Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Review- The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (DVD)

The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister
June 7, 2010
Historical/ Lesbian/ Biographical

Maxine Peake stars in a profoundly moving drama based on the real diaries of Anne Lister: a landowning woman who defied the conventions of her 19th century life to great scandal...for Anne was a lesbian. Her affair with 'soul mate' Marianna Belcombe keeps society guessing but when it is announced that Marianna is to be married to the older, corpulent and wealthy Charles Lawton, Anne is distraught.

Set in the small, elite world of high society, The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister is an inspiring story of 'the first modern lesbian' - a woman who challenged convention and was determined to simply be herself.

For Americans, this DVD is unavailable in region 1 currently. I bought it from Amazon UK for a grand total of $15 including shipping. It’s in PAL and region 2 format. I hacked my cheap CyberHome DVD player to play all regions so I knew I could watch it. I just got the DVD after 3 weeks of waiting, yes, it takes more than 3 weeks for a DVD to come from England. I guess that’s the free shipping version, it came over on a boat. Snort. Anyway, I was worried about the PAL part, but I popped it into the DVD and both my much older 27 inch analogue TV plus my new HD LCD TV played it no problema. I also tried it on my computer and all I had to do was change the region settings in my computer DVD program. So…that out of the way, I sat down to finally enjoy this film, which I’ve been salivating over.

OK, the first thing I have to say is that if I or anyone else was expecting a romanticized version of Anne Lister’s life and love story a la Jane Austin because this is from the same time period, this isn’t it. Apparently, Miss Anne Lister wasn’t all that as far as being a well disposed human goes and it does show in this story. She comes through as rather ruthless, sometimes cold and cruel, and passionate but in an aggressive, masculine way often and I didn’t feel much vulnerability that would have made her a more sympathetic person. Although I think the film was trying for a more human and romantic portrayal than was actually the case.

After watching the even more interesting special section wherein actress/writer Sue Perkins talks to historians and scholars who’ve studied and decoded the diaries and talked in depth about how Anne Lister managed her lifestyle and her sexuality within the social constructs of Regency era times, I got a better picture of the real Anne Lister and where she was coming from. And while my opinion didn’t change, it was far more interesting than the movie version. I also learned a lot more about Anne’s earlier life before the time the movie picked up on her life as well as the historical ramifications of her being a lesbian who definitely took on a male persona in her social circles.

Just a brief synopsis, the movie starts with Ann already having an affair and deeply in love with Marianna Belcombe, the woman who probably most affected Anne and who was the only one to seduce the usually sexually aggressive Anne. Marianna decides to marry a much older, but very rich man and this throws Ann into a tailspin of despair.

Anne tries to deal by trying seduce another woman, but is bored with her and when things finally come to a head between Anne and Marianna, who do steal moments for brief trysts, Anne finally decides to let go of that story. She then befriends a neighbor heiress Ann Walker and seduces her much in the way a man of status would seduce a wealthy heiress for the financial gain. She takes her as her wife and this cements her position in her business endeavors and her person as an out lesbian.

Outside of the romantic angles, of course suspicions of Anne’s sexuality within her social circle and her astute business acumen, along with her willingness to go head to toe with powerful male counterparts is shown in full light and her enemies use it against her to no avail. She fights the male dominated coal mining world to stand her ground and keep her own land as well as marrying and openly living with Ann Walker, acting as Ann's husband, something unprecedented at the time.

All of this was rather fascinating. At times I was unsure of the historical accuracies of things only because Anne Lister is a formidable woman who did unbelievable things for her time and social position as a woman, however, after watching the special section, which explains a lot of how it was all possible, it became a lot more interesting for me in the historical context.

About the movie itself, I do admit that it was lacking the sweetness, passion and heart that I felt with Tipping the Velvet. This movie came across as rather dry and I really didn’t feel the emotional connections between the characters except for maybe Tibbs, Anne's friend from early childhood who was always pining after Anne but was treated like crap by her.

This lack of connectedness might have had to do with who Anne Lister was herself, her inability to empathize with people and women whom she was connected to. Or maybe it was about the lack of background of Anne’s life to give some understanding as to what shaped her that left me feeling that something was lacking in this portrayal. I didn’t really get hooked into this story, nor was I deeply affected.

It’s not a bad movie and is still worth watching. But to be honest, I found the special section with Sue Perkins to be far more interesting and for that alone it’s worth it to get this DVD.

Just on the level of the historical value of a woman having the chutzpa to do what she did and live her sexuality at that time, it’s good that this movie was done. It brings attention to a whole other world that was going on during the Regency era, which I think is valuable since it comes from her actual diaries written during that time. I guess in order to stay true and portray Anne as she was really, the movie did have to show her negative traits, which I guess is preferable to romanticizing her life. I’d still recommend this movie just because it does bring to life a woman who was quite extraordinary for her times.

