Lenni Reviews: “I Married My Best Friend to Shut My Parents Up” by Naoko Kodama

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Morimoto Machi is not interested in marriage. All she wants is to succeed in her career and live on her own. But as the pressure from her parents to find a husband mounts, Morimoto’s friend, Agaya Hanna, offers to marry Morimoto to keep her parents from complaining. It also helps Agaya since she’s in the market for a new apartment. While the arrangement is inconvenient for Morimoto at first, she soon finds having Agaya around may not be so bad after all.

This is so cute! I love how Agaya stands up for herself against Morimoto’s parents and refuses to be labeled a freak. The pair make an adorable couple. I wouldn’t have minded if this was a little longer and went into some more detail in dealing with Morimoto’s parents. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “A Treason of Truths” by Ada Harper

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

Empress Sabine is invited on a diplomatic mission with some other leaders to a place called The Vault; a technological marvel self sustained by nanotechnology and an archive of an unfathomable amount of human knowledge. But what seems to be an olive branch quickly becomes a deathtrap and Sabine’s former bodyguard, Lyre, must face the secrets she’s been keeping not only from her queen but the woman she loves.

Although I didn’t read the first book, A Conspiracy of Whispers, this story stands well on it’s own. The world building gives the story weight and doesn’t get bogged down in the previous book’s events while still making them understood in relevance to what happens in this book. The action is well paced and tense, making this a fun page turner.

This also doesn’t disappoint in the romance department. Even without too many explicit love scenes, Sabine and Lyre’s relationship is touching and sweet and it’s great to see a lesbian relationship with women of color. As a romance and a science fiction novel, it succeeds on nearly every level except for a lack of development with the main villain and the societal mess behind his motivations, which I won’t spoil. I felt he needed more time to get to know all the details. 4.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Heart of Chaos” by Avery Stiles

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is suggested for mature readers.

Rin Sarduuri has everything going for her. She’s a powerhouse in her company, negotiating deals her parent’s are immensely proud of and taking the business to new heights. But as she is still single, one of her business partners quite suddenly proposes to her right in front her the entire office as well as her parents. Feeling trapped, Rin flees to the altar of Vistri; a shape-shifting trickster god and agrees to whatever the god wants to get her out of this marriage. But what Vistri offers is to be her bride instead.

It was hard to get a bead on this book because of the distinctly modern setting but the gods are real. I can only really chalk that up to the story simply not having enough time for world building because of the breakneck pace and short length. This cute little story about a god and a human falling in love hits all the beats it should without feeling forced and it’s a nice diversion for a quick read. 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “White Knight” by Maple Marr

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review

Lilly wants nothing more than to be a superhero; to save lives, right wrongs, and bring justice to the bad guys. But she’s a Norm, meaning she wants to take on powerful villains with no powers. Her best friend and roommate Rose tries to talk sense but Lilly is undeterred, ending up in seep trouble rose may have to save her from.

The idea of a school for superheroes and villains is cool but with this story being so short, I feel like it didn’t have much of a chance to be explored. However, Lilly and Rose are a cute couple and the concept is interesting. Young adults looking for a quicky lesbian superhero story have a cute, clean read here but it flies by too quick for its own good. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Thorns of the Past” by Gun Brooke

 

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

Former police detective turned private investigator and security guard Darch Flynn is hired to protect Sabrina Hawk, an accountant who has a starker demanding information from her and threatening her. A past assault has left Sabrina with a poor opinion of law enforcement and Darcy has to hide the fact she left the force in disgrace all while Sabrina’s stalkers close in on them.

This book wasn’t bad. The romance between Darcy and Sabrina is good but it is SUPER sappy and had me cringing at the dialogue sometimes. I did enjoy how a relationship of necessity became something more as the story went on. I did, however, have the ‘mystery’ pegged pretty early on so I was sat there waiting for the characters to catch up. It’s all written well enough that I wasn’t annoyed or bored on the way to the climax but overall this book is just ok. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Fight For You” by Kayla Bain-Vrba

 

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*I received this book in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

Cherry is a dancer forced to perform for meager money as she was sold to cover her father’s debts. In order to buy her freedom faster, Cherry enlists the help of Berlin; one of the best gladiators in the arena, to train her to be a fighter as well. As Cherry endures the brutal training and equally brutal fights, she learns she may not want to taste freedom all alone.

