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All posts for the month August, 2012

REVIEW: UNDONE BY THE UNDEAD BY ISABELLE DRAKE (ELLORA’S CAVE)

Published August 10, 2012 by ellenheights

I have another freebie review for ya! I’ve got a few more freebies, too – one story and two novels – so check back sometime. I did a big Ellora’s Cave haul of their free stuff after reading Love Machine and got carried away. 😉

So, this little gem was about an urban zombie myth coming to life for one lucky (or unlucky?!) journalist. Here’s the blurb:

The Boston Public Library is lonely in the middle of a snow storm, but Hayden isn’t going anywhere until he gets what he wants—information he can use for a tabloid newspaper article he’s writing. A book on zombie sex rituals promises exactly what he needs to please his boss, who’s convinced the undead are roaming the streets.

Hayden’s been buried in research for so long, he can’t resist the urgent, sexual advances of the smudgy-eyed girl in tattered tights who climbs in through the library window. But is she human, something conjured by his imagination…or a zombie in need of human flesh?

I just love that Boston accent. When you read this make sure you imagine the accent, it’s a hoot!

This was really something different, seeing as I’ve never considered a zombie to be anything remotely sexual. Well, there was this one horror story I read about a zombie used as an undead sex toy, but just writing that sentence makes me feel like a bit of a creep, so we’ll leave that one there.

It was nice to get away from shape-shifters, vampires and contemporaries for li’l while and read something outside the box, so if you’re looking to try something new and quick I’d definitely recommend it!

The sex scene was OK, but I did sorta long for more of it. I like to have two or three sexual encounters in any reading sitting you see, HAH. But that’s just me. Sometimes the story doesn’t call for it, and there’s certainly no point in injecting scene after scene for no reason – that’s boring. Sex should always be important.

There were a few errors, which I definitely think happened in the editing process. A couple of words were switched around, and there was a missing letter, but that’s all. I can live with that. There’s also the unexplained notion that zombies can choose to live off flesh or sex, which seems a little bit far-fetched to me. That could’ve been explained a little more. What does sex give them exactly, some magic power to stop rotting? Who knows! (But I hope so, or else ew!)

I felt like there could’ve been more to it, and that all possibilities were not explored. All in all, it was just a bit of fun, and a li’l bit spooky too. I enjoyed it! 🙂

Get it here!

In other news:

  • I just finished accepting the editor’s edits and made some changes of my own for A Pre-Date Encounter which is coming out with Silver Publishing in the new year, so yaay!
  • I’ve got a few stories out on submission right now, including a possible series which I’m very eager and excited to get out there.
  • Got some amazing inspiration from a documentary about Japanese host clubs and its affect on both the hosts and their clients. Really, really interesting stuff.

REVIEW: Hot Moon Rising by Desiree Holt (Ellora’s cave freebie)

Published August 5, 2012 by ellenheights

I’ve been enjoying Shapeshifters since I discovered HBO’S Trueblood and following that Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Series (the books Trueblood is based on). Although I’m aware that her work is probably derivative of legions upon legions of Shapeshifter erotica and romance books long before hers broke into mainstream publishing, I still get that exciting Trueblood feel from paranormal stuff like this. It’s a great feeling!

I especially love anything involving characters from the southern states of America. I’ve never been there (though I have family living in Texas) but I’ve always had this burning desire to go, especially when that whole region sounds so…Rustic and exciting in the books.

I know, I know. Probably wishful thinking…But that’s not what the authors say! Desiree Holt, for example, says in the back of this short story that Texas inspires everything she writes. Does that mean sexy southern Sam-Merlotte-esque shifters are real? Pleeeeease?

Anyway, on to the review!

I really enjoyed this little freebie from the Naughty Nooners selection. The story was linear and simple, and the hero is a definite hunk – to use Trueblood as an example, think Aclide Hervaux. Yep. Mmmhm. I particularly enjoyed the whole voyeurism aspect, which also gave me the impression that this story was targeted at men as much as women. Men love watching sexy ladies, don’t they? (psst, we love watching sexy men! You know, in a clean, breaking-no-laws kind of way)

Liane and Charlie give in to their natural urges in a delightfully wolfy way under the moonlight on her back porch, where they discover that they’re in fact in love with one another. N’aw!

Here’s the blurb:

In Line of Sight, Charlie Aquino had trouble believing his partner, Jesse Farrell, fell in love with a shapeshifter. Now he’s drawn to one himself, Liane Cosa, a woman who makes his blood boil, his body hard, and erotic images scream in his brain. One hot night, beneath a full moon, they finally come together, indulging themselves in an orgy of unbridled lust where anything goes. But what will happen when the moon finally sets and daylight creeps up on them? (Desiree Holt)

I didn’t realize this, but it looks like this is part of some kind of mini series, or at least the stories are linked. I really like that as a concept, because erotic romance – or “Romantica” as EC calls it- lends itself so well to the short story form.

Regrettably, there were a few editing issues. They didn’t spoil the story, but I did find them a little jarring. There are many instances, particularly around the sex scenes, when words get very repetitious in the same sentences/paragraphs. As a writer, I understand that this kind of thing happens, but you’ve got to fish these naughty little words out!

The other problem was a few typos, or misspellings, such as “She through her arms around…” as opposed to “threw”. Again, these are innocent enough, but issues with editing can potentially spoil the story.

HAVING SAID THAT – This was a free read! So you know, it’s all give and take.

I thought Hot Moon Rising was a lot of fun. Hey, if it can remind me so much of one of my favourite TV shows (and I watch a LOT of TV!) then it has to be on to a winner, no?

Enjoy some wolfy-love under the moon HERE! 

*I have two more EC freebie stories to review, so check back!


NEW RELEASE! Madeline from the Girls Who Bite anthology!

