The Imperative of Desire (Passing Rites Book 1) by Elena Graf ~ my review

“The Imperative of Desire” is book no.1 in Elena Graf’s Passing Rites historical fiction series.

The cover shows a young woman dressed in a belle époque dress reading on a rocking chair. It impersonates the main character’s biggest desire: to learn, to get educated, to have the career she loves and to become the woman she was supposed to be.

The title shows not the most important imperative in Margarethe’s life, but the one she can’t live without. She has so many unavoidable duties in her life:

  • she needs to assure the inheritance of the von Stahle family, so she needs to have a husband and children
  • she needs to follow her father’s and her aunt’s guidance to become an educated woman to be worth the von Stahle name
  • if she wants to be successful in her career, she needs to break all the patriarchy set by most doctors being male

“Definition of imperative

1not to be avoided or evaded: necessary

  • an imperative duty

2aof, relating to, or constituting the grammatical mood that expresses the will to influence the behavior of another

bexpressive of a command, entreaty, or exhortation

chaving power to restrain, control, and direct”

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/imperative

“In this case, the imperative of desire can be considered similar to philosopher Immanuel Kant’s hypothetical imperative, which in 18th century’s ethics was a rule of conduct that is understood to apply to an individual only if he or she desires a certain end and has chosen (willed) to act on that desire. Although hypothetical imperatives may be expressed in various ways, their basic logical form is: “If you desire X (or not X), you should (or should not) do Y.” The conduct urged in a hypothetical imperative may be the same as or different from that commanded by a conventional moral law. For example: “If you want to be trusted, you should always tell the truth”; “If you want to become rich, you should steal whenever you can get away with it”; and “If you want to avoid heartburn, you should not eat capsaicin.” Hypothetical imperatives are contrasted with “categorical” imperatives, which are rules of conduct that, by their form— “Do (or do not do) Y”—are understood to apply to all individuals, no matter what their desires. Examples corresponding to those above are: “Always tell the truth”; “Steal whenever you can get away with it”; and “Do not eat capsaicin.” For Kant there is only one categorical imperative in the moral realm. Nevertheless, he formulated it in two ways: “Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law” and “So act as to treat humanity…always as an end, and never as only a means.””

https://www.britannica.com/topic/hypothetical-imperative

The book is written at first person, from Margarethe’s point of view, which is quite good, making her more imposing.

The world spins around Margarethe von Stahle.

The main character is Margarethe von Stahle an aristocrat from an old Prussian family, an Oxford educated young female doctor with a bright future and a wonderful family, yet there’s a certain imperative of desire, which in her case would be her attraction for women.

The plot follows her life during the belle époque, through the World War 1 and during a decadent demimonde of the Weimar Republic

She is such a complex and unique character, to whom you are first intellectually attracted and rather afterwards physically.

This is an elaborated coming of age story of such an unusual girl and woman to be, a genius of her times, where she could be favored by her noble title, but flawed by her gender when she became one of the few young female surgeons in Weimar Republic Germany.

Even from a small age, Margarethe is brilliant and precocious, as her tutors and her military father and her grandaunt observe. Her grandaunt, the headmistress of a convent school (Obberoth) which the family sustains, also, helps in educating the young woman and leads her to the developing path even deeper, as encouraging her to read Ancient Greek and Latin. And then, there is also a former opera singer who became a nun which enriches Margarethe’s musical talent. Not yet knowing which career path to choose (music or medical school), she heads to Oxford following in her father’s footsteps.

Margarethe’s relationship with her mother is cold and it has some influence in her life, she is choosing the opposite of whatever her mother wanted her to be, follow her father’s advices, her grandaunt’s teachings and her own mind and partially her heart. Her mother never had any real burden on her shoulders, she was just upset she couldn’t have a son. Margarethe was the only child and the only heir and she wasn’t the typical the young aristocrat female who’s only goal in life was to produce offspring, she wanted more, she craved to be a scientist, to live an interesting life, to love women, but she has always done her duty towards her family.

England becomes her second home and the place where she evolves most. She is called Meg, an easier name to remember or “the Lady Doctor” and she makes there a lots of friends, fellow physicians (Charles Calder), role models (dr. Sauerbruch, Abrams or Abbott), her future husband Lytton and special, intelligent women in her life(Alexandra Calder, Elise Seidl, Daphne Richardson).

Also, I enjoyed Virginia Wollf’s, Vita Sackville-West’s and Mary Campbell’s involvement in the development of the story.

I liked the complexity of the plot a lot. I can’t reveal much of it because it can only be revealed all at once, poured as a waterfall. I imagined Margarethe’s character as a shining diamond with it’s rough edges, complex and imperfect, yet so pure.

This is not an easy read, nor a romance, it’s historical fiction mixed with coming of age nuances and many current and past themes touched. A wonderful read.

I recommend the whole “Passing Rites” series, especially if you don’t want an easy read, or just a romantic lesfic, but a thick plot with versatile details and exciting surprises and complex flawed characters.

The Stripper ~ a wattpad story by Evelin Sousa

“The Stripper” is a wattpad story by Evelin Sousa is a fanfic about Klara Camilla Cabello and Lauren Jaregui who sang together in the Fifth Harmony group band.

It is originally written in Portugese, but there is also an English translation on wattpad done by another user.

You need to install the watpadd application on your phone and search for this free story :

Karla Camila Cabello Estrabao is a Cuban-born American singer and songwriter.

Cabello was born in Havana Cuba, to Sinuhe Estrabao and Alejandro Cabello. She grew up in the town of Cojímar in East Havana. Her father was born in Mexico City and is a Mexican who moved to Cuba. She has a younger sister named Sofia.For most of her early life, Cabello and her family moved back and forth between Havana and Mexico City. When Cabello was six years old, she relocated to Miami, Florida, in the United States, with her mother; her father was unable to obtain a visa at the time and joined the family approximately 18 months later.

