I loved, loved this book. I'm still trying to figure out how to write a review of it, if I can. Or maybe this is my review? It's so deep and nuanced a...moreI loved, loved this book. I'm still trying to figure out how to write a review of it, if I can. Or maybe this is my review? It's so deep and nuanced and maybe too hard for me to articulate everything I felt about it. It left me feeling like I had spent time with an old friend I hadn't seen for a long time, catching up on old times, which by the way is some of the theme of this story.
This story touches on so many different issues, but particularly issues around being an African American lesbian and the expectations of both the white and black community both culturally and on a personal level on being that. The way the characters experience their lives is expressed with a lot of insight into those issues.
It's also about the importance of shared experiences in making relationships work and also the comfort involved in that even if a relationship doesn't flourish.
That this story is about mature women was another huge plus. It's fairly rare to read about women who are at a stage in their lives when experience has taught them that they don't have to rush into anything and can be cautious in relating, but also that they still can have all those exciting and fearful feelings and emotions around new attractions.
Author Renee Bess excels at in-depth characterizations. Each of the characters in this story have distinct personalities and we get to see how each change slightly depending on who they are relating to. They are all connected even if they are unaware of how. And I particularly respect that all of the characters have flaws. Just when I'd think, oh I like this character and hope it works out for them, they do something kind of crappy. However, their vulnerabilities were shown as well, so it was easy to see their point of view even with negative traits at times.
I think this author's writing is getting better and better. Will definitely pick up another of her books. (less)
I started reading this particular detective series a couple of years ago and all have been reviewed here on LVLM or Goodreads in case you’re curious....more I started reading this particular detective series a couple of years ago and all have been reviewed here on LVLM or Goodreads in case you’re curious. I happen to be really fond of Laura McCallister as a character and have enjoyed reading these books due to it. This book was good as well even though I had some minor issues with it.
Unlike in the last three books, this story revolves mostly around Laura’s personal life, rather than some mystery or case she’s working on. Although a mystery she’s gotten sucked into and her personal life are connected in this case.
On the one hand, I liked this because there is more detail about a character I like. Kind of like when you like someone and you want to know more about them. However, for the purposes of the story as a whole, I felt sometimes there was too much personal emoting/dialogue that left the plot and mystery part, the exciting part really, lacking.
I was really sucked in by the first part of the book. There are several mysteries going on that Laura is dealing with that piqued my curiosity about what’s going on. It starts out as a traditional detective novel, which I liked. There’s been a succession of teenage suicides on a local bridge that Laura wants to stop, and a woman who was in an accident and has amnesia is found to have Laura’s business card on her.
The main mystery going on is the amnestic woman, even though the rash of suicides is how the book starts out. Although it’s not really a case that Laura needs to work on, because of this woman having Laura’s business card, Laura tries to figure out what’s going on with her. As Laura tries to help the woman remember anything about who she is, she comes to a painful conclusion that throws her into a lot of emotional turmoil as she’s pulled into her own painful past. This in turn causes her to make a rookie mistake that almost kills her. She is then forced to deal with long suppressed feelings, which she doesn’t want to do.
OK, so that story line was very intriguing to me. It unfolded slowly enough to keep up mystery and tension. However, how it all resolved and come to a head still left me with many questions about why some characters acted the way they did. Some of it just didn’t make any sense to me, or seemed illogical. A little more psychological motivation of the other characters would have helped I think. Laura’s personal journey is interesting though, and that kept me going.
The other mystery story line also left me wondering what that was all about. I kept thinking there was going to be a linkup between the two threads or some other connection to the main plot, but that didn’t happen. I felt there should have been some explanation as to why it took up as much book space as it did since there seemed to be a suggestion of possibly something more sinister going on. I think this would have been a cleaner, neater story if that part had been left out since it distracted a bit from the focus of the book. But YMMV.
It’s actually kind of hard to categorize this book. I can’t say it’s really a mystery because it doesn’t solely focus on the mystery in the traditional mystery/detective book sense. I can’t say it’s a romance on any level, but a lot of the dialogue between Laura and Holly, her partner, is about their relationship, their life together and Laura’s emotional state. It bordered on being a little too mushy for my taste. But I can’t be nitpicky about that because I do feel that a lot of readers will love that, will love the expressions of a deep emotional connection between them.
