Category Archives: book reviews

Book Review: Escapades by MJ Williamz

Do you like your romances hotter than sizzling, so ‘go there’ you’re right there with them? Then you better get your hands on Escapades by MJ Williamz.

This is the first book by Williamz I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I will admit, I haven’t been much of an erotica reader since my menopause had its 20th birthday, but I received a free copy of Escapades at the GCLS 2017 Chicago Conference and, tickled to have a ‘naughty book’ to read, started it as soon as I got home.

Wham bam! The first page had me blinking in total surprise and it was a sexy rollercoaster ride from beginning to end. To say the characters were well realized would be a serious understatement. I understood who Joey and her best friend Mel were almost immediately, even recognizing a bit of myself in them from those halcyon days of my youth.

Proudly single, constantly searching for love-’em-and-leave-’em pleasure with any number of sexual partners, Joey is taken up short when she finds herself undeniably attracted to a woman she could never treat that way. She wants to bed beautiful Samantha something fierce, but is caught up short by the recent widow’s surprise. For her part, Samantha wants desperately to give herself to the foxy playboi, but can’t shake the ghost on the pedestal she’s made of her wife’s memory.

One of the more delightful aspects of Williamz’ writing is her skill with dialogue. She stays true to each of the characters’ unique voices, deftly moving the story along. And happily for the reader, the author’s artistry makes it easy to keep track of which character is speaking without a constant need for identifiers. Whether it’s sexy, barely legal Tiffany, or surfer pal Mel calling Joey out, each character plays an important part in the story.

Now, about the sex. I’ll tell you, I knew Williamz wrote erotica, I’d heard talk which is why I wanted to read one of hers. And, I’m no novice in that area myself. I’ve been publishing erotic short stories since 2006, including one in an anthology that won a Lambda. But I confess, from literally page one I was totally bowled over by the sex scenes (of which there were plenty)! To my delight, the author used variety in each scene and words for body parts (the naughty pink bits) that were direct and not distracting (still thinking about which ‘bits’ are pink, aren’t you. See what I mean?)

I think Williamz may have created a new genre – cozy erotica. It was fun, entertaining, incredibly sexy and with enough tension in a wholly lesbian community to delight any lesfic erotica lover. A hot summer read, especially in bed, aloud and in the company of someone eager and willing to be adventurous.

 

 

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Authorial Heroes

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John Steinbeck is mine, and I’m guessing an author’s name came springing to your lips when you read the title of this post.

Because they offer us different lives to live (if only while we’re enjoying their stories) storytellers are our greatest teachers. They give us diverse shoes to wear, opening our minds to possibilities unconsidered. They are our conscience and consciousness.

Why is John Steinbeck my authorial hero? Because he wrote Cannery Row. Doc, Mack, and Lee Chong tell the stories of the denizens of Cannery Row in Monterey, California. The people range from middle-class to homeless citizens, each trying to make their way through life as best they can, wishing each other well but ending up in pickles of their own making. I love the way he interrupts his primary tale with short stories of particular people who never appear again. The woman who gives tea parties for the neighborhood cats, the neglected boy who can’t quite control his hand-eye coordination, a wife who won’t accept her new home in an abandoned, windowless cannery steampipe unless she has curtains, and Hazel who’s mastered the ability of never answering a question by always asking a new one, these are the jewels scattered along the row. Perhaps one of the finest character driven stories ever told.

Of course, other authors and stories have made profound impacts on my life, far too many to even try to list. Some authors write better, others have offered more insightful characters, the stories told much deeper than friends planning a party. But when I think of who I’d most like to be compared to as a writer it’s always John Steinbeck.

Too bad he wasn’t a woman.

Who is your authorial hero? Leave a comment and let me know!

 

How Readers and Writers are Different

 I think writing and reading are two different forms of communication.

When writing, the author gives the reader a single-voiced, one-way experience. As a storyteller, the author provides hours of her/his view of the world and creative inspiration. They do it without ever knowing who their reader will be – a shout into the darkness, a gift to the cosmos, a prayer to be heard.

