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

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Quick update

So I'm kid-free for the week and argh, it is so hot. It's reaching 42C (109F) with humidity today and tomorrow. So I am just trying to keep the house cool. Nasty. My kidlet must be sweating her butt off at camp. Ah well, she's young. :-) I saw someone jogging on my home from work. Asking for a heatstroke in this weather.

You should stop by Kris 'n' Good Books and vote on the "choose your own m/m story" choices for author Stephani Hecht. Some fun stuff and she's going to have her work cut out for her. I look forward to her story.

I read a couple of things over the weekend while getting her ready to leave.

Unexpected Guest by Andy Eisenberg (218 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Dan moved into his family home to prepare it for sale after his mom moved out. He sees new neighbors Jaden and Brendan move in and thinks they are college kids. After an embarrassing start, he meets some of their friends and with the help of their friend Ethan, decides to remodel the kitchen before selling. Now Dan is straight, just divorced, or he thinks he is, sort of, maybe. He's also still obsessed with his childhood best friend with whom he experimented a bit. Ethan more or less moves in as he lives far away and helps him remodel. They are just friends until a run-in with the old friend finally triggers Dan to make a move. There is also a bit of a subplot of sexual harassment at work for Dan. I did not read the first story with Jaden and Brendan, but will definitely be correcting that. I really enjoyed this. Not too much angst or drama, but two guys becoming friends, working on a common goal and getting to know each other.

Duck by Kim Dare (191 pages)
Resplendence Publishing

Ori find out he's an Avian shifter who won't know exactly what until he turns 21 but he's working as a servant at The Nest (kind of a club for avians) where the pecking order puts him, a suspected duck, at the bottom. He is abused and used as the other wish until hawk, Raynard, takes an interest in him and takes him home to be his servant. Raynard is taking over his uncle's business and the house is a disaster. He's impressed with Ori's work ethic and after dancing around asks him to be his submissive, not just servant. Ori jumps at the chance and things are going super until he finally shifts and it turns out he's not a duck after all. Guess what he is. Come on, guess. Raynard informs him he can no longer be his submissive and much angst and sadness ensue on both sides. My heart broke for poor little Ori after his shift. He was such a good little submissive and they loved each other. Of course there is a HEA, it's a romance. :-) But there were some sad moments. I know I said I was taking a Kim Dare break, but this was really different than most of the recent books by this author. Yes, it had the D/s theme, but I think the length lent it a more natural feel, it wasn't a 24 hour change, it wasn't the arrogant Dom who knew what the other needed. So I really liked this and I hope there is a sequel where Raynard does something about how the underlings are treated at The Nest because I wanted to smack someone and take care of all the poor little servants. LOL

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Long and the Short of It

So I've read a couple of longer books and a couple of shorter books. Way to mix it up huh? :-)

We are getting another heat wave. Until next Wednesday it's supposed to be in the high 30's C (nearing 100F). I guess this is our last kick at summer. The kidlet is heading to camp on Sunday so she'll be sweating out there riding all day. I'm hoping the rain they are predicting for late in the week holds off. Nothing worse than being wet and muddy. But that's a long way off so who knows. It will be weird to have almost a whole week of coming home to just the cats.

An Unexpected Vintage by Andrew Grey (186 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

This is book 3 in the Vintage series. Gary has had a bit of bad luck, getting laid off, no boyfriend, but he's finally doing well in a new job, and making some new friends including the guys from the other books. At a party he meets Phillip whose roommate for a cruise they booked had to cancel. Everyone is going and they convince Gary to go. He and Phillip give it a whirl but he's too vanilla for PA wearing Phillip but they stay friends. On the ship he meets Scott. Scott seems skittish and he confesses he was wrongly imprisoned for rape and just got out a few months ago. They have a great week and then have to deal with a long distance relationship as well as the aftermath of Scott's release. What I enjoyed was the characters from Spot Me were Scott's friends he was on the cruise with, so it was a meeting of two series and I'm a sucker for that. This is a very sweet story about falling in love on a cruise (I actually enjoyed all the details of security and stuff on a cruise from an outsider's perspective) with a few obstacles to overcome. For fans of the author it's a nice addition to the series.

After Hours by Cassandra Gold (14 pages)
Torquere Books

Cory is a college student who works in his brother's bakery/coffee shop. One night he's forced to close up and is annoyed and even more so when a customer shows up at 10 min. to closing. He's surprised that it's hot young doctor Kyle. He invites him to stay and they chat and before he knows it he's offering to lick the icing off Kyle's fingers. Ooops. This however leads to some hot sex in the middle of the bakery in front of the big windows. Double oops. It's just a hot little story about two guys starting a relationship thanks to a glazed donut. If only all true love started over a donut. Sigh.

Chaos Magic by Jay Lygon (226 pages)
Torquere Books

I got this because Chris recommended the series. This is book 1. Sam is a sub who has recovered from a bad beating his ex gave him nearly killing him. He prays to his gods for a perfect top and is a bit dismayed to find him. He doesn't like to be touched outside of sex. He wants to be dominated hard, then leave and not let anyone close. Hector is a well-known top who takes him on and is determined to break through. Once he finally gets Sam to explain why he's having panic attacks he is even more determined to go slowly which both appeals and frustrates the hell out of Sam. Although there all kinds of gods (god of traffic, god of please let my period come, god of fear (his ex)), they take the form of real people and are his friends who are protecting him from the ex and offering advice, but it's kind of a typical tale of a stalker abusive ex and coping with PTSD. My heart broke for Sam as he tries to be the perfect sub for jealousy-prone Hector and he basically locks himself in this imaginary Japanese pagoda in his mind and becomes a mindless perfect obedient robot and Hector doesn't "get" what is happening. Maybe it's PMS but I had a real emotional response to his breakdown near the end. I'm looking forward to the other books.

My one comment. Sam is a pain slut and Hector is into blood play. Although it doesn't get into too much detail, a couple of times Hector draws blood. But then there is never any mention of scabs as the cuts heal or scars from the aftermath. In books everyone has perfectly smooth skin despite having been beaten to bleeding. Hell, I still have a scar on my arm where my cat scratched me 7 years ago. Okay, not everyone scars easily, but not everyone heals with supernatural powers in 24 hours either.

