The Handmaid’s Tale (2017)

A few months ago I mentioned in my review of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale that I was hurrying through the book to be able to watch the new series on Bravo.

Tonight was the season finale and it was amazing.

This is one of the few shows that – in my opinion – has far surpassed the depth and entertainment value of the novel.

I love admire am in awe of the world of Gilead that the show’s creators have created, from the descriptions in Atwood’s novel. It is not a place I would want to live in, though I very much fear that it is the direction some parts of the world are headed in (you listening Missouri?!)

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I don’t want to talk to much about the plot and ruin it, but I will say that the show has built on the base structure provided by the book and made it better. You see the Mexican and Canadian approaches to the collapse of the United States and even though villains abound in Gilead, there are few characters I cannot empathize with, or feel sorry for, at some point in the tale.

Even Mrs. Waterford.

I find myself bouncing between disgust at her actions and pity for the world she has trapped herself in, one partially of her own creation.

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Nick is the most difficult character for me to pin down. He seems to be a decent guy but he isn’t a bystander in Gilead. He is an active participant. An undercover Eye. Nick was a member of the coup that took down the government of the United States of America. He knows June has a daughter and he isn’t helping them. He isn’t the good guy as much as we I may be rooting for him to be.

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The most exciting point in the finale for me, was the first glimpse of Hannah in Gilead and I cannot wait for the second season to begin airing!

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xx

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(or, as seen on Bravo if you’re Canadian)

Zoe Blake

Kinky books alert!

A reader asked me for some book recommendations on Daddy/lg relationships so I am going to dedicate my next few blog posts to this topic and to my fellow reader.

Zoe Blake is an erotic romance author who writes relationships based on the Daddy/little girl kink. Most of her novels are novella length and have an element of non-consent or dubious consent to them as well. However, all her leading ladies end up loving what is being done to them.

The dubious consent is usually because the books are set in historical times, featuring an older and experienced male partner and a younger, virginal female partner who has never even heard of this type of play. Power relations are key in any portrayal of relationships in historical novels, because women were considered property in those times and often kept as powerless and uneducated (sexually speaking) as possible.

I do find that most of Ms Blake’s novels follow the same story-arc and would love if she developed her writing further and also branched out to full length novels, but she is a great pick if you are looking for a quite and dirty read.

If you are interested in books that have dubious consent, Daddy/lg themes, spanking or anal sex, Zoe Blake is a good author to check out. I will publish a few more posts on this theme as soon as I have the time!

xx

a very late review

Guess who finally saw Guardians of the Galaxy II?! Yup, this girl. I’m sure there are a million and one reviews out there already breaking it down, but I want to talk about it so here is one more.

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Also, spoilers abound.

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Guardians II is FUNNY. Quite possibly even funnier than the first one which is saying something. Rocket and Baby Groot are hilarious and kinda steal the show in my opinion. There was one point where I seriously considered whether I would have to leave the theatre for a few minutes to calm down I was laughing so hard.

There are very few action movies that are also comedy but Guardians has that shit nailed down. It is also family-friendly and thoroughly entertaining for adults so its no wonder they rake in a billion + before the DVD is released.

Baby Groot is adorable and I loved that the animators took the opportunity to make him so much more expressive in personality and facial expressions. At times, this little guy almost broke my heart but he is the core of the film and my favourite character.

The only part of this movie that I didn’t like, was the part that I was looking most forward to. The big reveal of Peter’s lineage, aka The Celestial, Ego.

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Ego started out great and I think Kurt Russell did a pretty great job of it, but the idea of Ego is somewhat existential and I didn’t feel like that came across very clearly. I also hate how he was supposed to be so powerful and yet was defeated relatively easily. Certainly more easily than Ronin in the previous movie!

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Additionally, I was disappointed that Peter finally finds his dad, who is a super cool being, just for Ego to immediately portray his complete lunacy and evil intentions, and then be killed off. It was too “easy” and would have loved to see Peter have a contentious struggle with his father all his life … which is apparently a very long time … and develop his super-power.

It finally looked like we had met a human supe without any (obvious) physical enhancements, “just” the ability to manipulate energy and energy balls. Most of the Marvel cast are superhuman in a physical way, from Thor, to the Hulk and Spiderman and Captain America. Now Peter is a run-of-the-mill human.

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I detest that Marvel made Ego so evil. It doesn’t fit with my idea of a Celestial and made the character so pathetically one-dimensional when he could have been the most interesting new development in the MCU. I would have preferred him to go forward mostly impartial to the plight of humans, and all our “petty” concerns, and have an ongoing relationship with Peter and his family. Ultimately, this plot line dropped a star from my review of an otherwise fantastic movie.

I did love the plot development that went into this movie. Everyone involved brought more into the universe from the intricacies of ravager society, and the gold people to information about the creation of the universe itself.