Heat level: 3- there is a rating for strong sexuality. However, there was really only one semi nude scene and it was quite short. The rest is mostly kisses.

Grade: For the movie itself C, for the mini documentary by Sue Perkins, A

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I suck and Gay Pride

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I suck people. I'm sorry I haven't posted anything. I've been home almost a week now but have mainly been trying to catch up with school work and sleep.

My trip to NJ- FL was a lot of fun, but hard work. I helped my sister and her partner pack up a 4 story house. Then my sister and I drove with her two Bichon Frises to FL stopping off at Harrisonburg, VA, where we scored some Seattle's Best coffee across from the Motel 6 we stayed at, woot! and then my Dad's in SC. My dad's wife wasn't doing well and it wasn't an easy visit. Then we drove to Tampa where my sister and her partner have now moved.

We worked hard and I didn't get much sleep since it was non-stop packing and driving. Plus, whoeee, but I hate the heat. Was so hot in NJ and even hotter in SC and FL. I'm glad I'm back in the Pacific Northwest where it's been in the high 60's. Perfect.

Even though I spent 4 hours on a layover in Dallas airport, I was too wiped out to read anything and basically just people watched and vegged. So I really didn't get much reading done on this trip. And I've had to do a lot of school work this week, so only reading a few pages a day. Ergo, no reviews or posts.

What has prompted me to post today though is that I've read or saw a few things that have hit a nerve or made me think once again.

It's Gay Pride time around the country and it's going on in Seattle today. (I do love how open minded Seattle people are) And of course there is much about it in the news and online. What has me appalled is still the negative stereotyping and hatred aimed at gay/lesbian persons.

OMG Blog (blog post here) did a post on Gay Pride with pics of celebrities who are out. What was so shocking to me are the comments. Over 4,000 comments and from the hundred or so that I read or scanned through, 90% are hateful, anti gay bashing comments. WTF???

This shocks me really. I guess if I were gay this wouldn't shock me at all since I'd be living with this kind of crap every day. I'm truly shocked though at how intensely people do hate gays. It's like they take it as a personal affront or something that someone is gay. What the hell is that?

I have a huge dislike of certain groups of people, particularly those who are ignorant bigots, but I don't go on web sites and spew hatred or even bother about those people. As someone pointed out in one comment, "if you hate gays so much why did you even click on this post?" I dislike bigoted, ignorant assholes, yet if I saw a blog post written by such a person sharing a view point I disagree with, I wouldn't even bother reading it, forget about commenting. So why do these people feel the need to flame and spew their hate? It's clear they clicked on that post and commented just to be assholes and hate on others. Whatever... I guess I'm very naive because I just can't imagine people being to hate filled and ignorant.

And again, the same old crap about "why do they need their own day?" Or "Why do they feel the need to toot their gay horns, straight people don't do that."

Well, straight people don't have to go around stating their sexual identification because it's ALREADY THE DEFAULT AND ASSUMED that you are straight. Do straight people think it's so easy when a gay person is asked, "are you married?" Or "is your husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend coming?

And why does anyone need their own day? Why do we have any kind of parade or celebration of any particular group? Why do the Irish need their parade or the Puerto Ricans, or church groups or any other group need their day, if you want to get so freaking picky. Who cares? Why does gay pride day and parades in particular push so many buttons?

When I was in FL with my sister we went for a walk around the neighborhood to walk the dogs. We met a woman who lived two doors down and we all started chatting, introducing ourselves. Well, this woman asked my sister if she and her husband had just moved in or what? Now for a straight person that question is normal and innocuous and isn't cause for distress in answering due to a possible negative reaction of the stranger.

But for a gay person, they have to then state openly they are gay by saying their "partner" or they have to lie because they don't want to deal with a possible judgment against them when that person doesn't even know who they are as a person outside of their sexuality. Their sexuality automatically becomes an issue where a straight persons doesn't even enter the picture at that point.

I love my sister. She's never been ashamed of who she is and doesn't shy away or hide if people ask such questions. But I'm sure there have been more than a few times when she's just not answered and had to omit some things about her personal life due to possible negative judgments. When that lady asked, my sister said, "my partner and I just moved in" and "she's a professor at .... University." Good for that woman who didn't flinch or react, but her reaction could have been far different. This is what my sister has to deal with on a regular basis.

The comments on that OMG post tell me that this is still an issue that needs to be addressed.

On to other things because my blood pressure is going up.

Jessica and Lacey who have been doing the "Lesbian Love" vlogs on AfterEllen posted a discussion on why lesbian and straight women have a hard time mixing. I thought it kind of interesting what they and commenters had to say.

Personally, I've never felt uncomfortable around lesbians even way before my sister came out. I didn't even feel uncomfortable when a lesbian girl whom I worked with told me she wanted me back in the 70's when I was 19. I carried on with her as if she were any straight guy who hit on me whom I didn't want. It's never been an issue for me. In fact, I'd like to have more lesbian friends, but this vid shows why it's not so easy.

