Lauren reviews The Little Sisters of The Holy Vessel by Vincent Cross


The Little Sisters of The Holy Vessel is a short story about an order of nuns that administer exorcisms. In particular, readers are introduced to Sister Teresa and Sister Elizabeth. The sisters have traveled to a small village to assist Father Gregory with a recent crime that he believes will require a spiritual interrogation. At first, nothing seems odd about the nuns. They are dutiful with religious and cultural etiquette. Fast-forward past the opening and Cross unveils the “worldy” side of these women, which removes the veil between the reader and the historical setting, and allows Teresa and Elizabeth to add deeper hues to the story.

Given this is a short story I can’t delve into the plot without risking spoilers. Therefore, I’ll shift to the parts of the narrative that interested and concerned me.

First off, Little Sisters is erotic, which augments the relationship between the characters, as well as the banishment of evil. The erotic is more than sexual. It exists in several layers. It’s physical and spiritual and romantic. On this same note, there is a layer of Cross’ eroticism that pestered me as the story escalated and climaxed. And it started with this sentence:

“We want the thing to smell our scent, but we don’t want our bodies to betray us.”

Sparing the details, I asked myself why is it necessary for these women to use their vessels in such a risky way? Arguably, they are asked to sacrifice their sanctity. Do their actions convey that women are powerful beyond measure? Or, is this just another instance of women “using” what God gave them to make themselves relevant in an unequal world and an attempt to maintain balance between good and evil? Which, ultimately, saves men. If the tables were turned and male clergy were responsible for the exorcism, how would the climatic event in this story change? To me, it would be much different.

There are times when the erotic can be liberating.  There are times when the sexuality and the erotic gaze are self-serving and only maintain sexist ideals. I feel that Little Sisters walks a fine line. The story is well written, but where (and if) readers teeter along this line is subjective, of course.

I would have liked for Cross to allow the nuns to address two of my lingering questions: first, who are they protecting, and second, do they feel their holy vessel is the only way?

As a reviewer, I rarely feel the need to strike an iron hammer by recommending or not recommending a read. Therefore, I’ll end as I usually do. Little Sisters is story for those who enjoy short stories and want to venture into an old world, erotic, and paranormal read featuring religious women that boldly face demons.

Lauren Cherelle uses her time and talents to traverse imaginary and professional worlds. She recently penned her sophomore novel, “The Dawn of Nia.” Outside of reading and writing, she volunteers as a child advocate and enjoys new adventures with her partner of thirteen years. You can find Lauren online at Twitter,, and Goodreads.

Danika reviews Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica edited by Sinclair Sexsmith

I had high hopes for this collection, and I am very happy to say that it lived up to them! In any anthology, the thing I’m most looking for is consistent quality of writing. Every collection will have some I like more and some I like less, but that should be because of personal taste, not because the writing was sub-par. Say Pleasewas obviously very carefully put together. The stories definitely show a higher standard of writing than I’m used to in erotica collections. They also show a range, from light BDSM to heavier stuff. The relationships are loving and committed, completely fleeting, or in between.

In a conversation on Lambda Literary, Sinclair Sexsmith admits that this collection is labelled “lesbian” BDSM erotica for marketing purposes and that she considers the collection queer, and that she is seeking to broaden the definition of “lesbian” for collections like this. (I can definitely empathize with this–I chafe at calling this a “lesbian book blog” and in name excluding lots of people I want to include, but I can’t find a better word.) There is definitely a lot of gender dynamics at work in Say Please. One of my favorites was “Strong” by Xan West, which features a trans butch dom and a genderqueer sub that switches between playing girl and playing boy in a scene. As Sexsmith mentioned on Autostraddle, this collection is reflective of her taste. There is a lot of strap on use in Say Please: the vast majority of stories use one. There are also a couple “Daddy” stories, as well.

One of notes I kept writing while reviewing this book was “So short!” The majority of the stories show a very small section of time. As much as I was left wanting to see more from some stories, I appreciate it overall, because many erotica stories overreach and end up losing my interest. Luckily, lots of the stories are very succinct in establishing a relationship dynamic and personalities between the people involved. “Going the Distance” by Elaine Miller was another one of my favorites because I immediately enjoyed the playful relationships that so clearly shone through in such a short space.

Probably my favorite story, however, was written by the editor herself (“Not Without Permission”). Again, the small details quickly contextualize this night in the rest of their lives.

I really enjoyed this collection. I ended up reading it almost in one sitting in order to have this review up in time for the blog tour, and I don’t exactly recommend it. My partner said I had a “contact BDSM high… without the contact.” You end up vicariously experiencing all of these scenes. It was a little overwhelming, but definitely not unpleasant.

Check out what other people have said about Say Please on their blog tour! Link are listed below.

April 1      Say Please release party in SF
April 1 Viviane
April 3 Rachel Kramer Bussel
April 4 Giselle Renard
April 5 Evoe Throw
April 6 Liz
April 9 Roma Mafia
April 9 Daniela
April 10 Official release date! Sinclair
April 11 Dede / deviantdyke
April 12 Helena Swann
April 13 Kim Herbel
April 13   Say Please release party in NYC
April 14 Lily Lloyd
April 15 Kelli Dunham
April 16 Lyzanne
April 17 Lula Lisbon
April 18 Ali Oh
April 19 Jameson
April 20 Rhys
April 21 Charlie Ninja
April 22    Say Please release party in Boston
April 22 Meredith Guy
April 23 Wendi Kali
April 24 Lolita Wolf
April 25 Audrey at Babeland
April 26 Seth B
April 27 Danika
April 28 DL King
April 29 Kiki
April 29 Kyle

Maryam reviews Best Lesbian Erotica 2012

After a frustrating, busy week, I decided to relax with Best Lesbian Erotica 2012.  It definitely put me in a better mood – the collection starts off strong with Amy Butcher’s ‘Touched’.  I’m a sucker for a schoolgirl, so this little vignette was a delight. As a whole, Best Lesbian Erotica offers more hits than misses, although for me personally it went downhill after D.L. King’s ‘On My Honor’, one of the sexiest, most enjoyable stories in the book.  I didn’t care for the stories that were written in second-person narrative – to be quite honest, I find it more difficult to get into the story with second-person perspective.  Of all the stories, I thought that ‘Touched’, ‘Rebel Girl’, ‘Blood Lust’, ‘Maid For You’, and ‘On My Honor’ really shone. ‘How He Likes It’ I could have done without; it seemed too far removed from lesbian erotica to actually be lesbian erotica – without the details, I could have just been reading a straight S&M story. Queer erotica, yes – lesbian erotica, not so much? All in all, I think there is something for everyone inBest Lesbian Erotica 2012 – a little romance, a little S&M, a little uniform play, and a lot of great authors and great, hot sex writing.