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

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fun with Statistics

Well, I have done some reading but I'll save my reviews for tomorrow maybe. I finished my D book in my half-assed A to Z challenge, I opened the E book and then got sidetracked by T and stayed up until 1:30 last night reading M. Ooops. My alphabet is a bit like a hyperactive 5 year old, all over the place.

Now I generally do not check stats on my site, until today I didn't even really realize there was a stats tab up there at the top. Duh. I don't really care but I thought I'd see what interesting stuff it could tell me. Here is what I discovered:

Page View: This month I got 6,078. Wow, I'm amazed. 78 would have been impressive. Must have been the happy boys

Most popular post ever: With 4,066 page views the winner is ... Thank you to all who voted for me. Your NSFW reward. Geez, what a bunch of pervs. A penis or three show up and the hits go wild. Hmmm. I'll have to think about that.

Levi's got the cutest smile
 Top Search words bring people here BESIDES the name of the site:
  • Levi Poulter (well duh - hotness)
  • hot firemen (no kidding)
  • teenboylove (sure, why not)
  • vampire squirrel (for the win!!!!)
Some weird search words that bring people here:
  • shane broke my heart (ummm, okay, wonder what review I wrote that in)
  • gay werewolf mate book shop coffee (not sure which book, there was the gay werewolf mate FLOWER shop)
  • men with red chest hair (rare, definitely rare)
  • hair man (okay - bears?)
Where are y'all from?
  • US (of course the most popular location)
  • Canada (hey homies)
  • UK (remember to check out the Fortnight fun at Brief Encounters)
  • Germany (that's a surprise)
  • Netherlands (hi Janna, Leontine and Lis)
  • Australia (waves down under)

We need to get to a beach in Brazil.
Surprise locations I would never have guessed: 
  • Brazil
  • Mexico
  • France
  • Indonesia (way cool)
  • Spain
  • Saudi Arabia (really? Hope I don't get anyone in trouble.)
  • Finland
  • Sweden

Kitsune with fire -
Firefox. Get it? Sigh.
 What browser are you using?
  • 40% Internet Explorer
  • 32% Firefox
  • 13% Google Chrome
  • 10% Safari
What operating system?
  • 84% Windows
  • 11% Mac
Someone actually uses Play Station Portable. Ack! Hope they are over 18. LOL

So there you have it. Fun with stats, I love this stuff but don't care about the numbers of visitors so much, I find things like the weird search words or where people are from way more interesting and fun to figure out.

Hope everyone is having a great week and that spring is getting nearer. (or fall depending on which half you are in. :-)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Happy Monday

Although Monday's are not generally happy as a rule, I hear that spring might come Wednesday. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

I also have a Mommy brag. My kidlet is in Grade 10, but she's taking Grade 11 English this term. She told her teacher that she wouldn't be in class Thursday because she has to take the provincial literacy test. The teacher asked if she had failed it last year (it's a Gr. 10 test). No. So did she just not write it last year? No. She's only in Grade 10. The teacher said she doesn't write like she's in Grade 10 at all. Yay kidlet. I'm very proud of her and how well she's been doing, she's got an 89% average so far in the class and will be taking advanced placement Grade 12 English next year. That's a big commitment since it requires lunch time classes outside of the normal class.

So I did some reading on the weekend but it was actually a book I had to concentrate on. I don't mean that in a negative way but there are some books you can just breeze through without really thinking and others that need your brain to be engaged and pay attention so it's a longer process. So today you get some happy boys.

Sometimes I wish I lived in the big band/blues era. You just want to smoke a cigarette and drink martinis in a club.

Have a great week everyone.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A, B, C .... H? Where are D, E, F and G?