Fantasy Man by Aaron Michaels (21 pages)
Torquere Books

Mitchell works in a high rise and has been watching a hot foreman on the work-site next door. One day he can't take the fantasizing anymore and jerks off in his office. He glances up and sees what appears to be the guy looking at him, but he's sure he can't see him. Later he's at the bar after work with some coworkers when a guy sends him a plate of fried zucchini. Oh my god, it's the guy, Owen and yes, he did see him in his office. They decide to go somewhere else and Owen takes him up to the floor and shows him that he could see him and he'd been watching him as well. Mitchell finds out he might be a bit more into public sex than he ever thought. A hot little story. Kind of unusual that I managed to have two shorts with a public sex theme. LOL

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Happy Boys

I haven't read much lately. Only one book so I'll save it. I kind of get a bit tired of all those seriously sexy boys and thought I'd find some happy boys. I love the pic of a smiley laughing face. Hope these happy boys put a smile on your face for the weekend.

The song by Aqua, Happy Boys and Girls doesn't seem to have an official video so it's just a picture of the cover of the album or something with the music. It very poppy and makes me happy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday ... Tuesday ... Um, I don't know. It's Tuesday

I've read a couple of things last few days. Nothing terribly long.

Snared by JL Merrow (68 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Martin is on vacation in Scotland. He sees a wildcat caught in a snare and saves it, but ends up badly scratched. The next day he meets Callum in the pub. Callum is Irish but in Scotland for a month and invites Martin back to his place. Martin's a bit weirded out and Callum acts kind of strangely, but they have some hot smexin' (sans any mention of condoms). He wakes up to hear Callum arguing with someone. Getting up he's freaked to find out his B&B landlady turn into a werecat and want to attack him. While he's watching her fight with Callum another young woman bites him, meaning he'll turn into one as well to keep their secret. After a rough couple of days he's awaiting the first changing during the full-moon and can't figure out why Callum is being such an asshole about it. He finds out later why. I found the people of the town quite unsympathetic, especially in their zeal to keep their secret and I found Callum a bit annoying in his roundabout way of approaching everything. Also Martin's paranoia all the time with people thinking he was gay just by looking at him made me want to smack him, although I think he got over that by the end. On the whole I enjoyed this although I'd be curious what happens to Martin and Callum now that they are mates.

Broken Bones, Mended Hearts by William Cooper (40 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Noah wakes up in the hospital badly beat up. Seems he came onto some guy at university who took offence and he and his buddies beat him up. His roommate and BFF Mark is there to take care of him and straight arrow Mark suddenly kisses him. Also Noah's family is coming to make sure he's okay, including his older sister who raised him when his mother died and his father and younger step-brother. At home he and Mark take things to the next level (despite casts on both legs and an arm) and after revealing all to his sister (who knew he was gay) finally comes out to his Dad. This is a very sweet story (perhaps a bit too sweet even for me with my high schmoop tolerance). It's all told from Noah's POV so you never really find out why Mark decided to go gay and jump in with both feet waving the rainbow flag. Everyone is happy, supportive, (except for the guys who beat him up), perfect. If you want no angst and some sugar, it's a good short read.

On a side note, when Noah tells his Dad, his Dad says "I can't say I understand" and I've seen that phrase or variations used many times and books and I think "What is to "understand"?" You don't see gay people saying "I don't understand why you think girls are attractive." "I don't understand why you have blond hair." It's not something you need to "understand". It' just is. Kind of annoys me. Stupid but there it is. My annoyance of the week.

Inestimable Blessings by Amanada Young (145 pages)
ALY Books

Lee's got a good life, stable job, house, no boyfriend, but he wants a family so has a surrogate about 6 weeks from popping out a little one. His friends bug him about talking about a baby too much and tell him gay men don't want to talk kids, so when he finally meets his hot neighbor Finn and they start dating he keeps his mouth shut. He figures it's just a fling anyway, so whatever. As the date approaches he finally breaks down and tells Finn who doesn't react very well. A week later Finn apologises, they work it out and eagerly await the baby. The baby arrives, everything is going great and Lee is just about to say the "L" word when he catches Finn in a compromising position with his ex. Ooops. I was a bit worried about reading this one so soon after the other baby one I read, but the baby is really a much smaller part of this and there is little discussion of shopping or decorating. Some, but not tons. It's more about Lee and Finn and working up the nerve to tell him and then coping with the aftermath. The major crisis is resolved within minutes which was nice, not dragged out forever and it's a sweet story without excessive angst or trauma.

I still think the guy on the left on the cover looks a bit frightened that baby up above their heads doesn't have a diaper on. He should be afraid. LOL

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Shorts

What a lazy day. Even my cats have been doing nothing but lazing and sleeping this gray day. Thanks to Chris and her enabling, I got a couple of shorts from Torquere that I've wanted to read.

Sliding Down the Pohutukawa Root by Kara Larson (48 pages)
Torequere Press

After I started reading this, I thought some references sounded familiar so I checked and sure enough, it's the follow-up to Defining Right which Val reviewed at Obsidian Bookshelf. And despite my saying "Oh, I should read that." I didn't. Ooops. But you don't need to read that to read this although it might add a level to the background.

Amiri and Graeme moved to Aukland from Sidney in part to care for Amiri's autistic niece and teen nephew who have been abandoned by his sister. They are heading to see Amiri's family for Christmas. He is VERY nervous, and although is Dad accepts Graeme and him, he fears the rest of his family who are not the greatest. When they arrive he's even more shocked to find Graeme's parents and sister with her demon children and bigoted husband there. They try to deal with keeping the kids calm and dealing with the chaos of family after being away for 20 years and gelling as a family. It took me awhile to get into it as many of the names are Maori and here are names of plants and traditions with words that were unfamiliar to my North American tongue, but on the whole I could relate a bit to Amiri being overwhelmed with facing his family after all this time. For getting a taste of Maori life and traditions it's a great read.

