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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Quicky update

I'm slipping this in amongst the anticipation of my big news. But I don't want to get too far behind.

In and Out by LB Gregg (195 pages)
Aspen Mountain Press

Holden is a former adventurer, TV host and author until his lover of many years reveals he also writes porn. Now a couple of years later he's housebound due to agoraphobia living in his family home. He hires a gardener, Adam, to do something with the disaster, and he finds a body in the compost heap. Eeep. Holden's life then starts to get even more complicated as his alcoholic brother who is in the process of divorce, his brother's soon to be ex, his own cheating ex, his brothers best friend and a host of others start traipsing through his house. They show up, they disappear and the whole town is sure Holden is involved somehow and it looks like he's being set up. It was interesting with Holden suffering from agoraphobia and Adam wasn't a regular guy either, perhaps a bit of Aspergers, unable to recognize facial cues or pick up on sarcasm and verbal bantering. I found Holden a bit annoying at times, the police want to speak to X whose supposedly upstairs sleeping but it would take him forever to get around to going up and knocking on the door, by then the guy is gone. Just let the cops go get him for cripes sake (or maybe the house is much larger than I can imagine). I did love how Adam seemed to see how Holden used humour as a bit of a mask and I also liked that Holden was annoyed by his own disability, but was still trapped by it. And I swear I never know who the bad guy is until it's revealed in the author's books. I always think I know but I'm usually wrong. Another great addition to the series.

Euphorbia by Glyn Soitino (103 pages)
Torquere Press

A few years ago, Mark came home to find his snobby lawyer boyfriend left him for someone more sociably acceptable. He has since sworn off love. When Colin, a popular mystery writer (and erotic romance writer - two writer books with overgrown gardens - huh) moves to the country he needs to find someone to tame his garden. Mark is now working freelance as a gardener and takes on the task. He's impressed that Colin is one of his favourite authors and they form a fledgling friendship until Colin asks him out and Mark shuts him down. When the Euphorbia plant "attacks" Mark and he gets sap in his eye, Colin takes care of him, taking him to the doctor and refusing to take advantage of Mark's pain killer induced horniness. I quite enjoyed this, I liked how Mark had to face up to the walls he'd erected after the jerk broke his heart. The interaction with Mark's parents were great, a bit of humour and understanding when he needed it. All in all, this is a sweet little story about opening your heart again with engaging characters. And I have no freaking clue what a Euphorbia is, maybe it's a British thing. I don't think we have them here. Apparently the sap will burn your skin if it touches you and I don't know of any plants like that. Don't want one either, sounds nasty.

Countdown to December 1

It's nearly here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lions and Tigers and .... No, just lions today

Happy Sunday. Winter has come to our fair land, although I think it's actually even colder in the UK so go figure, but we do have some snow on the ground but it's supposed to be +8C on Wednesday with rain so I don't imagine it will stay until Christmas.

I've had a few things I've been working on that haven't been reading but I did read these two books. Some of you may remember I had serious issues with book 1 in this series and nearly didn't finish but with some encouragement from the masses I did. I didn't love it, because I didn't love the main characters, however I was curious about some of the other lions in the book and so I was motivated to read about them. I find them easy reads, fast, kind of brain candy.

Marrick's Promise by Kim Dare (103 pages)
Resplendence Publishing

Marrick is an adrenalin junkie who hangs out at the BDSM clubs and figures it will be a lark to be thrown to the lions. Another rush. Were-lion Mates Blaine and Luthor are instantly attracted to him and despite knowing it's only one night, start stalking him. Finally they "rescue" him at a BDSM club and Arslan agrees they can "court" him. Sure it's all fun and games, two hot sexy guys, however Marrick likes it rough (as in scar inducing rough) and the lions have been taught that you have to be gentle with your pets and have taken it to heart after their first experience with a human didn't go well and he was injured. But if Marrick can't get one he needs from the two hotties, is there any hope. Blaine and Luthor are not too bright, in fact none of the lions except the boss seem that bright. They live in human society but seem totally oblivious to how it works. I also understood part of Marrick's reason to live life to the max given a childhood illness, but needing to draw blood and be scarred permanently to feel alive may mean you need to see a therapist. LOL There was an amusing scene as Blaine and Luthor show up at Marrick's parents house and have tea with them. It was okay, I had been curious about the couple so was happy to read more about them, but they were a bit too bratty and annoying to really appeal to me.

Ellery's Duty by Kim Dare (117 pages)
Resplendence Publishing

And so we continue with more lions. Ellery is a local dom who's a bit concerned about all the subs in town being thrown to the lions so he decided to do it to make sure they are okay. He is chosen by Kefir, the smallest lion who knows there is something different about him, but Ellery tells him he'll never be a pet. Knowing that Kefir is "different" than other lions, the pride leader invites Ellery back to witness another person thrown to the lions to see what it's really like. He instantly recognizes that Kefir is an untrained sub and is in seventh heaven. However, two dominants in the house makes for some tense moments and the other members of the pride, especially Blaine and Luthor do NOT like the fact that a lion is not the dominant member of a mating and make plans to show Ellery how it's supposed to work. Well, we all knew Kefir was a sub right cause he was small and soft spoken. *eye roll* But I just wanted to take him home and hug and care for him. LOL Lions appear to have no recognition of things like sarcasm or subtlety or reading between the lines. Everything is face value and Kefir was so eager to please his master that I really think he'd do anything, whether he wanted to or not, including allowing whipping even though every indication showed that it freaked him out. But of course his Dom would KNOW he likes it even if Kefir says no. Sigh. There were safe words for the lion sacrifices but none for the humans. Hmmmm. I found Ellery a bit of a he-man Dom which was annoying. It was okay, but I just never felt comfortable that Kefir wasn't going to allow himself to be pushed farther than he should.

So there. There was mumbling about the pride leaders brother who disappeared and rumours of a stripper/prostitute who was a were-lion so I imagine his story is up next. Not sure I'd get it. Maybe. I only got these because I'd been curious about these particular characters in the series. Oh and they all needed Muggle Studies classes to figure out humans. Why wasn't Ryland doing that for them? Or they need to watch TV or something (even though that was said to be an inaccurate picture) at least they'd have half a clue.

