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Shell Game

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  255 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Life in a remote fishing village in the middle of a civil war is neither safe nor inspiring. So, when an opportunity comes along for village girl Lynn to be kidnapped and enslaved by a ruthless pirate queen, she takes full advantage of it. But Darren is neither as ruthless nor as piratical as she appears at first glance--and Lynn's not exactly what she seems to be, either. ...more
Paperback, 260 pages
Published June 27th 2013 by Mindancer Press
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4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  255 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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I was tempted to give it 4 stars only but then I thought "Meg, what the hell? This was one amazing story!". Even with its imperfections... which I won't even list because I probably have forgotten them all already, anyway.

Amazing. Yes, it was. It's like nothing I have ever read before. Yep, some writers just can do that. Not many in this genre either... so WELL DONE and thank you, Benny Lawrence!

This is one romantic, hilarious, surprising, touching tale of two amazing women falling in love while
Eslam Amkte
Jul 26, 2015 rated it did not like it
0-Fucking Dark star!
I don't know how can anyone call this book funny-romantic-light after finishing it, For me it was one of the most frustrating and dark books i have read for a while.

(view spoiler)
Linh Nguyen
4.5 stars
Wow...this is one hell of a book. There are a shit load of life quotes in here that made me rethinking my existence lol :)). Most of the book is about scheming, adventures (pirates!) and a weird assed fake slave-master romance. Except one very sad, disturbing part which tempted me not to give this gem 5 stars (I don't deal well with hard stuffs so excuse me). To sum up, and to those like me who have no idea what a shell game is
You have choices in a shell game, but all of them are wrong
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'll try not to say much about the plot because trust me, is so much better to gradually peel layer by layer of this story.

Darren is a pirate AND a noble (I mean.. right?). Except she doesn't act exactly like neither of those. She has her reasons (family duty, blood line, ex-girlfriend, etc) and they make it hard not to sympathize with her.

Lynn is a fierce village girl who ends up wrapped around the mast of Darren's ship (oh and is so entertaining to see how that works out). Lynn is by far the m
Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this. It was funny with likable, well developed characters. I'm a sucker for a good pirate story!
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing

I can't believe that a book about lesbian pirates managed to be nothing like what I was expecting and also to be IMMEASURABLY BETTER THAN I HAD EVER HOPED!!! It's funny without being goofy, Darren and Lynn are both so quick witted and sarcastic and hilarious. The romance is perfect without being soppy, no two people could be more perfect together than these two, honestly. The plot is so addictive and enthralling, I literally didn't put it down from start to finish. Nothin
Cee Jelly
Edit: After talking to a friend about this, I realize there are more faults with this book than I first thought.

This is one very refreshing and original cliche story. Hey, the contradiction doesn't seem that bizzard when you consider the new spin Benny Lawrence gives to this old tattered (view spoiler) exiled pirate storyline.

The story is all basic and straight-forward, but the way Benny told it, how she chooses when to start the story, how to reveal characters' pa
Shell Game was a really, really fun read from its overt tone and humor to the underlying dark plot.

I really enjoyed both of the main characters' voices - they're distinct, clever, and although they're a little heavy-handed or cartoonish at times, it all reads as appropriately in with the tone of the book and both of them are creative and funny as hell. I also appreciated that despite the prevalent humorous tone of the novel, it handled some seriously dark subjects, from war to child abuse, not j
Frank Van Meer
Oct 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
It's rare for me these days to give such high ratings, even more so if the narrative is in first person. I sighed when I opened the book and saw it followed the pattern of dividing it up in three parts, one for each lead and then one for the both of them. I'm firmly in the camp of people who hate that way of telling a narrative.

But I gamely pressed on, and I'm glad I did.

The story starts when would-be pirate queen who actually doesn't have a clue what the fuck she's doing rescues a girl from a
Jan 10, 2016 marked it as dnf
I had to stop reading at 30% because the weirdness got too weird, and not in a good way.

I was really enjoying it. The whole slave thing was weird from the beginning but not necessarily in a bad way, and I was waiting to figure out why Lynn was doing it, but then it crossed over to the disturbing side. The sexual part of it was... Definitely not my thing. The farthest thing ever from "my thing".

It was a shame because the writing was great and the story was so much fun to read, but I heard the plo
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing fun. I could not put it down once it took momentum. I cracked up laughing at the witty narration and felt my heart race during the building suspense. A very unique and unforgettable adventure. Highly recommend if you enjoyed Pyramid Waltz.
S.M. Lee
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
So, I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting when I started this book, but it certainly wasn't what I got. There were several times where I would stop, chuckle and then say, "what the hell am I reading?"

In the beginning I found it strange, Lynn's banter mostly. But I kept with it and I'm glad I did.

There were a few typos here and there, and oftentimes things were so off the wall that it almost turned me off. But the typos were easily ignored and after a while you just learn to go with the wei
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shell game is such a wonderful action-packed read. Love the author's particular brand of humor and banter. The characters are unique, interesting and multifaceted. The storyline is engaging. Definitely worth reading over again. Highly recommended!
Jul 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: never-again
Omg utter rubbish,,,
Don't know why it's got good reviews
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was SO FUNNY in places and SO DARK in places and SO HOT in places that reading it made me delighted to be WRONG (finally). If that makes sense. I was so happy to be unbalanced and erroneous as hell in my expectations. It was unbelievably refreshing to Disney-villain cackle on transit. Thank you, Benny, I found your book at the perfect time!

