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Lesbian urban fantasy recommendations (werewolves & vampires)

March 21, 2012 3 comments

I’ve been asked a couple of times to recommend some lesbian themed fantasy books – ranging from traditional fantasy to urban fantasy.

Below is a list of books/series which I would recommend for the genres.

Werewolves & Vampires

Midnight Hunters series (3 books to date) – L.L Raand

Radclyffe writing under a pen name has published 3 books so far in the midnight hunters series. Written very much in Radclyffe’s style, so if you like her other works, you will probably like these.  The characters are aggressive (as some would expect from werewolves) and this does translate into the sex scenes which are quite heated. The stories primarily center on a specific pack of weres, but the romantic story changes focus in each book, with one particularly focusing on a human/vampire relationship.

Kassandra Lyall series (3 books to date) – Winter Pennington

Pennington’s stories are seated in a deep understanding of gothic themes and paganism. The characters are well developed, smart and very likeable, and the plot (while straightforward) is entertaining enough to enjoy the series. first book reviewed.

Everafter series (3 books to date) – Nell Stark & Trinity Tam

The central characters are deeply intertwined, with very passionate love scenes. first book reviewed.

Werewolves

Garoul Series (3 books to date) – Gill McKnight

While the series is not meant to be a comedy, McKnight has a very dry sense of humour and I did find myself laughing quite a bit whilst reading the first two books in this series. Very entertaining to read with a decent plot.

Vampires

Darkness Embraced – Winter Pennington

Another book by Pennington, exploring themes of submission, and focusing entirely on vampires.

Better off Red – Rebekah Weatherspoon

Weatherspoon is the newest author in my list, and while initially I was put off by the series name (Vampire Sorority Sisters – urgh) the book is well written and very entertaining to read. I have to say though, her pace is somewhat off; the story seems to happen almost over 3 months, but it feels more like 2 weeks to me. Still, I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Balance of Forces: Toujours Ici – Ali Vali

Ali Vali has a very particular style in which she writes, which makes all her central characters across her books seem alike. I could rename Kendal to Cain and it wouldn’t feel out of place. Luckily that is the only criticism about the book I can make. Vali writes excellent tales which always keeps me coming back for more, and this is no difference.


I will follow this up with a section on shapeshifters, fae, and general fantasy next week!

The Devil’s Workshop Series

March 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Book 1 of the Devil's Workshop

Book 2 of the Devil's Workshop

Book 3 of the Devil's Workshop

Author: K. Simpson
Publisher: Bedazzled Ink
ISBN (1): 9781934452240
ISBN (2): 9781934452264
ISBN (3): 9781934452370
Available in print and digital formats.

The daily train commute to work is a sacred time for many of people. It is usually spent by most people buried in a some sort of reading material, a personal stereo, or thumbing through their phone. The silent agreement by all is that you do not encroach on each others’ precious solitary time, NAY COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt keep your gob shut and mind your own bloody business.
Every now and then, someone will break the rule and will be met with hard stares and great breathy huffs from other passengers, and the offender will cower, and back down into their corner having been silently chastised.
Thus, one of the unwritten agreements between passengers, is never to read a funny book on the train.
Oops.

I don’t own many funny books – but I usually know they are funny in advance, so that I can read them by myself in peace, and laugh however I like and without worrying if I laugh like a hyena, or burst out like a fog horn.
If I was going to have any initial criticism for these books, it would have been nice to know that they contained humour, so that I didn’t make an utter tit of myself on the way to work trying to unsuccessfully suppress my giggles like an idiot and ingraining myself to my fellow passengers as “that awful woman who won’t bloody shut up”.
And god did I laugh. Once I realised how much I was laughing, I tried to stop reading but my willpower is shit, and within 5 minutes I had resumed reading with the resolve that I would stifle any laughter before it escaped. Unfortunately when you are trying to hide a grin and suppress a laugh, you look constipated. At least I got more room on the train.

What makes the books so funny are the character interactions and the thick black humour that is present throughout the books. Our lead female protagonists are smart, cynical, office hardened women, who’s verbal sparring could be likened to dagger throwing (dangerous, especially if you come to the fight unarmed). The characters make no apologies for being high-heeled bitches and annoying bastards, and acknowledge that whilst relationships that sail along smoothly are wonderful, having some volatility often adds a little spice to love.

The story is character driven, and sometimes I found it to be messy, but I didn’t really notice that on my first read through (was too busy choking my laughs and unsuccessfully suppressing a snort or three), but the second read through did make me wonder where Simpson was taking us with the plot. Book 1 and 2 are essentially one story split into two books although it isn’t necessary to read book 2 (no annoying cliffhanger to hook you into buying the next book). I actually enjoyed book 3 the most, with the simplest of stories of going to the in-laws for the holidays (let the dysfunction commence!).

The books themselves are very short and I was able to read them all within three commutes to and from work. I do recommend you buy them together (shipping and all) but thankfully, if you do decide to buy them separately you won’t be left hanging between books.

Absolutely brilliant reads; I haven’t laughed so much since Ellen’s Hawaiian Chair incident.

Loving Liz

March 14, 2011 1 comment

Author: Bobbie Marolt
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
ISBN: 9781602825062
Available in print and digital formats.

