Monday, August 31, 2009

Review- In My Skin by Cassidy Ryan

In My Skin
by Cassidy Ryan
2009
Contemporary/ f/f- bi/lesbian
44 pgs/ 21K- $3.95
Ebook

Buy it Torquere Press, Fictionwise, All Romance Ebooks

Successful attorney Anna Stuart is drawn to coffee shop owner Chaise the minute she lays eyes on her, and the first time they speak they forge a connection unlike anything Anna has ever felt.

The two women quickly realize that there is something special between them. But will love be enough to see them through in the face of Anna's mother's vehement disapproval of their relationship? Or will Anna be forced to choose between her family and her heart?

In My Skin is one of those cute, sweet stories about a woman who finds herself overwhelmingly attracted to another woman for the first time in her life and how she goes for it against her strict upbringing and angst about being in foreign romantic territory.

Since the blurb is pretty accurate, I’ll get straight to it. This is one of my favorite kinds of stories, one in which a predominantly straight women gets turned on by another woman. It’s not too complicated, nor is there a really deep story or plot; it’s simply about two women who fall in love with each other with the usual apprehensions and excitement about that.

Anna has fallen in love with Chaise. Having never been in love with a woman in her 29 years, she’s feeling all kinds of doubts about her ability to please Chaise who is a lesbian and has lots of experience. She also comes from a very traditional Catholic family in which all the women follow traditional female roles and it’s been expected of her as well. Particularly, her mother has criticized her for becoming a lawyer, having a career and not choosing marriage and kids. So she’s already dealing with being an outcast.

Chaise is a really sweet woman who fears, as a lesbian, that since Anna has only been with men, that this might be some kind of frivolous adventure for Anna, which Anna makes clear is not the case. Chaise takes things very slowly with Anna, allowing Anna to open up and explore her sexually as she feels comfortable to do.

The romance in this story is really rather sweet and flows along nicely without too much of a hitch or conflict. Cassidy Ryan really did a great job on capturing that uncertainty and shyness between both women, especially Anna, as they find their way together.

The main foil or stressor in this love story is Anna’s family. Of course, Anna wants her new love interest accepted by her family and the struggles with her mom’s rejection is a big part of the story. I find this theme common in lesbian (f/f) romance, parental/family disapproval as a way to give a new couple a reason to fall into each other’s arms and fight for their love against all odds.

This story does get into the issues people have when they enter into the gay world and what they have to deal with, however, it didn’t get preachy or political at all, which is always a big plus for me. It’s simply realistically written as part of what Anna has to deal with.

For those who like the straight girl attracted to a woman scenario, I would definitely recommend In My Skin. Although there is one point where Anna realizes that men have never done it for her like Chaise does, it doesn’t enter into, “oh, I was gay all along and never realized it and men suck now” territory, which I appreciated.

Sex rating: Wet panties- some really hot graphically written sexual scenes but not over done. It’s strictly Vanilla as well.

Grade: B+

Friday, August 28, 2009

Where are the men in lab coats when you need them?

When I wrote my piece for Victoria Janssen's blog, it originally contained this paragraph:

While I would assume most romance readers are straight women, f/f sex and three-way sex are two of the most common sexual fantasies for women, regardless of their orientation. I’d extrapolate that straight women fantasize about f/f sex as much as lesbians fantasize about m/m—which is rather a lot more than logic might predict. Which has made me wonder why f/f and f/f/m erotic content has been less than enthusiastically embraced by romance readers.

After sending it to a couple of buddies to vet it for me, one of them replied with this:

I'm not sure about. There are a lot of assumptions, and a lot of arguable points. Lesbians fantasize about m/m? f/f and three ways female fantasy? I think you need to add more to support these claims. Or give a reason why you think this.

Now, this is a case of "I know what I know". I know some lesbians fantasize about m/m sex, because many of the best m/m writers and most avid (and exclusive) m/m fans are lesbians. I personally know a fair number of women (who identify as straight) who not only fantasize about f/f sex, but have experimented with it in real life, or engaged in f/f/m threesomes at their own behest, not their boyfriends'. And I absolutely know women of any orientation get physically turned on by it, because this study proves it. But that doesn't mean any of them go out of their way to think about it, just that they respond to it when it's put in front of them.