Lauren Michelle Jauregui Morgado is an American singer and songwriter. Jauregui was born on June 27, 1996 in Miami, Florida to Cuban parents Michael Jauregui and Clara Morgado. She has a younger sister called Taylor. Her father is a plant manager, and her mother is a teacher, who moved to the United States when Fidel Castro came to power. Jauregui has mostly Cuban ancestry and some Spanish.

Other names from the story  are from the girl group Free Harmony where Lauren and Camila sang together with Normani, Ally Brooke and Dinah Jane.

“The Stripper” is Karla / Camilla’s story. She had a great childhood in Miami, but since her father started gambling their family broke apart. He lost all the money and left Camila and her mother and her sister, Sophie, bankrupt and at the mercy of their friends/neighbours. Camila is the only one who can help out by getting a job. The movie starts with Camila failing to find a job due to her lack of experience and in a café she meets Candace, who promises to help her out and make her life better. Candace is the owner of “Imperium”, once a high rated night club in Miami which now faces hard times. Candace sees in Camila a gem (a goldmine) and so, “Karla” is born, the one who will become the star dancer of “Imperium” and gets the nickname “the untouchable”, because she never goes out with clients, she is just a dancer, that was Camila and Candace’s agreement. Karla has a very sexy body and dances amazing, she also wears a mask everytime she dances to hide her face. Camila sustains her mother and her sister and she also finds a great job as the secretary of the presidency at the great multinational company of the Jauregui family.

She lives this double life in peace:  sweet Camila during the day / wild and sexy Karla Friday’s and Saturday’s night at “Imperium”, until one day this beautiful woman comes to see her dance. Karla is mesmerized and has eyes only for her, dances only for her, without even knowing her name.

The next day, Camila goes to work to find out that her former boss Richard is replaced by the daughter of Mike Pugliese, the owner of the company. And so, Camila finds herself face to face with Lauren Jauregui. Camila almost faints out of shock of seeing her so close and staring in the eyes of the woman for whom “Karla” danced the previous night. Camila will be Lauren’s secretary. And, Camila can’t help for falling for Lauren.

But, how about Karla? What / Who does Karla want?

“The Stripper” is also Lauren’s story. Lauren Jauregui is the oldest daughter of the Jauregui family. She spent most of her life in Miami, but after working at her family’s company she decided to go to Paris to take care of the French branch of the business. She is famous, rich & beautiful and wanted by many women out of interest. That was one of the reasons she broke up with her former fiancée. It all took a different turn, when her father got diagnosed with Alzheimer. He had to give up being the president of his business and his son couldn’t do it and his youngest daughter was too young for it, so the only choice was Lauren. Reluctantly, Lauren returns to Miami to take over the family business. She rekindles old friendships, Veronica is her childhood friend and the one she did crazy things with during adolescence. Veronica pops up at the right time everytime, creating embarrassing moments for Lauren and hitting on Camila (I found her hilarious and hot!).

During Lauren’s first evening in Miami, Vero shows up and drags Lauren to this fabulous club called “Imperium”. Of course, Lauren wants to get out of there, calls Vero names for bringing her in a strip club, she was a known businesswoman now with a reputation to keep, what would people say if they saw her there. That stops, well the whole world stops, when the lights go out and Karla starts to dance. Lauren is mesmerized and in awe of admiration for the woman and wants her at all costs. We can say Lauren is obsessed with Karla.   

This story is very sexy, containing hot as hell or even erotic scenes between the main characters.

 They have such compatibility and send an amazing sexy message to the reader’s imagination.

Of course, there will be drama, as Sinu, Camila’s mother finds out about her being Karla and calls her names, also she can’t see her sister Sophie much and she wished she could get her out of that house, as her their father seems to have returned in her mother’s and sister’s lives.

Lauren and Karla have exquisite and sexy interludes, while Lauren and Camila share a lot of smiles and good times as they know each other better after working more that they should together.

It’s amazing how Lauren doesn’t realize that Karla is Camila and vice-versa. She is too infatuated with Karla (who wears a mask everytime they meet) and she barely sees Camila as a woman. But day by day events, seeing how amazing Camila is she starts to notice how beautiful, sweet, competent and intelligent she is. She notices how alike Karla and Camila look, yet how different also, so much that she can’t see the truth before her eyes. There is a war inside Lauren, as she can’t decide whom she wants more: Karla or Camila. If she only knew one was both!

Veronica likes Camila and   that is a noticeable sign for Lauren, also.

Then Lauren takes Camila to her parent’s house in Los Angeles, where Camila meets Lauren’s parents Mike and Clara and her sister Taylor. They really get along, but Lauren still can’t cope with Mike’s illness and after some awkward moments between them, but Camila helps Lauren all through them. I enjoyed the part when Lauren spies on Camila while exiting the bathroom naked and still not realizing the resemblance between her and Karla (must be the angelic face)

I loved all the witty and funny situations. There are many ups and down’s.

I liked the part where Camila dreams of Lauren, it’s really cute and funny (and imagine that Lauren is dreaming of Karla).

I loved the side characters: Vero, Wesley, Normani, Camila’s roomates and friends: Ally and Dinah, the jealous friend, Austin

I adore Brazilians, they are happy people, passionate people and they always have a party and laugh a lot, their Latin blood being evident. I loved the warmth, the passion  between and of the characters, then the drama and the jealousy between them, also.

This wattpad stoy  it is one of the most passionate lesbian stories I have ever read about. I loved it and I highly recommend it for everyone: lesbian, gay, LBGT and straight attendance.

The story of Camila/Karla and Lauren goes further. I won’t disclose the future chapters because I will spoil the development of the plot. All I can say is that is really hot and there are more side characters that join the drama / intrigue: Candece (owner of the Imperium club) and Alexa (Lauren’s-ex) and Lauren’s most daring business opponent Keana-Marie Issartel (who happens to know Camila).

There are so many questions left :

Will Lauren discover Camila is Karla?

Will Camilla and Lauren have a relationship?

