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Pillows & Blankets

I'm a social geography student from Paris, and a contributor for a new blog dedicated to pop culture & intersectional feminism called Critical Writ. I'm particularly interested in lesbian fiction of every genre.


I have a preference for romance & Fantasy/sci-fi, and will pay a lot of attention to gender roles, healthy/unhealthy relationships and consent in stories I read.


Goodreads Account



Armchair Detective

Armchair Detective - Kelli Jae Baeli I was wary of the way Jobeth was described at first— a sort of macho lesbian who touts NRA rhetoric, likes ridiculously conspicuous (for a detective) cars and helps a pedophile who's being blackmailed by a (quoting our dear hero) "bimbo madame". This isn't strictly a romance, considering our love interest has little characterization and is mostly there to be fallen in love with, and it isn't strictly a mystery novel, considering how little mystery there is and how that part of the plot only seems to advance through the WORST UNBELIEVABLE DEUS EX MACHINA EVER (And I do mean EVER).

What separates this book from others though, is how impossibly, burst-in-laughter bad, are the sex scenes. Never has anyone managed to make lesbian sex look like some lovecraftian eldritch horror sex so well. Hold on to something because I'm going to QUOTE

Context : She's being fingered on the backseat of her car and suddenly, great orgasm.
"The sensation seemed eternal, and I could only allow it to continue, witless and debilitated. I fell from the black hole into the ocean— became the ocean; while a legion of tentacles filled my bones, writhing, pulsing, as I made guttural noises that were alien coming from my own throat"

You know your orgasm is great when it ruptures the very fabric of reality and that Cthulhu comes to give you a cuni.

Love Spell

Love Spell - Karen Williams Great little read, a cute feel-good romance featuring cats and green haired beauties.


Jericho - Ann McMan Loved it! Maybe a bit too long to my taste (lots of denial!), but I like that for once we get to see their budding (and oh so serious already) couple a little longer before the credits. My only complaints would be that Syd uses far too many ableist slurs ("you're nuts", thrown about 30 times— it's insensitive and it gets really old) and that everyone's far too perfect. Smart, gorgeous, rich, perfect women living perfect lives, with (lots of) great wine, great cooking and great classical music tastes. Oh, the jealousy.

Also this book could use the B word sometimes. I know about compulsory heterosexuality but it doesn't always explain why "I'm gay" is the go-to explanation of someone falling for a woman after four (even shitty) years of marriage with a dude.

Hell's Belle

Hell's Belle - Marie Castle A good read, although my main concern with it is that there are FAR TOO MANY side characters that seems to be introduced here for no other purpose than either a cameo or an upcoming sequel/prequel. There are at least five or six named side characters we didn't need to know and their appearance felt far too much like unecessary filling bloating the story, especially if they cannot be distinguished from other characters other than by their name.

Also, the action is a little messy at times.

The Caphenon

The Caphenon - Fletcher DeLancey This is a very strange book, and perhaps it is a bit different than what I usually read— but my problems with it lie more in the world depicted by the author than in anything else. As it stands, this book is a lot more world building than character building— and the characters never really become more than somewhat simple, even extremely naïve. Ekayta, for example, is told to be one of the best Captains of the fleet, commanding one of the best ships there is— yet she is uncomprehendingly naive as she falls in love with a terrifying society.

Terrifying, yes. the Alseans are depicted very lovingly— it's fairly obvious that we're brought to love them and their strange culture : they're empaths, but they're surprisingly rigid in everything relative to human relationships. They also have a very undemocratic society, based on castes and biology, were individuals with the highest empathic power sit at the top of the pyramid, aided by fascist ideology (the way they handle family for example, or their militaristic society, or even the all-important emphasis on the Greater Good of Alsea above, to loosely quote, friendship, love, family, or morals.) This allows these leaders to freely break their highest law (using their empathy to manipulate and force people, and the book is pretty clear that the act is akin to rape) "for the Greater Good" (and their goddess will pardon them etcaetera, because god is always the go-to self-justification when you do Evil), even as they guilt-trip themselves into doing so.

