Friday, February 5, 2010

Review- The Loveliest Butterfly by A. Mistory

The Loveliest Butterfly
by A. Mistory
Contemporary/ Lesbian/ f/f/f
58K words- $5.99
Ebook- Excessica Publishing

Buy it ARe, Fictionwise ($3.29), Excessica

It was love at first sight, at least for Tess. The moment she laid eyes on Maeve, she knew she would move heaven and earth to make friends-and more-with the reluctant redheaded beauty. But in spite of Tess’ success in winning the new girl over-at least as good friends if not fulfilling Tess’ hidden wish for more-she is unable to fully protect her new friend from the continued high school teasing and humiliation which has made her so reluctant to make connections in the first place.

Even though Maeve has transferred schools to escape the truth of her secret, rumors continue to follow her, and it’s only through her newfound friendship with Tess that she finds true happiness. But in spite of her probing, Tess learns no more about the mystery surrounding her new friend, although she continues to valiantly protect Maeve against the gossiping onslaught.

After graduation, the two young women move in together as roommates, and Maeve is exposed much more fully to Tess’ lifestyle choice. Tess begins to go out alone to lesbian bars to meet women, and Maeve feels both curious and left out. When Tess meets Marsha, a saucy, sexy, spunky siren, a torrid affair ensues that threatens Marsha’s sanity and Tess’ protective friendship with Maeve.

Will Maeve’s continuing journey of self-discovery allow her to fully blossom, even in the midst of the tangled jealousy, passion, and hidden desires of the three young women? Will her secret, finally revealed, bring them together or tear them apart?

When I read a book and I’ve bookmarked and highlighted every three to four pages on my eBookwise, it’s not a good sign. My immediate take on this story was that probably 20K could have been cut from this book and still there would have been issues.

The blurb pretty much sums up the basic story, so I’ll go from there.

I guess I’ll get to what didn’t work for me first.

1.) Tell, tell, tell. Unfortunately this book was mostly a narrative of the characters’ lives. The first part of the story is told from Tess’s POV. She basically starts from when she first saw Maeve in high school up until they move in together, telling us her/their story~~ and then this happened, and then that happened and I felt this and I felt that. There’s hardly any dialogue and other than constant hints that Maeve has some big secret and that she’s very private, we don’t know anything about Maeve.

2.) POV switching. This story is told in first person. However, half way through, the first person POV switches to Maeve telling the story from her POV, but not any of her back story. She starts talking from the point after she and Tess finally get together. So I still got no insight as to where she was coming from during her years just being friends with Tess.

At first I really liked it as it picked up what was a dragging story for me because I was curious about the very private Maeve. And that would have been fine if the author would have stuck with two people on that. But then there’s a third character, Marsha, who plays a big role in this story and who also tells some of the story from her first person POV. By the end, I was so confused as to who’s talking and I found it irritating.

3.) There were way too many repetitive sentences and expressions. It was overkill. For example:

"I still want to hate you and make love to you. Why are you here? What do you want?...

A few sentences later:

"God, I'd love to fuck you, to see your eyes watching me watch you as you orgasm and maybe scream and tell me to fuck you some more," Marsha softly but passionately told me.

A few paragraphs later:

All I know is I love Tess like I can't believe, and...and I love you too. Damn it, I want to hate you so bad, but I love you, girl. Come home with me, and let me show you what's in you, what you are...how you love Tess too."

A few paragraphs later:

“…but you're so sweet, and God, I do love you. I hate that you came here, but like with Tess, I'm glad, and I do love you. It's crazy, isn't it?"

Another section of the book:

"I—I love you too, Tess," Maeve whispered, but positively. "I do love you. I love you so much, my wonderful, sweet Tess. Please forgive me. Please, Tess," she said with an urgency in her voice.

A few sentences later:

"I do love you, Tess. I think I've always loved you. I'm sorry I didn't let you know it, but I don't think I dared to even tell it to myself. I'm so sorry I didn't. Please forgive me, Tess."

A few paragraphs later:

"You're beautiful, Maeve. God, you're so lovely. You've got the most beautiful butterfly.

A few sentences later:

I laughed quietly, softly. "Never, Maeve. You can't make me quit looking at you, at your lovely butterfly, it's so marvelous, so beautiful. Don't you know how beautiful it is, how beautiful you are?

You get the picture.

4.) This story was way too long for the lack of tension or conflict. I’m not sure if it’s a romance per se, but for more than half the book, Tess is pining over Maeve. While there was some tension in the fact that it’s unresolved and there’s some big mystery that Maeve is hiding, once they get together, there’s nothing to keep any tension up to carry the story. Even then, I felt no sexual/romantic tension between Tess and Maeve. They were just two good friends, one wanting the other and the other being clueless.

