March 2011

Title: A Celtic Knot
Author: Ana Corman
ISBN: 978-1451593457
Publisher: CreateSpace
Available At: Moon Horse Books; Barnes and Noble; Amazon
e-Book At: Amazon
Price: $10.90 Paperback; $5.00 Kindle
Pages: 243
Genre: Romance

A Celtic Knot is about two women who don't get along at first, but feel an attraction.  Catherine O'Grady lost her father to cancer and her mother Dana is a five-year survivor of breast cancer.  She doesn't trust the medical profession and can't stand to be around hospitals or sick people.  Catherine would rather bury herself in her bookstore and stay away from anything to do with medicine.  Olivia Carrington is an oncologist who treats Dana and clashes with Catherine the first time they meet.  Olivia knows immediately that she would like a closer relationship, but Catherine doesn't believe their worlds can be combined.  Olivia starts sending Catherine a jigsaw puzzle, a few pieces at a time.  She hopes that as Catherine solves the puzzle, she'll also find a resolution to their situation.

This isn't Corman's strongest book.  The basic story is OK, but it's not fully developed and the timing seems to be off.  The story seems to indicate that a period of time has passed and then a statement is made that makes it much shorter. Too much of the story is too convenient or coincidental to be believable and it's full of cliches.  The dialogue is contrived and dated and the book needed some decent editing.  There are too many contradictory facts in what the characters say.

What makes this book more interesting is the information it provides about treatments for breast cancer and attitudes within the medical community.  As Catherine and Olivia confront each other, the reader gets a feel for what goes on in real situations like this.  Otherwise, this is an average and predictable story.  It's fine for an afternoon of reading, but there are better lesbian romances.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: Always Faithful
Author: Isabella
ISBN: 978-0-982608-0-9
Publisher: Sapphire Books Publishing
Available At: Sapphire Books Publishing: Moon Horse Books; Barnes and Noble; Amazon
Price: $14.95 (paper); $9.99 (e-Book various formats)
Pages: 234
Genre: Romance

Major Nichol "Nic" Caldwell has been sent home to recover after she survived a helicopter crash in Iraq.  Nic suffers from tremendous survivor's guilt because she was the only member of her crew to live.  Her job now is to do the "Informs," notifications to the families of other Marines who have been killed and help them with funeral plans and anything else they need.  When she is asked to notify Claire Monroe of her husband's death, Nic's life makes a dramatic change.  She thinks at first that she's especially interested in helping Claire because Nic knew her and her husband before.  Claire has a young daughter and appeared to have a happy marriage, so Nic is drawn to them.  Claire has a secret though and it causes her to lean on Nic more than usual.  Nic finds herself re-evaluating her feelings about both her career and the possibility of having a family.

Things happen pretty quickly in this story.  Because of a military screw-up, the funeral for Claire's husband is delayed and she starts falling in love with Nic before the poor man is even buried.  The story is also predictable.  Claire is vulnerable and self-sacrificing to her husband's memory.  Nic is stoic and honorable and doesn't want to take advantage of the situation.  Naturally they fall in love.  Things go a little too smoothly for these two since the book was written before "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was repealed, but that's what happens in fiction.

 Always Faithful is an OK story with just a few editing mistakes in it.  It's fine for a couple of hours of light reading in an afternoon or evening.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: Blind Bet
Author: Tracey Richardson
ISBN: 978-1-59493-211-3
Publisher: Bella Books
Available At: Bella Books; Moon Horse Books; Barnes & Noble; Amazon
e-Book Available At: Bella Books
Price: $14.95
Pages: 250
Genre: Romance





Courtney Langford’s a woman with a huge hole in her life’s purpose.  Plane crash survivor by the mere chance of missing a flight, she’s going through life’s motions trying to get a handle on the guilt and aimlessness she feels as a result.

Ellen Turcotte is on holiday, visiting a friend and trying to retool her life after an unpleasant divorce.  Her friend, Sam, tries, mostly unsuccessfully, to get Ellen to live a little and forget Susan, her lying, cheating former wife of a thirteen-year relationship.

By circuitous paths, Ellen and Courtney end up in Vancouver—Ellen by choice and Courtney by chance.  And chance plays a big part in the meetings that happen, over and over, between these two.  The problem is Ellen is cautious and Courtney has thrown all caution to the wind, believing that cheating death has made her invincible.  This makes for an oil and water mixture that seems destined never to blend.

The story is told using chapter subheadings in the form of “Gambling Tips” that cleverly relate to the progression of the story.  Courtney, finally, is the one who puts up the “blind bet,” a bet made before the gambler has seen her cards.  But the question remains: will Ellen let down her defenses and trust enough to play the game of love?  And Courtney’s put up more stakes than she is willing to admit.  Her usual style of fast and loose relationships is starting to crumble as she realizes that Ellen is more than a fling to her.  So, who’s going to win this game of love?  Who’s willing to take a chance?

