Rose from the Bayou by Teryn Williams

Publisher/Date:  Teryn Williams, Sept. 2012
Genre:  Romance, Suspense, Supernatural Fiction
Pages:  220

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Enfant, l’amour est fou…

In other words: chile, love is crazy. Nothing says this better than ROSE FROM THE BAYOU, the bewitching novel from Teryn Williams, also the author of Be the Sun Again.

Set in 1990s New Orleans, the story follows the friendship of Scarlet Rose Laveau and Koral Baptiste. Soul sisters and neighbors since childhood, the women are now 24 and long-time lovers. Their relationship is deeply befuddling, especially to their families. Whereas Koral is sensitive and loving, Scarlet is cold and selfish. Her practices in what some folks call voodoo or black magic, passed down from her mother’s side of the family, constantly label her a bad seed.

Scarlet relishes her otherworldly abilities, channeling spirits and cavorting with the afterlife, which makes her an asset to people who need her assistance. But she what she uses for good, she also exploits to her advantage. Scarlet is a hedonist with a cause.

“My appetite was fierce and something not of this world. I was not born to be slaved beneath a relationship. I wanted to love freely. Love has no face and love had no color and love was androgynous. Or maybe I was speaking of sex because my heart was a deep dark hole that I often searched for a feeling but there was nothing but space looking for more of that same feeling. A space big enough to hold whatever and whomever I wanted to occupy it.”

However, Koral is the solitary soul she allows into her realm, mostly because Scarlet knows she has Koral’s heart on a string. She dominates the dark-skinned beauty, and because Koral doesn’t know her worth, she lets Scarlet control her. Talks her into doing heinous things, anything to keep Scarlet’s love and attention. Besides her grandmother, Nana, Scarlet is the only family Koral has. Their connection is powerful, and Koral wants nothing more than Scarlet’s “undying” love. With the thoughts Scarlet has, that could be the only way for Koral to win her heart.

Koral should be careful what she wishes – she might just get it.

Rose from the Bayou is one of those books with rich character development that pulls you in. You will either find yourself loving and/or hating Scarlet and Koral and the eccentric personalities in this book. Williams’ book could use more editing, but if you’re into dark stories, Rose will be a book that’s just as sweet.

Reviewed February 2013

Every Dark Desire by Fiona Zedde

Publisher/Date:  Kensington, July 2007
Genre(s):  Erotica, Supernatural
Pages:  327

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Vampires run wild in Fiona Zedde’s third novel, EVERY DARK DESIRE, which chronicles the death of Naomi McElroy and her rebirth as vampire Belle.

Naomi’s life in Jamaica was mostly uneventful, until the night her desire for women takes her to a place she’s never been before — and leaves her lifeless. She then mutates into Belle and becomes one of them…

Belle is now a blood-sucking, cold-blooded vampire, recruited by a clan of men and women just like her. The ringleader, a sexy beast named Silvija, makes sure Belle learns the ropes of hunting for blood, fighting enemies and satiating her sexual cravings. It’s far from easy, what with Belle missing her daughter, Kylie, and the life she left behind. Taking orders from a taskmaster like Silvija isn’t helping matters.

And it especially doesn’t help that Belle’s falling for her.

Their encounters are extremely wickedly hot, but Belle can’t seem to get a good read on whether their affair means more to the unattainable Silvija. To a group of vampires who lack human characteristics, it’s hard to tell whether Silvija’s carnal desires are real, or just a part of the hunt and chase.

Zedde’s Desire is evident in every page. You see the growing yearnings Belle has for Silvija. The author’s trademark sex scenes leave nothing to the imagination, as you can visualize thrust and lick. However, I wish this same attention to detail was given to the plot. In reading I felt like the sex came every chapter, and the ending of the novel felt rushed. With that being said, Zedde is an excellent writer I would read again, as her previous works — Bliss and A Taste of Sin — were enjoyable.

Desire kept my pulse racing, but left me wanting more — whether that’s a good thing is up to you.

Reviewed December 2007

Rain by Monique P. Howerton

Publisher/Date:  Hersay, Sept. 2002
Genre:  Supernatural
Pages:  206

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Right in time for Halloween comes a book that combines the afterlife, black lesbianism, romance and the gay family. It’s here, all combined in Monique P. Howerton’s supernatural story, RAIN.

Rain is the tale of Monica Walker and her unrequited love (or so we think) for Pia, a woman who stole her heart when she was 16 years old. Monica was introduced to Pia and her extended “family,” but the two women had this connection, a deep affinity for each other, not withstanding a fantastic sexual attraction. Lovers for years, everything changed when Teri steps into the picture.

Monica and Pia loved each other, but Pia, being older and wiser, thought it could never work with someone so young and innocent to the world. So she finds love with Teri, a womanizing stud who couldn’t remain monogamous to save her life–literally. It’s because of her infidelity that she and Pia both contract AIDS. All the while Monica stands by and knows she could give Pia a better life. Monica has done everything she could to make Pia see that they are soulmates; Pia does realize it–when it’s too late; her fear simply kept her from knowing an unconditional love.

The constant rain described in the novel, almost a character itself, was a metaphor for the sadness and drama that ensued.

Here’s where the supernatural part comes in. Monica, who grew up with supernatural powers, fights to protect Pia’s soul from evil forces that come for her. If you’re into supernatural fiction tales, then this part will grab you. If you don’t believe in the afterlife, you will just read it for what it is.

Howerton’s writing is unique, despite the grammatical errors. Rain is quick read, but the story does use a reverse plotting element, flopping from the past to the present, and you will sometimes find yourself trying to figure out what’s exactly taking place at times. Elements are revealed as the story progresses, but in the beginning, names and details are mentioned without much explanation. But Howerton does deliver a different type of story–and that’s always to be applauded.

Reviewed October 2005