Tag Archives: f/f romance

high priestess

Book Review: High Priestess, by Wendy Hewlett

I do this thing, sometimes, where I search the extremes of Amazon Prime’s algorithm and let fate and random mathematics sell me a inexpensive book. In this manner, I bought a copy of High Priestess, by Wendy Hewlett.

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Detective Constable Raven Bowen’s life seems to be falling apart around her. Her Wiccan mother, Ena Bowen, has recently passed to spirit and even though Raven hasn’t seen or spoken to her in twelve years, she feels the loss.

Then there’s her relationship with lesbian lover, Riley Gallagher, which ended rather abruptly and Raven only has herself to blame.

When the body of a young woman is discovered with the spring thaw, Raven takes on a new case and isn’t impressed when her sergeant assigns a rookie to investigate it with her.

If all of that wasn’t enough, Raven’s mother starts speaking to her from beyond the grave. She only has one question for her mother … “How the heck do I get you out of my head.”

The answer comes swiftly and shocks Raven to her core.

“Find my killer.”

my review

I quite enjoyed this. Though fair warning, the plot centers heavily on rape/rapists, including the rape of a child. I didn’t know this going into the book and I usually try to avoid such things in the books I read for fun. But I’ll grant that it is integral to the plot and not just tossed in as cheap plot fodder, which is quite often my complaint about rape in the books I read for entertainment.

I liked DC Bowen’s though she has quite a lot going on in the book and maybe isn’t at her most likeable. I also liked most of the side characters. I did think the villains a tad cliched, some of the personal drama dragged out longer than it felt like it needed to, and the whole being The Most Powerful made Bowen feel like too much of the special snowflake. But ultimately the book is quite readable and I’d be well up for reading another of Hewlett’s books.

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Book Review: Mary, Everything – by Cassandra Yorke

Cassandra Yorke‘s Mary, Everything was promoed on Sadie’s Spotlight and I was lucky enough to win a copy. Yes, since I have nothing to do with drawing winners, I absolutely enter the giveaways on the blog!

mary, everything cassandra yorke

Courtney is a lonely undergrad at secluded Braddock College in 2004, working a drowsy summer job in the Archives. Assigned to a new project, she becomes haunted by a college yearbook from the 1920s – filled with familiar faces and memories of times she never experienced. A chance encounter with a mysterious girl named Sadie – dressed in long-outdated clothes – alters her reality. But if you were never meant to be born, that reality can expel you like an infection – or kill you outright. While Courtney struggles against forces she cannot comprehend, a psychopathic stalker smells blood and closes in for the kill.

Sadie, now in 1921, races against the clock to save her friend, joined by some remarkable allies – an American combat sorceress and veteran of World War I, an enigmatic professor who specializes in piercing the veil between realities, and two young women who insist they’re Courtney’s oldest friends – one of them even claiming to be her truest love.

Time is running out for Courtney, and a terrifying wilderness – haunted by the dead from centuries past – may hold the key to her salvation. But none who enter have ever returned…

my review

This had some really interesting aspects that I very much enjoyed. The convoluted timeline, for example, makes your brain work for the reward. The book is set in 1921 and 2004, jumping between the two. But the 2004 scenes are essentially flashbacks (of a sort). Go ahead and get your head around that one. The writing is also quite lyrical at times and the editing clean.

But there were some things I could have done without. The book is pretty slow, especially in the beginning. So, as a reader, I really felt the 400+ pages. And I thought a lot of the climax too blunt for the light-fingered story up until that point.

For one, all the rape threats weren’t needed at all. (Notice, I said all. There were several from a variety of men). I do understand that this was intended in part to show how Courtney felt victimized by men, but that was established far earlier and needed no further evidence. The story would have been more interesting if the men had truly been enacting an evil for what they thought was a greater good. Already, as a reader, I knew to abhor them. Turning them ALL into pervy, would-be rapists was a cudgel the scenes didn’t need. True, I’d be happy never have to sit through another rape scene or rape threat in a book I read for entertainment ever again. But I would really, REALLY love it if authors would stop putting them in books that don’t need them as some sort of short-hand for “this is a bad guy.

Similarly, (in the cudgel sense), having both Courtney and Sadie suddenly and inexplicably become the strongest, most powerful, bad-assest chicks ever was too much too fast. There is so much subtly in the book until that point that it really stands out as a change in tone.

Having said all that, I don’t regret reading it. There is an interesting magic system and world here. It’s readable and thought provoking. Worth recommending.