Will Candece’s and Alexa’s plan work?

Is Keana-Marie Issartel going to conquer Camila?

Who’s Michelle Morgado?

I loved this story. And I absolutely recommend it.

A group of actors created Ponto Acao production (Natalie Smith, Priscilla Pugliese and Rodrigo Tardelli) made a Brazilian webseries “The Stripper” is inspired by the story written by Evelin Sousa.

You can watch “The Stripper” webseries for free on youtube :

The Stripper ~ Brazilian web series with Natalie Smith and Priscilla Pugliesse

The title of the webseries “The Stripper” is related to the fanfic story with the same name written by Evelin Sousa which inspired it.

The wattpad story by Evelin Sousa is a fanfic about Klara Camilla Cabello and Lauren Jaregui.

The Brazilian webseries “The Stripper” is inspired by the book with some differences.

The webseries has one season and 10 episodes, an episode has between 14-25 minutes.

The webseries’ original language is Brazilian with English subtitles.

The names: Camila/Karla Smith (played by Natalie Smith) and Lauren Pugliese (played by Priscilla Pugliese)

Natalie Smith and Lauren Pugliese also star in another lesbian webseries who has great success:

“A Melhor Amiga Da Noiva” (“The Bride’s Best Friend”) ~ there is a fan #natiese attached to it.

In the webseries the main characters kept their real last names and took over Camila/Klara’s and Lauren’s first names.

Karla Camila Cabello Estrabao is a Cuban-born American singer and songwriter.

Cabello was born in Havana Cuba, to Sinuhe Estrabao and Alejandro Cabello. She grew up in the town of Cojímar in East Havana. Her father was born in Mexico City and is a Mexican who moved to Cuba. She has a younger sister named Sofia.For most of her early life, Cabello and her family moved back and forth between Havana and Mexico City. When Cabello was six years old, she relocated to Miami, Florida, in the United States, with her mother; her father was unable to obtain a visa at the time and joined the family approximately 18 months later.

Lauren Michelle Jauregui Morgado is an American singer and songwriter. Jauregui was born on June 27, 1996 in Miami, Florida to Cuban parents Michael Jauregui and Clara Morgado. She has a younger sister called Taylor. Her father is a plant manager, and her mother is a teacher, who moved to the United States when Fidel Castro came to power. Jauregui has mostly Cuban ancestry and some Spanish.

Karla Delevigne is similar to Cara Delavigne a famous international lesbian model.

Other names from the movie are from the girl group Free Harmony where Lauren and Camila sang together with Normani, Ally Brooke and Dinah Jane.

In the webseries Karla speaks Spanish as a Cuban born, while Camila speaks Portugese (it is another way to distract Lauren from seeing the truth).

“The Stripper” is Karla / Camilla’s story. She had a great childhood in Miami, but since her father started gambling their family broke apart. He lost all the money and left Camila and her mother and her sister, Sophie, bankrupt and at the mercy of their friends/neighbours. Camila is the only one who can help out by getting a job. The movie starts with Camila failing to find a job due to her lack of experience and in a café she meets Candace, who promises to help her out and make her life better. Candace is the owner of “Imperium”, once a high rated night club in Sao Paulo which now faces hard times. Candace sees in Camila a gem (a goldmine) and so, “Karla” is born, the one who will become the star dancer of “Imperium” and gets the nickname “the untouchable”, because she never goes out with clients, she is just a dancer, that was Camila and Candace’s agreement. Karla has a very sexy body and dances amazing, she also wears a mask everytime she dances to hide her face. Camila sustains her mother and her sister and she also finds a great job as the secretary of the presidency at the great multinational company of the Pugliese family.

She lives this double life in peace:  sweet Camila during the day / wild and sexy Karla Friday’s and Saturday’s night at “Imperium”, until one day this beautiful woman comes to see her dance. Karla is mesmerized and has eyes only for her, dances only for her, without even knowing her name.

The next day, Camila goes to work to find out that her former boss Richard is replaced by the daughter of Mike Pugliese, the owner of the company. And so, Camila finds herself face to face with Lauren Pugliese. Camila almost faints out of shock of seeing her so close and staring in the eyes of the woman for whom “Karla” danced the previous night. Camila will be Lauren’s secretary. And, Camila can’t help for falling for Lauren.

But, how about Karla? What / Who does Karla want?

“The Stripper” is also Lauren’s story. Lauren Pugliese is the oldest daughter of the Pugliese family. She spent most of her life in Sao Paulo, but after working at her family’s company she decided to go to Paris to take care of the French branch of the business. She is famous, rich & beautiful and wanted by many women out of interest. That was one of the reasons she broke up with her former fiancée. It all took a different turn, when her father got diagnosed with Alzheimer. He had to give up being the president of his business and his son couldn’t do it and his youngest daughter was too young for it, so the only choice was Lauren. Reluctantly, Lauren returns to Sao Paulo to take over the family business. She rekindles old friendships, Veronica is her childhood friend and the one she did crazy things with during adolescence. Veronica pops up at the right time everytime, creating embarrassing moments for Lauren and hitting on Camila (I found her hilarious and hot!).

During Lauren’s first evening in Sao Paulo, Vero shows up and drags Lauren to this fabulous club called “Imperium”. Of course, Lauren wants to get out of there, calls Vero names for bringing her in a strip club, she was a known businesswoman now with a reputation to keep, what would people say if they saw her there. That stops, well the whole world stops, when the lights go out and Karla starts to dance. Lauren is mesmerized and in awe of admiration for the woman and wants her at all costs. We can say Lauren is obsessed with Karla.

This webseries is very sexy, containing hot as hell scenes between the main characters.

 They have such compatibility and send an amazing virtual message on the screen.

 Natalie Smith and Priscilla Pugliese share one of the hottest kisses I have ever seen between two women on the screen. They have great talent at that.

