Saturday, December 26, 2009

This and That

To our regular readers, we hope you had a nice holiday time no matter what you celebrate.

I haven't been posting to much these days mostly due to being in school full time again and other sundry life issues, and I know Kirsten's been very busy. So this little blog has been neglected for a long time. I am trying to read as much as possible to get a few reviews in before school starts up again on the 4th, but I'm also enjoying my free time with the DH who's also off until then. I enjoy reading other genres also and have a bunch of m/f and m/m that I'm itching to read as well, so it's a balancing act.

I've downloaded quite a few f/f books since there's been a huge sale at Fictionwise these last few weeks. Many books are 50% off, which is a great deal for me to try out some books I'd balk at buying normally. Loveyoudivine Books, I'm talking to you. I hope there are a few gems in that pile, but I'll let you know either way. If you've been Jonesen to try out a particular f/f but didn't want to buy, now's the time to get it cheap.

Today I was perusing Lesbian.Pro, a blog that offers the latest news from all over about anything lesbian, looking for a good movie to watch and review, and I came across this commercial posted. I thought it's rather fun and brave of Johnny Walker to do it. Although I've not seen it on TV, pffft!

On that Johnny Walker note, have a fun bringing in the New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Review- Thirteen Hours by Meghan O'Brien

Thirteen Hours
by Meghan O’Brien
April 22, 2008
Contemporary/ lesbian/ erotic romance
288 pgs. $12.-$16

Buy it Bold Strokes Books, Amazon, OmniLit

Can you fall in love in thirteen hours?

It's her birthday but lonely workaholic Dana Watts is at the office late, drafting a proposal. The very last interruption she expects comes in the form of the most beautiful breasts she has ever seen. These belong to an incredibly hot woman, who is standing in front of her, stripping to music.

Laurel Stanley performs strip-o-grams to pay her way through school. She has never encountered a more ungrateful recipient than Dana. The uptight project manager makes it clear that she is furious to be distracted from her work by the "gift" a colleague sent and equally appalled by Laurel's occupation.

After Dana is rude and insulting, and insists on escorting Laurel from the building, the two women take an elevator ride that changes everything. Stuck with each other for thirteen long hours after the elevator breaks down, they discover how wrong first impressions can be and how right two strangers can feel together.

Can everything change in less than a day? Dana and Laurel set out to discover if their passionate elevator encounter can mean more in this fast-paced, erotic story of lust, loneliness, fantasy, and desire.

Yeah, umm bottom line… this is an excellent story for one handed reading. I’ve been coveting this book for a long time and finally broke down and bought it. I liked the premise from the blurb and that part delivered.

It's not totally sex though, there's also an intense romance involved with all the “I love you’s” you want and promises of a committed future. However, Thirteen Hours is mainly the story of the sexual relationship between two very compatible women in that area. For what it is, it’s a fun, light read that skirted the edges of becoming tongue-in- cheek sexual romp but didn’t quite get into that territory.

The first part of this book was great. Uptight Dana, a workaholic who hasn’t had a date in years and only had sex once in her life, gets a strip-o-gram as a birthday present from her male co-worker friend. Oh she gets good and pissed as this strange, but gorgeous woman who’s mostly naked sits in her lap, her perfect breasts calling out to Dana. Of course she immediately pegs this woman as a slutty whore who doesn’t have two brains cells to rub together to have a decent, respectable job and she tries to shuffle her out of the building.

Laurel is that cliché of the good person stripper who dances to put herself through college. Of course she has a brain and not only just a brain, but a really smart brain since she’s just about done with her schooling to be a Veterinary Dr. She’s shocked at Dana’s reaction since she assumed that whoever paid for her to dance would have only sent her to a woman who likes women, since she only dances privately for women.

They get trapped in the elevator for, yes, thirteen hours and as they open up to each other they find both their judgments of each other are all wrong.

This part of the book was great. Laurel and Dana, being bored after a while, start playing truth or dare and some interesting things come out about each that tells a deeper story. Dana admits for the first time ever in her life and to herself that yes, she has been attracted to women, although she’s only been with one man.

And Laurel tells of her sad tale of her father walking out while her mother was dying. Their conversations and banter at that point are witty, a bit sarcastic and touching, which kept it interesting. Of course, as the night progresses and Dana becomes more comfortable with the knowledge that, yes, she does like women and yes, she is attracted to Laurel, things get really steamy.

After they get out of the elevator, they proceed then for the rest of the book to pretty much have non-stop sex. Some of it’s very amusing and lighthearted, which did keep me interested and kind of turned on. Both open up emotionally and I really did feel that they trust each other enough to go to some places that Laurel has fantasized about sexually as one of those fantasies is being submissive.

