So I've been enjoying my week off. I have to say it's going slower than I thought it would. Still have a couple of gifts to wrap and a bit of shopping for dinner but otherwise I think we are pretty much set. Oh wait, vacuum the stairs and clean the half-bath. But I can get that done tomorrow. We haven't done much, mostly just hung out at home but that's okay.
I've done some reading, some Christmasy, some not.
Red Lights and Silver Bells by Stephani Hecht (85 pages)
This is a continuation of Dylan and Kaleb's story. Things are going well for them as a couple, they've moved into a smaller apartment for financial reasons, but are happy, although Dylan's Christmas spirit is decidedly lacking. He's still known as a klutz at work and gets razzed, he's missing his family for this first Christmas away and he has to work on Christmas day so won't be able to spend it with Kaleb. When his sister shows up on his door step, also tossed out by their father for dating a Catholic *gasp*, she is determined to get him in the spirit and when he and Lucas are attacked by his father, it slips out that he hadn't told Lucas about the previous beating and it causes stress between the two brothers. This was a nice continuation of Dylan and Kaleb as you got to see Dylan more confident and capable but still dealing with old wounds. I found his sister a bit too perky and annoying (I would have been tempted to kick her out myself LOL) but another nice addition to the series.
A Shifter Christmas by Stephani Hecht (71 pages)
Noah, Keegan and Andrew go to the mall where they are attacked by ravens after Noah. There is a bounty out for him and the raven who held him captive wants him back. They manage to escape (after trashing the mall) and Noah is feeling down because it looks like Seth won't make it back in time for Christmas, and when Andrew finds out Shane's new role he takes off in the blizzard leaving the others to chase after him. There is sort of a bit of everyone in this story. Keegan and his crappy gun skills comes into it after he shoots Andrew who is determined to teach him how at all costs. Cassie finally gets her HEA and stops being a martyr, but most importantly Shane, the psychotic leopard, is left alone at the apartment with Trevor. Is it bad that I was like "Yeah yeah, Noah's sad, Cassie's torn, Andrew's pissed, blah blah blah, get to Shane."? LOL Can't wait for his story. This was a chance to get to see a bit more about many of the pack and catch up with where they are and get a glimpse of Shane and Trevor. Fans of the series will definitely enjoy it.
Pricks and Pragmatism by JL Merrow (47 pages)
Luke is an English major who manages to live rent free with a series of "boyfriends". He moves in until they tell him to move on. His latest has found "true love" not three weeks before finals and he has no money to rent a place. However he's hooked up with Russell who is totally not his type. He's not rich and to top it off he doesn't appear to be interested in sleeping with Luke. He's honestly giving him a place to stay and feeding him out of the goodness of his heart. Weird, to Luke. Despite his thoughts that Russell is just too strange, the end up becoming friends and when Luke makes a move while drunk Russell rebuffs him. When Luke decides to hook up with an old flame, Russell asks him to leave and they are both forced to confront their feelings. I really liked this, I enjoyed how Luke was confused as hell by Russell's behaviour, it was so outside of his range of experience. As some have noted I would have liked maybe another chapter to see them together as a couple a bit longer. I also wondered since Russell's friend's warned him about Luke and to "not get attached" why they even hooked him up with him. I really enjoyed it though, definitely worth a read.
Love Ahead: Expect Delays by Astrid Amara (84 pages)
Zach and Austin have been dating for a while and Austin wants him to move in. Zach has had some bad dating experiences and is leery but decides that a road trip might be just the thing to see if they are compatible and also means he can deliver his Grandmother's car to Denver. Austin is NOT thrilled given the age of the car, plus it's winter as they are going to celebrate Hanukkah with Zach's family. And really, everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. The car breaks down, they are confronted by drunk homophobic assholes on a hike, there is a snow storm, they stop to help someone in the storm and are carjacked with Austin left in the ditch in the cold. It just never ends. However, Austin's anger also comes to the front (not that I blamed the guy) and that is a real issue for Zach who has been in abusive relationships in the past and this causes stress between the two men on top of the road trip disasters. I really enjoyed this one and I thought that Zach's reticence about moving in and his fear of Austin's anger were warranted. I too have issues with people who get angry (although not for the same reason) and do you really want to live with someone like that? However Austin's acknowledgment of his anger and his own fear that he'd be like his father and his offer to work on it made me believe that these two could work it out and Zach's Grandmother was very funny. I really like Astrid's work and this is another great book which while covering what could have been very dark and angsty topics manages to keep it light enough to be very entertaining at the same time.