Angel’s Heart by Mavis Applewater

The other day I came across a new fic posted at The Academy of Bards based on a “women in prison” theme – so I thought why no put together a list of fic’s on this topic. I guess that I should let you know though that I missed out on the English TV-series “Bad girls” which explains why I haven’t included any Nikki/Helen fan fic – I never caught that particular “bug”.

If you want an “education” in prison life look up “Redemption” by Sword’n’Quill (Susanne Beck) and take a walk with Angel and let her tell you the tale of her years in “The Bog”, of the righteous women of The Amazon gang who makes sure every one follow the rules and of her attraction to Ice – the leader of the pack of Amazons. You might know this story already as Incognito reviewed it back in October 2009, but I do think that it belongs on this list as I do agree with Incognito on the merit of the fic.

In “The Bog” you either wise up fast or go for an equally swift downward spin. Luckily enough Angel happens to make a narrow escape from a couple of beastly woman into the prison library very early in her “prison career”. This earns her the support of Corinne – the old and wise prison librarian – and the protection of The Amazons. It does take some time though before Angel sets her eyes on Ice but when she does, you get hit with the entire soul mate theme – of souls calling out and visions of past lives led and sacrifices made spinning around – this is a Xena Uber of the “original” kind!

“Redemption” is a drama with lots of fighting and with a very slow moving romance at its core, it’s well written, with a bit of funny dialogue at times as well as a broad storyline and a wide cast of “bad” women to entertain you. If you have amble time on your hands go look it up.

“Redemption” is the first in a series of three – the two sequels are titled “Retribution” and “Restitution”. I read the stories ages ago and I haven’t taken the time to do a complete rereading – so you are on you own with the sequels.

The very productive Mavis Applewater penned one of the first fan fic’s on the “women in prison” theme that I read. As a number of the fic’s by this author “Angel’s Heart” and the sequel “Angel Unchained” is more or less a PWP, but I think that the stories has a bit of an alt romance at heart even if the setting is a tad harsh and the “hot stuff” a bit rough and repetitive for my taste.

In the Angel’s series, you get to meet Angel and her small “family” of inmates at the Seaside Correctional Institution for Women. Angel – a three-timer doing an extended stretch of time at the facility – decides to “spread her wings” over Luann a desolated looking newbie who is unwilling to defend herself against the “brutes” in the prison. To keep Luann safe Angel has to “claim” Luann as her own and as you can imagine, this is done by public displays of sex – not once, but a number of times – those inmates has to be reminded ! But don’t worry, our Angel is pure at heart and even tough she harbours not only sexual but also romantic feelings for Luann, she doesn’t take advantage of her – it’s al just a bit of “acting” – at least for awhile.

I have no idea what a women’s correctional facility is like, but somehow I find it hard to imagine that women are as brutal or as sexually charged as portrayed in this fic, but who cares – it’s fiction right!

In “Prison Grove” by Geon Cannon the setting is almost the same, a harsh correction facility, a newbie and a seasoned inmate, two women falling in love and living out the romance and their sexual relationship under the restrictions of the prison rules. The plot in this storyline is even simpler than in Mavis’ “Angels series” as this story focuses solely on the 19 years old newbie Amy’s sexual maturing through her relationship with an older inmate. This fic is also a PWP, but with a slightly unexpected twist in the end.

A somewhat different approach is to be found in “Hard as Stone” by JL Nicky. This story is set in the 1930s and revolves around Sara (Stone) and Tammy (Twig’s) both doing time for murder. Stone is a quiet six feet tall, dark haired woman who keeps to herself, that’s until she sets eyes on the new green eyed girl Tammy, who is being pursued by “Snow and her sister White” ;-). Stone is the guarding angel that Tammy needs to survive in the The Bickett Correctional Facility, the one that will teach her how to breaking quarry rock, see to her aching back and open her eyes to the possibilities of romance. This is not a PWP – so don’t go to Bickett for hot sex. The story is a bit uneven in the storyline and with a changing focus, but it does fit nicely with the theme of “women in prison”.

If you like the theme you can take a look at three shorter fics that I’ve mentioned above, but don’t expect too much – they are entertaining enough, but not high quality neither in editing nor storyline.

Long Division by Mavis Applewater

Don’t worry you are not going to be tested in algebra or the likes if you decide to spend time on this story, but Lali is, she needs to pass basic algebra to get her college degree. I have no idea why basic algebra would be needed for a collage degree, but then again, if Lali hadn’t needed help with her algebra she wouldn’t have been looking up Dr. Dorinda Dupray (Dory) in the first place.

Dory is not someone that you would be looking up if you didn’t have to. She is a bleak looking woman and seriously lacking in her people skills. The fact that Dory entered college at the age of 10, lived with her father until recently, and has a number of advanced degrees, might have something to do with it.

Besides needing help with her algebra, Lali need a new place to live, as her roommate Brenda is graduating and moving away. Surprise! Lali gets to rent a room in Dory’s house, and to help Dory work on her worldly skills. Yes – of course there is an attraction between the ladies, so from here on it’s a matter of getting them all worked up, onto that bumpy part of the road that they have to overcome before they can finally kiss and … well you know. You might have wanted a “spoiler warning” before that last part, but why bother – every alternative romance that I’ve stumbled on has a happy end.

