Review: Leah Raeder – Cam Girl

Cam Girl
Leah Raeder

A car accident can change everything – your future, your past and your work. Vada is a talented artist before it is taken from her. And she loses her best friend and partner at the same time. Broke, facing eviction, she will face anything to get her life back.

23430483Ellis is a tortured soul who is only trumped by Vada’s nightmares. Vada is the protagonist, and we see everything from her perspective. What wasn’t obvious to me was why Ellis pulled away after the accident. The blurb is misleading for sure. Just ignore the comments there, and jump into the novel.

This is a properly gritty novel about being one of the LGBT*. It came into my inbox and I ummed and ahhed about whether to request a copy. I had previously read Black Iris, and I hated it. The characters were unrealistic, it was filled with violence and just generally bad. This one is far better, even if it still has some violent scenes and tumultuous sex acts.

I appreciated the positive portrayal of the sex work industry. Time and time again I run into feminists who complain that sex work isn’t treated like a real job. Here it’s no worse than any other job, and it’s a particularly well paid job! Cam girls probably have one of the safer sex work jobs.

The ending didn’t creep up on me too much, and it left me feeling quite satisfied and as if I had just run a long race. Phew. I’d been ripped apart, put back together again, and I was happy-sad.

I’m going to give it 4 stars, which is a complete change from my opinions on her writing before.


Review: Kaz Delaney – The Reluctant Jillaroo

The Reluctant Jillaroo
Kaz Delaney

Harper and Heidi are identical twins that are anything but alike in personality. After an accident at the last minute prevents Harper from going to her dream summer week, Heidi steps in to create instead a week of awkwardness.

27161175There’s too much reliance on obvious differences between Heidi and Harper to get some good characterisation happening. I couldn’t have cared less which one wore the pants or the skirt (and isn’t that cover awful? There wasn’t a pink tutu to be seen, thank goodness). Or which one is epic with guys, and the other is completely oblivious.

The guys themselves are just as predictable. There’s the comic duo, fighting over one unlikely lady, and the dark, steely Chaz who Heidi of could has to fall for. You could tell from the first page that he was going to be the love interest, and you would have been super disappointed if they didn’t get to be together.That’s not even a spoiler.

I would have really enjoyed more depictions of outback life, which would have made it possible for this novel to provide some interest to USA or UK markets. The things referenced weren’t in nearly enough detail. I think that could have been made more of in the campfire scenes, but Heidi was too busy staring at the sexy Chaz to pay attention.

On a final note, I’m not sure why there was intrigue added. It honestly didn’t do much for the novel, and I would have given a lot to have some more realistic characters in that page space. Or more character background. Or different perspectives.

What frustrated me the most was the too-neat, super annoying ending. Of course! Ah yes! Why didn’t I see that? Oh, because it wasn’t hinted about at all. Or it wouldn’t fit the romance. Before that point, I might have been generous to the novel, but that just dropped my opinion completely. I’ll give it 3.


Review: Josef – Fifty Shades of Truth

Fifty Shades of Truth

Josef is drawn to the more unusual sides of sex work. He likes to be dominated and dominating, he experiments with all things. This novel is 18+. Continue reading

Review: K.A. Tucker – Chasing River

Chasing River
K.A. Tucker

River is the bad boy in town, and Amber the single-wanderer idiot. After an explosive first meeting, Amber finds herself wanting more of River, even as he tried to chase her away. Amber goes against her usual self and decides to grasp him anyway, finding herself getting more deeply involved every day.

23522253First things first – I didn’t read this as part of the series. I picked it up, hid it from my girlfriend, and promptly sat down to read it. Once she caught me, she tried to ruin it for me by telling me it’s the third book in a series! But it was too late, I was already hooked in. I did spend some time away from it thinking about going back to reading it, but no real in-depth wondering about what was happening to the characters while I was away.

I found myself frustrated by Amber and her naivety, but this was something I believe the author crafted. As the novel progressed, Amber became a bit less stupid – a bit more world-wise as her teacher would have wanted her to be. Still though, how could she be so stupid in the first place? Sure she was travelling Europe. But still, that she hadn’t been taken up and raped yet? When she’s happily wandering around where no-one else is?

The novelty of this book to me was that I never got many history lessons about Ireland, and this had a briefing on the Irish potato famine, which I had only ever heard of as a ‘joke’ by less politically-correct-minded friends. There were some really good discussions about the IRA (google it – or just be taught about it by the novel in a relatively unbiased manner) and references to Ireland’s oral culture. I could have done with more of this!

There seemed to be a lot of focus on how different Ireland was to Oregon. I’ve never been to Oregon, and I wouldn’t be able to tell you the difference between that town, and any other one. Amber constantly thinking about what it is like in her old home town isn’t useful, and doesn’t actually add to the storyline. More solid comparisons would have done the trick for me.