Overall though, I enjoyed this book. It flows nicely and at a fast pace, and there is just enough intrigue to keep it interesting and compelling to read. Laura grows as a person quite a bit in this story, which also added to my enjoyment. I hope there’s another Laura McCallister book coming; I’ll definitely read it. (less)
I was all over this book when it came out because I loved the writing in Pearl. Like Pearl, the same style and ambience is present in this book. The...more I was all over this book when it came out because I loved the writing in Pearl. Like Pearl, the same style and ambience is present in this book. The author manages to get in a lot of details that set the stage for what’s going on with the main characters, but in a Zen-like, sparse way. Even though a contemporary, this story had the feel of being in an earlier time period. Maybe this due to the fact that it takes place outside a small town with not much going on. Or maybe there are a lot of similarities to the setting in Pearl, which was set in the 40’s.
Annette is an 18 year old who has just graduated high school and doesn’t feel much about the fact that it’s over. She’s was neither popular or exceptional in any way, nor was she an outcast in school. She’s just an average girl with not much going on trying to figure out what to do with her life.
Next door lives a woman whom Annette has never had contact in all years she’s lived there. Out of curiosity, and or maybe the boredom of just hanging out in her house with not much to do, for no particular reason really, she decides to go over and introduce herself after this woman’s housemate moved out.
Sadie and Annette strike up a friendship and Sadie let’s Annette come over to her house daily to help her clean up her paint brushes and such. Sadie really doesn’t talk too much about herself or her life. She neither hides nor says outright that she’s a lesbian although it’s assumed by Annette that she is. In fact, while they spend whole days together, it seems they don’t really say much to each other, yet they manage to develop a friendship. And that friendship goes to the next step when Annette offers to stay one night.
This story is all about Annette really. She doesn’t seem to be impressed or judgmental of Sadie being a lesbian; it’s just a fact. But their relationship helps her realize that she has been more interested in women even though she’s never consciously defined it internally. She had a boyfriend with whom she had sex, but in her private musings that wasn’t as exciting as the girls she thought more about. So in some ways it’s easy for Annette to just put it out there for Sadie to respond to or not.
What I liked actually was that there wasn’t much fanfare around these two women getting sexual. Even though fairly erotically written, sexually they are almost perfunctory. Sort of like “you want to do it” “OK.” I liked the simplicity of their connection because it seems to be more a step in Annette’s life versus a main event.
For the most part I loved this story, however, I was disappointed with the ending; it was kind of a WTF for me. I’ve read the reviews for this book and no one has had issue with it so maybe it went over my head? Or I wasn’t really into the whole metaphor of the story of Annette living on a crossroads street and being at a crossroads in her life but more into the developing relationship between Annette and Sadie, which was far more interesting.
Still though, I highly recommend this book. I do love the author’s style and voice. She does have a knack for writing short snap shots of characters’ lives with enough detail to suck you in and be turned on by them.
Heat level- 3-4 2 graphically written sex scenes just right for the story length(less)
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...more 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(less)
I’ve only read one other of Andi Marquette’s books, Some Kind of River, and I really liked it. From the Boots Up also is a cute, warm and fuzzy feel g...more I’ve only read one other of Andi Marquette’s books, Some Kind of River, and I really liked it. From the Boots Up also is a cute, warm and fuzzy feel good love story. While it’s not a deep book, the author still managed to convey quite a bit about both protagonists.
You know all those feelings and fears, butterflies in your stomach, racing thoughts about words and actions that could be taken in different ways, and all that awkwardness that happens when you have an attraction to someone but are not sure about what’s going on with them? Well that’s what Andi Marquette captured extremely well in this story.
Meg is a down to earth, funny, easy going kind of girl. She loves her life as a cowgirl in Wyoming working with her father and helping out with guests at their dude ranch. She’s young but has had a few heartbreaks so she’s kind of freaked at her instantaneous and intense attraction to a reporter who’s come to do a story on their ranch.
This story is mainly told from Meg’s POV, so all that internal angsting is about her attraction to Gina. There really isn’t much conflict going on except in Megs head and heart. But that was enough to keep me interested as the story progressed. Andi Marquette does have an amusing way with words and there were some pretty funny lines and character banter.
We don’t get to know too much about what Gina feels until the end. But I liked her light, flirty, but slightly mischievous way. She plays just enough with Meg to keep the communication lines open and be provocative without actually letting on how she feels. The main thing keeping them separated is that from both sides, professionally, they can’t fraternize in a more personal way.
There’s no big surprise here. From the get-go you know what’s going to happen. And it’s a short book. But I liked Meg and Gina’s little dance, the secondary characters, and the setting. So it was a gratifyingly light, fun read for me.
I’d say if you’re looking for a meaty love story, this is probably not going to satisfy. But for me, after coming off of a more weighty and lengthy book, this was a perfect quick little story. Two people meet, they find out fairly quickly they’re both attracted and go for it. Very satisfying!