The characters Richardson gives us in this story are as complex as the tale itself.  What Courtney experiences is about more than overcoming one tragic event in her life, it’s about letting go of who she once was and finding a more authentic self.  As Ellen comes to terms with her trust issues, she must also learn to take a chance, to step out into the unkown and embrace the possibilities.  Blind Bet is a story about working through issues to gain the possibility of love and a vibrant life on the other side of misfortune.  A well-written story that gives us pause to reflect on what’s important in life
Reviewed by Anna Furtado

Title: Chaps
Author: Jove Belle
ISBN: 1-60282-127-5
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Available At: Bold Strokes Books; Bella Books; Moon Horse Books; Barnes and Noble; Amazon
eBooks At: Bold Strokes Books; Bella Books
Price: $14.49
Pages: 207
Genre: Romance Suspense





Chaps grips the reader in its first few pages and never lets go. Its protagonist, Eden Metcalf, is an enforcer for the biggest drug lord on the West Coast. She is tough, cool, and matter-of-fact. Her background has made her aware of the worst which humans hand out to each other. Now she's on the run.

Brandi Cornwall runs her  family's ranch outside of a small Southern Idaho town. She works hard, knowing to the penny how the ranch is faring. Between the ranch, the ranch hands, and her mother, Brandi doesn't have time to look for any comforting arms.

Chaps tells the story of what happens when these two very different women meet. Belle does a good job of comparing and contrasting the rugged streets of LA with the quiet community in Idaho. She also does an excellent job of comparing and contrasting the differences of her two heroines. This is a rich story filled with emotional foreplay as these two women get to know each other, and the sexual intensity builds. There are heart-pounding scary scenes contrasted with plenty of quiet country roads, and enough action to keep the pages flying.
Reviewed by RLynne

Title: Do Not Disturb
Author: Carsen Taite
ISBN: 10: 1-60282-153-4
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Available At: Bold Strokes Books; Bella Books; Moon Horse Books; Barnes and Noble; Amazon
eBooks At: Bold Strokes Books; Bella Books
Price: $16.95
Pages: 236
Genre: Romance





Carsen Taite has given her readers two very different protagonists:  Ainsley Faraday, known to her associates as the "Dragon Lady," is a rising star in the Steel Hotel Chain. Greer Davis is a rock star known for her wild escapades. Taite brings these two women together in Sante Fe, New Mexico. She describes her locale well, giving special attention to the city's difference, with its unusual festivals and unique, small town charm.

Ainsley has been sent to Sante Fe to bring Steel's latest acquisition up to the standards of the upscale hotel line.  Greer is escaping the press after an incident has brought her lurid front page stories in the grocery store rags. When these two women end up as seat mates on the flight from Chicago to New Mexico, sparks fly between them. The story of what happens next is a wild ride with sneak peeks into both the business of running a hotel, and the life of a rock star. Added interest comes in Greer's extended family and the personality of Ainsley's support staff. 

Carsen Taite is known for her mysteries, with their attention to the legal profession. Do Not Disturb takes the reader in an entirely different direction, albeit with strong characters, interesting side stories, and an engrossing plot. 
Reviewed by RLynne

Title: For Frying Out Loud
Author: Fay Jacobs
ISBN: 10: 0615342914 13: 978-0615342917
Publisher: A&M Publishing
Distributed by: A&M Publishing
Price: $17.00
Pages: 233
Genre: Memoir




Fay Jacobs is at it again and we all get to have a good laugh, mostly at her expense—since they’re her memories and musings.  Sometime it’s a case of “if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.”  However, at other times, its simply a case of being down-right hilarious. How one woman can take something poignant, or irritating, or just plain maddening, and turn it into something about which we can belly laugh is an amazing talent.  That’s what Jacobs gives us (again) in her new offering, For Frying Out Loud, a compilation of her Rehoboth Beach columns from 2007 through 2010.

These Rehoboth Beach Diaries, as the book is subtitled, remind us of news items in the recent past we’d probably rather forget, like the antics of certain GOP congressional members.  Or they inform us of things we may have wanted to bury our collective heads in the sand about, like the ugly truth about health care in this country.  But using such timely topics, Jacobs will make the reader think, all the while eliciting a smile at least, and a guffaw at best, on almost every topic.

With Fay, it’s not so much what she says, but the perspective from which she says it that keeps us laughing.  Thank goodness for the unusual angle Fay Jacobs gives us on life.  Even Fay’s poignant tribute to her dad will make you smile wistfully, and finally, her acknowledgements at the end of the book are fodder for even more chuckles.

