Alyssa reviews Sometime Yesterday by Yvonne Heidt


In addition to being a romance story, Sometime Yesterday by Yvonne Heidt is also a horror mystery. I really enjoyed this book; it had a couple iffy parts, but overall I had fun reading it and was caught up in both the romantic plot and the mystery.

There are two lesbian couples in Sometime Yesterday, which mirror each other: one in the past, and one in the present. In present day we meet Natalie, a painter who has just divorced her ex-husband and purchased an idyllic-looking house in a small town. She soon meets Van, a butch landscaper with a tragic past and a chronic avoidance of commitment. Natalie’s new house turns out to be haunted, and through the haunting, she and Van learn about the two women who used to love each other in that house. The lovers of the past were doomed by circumstance, but Natalie and Van have a chance at a future together.

I enjoyed the romance in the story the most, although the haunting, which escalates over time, gives it vital tension. Van and Natalie make a believable pair, and reading about them was a sweet experience. The haunting and its mystery unfold well, although it was at times too gory for my tastes. If you don’t like gore or violence, I would look for your romance elsewhere. For the record, since I like to note these things down in my reviews, the cast is mostly white (except for an important background character who I believe is supposed to be Hispanic), and the characters are gay but not very queer. I’d also like to warn for the following triggers: abuse, rape, and murder.

I would definitely recommend Sometime Yesterday if you’re looking for an enjoyable lesbian romance, and don’t mind some ghosts thrown in—or vice versa.

Alyssa reviews Dreaming of Her by Maggie Morton


Dreaming of Her by Maggie Morton is an erotic fiction novel with fantasy elements. The story revolves around two women: Isa, who blogs for a living and is on the outs with her last boyfriend, and Lilith, a “Dreammaker,” who lives in a different reality and whose job is to craft sex dreams for people on Earth. Lilith and Isa meet in Isa’s dreams, and though it’s forbidden on Lilith’s end, each falls for the other. Meanwhile, a monster connected to the Dreammakers’ world threatens Isa’s city. The plot runs through a series of sex scenes, developing as well as concluding through erotic content.

The plot of this novel is simple and easily resolved, and the inter-dimensional mechanics and world-setting are loose and vague. However, as this is erotic fiction first, I found this to be acceptable and it did not get in the way of my enjoyment of the book. The language is solid and polished, and in general, the characters are rounded enough for their purposes. My one problem I had while reading this novel was that there is a background character who is trans*, and for the two or three page duration of her presence, is not treated very respectfully. (Aspects of her appearance are insulted, and the characters gossip about the ways in which they can tell she’s trans*.)

I enjoyed the erotica in this novel. It is mostly woman-on-woman, although as a caveat, a couple cisgender men appear in sexual contexts, especially towards the beginning. There is also some light BDSM content.

I enjoyed reading Dreaming of Her and would recommend it if you’re looking for lesbian erotica.

[*Editors note: the author has contacted me (Danika) about this review and says “The character your reviewer mistook as trans was actually a drag queen. It’s a bummer that I didn’t make that clear enough in the novel – I may just not be very good at writing drag queen characters! Anyway, I would love it if you could add a correction to the review, because I really don’t want people not buying my book because of supposed transphobia in it.” and “I would NEVER write anything negative about a trans character unless the character speaking about the trans character was supposed to be a total dick.”]

Alyssa reviews Night Weaver by Madeleine Lycka

Night Weaver by Madeleine Lycka is an erotic vampire romance that centers around three vampire women. Two of them, Isabel and Ankit, have been undead for hundreds of years, and the third, Arrow, has just been turned into a vampire by Ankit. The story revolves around romance, art, sex, jealousy, and some minor politicking. Overall, I enjoyed Night Weaver. Although it suffers from some flaws and a lack of polishing, it is enjoyable, with hot sex scenes, well choreographed action scenes, solid characters, and a pleasing conclusion.

Like many independently published novels, Night Weaver is unpolished: it contains typos, a few confusing scene breaks, and at least one extraneous sex scene. Additionally, while the ending is satisfying in terms of content and loose ends, it feels abrupt and like it ought to have been fleshed out more. Despite these issues, I enjoyed reading Night Weaver. The story and characters are strong and well developed, and the characters’ internal universes—Ankit’s and Arrow’s both center around making art—are interesting to explore. The erotic scenes are also fun to read. Isabel, Ankit, and Arrow, the three vampire women, form a love triangle: Isabel and Ankit were together for a long time, but no longer, and Ankit and Arrow begin to fall in love, which enrages Isabel, who also happens to be queen of the vampires. Ankit is a painter and tattoo artist, and Arrow weaves tapestries; they are drawn together by their similar artist souls.