Heat level: 3- two semi graphically written sex scenes. (less)
I picked this book up for several reasons: it features mature characters, POC and it's romance with a mystery going on.
The romance that developed bet...moreI picked this book up for several reasons: it features mature characters, POC and it's romance with a mystery going on.
The romance that developed between two older women who are comfortable in their own skins, but somewhat jaded by life and relationships and a bit shy about their aging bodies, was done very realistically and sweetly.
The mystery part is somewhat predictable and not too detailed, however, it was nicely woven and integrated with the romantic angle, which made this story much more appealing than it might have been.
I had a hard time getting into this story in the beginning. Dani is a hard to like character. She's a player who doesn't really bother abou...more2 1/2 stars
I had a hard time getting into this story in the beginning. Dani is a hard to like character. She's a player who doesn't really bother about the feelings of the girls she has affairs with so I didn't really get invested in her as a character.
When she meets Carmen, a straight girl who's living with her boyfriend, she really falls for her.
Their little dance is decently written; how Dani slowly seduces Carmen and the opening of Carmen to the idea of love with a woman. However, it was a little too superficial for me to really get on board with the idea they will be a longer term couple.
First, I just don't believe people like Dani, how she's written, actually change their spots that easily and I felt that the challenge of seducing Carmen was probably the turn on for her. If she were written as having more of a conscience about the women she used, maybe I could get on board with her or believe that she can think of someone other than herself.
Carmen is a bit more realistic. I felt that Carmen realizing that being with a woman gives her more than being with a man is a kind of cliche in the straight woman falls for lesbian story. She's in pain. The man she loves is ignoring her and treating her like crap. If he was a decent guy I don't feel that Carmen would have given Dani a second look. She goes with Dani because Dani pays attention to her in a time of pain. So it's hard for me to take it too seriously. At least Carmen didn't jump on board that easily, she's very hesitant.
I also felt that had Carmen decided not to be with Dani ultimately, Dani would have just moved on, not thinking too much about it.
So the author failed for me on expressing the depth of what the characters were feeling.
That said, it's a decent read. I was interested enough to keep reading it. And the sex scenes between the women were nicely written.
I really enjoyed this author's book Je Me Rends so I was glad to discover that Kai Lu has a new f/f book out.
Like the other, it focuses on two young...moreI really enjoyed this author's book Je Me Rends so I was glad to discover that Kai Lu has a new f/f book out.
Like the other, it focuses on two young high school girls and rather beautifully captures the innocence and eroticism of a first love, first girl/girl experience.
What I really enjoy about Kai Lu's writing is that there's a definite unique feel to it. The description of the girls and the subtle nuances of what's going on with them is so vividly expressed and I had the strong feeling of reading a full bodied, highly feminized manga. But it never went into that dreaded school girl for letchy men story territory. It's really rather sweet and loving.
It's also highly erotic with very explicit sexual scenarios.
Oh and disregard the cover. It's an unfortunate cover because it gives the impression that what's written inside is strictly for the male gaze.
Again, I can't wait to read another of Kai Lu's books.
The good: this is fairly hotly and very graphically written erotica. This story is pretty much a stream of sex scenes with a thinly disguised plot. Fo...moreThe good: this is fairly hotly and very graphically written erotica. This story is pretty much a stream of sex scenes with a thinly disguised plot. For the reader who likes BDSM and or D/s scenarios, this might be a bit mild. For the reader who likes a bit of D/s, bondage, but nothing in depth, this will hit the spot.
Aries is a psychic who feels that she needs to have sex with someone in the same way that the killer has had sex to get a read on who he is. And also because she's had dreams that she is one of his victims. So when she's paired up with a Detective working on the case she suggests they have sex doing the same things the killer does so she can “see” things.
She knows going in that the killer ties them up, blindfolds them and has them in every orifice. She's totally willing to go through with it.
Both Aries and Det. Washington do try to keep it as a "job" knowing they are not in it for their own pleasure. It doesn't actually come across that they themselves, outside of acting out the scene, would do this.
Of course those professional lines get blurred and they enjoy each other and the sex, getting really turned on. Trip is especially turned on by Aries right from the start even if he thinks the whole psychic thing is a joke. The fact that he feels that way and goes along with the sex could have been a turn off since well, then he’s just using the situation and her to get his jollies. However, Ms Glass walked a fine line there and Trip shows some sensitivity towards Aries and even a hesitancy in doing some of the things he’s supposed to do to reenact the killer’s way of killing.