Anyone who reads my reviews knows I’m not that hot on the whole BDSM thing, but this particular fantasy was written in a really fun, and frankly, freaking hot way. There’s lots of spanking and ordering around, but it’s done in non serious way, more as role play, which I really liked. They go on to fulfill other fantasies as the story progresses with just minor outside story lines going on.

This is the downside of this book for me though. After a while, there’s really nothing going on except for a few minor glitches like a mini fight they have after moving in, to carry this story outside of the incredible sexual connection they have. There are some moments in between the sex in which they discuss how to proceed and suss out what each feels, not wanting to push but at the same time wanting each other really badly. Fortunately, this didn’t go the way of yak, yak, yak lets talk about our feelings all the time as some of these stories are wont to do, but it gave some brief intermissions from the sex.

I really don’t know much about either character other than what they’re like in bed and what they like in bed. There’s no story or plot going on, even though the author seemed to be trying hard to make this a romance. It is a romance, but developed strictly through the characters having sex with all their cooing and I love you’s and so on repeated over and over to let us know they love each other deeply.

I think Meghan O’Brien has great talent as a writer and she wrote this at a young age, so maybe her next books are more developed. The writing itself is very nice and the sex, damn, but she can write really erotic sexual scenarios. By the end though, I was totally bored with yet another sex scene and I walked away from this book thinking that I need to read a fantasy or some other sub genre besides contemporary because really, where could this story go to keep it interesting? I was craving something, anything outside of the sex to spark my interest or care about these two.

Still though, if you’re really in the mood for something hot and steamy that’s not too serious or gets into too much drama, Thirteen Hours will hit the spot. It’s also got a variety of sexual scenarios in it to satisfy anyone on some level and the love story part is kind of sweet and very prominent.

Sex rating: Orgasmic- many, many very hot, graphic sexual scenarios. Spanking, light D/s play, anal penetration with a strap on.

Grade: For the actual writing B+, for being a bit boring or even lack of story after a while, C

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Review- Je Me Rends by Kai Lu

Je Me Rends
by Kai Lu
Sept. 1, 2009
Contemporary/ f/f-bi
15K- $3.99

Buy it eXtasy books, ARe/OmniLit, Fictionwise

Young, beautiful and jaded, Julia's world revolves around school, work, and a desire to matter in a city where honesty is a myth and illusions can still hurt. But when a seemingly pointless college project unites her with Collette, an alluring French student she had always admired from afar, Julia begins to wonder if love really can happen in Hollywood--a hope Collette might share, if only both would surrender.

OK, umm… yowza! This book was so sexually hot that I had to put it down a few times to umm… collect myself. It also had a unique feel to it, one that I haven’t read in contemporary. I really enjoyed it, even if it did have some problems.

Both Julia and Collette are students in the same English Lit class and although they sit next to each other, they’ve never really talked. When a project requires a partner, Collette speaks up and offers to be partners with Julia, who breathes a sigh of relief since her only other option is to work with the class dick head who thinks he’s a stud.

Julia goes over to Collette’s place to start working on the project the next night. Being strangers, they naturally start talking to get to know each other a bit and find out they have a lot in common. While they are sharing and really opening up, they each start noticing little things like a hand on the knee, arms touching, an awkward glance and they find themselves gravitating to each other like two magnets until the first kiss…

Whew! I have to say, the build up to that first kiss was slow and deeply nuanced, with seemingly normal, insignificant details suddenly becoming magnified, building up the sexual tension. I really liked that as I do think so many stories these days get straight to business without that. When the girls do realize what’s going on, they don’t hold anything back and it’s very intense.

This is a gay for you story from both sides. Although by the third or fourth time they are getting each other off, both decide that they’ve never had such a deep experience with any man. They’ve had boyfriends, but never thought about a woman sexually before this moment. Both also acknowledge that they don’t really understand why they are attracted to each other since they are women, and yet, the heat between them is such that they cannot stop, nor do they want to.

I liked that there was no big drama around that. They are so in the moment, not judging what’s happening, but going with it. This story did have a nice feel to it and it evoked feelings of those moments when you wake up not expecting anything out of the ordinary to happen and then bam, something so completely different than what you’ve ever imagined happens that changes your life forever. I also liked the insular feeling this story had, like these two girls were in a private, erotic world of their own in which they didn’t think about anything else but pleasuring each other and it was deeply intimate.

Another positive for me was that it had an exotic and timeless feel about it. The way the women talk to each other and the way it was written in bits didn’t feel contemporary, but of another era. Maybe before the 50’s or even earlier. I rather liked that as it added a certain amount of innocence to the whole thing and again, like they are in their own little world. Or maybe it’s because Collette is French and doesn’t act typically American. Whatever it was, I liked the feel of it.