I’m putting this under the category of Young Adult, but only because of the sex scenes in it. Granted, they are brief, but they are slightly graphic. Otherwise I’d be putting it down as teenage fiction because its storyline isn’t that gripping, and I simply didn’t feel any depth – typical romance blah blah. At least Amber was smart enough to take some of her father’s advice….

I’ll be giving this a solid 3 stars, just because it wasn’t as ‘grabby’ and believable as I could have hoped. I remain willing to read more of this author, and see if this is a typical example of her work.

Find it on:
goodreads_icon copyAmazon-Icon-e1335803835577-300x294 copybookdepository_icon copy3star

Review: J.D. Watt – Burnt

J.D. Watt

Michael meets Simone at a bar, and finds himself suddenly smitten with her, despite being 20 years older. Their relationship develops through text messages, skype and emails, until Michael finds himself deeply in love with her. There’s a rival for Simone’s affections though, and what the men don’t know could harm them both irrevocably.

burntHow much do you love this cover? I absolutely loved it! It’s one that is going to get people talking, particularly if you’re reading the novel out in public. That can only be a good thing. There’s plenty of talking points to be gotten from this novel, particularly that both men and women can be unfaithful, even if it always seems to be the man’s fault to other popular fiction! These days, I think it’s equally likely in both sexes, even if men have gotten away with it with a pat on the back so far.

The blurb is probably what destroyed the novel for me. I found myself completely uninterested in the early dating stages of Michael and Simone, simply because I was promised that things would get messy and there was no chance this was actually going to work out. I wanted to see the ‘train-wreck’ happening faster! Particularly since once I worked out what was going on, it was obvious what the next stages would be.

The text message dialogue didn’t work for me at all. I found myself skimming over it, which is never a good sign. It seemed highly repetitive, and I would have much preferred traditional text. Even emails would have been preferable, as the text wouldn’t have jumped around so much, and I would have gotten more out of each dialogue exchange. Also, the sex scenes could have just been left out – they weren’t necessary to the text and I felt vaguely offended that they had been included without a real purpose.

I came away from this novel wishing that it had just somehow been ‘more’ in a way. I didn’t connect enough with the main character. I feel like that in the writing, the author’s attempts to continue distancing himself from his painful past hindered the reader’s understanding of it. Maybe it would have worked better had it not been so autobiographical?

I was lucky enough to receive this copy in return for a review. Despite my complaints about this novel, I think there is still some real writing potential and I can’t wait to see how the future pans out. 2.5 stars from me. I can’t tell you not to read it, because it truly is a one-of-a-kind book, particularly in Australian fiction, and there’s a good chance it will resonate better with someone else.


Review: A.C. Burch – The HomePort Journals

The HomePort Journals
A.C. Burch

Marc longs to be an author, but the words never seem to come to him in the city. After he breaks up with his abusive partner, he flees to Provincetown, where he’s taken in by an old woman and her enigmatic companions.

25244093The novel is well realised, with scenery which I can vividly picture right now. There was only one inconsistency towards the end of the novel, when the Captain’s journals appeared in two places at once. I can see them walking down the beach, and Marc trying to write in his tower, complete with the art workshop on one of the middle floors.

I like that in this novel, all of the characters are ok with being one form of queer or another. This is a world I dream of, where it’s ok to be yourself! Everyone in the novel has a role somewhere, even if it’s not where you expect. They were lovely, three dimensional characters that reached out to me through just Marc’s perspective – a mark of a strong writer.

I spent most of the novel in suspense that Brandon would track down Marc. I knew he would eventually, but I didn’t know how much Marc was going to be able to stand up against him. Marc draws people to him without even knowing it, and those people think he’s worth a lot more than he gives himself credit for.

The romance that occurs in this novel is subtly layered and sort of incidental. What threw me was some of the comments of Marc to himself about being extrainged from love. He had been so badly hurt (which is mainly just alluded to intriguingly through the novel), and yet he can’t open up when someone else is trying to help! If the romance was the main theme, the reader wouldn’t keep going.

Instead, the mystery and suspense of the plot grips the reader. I wanted to know the history, and how all the competing interests would be served. I loved the ending. So happy, and yet, bittersweet, and arg, why didn’t they fix things earlier.

At some point recently in my reading, I have moved into the pure fiction genre. I never expected it to happen, usually finding those sort of novels boring and repeditive. But add a hint of mystery and a strong queer element, and you’ve got an avid reader on your hands.

I give this novel a very solid 4 stars, moving up to 5 stars. It’s just not a 5-stars for me because I don’t have a strong desire to read it again. But by all means, go out there and buy it, it’s awesome!

