Measure of Devotion

This was a brilliant book backed by a realistic tale, held up by history, written by a talented author.

History has proven that many women did indeed pose as men throughout the years, so I had no trouble believing in Coop and Sophie. I appreciated the author’s dedication to research and getting the story right, and even though the battles, destruction and death were hard to read about, I knew that my discomfort was nothing compared to what real people felt during those skirmishes. Despite my best intentions, I read this in three sittings…the last half of the book was a marathon I couldn’t have quit even if I’d wanted to. Which I did not. I HAD to keep reading!

I connected with these characters, even Tim. Their struggles, their defeats and accomplishments and victories became my own and at many points, I thought I could hear the cannon fire and feel the dust as it rained down. To say this tale was gripping and immersive does not do it justice. To call it atmospheric does not go far enough to describe the absolute hold it had on my senses.
This was my first exposure to C.F. Frizzell but it will not be my last.

Measure of Devotion is a magnificent example of what lesbian historical fiction can be and should be recommended reading for every author who casts an eye toward historical fiction.

I am honored to offer up this honest review in exchange for an ARC of this wonderful novel. Many thanks to C.F Frizzell, Bold Strokes Books and NetGalley.

What Comes Around

I adore all of the Louie Thorne books by Kory Shrum, but I think this one might surpass the first as my favourite in the series. There is tons of character growth along the way, and damn if I haven’t become fond of Jabbers… There is a variety of well-written settings here, some new and some familiar from the other books in this series. As always, the author has placed us so firmly in these settings that we can smell the mustiness of the catacombs and feel the cool lick of water in La Loon.

I thought I knew who the killer in Paris was, but holy crap was I wrong! I love it when a book can surprise me that much. This book, like the others in the series, is re-read worthy. So many times over. There is angst, fear, confusion, new fondness that might be called love, there is loyalty, hope and justice. All the things that make a story relatable and binge-worthy. This one has it all and might just be Kory Shrum’s best yet.

I was so thrilled to be granted an ARC (thank you, Kory!), but I love this series so much, I’ll be buying it.
(We really should support our favourite Indie authors, don’t you think?)

You really need to get the others in the series and read those first. This is not a stand-alone. But if you like supernatural fiction with a cast of kick-ass characters who take no crap, well written stories that will keep you reading all night…this is your series!

Why are you still here? Go get it!

A Woman To Treasure Review

Another hit out of the park for Ali Vali!!

While I could see shades of Cain Casey in Levi, Dr. Montbard certainly carved her own space out in this reader’s mind. She is the kind of person…ahem…character…that I would be proud to number among my friends. Honorable, dedicated, driven, respectful and caring. She has a big heart and it shows.

The author has once again crafted memorable characters that live on long after the book is finished. Ali Vali’s gift is not only transporting us to her world(s) but also populating those places with people that almost seem to breathe and stumble as we do.

This story had everything I hoped for – adventure, love, danger and a mysterious quest.
I hope Levi and Yasmine (and her sister) have even more adventures, because I cannot wait to see what’s next for them.

This heart-warming novel will be available May 1st from the publisher, Bold Strokes Books, and May 11th everywhere else, but I suggest cutting out the middleman and getting it direct from the publisher.

I Am Chris~A Review

I’ve been a big fan of R. Kent since their debut book The Mail Order Bride

This book is a little different though.

This tale is set in current times and focuses on the battle Chris wages to both be true to themselves, and win money in bull riding at local rodeos. But the town is run and controlled by a corrupt, cruel bastard with a badge who has warped reasons for being who he is. In his mind, anyway. He is enabled and assisted by both the local social services worker and the person in charge of the boy’s home. So Chris has to survive everything those adults throw at him, as well as make a name for himself in the competitive and bone-breaking sport of bull riding, and navigate new friendships and a growing attraction to one of those friends. Whew, that’s a lot!

Chris is an honourable young man born into a body he doesn’t feel reflects who he truly is, and yet manages to rise above his circumstances. He has a big heart that he, unfortunately, wears on his sleeve. He’s a true survivor that lets love lead him, no matter the crappy world he’s been dragged into. The secondary characters all breathe true as well. Every one of them have secrets and motivations that have affected their little town in ways we don’t see until close to the end of the book.

