Forever Mine by KD Williamson (aka Minerva)

Forever Mine is the first published work by KD Williamson, aka Minerva for fan fiction writing. I had never read any of Minerva’s work but had very high hopes for this book. I’ll just say right off the bat that I liked the cover art. It has a good, dark feel to it and got me ready for a good, dark tale.

Here’s the plot summary from L-Book:  Renee Leblanc is a vampire with a broken heart. After more than half a century of roaming the world in an attempt to outrun the pain, she has settled in New Orleans.  It is there she discovers a sinister, gratifying way of numbing her agony, but it has dangerous consequences. Natasha Lionette, Renee’s former lover, is fighting her own war with darkness and guilt. 

Renee and Natasha must choose between going through eternity as enemies or as lovers reaching for redemption.  Can they succeed when there are outside forces conspiring against them? Can they overcome the forces from within and without that threaten their very existence?

I have to say that I was disappointed. I think that the story was alright but I found the characters hollow and Renee completely unlikeable; I couldn’t seem to care about her. She moved so quickly between violent disregard for others to deep loneliness and emotional pain that it didn’t feel genuine to me at all. Natasha was easier for me to connect to but not much. Neither character made me care about the outcome of their conflict.

There were a few factors that, I think, led to my ultimate dislike of the book. The dialog felt forced and unnatural to me. This did get better toward the end of the book but by then I was just ready for it to be over. The near constant flashbacks in the early parts of the book were incredibly distracting to me. I understood the purpose of them – to slowly give the reader the background information about Renee and Natasha’s relationship – but I think fewer flashbacks would have been a better way to go. This was also the first time I had used the L-Book audio format and, while I quickly got used to the computerized voice, that may have had something to do with my initial inability to become absorbed into the story. After my second sitting of listening to the audio format, I did load up the ebook version that was included with the package I bought. I read a bit further than I had listened and still couldn’t get into the tale.

It had some good bloody, gory scenes, which I like, and some good hot sex scenes, which I also like. I think the author has a lot of potential and I will absolutely give her next book a read. I also plan to check out some of her fan fiction work.

Second Nature by Jae

I’ll start right away by saying that I am a fan of Jae. I’ve read all of her books and have enjoyed each one. I’ve read some comments about one of her previous books being a rip off of an SVU fan fiction she had posted but I don’t care about that one bit. Lots of lesbian writers have published work they had previously published as fan fiction. It doesn’t make it less of a good read. I just wanted to get that out of the way…
Second Nature is about a novelist who gets a bit too close to the truth when writing about shape-shifters so the Wrasa (the shifters in question) send out a couple of their best Saru (military-type folks) to find out who’s leaking the info. Oh, and to also burn the manuscript and kill the author.
Like all of Jae’s work, she writes great stories with believable characters. She paints a vivid picture for the reader without all the extra details that sometimes make me want to skip ahead a paragraph or more just to get back to the part of the story that matters. There were a few phrases that were repeated more than necessary, but I’m a beta reader and tend to look for those types of things. Speaking of beta readers, one of the characters is the author’s beta. And there’s also a brief mention of fan fiction.
I also like that the main characters don’t have the standard physical attributes that you find in most lesbian romance novels. This is much more of a supernatural type of work; there’s not much in the way of romance. I mean, there’s some but it absolutely takes a back seat. And it worked for me. So many lesbian books force romance and sex where there really shouldn’t be any. Jae does a great job of telling a story – a story that held my attention and forced me to ignore my family for an entire weekend. I very much recommend Second Nature.
Second Nature, like Jae’s other books, is published by L-Book. If you’ve not read any of the books published by L-Book, you’ve missed an experience. I’ve read three of Fran Heckrotte’s books and all of Jae’s and they are the best edited lesbian books I’ve had the pleasure to purchase. Unlike many books I’ve purchased from other, larger, lesbian publishers, L-Book doesn’t appear to have any size limitations, which means no unnecessary sequels that should have been allowed to be one larger book. If you’re into ebooks, you get all formats with each purchase and, many times, free short stories to go with the book. If you’re looking for audio books, they sell those, too, and I believe you can get the audio and all formats of the ebook as a package deal. They recently started offering paper books, also. But my favorite part is the free puzzle of the cover. I like free. And I like puzzles.
I swear, I’m not on L-Book’s payroll. I gush for free.