Category Archives: Asexual

5 stars for Stinger by Katya Harris @Katya_Harris #MF #Asexual #Scifi #Romance @LT3Press

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Title: Stinger
Author Name & Publisher: Katya Harris (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 16, 2016 — 53 Pages

Synopsis

Kara was born and raised on the cold mining planet of Reach, and has dreamed her whole life of being somewhere else. Stuck with an abusive mother and a dead end job, she longs to experience the worlds she only sees on the vid-screens.

Then those other worlds come to her by way of a stranger, when she saves his life the night he arrives. From a planet called Haven, Sarit is a breed of human created to survive the unhospitable planet and who are now seen by many as less than human.

Though it causes resentment and brings her new trouble, Kara defends Sarit against abusers and builds a friendship with him that soon becomes the best part of her world. Try as she might though to enjoy the time they have together, even with the danger they face, it’s impossible to forget that eventually Sarit will return to traveling the stars and she’ll be left more alone than ever.

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Review

FiveStars

 

This was an excellent read! I had a hard time putting it down once I picked it up, which I was not expecting at all. The characters and the world are brought to life on the pages, and they left me wanting more.

 

The romance in this piece is sweet and warm. It grows from the beginning and just keeps on growing until the end. I would love to see another snippet of these character’s lives and the adventures I’m sure they’re bound to go on.

 

~AJ

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TWO 3.5 star reviews for We Go Forward by Alison Evans @_budgie #asexual #ace #bisexual #contemporary @LT3Press

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Title: We Go Forward
Author Name & Publisher: Alison Evans (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 23, 2016 — short story

Synopsis

Christie travels to run, to forget. She has no place to call home, but desperately wishes she did.

Roslyn has never been overseas and fears getting stuck in one place. If she’s never left Melbourne, how does she know that’s home?

A crossing of paths in Berlin, wine, and wifi leads to the two traveling together, and as they travel the two find some things they were looking for, and maybe something they weren’t…

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

In this lovely story we follow two Australian young ladies in their trek across parts of Europe. We see them meet and develop a lovely, close friendship throughout the time that they are travelling.

 

I enjoyed the descriptions and the informational passages about some of the places that they went; I feel like I took a mini-trip with them, and learned something too!

 

I enjoyed Christie; it was nice to go on her journey with her as she comes to terms with the skeletons in her closet and decides to return to Australia. I loved that we saw Christie explain that she was asexual to Roslyn and Roslyn knew what that meant and there wasn’t any fallout from it. It was a beautiful friendship and lovely to see Roslyn knew when Christie needed to be alone and when not to press her to explain more; that is rare to find. One of my favorite parts was toward the end with Anna; that was beautiful.

 

I was a bit shocked by how many fellow Australians they ran into in their travels; however, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book. There were a few places where the wording seemed awkward; however, I understood the gist of the passages enough to understand what was happening. Also, when I read the description of the book I sort of expected more to develop between the two. I felt a little misled; however, I’m still glad I read the book.

 

All-in-all, it was a lovely good that showcased a beautiful friendship between two complicated ladies. I would love to see how Christie takes to being in Melbourne and how Jalen reacts to all of it.

~Tori

ThreeandHalfStars

I’m kind of neutral about this story. The writing itself was good. The book was interesting enough for me not to get bogged down in it. But it seemed a bit long for the point I got out of it. First, I’ll say that this is probably only the third asexual story I’ve read, and the first where there was a combination of asexual and aromantic. So the basic connection in this book is more friendship than anything else, and that brings up some interesting questions to consider. Are books about friendship successful? Is there a big enough market for them? What else would be important to a novel about friendship to make it successful? I’m pretty sure I don’t have any answers to these questions. I’m not even sure these are questions that need to be asked. However, most novels about friendship don’t necessarily make a point of stating that one of the main characters is aro ace (short for aromantic asexual). That seems to be important to the author, but I’m not quite sure why unless it’s about exposure for a sexuality that is most likely underrepresented and misunderstood.

The story itself is ok. Two Australians meet by chance in Berlin, and become friends. They decide to travel together for a while. Christie has been running from her life and who she is for quite some time when she meets Roslyn, who’s traveling because she’s afraid that if she didn’t go then that she would always be stuck in one place. The two find acceptance in each other and a connection that makes them the best of friends. We start out the story with Roslyn, and I thought the story was going to be about her facing her fears. But the book ends with Christie finally finding something or someone she can call home. The journey in between was sometimes humorous, sometimes comfortable, and sometimes a bit tedious. I’m not sure that as short as the story is that it should have taken so long. Although I do like the slow progression of their friendship, the trip itself seemed to drag on a bit.

