December 2008
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Title: Blessed Twice
Author: Lynn Galli
ISBN: 9781432730512
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; Outskirts Press,
Pages: 267 - Price: $12.95
Genre: Romance

Blessed Twice is a novel about experiencing life-shattering tragedy and discovering that you can survive it. Life goes on, though it may take a supreme effort to deal with it.

Briony Gatewood lost her partner Megan in a rock-climbing accident three years ago. She and her son Caleb have struggled through their grief and Briony is finally ready to move on with living. To try and make a new start, Briony has moved them from Vermont and all of their familiar surroundings and family to Charlottesville, Virginia, where she is a professor at the university. It's there that she meets M Desiderius who is as successful and interactive with her students as she is aloof and nonengaged with the staff.

When both women are "volunteered" to work on a project in summer school, Briony discovers that M is withdrawn because she is shy. As they get to know each other better, it's revealed that M had a terrible early life that makes her unable to interact with people naturally. Briony realizes slowly that she is falling in love with the brilliant and tortured woman, but she also knows that any relationship they can hope to have is going to take a great deal of work and patience on her part. She sees a second chance at love if she can help M break out of the protective shell she's built around herself.

Galli has set another book in familiar surroundings with a supporting cast of characters she's introduced before. The group of lesbian friends she created living in Charlottesville has provided her with more than one story. That is the slight drawback to the book. References are made to previous events in these character's lives that may not be completely understood by people who haven't read the other books; however, the book focuses on Briony and M, so the other references don't distract from the central story.

The rest of the book is skillfully developed as Galli deals with Briony's emotions as she tries to get over losing Meg and raise their young son properly. There is a lot of humor injected when Briony's friends decide to set her up with various women they know and she has to endure a series of "dates from hell." It's appallingly obvious to Briony and the reader why these women are still single and inappropriate matches, so the wonder is that her friends don't see it.

There's also an on-going joke as Briony tries to guess what M stands for and gets no help from M herself. M is the truly interesting character as a person who is so traumatized by her childhood that the simple touch of another person causes her excruciating pain. The "therapy" she dabbles with to overcome these feelings gives a view into the world of dominance and submission that is both informative and disturbing. The strength of the book is that Galli doesn't rush the development of the characters and the situations. These aren't two women who are destined to fall into bed the first time they're alone and they don't. They have to work to build the trust that will make any relationship possible and that takes time.

Blessed Twice is an interesting story about a couple that doesn't fit the normal pattern. That makes it refreshing and worth reading.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: Compulsion
Author: Terri Breneman
ISBN-10: 1-59493-126-7
Publisher: Bella Books,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bella Books,
Price: $13.95 - Pages: 245
Genre: Suspense

Compulsion is the third novel in Terri Breneman's Toni Barston Legal Series. Its antagonist is drawn from Breneman's own background as a psychotherapist specializing in borderline personality disorders. The character is completely enthralled with Toni Barston, a Fairfield Metropolitan Prosecuting Attorney. She also exhibits many quirky behaviors designed to prevent bad things from happening and to help her gain her goals.

Toni, along with her partner, investigator Victoria "Boggs" Boggsworth, is trying to gain a foothold on an organized crime operation. They, along with the rest of their team, have laid plans to trap one of the drug dealers, break him, and discover the identity of the "boss." Unbeknownst to them, Toni's home has already been violated so the boss has eyes and ears on Toni's most intimate thoughts and actions.

This is an exciting tale that is difficult to put down. It also has a residual creepiness which makes it difficult to forget. It leaves the reader looking at everyday objects a little less trustingly.
Reviewed by RLynne

Title: Falling Star
Author: Gill McKnight
ISBN: 9781602820234
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bold Strokes Books,
Price: $14.95 - Pages: 186
Genre: Romance





Solly Rayner's marriage is falling apart. Her partner, Danielle, has been cheating with other women and now she wants a divorce. Although Danielle has never shown much interest in their three children, she is threatening to demand joint custody of them and she is planning to move to the other side of country.

