Alexandr’s Cherished Submissive by Ann Mayburn – a review

Alexandr and Jessica’s story is a two part story-line within the Submissive’s Wish series; this is the first part so the couple doesn’t get their happily ever after yet, but the author doesn’t leave you with a cliffhanger either. Part II is due out in September 2015. Thankfully, not a long wait.

alex 1

Here is the cover blurb for this book:

7 years before books I & II

From the moment Alexandr Novikov met the young auburn haired woman bartending at her uncle’s pub in Ireland, he’d been fascinated by her delicate beauty and fiery spirit. Unfortunately, he is in no position to offer her the kind of safe, normal life she deserves so he attempts to put her from his mind for her own good. Something easier said then done when a deal is struck between the Novikov Bratva and the Irish Cleary Gang, an arrangement that includes Alex and his men being on twenty-four hour bodyguard duty with the object of his forbidden desires.

Jessica Venture came to Dublin to spend some time bonding with her birth mother’s family, a connection she desperately needs after losing her adoptive parents within a year of each other back in the States. The last thing she expected was to fall in love with a handsome, mysterious, and sometimes scary man who was well known for his sexual appetite, but rejected her attempts to seduce him.

There are outside forces that will do anything to keep them apart, and Jessica will have to make a desperate choice that will change their lives forever.

Warning: There is light bondage, domestic discipline, spanking, and an F/F scene that is a voyeuristic Doms delight.

—                     —                    —

This is probably my favourite series at the moment, and has been for about a year. I was curious going in, because I knew that this book would be different from the others and I wasn’t sure how I would like that.

To start, ACS takes place several years before books 1 or 2, sort of like a prequel I suppose, and many of the life-changing, formational events that turn our beloved characters into the people they are haven’t happened yet. Plus, the reader is used to seeing them in a certain way and in a certain relationship so it is rather strange to see them with other woman. Thankfully though, I didn’t have any problems with the familiar characters and their undevelopment as it were.

Books 1 and 2 both feature female leads in their mid-twenties, several years older than Jessica’s 19, and their relationships are hot and heavy from the beginning. Alexandr’s Cherished Submissive is much more of a slow burn. Alex and Jessica are friends for months before they become intimate and their bedroom shannanigans feature much less dominance and submission than voyeurism and swinging, another departure from the other books in the series.

In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, this whole series is definitely 18+ erotic 😉

Now voyeurism and swinging aren’t really my thing, I’m more of a straight D/s person, so I didn’t enjoy the sex scenes in this book as much as I did in others, but they were still      H-O-T HOT!  And the plot development was great.

Jessica is young and innocent and sweet. Although a lot of people in her life have died, her birth parents, adopted parents and their parents, she is still such a kind-hearted person who sort of floats through life doing good deeds. She isn’t a pushover in any way, but she has great compassion and occasionally shames her bodyguards for not being more helpful to perfect strangers. Jess has a heart of gold.

Alexandr is pretty much what I expected from the first two books. He loves Jessica with everything in him and is desperate to protect her from the consequences of his fathers’ increasingly erratic plots, and the numerous enemies of both his Bratva and Jessica’s Uncle’s.

My favourite aspect to Mayburn’s writing is her ability to create such multi-dimensional characters and worlds, and to create multiple interesting secondary characters with depth and backgrounds without detracting from the leads. It was a treat to revisit many characters already introduced, including Dmitri, Maks, Ivan, Petrov, Catrin, and Nico, while also meeting Krom and Oleg. I cannot wait until Krom gets his own book, probably book 5 in the series.

The only section that didn’t quite hit it with me, is when Jessica discovers that Alex is a mega criminal and flips. At the time, her bodyguards lock her in the house to keep her from taking off before Alexandr can return from out of country the next morning. You never see her really lose it on them for physically holding her captive essentially, nor does she have a moment of doubt about what else they might do to her for Alex. Although they had come to love and respect her by then, their loyalty is to Alex and the Novikov Bratva first, and I expected her to be rather displeased for a period.

Plus, she totally caves to Alex upon his return. Granted, he makes a big gesture to show her how much she means to him, but I still thought she let him off too easily for keeping this a secret from her for something like 18 months!

The conclusion to Alexandr and Jessica’s story arc is coming soon:

Book 4

* * * * *

xx

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Favourite Author Series – Ann Mayburn

This is the first part of a three series blog

(By the way, the spacing is messed up in this post and the next couple and I have no idea why. I tried to fix it like twenty times. Please forgive)

I want to talk up some of my favourite authors and share what types of books they write and the different series they write. When they spend so much of time creating something that ultimately brings a great deal of joy to my life, the least I can do is recognize them and maybe recruit another fan.