8 Seconds on the Mountain by PD Singer (15 pages)
Torequere Press

Chris reminded me of this one when I posted Fall down the Mountain yesterday so I picked it up. Jake and Kurt from the first two mountain books are at the rodeo and Kurt drags Jake into the back where the animals are despite it being forbidden. Just when Jake is sure they are about to get their asses kicked by the cowboys Kurt decides to challenge one of the cowboys to a ride-off on one of the bucking broncs. Jake is totally freaked and Kurt pays the price for his bravado. It was just a cute little story of the guys, but if I was Jake I would have been totally pissed at Kurt for pulling that stunt and not filling me in. :-)

The Quality of Mercy (A Bonded Story) by Jay Lygon (16 pages)
Torequere Press

After reading Chris' mini-reviews of Jay Lygon's Gods and Chaos series I commented that I had enjoyed his book Bonded and I wondered if there were any others in that world because I would love to read more. Ahem. Did I mention she's an enabler? That may have come up a time or two. She said "Oh, go to Torquere who are having a sale and search his name." Mmmhmmm. Here we are.

Brandr is a Viking vampire who is now a romance writer in LA. In a fit, he pitches his laptop over the balcony into the gully and smacks someone on the head. It's Kyle. Kyle is a street hustler who found himself buried in the gully and a vampire. Brandr has no interest in taking on a young vampire despite how hot he is, so gives him some basic instruction and drives him back home. Something nags at him so he follows Kyle and sees him being abused by his pimp. He steps in to actually save the pimps life and ends up taking Kyle home with him "for a few days". Uh huh. We know how that works. LOL I love Kyle, he's a total streets-mart wise-ass and Brandr is used to living alone and not having someone bug him.

Twice Blest (A Bonded Story) by Jay Lygon (14 pages)
Torequere Press

Somehow Kyle's few days on the couch have turned into much longer. One night Brandr is out and picks up a university student and as they are heading to Jaime's he runs into Kyle on the street feeding a stray dog. When Brandr is distracted he loses out on Jamie, but decides to take Kyle home. Kyle is very upset and decides it's better if he leaves. Brandr is frustrated but goes after him because as much as he hates to admit it, he's been writing better since he moved in. He comes home one night to find Kyle fucking someone on the balcony. When he finally gets a look, shit, it's Jaime and he's a vampire. He was buried in the gully like Kyle. Kyle asks if they can keep him.

In the Bonded book, Henry also lives with them but I can't seem to find the story at Torquere that explains his arrival at the house. I really liked all of these guys though so I'd love to know more about what's happening to them now, after Tyler comes on the scene.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gloomy Weekend

It's a very gray weekend. My daughter had a god awful early riding lesson this morning (okay, 8:30 isn't THAT early but on a weekend for us it is - reading until after 1:00 didn't help) and it started to sprinkle as she was finishing. It poured around 3:00 and is very gray and dark and more rain predicted for all day tomorrow. Sigh. Oh well, I'm home alone, did some shopping errands this afternoon so I can stay curled up in my jammies all weekend and read or play on-line if I want to.

I didn't read that much this week. Been playing around with some other stuff but what I did read kept me up too late. :-)

Life, Over Easy: Fragments by KA Mitchell (160 pages)
Samhain Publishing

John was a double gold Olympic diver when hit his head and now needs a cane to walk and "sees" sounds and auras. He's going to university for the first time at 21, runs into Mason at a party and figures FINALLY he's going to get to try sex. Mason passes out in the middle of a BJ (how embarrassing) and has a definite drinking problem, so John says thanks but no thanks. Mason's BF died in a car crash nearly a year ago and he's still not doing well but he insists on trying again with John. John loses his virginity but he's still not interested in hooking up with a basket case. He finds some other friends, has some sex with a few people and tries to move on. However it seems that Mason has two auras, his dead lover is stuck attached to him and they need John to help separate them even though he just wants the whole phenomenon to go away. It wasn't as angsty as I thought it might be considering both John and Mason have had shitty things happen. I liked that John went out and tried to move on with his life and make friends even though he was attracted to Mason. Mason started as an ass but you knew why, so you could forgive him. I know this is the first in a series so I'll be looking forward to what comes up and Mason's sexual nemesis Tyler is in for a rude awakening as hinted in the book.

Fall down the Mountain by PD Singer (240 pages)
Torquere Books

This is book 3 in the mountain series and focuses on Mark who rescued Jake in the last book. He's not coping well with the aftermath of the avalanche when he meets his neighbor Allan who is a personal chef. Early in the relationship, Allen hurts himself skiing and is afraid his business will crash. Mark gets all their friends to pull together to help and he starts "helping" Allan and making him nuts. Things fall apart when Allan tells him to back the hell off, he's making him crazy. I didn't blame Allan. My god, he had stretched ligaments, not a skull fracture but I could see where Mark's paranoia stemmed from. There is also a sub-plot about the avalanche and the case is reopened to see if it was planned, implicating Mark. It was great that Allan didn't have ripped abs, he was a bit chubby being a cook as well. I have really enjoyed this series, all of the characters. Not sure there will be more or not. I'm kind of curious to know what the resort owner did to handle the situation about the escorts. (Another late night for this book. Bad me.)

You Can Go Home Again by Drew Zachary (40 pages)
Torquere Books

Pete left his small Western Canada town for vet school 6 years ago. He's home though as his Dad is suffering from dementia and his mom needs help. He runs into his best childhood friend Lan in the bar. Lan confesses he's gay and even that he was crushing on Pete but thinks it's obvious he's not Pete's type. They make plans to go fishing and spend the day together with Pete planning to show Lan he IS his type. I liked that they didn't just jump into "I love you, let's live together" since neither was out in their small town and the friends coming back together seemed natural. It was a nice story of old friends reconnecting although I tend to have a bit of a bias, coming from a small town in Western Canada, *shudder* I couldn't go home again, not for more than a couple of weeks.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yellow Fever

No, I don't have yellow fever. That would be something to post about wouldn't it? I just have nada. Nothing's got me all in a twist (well, work stuff, but you don't want me to start that rant, seriously, you don't). I can't believe summer is almost over. I saw the geese are starting to flock back and some of the trees near my house are shedding leaves. *whimper* I don't like extreme heat but I like it better than extreme cold. Oh well, come oooooon global warming.