LL 132 Straight Girls… Gay Girls… What’s the problem? from lacey stone on Vimeo.

On to other things, good things- (yeah I saved it all up :-)- My sister committed blasphemy! BLASPHEMY! I forgive her though, she was stressed. :-) While we were packing up, of course a lot of things were being thrown out as we all do when we move. But one day, I saw 6 lesbian romance books on the top of the garbage heap. What?! No way. No, no, no, we don't throw out excellent condition $16 lesbian romance books which are firstly expensive, and secondly, not easy to get in any book store. So I carried them home with me. Some of them look pretty interesting as well.

This one I'll get to pretty quickly. It looks like a good one, a romantic suspense.

The Devil Inside
by Ali Valie
Romantic Suspense
Bold Strokes Books

Brains, guts, and ruthless ambition should be enough to come out on top in any fight. Except when the battle is over love, all bets are off. Derby Cain Casey was groomed from birth to take the reins of the Casey family enterprises, which just happens to be one of the major crime organizations in New Orleans. Surviving by never turning away from a fight and knowing how to win at all costs, Cain is as careful with her heart as she is with her business - until she meets Emma Verde. The farm girl from Wisconsin puts a hit out on Cain’s heart and leads her down a dangerous road filled with great joy and devastating sorrow. The Devil Inside is the story of unexpected passion, a shattering betrayal, and the challenge of love put to the test.

On the side bar you can see I'm currently reading one of Katrina Strauss' books. It does have some hints of f/f in it. I'm half way through and it's pretty good. A good book for those of us who like a m/f with a f/f in it. And of course. So I'll be reviewing it here when I'm done unless there won't really be any f/f in it. So far, it's just hints of it or seen through the character's eyes but not what she is doing.

I can't promise that I'll be reviewing or blogging much. I have an intense quarter since it's a lot shorter than the others but have the same work load. But I'll try.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Review- Angel's Wish- by Kissa Starling

Angel’s Wish
by Kissa Starling
Lesbian/ erotica/ time travel/ bondage/ M/s BDSM
24.5K words
Ebook- Renaissance eBooks Inc.

Buy at Fictionwise, Renaissance Books

Angel is nothing more than a two-bit mechanic. She dreams of vintage pin-up girls and old cars. Nothing else excites her. She takes a cat nap one day at work and wakes up in the 1950’s. Old cars are now new and classy women are abundant and sweet. Can she find hers before she’s yanked back to her own time? Lust, love, or luck- she’s bound to find one of the three when she wishes upon the star on a tree!

I love it when I read a book that normally I’d never choose and totally enjoy it. I got this book when there was a sale because I’ve seen the author around blog land and decided to try one of her books even though I’m not so hot on the master/slave or bondage thing. I’m glad I did though. This story is such a bizarre mix of all kinds of interesting elements but it totally worked for me.

Angel is running on empty. She’s broke, just been evicted, using a car on its last legs and has no where to turn. Her parents have disowned her due to an unsavory (to her parents) incident with a teacher while she was in high school and has no other family ties. She still shows up for work and to the only person who does support her, her boss Mel. She’s a mechanic and loves cars, especially classic cars. While taking a break, she focuses on an old pin-up calendar, daydreaming about how beautiful the women were in the 50’s—it’s now 2056, and she’s suddenly transported back to the 1955.

Back in the 50’s she ends up with a life she could only dream about. By a series of events, a wealthy family takes her in and really accepts her, comes to love her, and she meets her soul mate, the house maid Mary. Unfortunately, she knows that this can’t last so she makes the best of it.

What I enjoyed most about this story was the heart in it. Angel is a person that is totally into the master/ slave dynamics as a lesbian but she does so in a deeply loving way. She oozes a warm vulnerability and sensitivity with a cocky independent strength that people are attracted to. In her own time, she’s a broken person who’s just scraping by. But being in the 50’s, in an atmosphere of simpler times where life was more like a Rockwell painting, she’s shown love and respect and blossoms in that.

Particularly what was interesting for me in this book was the juxtaposition of Angel’s dominance and crudity in seducing women and her big, warm heart. One minute she’s thinking about how she’d love to melt hot wax on Mary’s private bits and the next she’s trying to make sure an elderly women in a nursing home is loved and cared for by just going to hang out with her. For me it made Angel an interesting complex character that I could relate too and totally worked for me on accepting the master/slave hard core BDSM in this story.

And there is some really hard core BDSM in this story. Angel does some heavy duty things to Mary, some things that shocked even me in the area of pain and she talks to Mary in a very sexually blunt way. But at her core, Angel is soft, loving woman and she treats Mary with deep respect and love.

