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Currently Browsing: lesbian romance
Nov
7

Review: Take Me Home by Lorelie Brown

Review: Take Me Home by Lorelie Brown Take Me Home Author: Lorelie Brown Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Lorelie Brown is a new author for me, so I was excited to read her newest addition to the Belladonna Ink series. Keighley is a twenty-three-year-old accountant who isn’t exactly looking forward to Thanksgiving with the family. Though her mother is very supportive, her Christian fundamentalist aunt gives them both a lot of grief because Keighley is a lesbian. Fed up with the whole situation, the solution quickly becomes clear: bring a date to dinner. A Craigslist ad then leads her to the perfect “girlfriend” for the occasion. In contrast, Brooke is a twenty-four-year-old tattooist with no real family ties whatsoever. With her bright pink hair, tattoos, and rapid-fire snark, she quickly became my favorite character in the story. Solitary in the extreme, Brooke’s independence cloaks a heartfelt longing for acceptance that she never had growing up, and she thinks that being invited to share Keighley’s will satisfy that need just a little. She also loves dogs, which completely sealed the deal for me. While I liked this story a great deal, there were a couple of issues that niggled at me during the course of the novella. Keighley’s mother, who seems completely wonderful in many ways, consistently tolerates the antagonistic aunt, but is then fine with Keighley’s plans to stir things up during Thanksgiving dinner. It appears to be a case of “keeping the peace,” and it was a well-written scene, but I just couldn’t easily reconcile the disparity. Later on, Brooke says that Keighley’s desire for a tattoo is sudden, but Keighley begins pondering getting one before they even meet. There were a few others as well, but, overall, these discrepancies were small, and didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story. Having said that, there was a lot to like about Take Me Home. Keighley’s mind is a very busy place, which is kind of funny much of the time, particularly when she’s trying to make a good impression on Brooke. Though they’re only a year apart in age, Brooke seems more mature and complex, while still clearly searching for something to fill the absence of really belonging. There are plenty of other great moments, care of Keighley’s sister and the neighbors, and, especially, Bennet the dog, who is my other favorite character in the story. The intimate scenes between Keighley and Brooke occupy a significant portion of the novella, and I think...
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Jul
18

Review + Giveaway: Top to Bottom by Delphine Dryden

Review + Giveaway: Top to Bottom by Delphine Dryden Top to Bottom Author: Delphine Dryden Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: Mistress Amie lives day-to-day without attachments. She loves her job at the gym, but the only person she has any type of bond with is her ex, Mara, whom she’s sent away for good to a new club, Escape. She used to love the crowd and scenes at her current club, but now, the club just feels drama-filled and tired. Dru is determined to make club Escape work. On her own, she seeks the advice of her onetime college partner, Amie, to help the club break even. What she didn’t expect is to have feelings for Amie, even after their initial reunion left little to be desired. Top to Bottom is a love story of two women finding their way back to one another after many years. Although the years in between college and current day were filled with significant life trials, shaping each woman into someone slightly different and a bit stronger. Top to Bottom shares the final stage of each female’s development; both taking that final step to heal and love. Amie’s wild and crazy ways condemned her to homelessness when her family discovered her kissing another girl. With all of her college friends gone, Amie struggled until she found her first job. Understanding the hardship and humiliation of living on the streets, and the pain of loneliness after being cast out by her family, Amie doesn’t trust easily. Dru gives her balance and a safe place to share herself. While I found the falling (back) into love part a bit too easy, or rather than it felt like it happened under the radar, it was still believable because of the pair’s dynamic when we did see them together, opening up and therefore, growing. Dru pushes Amie with just the right amount of determination, until Amie realizes she can trust again. Meanwhile, Dru has lived a pretty good life, until she lost her partner. Opening the club was their dream, and Dru is determined to make it work. However, someone is out to ruin her and/or her club, and giving up may be the easier option. At times I felt like Dru saw Amie as a case to manage – something broken to be fixed – and that’s what drove the relationship. However, it was done because she cared, and she was ready to move on with her life. Dru saw past...
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Dec
21