The pacing of the story is great, and the world R. Kent has created, the characters that populate the small town and the hurdles that threaten to keep Chris from the life he wants…all of it kept me reading far past bedtime.
The book is well-peppered with true human strength, bravery from even the most unlikely characters, fear, uncertainty and the capacity to reach for dreams that shouldn’t exist. The closing chapters will have you cheering for more than just Chris.

I Am Chris is one of my favourite books. It is the story of courage, redemption and hope, and there’s a lot to love here.
Read it for the people you’ll meet in the book’s pages. Read it to be uplifted and shown what courage can achieve.
Just read it. Get a copy from the publisher Bold Strokes Books. You won’t regret it!

#transvisibilityday

Modern English ~ A Review

Modern English was a perfect introduction to Rachel Spangler’s writing for me. Yes, this was my first Spangler book and I am proud to say I now consider myself a “Spanglerite”, or die-hard Spangler fan. (Hey, if Xena can have Xenites, Rachael can have Spanglerites)

I fell so hard for Vic & Sophia, and their friends. Each and every one of them breathed so true for me that I connected with them without hesitation. I watched them argue, crush and fall for each other, I sat in the pub and drank with them and I wanted to slap nobility, which was a first for me. The landscape that they called home was so well written that I could smell the grass, the water and the ale. And that castle? I fell in love with it too. If I closed my eyes and reached out with my mind, I’m pretty sure I could feel stone under my fingertips and be struck dumb by the beauty of such a grand old architectural wonder.

I read so many books that sometimes I’m immune to the sex scenes. But in Modern English I found the most cranial, sexiest, intelligent love-making I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. But even more so than that, Vic and Sophia were equals. Not by the end, but all the way along. Sophia was just too daft to see it. They were equal partners who challenged each other to reach for their dreams while they supported each other and challenged each other to grow And that? THAT made me fall in love with the book, the characters and most importantly, Spangler’s writing genius. And I don’t toss those words around often.

It is saddening that I cannot give this book more than five stars. It is worthy, every word, of ten stars.
My name is Carolyn, and I am an unashamed Spanglerite.

Modern English is a #WLW romance novel, so if that’s what you like to read, get your copy here. (Tell them Carolyn sent you)

Pyotra & The Wolf~ A Review

From reading “In The Hand”, I knew Elna Holst was a talented and skilled author, but I was unprepared for the deft ways she made the legend of Peter and The Wolf her own. Her novel is the first time I’ve read a story set in Siberia, which I found to be a refreshing change. I felt as though I was truly there, out on the snow and ice and under the Aurora Borealis. Holst’s description of the wolves (both “hers” and the attacker) were like word paintings. She’s so good at it, I’d say she’s almost a master at scene-setting.

Pyotra and Volk were fascinating, deep characters that I felt were so well-drawn, I could almost hear them breathing as they travelled across the snowy landscape. Their chemistry was obvious and palpable and grew as the story progressed. (I was less entranced with the secondary characters, but that’s okay. We aren’t supposed to love secondary characters as much.)
The charm of this novel is the way the author brings her characters to life and the way her words hold us tight.

I’m honored to have been given an ARC in exchange for my honest review. I’m thrilled I was able to read this novel. If fairy tale re-tellings are your thing, you definitely want to read this one!

Testimony

Testimony is based on a real-life case against a professor at UCLA suspended in 1952 (without pay) after being observed through her own window kissing another woman.
Can you say invasion of privacy?
Sorry, I digress.

Testimony’s main character, Gen, is based on the very real professor Martha Deane. I don’t know if Gen’s personality was entirely her own, or if it was borrowed from Professor Deane, but to me, Gen seemed as real as you or me. I could hear her voice in my head as she taught, as she had drinks with Fenton and tried to live life under the social-police radar. My heart broke for Fenton, and there were a few times I just wanted to pour him a drink and tell him it would get better.
All of the characters stood in their own limelight – sharply crafted, finely tuned in their own ways and each with their own struggles. Ruby became a favourite of mine too.

The homophobia of that time period was written as an appropriately tense undercurrent that dominated the entire landscape of the novel. You couldn’t help feel the danger underlying every decision, every conversation and almost every character. Over this dark skeleton, the author built a highly readable tale that stays with the reader long after the last word of the acknowledgements has been consumed.

This is a novel that should be required reading. For everyone. This is a novel that should be an award-winner.

