A Slow Process of Understanding by Faith Ashlin

23461799Title: A Slow Process of Understanding
Series: N/A
Author: Faith Ashlin
Genre: Contemporary/Alternate Reality/Dubious Consent & Rape
Length: Novel (263 pages)
Publisher: Totally Bound (December 19th, 2014)) Available for early download
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
Blurb: How does a world that accepts slavery affect both master and slave? Can two people build a new life for themselves with a start like theirs?

It’s a world like this one except for the all-powerful State that’s very firmly in control and the fact that slavery is legal. Jimmy had never really thought about it or the fight for freedom going on around him. He was too busy enjoying his privileged life as an actor on a sci-fi show.

But what is he meant to do when he’s forced to permanently bond to a slave he doesn’t want just because he made one silly, drunken mistake? Does it change who he is, what he is?
Trouble is, Jimmy isn’t sure who he was to start with. He’d never thought about it.

And what about his slave, Nate? Can a slave force Jimmy into learning something about himself?

ISBN: 978-1-78430-339-6

Product Link: https://www.totallybound.com/a-slow-process-of-understanding

Reviewer: Prime

Review: The fact this was alternate reality had me intrigued, added in the fact that this tackles the tricky area of slavery also had me intrigued. The concept of slavery in this in interesting because it’s not quite the slavery we know of the past from England and the Americas or even the serfdom seen in Russia and medieval Europe. It’s somewhere between ownership for cheap labour and a personal slave, crossed with compulsory sexual slavery.

Jimmy has committed a minor crime; maybe, he said something the government (The State) weren’t happy about. Part of his punishment is to become a slave owner – in order to make him more responsible and follow The State’s dictates. Basically, I saw it as like giving a little kid a pet and telling them to a responsible pet owner and look after the animal. Jimmy and his slave, Nate, are forced into what The State calls being bonded, which is pretty much marriage. Jimmy is all heart. From the start, although he sees the prospect of having sex with his slave a good way of getting no string sex (because bonding with a slave means consummation must take place). His vulnerability, or more accurately, his naivety comes up a number of times but he shows strength, regardless. He doesn’t want to abuse his slave like many people do. So it appears he is more a rebel to the State, perhaps just a bad citizen rather than a bad person.

As for Nate, he seems like a broken man, completely obedient and resigned to his life as a slave. It actually got annoying sometimes, because he also comes across as a sort of shrinking violet type of guy on a few occasions, despite the harsh life of a slave. The only other thing is that I really want to know more about what’s going in Nate’s head. Yes, he is meant to be obedient but I want to know what makes him tick. This is because Nate is an ever-evolving character throughout the entire story.

I also must admit that I started to get bored after a bit, then bam! Plot twist! This made the story for me. I partly feel sorry and used for Jimmy, but this is also, where I really wanted more from Nate’s perspective, because I went from liking him to starting to hate him. Nate also chooses to look over the fact that Jimmy put him through the best rehab for an injured leg he had before he was bonded to Jimmy. He doesn’t seem to want to redeem himself in Jimmy’s in too much of a hurry and it both annoys me yet I enjoy the tension. Call me twisted, but I love it. There is a second major shift in plot over the last third of the book, which works well because of the length. At the same time, it is the reason for the length of the book. I’m not sure if this second twist was entirely necessary, regardless of how well everything flows.

A couple of points on my mind: Jimmy’s sentence for his “crime”. Although to be fair, this same point is questioned by multiple characters in the book as well it’s never properly explained. All in all, I have some mixed feelings about this, but I suppose that has to do with the nature of slavery influencing my thinking. The other point is that so much emphasis is placed on Jimmy as “changing” when he was never inherently a bad person – at least to me.

This is well written and the characters develop nicely. At first I felt that Jimmy was selfish and Nate was sweet, then my thinking was flipped more than a couple of times throughout. There were a couple of times when one or the other needed a hit on the upside of the head. Ultimately, I was just on the edge of my proverbial seat; just wanting to known happens to this certainly unique couple. This book isn’t for the faint of heart and some scenes are just brutal, but still it flows so well.

The pace starts off a bit slow, but after Jimmy is released from prison the action and emotion picks up and follows nonstop through to the end. And if nothing else, the title of this book was aptly chosen.

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *

My Unintended by Faith Ashlin

0c7c0340e9c0956f4da8ccf93cc28210.image.300x450Title: My Unintended

Series:  Love is Love Anthology

Author: Faith Ashlin

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Short Story (48 pages)
Publisher: Silver Publishing (October 5th, 2013)

Heat Level: Mild

Heart Rating:

Blurb: Noah and Greg are teachers and have been living together for a while. They’re content in their lives and with each other. Or at least they think so. Then Noah is forced to consider his dreams for the future when his parents change their wills. He’s told the family house will be left to his sister rather than him, as she has children. But does he want a wife and traditional family? Instead of talking to Greg, as he knows he should, he runs back home. His grandmother takes him in hand and tells him a story about her own loves back before she was married.
It makes Noah think about what he really wants.