Of course, there will be drama, as Sinu, Camila’s mother finds out about her being Karla and calls her names, also she can’t see her sister Sophie much and she wished she could get her out of that house, as her their father seems to have returned in her mother’s and sister’s lives.

Lauren and Karla have exquisite and sexy interludes, while Lauren and Camila share a lot of smiles and good times as they know each other better after working more that they should together.

It’s amazing how Lauren doesn’t realize that Karla is Camila and vice-versa. She is too infatuated with Karla (who wears a mask everytime they meet) and she barely sees Camila as a woman. But day by day events, seeing how amazing Camila is she starts to notice how beautiful, sweet, competent and intelligent she is. She notices how alike Karla and Camila look, yet how different also, so much that she can’t see the truth before her eyes. There is a war inside Lauren, as she can’t decide whom she wants more: Karla or Camila. If she only knew one was both!

Veronica likes Camila and   that is a noticeable sign for Lauren, also.

Then Lauren takes Camila to her parent’s house in Rio de Janeiro, where Camila meets Lauren’s parents Mike and Clara and her sister Taylor. They really get along, but Lauren still can’t cope with Mike’s illness and after some awkward moments between them, she decides not to attend Mike’s party, but fly back to Miami.

The last episode of the first season ends up with Lauren and Camilla almost embraced and kissing in the private airplane, while a storm was roaring outside.

I loved all the witty and funny situations. There are many ups and down’s.

I liked the part where Camila dreams of Lauren, it’s really cute and funny (and imagine that Lauren is dreaming of Karla).

The main characters, Lauren and Karla/Camila are absolutely stunning and Natalie Smith and Priscilla Pugliese impersonated them with great dedication and talent.

I loved the side characters: Vero, Wesley, Normani, Camila’s roomates and friends: Ally and Dinah, the jealous friend, Austin

I adore Brazilians, they are happy people, passionate people and they always have a party and laugh a lot, their Latin blood being evident. I loved the warmth, the passion  between and of the characters, then the drama and the jealousy between them, also.

This webseries is amazing, it is one of the most passionate lesbian stories I have ever seen. I loved it and I highly recommend it for everyone: lesbian, gay, LBGT and straight attendance, especially for women who love women.

I hope they will continue to make more seasons & episodes inspired by Evelin Sousa’s fanfic “The Stripper”, to make the story of Camila/Karla and Lauren justice.

You can watch “The Stripper” webseries on youtube :

You can watch “A Melhor Amiga Da Noiva” webseries on youtube link below :

The Awkward Truth by Lee Winter ~ my review

Thank you, Lee Winter for writing about homeless people and their pets!

“The Awkward Truth” is a “The Brutal Truth” world story, as some say a “sidequel”.

Felicity was a side character in “The Brutal Truth” featuring Elena Bartell (Ice Queen of all ice queens) and Maddie.

In “The Awkward Truth” Felicity and Cooper are the main characters, while Elena and Maddie are side characters.

The title: the awkward truth somehow emulates the brutal truth mocking these adorable ice queens, as Felicity wants to be just like Elena and even imitates her in the way to climb on the career ladder until the top of the tops.

Felicity got her own story and what a story this is.

Felicity Simmons is a corporate lawyer at Bartell Corp’s. She has learned and worked all her life to impress her father who abandoned her family for his secretary, even if that ment keep a not so close relationship with her wonderful mother and sister who still lived at home in Pinckney. She wanted to be just like him, so she grabbed all that Elena Bartell gave her and worked hard for even more. In Elena (from before Maddie) she saw more than a mentor, she saw someone she wanted to be, a goal to achieve, a role model. After Elena met Maddie and changed and she announced she is leaving for Australia and wants her to be the Bartell Corp’s next COO, Felicity finally got what she wanted, yet still…she couldn’t tell her father and there was none to share it with…and more than that Elena sends her on a personal mission: Elena donated a huge amount of money to a charity called Living Ruff New York and she wants to know why the charity is closing and where did her money go.

And, so the show begins.

Felicity is more than out of her comfort zone and above all she likes the cute vet from Living Ruff.

Lee Winter plays with all the ice queen “tools” against Felicity: she needs to show compassion, for how long can she deny she loves animals and she even meets a woman who had a wealthy life previously ending up on the streets (Kristie) and she falls for a woman she feels attracted to, not the regular corporates she dates.

It is so hilarious, I totally love the new Felicity and her road to get there with all the big mistakes she will make.

Dr. Sandy Cooper loves animal and always wanted to be a vet. Her dream came true when she joined Living Ruff New York because she could both help animals and homeless people and their pets. She is caring, sweet and totally lovable.

Cooper is flawless in her goodness. She always wanted to be.

When she meets Felicity, she finds her awkward and doesn’t understand why she is here, nor why she hides behind the façade of a career climbing ruthless professional who doesn’t care about anyone or anything else. Why doesn’t she show compassion? Why doesn’t she show she loves animals? Why doesn’t she pet her dog Britanny? And why won’t she admin Loki (Felicity’s neighbour cat who visits her often) is her pet?

Well, with Elena’s little help by sending Felicity on this personal mission, all this will change dramatically for both Felicity and Cooper. With every day that passes by Cooper’s side, Felicity finds herself in front of many cute animals she can’t help to cuddle, she sees more terrible cases of people that ended up on the streets and their pets are their only support, how they can’t stay in shelters with their pets and so much more.

Felicity wants to find out what happened to Elena’s money and she discovers so many entangled issues, but she is determined to find out the truth and Cooper.

She can’t help falling for Cooper either. She is tall, red-headed with strong ties, so not Felicity’s slender corporate type. It is really funny. I liked their encounters, their banter and their lovemaking. Felicity finally gets warmth and love and her change is palpable and beautiful.

Felicity after

But, then she does a mistake: she thinks Cooper should aim for more in her career, while Cooper loves exactly what she does. That would be the turning point.

The plot is really good, Felicity’s investigation reveals something all right, I won’t reveal the outcome, because is tooo good.