This story was not without issues though. While those things mentioned above gave me an overall feeling that I loved this book, I did notice some things in the writing that were a bit distracting.

First are the POV changes. Mostly this is written in third person and we are privy to both Julia and Collette’s thoughts. Then there’s a kind of third, non existent person/story teller who waxes poetic, giving the reader more insight into the characters thoughts, but from the outside. It pulled me out of scenes a few times.

The language used got a bit over the top poetic or over flowery at times as well, with the two girls getting philosophical and dreamy at points. I didn’t mind that so much, but there were a few times that I did roll my eyes. And that dreaded word that I hate so much in m/f, “mine,” was used. It’s a first for me to read “you're mine” in an f/f story, which is usually expressed by an alpha male. I’m just tired of its overuse to portray a fated connection. But to be honest, these two women were so hot for each other that it did feel primal enough that “mine” could be used.

The last thing that got to me was the amount of orgasms these two have and the overuse of language expressing copious amounts of love juice. They go from 0-60 in no time and have non-stop sex all night having so many orgasms, with dripping, gushing juice that I lost count. But to be honest though, the overall effect was so damn hot for me that I really didn’t care how unrealistic that was or the “oozing” verbiage, which usually kind of grosses me out. Heh.

Je Me Rends was a surprisingly good find for me. I was hoping for something different when I chose it and it did come through for me on that level. I’d love to read another of this author’s work, but cannot find out anything about her/him. This seems to be the only book. I have to recommend this book for anyone who’s looking for something a bit different in feel that includes intense sexual passion.

Sex rating: Orgasmic. OMG, this was one of the hottest f/f stories I’ve read. Just in your face, gritty, but totally soft, female and poetic. Very graphically written vanilla f/f sex.

Grade: A- for the passion it evoked, C+ for the funky writing in bits.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Review- Where Angels Dare to Tread by Leigh Ellwood

Where Angels Dare to Tread
by Leigh Ellwood
Contemporary/ f/f- bi
6.8K words- $1.29

Buy it DLP Books, Are/OmniLit

October’s Black Rose Festival comes to Dareville, along with a sexy party Carole Douglas can’t wait to attend. While she hopes to catch more than a few interested looks with her skimpy angel costume, meeting the enchanting Bella Reeve has her ready to turn in her halo. Will the town’s first Vamp Ball bring her love at first “bite”?

You all know how I’ve been bitching about really short books that suck brain cells for a ridiculous price? Well, I’ve been having a streak of really good short stories lately and just know something bad is going to happen. Having no choice really due to the fact that f/f is so rare to find and when I do, it’s usually a short story, I still keep risking it. I also feel that since I decided to do a blog to let others who like f/f know what’s out there and do some reviews, I do accept that it’s sort of my job to take it for the team often.

Where Angels Dare to Tread defies the usual and gives me hope that my bad experiences aren't the norm, but just bad luck.This story is such a fun, hot little ditty that I’m still enjoying the good vibrations after the fact.

The blurb kind of implies that this might be a paranormal, but it’s not. Apparently, and I did not know this when I bought the book, the town of Dareville is the setting of series of books by Leigh Ellwood. This is just one little stand alone story that takes place there and one doesn’t need to know the history to get what’s going on.

In this book, the town is celebrating a festival called Black Rose, which they created way back when a woman named Rose Smith was considered a witch during colonial times. Apparently, they all believed that animals and crops would die if she passed by. But instead of killing her, they let her leave town and everything turned back to normal. So they keep celebrating it every year to keep the town vibrant. And it usually happens around Halloween, which adds to the spooky ambiance of it all and gives a gothy backdrop for this story.

Carole is young, single and is looking forward to the main costume Vamp Ball, hoping to hook up with someone for a hot sexual tryst. During the day though, while manning a booth in the fair, she meets a beautiful women who captures her attention. Carole is basically straight, but has kissed her girlfriends often in bars doing the chick on chick thing to attract guys, but has never really thought about being really sexual with a girl.

Meeting Bella is making her think twice about that though, and she can’t stop thinking about her all day. While getting ready, she feels nervous, hoping to meet up with Bella at the ball, which of course is what happens.

Carole is such a fun character. Easy and light, she’s up for anything. But at the same time, it’s clear that she feels out of place in the ball, not knowing many people, which I thought a bit odd since she grew up there. All she wanted to do was find Bella and hang out with her, which in a way I liked because it made Carole seems less ditzy whorish then she could have come across if she were the belle of the ball. It’s clear she’s not normally a player, and maybe even a homebody, even if she does flirt with other girls to get guys.

