Sunday, 14 September 2014

Book Review - School's In Session

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School’s In Session is a collection of five books by Celeste Jones, Dinah McLeod, Kate Richards, Maggie Carpenter and Renee Rose all with a Back To School theme.

I can’t work out if that’s a weird theme for a collection of spanking books or not. On the one hand, I’m sure I’m not the only person whose early spanking fantasies all took place in the classroom. But on the other, if I think ‘school spanking story’, it does immediately bring to mind schoolteachers spanking schoolchildren which is clearly not what’s on offer here. Blushing Books are running a respectable publishing house and the spanking of minors is strictly verboten. 

The spanking of miners, however, is probably OK

The writers have therefore come up with an imaginative bunch of scenarios which fit the school spanking theme. There’s a grad student being spanked by her professor, a couple of mature students (one rather maturer than the other) getting spanky with one another, a kindergarten teacher on the receiving end of discipline from the headmaster, a nineteenth century rebel forced to marry the local schoolmaster and an aspiring writer with designs on the tutor at her writing adult education class.

I’m reviewing each of the books separately but would strongly advise you to buy the whole boxset for both money-saving reasons and getting-yourself-a-whole-heap-of-spanky-goodness-to-read reasons.
I’m going to start with the best because I don't hold with leaving the best til last in any situation. Give me the good stuff now, I say. And there’s plenty of good stuff in The Professor’s Girl.

Lucy is a graduate student who also works as lab assistant for sexy science professor, Dr Todd. There’s kind of an employer/employee relationship going on here but it didn’t stress me out the way the employer/employee relationship did in Renee’s recent book, Yes, Doctor.  Although that one was also a doctor/patient thing which flouted all kinds of professional guidelines. So does Professor/student probably but apparently I’m fine with that.

Although there is already mutual attraction between Lucy and Todd, neither of them have done anything about it. The relationship steps up a gear when the pair run in to one another at a spanking party. Todd is a regular attendee with whom the hostess likes to entrust her spankee newbies knowing they will be in good hands. Lucy is a first timer.

It’s the perfect setup.  Our heroes' level of experience is established, everyone knows they’re on the same spanking page and they all get to be both embarrassed and extraordinarily turned on. There’s no spanking between them at the party. Things don’t happen between them for a while although Lucy does a wonderful job of trying to goad him into action via strategically placed hairbrushes and ping pong paddles. But of course, they can’t resist one another for ever. When these two people who were so obviously meant to be together, do get together, it is hot and sweet and stern and quite, quite lovely.

I may have a massive grin on my face right now just thinking about it.

Laying  Down the Law

The heroine of this book is 45 year-old Ali who has returned to college to complete her law qualification after a twenty year absence. She is fairly immediately and comprehensively wooed by twenty-something classmate, Griff. He introduces her to the delights of sex shops, spanking and learning to put herself first for a change.

I love the fact that Griff spanks Ali for saying ‘sorry’ too much.  That’s a thing I totally do! When I go on holiday, I make sure I learn both ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’ in the local language because I figure that covers about 90% of everything I say anyway. It’s a brilliant justification to spank someone. As soon you point out to someone that they apologise too much, you know they’re going to apologise for it. Then if you get to spank them for it, well that’s just going to trigger more ‘sorry’s and before you know it you’re stuck in a never-ending sorry/spanking loop. Which is excellent news for everybody.

The age difference is nicely handled. There are some neat touches like Ali getting her hair restyled and the thrown away reference to Fifty Shades of Grey: “She hadn’t even read that book that all the mothers whispered about at soccer games and bakes sales.” Because it would be stretching credibility for Ali not to have at least heard of it.

The legal storyline which runs through the story is rather less convincing than the relationship itself. I did find myself going 'hmm' during the final courtroom scene in which Ali gets to prove her lawyerliness. Not a good 'hmm' either. I don't think any of the legal stuff would hold up to the tiniest bit of scrutiny.

But that's all incidental to the main storyline which is Ali forging a new life for herself post divorce. Although Ali’s confidence is low, her two sons have just gone off to college and she is at the perfect time of her life to rediscover herself. And what better way to do that than with a new career and an adoring dom boyfriend?

You know, my daughter’s off to university next week. I’m thinking that finding myself a cocky twenty-something with an interesting collection of spanking implements could be just the thing to take my mind off it.

Michelle Johnson is supposedly having a run of bad luck at the start of the book. Thankfully, when it comes to job interviews she apparently has all the luck in the world.

She rocks up late then she tells the guy interviewing her for the role of kindergarten teacher that she doesn’t like teaching and she hates kids. It’s like the job interview scene from Ted. It works out OK because, of course, it turns out that there was a non-child-hating teacher inside her just waiting to get out. Seriously, though, I hope the School Board don’t find out about Joshua Black’s interview technique. Do you think they’d be OK with the fact that his decision to hire Michelle was largely based on the fact that he’d known her since they were at school together and he really, really fancied her?

I really enjoyed the chemistry the two heroes have together. It’s always nice when a character goes from not knowing that she’s into spanking to realising that a spanking is exactly what she needs in her life.

I have realised, though, that I have a bit of a problem with people in books having sex at work. It makes me anxious. I don’t mind if, say, the CEO of Madeup Enterprises is rogering his interns over the boardroom desk because who cares what those people get up to? But once it’s a proper job providing an actual service to people then I don’t like it when people start getting frisky on the premises. I mentioned Darling Adam’s Yes, Doctor earlier. That had some illicit store cupboard action that was probably outside the medical centre's acceptable practises guide. Casey McKay’s A Taste of Discipline featured tabletop shagging in a professional kitchen which is the sort of thing you’d have to lie about afterwards on your Food Hygiene form.

