Thursday, March 29, 2012

L World by Taryn Rose

Book:  L World
Author:  Taryn Rose
Publisher:  Ravenous Romance

“They glared at her the way any intelligent persons ought to glare when what they need is a smoke, a bite, a cup of coffee, a piece of ass, or a good fast-paced story, and all they're getting is philosophy.”
                                                 ― Tom Robbins, Still Life With Woodpecker

The one true constant in lesbian literature is that every reader has a unique set of likes and dislikes.  Some readers prefer classic romances, while others gravitate to the tough and chewy butch with a gun.  Some readers love lusty werewolves and sexy vampires, while others like their heroines sporting six shooters or sharp and shiny sabers.  A handful of readers like to explore the exploits of mystics, magic, and mythical mayhem, while a very few like to kick it up a notch with handcuffs and the cat o' nine tails.

And, lest we forget the big batch bootie calls that prosper in the ubiquitous anthologies of niche lesbian erotica.

I bring this up because recently, a reader pointedly asked how and why I choose the books I review on TRR

I’d love to say that I have an elaborate algorithm plotted that considers all the lesfic subgenres, calculates the newly released books as a function of all books released to date, and then extrapolates the ratio of self-published books to niche publishers and mainstream publishers in order to determine the weekly common denominator that will become my next lucky victim. 

But, in all truth, I’ve been trying my best to give a nod to authors and publishers that have the guts and temerity to ask me to read and review their work.  And, as a book reviewer trying to evaluate the full spectrum of Lesfic subgenres, it’s not uncommon to find myself reading and reviewing stories that fall outside my personal preference. 

I’ll admit that I have to be vigilant about separating my likes and dislikes for particular kinds of books, and assess each story against a common set of standards.  These include a long laundry list of things like quality of writing, originality of plot and themes, development and believability of characters, appropriateness of dialogue, and pace.

On rare occasions, I consider cover art, editing, use of humor, and sums of money quietly transferred into my offshore bank account in Cyprus.

In all seriousness, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

My goal with The Rainbow Reader is to make sure potential readers of all subgenres have enough information to make a sound buy/no buy decision, and to ensure authors have feedback on what works and what doesn’t. I want to give new authors a chance to find a wider audience, and see established authors have an opportunity to reach readers that haven't found them yet. Beyond that, the publishing houses and distributors need to sell books to stay in business and fund their author’s future pursuits, and those authors that are self-publishing need additional voices to get the word out so they can keep writing.  

Now, please pardon me while I hop off this little soapbox and get down to business. 

After an ill-advised meltdown at a tony salon, recent divorcee Blake Sanders, a well-heeled partner at a top Manhattan law firm, has a change of heart and tracks her young and beautiful hairstylist, Janie to a downtown bar called L World in an attempt to make things right.  However, once inside the trendy lesbian bar, Blake finds herself intrigued by and attracted to the much younger woman, and after an unexpected and brief pursuit, the women launch into a torrid affair. 

But, Blake is not really sure she’s gay, and her fear begins to influence her growing relationship with Janie.  Unable to cope with coming out to her 17-year-old son Wes, Blake breaks things off with Janie, and tries to return to her conservative world. In spite of this, when Dom, the enigmatic owner of L World comes to Blake ask for help in avoiding bankruptcy, Blake finds herself sexually drawn to the sexy Lothario, and she is forced to once and for all answer the question, “Am I a lesbian?”

L World by debut author, Taryn Rose, is a smokin’ hot and quick read at 153 pages.  It explores a range of intriguing issues from internalized homophobia to age bias, violence, and work addiction, and even takes on a few interesting legal matters.  More than anything else though, L World focuses on the lusty, animalistic, and steamy sexual exploits of its main characters.  The author unabashedly paints a glorious tableau of carnal delights that includes slippery folds, moist love nests, sweet boxes, love pouches, lady parts, pink nubs, hot holes, engorged love sacks, and honey pots that taste like the ocean.

While the story of Blake’s coming to terms with her attraction to women, and Janie in particular, takes a back seat to the erotica, several of the characters in L World came to life inside the story.  In particular, as a reader, I find myself interested in and wanting to learn more about Blake’s process of self discovery, Wes’ process of growing up and accepting his mother and helping her accept herself, and Dom’s larger-than-life-life.  On the other hand, the characters of Janie, Christine, Brianna, and Sofi would be much stronger if they were written more completely into the overall storyline.  In addition, the richness and naughty pleasure of Ricki as the spurned lover sadly played out after only one solid right cross.

As erotica, L World lives up to the Ravenous Romance brand­­––the lady parts are swollen, the sex is hot, and every last woman is out of control.  The story, however, is in dire need of strong editing, falling victim to an abundance of perspective shifts within scenes; and the character dialogue needs to be more appropriate­, since a top Manhattan attorney is unlikely to repeatedly think “what a hottie” her girlfriend is.

If anything, the overall narrative of L World would benefit by having more focus placed on the storyline and less on the pure and unadulterated sex scenes, which seem to overwhelm the interesting concepts and characters.  Still, for lovers of hot and steamy lesbian erotica, Ms. Rose delivers the goods.  I’m giving this torrid tale a tight and tingly 3.8 out of 6 on the Rainbow Scale.

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