Saturday, December 28, 2013

Review- Turn Me Out by T. Ariez

Turn Me Out
By T. Ariez
June 17, 2013
Contemporary/Lesbian/Erotica/Stud4Stud/ AA
16 pgs
Kindle edition

Angel and Ace are best friends who happen to both be studs. When Angel realizes that she has developed feelings for Ace, she devises a plan that will go against everything she's ever known and believed. She is tired of the traditions and rules that make her feelings taboo and decides to risk everything. Will it all be worth the risk?

This is a short, quicky story, but I loved it. The author has a fresh, straightforward voice but one which is also infused with a lot of heart.

I have little to vague knowledge of the sub groups that are part of the lesbian community. I have read some butch/femme and stone butch stuff, so it’s not unfamiliar. But this is the first time I’ve read about stud and boi relationships. So part of my turn-on in reading this was being introduced into this world. T. Ariez did a great job of giving an explanation for anyone not familiar with this that was integrated well with the flow of the story and didn’t feel like a wiki side bar. I did google some things though to get a better idea of some of the slang.

As a character, Angel is that person I’d love to know IRL. She’s going through a transformation of her identity and risks a lot to go with feelings that defy everything she feels she is and has represented until this point. She’s become attracted to another stud, Ace, whom she’s buds with, a taboo in her world. Not only that, she finds these new feelings also include wanting to be touched and be more feminine, which are diametrically opposite to her stone stud identity.

While Angel goes about getting with Ace in a way that some might feel wrong, she’s so open and vulnerable and humble as she goes for it in the only way she can think of to get Ace to see her as a potential partner. Even Ace, who reacts in the way Angel almost knew she would, feels Angel’s openness and it affects her way of thinking even though her initial reaction was pretty negative.

That this is a story of being fluid vs. fixed is a huge plus for me. I love characters that act outside “their” box. I especially enjoy characters that are willing to look at the status-quo and change if that’s what’s happening to them.

I also want to point out that this is perfect in the way it’s written, meaning the set-up, pacing, and how it ends. It leaves the door open for some more exploration of Angel and Ace’s relationship, which is kind of juicy. But it’s very satisfying in and of itself.

I definitely recommend Turn Me Out even if you’re not into the specifics of sexual/relationship constructs of various sub groups within the lesbian world. It’s an honest and sexy story that everyone can relate to. I can’t wait to read more of these two characters. Or anything by this author.

Heat level: 4-5. Graphic sexual language and scenarios.

Grade: Loved it

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Review- Dysphoria, The Admirer by Karelia Stetz-Waters


Title Has been changed to:

The Admirer
By Karelia Stetz-Waters
January 24, 2013
Pgs 252
Publisher: Artema Press Incorporated
Kindle version

Helen Ivers is running from a horrific past to what she hopes will be the safety of a small New England town. As the president of Pittock College, another tragedy explodes into her life soon after her arrival. Besieged by memories of her mentally ill sister, which refuse to let her rest, she must face an abomination even as her mind begins to unravel. A young woman died on the train tracks in a shockingly brutal manner.

Reeling from the murder and the threat to her students, Helen is approached by professor Adair Wilson, who draws her into her life and her confidence amid a web of swirling deception.

Ivers and Wilson are as desperate to know the identities of the victim and killer as the killer and the police are to hide them. Whether Adair is Helen’s savior and can be trusted as a lover becomes increasingly unclear as Helen becomes a target.

In a crisis with no clear allies, Helen must not only learn the truth but fight to stay alive. The killer is watching and she has been chosen. Every hour of doubt, fear, and hopeless investigation brings the bone saw closer.

Dysphoria/ The Admirer is an extremely taut, well-written psychological thriller. Karelia Stetz-Waters, did an amazing job of getting not only into the main characters’ heads, but the killer’s and his victims as well. The setting is also perfect: a small New England college town, located next to an abandoned asylum. It offers the perfect backdrop for  chilling serial killings and main characters who have their own dark psychological issues.

