Have always loved Malinda Lo's mad blogging/editing skillz, so was delighted to finally get a chance to pick this up. The level of writing at sentence...moreHave always loved Malinda Lo's mad blogging/editing skillz, so was delighted to finally get a chance to pick this up. The level of writing at sentence structure level was worlds above much queer protag lit, with some really lovely descriptions, but overall -- not quite the juicy, lush story I was hoping to sink my teeth into. Protag was passive to the point of being frustrating to root for, character development stalled, too much "telling" instead of "showing" in the story exposition, and while I think Lo's intent was to go for a distant, fairy tale narrator tone/style, I felt it hampered the level of depth to the story/characters. Would have liked this far more, I think, as a 1st person narrative with a more active and multi-dimensional Ash. Male lead a little too Team Edward-esque for my taste, too. Flaws aside -- Ash was a quick, easy, pleasant read and something I'd have loved to have on my shelf back when I was a lovelorn lez teen.(less)
It’s sad, but true. It’s not easy to find a lesbian “adventure fiction” book which successfully transcends the romance genre. Finding a well-construct...moreIt’s sad, but true. It’s not easy to find a lesbian “adventure fiction” book which successfully transcends the romance genre. Finding a well-constructed tale of plot-rich, twisty-turny, on-the-edge-of-your-seat action with a Sapphic bent is a rare thing. Singular gem that it is, Water Witch: The Deceiver’s Grave is just such a book. Set during the Golden Age of piracy in an alternative universe where the British and Spanish still rule the seas, and magic is a weapon wielded alongside sword and pistol, Water Witch is a love story, but first and foremost, it’s a rollicking tale of swashbuckling, scallywagging and sorcery.
When a gold katana worth $800K is stolen and used to kill its wealthy, philanthropic owner, Diana Collins is on the case. Charged with recovering the...moreWhen a gold katana worth $800K is stolen and used to kill its wealthy, philanthropic owner, Diana Collins is on the case. Charged with recovering the missing sword, the recently promoted senior insurance fraud investigator finds herself delving into the dark underbelly of a world she moves through with ballsy confidence. The search for the missing blade leads Collins to a series of similar murders and the battered and sexually abused women these dead men left behind. Is this a case of victimized women wreaking bloody vengeance against their abusers? Or is there a serial killer on the loose?
If I was a bigger fan of straight up romance, I might have given this one a three-star rating. Or at least a 2 1/2. Generally I prefer romance wrapped...moreIf I was a bigger fan of straight up romance, I might have given this one a three-star rating. Or at least a 2 1/2. Generally I prefer romance wrapped up in a genre-story of some sort, so that there's more meat to the plot and character development. That said, the relationship in the book is plenty sexy and chock full of drama and angst.
In this, Redhawk’s fourth novel, the story follows two women caught up in the chaos of a military campaign in the fictional, medieval land of Barentci...moreIn this, Redhawk’s fourth novel, the story follows two women caught up in the chaos of a military campaign in the fictional, medieval land of Barentcia. Ursula is a slave who survives the slaughter and sacking of her town only to find herself bound as a body slave to General Azrael, the ruthless commander of the Third Army. Throughout the land, Azrael is a woman known simply as “The Butcher.” Her decisive might and brutality in the service of her king is the stuff of legends. Accordingly, this is not a tale for the faint of heart. It is violent, and unapologetically so, opening with starkly drawn images of warfare, attempted rape, and some rather gruesome torture scenes.
That said, the world the author paints is as rich as it is brutal, owing to the complexity of her characters as they struggle to find what happiness they can amidst the bleak realities they face. As a slave, Ursula serves a powerful mistress, who in turn serves at the whim of a tyrant king. Both are subject to the duties and responsibilities of their station, and both must navigate their way through life, their work, and even their relationship with one another, carefully weighing what is real and what is only protocol. Throughout the book, political intrigues and moral gray areas abound and are carefully mined for dramatic content, adding body and weight to the romantic storyline. The writing itself is strong and smart, featuring wonderful descriptions of daily life in the towns, private villas, and army encampments of an imagined world rendered tangible with attention to detail...