Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Review: Divine Solace by Joey W. Hill

Divine Solace

Author: Joey W. Hill
Publisher:  Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc.
Series: Nature of Desire #8
Genre: Erotica *ADULT*
Release Date: March 21, 2014


After too many failed relationships, Gen has settled into a quiet, acceptable life as a middle-aged single woman. But then she meets Mistress Lyda and her sexy male sub Noah, and the two of them give her a different view of “acceptable”—as well as a renewed longing for the type of love and romance she thought had passed her by.
Gen has been Marguerite Winterman’s employee at Tea Leaves for some time, and has a close relationship with the reserved, intimidating woman. It isn’t until Mistress Lyda steps into her life that Gen understands why she’s always felt safe under Marguerite’s direction. And with the intriguing Noah guiding her in the world of Domination/submission, Gen’s about to discover a new way to love—and live.
Inside Scoop: Gen’s journey includes references to male/male relationships and a beautifully erotic portrayal of two women falling in love within the ménage


DNF at 68%

I'm really sorry to say that, but for me this book was all kind of messed up. 

Even thought I couldn't finish the book, I would like to thank my friend Baba for asking me to buddy read it with her because without her, after reading the blurb I would just have dismissed the book, and I think that from time to time it's good to explore outside of our comfort zones. 

Even if girl on girl action never appealed to me, as Rough Canvasis one of my top 5 all time favorite books as well as my first MM, I though that JWH could overwrite my prejudices. Also, inAfterlife there is a short warm and playful after care scene involving Dana and the other heroines so I really thought that JWH could pull it off. Unfortunately she didn't.

I would like to start with the writing. One of the things I usually love while reading Joey W. Hill books is the beauty of her writing. I'm not going to say that it was bad because it wasn't but although there were some beautiful quotes this book doesn't have the emotional weight of some of her other books and at times the writing was kind of tedious. It's a feeling difficult to explain so I'll just say that maybe sometimes simplicity and less are really the way to go. 

Lets move to the characters. This book is a ménage so we have 3 main protagonists, Noah, Gen and Lyda.

"I can't," he repeated fiercely. "One person says that makes me a gift, another says I'm damaged and I'm banned from their club." His hands closed into fists. "Someone else tells me I need to be this or that, and none of it is supposed to be about me. I'm everything someone needs me to be, until I'm not, and then I can't stop it or change it. I can't think about it. I just can't."

Even though he is really messed up, as in "he truly is in dire need of a psychiatrist help" messed up kind of way, Noah was my favorite character. 

He's a hardcore submissive, which means that he doesn't do a thing without Lyda's consent. "Whatever my Mistress wants is what I wish" is his credo, the kind of sentence that totally freaks me out. 

He's teaching sailing at the community college, but also works in Lyda's nursery and has other odd jobs, so he obviously knows how to earn money but whatever he earns he gives it all to Lyda for his keep. He lives with her, in her house, but no evidence of it can be seen and all his belongings fit in a canvas bag. He doesn't do "papers", which means that among other things that even though he knows how to drive he doesn't have a driving licence. 

He is immensely charismatic and hot. And last but not least he is appallingly indifferent to what may or may not happens to him. 

"I love touching you," she said. "You're so pretty."
When he gave her a pained look, she laughed. "I didn't mean that in an unmanly way. You're beautiful, Noah. It's not just a physical thing. There's something about you; it's really kind of mesmerizing. Like a drug, but not. More like a feeling of happiness. Like being out on the sailboat when everything is working right. You're a living, breathing, perfect moment."

"He's an excessive nurturer, to the point he could be mistaken for a Dom. His form of submission is like an ocean wave, holding you down. Which makes him an excellent partner to work with a Mistress. It also makes him insanely indifferent to himself."

"The care it took to do that, to step outside oneself and make someone else matter more was something neither of her husbands had given her. Noah gave it to her in ways large and small, and the smaller things held more significance."

The problem is, nobody is taking care of Noah. He really does need help beyond what the BDSM practice can provide and it boggles my mind that nobody seems aware of it. I mean Doms and Dommes pride themselves on knowing what is good or not for their subs and still, here we have Noah, totally neglected. It hurts.

She was a decent character but to be honest I had a hard time keeping up with her. She works for Marguerite (Ice Queen andMirror of My Soul) at Tea Leaves. She is a thirty something two times divorced woman, but for me at times she seemed old – not thirty something mature, plain old – and at other times she was acting like a teenager. 

