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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Long and Short of It.

So thanks to Chris, I ended up doing some shopping yesterday. 50% off at All Romance e-books. Woohoo. Actually I didn't get that many books as I had most of the new ones but got some shorts. I also finally tackled the 400 pager.

Shades of Gray by Brooke McKinley (402 pages)

Miller is an FBI agent who is sure of his place in the world. He's the good guys, they are the bad guys, the ends justifies the means. In his pursuit of a big drug dealer he captures Danny, one of the minion and "convinces" him to turn on his boss. When Danny is found out and almost killed Miller and Danny end up in a safe house. Danny makes Miller reevaluate everything he though. Maybe the world is not so black and white and maybe his life was not quite what he wanted when he finds himself attracted to Danny in a big way. Most of the book is Miller struggling with his conflicts although once he and Danny got together he never denied their attraction and friendship which was nice. I hate the "It was a mistake" thing that usually follows. There is then a chase as they are found by the bad guys. Miller has to make some hard choices to save Danny who feels that he doesn't deserve love or Miller because of the shitty life he led.

There are many flashbacks, some of which I found were not necessary as they were telling me stuff that I had already figured out. I also skipped the flashback of some of the more brutal stuff. I really don't need to read graphic torture scenes. I can imagine thanks. I liked the relationship stuff between Danny and Miller probably more than the mystery part. I did like that it didn't end when the crime part was wrapped up and that Miller had do pay a price for his actions and that it showed both Danny and Miller dealing with their issues after the fact. So I enjoyed this (perhaps not as much as some as I found myself waning at around page 150 but it picked up again for me later) but I liked that both characters had issues and maybe they weren't perfect even at the end, they still had to deal with it. I did think some of the flashbacks could have been cut with no damage to the story.

His Wolf Heart by Lila Dubois (67 pages)

James, the prodigal werewolf son returns home. He's been flitting around Europe posing for nude paintings by his older Dutch lover and having various flings. Micah stayed home and is a Guardian, as a gay man he'll never lead a pack so is like permanent security. He was attracted to James before he left (he's the same age more or less) and now the attraction is back. James finally tells the truth about WHY he left and they have to decide if he can live within the constraints of werewolf society. It was an okay read although I found James' little sister annoying. The minute she finds out they slept together she wants to run and tell her mother. She claims to be 17 and world-wise it never occurs to her that it might be just sex. Duh. I thought James' reasons for leaving made sense and I could understand why he did. So it was an okay shifter story.

Measure Up by James Buchanan (11 pages)

James posted a link to some free Brandon and Nicky shorts at Tracy's so I downloaded this one. The guys are hanging out when Brandon notes a new porn star who supposedly has a 10 inch dick. He wants to measure Nicky's and they have some sexy fun first. When he measures Brandon is shocked that it's not as big as he though. LOL Boys and their toys. So a cute funny sexy short.

Learning Curve by J.J. Massa (25 pages)

Kean is a 37 year old who has gone back to school. Although he's straight he's developed a massive crush on his English prof Richard. He accidentally comes across Richard having an argument with his lover when he's on his job as a cable guy. As Richard is leaving he asks Kean to come to his office. Kean arrives and Richard says he's not going to be his prof anymore but maybe Kean wants something more than English tutoring and gives him his card. Kean shows up despite his nervousness and has the most amazing time ever. There is sort of a subtle D/s vibe going on. I kept expecting Kean to start calling him "sir" at any minute. It's all told from Kean's first person point of view so his nervousness and desire to do well in case Richard gives him the heave-ho comes through. Kind of a different vibe to the story but it was okay, a straight guy finding out he's not so straight as he though.

The Real Deal by Gina O'Neale (24 pages)

Caleb and Kyle have been friends for years. Although Caleb was married he's gay. Kyle, a total slut, starts asking Caleb how long since he's had man-sex. Seems it was before his marriage to his wife, a couple of years ago. Kyle gives him a card for an escort service and starts bugging him until he finally calls. He has a great night with Rob but Kyle shows up at 8:00 the next morning for a sit rep. He finally confesses that he's had a thing for Caleb but figured Caleb who doesn't go or one night stands and casual sex wouldn't go for a slut like him. They end up in the shower and decide to give it a whirl. An okay little read about two friends who are opposites.

Temporary Absentee by Lainey Cairo (29 pages)

Mark is just out of a 10 year relationship and decides to bum around Europe for a bit. He's in Italy and sees a great looking guy by the fountain and asks to take his picture. Logan says sure in exchange or lunch. So they go out for lunch and seems they are both on the night train to Paris. Logan switches tickets and ends up in the same car as Mark and they spend the night on their little bunk together, just cuddling but Mark agrees to head to Amsterdam with Logan. They get there and Logan shaves Mark (pertinent in light of my post at Wave's) all over. They go out for dinner, get high and end up back at the hotel. The next morning it seems they shaved their heads too after they got back and Logan says he has to leave. He hooks up with guys with money who will buy him cigarettes and food so he can keep bumming around Europe but he did like Mark more than most. Mark is upset he's leaving but realizes that he has to take risks if he's going to be happy. A bit odd, I assumed the shaved head thing since he talks about stubble but it's never said explicitly, but there was hair the day before.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Freaky Cold Friday.

Most Fridays people post hot menz. Me? Nope. Today I'm going to post pics that show how perverted Mother Nature can be. :-D Cause I'm special like that. Okay, the first one isn't Mother Nature but someone needs to look at these things before they go on store shelves.

Obviously getting head from a chipmunk is mind blowing because that turtle is one happy dude.

Now we let Mother Nature have at it.

Now to settle down to the reading.

Falling by ML Rhodes (342 pages)

This is set in today's world but with magic around us. In the closet Christian works for the Bureau of Dark Magic Affairs which is kind of like a police system for the magical world. They hear about some murders in the US they think could be linked to a dark mage so Christian gets himself assigned as a visiting cop to the case. He teams up with Alec. There is instant attraction but Alec's partner (work and life) was killed 18 months ago and he's not quite ready to move on, or so he thinks. Seems this dark mage is looking for an amulet that disappeared 30 years ago that could give him unlimited power. Finally when Alec is attacked, Christian is forced to tell him all about the magic world which doesn't go over very well. Even though Alec has been able to heal people he only believes in things you can touch and prove. Eventually he gets over it and just when they get back together the mage destroys the police station almost killing Christian and Alec. Christian takes him back to England. After some research it turns out that Alec is the thought-dead son of the last man to protect the amulet, he is magical and there is a big show-down with the baddie. I quite enjoyed it, kept me reading (read the whole thing last night after work) and while I thought she maybe went a bit overboard on the quantitative sex (I'm blaming it on magic because most normal guys' dicks would have fallen off by then) it was an enjoyable read. I liked how it handled Alec's ex, and his past and why he was the way he was.