For vampire lore connoisseurs: these vampires have limited qualms when it comes to feeding on the blood of living humans. The protagonists in Night Weaver often kill to eat and rarely feel guilt over these actions. The origin of vampires is not explored in this setting, and some of the typical lore is ignored. These are nocturnal vampires who will burn in the sun, and can be killed only by sunlight or very violent physical trauma. We see Arrow work on one or two occasions to control her “beast,” but the vampires in Night Weaver are generally in control of themselves, and the only drawbacks to immortality seem to be night living, loss of human food, and occasionally deadly politics.

Ultimately, I would recommend checking out this book—it’s only four bucks for the electronic version on Amazon, and free to borrow if you have Prime—especially if you’re looking for vampires or vampire erotica in your lesbian fiction, or just some erotic, somewhat kinky, romance punctuated by action and high stakes.

Alyssa reviews Fairy Tales for Princesses Who Love Dames by Rene von Bonaparte

Fairy Tales for Princesses Who Love Dames by Rene von Bonaparte is a collection of fairy tales retold with both a lesbian and a modern twist. The beast and her prisoner, the sleeping beauty and her savior, are all women, and the pea put under the princess’ mattress is a USB drive. The narrative style is simplistic in the tradition of folk tales such as those collected by the Brothers Grimm, and I can imagine one reading them aloud to a child at bedtime, or to a lover, snuggled up in bed on a rainy day. I was pleased with the stories themselves, and the collection gets points for having at least one sad ending.

Unfortunately, this collection also has a bit of an issue with race. All the women followed by the narration are described with Caucasian features, and most of the other characters are white as well. Three of the main characters, lovers of the women followed by the narration, are women of color. (One antagonist is also a woman of color, but she is the twin of one of the protagonists, essentially her reflection.) If this had been handled correctly by the author, I would stop here and deem the POC representation decent, if limited. However, these three characters are also the three characters in the collection who have been trapped in animal forms: a swan, a beast, and a frog. They eventually turn back into humans; one dies, while another retains some animal characteristics. Furthermore, one of these characters, referred to as “Indian,” is described as having “exotic beauty.” I’m not going to go into why these things are a problem, here, aside from the fact that they’re racist; if you don’t know why they are a problem, I recommend doing some google searches.

As the author has made their POC characters, and only their POC characters, animals and exotified them, I am going to have to refrain from recommending the purchase of this collection. There is no excuse for this in a book published in 2012, and the stories are not outstanding enough to recommend in spite of problematic elements.


Alyssa reviews Women on the Edge of Space

Women on the Edge of Space is a chapbook of four sci-fi, erotica short stories. While it is billed as an anthology, it is neither long nor consistent enough for that to be an accurate descriptor. It contains the following four works:

1. “The Many Little Deaths of Cicilia Long” by Shanna Germain
2. “Fair as the Moon, Clear as the Sun” by Laurel Waterford
3. “Adrift” by Kaysee Renee Robichaud
4. “Unfolding Her Wings” by Elizabeth Black

There is a bit of a disconnect in the subject matter. The first short story is what I wanted this collection to be, considering the ambitious presentation of the chapbook: science fiction in essence, with erotic content that is integral to, but not the overall point of, the story. In the latter three short stories, while science fiction is present—the stories are set in the future, in space, and contain multiple instances of zero- or low-gravity sex—sci-fi is largely used as a backdrop for erotic fiction. The fourth story works with this, though, showcasing human normalcy and family amid futuristic technological advances.

All of the relationships portrayed in this collection are woman-on-woman. I was particularly pleased with the fourth story for including committed polyamory, and a pregnant woman in an erotic narrative without fetishization; and with the first story, for the central character’s lesbian relationships taking a back seat to her relationship with the cosmos, i.e. nature, which is presented in an erotic manner. As such, I vastly preferred the first and last stories in this collection. The second story is enjoyable, but the characterization is somewhat unrealistic. The third story is decent, but reads essentially like Star Trek fanfiction. This isn’t essentially a bad thing, but does not lend well to originality.

I would not go out of my way to recommend this collection, but if you’re looking for sci-fi lesbian erotica, it will be worth the three dollar ebook price on Amazon.

Alyssa reviews The Superheroes Union: Dynama by Ruth Diaz

The Superheroes Union: Dynama by Ruth Diaz is a superhero romance novel about two women and two children, and protecting and creating family in a world with metahuman powers and supervillains. The story focuses on TJ Gutierrez, single mother and incognito superhero—once Dynama, now Hidden Hand—and Annmarie Smith, non-powered nanny from superhero origins.  The story is short but sweet: superhero meets nanny, nanny romances superhero, superhero’s ex and the father of her children breaks out of supervillain prison.

