Column: Lesbian Paranormal Romance

Lesbian Paranormal Romance

 Love truly has no boundaries. This can certainly be said for these eight books. Whether that love is between a woman and the beautiful vampire lady she’s fallen head over heels for, or between lady werewolves who mate for life, or even mysterious women who do everything they can to hide the beast within themselves, these stories show just how much a woman is willing to go through to stay with the love of her life. Within the pages of these books, you will find eight very different stories of speculative lesbian romances where love is the key to it all.

Heidt, Yvonne. The Quickening. Bold Strokes. 2014. $16.95. 264p. PB. 978-1602829756.

Heidt QuickeningYvonne Heidt’s, The Quickening, is the second book of the Sisters of Spirits Trilogy. This book invites you into the life of Tiffany Curran, a woman with an exceptional gift. Unfortunately, her gift doesn’t come without a cost. Using her sense of touch, she can read people and places, but because of this, she’s often left longing for human contact. Accepting her fate, Tiffany tries to live her life as simply as possible. Of course, things don’t always go according to plan, and that can certainly be said when Katerina Volchosky waltzes into her life, requesting the assistance of the Sisters of Spirits paranormal team.

Katerina (Kat, for short) is an accomplished journalist who is working on tracking down a serial killer by using the expertise and special talents of the S.O.S. The connection and chemistry between Tiffany and Kat is unmistakeable. In fact, Kat has loved Tiffany long before she’s actually met her (in this lifetime).

Heidt weaves an exciting story of drama, suspense, and chemistry that makes for a great read. Her descriptions allow readers to easily visualize each scene and relate to the various characters. If you like a unique story with a protagonist who has weaknesses and flaws, this may be the one for you.

Summers, Robin. Season of the Wolf. Bold Strokes. 2014. $16.95. 264p. PB. 978-1626390430.

The title and cover of Robin Summers’, Season of the Wolf, may make you think you areSummers Season of the Wolf about to read a paranormal shapeshifting story. If that is what you’re thinking, you’re in a for a big surprise. In this story, Summers tells the story of two very different women, Devon James and Jordan Salinger.

For years, Devon has been playing a game of hide and seek with a murderer. When two of her co-workers end up dead (and their bodies discovered by Devon), she knows it’s time to make another break for it. But before she can take off and start another life for herself, the police interfere and take her in for questioning.

Jordan Salinger knows exactly how rough life can be. A Pittsburgh homicide detective, Jordan has been on leave after a hostage situation ended up with her getting shot, and regretting things that she hasn’t been able to accomplish. She’s not sure what to expect when she’s called to assist with a witness who seems hellbent on making things difficult for everyone. Nor does she have a clue that this woman is the key to the answers of the unanswered questions that Jordan asks herself.

While the descriptions that Summers paints are vivid at times, and the characters are realistic, it can be difficult to relate to either one of them. There’s something missing in the narrative that makes it difficult for readers to lose themselves in the story. It’s a sense of detachment, and the sex scenes leave a lot to be imagined.

Raand, L.L. The Magic Hunt. Bold Strokes. 2014. $16.95. 240p. PB. 978-1626390454.

Raand Magic HuntThe Magic Hunt is the fifth book in the Midnight Hunter series by Radcliffe (writing as L. L. Raand). It follows Sylvan Mir, an Alpha werewolf and her mate Drake McKennan. These two (and their pack) turn away from the government and take matters of protecting their pack on their own, and with force if need be. If that isn’t enough, Torren de Brinna, a Fae royal who escaped imprisonment from a vampire dungeon has enlisted the help of Sylvan, begging for sanctuary, and putting her in the path of an inevitable battle.

If you’re a fan of paranormal stories, this book definitely fits the characteristics of a paranormal novel. As exciting as some of the scenes are, there are so many characters that it can be difficult and confusing to keep up. It’s a decent read, but the paranormal element is pretty typical of other paranormal stories. Wolves, vampires, etc. it leaves you wishing for something a bit more unique.

Walker, Tanai. Sacred Fire. Bold Strokes. 2014. $16.95. 264p. PB. 978-1626390614.

Walker Sacred FireTanai Walker’s, Sacred Fire is the epitome of a paranormal novel. Tinsley Swann is stricken with the curse of changing into a beast for seven days every seven years. Because of this curse, she tries to distance herself from most people. In fact, she has more of a relationship with the erotic postcards that she collects than with anyone, or anything, else.

But trying to prevent herself from getting involved with others is something that Tinsley just isn’t capable of, especially when it comes to her new boss, Sandra. Tinsley and Sandra are in the midst of an affair, and Sandra witnesses her change. This change doesn’t frighten Sandra, and she treats Tinsley with kindess. However, Tinsley also meets another woman, Leda, who looks almost exactly like the postcards that Tinsley is so fond of. Eventually, she has to choose between the two women, and the consequences are a lot more important than one may think.