Upwardly Mobile by Clare London (47 pages)

This is a steamy little short about two guys who are opposites. They are trying to get home from work to head out to a friend's birthday and due to rain uptight straight laced Owen is stuck on a near empty train and go with the flow risk-taker Caleb is in his car. Caleb starts to goad Owen into pushing the limits with some steamy phone sex in public. Very fun story about pushing limits and sexy too as you get to know the two men by who they react to the situation. A great read.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Midweek Review

That picture is totally pointless but it made me snort so you get it. Managed to get some reading done last night, and not much else. Ah well. Too bad, so sad.

Wranglers: Judgement by Vivien Dean (98 pages)

I was quite disappointed in the last one. I felt it was kind of superficial, there was no conclusion to the legal case, and I was kind of "huh?". Well this one fixed it all for me. It picks up a bit later and while you don't get the legal details of the case (which I think I would have enjoyed) you do get to see them put it to bed and that Derek made peace with the case and him being gay which he felt was playing the gay card. So everyone's happy they are having a big party at the office for Derek and Sam and ACK, Sam's parents (who have no clue he is gay) are coming to the party. So Derek and Sam run around telling everyone to keep the gayness a secret (since he's out at work) but they don't mention it to Rudy who invites Derek's parents to the party without his knowledge. So they blurt out how thrilled they are Derek and Sam are dating. *cricket chirps* The rest of the book is Derek helping Sam deal with this parents and the fall-out and finally admitting to himself that this thing with Sam is for keeps. I thought it was well done and showed how Derek has grown in the first and second book as he annoyed the crap out of me sometimes with his efforts to be gay but never show it in any way. He's more willing to go out on a limb and do things that Sam appreciates even if they aren't his style like PDAs and Sam is more willing to quit pushing quite so hard. So I was pretty content with the way things wrapped up in this little quartet of books. Definitely a more satisfying read this time. Your really need to read them all though to get the full effect.

Bull Rider by Jade Buchanan (42 pages)

I am going to cheat and steer you to Lynn's review at Wave's because she said it as well as I can. Yes, I have seen the mystery sex act on Xtube and likely a good thing I had or I would have scoffed. I knew it was one of two things and I was right. Aren't I special? Anyway, it's a fun short read about two guys, a Brit who moved to Alberta, and a former bull rider/rancher just meeting and connecting.

Love Ahead by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux (398 pages)

This is actually two books in one (like the double mint twins). Under Contract about two construction workers and Over the Road about two truckers. I think I preferred the first story about Ted and Nick or should I say Lucas and Cooper. Shall I save my pet peeves for now or later? Why wait. I HATE when characters are referred to by their last names but their last names could be first names. As in this case. Okay, in construction people are referred to by their last names, but I found it a tad annoying as I'd start to think of him as Cooper and then he'd call him Nick and throw me off. Okay, whine done.

Lucas (aka Ted) is the foreman on a construction site and Cooper (Nick) is his assistant. He's been attracted to Nick from the beginning but has been a meany to him to avoid having to deal with his attraction and eventual love. He finally asks Nick out for a beer and when Nick states he knows Ted obviously hates his guts, Ted confesses he loves him. Talk about a shock. Nick agrees to give it a try and is injured on the job site. Ted moves in to help him (broken leg and ribs) and they grow closer but Nick won't say it's love. Ted gets a transfer and when Nick doesn't confess to undying love the split and he leaves, only to have Nick finally get his head out of his ass and chase him down. It's typical Urban and Roux, likable characters, sexy smexin', HEA story. I did love the guy who faints when he panics. They referred to him as one of those goats who fall over suddenly. Very funny.

The second one is (Wait, should I vent about names again? But then the whole point of the story would have been over in 50 pages.) Elliot (Willis) is a trucker who is stuck in traffic. He gets on the radio and finds out from Jimmy (McLean) that there is a truck upset. They get to chatting and joking around and exchange cell numbers. Now Willis is the name of Elliot's company and McLean is the name of Jimmy's company, not their real names but it's how they refer to each other. Jimmy prefers to drive at night and Elliot during the day but they fall into the habit of calling each other fairly often to kill time and start sharing their lives. Meanwhile Elliot meets Jimmy at a truck stop (totally oblivious) and has sex and they make arrangements to meet up. Meanwhile he feels guilty like he's cheating on McLean. EVENTUALLY they figure it out after some logistical issues but I thought they dragged it out too long. Seriously the guy tells you EVERYTHING about his aunt dying and leaving him her ranch and how his family hates him and you share info about your brother's kids over a series of months and you never ONCE ask the guy you think you're in love with or at the very least your best friend his NAME? You keep referring to him by his company name? Come on. Fine for casual strangers but at some point you're going to say "What IS your name anyway?" So I started skimming at the back because I just wanted to get to the confrontation scene when they FINALLY figured it out. And you didn't recognize his voice? I was rolling my eyes by the end. I mean I liked them both and it was nice to see their friendship grow but I was so frustrated with their willful ignorance and the coincidences (guy goes outside to take a phone call, your phone rings, you talk, and just after you hang up he comes back - repeatedly?) Riiight. Anyway, I'm not saying I didn't enjoy it, I did because I liked the characters but I found it a bit needlessly drawn out.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Eye Candy and Rambling

Since Kris introduced us all to AussieBum I thought I'd post this little video. You really need to go to their website and view them all. Almost as good as porn.

I wrote a little story for Chris and KZ based on one of KZ's posts. You can read it here if you haven't already. Excuse the errors, I didn't take much time to edit.

I probably won't have a book to report on since I started Love Ahead by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux last night and it's 398 pages so that should keep me going for a day or so.

And here's some pics of the now famous Aussiebum products. Look at those cool patterns on the fabric. Look closely. :-D

Note the interesting waistband pattern.

You do realize I only look at these for the design features right?

It's kind of nice to think about the beach and the scenery on this snowy day. Have a great Tuesday everyone.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down.

But what happens when the rainy day AND the Monday are the same thing? Fling myself off the 9th floor balcony? This is such weird weather. Anyway, thanks to an anonymous benefactor (to you not to me) I received some shorts last night which I promptly read because seriously, reading shorts vs doing something like cleaning up the kitchen, laundry or paying attention to my child, well, no contest really.

Only Human by Glyn SoitiƱo (87 pages)

This is the follow-up to Out of the Blue which I adored. This is the story of Seth (Zahir's construct he brought to life) and Officer Mike who had a crush on Aiden. It starts where it left off with Seth, him figuring out how to be human and finding a way to meet Mike who is deeply in the closet because he's a cop. They end up meeting when Mike breaks his finger trying to fix his Jeep and Seth takes him to the hospital. They then start a weekend relationship spending the time at Mike's Grandpa's cabin. Things are going pretty well when one night at the bar Mike overhears Aiden freaking out when he finds out that Seth is a construct and that Zahir brought him to life. Of course Mike wants to know what's going on and when they tell him the truth he freaks out and tells Seth he's not real and runs off. I really liked that Seth stood up for himself. He may only have been 6 weeks old as he said, but is more mature. Seth then plans to leave town when finally Mike's boss tells him to get his head out of his ass and do something. I think Seth should have let him dangle longer, he was a total ass, but it's a short story. I don't remember Zahir being quite the air-head but on the whole it was a fun little story about having to decide when to change your life when you find the right guy. There was a fair bit of humour as Seth tried to figure out the human world. So if you read the first one I think you'll enjoy this one. You really need to read the other one first. Oh and the cover? A gazillion time better than the first one with burn-victim-come-phantom on it. (I know it was for a series but it sucked.)