Helen is a fascinating character even if she borders slightly on being a cliché as a mark/ victim common to psychological thrillers. She’s suffered and is still suffering over the death of her sister, a mentally ill woman who died in a horrific way. As with many people who deal with a loved one on a regular basis who has a mental illness, she feels a lot of pain that she wasn’t able to help or save her sister as well as feeling guilt that on some level she wanted to have her own life and not have to deal with it.

Like many other people who suffer a major tragedy they feel guilt for, she acts out in ways that are self-destructive to her being as well as her reputation. On the surface, she’s cool and collected and professional as the head of a college. However, she also has a deep vulnerability and teeters on the edge of a nervous breakdown. This helps her feel a close kinship with the victims and helps her push the police and others who seem not willing to really look into what’s going on.

While this is not really a romance, there is a slight romantic angle to this story. Adair is a young professor who is stirring up the students, creating more energy around the alleged murder to the chagrin of the school establishment. Even though she’s fighting for justice for the victim, she’s rather like a loose cannon in her manner. She’s rebellious and brash and very passionate. She also goes for what she wants and she wants Helen. In her own way, she acts in ways that push Helen’s mental state into more chaos because she’s got her own issues that challenge Helen.

Also to comment on the romantic angle, I rather liked how it didn’t develop in the usual way. In fact, Helen and Adair’s first sexual encounter is quite bizarre and definitely fits with the dark theme of the story. But I also liked how Helen, who seems locked up emotionally, also accepts the fact that she’s being seduced by a woman and goes with it.

The killer: to be honest, I guessed who it was fairly early on, but did love that I couldn’t really know for sure until the end. The author really gets into his head, his past, where he’s coming from in lots of detail. I say “his” because that’s the pronoun the author used when describing him and his past. However, the way this story is written, it could be anyone, including a woman who has pretended to be a man. Of course he has his own psychological issues even if a straight up sociopath.

I thought the pacing of this story was perfect. The author drops clues along the way as the investigation goes on. Helen and Adair start working in tandem, even if being at odds, to prove that there is a killer. The story goes back and forth between different character points of view (not head hopping), which made this a well-rounded story. And while not suspenseful in an intense way, it is a quick page turner.

I see that the author has titled this as the first in a series. I will totally snatch up the next book as soon as it comes out.

Heat level: 2-3- one or two semi graphic sexual scenarios

Grade: 5 Stars

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Review- SBF Seeking- by LaToya Hankins

SBF Seeking
By LaToya Hankins
Contemporary/ Lesbian/ Chick lit/Coming out/AA
January 22, 2012
Pgs 234
Pub:  JMS Books, LLC

Kindle edition

Four months before her wedding, Yvette Thurman realizes this might be her last chance to have a sexual fling with a white man. But she never thought placing a personal ad would lead her to discover she was a lesbian.

Yvette's small town life in eastern North Carolina never prepared her for the personal journey she undertakes as she struggles to find her heart's path.

Through personal ads and late night visits to an adult bookstore, Yvette learns more about her own personal desires than she ever did when she was engaged to be married. If she embraces her true self, can she find acceptance and love from her family and friends? Or will she be forced to hide who she really is from those she cares about the most?

So this is not really a book I normally read; I usually stick to romances or erotica. I often find chick lit too close to IRL-- been there done that--want to read something different that doesn’t represent my experiences. This is a book written by an African American woman about African American lesbians. I’m neither of those, so I took a risk and bought this one. The blurb both intrigued me and pushed my buttons—starts out with cheating, a usual “oh hell no” for me. But I was curious to see where the author would go with this since it so brazenly sets up what seems like an unrealistic or over-the-top story line.