Published August 4, 2012 by ellenheights

You can now purchase my erotic romance story, Madeline, on Amazon for just £0.77/$0.99!

Blurb:

Teenage lovers Lilly and Madeline are separated after a male vampire attacks and turns them, changing their lives forever. When a fight tears them apart, they go their separate ways. Twenty years later, Madeline has used her vampirism to a profit, but Lilly still cannot accept her life in the dark. Pining for the love they once had, can the two lovers rekindle the passion they once shared?

*This is a short story of approximately 4,000 words, and was featured in the Girls Who Bite anthology by Cleis Press.
Head on over to my Madeline page for a sneaky snippet, links for purchasing and links to the photography/models for the cover art! (I recommend them!)

*I will be giving away copies of Madeline for reviewers, so watch this space. Alternatively leave a comment if you want to write a review!

REVIEW: First Taste, Paisley Smith (Ellora’s Cave Publishing)

Published August 2, 2012 by ellenheights

I’m all over Ellora’s Cave right now! I’ll be reviewing three other freebie stories of theirs, so do check back. I’ll also be selecting from some other delectable publishing venues, but hey…EC does have a huge selection, no?

First Taste by Paisley Smith was a sexy little short story about two girls hitting it off after a long time apart: one girl’s journey towards coming out of the closet and, most importantly, accepting herself.

I’m familiar with Paisley already because our work was featured together in Girls Who Bite, though I was writing under a different name then. Madeline was my first lesbian short story and, indeed, my first ever erotic piece. Getting published in that anthology was certainly my first taste (hah-hah!), and after some careful thinking I revisited romance and erotica to find that once I’d popped I couldn’t stop.

Incidentally, Madeline is also about a former lesbian couple who lost touch after becoming vampires. Lilly felt ashamed of her new affliction, where as feisty Maddie was all set to embrace her dark side. So naturally, when I saw what Paisley’s story was about (and that it was FREEEE!) I just had to check out her take on two girls rekindling their love.

Boy, did she make my story look vanilla!

Fast paced and oozing with ifs-but’s-and-“Oooh I don’t knooows!” Paisley delivers a convincing divorcee protagonist coming to terms with her true self.

But it wasn’t until I met the strap-on butt-o-meter (yep, she goes there! But it isn’t called that, I’m just being silly.) that things get really, really serious. Not only does Natalie have to face her fear of meeting Haley, then satisfying Haley, then confessing her love for Haley…But she has to take control of a male appendage too!

Then there’s bracing herself for what that colossal protrusion does to her. Natalie must find the confidence to satisfy Haley by methods never experienced before, making her a very brave and relatable lead for anyone who’s ever been afraid of uncharted sexual territory.

This was a quick, delightful bedtime read. I think Paisley did a great job of using erotica as a vehicle to explore the complications of sexuality, relationships and battling our inner demons. Fantabulousa!

…Yes, that is a word. Because I say it is, dag-nabbit! (I bet you never knew British girls spoke like that didya, huh?)

Review: Love Machine by Electra Shepherd (Ellora’s Cave Publishing)

Published August 1, 2012 by ellenheights


One thing that caught my eye about this book first-off was the awesome cover! It’s got the whole sexy male thing going on, but the transparent blue combined with a mechanical interior was really very unique to the covers I’m used to seeing. It oozed originality, and that’s very important for me when it comes to erotica. I don’t want to read mechanical sex, but sex with a mechanical man? YES!

So this little novella was a really fun read, but I have to say it tailed off a little towards the end. I wasn’t disappointed, though, just…Eager for more of it, I guess. Which is a good thing!

Here’s the blurb from its page on Ellora’s Cave:

Good-time girl Cally Morgenstern has never paid much attention to the robots her father built. That is, until one night when her vibrator runs out of batteries. And hey, if you’ve got a six-foot hunky robot offering to relieve your sexual frustration, you’re not going to say no, right? Even if he is sort of…well, definitely…blue.

Cally quickly realizes Blue isn’t the average robot. He’s rapidly acquiring a personality, for one thing. And an avid interest in human sexuality, particularly when it comes to Cally. She’s eager to teach Blue all she knows about sexual pleasure, even if they have to build him a few necessary parts in the process. And even if Blue’s explorations of human feelings touch her own, very human, heart. (Love Machine, Elloras Cave 2012)

Exciting from start to finish, Shepherd does a great job of immersing the reader into Cally’s glamorous, if shallow lifestyle in her (late) inventor father’s mansion. She teams science fiction well with contemporary, entwining elements of the curious with the…Uh…Carnal?

As somebody who loved The Holy Machine by Chris Beckett, involving a sentient sexbot, and as a sci fi fan anyway (Daniel Keyes, Kurt Vonnegut etc) I was engrossed immediately by this very effective teaming of two genres. I’m a  massive fan of The Sims, so I’m definitely up for anything involving virtual reality, robots or the more physical forms of escapism when it comes to sci-fi. Sure enough, this novella had it all.

One slight downside was perhaps the happily-ever-after, because science fiction, to me, is always about the awareness that technology cannot always solve human issues. A robot certainly cannot replace love, even if Blue develops human emotions (a little far-fetched, but I wasn’t bothered by that). A big part of me wanted Cally to realize that she can’t treat men as objects, and yet here she gets her cake and eats it. There wasn’t really a moral lesson learned, and I did get the impression that technology won Cally over despite the fact that she never gave decent men a chance.

But hey, this isn’t a traditional sci-fi – this is an erotic novel.

Alas, Cally isn’t one for opening up to men from the start, and there is some redemption in the fact that she is the one running after Blue come the final chapter. I think it’s safe to say she swallowed her pride when she confessed her love, publicly, for a machine. 😉

All in all, this was an engrossing, fun and imaginative read – recommended!