In a climate predisposed to sneer at the mere mention of two girls kissing, and in a community prone to blanket denials of f/f's appeal or claims that only straight guys would ever want to read/fantasize/think about women together, anecdotal and tangential evidence are not evidence at all.


So off I went on a quest to find some hard numbers to back up my claims. After two days of combing the internet, I ended up feeling like Frodo Baggins would have felt had he crossed Middle Earth and climbed Mount Doom only to find a pile of cold cinders and an "out of order" sign.

My path was strewn with pitfalls, baited traps and mirages. I mean, how serious can you take the claim that getting it on with another girl and three-way sex are two of the top ten things women fantasize about when the list is posted at askmen.com alongside articles on how to pick up hot chicks? And every time I found a promising lead on a sexual health or women's health website, it turned out to be merely sun-shimmer on sand--advice columns where straight women wonder if it's normal to fantasize about f/f, the expert reply always being that it's "normal" or "common" or that "many" or even "most" straight women have these feelings.

But numbers? Links to research papers? Nary a one.

At last, I found this:

Masters and Johnson (1978), for example, found that what they term "cross-preference encounters" were the third most frequent category of sexual fantasy for both homosexual males and homosexual females, the fourth most frequent fantasy for heterosexual males and the fifth most frequent fantasy for heterosexual females.

At last! Hard numbers! Except, they're not. Fifth most frequent? What the eff does THAT mean? I mean, say they studied a hundred straight women. Fifth most frequent could mean that all hundred women fantasized about f/f, but they did so less frequently than, say, non-con, stranger sex, boyfriend sex and double penetration. Or it could mean 80 of the women NEVER thought about it, and the other 20 thought about it to the exclusion of anything else. Or pretty much anything in between.


And Masters & Johnson, 1978? Seriously? Dudes, this is absolutely sad. Nobody's bothered studying this or writing any articles about said studies since 19fucking78??!! No wonder so many women were writing into those advice columns asking whether they could think about chicks doing each other and still be straight. It's not like they can actually, you know, google it and find out. Unless they have academic privileges, I guess.


So where the eff are the men in lab coats? What are they doing? Apparently, they're studying the effectiveness of condoms fitted to order, or how many women fantasize about rape (lots of hard numbers there) and its impact on the perceptions of violence against women. There are tons of recent studies on how diligently teenagers apply safe sexual practices. Just none, apparently, on what percentage of women fantasize about f/f sex.


I am, to put it mildly, disgruntled.

Head on over!

to Victoria Janssen's blog, and read about some of the tips and pitfalls of writing f/f(/m) for a female readership. Don't forget to tell me if you wholeheartedly agree, or think I'm full of shit.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Guest blogging at Victoria J's

Victoria Janssen, fellow girl-on-girl avenger and totally blammo author of Harlequin Spice books like this:

And THIS (OMG, holy crapping damn this cover is HOT!!!):
...has been kind enough to invite me to guest blog over in her neck of the woods. Topic du jour: Writing f/f and f/f/m for the female gaze--a subject very dear to me and one that doesn't get addressed enough. The post goes live tomorrow (Friday, August 28), and I hope you all will come by to check it out and share your thoughts on how you think authors get it right, and how you think they get it so very, very wrong.
So fellow f/f aficionados, head on over tomorrow and let's tell 'em what we want. Hot, sexy, tender girl-on-girl action written for US.
Hugs

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Review- Loving My Lady by Penelope Friday

Loving My Lady
by Penelope Friday
2009
Historical/ F/F
19K- $2.49
Ebook

Buy it Torquere Press, Fictionwise

When her father dies, Cordelia Brownlow's future looks bleak. She has no money and must sell Ashworth, the family house, in order to pay the debts of honor that her father ran up. The offer her cousin, Lady Dennyson, makes to buy Ashworth and keep Cordelia on as a companion seems like the answer to her prayers. But Lady Juliet Dennyson has an unusual idea of the duties (and pleasures) of a 'companion', and Cordelia finds herself falling in love with the lady who shows her delights of the body she's never imagined.

Lady Juliet has secrets in her past and they threaten to spill over into the present, destroying her relationship with Cordelia. Can Lady Juliet learn to live with her past – and can Cordelia accept it, too?

Loving My Lady is one of those stories that at first I thought might not deliver, but came through in the end. There’s a whole lot of telling and glossing over things until you reach the middle of the book at which point reasons for motivations that didn’t make sense get explained and it does get juicier.