And then it got even creepier. Emotional blackmail, mind control, one of the hero getting close to a ruthless character that would have modified her very mind in order to do Teh Greaturr Good, even sacrificing thousands of civilians as a blackmail pawn. WON'T ANYONE CALL THESE CREEPS OUT FOR WHAT THEY ARE? They're a society that's based on EMOTIONAL ABUSE? All of this because of a moral dilemma 101 basic course, you know the one with a train that's going to kill people, can't be stopped, but you can divert it to kill other people.

And then I got bored. Save-the-world/universe/planet stuff is... Well, I'm fed up with it. I don't like the nationalistic/patriotic rhetoric, I don't like the fake choices and dilemmas, I don't like shoe-horned warmongering jingoistic pragmastism, I have no interest for NRA rhetoric (it's not the gun that kills it's the person behind it duhhhhhh) and I care little about us white people's fantasies of invasion/colonization at the hands of aliens.

So yes. Everything felt very forced, creepy, and frankly Alsea looks like a dystopian society with very strange morals. It's like a fascist utopia, really, and I'm terrified that this probably wasn't how the writer wanted to portray them, but it really is what it looks like when you take a closer look to it.


Tumbledown - Cari Hunter Books like Tumbledown where character go through gut-wrenching trauma (especially emotional— I can take physical, but emotional...) and disaster aren't my forte, and a few times in the beginning I felt like putting the book down on the account of how shocked and upset it made me— but there's no mistake that Cari Hunter makes a great book yet again, although I wish that Tumbledown had a more original ending, especially since it uses the very same trope as an important scene from Desolation Point.

Trigger warning for heavy domestic violence.

Just Physical

Just Physical - Jae Well, this might just be one of my top favorite of Jae's books. It has all her other books have : great characters, good pacing, awwww moments and silly (the good silly) scenes, a great addition to the series after Damage Control which I had trouble getting into, mainly because the show-business world really doesn't interest me at all. The particular strength of this installment to the series is Jill's gut-wrenching, tear-jerking fight with self acceptance of her disease and the absolute lack of self esteem it brought her. Her struggles hit a bit close to home for me, and I had tears in my eyes and thoughts in my mind while I read it. Jill is probably one of my favorite characters and it's very clear here, perhaps even more than in Conflict of Interest, that Jae knows her stuff when it comes to writing convincing multi dimensional characters with their own issues and desires.

Crash is also a great character, although I wish Jae had expanded a bit more on her fear of fire stunts. I felt the book would have been even better if it expanded a bit more on her own struggles. She'd have made an extremely convincing PTSD survivor— Still, the book is great as it is, and a must read.
Now I just wish Jae's protagonists weren't so white :D


Fledgling - Octavia E. Butler Nope, I cannot get my mind off the fact that this book, while well written, features a 8 years old child who's actually 53 and who goes around mind controlling random adult people into having sex with her and loving her. The creep factor is just *waves confusedly* off the charts.

Some people argue that this is a commentary on sexual freedom, but really. She's addicting people to her. She's fucking with their minds so that they love her. She looks 8 years old, but really, she's mature and 53 years old? That's how pedophiles justify themselves.

Blood Cross

Blood Cross - Faith Hunter *Randomly inserts transmisogyny and bathroom-fearmongering into the book*

Bloody Claws

Bloody Claws - Winter Pennington One of the rapey-est, most unhealthy and abusive romance I've heard in the lesbian PU genre. Seriously people stop writing your submissive bdsm fetishes in fiction if you can't deal with concepts like consent. Not everyone can see characters being pushed into sex that haven't consented to and think "oh it's just bdsm roleplay". Books are more powerful than that, you can't just write your fetishes down irresponsibly and think everything will be well.

