Corey, Kitty, and Sequella Review Catalyst by Fletcher DeLancey

Sequella: Wow, another sequel in the Chronicles of Alsea already. Amazing! Unfortunately it is still sitting untouched on my eReader.

Corey: What’s wrong with you? I’ve already read Catalyst, re-read Vellmar the Blade, and re-read Catalyst again. Or at least my favorite bits.

Sequella: Show-off! Real life is happening.

Kitty: And some nice alien bits there be. Also, Corey, you sound like a judgmental speed reader.

Corey: But… This is it! The novel that fills in all the adventures of Captain Ekatya Serrado and Dr. Lhyn Rivers out in the Universe while Lancer Tal and Bondlancer Salomen Opah were finding each other in the Without a Front books. And the framing is perfect: The first three days of the Alsean version of a honeymoon (“Alsean bonding break”) for Tal and Salomen in which family share stories –

Kitty: – and everyone avoids explaining to little brother Jaros why Tal’s neck looks like a treecat attacked her.

Sequella: So we get Tal and Salomen time? That makes me want to chuck real life out of the window and start reading immediately!

Corey: Right. Okay. So on one hand, all the shifting relationships amongst Ekatya, Tal, Lhyn, Lead Templar Lanaril Satran, and Lead Guard Vellmar are explored in the moment. On the other hand, Ekatya and Lhyn each share a wrenching story about their lives after the Voloth war described in the first Alsean book The Caphenon. A very early scene in which Ekatya helps Lhyn survive a PTSD-like episode lets us know she experienced something traumatic. And yes, it turns out to be VERY traumatic. Whew.

Sequella: How Sci-Fi is the book. Do we get new races? Societies?

Corey: Some of the tech aspects of FTL travel are explained (and felt), and you definitely get a dose of Space Opera political shenanigans and a military-style raid on a planet. Not so much world-building. I enjoyed the action, but my re-reads were all about the aftermath. So emotionally intense.

Sequella: Is this a book mainly about Ekatya and Lhyn, or is a new couple introduced, like it happens so often in Lesfic?

Kitty: Ahem. Dr. Wells.

Corey: Oh stop it, Kitty. You are so homosexist. Who knows who the ship’s chief surgeon is into? And there’s so much to learn about Ekatya, Lhyn, Tal. Salomen, Lanaril, and Vellmar… who needs new couples? One of my favorite moments is when Salomen points out to Tal that the Lancer doesn’t get to decide how to handle the connection between herself and Ekatya… That is something that involves all four women, including Lhyn. And the tensions between Ekatya and Lanaril are nasty intense. So awkward when your wife’s best friend makes you uncomfortable. Frankly, these books are developing into the ultimate friends-and-lovers-and-tyrees emotional mash-up. I adore it all.

Sequella: What about other kick-ass female characters?

Kitty: Dr. Wells…

Corey: Yes, Dr. Wells. But also so much more Lhyn, who is a warrior in her own way. I craved even more Lhyn. We finally get her perspective, but during such unusual and harrowing circumstances. Really, I wish I knew Ekatya and Lhyn as well as I feel I know Tal and Salomen.

Sequella: So Kitty and Corey, who of you liked the book better? Kitty, how many bookmarks did you place?

Corey: Oh, don’t get her started. Me, I highlighted 20 quotes that just made me squee and bookmarked 6 scenes for their (non-sexual) intensity. Basically, they make me cry or clutch my heart. The first time I read the book, the action sequences carried me along but I came back to re-read the emotions.

Kitty: I bookmarked two make-out scenes.

Corey: Sigh. Is that a spoiler? Bottom line, Sequella, is that life may be happening but you need to pause and go visit Alsea RIGHT NOW.

You can download a sample or purchase Catalyst by clicking here.

Sequella, Corey, and Kitty Review Without a Front: The Warrior’s Challenge by Fletcher DeLancey

Kitty: It’s a three-way!

Corey: A review, Kitty. A three-way review.

Sequella: A sequel! Finally! About time after that damn cliffhanger.

Corey: Do we even need to do a synopsis? I cannot imagine anyone jumping into this book without first reading Without a Front: The Producer’s Challenge. But let the record show I sobbed with both happiness and angst almost immediately after tapping open Chapter 1.

Kitty: Oh please let me provide the synopsis! I bookmarked exactly —

Corey: Kitty! You will not give away the number of sexy times in the book. Let the readers discover that on their own.

Sequella: I think Kitty is still sitting in the co-pilot seat waiting for the Lancer.