This is a rather short story and some areas weren’t developed as much as I would have liked. I feel this is a case in which a longer story would have made this a much better book. What was lacking for me mainly was the development of the love story between Cordelia and Juliet, and really, some heat between them.

Cordelia is a young destitute woman who is saved by Lady Juliet. We don’t really get much of a background on Cordelia except that her mother died when she was young and her father was a gambler whose debts left her penniless and with no options. There’s really nothing said about her experience with men other than she’s never been in love. The only inkling as to her sexuality is that she’s immediately smitten with Juliet.

Lady Juliet is a woman who commands attention and has some status as the widow of man of means. She comes on to Cordelia straight away making it clear to her that she is to be Juliet’s “companion,” as in her lover. Since there was no mention of her meeting Cordelia prior to this, I couldn’t understand how she decided that she wanted Cordelia as a “companion." But she’s clear right from the get go that she bought Cordelia’s family home on the contingency that Cordelia be her companion like she specifically chose her out of all women. She’s nice enough in her seduction and Cordelia responds to her, falling in love with her.

This is the part where things were missing for me in the emotional connection. Their sexual experiences together, the main seduction of Cordelia by Juliet, and their becoming close emotionally, are all explained by Cordelia telling the reader how it was without sharing any details. There’s no dialogue between them and there’s definitely no action.

They are well into a relationship with each other when Juliet suddenly cools and blows Cordelia off. That, plus the fact that Juliet keeps Cordelia at a distance in general as if she is really her servant “companion” and not on equal social footing are maybe why I didn’t feel much intimacy or heat between them. Nor did I ever feel that Juliet feels as strongly towards Cordelia as Cordelia feels to Juliet.

I also had an issue about why Juliet turns to women. Cordelia has had no experience with men so sexually she’s never been seduced before and it’s possible that she had a preference for women she was unaware of. But Juliet was deeply in love with her husband. And even though she has a nasty history with men in general, because she loved her husband so much, I didn't understand the leap to her preferring women; that wasn’t really explained in her back story.

I know this looks like I had a lot of issues or that my overall impression was a negative one, but the truth is, what I had issues with is a lot easier for me to articulate. I did enjoy this book quite a bit. The writing style and language are very nice and evocative of the essence and ambience of the Regency period. Also, the story itself did have a lot of interesting aspects to it with Juliet’s background history and how she acted because of it.

And I will say that although there wasn’t really much intensity of emotion between the women, I did feel that they have a lot of affection for each other and that it will grow deeper as they go on.

Sex rating: Dry Panties- barely described sexual scenes in non erotic language.

Grade: B-

Another review from Rainbow reviews

Friday, August 21, 2009

It's True- It's all about the guys- fake lesbianism

I follow AfterEllen.com on Twitter and this vid was posted there today.



I never realized how much girl on girl kissing actually happens on TV outside of gay themed shows like The L Word.

*sigh*

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Review- Hands On by Amie Stuart

Hands On
by Amie Stuart
June 1, 2007
Contemporary/ Erotica/ m/f, f/f/m, bisexual
Novel- 256 pgs.
Trade- OOP

Buy it Amazon, Ebay, Amazon Kindle, Sony ebook store

Monday through Friday, they're known as Alex, Mel, and Carl. But by night, these blue collar Texas gals trade in their work boots and tool belts for high heels, lipstick, and men!

Lexi preaches safety first at her construction site, but when she's blindsided by a hot, hard-bodied foreman, he leads her into the danger zone for steamy sex...and all kinds of delicious trouble.

Lanie runs her auto shop, Chick's Garage, with no-nonsense efficiency. Nobody guesses the erotic adventure she's planning for a white-collar guy who needs a lady mechanic to give a kinky spin to his engine.

Carlotta knows how to splice a cable or wire anything, anytime, anywhere better than any man. But when this curvy electrican meets a quiet computer guy, he has something to teach her about how to connect...and give up control.

Hands On is one of those light, sexy, erotica books that’s great if you’re looking for something not too serious about women who are confident and all about enjoying and taking control of their lives, including sexually.

While in an anthology format, it’s not quite a proper anthology. Hands On is about three best friends and written in three different parts each told in first person by one of the girls’ POV. To be honest this did get a bit confusing because in each story all three girls are involved and sometimes I would forget whose POV the dialogue is coming from. Especially as the same scene would be written from another’s POV in the next girl’s story. Other than that, the writing is very smooth and enjoyable to read.

