Saturday, November 22, 2008

Review- Enslaving Heaven by Michelle Houston

Enslaving Heaven
by Michelle Houston
2007, 2008
Fantasy/ Sci-Fi/ F/F
Short Novella

Buy it Phaze- $2.50

Lyssa is disgusted by the whole sale of slaves, but finds herself drawn to one of the ladies on the selling block. After impulsively purchasing her, Lyssa now has to decide what to do with Alya û she can't just keep her. But the former prostitute, now slave, has other plans for her new mistress, including convincing her to let her stay.

As if Lyssa doesn't have enough to deal with, her pilot and best friend Nita is having problems adjusting to the newest member of their crew, and how it makes her feel. Nita had once found what Lyssa has, but lost it thanks to her. When an accident gives Nita a second chance with the woman she loves, she risks Lyssa's wrath to be with her.

OK, I have to admit that I had to stop reading this story because it wasn’t my cup of tea. But I did go back to it and it did actually get a bit better for me even though I don’t like the sexual subject matter and it’s not the f/f, but the whole world of sadism, which is portrayed strongly in this book.

Lyssa is on an outstation fulfilling a contract. While she and the pilot of her ship, Nita, are waiting, she sees a former prostitute, Alya, being auctioned off and buys her. It’s actually illegal to own slaves in this world and prostitution is illegal as well. Lyssa buys her intending to set her free, but can’t help herself and keeps her. Technically she’s not a slave because Lyssa tore up the bill of sale and makes Alya work on the ship as part of the crew, but Alya and Lyssa both know it’s to service Lyssa sexually.

Nita, who is also Lyssa's best friend, becomes jealous of this situation because she had a one night fling with Lyssa, which didn’t work out. But when Nita did find a women she wanted to be with Lyssa denied that to her, so Nita is pissed off about Lyssa doing what she wants even though it's illegal.

What kind of turned me off straight away about Enslaving Heaven is that Lyssa is so contradictory in her attitude. She is a sadist, a domme. She picks up that Alya is a real submissive and that turns her on. But at the same time, it’s illegal to own slaves for sexual purposes and she goes on and on about doing the right thing and setting Alya free, taking her to a place where she can start her own life. She even acts incredulous and upset when she sees marks on Alya’s body telling her that she’s been abused.

But in the end, she cannot resist Alya and seduces her. In fact, she treats Alya in the same way, very cruelly constantly letting Alya know that she can do whatever she wants to her and will, and Alya can’t do anything about it.

This includes: tying her up, putting electrodes on her nipples and shocking them, hooking her up to a whipping machine that whips her crotch and nipples at regular intervals and so on. Then she tells Alya she is free but she is basically a slave on the ship, doing what ever she is told. And Alya loves being abused and gets off on it because she’s a submissive. I guess I just don’t get those kinds of dynamics, because I didn’t feel for one moment any kind of respect or lovingness between these two even if it is in the world of BDSM.

When they all go on another contract, Nita gets hurt and Lyssa gets her to the closest Dr., who just happens to be the Dr. who saved Lyssa’s life after a serious accident. This Dr. saved Lyssa by basically making her semi bionic, which pissed Lyssa off. But there’s also a nasty history between them having to do with Nita and now that Nita needs help, Lyssa is forced to deal with the Dr. again.

I will say here that until this point, I couldn’t see one redeeming quality about Lyssa. She’s a prick-- nasty, and cruel and I could feel nothing appealing about her. After she takes Nita to the Dr. though, things come up; truths she’s needs to face about Nita and something in her softens, a little bit. While I never really did warm up to her, at least I could appreciate that she is capable of doing something that doesn’t directly please her.

I felt nothing for Alya either. She’s a total submissive who gets off on pain. Real pain. To give credit to her though, she’s only submissive when with Lyssa in sex. On the ship, she holds herself high.

