Category Archives: Rhayne

5 and 4 Stars for The Secret of Mermaid Cove by Megan Derr @amasour #FF #Fantasy @LT3Press

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TitleThe Secret of Mermaid Cove
Author Name & Publisher: Megan Derr (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date: September 16, 2015

Synopsis

After she is caught behaving obscenely with another woman, Sophia is left abandoned. Her friends pretend not to know her, her family is trying to decide the best place to banish her, and Sophia wishes that running away was as easy in fact as it was in theory.

She is saved from scandal, if not her suffocating life, by way of an unexpected marriage proposal from Lord Everett Dobson, the most coveted bachelor in the city. Not in a position to refuse, Sophia accepts his offer and agrees to visit his home at Mermaid Cove for three weeks.

Mermaid Cove proves to be as beautiful as promised, complete with endless beaches, glittering waters, a castle that looks like it was made of sand… family curses and local legends… and two beautiful, mysterious women who cannot talk, but seem to secrets they want to share…

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Review

FiveStars

This was exactly what I expected and wanted for a great read before bed. For my first Megan Derr story, I was not disappointed at all. This story is beautifully written, it ebbs and flows with the moment. The romances are believable, and the world is gorgeously built. There’s history, mythology and detail in the world that brings it to life even in such a short period of words on a page.

The plot of this piece kept me interested from the start, and where I thought it was going, it did not go, which is always a great thing to happen to me. The story unfolded rapidly enough to allow insight to what was going on but not give away everything, and the timeline matched the plot to a T.

I read this in about two hours (and I’m a slow reader, so for fast readers it won’t take long at all). It was a great romance read right before bed. I hope I’ll have amazing dreams now!

~AJ

FourStars

This short started right in with a somewhat minor conflict that made me want to grab the main character and hug her, make everything in her life better. The feeling continued and I found myself rooting for her to get a positive outcome throughout the story. The lore the story walked me through was detailed and amazingly well thought out. I enjoyed every step immensely and it flowed perfectly from beginning to end. I found myself cycling through all the typical things I would think and feel in a full length book over the course of this story. I seemed well written, planned out an followed through on and I would definitely recommend it as a quick, light afternoon read for someone looking for a feel good type of happy ending.

Rhayne

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5, 4 and 3 Stars for Graveyard Sparrow by Kayla Bashe #FF #Historical #paranormal #mystery

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Title: Graveyard Sparrow
Author Name & Publisher: Kayla Bashe (Torquere Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 22, 2015 – 110 pgs

Synopsis

Katriona Sparrow, dubbed the Mad Heiress by London’s upper class, is the deceptively fragile ward of a foreign nobleman. She can’t stand making small talk with strangers, but she’s unparalleled when it comes to deciphering the dead.

On a routine investigation, something goes horribly wrong, leaving Katriona catatonic in an upscale hospital and a serial killer with an artistic bent stalking London’s most vulnerable.

Enter Anthea Garlant, a young witch and academic ostracized from polite society for traveling the world without a chaperone. She devises magical treatments to protect Katriona from the side effects of her abilities, but as she grows more and more attached to Katriona, her professional façade begins to slip.

Will they be able to stop the man who turns beautiful dead women into works of art before he turns his attention much closer to home?

Previously published through Kindle Unlimited.

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Review

FourStars

A beautifully written period novel. The use of language transports you back into Regency London. A delightfully written tale about a blossoming love affair between a witch and an empath.
What made this such an enjoyable book was the insights it gave to life and society in this period. The rigid class society, dubious moral values, lack of women’s rights all gave the novel a credible air of believability. The author has obviously researched her novel well.
The only problem I had was the editing.
Chris

ThreeStar

This book had a great theme and a wonderful cast of characters that seemed real and had their share of flaws. While the plot line and the twists it involved were deep and kept me intrigued, it managed to keep from being too involved and losing the reader to a bunch of useless detail.
However, some structure and grammatical issues as well as the authors tendency to leap from one characters’ mindset to the next mid-chapter, sometimes even mid-paragraph, made it difficult and confusing to follow at times. While I had to set it down a couple times to allow a break and absorb what had happened to whom, since sometimes that wasn’t clear, it was still a rather good book.
Rhayne
FiveStarsI really enjoyed this suspenseful, intriguing story. It’s incredibly well-written, and I couldn’t put it down.

I thought the way the clues were presented was great. I was able to piece together who the killer was fairly easily, but I didn’t get the impression the author was trying to string us along to draw out the mystery. There was still a lot of suspense after the reveal.

Both Katriona and Anthea are likable characters. There were things I could relate to in both of them, even though I don’t have their magical abilities. Their relationship was a tender part of the story, but it was by no means the main focus. I really enjoyed their interactions.

I’m glad I picked this up, and I would definitely read more of the author’s work.

~Amy M

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5 stars and TWO 4 Stars for New Release: Girls Will Be Girls by Lucy Felthouse #FF #Romance @cw1985

GirlsWillBeGirls_LucyFelthouse

Title: Girls Will Be Girls
Author Name & Publisher: Lucy Felthouse (Ladylit Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: October 2, 2015 – 65 pgs

Synopsis

Six sexy Sapphic tales from the pen of popular lesbian erotica author, Lucy Felthouse.

Christmas cheer with colleagues, a driving disaster turned good, hot older women, girls in uniform, gorgeous gardeners and naughty fun in a changing cubicle… this collection contains a variety of erotic tales sure to tickle your fancy.