Friday, November 26, 2010

So what have I been doing?

Well you'd think I'd be busy beavering away, reading books and being all efficient since my week is far less stressful on the work front. Lots of time for fun stuff. Um. Yeah. Not so much. So what have I been busy doing? Well, someone who shall remain nameless, but has two demonic boy cats, lives in Australia, has a baby brother who doesn't appreciate pirate butt sex and is generally evil, gave me a little task. Write a story for Christmas meeting all of the criteria picked by her evil minions. Sigh.

So I've been beavering away for two days typing my little fingers to the bone. What do I have so far? Well, I don't want to give it away, but I'll give you some basics.
  • I so far have 13,500 words. (oops, a secret baby scenario takes a lot of set-up what can I say?)
  • My two heroes are Aaron and Ben
  • The baby is Gavin and he is cute but rather at the blobby stage
  • It takes place in Tampa Bay, Florida
  • No evil Russian Blue cats are involved
  • The baby is NOT an elf
  • Werekangas are not present
That's it. That's all you're getting. So I did read one book before I started slaving. But I'll probably not read much else for a couple of days until I finish this. Once I get started I'm not good at putting things aside. It's like I'm compelled to finish it. Which I'm sure makes She Who Must Not Be Named happy.

Unspeakable Words by Sarah Madison (160 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Jerry is an outstanding FBI officer at what he does, however he's also rather a social misfit and has been pulled off a case to pair up with an incoming agent Flynn, who is obsessed with a serial murder case he worked on in town a while ago. Flynn ends up staying at Jerry's and Flynn is everything Jerry isn't. Smooth, smart, on the way to the top, athletic and straight. However after a day or so of rubbing each other the wrong way they start to work well together, until Flynn touches something that electrocutes him (?) and suddenly he can hear people's thoughts, including Jerry's dirty thoughts about him. He needs to spend some time figuring out how to control his problem without overloading and they are also seeking the murderer who may or may not be the serial killer. I seem to have enjoyed this more than some people. I didn't find the mystery all that unappealing and I get the impression there will be more as it kind of ends at the start of the relationship. This is GFY. They don't kiss until damn near the end but I was fine with that. I quite enjoyed the build-up and I think if they had fallen into bed after a day I would have been rolling my eyes. I liked how Flynn got Jerry to lighten up a bit, there were cute cats involved and nice descriptions of food since Jerry liked to cook. So I will definitely pick up another if there is a continuation. I hope there is as I'd love to find out more about the serial killer story and see how Flynn copes with being gay (in San Francisco which obviously makes it a little easier). So if you like your mysteries all wrapped up with a bow, everything explained and clearly put to bed, this will probably make you nuts, but I didn't need that and just took at as a start to something more. Not sure that's true or not. We'll see I guess.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 1

Last night my daughter and I went to see the latest Harry Potter. I have to say the theatre was very nice, it's new in our multi-plex and has a bigger screen and really comfy rocking chairs and you get assigned seats so no stampede to get there early or get good seats. We also bought them on-line so breezed right in past the lines of people waiting for tickets (Tuesday is cheap movie night here so always busy).

Anyway, those of you that follow the stories know how it goes. After Dumbledore's death, Harry, Ron and Hermione set out to find and destroy the horcruxes while Voldemort causes mayhem generally. How was it? Very good, although it leaves you at a cliff hanger which is going to make waiting months and months rather frustrating, but I think it ended in a proper spot.

It's very dark, in the sense this is not the movie you take a 6 year old who dresses up like Harry Potter to. A couple of seriously intense scenes that had me scrunching my eyes shut and cringing. There is some humour too to lighten the mood a bit, but it's pretty subtle. This movie really focuses on the three main characters along with Voldemort. If your looking for that ensemble cast of teachers and students or even the Order of the Phoenix gang, it's not there. Of the more popular well-known characters, you see:
  • Neville Longbottom - one short scene
  • Luna Lovegood - a couple of scenes
  • teachers at the school - none
  • The Weasley gang - a few scenes at the beginning then nothing
  • Ginny - one or two scenes (including a kiss) then nothing
  • Snape - a couple of scenes (and he seems to have gotten his greasy hair under control, it looked rather luscious and wavy)
  • The Malfoys and Bellatrix - several scenes although I'm not sure Draco had a speaking line)
  • Hagrid - one or two scenes at the beginning
  • Order of the Phoenix, Tonks, Lupin, Bill, Fleur, etc. - two scenes
  • Voldemort - well he showed up quite a bit as he sought the Deathly Hallows
  • The Dursleys - one short scene
  • Various baddies - quite a few scenes.
This is a movie about the bad guys finally getting their chance, so they are all over the place doing evil things. There were some great special effects, the battle scenes in the air were great and when Hermione tells the story of the three brothers there is a use of animation as she speaks that I was really impressed with. Kind of old school shadow puppets, but not quite. Anyway, it was very effective I thought. I forgot to mention the scenery. I don't know where they filmed or if it's all sound stage or CGI, but it was VERY impressive much of it.

So for Potter fans it's a must of course. Definitely worth seeing on the big screen and I would even say worth springing for the extra money to pay for 3-D if it's available in your theatre.

My how they've changed and damn she looks good in that short hair.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Shifter Binge

Ah, the weekend is over. Why do weekends go so fast? I did nothing very exciting, unless grocery shopping counts as exciting. I didn't even do my laundry. Oh well. Lots of follow-up to do this week after my meetings all week. Hopefully I'll be motivated but I'm not holding my breath. :-)

So I did a bit of shifter binging. I realized when I bought book 7 that I hadn't read book 6 yet in the Lost Shifter series so did a back-to-back reading. Good times.

