Among The Muses

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Smashwords book reviews by Among The Muses

  • Tender Mercies on June 02, 2011

    Just when I think an author can't possibly top their last published work, I'm left corrected. Kitty Thomas hooked me with her very first book I picked up: Comfort Food, left my jaw hanging open in fabulous astonishment in a second: Guilty Pleasures, and now leaves me silently awed in the brilliance of her talent with Tender Mercies! Before I go any further, I must state that Kitty Thomas' work is not for everyone -- and that's okay. Not only does Kitty take readers to the precipice of comfort in dark erotic romance content, she also makes her readers *think* as she traverses the psyche of her characters -- she's a master of creating highly dynamic three-dimensional characters battling personal and societal issues in a BDSM context. And in her newest release, Tender Mercies, she continues her trend of masterfully weaving heart tugging emotions between purposefully and carefully crafted plot, characters, and setting. Tender Mercies is a love story -- albeit unconventional or typical in most erotic fiction -- that demonstrates actual slavery (given willingly to a fault) and contains non-consensual sex. This is about needs and desires of people living in a 24/7 Master/slave relationship. It is also a story about the differences between a *true* master and one who is not, and the fallout of what can take place with a misjudged decision. But that's not to say that there isn't moments of passionate and tender love and lovin' -- both Kitty does just as well! :) Grace Warner; a beautiful name that will soon be discarded and forgotten. Grace is the kind of woman who *needs* to live in a 24/7 slave relationship, but views many of the ones erected around her as 'not real'. After a year of contemplating the pros and cons of given up her personal and governmental rights to a master she met online, Grace sets off for a highly private and secretive island where she will truly be a slave to Master Lucas in every sense of the word. But, hidden behind the lens of a webcam and keyboard for the year of propositioning, Grace finds immediately upon her arrival to the island that Master has deceived her of who he truly is. Subjected to brutally abusive and horrific confines and situations that destroy her will, her physical body, and her mentality, Grace (her name that is no longer able to be used or thought of) becomes a scarred shell of what she used to be. Not too far from where Grace lives hidden away in her Master's dungeon, another master, Asher Collins, is battling his own personal hell from the death of his slave whom he really cared for. At a showing, Asher looks upon Grace with a feeling of desire to make her his. He notices her abuse and is appalled. Hoping to save Grace and atone for his previous mistakes with his last slave, he purchases Grace for his own. But will either of them be able to break free from the psychological pain of their pasts? And what happens if they should? Surely others won't want to see them happy will they?? From beginning to end, readers can not help but be sucked into this story and become emotionally vested in the characters. The antagonist is a true antagonist and the protagonists are nothing short of fantastic! Readers get to see into the minds and inner workings of both Grace and Asher as they learn to work together to move past their previous pains and emotional turmoil and become a the ideal Master/slave couple. I loved Grace and Asher both. Grace is stronger than she even perceives her self. And Asher ... hmmm.. you can't help but fall for the broken Master. Readers are privy to just how much the two of them need each other to heal and move forward. Kitty does a fabulous job at demonstrating the emotions that develop between the firm, yet patient and loving master in Asher and the strong and devoted slave in Grace. Like I have previously mentioned, Kitty Thomas knows how to take readers right to the precipice of their comfort levels, yet allows them to stay vested in a story that embarks on emotional journeys of characters that have unique needs and desires. But, unless you are up for everything I've described above, this story may not be for you. For those of you who are, this is a high recommendation from me. Tender Mercies is the type of psychological dark erotica, BDSM book that will leave readers who enjoy this type of literary fiction in awe at the brilliance of Kitty Thomas' writing and concepts. I said it after her last book and I'll say it again -- I don't know how she'll top this! :)
  • The Auction on July 12, 2011