The first story focuses on Lexi. She’s a tough woman who’s in charge of a construction crew and has to deal with constant issues of men not wanting to take crap from a woman. But she persistent and doesn’t take crap from anyone. She’s lonely though and hasn’t had a date in a while. She also not about getting serious with anyone but mainly just fooling around. That is until she meets Wade, a construction foreman with his own crew. Of course she has a personal policy against, and can also get fired if fraternizing with a co-worker, but he’s different, so she risks it. These two have a lot of really hot sex, sometimes in her construction office when they can be caught and he takes her heart by surprise.

The second story is Lanie’s story. What I really like about Lanie is that she’s a car mechanic who owns her own repair shop and has painted it pink. She’s getting a lot of crap from her family, who think she’s a loser and a lesbian. She takes in her ex-con brother and helps him out with a job and a place to stay. She’s openly bisexual and makes no bones about her attractions to both women and men. She gets set up by her family with Jeff, a connected family friend. She blows him off not wanting to give into family pressure, but finds out that he’s really cool and is open to her having flings with women.

The third story is Carlotta’s. She’s also got a unique job in that she’s one of the best in her field of wiring buildings for tech equipment and such. Like Lexi and Lanie, she’s also about just having fun and screwing around. She screws her boss’ nephew, Devon, who works where she does in her boss’ office and finds out after that her boss was video taping it all. She quits but still gets with Devon. Devon is into BDSM and is a Dom looking for a sub and thinks that Carlotta is deep down a sub even though she’s a control freak. Carlotta is not so sure about this lifestyle and although she fights it, she does go along with it just to be with Devon.

The most enjoyable thing about this book is that it’s that rare book about girlfriends and their relationships. In this story it was actually refreshing to have the main relationship be the bond between these three women. They make it a point to meet every week no matter who they are with. They all seem to be bisexual as well, especially Lanie and Carlotta and have all fooled around in a light playful way with each other sexually. I really liked this easy way they all have with each other, supporting and taking care without any bitchy cattiness or complicated heavy drama.

The only story I was not totally on board with was the last one. BDSM is a tricky subject for me. While it skirted some really heavy stuff, there were points that bothered me. Devon calls Carlotta on her control issues, but I really didn’t see her as a control freak as compared to say a normal woman who is confident, takes care of herself and does as she pleases. So that didn’t really jibe for me.

And again with a lot of BDSM I have trouble with what looks like arrogance on the part of the male Dom that he really knows what’s going on with a woman whom he thinks is really a sub. That he is more aware about what she wants than she does. I don’t buy that quite often. Just because someone likes to give up control once in a while in bed doesn’t mean they are a BDSM sub. Or that if someone likes to have some control in their life that they are automatically a control freak who deep down wants to be spanked for it or give that control up.

This book is erotica, so if you’d read this for some HEA romance, it’s not this. However, all three girls do have an HFN, which left things in a satisfying way even if all of them haven’t really grown too much or are on the path to settling down and not screwing any people that strikes their fancy.

In all the stories the sex is really hot. For the f/f readers of this review there’s quite a bit of some really hot girl on girl in Lanie’s story, which was written very nicely. But all the sex in this book is smoking hot and full of fun scenarios. Amie Stuart has a nice flow to her writing that made this a juicy book to read.

Sex rating: Orgasmic- graphic- m/f, public sex, toys, f/f, f/f/m, lighter BDSM with accoutrement use.

Grade: B+

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Review--Strength in Numbers 3: Branded, by Rachel Bo

Strength in Numbers 3: Branded

by Rachel Bo

2005

BDSM f/f/m poly erotic romance-bisexual

ebook

Purchase at Loose Id, fictionwise

Brandy Mitchell has it all. Wonderful friends, a career she loves, a great life. But something is missing, and it’s not just love.

The people around her are all involved -- in committed, loving relationships with multiple partners. She’s never been judgmental, and she can definitely understand the appeal. Still, she’s never found that kind of bond -- the kind that makes her friend Kendall glow with vibrant sexuality -- with one person, let alone two.

When she takes a ‘special’ cruise, she’s shocked to find herself aroused by blatant, public sexual displays. She’s never even thought of herself as especially kinky. And then she meets Eric and Lin -- a Dominant pair looking for a submissive…


When you’re looking for love, sometimes you have to walk on the wild side.