There is a potential problem with this book, though.  The reader has got to be careful.  If you like to read in bed at night, your significant other may give you dirty looks or a poke in the ribs if you awaken her with laugh-out-loud reactions to Fay’s take on life.  I’m just sayin’.
Reviewed by Anna Furtado

Title: Journeys: An Anthology of Life
Author: A. L. Hotchkin
ISBN: 978-1-934889-61-9
Publisher: L-Book ePublisher, LLC
Available At: L-Book ePublisher, LLC; Bella Books; Moon Horse Books; Barnes and Noble; Amazon
Price: $14.95
Pages: 156
Genre: Anthology





Journeys: An Anthology of Life is a collection of stories about various subjects.  Some are about regular humans and others are about fallen angels, vampires and other creatures.  The themes deal with death, dying, love and the battle for humanity.  The longest story in the collection is about a battle between the angels for the existence of mankind.

This book is perplexing.  The description on the back of the book says that it's about the author's journey through life and that each one shows a window into her world.  A couple of the stories are about normal people, but the bulk of the book is about Fallen Angels doing battle with other supernatural beings and one story is about vampires.  It's not clear how those stories relate to anyone's life.  There's no theme that seems to tie the stories together and sometimes it's not clear exactly what a story is about.  The writing is good, but some of the stories seem obtuse.

Journeys: An Anthology of Life is one of those books that has to be judged by the individual reader.  Each one may find something different to take away from it.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: Justifiable Risk
Author: VK Powell
ISBN: 10: 1-60282-197-6
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Available At: Bold Strokes Books; Bella Books; Moon Horse Books; Barnes and Noble; Amazon
Price: $16.95
Pages: 257
Genre: Romantic Intrigue






Justifiable Risk, Powell's latest novel, takes place in New Hope, North Carolina.  A medium sized town, New Hope is the type of town where residents tend to know each other, there's a popular coffee shop frequented by most folks, and where major crime is beginning to raise its ugly head.  Greer Ellis is a rising star on the police department of New Hope.  After losing her lover in a shooting two years ago, Greer has become a risk taker professionally, and a "love-em-and-leave-em" woman in her private life. 

Eva Saldana is a famous international correspondent.  The death of her brother has brought her to New Hope.  His death was ruled a drug overdose.  Eva is planning to use her skill as an investigative journalist to prove his death was murder. 


When Eva and Greer meet, the sexual tension between them is almost immediate.  Powell skillfully uses that tension in juxtaposition to the rising tension caused by Eva's investigation.  Greer, the police liaison to Eva, is caught between her loyalty to her own department and her rising attraction to Eva.  Powell also uses her experience as a law enforcement professional to make the dialogue and interaction of the police officers very real. 


Justifiable Risk is an exciting, seat of your pants read.  It's also has some very hot sex scenes.  Powell really shines, however, in showing the inner growth of Greer and Eva as they each deal with their personal issues.  This is a very strong, multifaceted book.
Reviewed by RLynn

Title: Keeping Up Appearances
Author: Ann Roberts
ISBN: 10: 1935226436 13: 978-1935226437
Publisher: Spinsters Ink
Available At: Bella Books
Price: $14.95
Pages: 214
Genre: Romance




Question: what happens when a mostly closeted middle school principal who has little or no life outside her job meets an extremely closeted femme director in the school system?  Answer: everybody expends lots of energy keeping up appearances.

Faye Burton is a middle school administrator who hides behind tailored slacks and sensible shoes, trying to maintain a controlled, professional appearance.  “Andi” Loomis thinks her natural attraction to all things femme is the perfect cover for her lesbian life. 

When Faye and Andi meet, romantic sparks start to fly.  In addition to their personal relationship, these women must form a professional united front against hardcore lawyer, Constance Richardson, a woman who hides insecurity behind a blustering, power-wielding façade and shows no mercy, especially when it comes to her adopted, autistic son, A.J.  A.J. is the link to Constance’s past and the demons that have followed her throughout her life.


As drama after drama plays out at Cedar Hills Elementary, with A.J. at its center, Constance goes head-to-head with school officials, who insists A.J. would be better served in a special school, where he will have more supervision and be less of a hazard to himself as well as to those around him.  Yet Constance insists that he is to remain where he is, and she will spare no effort to ensure his place at Faye’s school.  Faye finds herself totally unsupported by the superintendent, whom she fears has his suspicions about her life, and would do anything to be rid of her.


As the story progresses, we find that each character, in her own way, struggles to keep up a façade that hides a weaker, more vulnerable self.  Every principle character, including the lesbians in the story, have underlying fears, many of which turn out to be homophobic.