The only characters I felt anything for were Nita and the Dr. Nita is a sympathetic character and someone with heart. She’s a sub as well, but didn’t feel like the wet blanket, with no personality like Alya did. Nita is strong and feisty. And the Dr. really stands up to Lyssa, which I liked. She’s a strong domme, but not cruel like Lyssa.

The sex in this book was all f/f, however, because of Lyssa’s accident, her crotch area is bionic and she always wears a strap-on with a dildo that hooks into her internal electrodes. This almost made the book have the feel of Lyssa being a man. Outside of that, it’s all pretty hardcore S&M. If that’s your cuppa, you’ll love this book. This definitely isn’t any kind of sweet love story.

Even though BDSM is not my bag, I’ve read lots of very well written books with this kind of sex and theme. What usually gets me in those types of stories is that even though I don’t really understand the dynamics in the BDSM world, why people would really get off on pain, in most books the characters have a deep love and respect for each other in that, which makes me get that this type of sex is fulfilling to the characters. In this book I felt none of that. Zip. Lyssa is really cruel with nary a thought to Alya. She really treats her like an animal, or possession and it turned me off.

In the end there really wasn’t anything about this story that didn’t make me feel a bit sick after reading it. Even the f/f sex didn’t turn me on, if I base it solely on this book being erotica, which would mean that the focus is on the sex and not necessarily on any kind of emotion between the characters. If you’re really into hard core S&M though, you might get off on this book.

Sex rating: Wet Panties. Very graphic f/f, strap-on, hard core BDSM

Grade: F

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Review- Blood Creek Haunting by Derek Musgrave

Blood Creek Haunting
by Derek Musgrave
2006, March 2007
Contemporary/ Paranormal/ Bi-sexual/f/f

Buy it Phaze - $3.50

Blood Creek Haunting is the story of a woman who's being haunted by the ghost of an Indian brave. Emily discovers that not only is her house being built on the sacred ground of the Blood Creek Massacre, but also one of her ancestors was responsible for the massacre. Can Emily find a way to repay the debt? Will she survive the haunting?

Emily has moved back to the land that’s been in her family for generations and which was the place of an Indian massacre. While tilling the earth for a garden, she comes across a skeleton with a skull having a huge gash in it. Freaking, she tries to get rid of it, but it keeps showing up in different places.

She’s also starts having very vivid dreams/ visions of an Indian brave and her dead fiancé, whom she still grieves over. While having these visions, she always blacks out and often wakes up in a different place and naked, or being cared for by Tessa, her best friend, not knowing what happened.

Tessa believes Emily is being haunted by this Indian brave and gets her to find out her family history as there was some innuendo in her family that her great-great grandfather might have been involved with the massacre.

As she slowly finds out her family history, the visions become more intense taking her out of her body, which could lead to her crossing over and dying if she can’t figure out how to help the spirits that are haunting her.

While all of this is going on, Emily realizes that she has feelings for and is attracted to Tessa, who is into women, but has never crossed that line with Emily. As Tessa helps Emily deal with all of this, supporting her as a friend, she and Emily slowly open up to each other in a very soft, loving and realistic way.

Blood Creek Haunting was a surprisingly good find for me. I bought it because of the possible f/f even though the blurb doesn’t really say how much of this story is about a f/f relationship or if it’s just a sex scene. How nice that it turned out that a big part of this story is about a really sweet love story between Emily and Tessa.

Emily and Tessa have been friends for a long time. Tessa has had a thing for Emily but never put it out there. Emily still thinks about her late fiancé and is trying to build a house on her land. Until this point, she’s only thought of Tessa as a friend. When all of these dreams start happening and Tessa steps in to take care of Emily, Emily starts to fantasize about being with Tessa. Tessa on the other hand, is a bit freaked about this new development even though she wants Emily and she backs off. So it’s a nice slow, emotionally intimate dance between these two with all the hesitations and fears that come up when opening up to a new person. I thought that was done nicely.