This story is mainly written from Carole’s POV even though it’s not first person. We never get into the head of any other character really, so there’s not much about Bella other than that she comes across as a self confident women who’s a friend of the drummer in the band that played at the Ball. I have no idea if she’s a lesbian, or fools around with women here and there, what she does, anything about her past, where she lives normally, and yet, she’s a very, warm, friendly, likeable woman. She takes the lead in initiating the sexual encounter between her and Carole, which suggests that she’s experienced, but I kind of got off on her sexual ambiguity and lack of clear defining of who she is.

This story really is nothing more than a day in the life of these two women and one sexual encounter but the writing is so clean and crisp and was such a pleasure to read. In such a short space, I got just enough about these women to see that they do click. And the one sexual encounter is really juicy. They really go for it with each other.

Of course there’s no HEA here being as it’s more of short fantasy, but Carole does want to keep going with Bella and Bella seems to want that as well, so it’s left off as a HFN even if their future is not much more than carrying on some more at Carole's place when the book left off.

All in all, Where Angels Dare to Tread is a very satisfying little quickie that felt complete in itself. It’s a definite recommend from me if you want something short and sweet to hit the spot between those longer affairs.

Sex rating: Orgasmic- very steamy vanilla f/f.

Grade: A-

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Review- Southern Rose by Mary Winter

Southern Rose
by Mary Winter
Nov. 2009
Historical (civil war)/ f/f-bi
35k words-Novella- $3.50

Buy it Pink Petal Books, OmniLit

When Agnes' husband is killed in action during the Civil War, she's forced to reveal not only her sham marriage, but also her past and her feelings for her housemate Rose.

Rose is not the shy Southern flower Agnes believes her to be. She has to show Agnes how to act like a "proper" window, and the true extent of her feelings.

Southern Rose is a sweet period story with some seriously hot loving going on.

It’s civil war times and Agnes, whose husband is fighting in the war, has taken in recently widowed Rose as a housemate. Both settle into life sharing the house while going about their daily jobs and life. Agnes is a seamstress and Rose is a teacher. Slowly though, both start feeling an attraction to each other and do have a brief sexual encounter. Social propriety, fear of what the other might think, and the fact that Agnes is still married, keep them from actually going for it, though.

As time goes on, they keep having mini sexual encounters but don’t really openly acknowledge their feelings to each other until one day when Agnes gets the message that her husband has died in the war. It would seem that both are home free to express their love at that point, but that throws an even bigger kink into the works. See, Agnes has been harboring a secret about her unsavory past and struggles with wanting to be really honest about who she is, and keeping up the “proper” life she has managed to finally create for herself.

I thought this is a light, easy story about two women who both have had prior experiences with women but who’ve loved men as well. Rose experimented sexually with, and loved her best friend growing up. And Agnes had many experiences in her former life. Both are a bit vulnerable, but find they have more in common than they thought.

Although not too deeply developed or characterized because we don’t really get much on where each woman is coming from except for snippets of their past, both Rose and Agnes are still compelling characters.

Rose really loved her husband who died, but not in the war. She also lost her only child and still grieves deeply for both of them.

Agnes is a tough, open, forward thinking woman who’s made her own way and run her own business. Her arrangement with her husband was just an arrangement for both to get on in society since she’s not been a “lady.” She also has her own money to buy property, but needed a man to make it all legal for her to use, and he was into men. Not exactly proper ways of being back then, so it was a nice deal for both.

The sexual encounters between Agnes and Rose were really hawt. I mean really hawt, even though there was some coolness shown by both women after the first few encounters. They’re not too graphically written, but you can feel these two really want each other and it’s nicely written.

The only negative thing was that something was missing for me in the emotional area. I kept trying to figure out what it was because it’s very subtle. I think it’s that I didn’t feel a real, deep, intimacy between the women. Yes, you can feel that they love each other and they have a great sexual connection, but that sweet part of falling in love with little intimate moments that happen outside of sex, were missing for me.

It felt more like had these two women not been thrown together by circumstance, it could have been any other woman that each might have fallen for. I really wanted to feel that Rose had to have Agnes because she was Agnes, and that for Agnes, Rose was THE one and only. It’s a very difficult thing for me to define, but I did wish more moments of them connecting on an emotional level outside of sex as a lead up to their finally being able to be together.

Purely on a technical level, I think there were more than a few times where the protagonists names were switched making some scenes a bit confusing. Other than that the writing is very smooth and nice.

Still though, I really liked Southern Rose and definitely recommend it. It is a sweet story of love between two women without too many hitches in it to foil them.

Sex rating: Orgasmic- wow, really steamy, but sweet f/f sex. Double headed dildo use. (civil war time wood dildos).

Grade B+