Yvette is the main protagonist and this story is told by her. It’s basically a telling of her experience as she semi-consciously (in awareness) creates a catalyst for her own growth. Her life is going perfectly, or so it seems. She has a good job that she enjoys and is engaged to Martin, a man who’s madly in love with her. They’ve been together for a long time and are about to be married. For some reason, and I probably have an opinion that differs from other readers, she jeopardizes her relationship by having a fling with a random white guy because it could be her last chance.

The cheating with a white guy thing is interesting to me because there is no set up for the reader that she’s ever been curious or aching or craved to know what it’s like to be with a “white” guy specifically. It’s kind of odd, I think, to wake up one day and decide you want to have an affair with someone of another race you have no connection with just to experience it specifically. I felt she chose that, maybe unconsciously, because it was a way to be forced to look at some dissatisfaction with her relationship with Martin, but in a non-threatening way. It clearly wasn’t a serious attempt at a possible new relationship even though her decision was one she was willing to follow through on if it worked out.

Lots of people do dumb ass things to jeopardize the “perfect” status quo when they are not conscious of their dissatisfaction. Or if they are conscious of it, they don’t have the courage to do something about it. I think she already knew, deep down, it wasn’t going to affect her at her core as maybe having an affair with a black man might have. However, doing so did make her question what she actually feels towards Martin and it’s the cause for a huge change in her life.

As is common with stories more focused on growth, a series of events catapult Yvette into learning different things about herself, especially one that will cause conflict for those who love her. Through a coworker asking, Yvette ends up helping out a lesbian couple move into her apartment building and becomes friends with them. She ends up going out with them to a gay bar and becomes attracted to a girl who keeps looking at her. There’s a lot in between, but after a while, she feels she’s a lesbian and enters that world 150 %. Meaning, she comes out to everyone without too much angst, and studies everything about being a lesbian: how they dress, what they read, music they listen to, etc.

In some ways I read it as Yvette telling the story from outside herself and I didn’t really get a good feel for what all of this means to her, inside her being. She came across to me as too easy going about cheating on Martin and breaking up, and easy about realizing she’s a lesbian and telling everyone. And she didn’t seem too bothered or freaked about the downfall of her first lesbian love. It felt like her story was kept on the surface as maybe it would if retelling and having emotional distance from it.

I’ll be honest, maybe my impression of her is more about me being an older woman. It’s a story that I think in many ways would be much more interesting to a younger woman who can identify with her growth and the coming out process.

Who was an interesting character for me is Linda. I loved Linda. She’s a warm, juicy, real, down to earth woman who helps Yvette navigate being a new lesbian and coming out process as well as guiding her in a more realistic and practical way about the realities of being a lesbian. I loved her advice to Yvette to just be and let it all happen naturally. And while she’s going through her own issues, being part of an interracial couple and that falling apart, she’s real even in that, expressing her hurt and anger. Her vulnerability comes through even though not her story. I also got a better feel for her emotional state than I did for Yvette’s, making her easier for me to relate to. I would love to read a story with her as the main character.

Throughout the story, the importance of having family and good friends to support you through life is a strong theme.

The main negative thing I’d say about this book is the editing. There are numerous typos. Enough that I noticed them throughout the book. It didn’t bother me too much but it some readers might find it an issue.

At any rate, this was a good read.  I think this is the author’s first published book? Not sure. But I’d read more books from this author. I felt it’s a true and interesting depiction of someone coming out as a lesbian with all the nuances and issues come up.

Heat level: 2

Grade: 3-1/2 stars

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Review- Hush Now by L.A. Green

Hush Now 
By L.A. Green
Sept. 14, 2012
216 pgs Pub: Dog Ear Publishing

When Rebecca Montgomery, daughter of wealthy plantation owner Grafton Montgomery, falls in love with Ruth, a slave, her life is turned upside down. Their journey of self-discovery takes place in a historical period of the imagination-one filled with vibrant characters, intrigue, danger, and the underlying theme of hope.
A wealthy plantation owner's daughter falls in love with a beautiful slave women and their lives are turned upside down...this is a love story about secrets that might never have been told.