This post is about Ann Mayburn. I only discovered her about 14 months ago but she has sky-rocketed to my top three authors. The funny thing about Ann is, I love love love two of her series, and couldn’t care less about her others. It’s strange. All of her books are intensely erotic though. If you like reading sexy-time, she is for you.

Ann has two series that I am in love with. The first is the Submissive’s Wish series. It features male protagonists who on in the Russian mob, or bratva. She describes them as good men who do evil things. Their women are (usually) experienced submissives and these stories have lots of action and lots of lovin’.

The first two are already out:

Book 1

Book 1

Book 2

Book 2

Aren’t they just smoking?!

This is one of two series that I read that I would love to jump into, if magic ever comes my way. Books 3 & 4 are both coming out this summer and I am beyond ecstatic. They are a two-parter set. Alexandr, a character we are introduced to in both of the above books, gets a prequel from five years ago illustrating his backstory and then the second book takes place from where book 2 leaves off. Watch for my reviews of these books in the next few months.

Book 3

Book 3

Book 4

Book 4

Both of the series that I follow from this author have a fair amount of violence. I like this aspect, because she is writing about worlds that are very violent in real life and I like my romance grounded in a realistic world, even if the relationship timeline gets compressed to fit a book.

I also like the Iron Horse MC series, about a group of outlaw bikers. The first two books are about Smoke and Swan, and introduced us to the biker world as well as the characters.

Book1

Book1

Book 2

Book 2

The third and fourth book are also following the prequel – sequel format, and will be about Beach and Sarah.

I love how Ann is able to weave together such intricate, complicated series that have vibrant back characters. That is something most authors are not able to do. In Dimitri’s Forbidden Submissive, there are a couple of paragraphs where Dimitri is telling Rya about his ancestor whose portrait she is looking at. Such a simple little part of the book that really isn’t at all important, and yet it is so interesting that I really hope the author writes a book or novella about the ancestor one day.

I highly encourage you to pick up either Ivan’s Captive Submissive or Exquisite Trouble as soon as possible.Both are also available on audible.

Next up in this blog series, later this week, are Cherise Sinclair and Christine Feehan.

xx

A Warm Hug

I’ve touched upon the idea of a “book family” or “book friend” in an earlier blog post, but I want to write about it again. If you’ve never heard of this term, it’s the same idea as having a book boyfriend.

I have to deal with panic attacks so when I need a breather from life I escape into one of my favourite series, like the Shadowlands. It feels comforting and safe, like friends enveloping me in a warm hug, and since the vast majority of romance novels always have a great HEA (happily ever after), I don’t worry when bad things are happening to the characters. Most of the time, these are books that I have read so many times, I can pick it up and flip to any page (or % on kindle) and know which scenes have already happened and where I am in the book.

Right now, the best books for me to go to when my anxiety is too close are the Sea Haven series by Christine Feehan, Shadowlands by Cherise Sinclair, and Exquisite series or Submissive’s Wish series by Ann Mayburn. That last author writes darker material though so I have to be careful which scenes I choose, or I start with one of the other authors and then move on to Ann Mayburn to “ease” myself back into the big, bad world.

So to my favourite authors, thanks for being there for me at times when real-life loved ones can’t. Thank for helping me to relax and turn my day around, maybe get something else done in the day. And if nothing else, it helps me calm down for awhile instead of letting my brain whirl itself into a frenzied and desperate state.

If you have a really feel good romance series that helps you feel better from some type of upset, please share! Always happy to find something new to help and maybe some of mine will work for you as well.

xx

BDSM Books … where do I start?!

I can’t quite remember how I stumbled into my first erotic romance / bdsm story.  I had been reading romance novels for years and remember I was watching videos about women’s self-defense and the UFC, and somehow, my googling landed me on a page about a romantic BDSM novel.  I think the male protagonist was a pro fighter, or something???

Regardless, that random stroke of chance introduced me to the world of erotica and let me just say, it was an eye-opening experience! I think this all happened a couple of years before the first book in the Fifty Shades trilogy was released, so I was a bit ahead of the fad.  Now that I have read more authors and sub-genres, I can say that I (thankfully) had a very gentle introduction to bdsm and erotica in literature, reading authors who wrote for newbies and vanilla readers.