This book feels so clipped, it’s more of a fleshed out outline than a full story I could sink my teeth into and really enjoy. The time goes by so fast, I never really got a sense of who the characters really were and why they should even be together. If this were a fully fleshed out novel, it would be amazing. But as it stands, it is sadly lacking. 2.7 out of 5.

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New Short Story Cover Reveal

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Long ago in a submission call far away, I wrote a lesbian thriller story. A nice clean one, not like Sunburn (also at Amazon, B&N, and Kobo and SUPER 18+). While I did get accepted, I never did hear anything back about when the collection would come out and well, it’s been a very long time.

I rediscovered this story while going through some folders on my flash drive to clean some junk files out. When I saw this I felt it was just a shame that it was sitting there doing nothing so, it has a shiny new cover and some new edits.

Am I counting this towards my one story a month goal? Yes, yes I am. Because I did have to re-edit the whole thing and that pretty cover cost me some coin. I know I did say the goal was a finished story every month but not publishing every month but hey, I need the cash and people need more stories!

I hope you enjoy and leave a review.

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You could have heard about this earlier! Patrons get updates sooner than they appear on this blog! 😀

Lenni Reviews: “Steel and Promise” by Alexa Black

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+.

I debated posting this review at all considering I honestly hope people don’t read this and think of buying it because of my reaction. But given enough thought, I decided people needed to be warned about this THING. I have been sitting on this review since October of last year because every time I started it, I would get so LIVID, I’d have to put it down. I was going to do sketches for this one too, but again, blind rage kept me from accomplishing this.

First off, just so you all know the level I am dealing with here? I apologize to Serena’s Plight. If you have not read that review? Go read that first. Then be VERY afraid.

Also, this review will be full of spoilers and I just don’t freaking care.

Cailyn Derys is a high-class courtesan who takes an interest in reclusive noblewoman Teran Nivrai, who is known for her darker tastes. While Cailyn can see there is a depth to the fearsome woman hidden from everyone else, there is still a very real danger in being involved with Teran.

First off this book is boring. Very, tearjerkingly, hair pullingly boring. Between the repetitive word choices and Lesbain Sex For Dummies 101 clinical and dry writing, it was a true struggle to get through this book I almost quit the book at 17% because the image of this alien woman in a pool of water was described in the blandest way possible. If I am tempted to stop reading your book because I thought of 5 different ways to rewrite your scene to make it more interesting, ya dun fucked up. I have ripped apart The Beauty Books and even there, I can at least say the prose was beautiful.

As to how “dark and disturbing” this is? No, sorry. It really isn’t. Teran’s darker tastes can be found in your average adult leaning vampire novel; bloodplay, cutting, and such. Not to mention how the tension between Cailyn and Teran is undercut by how familiar Cailyn is with Teran right from the start and their intimacy seems unearned. Out of nowhere this alien woman feared by all just opens up about her former lovers like Cailyn is a trusted confidant? Sorry, not buying it.

One point I will give this book is Cailyn is her own person. If a client or anyone steps over the line, she’s not afraid to call them on it and put her foot down. And that trait does carry through to the rest of the book. She never becomes a doormat.

So, after all that, all the build-up to how dark this book is and how I found it to be as dry as a bag of sand in the Sahara, what about this book made me want to rage out? At 80%, Teran gets mad for whatever fucking reason because it honestly doesn’t matter and we are treated to an overly detailed rape scene between her and Cailyn. As if I wasn’t annoyed or indifferent up to that point because of the rest of the boring sex in this book, now I’m pissed off and disgusted. Tossing this pointless shit in there doesn’t make this “dark erotica” it makes it exploitive schlock of the worse common denominator. Teran is now irredeemable and I don’t want to follow this character for the remainder of this book because all of that effort to make her seem less of the monster her reputation says she is has been destroyed. She IS a monster and this book can suck it for trying to make me see her as anything else.

I don’t know how I made it through this… Cailyn starts the book as an accomplished courtesan with autonomy and freedom and ends it as a slave owned by her rapist. If you want BDSM, Story of O did it better. If you want dark erotica, Killing Stalking is a great example of something taboo, disturbing, yet also compelling. Other reviews had people quitting around the 70% mark saying it was too dark but no, it was boring and dumb. I have never outright hated a book this much and I refuse to give it any stars at all.

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