When I was reading another mid 1800’s southern romance, which was between two white women on opposing sides and ideology during the civil war, I internally asked the same question the authors of this book sort of did. I wondered what if the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner actually fell in love with one the female slaves? I thought it would be an intriguing story but one that would have to be told, for me, without abuse of privilege or the main POV being the privileged character. Hush Now comes very close to that story I wanted to read. It’s a beautiful love story between two women stuck in a time and circumstance that makes it virtually impossible to be together.

Rebecca is a strong woman who is all about running her father’s plantation while he’s ill instead of being a proper Southern lady and looking for a husband. Unconventionally, she likes to wear men’s riding breeches as she rides around the plantation checking on it and makes sure the overseer is acting properly. She considers herself and her father more enlightened and progressive as far as slave ownership goes in the South and treats her father’s slaves with more respect than most of her station. Due to this, her family is considered by many in town as slave lovers, which is cause for problems to them at times.

What I love about Rebecca is that during the course of her growing relationship with Ruth she starts to really get it. She goes past the “I treat my slaves well” attitude to really understanding  her privilege, getting how wrong it is to enslave other human beings and trying to do something about it. She also doesn’t abuse her privilege when it comes to Ruth even though it would be easy to do so. Not only that, she’s conscious of that power and takes great pains to be careful she doesn’t let it take over even when her love and desire to be with Ruth is so intense. And even though she loves Ruth so deeply, ultimately she’s willing to sacrifice her own desires to do what’s right.

Ruth is also an interesting character, who I fell in love with. Too often in interracial love stories, the POC POV is not that developed. One thing I really wanted in reading a story like this is a strong representation of the POC POV. The authors mostly deliver on this point although I felt there could have been more about her. Or let’s say more about her life and who she was before being bought by the Montgomerys. I did get a good feel for who she is though. Ruth’s desires for freedom and seeing her family again who have escaped up north, and fearing really loving Rebecca due to the huge disparity in their social stations, drives a lot of how she reacts to Rebecca trying to prove her love.

Ruth is intelligent, well read—reads Shakespeare with Rebecca---, and is proud. Very telling is that she consciously dumbs down her speech and uses subservient body language to survive, which is painful to read. On this level, the authors didn’t shy away from showing the harsh realities of being enslaved in the South during this time. What I loved about her is that even though she has been treated as property, humiliated, separated from her family, and lives in fear that maybe Rebecca is just using her as she’s been used by white owners in the past, she still dares to allow herself to feel the love she feels for Rebecca. It’s an even bigger risk her loving and being with Rebecca than for Rebecca, so I had a stronger feeling for her.

What shines through this whole story is the love the both women share for each other. They have nothing but secret glances and stolen moments together and yet they manage to express and share their deep love and need of each other. It’s both beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time.

One thing outside the love story that I enjoyed was the plot twist that creates an opening for Rebecca find a way for them to be together. Not sure if it’s something that could have actually have happened, but I can imagine gays during this time period did such things in order to exist and be with their loves. For Ruth and Rebecca it’s the only way even though it pains Rebecca that they still have to live with the pretense that Ruth is a servant.

In a way, even though the ending is unconventional for a romance, it fits with who the characters are. It’s maybe the only choice they could have made. Would love to read a sequel to find out how it all works out.

Other than Ruth and Rebecca’s romance, there are a lot of other characters that add some interesting and offbeat elements to this story. Chet, Rebecca’s long time beau offers some lightness and humor and plays a huge role in how things turn out for the women. And then there’s Teenie, the main house cook and caregiver to the Montgomery family. She’s always in the spotlight as she’s loved by everyone. However, her lightness and humor and that she’s loved but still has the status of slave is a constant reminder that this story is set in the south.

The only thing negative I’d say about this book is along technical lines. There were issues for me with tense and POV changes in the same paragraph. It wasn’t enough to hurt my experience, but was something that jarred me out of the story at times.