Detention with Professor Black was the most stressful yet in this regard. That’s a classroom, people! Stop getting sex all over it! Even worse than the over the desk shagging was Josh making Michelle write “naughty girls don’t get to cum” twenty times on the blackboard. I was really worried that would end badly. What if the chalk she used was a bit greasy? If that happens, you could end up with words re-appearing when the blackboard gets wet. It's like when you write with your finger on the bathroom mirror and it reappears next time it gets steamed up.I was genuinely too worried about that happening to concentrate on the sex properly.

And the weird thing is that Dinah McLeod sort of addresses my anxiety about sex in public places at the very end of the book. I don’t think it helped though. I think she made it worse.

I appreciate that this is entirely my own hang-up. But maybe writers could start adding this to the list of warnings on books. “Warning: This book contains non-consensual spankings, anal sex and some people having sex near the self-help section of a publicly funded library.”

Educating Marguerite

This is the only historical story in the collection. I love a good historical romance, me.  I want a hero to be able to throw a lady across his lap and navigate his way past a bunch of petticoats without having to worry about safe words or establishing whether or not the lady in question wants to embrace a kinky lifestyle.

Marguerite is a feisty, bad-tempered character who has plenty to be bad-tempered about given that her father insists that she attend the school of William Melton, the son of an old business partner of hers. She objects on the fairly reasonable grounds that she has already completed her education. When eventually Marguerite is able to convince her father that she shouldn’t be attending school any more, he marries her off to the schoolmaster instead. If that’s not reason enough for a girl to be a bit peevish, I don’t know what is.

In fact things are even worse than that because, believing Marguerite’s father to be responsible for his own father’s death, William Melton harbours a grudge towards Marguerite’s family and originally doesn’t even plan to be particularly nice to her. Luckily, the force of true love being what it is, both Marguerite and William manage to both be a good influence on the other and they both end up as much nicer people.

And although Marguerite may have been furious about being expected to attend school despite being an adult at the beginning of the story, it does make for a really fun start to the story. I particularly enjoyed seeing William apply discipline to Marguerite as her teacher before he has the opportunity to discipline her as her husband. William instructing Marguerite to bend over so can he administer her punishment with the school paddle makes for a very hot scene.

The plot does feel a little bit all over the place, though. It's very rushed towards the end – particularly the issue of what happened to William’s father which gets wrapped up in a couple of sentences from Marguerite’s father. It would have been nice to see the couple’s growing affection and acceptance of one another unfold just a little more gently.  Overall it’s a delightful story though. It’s nice to see that accepting William’s discipline does nothing to quash Marguerite's indomitable spirit as she seem all set to be a pioneer of women’s rights by the end of the book.

I wasn’t sure what to make of this one to begin with. It certainly doesn’t follow the usual pattern of a romance story and  a lot of the early part of the book consists of scenes that take place in the books being either read of written by the characters in the story. This gives it a bit of a disjointed feel.

After a couple of chapters, though, I found myself completely enthralled. The main character Isobel works for a publisher by day but dreams of being a writer. She enrols in a creative writing class run by sexy tutor, Patrick Doyle.

It looks like the story is going to be about Isobel and Patrick, but the story shifts focus later on and introduces us to a second hero, Isobel’s boss Brad who tells Isobel that the firm is planning to move into the erotica market and asks her to proofread some a couple of pages of a BDSM-y manuscript.

Having characters review other character’s writing in a book is a bit weird because it means that Maggie Carpenter effectively gets to praise her own writing. When Isobel is proofreading the book her boss gives her, she singles out specific phrases remarking to herself “I love that. Why can’t I think of phrases like that?” Don't worry character-also-written-by-the-same-person, I'm sure you can.

Isobel herself then tries her hand at writing erotica and find she has a natural talent for it. The praising-her-own-writing really goes into overdrive here. Everyone exclaims over Isobel's writing, two men want to seduce her off the back of it and it changes her life completely. Such is the power of writing good kink.

It’s an intriguing story which certainly takes any expectations you might form as you’re reading and turns them on their head.  I felt a bit sorry for the discarded love interest to begin with. So he’s not into commitment? Lots of dom-y types say that. It just takes the love of a good woman to sort them out. Just ask Christian Grey. Luckily Isobel’s rejected suitor completely blows it later on and I didn’t have to feel sorry for him anymore.

This is an excellently written book only made slightly weird by having characters flat-out tell you how excellently written parts of it are. Although, interestingly, nobody comments on the line “as my joyous dick slithers home” which appears in one of the character's manuscripts. I really don’t like the idea of penises slithering. Apart from sounding way too much like it's acting independently of its owner, that’s entirely the wrong movement a penis to be making. And it’s definitely worse if it's doing it joyously.

Pictured: Joyousness

Joyous slithering penises aside, (and God, you have no idea how many sentences I have to begin like that), this was an engrossing story. It was the last book I read in the School’s In Session collection and provided a surprising finale to a wonderfully satisfying box set.


  1. Etta thank you so much for the fabulous review! As usual, your reviews are funny and entertaining in addition to informative! And I love that you tagged this story with joyous slithering penises and I'm also thinking about writing that spanking of miners book you mentioned....

  2. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and review all of us!