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Review

FourStars

Six short stories which I would describe as titillating rather than erotic. Each story having a different surrounding  and each character portraying different personalities.
All in all a good entertaining read with some tantalizing moments.
Chris
FourStars
This set of shorts kept a smile on my face from the first page to the last. Well written and immensely sexy they ran a series of subjects and scenarios. Well planned and played out I couldn’t stop turning pages and read this entire set straight through from beginning to end. I would definitely recommend these for anyone looking to sprint through a quick read that will raise your heart rate and body temperature!
Rhayne
FiveStarsSome books are just the right thing at the right time, and this book was both of those for me. A book of shorts, these stories are little vignettes of sexiness: a little playfulness, a little attraction, a little unexpected passion. These stories are a bit like book crack – extremely addictive, and once you finish one, you can’t wait for the next. Surprisingly, while I wouldn’t mind a longer story by this author, I was totally satisfied by the length of these stories. They were exactly what I would expect in an erotica anthology. Although I wouldn’t mind more of them. See above comment re: book crack. Lucy Felthouse was a new author for me, and I’ll definitely be looking her up to see if I can find more gems like this one. The other thing I loved in this anthology is the differences in language and culture. Sometimes it’s hard for foreigners to understand these small differences, but I love them. Not only does it give us a glimpse into another country’s norms, but it also shows us that some things are universal. If you’re looking for some yummy f/f erotica, I definitely recommend this book.
~AmyP

Excerpt

She was now mere inches away, but the thickness of the bushes meant she could still only see the boots and now a bit more of the green trousers. Stepping onto the mud, she crouched down beside the feet, carefully pushing the foliage aside so she could see what the hell was going on, and figure out what she was going to do about it.

The view opened up, and Verity, far from seeing a helpless person lying on the soil, was presented with a green-clad arse reversing hurriedly in her direction!

“Hey!” she said, letting go of the branches and shifting back so abruptly she ended up on her own arse on the grass. “Be careful! Are you all right?”

As the body continued emerging, Verity slowly came to realise her mistake. Dirt-covered trousers, a filthy black waterproof coat, gloved hands, and a head topped with a floppy hat were soon visible. Slim white cables trailing from each ear and disappearing into the collar of the coat explained why she hadn’t been heard calling out, or received a response.

This woman hadn’t hurt herself. She was a fucking gardener!

Frozen in her uncomfortable position, Verity wanted the ground to open up and swallow her. Perhaps as revenge for her landing on it so hard. But she had no such luck. Instead, she heard, “What on earth are you doing down there? Are you all right?”

Struck dumb, Verity nodded and took the now glove-free hand that was offered to her, allowing the other woman to pull her up off the grass. “I—I’m fine,” she finally forced out, breaking the brief eye contact and making a show of brushing herself down, though it was probably only her bottom that was dirty. Her cheeks blazed, and she took a step back, hoping to beat a hasty retreat.

“Well, I’m glad. But it still doesn’t explain what you were doing down there.” The ear buds now hung down the woman’s front, and she was apparently poised, awaiting a reply.

Verity shook her head. “I don’t think you’d believe me if I told you.”

Narrowing her eyes, the gardener said, “Try me.”

Christ. Just to add insult to injury, it seemed she was now suspected of some kind of wrongdoing, too! “I—I was over there,” she pointed to where she’d come from, “and I saw your wellies poking out from the bushes. I panicked because I thought someone had fallen and hurt themselves. I came over to try and help. I did call out to you, to see if you were all right. But all I could see was the boots and a little bit of your trousers. I had no idea what was going on. Much less that you were the bloody gardener and remained oblivious to what I was up to because you had headphones in! I crouched down and pushed the bushes aside so I could see you better, and the next thing I know you’re shuffling back towards me. I shifted out of the way and ended up tumbling over on my bum.”

It seemed her story was too amusing to be anything but true, because the gardener grinned widely, then clapped a hand over her mouth momentarily. “I’m so sorry,” she then said, “I didn’t hear you, honestly. But I guess I can see why you thought that. Thank you so much for coming to check on me, but it really wasn’t necessary. All I was doing was fighting with a particularly vicious weed.” She pointed down to an uprooted plant at her feet, then widened her eyes. “Are you all right? You didn’t hurt yourself, did you?”

Twisting to try and look at her bottom, Verity brushed again at the seat of her jeans.

“Yes, I’m fine, thank you. Just a bit of muck and grass stains, I think. Nothing that won’t come out in the washing machine.”

“Oh, good. I’m glad. I feel bad enough as it is without thinking you’ve hurt yourself or ruined your clothes, too.”

“No, I’m good. And I’m glad you’re okay, too.”

Silence hung between them for a few moments. Then Verity took another step back.

“Right, well, I’d better get going, anyway. Nice to meet you.” She turned to go, but the other woman’s voice stopped her in her tracks.

“Hey, wait. No need to rush off. I’m just about to go on my tea break. Want to join me? Perhaps a brew will make up for it?” Her green eyes—apt, for a gardener, Verity thought—sparkled with humour and intelligence, and for the first time, Verity realised that, underneath the grubby gardening gear and large hat was a very attractive woman.

Still, an excuse was on the tip of her tongue—she had come here to be alone, after all—but fate intervened. Or the British weather did, anyway. A handful of fat raindrops fell onto her, followed by a few more. Then, the heavens truly opened.