Find it on:
goodreads_icon copyAmazon-Icon-e1335803835577-300x294 copybookdepository_icon copy4star

Review: Karelia Stetz-Waters – The Purveyor

The Purveyor
Karelia Stetz-Waters

Helen and Wilson have been forcibly separated in the wake of The Admirer‘s thrilling conclusion. As Wilson suffers from a disorder with no cure, Helen finds herself increasingly lost and uncomfortable, not knowing why Wilson is not returning to her college.

23120239This novel is just as entrancing as the first novel. It is written more from Wilson’s perspective which is a refreshing change after Helen’s insecure narration in the first novel. At the same time, it is obvious that Wilson suffers from the same insecurities. I felt frustrated that they weren’t communicating well, because surely they should have gotten over it in the first novel? But that is what makes this novel more life-like and less like a fiction.

That being said, the things that go wrong that are really random things that get wrong. How likely is it that these things would happen in real life? The whole hierarchy in Wilson’s family seems off, but then again, these atrocities to occur in modern life, and what better way to expose it than in a novel? Her family is seriously interbred and messy, made more so by the questionable sexualities of its members. I wonder how much of this actually goes on…

I had such differing levels of disgust and horror and discomfort all about one person, but I didn’t know that they were someone else until it was too late! I didn’t feel tricked, instead I felt like I’d had an actual expose go on, just like Wilson feels. It’s a clever technique that Karelia uses with expertise in both of her ‘Wilson and Helen’ novels.

I couldn’t make the final connection for what happened to the girls. They’re basically surrounded by myth the whole time. They’re completely legendary, and remain that way. I’d love to hear more from them. I want to know whether they are both happy, whether they decide to study more, and what the collector wanted from them (if it wasn’t sex or religious purposes).

Once again I was left feeling like I’d been walking along hot coals and found myself loving them so much that it felt more painful when it ended. I was pushed along by how things were interconnected and messy and yet not obvious all at the same time. Love, love, loved this novel. Not only did I connect with the characters, the plot didn’t miss a beat and kept moving forward with no inconsistencies.

When I interviewed Karelia, she mentioned that many people seem uncomfortable with the sex scenes in her novels. I think that the majority of them are tastefully done, and actually offer insight into the characters. That is particularly the case in this novel. It’s certainly not a gratuitous pledge to her readers.

I bought this novel for myself after reading Karelia’s other novels, The Admirer, Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before and Something True. Let that be a mark to you that I now proudly own all these novels after buying them with my own cash, and would confidently promote them to everyone.

Find it on:
goodreads_icon copyAmazon-Icon-e1335803835577-300x294 copybookdepository_icon copy5star

Review: Sienna Wilder – The Arab Marilyn Monroe

The Arab Marilyn Monroe
Sienna Wilder

18+ Review: Erotic Novel Review

Olivia doesn’t know that she’s a lesbian. She figured that she was just abnormal, and not interested in sex. Little does she know that the new lady friend she’s about to meet has a lot to offer her over her last partner.
Much as I wanted to love this novel, I simply couldn’t. The sex scenes were hot enough, but I wanted something more from the characters. Peter was a pushover, Fairuz was one-dimensional and Olivia had no idea what was happening to her. Or actually, she did, but she wasn’t willing to admit it.
It felt too short. The author said to me (when she requested this review), that this was being published separately from the main novel about these characters because she didn’t want to mix genres. One sexy hot sex scene, and it was over! I wanted more, if there could be more. For a week of being shacked up together, there could have been a little more on offer.
I’m not sure I can recommend this novel for audiences that are comfortable reading erotica on the internet. As a printed book of homosexual encounters, I think it is relatively unique, and a valuable addition to your bookshelf if you tend to reread this kind of thing. However, for me at least, I like variety in my diet! There are plenty of online resources that cover this kind of thing. I admire the author her audacity in bringing this out, and hope that she can expand it into a saga like Christian Grey’s (except a lot more realistic and accessible).
My current quest in this area is to find sexual fiction that doesn’t sound completely improbable or completely over-worded. Also, some crude language doesn’t do it for me at all. ‘Creamed her jeans’? Cringe. Not interested. Again, there was potential there.
I wished more had been made of the religious and political ideas behind this. It’s appropriate that this is set in Paris! And the language of the body is much more powerful than the spoken word. Both women use this to their advantage.
I think the last pure erotica novel I read and reviewed were the ‘Romantic Tales‘ episodes, of which I read three excerpts before giving up. That was 2 years ago now (amazing of itself) and I thought I was ready to give the genre another try. Shades of Grey is in the genre, although the author does have a go at giving a bit more storyline. Most erotica novels fail in that they don’t provide me with enough story – this one isn’t an exception.

Find it on:
goodreads_icon copyAmazon-Icon-e1335803835577-300x294 copybookdepository_icon copy1star