Kitty: But… neck ridges… and… other ridges…

Corey: Just hush your mouth. Sequella, thoughts on the end to the cliffhanger?

Sequella: Just for the record, cliffhangers should be outlawed and it would have been no problem to end The Producer’s Challenge two or three chapters before it. However, the cliffhanger was a great way to shove the happy couple and me off cloud nine and start kicking some ass. (Them, not me. I was just cheering from the sidelines).

Corey: We’ll be of that generation that says “Remember when we had to wait an entire month for the sequel? Young readers these days get instant gratification, the spoiled brats.” Even then, it was only a download away from our e-readers once released. Did you go through a few recovery steps, Sequella, trying to deal with your reading addiction?

Sequella: Are you asking me how much time I spent on the Chronicles of Alsea website looking for updates or how often I googled Lancer Tal only to come up empty handed?

Corey: Ha! I just kept re-reading the completed books and cursing in Alsean. Anyway, The Caphenon was action-oriented, and Without a Front: The Producer’s Challenge got down to both politics and romance. Without a Front: The Warrior’s Challenge seemed to bring back the action in a fierce way.

Sequella: The sword fighting was awesome!

Corey: Yes! And so much more intimate than the Voloth attacking the entire planet in The Caphenon. I really personalized my hatred of the bad guys in this book.

Kitty: Not ALL of the action centered around hate and swords.

Corey: Yes, Kitty. Now, let’s get down to other important questions. In an earlier review, I declared my caste to be scholar. Sequella, I am guessing you are a crafter?

Sequella: Of course. The caste system is something I like very much about Alsea. I like guessing castes for all people that are never directly mentioned but also part of Alsea. What about the Lancer’s cook or the people flying the public transports?

Kitty: I would be a religious scholar, because I love hearing all those women scream “Oh Fahla” when —

Corey: — when they pray. Ahem. Speaking of which… You know I love me some Lead Templar Lanaril. Who are you most eager for DeLancey to feature in future Alsean books?

Sequella: Ahhh…my favorite question, because that means MORE sequels. Lanaril is definitely someone deserving another story. Also, there is already a hint of another Lhyn and Ekatya story happening between the end of The Caphenon and the end of The Warrior’s Challenge. And the one I am most anxiously waiting for is Vellmar! She is a sword throwing Xena lookalike in my head.

Kitty: Colonel Razine. Someone with such perfect mental control who’s done such dark things for the right reasons, makes me shiver. So much promise for more intrigue with that one, and can you imagine if she ever did let herself give up some control… in the right situation, away from the job… Purr.

Sequella: What did you think about the end of the book? Too shiny and overdone?

Corey: Nope. In fact, I appreciated the time spent with Jaros in the aftermath, as well as with the rest of the Hol-Opah family/community. And Micah’s revelations, too. I was loving the eight whole chapters of reading in the final section; the opposite of a cliffhanger. Very satisfying, particularly because I am expecting many more Chronicles to come.

Sequella: Absolutely! So we agree we all liked it? I got the “stop-reading-rest-your-eyes” warning from my reading app five times. That’s how hard is was for me to put the book down and participate in real life.

Corey: Oh yes! I read so steadily that I had to stop and charge my e-reader even though it advertises “A single charge can last up to six weeks (based on a half hour of reading per day)…” You do the math on how much I read in one day. Kitty, what did you think? Kitty?

Kitty: Leave me alone. I’m checking out my bookmarks.

Sequella: And, last but not least, some survival tips for the looong wait until the next sequel:
1. Reread, starting with The Caphenon. There will be smaller things that you didn’t discover on your first hasty OMG-it’s-so-good read.
2. Check the Ylva site for any announcements about upcoming sequels or maybe a short story in one of their anthologies. You never know, there might be something for your inner Kitty McSaucerton in the next Slippery Folds anthology.
3. Make sure at least one of your friends also read the Alsea books. It’s nice to have someone with whom to discuss your addiction.
4. Read Fletcher’s Star Trek: Voyager fanfiction. It’s perfectly fine to never have watched the TV show. And I can promise you, Lancer Tal is in there waiting to be discovered. She is different from the improved version in the published books, but it’s still nice to visit with her.
5. Are you a writer yourself? Write Alsea fanfiction! This will help you AND us! Make sure you include some nipple clamps for Kitty’s enjoyment.

Corey: Okay, you went there. I’m just going to sit over here, blushing.

Kitty: Purrrrrrrrrr.

You can download a sample or purchase a copy of Without a Front: The Warrior’s Challenge by clicking here.