I was expecting that odd, othering experience I've had quite a bit while reading lesbian fiction in recent days.

You know, lady-loving-ladies, that b
The Sapphic Nerd
Aug 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Maybe it's just me, but I find Lynn too needlessly annoying to be likable. I LOVE sassy protagonists but this one is too heavy on the attitude for me. *shrug*

I do like Darren though. She's pretty cool. I mean, she's a pirate queen so...

Other than Lynn's personality, my main problem with the book was not feeling enough of a spark between the two partners. I don't get the sense that they're developing feelings for each other - or that they even have any physical attraction - when suddenly they're
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, particularly the back half where the adventure and intrigue really started getting going. The characters were great and the story moved very quickly, even when I found some of the "is she or isn't she" and "will she or won't she" stuff a bit overdone. I even enjoyed the supporting cast, which is almost never the case in a lesbian romance.

As for the romance, I liked their weird relationship but there's not a lot of sexy times. There is an S&M dynamic to their
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you're looking for a piratical BDSM lesbian romance with some seriously dark elements, charming characters, entertaining dialogue and rollicking pacing, this is definitely the book you're looking for. I liked it a lot, even though I didn't know it was a book I was looking for. I liked this author's "Rabbits of the Apocalypse" a lot too and this one reads a bit like the build up to the later book in terms of voice and character development. There, the resemblance ends, apart from the fact that ...more
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The dialogue in this book is amazing! I had a fantastic experience reading the verbal jousting between Lynn and Darren. This dialogue, while comedic, is integral in developing the characters and their relationship and serves as a necessary juxtaposition to the violence in the story providing the reader some needed emotional relief. All in all an amazing story that I highly recommend!
Jessica Nguyen
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ff-5-stars
This was not exactly five star (4.5 stars) but I really enjoyed it. I like both main casts - Lynn and Darren. They have great characters with their imperfections and insecurities. The funny conversations were very cute. The minus point is the book was too short!.
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fun, romantic lesbian adventure. Fantasy, of course, but well-written, with lots of twists and turns. More of the escapist fiction to which our current political situation has driven me. But, hey, if you need to getaway, why not go a-pirating with Darren and Lynn? A fun romp.
May 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very memorable book, it is an easy read and the characters are very like-able, a sweet story with some good humor thrown in between the pages. The story changes from very carefree and almost immaturely secure, - to very realistic and grim, downright scary scenarios that will give you a heartache. Maybe to some this will feel cheesy, but it is absolutely worth a read if you are looking for an adventure with pirates. Wish there were more books like this one; one of those its easy to reca ...more
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lesbian-fantasy
I thought this would just be a fun pirate romp. And it is in many ways, but beneath that fun seems to lurk something much darker. That darkness turns out not to be a red herring but actually much worse than I thought. I enjoyed the book, even though I found it challenging at times. But it is not quite the jolly tale I had hoped for.
Hesch Aut
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes a book leaves such an impression on you, and with it the author, that you don’t hesitate and download at once everything else the author has ever published. That happened to me about ten minutes ago when I was forced to step out of the world of „Shell Games“, because I’d finished it.

I was just looking for something to help me unwind this weekend, something light, something funny, something romantic. Anything involving lesbians is good, add historic and/or fantasy and it’s perfect for m
This book was a nice surprise. I expected another lesbian pirate romance, but I was wonderfully suprised by its depth, its dark spots, the humor, and the wonderfull imperfection of the main characters.

My only complain is that author offers only sneak peaks of the kind of sexual relationship the main characters have, without giving any more detail or explanation and it seems like a wasted opportunity. Offering more detail into the subject might have helped the reader to better understand how the
Nadin Albrecht
Jun 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Shell Game became quickly one of my favorite books ever. The characters are well written, interesting and most importantly, different. So is the whole story. When I read it the first time I was just curious where this story was heading and I enjoyed the ride thoroughly. But what I really love the most is the brilliant humour and witty diaglogues. Benny Lawrence knows how to write and she also knows how to make you laugh, without forcing her humour on you. So if you are looking for a story that i
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The summary of this book had me expecting a generic story with typical characters but let me emphasize this: nothing is as you'd expect, and nothing is as it seems. The book is full of witty humour which made it a very fun read and the most refreshing read I've had in a while, but it also had its heartbreaking bits. And I mean heartbreaking. Once I finished this book I couldn't help but shove it in the face of all my friends because I can't recommend this enough. If I could give it a 6/5 stars I ...more
Nov 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
DNF at 30%. The first part of the book was bizzare, but still made me laugh in parts. Once we switched to Darrens POV, the plot went rapidly downhill and I could not engage with the story or the characters from this point onwards. A pity, because I was looking forward to enjoying a light-hearted book.
Elisa Rolle
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
2013 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention (5* from at least 1 judge)
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This novel is hilarious. Highly recommend it, especially if you need cheering up.
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Benny Lawrence was not born, but created in a freak accident involving a Hadron supercollider, a plaid raincoat, an original edition of C.W. Ceram's Gods, Graves, and Scholars, and a nice hot cup of tea. She now roams the streets of Toronto by night, fighting the forces of evil by correcting their grammar until they scream and implode. In her spare time, she writes books. She sometimes wears hats, ...more
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