Ruthless Pursuit by Stephani Hecht (133 pages)
eXtasy Books

Vapor has been tasked to find and bring home missing brother Andrew. As the best tracker in the coalition this should be a piece of cake, however Andrew has thrown a grenade in his car, shot him, drugged him and managed to escape every time. Andrew has been told he was sold by his family and was raised with two other shifters by a human in an Oliver Twist type situation. They are mercenaries who do anything for money. Although Andrew is starting to get hooked on Vapor and when he overhears his "mentor" telling Shane to kill Vapor, he and Owen decide it's time to leave and try and protect Vapor. This leads to their capture and return to the fold where Vapor finally admits that he is Andrew's mate and Andrew and Owen are pardoned because they saved Vapor's life. I quite enjoyed this, I felt sorry for poor Vapor who kept getting bested, it was very hard on his ego and my heart broke for the three young shifters who had been abused and bullied into working for the bad guy. Although really, how many freaking bedroom do they have in that damn apartment?

A Tempting Distraction by Stephani Hecht (154 pages)
eXtasy Books

This is Owen's story. He is a genius who is a computer whiz, knows all about poisons and drugs and is so not what Seth, his big brother expected. Owen has serious emotional damage from his time with their "mentor" and has trouble accepting anything without earning it. Garret, a hawk shifter is interested but says no strings, Owen agrees, he just want to get out and have some fun. When Owen breaks the rules, he decides he's really not worth it, leaves and gets himself into trouble. Both Seth and Garret realize they have to pull their heads out of their asses and accept Owen as he is. I found this book really emotional for me. No one had a clue about Owen and no one asked what he liked or what he was working on and they let Andrew carry guns but because Owen hacked a computer once he couldn't even have a lap top. I just thought he was treated very unfairly by everyone. *sniff* (I'm a sucker for the emotionally damaged character that no one understands.). I really hope that we see Shane's character get a HEA of some kind. Shane is their other colleague who is a leopard and they tend to be completely sociopathic and Shane is a cold blooded killer but he cared about Owen and Andrew so I'm hoping he can find happiness with the two guys on the farm.

Olive Green: The Imperial Cat by Kate Cotoner (125 pages)
Torquere Press

Hirotaro is a 7th level Noble who's goal in life is to move up a level. One day he sees a small kitten that the royal guards are preparing to kill because a) it's gray which is bad luck and b) it has no tail, double bad luck. However he takes little Tora home and despite being a seemingly innocent kitten, he shows up at the oddest times causing Hiortaro to embarrass himself and ruin any chance he has of advancement. However Tora is not what he appears. He's actually a ghost cat (not sure exactly and I didn't google it) who can shift into human form and he decides that he will help Hirotaro get promoted. He finally reveals himself and he and Hirotaro start an affair that is not looked on favourably by Hirotaro's old friend (and sometimes lover). When an earthquake sets the palace on fire and Hirotaro endangers himself to save the empress and their baby, as well as Tora (aka Katsuyuki), his secret is revealed. This is set in a time in Japan where ceremony and things like which level of nobles can wear which colours (hence the title as level 6 can wear olive green). I had a bit of trouble getting into this. I found the whole level of ceremony and description of robes upon robes and how it all worked a bit not my thing. For those who love those kind of details it will be right up your alley. Also, everyone seems to have male and female lovers and no one seemed all that perturbed when Hirotaro was sleeping with men. Realistic? Not sure. This is not an "historical" I don't think, but maybe it is. Japanese ancient culture is beyond me, but it definitely has that feel to it.

I did like Hirotaro and his hapless attempts to succeed and Katsuyuki's unfamiliarity with how things work at court were amusing. I liked the story better once Katsuyuki and Hirotaro finally got together which doesn't happen until well into the book, there is lots of background and set-up before that. Perhaps that's why it took me a while to get into it. I went back several times and read a bit, then took a break, until the relationship started then I definitely committed myself to reading to the end. I think for those who'd like a taste of something different with a bit of the paranormal thrown it, it will be an enjoyable read.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Yay, the week is over!!!!!

Wow, what a week. 4 days stuck in a room with the same people is grueling. And there's always one .... I was ready to gag him. He couldn't possibly have been more negative about everything. Then there was the roofing construction which lead to several incidents of burning smells making the room unusable. Sigh. I better get some major financial discounts on the room we booked. However it was over and so many people were saying how great it was. I was kind of like "Are you smoking crack? Were we in the same room?" LOL

But it was a pilot so live and learn and I did get to meet lots of great people and it's nice to have a face to put with a name since we were from as far away as Mexico City, San Francisco and Miami to Halifax and Vancouver. Truly a North American meeting so we don't get to see each other in real life very often if ever sometimes. Sometimes relationship building is more important that the training stuff we try to teach. I'm glad it's over though, now comes all the follow-up which should be interesting as well.

I read a little bit this week, but not all that much. I was just too burnt out every evening to focus much. However I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend and settling back into "normal" life, although I'm leaving for Chicago in a couple of weeks for work too. It's been a busy fall.

Friday Night Jamie by Bren Christopher (135 pages)
Loose Id

Jamie is an accountant who lives a pretty rigid life and is waiting for Mr. Perfect, who might be a VP of marketing at his firm. Smooth, rich, ambitious. Most Friday's he goes to a local club where he lets loose. He looks up with Matthew and when Matthew asks for a date he says no, dating Matthew doesn't fit into his well-ordered life. When he finds some accounting irregularities at work things start to go downhill and before long he's being drugged by Mr. Perfect, on the run from the mob and the FBI and Matthew is the only one he can trust. I quite enjoyed this. Jamie has a bit of OCD, he does certain things at certain times and there's a reason for that which makes total sense. I thought Matthew's instant attraction smacked pretty close to insta-love but maybe he was just stubborn. Anyway, I did enjoy it, the sex is hot, the mystery left me a bit confused as to who the bad guy REALLY was in the end, but it all ended HEA with the bad guys caught. If you like a bit of mystery with your romance it's a good choice.

