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Mastered Anthology Review: His Secret by Portia Da Costa

Mastered: 10 Tales of Sensual Surrender

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Note: This story has also been published under the title The Retreat.

Ben Chambers is the perfect boyfriend, the perfect lover, the perfect man. Sarah adores him, but she knows that despite the deliciousness of their lovemaking, their shared interests, and the fun they have together, there’s a certain special something missing in their relationship. And then, arriving for a hedonistic weekend of luxury at an English country house hotel, something happens that changes everything between them. A momentary, inconsequential pat on the bottom opens the door to a breathtaking world of daring and transgressive sexual pleasure…and forges a bond that’s both profoundly physical and a melding of their souls.

 
This was a cute and quick story – very short but extremely cute. I’ve read it previously as The Retreat and it was nice to re-read. Not too much to say about this one, to be honest – it’s a spanking (only) super short.

My favorite part of this story was the fact that it was obvious that Ben truly loves Sarah: he tells her that he wants to be with her even if she will not indulge him in his kinks. That’s love, folks. And even sweeter that she loves him (and his kinks), too.

Review: Alta (Dragon Jousters #2) by Mercedes Lackey *Spoilers*

Alta

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National best-selling fantasy legend, Mercedes Lackey created a vivid, dynamic fusion of the Upper and Lower Kingdoms of ancient Egypt with the most exciting, authentic and believable portrayal of dragons ever imagined.
In the second novel in Mercedes Lackey’s richly-conceived Dragon Jousters series, the dragonrider Vetch escapes to Alta, the subjugated land of his birth. There, he hopes to teach his people to raise and train dragons-and build an army that will liberate his homeland.

NOTE: This review will contain spoilers for the first book in this series, Joust. If you haven’t read Joust, please do not read this review unless you are ok with spoilers.

This one is cute. I enjoy this book but not as much as Joust.

Alta continues the story of the serf Vetch from Joust. In Alta, Vetch is no longer known as the serf “Vetch.” He is “Kiron, son of Kiron,” a displaced but well-born son of Alta and a dragon rider. Kiron arrives in Alta, gets settled and becomes a jouster-in-training almost immediately. He is also given lessons: reading, writing, philosophy and history. Throughout the book the reader can see Kiron’s change from unlettered serf to educated noble by the way he speaks and carries himself. I felt Lackey did a good job showing Kiron’s maturation.

Kiron has achieved his goal: he is no longer a serf – he is a free Altan and dragon rider. But in Alta all is not what he expected: there’s something rotten at the core of Alta and Kiron seems to get into the midst of things very quickly.
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Review: Joust (Dragon Jousters #1) by Mercedes Lackey

Joust

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For the first time ever, national best-selling legend Mercedes Lackey draws from her extensive knowlege of animals—and her professional background as an avian expert—to create something truly special…

The most exciting, authentic and believable portrayal of dragons ever imagined.

It is a richly conceived, fully realized vision, inspired by the culture of ancient Egypt, the legends of Atlantis-and the science of animal behavior and biology. This is how dragons would live, breed, hatch, hunt, and bond.

The first book in this thrilling new series introduces readers to a young slave who dreams of becoming a Jouster-one of the few warriors who can actually ride a flying dragon. And so, in secret, he begins to raise his own dragon.

Joust, the first book in Mercedes Lackey’s Dragon Jousters series, is a wonderfully rich re-imagining of ancient Egypt. The story follows a young serf, Vetch, as he slowly gains agency.

Vetch is an Altan serf. He became a serf when Alta lost a major war with their neighbor Tia. Vetch’s father was murdered and the rest of the family were turned into serfs and bound to the land they once owned.

As a serf – which are considered less than slaves – Vetch was severely mistreated. He was beaten, starved and overworked by his master. During one of the many miserable days in which Vetch lived this spirit-breaking life, Dragon Jouster Ari happens to see him. Ari – noticing that Vetch was being mistreated – decides to take him and make Vetch his dragon boy. Dragon boys live in a complex with their dragons, Jousters and support staff. Dragon boys were not mistreated, overworked and they were fed well and regularly. For Vetch, starved as he was, it was like he’d almost reached Heaven.
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Review: Brianna (Celestial Passions #1) by Judy Mays *spoilers*

brianna

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Brianna did what any other decent human being would do-rescue a pair of aliens her boss was about to dissect, and get them back to their space ship. In the process, she was captured by an alien scientist and became a experiment herself-a sexual experiment.

Captain Alalakan don al’ Chardadon was not about to let Dr. Rodak don al’ Bakom conduct his ridiculous sexual experiments on an inhabitant from a newly discovered world. Even if it meant he had to marry the Earth woman to protect her. Marriages were easily dissolved on his planet, and this alien was very beautiful. Besides, he wanted her-in his bed, on the floor, against the wall, or anywhere else he could think of.

Brianna had to choose-marry the captain or try to find another way to escape Bakom. Easy choice. Even though he was an alien, Char was the most desirable man she’d ever met.

So, Brianna finds herself hurtling through space married to a very sexy alien-with a very flexible tail-from a planet where hedonism is the norm and there are three sexes: male, female, and hermaphrodite.