The romance between TJ and Annmarie is sweet, realistic, and fun to read. TJ has her hands full between being a mother and saving the city, hasn’t really dated since she sent her ex to jail, and thinks her attraction to Annmarie, who the Superheroes Union sent to watch her kids, is a bad idea. But Annmarie is great with her kids—very important for a potential love interest for a single mother—cooks for TJ, makes sure she takes care of herself while trying to track her supervillain ex, and generally seduces her.

Written superhero fiction, divorced from graphical narrative, is still an emerging genre. Accordingly, the success of authors writing it varies; but this novel holds up well. Dynama takes place in what I would consider a standard superhero version of modern reality. Strong characters, well-written plot, and sweet and believable romance make this novel worth the read. In addition, the story explores superhero families and children in an intelligent manner. This reviewer finds it refreshing to see narratives about superheroes’ children handled seriously and maturely, considering how often they are fridged, i.e. killed or retconned for drama, in mainstream superhero comics.

Usually at this point in the review, I would go over what problems I had with the book, but Dynama really is a solid, enjoyable story. If I have any objection, it would have to be to its brevity. After seeing Diaz’s handling of the genre, I would like to see more, if not with these characters, then at least in this universe.

If you enjoy romance, superheroes, or both, you should give The Superheroes Union: Dynama a read. It won’t disappoint.

Alyssa reviews everafter by Nell Stark and Trinity Tam

everafter by Nell Stark and Trinity Tam is an urban fantasy, vampire-and-shifter novel centered around a committed lesbian couple. Valentine is a rich, androgynous medical student whose parents are opposed to her lesbianism, and her girlfriend, Alexa, is a strong-willed, femme law student. They are in an established relationship at the opening of the novel; Valentine is preparing to propose to Alexa when she is attacked and turned by a vampire. everafter takes the science-fiction route to vampires and shifters: they are caused by a parasite and a virus, respectively. Valentine and Alexa work with both police and this universe’s secret vampire organization to track down the vampire who attacked Valentine, while simultaneously fighting to keep their relationship together through the challenges of vampirism, post-traumatic stress, and later the change Alexa goes through to better feed her lover.

What immediately impressed me about everafter is that it balances two strong-willed characters, two halves of a relationship, very successfully. Neither of the two is overshadowed by the other—both have agency in the novel, and they work as a team to face their challenges. Both Valentine and Alexa are distinct, well-rounded characters who carry the story together, and they are also seriously in love and lust with each other. The novel is well-peppered with sex scenes, most of which involve vampiric biting and blood-drinking.

While the world-setting for this story is not very divergent from vampire-and-shifter urban fantasy in general, I personally consider that a sub-genre, and thus don’t see this as a problem. My main criticism, story-wise, is that while the action rises and there is a pivotal fight at the climax, I was never very worried about the characters’ chances of survival. My other criticism is that while there is a single side character of color, besides her, the cast is fairly white, which is unrealistic, considering the novel takes place in New York City.

everafter is, overall, a strong story that I enjoyed reading, with full characters that you will want to see win their battles. It leaves some important questions unanswered at the end, which I hope to see resolved in its sequel, nevermore.

Alyssa reviews Lilies on Sand by Amelia Ellis

This month I’m reviewing Lilies on Sand by Amelia Ellis, the sequel to The Lion’s Circle, which I reviewed last month. If you read my review last month, you might remember that I was a bit underwhelmed by the first book in the series. I am pleased to report that the series does improve with the second book: the pacing is much neater, and I wasn’t left wondering at irrelevant details. I think by now I can safely try to classify this book series as a combination of mystery/private investigator and slice of life. (This isn’t a genre I’m extremely familiar with, so perhaps the slice of life bit is common to P.I. novels.)

On the subject of lesbian content, I was at first somewhat worried. We learn at the start that Nea’s recent lover from book one is no longer with her, with few details, and Nea goes on to date a couple guys in this volume. Nea as the narrator has a tendency to skimp on information about emotional events, and to put off actually acknowledging situations until later, so while information on her ex is vague at first, we do eventually learn what happened. While Nea commits herself to a man in this volume, we also see, from her perspective, a romance developing between her close friend and a new client, both of whom are women. I enjoyed this storyline, and it’s also accompanied by themes of growing friendship and family. Now that I have read two of the books, I feel I am getting to know the cast of characters that surrounds Nea and to empathize with them— their lives are part of the ongoing story being told here.