She'd picked two wrong men. They'd reduced her to poverty, stripped her self-esteem, and made her doubt her ability to find love.
[...]She'd been a tool, a means to an end. No, worse. Betrayal meant you were nothing to the betrayer...

Because she's close to Marguerite and Chloe, she has small glimpses into the BDSM world but she never put a foot in a fetish club. She is straight, vanilla and doesn't do pain, but in less than two weeks she embraces her bi, submissive and masochist new shinny self. What. The. Hell ?!?!?!

As I said, Gen is a decent character, unfortunately she gave me a lot of WTH ?!?!?! moments. The mildest was when she assumed that Lyda washed her clothes and prepared her breakfast. I mean, hellooooo? We are talking about Lyda, here. Or did she miss how Lyda introduced her Noah? Or maybe she forgot the previous week-end she actually spent with Noah? *rolls eyes*

She divorced her two husbands because they weren't treating her right and one of them was beating on her. And in chapter six she says that she isn't into pain but during her first session Lyda flogs her really hard and at some point asks her if she wants more, and Gen actually answers "yes". Finally Noah had to use his safeword to make Lyda stop. Again: WTH ?!?!?!

If that wasn't enough, the next morning, Gen go to meet Lyda where she's teaching fitness classes, they are in the locker room after the classe and this happened:
(view spoiler) And again: WTH ?!?!?!

But whatever, let's move on.

What a despicable sadistic manipulative cold bitch! 

I really do love strong, independent and capable heroines but to the exception of 2, I have a hard time standing dominatrix heroines. As far as I'm concerned, they just can't pull it off. 

"A good Domme never does what a sub doesn't truly, deeply want." Whenever that kind of sentence goes out of a Domme's mouth, in 99% of the case for me it's just crap because sooner than later their actions will contradict it. And to that regard, Lyda didn't disappoint because first and foremost, if she really did what Noah truly, deeply needed she would have made him consult. 

"Taking care of his cock so I have use of it whenever I wish is an important priority for a male sub."

"You said being a Dom is about really knowing what the other person wants and needs, but what does it mean when you hold back on that, not for them, but to protect yourself? How is that different from being a cruel bastard who can't put down the cable remote and make you feel for one goddamn second like you're more special than a fucking golf match?"

"She knows how crazy it gets after she scrambles your brain. It takes time to process it all, especially at first."

Lyda invites Gen to come to The Zone, Tyler's BDSM club, telling her that she'll just watch, get a feel of the BDSM world, ask questions... But when Gen is there she takes her to a semi-private place and tells Noah to go down on her and Gen can't come unless she promises to go home to spend the night with Lyda and Noah. Another WTH ?!?!?! moment...

Four days later, she invites her again to The Zone under the guise of seeing if Gen likes to dominate. Gen is wearing a "Domme" and a "no play" bracelets, she has no more introduction to the how things are done, no safeword, no ideas about what she could expect or not during and after a session, but again, she ends up playing the sub for Lyda, being flogged and fucked while fucking Noah. 

"Diamonds," Noah snapped. "Mistress."
"A miracle," Lyda said. Gen was panting. While Lyda might not be drawing blood, Gen thought she might be, her fingers digging into Noah's chest. "The first time he's ever used it," his Mistress said. "But he used it for you. Which is good, because you've never chosen a safeword, Gen. You didn't even think about that, did you? It's why a Domme can't trust a sub to use a safeword, though you should always have one."

Oh yeah? Maybe you should have thought about it first. Such a stellar Domme indeed. And wasn't it Lyda who was talking about being aware of the body language? 

"Practice. Intuition. Trial and error. This is a consensual game, Gen. No matter what I do to you, you can end it with a single word. We call it a safeword. However, I always rely on unconscious signals first and foremost, because they're more truthful, and often come into play long before the safeword."

When I was talking about crap talk... 

Another thing that bugged me with Lyda is her unwillingness to answer Gen questions. Gen just had to trust a total stranger. Period. 

My overall impressions...

I enjoyed the moments where Noah and Gen were together because there is a real chemistry between them and their sex scenes were hot. However I couldn't stand Lyda, and all the scenes where she was involved be it directly or indirectly where just a big no no. 

At one point in the story Noah had a big crisis, that's where we learn why he behaves like he does. Lyda's answer or what I should call the diner scene is what made me drop the book definitely. Because really, there's just so much crap one can take in one book. 

I also enjoyed Marguerite, Tyler and Chloé participations. Particularly the silent duel between Marguerite and Lyda. However at +/- 68 % of the book I was also pissed at Tyler. 


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