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+

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Review- In the Eyes of Love by Sheri Livingston

In the Eyes of Love
by Sheri Livingston
June, 2006
Contemporary/ Lesbian
60K- $5.99

Buy it Loose-Id, Fictionwise, ARebooks

When Morgan’s lover leaves her after nine years, betrayal drives her deep into work and denial. She’s not looking for anyone else, because she’ll never forget Dawn.

Shane is an artist, content in her world of line and form. Though lonely, she blames herself for the death of her ex and can’t see past her guilt.

Morgan’s job at the magazine brings her and Shane together. The attraction is undeniable, the passion explosive.

Now that Morgan’s found someone else, Dawn desperately wants her back. She uses every dirty trick, pulls every sexual string, and Morgan takes her back. But she can’t stop thinking about Shane…

First, the blurb is a bit off. Morgan, after years of being clueless that she’s been with a narcissistic bitch, walks out on her long time partner after she discovers for the first time that she’s been cheated on. Dawn didn’t leave Morgan, but stalks her constantly trying to win her back.

It’s been a year since Morgan told Dawn to go to hell, but she still cannot let go of her and walks around with a sad face thinking about Dawn all the time. Her friends who all love her, hover around her and intercede often trying to protect her from Dawn, but she keeps going back.

Morgan works for a popular magazine and has been trying to get an interview with Shane, a well known artist who keeps blowing her off for some reason. Shane did go to meet Morgan, but seeing Morgan from behind and the sadness in her eyes through the glass reflection, ran fearing the intense attraction she felt. Shane’s got her own big ole sad past that’s unresolved and feeling this kind of attraction again is something she’d rather avoid.

Dawn, who’s basically a sociopath, has been with Morgan since high school and is obsessed with her. But Dawn comes on to and sleeps with anything that is female and is alive because she can and just to be nasty. She feels that she has a right to do as she pleases, while keeping Morgan all to herself. So she does what any person like that would do, she stalks and harasses and preys on Morgan’s feelings and inability to let go, constantly.

Ok, I have a lot of mixed feelings about this story. Obviously I’m doing a review so I did find it compelling enough to finish it, but it did push a few of my buttons. It’s one of those things that I’ve come to know in many lesbian stories as estrogen overload. It seemed like one long emo fest, with a few bright spots of budding love.

This story started out great. I really liked Morgan. She comes across as tough and savvy in her work even if after one year she cannot stop thinking about Dawn. And in the beginning Shane is also a very interesting character. She came across as a powerful eccentric type who had a lot of intrigue about her. After Shane and Morgan meet though, which is fairly early on, it kind of goes in fits and starts from there.

Morgan spends most of the story pining after Dawn and Shane intermittently. She’s trying to break away from Dawn while opening up to Shane, going back and forth and back and forth. I seriously felt that she deserved Dawn after a while. Why would you keep feeling something so strongly for someone and even consider going back after being cheated on for ten years? 10 YEARS! Not to mention the whole creepy, controlling, stalker thing going on.

And then there’s Shane’s super secret past. Through most of the beginning of the book there are just hints of some painful experience. We soon find out though, that Shane has been blaming herself for what happened with her last partner, who by the way, was no better than Dawn. Shane's still carrying a torch and blame for what happened to her ex, putting her on a pedestal as if the ex was any kind of a decent person herself. Her ex cheated on her all the time and cruelly told Shane what a loser she is and to deal with it or get lost.

What’s with all this love and pining over people who basically are/ were a shit and didn’t/don’t know the first thing about love? Instead of coming across as damaged and sympathetic, both Shane and Morgan came across as pathetic after a while.

Morgan and Shane’s way of relating was often also very frustrating. Shane comes on to Morgan straight away after they meet and Morgan is very attracted. They have one beautiful night of really hot sex, both opening up to each other emotionally and all seems great. But then Shane goes all iceberg on Morgan’s ass right after, which throws Morgan back into Dawns arms. Why? Shane does this several times; blows hot and cold. She loves Morgan, but feels that Morgan will hurt her by going back to Dawn, so she cruelly blows her off time and again only to keep perpetuating her fears about Morgan going back to Dawn.