Mary was also written in such a way that I never once felt that she is a slave in any other way except that she’s really loves it. She enjoys being a sub and serving Angel and I felt how Mary feels she’s found her love in Angel. Mary is also a witch and I liked this aspect of it because it intertwined a hint of a timeless love along with a time travel story.

About the time travel and soul mate for eternity aspect of this story, I thought everything was integrated in a natural and fun way. The way it reads, I could actually almost believe that this is possible. I will admit though, that I love the concept of eternal soul mates and that we can meet up with people we love again in alternate or future lifetimes, so yeah, I enjoyed this part of it.

I don’t think there is really anything negative that came up for me about the story. The writing was kind of funky in bits, although nothing that threw me out of the story. And there was an odd bit when Angel first meets Mary and Mary calls her “mum” all the time, while Angel orders Mary around calling her “wench”. I think there were few other British words in there and that kind of confused me because I thought they were in Missouri. This kind of thing though is part of what turned me on. Contrasting elements thrown together.

I’m sure if you like BDSM on any level this story will definitely hit the spot. But I think if you’re not into BDSM at all, this story could work for you because it’s not just about the sex or lifestyle it’s more universal in its appeal as a love story. It did for me anyway.

Heat level: 5- hard core BDSM, M/s relationship. Graphically and bluntly written sexual scenarios, some minor anal, bondage.

Grade: B+

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Review- A Curious Wine by Katherine V. Forrest

Curious Wine: A Novel
by Katherine V. Forrest
Original publication- 1983
Lesbian/ bi
200 pgs.
Alyson Books (2002)

Buy it Amazon, B&N

The intimacy of a cabin at Lake Tahoe provides the combustible setting that brings Diana Holland and Lane Christianson together in this passionate novel of first discovery. Candid in its eroticism, intensely romantic, and remarkably beautiful, Curious Wine is a love story that will remain in your memory.

Along the way in my meanderings around blog land or Amazon or somewhere, I came across this book and had to read it. I read many reviews but many said something like this; “it’s one of iconic lesbian love stories that was a precursor to today’s more erotic romances.”

Published in ’83 and taking place in 1978, yes, it is one of those books that had I come across it back in the 80’s, it would have probably turned me inside out just on the depth of this erotically charged love story alone. Today, of course, it’s more tame compared to the current trend of graphic eroticism in romance, however, the love story in this book is nicely written and timeless.

A Curious Wine is a passionate love story of two women who find themselves caught up in an intense attraction for each other that for them is illicit and shocking since they’ve only been with men. This is my favorite kind of lesbian/bi love story. Both women fall in love out of the blue and it’s each woman’s first experience with a woman bringing with it all that innocence and angst around it.

I admit, this book started out really slow for me. A bunch of women, some who don’t know each other, spend a week in a cabin in Lake Tahoe together for a ski/gambling vacation. Diana and Lane have never met each other, but they have an instant rapport with each other. Diana is the friendly, nice, girl-next-door type and Lane is an emotionally cool and distant lawyer. Both Diana and Lane end up sharing the top part of the cabin, which no one wants usually and they decide to share the bed in the room with a view even though there are two beds and two rooms up there.

It’s all innocent until the next night when the women decide to do some spur of the moment 60’s encounter group therapy and shit hits the fan with some bitch slapping and female cattiness as things go on and they express their impressions of each other. This was one of things that was hard for me to follow; I don’t do well with books that start out with the introduction of many characters. I can’t keep them straight and it’s hard for me to care who they are. Plus, it was getting a bit tedious with the constant back biting. But fortunately, the focus moves towards Diana and Lane.

After this little therapy session and everyone turns in for the night, Diana, who got upset at things that happened, falls into tears and Lane comforts her. This leads to some cuddling and then a little petting, which veers into something a bit more.

Diana freaks because she’s “not a lesbian,” and pushes Lane away. But after almost getting raped by hooking up with some strange guy to prove to herself that she’s fully het, she comes to terms that her attraction to Lane is too intense to deny and decides to open up to Lane to see what’s there.

The rest is of the story is the development of Diana and Lane’s love story. It’s very clear by how it’s it written that these two have some major hots for each other since they can’t keep their hands off each other. And it does get a wee bit like “get a room already.” Oh wait, they did and we got ring side seats! But really, this felt almost like viewing a couple’s personal, intimate moments and so there was a slightly different feel to it than reading most erotic romances.

Katherine Forrest wrote those scenes in realistic, nice way though. Without using really graphic language, she managed to capture the essence of how deeply Diana and Lane need and desire each other and I found them highly sensual and full of heart, even if they did go over the top at times. It read more like a deep let go into something overwhelming for the characters than the usual frustrations of fits and starts that go on in romance often. This made this book a bit more gratifying.

For the record, this story is basically the beginnings of their love story and there’s not too much character background or development. Nor is there much interaction outside of the bedroom for the last half of the book. It focuses mainly on the first few days of their getting together.