We are Such Stuff by Sunny Moraine (12 pages)

12 pages of WTFery? Wow. This is set in the future where thanks to global warming it rains all the time, no polar ice cap, major cities flooded and abandoned and all kinds of new drugs on the market. Reyes is at the club and has taken something called "sharper" and sees a guy across the room. He eventually kind of drifts over but after touching him goes outside as the drug wears off. The guy follows him and he's got weird changing eyes and is kind of odd and tells Reyes to chase him. They end up at the mall where after hours all these people addicted to "dreaming" another type of drug that has you in a dream-state just wander around like zombies. Reyes' sister is addicted to this stuff. He catches a girl who trips which seems to mystify Ethan who take Reyes home and they have hot smexin' with maybe some other drug, but maybe not, maybe it's a dream and Ethan is talking about leaving because he needs more light and it's all very mystical and what/who is Ethan and is there drugs, is there not. Whoa, trippy. So it was one of the most bizarre things I've ever read. Well, maybe not ever but it was out there. Bad? Not necessarily, but definitely different.

Marvin the Marmot Falls in Love by Aaron Michaels (14 pages)

In direct contrast to the above story we have this one. A light adorable humorous story of finding love in a mascot suit. Gerry is the college mascot who gets beaned in the head by a football. His crush the quarterback helps him up but he refuses to take off his head. Later after showering the quarterback comes looking for him to apologise and admit that he has a crush on Gerry (even though he didn't know who was in the mascot). Spencer used to be a mascot so appreciates the skill involved. They have a bit of a make-out session and then Spencer asks him out. That's about it really but I found myself chuckling a few times, especially when Gerry is trying to find out if Spencer is into furries and that's why he's attracted. Very cute little story and as I said, night and day from the one above.

O'Carolan's Seduction by P.D. Singer (19 pages)

Hugh is from Ireland and he works in an Irish pub. It irks the hell out of him when people ask him about Ireland but he knows laying it on thick gets tips and he's a university student so needs the money. He's asked to work on a music night when he normally doesn't and sees Steven who plays something like Irish bagpipes. He's attracted and also annoyed that Steven is wearing a kilt, not Irish. But he gets a ride home with him and the next week Steven asks him over to check out his musical instruments. *wink* *wink* Seems Steven had to wear a kilt when he lost a bet and now he wears them all the time. Needless to say they hook up after playing with the instruments. I never really got why Hugh was trying to break ties with Ireland. I got that he wasn't keen on the stance against gays in that country being very conservative but there seemed to be more to it than that but it wasn't really clear. It was like he wanted to escape all things Irish for some mysterious reason but knew it paid the bills. So I would have liked a bit more background on him and Steven as well. All you know is he's a professional musician who plays in a semi-famous quartet, but nothing more. So even with 20 pages I was left a bit mystified as to who these two guys are. If you are into the Irish heritage there are lots of words and songs and phrases that really didn't mean much to me but to someone who understand it more it would likely be a real treat. Oh and I'm of Scottish descent so I'm all about the kilt. :-)

Hot Ticket by K.A. Mitchell (97 pages)

I thought I'd put some of my books that I have re-read and never mentioned before. This was one of the first books I bought in my m/m buying career and it holds a special place. I think I was VERY lucky and had some great books right off the bat when I started reading but it's like your first kiss, always holds a special place.

Cade has 16 facial piercings (Elliott counted) and is on recycling duty as part of community service for trashing his ex's car. Elliott is there for possessing stolen property (bought a stolen purse). They both grab an envelope with tickets for a concert and agree to meet after to decide who gets them. Elliott is the opposite of rude, pierced, tattooed Cade. He's 10 year's younger, a travel agent, "nice boy". Yet he's fascinated by Cade and when a few nights later Cade invites him to a concert he goes against his better judgement. Cade's piece of crap car breaks down after some weird concert and they are stuck in the mountains in the winter. They end up getting down in the back seat and after finally getting home kind of settle into seeing each other. Cade is Elliott's first (beyond BJ's) and things are going well until Cade runs into his ex at the concert they found the tickets for and he freaks and tries to give Elliott the brush off. Something I thought was interesting which is not usually touched on was that Cade's ex had been having unsafe sex and he'd been tested but had to wait until his 6 month test came back clean. I always understood that you needed that 6 month window but I know in most books once they get that first test that they are clean everything is bareback city. Anyway, I love me some tattooed pierced bad boys and the opposites attract thing. There's really not much to the plot, just the guys trying to form a relationships, Cade's insecurity at Elliott's youth and what that will mean. But when I want a comfort read it's a go-to for me. In general I love this author's work but this was my first taste.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sigh - It's Sunday

I am so not ready to go aback to work tomorrow. Doesn't help there is supposed to be freezing rain tonight and rain all day tomorrow which is completely whack for here. Oh well. You'd think I'd have gotten something useful done this weekend but .... I read two long books so yay me. Oh that means I've met my m/m reading goal challenge. Oops. Guess I better change that huh?

Personal Demons by James Buchanan (281 pages)

Chase is an FBI agent who was shot and his partner killed by a Cuban criminal 5 years ago. He's now sent to LA to work on a special task force that is close to getting the guy. The night before he's to start he figures now is the time to get a quickie since if you are in the FBI it equals in the closet. He meets this guy at a bar and they do it in the back room. The next day he meets his LAPD partner on the case and holy shit, it's the guy from the bar Enrique. Enrique is an expert in Caribbean religions and this may factor in to the case. Enrique and Chase fall easily into fuck buddies and partners although Chase quickly admits it's more. He's also got an alcohol problem which makes him very defensive and causes problems. This is a very complex story with TONS of information about Santeria and other similar religions and Chase is exposed to some weird shit that he doubts could be real, like spiritual healers and gods taking possession of people during ceremonies. To be honest I would be with Chase and highly skeptical but he's forced to believe what he sees and there is a big show-down with the bad guys after which Chase is whisked out of town in hours without the chance to talk with Enrique. Is there something to build on or not?

I love James' writing because the story surrounding the romance has equal value. It's not just tacked on to give a conflict. The story would be interesting and capture my attention even if it wasn't a romance. I'm not sure I fully understood all the religious stuff but it was very interesting anyway. This would make a great movie I think. A great read I would recommend to those who like law enforcement stories. With a bit of voodoo thrown in.

Love Means ... No Shame by Andrew Grey (241 pages)

This is a Dreamspinner success story. I read the short Simple Gifts in the Christmas anthology which is a slice of life or Geoff and Eli and it intrigued me enough to buy this although I'd seen it a few times, I'd never been inspired until I read the short. So I guess I have proven their strategy of putting out teasers in anthologies works.