CONTENT ADVISORY: This title is a re-release title, originally included in the Love is Love Anthology.

Product Link: http://spsilverpublishing.com/blog/2013/09/27/my-unintended-by-faith-ashlin/

Reviewer:   GiGi

Review: A mature examination of relationships. We all enjoy the heat of a relationship, those moments where all we care about is the day-to-day passion, our next fun event, our next road trip together…but how many times do we really sit down and examine what we need, what we expect, and what our future is going to look like?

This sweet short story makes Noah stop in his tracks and panic about his future. Flying on the high of his relationship with Greg, new decisions about Noah’s family trust and his inheritance of his grandmother’s house make him question everything. Suddenly faced with the fact that his future with Greg does not add up to the future he envisioned for himself growing up, Noah is scared. Thankfully, his flight from Greg back home to his parents and most importantly to his Grandmother, makes Noah see things clearly, and the choices he needs to make.

Don’t worry readers, we know what the right choice is, and you need to trust Noah to know what it is too! A sweet, sometimes painful short story!

Knights and Butterscotch by Faith Ashlin

18365572Title: Knights and Butterscotch     

Author: Faith Ashlin     

Genre: Alternative World    

Length: Novella (177pgs)    

Publisher: Total E-Bound (20th September 2013)    

Heat Level: Moderate    

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥ 4½ Hearts   

Reviewer: Pixie     

Blurb: A story of modern-day knights, paint-splattered artists and a lightning bolt of attraction that hits hard enough to make a knight think he’s going crazy. And then things get complicated.

The year is now, the place is somewhere like here, but the feeling is very different. Matti Elkin is a modern-day knight and, while he may not have a horse or a suit of shining armor, he’s brave and true, has a sense of duty, and honor a mile wide and a passionate belief in his king.

There’s a war on and the knights are fighting hard, but while on R&R Matti is hit hard with an overwhelming attraction for Jamie, a tall, handsome painter.

Jamie makes his head spin and his cock harden, and has him acting in ways that make him question his own sanity. But when the war takes an appalling turn, they are both thrown into a world of confusion that has them questioning everything they thought they knew.   

Purchase Link: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=2320    

Review: Matti is a modern-day Knight, fighting for his King and the safety of his country. On a rare day off and at a co-worker’s wedding, Matti meets a painter who rocks his world and has Matti acting in ways he never has before. Jamie is astounded at the attraction he feels for Matti, but he grabs the feelings Matti evokes and embraces the moment. But when the war takes a bad turn Matti discovers that he might never have really known the true Jamie, and Jamie has to convince Matti that he is really the only one who knew the true him. Jamie has no choice but to embrace a duty that he turned away from, but with Matti by his side he can be the person that the country needs while being the man he really is in private. 

This is a brilliant story in an alternative world, with two strangers acting on their instant attraction leading to a love that can withstand any shock or surprise. Matti has dedicated his life to his King, he is loyal and fiercely dedicated, as a Knight, he protects the country, and with a war against the Northern invaders, he has little time off. Jamie left his old life behind to become a painter; he loves his life of painting and just wants recognition in the Gallery’s. When the two meet sparks fly and before they part they ensure they will see each other again. With Matti fighting a war their visits are brief and just as they are getting to know each other better disaster strikes and Matti has difficulty in seeing Jamie as the man he fell in love with.

I loved this story, the way that the story was written so the old world values were brought into the modern-day war was brilliant and the attraction between Jamie and Matti seemed to leap off the page. While their relationship started off with a high and while they were happy, they still had things to sort out to become closer and get to know each other better in the short flashes of time they had together. When Jamie’s secret come out I was surprised, there was no hint just a sudden revelation. Matti’s reaction was brilliant and I loved the way he struggled with the revelation but managed to find a way to help and support Jamie in his desperate time of need. 

This is a really good storyline which flows smoothly showing a great couple who manage to conduct a relationship even though they are apart for a large amount of time, it also shows us the difficulties they both face as they come to grips with the truth of their situations and the love and support they both offer the other. We only get a little information on the world they live in, but it reminded me of long days past when counties invaded each other for land. We see both Matti and Jamie stepping into roles they aren’t quite comfortable with but with them standing together, they dig deep within themselves and shine. 

I recommend this if you love alternative worlds where Knights still roam (in armor-plated vehicles), painters proving to be more than they first seem, hot sex in snatched moments, a love that can stand a shocking revelation and a great cheeky ending.