Although a little “choppy” in places, Keeping Up Appearances is noteworthy and addresses important issues.  Topics such as homophobia, inside and outside the lesbian community, as well as bullying, teen cutters, and the universal truth that we all bring some baggage from our childhood into our adult lives are addressed in this story and make it worth reading.  The story ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, which may be the stuff of a continuation of the tale—a rather intriguing thought.  Besides, not all the villains are completely villainous, an appealing premise on its own.  The theme of healing inner demons and becoming more comfortable in one’s own skin is recurrent in this tale and makes it a worthwhile read.
Reviewed by Anna Furtado

Title: Mother Load
Author: KG MacGregor
ISBN: 13: 978-1-59493-204-5
Publisher: Bella Books
Available At: Bella Books
e-Book Available At: Bella Books
Price: $14.95
Pages: 217
Genre: Romance





Mother Load continues the story of Anna and Lily Kaklis, part four of the Shaken series.  Anna and Lily have settled into a somewhat stable life together with their four-year-old son, Andy.  Anna no longer fears the challenges of parenthood because of the relationship she’s developed with Andy.

Now the couple has decided to expand their family, using a fertility clinic, and Lily will bear their child.  However, there are difficulties.  Lily has trouble conceiving and there are complications when she finally does.  In the process of this life-altering decision, the couple must find new ways to balance home life and work.  Lily struggles to wrap up an important judicial case while Anna copes with a floundering car dealership empire.


As Lily moves through her pregnancy, fate intercedes to add to the difficulty already affecting the Kaklis family regarding their career commitments.  As they prepare for their expanded family, tragedy strikes, and the two women wrestle with what is truly most important in their lives.


Reading Mother Load is like catching up with old friends.  Those who have read the previous installments of this series will know the main characters’ histories, with all the joys and complexities they’ve encountered along the way.  Those who read Mother Load without having read the earlier installments of the series will be able to enjoy it as a stand-alone tale.  Either way, as we journey with Anna and Lily into this new phase of their lives, we’ll find a maturity and deepening of their relationship.  MacGregor gives us a captivating story and pulls us along through page after page of events to find out what happens next in this family tale of love and hope and of the things in life that really matter.

Reviewed by Anna Furtado

Title: Natural Order
Author: Moondancer Drake
ISBN: 978-1-933720-67-8
Publisher: P. D. Publishing
Available: Moon Horse Books; Barnes and Noble; Amazon
Price: $19.99
Pages: 260
Genre: Speculative Fiction




If the measure of a book is the opening scene, Natural Order starts off as a success.

Beth Crew and her partner Dusty are fleeing from people who want to kill them and  Dusty buys safety for Beth and their unborn child by paying with her life.  Just before she dies, Dusty makes Beth promise that she'll go to live with Dusty's family at their compound in Wisconsin.  Since Beth doesn't know what to do with her life and she wants to escape the turmoil being stirred up in Chicago by the GLBT community over what it perceives as a hate crime, she packs up everything and goes to live with a family that she hardly knows. 

She finds herself plunged into a community that practices an alternative religion, organic farming and holistic medicine.  Beth isn't sure how she feels about all of this, but Dusty's family is very nice and it's only supposed to be until the baby arrives.  What Beth doesn't know is that there are secrets about Dusty's family that she's never been told and that make them the targets of a cult called the Imperium.  When it becomes clear that Beth and her baby are the real prize the Imperium is after, Isha is assigned as their protector and the women begin to fall in love.  Beth has a lot to learn about her new family and herself.  They are lessons that could mean life or death for Beth and the baby.

Natural Order combines aspects of several cultures to create its story.  The book is steeped in Native American culture and pre-Christian religion with information about natural healing and organic foods that seem to bring in New Age attitudes.  Then to make the blend truly unique Drake throws in a fanatical Christian cult and the fact that all of the women in the family are shape shifters.  Beth rises out of several tragedies to discover that she may be the most powerful of them all…..if she can survive.

Moondancer Drake has created a book that holds a sense of mystery throughout the story.  As more details are reviewed, the suspense grows as the reader tries to figure out why the Imperium has targeted this family and what role Beth plays in the scenario without realizing it.  Though this part of the story is concluded in this book, a lot of information is left hanging and needs to be answered.  If there isn't a sequel to this book, readers are going to be disappointed.

This book reads very easily and tells an interesting story.  It's perfect to escape for a while.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: Nightshade
Author: Shea Godfrey
ISBN: 10: 1-60282-151-8 13: 978-1-60282-151-4
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Available At: Bold Strokes Books; Bella Books; Moon Horse Books; Barnes and Noble; Amazon
eBooks At: Bold Strokes Books; Bella Books; Barnes and Noble; Amazon
Price: $16.95
Pages: 307
Genre: Fantasy/Romance





Shea Godfrey's Nightshade is a strong entry to the fantasy genre.

Princess Jessa of Lyoness is sent to her country's arch enemy Arravan to see if the crown prince will accept her as his bride and bring peace between the countries.  From the beginning though Jessa suspects that something else is going on because Prince Malcolm doesn't show much interest in her.  Jessa suspects that her brother and Malcolm are plotting something else with her as the pawn in the game, but she's enjoying her time with the Durand family too much to care, especially the time she gets to spend with Princess Darrius.  Darry is the king's youngest child and, in the language of her people, "backward" because she loves women.  Darry also serves in the army as an officer, which shocks polite society.  Darry knows she must hide her interests to protect her father's throne, but the friendship that grows between Darry and Jessa threatens that attitude.  The women share more than one secret in that both of them are gifted with special forms of majik.  Responding to their natural feelings could cause their deaths and war between their countries.