I would definitely read a sequel to this story. Somehow it felt as if the women were just on the precipice or beginning of their journey together, one that didn’t quite ever give them a chance to really fulfill their love for each other and it’s only natural after getting so invested in them that I’d want the story to go on. 
Heat Level- 2 some sex scenes written in mild language.

Grade: Really liked it

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review- Ghosts of Winter by Rebecca S. Buck

Ghosts of Winter

By Rebecca S. Buck

April 9, 2011

Lesbian Romance, Contemporary, (some historical stories inside)

288 pgs

Pub: Bold Strokes Books

Can Ros Wynne, who has lost everything she thought defined her, find her true life—and her true love—surrounded by the lingering history of the once-grand Winter Manor?
When Ros unexpectedly inherits Winter Manor on the condition that she oversee the restoration of the remote and dilapidated house, it seems the perfect place for her to retreat from her recently failed relationship, the death of her mother, and the loss of her job. But Winter Manor is not entirely at rest. The echoes of its past reach forward into the present, and Ros’s life is perceptibly shaped by the lives—and loves—of the people who inhabited those rooms and corridors in the centuries before her.

Then Anna arrives. The architect—with her designer clothes, hot car, and air of supreme professionalism—is at first an unwelcome, if necessary, intrusion. But as Ros learns Anna’s truths, she finds solace from her past losses in their developing intimacy. And when their love is threatened, Ros must decide whether her own ghosts will forever define her, or if she can embrace her life for what it is—past, present, and future.

Just to be clear, I think the blurb is not quite right and gives a false impression. This is not a ghost story. I think I had the impression from the blurb that it might be to some degree. It’s a contemporary that includes three stories of prior inhabitants of the house interspersed throughout the story. “Echoes of the past” don’t reach forward and Ros is not shaped by their lives.” She’s actually shaped by her own past and current feelings towards Anna. Also, for an FYI, the renovation doesn’t stir up ghostly energy either, which is a common thing in some renovation stories.

For the most part I really enjoyed this book. On the level of the love story, it was great. Roz and Anna have great chemistry even if there are some glitches in getting together. The best parts of this story are when Ros and Anna are interacting. And I felt the author built up their connection at a nice pace. I think though that there was maybe a bit too much filler in between their interactions that I felt were not that pertinent. But it did stretch the story enough to create more emotional and sexual tension as their attraction grows.

Ros is a down to earth woman who seems to deal with things in an understated, straight forward way. She just seems to go with the flow. She’s also hippie-ish in the way she dresses and is into eastern spirituality. She practices yoga, smudged the house when she arrived, and meditates. Both she and Anna are into these things, which is something that gave them common ground. While she doesn’t believe in ghosts, she does believe that the energy of the past inhabitants can imbibe a house.

Anna is like her complete opposite. Anna is cool, always collected, elegant and never really shows what’s she’s feeling or thinking.  She’s also very rich and unabashedly enjoys the finer things in life that money can buy. What I liked about her is that even though on the surface she seems more reticent, she initiates their interactions and has a vulnerability that contradicts her external demeanor.

Between both women, I felt that Anna changes the most with their connection even though Ros’ process is more in the forefront through most of the story. And maybe that’s because we don’t get Anna’s POV until the end of the book. Most of the story is told or expressed through Ros and what’s going on with her as well as her observations on how she thinks Anna is reacting to her. This is something that I felt lacking in this story. I would have loved to get Anna’s POV as well, how she perceives Ros and why she’s attracted to her during the process.  

I liked that the author created two characters who are from opposite social and economic backgrounds. This is something I don’t see explored too much in lesbian romances. I liked that Ros is not intimidated by Anna’s wealth and that Anna doesn’t feel guilt or superior about her wealth and that she enjoys it. They joke about it in an easy way.

There were some parts of the book that, while not impacting me negatively, didn’t really float my boat.  Ros’ inner dialogue, which is constant, often got too repetitive and redundant. There were also some sections that went on too long that didn’t add to the story, like a couple of pages of yoga positions that I skimmed through.