The bad: well, seriously? This could only happen in an erotica story where any excuse to have taboo-ish or any sex is a good one, even a totally improbable one. I kind of snickered at this premise, but it is a new one for me at least. Aries is lucky if she needed to have sex to get psychic hits on the killer that Trip happens to be tall, big, dark and gorgeous. I wonder if she would have suggested the same route if he looked like Barney Fife?
This scenario, however, can ease the uncomfortable reader in that it takes away the responsibility from the characters about enjoying something taboo for them outside of it being for the job. Neither Trip nor Aries have had anything but vanilla sex in the past.
Aries is a bit like this. She's never done this kind of thing before--- had sex with a client to get psychic hits, and she's never had this kind of sex before, no anal, no bondage, etc. But once she and Trip get going, she finds she gets off on it. She can do it without thinking about what that means to her personally and why it turns her on because she’s forced to for the cause.
“This time, she didn’t have a choice---and the idea that she was bound and blindfolded and in no position to refuse, liberated her in a way she’d never imagined possible.”
I don’t know, I’m rather partial to characters who go for whatever sex they want to have without feeling like there needs to be a “reason” for it if it’s in an area generally considered taboo. But I can see how even the simulation of a non-con situation in which both parties are in agreement about it could be a turn on for some.
Another negative for me is the constant reference to Trip's skin color. It's personal preference of course, but I hate when authors, who have a character of color, constantly reference the skin color as if that were the most important or unique thing about the character. I see this a lot and it's a personal pet peeve. YMMV
In the end, Debra Glass managed to make this a bit more than just an erotic fantasy. I liked both Trip and Aries as characters and I liked the fact that both of them are willing to explore further what has been awakened in them through this. They clicked very well and it was left off with an HFN.
This is the 3rd Detective Laura McCallister book and for my taste it's the best so far.
I'm rather fond of Laura as a character. She's an easy charact...moreThis is the 3rd Detective Laura McCallister book and for my taste it's the best so far.
I'm rather fond of Laura as a character. She's an easy character to like and I like the way she thinks and her process in going after the bad guys.
In this story, Laura is investigating the death of someone who appears to be a good family man. There's no reason why he would have driven into the lake in an apparent suicide. However, a clue is left in the car that is pulled out, which lets Laura and her team know that this might not be a suicide or a random event. This starts them on the trail of an unknown and highly intelligent killer who keeps one step ahead of Laura and her team.
I thought Rosalyn Wraight wrote a well thought out and sophisticated crime and detective story. The pacing of how clues are found and the process in which Laura goes about finding out what's going on is perfectly executed.
The plot is also well developed, with the non supporting characters being fully fleshed out. Particularly the killer. The killer is an intriguingly twisted character.
The only negative thing I can say is that for me the ending was drawn out a little too much. But maybe that's because the tension was pretty high by then and I just wanted to get to the conclusion to find out things left hanging.
I think the next Laura McCallister book is out and I'm definitely going to pick it up. (less)
Um, wow, I loved this book! I knew this book was going to have kink in it, that it was most probably going to be a good one-handed reading story with...more Um, wow, I loved this book! I knew this book was going to have kink in it, that it was most probably going to be a good one-handed reading story with not much more to it. But surprisingly, Nurse Lovette is far more than a fetish erotica story. It’s actually a sweet story about budding love and opening up and characters finding out who they really are by accepting and exploring their unique sexual fantasies with each other.
I don’t deny that Nurse Lovette is pretty much non-stop sex and with a specific kink. And damn, but it’s obscenely hot sex. Although YMMV if it’s not something you can imagine as sexy in a fantasy setting. Let’s face it a gyn exam is something most women dread and would rather skip. However, I felt it’s written so that the sex is more generic, with a specific fetish around it. What struck me most though, is how much heart and affection was infused into this story.
As erotica, I don’t really expect a love story. In this novella Paisley Smith managed to create enough romantic tension and at just the right pace that I was dying for these two women to get together.
Avery has fantasies of medical, specifically gynecological, procedures being done to her to get off sexually. She’s in therapy trying to figure out why this is so since she thinks it’s weird. Incidentally, all those fantasies only include female practitioners; no male Drs. She feels that these fantasies and needs are getting in the way of experiencing true intimacy with someone. She’s been married a few times and none of her husbands or boyfriends have been able to satisfy her or been willing to explore this with her. Her therapist suggests she find a person who’s willing to cater to her kink outside of a romantic relationship to see if she can find the source of it and maybe get over it.