I haven't read anything really in the last few days. Last night I started Fall Down the Mountain by PD Singer but I'm only getting started so nothing to report although it makes me hungry. I want a cinnamon bun sooooo bad. So enjoy the boys in yellow and Elton John doing his thing with some frightening hair and glasses. The man had .... style? Well, had something. :-)

UPDATE: Make sure you go by Kris' and read Matthew Vandrew's "pick it for me" story. He did an amazing job and actually incorporated ALL of the concepts in the project. He's a crazy man.

There is some frightening hair in this video.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

On a lighter note - some smexy books

Now that I'm done whining and stomping my little feet about TV producers who refuse to bend to my will, on to some books I read in the last few days.

Priority One by Stephani Hecht (70 pages)
eXtasy Books

Dylan is a 20 year old EMT, (Lucas of Lights and Sirens brother). He's been dying to try out a club so he takes Lucas' ID and heads out. There he runs into hot firefighter Kaleb who's set his sights on him. Kaleb doesn't do relationships, ever. He takes him home and Dylan is a virgin no more. Then Kaleb totally freaks when after sex Dylan shakes his hand, thanks him and leaves. That's HIS role. While on a job Dylan cuts himself and when he sees the blood it brings up some issues he never even told Lucas about and he faints. This leads to an interesting exchange with the bitch nurse from hell, but I'm not sure she's redeemable. We'll see I guess. LOL Despite both Dylan and Kaleb's assertions they had no interest in a relationships, oops, fell into one. Another cute sweet story set in this universe. I would have loved to see more of Kaleb and Dylan after they finally admitted their feelings but it was still a nice read.

Her Two Dads by Ariel Tachna (184 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Sri agreed to donate his sperm to his friend. When she dies in childbirth, he's faced with giving the baby up for adoption or keeping her. His one roommate Jamie agrees to help him out when Sri keeps her as Jamie had experience with younger siblings. Eventually Jamie gets totally hooked on little Sophie and her Dad and FINALLY the two guys hook up and try to make it work with some bumps in the road. Jamie is Mexican and Sri is Indian and there's lots of description of food as well. If you know anyone who is considering having a baby, this is like a how-to manual. I did enjoy that Jamie and Sri took time to get to know each other better (roommates for 3 years so it's not like they were strangers) although after awhile I was like "come on, just sleep together already" but Jamie kept saying wait wait wait. I also got a bit bored with the level of detail about baby stuff. I guess because I've BTDT, and have no interest in doing it again. I don't really care about car seat options and swings vs bouncy seats. So I found myself a bit impatient at times as well get on with the story of the two guys and not how much stuff they had to buy at Babies R Us. There's not a huge amount of conflict and their interactions with the baby were sweet, but I kind of lost a bit of interest and just kind of wanted to cut to the chase at time.

Fortune's Choice by Stevie Woods (44 pages)
Torquere Books

Keith inherits his aunt's house in his small hometown. He goes back to decide if he wants to pull up stakes in LA and move home (writer) or sell. He starts thinking about his best friend Dale and how he had a crush on him. He goes to buy a Christmas tree and runs into Dale. They reconnect and very quickly Dale tells him he's gay and always had a crush on him. Keith reciprocates and well ... you know how it goes pretty quickly. It was a nice story about reconnecting but I think within two days Dale agreed to move in with him, and they declared their undying love. They hadn't seen each other in ten years and while they shared a bit of their history my thought was "You have no clue if you even like this guy. 28 is NOT 18." But if you don't mind that kind of dynamic it's a well written story.

Work of Art by Rob Knight (28 pages)
Torquere Books

Wade is a very popular well-selling artist. However he hates to be touched, doesn't like people and hates openings and loves Corn Flakes. His boyfriend Sawyer manages to entice him to go but he gets stressed and after they leave Sawyer decides he's going to ask Wade to move in with him even though he knows Wade may not feel comfortable or agree. It was interesting because it's obvious that Wade suffers from some sort of disability, autism I suppose, but at a highly functioning level, but does odd things such as wanting to start fresh so Sawyer finds everything he owns piled into the kitchen and bathroom even his bed, couch, etc. But Sawyer loved him and knew how to work things around what he needed to be comfortable. So it was quite different from most romances, but it was a sweet story and I admired Sawyer's patience. I don't think I'd have the same.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A little rant - well maybe a big one - at least medium

I don't rant and blabber on about what's wrong with the world very often, I leave that to other people *coughtKriscough*, but something has been just bugging the hell out of me for the last four days, so here I go.

I was working on my post for Wave about going around the world and decided to make my first stop the non-traditional m/m stop of Tony and Henry and Lee from Tanya Huff's Smoke series. I LOVE LOVE LOVE those books and have re-read them many times and Tony and Henry were one of the first m/m couples I read. It's very non-explicit, but I just loved them.

So I'm googling for a picture of the book cover and I come across a short article that says they are going to make it into a TV series. Squeeee. Oh my god. Henry (Blood Ties was already a Canadian TV show) and Tony. *swoon*

So I start reading:

1) Henry moves to Vancouver (check, but where the hell is Tony? He and Tony were lovers and moved together)

2) Henry helps a friend get a job on the set of a vampire TV show. (Okay, Henry didn't help Tony get the job, but he financed Tony's college and then he got the job - whatever.)

3) She finds out she's a wizard and chaos and mayhem ensue. (WHAT THE FUCK? SHE? Since when did Tony turn into a girl? No fucking way! They are making her a girl so they don't have to deal with the fact that Tony and Henry were lovers (who later split up but remained friends when Tony outgrew the relationship) and that Tony had a massive crush on straight actor (straight as a paperclip maybe) Lee and the dancing around of that relationship for 2.5 books while Tony fought off demons and ghosts.)

I was just so freaking furious I left a message on the site saying "Bullshit". Now there's be a nice girl to flirt with Lee and be "friends" with Henry. Even the vampire in the TV show is turned into a hot babe instead of the pompous ass he was in the books.