I saw this movie with my Mum who isn’t a marvel fan and doesn’t like superhero movies in general. She hadn’t even seen the first movie which I didn’t quite realize before we arrived, but she was a good sport to go with me for my birthday and even she admitted it was great. I’m glad she enjoyed it and even ventured that the trailer for Spider-man (2017) looked good so maybe I can return the favour and take her to that for her birthday!

Trailer for this movie

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xx

 

Book Sale!

PSA!

I posted this already from my twitter, but one of my go-to authors, Anna Zaires, is having an e-book sale right now on two of her books from 2016. The combined version of Capture Me and Bind Me is on sale at most major online retailers (Amazon, ibooks, etc) for $0.99! This is an amazing price!

I am not being paid to promote this or anything, but I like to share when you can get a good price for one of my highly recommended reads, if I happen to notice the sale.

To get notifications of when I post or see a good sale, follow me on twitter at https://twitter.com/ha_millar .

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Master of Solitude

Master of Solitude is the eighth book in Mountain Masters / Doms of Dark Haven series by Cherise Sinclair.

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Since childhood, Mallory McCabe has dreamed of falling in love with a hero. And then one saves her life. He’s honest…and blunt. Deadly, but filled with pain. Overpowering, yet ever so gentle with her. Oh yes, she’s found her hero. Taking him to her bed is simply…right. As is losing her heart.

How could she have known he’d want nothing more to do with her?

His indifference hurts. She vows to forget him…then he buys the land next to hers.

Released early from prison, all Sawyer Ware wants is to put his life back together. His police detective brother houses him while he makes plans. But when a violent gang targets his brother, Sawyer puts his future on hold. He’ll have to take on the gang first. After a decade as a Navy SEAL, he won’t–can’t–walk away if someone he loves is threatened.

His mission is likely to prove bloody. He sure can’t afford to get involved with a woman, especially his captivating neighbour. He hungers to be near her, to enjoy her clear laugh, her easy friendship, and the peace she brings wherever she goes. A relationship is absolutely out of the question.

Why won’t his heart obey orders?

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Master of Solitude is the newest book out by hot erotica and bdsm author Cherise Sinclair. It came out last week and I read it in 24 hours, per usual.

Mal is the most patient woman and forgiving known to man, I swear! It is genuinely nice to see that she doesn’t have huge hangups that she has to get over in the story – finally, a heroine who isn’t severely traumatized by her past, and she is a real sweetheart. Definitely not a pushover, but she forgives Sawyer when I would have been hitting him upside the head with my work belt if I were in her circumstances.

Sawyer has his head completely up his ass for the beginning of the book. He has the complete wrong idea about Mallory due to a couple of misunderstandings, and is determined to keep her at a distance. Due to an abusive childhood, a career in the Seals, and a stint in prison, he doesn’t expect much of other people and looks for alternative motives behind Mallory’s initial welcome and neighbourly friendliness.

One point that is notable about this book is that it has a much slower pace to the sex-capades than a regular reader of Ms. Sinclair might expect. The couple start off as neighbours and client/contractor, before developing into friends and then lovers, and finally into serious, romantic I-like-you-you-like-me relationship status. I found this to be enjoyable and a nice departure after recently re-reading the whole series, but it was unexpected.

I also enjoyed the fact that Morgan Masterson received so much attention in this novel as a single secondary character. It definitely points to the fact he will probably have a book at some point, which is awesome since I’ve been hoping for a while that he would!

Unfortunately, there were a few plot-holes in Master of Solitude. For one, the Aryan Hammers, a gang that has been terrorizing Bear Flat since the previous book, is again wrecking havoc. It is full-on war between the cops / Vigilante Sawyer and the gang. Sawyer keeps a running tally of how many have been arrested throughout the story, noting that their ranks are dwindling and hoping that when they run out of members, the crew will give up on Bear Flat and retreat back to LA.

But his logic is fallacious. Most of the members wouldn’t have been held without bail for the crimes they were arrested committing, so in reality their numbers wouldn’t have really declined.

Finally, there was a lot of talk about the third Ware brother, Hector, moving down to the area from Idaho. He moves over the course of the book and the characters have interactions with him, but it always occurs “off-page”. While technically not a plot-hole, this irked me.

Ms. Sinclair is an exceptional author and one of my favourites to one-click, but the last two books in this series have been “off” for me. A part of this book teases that Sir Ethan from Club Dark Haven is likely the next in the series to get a book, but I hope that the author takes a break for awhile. At the end of the day, there are 8 books in this series and 12 in her Shadowlands series … it is hard to keep a world fresh after so many stories! I hope that she takes a break from them to focus on her kinky romance-fantasy shifter stories (The Wild Hunt) and expands the worlds for both of her standalone books.