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TWO 4 and 3.5 Stars for Everything Anise by Natalie Nicole Bates #FF #Romance @BatesNatalie

EverythingAnise1400

Title: Everything Anise
Author Name & Publisher: Natalie-Nicole Bates (Torquere Books)
Publication Date & Length: October 7, 2015 – 16,200 Words

Synopsis

A Victorian-era vampire living in the modern world, Emigh Bennett’s favorite activity is watching people from the window of her little bookshop. When she spots a woman nearly killed on the street outside her shop, she rushes to her rescue, and she meets Anise.

The proprietress of a little home business called “Everything Anise,” Anise crafts one-of-a-kind perfumes all with a touch of her namesake spice, all with the power to intoxicate and delight the senses. She is smart, sexy, beautiful, and happens to be a little bit different.

Although Anise is everything Emigh could ever ask for and more, she can’t quite figure her out. Anise possesses the duality of an innocent angel and a vivacious vixen. Even if Emigh can ever peel away the multi layers of Anise to uncover the truth beneath, what will happen when she finally reveals the truth about herself?

Review

FourStars

This book was a quick read that made me smile, laugh and shake my head all in a short span of time. The characters were both entertaining and the plot carried itself along well. While there was definitely space for more within this story, it read well for what it was. If you’re looking for a quick, interesting read, this is a good place to start.

It was decently written with only a few minor errors I came across and flowed well. The formatting was well done and while a bit more length would have been wonderful it was lovely as is. I would recommend it for waiting room read.

Rhayne

ThreeandHalfStars

I liked this book. It seemed like a new and slightly different take on the usual vampire mythos, which endeared it to me. I did have two problems with it. First, it was pretty short. I don’t have anything against short stories, or novellas. Some can be extremely powerful and moving. Some, like this one, kind of leave me wanting more. I felt this story needed to be longer, because, second, it seemed like the relationship developed too quickly. I’m not usually against the ‘instant connection’ device in fiction, but sometimes the change of emotions is so fast that things feel a bit more shallow than intended. I feel like the connection here was supposed to be overwhelming for both characters, and while she hit it on the head for Emigh, Anise came off a little worse in the characterization area. She seems to be really in to Emigh when she invites her over, but when things go a little further than she’s ready for, she really makes it seem like she never intended anything romantic at all. This was confusing for the reader as much as it was for Emigh. Because she did do some pretty brazen things leading up to the big change of mind. Then she has another lightning swift change of heart, and is declaring that there’s nothing Emigh can do or say to change how she feels. All of that just seems so quick that it’s trite. The story would have benefitted from a little extra time, or length, to let things develop in a more natural way. On the other hand, it was a quick read, and enjoyable. It took the reader from the initial isolation and loneliness to a certain warmth and hope for the future.

Amy P.

FourStars

This short novel left me in a bit of a dichotomy regarding its review. The language used varied between almost poetical Victorian to using modern day idioms. The settings and the clothing were also so diverse, from cottages out in the middle of nowhere, to being able to order any variety of fast foods, apparel that appeared to vary from one generation to the next. I really found it difficult to place what decade this novel was set it.
However I also found this novel really beautiful, it was passionate and very sensual. The characters were each very unique, having their own strengths and insecurities and the author brought this out superbly. A really emotional and almost wistful novel.
The plot is well developed and delivered in a very touching and sympathetic way, the author makes us believe all things are possible and believable, providing you trust in true love.
I would certainly recommend this book and would hope to read more about the ardent and romantic relationship between  Emigh and Anise.
I would have given this novel five stars, despite my confusion, had it not been for the grammatical errors at the beginning and the poor layout in sections, which halted the natural flow the author had so cleverly developed.
Chris

Excerpt

For the first time in…hell, it must be years, Emigh’s life felt bright and vibrant. Meeting Anise was the dawning of a new day. The lift she’d needed for so long.

She dared to pick up the phone that first night and call Anise. To hear that special kind of something in her voice as they spoke. To talk about everything and anything…well, not everything. She didn’t broach the subject of her sexuality—maybe not hers, but Anise’s. As a matter of fact, Anise mentioned neither male nor female friends.

Anise spoke of her passion for crafting corsets and perfume. She loved to bake. She was estranged from her family. They didn’t understand that she didn’t want to work a boring nine-to-five job, train into the city, train home again at night, exhausted. They thought she was wasting her life away, and because she wouldn’t come around to their strict way of thinking and living, she walked away from them.

Emigh admired her spunk and dedication. Smart, sweet, articulate, and she made her laugh, which was a tough thing to do. Anise was definitely a rare breed of woman.

But how long could it last?

She couldn’t tell Anise she was a vampire, let alone that she would never die.

Vampire.

How she hated the word! But until someone came up with a better one, she was stuck with it.

Of course, Anise would never believe her. No one did. Every once in a while some beautiful woman would come along, and their connection would be instantaneous…sizzling. Emigh would find herself whispering the truth to her beloved. Inevitably, the not-so-twin flame would beat a hasty retreat, believing Emigh was crazy, or a liar…or both.

Crazy and liar are never good things in a relationship.