It just pisses me off that they feel the original was good enough to make into a TV series, but not good enough to leave as is. I left a message for the author basically saying "What the fuck were you thinking to allow this?". But hey, we all have to make a living and she's no JK Rowling I suppose, who can demand mega-bucks and hold out for her vision. They're her characters, her call, but I just get sooooo angry when I see that kind of hacking to make it more "palatable" to the general public.

Sigh. Rant over but I will NOT be watching the show on principle. I just can't endorse something that so perverts an absolutely amazing original in the name of blandness. I can't recommend the books highly enough though, so if you like urban fantasy (but with out the kickass chick in high heels and a belly shirt), with a good dose of humour and sexual tension, give them a try.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Weekend Update

What a unique title huh? I wish I could do amusing titles like other people. Oh well. Got some reading done this weekend. I'm feeling better and my stomach issues seem to be gone, we'll hope it holds. Not much going on. Took my car in to have some general maintenance. The guy told me 2-2.5 hours. They called me after an hour and I thought "Oh shit, what's wrong?" Nope, they were finished. Oh, okay then. Can't complain about that.

Mist Gray: Falling Apart, Falling Together by Andy Slayde and Ali Wilde (140 pages)
Torquere Books

The locals at his cabin tell Ten (Tennyson) that his neighbor's BF died a year ago, but he has no time to be feeling sorry for someone and taking care of them. Avery his still mourning is dom's death and their good friend and fellow dom gives him some discipline from time to time, but he's in a long term relationship as well. Cameron encourages him to invite Ten for dinner. Ten is a bit freaked, he's not very social and he really doesn't want to get involved, however he's drawn. That night they get funky, but when he realized Avery is into the whole BDSM thing he says, sorry, not my thing. However when Avery breaks his ankle and needs someone to stay with him Ten moves in and can't seem to keep his hands off and starts to open up to maybe doing SOME stuff. I liked how Ten was reluctant because of BDSM and he didn't understand it but he didn't just arbitrarily say no either. It's squeaks a bit close to the insta-love line, but due to the slightly paranormal aspect (was Avery's lover still around), I let it go. :-) On the whole I quite enjoyed it and there is limited BDSM content for those interested. More talk than action.

Baked by Sean Michael (350 pages)
Torquere Books

This is a Hammer book. I've never read anything in this universe (except for maybe some shorts in anthologies) but it was twincest. What can I say, pervy to the end. It's actually about two sets of twins, but not together. There are two parallel stories. Clay has twin brother Devin and Darius who crashed his truck and basically make him insane. He's known that dom Bake has been eyeing them so figures a good punishment will be to let him have a go at them. Bean is Bake's twin, but they aren't sexually involved and neither Bean nor Clay are into the BDSM scene. The two stories run along with Dev and Dare adjusting to life with Bake and Clay and Bean falling in love. There is some jealousy on Bake's part and later there is a kidnapping and recovery that stresses the relationships. I was leery about buying this because of the name. Bean? Bake? seriously? Ugh. Most of the time I was able to ignore it. It has a hint of Braided, the twin dynamic was similar although as it went on I found it less so. There is tons of trademark SM sex, not as much as I expected to be honest, but enough that I skimmed a few of the scenes that I didn't really feel added much. The BDSM is super light and consists of a couple of spankings and one interlude with a flogger. For fans of SM it will be an enjoyable read, I'm not sure it really had much to do with the Hammer universe although a couple of names are tossed in as other characters from other books I presume. After the opening scene they never go back there. Forgot to add I am TOTALLY into the font on these books though. Lurv it.

Into the Tigers Den by Misa Izanaki (35 pages)
Torquere Books

This is a follow-up to Ride the Tiger. Evan is living with his brother Dante and is in love with his were-tiger lover Varian but Dante is making him insane trying to run his life. He wants to move in with Varian but Dante is reluctant to agree. Varian invites him to go and visit his parents with him at their hotel and he sneaks out rather than tell Dante. When they get there it is obvious Varian and his Dad have issues. As well Dante has come chasing after Evan. The relaxing vacation with is lover is a bit of a bust and both Evan and Varian are going to have to deal with their family conflict up front. It was okay but I always feel like I just wanted more. I wanted to know why Varian's Dad was so upset with him (a couple of sentences explains the whole thing), more talking between Dante and Evan about Dante's behaviour. Anyway, I just always feel like it's a little taste (which it is, it's a sip after all) but I just want MORE, more meat, more depth.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Yay, It's Friday ... the 13th Ooooohh

Kind of an unusual week back at work. I've actually been off sick for a day and a bit. I seem to have picked up some kind of stomach bug on vacation, I'm hoping that's what it is and it goes away soon anyway. I haven't done much reading but some.

Oh and I'm not superstitious so the whole Friday the 13th is a non-issue for me. But it's fun to pretend.

Fugly by KZ Snow (56 pages)
Liquid Silver Books

David has three friends, Todd, Fallon and Jake (his casual fuck), who are all about the cute guys. If you don't meet their physical standards you don't have a chance. One night at the bar they hit on a hottie who's husband is NOT impressed. Seems they hit on Adin, wizard Jackson Spey's guy. He overheard the guys being cutting and decided to teach them a lesson. Every guy they think is hot, now sees them with a horrible rash, but other people can't see it. This was a great book about seeing what's right in front of you (as all three have guys who are attracted to them but they think are beneath their standards) and finding out that there is more to life than just being hot. Although the book is short, it manages to deal with all three relationships in a very satisfying fashion. You don't feel like any one of the three couples got left out. Beautiful writing and yes, one of the guys is a mortician and there is some detail but I didn't find it gory and that story-line probably touched me the most, although all three stories were effective. You start out not liking the guys very much but I think for the reader it's also a case of don't judge a book (or a hot gay shallow gay guy) by the cover as there was more to them than you thought. Great read.