After they do get together, it became like one long run-on sex scene with repetitive expressions of “I love you” and “you’re so beautiful.” When Marsha is brought back into the story, I felt it was like an addition to a story that had ended already. It seemed to have no bearing on the story but to make it a threesome. I really had to force myself to read the last quarter of the book.

5.) Some things were off for me on the characterizations. Tess is a lesbian. She’s always been a lesbian. She has an instant attraction to Maeve and befriends her. From that moment on, she decides that she wants whatever relationship she can have with Maeve.

Maeve is very shy and doesn’t seem too forthcoming with Tess keeping things private. Tess often wonders out loud what Maeve is thinking or feeling, which made me wonder how close they really were. When Tess finally shares that she is a lesbian, Maeve insists she’s not, but doesn’t mind about Tess. They go on being very close friends for years until they sort of move in together still as friends only, with Maeve not really showing any curiosity about Tess’ love/sex life all that time.

When Tess finally decides that she needs sex, she goes to a club for lesbians and hooks up with Marsha, who falls madly in love with Tess. This somehow makes Maeve finally curious.

OK, even though it’s explained at the end, I still never got why Maeve decided to have sex with Tess. She didn’t come across as the jealous type that all the sudden she would lose Tess’s friendship if she didn’t have sex with her. It just felt off to me since until that point, she showed not one ounce of romantic/sexual attraction to Tess. Not even any slight hints to it.

Then there’s Tess’s relationship with Marsha. Marsha was a fun character even if totally neurotic. She’s right on the surface with everything and expresses exactly what she’s feeling. Tess only wants Maeve, but keeps having sex with Marsha even knowing that Marsha was falling hard for her and also knowing she was never going to stay with Marsha. She then seems so surprised that Marsha would crash and burn after meeting Maeve and knowing that she would never have a chance with Tess. Huh? I hate clueless, selfish characters.

Marsha, she's madly in love with Tess, but the very minute she meets Maeve, she's madly in love with Maeve too. Really, I don't get these people.

Tess, not loving Marsha but loving the hot sex they have, feels no jealousy of Maeve reaching out to Marsha and wanting to bring her into their relationship. She just kind of goes, OK and she all of the sudden really loves Marsha too. What? This whole thing was so off to me and rather unbelievable.

Now that I’ve pretty much bashed this book, there are one or two good things. I’ve never read in any book such an ode to doing oral sex on a woman. And I don’t say that facetiously. Really, the descriptions of oral sex were in intricate, loving detail and written as if female genitalia were the goddess herself to be knelt at, bowed down to and worshipped. These characters can’t get enough of giving oral sex, relishing everything little thing about it. I admit, I rather enjoyed that.

Spoiler****

And this story does go into, without giving away the big secret, issues that some women have physically with their genitalia. I’ve never heard of it and after researching it online, found that it’s a turn on for many partners and shouldn’t be an embarrassing issue, but is, and is cause for major angst in women who have this issue. So I thought it nice to have a character with a supposed flaw that was treated in a good way.

I also liked that the “lesbian club” the girls went to was written in a positive light. All the women who frequented it were actually really nice and caring with each other. No backstabbing or snipping bitches and so on even though many were sleeping with each other on a friends with benefits bases.

I’d say that unless you’re into lots of sex and emo drama, this book might put you to sleep.

Sex rating: Orgasmic- very graphic sex. Strap-on, f/f/f/-ménage, frequent sexual situations

Grade: C-

14 comments:

M. A. said...

Ummmmm....No. Too much Mary Sue-ish wish-fulfillment for me to chew.

Cathy in AK said...

Sounds like the women at the club might have some fun stories to share without the emo drama : )

LVLM said...

M.A.- yep

Cathy- this is one of the parts I enjoyed. All of the women who hung out at that place were all really nice and there seemed to be this nice camaraderie. It had a nice feeling about it, without heading into mushville. They all kind of accepted each others idiosyncrasies and supported each other.

I have another book by this author. I'm a bit afraid to read it now. I hope it's a lot better than this one.

M. A. said...

I have another book by this author. I'm a bit afraid to read it now. I hope it's a lot better than this one.

I'm in the same boat. I'm currently a bit more than halfway through reading a novel I find very slow-paced "tell-y." It has "good moments" enough I can't quite consign it to DNF, but overall I find it lackluster.

I bought the author's second release the same time I bought this one and I'm praying it's a better read. Many writers evolve over time in terms of skill and style.

LVLM said...

It has "good moments" enough I can't quite consign it to DNF, but overall I find it lackluster.