The themes touched in these book are strong : homeless people’s lives, homeless people’s pets, how they choose to live together on the streets because they can’t take their pets in shelters overnight,#meetoo and women condition in society(Felicity thinks all women should be slim and she doesn’t understand why her mother and sister don’t have higher aspirations, she is totally wrong of course, because they are really happy with what they’re doing), a girl with father figure issues (Felicity’s father left the family for his secretary ~ loved the real outcome on that).

I adored the pets in this book and their homeless owners have really sad stories : Loki, Britanny, Ruby (Kristie’s dog), Lucille (Norma’s cat), Daisy (Car’l dog), Jasper (Daniel’s dog),

I liked the side characters a lot: besides Elena and Maddie, Mrs.Brooks, Harvey and Rosalind, Felicity’s mother Louise and sister Heather.

Rosalind & Harvey

Felicity’s mother Louise and sister Heather

I loved this book and I couldn’t recommend it book more.

Stella Blomkvist ~ Stella & Dagbjört lesbian story

The TV show is based on a series of popular detective novels that are still not translated into English written by the pseudonymous “Stella Blómkvist” who’s rumoured to be someone with insider knowledge in the workings of the government and its dirty laundry. The stories have Dashiell Hammett’s flavour with the cynical heroine in a cynical world. The plots might be the usual whodunnits with political undercurrents and social commentary, but it’s the main character that you’re here for. 

The first book by the pseudonymous Stella Blomkvist, The Murder in the Ministry, is the basis for the first series: Hired to defend a low-life thug accused of murder, lawyer Stella Blómkvist soon finds herself plunged into a violent political conspiracy that threatens Iceland’s very future. The series is adapted from the acclaimed ‘Stella Blómkvist’ novels, written by an anonymous author, which have captivated readers around the world since the first book was published in 1997.

Stella Blomkvist is a refreshing Icelandic TV series created by Óskar Thór Axelsson. It is a Nordic Noir or rather a Scandinoir with a sassy and darkly funny twist. It is actually a detective series with an anti-heroine who’s both a sleuth and the femme fatale, an unapologetically amoral defense lawyer who plays all the angels and likes to piss off  all the wrong people just because she can.

Her investigations in Season One include the murder of young woman Halla, an assistant to the Prime Minister of Iceland. When Stella has to represent Sæmi, who was found standing over the body covered in blood, everyone is convinced it’s an open-and-shut case. But the more she investigates, the murkier it all becomes. Secrets are uncovered that powerful people want to keep hidden, and before it’s over, a seedy trail of sex, murder, and blackmail leads Stella into a twisted maze of ruthless corruption at the very heart of government itself.

She carries a massive chip on her shoulder with authority figures, especially the corrupt ones. That makes her potentially the most dangerous person in the room even when she’s dealing with a murder suspect or the city’s deadliest crime boss. Her best friend and landlady is conveniently a nerd and computer hacker who can get any information she needs. She has to deal with a regular bunch of crooked cops, dodgy politicians, and businessmen and powerbrokers because Reykjavik is a small city and everyone who’s anyone kind of knows each other and just about all of them will come to know Stella Blómkvist, the defense attorney who knows who to fix things.

She doesn’t mind bending the rules when that is what’s demanded but she is far from immoral, as she seems to have a rather strict set a principles and a clear as well as unambiguous sense of right and wrong. As a result, Stella is a sympathetic character who manages to win the audience from the first episode, but this show is lacking strong secondary characters who would help the stories to seem more plausible and be more engaging. The ”bad” characters are nearly caricatures, or at best, they are one-dimensional and exist for the sole purpose of moving the plot forward. The pacing of the show is fast and effective and the editing is worthy of a special mention. The stories themselves, though being entertaining, are a far cry from the high standards of the best Nordic Noir television productions.

Heida Reed stars as Stella Blómkvist, a sexy, hard-nosed and quick-witted lawyer with a dark past, fluid sexuality and a taste for whiskey and easy money. Her cases always lead to danger and her latest will plunge her into a violent political conspiracy. She does everything wrong: as a young lady smoking in public places, drinking alcohol (rather expensive in Iceland), getting herself in every impossible situation you can think of. The openings scene is not for children or for very prudent people. But if you are neither you will love Stella Blomkvist. Dagbjört is portrayed by Sara Dögg Ásgeirsdóttir.

This is a character who’s free of angst and owns her flaws and self-destructive tendencies, including seducing an older, married, female politician partly for fun and partly for a mutually exploitative relationship. It’s refreshing to have a main character who’s not bogged down with depression or angst like US and UK crime shows.

Reed’s portrayal of Stella’s unapologetic nature is the most refreshing part of the show. Stella is an inveterate smartass who can’t stop cracking wise and poking at bears who threaten to bite her head off. The show revels in Stella’s femme fatale status and is obviously on the Male Gaze side, but it’s more entertaining than the gloomy joylessness of most British crime shows.


Of course there is a lesbian interest back story when Stella seduces Minister Dagbjört for all the wrong reasons. It is also pretty hot because there is some age gap between them and the seducing scene are pretty nice.

Watch the trailer :

Watch Stella seduces Dagbjört parts with English subtitles:

Superhero in my sleep

Sources :

https://mysterytribune.com/first-icelandic-thriller-original-stella-blomkvist-coming-to-the-screen-soon/

 http://www.lesbian-interest.eu/stella-and-dagbjort-in-stella-blomkvist/

At first glance by Melissa Tereze ~ my review

What I loved most about “At first glance” by Melissa Tereze is the acceptance and non-judgemental character of one of the main characters. This is also one of the main themes.

I read the kindle and I have, also, listened the audiobook. I loved Emma Griffiths accent and enthusiastic voice.

Imagine how it would be like that you meet an amazing woman you find attractive after so long living a dull life and she turns out to be a pole-dancer at a local strip club. You like her more and you want to understand her more, because you really, really like her and want to know her better, while your so called best friend and everyone around do anything that stands in their power to keep you two apart due to the sterotypes about strippers.