Bad Boys, Bad Boys by Mia Watts (40 pages)
Total-E-Bound Publishing

First off, giant thank you to the author of these next two books, Mia Watts, and the m/m romance group on Good Reads* because I won these books there. They are having an anniversary celebration with lots of prizes and games and I chose this book and Mia was super amazing and tossed in the sequel. Thanks again Mia, I appreciate the authors who give to such good causes and thanks to Lori, Jen, Jase and the multitude of others who've been working their asses off on the board to make this week an amazing one. (And every other week of the year too.) Super job guys. On to the books.

Geo and Mack have been partners and best friends for a few years and suddenly Geo has been having sex dreams about Mack. Both are straight but he can't help it, he suddenly notices Mack is hot. After a few too many beers, he kisses Mack. Mack is freaked but takes him home where Geo tackles him and gives him a blow job, then promptly blacks out with no memory. When Mack tells him what he did, he confesses he wants a relationship and Mack is totally freaked, yet turned on. Geo tries to be patient and let Mack to figure out if he wants a relationship or if it was a one-off thing. I really liked the guys and while Mack was freaked it wasn't overly angsty and he was pretty good at admitting that he did find Geo attractive. The sexual tension between the two was very evident and the two alpha cops, sometimes fighting for dominance at first was pretty smexy. Chris has been saying I must read this forever and I meant to. So another thanks for the kick in the pants I needed to finally do it.

Reasonable Doubt by Mia Watts (58 pages)
Total-E-Bound Publishing

It's a year later and Geo and Mack are living together but not out to anyone. Life is good, they are still hot for each other and madly in love although Mack is reluctant to spread the word and Geo wants to announce it at the family BBQ. A serial killer is taking young girls and they FBI sends none other than Geo's ex, a hot woman whom he lived with and was engaged to, but she up and left without even telling him she got the job at the FBI. She's brought along her partner Andy, whose set his sights on Mack, while she's determined to get back in Geo's bed. Even after she finds out that Mack and Geo are together, she doesn't give up and Mack is so certain that Geo will decide he likes girls better, he practically throws Geo at her, even though he declares his undying love. Due to work scheduling and additional kidnappings they don't have much time together to talk it out and their relationship is tested. This was nice to see them a year later and how they had gelled as a couple. I wanted to smack Mack a couple of times for his paranoia and the way he was acting, but Andy did a pretty good job of that for me eventually. I think Andy gets his story and while at first I hated him and the way he acted, I liked him at the end and look forward to his HEA. The serial killer mystery really took a back seat to the relationship so there wasn't a lot of details about the crimes, some, but it's really Mack's turn to decide if this is really it and if he believes it. Both great reads. I'll definitely be getting the next.

* You have to "apply" to the group and be a member of Good Reads (free) to be a part of the group as it has content that is only suitable for 18+. If you are interested in m/m at all, I highly suggest joining. Hundreds of threads about books, movies, hot pictures and just random fun for all. Approval is very fast, although with the contest the mods are pretty busy this week.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Musical Find for a Wednesday

While searching for Stephen Torrence videos (the ASL music guy) on YouTube I found him doing this song. It really caught my attention. Then of course I had to check out his other stuff. Some quite jazzy, some poppy. Alexander Rybak is a Norwegian violinist and composer.

Fairytale won the 2009 Eurovision Song contest. Is he not just cute as a button? The video is no hell though and I kind of like Stephen's version better.

And since I started looking for Stephen, here is a bit of a dance mix. Black Eyed Peas "I Got a Feeling". Kind of an overdone song, but they look like they are having such a good time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Back to Work and Reading

So that graphic pretty much sums up being back to work is like after an amazing vacation. :-) Ah well, rent must be paid, food must be bought. I've done some reading since I got back so thought I'd do a quick update while I have some lunch.

Miles and the Magic Flute by Heidi Cullenen (196 pages)
Dreamspinner Press
Miles has been forced to move back to Minnesota after losing his job in Atlanta, and his boyfriend. He HATES his life. He's working in his friend's pawn shopping, living in their trailer and feeling quite sorry for himself. (Not that I blamed him really, my nightmare come to life, having to move back home. I'd work at McDonald's first.) Anyway, he feels himself drawn to the woods and weird things start to happen to him. Suddenly he goes out for a walk and ends up in the woods being chased by a monster and rescued by a beautiful fey who tries to seduce him. It's quite a complicated story and Miles is caught between the two worlds. The fey wants to use him to set himself free from the bondage he's in, and the monster just wants him. He's torn, as the fey is everything he ever imagined, but the beast draws him. During this time Miles figures maybe his life wasn't all it was cracked up to be and he's just a wee bit selfish and feeling entitled. It's quite the story with monsters and fey and silver and flutes and Miles just wanting to do the right thing. I really enjoyed it and stayed up waaaaay too late the night before my first day back at work to finish it. I was going to stop, really I was but .... I have no self-control. The ending was a bit too perfect perhaps and a bit schmoopy as I think Jen said in her review, but that's such a small part that I think even if you don't like too much sugar, the rest of the book definitely isn't and it's worth a read.

Trickster by Elizabeth Coldwell (25 pages)
Rufus is a space bounty hunter who is determined to bring in Jobi who steals state secrets and sells them to the highest bidder. When Jobi's ship sends out a distress call he comes to the rescue. After he's distracted by a smoking hot kiss, Jobi escapes. He's even more determined to find him and they set out to do so. He does find him although Jobi gets the jump on him, the tables are turned on Jobi and consequences must be faced. It was an interesting concept but something about this just didn't grab me. Maybe I didn't quite get the attraction between the two guys being that it happened so suddenly. I'm not sure. It's not a bad story and the writing is fine, it just didn't click for me. I'm sure it works well for others and if you like sci-fi it would be worth a quick read.