In the end, I don’t think the book was for me, but I don’t regret spending the time to read it. I liked hearing about Christie’s sexuality and understanding a bit more about what kinds of issues she faced. Roslyn’s sexuality was mentioned but didn’t seem to be a focal point of the story, other than to explain her open-minded acceptance of Christie. The book made me think, which is a good thing, but in the end I kept thinking something was missing.

~AmyP

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TWO 4 Star Reviews for The Galloway Road by Catherine Adams #Ace #Fantasy

CoverTitle: The Galloway Road
Author Name & Publisher: Catherine Adams (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 16, 2016 – 65 pgs

Synopsis

Renna has just qualified as a mage and been offered a lucrative job halfway across the country. But getting there is another matter entirely, for the Galloway is lined with the bodies of those who dared to cross her new employer, and old songs relate tales of long-dead kings and graveyard courts.

Hired to protect her on the journey is a grumpy mercenary who spends more time drinking than talking and seems to face his work with the enthusiasm most men reserve for their deaths. She’s also joined by an irresponsible duo of musicians who break hearts with their music and break purses with their gambling. Renna herself is struggling with personal matters, and the company and difficult journey aren’t helping.

All Renna has to do is take the Galloway Road from the coast to Gibbet Rock, but she’s far from convinced she’ll make it through so much as a single day.

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Review

FourStars

From my understanding of this novel it was about a young person coming to terms with their sexuality. However this is the type of novel open to the readers own interpretation.
I really appreciated and admired the way the author used medieval language and even song, along side modern references. Good research was obvious, not only in the language, but, also in reference to the food and attire they wore.
It was indeed a long and at times melancholy road. The descriptions of the dead dire. The gradual acceptance by Renna was slow and at times frustrating.
My main concern with this novel was the lack of humour to counterbalance the sombre and at times gloomy atmosphere and conversation.
Not a overly cheerful book but academically well written and flawless but I would have liked to see a less soulful side of Renna, who only brightened up at the very end. Doubtless this ending was designed by the author but as a reader I would have enjoyed a little more banter and a fraction more levity.
Chris
FourStars

This is a bit difficult for me to review as a F/F read, or as a specifically asexual read. The reason is that there isn’t much interaction between Renna and any other woman. What we do get is memories of her best friend in university, Naize. We find out that Renna loved her, and that Naize died, but I’m not sure I really get the sense that Renna is female-oriented, or that she had a romantic relationship with Naize that was asexual. Truthfully, it seems as though the story is arguably neither, and if I hadn’t gotten it through Inked, I might not have even given either moniker a thought.

What I can say is that the read is a good fantasy story, with magic, ballads, and mystical places filled with the unrestful dead. It’s a journey that’s a type of coming of age for Renna, where she learns to believe in herself, and the value of her companions. I will say that I never really expected her to become so close to Brett. There was a subtle lesson in that relationship for Renna, and she not only learned it, but it became the basis for what allowed her to enter the dark place and stand tall with resolve and bravery. The confrontation with the magical being who wore Naize’s face allowed Renna to forgive herself, and in doing so, she was able to get past the last blocks to her power.

In all, a pretty good read for me, since I like fantasy books, but again, not really sure there was any overt evidence for the descriptors I was given.

Amy P.

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THREE 4 Star Reviews for The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz #FF #Ace @MeredithAKatz

CoverTitle: The Cybernetic Tea Shop
Author Name & Publisher: Meredith Katz (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date: March 16, 2016

Synopsis

Clara Gutierrez is a highly-skilled technician specializing in the popular ‘Raise’ AI companions. Her childhood in a migrant worker family has left her uncomfortable with lingering in any one place, so she sticks around just long enough to replenish her funds before she moves on, her only constant companion Joanie, a fierce, energetic Raise hummingbird.

Sal is a fully autonomous robot, the creation of which was declared illegal ages earlier due to ethical concerns. She is older than the law, however, at best out of place in society and at worst hated. Her old master is long dead, but she continues to run the tea shop her master had owned, lost in memories of the past, slowly breaking down, and aiming to fulfill her master’s dream for the shop.