Faced with the fact that her children might be forced to commute back and forth across a continent, Solly retreats to the beach house of her sister Janie and Janie's partner, Marsha, for a summer break on Topaz Bay. She hopes to find the quiet there to sort through her feelings and decide what she wants to do with the mess that her private life has become.

That isn't to be however. Marsha is a former movie stuntwoman and has rented out part of the land for an adventure movie to be filmed there. Contributing to the general uproar is the presence of Gin Ito, the world's most famous stuntwoman and Marsha's best friend. Gin is hoping that, though she is there to perform in the movie, some time spent with her friends will help her recover from a tragedy in her life. Naturally, Solly and Gin are attracted to each other, but both are hesitant to be involved because of their individual situations. The story is full of movie stars, dangerous stunts, paparazzi, and film lingo. The suspense is provided by the manipulative and deceitful Danielle whose unexpected arrival turns into an attempt to exploit the women's friendship for her own ends. With so much pain surrounding both of their lives, the chances of Solly and Gin finding a way to be happy together are slim.

Falling Star is one of Bold Strokes Books’ new Matinee Romances. The description on the publisher's home page says: Our newest print line, Bold Strokes Matinee Books, are sharp, satisfying, quality reads for busy women who want to take some time out for pure entertainment. The focus is on excitement, sexual attraction, drama, and fun in a tightly written, engaging package. What that appears to mean is that these books are shorter, fast-moving books that can be read quickly. That would seem to be desirable for someone who enjoys reading, but doesn't have a great deal of time. Characters are presented in a breezy manner and the focus is directly on the elements of that story and not what might have gone on before to set up the story.

There is an inherent danger in this concept. The structure of Falling Star is fine and the story is all right, but, at times, it seems to be rushed and not developed as well as it could be. The book sacrifices some of the understanding of the characters in the attempt to keep everything moving along. In general, however, the story meets the description of what a Matinee Romance is supposed to be.

If you're looking for a book that can be finished in a couple of hours and provides some light entertainment, then Falling Star will suit your needs.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: Gloria's Secret
Author: Robin Alexander
ISBN: 981933113937
Publisher: Intaglio Publications,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bella Books,
Price: $16.95 - Pages: 235
Genre: Romance





Gloria's Secret is the sequel to Alexander's earlier book, Gloria's Inn. It picks up the story of Hayden Tate and her lover Adrienne in the middle of a mystery. Strange things are happening at the inn and staff members are beginning to whisper that the place is haunted by the ghost of the former handyman Hank. Hank was killed in the previous book when he was trying to murder Hayden and the fear is that he's come back to get his revenge by destroying the inn's business.

Hayden and Adrienne don't really believe in spirits, but they can't think of another suspect who would know so much about what happened in the past. The timing for this situation couldn’t be worse since the women are planning a trip to visit Hayden's family in New Orleans for Christmas. Hayden's parents have been resistant to her lifestyle to the point of being homophobic and they're even less happy about her living on Cat Island.

Frankly, Hayden would love to use the situation at the inn as an excuse not to make the trip, but Adrienne insists they have to go. Surprises await them in New Orleans and a terrifying situation occurs when they return to the island. Through everything, the strength of the story is what the women learn about the value of family and friends, as well as the power of the ties that bind lovers.

This book is written in the same tone as the previous one. Hayden is irreverent, klutzy and often funny. Adrienne, at times, assumes almost a motherly role as the mature member of the pair who must deal with her trouble-prone partner. Many of the characters from the previous book return, so there is a familiar feel to people who have read both.

The story may suffer from having too many plots – the mystery at the inn, the confrontation with Hayden's family, and preparations for a wedding of one of the secondary characters. Also, the injection of characters from the previous novel doesn’t add anything to this work and one character just drops dead without any explanation.

Next to the mystery, the best story line is the interactions in Hayden's family. That would have made a very good book by itself, but it gets buried in the other plots and doesn't get the development it needs. Essentially the story itself is fine. The unevenness is more a matter of presentation and something that an editor probably should have straightened out.