Review: Stuck Landing by Lauren Gallagher

Review: Stuck Landing by Lauren Gallagher Stuck Landing Author: Lauren Gallagher Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: After the long, painful dissolution of her previous relationship, Anna Maxwell isn’t in a hurry to jump into any new attachments, much less with anyone involved with Wolf’s Landing. But, when the tough, gorgeous stunt coordinator Anna has had a crush on for months suddenly breaks up with her boyfriend and makes it clear that she’s more than willing to help work off their mutual frustrations in bed, Anna sees no reason not to take her up on the offer. Even though Anna’s determined not to fall for a bisexual woman again, Natalya Izmaylova seems to be everything Anna has ever wanted in a partner. And while walking away should be easy, Anna is quickly learning that it most certainly is not. Told exclusively from Anna’s perspective, Stuck Landing follows the developing relationship between two wonderfully tenacious, extremely capable women who are perfect together—if they don’t self-destruct along the way. One thing I was especially pleased about is that both women are so open about what they want sexually. Anna and Natalya like and want sex, and it was nice to see that out there so matter-of-factly. Regardless, the chemistry between them is so obvious and undeniable that every scene they have together practically vibrates with it, whether they’re having sex or not. I was glad, but not at all surprised, to see biphobia addressed so unapologetically in the Bluewater Bay series, and by this author, in particular. As has been the case with just about every other story I’ve read in this collection, the stumbling blocks Natalya and Anna face seemed real, and were far from easily overcome. Biphobia is a serious problem that doesn’t get enough attention in literature, in my opinion, but Ms. Gallagher dissects the issue both thoughtfully as well as candidly, and I appreciated both very much. Once again, the Bluewater Bay series has proven that beautifully written, thought-provoking fiction is alive and well. Stuck Landing is frank and occasionally harsh, yet manages to be evocative and incredibly sweet in places, too. Ms. Gallagher has repeatedly demonstrated that she is an impressive storyteller, and makes quite a few good points here in a relatively short narrative. Although it can be read as a standalone, I recommend reading all of the Bluewater Bay stories, since each is unique, yet often interconnected. The entire series has a lot to offer, and is one...
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Sep
25

Review: This Time Now by KT Grant

Review: This Time Now by KT Grant This Time Now Author: KT Grant Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Regret is never an easy thing to live with, but coming face-to-face with its source when you least expect it can be heartbreaking. Amanda Barkley and Billie Layne had big plans together before tragedy and circumstance tore them apart. Now, six years later, Billie is back and Amanda is still angry and hurting. While forgiveness isn’t a simple thing, second chances don’t happen often, and both women are about to learn that holding on to the past too tightly could cost them the very happiness they’ve been looking for. In This Time Now, Ms. Grant makes good use of the notion that opposites attract when telling Amanda and Billie’s story. From the beginning, I thought Amanda was a very likable character. At a little more than five feet tall, blonde, sweet, and pretty, she’s well liked by those around her. Despite the fact that she seems to be fairly independent, she’s surrounded by some well-meaning people who have her best interests at heart. She has sacrificed a great deal for those who need her, but has managed to build a life for herself that works. It’s not how she imagined things would be; yet she seems content to look ahead from where she is. I couldn’t help but want her to be happy, my reservations over her former girlfriend’s intentions aside. Billie, on the other hand, I didn’t care for at first. Her initial arrogance and presumptuousness did nothing to help me see her as a sympathetic character. Billie returns home after attaining the fame she left to pursue six years ago, as well as having a major health scare, with the notion that she can just reinsert herself into Amanda’s life and that they’ll pick right back up where they left off. Thankfully, it didn’t win Amanda over any more than it did me, and while I felt sorry for what Billie had been through, I was glad that Amanda resisted for as long as she did. It isn’t until Billie realizes she can’t bulldoze past Amanda’s resistance, and experiences a real dose of fear and potential loss over the situation that she begins to be honest with Amanda, as well as herself, making the inevitable ending much easier to accept. This Time Now is a very short tale of regret, forgiveness, love, and new beginnings. While I think Billie should have had to...
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Sep
11