When Clara stops by Sal’s shop for lunch, she doesn’t expect to find a real robot there, let alone one who might need her help. But as they begin to spend time together and learn more about each other, they both start to wrestle with the concept of moving on…

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Review

FourStars

This was a quick read and a sweet romance. I wasn’t expecting it to be as focused on the romance as it was, honestly, and I’m not sure why. Thecybernetic aspect was absolutely fascinating to me, and I wish the piece had focused a bit more on that and bit less on the romance going on. Don’t get me wrong, this is an asexual story. It took a bit for that to come around, and I kept waiting for it.

This piece was slow moving, especially in the beginning. I actually feel as though the first chunk of it (before Clara moves) could be eliminated from the story and we wouldn’t lose anything from the plot at all. That’s what made it incredibly slow for me. Once the two characters meet, the piece picks up and moves along at a great pace.

~AJ

FourStars

A very unique book full of humour and banter, complete with quirky idiosyncratic characters. I really enjoyed it.
It was a distinctive take on how caring for others can change your  whole outlook on life as well as changing you as a person. Using non humans morphed with humans added extra depth and appeal to this novel. The best and worst of humanity were touched. The power of love and acceptance also shone through.
Personally I could have enjoyed hearing further specifics about the trio and their relationships with one another. A great and imaginative novel that was  over all to quickly.
Chris
FourStars

I found this a fascinating read. I’m always interested in the ethics of artificial intelligence; how we treat artificial beings who are sentient, and sapient according to this book, legally and socially. Here are two people who are outsiders, one by choice and one by design. Clara is a wanderer, leaving behind people and things as she moves from place to place. Sal is a robot, one of the last AIs in the world, and her appearance makes it clear what she is and sets her apart. When the two meet, the connection forms and deeply quickly. The two believe that their time is limited; Clara will move on, and Sal is anchored to her deceased owner’s tea shop. Events happen that will make both of them rethink what they believe about themselves.

It’s interesting that it’s something so fundamental that sets Sal free, so basic to who she is. And Clara finds that maybe she doesn’t have to leave everything behind. This was my first asexual book, and it makes total sense in this read. I’m not sure I fully understand it; I have questions that I have no idea how to even articulate. But my under-educated sensibilities have never impinged upon my open-mindedness and desire to learn. This was a great short read, and I have no problem recommending it to those who like sci-fi, and AI and robots as well.

Amy P.

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PRE-RELEASE REVIEWS: 4 and 3 stars for At the Edges by Alden Lila Reedy #Asexual #ace #FF #scifi @LT3Press

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Title: At the Edges
Author Name & Publisher: Alden Lila Reedy (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 23, 2016

Synopsis

Joan and her starship crew are in the business of slaves—specifically, rescuing as many as possible from the oppressive Empire. After dropping off their latest passengers and resupplying, Joan and her second-in-command, Luana, decide to ferry out citizens looking to escape imperial clutches. It means they risk taking on spies, but when the first meeting goes well, they decide to chance it.

But a trip that starts well soon turns sour, between problems with the ship, passengers asking uncomfortable questions, and a confession from Luana that Joan fears will only end in disappointment and destroy the friendship they’ve already built.

And before they have a chance to sort their problems out, the whole journey abruptly goes from bad to worse….

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Review

FourStars

This was a good read and kept me entertained through out. I particularly liked the way each characters background and life was explained as they became part of the bigger plot. This type of introduction was novel and worked really well and gave this book a unique feel.
Another great aspect of the book was the different genres and life styles of each of the characters. The author portrayed the crew as a tight, successful and caring group. In comparison the Federation was stereotypical and one dimensional and showed how inferior they were compared to Captain Joan’s crew. I appreciated this comparison with life as it is emulated in todays society, when compared both ethically and through sexuality inequalities.
My only disappointment was in the length of the novel, I would have loved to have had more in depth adventures and I hope this might be facilitated by this talented author in a sequel.
~Chris
ThreeStarJoan and Luana help slaves escape from the Empire, along with a collection of aliens of various types and genders. We find out about each character at various points of the story and when we do it makes it a bit more intelligible. I really found it hard to follow at first as I could not imagine what the characters were meant to be. Joan and Luana are great friends but when Luana confesses she loves Joan it becomes very awkward as Joan is asexual. When Luana is kidnapped we see that Joan is distraught and the whole crew put everything into getting her back. This is where the story really takes off and I enjoyed the last part of it. It got very exciting and interesting.
A decent enough read but a bit more description and explanation at the start would really have helped.
~Kitty Kat