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4.5 and THREE 4 Stars for Business Makes Strange BedFellows by E.E. Ottoman #Paranormal #FF @LT3Press @acosmistmachine

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Title: Business Makes Strange BedFellows
Author Name & Publisher: E.E. Ottoman (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: October 29, 2014 – 76 pgs

Synopsis

Dr. Gert Bower’s day goes bad fast when she accidentally releases an abominable monster of the abyss on the streets of New York City. Desperate to stop it, she turns to the only person who can help her track the monster down. Vi De Luca is a private detective and creature of the night, a vampire more than willing to help Gert—for a price.

In exchange for catching the monster, Gert must spend one night with Vi, and let Vi have her way with Gert’s blood and body. Though she does not remotely trust Vi, for the good of the city Gert agrees. Yet tracking the monster turns out to be more than either of them had bargained for. When Gert embarks on an experiment to try and reanimate a human corpse things just keep getting worse.

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Review

FourStars

This was a quick read that had a little bit of several things I enjoy in a book. The plot was fun and moved forward at a nice pace with the underlying attraction between the characters lending it just enough romance to keep a smile on my face. The plot itself was interesting and held itself well through the quick pace of the story. While I generally prefer longer reads, which is all that kept this story at 4 stars, this was definitely worth picking up.
Any mistakes in grammar, spelling and formatting were minor enough to be easily overlooked. I would definitely suggest this to anyone looking for something quick, funny, witty, full of action and laced with romance.
Rhayne
FourStars
This is a short novel which I personally found very entertaining. The setting was well described with notions and perceptions typical of the era. Both characters played well off each other and the conversations and growing emotions between the two women was quirky, delightful and totally in keeping with this atmospheric novel.
My only criticism is this book was too short, would have liked to read more about these two amazing women, will certainly be looking for more novels by this author.
Chris

 FourandHalfStarsI loved the world created here. It was like reading out of one of my favorite already-created worlds that I wrote fanfic in for years. I did struggle with the connection between these two at first, but at the same time I liked the slower build up to it. We never learn all of Vi’s secrets about who and what she is, which somewhat bothers me if only because I’m interested in this take on vampires.

With science, action and creatures, this short story certainly has it all; oh! And a love story to boot. I wished it had at least one or two more rounds of editing, but the typos weren’t overwhelmingly distracting, only on occasion. Gert certainly has a personality of her own, as does Vi.

There seems to be two competing plots going on in this short story, so it probably could have easily been expanded into a novel with more focus on each. However, for a short, this was well-written and the world definitely developed enough. I could certainly visualize where the characters were (the world and city) and mostly what each looked like.

For my first foray into E.E. Ottoman’s writing, I don’t think I could have chosen a better piece.

~AJ

FourStars

This is an intriguing and strange short tale. It’s outside my usual preferred genre, but the premise interested me. I’m glad I picked it up.

From the description, I was expecting more humor. This was unexpectedly dark, and it was more serious than I anticipated. I found both Gert and Vi to be compelling characters, and their relationship certainly lived up to the title.

I thought it was very good. There were a number of surprises along the way. The only thing that was a bit lacking for me was that I thought the relationship itself needed a bit more depth. It was hard to understand why, outside of the physical, they were drawn to each other once the situation was resolved. The ending was a bit rushed as well. Despite that, it was still a decent story.

Amy M.

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5 and 4 Stars for Natural Order by Moondancer Drake #FF #Paranormal @Moondancerdrake

1.5

Title: Natural Order
Author Name & Publisher: Moondancer Drake (P.D. Publishing, Inc)
Publication Date & Length: October 2015 – 274 pgs

Synopsis

An evening at the movies turns into a living nightmare for Elizabeth Crew as her lover Dusty battles for their lives and the unborn baby Elizabeth is carrying. Dusty’s dying request is that Elizabeth go live with Dusty’s family, where she and the baby will be safe. Dusty’s family takes Elizabeth into their home with open arms and a bit of concern. What will happen if Elizabeth learns that her new family includes shape-shifters? For Elizabeth, the family secrets are not all that awaits her in the darkness.

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Review

FiveStars

This is a glorious book. It is entertaining, enthralling and totally different. From the opening pages the reader begins to consider that not everything is as it first appears. The mystery slowly unfolds, but is done in such a way that the gradual build up keeps the reader captivated and wanting to keep on reading.
Each character, every setting, and certainly the mystical back drop of this novel appear to have been carefully and intensely researched by the author.
If you are looking for a book that offers, suspense, romance and have an interest in  things mystical then I can thoroughly recommend this book, personally, I loved it!
Chris
FourStars

This book was a plot driven phenomenon from the first chapter! I enjoyed every little twist and turn. The setting, characters and supporting cast were complex, detailed and wonderfully developed. I enjoyed every push and pull, give and take immensely. The main characters danced around each other for a good portion of the book, leaving me wanting to give them a shove in the right direction. While it could have been irritating, it was played out in a scenario and setting that left it making absolute sense despite my wishes otherwise!

Well written, amazingly detailed and driven I couldn’t put this book down. I would love to see more from this world and the supporting characters in it. Great read and one I would gladly recommend!

Rhayne

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4 and 5 Stars for This London Love by Clare Lydon #FF #Romance @clarelydon

1.1

Title: This London Love
Author Name & Publisher: Clare Lydon (Custard Books)
Publication Date & Length: June 23, 2015 – 261 pgs

Synopsis

Could you make the leap and trust in love?