If you were looking to try out this sub-genre, my go-to recommendation is Cherise Sinclair. In particular, start reading her Club Shadowlands series, in order.  The author is diligent in writing safe bdsm practices into her writing, repeating the mantra ‘safe, sane, consensual’ in nearly every book and writes as though her readers have no knowledge of the lifestyle. Indeed, in many of her earlier books, the female protagonist discovers bdsm right along with the reader, learning about safety and protocols in a safe environment and with the best of masters. No asshole leads allowed.  Ms. Sinclair also uses what I think of as the building blocks to the lifestyle in her books; each one introduces a new kink or activity, with the latter ones dealing with abuse in the lifestyle (not perpetrated by the hero/heroine), sadism and masochism, and TPE (total power exchange), hence, why I recommend you start with the books at the beginning of her series.

Once you are ready to dive into something with less focus on the beginner themes, or something darker, I recommend Ann Mayburn.  She is currently my favourite author; some of her series are misses for me, but I absolutely LOVE the ones that I do like, in particular Submissives’ Wish and Iron Horse MC (motorcycle club).

Both of these authors are clearly knowledgeable about the lifestyle, with practical experience. Their characters are clear-headed, and consenting adults, any themes of abuse are along the lines of “bad guy makes a play and gets defeated at the end of the book”.  So while abusive scenes may be hard for some readers to digest, I promise it is not in our hero and heroine’s relationship. Also, both of these authors have branched out from the maledom and femsub norm in the romance genre, which means you will be exposed to more varied styles, like a Domme and male sub or two male doms and a female sub in a menage relationship.

The final author I would recommend here I have already written about in a previous post, and that is Joanna Wylde.  While I don’t consider her MC series to be bdsm, her outlaw biker protagonists are Alpha to the extreme, and tend to be rather domineering.  She also writes about explicit sex, so I consider her to be more of an erotica writer than a romance one.  I am a fan of her Reapers MC world and am eagerly awaiting the first book in her Silver Valley series.  Actually, Silver Bastard comes out in 4 days, so look for a review of it next week.

That’s it m’dears, and if you are new to erotica or just wondering what all this Fifty Shades hoopla and debate is about, these are some great, educational, fictional stories to start off with, and learn a bit more about what some of your neighbours are doing behind closed doors.  You can leave questions for me in the comments section if you want to, and if you need help figuring out series orders, I’m your gal.

xx

Books are our friends

… sometimes a better friend than the flesh-and-blood people at our sides, don’t you think?

Books are never too busy, or impatient and if you constantly re-read your favourites like I do, then you can anticipate which emotional need they are going to fill for you too.  For instance, I have my “book boyfriend” and my “book family”.  Those books/series where I wish I could jump through the page and live for all eternity.

My family is loving and supportive, but we’re not that close and I don’t think they understand me.  They don’t speak my love language.  I’m just different; from the foods and drinks I like, to my religion, to my sense of style and wildly passionate nature, you’d think a stork dropped me on the doorstep as a baby.  My sisters certainly always maintained I was adopted (it isn’t true).

And so I return to my books.  On days that no one is around and I’m bored or lonely, curling up with my favourite characters is like visiting with an old friend.  And when an author delays the release of the next book in that series, I start to feel like there is a little piece missing.  Until I realize, it’s those friends, that world that I miss.

And then there are those little things you come across in life, that remind you of a particular friend.  In my case, sometimes it’s a friend in the fictional world that I am reminded of, more than the real one.

Lately I have had Dmitri Novikov on my mind, a character created by Ann Mayburn. I was reminded of Dmitri by Khal Drogo in season 1 of Game of Thrones.  Two completely different worlds, but at their core, they are very much the same person.  Both are absolutely ruthless and cruel warlords in complete control of their lives and empires, so it would seem, but genuinely love and cherish their wives. Each would break every rule they enforce to protect their love.

I was thinking of Dmitri again this morning.  I was singing along to a cover of Lana Del Rey’s Young and Beautiful and this phrase reminded me of my favourite Bratva Lord.

“Dear Lord, when I get to Heaven

Please let me bring my man

When he comes, tell me that you’ll let him in

Father tell me if you can”

Dmitri is not the best of men. Case in point, he is the Pachan of his family in the Russian Mafia.  But he and his wife Rya love each other more than anything else and she is religious.  I can imagine her praying, begging God to let her bring her man with her to Heaven when the time comes, because there is no way she would go through those gates without him. She’d give up her place in Heaven to be with him instead.

It’s a little bit funny, these connections that my brain makes.  Out of nowhere, my real life and pretend life collide, in the most surreal of moments. The worst thing is that no one around me gets it.  Even bibliophilic friends don’t, because we generally read all different things.

So hopefully someone out there in the big wide interwebs will understand, and if you feel alone, I hope that you know that I am on this end of my computer feeling the same way. And in the mean-time, I’m probably curled up re-reading the same books as I was two years ago.

Because books are our friends.

xx