Publisher's Note: This book contains material that may be offensive to some readers: bdsm, menage, m/f/f.


Reviewer's note: This book was published 4 years ago, and I only found it last week, despite my frequent prowls for f/f/m menage romance from publishers I know are open to it. Despite several searches of Loose Id's site using the terms "f/f", "f/f/m", and "m/f/f", their search engine failed to spit out this book. I only discovered it because in my travels across blogland hunting down discussions of f/f content, an author (I don't even remember if it was Rachel Bo, or just someone whose name I didn't recognize from my multiple searches of the site) mentioned she'd had an f/f/m published by Loose Id. I went hunting again, using every term for f/f I could find. And finally turned this one up with the keyword "lesbian".

Lesbian???!!! Are you kidding me? Neither of the female characters are lesbians, the relationship is not a lesbian one, and the sex is not lesbian--it's menage. Yet it's categorized as "lesbian", but not "f/f", "f/f/m" or "m/f/f"???!!! I'm sorry, but you guys, publishers and authors both, are going to have to do a better job of putting this stuff in front of the right eyes. Because people searching for lesbian books are NOT looking for f/f/m menage--even if there are lesbian sex scenes in them--and people looking for f/f/m menage are NOT looking for lesbian books!

I constantly see comments about how f/f and f/f/m just doesn't sell. But essentially hiding it from the very people who want to read it and are actively seeking it, well I can't imagine that helps move the stuff.

Fail.

Now for the review. Where do I start? With Brandy, I suppose.

Brandy is a control freak. She manages two artisan shops with plans to open a third soon, and like most type A personalities, she takes on more responsibiltiy than is necessary or healthy, and steamrolls over anyone with the temerity to help her with what she sees as her duties. She's territorial and possessive--both with her place in the universe and with the people in her life--but at the same time, she holds those dearest to her at a safe distance, afraid to get close but constantly terrified of losing them. She keeps furiously busy and distracts herself with a thousand tiny minutiae so she never has to think about how lonely and empty her life is.

Brandy's been out of the dating scene for a while. For her, the courtship dance seems a pointless exercise. The men she's dated have never done a thing for her, and she finds herself wondering just what's wrong with her that no man she's ever met has pushed her heartrate above a sluggish 70 beats per minute.

In desperation, she lets her best friend Kendall talk her into going on a "special" cruise (we all know what "special" means in this context, so save your eyebrow waggling for someone else :P). I quite liked the uncertainty that comes out in her when she removes herself from her comfort zone and throws herself into this new experience.

On the first night, in one of several night clubs on board, she notices a couple watching her, and the game is on. The couple are brazen in their fondling of each other, their eyes locked on Brandy's as they invite her into a tiny circle of voyeuristic desire. Brandy finds herself so stirred by them, she does something that shocks her to her type A core. But when the couple approach her, she runs like a skeert rabbit, appalled and frightened by her own out-of-character behavior.

The next day, she's still thinking about the couple when she finds a secluded spot on deck to sun herself. Next thing you know, they're right there. They introduce themselves as Eric and Madeleine (Lin) Brogan. They seem to be ordinary people on the surface, but Brandy can sense under that facade a predatory nature that both excites and unnerves her.

Brandy is enormously attracted to them, and in short order they've charmed their way into her bikini bottoms and have brought her off in spectacular style. I'm not going to lie. Between the public sex, their brief acquaintance, the subtle D/s dynamics and the mild sadomasochism, well...this bit was effing hot. I mean, really hot. Ms. Bo's writing is smooth enough and her POV protagonist well-developed enough for me to really buy her conflicting feelings of attraction and unease, and those feelings upped the stakes and the heat level.

After a perfectly normal bout of angsting over how she can be attracted to a woman (which has never happened before), and how she could possibly be thinking of an extended fling with two people she just met, Brandy embraces the opportunity. This was my favorite part of the novel. Over the course of the cruise, Brandy, Eric and Lin do lots of the normal relationshippy things people do, and have some of the hottest sex I've read in a while--uncovering Brandy's enjoyment of pain and giving up control, and all the while their emotional bond grows stronger.