Geoff's father dies and he gives up his life of accounting and screwing every gay man in Chicago to move back home and run the family farm. His father had also been gay and after Geoff's mom died when he was a baby, he met Len and they were together 20 years. One day they find Elijah, an Amish man (20) sleeping in their barn. Geoff offers him a job as Eli is on his year away from home before deciding to commit to the church. Eventually Eli and Geoff find themselves attracted and have to deal with Geoff's vindictive aunt and also with Eli adapting to the ways of the "English" (non-Amish). I really enjoyed the story and maybe Geoff was a bit too good to be true but I think there are people out there who help out their neighbors, I know I grew up in that kind of community so I didn't find it unrealistic although some might. I liked how Eli grew and had to face up to some of the prejudices of his faith. I though Raine, Geoff's gay friend was well done. So all in all a nice story with a few moments that I needed a tissue. Sigh. Yes, I'm a sap, but it wasn't angsty really, parental death will get ya every time. There is a prequel with the story of Geoff's Dad and Len. I may get it yet as I enjoy the writing style.

That's all for the weekend. Not sure what I'll start next. I have lots of long books waiting for me so not so much to report back on. Have a great week all.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Finally it's Friday

Yay, it's the weekend. A last few frustrating days at work where people either didn't get it or don't seem inclined to phone/e-mail me back. Grrrr. Oh well, it's over.

Oh, please please please go to Wren's and read her mini-serial she's started inspired by yesterday's red hooded hottie. She's amazing. Super job Wren.

What I've read the last few days:

Exploring Limits by Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna (170 pages)

I've read books by these authors individually and together and enjoyed them. This time? Not so much. Jonathan is an American actor (30's) working in Britain on a King Arthur TV series. Kit, a young actor, and Devon and older actor (mid-late 30's) decide they both want Jonathan so set out to seduce him together although they did not have a relationship before this momentous decision. Doesn't take much work as Jonathan has always been attracted to men but never acted on it because of his young son (who is never mentioned again). They then proceed to have a menage relationship screwing at ever opportunity. This is from the Sean Micheal school of writing. The first 7 pages were Kit and Devon deciding to seduce him. Then the entire rest of the book is one sex scene after another. The scenes where they aren't having sex or about to have sex or just finished having sex, they are at a sex shop, talking about getting their test results so they can bareback, flirting on the set or ... oh wait, that's it. There was very uncomfortable scene for me as Devon and Jonathan are really into rough sex, lots of biting and bruising and Kit is uncomfortable with this but tries to go with the flow. The other two are so focused on what they consider pleasurable that they are clueless to Kit's distress as they basically attack him, holding him down and kissing so hard he can't even tell them to stop until things get carried away. I will say my strong emotional response to this scene is a testament to the authors' skill, but it didn't endear me to the characters even though they apologised, yada yada. So that turned me off and then to be honest I skimmed the last 30 pages because it was just more sex. I never felt Kit was really part of them and he was the only one I got a slight glimpses of what he was about beyond being perpetually horny. Although he was that. Jonathan never mentioned his son or what this would mean eventually though that was the whole reason he never had a relationship with a man before and it just ended with them planning a long weekend vacation. So I'm not sure if there will be a sequel or what.

I also found lots of references to them all in their character names "their king took off his boxers" "Lancelot raised his arms" or Jonathan was referred to as "the American". I know it's hard with three guys to keep them all straight because he/he/he but I'd rather have their names than referring to them in character or by descriptors. I'd hate to be referred to as "the Canadian" all the time, well, especially in bed. Like what? I come behind the German and the Italian and you can't keep our names straight? LOL So this did not work for me on many levels. It never got further than sex, there was no discussion of any kind of relationship issues beyond apologising to Kit and coming up with safe words (which since they wouldn't allow him to speak and say stop the safe word was useless). For those looking for steamy menage read it will be ideal especially if you like it a bit rough (they toned it down at the end) or some role playing as there is a huge scene of Kit and Jonathan in character. Interesting but by then I'd lost interest. I'm desperate for some plot beyond matching cock rings. So not horrid, but just not for me.

ZE1 by Yuki Shimizu (175 pages or so, not sure)

Okay, this was weird but not as bad as I expected. Raizou has to go and live with these guys at a house somewhere because his Grandma died and he has no family (popular yaoi theme #1). He's trying to fit in but they are weird. Oh wait, seems some guy curses people and then when the curse bounces back he is injured but that's okay cause he's made out of paper and heals. Yes, made out of paper. His arm flies off in the kitchen into the stew. Riiight. Okay, I am totally cheating and if you want to read an amazing description of the book that makes a bazillion times more sense than mine ever would go HERE. In fact I am stealing this line from their review "There are some things ZE does very well, but guiding readers gently into its complicated world isn’t among them." EXACTLY. I should have read their review first, the book would have made way more sense to me. I think it would help to understand some of the Japanese mythology surrounding these creatures to totally get it, which obviously I didn't. It's still not the worst yaoi I've read despite people made of paper and not having a clue what was going on half the time. There is a second volume which according to that reviewer is much better. It will be continuing it's yaoi world tour soon.

And Call Me in the Morning by Willa Okati (187 pages)

I sometimes have issues with WO books but it seems her contemporaries work for me. I must stay away from Celtic granola books. :-) I read the review at Wave's this morning and I'm not going to redo one because I pretty much echo her words. Yes, work was so slow I managed to read this today while waiting on people who never did get back to me then finished it when I got home. There's not a lot of plot in the sense of things happening, no stalkers, evil ex's, just a couple of older straight best friends figuring out that they are in love and what that means and also some mid-life crisis career stuff. But on the whole it was a pleasant read and I came away with a good feeling since out of the 187 pages, very little was sex relatively speaking which was a nice change after the first book. Not that I don't like smexin' in books, because seriously, I'm pervy that way, but if the ONLY thing I learn about a character is their preferred position and lube flavour, it's too much.

So this was my lazy day, referring you to other reviews. LOL But they say it better than I can and sorry for the not so positive one in the first book which disappointed me because I do like the authors and I do like m/m/m, but hey, I'm sure it will work for others who are in the mood for a very erotic read.

Hope everyone has a super weekend. We are getting sunshine, finally. For at least one day. Yaaaaay!

More Shorts for Me Today

I can't seem to settle down to a longer book. I have about 3 that I've read 15 or so pages then kind of wandered off. So I read some shorter ones and maybe that will settle me down.

Loving the Rain by Drew Zachary (37 pages)

This is a re-read for me. I read it a long time ago and it's set in my city (and I didn't find myself going "Argggh, that street is NOT there!" so that's good. Tony is on his way to his temp job and as he's getting his hot chocolate it starts pouring. He decides to wait it out and asks to sit at Brendan's table. Some instant flirting and they agree to meet for dinner. They then become boyfriends. The end. LOL More or less, it's just a story about two young guys meeting and getting to know one another. It's a bit contrived, Tony is an artist who makes statues out of found objects (as well as photography and drawing) and Brendan works for Friends of the Earth who are all into recycling and saving the planet. He's a vegetarian (mostly). They are both idealistic. But I liked both guys, it's a fun relationship and Drew Zachary writes hot smexin'. There is a fisting scene for those who care, but it's pretty well done, not lots of detail on the physical, more the emotional. Anyway, it's a cute read that I like to go back to from time to time. Oh and the stupid Arcana cover has NOTHING to do with the story. Not a dog in sight. Or girl for that matter.