This book was written by a man and I had my reservations that a man could write female/female love in a convincing manner without it going into a male fantasy, but Derek Musgrave did a great job on this. The only thing that did come up for me is that when Emily wants to seduce Tessa for the first time, she dresses in a black lace teddy, black garter belt with fishnet stockings and stiletto heels. This felt out of character for Emily who runs a book store and works hard on her land in jeans. That type of lingerie is something a woman would wear to seduce a man, not a woman. But that’s my personal judgment. Take that for what it's worth, it's just something that really stuck out for me as off.

If you like a good ghost/haunting story with a theme of eternal love, then Blood Creek Haunting is also a very satisfying story on that level as well. It does get a bit into trippyville at times though getting a bit convoluted at times. In the mix with the brave who is haunting her, is Emily’s great-great grandmother’s ghost and the ghost/spirit of her dead fiancé who also has something to do with all of this. However, I actually enjoyed that part and thought it an interesting take on the ghost concept.

There were a few things that bothered me, but I don’t know enough to really complain. One is that Tessa takes Emily to a Native American shaman who is a direct descendant of part of that tribe that was massacred, and he’s living in a teepee. I’ve traveled extensively through Native American lands and have not seen any teepees outside of tourist spots. Maybe current shamans use or live in them, I don't know, but that part felt off.

I’ve also read quite a few books about Native American healing rituals and the one that was done in this book seemed totally made up and and a bit hokey. Normally, not an issue on both points, but this is a contemporary and so I do expect a bit more realism on that level.

Even with those things, I found this book to be a very enjoyable read. What was done very nicely was how seamlessly the relationship between Emily and Tessa was integrated with the ghost story and the HEA for all involved.

All in all Blood Creek Haunting is a pleasing feel good story and I highly recommend it as a one of the more satisfying f/f stories out there.

Sex rating: Wet Panties. f/f, m/f

Grade: B

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Review- Truth or Dare by Jenna Byrnes

Truth or Dare
by Jenna Byrnes

Buy it Fictionwise or Total-e-Bound

When Naomi Rivers and Courtney Cross meet and fall in love in Cattle Valley, the ultimate game of truth or dare helps seal their fate.

Naomi Rivers loves living in the quiet community of Cattle Valley. She has the book store she's always wanted, and good friends to fill her time. She doesn't have one special person to share her life, but everything changes when a sexy blonde author walks into her store.

Courtney Cross is a renowned novelist whose latest book features characters with alternative lifestyles. She's on a book signing tour, which winds to a close at Booklovers in Cattle Valley. Worn out from her hectic schedule, Courtney decides to vacation in the rustic town for a few weeks. The beautiful countryside and laid back atmosphere provide exactly the calm get-away she desires, and quite possibly the backdrop for her next novel. The cute red-head at the bookstore doesn't hurt, either.

They fall in love, but while Naomi thrives in Cattle Valley, Courtney has her own life in Chicago. In the end, it's the ultimate game of Truth or Dare that helps them decide.

Note: This novel is a stand alone title which includes characters created by Carol Lynne in the Cattle Valley Series. Visit the Cattle Valley website for more information on this bestselling series!

What a juicy, hot, fun story Truth or Dare is. It rolls right along at a satisfying pace with neither characters having huge angsty problems that keep them apart; they're just two women who are very comfortable in their own separate lives, even if sex is lacking, who meet, are attracted, and get it on in a deliciously amorous way.

The blurb accurately describes the main plot so I’ll go from there.

What I loved about this story was the easy breezy way in which Naomi, a book store owner, gets with a big city best selling author, Courtney, who’s come to do a book signing. They are very friendly and open with each other right from the start and find out very quickly that they are both lesbians. An immediate attraction is obvious to both and they go with it, without reservation. How nice!

After they spend the night having raw, hot, salacious monkey sex they don’t want to leave each other. Yeah I don’t blame them; I didn’t want them to stop either. Courtney decides very quickly that a mini vacation is in order so that she can spend more time with Naomi. As the two weeks go by, and they find out that they fit so well together both sexually and in personality, they come to a crossroads on what to do.

