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+


kirsten saell said...

I'm halfway through this one, and I couldn't agree more with everything you've said. I'm seriously loving the sex and the growing attachment between the two women, but it's hard to suspend disbelief over a whole town full of gay people.

And yeah, the portrayal of the straight couple is irksome: she's a doormat and he's an asshole. If there were more straight couples and some of them were decent, it wouldn't annoy me so much...

But the romance between Courtney and Naomi...Mmmmm...

MB (Leah) said...

I see that Jamie Hill has another f/f Carnal Collison, which I'm going to get. I hope it's as good as this one.

but it's hard to suspend disbelief over a whole town full of gay people.

A whole town of predominantly gay people, I can see, if it were in OR, WA, CA, MA, NY, or NJ.

But Wyoming? No. Can't see it. Maybe I'm showing some ignorant prejudice here, I don't know.

It's damn pretty country though. :D

JenB said...

I read a m/m book by this author and didn't click with it AT ALL. The female characters in the book had better chemistry with each other than the supposedly gay men did.

Maybe that's 'cause she's better at writing f/f. Hmmm.

I'm almost convinced to try her f/f stuff.

MB (Leah) said...

I read a m/m book by this author and didn't click with it AT ALL.

Jen--Would you be willing to pass on the name? I know you commented that when I reviewed Dancing in the Dark, which I found to be pretty good. So I'm just wondering which book you did read.

I will say though that one of the big hits for me in both this one and the m/m, is that the sex is so hot.

Was is the story line that you didn't like? Or the relationship, how it was written, or the sex that you didn't like? Email me privately if you don't wish to publicly state it. I have to know! LOL

JenB said...

It was The Second Time Around. The male characters had no chemistry AT ALL, and the relationship itself wasn't convincing. And there were weird f/f scenes tossed randomly into the book. It was just...odd. It was as though the author didn't know very much about male relationships and really would have rather written the whole story about women. So strange.

MB (Leah) said...

Thanks, I'll have to check it out. I looked at all her books over at Total-e-bound and she has a mix of m/f, m/m, and f/f. I'll try that one and see how it feels.

If what you felt is correct, maybe she feels more comfortable with m/f and f/f, but writes m/m cause it's popular? Who knows.

There were no hesitations with Dancing in the Dark. Those guys were hot for each other and went for it.

JenB said...

Ok...I bought this today. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's good. I hope to be able to read it tomorrow. :)

MB (Leah) said...

Oh, let me know if you like it or not. I'm curious as to how you'll feel about it.

JenB said...

I read this yesterday and thought it was awful. *ducks*

Jamie Hill's writing reminds me of Carol Lynne's writing (which is unfortunate). Artificial dialogue, awkward dirty talk ("Impale your pussy on my tongue!" lolol), choppy plot progression, and lack of chemistry among characters.

The concept is great and the characters have potential, but the execution is amateurish. To put it bluntly, it feels like the stuff I've seen on teen fanfic boards.

In cases like this, my snobby editorial and linguistic background rears its ugly head and sneers in haughty contempt.

For story content, this is probably a C+. Stylistically and technically, however, an F. All in all, a D. is why I don't write technical reviews. It's also why I don't publicly review books I don't like.

MB (Leah) said...

I read this yesterday and thought it was awful. *ducks*

Heh, say what you feel Jen. LOL

Jamie Hill's writing reminds me of Carol Lynne's writing (which is unfortunate)

To be perfectly honest, I thought, and still maybe do think, that they are the same person. I've never read Carol Lynne, so hard to say.

I guess it's just different strokes for different folks. I've read some books that got great reviews and though what a bunch of crap. LOL

It's also why I don't publicly review books I don't like.

You should though. That way we who read your reviews get an idea of what will work for us or not.

I've refrained from doing a neg review of an author who I've already done a neg review on. But a first time neg review, I gotta do, if I can articulate what I don't like.

Thanks for you imput though. I always love to hear what you say. :)

kirsten saell said...

I agree with Leah, Jen, you ought to post the occasional negative review.