This book is rich in detail and feels like it should be actual history, though it isn't.  It's fantasy that reads like reality.  The story gradually draws the reader in with extremely appealing characters and interesting events.  It's the type of book that is hard to put down and the reader is allowed to develop a relationship with the major characters as their situation develops at a very acceptable pace.

The irony of this book is that it falls apart in the last chapter.  The end is suddenly rushed and the book concludes with a number of plot lines unresolved.  It seems as if the story is just cut off with more to come.  If this is the beginning of a series, then leaving the plot lines open is understandable.  If there is no series, then the reader is probably going to be irritated.  The book shouldn't have been left hanging though no matter what the future plan is.  A skillful editor could have helped Godfrey craft something that would be more satisfying to the reader.

Nightshade is an excellent story right up until the end.  The reader should give it a try and then hope that Godfrey intends to provide another book.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce


Title: Of Course It's Murder
Author: Kate Sweeney
ISBN: 978-1-935216-11-7
Publisher: Intaglio Publications
Available At: Intaglio Publications; Bella Books: Barnes and Noble; Amazon
Price: $16.95  ebook: $9.99
Pages: 217
Genre: Mystery




Can Kate Ryan do anything without running into a murder?

Kate is sent to New England on what is supposed to be an easy assignment to take pictures of an inn for her editor's ex-cousin-in-law Simon Merriweather.  Kate thinks this will give her time to consider her relationship with Dr. Maggie Winfield, who has suggested they move in together, but things start to become strange right away.  Kate sees someone watching the inn at night and has a very uneasy feeling about the decorator who has worked on the place.  Then three elderly female friends of Simon's descend on the place, closely followed by his cousin Helen, who no one seems to like, and a young married couple who give Kate strange vibes. 

When Kate finds Helen murdered one night, she discovers she has to help the inexperienced sheriff solve the case before she's locked up as the prime suspect.  Everyone seems to be hiding secrets and Kate has to figure out what they are.  As usual Kate gets knocked in the head a few times and finds herself drawing Maggie into a dangerous situation.  What neither of them knows is that an old enemy is also involved.

Sweeney continues her series with her lovable and reluctant detective Kate Ryan.  Once again Kate is surrounded by colorful characters with quirky behavior and has to stumble her way through the clues she is provided.  Kate solves crimes, but it's never easy, or safe, for her and those around her.  The story contains the same humor that fans have come to expect and it furthers the relationship between Kate and Maggie.

Kate Ryan mysteries are easy and quick to read, but that shouldn't turn serious mystery fans away from them.  There is always a well-crafted mystery at the center of each book and the enjoyable characters make a pleasant bonus.  The ending of this book points in the direction of another installment in the series, which will definitely please its fans.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce


Title: Survive the Dawn
Author: Kate Sweeney
ISBN: 10) 1-935216-04-X
Publisher: Intaglio Publications
Available At: Intaglio Publications; Bella Books: Barnes and Noble; Amazon
Price: $16.95
Pages: 245
Genre: Paranormal




Survive the Dawn follows Sweeney's Away From Dawn and finds the vampire Sebastian, and her lover, Dr. Alex Taylor, in London.  They are in search of a suitable lab for Alex to develop her serum which will enable Sebastian and the rest of the vampires to Survive the Dawn.  Unfortunately, what they find is unrest in the vampire community with Nicholae, the elder in the hierarchy, at its heart.  With all of the plotting and deceit, Sebastian, Alex, and their friends have their hands full just surviving, never mind the dawn.

Sweeney has brought some of her memorable characters from Residual Moon into this story.  She has also helped Alex grow as a character as she examines the ramifications of being the lover and companion to a vampire.  Sebastian, too, is wrestling with being in love with a human.  Integral to this story is the differing views vampires have on how to live among humans.  It makes for a fascinating read, with plenty of danger and intrigue.  This is a gripping, edge-of-your-seat read with hot sex and spilled blood.
Reviewed by RLynne 

Title: The Chronicles of Ratha: Children of the Noorthi
Author: Erica Lawson
ISBN: 978-1-935627-93-7
Publisher: Blue Feather Books
Available At: Bella Books; Moon Horse Books; Amazon
e-Book Available At: Bella Books
Price: paper - $18.99
Pages: 269
Genre:Speculative Fiction





Jordana Laren lives on the edge.  As a freighter pilot, she'll take just about any job, no matter what side of the law it's on.  When she's not working, she can be found in a bar drinking, fighting and chasing women.  Her latest questionable job ends when her ship is stolen and she's marooned on a harsh penal colony with no food, water or weapons.  Things only get worse when she learns that an enemy from her past is on the planet and intends to kill her. 