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Master of Freedom

Master of Freedom is the seventh book in the Mountain Masters / Doms of Dark Haven series by Cherise Sinclair.

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Detective Atticus Ware gave up his beloved Idaho to start again in the mountains of California, close to his imprisoned brother. He has a rewarding job and friends, but the experienced Dominant wants more than the Do-Me submissives who flock around him. He needs a woman who will give her heart as well as her body.

Virginia, “Gin,” is damn good at her challenging career as a prison psychologist. However, one problem inmate is mired in misery and unable to overcome his guilt at causing a friend’s death.
To clear her mind, she joins a friend’s kinky backpacking excursion, planning to hide in her tent during the evening BDSM pursuits. But Atticus lures her into the activities. She’s read about BDSM, but submission under the hands of a powerful Dom is beyond anything she’d imagined. She doesn’t trust men, doesn’t want a relationship, and yet…wants more from him.

Finally, Atticus has found the woman he wants in his life. In his bed. In his cuffs. But she’s not only his brother’s therapist, but also works in a prison. How can he tolerate his woman walking into danger every single blasted day?

Gin knows she has no future with Atticus Ware, but still, hope is rising in her heart.

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Master of Freedom is a solid addition to the Mountain Masters series, but it isn’t one of my favourites. The plot-line felt like it was mostly recycled from some of the previous novels and I really didn’t like the intrusion of LA gangs into my picturesque escape in the Yosemite Mountains. Hopefully they will be all heading out of town now that half the gang has been arrested.

The other thing that prevented me from falling in love with this book was the heroine Gin. She is pretty, sweet and good-hearted, but annoying as hell at some points. At the beginning of the story, she doesn’t even believe bdsm is something that happens in real life and this type of naivety drives me up the wall, especially since she is supposed to be a licensed shrink, with experience working in a family practice and is currently working in a state prison. She is a well-educated, independent woman who has lived all over the United States. One would think that alternative lifestyles and romantic partnerships is something she would have been exposed to, despite her Bible Belt upbringing.

I did love the introduction of Sawyer Ware, the hero’s brother who is incarcerated in the state prison I mentioned above. Having an “outlaw” supporting character is unique to this author and I loved that it made our band of LEO/military heroes a little more well rounded.

Master of Freedom is a good edition to the series, and it introduces the concept of suspension bondage into this kinky world we all love so much on this blog. I enjoyed it but I don’t recommend it as highly as the others in the series.

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Master of the Dark Side

Master of the Dark Side is the fourth book in the Mountain Masters / Doms of Dark Haven series by Cherise Sinclair. It is a novella that was originally published in an anthology.

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Real Doms terrify her, so Summer plays with lightweights only. And only in the safety of her club, Dark Haven. But on Western Night, the tough cop who wins her in a sub-roping game is as powerful as they come.

Virgil’s first taste of BDSM was disturbingly enticing. Hoping to burn out his interest, he visits an infamous San Francisco club, where he wins himself the prettiest little submissive he’s ever seen. He’s in a quandary. A man shouldn’t render a woman helpless, let alone spank her ass. But the nervous little submissive clearly loves being in his ropes. Her need to be controlled is as powerful as his need to control. So he indulges himself, and her.

That one night could be the beginning, but instead it’s the end. She won’t play outside the club and he lives too far to visit often. He’ll just have to find a way to forget her…or get her in his ropes to stay.

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Master of the Dark Side is the second novella in this series so far. Normally I don’t like novellas because I feel like too much of the story is missing, and the relationship doesn’t progress as naturally as it should because of the contracted timeline, but I have yet to dislike any book by Cherise Sinclair! She is that good.

My favourite thing about this story is that the dominant, Virgil, is completely new and his submissive Summer, while not exactly an expert, has been in the scene for a couple of years. Most of the D/s stories I come across feature a female submissive who is obnoxiously clueless about the lifestyle, many even believing that it is something imagined by romance authors to sell book, rather than a practice that actually happens in real life.

*face palm*

In the modern world of high-speed internet and sky-high erotica sales, I find it difficult to believe that most people are THAT naive.

So it is completely refreshing to watch as Virgil explores his dominant side, discover what he is comfortable with, and learns the art of bdsm. Virgil is a cop with strong protective instincts, especially for women, and he has to reconcile those instincts with his need to dominate, to control, to push.

Summer had a traumatic and abusive “scene” in Simon Says Mine when a shoddy Dom did not respect her safeword and literally beat her bloody. Thankfully she was rescued by Simon and Rona, but she hasn’t recovered emotionally from the scars. This creates a minefield for Virgil to navigate in their relationship, especially since bdsm scenes require trust and vulnerability – both physical and emotional.

I loved this short story and am glad that the author writes updates on previous couples into all her books, so we will get to see some more from Virgil and Summer sometime soon!

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