And then [insert doomsday metaphor here], when at the end of the cruise it's revealed that Eric and Lin are the owners of the cruise line. And that they are BDSM practitioners. We're not talking dabblers, either. They're both Doms, and they've been searching far and wide for a compatible sub that could become more than a few weekends' plaything. Something permanent. And they want Brandy.

Brandy is...kind of thrown. She doesn't want to lose Eric and Lin, but she's not sure about this whole BDSM thing. And to be honest, neither am I. I like the characters as they've been introduced to me, and I want to see them end up together, but this is the point where I started to have mixed feelings about this novel. I mean, Rachel Bo is clearly a talented writer, and she seems to know her stuff as far as master/slave relationships go. But the second half of the book is...not for the squeamish.

The discipline--both physical and emotional--is extreme. The BDSM is that highly ritualized form where the scenarios are painstakingly orchestrated and the practitioners don costumes I can't help but see (at least when worn by men) as a little absurd. I know it's my own tastes and biases talking here, but I just can't make the leap in my mind from high-powered entrepreneur in a Hugo Boss suit to a bondage master in leather pants that lace up at the crotch.

(Yes, it's just me. A writer like Remittance Girl can make a greying man with glasses and a paunch sexy in my mind, but I don't know if any writer is talented enough to put even Clive Owen in leather bondage get-up and make him appeal to me.)

Still, although I found the physical discipline a little (okay, a lot) too over the top for my taste, and the emotional discipline made me like Eric and Lin a little less, the scenes in between the ritual--the small, spontaneous moments of affection and closeness--were nice. The story is told solely from Brandy's POV, and her journey toward understanding herself and her needs is clearly defined. And though I wish the novel had continued as it had begun--with more subtle D/s dynamics and something approaching a normal relationship, I can't say this was a bad book, or that the second half totally ruined it for me or anything. In fact, I can tell you the sex was still freaking blammo--but the BDSM got in the way of my emotional connection to the characters. Again, just me.

The book ends on an HEA for three (which is my favorite kind), and though I didn't love the second half as much as the first, it kept me reading and enjoying until the end. I was thinking of giving this one a dual grade, but since my mixed feelings are based on personal bias and not the strength of the storytelling, I decided against it.

I can imagine readers who enjoy BDSM-heavy romance more than I do would find this a sexy, satisfying read, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. Oh well, the search goes on.

Sex rating: Orgasmic--very graphic language, public sex, voyeurism, "sharing" of subs between doms' friends, pretty extreme physical discipline, dildo use, and a butt-load (pun intended) of anal.

And a note to readers: the Brazilian waxing scene should not be used as a stand-in for the product manufacturer's instructions unless you want to make an embarrassing trip to the ER.

Grade: B

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Biphobia?


Jolie du Pre an author of lesbian erotica whom I've read, wrote this article today about Biphobia- fear of bisexuals.

It's a short piece, but interesting to read. I think it speaks to why those of us who like reading f/f of the more bisexual nature have a hard time finding the material to read and even finding some kind of identity in our preferences in general. Whether we are actually bisexual or just enjoy reading it.

Review- Ladylegger by Carol McKenzie

Ladylegger
by Carol McKenzie
2008
Prohibition era/ lesbian/ f/f-bi
24K- $4.25
Ebook

Buy it Loveyoudivine, Fictionwise

As a woman Edith dresses in trouser suits and running her own illegal business. Edith is a lesbian in a rural farming area where such is frowned upon. Edith is an independent individual who goes about armed and hires men to help her run the business as both bodyguards and delivery drivers. She even faces down a Treasury agent and gets on his good side in his quest to take down bigger bootleggers. Edith falls in love with Lorene, a farm widow who is one of her best suppliers of illicit moonshine whiskey, and the core of the story revolves around her courtship of Lorene and the consequent changes in both their lives.

Ladylegger is one of those stories that had great potential, satisfied on some levels, but for the most part fell a bit short for me.

Edith is a bootlegger during the prohibition. She doesn’t follow any of the rules; she’s doing a man’s job, she’s a lesbian, and is the boss of her own business. Things are starting to heat up and tough guy “Ace,” who has no scruples is out to take over all the bootleggers’ businesses through threats and force. This doesn’t sit well with Edith and she fights back. It’s a rough business so she has her posse of men whom she travels with while going on her deliveries and pick-ups, and all are highly fortified with weapons.

