Review of My Happy Ever After by D.K. Linda

My Happy Ever After 2

Talia and Michele’s initial meeting develops quickly into the perfect love story that seems destined to last forever until a tragic incident shatters their world.   A story of love, loss and hope, sensitively told that’s impossible to put down from the minute you pick it up and turn the first page.

Rating 5 out of 5

I was completely captivated by this book from the moment I picked it up.  It’s such a beautiful story so exquisitely written, it’s hard to believe its DKs first foray into writing and that she is unsigned to a publisher !!!  The story is told with such care and detail that the characters just draw you into sharing their perfect moment and you find yourself wanting their happiness every bit as much as they deserve.

The books initial scenes are about finding our soulmate, that perfect person who we can wrap ourselves up in and melt into that perfect moment where time stands still.  In this phase of the story you live Talias and Michele’s hopes and dreams and share their excitement as their lives entwine.  Another lovely feature of this part of the book is the acceptance both characters receive from the friends from being an open lesbian couple.  It’s easy to miss this subtlety of their relationship and a really nice addition.

Then, we live that life changing moment where everything changes for Talia, a jarring event that changes her world forever.  Although I have been lucky not to experience loss like this, this part is written with such care and sensitivity that you get a real sense of the numbness and emptiness that overwhelms Talia following events.  By the time it happens, you’re so immersed in the story and characters that if you’re anything like me, you reach with one hand for the tissues while the other reaches for your phone to call her and share “I’m so sorry for your loss, is there anything I can do ?” This part of the story sets the ending the story is named after perfectly.

The last scenes are about Talias efforts to rebuild her life for the future.  A powerful reminder that none of us know what tomorrow may bring, and to “live in the moment” I really loved the sense of hope for Talia that the book leaves you with.  I couldn’t recommend this book highly enough to people.  It’s a must have for your Kindle as I’m sure the rest of her work will be in time.  I’ve got everything crossed in hope that her next offering is about Talia “learning to love again”, but even if it isn’t, I’ll be sure to keep a look out for it and eagerly buy It for my Sunday morning read.  In the language of kindle readers “move to archive ?” I don’t think so !!! I’m sure to come back to it again and again.

Review of Becoming Clissine by Anastasia Vitsky

Becoming Clissine

Becoming Clissine is the story of a heterosexual girl in a society that believes same sex relationships are gods will. It is a strict doctrine and anyone who violates those laws is severely punished.

Rating 4 out of 5

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I bought this book, I’ve known  Anastasia for a little while now and during one of our conversations, the subject of the books I like to read came up.  Being a girly girl, my preference is for love and romance, but I mentioned that I was looking for a bit of a change that took me out of my comfort zone with a different style of character and plot line.

After asking what I felt about bdsm and specifically spanking, she recommended “Becoming Clissine (Bastia) and never one to turn down the chance to experience something new – I eagerly said “sure, why not ?”  I’m so pleased that I did, the book was challenging and jarring to my own world but greatly rewarding to sink into and explore something very, very different.

“Becoming Clissine” is set in a world very different to our own, where heterosexuality is against a religious doctrine known as “Bastia”.  From an early age, children are betrothed to future partners in accordance with the wishes of their parents known as their “Dis” and “Nur”.  These betrothals create alliances between houses, which preserve this balance in conjunction with a ruling council who interpret and enforce the religious doctrine.

The book opens with Clissa’s trial for disobeying the doctrine of Basti and being accused of a “Het” relationship, in contravention with her betrothal to Helaine and Basti Law.  Despite her pleading, she is found guilty and sentenced to a severe corporal punishment and a programme of further physical punishment at the hands of her “Dis” called “re-education”.  This is the “Dis’s” role as a parent, the family disciplinarian of Bastia law through often brutal correctional beatings, the severity of which is measured by the indiscretion.  The “Nur’s” role is more empathic and nurturing – counselling and guiding through touch and reason.
The purpose of the spanking is compliance with Bastia Law.  The stick to the carrot of the “Nur”.  Two complimentary approaches with a single goal, behavioural correction.    It’s easy to get drawn into the injustice of the philosophy and it’s treatment or conditioning.  Clissa herself, being a “het” rebels against both forms of treatment and joins an underground movement known as “Het pride” which stands up for the rights of the hetrosexual.

The way Anastasia develops the characters and tells their story engages you completely in the injustice of this treatment.  Spanking isn’t the simply the kinky “innocent” pleasure that some may enjoy occasionally, it’s a core for enforcing a behavioural modification.  There are also other facets of bdsm relationships and role play for the reader to explore as well here.  The book touches on “Age play” when Clissa is in hospital being treated as a young girl, rather than the teenager she is.  Then, when she is re-housed with a new “Dis” and “Nur”, Clissa attempts to change the dynamic of her relationship with her new parents, by positively reacting to the treatment of the “Nur” which leads the reader to ask “who is really in control of a bdsm relationship, the submissive or the dominant ?  Perhaps it is shared ?”   “How is a “Dis” or a “Nur” made, and who teaches them and moderates them ?” (As Clissa’s “Dis”
says herself later in the book “ you get punished because you have to learn between right and wrong. I get punished because I already know the difference, but still make mistakes“) The book also hints at answers to more obvious questions, like, for example “how are children born ?”  Some of the answers to these questions are unpleasant, even stomach turning, but the reality for many living under Bastia Law.