There were some tedious bits though where I felt that when Diana and Lane did talk it was constant expressions of feelings…nothing more than feelings, which did get on my nerves sometimes. I’ve come to accept though that many f/f or lesbian romances are going to have a fair amount of what women like to do with each other, talk about what they feel. IRL it’s fine, in books, it’s glaringly annoying at times.

This book is dated to some degree due to when it was written and the attitudes around being gay was somewhat of an issue, amongst other dated ideas in this book. On the plus side it’s kind of interesting to see how things have changed. But maybe because it’s set in California it wasn’t made to be a big deal where people and attitudes were more liberal even in the 70’s. And my usual negative feelings around characters who angst about suddenly discovering or fearing they are a lesbian didn’t come up for me with this story because it was a time when realizing you’re in love with someone of your own sex was illicit and scary and carried ramifications way harder to deal with than today.

I think if you’re into reading any kind of lesbian romance, A Curious Wine is a must read, especially for those, I think, who like a more bi or first experience feeling in their story preferences. Or if you like reading historicals (the 70’s). Heh.

Heat level: 4- Sensually written in language sexual scenarios. But there’s lots of them.

Grade: B

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Review- Clicking Stones by Nancy Tyler Glenn

Clicking Stones
by Nancy Tyler Glenn
Original pub- 1989
Fantasy/ New age/ Lesbian- 1930’s- 2023
76K words
Ebook version- Artemis Press

Buy it Amazon (paper,Kindle), Fictionwise, Artemis Press

Seven-year-old Erica stumbles into a mystical place where a mysterious old woman gives her a stone. A very special stone. A Clicking Stone. Striking it against any other stone causes both to flare into incredible brilliance. Except, not everyone can see the brilliance. And Erica does not yet know the power of her Stone...

Morgan moves in next door. The girls grow up together and one day, the two click stones...

Knowledge of Erica-s gift spreads, creating a worldwide movement of adherents to the illumination power of Clicking Stones. Still, the question remains: why do some people see the brilliance and gain energy from it, and some do not? There is no discernible pattern or reason...

Throughout all these evolutionary events there is the love between Erica and Morgan -- a love that survives separation, and their loving of other women. A love of extraordinary intensity and eroticism... a love that transcends the passing years... and, finally, astonishingly, time itself.

I bought this book because I’m kind of tired of lesbian contemporary and this book seemed like it would be a good fantasy story. It is…kind of… a fantasy. What this book really is, is the chronological biography of a woman’s life from when she is 7 years old in 1945 until the year 2033. Yes, that is part of where the fantasy comes in, that she can live so long.

I can’t classify this is as a romance, although it has romantic elements to it. And there are some sexual bits that are written erotically, but again, this is more or less a biographical type story.

If you read the blurb, that pretty much tells the whole story. Most of this story revolves around Erica being able to see light when clicking stones. Only some people can see the light when they click stones although others pretend to. For some reason this ability becomes a major spiritual or new age organized movement in which centers spring up all over in which people gather to click stones. Not only that, but they also become centers for all kinds of groups to meet based on ethnicity, sexual identity, feminism, etc.

Frankly, I didn’t get it. Or the final reason why some can click and others was not a big deal to me. The only ability of clickers was maybe to see light if they clicked their stones, but this didn’t translate into any kind of special spiritual experience. Like no one became enlightened or turned into Yoda, Miyagi or Gandalf. They are all still their regular old selves with no special understanding of the cosmos. So I couldn’t get why a whole new age movement would spring up around this.

Moreover, Erica, after a while, would only click with her lovers, as if denying clicking with anyone else gave some specialness to her lovers. It’s not like clicking gave them some deep spiritual connection over and above just being in love. So really that whole aspect of the book was rather lame to me.

To be honest, because of it, I kept trying to read it as some metaphor for things like that; movements or organizations that spring up around spirituality and or special abilities like that, just to make some sense of why it was a big deal. I'm an old new age hippy chick myself and I guess I was trying to read into it some Jonathan Livingston Seagull type thing, which I didn't find.

Other than the clicking, there are a hodgepodge of other new age ideas involved like: communicating telepathically, passing through worlds, meeting another who has passed on, reincarnation, seeing dead beings, Indian swami's, meditation, etc. It was kind of all over the place on that level.

The main story though was basically Erica being in love with Morgan. They met as children and Erica had special feelings for Morgan. Morgan though, kind of blew off Erica for another, more aggressive girl, whom Erica stayed jealous of most of her life.

Erica moves on with her life and has a few affairs, but is mainly involved with running her Clicking Stones movement. And Morgan goes off to Europe to become a sculptress. They really don’t have much contact at all for like 20 years, at which point, Morgan comes back and decides to be with Erica.