Corey Reviews Without a Front: The Producer’s Challenge by Fletcher DeLancey

“Corey, are you avoiding posting this book review until after the sequel is published?”



That, folks, is an actual conversation inside my head, because Fletcher DeLancey’s Without a Front: The Producer’s Challenge is both a great novel and a horror of a cliff-hanger. You absolutely should read this novel RIGHT NOW, but please no threats of bodily harm if you finish it before Without a Front: The Warrior’s Challenge is published in late November 2015.

Without a Front: The Producer’s Challenge continues the Chronicles of Alsea that began with the series’ first novel The Caphenon. And yes, you should also read The Caphenon first. Not only is it excellent science-fiction and world-building, but you’ll also want to get to know the main characters and plot lines developing up to Without a Front: The Producer’s Challenge.

Oh I love this book.

Lancer Andira Tal and the people of Alsea are recovering from the psychological and physical damage from fighting off the Voloth, as well as grappling with the profound changes new technologies such as matter printers bring to their society. Lancer Tal faces intrigue within the High Council and hidden pain within her own heart now that Captain Ekatya Serrado and Lhyn Rivers are far across the universe.

I appreciated the return of secondary characters such as Lead Templar Lanaril Satran. As Lanaril reveals more about her beliefs and her intellect and compassion, she’s becoming lodged in my heart. I really hope the author has plans for her by, oh say, book 7 in the series or sooner.

When Salomen Opah of the Producer Caste challenges Lancer Tal to live and work at Hol-Opah in order to better understand the impact of rapid societal changes on ways of life outside the cities, the novel builds a relationship worthy of two very strong and very different women. Of course you will root for them to overcome obstacles, but I must salute the author for creating a real dilemma to their joining.

Nothing annoys me more than silly, flimsy misunderstandings between lead characters… the kind that make you throw up your hands and yell at the page, “Will the two of you just TALK to each other? Geez.” In this novel, the two women’s dilemma is legit. And also the basis of some scrumptious, teasing physical interactions. But still… legit. Oh, just go read the darn book and find out for yourself.

Without a Front: The Producer’s Challenge is not just about the romance, however. A political intrigue plot builds chapter-by-chapter and leads to that cracking great ending. Folks, IT IS WORTH IT. Please, no one hurt Fletcher DeLancey… We want her healthy enough to finish editing the next book in the series. So no reader violence, please, and just enjoy the sexy alien neck ridges. Mmmmm.

You can download a sample or purchase a copy of Without a Front: The Producer’s Challenge by clicking here.

Cheri Reviews The Art of Mapmaking by Thalia Fand

I don’t normally review erotic romance because it’s rare that I read it anymore. But I received a request from the author along with a free copy from audible. I do have a weakness for audiobooks. I also have affection for Dog Ear Audio, the publisher of the audiobook, so I figured I’d give it a shot. If I didn’t like it, I’d only be out a couple of hours but if I did, I’d enjoy myself and give a bit of exposure for a new author (I think. I haven’t checked if she’s written more) and Karen Wolfer’s great company.

The Art of Mapmaking is a short erotic romance that takes the reader from Sara’s dreams of seducing intelligent and attractive performer Casey to their coming true. I don’t want to say too much since the entire book is less than 2.5 hours long.

I was happy to get to see some relationship development before the sex started. I liked both of these women and was happy that they get together. I don’t think that’s a spoiler since, hello, it’s a romance. The sex was well done and we got more buildup than I thought there would be, which was a nice surprise.

I have to say that having someone act out sex in an audiobook is something that may take me a while to get used to. The narrator, Marie Debonair, did a great job. I felt like a voyeur and, because I have a strange affliction, giggled and laughed at every “pussy” mention. The moans and shudders and climactic exclamations were awesome and very authentic sounding. I kept thinking that if it had been me recording it, it would have taken hours because I’d have been on the ground laughing.

So, bottom line, I think anyone who enjoys erotic lesbian fiction will enjoy The Art of Mapmaking.

You can download a sample or purchase The Art of Mapmaking by clicking here. Click here to listen to a sample of the audio.

Corey Reviews About Face by VK Powell

I hold a soft spot in my heart for grumpy, rude, neatness-obsessed women, so antisocial forensic artist Macy Sheridan in VK Powell’s novel About Face made my toes curl. Meanwhile, I expected to be irritated by the extroverted and self-help spouting police officer Leigh Monroe, but instead I found depths beneath her optimistic veneer worth exploring. Both women have “issues” – Macy cannot let go of her guilt over the disappearance of a teenage friend and crush, and Leigh has mama issues and ex-lover issues and suspension from work issues, and, well, a lot of issues. If ever a woman should listen to all those self-help adages, it’s Leigh.