This happens to me a lot. I find myself sticking to a book just in hopes that it'll get better. Or it's somehow good enough to keep reading even if pissing me off. Especially if I've invested a fair amount of time already.

Also, I've noticed that the group of authors writing f/f is very small. I keep seeing the same names over and over. I just bought 14 books during the ARe 1/2 off sale, and several are of authors whose books I've not been too thrilled about before or author's I have already but haven't read yet. It's a risk.

M. A. said...


I've noticed that the group of authors writing f/f is very small. I keep seeing the same names over and over. I just bought 14 books during the ARe 1/2 off sale, and several are of authors whose books I've not been too thrilled about before or author's I have already but haven't read yet. It's a risk.


It's a tight market. Right now my WIPs include two F/F stories and one F/F/M story. Much as I love working on them, I know it's going to be more of a challenge to contract them and market them than it is to contract and market other stories. One in particular has become my "baby" because I think it's really "good" (everything -- plot, characters, conflict, etc. -- seems to be "cooking together" really well.) But I already know that, no matter how "good" it is, it won't garner interest and generate sales equal to a M/M or a M/F female work.

LVLM said...

M.A.- I look forward to reading it when it is published. :D

Cathy in AK said...

But I already know that, no matter how "good" it is, it won't garner interest and generate sales equal to a M/M or a M/F female work.

I hear you, M.A. I love my f/f story, but I knew as I wrote it and started querying agents that it would be a tough one to market. An agent is looking at the full now. I'm hopeful but not unrealistic about its chances.

Good luck with your work! Maybe we can add a few more names to the genre soon. We can buy each other's stuff to inflate sales ; )

JenB said...

Hmm...this doesn't look like one I'd want to read, but you've really got me curious about the embarrassing genital problem.

Got a link? lol

JenB said...

Thanks for the info. ;)

Athena 101 said...

*I have another book by this author. I'm a bit afraid to read it now. I hope it's a lot better than this one.*

Which one do you have LVLM?

I gotta say I really liked this book. Then I saw your comments, and I read it over again, and your comments wouldn't leave my head while re-reading it and boom I hated it. LOL. But, her other books are a bit better. My favorites are Where the Heart Won't Go and The Garden in My Heart, though I have to confess that she doesn't quite evolve from that narrative-style of writing. It Was Just a Kiss is kinda of a sequel to The Loveliest Butterfly and its quite good. But she has two other terrible books, Almost Blinded to Love, and The Virgin Vagina... Then after my disillusion over the loveliest butterfly, I totally stopped reading her works.

LVLM said...

Athena- I have Garden In My Heart

I read other comments for this book and others liked it as well. I mean, I did read it and it wasn't a DNF for me. It was entertaining enough to keep me reading.

And a narative style of writing is OK, but I find it doesn't engage me enough quite often. As far as that goes, the pacing was fairly good, but it just got boring after a while. No action.

I can see how this book would be really appealing to some people. It's very emotional and sweet in some ways. I mean I did feel that those three women would be able to have a long-term relationship, but how they got there was a bit unbelievable or weird.

But you know, I can only write my personal experience of the book. It's all subjective. And I did like it enough to try another one of her books.

Athena 101 said...

No I got you, that's cool. I see what you mean now, it was very weird how they got together, and how it all worked out.
I was actually very angry at how Maeve (is that her name) just asked the third person in the relationship with Tess and she was just like OK... I mean, wasn't Tess like madly in love with Maeve for years and then it's just whatever if the love of your life wants someone else? I mean, I am not against polyamorous relationships, but you have to know how to write it to come out good, and here that didn't happen.
But I think it will like The Garden in My Heart a lot more. Will you do a review on it?

LVLM said...

I was actually very angry at how Maeve (is that her name) just asked the third person in the relationship with Tess and she was just like OK... I mean, wasn't Tess like madly in love with Maeve for years and then it's just whatever if the love of your life wants someone else?

This part made Maeve way too goody two shoes for me. It's like she suddenly becomes open to Tess sexually/romantically and then she worries about Marsha, which was fine. I can see that she feels something for Marsha because Marsha is so devastated by Tess not loving her. But it's like you don't become lovers with someone because you feel bad for them. It's just weird.

And all along, Tess is on about Maeve and Maeve only. She even comments in her own thoughts or to Maeve that she's not in love with Marsha and doesn't have those kinds of feelings even if the sex is really hot between them.

So just because Maeve feels bad for Marsha she uses Tess' love for her to make her feel bad enough to bring Maeve into the story. I just didn't really believe that.

About Garden, I will review it when I read it. Since the offerings on f/f are so slim compared to other romance content, I do try to review all the books I read. Only ones I don't are usually like 3-4K stories that are just a sex scene basically and there's nothing to review. heh.