I won’t spoil the ending of the book by sharing how these intertwined plots end, but will say I found Clissa’ journey to “becoming Clissine” utterly compelling.  You don’t have to agree with bdsm or spanking in order to want to read it, or be a convert or ashamed after reading it.   Challenge yourself, engage with and explore the rights and wrongs of Bastia law and ask yourself if it was the same for LGBT people in times gone past in our own society.  I can only hope that Anastasia asks herself the same questions and builds on the society she has created to answer them. I certainly want to see how it develops !!!

Review of a taste of Vanilla by Leigh Ellwood

A taste of vanilla

A taste of vanilla is a revision of a story that first appeared  in  “Coming together” and tells the story of Hailies initial encounters of Lesbianism with Cecile, a woman she has met on the internet.

Rating 3 out of 5

Novella’s like a taste of vanilla can be a difficult undertaking for the author.   In a relatively short period of time, they need to create characters who are intriguing enough to draw you in to exploring their world, their feelings and emotions so that you can paint the picture they are sketching for you. Ultimately, your enjoyment of the book comes from how it makes you think about the characters and what they leave you with as their story unfolds.

The story outlines “Hailies” initial encounters and exploration of a same sex relationship with Cecile, a woman that she meets over the internet.  Their relationship matures through the exchange of emails and photos to the point where they agree to meet at a neutral coffee house.  In a sense, the way their relationship develops is a very modern one, flirting though emails and photos, anonymous and safe without the potential embarrassment of being stood up or friends judging you in the background.  Thea is one such friend.  The voice on Hailies shoulder as the story unfolds.  More than the obvious “you could be talking to an axe murderer” that many who use online dating will be familiar with, she also encourages Hailie to question her potential indulgence into her same sex fantasy.

Hailie eventually overcomes these doubts and over the course of the book, her first two encounters with Cecile are told.  Although the character development is scarce up until this point, each encounter is told with great detail and care.  The first explores Hailies emotions and feelings of intimacy and empowerment through sex which leaves her wanting more of Cecile.  Specifically, the Taste of Vanilla which the book is named after.  The second is a more complicated affair which hints at things to come, with Hailie and Cecile meeting at a friends party as a blind date setup for others. This last encounter is the scene the book is setup to leave the reader with – a lasting memory of Hailie and Cecile to ponder what happens next.

Whether you’re able to connect emotionally with either character, A taste of Vanilla is an enjoyable novella for those who are new to Lesbian fiction. Hailie’s experimentation and introduction to Cecile form a nice metaphor for what I hope will be your continued reading and enjoyment of the genre.

Review of Simple Gifts by Anastasia Vitsky

Simple Gifts
The story of a leading violinist’s rehabilitation at the hands of her childhood best friend.  Can a respected and beloved orchestra teacher from a small town tame this Diva struggling to adapt to a recovery without music and help her live again?

Rating 4 out of 5

Simple gifts is a really cleverly written story, telling the love story of Leila and Carene, two childhood friends whose lives are entwined through a mutual love of music.  What makes it such a clever story is that each of the chapter headings are named after prominent pieces of music that set the scene for following events.

Even if you aren’t aware of the interpretations of the music which introduces each chapter, there’s still a lot to enjoy in this book.  As well as being a beautiful piece of lesfic, with characters who you can believe in and connect with, the book has the strong undertone of delicious kink which Anastasia writes so well.  Kink and BDSM scenes are more than just a string of naughty words and punishment, they’re powerful, erotic and subtle on many levels.  There’s the complexity of the relationship between the top and the bottom, with each’s reasons for playing their role to be explored and told, as well as lived by the reader.  Set in a world a million miles away from the environment which Leila is used to, she seeds the control and mastery she is used to with her music and orchestra to Carene.  Initially for the sake of her recovery following an injury, as the story develops, her reasons for submitting to the discipline Carene administers
becomes more complex, turning into an expression of love for her friend.   But will Leila and Carene’s feelings for each other blossom, or will Leila lose not just her potential soul mate, but also her friend ?

Often, when you’re faced with looking for a book to read, it can be an easy choice to go with a genre that you’re comfortable with.  While there’s nothing wrong with that choice, this book is well worth considering as a choice.  Reading simple gifts and enjoying it doesn’t make you a pervert, nor will it convert you to a spanking or BDSM lifestyle.  Anastasias writing and passion for her subject is also worth more than calling it a simple guilty pleasure for when you’re feeling a bit “Kinky”. I really enjoyed this book, it appealed to me on many levels, both as a “girly girl” and as someone open to new things and would recommend without hesitation for your collection.