VK Powell writes great police procedural novels and her latest book certainly includes lots of criminal questions to be answered. Yet the focus feels more on the relationship in About Face. If anything, I was forced to suspend more than a cuppa (but less than a bucket of) disbelief as coincidences and connections piled up during the police investigations.

Yet… The push and pull between Macy and Leigh was so involving that I just went with the plot and enjoyed the ride. In addition, the sexy times were so sexy, I wanted to go back and reread Powell’s other novels to see if my memory was missing some strategic bookmarks.

Finally, I just loved so hard Leigh’s best friend Pam and her sister Hedy and her sock monkey Toby. I want to just hang out with them all, because they call Leigh out on her “issues” – well, maybe the sock monkey doesn’t talk but Toby sure does listen to Leigh’s processing out loud.

If I am not summarizing the criminal plot in About Face, that’s because I cared more about the people than the mystery. That’s fine by me, because the people’s relationship starts and stops and personal growth and family issues and messy romantic love were all the mystery I needed.

You can download a sample or purchase About Face by clicking here.

The Bookgeek Reviews How Still My Love by Diane Marina

The bookcover of Diane Marina’s novel boldly announces a “A contemporary romance” and when Beth Anders is set up by her best friend Laurel for a blind date, we think we know what will happen and it happens: a beautiful love story between Beth and Toni. So I wondered after blissfully reading along how the author would fill in the other half of the book… Well, I don’t want to put in any spoilers, but let me tell you that Diane Marina makes good use of ink and paper and leads us onto an emotional roller-coaster which leaves us in the lurch (and tearfully so) and wondering for the longest time if love indeed conquers all.

“Beth Anders is just fine with her single life. Why mess with the heart when it isn’t broken?” says the Amazon blurb. Beth has her own relationship baggage due to a former hurtful relationship with her abusive ex-girlfriend and parents who disowned her for being gay. And then her best friend sets her up for a blind date with sexy, intelligent Toni Vincent. A wonderful romance starts. But then both have to make serious decisions about their future: Are there to be kids?

This is a heart-warming romance with great main and secondary characters. And it is a different approach to the romance theme because it includes what happens after the grand romance. The story has some lesbian drama, but the characters and the story are well-developed and believable. The author‘s writing is easy to read and brings all those emotions alive. There are some editing issues and one would hope that this promising indie author will iron this out in the future. All in all How Still My Love is a romantic and at times heart-wrenching read about modern lesbians which is well-written and hooks the reader.

You can download a sample or purchase How Still My Love by clicking here.

The Bookgeek reviews Kiss The Girl by Melissa Brayden

Sweet romance with lots of hot kissing

There are romances and there are romances – some come with heavy angst and a lot of deep and troubling issues, some are mysteries cum romance or paranormal cum romance and some are just that a romance. And as I have said before, the last kind of pure romance is the most rare and the most difficult to find. Melissa Brayden can be relied on to write consistently very sweet, pure romances and delivers again with her newest book Kiss the Girl.

Jessica is a tough, driven business woman who is all work, no fun. But then she meets Brooklyn and discovers life, love, and sweet kissing. Brooklyn is creative, fun, and a crazy driver in NYC. She has spend her youth in the foster care system and has learned early in her life not to open up her heart lest she will be left again. Now she runs a successful advertising agency with her three friends who won her heart during their college years. Enter Jessica and enter a message from her birth mother. It’s showtime for Jessica in her personal life and also at work because it turns out that she and her agency are fighting for the same, big account.

I loved how Melissa Brayden puts a true romance together from scratch which tugs at the reader’s heart strings, is filled with humor, and introduces us to wonderfully likable secondary characters. There are scenes suffused with the sweetest love, some with great sadness or even anger – a whole gamut of emotions takes readers on a gentle roller coaster with a consistent upbeat tone. And at the heart of this book is a hymn to true friendship and to human decency. A special mention must be made of Ashton – a great teenager – who helps Jessica on her quest for humanity. The setting, advertising in NYC, is well done and convincing.

The editing, though, disappointed a few times e.g. I had to reread some scenes or dialogues to get the timeline or who was speaking.

Since on the cover we learn that this is “A Soho Loft Romance” I hold high hopes that we will hear more about Brooklyn and her friends, Sam, Mallory, Hunter who are not only great friends, but single too – hint. This review definitely needs to end with mentioning that there is kissing – sweet, hot, great kissing.

You can purchase Kiss the Girl by clicking here or at Bold Strokes Books.