Emerald: Rewriting History by EM Lynley (87 pages)
Torquere Press

Tobin is an art director for a museum who is about to open an exhibit of royal artifacts including an invaluable emerald that has been lost for decades. Suddenly his ex Pierce shows up as a security consultant for the Sheik who now owns the gem. Tobin is not thrilled, he's still hurt about how their relationship ended 10 years ago and he's sure Pierce is an art thief who is merely planning to steal the gem. He confronts him and Pierce agrees to stay with Tobin 24/7 until the exhibit opens to prove he's not going to steal it. Tobin agrees which leads to a resurgence of lust. However the gem is stolen, using Tobin's security code. I think my prejudice is showing in this one. There was nothing wrong with the story, it was well written (except the emerald is referred to as a diamond at one point), I liked Tobin, but I just couldn't figure out why he would agree to join Pierce in an art-theft ring even if it was supposedly for altruistic reasons. You are going to get caught, or someone is going to get pissed and kill you. Are you insane? I'm finding I have issues when someone easily accepts a lover who is openly working as a criminal and, hey, love conquers all and make it okay. Sigh. So I was shaking my head at the end and couldn't believe Tobin's reaction. I would have kicked Pierce out, I don't care how hot the sex is.

It's kind of interesting how we learn something about ourselves sometimes as we read. Who would have guessed I'd be so intolerant of a criminal. LOL Even if they are Robin Hood in effect.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I'm Far Too Nice of a Friend

No, I'm not talking about me. I'm ALWAYS nice. Who you ask then? Who? (Whom?) Kris, that evil elf of the South Pole. She has insisted, twisted my arm, cajoled and blackmailed (okay, she asked in passing and I said yes, but that's not the point) me into doing a pick your own Christmas story at her site. Sigh. I'm such a freaking marshmallow. There better be diamond earrings in my stocking this year.

Anyway, stop by and make some choices for me if you haven't already, and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE avoid the secret baby GFY story-line. It's a SHORT story, not a freaking novel. Small ideas people, small ideas. Just click on Jack below.

Have fun. :-)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Plaid, It's a Canadian Thing

I saw this magnet and had to have it. I'm a total plaid fanatic.
This is a crazy week for me. I've got limited internet access during the day and am in meeting everyday all day. Ugh. It's interesting but tiring. Yesterday I got there at 7:40 and left at 5:45. A looong day including much berating of visiting guests to NOT throw plastic bottles in the trash. Recycle people, recycle. Yes, I'm the recycle Nazi. :-) So I haven't been reading much, trying to get caught up on blogs and kind of vegging when I get home. But here are some pretties for you. Hopefully I'll be back in the reading mode soon.

He's so damn pretty it hurts.

And in honour of kilt-boy, the Bay City Rollers. The ultimate Scottish plaid rockers with whom I was madly enamoured as a child, dancing in my friend Michelle's basement. Ahhh, those were the days. They actually weren't that bad now that I go back and listen to them. But this was our anthem, at the ripe old age of 12. Of course none of us knew what heroin was back in those days either. Ignorance is bliss when you are young (or old).

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday, Monday

I'm not a fan of Monday. Then again, who is? This is a crazy week for me at work. I'm in meetings/training for the next four days. Hopefully all will go well. I'll be off-line essentially though during the day for those days. Eeep! Withdrawal symptoms already. Had a pretty slow weekend, nothing too exciting happened, didn't get that much reading done. I've been working on something with Jenre that will be coming soon to a computer near you, so that was fun. (Aren't you curious now? Yes, we're evil. :-)

Hope everyone has a great week.

Splash by K.I.L. Kenny (100 pages)
Torquere Press

Alex has decided to spend a bit more time at his Grandfather’s farm over the fall and winter that he inherited before he sells it. He’s thinking of starting his own business and using the proceeds from the sale to finance it. There is a cow pond on the farm which he starts hanging out by and ACK!!! He sees eyes in the pond. Before long some hot guy comes shooting out and they’re getting their freak on. Alex is a bit weirded out, but finally determines that Jordan is something like a water sprite, I suppose, who was trapped in the pond when a river was redirected years ago. However Jordan is dying and Alex is determined to reunite him with the river and save him before winter falls. This was an interesting premise and I think I was as confused as Alex by what Jordan was exactly, but Jordan’s not sure exactly either. My one concern was the ending. It’s not a HEA or even a HFN, I don’t think. Can you live HEA with a water sprite who is frozen in the pond all winter? Will Jordan be that crazy old man who lives down the road raising Alpacas? I enjoyed the descriptions of Jordan and some of the conundrums Alex had to live with though.

Oh yeah and my other niggle, Jordan was well known to Alex’s grandfather and great-grandfather. Since Jordan takes to the buttsecks like a pro, was he with the Grandpas too? I’m getting my squick on here. That’s a big bugaboo for me, the sharing of lovers in families (not counting twins LOL). It doesn’t SAY they did, but you have to wonder, unless Jordan just KNEW Alex was gay. Anyway, that’s my issue, not the author’s.

Not Alone by Sonja Spencer (72 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Andy has moved to a small town to his uncle’s cabin he inherited (huh, two inherited rustic homes books) and he’s going to write a novel. He runs across Eddie, a local divorced with two kids business owner and on impulse invites him to dinner. He’s very up front with Eddie, he’s gay, Eddie’s not (or isssss he?) but they become friends. Andy teases a lot and exposes Eddie to gay porn, sex toys, etc. Eddie has self-esteem issues as his ex basically told him he was mutantly large “down there” and wasn’t really attracted to him. As the friendship grows, Andy realizes he’s falling for his friend and Eddie’s not sure quite what he feels for Andy. Finally after a botched night out, Andy confesses, and Eddie more or less agrees and hey, Andy’s a size queen it seems, so all is good. The end.

Ack! What? How can it be the end? What about Eddie’s ex whom he said would not take it well if one of his girls was gay? What about the small town they live in where the suddenly straight grocer goes gay? The last line is “We’re not alone anymore.” Umm. Is that the only reason you’re with him? Being gay is better than being alone? Not really, I know he liked Andy, but it seemed like of like “There’s no one else around so what the heck.” Anyway, I just wanted to see more, how this was all going to work. Although I have to say their interactions were very funny, the cucumber innuendo was hilarious and Eddie was very open to the sexual flirting and sexual teasing, more so than most straight guys, which is the point I suppose. So not a bad read, I enjoyed many aspects of it, I just thought it ended when there was the potential for a lot more of their story. Maybe it’s coming later.