Gloria's Secret is fine for a few hours of light reading. There are definitely some parts that are funny and others that hold considerable suspense. If the reader is looking for pure entertainment and doesn't usually use a critical eye to examine books, this one will be acceptable.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: Night Call
Author: Radclyffe
ISBN 10: 1-60282-031-7
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books,
Available From: Bold Strokes Books,; and StarCrossed Productions,
Price: $15.95 - Pages: 242
Genre: Lesbian Romance

Award-winning Radclyffe is without parallel when it comes to describing medical drama. Her latest, Night Call, shows the intensity, along with the down times, of emergency flights. Jett McNally, a vet from the Middle East war, flies a medevac helicopter. Jett's childhood, along with her war experiences, have left her emotionally wounded. She finds solace in the air.

Tristan Holmes is an anesthesiologist who, when a patient is high-risk. is sometimes called upon to fly with Jett. Tristan has almost come to terms with not living up to her family's expectations. She enjoys being tops at her job and in her love relationships.

When Radclyffe isn't gripping us with medical drama, she's turning us to melted butter with her sex scenes. Her scenes are incredibly hot and involve characters she has drawn with depth and compassion. We care about Jett and Tristan and hope they'll find happiness.

Frequently, Radclyffe's books include characters her readers have met in previous novels. Night Call brings back Honor and Quinn as supporting characters. These well-loved characters are great examples of the full lives of lesbian partners.
Reviewed by RLynne

Title: Shots Fired
Author: MJ Williamz
ISBN 10: 1-60282-035-X - ISBN 13: 978-1-60282-035-7
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books,
Available from: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bold Strokes Books,
Pages: 232 - Price: $15.95
Genre: Romantic Intrigue

Anyone who has ever been in a long-term relationship can vouch for the inevitable changes, good and bad, many couples face that are bound to occur over time. It’s not unusual for even the most loving and compatible lovers to start taking each other for granted. They may grow in different directions and even experience loneliness at times. When it feels as if “The air had gone out of their relationship so slowly she hadn’t noticed at first” (page 97), Kyla Edmonds feels abandoned and blames Echo for choosing her business over her. Maybe one partner gives in to temptation and strays, maybe one becomes emotionally unavailable, but the reason that stands in the way of the intimacy and trust is immaterial. Still, is it a reason to commit murder?

Owner of a lucrative health club, Echo Flannery is the prime suspect in the attempted murder of her partner of eighteen years. Detectives Pat Silverton and Tom Magnell of the Bidwell Police Department sort through thick clouds of suspicion gathering substantial evidence and suspecting a love triangle.

Envision two moms, Kyla and Echo, and their fourteen-year-old son Colton, living in suburban bliss with everything going for them in the well-manicured sleepy neighborhood. Add temptress Jenny Vasquez, Echo’s “nut-job ex-employee” who is rumored to be having an affair with her boss and is described as having “Dark skin, sexy eyes, long silky hair, and tits for days” (page 27). And somebody is shooting at Kyla.

It’s not far-fetched to imagine Kyla being paranoid after such an ordeal but can the love of her life have anything to do with it? That’s what Kyla wracks her brain to remember, what Echo tries hard to forget, and what is stumping the police. Can they figure out the motive and bring the criminal to justice before more tragedy strikes?

MJ Williamz, in her first romantic thriller, has done an impressive job of building up the tension and suspense. Kyla’s amnesia following the shooting and car accident is frustrating. Like Kyla, we want to trust Echo and believe she’s not had a hand in the shooting, but if she didn’t, then who did?