Wolf in Man's Clothing by Dakota Rebel (34 pages)

Christian (a werewolf) finds Rhys on the side of the road with a broken down car in the forest ... on his way to his Grandmother's house and he's wearing a red hoodie. *wink* *wink* (Ref: See hottie of the day) Anyway, he offers to take Rhys to his cabin to call for help (no cell reception) and they are instantly attracted. So they have some hot smexin' and Rhys convinces Christian to come with him to his Grandma's house for her birthday. He agrees but is afraid to tell Rhys he's a werewolf because he'll freak. While at Grandma's (who knows he's a wolf because her brother was) she is attacked by a lynx (seriously? never heard of that) and Christian shifts to save her but Rhys shoots him. Ooops. Anyway, alls well that ends well thanks to shifting and healing. It was a cute little story told in first person from Christian's point of view. It smacks of insta-love but I kind of let it go convincing myself that it's because he's a werewolf. There were enough sly jibes at the Little Riding Riding Hood story to make it amusing enough to get past the insta-love.

Now, comes the but .... Nothing wrong with the story and I know authors have zero control over their book once the publisher gets it. But in light of my post at Kris' I had to bring it up. I opened the pdf file and it's 47 pages. Not really. Starts on page 6 and ends on page 39. What's at the back you say? Blurbs for other books. Okay, this is a new publisher to me (Resplendence) so I'll check it out. Of the 10 blurbs in the back of an m/m book, 8, yes 80% were for m/f books. I can understand an m/f blurb for the author herself, because those are her books and she should be promoted in her own story, but 80%? I bought m/m, not m/f, not m/f/m, pure menz. So 72% of this book was story. Compare that to the book above where there was a cover and one page at the end with publisher info. Hmmmm. *squinty-eyed glare at Resplendence* (It wasn't cheap either.)

Open Sesame by Mia Watts (41 pages)

Alister is discussing a business deal with his uncle that was close to insider trading. His uncle made a ton of money before the company went belly-up. As he's leaving he is kidnapped by four guys. Seems the four brothers from the defunct company want answers and money back for the pensions of their employees and intend to blackmail Alister's uncle for the money and get information from him how they knew the company was going under. The plan seems to be for Oz (Oscar) to tie Alister to a bed and fuck the information out of him. Oooookay. But Oz has had a thing for Alister for a while so he's down with the plan. Things get very steamy and pretty soon Alister is untied, they're fucking like bunnies and he's spilling his guts (doesn't know much anyway). In they end they realize they like each other and even though Alister is free to go he chooses to stay with Oz. Issues: The whole plot is totally far-fetched. His mean brothers actually agree to let him fuck the info out of Alister? Mmmhmm. It's never clear if they figure out the solution and get the money back from his uncle (vaguely hinted at) and Alister has just been kidnapped and gets a hard-on within minutes while cuffed and his head in a bag. Non-issues? All of the above. It's basically one long 30 page seduction scene and it is seriously smoking hot. Logical, no. Steamy, oh yeah. I did like Alister's spunk (not that, get your mind out of the gutter) and Oz was a good character too and I was happy they were getting together so if you just take it for what it is, a fun read with some very steamy built-up sex, it's great.

So you ask, was this book better in terms of crap at the back? Not much. 12 out of 53 pages of "stuff" (front and back). 77% of the book was story. Slightly better than 72% for the one above. Of the 12 blurbs in the back, 6 were for m/f books, so 50%. Still, 50% too many, IMHO.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Half-way through January already.

How depressing. I mean I want winter to be past and spring to come but time goes so fast when you get old. :-P It's been a lazy few days, I've done not much of anything and still only read a couple of books. Oh well, such is life.

Submission Times Two by Claire Thompson (101 pages)

For 100 pages there seemed to be a lot of plot jammed in. Or it felt like it. Ethan and Cam are lovers but both subs. To get around their need for domination they have an agreement that they can go to clubs and meet up with guys but no sex. Ethan starts chatting with a guy on Facebook (you know this is going to end badly - Facebook hook-ups always do) and meets Maestro and has an instant connection and freaks because he loves Cam but can't get Maestro (Andrew) out of his head. He finally fesses up and Cam thinks he should meet the guy to see if they can make it work. Seems Andrew when to school with Ethan way back in the day where Ethan was the closeted football star and Andrew was the picked on nerd and he suggests they have a threesome. While his intention is to seduce Ethan away from Cam he falls for Cam as well. Can they make it work?

I generally like m/m/m and while I'm not a big BDSM fan it can work for me. Part of this I felt like was teaching me the ropes, there were lots of detailed descriptions of equipment and different activities and an emphasis on Cam's short-term relationship with a guy who wanted a slave and how that was different than a loving D/s relationship with various examples. So I felt it was kind of preachy and assumed the reader knew nothing about the scene (which I really don't but not the point). There was also this "connection" between a sub and a dom that was kind of mystical, combined with Andrew's obsession with Ethan for 10 years. So it was okay but I didn't get much satisfaction out of it all for some reason.

Untamed Heart by Ally Blue (264 pages)

Oh look, it's Chris' black jacket guy (BJG). Kind of weird how that worked out. Leon is an assassin for one of those mysterious organizations that exist in books. His lover was tortured and murdered by a serial killer and he tracks him down and kills him. Yay Leon. After that he falls into a bottle of booze and doesn't come out. His handlers tell him he's going to Alaska to get clean or else. And we all know what that means. So he head to Alaska and starts to get his shit together when he's attacked by a bear and saved by a young guy, Grim, who takes him to his cottage. Leon is quite happy to be out of the organization who likely assume him dead but he's a bit freaked by Grim's servile nature and tries to find out more. Seems Grim has been living in the bush for 6 years (he's 20) and was with some guy named John. Okay, anyone with a lick of brains can put that together, pedophile honey, but Leon's not that bright for an assassin. Anyway, eventually they get discovered and Grim is shot and Leon recaptured by his organization and the rest of the book is him escaping and getting Grim safe and them getting away. I really enjoyed the story, lots of action when Leon was fighting the bad guys (I nearly cheered when he shot his handler - bad me) and Grim's story was sad in the extreme. A lost boy no one missed who was treated as a slave. His head was so screwed. Kind of angsty I guess as it touched on the abuse and Leon's remembrance of his dead lover but I didn't find it overly so. It was a very enjoyable read for me. ETA: There is some pretty graphic violence in this, especially dealing with his lover's death and while he's escaping, so just be prepared. He is an assasin after all.

I'm stealing this meme from Lily cause it seemed kind of fun.

