Monthly Archives: May 2015

Book Review – Firebird by Annabel Joseph

Ballet and bondage.  It seems to be a striking juxtaposition at first blush, but to my mind they’re a perfect match.  Both require discipline, and often call for enduring discomfort for a greater cause.  Ballerinas appear to be delicate, but are quite strong and to me this combination echoes the way that submissives in general are often seen as weak while . . . well, if you think that you clearly haven’t met many of us!

But let me tell you about this book. It has ballet and bondage and romance:

It also has a gorgeously sexy cover.  Aw, yeah . . .

It also has a gorgeously sexy cover. Aw, yeah . . .

Prosper is a dancer in the corps de ballet, hardworking but full of neurosis from her past.  Jackson, the demanding choreographer, sees her potential and casts her as the titular Firebird in a sensual new production of the classic ballet.  One day Prosper is looking through the fetish personals – not looking for a date, just out of curiosity (has anyone not done that? I thought so!), when she finds one that sounds like it is describing her.

As she is drawn into a “no strings attached” D/s relationship, Prosper is pushed closer and closer to confronting her drive to be perfect and its unhealthy roots.  As she explores her needs as a submissive, she is pushed to greater expression on stage.  Finally, she learns to be honest with her own desires.

One of the scenes I especially loved in this book was Prosper and Jackson’s first night together.  A lot of people think of the pushy and shouty style of dominance as being How It Is Done, but this is a great example of slow and sensual power.  There is something so hot about the Dom who can be all calm and quiet because he’s just absolutely sure he’s in charge.  The slow-burn style of domination involves Prosper being tied and, since it’s the first night, just touched.  It sounds so simple.  Even boring.  Who would do that?  A really mean sadist, that’s who!  This scene plays out with so much tension and desire.  I was thoroughly pulled in.

The contrast of the demands of ballet and those of Prosper’s new relationship is also beautifully rendered.  I think a lot of submissives tend to drive themselves to be perfect, as Prosper does, and part of Jackson’s role is to make sure she is not neglecting her own well-being.  This really gets into the safety and nurturing that a good relationship can offer us.  I’ve read other books by Annabel Joseph before this one, and one thing she really gets and is able to portray in her characters is how deep trauma can lie, and how having the support of the right relationship and having one’s needs met can help so immensely in healing.

I would recommend Firebird to anyone who enjoys a love story as much as they enjoy searing hot erotica.  If you want a heroine who has faced challenges and endured hurt, but finds a better life waiting at the end of it, this is a book to check out.  Finally, this is the sort of book that walks that fine line: it’s not a sanitized “everything is great all the time!” version of kink, nor is it a “kink is evil and weird!” sort of book.  That middle ground is hard to find in fiction, but it always reads true to me since it comes off as being more real.

Review – Pipedream Icicles #34

This is possibly the best example ever of two awesome things I love combining and . . . being massively disappointing.  Some things go together beautifully.  Glass and hands-free vibrators are not two of those things.  I wanted this toy for ages.  I wanted – nay, needed  a hands free wearable vibrator, but so many of them are nasty jelly or crap like that.  I already knew I loved glass.  (I have an unreasonable number of glass toys, and I always want another one because they’re just so damn pretty and shiny.)  Icicles #34 seemed meant for me.  It was calling my name.  But you know, someone can call your name all sexy-like and still suck in bed.

Cutest penis EVAR.

Cutest penis EVAR.

The design of this piece is similar to those wearable vibrators of questionable materials I’d been eyeing.  It’s meant to strap on against your vulva and stimulate the entire outer region, while the tiny penis part sits inside the vagina.  The curved outer section is about 4” long, while the insertable section is 3” long and 3” around at the head.  If I were judging on comfort alone, this would be a win.  I could wear this all day.  That is, IF the straps were sturdier and not utterly unnecessarily baffling.  I am a fan of internal and external stimulation at the same time, but neither of these things worked to my liking.  It fit fine, but then it just sat there, like a vaginal freeloader, doing nothing at all.

I understand the snaps, and the adjustable slidey bits, but why are there ALSO lingerie-style clasps?  WHY?

I understand the snaps, and the adjustable slidey bits, but why are there ALSO lingerie-style clasps? WHY?

The internal part is nowhere near girthy enough, and I don’t think that’s due to my vast experience.  It’s ultimately forgettable, as in, you will probably forget you are being penetrated.  Even if you like slimmer toys, I just think this is too slim for something that ALSO offers so little in the Vroom department.

It feels like . . . nothing.  I enjoy pretty strong vibrations, but I think this would be too weak even for the more sensitive of clit owners.    The thing about this is, the vibration action is delivered by a small bullet vibe powered by three AAA batteries, and those are okay DIRECTLY on the clit, but far too weak to work with this glass piece. I ended up being able to feel the vibrations, but only in the most vague and teasing way.  There is no way this could cause an orgasm.  Not going to happen.   After experimenting with Pressing my Halo Wand and Hitachi against the outside of it (which is usually awesome with my other glass toys), I think the issue is more with the design of the toy and not the lack of power alone.  Even my more powerful wand vibes made this feel “interesting” – nowhere near “skin-meltingly erotic”.  The vibrator part has various speeds and patterns, and I normally love patterns, but on this I really could not tell much difference at all.

A final minor annoyance, but one I know I am not alone on  – it’s pink, it’s ONLY available in pink, PINK, BITCHES!

Pictured: a bunch of other, more attractive glass toys ostracizing the PINK! one.  I know I shouldn't allow this behavior, but damn it they have a point!

Pictured: a bunch of other, more attractive glass toys ostracizing the PINK! one. I know I shouldn’t allow this behavior, but damn it they have a point!

ONE good thing about this toy is that the straps will actually fit a large size range.  I am a US 10/12, and need the straps cinched nearly all the way they’ll go.  A very slim person might have trouble getting them small enough.  But hey, ANY person might have trouble feeling that this is stable since the straps are flimsy as hell.  I would like to offer kudos to recognizing body diversity, but I suspect that was not the main goal here.

Finally, I can’t really criticize this toy without talking more broadly about Pipedream as a company.  I used to buy a lot of their products** before I became aware of their racist and sexist bullshit.  Now that I know more about the company, these more disappointing purchases seem less like toys that just didn’t work for my anatomy, and more like products designed by people who hate women.  Why would I trust a misogynist to design something to give me pleasure?  It would be stupid to walk into a vegetarian restaurant and ask for a delicious steak, and that’s what it feels like expecting a company like this to do anything good for my vagina.

It’s been a while since I got this toy, and it looks like it’s been discontinued.  Even so, I still see it for sale in bricks and mortar stores in my area so hopefully there’s still time to warn others before they suffer my fate.  This toy does not care about your vagina, not even a little bit.  You deserve better.

**I have decided not to buy anything of theirs in the future, but I still own a lot of their toys which I will probably end up reviewing on here.