Thursday, February 10, 2011

Caressa’s Knees by Annabel Joseph


The first post on this blog is a review of Comfort Object, by Annabel Joseph. I had been thinking of starting a BDSM review blog, and Comfort Object moved me enough to make me finally create it.

Caressa's Knees is the sequel to Comfort Object, and it moved me just as much. The BDSM is no where near as intense, but the emotions and the care and... well, just watching Kyle act and react and decide what to do when he's the one making the decisions. Beautiful.

At first, when I read the blurb, I felt a little sad for Kyle. For him to once again be the support person, the one organizing things and taking care of a famous Diva type personality. I thought I wanted more for him. But you know what? Kyle is a fixer, an organizer. It's what he does. It makes him happy. Caressa is perfect for him.

I was also a little worried that this was going to be one of those cases where the person is "broken" in some way, and the Dom comes along and magically fixes them with BDSM. That's not what happens here. True, Caressa has issues, but she works through them. Kyle doesn't fix her. He spotlights her issues to help her understand what they are... but she fixes them. She stands on her own two feet.

Here's the blurb:

Working for megastar Jeremy Gray has taken an emotional toll on personal assistant Kyle Winchell. In the name of self-preservation, he re-locates to New York City to work at Ironclad Solutions, a service agency catering to the needs of the rich and famous.

He accepts a job as personal assistant to well-respected concert cellist Caressa Gallo, only to find she's not as respectable as she seems. Soon he's involved in a world of lust and dark inspiration, and emotional stakes beyond anything he's encountered before.

So, yeah... Caressa is a Diva, a child prodigy who is now 20 years old. But Kyle doesn't let her steamroll right over him. He learned from his time with Jeremy. He knows what didn't work before, and he's determined to not make the same mistakes twice. I love that he has enough self respect, and self worth, to stand up for himself.

I think that's all I can say about the book without giving spoilers. It's a beautiful story. One that ended with me in tears. Happy tears. Good tears. But I had to blow my nose and clear my eyes up to read the last two or three paragraphs.

Annabel Joseph is a gifted writer, truly skilled in the way she can evoke feelings and emotions with words on a page. Caressa's Knees is one of her better books, and there is nothing wrong with the others.  Also, the BDSM isn't all that intense, so if you are uncomfortable with the more extreme stuff then this would be a good book of hers to read.

BDSM elements:
  • Bondage and Discipline: Light bondage (using a shirt to restrain hands, or a set of cuffs to restrain hands), and some disciplne - 2 of 3
  • Dominance and Submission: Yes and no. When in a scene the D/s is nice, not too serious but still there. But outside of scenes it's not really there for the majority of the book. It's perfect for this couple.  2 of 3
  • Sadism and Masochism: Just a touch. 1 of 3.
  • Extra Point: No, this is a love story with a touch of kink thrown in. Not a BDSM relationship with a love story surrounding it.
As for the writing elements, the plot is beautiful, pacing was perfect, prose and dialogue were skillfully woven together as only a gifted author can manage. Annabel Joseph's character development is always exceptional, but I believe she has outdone herself with Caressa's Knees.
  • Book Rating:: 10 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level: 5 of 10
  • Heat Level: 5 of 5

Caressa's Knees is the best book I've read in a very long while, which is exactly the way I felt about Comfort Object when I read it. Both books can be read as stand alone books, but I'm glad I already knew Kyle when Caressa's Knees began.

1. Comfort Object
2. Caressa's Knees


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Catalyst by S.L. Armstrong and K. Piet


I've been in a bit of a reading funk. The last three books I've attempted to read (excluding this one) have been DNF's for me, and that's bugged me. But I just couldn't finish the books. In one of them I actually got angry at a cheap plot device and put the book down. I have not reviewed the books because I don't think I can do so without coming off as a bitch. All three books were new-to-me authors, where either the author or the publisher sent me the book. But, the blurb on all three sounded interesting.


Catalyst was also sent to me by the publisher, and in this case the blurb made me cautious, as I do believe that for ethical reasons, a therapist or psychiatrist should not allow themselves to get involved with a patient. However, I decided to go ahead and give it a try, anyway.

As it turns out, the way the authors treated the therapist-patient relationship, and because it is the patient who is the Dom... the relationship didn't bother me as much as it normally would. Still unethical, but because of the circumstances I could still read and enjoy the book.

Here's the blurb:

Logan Walker has a problem. He has a blood fetish. A compulsion he can't seem to control. After almost killing his newest submissive, Logan decides enough is enough and he seeks help. Help happens to be in the form of an athletic, smart psychologist by the name of Dr. Kasper Bromley.

Kasper, though, soon finds himself swept up in the fantasies Logan came to him to control. Reluctantly throwing his ethics to the wind, Kasper submits himself to Logan, gambling his career, his future, and his heart on a man who craves his blood and submission.

The blurb describes less than half of the book, as the authors took things in a direction that I had not expected them to go.

Catalyst, for a short time, is about the physical aspects of fetish, kink, and BDSM. But then it transforms into being almost solely about the mental aspects. I can't say a lot more than that without giving spoilers.

I am not into blood play, not even a teeny tiny bit. But for the most part the blood play in the book didn't squick me too bad. It is talked about a good deal, but is not experienced in scenes very often.

Rating the BDSM elements is going to be tricky without giving spoilers, but I'll give it a try.

BDSM elements:
  • Bondage and Discipline: No major discipline, some bondage. 2 of 3
  • Dominance and Submission: Yes. Sort of, but it gets all screwed up. There is Dominance, but I'm not so sure about the submission part. 1 of 3.
  • Sadism and Masochism: Yes. 3 of 3, though some of it goes too far, even for me.
  • Extra Point: No
As for the writing elements: The plot was interesting with parts of it not being predictable. Pacing had some issues. I don't recall problems with the prose or dialogue. Character development was exceptionally well done.
  • Book Rating::8 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level: 6 of 10, but be aware the S&M is intense
  • Heat Level: 4 of 5

Catalyst was a nice change of pace. And it made me think. It is easy for a masochist to get addicted, the body makes some powerful drugs (endorphins), and I'm well aware of the process of trying to keep upping the ante without causing harm.