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Other Reviews:

Mary, Everything Review

BOOK VIDEO REVIEW: MARY, EVERYTHING BY CASSANDRA YORKE – EBOOK

 

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Book Review: Sairō’s Claw, by Virginia McClain

I received a copy of Virginia McClain‘s Sairō’s Claw as part of Storytellers On Tour‘s book tour when it was promoed on Sadie’s Spotlight.

Sairo's Claw

Sairō’s Claw
by Virginia McClain
Series: Gensokai Kaigai (#1), Chronicles of Gensokai (#3)
Published: May 7, 2021
Genre: Fantasy, Action-Adventure, LGBTQ, Seafaring Adventure Fantasy,
Samurai-inspired Fantasy
Pages: 471
CW: Violence

POSSIBLE ULTIMATE TOUR EXPERIENCE TICKETS: An Unforgettable Sidekick, Represent, Under The Sea, It’s All About The Journey, That Ship Has Sailed, Love Actually, The More The Merrier, The Pack Is Back In Town, Blood Suckers, A Villain You Love To Hate


Blurb:

An action-adventure fantasy romp featuring sword lesbians, sea battles, and a grumpy wolf spirit.

Torako has done many things to protect the valley that she calls home, but she’s never looted a corpse before. So when the katana she steals off the still-cooling body of a bandit turns out to be possessed by a grumpy wolf kami, she can only assume it’s because she’s somehow angered the spirits. An impression that’s only reinforced when she returns home to find her wife abducted and her daughter in hiding. But angry spirits or no, Torako isn’t about to let bandits run off with the love of her life, even if it means taking their 3 year old on a rescue mission.

In all Kaiyo’s years as Captain of the Wind Serpent she has never once questioned her admiral’s orders. So when she receives the command to abduct a civilian scribe with the help of fifteen felons, she registers her objections, but does as she is bid. Yet, as the mission unfolds, Kaiyo finds herself questioning everything from her loyalties to her convictions.

As Torako and Kaiyo’s fates cross like dueling blades, their persistence is matched only by their fury, until they uncover a series of truths they may never be ready to accept.

Goodreads / Amazon /
Bookshop (Hardcover) / Bookshop (Paperback)

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My Review:

I generally enjoyed this and have many good things to say about it. But let me get the grumble out of the way first. This is labeled (Gensokai Kaigai #1). But what it very clearly is is book one of a spin-off of Chronicles of Gensokai. I say “clearly,” not only because I’ve looked it up and know, but because the book felt, almost start to finish, like a spin-off of something else.

I don’t actually think this was meant to be hidden knowledge (which I do sometimes think when I find myself in this position), but I mention it because I would not suggest reading this without having read the Chronicles of Gensokai first. It’s followable, but I definitely feel like I missed something because I did.

sairos clawOk, with that out of the way, lets get to all of the ways I loved this book. McClain can write. I mean really write. The text is clean and easy to read from the first page to the last. The characters are fun and there’s quite a lot of subtle humor involved. If I had any talent at drawing I would create fan art of Torako and Tanaka. Plus, the book is just fun and full of a fairly diverse cast.

I did think the child needed to be a little older than 3-years-old to be believable, five maybe. She’s too articulate and focused for a 3yo, even an exceptionally talented one. The two arcs of the story are such that the book feels like two separate stories, rather than two parts of the same one. The book basically starts with Kaiyo’s character. But Torako, who is the first person named in the blurb (who’s name is, in fact, the first word of the blurb) doesn’t show up until page 129. That’s a long time to go before meeting a main character. The book felt like Kaiyo’s book up until that point. Then it felt like Torako’s for a while, and then Kaiyos. Both plots were interesting, but they didn’t feel like part of the same work until near the very end.

I liked the book, though I was confused at times due to not having read Blade’s Edge and Traitor’s Hope. I’d be interested in going back and reading them and I think I accidentally own one other unrelated McClain book. Since I now know I like her writing style, I might just move it up the TBR.


Author Info:

Virginia McClain is an author who masqueraded as a language teacher for a decade or so. When she’s not reading or writing she can generally be found playing outside with her four legged adventure buddy and the tiny human she helped to build from scratch. She enjoys climbing to the top of tall rocks, running through deserts, mountains, and woodlands, and carrying a foldable home on her back whenever she gets a chance. She’s also fond of word games, and writing descriptions of herself that are needlessly vague.

Virginia McClain
Website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook


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