Darby is a real nurse who works with patients who are dying. While she enjoys her job, due to the nature of it and other day to day things she has no control over, she has a strong need to dominate, to have some control in her life. So she has set up part of her own home as a Drs. office to offer private clients their nurse kink fantasies. She sticks to the fantasy and treats every client as a real patient in a Drs. office. Just coming off a nasty break up with her girlfriend who dumped her due to being bored with the kink aspect of their relationship, she’s determined to keep all clients at arm’s length, staying strictly professional.
Avery starts going to Darby for these sessions several times a week but finds that she wants more. Darby makes her feel things she’s never felt before and her desire and need to really connect with Darby on a deeper emotional level starts eating at her since the boundaries have been set and she wants to respect Darby in that.
For Darby, Avery’s response to her, her vulnerability, her willingness to really get into it with Darby is turning her on. Cracks in the wall of keeping it professional are freaking Darby out and she acts even more coolly with Avery, trying to keep her distance. But her job and her own intense attraction to Avery are shattering her cool facade.
Nurse Lovette also explores those feelings and thoughts that a character would feel who’s realizing that maybe they’ve been wrong about their sexual leanings and not known it. It’s written in a realistic, honest way. Both characters actually have some growth through their connection, which made this story far more than the typical erotica.
If I wouldn’t have been familiar with Paisley Smith’s books, I would have passed this book up. It would have been a shame because it’s ultimately a sweet, warm love story.
I first read Shaking off the Dust when it came out a while ago. I loved that book. Both Takeshi and Hannah were characters that I had the rare desire...moreI first read Shaking off the Dust when it came out a while ago. I loved that book. Both Takeshi and Hannah were characters that I had the rare desire to keep reading about; I didn't want to let them go and I didn't want that book to end. They are two of my most favorite characters.
When I saw that the sequel to Shaking Off the Dust was out, I downloaded it right away. The Replacement Lists is just as riveting, if not more so than SOTD. Hannah and Takeshi are back but with a whole new problem and lots more action.
Hannah created a replacement list as a means to get Takeshi to fight for his life after almost dying. Hannah figured if he got jealous by who'd take his place, he'd fight for her and their life together. Before they married, their friends finished the lists as a gag, adding one for Takeshi as well, and turned it into a fun memento to give to Takeshi and Hannah at their wedding.
It's a few months later now and Hannah is getting close to delivering their twins. Just for reminiscing sake, she looks for the replacement list disc from her wedding album and finds it's missing. She thinks it's strange, but blows it off.
When Takeshi shares with Hannah that his ex, who was on the list, was murdered, Hannah freaks because she'd heard recently of the death of someone on her list. It becomes clear that someone is killing off the people on their lists and that they are probably the end target.
Knowing that the person behind all of this is probably Sanchez the terrorist leader who they helped put behind bars, and knowing that Sanchez's reach is far and wide including moles within the US government, Takeshi, Hannah and their friends and family on the list all have to go on the run knowing they only have themselves to trust.
This is not easy though with Hannah about to give birth and having complications with the pregnancy as well. It's extremely dangerous for her to travel and even worse for her to give birth without proper medical equipment and personnel around. It's a risk they all have to take though.
Takeshi is still one of the best heroes I've read in any book. He's a Zen-like alpha male who'd do whatever it takes to keep Hannah and his family safe. And Hannah still has her usual wry, self-depreciating sense of humor, which made for some funny scenes and dialogue.
The suspense in this story is top notch, I felt. It's edgy and fast-paced with so many twists and turns. The tension was kept high and I couldn't put the book down. It's non-stop action and very well written with many intricate details, creating a vivid picture of what's going on.
As Hannah and Takeshi are being chased, they have to come up with new and ingenious ways to stay under the radar as well as get the things they need to survive. With the help of the ghosts, yes, the ghosts are back and are used extensively to pass on information and communicate with each other, they manage to stay just one step ahead. It's still a creative paranormal in that sense and the ghost world building continues on from Shaking Off the Dust with a unique take on it.
Some characters from SOTD are back including, Mateo, Dwight, and Enrique, as well as the addition of some new characters. Yanna, the Japanese cop/ninja was a favorite character of mine, who like her close friend Takeshi, is stealthy and intense.
While not strictly romance, there's plenty of romance for those who enjoyed that aspect of SOTD. Dwight and Yanna hit it off and their erotic, and I do mean erotic heh, interludes were a nice contrast to the intense action and tension going on. Now I only wish their story would get written.
If you liked SOTD, you definitely love The Replacement Lists. For those who haven't read SOTD, this book can be read as a standalone since some background to what has led up to this current situation and the original ghost world building is explained enough to get what's going on.
I'm so glad Ms. Samuels finally got this book out! (less)