Williamz has a firm grasp of keeping the reader guessing and quickly turning the pages to get to the bottom of the mystery. Shots Fired clearly shows the author’s ability to spin an engaging tale and is sure to be just the beginning of great things to follow as the author moves forward.
Reviewed by Cheri Rosenberg

Title: The Cottage
Author: Gerri Hill
ISBN-10: 1-59493-096-1
ISBN-13: 978-1-59493-096-6
Publisher: Bella Books,
Available from: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bella Books,
Pages: 175 - Price: $13.95
Genre: Drama

Clinging to thirty-nine, Jill eats lunch on the same park bench each day as a way to enjoy solitude in a scenic location. Married to a high school coach who is rarely at home and at odds with her typical teenage daughter with terminal PMS, Jill has an office job she can do in her sleep. Craig hasn’t changed much since college and both her fourteen-year-old and meddling mother-in-law are hyper-critical of everything Jill does. It’s not surprising that she often feels unappreciated, invisible and like the hired help at home. Jill had been coming to the park for years and cherishes her one hour of peace and serenity to reflect. One glorious January day she spots a painter and is intrigued enough to give up her alone time as she is pulled in and moves closer to see what the stranger with the salt and pepper hair is up to.

Carrie, forty-three, is also married with two teenage boys she adores but she rarely sees her workaholic husband, which doesn’t bother her one bit. Prematurely retired from real estate, Carrie takes pleasure in painting her lush surroundings and observing the occupants of the park, particularly one captivating lone woman. As if preordained, they meet and form an instant connection. The friendship that ensues naturally escalates to so much more.

Gerri Hill’s thought-provoking drama, The Cottage, will take you on Jill’s journey to self-discovery as if you’re living her life. Jill’s torments and triumphs are poignant and leave a lasting impression of how precious and tenuous life is thus making true love paramount to happiness. It helps to remember our priorities because the best course of action is not always clear cut. What is important is living life to the fullest before it’s too late.

Jill and Carrie’s story is heart-wrenching on so many levels. Hill explores the difficult situation these women find themselves when their ensuing love threatens the very foundation of the lives they built with their husbands and children. There is so much at stake and yet, aren’t two souls that are meant to be together worthy of true happiness? What if there are bigger obstacles that cannot be overcome making setting up a life together in this world impossible?

My heart went out to Jill and Carrie and every woman who finds herself in their situation. Hill’s gift for involving the reader as if she were living Jill's life is evident. Their lives aren’t extraordinary, which makes it even more believable. Through dialogue and action, Hill shows emotion vividly enough to experience the pain of Jill's home life falling apart while she is conflicted about falling in love with a woman. There’s no denying that she has finally met her soul mate, Carrie. Even though the direction of the story becomes clear and the reader prays the inevitable won’t happen, Gerri Hill succeeds in packing a painful punch. The Cottage is no doubt emotionally wrenching but one worth the tissues and swollen eyes for the life-affirming lesson it teaches.
Reviewed by Cheri Rosenberg

TitleTitle: The O'Malley Legacy
Author: Kate Sweeney
ISBN: 9781933113951
Publisher: Intaglio Publications,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bella Books,
Price: $16.95 - Pages: 258
Genre: Romance

What is the O'Malley legacy? To be a strong woman of Irish blood who honors her family, craves adventure and loves her woman passionately. As they ascend through the centuries, each one wrestles with the confines of her time, but those three characteristics never waver.

Branna O'Malley knows that Reagan Shaunessy wants her to admit that they love each other, have loved each other since they were children, but she can't. Branna isn't sure she can deal with the life that she and Reagan would have or that she is prepared to make that commitment.

Kathleen Burke decides that it's time for Branna to hear the history of the women of her family. She weaves three tales: the original Branna O'Malley, a 14th century Irish warrior against the English who falls in love with an Englishwoman; Quinn Stoddard, an American sea captain who liberates a Frenchwoman from her father's control while opposing slavery in the early 1800s; and Kathleen's own love, Seana Riordan, who risked their love in World War II to carry out a secret mission against the Germans.

As each story unfolds, the message is clear: O'Malley women aren't afraid of a challenge and they draw to them women who are as strong, and stubborn, as they are. They speak across the ages, calling to the modern Branna to accept her family heritage by taking her rightful place as the O'Malley and to set the course of her own future with courage.

Anyone with storytellers in her family will recognize the framework of this book. A ritual in many families is the passing along of legends and tales that tell about the family, the forces that shaped it, and how it has survived to be expressed in the lives of the current generation. In the telling, the past whispers to the present about what the important values are and how they should be maintained.