Author Guest Post: Rebekah Weatherspoon

Author Guest Post: Rebekah Weatherspoon Today I welcome back Rebekah Weatherspoon to That’s What I’m Talking About. She’s here to share some of her personal experiences that went into the writing of her upcoming New Adult title, Treasure. Please help me welcome Rebekah to the blog. I think when a lot of people think of the New Adult genre, “angst” is one of the key descriptors that comes to mind. There are bad boys, all sorts of wrong sides of the tracks, the almost sexual assaults, and more dark pasts to shakes a stick at. One thing I like about the New Adult genre is that it tackles a period in life that is often overlooked in media. There are tons of books and television shows for kids from preschool to 18. and then the world seems to pick up again for the 25+ crowd. I think between the ages of 18 and 25 a lot of us did a lot of growing. I know I did. I finished college. Got my first car. Moved in with my first partner, worked THREE jobs at once, learned I wasn’t cut out to be a middle school teacher. During that time I also found my love of writing. It was a time for growth, but it was also a time when I struggled a great deal. I felt the first pull to end my life my senior year in high school. I was struggling with depression, undiagnosed vision problems, and undiagnosed ADHD, along with all the other fun stuff that comes with being an overweight black girl at a predominately white boarding school. Luckily, I had my father close by, and just having him there to listen and take as much of my pain as he could, gave me the will to hang on. He was there for me again in college when I felt the same pull and again in my early 20’s when those dark voices came back. It was his voice, and the voice of my significant other, who kept me from the closest I’ve been to the edge when in 2011, I finally made plans. I didn’t follow through with those plans and have since taken steps to really care for myself and put my own mental health before anything else. I’ve found joy in self care and joy in the strength it gives me to keep writing. When I decided to write Alexis and Trisha’s story, I wasn’t going for the angst factor. Instead I...
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Jun
26

Author Guest Post + Giveaway: Fiona Zedde

Author Guest Post + Giveaway: Fiona Zedde Today I welcome author Fiona Zedde to That’s What I’m Talking About… The Virgin Vampire in the Land of Sex In my new novel, Desire at Dawn, Kylie is a virgin. I didn’t set out to write her that way, a twenty-something virgin in a world of beautiful, hyper-sexed vampires. It seemed even oxymoronic that she isn’t as interested in sex – at least not in having it – as the members of her concupiscent tribe. My intent was something else all together, but I like to think that Kylie appeared on the page in the way she was meant to. In the novel, her desires are large and all consuming. She wants so many things that her small body can barely contain all of these hungers: the hunger for blood, for familial closeness, for the sort of sexual connection that doesn’t come with the complete surrender of self. Her experience is simultaneously erotic and frustrating, a bitter-sweet journey. And I must admit I did take some pleasure in torturing and teasing her through the course of the novel with the things she wants and cannot have, things she can have but thinks she should not want. Writing about Kylie’s frustrated desires also mirrored the path I took while writing the novel. Desire at Dawn is the sequel to Every Dark Desire, a novel whose protagonist is Kylie’s mother, Belle. Belle is a different sort of vampire entirely, and most definitely not a virgin. But in both preparing to write this new book and in the act of actually writing it, I felt I was voyeuristically observing the desires of other people (my readers) for a follow-up to the novel that spawned a wonderful following, some excellent book reviews, and an award nomination. I wanted to satisfy their craving for another vampire novel set in that world. But wasn’t sure I would be able to, or even if I should. In the end, obviously, I gave in to these desires. Just as Kylie does. Take a peek at the novel and see if yours will be sated as well. Thanks for reading! About the books: Every Dark Desire Naomi McElroy’s life in Jamaica has always been about the comforts of family and home. But secretly, she yearns for something more. When she surrenders to seduction in a jasmine-scented garden under a full moon her life is changed forever. In that moment of complete ecstasy, Naomi becomes Belle, one of the undead whose carnal...
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Jun
19