Rescue appears in the form of the Noorthi, a group of women who are religious mystics with legendary secret powers and, unfortunately for Jordana, a tendency to be pacifists.  All Jordana wants to do is get off of this planet alive, but the Noorthi proclaim her their Ratha, their prophesized protector, and she finds herself trying to devise a plan to save all of them.  Eventually she finds herself drawn into a world of crime and political corruption that she wants nothing to do with, but she never could resist a damsel in distress and she has a ship full of them.  Jordana is a reluctant hero, but she'll play the part to help the Noorthi, possibly to her death.

Fans of Lawson's first book Possessing Morgan will be surprised if they're expecting to read another mystery.  Instead she has created a speculative fiction story that unfolds like an epic and it seems to have shades of influence from the Star Wars movies.  Jordana is very reminiscent of Han Solo, a rogue with a heart of gold who can't resist a cry for help, and she has her own Princess Lea in Beri, the hereditary leader of the Noorthi.  The story isn't derivative, but many scenes will feel familiar. 

Jordana seems particularly inept at what she's doing, but she's surrounded by a supporting cast of friends that gets her out of trouble.  The story also has undertones of an old Western with cowboys and bad guys, only it's set in space.  The pace is good though and many of the characters are appealing.  Although sexual activities are referred to, except for some general descriptions, they are very few; however, there are some surprises in that area.

The Chronicles of Ratha: Children of the Noori is intended to be the first in a series.  It will be interesting to see how Lawson develops the characters and situations in later books.  While this book is enjoyable, the reader should also hope that Lawson hasn't abandoned her mysteries.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: The Curse of the Jade Dragon
Author: Nene Adams
ISBN: 978-1-933720-77-7
Publisher: P. D. Publishing
Available At: Moon Horse Books; Barnes and Noble; Amazon
Price: $19.9
Pages: 245
Genre: Mystery




The Curse of the Jade Dragon is a period mystery set in London.  It's another book in the series featuring Lady Evangeline St. Claire and her partner Rhiannon Moore, who are the female counterparts to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, if the gentlemen were gay.

When Lina treats Rhiannon to a variety show that features a famous "Chinese" magician, they witness his murder in front of the entire audience.  Lina's natural curiosity has her already involved in the case before she is approached by a government official who wants her to conduct  a top secret investigation into what might really have happened. 

Things are not what they seem and espionage between Britain and Russia is at the heart of the matter.  There will be kidnappings, murder attempts and all sorts of shady characters as Lina uses disguises and contacts to engage in the types of activities that thrill her and scare Rhiannon to death.  They have to outwit spies and government agents to discover who is manipulating the game before someone has the opportunity to kill them.

Sherlock Holmes fans will recognize the setting and feel of this novel.  It's rich in Victorian geography and culture.  Nene Adams is known for the meticulous research she does for her books and that allows her to create stories that are extremely accurate in their details.  There is the occasional reference to a word, object or attitude that is unique to the period and allows the reader to submerge herself in that time and separate from the present world.  The influence of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is obvious in the work and it maintains the same sort of suspense yet fun that his stories are known for.  It's not so much a matter of figuring out "who" the solution to the mystery is as it is about how Lina and Rhiannon will prove what they know to be true.  The two characters reflect their role models perfectly, but with a feminine twist.

The Curse of the Jade Dragon is a quick mystery to read, perfect for an afternoon or evening of escapism.  There is a series of these stories available, so the reader may want to check them out also.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: The Girl Back Home
Author: R. E. Bradshaw
ISBN: 10: 146361996; 13: 978-1456361990
Publisher: CreateSpace
Distributed by: Amazon; Barnes and Noble
Price: $9.99 paper; 4.99 Kindle
Pages: 240
Genre: Romance




Jamie Basnight is on her way home in disgrace.  She was an expensive, successful lawyer in Durham, NC, and then threw away a long term relationship with a woman she thought she loved.  Now Jamie has returned to her childhood home on the Outer Banks to become a country lawyer and try to recover from what she has done.  As she begins to rebuild her life she reconnects with old friends, including the woman who was the object of her first crush.  Though she is hoping for reconciliation with her lover Mary Ann, Jamie can't deny her feelings for Sandy, who is married with grandchildren.  What follows is a swirl of events and emotions, complicated by Sandy's marriage and Mary Ann's reappearance.  Whatever the result is, Jamie's life is never going to be the same. 

 Bradshaw's book is a treat for anyone from southeastern Virginia or the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  It's full of references to places that are familiar and cultural traits of the area.  Bradshaw does an excellent job of describing them.  That also may be one of the book's drawbacks. The descriptive passages are extensive.  For someone who isn't that interested in the geography of the area, there are long stretches that may be jumped over.  There are also mistakes that would be picked up with more careful editing.