    {Rated 4.5/5 on the blog.} Even when Kitty Thomas steps out of the box and does something different, she still manages fabulous success!! Like all of her previous work that I've had the pleasure of reading, after reading the final sentence, I'm left pondering and completely awed at her story telling and her ability to to craft some of the best Master/slave and D/s relationships that I've ever read! For those readers who are familiar with Kitty's work, The Auction has a couple 'firsts' in comparison to her previous books. While it still has all the hot, unbelievably delicious and raw emotional appeal of Master/slave elements, including the psychological journey of exploring those relationships, Kitty also gives readers a little sci-fi elements and just a minor teaser of f/f action in her new book. While I wouldn't call this a dystopian story, I have to say that the futuristic human society and the contrasting alien world create two separate civilizations that mimic the contrasting roles of Master and slave dynamics. Something of which that is explored when Annabelle is auctioned off to an alien Master. The woman of the human civilization are taught to be submissive so that they are prepared when they are auctioned off to the highest male bidder at eighteen. But, Annabelle has always been a little different following the death of her parents. When the feisty and slightly defiant Annabelle takes the auction block, virtually nobody bids. At last an offer is made. Fear -- and sexual excitement -- wash over Belle, as she takes in the dangerous stranger. His red skin, claw like hands, and dragon wings, immediately trigger her fear -- and desire. Aliens never breached the confines of human civilization, but with their species dying out, Master buys the first human to test the fate of his race. She runs. She balks. She defies. She submits. Something deep inside Annabelle is awakened and responds to her new Master's demands. Over time the intensity of desire grows as she learns to accept her new role in her new life. She also learns more about herself and her acceptance towards her body's natural responses. Kitty Thomas does another fabulous job at breaking down the primal desires at the very core of submissives -- and Masters. The response of a submissive in denial that seems like a foreign answer to the unfamiliar yet primal acknowledgment of a Master's demand. And Annabelle is one submissive who experiences this unexplored, yet very sexual, reaction to the dominant demands of her new Master. "He seemed to see something in my eyes anyway, and I was spared the indignity of begging for something so wrong." And Master also seems to sense this, despite his very demanding and unyielding ways. "He was silent for a few minutes, then he said, "I hope someday you'll understand our ways. I know your kind isn't the same. But you want to be mastered by me, I can smell it on you."" The differences between the species is also acknowledge through the familial dynamics. Master and his brother, 'Sir' share their mates. While Annabelle may be Sir's 'plaything', she *is* Master's. Belle has always felt an undeniable, yet shamefully strong attraction to Master. But over the months, she begins to love him and Sir, and can't imagine ever trying to escape -- again. She revels in what Master makes her feel and allows her the permission to give up control to him. You'll notice that Master and Sir don't have 'names'. There is no need. Names give power, and Master and Sir is all Annabelle needs to know. They are the ones that hold the power. In addition to the actual dynamics of Master's and Belle's relationship, I couldn't help but also wonder if Ms. Thomas was also creating a parallel to the differences between the human civilization and the alien society. "It occurred to me that Sir wasn't a sadist. This was just how his kind were. Maybe the females of their species had been okay with it. Maybe they didn't fight biology so strongly like human women did." Belle may be afraid of her new Master at first, his stern and unyielding ways, but Belle is truly more afraid of herself and her heightened sexual desire when submitting to Master and Sir. Trust, understanding, and acceptance are key elements that force emotional reactions from Annabelle. When she finally learns to accept herself, she learns to accept her life with her new mate, and even manages to find a perfect sort of love along the way. The bottom line is that Kitty, once again, makes readers think as she takes them on the psychological exploration of the dynamics of a Master and slave relationship. Readers who thoroughly love dark erotica are sure to love Kitty's new sci-fi addition to her already fabulous bookshelf. As always, this is journey; an exploration of understanding one's desires and the ability to admit to them and submit. I absolutely cannot get enough of this author!! If she can pull of hot alien Masters, I can only imagine what she'll give us next! :)
  • Awakening on Oct. 05, 2011

    Once again, Kitty Thomas provides a story that sucks you in from the beginning and is relentless in providing a griping tale that leaves you analyzing the characters and completely captivated by character dynamics and an unique plot line. The mermaid species does not view intimate and sexual interactions like that of the human race. In fact, they don't even have sex. However, tales have been passed down throughout the generations of curious mermaids being seduced by humans which caused them to loose their fins and gain legs, leaving them without hope of ever being able to return home again. Nernia is determined not to become one of them. But when she ventures to close to shore, she's caught in a net and becomes the captive of Master Kyros. Immediately Nernia realizes how easily the tales can be true, for Kyros awakens something in her she's never felt before, nor realized she was capable of. The only problem is the extent to which Nernia is willing to submit and at what cost. Just as the statement in the blurb states, this is one of Kitty's more "tamer" short story creations, perfect for someone who doesn't want a heavy Master/slave read, but still wants the concepts and "feeling" of one there. Awakening is also the most romantic of Kitty's stories; there's almost a lighter feel to the literary atmosphere. And it's simply fantastic!! Nernia finds herself -- a self she was unaware she truly was -- under the masterful, semi-gentle, seduction of Kyros as he awakens Nernia's desires. Kyros is a great Master, attentive to Nernia's needs and fears, assisting her through the changes she feels emotionally, and coming to terms with her body's new found changes and desires. But, don't forget, this is still a kidnapping story, so both conflicts arise surrounding that fact and Kyros is still a Master. With an unique plot line that includes the light paranormal and fantastical elements, Kitty proves that she's fantastic at creating a different kind of tale that will completely captivate readers. It's a quick and easy read, effortlessly flowing with a great writing style and distinctive characters and plot line. One of the aspects that I love about Kitty's work is that she is able to deliver such solid characters and story line in a short amount of time -- and still make me feel as though I'm not missing anything when the story comes to a close. Do I still wish the story could continue on? Absolutely!! But I'm greedy like that! :) Her characters are dynamic and dimensional, and their feelings, motivations, and desires are always a primary focus, which I absolutely love! And, of course, what would a Kitty Thomas story be without the fabulous psychological aspects she includes. While not as complex as in her other stories, I'm sure you'll spend moments here-and-there wondering at different metaphoric analogies and diving into the psyche of the characters. This is primarily due to the strength of the development of Kitty's characters. I always look forward to reading Kitty's work and am never disappointed by each new creation she gifts readers!! This is a fantastic book for readers who enjoy literary erotica and want a lighter Master/slave read infused with creative and fabulous paranormal/fantastical elements. Not to mention, just as with all of Kitty's stories, it's wonderfully creative and written very well.