Review: Shadows & Dreams by Alexis Hall

Review: Shadows & Dreams by Alexis Hall Shadows & Dreams Author: Alexis Hall Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Kate’s back! I liked her a great deal while reading the first story in the series, Iron & Velvet, but she’s even better this time around. Having survived (barely) the perils of her last case, during which she did, indeed, get the girl, she’s just been hired to find the missing brother of a former fling. Of course, nothing in Kate’s world is ever simple, and she’s soon embroiled in a war between nearly all the supernatural beings in the city and a crazed vampire queen who wants to kill everything in sight. One thing is for certain: when the odds start stacking up against Kate, they do so quickly—and quite spectacularly. I’m not entirely sure where to start with Kate, except to say that she’s the funniest character I’ve read in a very long time. Now that she’s got a steady girlfriend, she’s plagued with dreams that are connected to the Witch Queen of London (one of her ex-girlfriends), has to track down a murder and thief (who happens to be another of her ex-girlfriends), and gets rescued by a mortal genius named Eve who wields techy gizmos better than Batman (and is—yes—another of her exes). I won’t even get into the alpha wolf and the vengeful unicorn. Things get… complicated. But, Kate handles things as drily as always, and, although they were a little much every now and then, her internal monologues left me cackling regularly throughout the narrative. Shadows & Dreams isn’t a comedy, however, and I found the mystery Kate’s trying to unravel impossible not to get wrapped up in. Less icky than its predecessor (no sewer parts!), this story tosses Kate from one piece of the puzzle to the next and back again, getting more and more convoluted with each step she takes. Adding to the difficult situation, Kate is both hated and liked by various members of each faction, and constantly finds herself walking the line between being saved or killed simultaneously at any moment. Not one to panic, Kate seems to face her trials with plenty of morbid resignation and profanity, and frequently uses her readily modified catchphrase that I loved from the previous story: “Here lies Kate Kane. Executed by vampires underneath a portrait of a hot woman. Beloved daughter. Sorely missed.”  Good thing she still likes to drink a lot, otherwise things might just be fairly...
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May
11

Sunday Snippet: The Blush Factor by Gun Brooke

Sunday Snippet: The Blush Factor by Gun Brooke  About the Book The Blush Factor Author:  Gun Brooke Publisher:   Bold Strokes Books Released:  February 18, 2014 Author Contact:   Website, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Live Journal Snippet Something about this young woman made it impossible for Eleanor to merely close her laptop and stop watching.  Eleanor noticed the nearly transparent hazel eyes immediately.  A charming band of freckles danced across her nose, which, together with her full, soft, pink mouth, gave her an aura of innocence.  Her blinding smile, wide and guilelessly open, pulled Eleanor in.  She called herself “Blush”, and this girl seemed to know everything about makeup, hair, and skin products – anything related to beauty.  Blush acted so natural in front of the camera, whether at her vanity or in any other room in her home.  Her voice was melodious and her laughter contagious. Eleanor had found this woman’s channel on YouTube while searching for the beauty gurus that had the most subscribers.  With more than 350,000 subscribers and millions upon millions of hits on her more than five hundred clips, Blush was among the most successful.  Young girls and women couldn’t seem to get enough of her advice, her reviews, or her tutorials.  Eleanor snorted.  She was no different.  This was the third evening in a row she’d sat for hours, thinking she would click on just one more link, watch one more clip of this fresh-faced young woman.  So she did, like an addict. Blush’s intro played and her now-familiar face came into view.  Her hair in a ponytail and with no makeup on, she seemed to be wearing only a bathrobe, which made Eleanor swallow twice.  Frowning, she tried to focus on what Blush was saying. “Hello, you wonderful people,” Blush said, waving.  “It’s been a whole week, I know, and I’m sorry.  Real life entered and I had to…deal with stuff.”  A shadow flickered across her features but was gone so fast Eleanor knew she would be replaying the clip later to see if she’d imagined it. “Today I thought I’d show you how you can look better for less.  I know we all love the expensive brands, but hey, most of us can’t afford them.  I can’t, normally.  Some of the high-end brands send me samples and new products to test, but you know my rule: if I didn’t buy it, it’s not going on my channel.  I usually end up giving those items away to charity.  The sealed ones, that is.”  She...
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Feb
14

