Thursday, December 18, 2014


Pages: 264
Date: 18/12/2014
Grade: 4
Details: Reading Group Read

The blurb:

“Hauled in a cart to a field hospital in northern France in March 1916, an American woman wakes up from unconsciousness to the smell of gas gangrene, the sounds of men in pain, and an almost complete loss of memory; she knows only that she can drive an ambulance, she can draw, and her name is Stella Bain.

A stateless woman in a lawless country, Stella embarks on a journey to reconstruct her life. Suffering an agonising and inexplicable array of symptoms, she finds her way to London. There Dr. August Bridge, a cranial surgeon turned psychologist, is drawn to tracking her amnesia to its source. What brutality was she fleeing when she left the tranquil seclusion of a New England college campus to serve on the Front; for what crime did she need to atone – and whom did she leave behind?”

My thoughts:

“Can a man possibly care for a woman who is not herself? A woman who, with any luck, might change into someone else? Can a woman who is not herself truly care for another?”

I’m a bit ambivalent about this book. On the one hand I loved the story. I liked the idea of exploring the horrors of World War One through the eyes of a woman. We tend to forget they too played important and often horrific roles in this conflict and it’s about time it was given attention. I also appreciated the various layers in the story and the slow unravelling of Stella’s story and life.

Anita Shreve is a good and accomplished storyteller and The Lives of Stella Bain held my interest from start to finish. Having said that, I also found myself a bit underwhelmed with The Lives of Stella Bain. From the moment I started this book I had problems losing myself in the story. Stella’s tale is told in a detached manner and as a result I felt removed what was happening to her.

Initially I hoped the detachment would diminish as Stella’s memory returned. And, if the tone of the narration had shifted from impersonal to more personally involved as Stella returned to who she was and remembered why she found herself in the situation she was in, I would have considered it a masterful stroke of storytelling.

As it was, I felt I never got the opportunity to connect with Stella. She started off as and remained a rather one dimensional character in an interesting but rather flat story. It is quite possible I missed something but to me this felt like a missed opportunity. On the other hand, I can’t deny the story almost read itself and despite my lack of involvement in the story, I had no problem staying with it and finishing this book.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Title: Serpent’s Kiss
Genre: Erotic Romance BDSM
Author: Sherri Hayes
Release Date: Dec 4, 2014


After losing her husband unexpectedly, Katrina Mayer decided to open Serpent’s Kiss. She wanted it to be a place where she and her fellow kinksters could play and socialize.

Five years after the doors opened, the club is everything she’d hoped it would be. On Friday and Saturday nights, Serpent’s Kiss is filled with men and women who share a similar desire to explore the pleasures BDSM has to offer. The club has continued to grow, and over the years, many of its members have become friends.

The one thing Katrina didn’t expect when she’d decided to open a club was the human drama that came with it. Learning to balance her life as the club mistress has taken some getting used to, but she wouldn’t change a thing.



Sherri spent most of her childhood detesting English class. It was one of her least favorite subjects because she never seemed to fit into the standard mold. She wasn’t good at spelling, or following grammar rules, and outlines made her head spin. For that reason, Sherri never imagined becoming an author.
At the age of thirty, all of that changed. After getting frustrated with the direction a television show was taking two of its characters, Sherri decided to try her hand at writing an alternate ending, and give the characters their happily ever after. By the time the story finished, it was one of the top ten read stories on the site, and her readers were encouraging her to write more.
Six years later, Sherri is the author of six full-length novels, and one short story. Writing has become a creative outlet for Sherri that allows her to explore a wide range of emotions, while having fun taking her characters through all the twists and turns she can create. She is most well known for her Finding Anna series about a young woman rescued from being a sex slave by a wealthy Dominant. The third book in that series, Truth, released July 25, 2013.




Welcome to the Serpent’s Kiss is not a full length novel. This is an introduction to the club, its owner Katrina Mayer, the people who work there and some of the members. It is meant to arouse your curiosity and does so in a very effective and appetizing way. After these forty pages I’m curious about Katrina and what she will or won’t do about Ryan. I want to see if Beth will get over her misfortune and how new member and newbie to the scene Drew gets along.

Having a female BDSM-club owner and Domme spearheading the stories makes a nice change from the usual fare of Male dominated novels (pun intended). Sherri Hayes obviously has a good understanding of the BDSM world and makes sure to share her knowledge with her readers without it ever feeling as if she’s giving us a lecture.

If this prequel is anything to go by, The Serpent’s Kiss will be a welcome addition to the world of BDSM romance and erotica. I’m looking forward to finding out what will be happening next.