Curls.
I haven’t ever had a fascination with this word ’til I read this book, but the last couple of days, the sides of my mouth have been suppressing a smirk every time the word pops into my head or someone says it in passing.
I like flirtation, and it’s nice when a book can still startle you with one word send a tingle down your spine.

I guess I read many books that there are certain things I come to expect in romance novels. Two characters can’t just slip, trip, and fall into each others laps and lock lips, there has to be a journey there that has chemistry, verbal sparring and sexual tension in equal parts (like a nice shooter). Marolt has managed to up the ante with sexual tension just by using one word, so that when Liz & Marty finally find themselves at their destination, I found myself grinning maniacally over that one word, used over and over (and I am sure that guy across the carriage from me thought I was reading something naughty – he was right of course).

If I am going to be honest about why I like this book, it is that word.
Liz & Marty’s relationship of closeted author and muse turned to passionate yet insecure relationship is believable, the storyline is as described (look it up yourself!). The plot twists are predictable – no real brainer in this genre, but the end result is a polished read.
The sexual tension workout you will receive will be electric. So, I will say it again just to tempt you further: curls.

Sumter Point

March 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Author: K. G. MacGregor
Publisher: Bella Books
ISBN: 9781594930898
Available in print and digital formats.

Audie is a 20 something girl who likes to party. While coping with putting a loved one in a nursing home, she meets Beth, a 30 something who is the night to Audie’s day. Audie teaches Beth to loosen up, while Beth teaches Audie the meaning of responsibility as they begin to fall for each other and accept that they need to meet in the middle to truly find one another.

The story is sweet and easy to read and quite probable to real life situations; two women fall for each other despite the social and age boundaries (9 years). The pacing of Audie and Beth getting to know one another was just right and I enjoyed the interaction between the two characters who were likeable and identifiable.

The climax to the story I felt was dealt with too fast, it would have been a decisive point in their relationship but was accepted far too easily. I was hiking myself up for a spectacular fight with a moment of heartbreak, (and then some awesome make up sex), but was left high and dry. Ah well. NEXT TIME EH MACGREGOR?!

I’ve read quite a number of MacGregor’s other books, and I’ll be honest: I don’t rate this as highly as some of her others, but then, the Shaken series was an astounding series (and I intend to reread it at some point and add my thoughts about those in the future!).

Sumter Point is not her best book, but a decent read if you can pick it up.

Categories: Family, Romance Tags: , , ,

Family Affair

March 8, 2011 Leave a comment


Author: Saxon Bennett
Publisher: Bella Books
ISBN: 9781594931505
Available in print and digital formats.

Every now and then I come across a golden nugget which softly bucks the trend without going left field to another planet and not written in another language.

Chase’s life is turned upside down when her partner Gitana suffers a mishap at her gynae’s office and gets inseminated instead of getting a pap smear. Chase has decided to make the best of things and push forward in trying to turn her life around and become a better person for her impending family.

Bennett’s story is humorous, slightly naughty, and at points even made me giggle (and I don’t do giggling, especially on the tube). This isn’t a blossoming love story, as the love is already there, its a story about friends you choose, family you don’t, and adjusting to life’s curve balls.

If you read a lesbian fiction book this month, you won’t go wrong with this one.

Witch Wolf

March 8, 2011 2 comments

Author: Winter Pennington
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
ISBN: 9781602821774
Available in print and digital formats.

I’ve always loved vampire novels, and with the Meyer series there has been an absolute explosion in them. Now my usual book store has an actual vampire section next to the fantasy section, and I’m starting to cringe a little.

I had been avoiding reading this book for sometime, as I made my way through the vast quantities of Lesbian fiction out there, as I didn’t want to get drawn into a Bella and Edward (albeit lesbian version) world again, which is all most vampire fiction seems to be revolving around at the moment. Of course, people who know what this story is about are screaming “but it’s about a werewolf!!” – yes, but you can’t tell me that vampires don’t feature heavily in this book, and lets face it, the werewolf combo still screams Meyer.

I finally relented when I had an itch to read a new book, and I couldn’t find anything else on the bookshelf. I finally decided to pick this book up (sorry Ms. Pennington, I fully admit that reading your book was an act of sheer desperation), and I’ll be frank, I am so glad that I did.
As soon as I had finished reading this book I ended up buying the sequel the following day (Raven Mask).

Okay, now to the actual book review.

The world in which the story is set, knows about vampires, werewolves and the fey, with the former of the three enjoying the rights of normal citizens.

Our protagonist is Kassandra Lyall, a wiccan werewolf, a private investigator who specialises in the Preternatural. while investigating a murder that indicates werewolves are involved, and the disappearance of a female werewolf’s brother, she meets Lenorre, an elite member of the vampire royalty of Oklahoma.

The story is light and straightforward, and I would even suggest that it it was a little bit too simple. As with most lesbian novels it is all about the characters, their relationships and interactions, which Ms. Pennington does spot on.

I would have to say that this book should be read in conjunction with Raven Mask, as you are sort of left hanging with Kassandra and Lenorre’s relationship. Not once did I want to strangle any of the characters (I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to beat Edward Cullen’s head against a very thick tree stump), and I probably have a slight fantasy crush on Kassandra developing, but that’s the lesbian in me not being able to help herself.

I am rather pleased with myself for having gotten this book, it’s deliciously indulgent without being cloy, and I look forward to the future offerings of Ms. Pennington.

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