Friday, May 16, 2014

Blog Tour - REFLECTION & GUEST BLOG by Elene Sallinger

(The Chrysalis Series #2)
by Elene Sallinger
Released: May 6, 2014, Sourcebooks Casablanca  Amazon.UK  Amazon.AUS
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The moment Bridget Ross and Connor Reynolds run into each other on the street – quite literally while out on a run – tempers flare. But when the two get together for an apology coffee date, it’s clear that the coffee isn’t the only thing steaming.

Connor is a charming artist without purpose. His own tragic pas prevents him from putting down roots or committing to anything. Bridget is feisty but guarded. She’s aching to fill a void in her life but is wracked with guilt over her past and denies herself true pleasure. Can this gorgeous man tempt Bridget to finally succumb to her desires?

(The Chrysalis Series #2)
by Elene Sallinger
ARC Review
Released: May 6, 2014, Sourcebooks Casablanca

My rating: 4 of 5 ⭐️

Bridget Ross appears to have her life together. Professor at a small college, good friends, nice dog and plenty of social interaction. But underneath that polished and slightly reserved exterior she hides a traumatic history that has left such an impact, it has changed the way she sees the world and more importantly, how she sees herself.

Connor Reynolds has perfect balance in his life. Or so he tells himself. He works to take care of his immediate needs, he uses his camera as a creative outlet and he paints to feed his soul. On top of that he knows exactly who he is. But when an innocent tangle of dogs in the park brings him to his knees in front of a beautiful woman, he feels his world tilting.

Charmed, but also a little apprehensive, Bridget tries to resist the persistent attentions of the much younger Connor, but with his gentle persuasion he manages to convince her to take a chance on him. But will Connor be able to release the fire Bridget is keeping so tightly contained inside?


Another fabulous book in the Chrysalis Series by Elene Sallinger!! A standalone novel with characters from the first book making their appearance, but this is a story all in itself. 

I found REFLECTION to have a bit less of an edge than AWAKING, in that the plot was more predictable, there was less darkness in the build-up, less tension. The overall result was a very emotional journey for both main characters, actually. Although Connor's need for "reflection" did not become obvious - to him at least - until the final chapters of the book.

Bridget has reprogrammed her sensual development after a traumatic experience gave her a negative association, resulting in rather stunted and unfulfilling emotional and sexual relationships. Not to mention some massive trust issues she has still not been able to work through. And by my calculations, this event was more than half her life-time ago. That counts for a lot of years of damaging inner dialogue, without any apparent proper counseling to mitigate the effects. No wonder this woman cannot open herself up after simply unloading her past as if that is a magic healing. 

Connor faces a similar emotional damaging pattern, except that for him it doesn't affect something inside him, but something that he can control - or thinks he can control - externally, painting. Of course the control is something Connor craves, something he would like to explore with Bridget. The dom in him is torn between knowing what she needs and honoring what she wants. He is so focused on her, that he loses sight of his own responsibilities and shortcomings.

An ironic parallel, not seen by either of the main characters, but needed to be put in focus by a third party. I guess Bridget did see at some point, but Connor needed to be told, which was a bit of a disappointment in all honesty. 

I enjoyed this couple together, I liked Connor's irreverent nature and the way Bridget could let go when she wanted to. The chemistry was there, the heat was there, but I feel we never got to the point where we see them truly reach all their potential until the very last. I would've enjoyed more exploration.

Elene Sallinger's writing is excellent, her style is flowing and sharp. Not necessarily 'easy reading' but not too complex either, simply writing with some substance. A good author to choose if you are looking for some literary bite on your erotica!

✨A careful and sensual exposure..✨

**Copy provided in return for an honest review.**

The Heart of the BDSM Power Exchange
by Elene Sallinger

When asked to write a guest post, I was asked to expound upon why I thought people would be drawn to the power exchange of BDSM. It is my personal opinion, that the reasons are so varied as to be impossible to narrow them down into a cogent post. However, what can be discussed is the nature of the power exchange itself. To put it as simply as possible, I believe that the power exchange in D/s-M/s is really symbiotic and synergistic and not an either/or, you vs. me scenario. And, it is this symbiosis to which I believe people are drawn.