Seducing C.C. by Ariel Tachna (192 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Roger (aka Astro) is taking the summer to get over his cheating ex and work at an all girls summer camp. At least he won’t have to deal with guys. Ooops, except paramedic CC with whom he shares a tent. He’s sure CC is straight until he catches him picking up a quickie in the bar. Now he’s doubly pissed, because he’s attracted but isn’t into casual sex or guys who are. The two of them dance around their attraction and when they finally get together Astro is determined to show CC that a relationship would be a good thing. There is a LOT of description of the camp. What they do, the orientation, the whole group going camping, doing the rope course and rappelling, interacting with the kids. I’ve never gone to camp, but I feel like I have now. In a way it was too much for me. I didn’t really want to read about singing around the campfire and making smores more than once. I liked that they went slow in the relationship once they decided to try, and I really liked Astro’s friendship with Sprite, one of the female counsellors who was also getting over a cheating ex, but I found myself skimming over some of the descriptions of camp life to get to the relationship between the two guys. I also found Astro’s negative attitude toward anyone who had casual sex a bit annoying. Casual sex between two single people doesn't equal cheating bastard. *shrug* I guess judgemental people annoy me.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Spooky Saturday Shorts ... Again

Read a few more Halloween stories this week. All four are from Torquere Press again. (Oops, posted early and I'm too lazy to delete and reset - if you're reading this Friday, pretend it's Saturday.)

The Taste of Magick by Riley Shane (29 pages)
Jason is a witch who was raised in a fairly sheltered life. He HATES Halloween and all the hoopla, but his boyfriend of two years Travis runs a costume shop and loves it all. Jason is a Halloween Scrooge. However he knows that's not the only problem. He's been unable to tell Travis he loves him, even though he does, or do things like share his key with him. Something is holding him back and he knows if he doesn't change his ways, Travis is going to move on. He goes to his sister for advice on how to get past the block. I did enjoy this but there was more I wanted to know. Why was it so hard for him? There is a sentence or two by his sister about having distant parents but otherwise I'm not sure what is going on. Was it just parents? Hurt by an ex? I just felt I wanted more.

The Cat’s Meow by Sean Michael (29 pages)
Maks receives an unexpected delivery, a statue of a man turning into a tiger. Just so happens Maks is a were-tiger and he's instantly attracted to the delivery man, Deke. His cat goes into full on "want" mode and they have a little interlude and Deke figures that's it. However he's the sculptor, and his muse seems to have left him so he goes to a club and runs into Maks. Before long they are humping in the bathroom and head back to Deke's studio. As the story goes you assume Deke doesn't know about weres and is oblivious, but I have to say if the guy I was with was making the weird cat sounds Maks was making, I'd be seriously concerned for his respiratory health or his sanity. LOL However you find out perhaps more is known on both sides than was revealed on the surface. It's typical Sean Michael, hot aggressive animalistic sex, lots of growling and purring and chuffing and whatever else tigers do. It's not related to Halloween exactly, except to have a shifter in it.

Stag Party by Rob Rosen (14 pages)
Nameless guy (who shall henceforth be known as Bob) has gone to Transylvania to seek the elusive snow wolf. His Jeep breaks down during a snow storm and 3 men "rescue" him and invite him to a stag party. Turns out they are vampires and he ends up in a castle full of naked vamps devouring a stag. When Bob tries to leave they tell him he's next, but first he gets a good fuck from the head vamp. To be honest he takes his news pretty well and after some public buttsecks, asks for one last wish before he's devoured by the vamps. He wants to see the snow wolf. This falls much more into the genre of erotic horror than romance and I have to say I was wondering where the story was going and was surprised by the ending. For those who like something a bit off the beaten romance path and enjoy horror combined with your sex I think it would be right up your alley.

Dogged Pursuit by Berengaria Brown (41 pages)

Dwyer is a werewolf who drives for a car dealership delivering clients to their offices. Due to a recall he's very busy although he's getting antsy as the full moon and Halloween are drawing near. His last client Nelson really does it for him and he manages to arrange to pick him up after work and asks him out. They end up at a motel and agree to meet again on Friday. During that date, an elderly couple is attacked and to save them, Dwyer shifts in front of Nelson. Ooops. He then has to explain to Nelson that he's his mate. He says that if they mate properly under a full moon Nelson would become a wolf too. And what is Nelson's reaction? Well first he fucks his brains out then promptly says let's do it. Ack! He's the Britney Spears of the shifter set. Marrying the guy within days. This just moved too fast for me. Up until he basically said "let's mate tonight" I was enjoying it, but while even if he wasn't too freaked by him being a werewolf (and hey, I'd like to think I'd be open if I meet a werecat in Chicago in December - thank you for the pic Jordan), I'm not going mating under the trees that weekend. If it had been dragged out, him being more cautious, I would have enjoyed it more. But he was ready to quit his job, move to the country, find a pack, full on acceptance within hours. Too fast for me. I enjoyed the writing style though and would definitely try the author again.

Finally Friday

It's rather odd to go back to work today after being off for a day. It feels like today should be Sunday or something but it's not. Weird. I got a fair bit done yesterday amazingly. Cleaned off my coffee table (how does so much junk collect there?) and my dining room table (even more), swept, finally put the luggage away and a few chores so it was productive. Also played around on-line a fair bit but didn't read much. Now that I was so productive today I will be able to have a lazy weekend. That's the plan anyway. We'll see how it goes.

Next week is very busy for me. Tuesday and Wednesday I am in a planning meeting ALL day both days, then Thursday and Friday is the training course I have been developing. Well, overseeing. Finally I got a company to commit Wed. so I'm feeling better. I just want it to go well. I'll be basically off-line for 4 days (with one day of panic in front LOL) so I'll be suffering withdrawal symptoms as well. :-)

Hope everyone has a nice weekend, doing something fun along with the usual chores.