Kate Carter is a stylish and charismatic designer with the world at her feet – but that’s hard to remember when she’s single and everyone around her is annoyingly coupled up. Meanwhile, florist Meg Harding is all work and no play – far easier than trying to clear up the debris of her last relationship and move on with her life.

When Kate and Meg meet, their attraction is instant and undeniable. But will Meg be able to patch up her past so she can grasp the future with confidence? Can Kate make the leap and trust that this London love is worth a shot?

Two jaded hearts, one death, a tsunami of flowers & family overload. Get set for a sparkling romantic comedy, packed with British wit, played out in the UK’s love-struck capital city!

This London Love is the spin-off of Amazon No.1 best-seller London Calling, which was bought by thousands of readers around the globe!

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Review

FiveStars

This book had everything I love in a good romance. While the underlying girl meets girl, girl falls in love with girl was definitely present, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. I’ve always enjoyed a sense of realism in these kinds of stories and this author delivered. While things in the lives of the main characters, Kate and Meg, weren’t perfect, they worked around the issues life threw at them and made it work.
The cast of supporting characters was a riot and often had me chuckling to myself with their antics and comments. Jess in particular found a place in my heart since she reminds me a lot of one of my friends. This book is great if you want a love story that isn’t smooth sailing, sunshine and rainbows from beginning to end but still works out for the best. I give it two thumbs up and will definitely suggest it to everyone in my reading groups!
Rhayne
FourStars
A romantic contemporary love story. Very well written and formulated. The two  main characters are believable and exchange witty and believable dialogue, so much so I found myself screaming at them at times!
Although a charming tale there is a quirky and unexpected twist as the relationship between the two women progresses.
A very amicable love story, easy to read and thoroughly enjoyable. Summer reading at its most entertaining.
Chris

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3 Stars for Deadly is the Female (Proud to be a Vampire) by Laura Huntley @LT3Press

Deadly is the Female - cover

Title: Deadly is the Female (Proud to be a Vampire)
Author Name & Publisher: Laura Huntley (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: October 23, 2013 – 62pgs

Synopsis

Tenebrae lives for the hunt, but is often distracted by a pretty face, much to the chagrin of her friend Mortifera. To the outside world they are head of an elite boarding school for young women, but by night they are a family of vampires who stalk their prey with brutal glee.

When one of their own is captured and burned by a mob of local men, Tenebrae vows revenge at any cost—even putting them all in greater danger.

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Review

ThreeStar

This story was a steady run of dark humor and just enough intensity to keep it moving forward. The plot had a few interesting twists that raised my eyebrows and made me say ‘Oh, well how about that?’. The collection of supporting characters were a mix of hilarious, dark, dangerous and quirky and each had their own little part to play. A quick read with enough to keep me interested I would have liked it to be longer but enjoyed it for what it is.

Rhayne

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authorbio

laurahunt

Laura is a writer from Yorkshire, England. Her first novel, Black Eyed Boy, will be published in 2015. Her short stories, flash fiction and poetry are included in several anthologies.

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4 Stars for Taliaschild (Beyond Fairytales Series) by Anastasia Vitsky #FF #Spanking @AnastasiaVitsky

1.5

Title: Taliaschild (Beyond Fairytales Series)
Author Name & Publisher: Anastasia Vitsky (Decadent Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: August 18, 2015 – 56 pgs

Synopsis

Six years after the mysterious talisman brought Queen Vina to Talia, it chooses a new owner in Sonna, a child of the streets. Unprotected by her amputee father and beaten by her mother for failing to bring home scraps for the family to eat, Sonna runs into the self-assured Kira, daughter and heir to Vina’s queendom.

Weary of endless rules and duties involved in training to become the future queen, Kira leaps at the chance to escape with a new friend. When she places the priceless talisman around Sonna’s neck, neither can remove the jewelry.

Alarmed at Kira losing the talisman’s protection, Vina and Talia take drastic steps to protect the princess. In the process, the entire earth descends into chaos.

Five years later, nineteen-year-old Sonna forages for two-day-old fish heads while dodging street pimps. The talisman leads her to the mysterious Nicodemus, who offers one command:

“Go to Kira. She needs you.”

Baffled, Sonna embarks on her journey. What can a pauper offer a spoiled princess? Will the street child end up surprising them all?

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Review

FourStars

There were some parts in the early sections of this book that left me feeling confused but I have since chalked that up to having not read Taliasman. Once I gained a grasp on the characters and their relationships to each other it flowed well and kept my interest. The twists and turns in the plot held my attention and the characters seemed well put together and properly developed. I fully intend to read Taliasman in the near future to give me a better understanding of this storyline and I would recommend other readers pick up that book first.

Overall this book was well planned, detailed, well written and made me want more from the characters in the future!

Rhayne

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Filed under 4 Star, F/F, New Release, Review, Rhayne

One 4 and TWO 3 Star Reviews for Downpour by Alexa Black, A.M. Leibowitz, Helena Maeve, Dylan McEwan, Luda Jones, C.E. Case, Geonn Cannon, Adrian J. Smith #FF #Butch @SupposedCrimes

1.2

Title: Downpour
Author Name & Publisher: Alexa Black, A.M. Leibowitz, Helena Maeve, Dylan McEwan, Luda Jones, C.E. Case, Geonn Cannon, Adrian J. Smith (Supposed Crimes)
Publication Date & Length: September 1, 2015 – 104 pgs

Synopsis

The Downpour Anthology from Supposed Crimes started as a “butch women and thunderstorms” challenge. A throwback to classic lesbian erotica. The resulting stories are a mix of sexy, sweet, and downright dangerous. Women of all types tackle the storms of nature, magic, or mystery. Victorian times through the future of outer space. The classic pretty girl stranded by the side of the road in the rain, along with a pickup or two, ghosts, and, well, we won’t spoil all the surprises.