 The rest of the book is what is expected of a typical romance.  The pacing and the characters are well handled and the reading moves quickly.  There is a particular scene of confrontation near the end that is told very well and shows Bradshaw's ability to write.  The love that the author has for the area comes through in the story and almost becomes a character itself, adding to the richness of the tale.  In all it's an enjoyable read.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: Water Mark
Author: J. M. Redmann
ISBN: 13: 978-1-59493-148-2; 10: 1-59493-148-8
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Available At: Bold Strokes Books; Bella Books; Moon Horse Books; Barnes and Noble; Amazon
eBooks At: Bold Strokes Books; Bella Books; Barnes and Noble; Amazon
Price: $16.95
Pages: 281
Genre: Mystery





J.M. Redmann returns once again to post-Katrina New Orleans for her sixth Mickey Knight mystery.  For fans of the series the real interest may be whether or not Mickey and Cordelia get back together after what happened in the previous book.  They'll have to read this one to find out.

Just like the city, Mickey's life is a shambles and she is trying to cope with an atmosphere radically changed from what she is used to.  She stumbles into a mystery when she's hired to go to someone's house to retrieve mementoes and has to help a church group that has come as volunteers to pull houses down and instead discovers a body.  Mickey tries to solve a murder while dealing with misguided teenagers, religious conservatives and a wealthy family that is being blackmailed.  What she really wants to figure out is how to talk to Cordelia and try to see if they can mend their relationship.

Redmann makes it clear in this book that there is still a lot to be said about what Katrina did to New Orleans and the people there.  The mystery in this book isn't that mysterious, but serves rather as a vehicle to carry the rest of the story.  The real focus is on the trauma that still reverberates from that storm.  Redmann deals with the city and its people with great sympathy and the affection she feels for both pours from the pages.  For sections that are written so well, the "story" actually gets in the way and comes off as rather contrived.

Still, Jean Redmann is an extremely accomplished writer and knows how to use words with an elegance that few achieve.  She spins a mood better than most authors are capable of and it gives her books a very rich feeling.  That experience makes Water Mark worth reading even if the mystery is somewhat weak.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Our Reviewers
Bios of Authors

Our Reviewers

Cheri Crystal
Cheri Crystal reviews lesbian fiction when she's not busy spending time with her family, working in healthcare, and writing her own lesbian adventures and erotic romances. She enjoys all types of intellectual and physical activities and considers herself lucky that she can immerse herself in the literary community at every spare opportunity. Cheri has many published stories in anthologies and online with .

She's written two novels and is working on a third that she hopes to one day publish. Her first solo anthology, Attractions of the Heart, will be launched in Provincetown during Women's Week. It has her brimming with excitement, pride and joy.

Cheri's Website:
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Anna Furtado
Anna is a book reviewer and contributing author for Just About Write; and author of The Heart's DesireBook One of The Briarcrest Chronicles, a 2005 GCLS Goldie Award Finalist; The Heart's Strength, Book Two of The Briarcrest Chronicles; and The Heart’s LongingBook Three of The Briarcrest Chronicles.

Anna's Web site:
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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
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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

Author Bios

Nene Adams
After eleven years working in the newspaper and marketing industries in the U.S., Nene Adams now lives and works in a small village in the Netherlands with her partner, Dutch artist Corrie Kuipers. Her fascination for all aspects of the nineteenth century continues to grow, and seems to be virtually unstoppable - so much so that she hosts a blog focusing on her obsession. The Year 'Round: A Victorian Miscellany posts weekly primary source articles and documents, as well as original Historic Homicide essays. Nene also maintains the Living Library where readers will find a huge treasury of lesbian-oriented short stories, novellas and novels in a variety of genres. Apart from writing commissioned stories, creating book covers and doing freelance editing, she is also the author of the popular, award-winning, published Gaslight Series novels, among others.

Ana Corman
Ana Corman has been a nurse for many years working in intensive care units.  When she isn't working, she enjoys traveling with her partner of nineteen years.  Her previous three books are Bradley Bay, Tender Heart and Love Light.

Jove Belle
Jove Belle was raised in Southern Idaho.  She settled in Portland, Oregon, where she lives with her long-time partner, three children, and four pets.  She has written three published novels.

R. E. Bradshaw
R.E. Bradshaw is a native of the Outer Banks of North Carolina who is now living in Oklahoma.  After a career as a university and high school theater instructor, she now writes full time.  She has produced four books of lesbian fiction, all set in North Carolina. 

Bradshaw also enjoys historical research, dramaturgy and genealogy.  She is working on a Civil War novel based on an ancestor's dealings with General Sherman in 1865.  She is a woman of many interests besides the Outer Banks, including women's softball, architectural design, fishing and dogs.  Bradshaw can be reached at

Moondancer Drake
Moondancer Drake grew up near the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia and now lives in Wisconsin with her family.  She spent years learning about her Cherokee heritage and the spirituality of her ancestors and then found the Dianic faith a few years ago.  This gave her new awareness of herself as a woman, as a Cherokee and as a writer.  She is now an active member of the Temple of Diana and is working towards ordination as a Dianic priestess.