The Wisdom at 21

1. Find the nearest bookshelf of your favorite reads and grab the first seven books you see. (I went to my files and closed my eyes and wiggled my mouse around and chose randomly that way.)
2. Book #1: Turn to page 21. Read the 21st sentence (you may have to turn the page). Write it down.
3. Do the same with all seven books. The sentences will make a paragraph. You must write them down in the order you found them.
4. When you are finished, read over your "story" and title it.
5. Show your bibliography at the end of this meme.

All About Evan

Didn’t mean the man was attracted to Oliver in any way. It was actually happening! And before you ask, I’ve a PhD in history. Dean took over old Doc Dennison’s practice. And what if he really is a whore? She laughed aloud. I had no desire on my own to have sex with Ethan, but within twenty minutes I’d dreamed about him jacking me off and molested him in the shower.

Horsfall – Tail of Two Brothers by Jade Buchanan
The Elf and Shoemaker by ML Rhodes
Without Reservations by JL Langley
A Sure Fire Cure by Kate Steele
Phoenix Rising by Kimberly Gardner
Deadly Nightshade by Victor J. Banis
To Hate and To Hold by Dakota Rebel (HA! Just realized BJG is on the cover of this book too and it was totally chosen at random. *cue Twilight Zone music*)

I called it All About Evan, a take on All About Eve because it's evident that my protag has serious multiple personality disorder and even has a female personality. Also a slut, Dean, Ethan, Oliver, holy crap man. And do you have any idea how long ML Rhodes' sentences are? Maybe the pages are short but I was nearly on page 23 before I got to the 21st sentence.

So that was fun. Have a great week all.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday and my cat is whiney

Not sure why my one cat is so whiny today. Oh well, better than a kid perhaps. I got some reading done yesterday despite answering comments at Wave's. Who'd have thought pit-licking could generate so much buzz.

Body Language by Aki Morimoto (179 pages)

Kanae had a rep at the college of being a bisexual slut (he's a virgin) and Yuichi IS a slut and has a new girl every week, has gotten a few pregnant then dumped them. They end up being friends and when Yuichi is lamenting the fact that there are no girls who will date him, Kanae on a whim says "Why not fuck me?". So he does. They start hanging out and dating with Kanae waiting for the day he is dumped like the girls but is madly in love. He sees Yuichi with a girl and does the classic "break up with him first" leading to the big climax. Oh wait, climaxes. I have to wonder how old this author is and how sexually experienced. Now I'm not saying virgins can't write great books, but these guys are regularly having sex 4-6 times in an evening, day after day and Yuichi claims his record is 9 times. I'm sorry but he'd be shooting powder by about #6. Oh and did I mention the self-lubing asshole that Kanae has? Several times it's mentioned that there is clear fluid or "he's not wet enough yet". Pre-cum of the butt? WTF? It was an okay story with Kanae liking Yuichi despite the fact that he's pretty much an asshole but the over-emphasis on quantitative sex and the weird self-lubing kind of made me go "huh?".

The One That Got Away (2nd edition) by Rhianne Aile and Madeleine Urban (220 pages)

I had read this before, in fact I read it back when it was a free story, loved it. So I was curious what had been added to the new version. It's a classic GFY with straight Trace moving in with his friend David to help him when he breaks his shoulder. They get along great, then the attraction starts and they start to act on it but are afraid to ruin their friendship. It takes them FOREVER to finally get down to action which is most of the fun of this book. Holy tension build-up. I have to say that when I read smexin' in books it doesn't really "do" anything for me, fun yeah but I don't need a fan, this is one of the few books where they are just humping on the sofa and I'm looking for some ice-cubes. So was the new stuff useful? I think so. I always felt bad that Trace left his cat alone for 8 weeks, this time they get the cat and it talks about him going to physio which I think was more realistic. Besides those two things and a few more scenes with David's friend Matt I didn't see HUGE differences. Still the same great GFY maybe rounded out better.

Primal Passions by Stephanie Hecht (219 pages)

This is book one in a series. Logan is a panther shifter send to bring in Jacyn a paramedic who has no clue he is a jaguar shifter because he was separated from his family and raised by humans. The ravens are an evil set of shifters trying to kill feline shifters and anyone really. They also team up with terrorists just for fun. Because of Logan's background he figures he'll never be good enough for Jacyn as Jacyn is the brother of the alpha but they are drawn together and are on the run from the ravens to get back to Flint, Michigan where they live in a big abandoned warehouse (saw plenty of those in the Great Lakes area). I quite enjoyed this story, there was plenty of humour in the writing. More than once I found myself snorting out loud or smiling. Jacyn's biggest fear when he was told he was a cat shifter was that he was something lame like a tabby cat. I thought Logan and Jacyn made a good pair and liked both characters although "he left me" "I have to leave him so he can have a better life" conflict can annoy me but that wasn't the majority of the book.

Feral Christmas by Stephanie Hecht (154 pages)

This is book two of the above series. Jacyn has three more siblings who are missing (along with a bunch of other cat shifters who disappeared when their parents where slaughtered 20 years ago.) By undergoing some wacko drug therapy Jacyn remembers that it was hawk shifters who saved the kids and they need to find the hawk alpha to find out what happened to all the kids. Brent, second oldest is tasked to go and find Daniel and get the info. Brent finds him and there is immediate attraction. They are attacked by ravens but manage to escape and get back home where they hope Daniel can give them information. Meanwhile Brent is totally hooked and won't allow anyone to hurt Daniel but Daniel who was shunned by his people for not following orders which brought the ravens down on them and killing many is happy to cooperate. I really liked Brent. Smart-ass all the way with a snarky comment for every occasion, likes to blow things up but is sure again that Daniel with leave because most guys do once they find out he won't give up his dreams of finding his lost brothers. There are lots of good secondary characters, Rat the tech wizard who can't hold a change, Cassie their warrior sister, Mitchell the older brother and alpha. I'd love to see Rat's story, goth boy. Lots of humour as well. The first paragraph made me snort and go "Uh huh. Yep, so true."
If sun-kissed beaches, ocean waves and margaritas were a gift from God, then ice, snow and blizzards were Satan’s great big fuck you to the world.
I really liked this author's style and I'd definitely check out more in this series or by the author.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Does this guy not have an amazing ass?

Or maybe it's just the underwear. I generally hate Hello Kitty but I think this guy could make me change my mind. Thanks to my friend Polt for posting this. I knew you guys would appreciate it.

Yay, It's the Weeeekend!

This has seemed to be an unusually long week. Not sure why but it's been dragging. No big plans for the weekend except going to the dentist tomorrow. Yippee. Blah. It's going to be around or above freezing here which means slush. Ugh. I haven't done that much reading the last couple of days, a few shorter ones but hopefully this weekend I can get working on some of my longer books. Lily pointed me to some free JM Snyder shorts as well which helped. ;-) Have a good one everyone.

The Night Sky Man by Mallory Path (28 pages)

I'm totally cheating and saying Jen did a super review here at Wave's so you can read mostly what I thought and my comments are also in the post. But I have to say the writing style was very unique and dream-like which really added to the book and I don't think is easy to pull off. A nice little short.

