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Dear Author

REVIEW: Bound to Please by Lilli Feisty

Dear Ms. Feisty:

book review
Even though I got this book for review, I decided to go ahead and purchase an ecopy as that is my preferred mode of reading and I hadn’t read it pre-release. I haven’t seen Warner/Grand Central put out much of any erotic romances so I was curious to see what this story would be like. Suffice to say that I was pretty much expectation free, or so I thought.

Ruby Scott is a 37 year old event planner whose sex life is perceived to be something its not. She used to have a relationship with a semi famous Bay photographer whose speciality is erotic photography. Ruby was one of his subjects and his personal collection includes works featuring Ruby tightly bound. Her sexual relationship with her former boyfriend was actually quite "vanilla" to use the description of Ruby. When her friend, Meg, begins to press her for details, Ruby confesses she hasn’t experienced much but that she’ll go with Meg to pursue the knowledge of kink.

This confession or invitation is made, inadvertently, in front of up and coming musician Mark St. Crow who just so happens to be very interested in Ruby particularly because he recognizes her tattoo from an erotic portrait he purchased.

There are a lot of arc threads that are introduced in the story but few were well developed. I believe that Ruby was intended to be portrayed as a strong character who is torn between wanting something exciting and wanting something secure. The greatest problem I had with Ruby was that she came off more like a young twenty something than a thirty-seven year old. She seemed to lack security in herself as a woman, her knowledge of her own sexuality, her reaction to men. I wondered if she engaged in any introspection prior to showing up on stage, so to speak, in the pages of the book because she seemed to lack any self awareness.   Contrast this with Mark.

Mark, the younger of the two, has far more personal recognition of himself as an artist, a sexual being, and as a man. His problem? Fidelity, frankly. I found that his easy distraction by other women only feeds the preconception of readers that HEAs with musicians aren’t believable. By the end of Bound to Please, I wasn’t convinced that Mark’s eyes wouldn’t constantly be straying and that it wouldn’t take but one drunken night for him to deviate from the path of fidelity.   This is a bit ironic because fidelity is big part of the overall arc for Ruby whose great fear is the inability of Mark to settle down and be happy with Ruby.

Further, Ruby’s fears of instability with Mark are never really allayed but by a few assurances of Mark’s. Nothing in Mark’s behavior indicated to me that he would think of anyone but himself and his music first, even in one scene that I’m sure was supposed to be super romantic because Mark is lost in a song he’s written for Ruby. The fact is that his devotion is toward the song and not to Ruby despite the fact that she is the muse or subject of the song.

Another arc thread is that of the bondage theme. Mark and Ruby play at the bondage concept but it’s never carried out. In other words, Mark "orders" Ruby to do many things, some of which Ruby does and some Ruby does not do but there is no actual meaningful look at the bondage lifestyle and the sex scenes, except for one at the end, are pretty vanilla. However (and this is where the expectations come in) because the title was Bound to Please and the initial setup seems to be about exploring boundaries, I expected more boundary pushing than I actually read in the story and I think my expectation affected my pleasure with the book.   My main frustration, though, was with the characters themselves and the lack of believable HEA at the end.   (Note, there is an HEA. I just wasn’t convinced by it).   C-.

Best regards,

Jane

This book can be purchased in mass market from an independent bookstore or ebook format from the Sony Store and other etailers.

REVIEW:  The Vampire Queen’s Servant by Joey Hill

REVIEW: The Vampire Queen’s Servant by Joey Hill

Dear Ms. Hill:

The Vampire Queen\'s ServantWhen I was perusing the Penguin catalog, the striking cover grabbed my eye. I then saw that you were the author of said book and thought to myself that I had to have this book. Unfortunately, this was back in December and the book wasn’t due out until July. I knew that sometimes authors had copies of books before professional arcs were made and with a little brazenness, okay alot of brazenness, I emailed you and asked if you might not share a copy with me. Perhaps some of my desperateness showed through because you complied.

It’s a dangerous thing to ask for a book because what if I don’t like it? What then? But, you are the story witch and you wove a spell from which I could not extricate myself. This vampire story was powerful, dark, and feral. These are vampires at their most primal, given over to their lust for power and for blood and some, like Lyssa, the Queen, are holding onto their position by a tenuous thread. Lady Elyssa was the Vampire Queen, the last living descendant of the original royal clan of the Far East. She helped shape the vampire council and the laws the governed vampires so that their predatory nature did not lead to their own destruction. There is an increasing struggle for dominance between the “born” vampires and the “made” vampires. Many of the made vampires, in their immaturity, fail to realize that the rules and structure are in place for the preservation of their kind. Elyssa is not only old and powerful, but she is a symbol, one that her enemies would give anything to destroy.

It’s possible, though, that they will not have to for Elyssa is suffering from some kind of illness and she fears that she will lose control, give in to bloodlust and go mad. Her last human servant, Thomas, has left her and passed away. He has sent Jacob to Lyssa, believing that Jacob will be a suitable replacement. Jacob is not sure what drew him to Lyssa but since the first, when he learned of her, of what he could be to her, he determined that no one else would serve her while he drew breath.

Jacob is not a man used to serving even though that is the role he has set before him. Lyssa reluctantly takes him in but what proceeds is a fierce power struggle because Jacob’s view of a human servant is different than Lyssa. Lyssa believes she must have complete submission from Jacob for any misstep from Jacob would be viewed as a sign of Lyssa’s weakness. Given that she is weak, she must, at all costs, not appear weak. Jacob believes that he can supplant Lyssa’s decision making at times. Both learn that they are wrong.

Truly, I think this is the story that Laurell K Hamilton is trying to write but fails. It has the complicated vampire politics and each character is just waiting for another to falter. The erotic nature of the vampires, their love for blood and sex, is both base and beautiful. The story succeeds at bringing out the sexuality without it devolving into a pornscapade.

The worst part of this book is that it is only part 1 of a two part series. While Jacob and Lyssa find love with one another, there is danger looming on the horizon both with Lyssa’s illness and the forthcoming clash of vampire cultures. At times I felt anxious turning the page because the torments that Lyssa and Jacob suffered seemed so real to me. I was truly lost in the world.

If I were to describe the work, it would dark, evocative and feral. I don’t know where the story is going, but I’m in it for the long haul, no matter what future holds for Lyssa and Jacob. It was clear to me at the end of this part of the story that the completion that they were looking for is found in each other's arms. A

Best regards,

Jane