The Dancer and Sexy Big Man by Jeff Adams (47 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Todd is an electrician who works on TV shows in Hollywood. He gets called into work temporarily on the set of a dance contest show. He's thrilled since he loves the show and has been crushing on Nathanial (Nate), one of the contestants for week. He's thrilled to see Nate dance up close and actually talk to him. Nathanial proposes that he teach big bear of a Todd to dance. Todd's got no rhythm, but agrees in order to spend time with Nate who manages to teach him to dance without killing either of them and they admit their attraction to each other. Most of the books is the two guys dancing around each other (ha! get it? dancing? sigh). Once they hook up they move pretty fast, although no declarations of love outright. I thought it was very cute how big burly Todd was nervous about dancing but willing to try to please Nate. My only niggle was Todd seemed a bit ... well, he cried while watching a waltz and you didn't get to know much about Nate except through Todd who saw him as perfect, but it was still a nice read.

Blacque/Bleu by Belinda McBride (214 pages)
Loose Id

Lukas Blacque is a werewolf who runs his own car repair shop. His next door neighbor, a guy who restores interiors, is Oliver Bleu a vamp. Seems they've both been attracted but Bleu hasn't made a move and Blacque knows gay werewolves are not permitted so contents himself with staying out of his father, the alpha's, way. Finally after being told it's time to wolf up and start producing babies, he and Bleu get together and it's freaking amazing. Seems Bleu is ill and Blacque's shifter blood is good for him but Blacque agrees to only a weekend because he is committed to his pack and his father has decided it's time for him to become the heir to the throne. There is also another story-line of Bleu's maker who is still seeking him out after all these years and becomes a threat to Blacque's pack. I've read a couple of reviews who thought it all ended a bit too tidily and I thought maybe it was more realistic than we think. So often we are certain that something is going to be the biggest disaster on earth, that everyone will totally flip out and then .... phhhhhtttt. Big fat nothing. That was kind of the case here. Not that it was nothing, but there isn't always high drama when someone comes out or finally stands up to a parent. Blacque and Bleu were hot together with a slight D/s element, and I liked that someone snorted at the name thing. Oh and another thing that interested me was Blacque has numerous tattoos and piercings down there and it turns out it's a coping mechanism for his internal pain. When Bleu notes he got more since they broke up he says "I was hurting." The tattooing was like cutting for him. It was a very interesting take on it that made me think. On the whole I really enjoyed this one a lot although some may find the ending a bit easy. It worked for me though.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A wacky hump day this week

This is kind of a strange week for me because I have Thursday off. It's Remembrance Day in Canada (Veteran's Day in the US) and it is a federal holiday, which means all federal employees get the day off (i.e. me) but it's not a provincial holiday so my kid has to go to school and yet the city by-law says all stores over a certain size must remain closed until 12:30. Kind of weird. They are trying to make it a provincial holiday so everything would be closed since we are one of two provinces who don't have it as a holiday. I hate that I get the day off and have to get up anyway. Not fair. *pout* So working for 3 days, one day off, then working for one day is a bit disconcerting. Oh well. I'll either spend the day being productive or sitting on the couch reading in my pjs. Any bets on which one will happen?

Faerie Bound by Jenna Castille (111 pages)
Ellora's Cave

Garrick is a very successful alpha but he's lonely and wishes desperately for a mate. In desperation he signs up for a dating service for supernaturals knowing that if his desire to be sexually dominated gets out, he'll face a difficult time as an alpha. When he gets his match he has bigger problems, his match is a banished faerie and the war between the paras and the Fae is still fresh in most people's minds. It soon becomes obvious that slight, tattooed, pierced Dom Faolan and Garrick are perfect mates, but Faolan's mom, the Faerie Queen is not content to let peace reign if she can help it. I really enjoyed this book, although as Lily noted, I would have been content to leave out the whole thing with the Faerie Queen and just focus on the guys and having someone so dominant outside the bedroom cope with being an untrained sub inside and facing his pack when it all comes out. My only note was during the whole book, Faolan never once fucks Garrick, he always allows him to do it (okay, not that many times but still). I'm not against a Dom taking it, but I thought at least ONCE to show his dominance the author would have shown it. *shrug* Faolan was NOT the smug Dom, he kept telling Garrick he needed to tell him what was what in order to be a good Master which was a nice change. Oh, I am kind of tired of the psychopathic Faerie Queen thing. Is that a must? Change it up, make her nice for a change.

I looked and there is a pre-quel to this, it's the story of the witch and the satyr who run the dating service (m/f) and there were lots of hints thrown that Faolan's best friend was going to find a mate (but unclear if it would be a girl or boy as he goes both way - or both I suppose) although there was nothing on the author's website about a sequel. If it's m/m I'd definitely seek it out.

Chance Meeting by Mara Ismine (19 pages)
Torquere Press

Andrew and Sebastian dates YEARS ago (20?) and ran into each other at a conference. When Sebastian's room was double-booked and he's stuck, Andrew offers his room, and more than a bed. The story only takes place over a couple of hours and is told in present tense, first by Andrew, then by Sebastian. Andrew remembers their relationship before Sebastian wakes and then Sebastian wonders if there can be second chances in life as he realized he tossed something good away for fear of being labeled gay. I'm afraid present tense and I are not that good of friends and there's nothing wrong with the story, of course you are only getting glimpses of the past through their memories in the moment, but I just felt kind of removed from it all.

Unbound: Bonded II by Lay Lygon (105 pages)
Torquere Press

Things are sailing along for Brandr and his three young house mates. Just as he starts to realize he cares about Kyle more than he thought, he falls ill, then realizes that something happened to Tyler, the human he bonded with accidentally (Bonded). They rush home to find some strange vampire has killed Tyler and he kidnaps the three boys. He obviously has it out for Brandr who has no clue who the guy is. He's forced to change Tyler to save him and then they set out to find the boys. I just ADORE these books and Kyle in particular. The other vampire has no clue what he's in for. He lives in a dump and the boys never let up with the complaining. When he orders them to stay on the couch (they have to obey as he's their maker) he finds them naked and having sex. When he orders them to stay in the apartment, he comes home to find Tyler putting on an impromptu strip show on the table for the neighbors who also served as lunch. It seems he's starting to rethink the wisdom of his kidnap plan. I was happy to see Brandr finally realize that Kyle is his boy and pull his head out of his ass. I swear I was smiling almost the whole time I was reading this, except when Tyler was dead of course, I'm not totally heartless.