Ok, this I didn’t get either. Morgan seemed to not be too interested in Erica the few times they met after growing up, so why she suddenly decided it’s time to be with Erica, I don’t know. At least there is a HEA in this.

Then there’s the whole fantasy element outside of the clicking stones and other sundry new age concepts, which kind of didn’t work for me because it was too close to reality and contemporary times. And also, it wasn’t a pure fantasy, but was reality with added fantasy elements.

For example, this book was written in the late 80’s. There were computers then, but not really personal computers. Erica gets a computer to help run her business, which talks to her and can interact with her and she can interact with her center leaders from all over through this computer. In the book, she got it during the 80’s.

Back in the 80’s our ideas of computers were that you could interact and talk with them based on movies. But the internet was already happening in the early 90’s. So not that futuristic of an idea. But how it was written in this book, the technology was still 70’s sci-fi. Also, Erica is still using the same computer well into 2009 and up until 2023 recognizing that most likely the interface would not be supported anymore. Umm… yeah.

It’s just too close to home to accept such a thing as fantasy. If the book had been written in the 50’s or 60’s I wouldn’t have bothered about it. But it would have gone over a lot better if the concept was vastly different from reality or if this was a pure fantasy and the world Erica is in is something completely different from current reality.

Thy main reason I did like the book and kept reading was that since it was a chronological story of a Erica’s life, we get to see the social and political changes and issues from the 40’s and on. I rather liked this part because Erica being a lesbian through that time period gave insight into that world through the 50’s, 60’s, 70's +.

Erica writes to her friend through the whole book with the date on it, so we get to see what she was doing at different time periods. A kind of open minded hippy way of thinking does permeate the story, which I thought was interesting since I think as a lesbian, she would have had to be part of that world to fit in on any level or be accepted. And frankly, it was kind of like reminiscing about my teen years as she got into the 60’s- 70’s, which was fun.

This is definitely a different kind of book. I read it more as a biography of a lesbian during times when it wasn’t OK to be out and found it interesting on that level alone.

Heat level: 4 – There are some pretty graphically written sexual scenarios, but only a few scenes for the length of the book, which is long.

Grade: B-

Monday, June 7, 2010

Promo and stealing from others

Hey all, since I just finished up my last quarter and am now cleaning the house after months of being a house cleaning sloth... and getting ready for my trip, I have no qualms about stealing from other bloggers' post, especially if it's to promo an author I like.

From the GLBT promo blog:

Leigh Ellwood has another f/f book out:

South of Sundance


Days before her sexy documentary debuts at a popular lesbian film festival, director Bebe Yasbeck is confronted by an old flame and conflicting feelings about the direction of her career and her assistant, Debra. Will her experience at South of Sundance provide her with the happy Hollywood ending she desires?

She also talks about that there will be a F/F discussion panel at Author's After Dark but I didn't get if it's an actual forum in person or an online forum in which this will be discussed. Would be interesting to go to though.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Review- Lovestruck by KT Grant

by KT Grant
June 1, 2010
Contemporary/ Lesbian
53K words
Ebook- Noble Romance pub

Buy it Noble Romance

CEO hotel mogul Barbara Jennings has three months to decide whether to close her Manhattan hotel or cut costs by firing some of her employees. She meets her much-younger employee, Jennifer Caffey and is instantly smitten. Now Barbara has another mission, and that is to seduce the innocent Jenny.

Jenny is also attracted to the powerful and beautiful Barbara, but has never really had a steamy love affair with another woman. Unwittingly, she allows herself to be swept away by her passion for this older woman who may ruin her life.

Lovestruck is one of those cute, fresh, contemporary love stories that was nicely written and a lot of fun to read.

This is the first novel of from this author, and I commend her on starting out with a genre that’s not exactly leading in the must read charts. She did a great job, not only in her writing style but in capturing sweet romance in all of its elements.

Barbara and Jenny are two characters who really stand out and are very much their own person. What I liked especially was that the dynamics between both women kept shifting, which gave it a kick that’s hard to achieve in a love story between two women.

Barbara, at first, is the dominant one. She’s much older than Jenny and she’s a powerful, rich CEO of a major hotel chain who’s used to getting what she wants. She’s immediately smitten by Jenny and wastes no time in seducing her even though Jenny is younger, and her employee. It would seem then that this is how it will be between her and Jenny, Barbara controlling the relationship. But Jenny shows Barbara that Barbara is more vulnerable and not as in control as she thinks.

At first I was a bit worried about how things would go between these two. Jenny does act a bit childish at times and there is a stark contrast between Barbara’s maturity and Jenny’s youth in their initial interactions both sexually and outside of that. However, as things progress, Jenny steps up to the plate and makes it clear that she won’t be coddled, nor will she be taken advantage of because of the disparity in their ages, life experience or social status.