Lorene is a farmer’s widow who ekes out a living by secretly making moonshine. She’s one of Edith’s suppliers, but lives alone out in the boonies. Lorene is very intrigued by this strange woman who dresses like a man, acts tough, and is known as bulldyke, one of those who likes women. One night Edith saves Lorene from one of Ace’s henchmen and they start to open up to each other.

Overall, I liked this story. However, the plot has many holes and the writing is clunky in some parts. That said, the relationship between the women develops very nicely and is rather sweet. This was the best part for me.

The main issue I had with the writing was that in parts, characters acted in improbable ways or said things that I felt were out of character. And I don’t like to say this, but some of the plot is outright amateurishly written with a distinct lack of credible reality to me.

For example, when one of Ace’s men comes to threaten Lorene, she gets her gun but then puts it down when he says he will kill her. Why not just blow his brains out?

And we get to read her thoughts, which were a bit redundant:

Perhaps I can outsmart him. How though?”

“What’s he going to do?” A few sentences later…

What will he do to me?”

She then convinces this guy to let her go upstairs by herself. Really, this guy who is a major thug say’s OK? After he easily gets her other gun away she says:

Get in your car! Leave now!” Yeah, like he will obey that.

The whole scene was very dumb and a bit hokey. I’d get into how inept some of the bootlegger gangsters were in scenes with Edith, but it was a problem for me throughout the book about the plot in general being underdeveloped and a bit unrealistic.

As long as we’re on Lorene, she’s supposed to be this kind of naïve country farm wife. As a character I liked her although there’s not much about her and her background other than she’s a widow. And although she does make moonshine, she’s not really that worldly or sophisticated. She acts very sweet and innocently open when Edith seduces her and is generally portrayed as a “good” country woman. In bed though, she’s suddenly a tomcat, very explicit in her sexual language:

“Oh Lordy, I’m so sure, you wouldn’t believe it. I want your tongue in my pussy.”

Really? Would some country farmer's wife in the early 20’s really talk like that? This after only one minor sexual experience with Edith. I don’t know, it just seemed out of character for her to talk so sexually explicit and it threw me out of the scenes in which she did that. I think someone who's not that sexually experienced would be a bit more tentative and not as forthright as she was.

There were some good things about this book though, which in the end made it a better read for me than it actually is technically. I loved the way the relationship between Edith and Lorene developed. Edith is a lesbian who doesn’t hide the fact. Lorene has been married and has no idea about women being together, only that she has some attraction to Edith.

While Edith is attracted to Lorene, she’s not pushy with her or overly aggressive, but eases her into a sexual relationship by kind of properly courting her and spending time with her doing normal things, like having a meal together and so on. Lorene is very curious about Edith and respects her, thinking her gutsy and different and feels some sexual attraction to her. I liked that while it’s all new to her, she doesn’t judge it or Edith for that matter, but feels excited about being a bit naughty.

Edith as a character is also nicely written. There are so many female heroines or characters in romance that are stereotypical women in that they are so helpless to men, especially in this time period. In this case, Edith is an independent, strong woman who takes risks, is willing to fight for herself and has qualities that are admirable even if she is breaking the law. It’s very refreshing to read a woman doing a non stereotypical female job.

Yet at the same time, she’s not a butch type of lesbian. She’s very soft yet firm in her way with Lorene, which was what left me with an overall better impression and good feeling about this story.

I will say that Ladylegger was a good enough read that I’m glad I did read it and can recommend it if writing technicalities don’t bother you and you are in it more for the emotional feeling and connections. That said, it was definitely NOT worth $4.25 Loveyoudivine press charges. Not for the writing quality or word count.

Sex rating: Orgasmic- Mostly graphically written vanilla f/f, minor anal, and dildo use.

Grade: I’m going to give a separate grade here. C- for the writing and Plot. B for the emotional/ sexual relationship that was written very nicely and left me with a good feeling.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bound by Steel--print release and contest


I'm running a release day poetry contest over at my blog. Up for grabs is a signed copy (or two?) of aforementioned f/f/m poly erotic fantasy romance (now that's a cross-genre mouthful).


Funny, succinct, profound, boneheaded, whatever you do, it's all good. Hell, borrow a Shakespeare sonnet and bastardize it, just indulge my yearning for cheesy poetry and I'll be happy. Leave your entry in the comments of my blog post, enter as many times as you like.
To read an excerpt and some review snippets of the book, click here.