I hope everyone had a fun New Year's Eve celebration, however you spent it and that 2010 brings you many wonderful things. I stayed home and read and played on the computer and watched TV (all more or less simultaneously). Seems we got quite a bit of snow and it's still snowing so I'm glad I wasn't out and about last night. My kidlet gets home from Toronto tonight so I'm looking forward to hearing all about her trip. I did read 4 shorts last night/this morning so I'm going to have to buckle down and read longer ones now. I think I'm ready and for my reading challenge I said books of over 90 pages to count. Well crap, I missed Silver which I read. Oh well, I'll save it for next time.
Northern Exposure by Marguerite Labbe & Fae Sutherland (47 pages)
This is a continuation of the story of Angel and Sebastian who I think first came to us in one of the Sindustry anthologies. Sebastian is a Dom and Angel is a model who's never done the BDSM thing before but despite his mouthy attitude he and Sebastian seem to mesh. Their relationship is very "casual", no commitment, but Sebastian has invited Angel on a ski trip in Quebec for the holidays to kind of figure out if he wants it to be something more. After their first encounter in the hot springs he decides he does and tells Angel they have to do the dreaded "four letter word thing". Talk. When he proposes it to Angel, he freaks, he doesn't want things to change, he's afraid and they have a huge fight when Sebastian keeps pushing him. Eventually things calm down and Angel tells him more about why he's afraid and they agree to try it and see. I've never really connected with this couple before (there was another short but I can't remember where I read it) but this time I did. Maybe because this time I found out more about Angel and Sebastian, their families, why they were like they are in some ways, where the fears and needs came from and Sebastian's vulnerability. So while there was still hot smexin' in the pool, I felt more of an emotional connection and they weren't just "playing", that it was deeper. I have always liked Angel's personality though. If you haven't read the other stories this one will just be a little slice of life thing, you really need the others to get the full picture of how they came together and where they've moved since.
New Year, New Love, New Challenge by S. Blaise (19 pages)
This is the last in the Christmas series from Dreamspinner. Trent is an American working for an international bank in Scotland. Last year on NYE he met Andy and they've been together ever since. Trent is totally part of Andy's family and things are great but Andy gets quiet around NY a year later and Trent pushes him to find out why. Seems Andy works at the zoo and applied for an internship abroad because everyone else was and he was the one that got accepted to go to Kenya for a year. He doesn't want to do long distance but knows it's a great opportunity. Can they find a solution? For so few pages it was a very complete story. The first bit is them meeting the first night and Trent finding out what Scotsmen wear under their kilt. ;-) Then hops to the a year later with some stuff about how the year has passed. When I went back to check how many pages I was quite surprised it was only 19 because it seems liked there was a lot more stuff than would fit in19 pages. I've been enjoying the last few that WEREN'T insta-Christmas love. And you have a case here of an established couple dealing with career changes that affect your relationship. It was a nice little read with some details about how New Year's Eve is celebrated in Scotland. I enjoyed it. A great way to start off my 2010. Hopefully it's a good omen. I just read on Good Reads that this is Andy & Trent #2, their meeting was documented in more detail last year. Considering it was a revisit I thought it was done well.
A-Viking by Kiernan Kelly (72 pages)
See, I'm reading longer ones. This one seemed much shorter to be honest. I mean that in a good way, I was reading and boom looked over and the little button bar thing was almost at the bottom. Anyway, Bjorn is a Viking who comes home to find his family murdered. The man who killed them then sets out in pursuit of Bjorn but during a storm his ship capsizes. Chase is a hyperactive stockbroker who has been told to take a holiday or risk a heart attack. He goes to Florida and is running on the beach when he finds Bjorn washed up. Bjorn speaks some English but he can't figure out what the hell is going on. Chase takes him back to his hotel and then the fun ensues. I really like Kiernan Kelly's humour and having Bjorn experience things like a soft bed, a TV, pizza, telephones, it was really very funny. When Chase tells him to "take a shower" and he thinks he has to steal it was quite amusing. HOWEVER, it seems that Bjorn's nemesis as also come to this time and is still looking for him. After they are done getting all sweaty and sexy, the nemesis smashes through the patio doors and the sword fight begins. They end up on the beach with Bjorn about to make the final move when the bad guy disappears and Bjorn is left trapped in this time with Chase. There is a little epilogue about how Bjorn adapts to 2009. On the whole it was a very amusing story about a time traveller. Lots of humour, some action and some smexin'.
As Serious as the Grave by Kiernan Kelly (63 pages)
This could be subtitled "A Zombie Love Story". Honest to god. Seems 5 years ago when a comet went buy dead people started coming back to life. Not all but some. At first people went nuts and started rekilling them but then an act of Congress was passed to protect the rights of the "Living Challenged". Luckily for Tyler he'd only been dead a couple of hours from encephalitis but people who were dead longer are in pretty rough shape "Will had a bad case of the grunge, having been dead for at least three months before reawakening. Poor guy couldn't get a date if his life depended on it—pun fully intended. Women tended to shy away from men with less skin on their bones than the Heart Healthy Chicken Platter at Denny's." Seems people who hate the "reanimated" are called necrophobic. Tyler's straight best friend David insists they go to a gay bar and that he needs to hook up. He decides to go for it but when the potential date finds out he has no heartbeat the guy turns nasty and Tyler gets so angry he hits him. David is drunk by this time but drags him out and back to his place. Tyler nearly kisses a what he thinks is passed out David who wakes up. Tyler freaks but the next morning David confesses that he's been in love with Tyler and wants to be with him. Meanwhile a politician is stirring up hate and a mob has killed poor Will. There was also a threat at work against Tyler and he is attacked at David's house. Eventually Tyler and David decide to pack up and head off into the wilds because the anti-zombie sentiment is growing. This was really very funny "Are you fixing to kiss me, or eat my brain?" but on the other hand it is a bit of a moral story about accepting others. In this case they are the reanimated but it could be the Jews, gays, blacks, Japanese during the war, any group that has been targeted because they are different. So I think she managed to use a lot of humour to tell a bit of a cautionary tale about hysteria and hatred and what can happen when things get stirred up. So while you are chuckling along, after you are done you kind of go "interesting perspective". I really liked it.