Sunday, October 25, 2009

Review- Meghan's Playhouse Book 1: Seducing Cat by Adriana Kraft

Meghan’s Playhouse Book 1: Seducing Cat
by Adriana Kraft
Contemporary/ erotica/ f/f-bisexual/ f/f/m-menage
28K+ $5.49

Buy it Whiskey Creek Press, Omni Lit, Fictionwise

Level headed English Professor Caitlin Shanahan has finally earned tenure and purchased the century-old house of her dreams—at thirty-four, she'd better face facts: her future is teaching college and writing plays, not falling in love. So why is she so drawn to foxy little hometown actress Meghan Keenan, who's rented her upstairs apartment, or worse, to the girl's gorgeous hunk of a lover Kurt Davis, a brash carpenter who's never even been to college?

Twenty year old Meg has a plan. First she'll seduce the reluctant professor; then she'll share her sexual delights with both Cat and her brawny carpenter, and when she's successfully brought them together, she can make her escape and explore what's beyond the only town she's ever lived in.

Kurt can't stand the up-tight professor who's hired him to build a gazebo and refurbish her old house—the house he wanted for himself. Even if Meg succeeds, he knows Caitlin would never look at him twice. No need to go there in his fantasies…

This is the second book of Adriana Kraft’s that I’ve read and to be honest, since the first book left me a bit cold, I was a bit leery of reading another. Adriana Kraft, a husband and wife team of writers, like to specifically write bisexual female characters, which anyone who reads this blog will know puts Kirsten and I in seventh heaven. So I really wanted to try another hoping it’d be good. That said, this story was so different in its feel and style than Writing Skin was and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Meghan is a young 20 year old who’s very comfortable in her own skin and sexually open. She’s been friends with 24 year old Kurt since they were children and have a nice, easy going, commitment free friends with benefits type of relationship in which there are no expectations of it going any deeper or becoming something permanent.

As the blurb says, Caitlin is an older, up-tight, spinsterish professor who runs a local playhouse and is restoring an old house she bought. Caitlin feels that she’s over the hill at 34 and has basically given up on sex and love thinking no one would find her desirable.

Kurt, a local carpenter, was hired by Caitlin to restore her house. They have an uneasy, antagonistic relationship in which they put up with each other because Kurt is the best at what he does, and Caitlin has the money to keep him working for a long time. They seem to barely tolerate each other until Meg decides to play cupid and get them together. But first she must seduce the cool and distant Caitlin.

First I’ll talk about what bugged me in this book, although it wasn’t anything that had an impact on my opinion. Is 34 really that old? The way this is written, Caitlin sounds like a 40+ year old woman. Since when is 34 over the hill and too old to give up on having a sexual/love relationship? I kept thinking she must be 40+ to be feeling like she did or worrying that she’s not appealing anymore.

Second, why Meghan wants to get Caitlin with Kurt is a huge mystery that was never really explained. I mean she just decides to get them together? Kind of odd. She knows that Kurt and Caitlin dislike each other, so why it would occur to Meghan to shove them together was a point missing for me. But, you know, the story itself and how it was written kept me from thinking about that too much.

What I loved about this story was that in the end, the authors made me believe that Caitlin and Kurt will have a good go at it.

It starts out with Meghan seducing Caitlin who’s never been with a woman before. I really enjoyed that part as Meg is very open and it’s like Cat is discovering sex for the first time. Cat’s kind of shy and hesitant along with being uptight, so it was sweet. Once Cat and Meg are fully into a sexual relationship, Meghan then follows through on her original plan to bring in Kurt for a threesome. Kurt, however, has warned Cat that this might come up and both insist to each other that they would do that over each other’s dead bodies.

I though it very believable that both Kurt and Cat would be at odds, but then come around after a while. Their differences are quite real, even if a bit contrived for a good story. He’s the hunky, uneducated wrong side of the tracks dude with the intellectual, right side of the tracks older woman. Both find though that those issues are minor to the actual attraction that they find they have for each other.

My issue with Writing Skin that the characters and sex came across as too calculated and clinical, was not present in this book at all. All the characters are very warm and real and the sex in this book was very hot. More so because they feel something for each other.

For those who want to know, this is strictly an f/f of a bisexual nature. It’s classified as lesbian on several sites, but Meg is, has always been, bi. And Caitlin was never with a woman before, so the feel of this is very much bi. I’d say this is more a m/f relationship story with some f/f bi and ménage in it.

I definitely recommend this book for those who like a bi slant to f/f relationships and who like characters to feel something with each other outside the sex. It’s a very satisfying story all around and I’m looking forward to reading the next few books in the Meghan’s Playhouse series.

Sex rating: Orgasmic- f/f, f/f/m, lots of minor anal play, vibrator use, and some voyeurism. Mostly it’s vanilla sex though.