Moondancer draws much of her inspiration from her spirituality as well as experiences as a Cherokee woman and a mother.  She is an author of environmental and spiritually driven fiction, especially paranormal lesbian romance.  She is also a vocal advocate for civil rights and the responsibility of all people to take better care of Mother Earth.

If you want to know more about Moondancer and her writing you can visit her at her website

Shea Godfrey
Shea Godfrey is an artist and writer who lives and works in the Midwest of the US.  Her formal education is in journalism and photography and her career is in 3D animation and design. Nightshade is her first novel.  She can be reached at

A. L. Hotchkin
A.L. Hotchkin started writing in high school, but that novel was stolen, so she didn't write again for many years.  Over the past twenty-five years, she's worked at a bookstore, a CBS affiliate and a facility management company. 

She lives in Rochester, New York, and is an avid watcher of bullriding on television.  Journeys: An Anthology of Life is her first book.  Her web site is at and her email is

Isabella lives in California with her wife and three sons.  She works for two non-profit organizations and speaks at schools about LGBT issues.  She likes traveling and riding her motorcycle. 

Isabella is a member of the Golden Crown Literary Society and the Romance Writers of America.  She has written several short stories and already is working on her next book.

Fay Jacobs
Fay Jacobs has contributed feature stories and columns to such publications as The Advocate, OUTtraveler, The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Blade, The Wilmington News Journal, and Delaware Beach Life

Since 1995 she has been a regular columnist for Letters from CAMP Rehoboth and also has contributed a column for several years to the online ezine Just About Write

She is author of As I Lay Frying--A Rehoboth Beach Memoir and Fried & True--Tales from Rehoboth Beach

Recipient of the national 1997 Vice Versa Award for excellence and the 2008 National Federation of Press Women's Award for Best Book of the Year, she lives with her long-term partner in Rehoboth Beach Delaware, where she is publisher of A&M Books.

Erica Lawson
Erica Lawson was born in Sydney, Australia, and continues to reside there with her husband and two grown daughters.  She has worked as a secretary in a number of areas, including the government, fire brigade, film industry and for a psychiatrist. She didn't begin writing until after her children were grown and her first stories appeared in the online community under the name Aurelia. Her first novel Possessing Morgan won the 2010 Golden Crown Literary Award for Best Mystery/Thriller.

KG MacGregor
KG MacGregorholds a PhD in Journalism and mass communication.  She serves on the board of directors for Stonewall Library, Museum and Archives in Ft. Lauderdale.  She enjoys writing, hiking, golf and traveling.  Mother Load is MacGregor's fourteenth published novel.

VK Powell
VK Powell is a thirty year police veteran.  Her positions included, among others, homicide detective and assistant chief of police.  Now retired, she lives in North Carolina.  Justifiable Risks is her fourth published novel.  She is a member of the Golden Crown Literary Society and Romance Writers of America.  She has had three erotic short stories and one romantic short story published in Bold Strokes Books anthologies.

J. M. Redmann
J. M. Redmann was born in Mississippi the daughter of two college-educated journalists.  She grew up in a middle class family where reading was very important and she began writing short stories in third grade.  She graduated from Vassar with a degree in theater and eventually went on to become a co-founder of Bywater Books.  Though she is no longer affiliated with that company, it has re-released all of her earlier books.  Redmann created Michele "Micky" Knight because she wanted to read lesbian fiction with a hardened detective.  She is a Lambda Literary Award winner for the series and her books have been translated into German, Spanish, Norwegian and Dutch.  She now lives in New Orleans where she is the Director of Education for the NO/AIDS Task Force.

Tracey Richardson
Tracey Richardson is the author of the romance novels No Rules of Engagement, Side Order of Love, the Golden Crown Literary Society finalist The Candidate, and the upcoming Blind Bet. She also works as a daily newspaper editor. Visit

Ann Roberts
Ann Roberts’ career as a teacher and administrator spans kindergarten to college.  She lives in Phoenix with her partner, her son and their two large Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Sadie and Duke.  She is the author of Furthest from the Gate and several Bella Book titles:  Brilliant, Beach Town, Root of Passion, Beacon of Love, as well as the Ari Adams’ mystery series that includes Paid in Full and White Offerings.

Kate Sweeney
Kate Sweeney, a native of Chicago, is now retired and resides in New Orleans.  She can be reached at her web site and her email

Carsen Taite
Carsen Taite is a criminal defense attorney in Dallas, Texas. She and her partner were married in Canada. They live near White Rock Lake with their four-legged children. Do Not Disturb is Taite's third published novel. Her second novel, It Should Be a Crime was a 2010 Lambda Literary Award Finalist and won a 2010 Lavender Certificate from the Alice B. Readers.