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4 Star Review for Blood and Clockwork by Katey Hawthorne #Fantasy #Ace

Cover

Title: Blood and Clockwork
Author Name & Publisher: Katey Hawthorne (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date: March 16, 2016

Synopsis

Alistair Click set out to lay to rest the superstitious fears about the Mad Prince’s clockwork tower. If that meant he might bring the ghost city of Avalonia back to economic life, connecting the western kingdoms once again, so much the better. So what if no adventurer who’d entered the tower in the last century of desolation had ever re-emerged? They didn’t have his skill and wit. He could do better.

The tower turns out to be far more than Alistair expected, however. Not only are there clockwork puzzles to open every door, but one of them drops a boy from a strange world into his lap–figuratively speaking, if only just. Marco Murphy was just gaming in his New Jersey apartment, and now he’s stuck in what feels like a never ending LARP nightmare.

The deeper they delve into the Mad Prince’s tower, the darker the secrets they uncover. They’re not entirely sure they’ll ever be able to get out again, either. It’ll take all Marco’s charm and Alistair’s cleverness, plus the strange bond growing between them, to get them out together… and alive.

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Review

FourStars

I really enjoyed this story. The writing is fantastic, style-wise, and I was fascinated by the clock magic. I loved when Marco showed up and thought he was LARPing (live action role play). The two of them had great chemistry, and their banter was fun.

The story was a bit slower paced than I expected, and there were times when it felt a bit confusing. I realize a short story doesn’t have much space for world-building, but some of the stuff about the clocks left me puzzled. Even so, the mix of mechanism and magic was intriguing, and I loved the mystery angle.

While I was glad to have a story featuring an asexual character, one thing which stood out to me was that it was basically unnecessary. The whole story could have been exactly the same with any two people of any orientation, in fact. And the romance could have been eliminated entirely. Not that I think asexuality (or any orientation) needs to be at the forefront, but I kind of feel like if it’s not necessary to advancing the plot, and the only reason to mention it is because there’s not going to be any sex (which wasn’t needed in this story anyway), then it comes across kind of as “Hey, look! An asexual [or whatever orientation] character!” That’s okay, but it’s not really my cup of tea.

I liked this a lot, but the fantasy was way more interesting than the love story part. So it gets 5 stars for the plot (really cool and unique) and 3 stars for the romance (cute and sweet but unnecessary), averaging out to 4.

4 stars
~AmyM

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5 Star Review for Breakfire’s Glass (The Zhakieve Chronicles #2) by A.M. Valenza #Ace @LT3Press @AMValenzia

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Title: Breakfire’s Glass (The Zhakieve Chronicles #2)
Author Name & Publisher: A.M. Valenza (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date: March 16, 2016

Synopsis

Finally back in Zhakieva with her demon-siblings in tow, Darkrow Katerini’s wants only to spend the rest of Lonely Winter resting in the capital. Instead, however, the Blue Emperor sends her on an insane mission: climb the formidable Svarinard mountain range in the height of Lonely Winter and bring back the missing Darkrow of Zhakieva.

As if circumstances weren’t bad enough, Katerini is partnered with the Blue Emperor’s heir, the strange and infuriating Darkrow Nikolai, who seems more interested in spinning away his magic recklessly than the actual mission.

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Review

FiveStars

Katerini’s not looking for love when she and Nikolai go on a quest. She is used to the remote wanderings of a Darkrow, and is more-suited to that than romance. Asexual, she is bewildered by what Nikolai wants from her, if he can’t have “that.”
This splendid fantasy adventure novel is layered with emotion, strangeness, struggle, and delight. Katerini’s demon brothers are fascinating. The Blue Emperor is gentle. Katerini’s quest, as the greatest hero of Zhakieva, is both epic and deeply personal.
I loved the magic wrought in this world. I loved the culture. I loved also the writing. Hard to believe it’s only Valenza’s second novel. I have not read the first—Breakfire’s Glass is a sequel—and the first is not necessary to compel the story here.
But I recommend it. It’ll probably be just as good.
Five Stars
~ C. E. Case

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