Friday, July 11, 2014

Review by Niki: Camellia by Caitlin Ricci and Cari Z. (F/F)

Title: Camellia
Author: Caitlin Ricci and Cari Z.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Hearts and 4.5 out of 5 Strong Finish Kisses

Danny doesn't expect much to come from the interview she has lined up through her modelling agency, who told her only that it involved tea and a kink convention. She thinks it won't be much more than wearing some strange outfit, sitting around, and getting easy money that she desperately needs.

What she gets instead is Lucy, a formidable woman in riding boots and a corset, who makes Danny want to please her without saying a word. By the end of the interview, Danny is convinced that her new job isn't going to be anywhere near as easy as she first believed. Can Danny make the woman determined to keep her at the end of her riding crop let her into her heart as well as her bed?

Review:  Niki-O’s Down Low on Camellia by Caitlin Ricci and Cari Z.

This little book came out of a slow start to wow me. Yeah. Jaw still dropped. I thought at first… well, meh. Slow pacing, kept feeling like I was being tossed out of the characters pov to an almost narratoresque telling of the story. And then, somewhere around page… 20? 30? I’m not sure exactly, because what happened was so gradual I almost didn’t catch on...then I started to realize I couldn’t tell where one author’s voice started and the other’s left off. I started to feel the emotions of the characters dancing along my own skin. And I was hooked.

Like the fine teas sold in one main character’s posh tea shop, the story requires time to steep. Take that time, I urge you, because once the delicate flavors of this story sink in…magic happens. You will begin to fall in love with the characters.  Begin to hold your breath when they do, and yearn for the same things they yearn for…and that? Is fine writing indeed.

Camellia is a beautiful, delicate story that unfolds with the same languid, graceful pacing of a Japanese tea ceremony…and like the ancient art of the ceremony, will engage every one of your senses by the time it concludes. The memory will linger as well, with surprising, subtle strength. And lest you think this story is a snoozefest, I’d best mention the sex was hot enough to leave me wishing for a fan. No fooling.

Ooooh, just go get this story. Now. Now. Seriously, now. Because the whole thing is one sweet surprise after another. A very slow start, yes, but eventually the slow start makes perfect sense and you’ll realize that any other pace would have rung false.

Also? *fanning self* Let me say again, Holy Hot Sex Scene, Batgirl!! Oh la la!

Caitlin Ricci and Cari Z. pull off a scorcher of intimacy… and they do it with everyone still clothed? I mean, wtf? How do you write something that can get folks hot and bothered when your characters don't even take off their clothes? I guess you just have to have oodles of natural brilliance and a soupcon of well applied craft. Yep, that must be the answer. Add to that the long, slow build of attraction these two authors create and by the time the characters engage in the mildest of caresses, trust me, you’ll be panting for it right along with them. So, yeah, 4.5/5 Strong Finish Kisses are more than well deserved.

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