Turn the Other Cheek by Chris Owen (230 pages)
Torquere Press

This is the follow-up to Cheek to Cheek. Mal and Will have fallen into a comfortable relationship but they finally realize they have to tell their boss as it's against the rules to have couples working on the same shift. Mal's not thrilled as he keeps his personal life private, but they have no choice. In general people are okay with it, although Will's brother still seems to hate Mal for being white. When it's time to take the next step, Mal freaks and does something hurtful. Will's enforced "break" forces him to really decide what he wants from the relationship. There's no huge crisis here beyond a short break, but you see the relationship move from Mal denying it's anything but fuck buddies to serious status and you get to know Mal's family who were non-existent in the other book. You also get to see Drew (and Scott and Eric) from 9-1-1 which was fun as this overlaps with there 9-1-1 ended. A nice finale if a bit sweet for some people.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Summary

It's a chilly weekend here this weekend. Highs around +2C or 34F. That's the high. LOL But no snow and it's supposed to warm up. The kidlet and I went out to her winter riding barn to check it out today. They claim it will be heated where the parents sit. I'm hoping so because I nearly froze to death at the place we were in last year. And this is a 45 min. drive out so there is no time to drive home and then pick her up. I so wish our barn had an indoor riding arena. It's 5 min. away.

Then we went to the Christmas Craft Fair. It's huge and most of the stuff is really expensive. It even cost us $7 just to get in. But we pigged out on samples. We ended up only buying 2 gifts but yet came home with 11 items. Hmmm. How does that work? LOL Lots of treats, fancy jams, natural smelly soaps, soy nuts, chocolate, yum. :-)

I really must get to the laundry today. The pile is growing and I haven't done any since we got home from vacation so .... Yeah, use your imagination. It's frightening. I did some reading yesterday morning and evening though.

Kindling Fire with Snow by Kate McMurray (71 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Seth is recovering from his lover's abandonment and has a variety of faces he puts on depending on the need. The night before a big storm is to high NYC, he runs into his first ever boyfriend from high school whom he hasn't seen in 12 years. When the weather makes it impossible for Kieran to get home, Seth offers for him to come home with him. He knows there is attraction, but wonders how much is residual young love, and how much is based on the present. The next day several feet of snow give them further chance to figure out their feelings. I enjoyed the two guys together but I thought Seth over-thought EVERYTHING. He was constantly analyzing ever single thing, if I do this then X, but maybe Y, but is it because of Z and does that mean A, but maybe C, or what if it's B and should I ... Good lord. Shut off the brain for a minute. I think because I'm not a person who thinks about all that stuff all the time, I find it a bit frustrating. The part about them going out in the snow was nice and you could sense the silence of the city. I know some people love introspective characters so it will be right up their alley.

Get What You Need by Janey Chapel (72 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Jay is an ex-con who works in a bar run by a former parole officer who tends to take in ex-cons and help them get on the right road. One night Patrick, a cop wanders in and there is instant chemistry but due to his background Jay is wary. However they end up getting it on in the office. Jay is very up front about his past and Patrick appreciates that knows that he can just be himself with Jay. He comes back the next day after finishing with the case and he and Jay spent the night getting to know each other (in every sense of the word) and maybe there is hope for more. Another guy who spent a lot of time thinking about his feelings and masks he wore. LOL Not quite so much as Seth but Patrick spent a lot of time thinking about how he felt around Jay. It was very steamy, some of the scenes at the hotel were smokin'. And you really hope they can work it out as they have a connection that comes through on the page. I quite enjoyed it.

Eat Me by Mia Watts (44 pages)

Thanks to Chris and Mia as I won this at Chris' site.

Fynn has been trapped in the body of a Caracal for the last several hundred years due to a spell of a witch in Salem. He has been forced to serve the witch's family ever since. Finally he's down to the last surviving member and during his one week as a man (only happens on the solstice) he gets "close" to Eddie. They spend 4 days together, then he's the cat. He tries to come up with a plan that will let Eddie free him, but Eddie has no clue he's got witch blood or that Aren was really Fynn his cat. Also, the ancient witch plans on coming back in Eddies body. The cat was really very humorous, he liked scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast (eats at the table) and milk warmed in the microwave. The connection between the two, both as cat/owner and two hot guys (very steamy) was quite evident and at least Eddie didn't just go "okay, sure now problem" when Fynn finally revealed the truth. Obviously he didn't take too long since they only had a week, but it didn't feel rushed like I've read lately where it was instant acceptance and everything okay. A cute fun little read.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Spooky Saturday Shorts!

Torquere Press released a bunch of Halloween shorts this past week. I know, I know. Halloween is over but I'm a sucker for not only shorts, but Halloween shorts in particular. So every now and then, (but I'll stop before Christmas, really LOL) I'll do a few.

It's been an up and down week at work. Thankfully a short week and next Thursday I am off for our Remembrance Day (but the kid has school, it's weird). It's been cold and wet the last two days which hasn't helped my mood, but on the upside, my kidlet got two awards at the school last night. She got Over 80% Honour Roll and Very Good Attendance. (We're not sure exactly what qualifies as "very good" but she'll take it. LOL) It was a nice ceremony for all the kids.

So let's get spooky.

Dance of the Zombies by Lorne Rodman (24 pages)
Donny is at a friend's Halloween party when he runs into another zombie, Perry. They start dancing and have a fun, but Donny knows he's hit it lucky when he finds out Perry is a fire fighter. Seems they both love zombie movies and have the same lame sense of zombie humour. This is just a little story of two guys who meet and think maybe there is something possible for them as a couple, with an abundance of goofy lame zombie humour. You really got the sense that they are total geeky horror nerds, perfect for each other. This line says it all,
"Thank God Perry seemed to speak dork."
Great when you are in the mood for something light and fun.