Also, I might add, that from other reviews, the historical stories of past residents of the house were liked by most readers. They are kind of interesting and add an historical flavor. However, I was not that crazy about them due to being too short to be developed stories, and… they took away from the current story between Ros and Anna, which is what I found most yummy about this story. I kept thinking, yeah, yeah, let’s get back to Ros and Anna.

That said, spoiler:

All the stories are about love that can’t be and all of a homosexual nature. Not unrequited, but one of the parties decides it’s not their time to be together, which mirrors a lot of what’s going on with Ros with regards to Anna. So those stories do sort of mirror the current situation even though this new resident breaks that cycle.       End Spoiler

I absolutely recommend this book though. It’s a feel good love story between two interesting characters and it does capture the falling in love process in a sweet, vulnerable way.

Heat level: 2 – few sex scenes not too graphically written

Grade: Really liked it

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Review- Bella Key by Scarlet Chastain

Bella Key
By Scarlet Chastain
April 30th 2013
Contemporary/f/f/Multicultural (Hispanic/white)/Fluid sexuality
12.8K words
75 pgs
Pub: Evernight Publishing

Maddie Jacobs must be crazy. At least that’s what her mother thinks. Professionally, she’s confident and secure; personally, she’s a hot mess. Not even a marriage proposal from a man who adores her can quell her search for something more.
In need of an escape, Maddie flees to Key West’s most southern island, Bella Key, to rest and recharge at Casa Bonita. She almost gives up on the weekend retreat when the Bed & Breakfast is closed for repairs until Sunny Rojas, the inn owner, extends an offer of friendship, sweet tea and a room. Still reeling from a breakup with her longtime partner, Sunny is thankful for the diversion from her own broken heart.

The arrival of a fierce storm forces the women’s emotional journey to a head and leads them into each other’s arms. But can Maddie throw her hang-ups to the wind and go with her heart? The magic of Bella Key teaches her that passion cannot be placed neatly into boxes labeled right and wrong, because love knows no boundaries.

This is such cute, well-written and erotic story and it gave me the warm fuzzies all over. You know when you meet someone and you immediately feel so comfortable that none of the usual first meeting guarding comes up? You feel very relaxed and as if whatever you do or say will be fine, you can be yourself? This is the kind of relationship that Maddie and Sunny have. I loved it!

The whole set up on how these two women meet and why Maddie would be there was totally believable and didn’t feel contrived. Right away the women are very comfortable with each other, easily chatting and acting as if they’ve known each other for years.

Maddie comes across as someone who is somewhat vulnerable even though she has a high powered job. She wants to end it with the “perfect” guy on paper and just wants a few days to chill and think things over.  

Sunny is a warm, friendly person who welcomes Maddie with open arms, making her feel at ease right away. And she calls Maddie Chica in an endearing and familiar way even though she’s just met her, which I liked. She also doesn’t shy away from being who she is, letting Maddie know that her last partner was a woman when it comes up in conversation.

Even though they’ve just met, the women slip into a sweet sexual thing like right away. But it was written realistically from both POVs. Maddie doesn’t angst about her first time with a woman, but also doesn’t feel totally comfortable as it’s something new for her. All those thoughts about ramifications do run through her head.  Sunny lets her figure it out without putting anything on her about it even though she wants her to stay and wants to keep something going.

Even better was that these two women work things out pretty quickly without a bunch of drama. There’s something so refreshing about two people clicking and simply enjoying each other without the usual awkward uneasiness about what’s going on and so on.

Just also wanted to say that for such a short story, it’s a perfect package. The writing, the pacing of the story, how it starts, how it ends, it’s very feel good. And it’s sexy!