Courtney lives in Chicago and has her family and job connections there and doesn’t really want to leave. And Naomi has built a life in the country and likes her small town way of life.

What was nice here is that they resolve that issue fairly quickly and there isn’t a long drawn out thwart to their love that could have totally frustrated me. And I liked that they never once question their feelings. It’s like bam, they know very quickly that they really want and love each other and don’t want to part. It’s just so satisfying to read two people be so turned on by each other who actually want to be together and work towards that without a whole lot of drama.

Of course there are some side plots going on like a neighbor who is very pregnant and married to an abusing oaf. And I will say that outside of all the gay men in this small town, who are all so nice, the het men in this story are all nasty assholes. A little bit of negative stereotyping here in a story about lesbians. But OK, I was in this story for the girl-on-girl lurving and relationship. And that was done very well.

The one thing that I really had to suspend disbelief for is that this little town was set up by gays and lesbians as a haven for them to live without discrimination in Wyoming. Wyoming? I guess because I know that area around Sheridan it’s hard to believe, even in my imagination, that a town of gays and lesbians would be tolerated without a bunch of trouble. Maybe around Cody or Jackson Hole it would be fine. That part was just too hard for me to believe or take seriously, so I kept picturing it in different area to get around that.

I know that this is a place created by author Carol Lynne in her Cattle Valley series. I haven’t read any of those books and apparently there are characters from her books in this book as well. So I can’t really put that part on Jenna Byrnes totally.

Other than that, this was a very nicely written, steamy hawt lesbian love story that satisfied on all levels.

Sex rating: Orgasmic- delicious f/f. anal sex, plugs, dildos, strap-on, and vibrator.

Grade: B+

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Review-The Straight Girl's Guide to Sleeping with Chicks

The Straight Girl's Guide to Sleeping with Chicks

by Jen Sincero

"You can't swing a dead cat at a bridal shower without hitting a straight chick who's slept with another woman, who's thought about it, or who's ready to make the move as soon as someone breaks out the booze."

Such are the incisive pearls of wisdom to be heard from straight chick and girl-on-girl dabbler Jen Sincero, author of The Straight Girl's Guide to Sleeping with Chicks. A deliciously sexy how-to guide, it gives curious straight women the complete inside scoop on girl-on-girl action--from pickup lines and virgin jitters to threesomes, techniques, and toys. Drawing on personal experience and hundreds of interviews with straight girls who've slept with lesbians, staight girls who've slept with straight girls, lesbians who've slept with straight girls and straight girls who've done both or neither, Sincero covers the A to Z of the experience including:

  • Obtaining a visitor's pass to the girls-only club
  • The super-huge importance of sticking your hand down your pants
  • The straight girl's starter kit--from nail clippers to cocktails to get her in the mood
  • "Gettin' Some 101"--positions, techniques, and instructional photos
  • "And Boy Makes Three!"--how to have a threesome that's fun for all
  • Suggestions for further viewing and reading and much, much more

Packed with expertly toned advice that is at once laugh-out-loud hilarious and fundamentally practical, The Straight Girl's Guide to Sleeping with Chicks is ideal for any woman looking to spice things up with a boyfriend, break the ice with a best friend, or simply add a few just-in-case items to her sexual menu.

Okay, can I just say this book was totally blammo? Jen Sincero is like one of those bizarre and catastrophic laboratory accidents a'la The Fly--only, far from being catastrophic or grotesque, what emerges from the teleportation pod is a delightful surprise, a mutant literary hybridization of Dr. Ruth and Bill Maher. Equal parts sex ed guide, comic genius, and sociopolitical manifesto, The Straight Girl's Guide was one fun read.