Neither one of them will openly express what’s really going on, but constantly hint to each other that there’s reason for each of them to fear loving each other. They are both feeling insecure about each other. But instead of trying to alleviate the other’s fears, they hold back from saying what’s going on. *Headdesk*

I really have a hard time with the big misunderstanding trope that could easily be dealt with by opening the mouth and talking a little bit. I get that it’s an author’s way to keep up some tension, but for me that frustrates more than keeps me interested.

I know this looks like I hated this book, but that’s not true. A lot of it did annoy me, however, there were some really good moments in this book that did keep me turning the pages.

Those times when Morgan and Shane were in alignment and flowing together were very nicely written. Very loving and sexually hot. And it was clear that both really want and love each other. That’s what kept me reading this story. There were just enough of those moments that it did give me a better overall impression than other specifics that bothered me.

If you like the kind of story about a lot of emotional love drama then I think In the Eyes of Love will be a satisfying read. I wish there would have been more of Morgan and Shane and their budding relationship with less of the negative angsty drama, but this story still worked for me on some level.

Sex rating: orgasmic- f/f, mostly vanilla, some minor anal play. It was pretty juicy vanilla though.

Grade: B for technically being nicely written, C for the story itself.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Review- Birthday Girl by Paisley Smith

Birthday Girl
by Paisley Smith
November 2009
Contemporary/ erotica/ f/f/m ménage
Length- quickie (up to 15K) $2.49

Buy it Ellora’s Cave

It’s Gemma’s thirty-second birthday. She’s not surprised when her gorgeous husband Nate whips out the blindfold and orders her to bend over for a birthday spanking. What does surprise her is that Nate has enlisted the help of a friend. Another woman!

Lindsey is a sexy Bohemian artist who has starred in Gemma’s fantasies for a long while. She doesn’t know what will happen beyond this single night of scorching sex play, but for now, Gemma fully intends to enjoy every new touch, taste, sight and sound her “birthday gift” has to offer.

It was just by chance that I came across this author and book. I have a GLBT promo blog on my reader and saw that a post was written wondering about straight women liking f/f stories or not. It was a lead in to promo this book Birthday Girl. I went and read the freebie story of Ms. Smith’s offered at Ellora’s Cave and totally loved it as you can see from my earlier post. I then downloaded Birthday Girl and again, I was so not disappointed. In fact, I read it all just before going to sleep, which never happens; I’m usually falling asleep after a reading a few pages of a book.

Like First Taste, this story is sexually, steamy hot. Also like First Taste, within a short amount of space, Paisley Smith managed to convey how much these characters love and respect each other. Again, I was left with a warm and fuzzy feeling that these characters will be together for a long time even though seriously, this was one long string of sex scenes/scenarios with very little plot or characterization.

The set up is very simple. It’s Gemma’s birthday and her husband Nate, whom she’s madly and totally in love with, gives her the gift of woman in her bed for a threesome. Nate has known all about Gemma’s fantasies and desires for a woman here and there and that she’s particularly liked Lindsey, a woman who frequents Nate’s Pizza restaurant and has become a friend to both of them.

Nate found out that Lindsey, who came in alone often, was more into women and that she’d just finished a long-term relationship. Lindsey confessed to him that she’s had a girl crush on Gemma for a long time. So it’s the perfect scenario.

What was so delicious here is that Gemma, who’s had inklings that’s she’s bisexual having had experimented in college, was not completely aware of her bisexuality until she gets with Lindsey and loves it so much. I thought this was written rather nicely. She’s a bit confused about her feelings but only because she really loves Nate and how can she love both Nate and Lindsey? And is it cheating to want Lindsey when she adores Nate so much?

Being with Lindsey though, has stirred up hidden feelings for her and as the two days progress with lots and lots of sex, she and Lindsey do share what they feel, neither one wanting to let go and just have this be their one and only time.