The O'Malley Legacy captures the feeling of those story-telling sessions well. The descriptions of the times and locations are rich in texture and the characters are appealing, so the reader can easily paint a detailed mental picture of what is happening. Some of the stories could have been developed more to tie them up.

Kathleen and Seana's story, for instance, seems incomplete. Since they are in the relative present, it would have been nice to know what happened to Seana after the war. The episodes about Irish Branna and Quinn seem too liberated for women, although there are the true stories of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Calamity Jane from the same periods that certainly prove there were women who were able to live unconventional lives.

One of the nice aspects is how the sexuality of the women is handled. This isn't a novel that exists so that the characters have a reason for having sex. This isn't erotica, so there aren't pages of explicit descriptions of what tongues and fingers are doing. These are women who are living real lives and share passion between them as one part of those lives. The stories drive the book, not the sex or their sexuality.

The O'Malley Legacy has strong women, adventure and passion. That should give it appeal for just about everyone. It certainly makes for hours of pleasant reading.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Our Reviewers
Bios of Authors

Our Reviewers

Sandra Barret
Sandra Barret grew up in New England, where she spent more years than she cares to mention as a software programmer. She lives with her partner, two children, and a menagerie of pets. Sandra has been an avid reader of fantasy, horror, and lesbian romance. This interest has led her to pen her own creations in novel and short story format.

Contact her at

Anna Furtado
Anna is a Book Reviewer for Just About Write, The East Bay Voice, and The L-Word Literature section; and Author of The Heart's Desire Book One of The Briarcrest Chronicles, a 2005 GCLS Goldie Award Finalist, and The Heart's Strength, Book Two of The Briarcrest Chronicles,

Anna's Web site:
Contact her at

Arlene Germain
For many years a teacher of English and Creative Writing, Arlene Germain lives with her partner in Massachusetts. She is a book reviewer for The Midwest Book Review, The Independent Gay Writer, the Just About Write Newsletter/E-zine, The Crown—the Golden Crown Literary Society newsletter and The

Kathi Isserman
Kathi lives with her partner and two very spoiled cats outside Washington, D.C. When not reading all kinds of books, she can be found on the golf course attempting to hit that little white ball. Her reviews can also be read at,, and The Independent Gay Writer.

Write to her at

Lori L. Lake
Minnesotan Lori L. Lake is the author of the Gun series, Different Dress, Ricochet in Time, and a book of short stories called Stepping Out. She also edited the 2005 Lammy finalist The Milk of Human Kindness: Lesbian Authors Write About Mothers and Daughters. Lori is currently at work on her sixth novel, Snow Moon Rising, which comes out in February. She teaches fiction writing at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and often reviews books for various print and online journals.

Contact Lori at

Lynne Pierce
Lynne Pierce is a life-long resident of Virginia who has spent the last thirty-two years trying to convince high school students that history is relevant to their lives and leading them through the process of learning to think for themselves about issues. Her main hobby since the age of five has been reading and she has spent the last ten years consuming every work of lesbian fiction that she can get her hands on. Lynne's reviews also can be read at
lesfic_unbound and

You can reach Lynne at

RLynne lives in the high desert of California, next to Joshua Tree National Park, with her partner of 24 years, and various four-footed friends. A semi-retired educator, she’s been reviewing books since 1992. Her reviews have appeared in various gay rags, including Mega-Scene, The Lesbian Teachers Network, Lesbian Connection, and others.

Contact her at

Cheri Rosenberg
Cheri Rosenberg is a reviewer for Just About Write, Queer Girl Talk, Midwest Book Review, The Independent Gay Writer, The L Life, Lambda Book Report, and other venues posting book reviews for the lesbian community. Check out Cheri’s Corner at

Published under the pen name Cheri Crystal, her short stories can be found in Lessons in Love: Erotic Interludes 3, After Midnight: True Lesbian Erotic Confession and many other anthologies of short fiction. She is currently writing her second novel while adding the finishing touches to her first.