Prolific authors like Geonn Cannon and Helena Maeve write alongside newcomers like Alexa Black and Luda Jones. Supposed Crimes favorites A. M. Leibowitz and Adrian J. Smith have stories. Dylan McEwan and C. E. Case are trying something new. Downpour offers eight stories featuring our favorite kinds of women: women.

Included stories:

Thunder by Alexa Black
Between Us and the Penguins by A.M. Leibowitz
Shadow of a Storm by Helena Maeve
Lynsey by Dylan McEwan
Some People Feel the Rain, Others Just Get Wet by Luda Jones
Stage Rain by C. E. Case
Port in a Storm by Geonn Cannon
Magnetism by Adrian J. Smith

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Review

FourStars

Each of the stories in this anthology had something unique to keep the reader interested. From penguins to ghosts, magic to witty humor there’s a little bit of something for everyone. While some of the stories were off the wall and hit out into left field, each one followed the theme of the book well and had it’s own twists and turns.

Thunder by Alexa Black
This story was strange and unusual in the best kind of way. It kept me guessing and left me wishing it had been just a bit longer.

Between Us and the Penguins by A.M. Leibowitz
This story was absolutely adorable and put a smile on my face that lasted well after I had finished it. The whole thing was sweet, cute and begged to be something a longer.

Shadow of a Storm by Helena Maeve
This story was a pleasant surprise and while it caught me off guard I enjoyed every moment of it. The eventual outcome was a complete shock but was played out perfectly.

Lynsey by Dylan McEwan
This story pulled me in and held on tight, keeping me drawn into it from the first paragraph. The progression of the story was well laid out and the ending was a total surprise!

Some People Feel the Rain, Others Just Get Wet by Luda Jones
This story started off confusing but with a little patience is sorted itself out in a couple paragraphs and moved forward beautifully. The main characters ended up in a sudden and steamy encounter that played out with an intensity the setting only enhanced. I’d love to have more of this story!

Stage Rain by C.E. Case
This story was wonderful, moving and beautifully inspiring. The characters felt like they’d had so much more development than the short story allowed for and really pulled me into their scenario. My only complaint is that it was too short, I would love to read more about these two and their situation.

Port in the Storm by Geonn Cannon
The flow of this story suited the plot and characters to perfection. It held the style, development and wit I’ve come to expect and admire from Geonn. Great story!

Magnetism by Adrian J. Smith
This story caught me completely off guard after the rest of the content in this anthology. The last thing I expected was a Sci-Fi short but I enjoyed it all the same. The characters were amazingly put together and the plot was well planned out then executed flawlessly.

Rhayne

ThreeStar

The 8 short stories have the link stormy weather in common. Apart from this common theme I found the range of stories very eclectic. It’s the sort of collection you can dip into whenever you fancy a quick read and change of mood.
Some of the stories I really enjoyed, others were thought provoking some just fun. A broad spectrum of authors allowing the novel to appeal to many readers.
However I did find an inconsistency in the strength and writing experience of the authors which obviously impacted on the novel as a whole.
I really relished the short description given at the end of the novel on each author.
 If you are looking for something with a variety of sexual interludes and some chapters which are brilliantly written, or you want to get a feel of different authors styles then you will not be disappointed with this anthology.
Chris
ThreeStar

Imagine this scene. A group of lesbians – no, a group of writers – no, no, a group of  lesbian writers are sitting around a fire pit on a covered porch. (Don’t worry! It was designed by a hot butch architect so it has a proper chimney to safely draw smoke from the space.) They’re drinking and laughing and chatting desultorily about life, women, and love in between sporadic bouts of rain, during which they all quiet to listen to the thrumming deluge on the roof above. It’s after one such deluge that one of the women sighs and says, “I love rain.” There is a chorus of agreement, followed by a few comments from others about storms and lightning and why they love them. After a moment, one of the group, who is a bit ahead of everyone else in the drinking department due to an ill-considered game of “I never,” says a bit raunchly, “I love butches.”

More agreements ensue, and before long comes the suggestion. No one knows who made it first, because they were all drinking and quite a few of them jumped on the idea with an immediate enthusiasm that swamped everyone who may have stood in its way. “We should write stories about butches and storms!” And an anthology was born.

This is how random I feel this theme is. I’m not really very enamored with rain. One of the first things you learn as a person who has to occasionally work outside in the weather is that denim takes hours to dry. Women may think the result looks good as the wet material cups that which is encased within. But it isn’t very comfortable. And they’re a bitch to get off. So why read this anthology, you may ask? Three words from the blurb. Butch. Lesbian. Erotica. Say those three words to me and I’ll be there so fast that you won’t be able to find the tracks of how I got there. So I cracked this book open almost before I finished the last book I was reading.

SPOILER ALERT: The reviews of the individual stories contain spoilers. Sorry, but stuff just needed to be said. If you don’t like that idea, skip to the last paragraph to see the summation.