Go get a copy at Bywater Books. Tell them Carolyn sent you.

A Feminist Tour de Force!

Blue McCarron has a Ph.D. in social psychology. She teaches and writes while living reclusively in an abandoned motel in the middle of the California desert with her Doberman, Bronte. A minister’s kid, she has an imprisoned felon for a twin and a broken heart from grieving over her lost lover, Misha. When a body is found trussed up in a public freezer and widow Muffin Crandall claims she killed an intruder in self-defense and then did some dumb things, including freezing the corpse for five years, Muffin’s brother Dan hires Blue to free his much older sister by analyzing her. It is apparent to Blue and forensic psychiatrist Rox that Muffin’s story is a hoax. But who is Muffin protecting? Who wants her dead? And, maybe more important, will Blue ever resolve her love for Misha and love again?

Complete with commentary by a Rastafarian Greek chorus in the form of ex-felon BB the Punk, the witty, suspenseful lesbian-detective thriller is hard to resist.

“Blue” is a different sort of book. I don’t mean the genre, it’s a murder mystery, but what is different from anything else I’ve read this year is that Blue doesn’t seem to follow genre conventions, and that’s refreshing and perplexing at the same time.
We have a main character with an unusual profession, who lives in an unusual place with a very unique past and a delightful dog with great taste in music, if a poor sense of timing. In fact, all the characters in this novel are stand-outs. You are given the information you need to know, and not a word more. And that is both different in this genre and highly refreshing.

You might think you know where this story is headed, but trust me when I tell you…nope.
All of the characters have very clear motivations, they are all true to themselves and their ideals and so very full of surprises.

The plot will keep you guessing, the editing is great and can we just take a moment to admire that cover?

This book gets my highest recommendation.
Find it at the Bywater Books website. Read it.
Ponder it when you’re done.
Roll it over in your mind like a full-bodied red wine for your mind.

You’ll be glad you did.

The Sea Within

I’m a big fan of Missouri Vaun’s writing, so reading this was easy… Except for the disturbing look at what the human race has done to the environment with such brash lack of concern. This novel is the perfect clarion call for us to wake up and pay attention to the effect we’re having on our world. Really, we aren’t that far away from the Earth Missouri Vaun paints for us.

It’s obvious the author put a great deal of research into her work, she explains the grim future so clearly that I could very nearly smell the choking air at the beginning of the book. What a horrifying way to live – needing breathers to go anywhere, dead water, extinct birds and the list of environmental dead goes on. It didn’t take much for me to get caught up in the quest for a cure for the planet.

I desperately wanted Elle and Jackson to succeed, I could feel the ache of their rattled bones, I cringed, ducked and cried with them. Ms. Vaun wields her skill so deftly that I was certain I could reach out and touch the giant trees, or lose a hand to the ancient wildlife. These women may “live” in the near-future, but our hopes for a better world ride with them. They could have been any one of us…with kick-ass military training or a genius I.Q.

If you enjoy reading eco-fiction, and lesbian fiction that will reach out and grab you, and demand you keep reading until the last page is turned…this is the book for you. Go now and get your copy from Bold Strokes Books!

Wrong Number, Right Woman

‘Wrong Number, Right Woman’ is Jae’s best book since ‘Backwards To Oregon’, and that’s saying a lot of an author who has written over 24 books!
This is a heart-warming, feel-good, soul-soothing novel about two women that seem to be complete opposites. I don’t read a lot of romance, but I’d read anything by Jae.

The characters that populate this novel have misgivings and insecurities, just like the rest of us. Denny is painfully shy, Salem has put her life on hold for her daughter, Eliza is flailing her way through first dates…all of which demonstrates Jae’s skill at making her characters relatable.
We are drawn along as Denny and Eliza connect over a misdirected text, as they forge a friendship, as Denny’s walls slowly erode, and the whole time, we cannot help but fall in love with the raw emotions of each of them.

Trust underlies the entire story, and family. And the trust we each search for from the families of our blood, and our choices. In this chaotic and frightening times, we need a literary balm that we can lose ourselves in. ‘Wrong Number, Right Woman’ is that balm for our souls.
If you’re looking for a WLW novel that will leave you with a warm glow when you read the last page, this is the book for you.

Get your copy straight from the publisher today!