Walker is capable of beautifully describing actions and scenery. From the images on the postcards to having tea in an antique shop, it’s all lovely to visualize. Unfortunately, the main character, Tanai, doesn’t share this characteristic. She is difficult to relate to, and readers may have a difficult time feeling anything for her. It seems like a character who changes into a beast would be a lot more dynamic than this one.

Wohl, Sheri Lewis. Scarlet Revenge. Bold Strokes. 2013. $16.95. 288p. PB. 978-1602828681.

Wohl Scarlet RevengeVampire stories have been written by hundreds of authors, but this is probably one of the few times that you will actually see one who works at the Library of Congress. But in Scarlet Revenge, vampire Victoria “Tory” Grey does just that. Unfortunately, the simple life of working at the Library of Congress becomes a lot more complicated when a medieval New Testament appears on Tory’s desk. Someone is definitely trying to get her attention, and they have succeeding by sending her a message that no one understands, except her. Having no other choice, and no one to rely on for guidance, Tory tries to find the answers she needs at a place that seems pretty unlikely, especially for her, a church.

Ex-vampire-hunter turned lay minister, Naomi Rand currently provides midnight services for preternaturals. She’s pretty much seen it all, but that doesn’t stop her from falling heart first for Tory. Unfortunately, even love may not be able to withstand the dangers that lie in wait for them.

Wohl has managed to create a vampire character who isn’t a typical vampire. She’s strong, but also caring, and doesn’t want to cause trouble for herself or anyone else. The relationship between Tory and Naomi has a decent build to it, and it’s easy to find yourself caring about both of them. With the setting of the story, it almost gives the feel of National Treasure meets paranormal. A great read if you like vampires and libraries.

Wohl, Sheri Lewis. Vermilion Justice. Bold Strokes. 2014. $16.95. 264p. PB. 978-1626390676.

Wohl Vermillion JusticeIn Vermilion Justice, it’s more vampires from Wohl. This is the fourth and final book of the Spiritus Chronicles series. Riah Preston, a vampire, has finally come to terms with her immortality. Instead of doing wrong like others, she uses her immortality to fight evil with other members of the Spiritus team. Trying to move on with her un-dead life, Riah has no problem with forgetting about her past. At least, until one of her allies vanishes. With a turn of events, she ends up back at a place that she’s avoided, and planned to never see again. Immortal or not, it’s a race against the clock in order to save the people she loves, by having to encounter a man who could lead to her complete demise.

In this story, Wohl portrays the typical vampire seen in many stories. But, the characters are so dynamic and well-written that this becomes more than just another vampire story. It’s probably impossible to read this book and not come across a character who reminds you of someone you actually know. Wohl takes something as fictional as vampires and makes them feel real. Highly recommended.

Culpepper, Cate. Windigo Thrall. Bold Strokes. 2014. $16.95. 264p. PB. 978-1602829503.

Culpepper Windigo ThrallHorror and romance usually don’t mix, but Cate Culpepper’s Windigo Thrall manages to combine the two into a story that will have you turning the pages, and never wanting it to end. Jo and Becca, Grady and Elena, and Pat and Maggie: six very different personalities all living in a cabin during a violent blizzard, all while a monster lays in wait. It sounds like a cliched horror movie, but this book was anything but cliche. Mixing in fascinating elements of Windigo folklore, this book is too exciting and creepy to put down. If you like horror, and learning about folklore, with a tantalizing side of romance, you are going to enjoy this book. Culpepper is a natural for spinning a tale that leaves you thinking about it long after the story is over.

 

Zedde, Fiona. Desire at Dawn. Bold Strokes. 2014. $16.95. 264p. PB. 978-1626390645.

Desire at Dawn by Fiona Zedde details the life of Kylie, recently turned from human to vampire. Zedde Desire at DawnUnlike many other vampires, Kylie doesn’t care for her new un-dead life or her new vampire clan family. It doesn’t help that her mother seems to care more about vampires than her own daughter’s needs. When all seems to be lost, Kylie befriends the human, Olivia. Soon, Kylie has to come to terms with the feelings that she has for Olivia. Meanwhile, unknown to Kylie, someone is watching them.

While the characters were likable, they were somewhat difficult to relate to (especially Olivia). This isn’t a story that you’re going to get lost in. Honestly, you don’t ever forget that these characters are fictional. It would have been great to see Zedde go into more depth with each of these characters, more fully fleshing them out. It’s not terrible, but definitely not something you’re going to stay up until 3 A.M because you simply cannot put it down.

-Stephanie Santiful, Librarian

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