So Lily inspired me to start an alphabet reading challenge so I thought I'd give it a whirl for my next few books. I did fine up until C then I didn't seem to have a book for D and I got sidetracked by H. Ooops. Oh well, I don't think the rule is you have to read 26 in a row. I would also appear to have hit many of the major publishers out there in one fell swoop. LOL

Crazy crazy week at work, I'm glad it's almost over. My Grandmother is doing well now, my kid is working her buns off practicing for the school musical which starts in a few weeks and MAYBE we hear spring will arrive next week. One can only hope. At least it's been sunny here.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Accompanied by a Waltz by Andrew Grey (180 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

This book really seems to be about two relationships. It starts with Jonathan who is in his mid-40's and his older lover Greg. They are deeply in love and have been for 17 years and Jonathan is devestated when Greg suddenly dies. Plus he has to deal with Greg's 3 children and vicious ex-wife. However he soon develops a very close relationship with Greg's daughter (they are all in their early 20's) and after a couple of years of wallowing she convinces him to take an apartment in Vienna owned by relatives of her girlfriend for the summer. He agrees and starts to enjoy life and meets Fabian, the 30 year old son of the family who own the apartment. Despite himself he starts dating Fabian and really comes back to life for the first time since Greg's death, however despite falling in love, won't consider staying or asking Fabian to come with him since he's got his family in Austria. Umm. Hello? I was really frustrated with Jonathon. He kept saying "I have to go back." What for? Sure he had a job as a teacher, but Greg had left him a wealthy man so he didn't HAVE to work. He had a house. So. He had no friends to speak of, no life outside of work and a cabin he owned on a lake. He could have taken a leave of absence for a year or two to see if it worked out. But he was so set on "I have to go back". I'm afraid I'm extremely intolerant of people who are stuck in a place. Who would never consider moving away from family or what they know. I know, I know. How unfair of me and it's one of those character traits I just don't get because I appear to have no physical connection to a "place". I've raised my daughter the same it seems. She doesn't get why moving to NZ if your family all live in Canada would be a problem. I guess despite growing up in a place that was 3 miles from the same place my Great-Grandmother landed straight off the boat (and train) from Scotland in 1911, I just don't have that sense of place as being important. Oh well, anyway, it all works out in the end of course, it's an Andrew Grey and you know he's going to have a HEA and I did like Fabian a lot and I enjoyed Jonathon's step-daughter Jeanna and Fabian's little brother Hans. For fans of the athor I think you'll love it because in the end it's very romantic and Vienna is a GORGEOUS city.

Beyond Reckless by Ava March (23 pages)
Amber Allure

This is a very steamy little short historical. Rys shows up at a ball and manages to avoid everyone shoving their daughters at him as tomorrow he comes into his inheritance and goes in search of someone. Suddenly he is grabbed and shoved into a room and attacked sexually by another man. However you soon discover the other man is Martin, Rys' lover of 4 years and they quite enjoy playing these sexual role-playing games although it becomes clear that Rys has been the instigator in this side of their relationships. It's very steamy and hot but after in the few short pages, you really know Martin loves Rys to distraction and would do anything for him and trys to keep his daredevil safe by hoping risky sex will assuage his need to race his carriage through the streets or other dangerous pursuits. I'd love to know how Martin and Rys met and see how their current sexual relationship got started because while it may be THEIR kink now, it didn't start out that way for Martin.

Concubine by Jill Knowles (141 pages)
Loose Id

In this fantasy story, Kael is a scholar and army leader in his country. They are at war against a neighboring country who are half-demons and have decimated Kael's army. At the formal cessation talks, Kael is stunned to find that his father has gifted him to the warlord, Taren, as his concubine. Kael's country does not condone gay relationships, and he is shocked to say the least that his father would betray him this way. However, he knows if he doesn't do his duty, more people will die and he can't have that, so he is determined to take it. He is surprised by Taren's world. It is much more advanced than his own, running water, beautiful buildings, delicious foods and Taren is very kind to him and to be honest, Kael's always been a teeny bit curious about gay sex. Taren's culture is VERY open sexually and he's into BDSM, Kael is his concubine and he decks him out in fancy jewelled butt plugs, revealing clothes and the half-demons think nothing have having a little sex with their coffee after dinner in the salon with everyone else. I really liked this story and how Kael dealt with his new position. He was determined to accept it for his people but he also had to accept that maybe he liked it, and Taren. He spent a lot of time working out the whole thing in his head as Taren pushed him sexually, but was always kind. The second half of the book gets into political intrigue as the concubine guild try to attack Kael and they have to figure out who is behind the attacks. While I don't mind political intrigue plots, I really thought the strength in this book was Taren and Kael working out their relationship, Kael accepting his role and Taren working to slowly bring an untrained concubine to his full potential and get him to believe that it didn't make him less of a man. The second half was less that and to me less gripping. However, Taren's spunk tastes like raspberries. Bonus! I would recommend this one and it was one of my fave reads in the past while.