Jacob's Ladder by ZA Maxfield (165 pages)
Loose Id

This is book 3 in the St. Nacho's series. Jacob has always been in volatile relationships. After his current one gets REALLY bad, he kicks out the boyfriend and takes his battered and beaten self onto the bus to his brother's. It's during swine flu panic and his cough causes the bus driver to abandon him in St. Nacho's. He checks into the motel but almost dies and is saved by paramedic JT. He's forced to stick around for the week and JT is determined to help him by setting him up with a domestic abuse survivors group. He's not impressed and is getting a very weird vibe from JT who seems to blow hot and cold but is obviously dating women. He also meets fireman Cam who would love to date him but he can't get JT out of his head and he hooks up with the pie ladies to help them out. I really enjoyed this although I wanted to smack JT more than once and Jacob too for accepting the dregs he was handed, but the long term effects on people from living with abuse their whole lives I thought was handled nicely and Jacob and JT are both Jewish so there was quite a bit of reference to JT's beliefs which was interesting. You don't see much of the other characters from St. Nacho's just Ken a bit and a few mentions (except for Jordan's Mom, Mary Catherine) but I really enjoyed it and seeing Jacob face up to his past and why he picked the men he did. You also get to meet his older brother Dan who is set to be the star of the next book (I hope) with Cam. On the whole an excellent addition to the St. Nacho's group with lots of interesting secondary characters such as Cam and the pie ladies. For fans of the series a must. Oh, if you haven't read the others it won't matter all that much, a few things will be clearer if you have, but it could be read as a stand-alone, however they are all so good I suggest you start at the beginning with St. Nacho's.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New York, Philly and Home

The final vacation installment. Yay! (I'm sure you're saying.)

So last Sunday, after some panic with lost car keys, we left Long Island and headed to Brooklyn because hotels are waaaaay cheaper there. We took the subway into the city and our first stop was Kleinfeld's. Many of you probably have no idea what this is, but it's a bridal shop that is featured on the TLC show Say Yes to the Dress. We watch religiously, so we made the pilgrimage. After taking pictures I said "We're going in." So we strolled into the small lobby and pretended we were waiting for someone. I got a business card for Kristen and we waited and watched. We saw them filming with one of the consultants and we saw the owner. Then consultants started coming to fetch their clients and ... OMG, Keisha walked in. Okay, that means even less to any of you, but she is my favourite consultant on the show. I wanted to take her picture but Kristen said that would be creepy, so I didn't, but I was almost squeeing out loud. So that was our brush with greatness in NYC. :-)

We did some shopping that day, and then I read that there was supposed to be a LGBT bookstore down by Stonewall so we hopped the subway down there. No bookstore but we took a pic of the Stonewall Inn where the LGBT rights movement really got kick started. Then our feet hurt so badly, we ate and went back to the hotel.

The next day we ran down to Times Square and got tickets for a matinee. We didn't have to wait long as we decided we wanted a play and got tickets for A Perfect Crime which is off-Broadway and tickets were $31. Cheap. It was kind of freaky because it was really small and we were in the second row. It was like being IN the play. It was good though and we enjoyed it. Then we went to Canal Street (Chinatown) and I was not impressed. I've been to Chinatown in Montreal, Vancouver and London and there are shops and groceries with weird Chinese foods and products but this was nothing but NYC tourist garbage run by Chinese people. Where do the Chinese people shop? Oh and lots of people muttering "Louis Vuiton, Channel jewellery" in your ear to take you to a magical place with illegal knockoffs. We ended up walking up Broadway and doing more shopping and then back for Chinese food and home again.

That was our last day in NYC. It was nice as we did some things we've not done before when we were there.

Thursday we were off to Philadelphia, over another freaking gigantic bridge. Arrgghhh. Not only was it huge, but I had to pay an $11 toll on the other side. Rip off. Anyway, we made it to Philly and walked over, in the extreme heat and humidity, to see the Liberty Bell. I still don't get really why it's so important, but anyway, we saw it. Then we wandered around and saw some actors reading the Declaration of Independence. I wanted to point out that when it was written neither the black guy nor the woman had any rights, but I'm not even American so I kept my mouth shut.

Friday we wanted to see the Amish and wanted to go to Intercourse, PA. Yes, I only wanted to go because of the name. Shut up. But there was a road closure and we couldn't find the detour, arrgghh. So no Intercourse for me. :-P We did find another place further down where we went on a buggy ride and got to go to a real Amish farm and see real Amish people, who never seem to wear shoes. We bought some jam and that's about it. Then I was tired of driving so we came back to Philadelphia, went out for a Philly Cheese-steak (meh) and plotted my trip home.

We are leaving this morning, whenever we get out of the hotel and it's supposed to take about 8 hours, which means likely closer to 9, but we'll be home tomorrow night and I have a day to recover before heading back to work.

It was a fun time but I'm ready to be home. The best part was seeing friends and the weekend in Long Island will long be remembered as the best part.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Movie Review: Salt

My daughter has been wanting to see this movie and we had nothing planned for last night so we found a Philadelphia movie theatre not too far form the hotel.

The plot outline, Angelina Jolie (Evelyn Salt) works as a spy for the CIA. She's getting ready to go home for her anniversary with her husband when a Russian "defector" shows up. Her and her colleague Liev Schreiber (Ted) decide to see if he's real or not. He starts to tell about a bunch of Russian kids who were trained to replace American kids, to bring down America and the plan is now for a woman to kill the Russian President while he's in NY. He then reveals that Evelyn is the spy. She claims he's lying and is worried that her husband can't be reached and that they have gone after him. Homeland Security want to keep her locked up to check the story, but she's worried about her husband and using all her spy skills escapes only to find him kidnapped. She then goes looking for him, finding the "defector" who had managed to escape and who had kidnapped her husband.

This movie is totally far-fetched, she jumps from the overpass onto a semi-trailer, then onto a tanker trailer, then onto a smaller truck, is thrown to the ground, avoids some bullets and steals a motorcycle and escapes. But that's the fun. It's one explosion and completely unrealistic scenario after another, and at first you aren't sure that whether she is or isn't the spy and even if she is, whose side is she on? I started to suspect other spies near the end, I won't reveal more but it's quite the theory. If you like action movies with lots of explosions and close escapes and car chases and crashes and random murder by machine gun, it's the movie for you. It was a fun summer film, not to be taken too seriously.

Oh and if any of you are recruiting spies, do NOT choose women who look like Angelina because no amount of make-up and facial prosthetics can hide those lips. She's ALWAYS recognizable.