Witch Wolf

Witch Wolf - Winter Pennington Additional tags :
— U-haul at first sight
— Character who's part human, part werewolf, part witch, part psychic, part this, part that, and probably 1/64th cherokee or something like that. New powers will be added to fit the story.
— author mistaking bdsm roleplay for actual social interaction, thus turning this book into a giant sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen. Come to think of it, I've yet to read a book where a character explicitly consents to sexually dominant & controlling behavior before it actually happening.
— The crotch, aka the secondary human brain / You may not consent but if I touch your crotch you'll just accept sex anyway / Consent? Rape culture? Never heard of em :o
— Will probably feature a few orgies and quite-a-few-somes before the end of the series
— You need to have sex with this character who's been sexually harassing you domme style for three books in order to catch the killer and solve the plot, and yet it's the most convenient bullshit ever and who needs consent anyway this is vampire fiction
— Characters guilt tripping and manipulating each other into sex. The first book is okay-ish even thought there's a scene of non consensual sex, but as the series goes it just gets more rapey and abusive, damn.

Better Off Red

Better Off Red - Rebekah Weatherspoon I arrived at the 5% mark of the book and closed the book, thinking in the lines of :
— damn, the cheese of college stuff plus the cheese of vampire stuff? I feel like I drank a whole chocolate fountain. I can't, no more, please.
— an orgy of 18 year-olds sounds terrifying. I should go back to my thirty something jaded lesbians.
— why does this book reads like hetero porn?
— was there a "mind control rape erotica" tag on the book description? I can't remember.
— come on there are a thousand unusual story ideas with vampire romance that don't start with mind control rape.
— oh god we lesbians have actually managed to do worse than heteros. And twilight.
— I've never understood you north americans and your frat/sorority stuff anyway.

But nah, nope, sorry, I'm not giving this book the chance to show me it can rise above rapey mind control femslash.

Darkness Embraced

Darkness Embraced - Winter Pennington The plot of okay, the bizarre sexual organs thing weirded me out (come on it's not like women with penises don't exist, do we have to do this weird genitals thing? Why do I feel like I'm reading furry erotica? At least give us a picture so we can finally understand what the hell it is she's fondling), the romantic/sexual relationships are unhealthy as it gets, and while the main character is likable, she's not exactly original (the classic woman who starts fragile and grows badass with the help of super-empath powers).

Still, a decent read.

Death by the Riverside

Death by the Riverside - J.M. Redmann The beginning of the series, while still possessing some of the elements that make the series as a whole quite a good read, does however feature a very unhealthy dose of slut-shaming and quite dysfonctionnal friendships— if you can cringe your way through the first two books, the series gets a lot better— despite Mickey and Cornelia's unbelievably bad communication, and each book's plot is usually very good and refreshing.

The Oathbound

The Oathbound - Mercedes Lackey I don't know why I went into this book believing it to have a feminist vibe— albeit some 70s first wave feminism, complete with slut shamey, creepy fetichistic and essentialist vibes, as well as the good ol' rape, which the author uses and... Well, you know the rest.

Warning : spoilers ahead.

And boy is this book rapey. Both of the characters are raped in their childhood, which sets both of them onto their path of warriorhood, and on the path of this book's disgusting relationship with womanhood and/or feminity.

There are three types of women in this book : Tarma, the "sexless" warrior, gross and ignorant depiction of asexuality as she pledges herself to her warrior goddess, thus rendering her infertile (because apparently you can't be a warrior and a fertile woman who wants to have children at some point— fucking is sooooo distracting innit). That alone should raise a couple of red flags, but this is only the beginning of this book's bizarre relationship to gender and womanhood(s)

Then there are the other women. I'm going to be very crude here, but that is only because of the caricature this book makes of them : they're all "sluts". Or "whores". They're all rape fodder for the evil characters. They're not fighters, therefore they're all fucktoys.

Then there's Kethry, our sorceress, who's in the middle : she's sexy, yes, but she's also a warrior! Therefore, she doesn't care about sex. Still. She'll not escape being reduced to her genitals, as she'll pledge to bear children to... Well, fill her blood sister's clan. Okay.