Grade: B+

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Reveiw- When Katie Came Over by Arden Hill

When Katie Came Over
by Arden Hill
Contemporary/ Lesbian/ light BDSM-ish/ erotica
4k- $2.00

Pub: Loveyoudevine

When an established top who writes erotica under the pen name Sangre hires a woman to assemble a porch swing, she gets more than she pays for. Katie, a college student and novice in the practice of kink, has read much on the subject, including the work of Sangre, and is eager to experience the reality of bottoming to an experienced player. Soon Sangre is taking a break from writing scenes to gather more hands on research. She channels her creative energy into tutoring Katie as to how to turn her on. With the help of some specially designed restraints and a gorgeous glass dildo, Sangre also draws pleasure from Katie making her beg and moan for a well deserved release. In, When Katie Came Over, both top and bottom are rewarded by creative erotic collaboration.

I have just one thing to say about this story. Don’t bother.

Sangre has MS and is a well known erotica writer who hires Katie to put together a porch swing. Katie is a young college student just trying to make some extra money. Sangre is using voice recognition to write her book and Katie overhears her writing/speaking an erotic scene in her book. They quickly establish that they are both are lesbians and that Katie is a bottom. How we know this is because Katie says that she is and hints at being fairly experienced in kinky sex. In short order Sangre is telling her to get into the cuffs and they are getting it on.

First, this story is only a few pages long. It’s an extremely rare author who can do any story justice in a few pages and there was no justice done to this story. Second, it’s not well written, with a complete lack of character build up and plot really. Moreover, the only sexual situation portrayed barely kept me interested enough to even keep reading.

It is erotica, so yeah, I’m not expecting an elaborate well developed story, however, even on the level of erotica, which is pretty much mostly sex, it fell way short. The sexual scenes were very slow and boring with absolutely no chemistry or heat between the characters.

Even the whole light BDSM- bottom/top or what ever was going on came across as unrealistic and a bit off to me. I think if the author had at the very least made me feel some kind of connection between these two women, then I would have had a different feeling. If this book weren’t so short to begin with, I would have dropped it before it did end, with no reason to keep reading.

Sex rating: Technically it’s graphically written. But it was so boring I can’t say it’s too spicy. f/f- lesbian. Minor BDSM- hand cuffs, dildo use.

Grade: D-

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Review- Open Proposal by Rosemary Gunn

Open Proposal
by Rosemary Gunn
Contemporary/ ménage/ f/f/m- bi-lesbian
15-25K words- $4.25

Buy it Liquid Silver Books

Samantha and Eve have it all: a beautiful home, successful careers, and a loving relationship. When the use of a sex toy brings Sam's latent desires to the forefront, the women decide to find someone who can give Sam the one thing that Eve cannot.

Roman--Eve’s best friend from childhood--is surprised by their unusual request, but agrees to play anyway. Eve has always been able to count on Roman to be there when she needed him.

What she hadn’t counted on were her own feelings regarding him. Will an open proposal mark the end of a friendship or the beginning of something more than any of them could have anticipated?

Ménage à Review--This is the one where Leah and Kirsten engage in some spectacular three-way review action. Who's the third? Why, the book, of course! And hot holy damn, is this gonna be a lovefest. We are ALL OVER that thing.

Leah: I never know what I’m going to get when I buy an f/f book. Since f/f and f/f/m ménage stories are not that common, I tend to almost blindly buy a book just hoping against all hope that it’s going to be decent. I don’t even dare to hope that it will rock my socks off.

Kirsten: I picked up this book after Leah emailed me to tell me she was halfway through it and DAMN. And...yeah. *ahem*

Samantha and Eve have been long time friends and lovers. While Eve has never been with a man and doesn’t really get the attraction, Samantha was once married, deeply in love with her man. After he died, lost and grieving, her old friend Eve helped her through it and she found herself falling in love with Eve romantically and sexually even though she'd never been with a woman.

They are so in love and feel very satisfied with their sex life together, but Sam has a hankering for what a man can give her physically. Not feeling threatened at all by that, Eve calls her BFF guy friend, Roman, whom she grew up with and proposes a threesome to give Sam the gift of um… real manly bits.

Roman, who’s been so in love with and ached for Eve since they were teenagers, can’t believe his luck and readily agrees. When he meets Sam for the first time, he’s in awe of how gorgeous she is, but his heart is still with Eve and he wants to make this experience memorable for her.

L: Open Proposal is such a juicy and satisfying menage story that restores my faith that a good f/f/m menage can be written more often than the rare comet that comes along. Not to mention it's a complete and nicely written story for a short one.

Totally, totally, totally. This is the author's debut book (at least her first published erotic romance) and it does show, but despite that, I have to say I'm impressed.