Heat Level- 3- sensually written, but not too graphic-- sex scenes

Grade- Really liked it

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Review- Mask of the Highwaywoman by Niamh Murphy

Mask of the Highwaywoman

By Niamh Murphy

Dec 3, 2012

Historical/ Lesbian

Pgs 161 (Kindle Edition)

Pub: Freya Publications

Evelyn Thackeray, the spirited daughter of a wealthy aristocrat, is en route to meet her future husband, when a gang of vicious outlaws attacks her stagecoach. In spite of Evelyn’s terror, she is intrigued by the leader of the gang, a beautiful Highwaywoman called Bess. Increasingly entranced by Bess and the prospect of adventure, Evelyn puts up little resistance when she is kidnapped. However, she begins to suspect there is a lot more to her captor than she initially thought and what started as a light-hearted escapade rapidly turns into a desperate escape and a frantic struggle for survival.
Niamh Murphy’s debut novel is not just a swashbuckling lesbian romance, but also a gripping tale of love and betrayal.

OK, I’m just going to come right out with it, I just don’t know what the heck this is. This story is so full of plot holes and TSTL moments. And character development is practically non-existent. This book is one long string of chase scenes with constant angsting and whining by the main protagonist.

This story starts out with Evelyn getting robbed and then kidnapped. Then there are flashbacks to her life until that moment. She’s living with her widowed father and being wooed by a man that her father is doing business with. According to her, she’s bored with her life of luxury. Nothing exciting ever happens. While this new suitor seems nice enough, he’s not floating her boat that much. She decides it’s time to marry though because that’s what women of her station do. But before doing so, she’s convinced to go see a friend of hers , a two day ride by carriage, by her suitor so that she will get a chance to see what married life might be like.

Along the way, the carriage is robbed. One of the robbers is a woman who captures Evelyn’s attention, not being like any other woman she’s known. Having everything stolen from her, she’s forced to offer to work for a night’s stay at the crappiest inn in a nearby village. Suddenly, the highwaywoman shows up, coming through her bedroom window and gives back her stuff. Even more intrigued, she insists on knowing who this woman is but is left alone again. The next morning she takes the next carriage out and is then kidnapped by this same woman. From there on out it’s a constant cat and mouse game with Evelyn trying to run from her captors and caught between her attraction to the highwaywoman and her fear about who’s side this woman is on.

As a character I didn’t like Evelyn. She insists on taking a “public” carriage to her friend’s house when her father has his own because she wants to feel the freedom and adventure of it. But then bitches non-stop about how crowded and uncomfortable it is the whole way. After being kidnapped by the highway woman and under the guise of helping her, she is led to a country village where she muses about how lucky those country people are with their simple little lives, getting to work the land all day and having their cozy little houses with their loving families and not having to think much about all those boring, pesky things like tedious rich people tea parties and socials and long days of nothing to do.

She also constantly vacillates between feeling an attraction to this woman who represents the adventure she craves and never knowing if she can trust her. This, even after having been betrayed by this woman over and over. I felt like screaming at her, shit or get off the pot because it went on and on.

Then, towards the end she acts so stupidly. Well, she’s acts stupidly through the whole book, but the end, the last big chase scene was a huge WTF for me.

The romance: there was no romance really. The women end up with a few moments together while on the run and Bess, the highway woman, is in love with Evelyn. She doesn’t know why, she just is. She doesn’t know jack about Evelyn. At least I could see something from Evelyn’s POV because Bess represents anything but her boring life. But we get ZERO POV from Bess as to why she’s madly in love with Evelyn from the start. I felt no real emotional connection between the women.

The frequent chase scenes got bogged down in too much detail and I ended up skimming through a lot of them. The author also went into lots of descriptive detail on the scenery, but barely expressed any of the usual and subtle nuances in interaction that show two people have a growing attraction.

If you’re looking for a book with a lot of action you’ll love this book. For me, it was lacking on so many levels and was a wall banger on others. 

Heat Level: 2 one or two non-graphically written sexual interactions between the women.

Grade: Didn’t like it