I've gotta say that I liked the first half of this better than the second--the chemistry kind of peters out, and there are some issues that keep popping up (e.g.,the use of "the" instead of "her" when attributing body parts in the sex scenes--it makes me feel like there are disembodied pussies and tits floating around in space). I didn't find the dialogue overly distracting (maybe because I read and write the more verbally flowery historical and fantasy and almost never read contemp?), although it had its share of cheese.

But maybe I've been inured by all the poorly written and edited f/f ER out there (and there is a LOT of it, although there is plenty of very well-written f/f erotica available and it burns my butt that adding romance seems to curdle the quality of the writing), because this didn't stand out to me as a particularly bad example of f/f erotic romance.

So although I personally wouldn't have given it a B+, I think it deserves a solid C, maybe a C+. If I just graded the sex, I'd even give it a B.

MB (Leah) said...

Heh, I guess I was swayed by the fact that this book made me hot. *snort*

I read it in like 2 hours so, I probably gleaned over a lot of stuff and was just left with the overall feeling.

I'll still read some more Jamie Hill. Even if her writing isn't the best, I still get off on the sex she writes. So, she's good for quick easy fix. :D

JenB said...

I will admit that even for all their awkwardness, the sex scenes were hot.

I also read this right after the awful Cattle Valley books that Carol Lynne wrote, so I was probably on super high alert for crap writing. I need to try it again when I'm in a more forgiving mood.

Kirsten - Flowery prose doesn't bother me too much. The language in this book wasn't really all that flowery or was just stilted and awkward. I just couldn't imagine the conversations actually happening in real life. They felt very scripted.

Leah - I have given a few C reviews and I do keep that list of recent reads on my blog, but it's tough for me to write negative reviews without sounding snotty. I need to work on that. I get nervous about writing bad reviews partly because of the Yahoo group. I'd hate to give an author a public wedgie and then find out he/she is one of the sweet people in my group. Or on Twitter. Yikes.

I still don't think I could review the Cattle Valley books though. Not without some major comedy and snark. LOL

MB (Leah) said...

I still don't think I could review the Cattle Valley books though. Not without some major comedy and snark. LOL

Oh damn, sorry I'm gonna miss that. :)

As I said about this book, the Cattle Valley part of this book was the hokey, unbelievable part for me. So I hear you.

I can see where you might feel uncomfortable doing neg reviews for authors, especially since you do interact with so many. I have very mixed feelings myself about it. So it is an issue.

Jamie Hill said...

Thanks for the nice review, Leah. I just stumbled across it. I enjoy writing all varieties of erotic romance and know everyone has different tastes.

I just wanted to clear up that I am not Carol Lynne. (Though I would take her sales any day!) Her Cattle Valley Series is wildly popular and she prefers to write gay, so she asked if I'd do a couple lesbian books to bring some women to Cattle Valley. My next book, Fool's Gold, comes out in June.

Like 'em or hate 'em, I hope everybody keeps reading!

Happy Holidays,


MB (Leah) said...

Hello Jamie- if Fool's Gold is f/f, then I'm there.

I'd love to read more of your f/f if it's out there.

Jamie Hill said...

Hi Leah,

Yes, I meant to say that Fool's Gold, my next f/f Cattle Valley novel, is coming out in June. It's the story of Melissa from the bookstore and a new lady in town, Addie.

Sad to say, my publishers tell me f/f simply doesn't sell as well as other genres. I enjoy it, too.

FYI, the next m/m book in the Dancing in the Dark series, Born to Run, will be available in Feb. from Phaze. It has some light BDSM which I know is not your thing, but as I said, it's not hardcore.



MB (Leah) said...

Hi Jamie, well, I'll be buying it then. :D

We, Kirsten and I, understand that there is a problem with selling f/f, which is why we started this blog. So we could review f/f and have a place to offer info about all kinds f/f for those of us who like to read it.

In general I don't get off on BDSM, but I've read quite a bit of it and don't shy away from reading it.

I've reviewed some BDSM, even some hard core stuff, and have really enjoyed most of it. I don't have problem with it when I get that the characters involved respect each other. And I can really get into when there is love or caring between them.

So I won't not get a book due to BDSM labels as I've had pretty good experiences with it, for the most part.