Lindsey has been with men before but they just didn’t do it for her like women did. So she’s pretty clear that in this little threesome that it’s mainly Gemma she wants. And yet, these three seem so cozy, so open and loving that I was left with the impression that they could all work out an arrangement that would keep everyone happy. Even this was written very well. Lindsey wants Gemma and although she’s not so hot on being sexual with Nate, she does like him and is very open to working something out to be with Gemma.

Nate is just a sweet guy in the background of this story. The main focus is on the two women, both sexually and emotionally, although Nate is part of a lot of the sexual scenarios, which was totally hot. But it’s mostly about Gemma and Lindsey both getting something inside of themselves deeply fulfilled by being together. It came across as all so natural. What I liked about it also was that Nate is honest that he loves seeing his wife being sexual with a woman and thinks he’s gotten lucky, but it never came across as ever for his pleasure. It was clear all along that this was for Gemma only.

There was only one niggling little problem I had with this book, but it was so minor really. I felt that at times Gemma’s self reflecting about her sexual past to Lindsey and to herself did come across more as the author doing some self reflecting. The way it was written felt more like a real post that someone would write, rather than a character thinking to themselves. This did pull me a little out of the story because it was a bit more telling than expressing. However, truly this was so minor to the whole of the story.

And just a minor warning, Paisley Smith’s prose is a bit gritty and graphic at times. I absolutely loved it, but it will be a matter of taste.

I feel that if you’re looking for a hawt quickie that’s a lot about the sex, but even more so about hot sex with characters connecting emotionally, then Birthday Girl is a juicy, yummy read.

Sex rating: Orgasmic- f/f, f/f/m, minor anal play. I will warn some that there is some serious spanking in this book with very minor BDSM play. I’m not so hot on spanking, which is why I wasn’t that quick to jump on this book before I read First Taste. That said, it didn’t come across as heavy in the BDSM area, but more light and playful. Bottom line, if I could be OK with it, it wasn’t that intense or a turn off, but will satisfy for someone who likes that sort of thing.

Grade: B+++ Definitely a short story worth the money to me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

This! What a short story should be- pimpage

First Taste
by Paisley Smith

It's FREEEEEE! Get thee over to Ellora's Cave to read/download this story.

It’s Natalie’s ten-year high school reunion and she’s reluctantly joined the planning committee. Things start to look up, though, when she finds that Haley Moore is on the committee—and she’s even more gorgeous than Natalie remembered.

Ten years before, Natalie and Haley had experimented sexually together, but when high school ended, they went their separate ways. Their unexpected reunion finds them ready to make up for lost time, both in bed and out.

Yeah, skip over the fact that there's a man and woman on the cover. I discovered that all of EC's free reads have this cover, no matter what the content.

To my regular readers. I've been bitching like hell about all the crappy short stories I've been reading. You can see in my reviews that I get rather pissed off with spending good money, and in some cases a ridiculous amount per word count, on short stories that suck. Short stories that have no emotional connection between characters, but just disconnected sex many times.

Or, there's a nice connection, but it's just too incomplete with big old gaping holes, leaving me a bit dissatisfied.

I've reached the point where I'm very leery about BUYING short stories even though I do like shorter books due to time constraints and being a slow reader.

But then comes along this little gem written by Paisley Smith. And, even better, IT'S FREE!!!

This is what chaps my ass. Here's a perfect little short story that kind of has it all. It's a very hawt and steamy, but loving story about two women together. There's just enough background to get where each woman is coming from, how they feel about each other, and it's complete.

Even though this story is basically one huge sex scene with a little bit of background, I can really feel that these two women really want each other, that they have a need to be with each other. It's totally right for both and flows so smoothly. Nice characters, great sex, no big holes and a perfect wrap up. It's just one of those satisfying reads all around the block. And the sex, yowza!

So why can't a publisher offer these kinds of books more often? If I would have paid for this story I would have walked away feeling like it was worth it, unlike several I've read recently in which I felt ripped off.

Since I loved First Taste so much I'll pimp Paisley Smith's new book just out, Birthday Girl, which is available at Ellora's Cave. I haven't read it yet so I don't know if it's as good as First Taste, but I do have hopes since this is exactly what I love to read.