When she is not working as a Consultant Dietitian, she is reading, reviewing, and writing lesbian fiction. Cheri is an "activist reader," a wife and mother to a wonderful husband and three terrific children, and she maintains that if more heterosexuals would read the works of lesbian authors they would realize they are talented, intelligent, articulate, admirable, and their books are equally as praiseworthy as anything published for the mainstream market in the literary world. Cheri hopes to enlighten the world and make it a more tolerant place where lesbian fiction is every bit as respected as straight fiction.

Contact her at

Author Bios

Robin Alexander
Robin Alexander is the pseudonym for the publisher of Intaglio Publications. When she is not working with her staff, she is writing. Gloria's Secret is her fifth novel behind Gloria's Inn, Murky Waters, The Taking of Eden and Gift of Time. She also has a short story in the anthology Romance for Life.

You can email her at

Terri Breneman
Terri Breneman has degrees in psychology and the law. She has worked in both fields. She is currently a research and writing attorney, working in federal criminal law. She also supervises students earning their master's degree in social work.

She lives in St. Louis with her partner and their three cats.

Lynn Galli
Lynn Galli spends most of her days conducting educational presentations for large groups, despite being an introvert who'd flourish in a darkened cubicle analyzing spreadsheets.

She lives in the Pacific Northwest, even though she's not fond of cold weather, hiking, water sports, airplane manufacturing or elaborate coffee. Writing is about the only thing she does that fits with her personality.

Her previous books are Wasted Heart, Imagining Reality and Uncommon Emotions.

Gerri Hill
Gerri Hill began writing lesbian romance as a way to amuse herself while snowed in one winter in the mountains of Colorado, and hasn’t looked back. Her first published work came in 2000 with One Summer Night. Many more romances have followed, with the occasionaly murder mystery in the mix.

Gerri’s love of nature and of being outdoors usually makes its way into her stories as her characters often find themselves in beautiful natural settings.

When she isn’t writing, Gerri and her longtime partner, Diane, can be found at their home in East Texas, where their vegetable garden, orchard, and five acres of woods keep them busy. They share their lives with an ever-changing cast of furry friends.

Gerri’s favorite pastimes include camping, hiking, birdwatching (though she insists that she doesn’t wear funny hats yet!), photography, and cooking. She collects things nature offers, like an unusual pinecone, colorful rocks, or an abandoned bird feather. Dawn is her favorite time of day, the moment right before sunrise.

Visit Gerri’s site at

Gill McKnight
Gill McKnight works between Ireland and the UK. When she has time, she likes to work on the house she is restoring in Greece. She also enjoys sailing, gardening and driving long distances with her furniture in the back of a van. Her next book, Green-Eyed Monster, is due in December 2008.

Radclyffe has written over thirty novels and multiple anthologies. She is a five-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, a Lammy winner in both romance and erotica, and a recipient of several Goldies from the Golden Crown Literary Society. A retired surgeon, she brings her knowledge of the medical world to many of her novels. Radclyffe is the founder and publisher of Bold Strokes Books. She lives with her partner in upstate New York.

Kate Sweeney
Kate Sweeny was born in Chicago and lives in Villa Park, Illinois, where she is an office manager.

She was the recipient of the 2007 Golden Crown Literary Society award for Debut Author for her first book in the Kate Ryan mystery series, She Waits. The same book was also nominated for the Lambda Literary Society award for Lesbian Mystery.

Her other books are A Nice Clean Murder, The Trouble With Murder, Away From the Dawn and Residual Moon. She also contributed to an anthology Wild Nights: (Mostly) True Stories of Women Loving Women.

You can visit her web site at or email her at

MJ Williamz
MJ Williamz was raised on California’s Central Coast which she still loves, but left at the age of seventeen in an attempt to further her education. She graduated from Chico State with a degree in Business Management. It was in Chico that MJ began to pursue her love of writing.

Now living in Portland, OR, MJ has made writing an integral part of her life. Since 2002, she’s had over a dozen short stories accepted for publication, mostly erotica with a few romances thrown in for good measure. Shots Fired is MJ’s first published novel.