Thunder by Alexa Black:

This may be the most controversial review I offer of this anthology, and it’s for one reason: I don’t consider Kay a butch lesbian. The classic terminology applicable here is stone butch. Nowadays this term isn’t heard much anymore, and I believe it’s because a newer term fits better: transgender. There is a lot of anger and violence in this story that I don’t find appealing in my erotica. Kay has struggled in her life with how people treat her, as well as with her own body dysmorphia. And it shows in how she treats her lover. Shana accepts Kay for who she is, even revels in it. However, rather than this making her a sanctuary or haven, it allows Kay to indulge in a raw passion that leaves little room for any softer emotions. Kay is the stereotype of the lesbian who wants to be a man. She doesn’t allow Shana to touch her female sexual organs, and uses the proxy of a packing dick to engage in intercourse. The aspect, actions, and attitudes are almost wholly masculine and not the best part of masculinity either. One interesting point about this story is that this was the only story that integrated the theme into the character. The bad part about that is that it makes it even easier to get caught in the turbulent fury of Kay’s self-image.

Between Us and the Penguins by A.M. Leibowitz

I’m still trying to figure out why this story is in the anthology. There’s no sex in it, which is a pretty basic component of erotica. Also I find myself confused as to who is the butch. I thought at first Alice was the butch. She was called “tomboy,” was athletic, didn’t like girly clothes and eschewed makeup. Whoa! Then there came the statement that she used lip gloss. Not something a butch would do. Chapstick, most likely. Gotta keep the pucker nice and soft for the little lady. But lip gloss? No way. Don’t believe me? I told my wife (the femme) about it and she shot me a look of pure disbelief. So we move on to Drea, the love interest. She’s got short hair, and is nattily dressed, reads, is non-athletic, but can fix a hard drive and a car engine. Sounds butch enough! And yet, Alice still isn’t “a delicate flower of womanhood.” So, butch on butch? Still ok with me. That’s hot to me too. I’m not like one of those hard butches that thinks it’s gay for two butches to be together. Um. Hello? It’s already gay! They’re two women! Ok, moving on. I’m thinking basically that this author doesn’t like labels. Normally, I’m the sort that says, “Sure. You wanna be PC, we can be PC.” But in this case, the label was already applied. Use it if it’s already there, yes? After all, when people go bird-watching and want to know what kind of bird they’re looking at, they don’t expect the answer to be “A bird. I don’t want to pigeonhole the poor thing by labeling it.” Ok, ok. You want to show me instead of tell me.

However, it never went anywhere. Both now, and in the little story they’re telling about the past, there isn’t any sex, and very little relationship. Even when they’re talking about the fight they had in the past, we don’t get any real clue how they resolve it. And the reason the story isn’t about the two lesbians in a relationship? Because Junie is present. Junie is Alice’s sister, who was formerly her brother. Both Alice and Drea accept Junie without reservation. Which is sweet. But doesn’t belong in this anthology. The whole story seems to be more about Junie’s transgenderism and lesbian penguins that we’re not supposed to call lesbians. Yeah, I’m still scratching my head too. The only other thing that should be mentioned is that both times the three of them are together, it’s storming out. I suppose that’s why the whole thing about reminiscing about the fight over lesbian penguins came about. Again, sweet story, just not a good fit for the billing.

Shadow of a Storm by Helena Maeve

This story fascinated me, without me being able to make a judgment about whether or not I liked it. It isn’t every day you read about a butch mermaid. The problem I have, once again, is that this anthology was billed as erotica, and this story ends before they ever do much more than kiss. And the kiss was before the story started! So while I was beguiled, it failed to fulfill its supposed role.

Lynsey by Dylan McEwan

I was flagging a bit in interest and hope when I started reading this story. This one, however, delivered. An angry butch, cooled off by the sight of a cute femme, a rainstorm, two disabled cars, and an empty mansion that wasn’t empty. After finally getting out of the elements, the two end up sharing a room their unfriendly host shows them to. And after a bit of aborted wandering and other happenings, the butch makes her move and we get some sex.

Two problems in this story for me. First, up until the butch, Morgan, joins Lynsey in the bath, Lynsey seems to be extremely shy, out of sorts, and uninterested. The impression she gave me was that she would have been much more likely to jump out of the bath, than relax into her companion’s touch. Perhaps a bit more lead up? I know femmes change their minds at any time for any reason, but usually I can follow the changes. Second, the twist on their host is very telegraphed. I basically guessed it when the light appeared in the window. And if I could get it, based on my wife’s opinion that my idea of subtle is a two-by-four to the head, pretty much everyone would get it.

The thing is, this was one of my favorite stories in the book. But it was extremely clichéd. I don’t claim to be a literary reader. In fact, most of the time I don’t get the subtle themes and underlying reasons in stories that supposedly make them great literature. I’m more the type of reader who is there for entertainment and escape. And I don’t know if I liked this story so much because it was good, or if it was because it was the first story in the book that gave me what I wanted. The point being, the story itself wasn’t anything new and touching. It almost seemed to check off the items it was including. There were some small things that I did want to note though. First, Morgan may have been butch, and confident as well, but she enjoyed being touched as a woman too. I think sometimes people don’t think of butches in that way. And second, I love that Lynsey wasn’t just a booty call to her, that Morgan wanted to see her again. That may have made the story for me.

Some People Feel the Rain, Others Just Get Wet by Luda Jones.