The plot is interesting, with an ongoing puzzle that stretches around the globe left for Nea’s new client by the girl’s grandmother. I didn’t try myself, but there are a least a couple puzzles in this mystery that the reader can solve on their own, which I believe lend merit to all the bits we can’t participate in solving. (I suspect you could also play along by looking up various coordinates on Google Earth, but I haven’t tried it myself.)

I have one concern which I can’t properly address here. There is a section of the story wherein Nea and her client are helped in a tight spot by a group of Navajo people. With any portrayal of a Native American people in literature, I am going to worry about how the portrayal is being handled; however, I do not have the knowledge base to determine how respectful or accurate this part of the story is.

Overall I enjoyed Lilies on Sand, and am considering reading numbers three and four of the Nea Fox series.

Alyssa reviews The Lion’s Circle by Amelia Ellis

The Lion’s Circle, the first in the Nea Fox series by Amelia Ellis, is a detective novel, set in England, about a private investigator who faces down a dangerous, misogynistic cult with the help of various random players who join her in the action.

As I slogged through the epilogue chapters, I kept thinking about how I would critique this book as an unfinished work, which is not a good sign. On the plus side, I will say I was entertained during the more active scenes, was interested in Nea as a character, and found the plot to be solid enough. However, the pacing leaves something to be desired. I’d say a good third of the book is filled up with details about Nea’s environment, meals, friends, and daily activities, which are irrelevant to the plot and far too numerous to make for concise characterisation. In lieu of strong foreshadowing, I was pushed forward by my interest in the woman-woman relationship, which turned out to be an insignificant element of the plot. The lesbian/bisexual plot occurs in the background: it enters at the beginning, gets us interested in the blossoming relationship between the narrator (who it sounds like has never been with a woman before) and a somewhat mysterious woman. This plot then disappears under the rest of the story, only returning for a hinted continuation in the final chapters, save for a few thoughts by the narrator that remind us she has recently become infatuated. During a lull in the action, the narrator works and works up to telling her best friend about the woman she has met, and then the actual conversation is anticlimactically skipped, cutting us off from possible insight about the conflicted feelings Nea may or may not be having.

As a side note, while the story hints at supernatural elements, mundane explanations are eventually given for these. I’m still not convinced there aren’t any supernatural elements—it is strongly hinted that there is something up with Nea’s love interest and with a piece of her jewelry, although that could just be for the ambience of mystery—and I hope, too, that their relationship is explored in more depth in the sequels.



– Lesbians: a bit. Main character is bi- or pansexual (she hasn’t labeled herself.)

– Racial diversity: pretty white. India is mentioned as the source of the white men’s cult.

– Chekhov’s gun: you won’t see it again.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend The Lion’s Circle unless you have a particular interest in the detective genre. I’m going to read further into the series; perhaps that will change my opinion.

Alyssa reviews The Gunfighter and The Gear-Head by Cassandra Duffy

The Gunfighter and The Gear-Head by Cassandra Duffy is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi western steampunk—stick with me here—erotica lesbian love triangle action-adventure story. I was somewhat doubtful at first, as I usually am when so many tropes are put together. However, I found it to be a solid, overall self-contained story. The post-apocalyptic situation, the aftermath of an attempted alien invasion, was well thought out; the characters dealt with violence and death in believable ways. The aliens, the “slark,” provide the overarching plot and a large amount of character motivation, but while we see plenty of them die and try to kill, they are not very present. You won’t find any interspecies sympathies here, so you will be disappointed if you’re looking for ufology or xeno. I personally like to see inside the heads of both sides of a conflict, but The Gunfighter is from the perspective of two characters who lived through an invasion and couldn’t give a damn what the enemy is thinking, except in order to predict their strategy.

It may not be apparent from the start, but this is a story about women in charge: the protagonists are women, and about half of the antagonists are women. The central relationship is between Gieo, who brings in the steampunk element with her style and mechanical genius, and Fiona, a formidable alien hunter who was once a Victoria’s Secret model. The Gunfighter is part erotica, and thus the action is broken up by some fairly hot sex scenes, which build up nicely from abortive efforts to longer scenes. (Once I got a ways into the book, though, I was more interested in the plot than the sexy bits.) There are a few BDSM themes in the first half—including spanking and collaring—which fade as the story progresses to make way for the building plot. My one complaint is that despite being part erotica, this book failed at sex positivity: at least one sexual activity is universally derided by all of the women we see in sexual situations.

Some scores to further inform you:

Trans characters: zero

Racial/ethnic diversity: decent

Lesbians: lots

Overall, I enjoyed The Gunfighter and The Gear-Head, and I would recommend giving it a read.