Exit Wounds By Estraven

Here’s a premise for you. Imagine Bag Girls series one through three, still set in Larkhall, still with Nikki Wade and Helen Stewart, still with the same incidents that occurred in the original story line (give or take a few changes) but Helen is the prisoner and Nikki is the wing governor?….piqued your interest has it?….Well you’re in luck, because somebody has written it and it’s called Exit Wounds.

It might seem a hard premise to imagine – under what circumstances would Helen Stewart find herself in jail for killing Gossard (yes that remains the same) and how would Nikki Wade end up in charge of G Wing?  It’s easy really, when you have a very capable writer like Estraven.

Exit Wounds is a much harder edged version than the original series in my opinion. The Helen and Nikki in this story are not the ‘naively idealistic’ characters they appeared to be sometimes in the original. A lot has happened to this Helen and Nikki in their personal lives and their journey towards one another, but Estraven keeps their core character and values true to the original.

A lot of effort and research has gone into this piece – evident by the facts Estraven gives us about prison practices. She also shows us, in more detail than the original, the machinations of prison life, not just from the inmate’s point of view, but also the bureaucratic obstacles Nikki has to face as Wing Governor. We know how difficult it appeared for Helen in the show, but here you get a better understanding and it makes it all the more frustrating for the reader to know what the characters have to face.

There are added plots twists to Exit Wounds with journal entry snippets, depicting Helen’s thoughts that give an insight into her psyche and are at times deeply profound and deeply touching.

Estraven builds the emotional element between this Helen and Nikki brilliantly, it’s allowed to simmer and grow at a natural pace, and as mentioned, she captures their personality and characters wonderfully.

Apart from the in-depth characterizations and descriptiveness in this story, the other most remarkable thing about it, is that once you become immersed in it, you actually forget the show and start to believe this was actually the original. That’s quite a feat to pull off, with a show as popular as Bad Girls was and still is in the fan fic world.

And it shows just how gifted Estraven is as a writer that she succeeds in convincing you that this is how it should have been.

This review really doesn’t do Exit Wounds justice, so don’t miss out on reading this story!

Exit Wounds can be found by clicking on the link, which is the Bad Girls Riot site, and finding the story under the Potted Plants thread.


Same Old Lang Syne by Lyn27

Anybody that is familiar with the Dan Fogelberg song “Same Old Lang Syne” (and if you’re not I would suggest seeking out a version on You Tube) will know it tells a story in the lyrics of regret when two ex-lovers meet many years later. Remembering what once was, what could have been and, maybe, what should have been. How things don’t always turn out how you expected. It’s emotionally poignant in an almost understated way, and Lyn27 uses the song’s premise as a backdrop to great effect in this Nikki and Helen Bad Girls story.Same Old Lang Syne is about regret, sacrifice and, above all, hope. Hope given to one ex-con, by the woman she had loved, who still keeps that hope alive every Christmas, birthday and other significant ‘anniversaries’. Nikki holds on to that hope like a life raft.

But why would she, if she has Helen in her life? The answer is simple. She doesn’t have Helen.

That’s because in Lyn27’s story, Helen married Thomas Waugh. A man who didn’t turn out to be the man she thought and a man she didn’t really love. So why did Helen marry him? We already know that Helen Stewart was a very principled character and couldn’t marry Sean for the same reason, so why would she even consider this path? Why would she be so willing to sacrifice her love for Nikki and walk away?

I’m not going to give the plot away! That’s for you to find out. But suffice it to say, a chance meeting Christmas Eve between Nikki and Helen sets in motion a glimmer of hope for Helen, that the biggest regret she has, can finally be mended.

Lyn27’s characterizations of Nikki and Helen are wonderfully executed, and this story feels like a play; one you could imagine sitting in a theatre watching, as the acts are played out. It’s not a long story, only 9 (longish) chapters in all, but it feels ‘big’. The dialogue is excellent and the emotional level is just right. As always with Lyn27, it’s evident she loves writing for these two characters and with every story she pens, her ability to do so gets stronger, and she delivers a very polished piece here.

A highly recommended read, in my opinion! You can read Same Old Lang Syne, on the Bad Girls Riot board, under the Chateau Larkhall section. You need to register for the board but it’s well worth it!


Darkness Surrounds by Poppie-Pie

I know I’ve never read a Bad Girls Nikki and Helen story that involved vampires and a werewolf, and I didn’t know if there were actually any out there. But I know of one now.

This had me intrigued from the start, when it becomes clear that Nikki is the vampire. Unusual and interesting premise I thought, plus, Nikki Wade, tall, dark and gorgeous with a set of fangs was always going to grab my attention.

Poppie-Pie sets up the story with some nice intrigue to being with. Nikki “rescues” Helen from a potential mugging, chasing after her attacker. When she returns to the scene, Helen has been whisked away to the hospital, and Nikki feels drawn to check up on the woman, and return her belongings that she had reclaimed from the would be thief.

