Sunday, June 28, 2009

Review- Cattle Valley: Fool's Gold by Jenna Byrnes

Cattle Valley: Fool’s Gold
by Jenna Byrnes
June 23, 2009
Contemporary/ Lesbian
Novella- 35K

Buy it Total-E-Bound- $4.98

Adeline Murphy believes the Apple Valley Inn is the only thing waiting for her in Cattle Valley, and it's up to Melissa Danes to change her way of thinking.

Adeline Murphy heads to Cattle Valley, Wyoming looking for a fresh start. She's invested every dime she has and purchased the local bed and breakfast. Arriving in town with a cranky girlfriend in tow, Addie's devastated to discover the inn has been vandalised. With the property uninhabitable, she has no source of income and a mounting stack of bills.

Melissa Danes' quiet Cattle Valley existence is shaken by the arrival of the beautiful Addie and her surly tagalong, Chloe. She's captivated by Addie, but stays away thinking Addie and Chloe are in a committed relationship. When she discovers differently, all bets are off.

Mel discovers Addie has several barriers to cross, including repairing the damaged inn and her even more wounded self-esteem. When Mel looks at Addie she sees more than Fool's Gold, but she needs to find a way for Addie to see it too.

Fool’s Gold is one of those sweet, fully developed romantic stories that satisfied me on every level. There’s just enough plot and tension to keep it engrossing and the characters are written with enough depth to get a good feel for who they are. While there’s plenty of steamy sex in this story, it’s not overpowering, but adds a spicy kick to this romance.

Addie's a good person who comes from a nasty home life. Her mother kicked her out for being gay and when her father sided with her, he got kicked out too. Addie inherited the only money left from her father whom she nursed while he was dying of lung cancer, and has bought a B&B in Cattle Valley, WY to start a new life. She's jaded and has self confidence issues, but is ready to be open.

She’s also somehow recently hooked up with Chloe, a self-centered bad girl who’s into nothing but playing and having sex. One thing missing from this story that I was curious about was why Addie and Chloe are together. They didn’t seem to be in tune with each other and I thought it was strange that someone like Addie would be with a girl like Chloe. Chloe’s bad ass personality does make for a nice contrast to the clean character of Mel, though.

Mel is a kind, conscientious woman who hasn’t found someone to love and spends her days working at the local book store. (Same book store from Truth or Dare.) When she meets Addie for the first time to hand over the keys to the B&B, sparks fly in her being and she finds herself fantasizing about Addie and wanting to help her, even with Chloe telling her to piss off and die at every turn.

You can see what’s coming fairly quickly; however, Jenna Byrnes kept a nice balance of tension stemming from Addie’s problems with both Chloe and her financial situation, and the budding love between Mel and Addie to keep a good flow to this story. It’s not a smooth ride, which gives a good reason to root for Addie and Mel’s love.

I’d also like to mention that this is one of the few f/f stories in which safe sex or the fact that women can possibly pass on disease to each other is dealt with. I take issue quite often in m/f, or m/m contemporaries in which condoms or at least the thought of disease control is not mentioned and it’s good to bring up in f/f as well. I thought Jenna Byrnes dealt with it in a non obtrusive way that added much to Addie’s character as a person of worth. And I just like it; it adds to my overall positive feeling about a book.

I wasn’t going to comment on the whole Cattle Valley thing because I basically ignored it. However, I felt that since it is a big part of the book, it needs some mentioning. If you’re familiar with author Carol Lynne’s Cattle Valley series in which this story takes place and enjoy it, then you’ll enjoy that part of this book. Personally I can’t suspend disbelief of a whole town of queers in WY. However, I do enjoy Jenna Byrnes' f/f stories, even if set in Cattle Valley, so I focused on the story itself. And some of the gay characters from that series are rather fun.

Fool’s Gold is just the kind of story to read if you’re looking for something light and fun, with a gratifying HEA romance and some juicy sex.

Sex rating: Orgasmic- Graphically written f/f sex, anal penetration rimming, dildo.

Grade B+

1 comment:

Jenna Byrnes said...

Just found this review, thanks Leah! Glad you enjoyed it for the most part.

Hope you don't mind if I quote you. *G*