The reader receives this communication, and then chooses whether to attempt to engage the author in a conversation, or not. It used to be the author’s prerogative to refuse to talk to readers, but that time is over. Modern authors that don’t engage with their readers risk marginalization, or worse, revengeful reviews.

Personally, I think every author should cherish communications from their readers, and answer their questions in good faith. I also think readers should feel free to respond to the author’s body of work, but treat the relationship in the same way a purchaser of a painting would one with the artist. Asking about inspiration, technique, subject matter, any manner of things pertaining to the author’s work is fair and encouraged, but it’s crossing a line to ask for personal information, or to presume on a friendship that doesn’t exist. One might develop over time, but in the beginning the author knows nothing about the reader, while the reader has already gathered an impression of the author from the books they’ve written.

It’s easy for a reader to feel close to an author long before the feeling might be reciprocated. Please, gentle readers, approach authors you wish to befriend with a quiet understanding that they are most likely loners by nature. They have to be or no books would ever get written. And it’s their speculative introspection that makes most authors nervous about new relationships.

Book Review Friday – Slow Dance in Paris

If you’re looking for a gentle lesbian romance story, this is it.

Mary Wright’s Slow Dance in Paris follows the adventures of Sophie, an unsophisticated young American fresh from high school in the early 1970’s. Confused about a sexual liaison she has with a hippie after smoking hashish, unsure if she’s been raped or not, Sophie puts everything behind her. She’s finishing a grand tour of Europe when she meets a pair of charming lesbians. At their invitation, she goes to her first ever gay bar, where she dances with Genvieve, a fascinating woman who captures her imagination.

Is Sophie gay? She’s had attractions to girls before, but has also chalked up two boyfriends in her past. Although unsure about her orientation, every time she’s with Genvieve the young American heroine finds herself drawn closer to the exotic world of lesbianism. However, just after they begin a tentative relationship Sophie must move to another town where her school is located.

Separated by kilometers and the restraints of job and school, Sophie is drawn closer and closer to the idea of being a lesbian, even as the differences between having a girlfriend as opposed to a boyfriend become embarrassingly clear. People who were friends treat her differently, and she finds herself restricted in ways unexperienced by straights. It makes her uncomfortable, but she soon forgets everything when held in the strong arms of her new lover.

Eventually everything builds to a head as Sophie deals with an unwanted pregnancy, a mail strike, and massive guilt over her choice to have an abortion. Will her burgeoning relationship with Genvieve continue to grow if the Parisienne learns the truth, or will Sophie’s choices lead her back to the world of heterosexuals and so called normality?

Slow Dance in Paris is an easy, gentle read, one that takes you into the mind of a young woman during a time when women’s liberation and gay pride were still in their infancies. The city of Paris, and the surrounding landscape are artfully captured by the author, who deftly weaves them into her story as characters in their own right. If you’re looking for a lighthearted romantic story, spend some lazy afternoons curled up with Mary Wright’s Slow Dance in Paris. You won’t be sorry.

Book Review Friday – Bring It Home

Bring It Home (Midwestern Shapeshifter)Bring It Home by Deb Elliott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

She’s returned home to her parents, lost her fiance and house battling vampires, and dodged offers to join either the FBI or an international paranormal policing agency. However, instead of being allowed to grieve in peace DJ Jesserey finds herself once more in a battle against the forces of evil. Her father, the local sheriff, is receiving a disturbing number of missing person reports, so DJ goes on the hunt and discovers a ruthless group of rogue shape-shifters. Forced back into action before she’s ready, under the compulsion of her first moon mating, and once again defending unsuspecting humans from paranormal dangers, DJ Jesserey must succeed, or innocent people will die.

Vivid characters, quick pacing, excellent writing, and the occasionally hot sex scene will keep you turning pages late into the night. The second of author Deb Elliott’s Midwestern Shapeshifter series, Bring It Home is easily also a stand alone novel.

Excellent read for a weekend. Grab yourself a copy and enjoy. Buy it from Amazon here: Bring It Home

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