As an additional bonus, here is some eye candy. Where did I find this video? Umm. My daughter says "I have something for you." and sends me the link. Oh, um, thanks hon. I'm so passing that on. LOL Enjoy.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Reading on Vacation

So I have been getting a chance to read some, mostly in the evening after we crash back at the hotel. To be honest we haven't even turned a TV on yet, or not in days since we both have computers we are on-line in the hotels. I stayed up way too late reading last night but I HAD to finish. Damn long books. :-)

We the Bus People by GR Richards (27 pages)
Torquere Books

Nikos is a macho guy whose car, Dean, is in the shop and he's forced to take the bus. He sees one of their clients Manny, on whom he has a crush, but is so embarrassed to be using the bus he hides at the back and falls asleep. When he wakes up Manny is beside him and the bus is full of aliens going to space. He's totally freaked at first, but Manny explains there are lots of aliens on earth and his planet is nearly dead because of over-pollution but he visits his Mom who refuses to leave. After talking for a while Manny tells him bus etiquette means they can have some "private time" at the back and everyone will ignore them. When Manny reaches his stop they agree to see each other when he gets back to earth. It was quite interesting with lots of Star Trek type aliens on the bus and Nikos pretty freaked out at first, I found the ending turned preachy though with Manny suddenly speachifying in his head how he was going to help save our planet from the same fate as Manny's. Save the ending which felt a bit like a lecture I quite enjoyed it and seeing a tough macho guy thrown off by his crush was cute.

Making Promises by Amy Lane (358 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

This is a follow-on of sorts to Keeping Promise Rock. This is local cop Shane's story and starts a few months before the other one ends. Shane agrees to meet his sister at a Ren Faire where she is dancing. He hasn't seen her in years but she introduces him to Russian, Mikhail who is filling in for her injured boyfriend. Mikhail latches onto Shane who is attracted, but doesn't do one-nighters. You find out more about why Shane left the LA police and went to a small town and about his childhood and relationship with his sister. Mikhail also has an ugly past of drugs and prostitution in Russia and his mother is now dying of cancer. Mikhail is sure he's not good enough for Shane, Shane is sure he's too weird (although he and Mikhail mesh) and Shane can see the big picture of Mikhail pushing him away and doesn't give in despite some ugliness. I loved how Shane always seemed to be one step ahead of Mikhail and headed off his attempts to derail their relationship. He just didn't give in and I loved how Mikhail seemed small but he was a fierce defender of Shane to one and all. The whole theme of the importance of family, and that being who you choose for family, not only those related by blood was very strong as well as the sense of the importance of living up to promises made. An excellent follow-up, you got to see most everyone and learn more about Jeff whose story I'm looking forward to as well. Oh and I was up until 1:30 to finish this, then got up this morning, packed up the hotel room and came to Philly. Sigh. Bad me, bad me.

Cherry on Top by Kiernan Kelly, Lee Benoit, GS Wiley, GR Richards, Tracy Rowan, Syd McGinley, BG Thomas, Misa Izanaki and Sean Michael (197 pages)
Torquere Books

This is a follow-up of sorts to the Cherry anthology that I really enjoyed. It's not a follow-up in the sense of following the same characters, but the same concept, firsts, but not only sexual firsts, any kind of first really, but often sexual. I liked some more than others with most anthologies, I'll just mention the ones that stood out for me.

Going Home Again by Kiernan Kelly - Starting in 1969, 9 year old Daniel is stuck in Atlantic City with his family, but can't have fun in the water since he has a broken arm. One day he meets Tony who is staying with his grandparents and they hang out for Daniel's time there. He confesses that his Dad broke his arm and even though he ends up in foster care, Tony keeps in touch until he's 16. 16 years later, after a bad break-up Daniel decides to go back to Atlantic City and see if he can track down Tony. I really felt for Daniel and how Tony helped him make it through the foster system until they lost track and he never sought him out as a lover, just as a friend, although .... :-)

A Better Fate than Wisdom by Lee Benoit - Set in 1978, preppy Alex is sent by his gay magazine editor to interview some guys in the leather scene. He goes to a bar where he stands out, but he approaches one guy who blows him off but assigns his boy the job of talking to him. Bruno is pissed as he's trying to win the Daddy's affections but reluctantly goes home with Alex who is flirting up a storm. When they get there, Alex comes on to him and wants Bruno to top. He's never done that, he's always been the "boy" and "taken it". He doesn't get "liking it" as Alex claims to, but he gives it a go and has a revelation, maybe being in the leather scene and getting himself a Daddy isn't all it's cracked up to be. A cute story with Bruno being forced to think about what being gay is all about for each person. Alex was a stereotypical twink which was fun to watch Bruno stumble around with out of his element.

The Bad Boyfriend Club and How I Left It by Tracy Rowan - Eddy has had shitty luck with boyfriends since 11th grade when he finally got Timmy into bed and someone knocked on the door and the guy freaked and ended up married and cruising the gay bars. One disaster after another, but he's a real estate agent and his Mom asks him to help this total geek he knew in high school find a place. He's sure the guy is still a loser but when he meets him he's turned into Hottie McHotterson. They start dating and months later when Don asks him to move in, he totally freaks and sabotages the relationship. It was a nice story about confronting your past and not living a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The other stories were good, there was an historical about an artist and one of his rich customers, a co-workers to lovers story, best friends to lovers, teaching your shape shifting fox lover to cook, and a story set in the Hammer universe which I enjoyed but probably would have meant more if I understood the whole background.

The only one I didn't enjoy, and to be honest I didn't finish, was a master/slave story I think set in the Dr. Fell world, maybe, not sure. But I just don't "get it". When someone is made to have sex with someone else, they don't want to, but don't feel they can stand up for what they want because they have too much to lose, it makes me very uncomfortable. Like an abused spouse who can't leave because they'd be on the streets or the kids would have no food, so they put up with it because leaving would be worse in their minds. That's not sexy to me. But I know this is a VERY personal thing for me and it's not everyone's feelings on the situation or the story. So others will enjoy it.

On the whole a good little anthology with a mix of stories with different themes.