Well, that’s what happens to Faye.

Faye Holmes is a bestselling writer with a cozy yet lonely life. She lives in her home in Liverpool, spends her days writing at the local bistro and sometimes goes out with her best friend Pheobe. She is in her forties and she was hurt in a relationship before, so she tries to stay away from one, but deep inside she craves for a woman who loves her for who she is and understand her work. She really likes Talia, the new worker at the local bistro, she has those incredible dark eyes and seems to be super nice. She even asks Talia out on a drink, but she is stunned by Talia’s refusal. She thought that Talia is young and beautiful, way out of her league.

I like how Melissa Tereze created Faye: a blonde beautiful writer with a broken heart, in her forties, a little unsure on her looks compared to Talia, she even thinks she is not good enough (that was interesting), while everyone around her tell her she is too good for her or them.

One night Phoebe takes Faye somewhere new, to a strip club called Vision. And, even more she offers Faye a gift, a lap dance from one of the strippers. Faye loses herself into the familiar stripper’s eyes and dance and she is bewitched by Adria.

Talia Gregory is a 29 years old dark haired beauty who follows her dream: to dance. She has dreamed all her life to dance.  And, due to some unfortunate circumstances the only place she could dance was Vision in London as a stripper. What people don’t understand is that they are performance not only lap dancers or pole dancers, they have shows and contests. Talia has won the European title as the best pole dancer and she has worked hard for it. Unfortunately, her family doesn’t agree with her lifestyle and have abandoned her. That happened, also, with the last woman she loved, who has asked her to stop dancing at Vision and Talia refused. At one point in her life everyone judges her choices and ask her to leave dancing or they will leave. So, Talia refuses to enter a new relationship to get her heart broken again. The only one who stood by her side was and still is Jay, her best friend. But, he is in London now and Talia had to move to Liverpool to dance in the new Vision club there that Paul, the owner opened and asked her to do so, as the star of the place.

She took a job at a bistro because she worked in the club on the weekends and needed a 9-5 job during the week. She meets Faye at the bistro and she is really taken by her attire and senses a little sadness in those beautiful blue eyes that she so much wants to take away.

When Talia sees Faye enter Vision that night, she couldn’t believe it and even more when she is dancing for Faye at her friend’s request. She gives Faye her best moves and watches her intently, but Faye doesn’t seem to recognize her from the bistro. She wants to date Faye, but she is afraid dating her because in the end none wants to be in a relationship with her alter ego, Adria. That was why she refused Faye from the start.

And, Phoebe seems to really hate her.

That is the conflict: Talia can’t pursue a relationship with Faye because she thinks she will get hurt when Faye winds out about her alter ego, Adria.

Faye still goes at the bistro and enjoys Talia’s friendship.

It all changes when Phoebe tells her the truth: Adria is Talia’s alter ego.

I loved the fact that this was such a mystery for Faye, clever idea from the author.

Phoebe not only tells Faye about Talia being Adria, but also gives Faye all the reasons why she should stay away from Talia and even threatens Talia to stay away from Faye.

I enjoyed their friendship and how they learned more about each other, even cooking for each other or taking care one of another (Talia of Faye while caught up in a bad cold).

Phoebe is a bad friend and a terrible person. Faye not only cannot date Talia, because she wants only her friendship, while Pheobe keeps telling her all Talia’s flaws and does a terrible disgusting thing. Phoebe is the villain of the book, the total opposite of Faye disguised in her best friend.

Instead, Talia is encouraged by her best’s friend Jay to give her and Faye a chance after talking a little with Faye at the bistro. Talia is reluctant because of her still broken heart and Phoebe’s attitude.

A deciding point happens when Faye starts dating Jenna and accidentally brings her to the bistro. Talia sees them light kissing and that does it, she has to make a choice If she wants Faye or not.

And, this is how they relationship goes from friendship to relationship.

I loved their supportive relationship, Faye is truly an angel on how she never judges and forever defends Talia from anyone. Talia is a really beautiful person inside-out, always smiling and make everyone around laugh.

I adored their steamy scenes, awesome sex and beautiful communication.

They are a really lovely pair with a little age gap and different backgrounds, but those make it even more appealing.

I liked Faye’s mother, she is a sweetheart to Talia and loves her daughter immensely and welcomes Talia into the family.

Talia and Faye are really happy and none can change that. I love them two together. They are amazing characters.

The themes touched in the book where really good: supportive non-judgemental partner, strippers stereotypes don’t apply, egocentric best friends, age gap, job gap a.s.o

The tile: at first glance, suggests how Talia and Faye’s love started, mainly at first glance.

This book was something else. I loved every bit of it. I couldn’t recommend it more.

Gillian Anderson will play Eleanor Roosevelt in the upcoming Showtime drama “The First Lady,” a new series about first ladies

Gillian Anderson played the role of another 20th-century political powerhouse, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, for Netflix’s “The Crown.” It was undoubtedly a daunting character to inhabit because Thatcher’s mannerisms, distinctive voice and hairstyle are so well-known.

“The First Lady” series will examine the lives and work of several influential first ladies, with season one focusing on Roosevelt, Betty Ford, who will be played by Michelle Pfeiffer, and Michelle Obama, who will be portrayed by Viola Davis

“From the Iron Lady to The First Lady. Hello, @GillianA!” Showtime said in a tweet.

Anderson offered some insight into how she prepared to play the illustrious character and also how she tackles historical roles in general, saying she tries not to start out with “massive preconceptions.”

“Normally, when working on either a historical character or literary character, I find that it’s good to start from a blank slate anyway,” Anderson told The Associated Press last year. “It was helpful to have less to wipe away.”

“Gillian Anderson is an actress of incredible range and exquisite talent — she is the perfect choice to complete this powerhouse trio, who will inhabit the roles of these iconic women,” said Amy Israel, executive vice president of scripted programming at Showtime.