Symbiosis was a concept I struggled with when I was first introduced to it in high school biology. I was raised in a highly competitive environment where my sisters and I were encouraged to compete against each other for parental approval. As such, I didn’t grow up with a point of reference for a relationship that by its very nature is synergistic. And, for me, those two words define a healthy D/s-M/s relationship – symbiotic and synergistic.

In a symbiotic relationship, two or more individuals are inter-dependent upon one another for the relationship to succeed. D/s-M/s relationships are obviously symbiotic, but they take this a step further than vanilla relationships because of the negotiated role. There is no Master without a slave and a Dominant can’t dominate without a submissive. Therefore, both parties are necessary to the relationship for it to even exist.

You could take a broad stroke and say that every relationship is symbiotic and I think that is a fair statement, but why I think it is particularly important in D/s-M/s is because of the roles involved and the relinquishment of authority. Trust, compassion and consideration are required in exponentially higher quantities in D/s-M/s, simply because of the overt potential for harm to one’s psyche and person.

What I believe is beautiful about D/s-M/s is the synergism that results when the relationship is handled the right way. In a healthy relationship, both parties become something greater than themselves and the relationship itself is the engine that drives their growth. The specific definition of synergy is “two or more things functioning together to produce a result not independently obtainable.” I think these types of relationship do exactly that. A submissive has a need to submit. There are things they may not do of their own volition for whatever reason. The desire to please along with the trust they have for their Dom or Master gives them the incentive and courage to try something they may not otherwise do. Without their Dom or Master they would not achieve this.

A healthy vanilla relationship can be synergistic, but I don’t believe it is an inherent quality of vanilla relationships because of the live and let live principle. I may encourage or suggest things to my partner and he does not have to comply. Therefore, something that may be of true benefit to him may never be experienced because I don’t have the authority to compel him to try it and vice versa. I can say conclusively that there are things my partner has recommended that I didn’t do because he couldn’t compel me to that I've come to regret immensely. I now live with a lot of what ifs.
Okay, so my next words are might raise an uproar, but I see a leader, any leader, as the ultimate servant. Therefore, I see the Dominant or Master as serving the relationship. Does this mean they are submissive? No. A submissive serves by yielding to their Dom/Master. Does it mean they are serving their submissive/slave? Yes, insofar as it is required in order to fulfill the needs of the sub/slave because a Dom/Master serves by leading. But, what is service really. Merriam-Webster has the definition, “contribution to the welfare of others.” Is this not what the Dom/Master does? I would say whole heartedly they contribute to the welfare of their sub/slave.

There are two great quotes that I love around this topic:

"To help others become something that they could never on their own become, is putting value into that other person." ~ Unknown

"A person who is worthy of being a leader wants power not for himself, but in order to be of service." ~ US Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr.

The latter sums up my feelings on what a Dom/Master’s responsibility is … to fulfill the needs of the sub/slave and by virtue of that, serve their own. You see, my belief is that the Dom/Master is a caretaker first and foremost. They have an inherent need to take care of and elevate their sub/slave. Because of the nature of the submissive/slave, they often must take a hard line and be firm. So, in my opinion, what distinguishes the Dom/Master is the will to act.

All of this is a very long way of saying that I believe that all D/s-M/s relationships whether poly or not, are inherently symbiotic because the role of each person cannot exist without the other and they are synergistic because, by fulfilling these roles successfully, the resulting dynamic for all parties is greater than what any one of the individuals could achieve on their own.

I'll also state for the record that my comments pertain to healthy relationships and not abusive ones where a sub has abdicated all personal responsibility and is really more of a parasite or ones where the Dom/Master is really just looking for a punching bag whether physically or emotionally. I don't believe those are true D/s-M/s relationships.

Hailing from Washington, D.C., Elene Sallinger first caught the writing bug in 2004 after writing and illustrating several stories for her then four-year-old daughter. Her writing career has encompassed two award-winning children’s stories, a stint as a consumer-education advocate, as well as writing her debut novel, Awakening – a novel of erotic fiction that won the New Writing Competition at the Festival of Romance 2011.


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