Special thanks to Leontine from Leontine's Book Realm for the super header.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Last Weekend Before Christmas

I did hardly any reading this week, partly because I was sick and partly because I was trying to get my house organized for the flooring guys to come in. Flooring looks great (well, better than the crap I had) and I stayed home sick yesterday so read a bunch. Today I plan on finishing up my Christmas shopping, yay. If my car will start. It's -20C and I forgot to park in the garage last night. Duh. On with the show.

Wrangers: The Defense Rests by Vivien Dean (67 pages)

This is book three in the Sam and Dere saga. Last book Derek finally admitted he wanted to be boyfriends. This time they have been asked to take on a case together at work (which they never do) that is an HIV positive woman up against an insurance company who claims she lied to them. Derek gets totally whacked out because he sees it as them using gay attorney's because HIV is seen as a gay disease and he is uber-paranoid about being labeled. Him and Sam have an argument about it and about being out and ... well, that's about it. They make up and Derek gets on board with the case. I was kind of hoping for more details about the case as it sounded interesting but it just revolved around Sam and Derek's relationship and Sam says the "L-word". I really like the two guys, very different characters and how they make it work but there wasn't much to the story. So for those who like them it's worth reading but you really need to read the other two first.

The White Stag
by Jamie Freeman (33 pages)

Joshua met Jude (a Senator's son) at a grief support group for those who lost people in 9-11. They eventually hook up but Joshua won't commit because Jude is an atheist and Joshua can't be with someone who doesn't believe in God. They remain friends though and he's invited to the fancy Christmas party. Can they work out their differences? I had issues with this book, well with Joshua I guess because I'm an atheist and I can't believe someone would refuse to be with me because I don't believe the same things they do. Arrgghh. You bigoted asshole. It's mentioned that Joshua's family is totally fundie and he left the church, and yet he treats Jude the same way his family would treat anyone not as religious as them. Also I found there was this whole scenario at the end with a white stag coming out of the forest and bowing down to Jude which was a bit too out there. Couldn't they have just worked it out without some supernatural element? Anyway, Joshua's attitude pissed me off and I didn't like him much so I didn't care if he and Jude got together, in fact I'd rather they didn't because it's going to rear it's ugly head again, guarantee it.

Home for Christmas by Nicki Bennett (18 pages)

This is a revist of the characters in Riverwalk which I haven't read and you don't need to read it first although it would probably help. Connell met Spence in the US and they spent a whole weekend together. When Connell returned to England they kept up a long distance relationship which seemed to grown stronger. As a surprise Connell comes to the US on Christmas eve to spend it with Spence. He also plans to tell him he's moving permanently because he wants to be together. Spence is thrilled to see him and seems he had sent him a ticket to come (he hadn't opened his card) and has a ring for him. So it's just a sweet little slice of life and kind of nice to know they didn't meet on Monday and fall in love on Wed. but that they had a developed relationship. My only niggle is it's not really that easy to just "move to the US" or any country. You have to apply for a visa/greencard - although he was self-employed so that helps. Books always make it seem so easy. As someone who works for a government, we don't let just anyone move here, even if you are cute as a button.

Fire on the Mountain by P.D. Singer (105 pages)

Jake is a rookie fire ranger partnered with Kurt in the Rockies. They live together out in the woods going to town every few days. After a few weeks (a month? I forget) suddenly Jake who is gay but never acted on it realizes he's got the hots for Kurt. Ack! How to hide it as they are good friends and he doesn't want to ruin it. Out fighting a fire one day they get trapped when their truck is disabled and have to take shelter in a cave where they seriously fear they may die. They start playing a game about what is on your list of things you want to do before you die and Kurt blurts out he wants to suck Jake off. Oooookay. Well, Jake is happy and they get down to it. Then they get rescued and have to immeidately go and fight another fire and can't talk about it and Jake ends up back at the cabin while Kurt does other stuff for a few days, both of them stewing about if it was just a "I might die I'll try it thing" thing or an "I like you thing". Maybe a bit too much stewing but I suppose I'd do the same thing. In the end they both want more and there is another book that follows their story after this one. I really liked Kurt, he's easy going and friendly but it's all told from Jake's point of view so you don't know much about him except what he reveals. I really enjoyed it though and look forward to the second one.

Carol of the Bellskis by Astrid Amara (100 pages)

Seth is a paralegal who's having an affair with his deeply closeted boss Lars who treats him like shit at the office for fear of everyone finding out. Seth asks him to go to the Hannukah week at his aunt and uncle's B&B in Whistler. He refuses because he thinks people will figure it out. Seth finally has reached his limit and tells lars to fuck off and it's over. Yay Seth. I cheered for him, nearly out loud I think. So he goes to the B&B and his aunt and uncle aren't there but the guests start arriving so he tries to fill in but he can't cook and certainly not kosher. He serves them grilled cheese for the first night of Hannukah. HAHAHA That night Lars shows up wanting him back. Seth tells him to get lost (I think I cheered again) but seems Lars can cook like a pro and manages to hang around do the cooking. All kinds of wacky things happen to the guests and Seth is trying to find his aunt and uncle and keep everyone happy and deal with family phone calls and Lars is pushing him. I really HATE it when someone refuses to acknowledge someone, they are a dirty little secret and I just want the user kicked to the curb so badly and I think Seth did a pretty good job (although he relents of course, it's a romance) but Lars finally "got it" and did acknowledge him which was nice. So there was some humour with the guests and my heart ached for Seth and what he wanted but knew he wouldn't get. Oh and I learned a ton about Hannukah. :-) I really enjoyed it.