This made both women a bit more complex and well rounded as characters, which I felt made this story. The only complaint I did have about how the women interact is that Barbara calls Jenny kiddo and kid all the time. I felt that even though it’s clear that Barbara has full on fallen for Jenny and thinks of her as her equal, the use of kiddo kept giving it the feel of an older sister type thing. It didn’t cloud the feeling of the actual type of relationship they had, but that was one thing about how they interacted that bothered me a bit.

Outside of that, all of the characters come across as genuine and real and it had the feel of hanging out with your best buddies.

The story itself was not farfetched and I could see it actually happening. And the writing flow was just right, with clean dialogue that was snappy and natural at the same time.

For those who want to know, there’s lots and lots of steamy sex. Depending on your mood or preference in reading erotic sex, it could be a bit over the top, especially in the beginning where it seemed fairly non-stop. However, the requisite romantic and relationship foil enters in soon and there was a nice period of time getting to know the characters and getting more story development. The timing of it was just right.

And speaking of the foil, Ms Grant kept it at the perfect balance so that it was clear that these two really want each other, but not so angsty that you’re like OK already, let them get together. Moreover, it didn’t come across as contrived, but a perfectly reasonable reason for some problem in two people getting together.

All in all, this was a juicy, light read and sweet love story. I’m quite impressed with Ms Grant’s first published book and look forward to some more. I definitely recommend Lovestruck for a satisfying, erotic romance.

Heat level 5- F/f, dildo, minor anal. Graphically written, frequent sexual scenarios.

Grade: B+

Friday, June 4, 2010

Review- Last Flight of the Ark- by D.L. Jackson

Last Flight of the Ark
by D.L. Jackson
March 2010
Sci-fi/ Paranormal/ f/f/m- ménage
Novel- 45-80K
Ebook- Liquid Silver Books

Buy it Liquid Silver

Evolution never happened so fast.

Twelve hours outside of Terra II, Colonel Kaleb Titan, a molecular geneticist and commander of the Ark, faces a life or death choice that could change the fate of mankind.

The Genesis I, aka the Ark, travels with a hold full of wildlife and three crew members. When a wolf bite and genetically-altering gamma radiation transform Kaleb, he notices his senses have been heightened, his libido has gone haywire and he can’t keep his hands off his crew. Worse yet, they don't seem inclined to stop him.

When their sister ship, the Genesis II arrives early, Kaleb’s problems compound. As soon as the command crew of the Genesis II boards, one whiff tells Kaleb they’re not from Earth or who they appear to be.

When he discovers that they’ve kept the Genesis II’s crew of over two thousand alive, he begins to believe their reasons may be far more ominous than anyone could have imagined. However, he also discovers what’s holding them back. The hijackers seem to be allergic to canines.

Now they're forced to employ biological warfare against their own, but will it be enough to save humanity?
History is about to repeat and only one species will survive.

Contains: Menage (M/F/F), Lesbian sex (F/F), intercom sex

I wanted to like this book, I really did. There are so few f/f/m ménages out there that I wanted this to be really good. And for the most part it was fairly entertaining. However, right from the get-go there were some things that pushed my buttons and I’ll say they probably colored my whole view of the book.

The blurb is pretty accurate so on with my take.

Right in the beginning we are introduced to all three main characters. They are the only three manning a ship bringing in animals to start a new earth colony called Terra II. They've been stuck together for 8 months on this journey and of course all of three of them are harboring major hots for each other.

What bothered me straight away was how Kaleb muses about the two women. He’s either complaining about them in his mind calling them bitchy and hormonal females, or he’s thinking about how stacked they are with the double D boobs and cute ass cheeks that keep making him horny. And he is in his 50’s. It felt more like he was a teenage boy. And I’m really put off when men talk like that about women. You know, better behave or they’ll nag, nag you to death those bitches! Ugh. So this put me off right away.

I will say that it did change over the course of the book after they all get together. In fact, he has to put up with them running over him at times and disobeying orders to do what I thought were some TSTL things. But there was still this overall quality in the writing that came across more as a young boy getting a hold of a Playboy mag in the way that Kaleb thinks often.

Next up in what didn’t work for me was the flow of the writing. The story was disjointed in the telling and I was often confused as to what was actually going on. It jumps around in a way that I often had to go back and see if I missed something and after a while I couldn’t be bothered. There are gaps and things got glossed over for convenience I thought. And again, there was a certain quality about it that felt a bit cheesy in the way the characters act, think and speak.

What worked for me was that after the characters do get their freak on with each other, there is a cohesiveness about them and the way they relate that was very appealing. Both Jessica and Melissa were lovers before they got on the ship, with Melissa only being into women. However, they both have it bad for Kaleb and decide that neither one will be with him without the other, all unbeknownst to Kaleb.

Kaleb of course, being a full blooded teenage boy in a 50 year old’s body, has been salivating over the girls since they left earth. I will give Kaleb credit though for being a gentleman and not sexually harassing the women with lots of sexual innuendo since they were doing whatever they could to try and get his attention in the sexual arena, including wearing very skimpy clothing.