Again, we have a story I’m not sure of my reaction to. And the reason why actually makes me laugh. I’m extremely ok with the subject matter contained within. Let’s face it, even people who aren’t into it can get turned on by reading about it, especially if it’s well written. This isn’t bad. There are two things that bothered me in this story. One, who the hell is Fran? Maybe I missed something in there somewhere, but to tell you the truth, I couldn’t tell if she was a pimp, a john, or someone making pornos using hookers and a butch friend. Yeah, I’m still wondering.
Not good if that’s distracting me from the action going on. And two, the action? Was great until the girl got all mucky. Sex in the rain is ok. Sex in public is ok, to read about anyway. But sex that leaves her nose full of muck, and her upper body splattered? Not quite so hot. Definitely hit the theme though.

Stage Rain by C.E. Case

I’m not sure how to put my feelings about this story into words. Finally someone is called butch unequivocally. Sure she’s a soft butch, but that’s ok! I’m an equal opportunity butch watcher. The woman in the last story was also quite clearly butch, but I believe she went unlabeled. So already this story has got positive feelings flowing in me. I’m assuming that the POV character is femme, since it was a big deal for the other woman to be butch. Maybe that was actually said and I missed it. Or maybe it was by implication and I inferred correctly. So far, we’re a go. I think the biggest problem I have with this story is the fact that the butch is such a player, and the femme doesn’t care. Again we’re back to butches picking up the worst traits of men in order to “prove” their masculinity. Or maybe I’m just reading too much into it and she’s a player because she’s a star and everyone wants her. The thing is, the femme feels lucky to be chosen to be her sex partner that night. Ugh. That makes me want to throw up a little in my mouth. I’m not even sure what else to say.

Port in the Storm by Geonn Cannon

I liked this story. Logan was unabashedly butch, but she was a good person. She tried to help Sarah out on a bad night, but wasn’t going to take advantage of her. Which brings up one of the things I really liked about this one: Sarah was the aggressor, not Logan. One of the things that drives me crazy about butch stories is that the butches are always cocky and aggressive. They start things moving towards sex and they’re always sure they’re going to get what they want. It made me smile that Sarah flipped that on its head. Sarah was the one that knew what she wanted, and Sarah was the one who went for it. The thing is, a butch who is truly confident in herself, doesn’t always have to be in control. Logan is perfectly content to allow Sarah to take control, at least for round one. Bet the story changed once they got to the bedroom, but for the escapades on the kitchen counter, the tables were turned from the usual. Kudos to you, Mr Cannon, for reaching a little beyond the stereotypical.

Magnetism by Adrian J. Smith

If I described this story in one word, it would be Incomplete. I have to admit, I love science fiction. It is one of my favorite genres and if more authors combined sci-fi with lesbians, I would live a much happier, much more fulfilled life. Ok, that may be stretching it, but you get the point. I was pre-disposed to like this story, even though I didn’t know anything about it when I started. The problem was, I didn’t know much more about it when I finished. These two women are alone on a spaceship somewhere in the depths of the abyss between stars. Their mission? To take measurements on geomagnetic storms. Ok. Why? They’re from Seattle, but what’s happening on Earth that makes this a vital mission? Cheska is there because Kapri talked her into going on the mission, but why did Kapri want her? The way Cheska is studying so hard makes me believe she wasn’t quite qualified to go, but that since Kapri wanted her there, an exception was made. Only during the actual storm do we discover that Cheska is actually a pilot. Isn’t she? I mean, she did really well at holding the ship in place, but what did she really do before this trip? I don’t know. She came because she wanted to get to know Kapri better, but Kapri doesn’t talk to her, and seemingly the only way she interacts is when she’s scolding Cheska. Lots of negative emotions shown to Cheska; disappointment, disapproval, anger, impatience. And Cheska still wants her? After two months of being treated that way?

Also, I am once more a little lost as to which one is the butch. The only identifying thing in the whole story is the fact that Kapri has extremely short hair. That isn’t a good identifier. She may have just shaved it for the mission, so her spacesuit would seal better. My point, make it a bit more obvious. Some butches with unsubtle minds who shall remain unnamed need it that way. And, is it a bad thing that I had to reread the story to remember whether or not they actually had sex? I’m going to assume so. I know there was some hot and heavy making out, but again, erotica includes sex. That isn’t just me thinking that, is it?

So now we come to the conclusion of the review. I like anthologies. Especially lesbian anthologies. The reason is because I usually find new authors to stalk – er, read. I remember way back in the old days when we had to buy a whole music album to get the songs we wanted. The rule of thumb was that if you found three tracks on the album that you liked, the album was a good deal. I’m not sure I can apply that rule to this particular anthology. Yes, I found some new authors to look into, but let’s just say I was extremely surprised to find out the two stories I liked the most were written by men. That isn’t a negative. I’ve found myself enjoying more and more male-authored books with lesbian characters over the past two years. This anthology had so much potential and engendered so much excitement when I got it. However, I don’t think all the stories in it really fit the billing. Three stars because individually, the stories were pretty good.

But all together, they lacked that sort of magic that binds an anthology into a whole. There was opportunity here to move beyond stereotype and turn our preconceptions on their heads. That would have been magical. Instead, I was left disappointed.

Amy P

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Filed under 3 Star, 4 Star, Amy P, Chris, F/F, New Release, Review, Rhayne