At the hospital, the attraction for Nikki is inexplicable and as she leaves, she misses a semi-conscious Helen mumbling her name. For all we know at this point, the two have certainly never met. And when Helen awakes and discovers her bag returned to her, she is relived when she discovers certain items she had in it are still there. Reminders of someone once cherished.

So, these two must know each other somehow, right? Maybe Helen’s a latent vampire, not out of the coffin yet?

But this is where the real kicker of the story comes in. The timeline. Because suddenly, we are thrust back eight years to a certain club, with a celebration of a certain con’s release from prison. Yep, you heard me right – Poppie Pie takes us back to the end of season three!

And I happen to think that of all the paths a possible Nikki and Helen vampire story could have taken, Poppie-Pie chose a very brave and original one. And as incredible as that sounds, it turns into a great little story.

This one has it all: romance, mystery, intrigue, horror, suspense, a master villain, sci-fi, a final showdown and, of course, a love story that conquers evil.

This is one of Poppie-Pie’s first forays into fan fic writing and I have to say, it’s a very promising start. A recommended read for a great fantasy escape!


The High Pass by Jim

I’m a huge fan of Xena, but I have to admit I can probably count the numbers of Xena fan fics I’ve actually read on the fingers of one hand.

The other half, also an avid fan of the show, who voraciously read everything she could way back then, was a little taken aback at my admission. “Here!” she said. “Read this for starters!” and thrust The High Pass my way.

I’m grateful for her good sense in doing so. It’s exceptional. From the moment of the opening line I was hooked and couldn’t stop reading it until I reached The End.

It’s told in omniscient viewpoint. A narrator leads us into the story, setting the scene….of an impending tragedy. They even tell us this fact in the first sentence.

From there, Jim lets the story unfold. On a successful trip, heading back to Greece, tragedy does strike and Xena and Gabrielle face starvation and ultimately death. It’s Gabrielle that manages to provide them meagre sustenance, in a land ravaged by famine, by negotiating with inn keepers, that she will entertain the local villagers with her Bard’s stories, for a room and food and a share of profits. The bargain not always in their favour.

Over weeks, Xena painfully watches Gabrielle getting thinner and weaker. Resisting offers from local Lords to join them in collecting taxes from the starving villagers, for which she will be paid handsomely. She is torn by her one weakness: Gabrielle. Willing to do anything to keep her safe, yet knowing Gabrielle could accept nothing from such spoils.

Of course Gabrielle’s unwavering faith in Xena, and her belief that she will find a way out of their situation, never falters. Even when Xena makes the disastrous decision that their best bet is to head over The High Pass.

This is a brilliantly crafted and wonderfully written story. Just when you think there may be a possibility to take a break for a cup of tea, Jim slips in a comment from the narrator, once again hinting at our duo’s doom and you’re not going anywhere until you travel that path with them.

The characterizations of Xena and Gabrielle are just perfect. This ‘is’ the Xena and Gabrielle we know from the show, but Jim takes it a level higher in giving us a Xena as we all imagined her to be; the potential that was there, that never quite made it on screen. If only this story could have been an actual episode, what a worthy episode it would have been!

This was Jim’s debut fic. As yet, I have no idea if this author wrote any others. If not, then it’s a loss to the Xenaverse community. Thankfully, we have still this one. If they did, I hope someone knows where they’re posted.

If you’ve never read any Xena fics (or like me have only read few) or are looking to add one to your list to read, then I urge you to make it this one!


Among The Lilies by Stuntdouble

It’s sometimes rare that a sequel, whether for a book, a film, or a TV series ever matches the original. You anticipate that it will; hope that it will, and then…it doesn’t and it sullies it somewhat for the original.

Among The Lilies is the exception.

It’s Stuntdouble’s (Bad Girls) sequel to “What God Had Brought Together…” and if you haven’t read that, I would highly recommend you do (a review is available on this site).

Among The Lilies carries on right where What God Has Brought Together left off.

Nikki and Helen are in Helen’s hometown in Scotland. Newlyweds that should be enjoying their nuptials and Helen is more than willing to engage, except that Nikki is somewhat reluctant; they are in Helen’s father’s house. And he’s a minister.

With that, Stuntdouble then sets about giving us a look into Helen’s past and childhood, as Nikki learns more about the woman she loves. It’s done with wonderful descriptive images and humour that has you laughing out loud.

Now, this is all starting to sound rather too good to be true and a little too picture perfect. And we can’t have Nikki and Helen without some angst, surely? Fear not, for Stuntdouble provides it. Trish opens her big mouth over the past (for reasons you’ll discover) and Helen’s insecurity skyrockets. Nikki’s continued ‘reluctance’ to ‘consummate’ their relationship, consumes Helen’s thoughts to the point of paranoia and involves a trip to a certain kind of store, for inspiration!

Helen is unaware that Nikki is on a noble quest to save a certain Scottish village and Nikki is unaware that her missus is convinced she’s inadequate in the bedroom department! Lots of fodder for misunderstanding!