Happy World by Kiernan Kelly and Tory Temple (191 pages)
Torquere Press

One of these ladies has worked at Disney, I swear or knows someone who did I'd say. :-) Kyle has always wanted to work at Happy World, he's like to be a dancer/actor but has been content to be a grounds keeper hoping his chance will come to move up. He's assigned to train a new guy Rory. Kyle LOVES rules and NEVER breaks them. However Rory is the opposite. It makes Kyle crazy and within a couple of days he's nearly fired because Rory has insulted the "star" of the show Charlie and broken a few other rules and since Kyle's in charge of him, he's also in trouble. Charlie has also decided he wants to date Kyle even though he's ignored him for three years. Kyle tries to put him off as he and Rory have started fooling around and it soon becomes clear Charlie is only doing this to try and drive a wedge between the two because Rory shunned him. There is a lot of information about the hierarchy. Because Charlie is the "star" he throws his weight around and gets people to do what he wants by threatening to have them fired. Kyle is afraid to go to management about him because he knows it will all come back on him and he'll end up suffering more than the harassment (which I think sadly often happens). Eventually Rory ends up with an acting role and Charlie is determined to make his life hell, causing diabetic Rory to collapse. Kyle is a bit of a spineless invisible guy and I was glad he manned up at the end and stopped going long just to get along, as I was about ready to smack him. The descriptions of the park are very funny because they align with some Disney stuff with slightly different names names and descriptions. It was quite amusing. You don't clean up "vomit" it's a "protein spill". For those who find the forced joy and stepfordness of a theme park rather disconcerting, this will probably be rewarding as all of it is poked fun at a bit. I did like Rory and Kyle both, nice guys with different personalities, each bringing something to the other to compliment them. A fun read which I read in an evening.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Theme Overkill

So the other week I was shopping around and I start reading the blurbs (because despite spontaneous shopping, I do read the blurbs) and I found the following descriptions in blurbs (no names/authors/publishers) all in one night.

especially not with a married man.

he’s a gay man trapped in a loveless marriage ... Nathan is straight, married, and just about to be a father

Divorced after thirteen years,

the ruggedly handsome and very straight floatplane pilot ... (who was married)

refuses to become involved with a straight man

Wow. So many married men in the closet or GFY. It just seems to be overkill/coincidence that they all showed up at the same time I suppose. I know that often happens when there will be 5 vampire books released at once or even 4 fairy tale movies released the same month.

To be honest, the theme of the married closeted man or even the previously happily married GFY doesn't work for me so much. But I thought it weird that so many married men showed up all at once. I wonder what will be next? Have you noticed any themes in your own shopping? I suppose if I liked it I wouldn't have noted so much perhaps, except for a decreased bank balance. :-)

How I prefer it in my books.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fortnight of UK Authors and some reading

Just a reminder that the British Fortnight has started over at Brief Encounters Reviews. Stop by for the next two weeks and meet some authors and be sure to enter for a chance to win dozens of books. The author's have been very generous. I think we're going to have a good time. Hip hip cheerio and all that. :-)

My Grandmother is improving, we're still waiting on the results of the CT scan but my uncle said she's really bounced back. Not normal yet but certainly improved. Unfortunately my ex's Dad who suffered a heart attack in Feb. suffered another and passed away on Friday. So not so positive news for his family. I was not close to the man and my daughter barely knew him, but for my ex and his family it is difficult. Sigh. Hopefully no more bad news for a while.

I also managed to get some reading done.