They are all quite juicy together and there were some interesting moments of jealousy when one of the women are with him without the other. But by the end it’s clear they are a threesome and that’s the way it’s going to be.

About the premise of the story, I really liked it. I thought it was pretty creative and unique in that it mixed the shape shifting paranormal genre with sci-fi. I am pretty tired of the whole fated sexual/romantic attraction thing that is caused by the animal nature in a shifter, but it worked here for me because of the intricate sci-fi element and the fact that the three characters were hot for each other before the “mutation” happens. The mutation just becomes the impetus for all three to finally let loose their pent up sexual energy with each other.

The author also focused a lot on the story and less on non-stop sex, which is something I liked. I picked this book up for the f/f/m ménage element, but also because f/f and f/f/m are usually contemporaries and it’s nice to read something a bit different for a change. So not making this about a menage with an added sci-fi element, but this being sci-fi with a menage, added to my enjoyment.

So, I have mixed feelings about the book. I think if the story telling was a bit more cohesive and the characters were a bit less horn-doggy, this would have been a hit for me. As it stands, it was entertaining and fairly easy to read even if I did roll my eyes here and there and got lost in confusion.

Heat level: 4- f/f, f/f/m, m/f. Some nicely written graphic sex, but not overbearing to the story.

Grade C+

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Review- Innocent Hearts by Radclyffe

Innocent Hearts
by Radclyffe
Oct 2005
Historical/ Lesbian
200 pgs (61K words)
Bold Strokes Books

Buy it BSB (ebook, paper), Amazon (paper), ARe (ebook)

By Guest Reviewer- Jill Sorenson

In 1860's Montana Territory, Kate Beecher, a young woman from Boston, faces the hardships and hard choices of life on the frontier. Just eighteen and quietly struggling against the social constraints of the era, Kate meets a woman who fires first her imagination, and then her dreams. Jessie Forbes, a fiercely independent rancher, finds in Kate the passion she never knew she had been missing.

This is the story of their struggle to love in a land, and time, as cruel as it was beautiful.

Since my last review, I’ve been on a mission to find a good f/f romance. I’ve spent hours browsing ebooks online, but the offerings are meager and I’m picky about my purchases. Bad covers and awkwardly written blurbs are common. Most of the excerpts I read (if I get that far) don’t sell me on the book. It’s frustrating.

So I decided to look elsewhere: the library. In the comments thread at Dear Author, LVLM mentioned Bold Strokes Books and Mfred recommended an author named Radclyffe. I was able to request several of her titles, including Tomorrow’s Promise and Innocent Hearts.

I liked Tomorrow’s Promise, a contemporary romance set in a sleepy coastal town, but it wasn’t a homerun for me. Innocent Hearts was. I really, really loved it.

This historical romance, set in the Montana territory in the 1860s, opens with Kate Beecher, an 18-year-old girl from Boston. She moves to the wild frontier with her parents and finds it breathtaking. Even more breathtaking is Jessie Forbes, a young female rancher she meets at a round-up. Kate has never been interested in her male suitors, and neither has Jessie, but they don’t know why. The women are confused and exhilarated by their mutual attraction. They fall in love before they even share a kiss; this is very much an affair of the heart.

When Kate and Jessie finally realize what they are feeling, they express it physically and emotionally, exploring their newfound sexuality. The love scenes are sweet and sensual. Although Kate and Jessie want to be together forever, they have to keep the relationship a secret, and face many hardships. Kate’s parents want her to marry a man, naturally. These struggles are dealt with in a way that seemed true to the time period and to Radclyffe’s style, which relies heavily on passionate declarations and near-tragic occurrences.

The setting details are well done, and that Radclyffe’s portrayal of a tight-knit ranching community seems authentic, if a bit idyllic. Kate and Jessie are strong, likeable characters. Their love for each other is so powerful it’s almost overwhelming. They will do anything, risk anything, to be together. While some readers might consider this aspect melodramatic, or find the innocence of the characters unrealistic, I ate it up with a spoon. If I had one nitpick, it would be that the sex scenes weren’t quite explicit enough. *blush*

I feel a glom coming on.

Grade: A

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New release- Lovestruck by KT Grant

by KT Grant
Noble Romance -publisher
Out May 31, 2010

CEO hotel mogul Barbara Jennings has three months to decide whether to close her Manhattan hotel or cut costs by firing some of her employees. She meets her much-younger employee, Jennifer Caffey and is instantly smitten. Now Barbara has another mission, and that is to seduce the innocent Jenny.

Jenny is also attracted to the powerful and beautiful Barbara, but has never really had a steamy love affair with another woman. Unwittingly, she allows herself to be swept away by her passion for this older woman who may ruin her life.

Buy your copy at Noble Romance