Stuntdouble also gives us a tremendous subplot involving Trish and Claire, to the point where Trish almost steals the show. Just like a like a film with big named stars playing the leading roles, it’s the supporting actor that usually runs off with the Oscar. And an Oscar winning performance it is by Trish. I defy anyone not to find themselves rooting for Trish to win the girl.

But Stuntdouble never lets us forget who the leading ladies are in this line up. Nikki and Helen’s relationship still carries all the feeling, emotion, tenderness, understanding (and misunderstanding) that we have come to know from these two, mixed with Stuntdouble’s penchant for humour that has you practically crying with laughter, to moments that leave you stunned and well…practically just crying.

Stuntdouble’s writing appears effortless – these isn’t a sentence that doesn’t need to be there – and when something seems that effortless, you know a lot of hard work and talent has gone into producing it.

And the last chapter, although short, is stunningly poetic and beautifully written (as is the whole story really) in my opinion. If you’re not left with a lump in your throat come “The End” then just assume you’ve had a heart bypass!

I know this review doesn’t do this story justice, so I would urge you to read it for yourself.

Sequels don’t come any better than this!
(You can find “Among The Lilies” on the Bad Girls Riot site per the link)


The Garden by Lyn27

This Bad Girls story starts off as a continuation from the end of series three, with Nikki into her fifth day of freedom…..but with no Helen in sight. The joyous ending we all remember didn’t happen.

So Nikki, with support from Trish (their relationship is purely as friends,) sets about starting a new life for herself and Lyn27 sets in motion the reunion we know must be coming.

Finding herself in a quaint village, Nikki rescues a local estate agent after the woman has a mishap in her car and drives her to large house in the middle of renovation, about to be inhabited by the person it was inherited to. This person is unknown.

As Nikki scouts the nearby village, she sees a local business for sale and takes the plunge in buying it, keeping the original staff. Before long, Trish is helping out in between running their old club and Barbara Hunt, now released herself, tracks Nikki down and Nikki employs her also.

All seems fine until Nikki takes a nosedive emotionally and physically, becoming very sick, and her friends start to fear for her life. It’s Barbara that has the obvious solution. If she and Trish can find her.

And to their great joy and relief, they do!

From here on in, Lyn27 starts an emotional journey of reconnection for Nikki and Helen, amidst a fight to save Nikki from her inner nightmares.

It’s a hard road for both of them, but Lyn27 keeps up the emotion and angst as they each battle their own feelings. Nikki, too proud to let Helen know the reason for the state she’s in, and Helen not about to give up on Nikki again.

Of course, we eventually have the reunion we all expect, but it doesn’t stop there. There is a mystery to solve as well. An old family secret starts to unravel. And on top of that, Helen and Nikki must face their own families, too.

Just when you think Lyn27 is about to wrap everything up, she throws a spanner in the works with another cliff hanger and a surprise and you’re left wondering where this will lead and eager to find out.

One of the remarkable things about The Garden is that this is Lyn27’s first Nikki and Helen story. The amount of energy and enthusiasm she maintains over the chapters has to be admired and it’s infectious, keeping the reader invested in these characters.

Lyn27’s descriptive passages of places is very detailed, giving the reader a written ‘visual’ of the scene she sets. The dialogue is great and the banter among the characters is highly humourous. Its obvious Lyn27 has a great love of the characters she is writing about and there is a lovingly portrayed relationship that develops between Trish and a young woman, Emily, who works for Nikki.

This is great storytelling in my opinion. So, I would highly recommend a nice comfy armchair, a glass of your favourite tipple, turning off the TV, leaving the phone of the hook and indulging yourself. You’re in for a treat!

The Garden can be found at the Bad Girls Riot site (per the link) under the “Chateau Larkhall” section of the board.


The Last Letter by Carola "Ryûchan" Eriksson

In an un-named country, in an un-named time, two young girls are brought together as betrothed, soon to rule as King and Queen. But their story is filled with loss, deception and most of all love.

One might conclude from the author’s own synopsis, that one is about to embark on an epic journey. And one would be correct. But this story doesn’t unfold through multiple chapters.

It’s simply told, in essence, in just one. And to say ‘simply’, doesn’t do this story justice. Its simplicity is what enthrals me every time I read it.

The story is revealed, as the two main characters each tell it from their own point of view, in letter form. Our two main characters remain nameless, but it’s of no importance as Ryûchan draws us in, to the emotions of both of them.

We learn about the restrictions and expectations of duty. How a life long friendship can lead to betrayal. How with no emotional guidance, love can be so overwhelming, that it would be selflessly sacrificed for the sake of another’s happiness. And how it can almost be lost with shy miscommunication.

The close of the first ‘Last Letter’ ends with a tragic decision by one of the main characters. It’s so unbelievably crushing, you dread reading the next letter, but you know you have to, if only to find out the other characters version of events. I shan’t say anymore on what you will discover, other than to say….I can highly recommend this short by Ryûchan!

You can read it on the Passion and Perfection site, or at Ryûchan’s own site, per the link.