Ms. Sincero's voice is unabashedly honest, by turns blunt, witty, bawdy, sarcastic, self-effacing and pragmatic. Her words are effortless to read, and seem as if they must have been effortless to write. She comes off as the kind of outgoing and engaging person whose conversation could keep you stuck to your barstool all night long, not noticing the time until last call. And once you'd pounded that last drink, hell, you might even jump her bones, too.

Her advice is practical and refreshingly shameless--boy howdy! does she get into the nitty gritty of the entire subject, sparing no detail or vulgarity, stripping away any trace of embarrassment or pervy oiliness with the aplomb of a public health nurse. From the importance of becoming an expert masturbator--how can you expect to please a woman if you don't know your own bits eight ways from Sunday?--to broaching the subject with the object of your affection, to practical info on techniques and safety precautions, to making your first foray into the scary land of the Pussy-eaters, Ms. Sincero shares her own experiences and those of hundreds of other women. She does so in a way that is so light-hearted and warm and funny that you find yourself almost quoting passages to the nice elderly lady sitting next to you on the airplane, but then you realize what the heck you were about to do and end up pretending you needed something from your carry-on. Ahem.

From the Straight Girl's Starter Kit:

"Nail Clippers-

"Think about it. The pussy is a very sensitive lady. Going at her with long fingernails is about as sexy as going at her with a rake. Showing up untrimmed will not only broadcast your inexperience but may also genuinely terrify potential dates. There are people who will inisist that this is b.s., and I know there are women who can type with full-on swords growing out of their fingertips. But it's a skill that goes against all the physical laws of nature. I don't trust it. In fact, if anyone came at me with claws like that, I think I'd make her take a typing test before I let her anywhere near my unmentionables."

The illustrations are damn awesome, too--hand-drawn by someone with more knowledge of the details of female anatomy than artistic skill. Instructional photos involve modified-to-be-anatomically-correct Barbie-style dolls demonstrating activities the manufacturer clearly never intended. The effect is at once ludicrous and oddly arousing...

And let me be clear--this book is not about converting to lesbianism (although it would be a useful instruction manual in that respect, I suppose). It's about women giving themselves permission to own their sexuality, to take chances, to try new things and be open to new experiences--even if once you've tried it, you decide it's not your bag and you head on back to Boyville. And the whole shebang is handled in such a mirthful, easy, non-judgmental, belly-laugh kind of way that it makes a daunting idea seem less daunting, more doable and infinitely worthwhile.

So heck, even if you're not on a mission to score with the ladies, I can't help but recommend Jen Sincero's Straight Girl's Guide to anyone out there who owns a vagina. It's a warm, witty, sexy, educational, empowering book, and it gets an A from me.

Review- First-Timers: True Stories of Lesbian Awakening

First-Timers: True Stories of Lesbian Awakening
Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel
June 2006Lesbian erotica

Buy it
Amazon, B&N, Borders

Oh, that delicious, unforgettable first time. These lusty, passionate, exciting stories recount all kinds of sexy, sweaty firsts between women: first-time strap-ons, spankings, and role-playing, first loves and first affairs. This collection gathers the best true stories inspired by the most memorable firsts. They are 100 percent real and 110 percent hot!

I found this book quite by accident looking for another book in erotica on Amazon and was very attracted by the title. While it does have a few first time girl/girl experience stories as I hoped, it’s so much more than that. First-Timers is about a wide range of first time experiences within the lesbian sexual world and I found many of them to be very hot and juicy and some of them even poignant.

This is my second foray into reading lesbian erotica and like the first,
Lipstick On Her Collar, I really enjoyed this one. Since reading LOHC and other erotica, I’ve become quite familiar with a few of the authors of stories in this book, some of whom are well known in the genre, and it was a good chance to taste more of their work.

First-Timers is a nice eclectic mix of stories with a variety of different writing styles and POV, which kept things interesting. The stories all having a basis in real experiences made some of them all the more titillating because of that.