The fact is, women in this book are at a constant risk to being reduced to their body, even worse, to the second side of a disgusting dichotomy between strong woman and raped woman, in a crappy slut-shaming/victim blaming vibe. The protagonists are raped, many times, and the book doesn't stop at turning their enemies into women (or casting illusions on them so they look like one) so they'll be raped. I swear they actually do that! And the way they defeat the big evil demon rapist (he's literally ALL about gaining power and raping women) is by turning him into a sexy woman, which will rob him of his power. They main characters will themselves not fret at hiding themselves under sexy bimbo illusions to lure enemies into raping them— and one will even be turned into a sexier version of herself so she can be raped.

Tired of reading about rape? God, me too. There's literally NOT a single consensual sex act in this book, and not even mention of one. Our heroes are supposed to be bound by geas to help women, but they never truly help them— save but one time, a woman who's —shocker— not raped, not sexual, BUT wounded by childbirth. Instead, they trod through demons and bandits, never really seeming to care for the raped women around them (never even caring for their own rapes beside the "ugh my ass hurts"), never showing a single shred of sympathy to one— they're unammed, silent, tropes. Even "strong" side characters, a witch and a thief, showing curiosity towards the demon rapist cult, are shown raped and turned into sexual women. That's what you get for being curious about heterosexuality, girls! Hell the characters even dish out some sexual violence themselves as they strip two women naked to steal their clothes, before leaving them unconscious in some empty street. Help women, but, yknow, not the sluts. I guess that's how swerfs rationalize their hatred of sex workers these days.

Now I've finished this book I can understand the kind of twisted ideas it's standing on. I feel like this author misread Andrea Dworkin somewhere and went for the "all "penis in vagina sex" is rape" trope, because certainly it seems that all mention of heterosexuality in this book is rapey. Jesus, even games of thrones had some consensual sex in it. Sadly, since lesbian stuff (or political lesbian stuff) doesn't sell really well, the author went for platonic relationship. I hope the second book doesn't feature transgender women... I can see that trainwreck coming a galaxy away.

And the worst thing is, I'm not even into dudes. I'm bored by heterosexuality. I prefer my books without men. I even enjoy consensual bdsm and power fantasies on occasion. But this. This ain't it. This is almost worst than men authors who write a man, slap boobs on him, (yes I'm being cissexist but i'm caricaturing their ideas here), and have her say things like "you're being beaten by a girl! Shameful!)

Hugh. I'm not reading that second book.
If I wanted rapes, essentialism, and women being reduced to their genitals and empowered through agender asexuality, I'd read... Idk. Rape or mind control erotica.

Black Blade Blues

Black Blade Blues - J.A. Pitts I was given this book as a good lesbian protag book and obviously, as both a woman and a lesbian, I was very interested in it. Now, I want to say first that it isn't that at all. It is a book written by an obviously heterosexual man who mistakenly conflates "strong female hero" with "woman written as a macho man". The first half was good, despite the main character being an appalling cliché of a butch lesbian, and the second half exploded into casual misogyny as the story crashed.

I wanted to review everything that's terrible in this book, but I don't want to spoil it too much— rather, I would like to provide a warning to those who would read it, especially women, lesbians, and I guess, considering the casual misogyny and whorephobia of the book, sex workers.

What you will find in this book : a somewhat believable depiction of someone struggling with internalized lesbophobia. That's the only thing that got this book one star, to be honest (I suspect someone told the writer their story, here). What you will also find : casually sexist one liners such as "fight like a man!" or "you're getting beaten by a girl!", disgusting victim blaming, systemic raping and damseling of main characters as a driving force for the hero, randomly hypersexualized characters that seem to come from someone's sexual fantasies, overused clichés, a very creepy attention to details when it comes to women getting murdered, slut shaming, machism, and tropes like "butch lesbians and hetero men being partners in misogyny"

To be honest, I'm even surprised this was published. Its treatment of women is akin to erotic adventure fiction, only with a woman in lieu of the macho dude. In fact, the second half of this book is your run of the mill macho sexist fantasy book, only with a woman. But it's ok to be misogynistic right? I mean, she's a woman who digs chicks! She gets it yknow!