and his young fiancee, Anne, brings necessary connections and the ability to purchase several weaving machines.  At the same time he doesn’t want a young, biddable sweet young thing; he wants a woman who will challenge him both in and out of the bedroom and can actually help him with business.  Emotionally he longs for Ruby, but he can’t think of how to bring both sides of his life together to make her the bride the Price family needs.

Now the part everyone actually cares about in an erotica novel: how is the sex? While the various roleplay and other sex scenes between Ruby and Derek are quite explicit they fell a little flat for me simply because there’s not very much BDSM.  However, instead of a male dominant all of the time Ruby takes control of their sexual encounters on several occasions, which was a nice twist. I personally like a lot of kink in my bondage erotica, so just verbal control and RP doesn’t entirely work for me, but I’m sure the varying power dynamic between Derek and Ruby will appeal to readers who prefer a more emotional bondage type of situation in their erotica.

There are a few reveals at the end of the novel that felt a little heavy handed to me, but they did allow the story to tie up well. Overall, I greatly enjoyed Ravishing Ruby, and rather than immediately whipping off a review after finishing the book I let myself take several weeks to work it over in my brain.  The ending leads me to believe this will be Kent’s last novel in this world, but maybe I will be pleasantly surprised.  If it is the final installment it was an good one to end on with a pair of complex characters who face real life issues to tackle before they can be together.

5 Pirate Swords out of 5

 

 

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Break through the end of the year

My work load has gotten a little wild as we near the end of 2015, fluctuating between slammed and dead. As a result I’ve been wiped when I get home at night with almost no energy to feed the dogs and myself and get to bed. To give myself a break I’m going to allow myself to not try to come up with blog posts for a few weeks while I relax and start reading the several books I have for review (I got a bunch of requests for things I wanted to read in a cluster.). 

Happy holidays, everyone!

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Migraine Day

The weather change triggered a migraine this morning, and now I’m on the backside. Migraine hangovers suck, and it’s been a no yoga, no dance class day. 

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