But Bakom wanted Brianna too, and is willing to do anything to get her back.

Have you ever read a Romance novel and thought to yourself, this is the most ridiculous cliched bullshit I’ve ever read? How did this get published?? I’m obviously in the wrong business…

Well, this is almost that book. But it’s not. Because this book is a cliched ridiculous mess on purpose (which makes it funny). This book has it all: beautiful red-haired “spitfire” heroine (with green eyes, of course); handsome and rich hero; being kidnapped by aliens for weird alien sex; princesses; cat people; assassins….

Well, you get the point. It’s like…everything is here. There is no way this wasn’t written tongue in cheek. How does Brianna communicate with these people from a different galaxy? They use a Medirian ghena instead of a Babel fish…but it’s the same thing and performs the same function. There are also several hints in the book that shows that Mays is writing a comedy.
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Review: The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader” (The Chronicles of Narnia, #3) by C.S. Lewis

The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader"

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Lucy and Edmund, with their dreadful cousin Eustace, get magically pulled into a painting of a ship at sea. That ship is the Dawn Treader, and on board is Caspian, King of Narnia. He and his companions, including Reepicheep, the valiant warrior mouse, are searching for seven lost lords of Narnia, and their voyage will take them to the edge of the world. Their adventures include being captured by slave traders, a much-too-close encounter with a dragon, and visits to many enchanted islands, including the place where dreams come true.

Note: I love this series to pieces so this is more of my thoughts than a review.

Let’s start with great first lines: “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader” starts with Edmund and Lucy Pevensie going to stay with their aunt, uncle and their annoying son, Eustace. Eustace…is originally characterized as a snotty little asshole that was training up to become a psychopath. He liked dead bugs. *ew* Eustace also enjoys harassing people, hurting feelings, tattle-telling and embarrassing others. Not. Fun. So when Lucy and Edmund are pulled into Narnia (and to the Dawn Treader), Eustace comes with them – bad qualities included. I wonder, sometimes, about Eustace. What was Eustace’s purpose and why do we [the reader] get him instead of Peter and Susan?

King Caspian has set out on a long voyage after getting Narnia settled nicely. Caspian is (heroically?) searching for seven Lords of his land that his dictator Uncle Miraz sent off to sail the world. I always wondered how a King with no Queen and no progeny could do something this irresponsible but, hey…*shrug*
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Review: Magician’s Gambit (The Belgariad #3) by David Eddings *spoilers*

Magician's Gambit

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Ce’Nedra, Imperial Princess of Tolnedra, had joined a dangerous mission to recover the stolen Orb that supposedly protected the West from the evil God Torak. And somehow, she found herself feeling quite tender for Garion, the innocent farm boy, who would be forced into the strange tower in the center of all evil to retrieve the Orb by himself.

 

 

Magician’s Gambit starts with the company on a ship sailing out of Nyissa.

While Belgarath and Silk were away from the company, they discovered that Zedar no longer had the Orb. Zedar and Ctuchick (also a disciple of Torak) fought and Zedar fled.. Ctuchick too the Orb to Rak Cthol in Cthol Murgos.

Belgarath received a summons from his Master – the god Aldur – so the company prepares to travel the 250 leagues to the Vale of Aldur. This will take them a month or more.

While traveling to the Vale the company (Garion, Ce’Nedra, Belgarath, Polgara, Durnik, Barak, Silk, Hettar and Mandorallen) is chased by groups of Murgos, all coming from different directions. At this time the company was close to Maragor, so Belgarath decides that the only way to avoid capture was to go through instead of around Maragor.

Maragor

Maragor is a haunted and empty land. The Tolnedrans declared war on Maragor – using the subterfuge of stamping out cannibalism – because Maragor is filled with gold. In their greed, the Tolnedran armies slaughtered all of the Marags (including non-combatants). Mara, the god of the Marags, was driven mad with grief over the loss of his children. Continue reading

Review: Prince Caspian (The Chronicles of Narnia, #2) by C.S. Lewis

Prince Caspian

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The four Pevensies help Caspian battle Miraz and ascend his rightful throne.

NARNIA…the land between the lamp-post and the castle of Cair Paravel, where animals talk, where magical things happen…and where the adventure begins.

Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are returning to boarding school when they are summoned from the dreary train station (by Susan’s own magic horn) to return to the land of Narnia-the land where they had ruled as kings and queens and where their help is desperately needed.

A prince fights for his crown. A prince denied his rightful throne gathers an army in a desperate attempt to rid his land of a false king. But in the end, it is a battle of honor between two men alone that will decide the fate of an entire world.

I love the Narnia series and I’ve read it many, many times. Whenever I read this series, I always read it in original publication order – as it should be.

It’s hard to review books you love so this is more like…a smattering of a review combined with my general thoughts and feelings.

Prince Caspian introduces one of my favorite characters: the talking mouse Reepicheep. Reepicheep is fierce and I love him to pieces. When I first read this series, I was taken with Reepicheep and with every re-read I realize what a wonderful character he is! The bravery, loyalty and honor along with the slight arrogance make Reepicheep a very human character.
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