Haunting 101 by Amylea Lyn (23 pages)
Colby is a bit annoyed to find himself dead at the ripe old age of 19, and worse, he has to go to ghost school to learn how to haunt someone. He gets assigned Devon, sort of like an internship, although Devon's last intern didn't do so well. They get off to a rough start but soon Colby is getting the hang of this haunting thing, getting to know the real Devon, and falling for his charms. Maybe dying a virgin doesn't mean he's lost his chance. Okay, I laughed out loud while reading this. Colby is so funny and self-deprecating, but it's touching when Devon tell his story. The descriptions of the other people in class were funny. If you need a quick short to make you smile, I'd say this is the ticket.

Love Between Friends by Kiernan Kelly (23 pages)
This starts with someone telling you a story as you buy him a drink. He claims to be a monster and then as he tells his story, you realize he is the Frankenstein monster and his lover is Dracula. They met back in the time of Jack the Ripper where they both had decided to make amends for their previous bad behaviour, and started hunting bad guys who prey on humans. It was quite different and the tone is that of a storyteller so you feel a bit removed. However, I really enjoyed the affection between Vlad who is physically perfect, and Adam who is ... well, a monster, but Vlad didn't see that, he saw someone he loved. An interesting twist on two legends come together as one.

Precious Possession by Alexi Silversmith (29 pages)
Ben and Fletcher are total opposites, but fall in love, get married and buy their first house together. Sure they say it's haunted, but, phhhhhtttt. Yeah right. Things don't go well, Fletcher loses his job and soon is putting all his effort into starting his own business, and carpenter Ben gets a cute twinky assistant. Before they know it, resentment has built and a year later things are on the skids. Suddenly a female ghost offers to help Ben fix what has been mostly his fault in the relationship. I liked the relationship part because OMG, BTDT, exactly. Except the starting a business part. I won't say how the ghost helped them get past the hurt and resentment to avoid a spoiler, but it make me a bit uncomfortable. Except for that part, I thought it was a very realistic relationship story, whether gay or straight couples.

Reflection by Jamie Lowe (14 pages)
Alexander is an antiques dealer who, when cleaning up an old mirror his partner bought, found something surprising. There is a boy trapped in the mirror and they get to know each other and while they can't touch, they can both pleasure themselves while watching and fall in love. Yes, Alexander love Elias, but I found him very selfish and not very sympathetic. He kept Elias locked up in a room, he didn't want to even give him a clock because he liked the idea that Elias sat there all day just waiting for him. I was like "Jeez, give the guy a TV to watch or something" but Alexander didn't even own a TV. I think because I didn't find Alexander very sympathetic I didn't really feel his pain at not being able to touch or be with Elias in the flesh. A different concept though that was well done, I just didn't connect.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Reading Updates

I think I read most of these before I went on vacation, but I did finish a couple there as well.

Treasured by Cary Z. (33 pages)
Pink Petal Books

Danny is a Ph.D. student who works in a museum, in a world where things like shifters, magic spells for security and other small paranormal events are everyday. He is startled by super hot British guy Rhys (Reece). He knows Reece is a shifter but is unsure what kind. Reese asks him out for dinner and before they know it they are in bed together and Danny’s a bit shocked that a guy like Reese would go for a nerd like him. Suddenly he’s arrested for robbing his own museum and he’s not sure who or what Reese is and if he was only a means to an end for the man. It was a cute little story with a bit of mystery and just a touch of the paranormal which made it a bit different. I was a bit surprised that he didn’t turn in Reese as they’d only been together a day and he is an antiquities scholar who you’d think feels pretty strongly about stealing artifacts. I’m not sure what the ending means exactly. It’s kind of a HFN and I’m not sure it’s sustainable in real life but I did enjoy both characters even if they are bit of a cliché.

Inhabiting the Night by Carolina Valdez (98 pages)
Amber Allure

Martin is a white tiger shifter living in California of Native American parents. One night he rescued someone being beaten and nearly raped by some local thugs. Trent, the rescuee, is a cop recovering from an injury, who is searching for his twin brother who went missing a few weeks ago. Martin offers to help him by introducing him to people who may have seen his brother. They are very attracted and things are going along when a crisis one night with a bear means that Trent is exposed to shifters and vampires when he never knew they existed. On the whole I enjoyed it but I had a few niggles. Why Martin allowed Trent to go with him to help the bear thus exposing the shifters, I have no clue. He said “Stay here.” but when Trent said “No, I’ll go too.” He just said “okay”. He didn’t try very hard and when Trent does find his brother, he acts like he’s all cool with vampires and shifters and hey, I’ll quit my job and move here with you guys. Life’s good. Huh? It all just felt a little too easy everything wrapped up in a few hours with a pretty bow. On another totally cultural thing, Martin and some of the other shifters are referred to as Indians; Martin refers to himself as an Indian. In Canada that’s pretty much like using the n-word. It makes me cringe. They are called Aboriginal or First Nations or maybe Native Americans up here, so when I read books which use the term, even in a context which may be totally appropriate, it makes me uncomfortable. But I know this is a case of my feelings about a word and not the author’s usage, as I know that is much more common term in the US.

On the Ragged Edge of the World by Jamie Craig (243 pages)
Amber Allure

This is the sequel to Trick of Silver. Aden and Darren are living happily in the weeks following their getting together, when Darren gets a call from an old colleague to meet. She tells him there is some kind of power play going down amongst the shifters in DC, meanwhile Darren and Aden find out an ex-lover who betrayed the pack and nearly got him killed, has been inviting powerful people to parties. Finally Aden agrees to let Darren get some information using the help of his colleague. Seems the ex is creating new wolves and trying to stir up trouble and is determined that Aden will go down. They have to work to stop him after he kills one of Aden’s pack and kidnaps another. It’s quite the action packed sequel with Darren fighting for his place in the pack (literally) and Aden having to admit that he’s not infallible and that he’s making decisions based on emotion rather than logic and lots of political maneuvering within the packs. The smexin’ in these books is very aggressive and raw with a D/s edge to it and they don’t waste a lot of money on lube. LOL I did enjoy both books though and if you’re in the mood for something a bit edgier and violent it’s a good choice.