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REVIEW:  His Kind of Woman by Nona Raines

REVIEW: His Kind of Woman by Nona Raines

“When Roy Girard went looking for Victor Varrano, he never expected a woman to answer the door. He soon discovers that Victor is now Venetia. Roy’s startled, but even more surprised by his attraction to her. As they spend time together, he doesn’t want to let her go. But she’s sure to dump him when she learns his secret.

Venetia’s falling hard and fast for Roy. But when she learns that his brother was the bully who tormented her in high school, she’s shattered. She can’t wrap her head around the fact that the man who made such amazing love to her could so completely betray her trust.”

Dear Ms. Raines,

When Loose-Id sent us a list of titles for possible review, I picked this one out. Why? Because it features a transgender character. Yep, that was all it took. Readers have gently chided us for the dearth of LBTQ reviews at Dear Author and I decided this year to try and remedy that.

his-kind-of-womanThis is a novella with a lot of ground to cover. Some things are already established and some need to be worked out. Venetia has already undergone her GRS and finally feels that her body matches who she’s always known she is. Roy used to be the bully his half brother also was but before his death, Travis had come out as Gay causing Roy to examine his own feelings towards those who might not fit into heteronormativity.

But just the mention of her former name brings back hurtful, old memories to Venetia and when Roy discovers she’s a transgender woman, his confusion over his initial attraction to someone he thought was a hot woman makes him step back. Their relationship continues only because of Venetia’s curiosity about why Roy was seeking her out and his desire to fulfill his dead brother’s wish to apologize to Venetia. I like that their feelings move from attraction-but-not-acting-on-it, through friendship and then to sex. By the time they’re in bed, I can believe that it means something to them both.

“Sex had never been important before. There’d been women, sure, but an over-the-road trucker’s life was hard on relationships. Too much time apart. Easier just to settle for casual hookups. It was hi, how ya doin’, it’s on, see ya around.
He’d never been in love before.”

The humor is a plus too.

“He lifted her in his arms and carried her down the hall. But since he didn’t know where her bedroom was, he almost deposited her in the bathroom. Okay, maybe he wasn’t Don Juan.”

And what Roy’s wearing – or soon to be not wearing – made me think of the wonderful blues song, “Meet Me with Your Black Drawers On.”

The sexing is hot and specific to their situation as Venetia calms her worry about size with the knowledge that she’s been faithfully using her dilator but wait! there’s still more conflict to deal with. Venetia’s reaction to the news that Roy – this man she’s just let make love to her – is the brother of the bully who made her life a misery is dead on. She wants Roy out of her house and her life. Roy’s anger that Venetia is dissing Travis without hearing the circumstances – this is his brother after all – also makes sense.

Not until one of Venetia’s friends – yes! she’s a woman with friends and a full social life and is a well rounded character – reminds her that people can change does Venetia decide to offer Roy another chance to prove himself. She lets him into a bit more of her life and what’s important to her – the LGBTQ group of teens she mentors. Roy picks the perfect Sam Cooke song to dance to in order to tell her – and the people who also care about her – how he really feels.

I was happy that this isn’t a Gay Utopia, though, as shown by a coulda been awful encounter Venetia has in a bar and the fact that she felt the town needed a place where LGBTQ teens could feel accepted. With all these positives, why the B grade? The section where Roy delves via the internet into what transgender means came across to me as slightly preachy and stilted. Still I think a lot of issues are covered here and done well. B

~Jayne

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REVIEW:  Inked Ever After by Elle Aycart

REVIEW: Inked Ever After by Elle Aycart

Dear Ms. Aycart:

It may have been a mistake for me to read this because while I had read a previous book in this series (Heavy Issues) it was not the book featuring the main couple in “Inked Ever After.” Thus I was lost. “Inked Ever After”, I learned after some research, is actually the sequel to “More than Meets the Ink.” (But in my defense, More than Meets the Ink was published in 2011 and Heavy Issues in 2012)

Inked Ever After (Bowen #2.5) by Tate Aycart“Inked Ever After” is really an extended epilogue of “More than Meets the Ink” and it follows James and Tate from bachelorette party to pre wedding jitters. Romances featuring established couples are kind of fun and while there is a whisper of a plot in this book, the story is heavy on the sex and light on everything else.

Tate is suffering emotionally from the loss of her father and her brother. She’s set to marry James, her love, but is racked with insecurity. She believes she isn’t good enough for him. I didn’t really understand why Tate doesn’t get to be an emotional mess close to her wedding and thinking about her dead father and brother. Or why she thinks this makes her an unacceptable partner to James.

James doesn’t really get it either but her emotional state allows him to be super bossy and to tell her to knock it off or he’ll stick a penis inside her. Basically Penis Sticking is James’ answer to everything. Stop talking or I’ll stick a penis inside you. Don’t wear that outfit out of the house unless I’m with you or I’ll stick a penis inside you. Start communicating with me about what’s going on upstairs in that head of yours or I’ll stick a penis inside you.

I liked the idea of exploring a relationship that is being held together by not much more than mutual orgasms because that’s kind of an interesting conflict but all their conflicts are reduced to physical resolution. Seeking a cure from the diseased well doesn’t make a lot of sense. I know that James tries to justify this by saying “You always let me totally in when we have sex. No reservations. No fears. I get all of you. When I’m inside you, all your walls crumble, even the ones you don’t know you have.” But he also knows that Tate uses his fierce desire for her to avoid any heavy talking.

Sure, it means there are more sexy times in a book but how many scenes of sexy times does one reader need until her sexy time receptor becomes numb? The sexy times are hot. James is a dirty talker but he kind of is an overbearing dirty talker and Tate was too beat down at times for me to enjoy James’ constant commands. The ending, however, was very sweet and I wished that there had been more of those non sexual emotional moments in the book. Maybe if I had read the first book, this one would have been more enjoyable. Alas, I still think my sexy times receptor would be numb. Worn out. Overused. C

Best regards,

Jane

 

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