Trailer :

Source

https://www.today.com/popculture/gillian-anderson-will-play-eleanor-roosevelt-showtime-series-t209741

Strands by Elena Graf (Hobbs series book #7) ~ my review

It is a thrill to read each new book from the Hobbs series.

I am familiar with the characters because I have read all the previous books.

I was really anxious to see what happens next in the Hobbs universe with all the remarkable characters: Lucy, Liz, Brenda, Cherie, Sam, Olivia, Courtney, Melissa, Denise.

They are all flawed, nobody’s perfect, we all choose wrong sometimes and so are they.

That is why they are so special.

Also, they are women in their fifties or sixties, they have been through life and they have all kind of experiences, they are not the typical lesbian romance characters, they are far more complex.

In one word: they are remarkable.

And they make Hobbs a wonderful place.

I would have loved to live in Hobbs with them, if they were real and Hobbs was a real place.

It is a great achievement for Elena Graf to have created the Hobbs universe with these specials lesbian ladies over fifties.

I love their intellect and both their scientific and emotional intelligence make their communication vibrant and smart, like in no other in lesbian fiction.

I am happy that I have read all the Hobbs series books and I can’t believe this is the seventh book already and there is so much more to say and to happen in Hobbs. There are so many plot changes and new situations that  leave the reader amazed.

„Strands” is book #7 in the Hobbs series by Elena Graf.

Let’s do a little summary of the previous Hobbs series books.

The Hobbs series describes the life of a community of lesbian women in their fifties or sixties living at their best in the town of Hobbs, Maine.

In Hobbs book #1 – „High October” we are witnesses of the romantic love between Liz and Maggie, who have loved each other since college, but got separated by Maggie’s parents, she married a man and she meets Liz by accident again after forty years in Hobbs Maine and they fall in love again.

In Hobbs book #2 – „This Is My Body” we are introduced to the most original character  of them all, Mother Lucy, a former opera star at the Met Opera in New York, who has become an Episcopalian reverend and moved to Hobbs Maine, and met and fall in love with Erika, a philosophy professor and Liz’s best friend.

In Hobbs book #3 – „Love In Time Of Corona” we couldn’t wait to see Police Chief Brenda Harrison happy in love. She falls for Cherie Bois, Liz’s new medical assistant, who seems to hate Brenda and she doesn’t know why and how to make Cherie know her, the woman behind the uniform.

In Hobbs book #4 – „Thirsty Thursdays” we are excited (at least I am), to enjoy the love story between sweet architect Sam McKinnon and the almost melting ice queen, retired Wall-Street fund manager, Olivia Enright, who has become one of my favorite characters in the series, because she is just incorrigible.

In Hobbs book #5 – „The Dark Winter”, the two unexpected turning points turned the Hobbs women’s life around.

In Hobbs  book #6 – „Summer People”, we are absorbed in Melissa and Courtney’s love story. Melissa Morgenstern, a forty something trust lawyer from Boston of Jewish heritage („a willowy woman with long, dark hair and the kind of figure only the young enjoy with voltaic blue eyes”), Courtney Barnes („a pretty woman, with long, blonde hair and warm brown eyes”), the new assistant principal of the Hobbs elementary school

A special character comes in, Denise Chantal, a very attractive transgender singer who will replace Maggie as the new music director at Lucy’s church.

An unexpected surprise is another fallen angel: Susan Gedney, the woman who inspired Lucy to become a priest and also, her first lesbian lover. She looks like a „beloved elementary teacher with fading blond hair and gentle eyes with a face of saintly quality”.

Like the title and the cover suggests, „Strands” is a symbol for a united community through the ropes of the heart (love) ~ heart shaped ropes or the lover’s knot.

Significance  

“The lover’s knot or love knot has a long history of being a symbol of love. It represents the unbreakable bond and eternal connection between two lovers.

The association of knots with love has appeared in many different cultures since ancient times. These include ancient Greek jewellery, Egyptian sculptures, and Celtic knots . Meanwhile in ancient Arabia, lovers used love knots to send messages to each other.

The Celtic knots consist of unbroken loops with no beginning and end, symbolizing eternity like the love between a married couple. Yet, another folklore tells of lovers tying a love knot on a small limb of a tree. If the knot holds for a year, it means that their love will last.”

The Hobbs lesbian community definitely became more united since Liz and Lucy are a pair, yet all the other couples add value to it, like Brenda and Cherie, Courtney and Melissa.

There are so many unexpected situations and change of direction in the plot, which I really can’t tell without exposing the beauty of the book, so I won’t, for the fun of the read.

There is a new character who adds to the story: Dr. Amy Hsu, Liz colleague in the Hobbs family practice. She is of Asian heritage and she is really special. I wonder how will she adapt to the other characters and who will have her attention.

Portrait of a beautiful Asian businesswoman smiling. Horizontal shot.

There are ups and downs for each and every couple in town.

Some characters return. We were expecting this, but not in this (absolutely amazing) manner!

Brenda and Cherie are given an unexpected, yet a wonderful gift.

Sam has new life experiences and special encounters.

Olivia is tested in unexpected ways.

Denise is a special character.

Liz and Lucy are is the new power couple in Hobbs. They want to get married, yet they need to wait the church’s approval for an Episcopalian priest to marry a divorced woman. And also, Liz needs to have a couple of meetings with Lucy’s bishop. This was so much fun.

Liz is once more put in awkward and funny situations.

In this book, Liz is being tested from all sides. She is overwhelmed by her future marriage with Lucy, then at work, the pandemic is far being over and then the character who returns turns her world around.

I, also, found very interesting that Liz teaches defensive gun shooting training classes and has a strong opinion on sensitive gun control (Elena Graf nuances this opinion skillfully).

Lucy works too much and the women around notice and by trying to do good, they end doing trouble. And, who, from all the Hobbs women!

Liz is still amazed by Lucy, who seems to see her whole and all through her, how she tries to control her bluntness and her childish tendencies and her crazy libido.