Joy Ride by J.M. Snyder (17 pages)

This is a freebie you can get at All Romance Ebooks. Free is always good. Mack drives a Harley, typical biker dude but young Brad drives a Japanese bike and has been teasing Mack for weeks with suggestive comments. Finally he goads Mack into a "race" where Mack decides to see if Brad is ready to put his money where his mouth is. There is a some fun on a Harley in the country and then the question is was Brad just after a one-off or could there be more. So just a little short about teasing and flirting and maybe getting what you asked for after all. If you are into motorcycles there is lots of descriptions of them driving, it's not really my thing. I didn't like it as much as the other free shorts but it was okay.

Lift Me Up by Rayne Auster (79 pages)

I have never read this author before but the premise sounded great so I took it. It's done in an unusual narrative style, first person but done as if he's talking to you personally and retelling the story. It starts with Avery recounting a tale of hot sex in an elevator, but seems he's not the one getting it. He's so devastated by his best friend's actions that he collapsed by his apartment door. Dylan trips over him while moving in and ends up breaking his ankle. Avery and Dylan are immediately attracted and they start dating by default, as Dylan helps care for Avery with his broken ankle. There is some stuff with Dylan's ex and Dylan trying to find out why Avery refuses to take the elevator but goes up 12 flights of stairs instead (must have incredible cardiovascular health LOL). There is a touch of humour as tech nerd Avery doesn't think of himself as much of a catch and lawyer Dylan is gorgeous, but I was really taken in by the way the story is told. You only get Avery's perspective and he doesn't tell you OR Dylan much until Dylan prods and pokes enough. You never find out exactly what the deal is with the elevator until later, why he never had sex for two years until he lets it drop, you just glimpses of things. You don't know much about Dylan except what Avery tells you, mentions he's not perfect but you don't know why exactly but you still know there relationship is special. So I'm not sure what it was, but the style combined with characters I enjoyed made this work for me. I would definitely check out this author again.

Love in the Library by J.M. Snyder (21 pages)

Another freebie. :-) Johnny just got a job at the campus library and is stuck re-shelving books. His first night the stupid cart wheel gets stuck in the crack between the floor and the elevator and Adam comes to his rescue. Adam flirts outrageously but Johnny's not very confident and even when Adam gives him his phone number he doesn't follow-up. Adam tracks him down again and they make a date for Friday. The work schedule changes and Johnny has to work Friday but Adam finds a way for them to watch a movie anyway (they have rooms for viewing films) at the library during work hours. Let's just say they don't do much watching. :-) This is just a sweet story, no graphic on-page smexin' but I thought it was very cute with shy Johnny totally take aback by aggressive (not in a bad way) Adam and his pursuit. Pretty good for free.

C'est tout. Have a good weekend everyone.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday Update

I can't believe it's Wednesday already. Well, sort of. The week is dragging yet flying by. Go figure. More snow this morning. Sigh. Not much but still, after a day of sun it's a bit depressing. And a few more months to go. Enough whining. One long book, one shortish and one shorty short. I like to spread the love. In order from smallest to biggest. I should have added it's Josh Lanyon's birthday today so you can spam him with good wishes on Facebook or his website.

King Kong vs The Skinny Pirate by Addison Albright (10 pages)

I am an Addison Albright fan and enjoy her shorts, this one no exception. Blaine (a classy lawyer) goes trawling at the bar and orders a "skinny pirate" (rum and diet coke) and is sitting beside a guy he refers to as King Kong (big bear). Pickings are slim and he and George decide to give it a whirl even though neither one is the other's type AT ALL. Blaine's not even sure he'll be able to get a hard-on with all that hair. Surprisingly he has the best sex ever. Blaine starts searching for George and a week or so later he finds him in the bar and they decide to give it a try despite their acknowledged differences in lifestyle. It's just a cute story of two guys finding someone they totally mesh with in a package they totally didn't expect. In 10 pages you just get to the start of their relationship but I like Addison's writing style. So a cute taste.

Earth and Sun, Cedar and Sage by Margaret Mills & Tedy Ward (77 pages)

This was one of the Dreamspinner Christmas things that I didn't read and everyone said it is amazing and I finally sucked it up and read it. There is a reason why I don't read historicals, I had to skim over part of it. I KNOW really really bad shit happened, I don't want to read about it. But besides that, Jed is a half-breed traveling with Gideon whose family owned a traveling wild west show. They are heading to New Orleans but it's Christmas and they are only in Arizona and it's starting to snow. They stop at a small town and face prejudice which just makes Gideon wacky despite Jed telling him to let it go. They find friendship in the form of the livery stable owner who lets them sleep there (no boarding house with take a Native American) and tells them of an abandoned mining camp where they can set up house if they want. They do spend a few days and get to know each other better and Gideon (20) finds out why Jed (much older) was so adamant about not fooling around in the livery. (skimmed part). After "educating" the locals and proving that Jed is not a savage they still decide to push on to New Orleans where Gideon believes they can have a "normal" life, relatively speaking.

It was really well written - there was some nice background about aboriginal customs such as smudging and despite Jed's stoic nature you knew he loved Gideon and it was obvious Gideon had that naive enthusiasm of youth. I liked the characters but the constant living in fear of discovery combined with being aboriginal and dealing with that causes a level of angst for me I don't particularly enjoy. (You'll likely notice I also slipped into calling him aboriginal or Native America because as a Canadian we never use the word Indian unless you are from Mumbai. Just NOT done, and I have difficulty even typing it in that context. PC is us. :-)

Three Wrong Turns in the Desert by Neil Placky (198 pages)

I have never read anything by this author although I've seen his name on a few things. Aidan is dumped by his lover of 10 years and on a whim decides to head to Tunisia to teach English and start a new life (or perhaps get his old life back before he hooked up with rich, stoic, boring Blake). He is being chased by some kids when he dives into a bar and sees a hot guy showering naked in the courtyard. He is intrigued so comes back and ends up meeting Liam. They are chatting and when they leave they see a man who looks suspiciously like Aidan get gunned down. Ooops. Seems Liam was supposed to be the other guy's bodyguard and thought Aidan was him. Liam convinces Aidan to help him get the information from the dead guy's hotel room and it has to be delivered to a desert tribe. There is an attraction and when Aidan's work visa doesn't come through he decides to help Liam, a former Navy SEAL deliver the information, but someone is after them and they are nearly kidnapped, end up hiding out on a tour bus and on a camel train and catching terrorists. It's quite the rollicking tale of them on the run one step ahead of the bad guys and despite Aidan being an ESL teacher for 10 years, he's smart and resourceful and Liam finds himself liking him as a person and not just a hot bod.