Grand Jeté by Diana Copland
Silver Publishing

Jordan is an ER nurse who is dragged to the ballet to see he niece perform. He's intrigued by the Arabian dancer but thinks nothing more of it until the man arrives at the ER suffering a torn knee which is likely ending his career. When his boss/boyfriend dumps him in the ER and tells him to make his own way home, Jordan decides to help the guy out and take him home. Of course his family find out and they spend the evening with them and Jordan falls hard and fast even though he knows Davis is leaving the next day and lives across the country. Once Davis goes home his phone is cut off and Jordan is sure it's over until he gets an interesting Christmas surprise with his family's help. I did like this one, it's a simple story, not tons of conflict beyond the fact that they just met and live far apart. There's no stalkers or mystery or child abuse, but when you're in the mood for an easy read with likable characters. I tend to have a soft spot for anything ballet related so that helps.

Unexpected Mate: Holland Brothers 1 by Toni Griffin (106 pages)
Silver Publishing

I may have found my new Doritos read but with better editing. These books revolved around the 4 Holland brothers who are werewolves. The first book focuses on Marcus, the second oldest and local police officer. These books take place in Australia but there wasn't a lot of Australian references, at least not that jumped up and smack me. Brian's family kicked him out of the pack for being gay and his truck breaks down near a small town. When the police stop Brian knows immediately he's his mate and blurts it out but Marcus is determined he's straight and it's his job to provide grand-babies for his parents and he quickly shoots Brian down who's having a very bad week. Marcus' brothers soon smack some sense into him and he goes after Brian however, Marcus' ex-girlfriend does NOT take rejection well and is even more pissed when he's with a guy and attacks Brian. These are very fast easy reads, a fair number of stereotypes, Brian ends up being the housewife for the 4 brothers, cooking and cleaning and working as a florist, but the brothers' parents were great about accepting their kids no matter what. There was also this weird werewolf thing were a knot happens to the penis which "attaches" itself to the prostate giving the guy yet another orgasm immediately after. My question was if that's the case, why the hell would anyone want to top. I'd be begging to bottom 24/7. LOL Two for the price of one. Physically I think not very realistic, but hell, they're werewolves, that's pretty unrealistic right there. I did think Marcus' resistance to being gay would last longer than 45 min. but apparently not.

Determined Mate: Holland Brothers 2 by Toni Griffin (122 pages)
Silver Publishing

Jason was Brian's best friend growing up. He phones Brian asking if he can stay with him and it seems he was seen coming out of a gay bar so his pack also banished him, but to top it off he'd been drugged, beaten and raped at the club. When he sees Alex who is huge like his attacker he freaks out. He knows he's his mate but is having nightmares, is afraid of big guys and can hardly stand anyone to touch him. Alex is determined to go slow and gradually wins Jason's trust (okay, when I say gradually I say 3 days which in this world is long it seems). Alex is also the alpha and why does he look like Brian from the first m/m I ever read? When did you get the tattoos Brian? Just when things seem on track and Jason is able to go all the way (which takes longer than 3 days, I'll give them that), his attacker shows up. How he knew where Jason was given that he was a day and a half drive away from his old town I have no clue, but whatever. Oh yes and mates have the speaking to each other silently trick happening which allows Alex to come to the rescue in the nick of time. As I said, these are very fast easy reads with likable people and you know the other two brothers have a story coming which I will definitely get. They aren't great literature but when you're in the mood for a quick furry read, a bit of a guilty pleasure, they are a good choice.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Montreal Day 2

Not so many pictures today. The shopping area looks like any other shopping area. The hotel was quite noisy. You could hear every door close in the hallway, I could hear the maid vacuuming in the next room. Sigh. Oh yeah and the fire truck going by.

Anyway, my kidlet wanted to go to H&M and Forever 21 as we don't have those stores here. So H&M was kind of a dud. She got a shirt. Their stuff is soooo neutral and ruffley. Then we wandered down the street and found the Forever 21. She looked and looked and looked and tried on and in the end (me sitting by some mannequins playing on my phone) only found one pair of shorts and didn't love them so we left.

We finally went and grabbed some lunch and went back to the mall and she did manage to find a pair of black leggings to go with the top and a pair of brown cords for $11. Then we hit a shoe store and I got these but in red. It's weird, not even the converse on-line store has these and no where has pictures of the red one.