They make a wonderful couple and even if they are not perfect, they are flawed and they have done their share of mistakes, they never stop learning and evolving as humans, women and never stop helping others and learn how to love from this new perspective.

They are the most humane characters I have ever read about.

They are truly exceptional.

I still love Liz – „A fallen idol is still a god.” (Elizabeth Cheresh Allen)

And I love Lucy more – „She is a saint with the lips of a sinner / She is an angel with a devilish kiss.” (n3r)

The Last Thing Mary Saw ~ lesbian movie 2022

“The Last Thing Mary Saw,” set amid a New England Puritan community in 1843, is a case study in how to do more with less. This film about forbidden love between two teenage Puritan girls unfolds in and around a handful of structures that seem to have been built during the era in which the story is set. David Kruta’s camerawork appears to use only natural light, even in scenes where candles provide the only illumination. The actors often speak in whispers, or in placid, even tones meant to hide emotion. It has a you-are-there feeling that’s unusual in low-budget period pictures.

The story begins with the title character Mary (Stefanie Scott from “Insidious 3”) in jail and blindfolded, being interrogated by a local constable (Daniel Pearce) about her crimes. We travel into the not-too-distant past and learn the details of the case: Mary began an affair with her family’s maid Eleanor (Isabelle Fuhrman of “Orphan”) after a book of Sapphic woodcut illustrations was brought into the house. The idea that a book could impel a particular sort of sexual desire to take root where none otherwise existed is ludicrous, but such are the thought processes of these communities, where the most important thing is reinforcing patriarchal hierarchies of control through intimidation and terror. 
The bulk of the film’s story is about what happens to the couple after. Mary’s parents (Carolyn McCormick and Michael Laurence) seek “correction” from the community’s matriarch (a terrifying performance byJudith Roberts first seen by genre buffs in “Eraserhead”).

What follows might be classified as a crude early form of “aversion therapy” techniques, from isolation to being forced to kneel bare-legged on dry rice for days at a time, a torture that cracks open and infects the skin. Brutal punishments are common for an array of crimes, including escape. The film takes a turn into “Heavenly Creatures” territory, with the girls considering a murder conspiracy to end their suffering; fleeing has too high a failure rate, as a limping local perimeter guard explains.

“The Last Thing Mary Saw” is so effective as a vehicle for performances, atmosphere, and period detail, and so convincing an examination of suffering under the boot-heel of a cult, that one may wish that it added up to more. One might also wonder if mislabeling might engender resentment from horror fans who have narrow taste in material and came in expecting spectacular supernatural action or gory kills with farm implements. “Children Of Corn” this definitely ain’t, but it feels like the opening installment in a filmmaking career worth following.

Watch the Trailer :

https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-last-thing-mary-saw-movie-review-2022

Source :

https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-last-thing-mary-saw-movie-review-2022

If You Kiss Me Like That by Harper Bliss ~ my review

I loved this book so much, especially because of the main characters, Gloria and Ash, and of course, because of the conflict of the plot: how do you tell your lifelong friend you are in love with her daughter after being straight all your life and living in a small town like Murraywood what will the people say or how do you tell your mother you are in love with one of her greatest friends who babysit you once? And on top of that Gloria has never been with a woman and Ash doesn’t want another relationship after her failed marriage.

Gloria Young has been Ash mother’s friend since forever. She is a nurse in Murraywood living on her own and building back her life after losing her husband years ago and learning how to be a single mother for her two daughters. Now, she is in her fifties and her daughters are all grown up and her life is settled, but empty.

anna-chancellor-as-gloria-young

Ashley Cooper is an accomplished professional in her forties earning plenty of money in London, but has a failed marriage to forget and stop assuming the blame for it and for working way too much and didn’t have time for her wife.  

noomi-rapace-as-ash-cooper

Gloria and Ash seem from two worlds apart, yet at Ash’s mother retirement party, something special seems to bind them.

And after that faithful encounter they seem to get along really well, even though Ash lives in London and Gloria in Murraywood.  I loved the utterly distinctive conversations between two mature women: their thoughts, their worries, the conflict on how to tell Ash’s mother, even though there isn’t a relationship between them yet, but they feel a very strong attraction towards each other.

I liked Ash’s family very much: her mother, her father and her brother are open minded people regarding many things including their daughter’s queerness. But will they understand Gloria’s bisexuality and her relationship with their daughter/sister?

A sweet and loving book, I totally recommend.

I love Harper Bliss’s romance writing, especially the age gap lesbian romances.

I liked the author’s choice of character’s imaginative cast :

https://www.harperbliss.com/2020/07/09/fantasy-casting-if-you-kiss-me-like-that/

CJWerlinger

Literary Fiction with a Twist

K'Anne Meinel

The Place for Romance, Drama, Murder and a little bit MORE

Online Psychological Research with Labvanced.com

Online Psychological Research Platform

carly books

I read lots of books, from mythology retellings to literary fiction and I love to reread books from childhood, this is a place to voice my thoughts for fun. I also like to ramble about things such as art or nature every now and again.

BRAINCHILD

gehadsjourney.wordpress.com

Jude in the Stars

Sapphic book reviews and other life stuff

Doña Dulcinea

The Sun Shines Behind The Clouds Through The Raindrops Falling On My Head

CJWerlinger

Literary Fiction with a Twist

K'Anne Meinel

The Place for Romance, Drama, Murder and a little bit MORE

Online Psychological Research with Labvanced.com

Online Psychological Research Platform

carly books

I read lots of books, from mythology retellings to literary fiction and I love to reread books from childhood, this is a place to voice my thoughts for fun. I also like to ramble about things such as art or nature every now and again.

BRAINCHILD

gehadsjourney.wordpress.com

Jude in the Stars

Sapphic book reviews and other life stuff

Doña Dulcinea

The Sun Shines Behind The Clouds Through The Raindrops Falling On My Head

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