Wow, it’s her debut book? All I can say is yowza! Besides the steamy loving, Rosemary Gunn did an excellent job of showing how much all three of these characters love and respect each other. Particularly how Roman comes in and is more in awe and amazement at what’s happening than drooling over the fact that he’s got two hot chicks. His ache for Eve is palpable and he’s just as happy on an emotional level as sexual.

K: She had a real knack for building the heat while also just making you ache for the characters, especially Roman. I have a real thing for unrequited love. This dude's been carrying a torch for Eve forfreakingever, and you can soooo feel that. You do get such a sense of how...privileged (as well as conflicted) he feels to be included in this, with none of that straight guy voyeuristic entitlement that drives me bugfuck. I mean, there is a lot of voyeurism in this story (by all three characters), but it never feels skeezy. I never once felt that kind of nasty, bow-chicka-wow-wow thrill I get from watching m/f/f porn (yeah, I watch porn, wanna make something of it?).

L: Oh yeah totally. What I got off on was the fact that at no point during the threesome, do any two not include the third party. There was a nice sense of cohesiveness in all three that they were all there for each other. Even though this was set up for Sam's pleasure by Eve, never did Sam go off on Roman without Eve being a part of it. Nor did Roman ever exclude Sam because of his love for Eve.

I thought that even though Eve had never been with a man, she loves both Sam and Roman so much that she's willing to try and be with Roman, and does so in a very innocent and sweet way. I felt she didn't go against who she is, a lesbian basically, to be with Roman. It felt so natural because of Roman's love and Sam’s being there.

K: That part did make me wonder a bit whether lesbians would enjoy this story. I mean, I'm guessing there are plenty of people telling lesbians that they "just need the right guy with the right dick" and they'd go back to boyville where they belong. I think if a reader had encountered that a lot, this book might rub them the wrong way, even though the author did a good job of making me see how happy these two women are together.

In this book, with Sam, it's more like remembering how good sausage tastes even though you're happy with an all-vagitarian diet, heh. And I think the author did a great job with establishing the enormous intimacy that already existed between Eve and Roman, a kind of pervasive sexual tension that had always been there, and that defied her self-identification as 100% lesbian. And you know, I'm all for sexual fluidity--whether that comes in the form of "lesbian for her" or "straight for him".

L: Yeah, I thought about that, how Eve’s been a lesbian all along and how unlikely that scenario might be. However, Rosemary Gunn walked a fine line there and I could really see how Eve could get turned on and be willing to try to be with Roman only because she has a deep love and trust for Roman already. And at no point was there ever a feeling of coercion from either Sam or Roman for her to try. It all happened organically.

K: The author sets the stage with an intimate scene between Eve and Sam, shortly before they're to go meet Roman at a dance club. While the sex itself was damn hot, it was a little bogged down for me in backstory and inner narrative that I thought could either be pared down or expressed in other, more interesting ways. But the moment these three meet up at the club, the author kind of hits her stride. I read the rest of the story with a tight, achy feeling in my belly, and even came close to tears a couple of times (yeah, I'm a crier, wanna make something of it?). But really, there was like the perfect mix of lust and emotion here.

L: Heh, I thought the office scene with Eve and Sam was smokin hawt, establishing that they are very tight with each other. But yeah, there was a bit too much inner dialogue with Sam explaining her back story to the reader. And the story did get a bit draggy when they were in the bar. But like you, I also thought it got going really after Roman enters the picture and they go home.

K: I think telling the reader too much is kind of a typical new author thing. I noticed a bit of that, as well, in the threesome scenes--but I don't think it would have registered if I hadn't been on the lookout for it because of the info-dump in the opening. I also found some pronoun confusion and a few...mechanical difficulties as far as knowing who's doing what to whom at times. But having written my share of same-sex and ménage scenes, I know how hard it is to keep it all straight! I had to reread the odd paragraph, but it didn't interfere with my enjoyment of those scenes.

The emotional intensity stayed ramped up enough to carry me past any wonkiness. And yeah, the payoff was great. I just really wanted these three people to be together. I liked them all individually, and loved the way they played off one another. I don't need every sex scene in a ménage romance to include all three characters, but I think in this case it was the perfect choice--and very well executed.

L: I agree that the mechanics did get a bit confusing here and there. But totally, the emotional energy between these three characters was what grabbed me so I didn’t get too caught up in the technical issues that normally might have stuck out like a sore thumb in an otherwise crappy book.

Personally, I’m going to be on the look-out for more from Rosemary Gunn. This was a lucky find. Let’s hope she doesn’t go the way of so many authors who write that first f/f, f/f/m but then switch to the dark side (heh).

Yeah, I really hope Ms. Gunn at least keeps writing the odd f/f/m, because damn, she nailed it. And I can only imagine future efforts by her getting better and better as she evolves as a writer.

Sex rating: Orgasmic- Whoa! Yummilicious f/f, f/f/m vanilla.

Grade: B+