The ending seems to leave it open for a sequel as Aidan and Liam decide to become partners in Tunisia and take on more jobs. I really liked Aidan, he was spunky and realized his life had sucked despite having every kitchen gadget and appliance known to man and 300 thread count sheets. Liam basically was forced out of the SEALs when he admitted he was gay and had "lone wolf" issues, but it was a fun read. Was it realistic? Oh probably TOTALLY not, but that wasn't the point, it was a fun adventure story with two hot guys. So if you like that sort of thing I would recommend it. It was a fun read. My ONLY complaint, in the picture the main guy (Liam) has nipple rings and even Aidan comments on them in the shower but then Liam takes them out and they are never mentioned again. Hello, put those babies back in. Neil? Are you listening? They better be back in for the next story. Just sayin'.

Oh and did you know there is a place in Tunisia called Tataouine, like in Star Wars and apparently they filmed there and there's a hotel you can stay in with Star Wars stuff? I'm hoping the author didn't lie to me about that because it tickled me pink. Damn he was in his prime then.

Have a great rest of week.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Blahs

I'm in a slump. I just wanna be a blob on my couch. I did ZERO Sunday after taking my daughter to her lesson except eat donuts, nap and read and watch TV. None of my weekend tasks were accomplished or even started and barely considered. Today I'm still feeling lumpy but duty calls (and a paycheck). So I read two books, both longish so yay me.

No Good Deed by Lynn Lorenz (250 pages)

Daniel is an Asian-America (4th generation Texan) 42 year old cop in a small town near Houston. One day he overhears a radio call at work about someone being run off the road and feels compelled to go and see what's going on. When he gets there a cop has been shot (but not dead), another guy is dead and a cute gay guy (Mark) is in the back of the cop car. Thankfully the cop had his video camera turned on and it seems the dead guy shot the cop and was preparing to kill both of them when the cop made Mark use his gun to save them both. Meanwhile there is much fear that Mark will sue since he was treated very badly but he just wants to go away and forget about it, no publicity. Daniel is drawn to him right away but later finds out that Mark survived a near deadly beating 10 years ago from his ex and has basically been a wreck since and this incident is not helping. Eventually they agree to try but Mark's psychiatrist sets some rules that Mark has to take the lead and alpha Daniel has to back off which he agrees. Meanwhile there is some political stuff going on with the mayor and his advisor who is trying to blackmail half the town and hates Daniel with a passion and due to his actions puts Mark in danger from his newly released ex.

I quite enjoyed the story (stayed up way too late to finish it) although I didn't care as much about the political intrigue but it was used to force the issue with Mark. It was a change in that Daniel suffered from depression, in part from the feeling he disappointed his Asian parents by first having a failed marriage and then by becoming a cop instead of running the family business. He has considered suicide several time and while I wasn't thrilled with his alternative (girl parts involved) he was definitely a flawed guy and knew it. You know Mark has issues because he tells you but it's all told from Daniel's perspective so you don't get much about what Mark is thinking. I liked how it was handled though and two guys struggling with mental health issues with a 10 year age difference try to make it work. The only thing that kind of niggled at me was Daniel had evidence that the bad guy had presumably had sex with a young boy and he didn't do anything with it but use it as a trump card to get what he wanted. As a cop you'd think that you would turn the guy in but maybe he does later. I'll go with that. He said "looked 14" but maybe he was 17 (legal in Texas which I know due to the woman arrested there recently for having sex with a 16 year old up here in Canada - which is legal here) and looked younger, many do. So if you like Lynn Lorenz you'll likely enjoy this book as well.

Bedknobs and Beanstalks edited by EM Lynley (240 pages)

This is an anthology of reworked fairy tales which I generally enjoy. There are nine fairy tales by nine authors. Maybe I'll quickly go through them. Time killer here.

1) Jack and the Peenstalk by Clancy Nacht - Jack is a size queen who finally gets his wish. It was quite humourous and set in current times with reference to the US mortgage crisis, the crappy economy and Jack having a degree in Philosophy which entitled him to work at Starbucks.

2) The Rebelliously Single Prince by Leonore Black - I have no clue which fairy tale this is exactly. Prince Keiran refuses to marry someone he doesn't love and spends more time screwing the stable boys. After failed attempts to find a wife the king locks him in the tower at night until he agrees, but every morning he looks freshly fucked anyway. The king sends his minion to find out why, but the minion touched by true love refuses to give away Kieran's secret. A cute story.

3) Cry Wolf by Mercy Loomis - A take on the obvious here with a fae wolf shifter called a pookha. I am unfamiliar with pookhas so it was a good little story that taught me something. Kind of an unclear HFN ending.

4) Kintaro: The Golden Boy by S.J. Frost - This is based on a Japanese tale but I have no clue about what. Kintaro's mother escapes with him into the forest to protect him from the men who killed her husband. When he's grown he's discovered by a samurai that takes him back to his lord to train him where he is partnered with another samurai who's mate was killed. I really liked the story, but again, was lost on the fairy tale part.

5) Ashes and Crystal by Jason Rubis - This is the Cinderella tale retold with a cross-dressing Ashes hoping to get the chance to try on the glass slipper. A cute little story with more about Ashes familial relationship than his relationship with the prince.

6) Handsome and Grateful as told to Kilt Kirkpatric - This was done as if someone was telling the story and was quite humourously done. Some pop culture references thrown in, lots of German words for food and Hansel and Gretal are much older. This also includes f/f but I didn't mind. It was an interesting style which perhaps caught my attention.

7) The King's Honor by JL Merrow - This is the fairy tale of the princesses who danced their slippers into holes or something like that. I had an OLD fairy tale book as a kid and it was the only place I'd ever seen this story so it really made me sit up and take note. Every night the king's 12 daughters disappear and dance their slippers into holes. Any young man who can solve the mystery gets a wife and kingship or gets their head chopped off. A young man on his way to try runs into a woodcutter in the forest and they hit it off. *wink* *wink* With the help of the woodcutter's grandmother he is able to solve the mystery, but will he become king? Hmmm. I quite enjoyed and it was a rarely told story that took me back.

8) Swan Made by Mina Kelly - I'm not sure the exact tale but a man finds a cloak of swan feathers and hides it in his house. Suddenly a naked guy breaks in looking for "something" and they have sex and start living together. One day the man disappears and with it the hidden cloak which he had been searcing for. Joseph goes looking for him and finds him and offers to let him live with him for as long as he wants. Good writing but I think the Joseph was kind of dense.

9) Merman's Tale by Jay Di Meo - Karan is a fisherman on a lake known for it's mermen and other creatures but he needs the fish which are plentiful there to help his sick mother. He is attacked by the mermen but saved by Tir who makes him promise to keep him in his hut for 3 days. While Karan is attracted he's a bit freaked by the tail but he falls in love thus breaking the evil spell. It was okay and interesting that the merman had no parts, if you know what I mean.

So on the whole I quite enjoy Jack, Kintaro and the King's Honor although I have to say they were all good stories and none that made me go "ewww". The only thing I can see is that people who really want to avoid f/f might find the Hansel and Gretal one off-putting but as I said, the manner in which it's written made it a non-issue and truth be told it was kind of hot.

That's it. Laundry tonight. I already started before I left home this morning. I need a maid.