Jenre said...

Heh. It's interesting that our views diverged on The White Stag. I know a lot of Christians who have non-Christian partners and it's hard for them to balance home and church when one partner isn't interested and also hard on the non-Christian partner when their loved one goes out to church services and meetings and leaves them at home. This meant that I could understand why Joshua was so wary of committing himself to Jude when it was likely to be a cause of conflict in the future. I think the main thing is that Joshua did come round eventually and they were both willing to work out any problems.

Tam said...

Yeah, its funny how looking at it from the the other side changes it for people. I didn't get the impression though that he was worried about those logistics, he just couldn't be with him because he wasn't Christian. Pagan wasn't good enough of a belief system. I guess I've never been exposed to couples who've had issues. I couldn't see these two ending HEA because if he couldn't get past in the first halcyon days of falling in love, 5 years down the road when the glow has worn off its REALLY going to make him nuts. This is why I generally steer away from stories with a religious theme, they get me fired up. :-)

Kris said...

I thought Astrid's book was terrific too. We don't have a huge Jewish population here in Oz so it's always interesting to learn more about Hannukah and other beliefs without the minefield of slapstick comedy.

PD Singer said...

Hi, Tam! Glad you enjoyed "Fire" and I sure appreciate that you're interested in "Snow" as well. I had to laugh about that long "Okaaaayyyyy" because that part was beta'd by the Marital Unit, in an exchange that went "Here's the situation - how would he ask?" "Guys are pretty blunt, he'd just say it." (write write) {read} "That blunt?" "Blunter, honey."

I think both you and Jenre have interesting points about the differing belief systems, because I can attest that you can get the HEA with the religious mismatch, although it might seem more like an "Arguing Ever After."

Jamie said...

Hello everyone. Tam and Jenre, thanks for the thoughtful remarks regarding "The White Stag." I think living in the American South probably accentuates the problems that can arise from religious mismatches. PD Singer is optimistically hopeful about it, which I admire. :-)

In my own life I am not as sure . . . for Jude and Joshua, only time will tell. (I blogged a little about these ideas and my experience as a male writer who is relatively new to the whole m/m romance genre (if you're interested). I also reprinted your review (hope that's ok) and directed people to your blog for more m/m reviews.

Chris said...

I saw you'd read The Defense Rests and had to go read it (I had it already, no book purchases today, ha, Jen). I have to say, I was startled when it ended. Um... what?! The case was being so built up - it really felt like more needed to happen with that.

Oh, good for Seth. I hate that dynamic in stories and am always saying for the "secret" one to say "FU."

Tam said...

Kris: We do have a fair sized Jewish community here, my local supermarket has a kosher meat counter but I don't have many friends who practice although we always eat latkes on he first night of Hanukkah because .... well, I'm up for any excuse to eat something special. I love it when I can learn something while being entertained at the same time.

Tam said...

PD: I have "Snow" in my TBR file. Just have to get to it and stop shopping. So many good things these days, I'm looking forward to the holidays and lots of catching up. Yeah, boys can be kind of blunt. LOL

I seem to have started something with my religion spiel. How un-Canadian of me.

Tam said...

Jamie, I don't mind you reprinting but I don't really consider myself a review blog, I just yammer away about what I read (with some personal comments thrown in) so I can keep track (which maybe ignorance would be bliss in the case of my bank balance).

I think as a Canadian we have a very different view of religion. I know I would freak if anyone at work asked me what my religion is or what church I attended or invited me to go with them, but I know that is VERY common in parts of the US. So it's really hard for me to grasp it as a reader. Sometimes I just can't connect. I will say I liked how you used the flashback (if you will) in your story, it made a lot of sense to me. I just have "issues" with certain themes, it's all about me, not the authors or their work. Thanks for stopping by.

Tam said...

Chris: Seth did grow a backbone which was nice to see and that Lars finally took him seriously. So it was the kind when you cheer for the "secret".

I agree with Wranglers. I wanted to know about the case and get more into that part of it since it seemed to be heading there, but then kind of ended with no resolution. *shrug*

Chris said...

Yeah, didn't it feel like "Oh, break in the action, book's due, stop now"??

The guy in the cube next to me at work is Jewish and I've learned quite a bit about it over the past few years.

As someone who was raised Catholic but is probably an agnostic atheist or atheistic agnostic, I suspect I'd have a hard time dating someone who was strongly religious, simply because religion isn't even a presence in my life. This is something I've known for a long time - since before I opted out of Confirmation as a teen because it seemed rather hypocritical to get Confirmed without any belief behind it.

Janna said...

Hi Tam, I never commented on your blog before but I wanted to let you know that I enjoy your thoughts on your reads. I added the last two books to my TBB list cos you made me curious about them. Thanks!

Tam said...

Sorry I missed your post Janna, the notification snuck into my junk mail box. The last two are really very good, I think you'll enjoy them. Thanks for stopping by and have a Merry Christmas.