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.