I think that Mavis Applewater does go a bit overboard in drawing a picture of the helpless and not so worldly Dory, but it’s funny, and I did like the “ugly duckling turning into a beautiful swan” storyline even though it’s not that well developed. All in all, I do think that it will be worth your while if you take the time to look up this story – I still do from time to time!

Finding My Way by Mavis Applewater

You are probably familiar with Ms. Applewater’s online work already, as she has penned quite a number of stories; a lot of these tends to be rather steamy (PWP), but Ms. Applewater is also able to put together a romantic storyline.

In this story, you are treated to a romance between two professional women – Allison Kendal and Stephanie Grant – both working in the history department at a small New England University. Stephanie is on a “life plan” that should lead her towards her goal of landing a job at a prestigious university, and she is keeping her best friend and conveniently flexible boyfriend, Peter, at hand as a future husband. Allison, on the other hand, has made a choice that has steered her away from her original path in life – leaving a job as hotshot lawyer in New York to follow her heart, studying and teaching American history.

For a story of the alternative nature, there is definitely one too many in the cast of people mentioned above. It might help to ease your worries if I let you know that Allison is a rather out kind of lady who shows her pride by way of her ‘Pretty, Witty & Gay’ t-shirt, and Stephanie … well she thinks that it was just drunken mistakes when she made out with those girls back in college, but we know better, don’t we?

The scene is set for a romance between the ladies but, although the attraction between Stephanie and Allison is soon confirmed, the road to love is a rather long one. Stephanie has to come to terms with her attraction to women and decide how to act upon this discovery, while Allison has to decide if she is willing to risk her heart – again.

Going back over the stories by Ms. Applewater that I’ve read online, I think this is easily my favorite, as it has the most solid and naturally developing storyline, and a nice supporting cast. I must admit that it is a tad irritating reading a story with this number of mistakes in the wording but, then again, I’ve seen worse.

Further more, I should warn you that Stephanie has a way of putting off the things that will move the romance along, like telling her boyfriend that their relationship is over, or taking Allison’s hints that she is ready for dating. But if you are looking for a classic romance, I think that you will find yourself well entertained by Allison and Stephanie while they look to find their common path in life – I just did while re-reading the story.


The Conqueror by Mavis Applewater

I’m pretty sure I’ve said before that I love Conqueror stories. I do. Really. And I liked this one quite a bit also. It’s a short story that begins with The Bitch of Greece having a slave cut down from the cross. That slave is Gabrielle, a rebel, and she’s being cut down because she killed two of Xena’s enemies awhile before. Of course, she had already had her legs broken so Xena has her healer attend to Gabrielle. And has her put in the small room just off of her own. You know, the room that usually houses the body slave.

Xena’s not sure why she’s drawn to the little blonde, but she is. She’s also determined not to take her by force. She’s convinced that Gabrielle will offer her body to the Conqueror.

This isn’t particularly original but it is pretty well written and I liked it. The end was a little different. If you like Conqueror stories or just want a quick read with some nice little sex scenes, give this one a read.

Just One Of Those Things by Mavis Applewater

Like the rest of the fiction of Applewater’s, this one has glaring grammatical errors and word omissions. And two cases of mid-story name changes – which is a pet peeve of mine.

This is the tale of Karla and Olivia who have a one night stand while each is away from home on business. They find out the next morning that Karla is Olivia’s new boss. They decide that, despite their intense attraction, they need to maintain their professional distance.

The story itself was pretty good but could have been better if she’d taken the time to develop the various arcs a bit. The chemistry of the characters comes through in the writing but there were several times that they ignored obvious information just to prolong the storyline. You know what I mean. Some integral piece of information spoken by one character that the other complete ignores or dismisses because she’s late for something. It makes me groan.

All in all, it’s your standard predictible romance but if you’re ok with loads of typos and left out words, it’s worth a few hours of entertainment.

The Brass Ring by Mavis Applewater

The story begins with pre-med student Jamie Jameson getting a speeding ticket from rookie cop Caitlin Callaway. They quickly fall in love but, just as quickly, heartbreak soon finds its way to the couple. This is a reunion story, which the seems to be a common theme in Applewater’s work so far. But I like those, so that part is good.

Having read two of Applewater’s other stories in the past couple of weeks, and enjoying them, I have to admit that I was pretty disappointed in this one. I had high hopes for it in the first couple hundred pages, but as the murder case that one of the main characters was involved in went on, the more disappointed I became.

The investigation seemed completely unrealistic to me and drug on and on, often repeating the same thoughts and comments several times. By the end of the story even the sex scenes had lost their appeal to me and I found myself skimming through them.

I’m not giving up on her work though. I’ve got a few more before I’ve exhausted the collection on (which has since been pulled down. You can still find her work elsewhere) and I plan to finish them all. In general, I do enjoy her writing and her characters. Not sure what happened with this one…

Tempus Fugit by Mavis Applewater

This one gets going very quickly and, really, never stops moving. This is the tale of Eleanore and Ginny and it begins in the mid 1950’s. It’s also the story of how the actions of Ginny’s identical twin sister, Laurie, affect their lives.

Tempus Fugit, Latin for “time flies, covers more than a decade of the life of Eleanore, Ellen or Ellie to her friends. There aren’t many stories told in the first person and it really works for this one.

I don’t want to give much away but despite a few type-os and incorrect word choices, it was very well written and the story was compelling. The characters were believable and I became emotionally invested in the outcome. Yes, I yelled at the characters a few times and dropped a couple of tears.