Best of Kathi Isserman: Books to Curl Up With


Susan Trigg

OK, so it’s kind of a drag that the weather is getting colder and the days are getting shorter, but look on the bright side—what better time is there to curl up with a good book than a chilly October evening? And if you’re on the lookout for your next great read, look no further. Whether it’s lesbian adventure on the high seas, erotic lesbian romance or thrilling lesbian drama you’re looking for—contributing writer Kathi Isserman has you covered.  So put on your sweats and your woolly socks, brew up your chamomile tea and get cozy with these lesbian lit picks.

Deeper, Ronica Black (Bold Strokes Books):
This sequel to Ronica Black's debut novel, In Too Deep, is an electrifying thriller. The author's development as a fine storyteller shines with this tightly written story. Night club owner Liz Adams cannot escape the constant police scrutiny and is now being questioned about a new set of grisly murders, but it does seem that she is hiding something. Detective Patricia Henderson still has the hots for ex-cop Erin Mackenzie, who is Adams' live-in girlfriend. Erotic scenes, strategically placed, add to the novel's heat, but the real impact surrounds the mystery. It keeps the story charged-never unraveling or leading us to a predictable conclusion. More than once I gasped in surprise at the dark and twisted paths this book took. (

Every Dark Desire, Fiona Zedde (Kensington Books):
I have enjoyed all of Zedde's books, but her third and newest novel is her most daring and bold. Vampire stories are highly popular in mainstream fiction and are becoming more so among lesbian fiction. In this highly erotic novel, main character Naomi McElroy of Jamaica unknowingly becomes a vampire because she can't control her passion and wantonly gives into a stranger one night who happens to be a vampire. Her “life” changes drastically after this encounter. This easy-to-read story graphically depicts the loss of humanity and loss of control engendered by unrestrained sexual hunger. The book is decadent and delightful—a must read for romance lovers. (

Selective Memory, Jennifer L. Jordan (Spinsters Ink):
In the sixth Kristin Ashe mystery, a 2007 Lammy finalist, the author's storytelling is the most complex, intriguing and meticulous to date. Private Investigator Ashe is hired to help Alexandra Madigen regain her memory after a debilitating car accident. The novel is interspersed with Madigen's memories, but Ashe does not know her client's memory is returning. She continues to unravel the truth by uncovering Madigen’s bizarre past. This strange double life as both a stalker and a victim cleverly unfolds through italicized paragraphs that move the plot along effectively. While the mystery reads slowly at times, it does a convincing job of showing how obsession can rule one's life. The story is disturbing, but one that readers will not be able to put down. (

Falling Star, Gill McKnight (Bold Strokes Books):
Angst, conflict, sex and humor. This 186 page novel has all of this and more packed into a tightly written and believable romance. Solley Rayner’s marriage is falling apart so she and her children escape to her sister Janie’s beach house. Solley hopes for a little relaxation so she can pull together the pieces of her life. Professional stuntwoman and lesbian stud, Gin Ito blows into town as part of a film crew that is working on a blockbuster movie with Janie’s partner, Marsha. Since Gin is spending most of her free time hanging around the house, she offers to take Solley’s children off her hands for a few hours so Solley can get the down time she so desperately needs. Jed and Della fall head over heels in love with the fun-loving stuntwoman, but Solley thinks she is irresponsible. And this is where the real fun begins. McKnight has penned a sweet and tender romance, balancing the intimacy and sexual tension just right. The conflict is well drawn, and she adds a great dose of humor to make this novel a light and easy read. (

The Candidate, Tracey Richardson (Bella Books):
The romance in The Candidate is intense, captivating and, at times, heart-breaking. Jane Kincaid doesn’t believe she can run for president and have a lesbian lover too. This notion is challenged, raising very important questions about whether out and proud lesbians must sacrifice our personal lives for our careers, especially if we are in the public eye. (

Branded Ann, Merry Shannon (Bold Strokes Books):
Treasures abound in this rollicking, high-seas adventure. Lesbian protagonists are not usually featured in pirate exploits, so this extremely well-told novel is a treat not soon to be forgotten. With nonstop action and delicious sexual tension, Captain Branded Ann and her fellow pirates take their readers on an unpredictable journey. Aboard the Ice Queen, the Captain’s only focus is acquiring more bounty and seeking revenge until she kills merchant Isaac Watts and is saddled with his young wife, Violet. Not knowing what to do with Violet is the least of Ann’s concerns as danger awaits her crew around every turn. The novel climaxes in more ways than one when the pirates seek the ultimate booty and end up in the Devil’s Triangle fighting for their very lives. (

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