Review: Deep Deception by Cathy Pegau

Review: Deep Deception by Cathy Pegau Deep Deception Author: Cathy Pegau Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: Senior Colonial Mining Authority agent Natalia Hallowell prides herself on her relentless pursuit of justice and her strong work ethic. So when she finds out that she is accused of taking bribes and illegally collecting evidence, she is angry and hurt. In order to deal with her work frustrations, Natalia looks to a few drinks and a one-night stand to ease the pain. That is until she meets Gennie. An immediate attraction sends Natalia to Gennie’s hotel room, only to be knocked out and tied up – but not in a fun way! Gennie is desperate to get off world, and needs assistance. She pleads for Natalia’s help to bring down the Reyes family – a well-known mining corporation. Reluctantly, Natalia agrees to help Gennie, and in order to bring down the Reyes, Gennie and Natalia must go undercover in a small mining district to uncover some anomalies in their shipping manifests. Although a stand alone story, Deep Deception is loosely tied to two other books in an unnamed science fiction romance series. Natalia and Gennie both have roles in the previous book, Caught in Amber: Natalia is a confidant and sometimes partner to Nathan Sterling, CiA’s hero, and Gennie, aka Genevieve, was the assistant to Guy Christiansen, CiA’s antagonist. Deep Deception takes place about six months after the conclusion of Caught in Amber. One does not need to have read the previous books to enjoy this one. Deep Deception is aptly named, with layers of lies and treachery that unfold throughout the tale. Since the story is shared from both Gennie and Natalia’s point-of-views, the reader is privy to some of the half-truths and deceptions, but the hefty lies are unveiled only as the story climaxes. While I enjoyed the complexity of the storyline, I did get frustrated at Gennie’s reluctancy to open up and trust Natalia. And maybe it’s the mystery-solver in me, but I felt like there were setups for problems and conspiracies that never came to be. I was suspicious of everyone, and therefore, a little disappointed when side stories would just peter out. However, the mystery of what is happening in South Meridian is a bit nerve-wracking. I was a bit on edge whenever the women did their spying–convinced something terrible would happen. Gennie and Natalia enjoy a strong mutual attraction; however mistrust and reluctancy keep the pair from acting...
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Jan
27

Review: The Beginning of Us by Sarah Brooks

Review: The Beginning of Us by Sarah Brooks The Beginning of Us Author: Sarah Brooks Reviewer: B. Rating: B What I’m Talking About: The Beginning of Us is the story of the early days of a relationship between Tara Haus, a twenty-one year old college student, and her professor, Eliza Moore. Told from Tara’s perspective, it is a memoir of self-discovery, written to the absent Eliza, as a means of denying the very real possibility that the love Tara is so certain has grown between them never really existed at all. Not to be dismissed as the ramblings of a lovesick young woman, however, it is a cathartic examination of a specific, and momentous, period of time and growth in Tara’s life. I liked Tara a great deal from the beginning, and found her very easy to connect with as the story progressed. Her “awakening” throughout the narrative is filled with complicated moments of elation and despair, yet she never tries to hide from the truths she uncovers about herself along the way. After the initial panic, confusion, and hurt of suddenly missing someone who shouldn’t be gone, Tara begins to tell Eliza about herself in a Word document, coming to new conclusions about both of them in the process. Ms. Brooks captures the feeling of discovery very well, whether in Tara’s elation after her first class with Eliza, her sudden acceptance of her sexuality while biking over the hills outside of campus, or even her realization that Eliza isn’t the dazzling, fearless person she initially seemed to be. Tara is open and honest from the start, cycling through the bouts of questioning and acceptance with admirable determination. Eliza, on the other hand, I wasn’t as fond of. Eight years older than Tara, and fully aware of the younger woman’s attraction, Eliza is unsteady and self-centered. Her concern over the possible threat that loving another woman—and a student—might be to her meticulously constructed plans is understandable, especially given the intolerance she’s always known, but the mixed signals she perpetually sends Tara are not. As a professor, Eliza seems perfect at first, her challenge to her students providing the initial spark that alters Tara’s path irrevocably. Eventually, Tara realizes that Eliza may be enthusiastic about teaching young minds to break free of the bonds that hold them down, but she’s terrified of flying herself. Frankly, Tara deserves better. Despite the title, the relationship evolving between Tara and Eliza is only part of The Beginning of Us. Tara’s realization...
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