Blue Water Dreams

Dena Hankins. Bold Strokes
(www.boldstrokesbooks.com), $16.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-62639-192-5
Unnecessary angst and frustratingly poor communication between principal characters mar Hankins’s otherwise exciting debut. Seattleites Lania Marchiol, a cisgender woman, and Oly Rasmussen, a transgender man, meet by chance and quickly bond over shared interests in intellectually creative pursuits, sailing, activism, and exploring and challenging gender roles. Lania publishes an independent magazine and prints it by hand, while Oly is a documentary filmmaker. Neither seeks commitment, as Oly lives for his films and Lania plans to sail around the world, but they soon find themselves spending much of their time—including many steamy nights—together. Unfortunately, they don’t bring the best out of each other as characters; they spend as much time bickering or trying to guess each other’s thoughts and feelings as they do enjoying their encounters. However, the queer community that surrounds and supports them is delightful, and when Lania and Oly set their differences aside and embrace their sexual chemistry, the scenes are graceful, sure, and spicy. This debut shows promise; if only Hankins had given her fascinating characters more opportunities to take pleasure in each other’s company. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/11/2014
Release date: 09/01/2014
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