It’s Gemma’s thirty-second birthday. She’s not surprised when her gorgeous husband Nate whips out the blindfold and orders her to bend over for a birthday spanking. What does surprise her is that Nate has enlisted the help of a friend. Another woman!

Lindsey is a sexy Bohemian artist who has starred in Gemma’s fantasies for a long while. She doesn’t know what will happen beyond this single night of scorching sex play, but for now, Gemma fully intends to enjoy every new touch, taste, sight and sound her “birthday gift” has to offer.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Review- Dreaming of Harmony by Jade Buchanan

Dreaming of Harmony
by Jade Buchanan
Contemporary/ Lesbian/Erotica
6K words- $2.49

Buy it Changeling Press, All Romance ebooks

When Erin opened the paper she never expected to see her obituary staring back at her. Is this some idea of a cosmic joke? She’s especially unsettled when the deceased woman, who happens to share her name and birthday, starts lecturing her in her dreams. Erin knows she needs to take a few chances, but she doesn’t know how to do the one thing she’s avoided for months… seduce the girl next door. Lucky for her, fate is about to step in.

Like the last Jade Buchanan book I read, Boardroom, this is a very, very short quickie. For what it is, Dreaming of Harmony is a cute, sexy read.

Erin watches her neighbor, Harmony, through the window. She’s been fantasizing about her for a while, but has no idea if Harmony swings with women. She’s only seen Harmony with men, so she doesn’t really hope for anything. Besides, in Erin’s mind, she and Harmony are so different. Harmony is a high powered business mover and shaker who dresses classy and elegantly, while Erin is just a lowly librarian whose personal style is more hippy casual.

Enter the ghost of a recently passed woman with the same name and birth date, albeit 50 years before, as Erin and things get a bit interesting. She’s got Erin’s name and was also a lesbian, but one who spurned her female lover back in the day to fit into society. She’s come to teach Erin something important.

I liked this story. I thought it’s kind of sweet with a fun premise to it. However, there really isn’t too much to say since this was such a short story, but I’ll try.

This story is basically about a dream come true for Erin. That’s rather a double meaning because the only sexual interaction between the women has the feel of a dream to it, seems to be a dream, and yet, is maybe not a dream. It’s kind of left ambiguous from the author whether or not Harmony and Erin are actually together even though Harmony says it’s not a dream. I was still wondering after I finished the story though. At any rate, it’s a steamy sexual encounter for both.

Again though, as I’ve come to find in stories under 10k, there’s a lot missing. In this case there’s no prior interaction between Erin and Harmony except for one scene in which they have a friendly chat and Erin picks up a subtle curiosity coming from Harmony for the first time since they’ve known each other. The next thing you know, a ghost shows up and shortly after, Erin and Harmony are getting it on. Erin has no idea how she’s in bed with Harmony, only that she fell asleep and it’s all happening.

The only information available on each character are some brief descriptors of the way they dress and their occupations to tell us what they’re about. So there’s not much to know where these characters are coming from. While it’s clear that Erin is a lesbian because she’s dreaming about Harmony from the get go, even in the end, I wasn’t so sure about Harmony.

The ghost aspect to this little story was kind of cute and interesting. There was an implication though that some ghost voodoo/help was responsible for Harmony and Erin getting together, which was both unique and a bummer for me.

Maybe I just read it wrong and maybe Harmony was a lesbian or bi all along and the magik was more to help them skip the whole uncomfortable and insecure part of getting together. To be fair, in an m/f I would not have bat an eye at a little help from some paranormal aspect to get a romance going. When it comes to f/f though, I like to know that there’s no question that the sexually ambiguous character really wants the lesbian or bi character out of their own, real, desire.

At any rate, I do like Jade Buchanan’s style of writing and I do think she managed to tell a fairly complete fantasy in such a short space that left me feeling good. I think though, for myself, I’m done with these little short stories that I usually feel a bit frustrated with because they’re nicely written, with interesting characters, but carry no depth or richness to them because of the lack of length. What’s the point really?

If you’re looking for a yummy, hawt little quickie then Dreaming of Harmony is the perfect read.

Sex rating: Wet panties: one short sex scene. F/F vanilla.

Grade: B

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+