While I really enjoyed and prefered those stories about first time with a girl experiences, other stories were very appealing as well. There were several stories of long distance phone or online affairs with some meeting for the first time IRL, which included all the fears and self doubt that comes with that. Something I know about. Then there were a few stories about first time trying strap-ons, fisting, spanking, light BDSM, threesomes, sex party/convention hook-ups and sex with a carrot. There’s just about something for everyone.

Particularly eye opening for me were the stories of sex parties and conventions, fisting, and spanking, which I read more with curious interest than turn-on, but which I found somewhat stimulating none the less.

And some had some very real elements in them like childhood sexual abuse, which really brought home how real some stories were and how these written experiences had a strong affect on some of the characters/ writers' lives.

While many stories really hit something very personal in me, what struck me the most about reading this book and lesbian erotica in general, is that in so many stories the characters feel kissing and cuddling to be a far more intimate experience than the actual sex itself. It’s a sentiment that I don’t pick up in het erotica, or even het romance but which I really respond to as a woman and enjoy in reading lesbian romance or erotica.

There are 31 stories in First-Timers, but these are just a few of the stories that really stood out for me:

Laren Lebran- As an author she really stood out for me. I just loved both of her stories, but more so, her prose. Absolutely beautiful. I Googled her and this is the only book she has stories in that I could find. But apparently, according to the short bio at the end of the book, she’s a well-known romance/ erotica author under an alias. Laren, if you ever read this, I would love to read your other stories. May I know your other work? I want to read more!

First Sight- a very beautiful story of a first girl with girl experience. So soft and sweet. And written with such an aesthetically and wistfully nostalgic feeling. College roommates find themselves attracted to each other.

Snow Dancing- A neighbor comes over to help shovel snow and offers herself as well. Very erotic and sweet.

What’s a Little Fisting Between Friends
by Audacia Ray- Two best friends who’ve been sharing their sexual history, desires, needs, exploits for years but have never been into each other romantically, get together and do things they’ve always wanted to try.

I liked this because I think it must be nice to have sex with a friend to try things without having all the love drama and fears of rejection in the mix.

My Modern History by Devon Black—This a really sexually provocative first time experience story. A young college girl is enthralled with a much older professor who gives the student her wish and seduces her.

I loved how this is written. There was much innocence in it as the younger girl has her first experience. And I’m kind of turned on by the older experienced person giving a less experienced person a sweet time.

Radclyffe— had two really yummy stories in this book.

Runway Blues--A very hot story of a chance meeting/ one night stand. Two women stranded by bad weather end up sharing a ride and hotel room and have an intimate moment. One cuddles the other while the other masturbates. Totally hot!

Meeting FTF
-- Two women who have met online meet for the first time in person. Oh this was a very delicious story. Very sexually hot as well as having all the vulnerabilities one feels in meeting someone one has strong feelings for for the first time.

Questioning Youth by Gina de Vries—This story stood out for me because it was so raw and real. That’s all I can say. It really touched me but not on a wow that was so hot, but on a wow that was just so personal and real.

Learning at Her Knee
by Sacchi Green—This story really stayed with me because of the exploratory nature of it. A woman who’s been hanging out at sex parties more as a voyeur than participant wants to learn how to really spank someone with all the little nuances involved in that.

I really liked how almost matter of fact it’s written so someone like me, who doesn’t get the whole turn-on of spanking could really get inside the head and feelings of both the spankee and spanker. I could understand from this story how much trust is involved and how it could be a real turn-on.

Don’t Call Me Ma’am by Gun Brooke--- A boss seduces an employee who’s had the hots for her. Damn, but this was a really juicy, need a cold shower after, story.

Picture This by Kristina Wright—A young 19 year old has a unplanned experience with a woman who services machines at her film processing job.

I really liked this because it was very yummy first time girl/ girl experience.

As with Lipstick On Her Collar, there are short bios of each author, which I think is a nice touch.

Sex rating: Orgasmic. Lesbian f/f, spanking, minor anal, fisting, light BDSM, strap-on, toys, and a carrot.

Grade: A-