And the kid got these. Apparently they are "hip", no clue.
Then we hit Old Navy where she got a couple of pair of shorts and stopped at a few other places but meh. I was pooped, my feet hurt and I was whiny. So we left, got back to the hotel and picked up the car and luggage and headed out, right into rush hour traffic. Took us about an extra 45 min. thanks to that, but not too bad. We're home and tired and will likely go back in the summer. There is an Indiana Jones Imax the kid wants to see in the summer so we'll head back. We'll see what's on at Cirque du Soleil as well.

Anyway, we had a good time, the weather wasn't too bad although VERY windy today, we had some good food and it was nice to do something a bit different. Back to the grind of laundry and shopping this weekend and getting ready for another week.

Talked to my aunt and my Grandmother went for the CT scan today. Not sure when they'll get the results. She's improved but she couldn't go home on her own, and they suspect a mild stroke but I guess we have to wait and see. At least she's no worse and sometimes she seems to improve and sometimes not. It's difficult when they are justing waiting for answers. Hopefully soon. Thanks again to everyone for all the good wishes.

Have a super weekend everyone.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Montreal Day 1

So we made it to Montreal. We left home before 11:00 which was my goal so woohoo. Fast trip, dry roads, sort of sunny. Good times. Even made it to the hotel easily where I am paying enough to feed a family of 4 for the week for the honour of parking in downtown Montreal. Ugh.

This is the view from our hotel room. The Basilica of something or other. The backside. This should be the city of churches. You can't swing a cat without hitting one.

See? Not 1.5 blocks from the hotel the St. Patrick Cathedral. Since it is St. Patrick's Day (or was), I felt compelled to take the picture.

We walked down to China Town. Much smaller than San Francisco obviously but we had some lunch and checked out some shops and bought some small soup/cereal bowls because I only have one left.
Then we wandered through Old Montreal which is full of streets like this. See those cobblestones? Bitches will kill your feet. Very quaint, tons of artsy stores, tourist stores full of crap, restaurants, etc. We finally made it to the port and went to the Imax movie about surfing in Tahiti. Ugh. I need to go to Tahiti, blue water, sunshine, white sand, ripped Tahitian dancers in loin cloths, shirtless surfers with six packs. Umm. Yeah. Definitely need to head to Tahiti. It was really cool though although as someone who grew up near the geographic centre of North America, water freaks me out.
We went to a Christmas store and ... best ornament ever. A merman with a six pack. I did not buy him but we did take a picture.
Then we found the cupcake shop and for St. Paddy's day they had green red velvet cake. We had to try it. It was yummy. The other was chocolate mint. The icing was way too minty for me. I can only imagine how much food colouring we ingested.
Then we saw these guys trying to rip off the tourists. I have no idea how much it costs. Probably about $60 for a half hour. But that was a pretty fancy pink carriage.
Our feet were sore so we grabbed a cab back to the hotel and then around 8:00 found a restaurant nearby. Tomorrow is shopping as my daughter wants to hit some of the stores here that we don't have at home. Then back home around 4:00.

It's supposed to rain tomorrow, or it was, but we'll be inside mostly so I don't care. Today was nice to be out walking. Have a great Friday/weekend.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ups and Downs

The last day or so has been a bit up and down.

On the upside, I'm off work until next Monday.

On the downside, I might have bursitis in my shoulder (I thought I just pulled a muscle although I had no idea how) and I have to take drugs for 5 days and if that doesn't work I have to go to physio.

On the upside, my daughter and I are going to Montreal tomorrow and staying overnight for spring break.

On the downside, my Grandmother was hospitalized yesterday. They don't really know what the problem is. The Dr. claims not a stroke but in some ways it seems stroke-like and we are waiting for test results and a schedule for a CT scan. She's 86 and getting weaker but hasn't suffered any chronic health problems, so I just don't know. I'm hoping I don't need to make an emergency trip to Manitoba but ... My Grandmother raised me so she's more like a mother than most Grandmas.

On the upside, spring seems not quite so far away.

On the downside, work is a bit sucky and I've been told that I can't extend my position this year so have to job hunt this summer. It's not a matter of losing my job, just my position. Imagine 300 employees all playing musical chairs. You know there is a chair for you, but which one and will it be more comfortable than the chair you currently have? Who the hell knows.

Blerg. Oh well. Life goes on and I need to think positively on most of the downside stuff. I did get some reading done in the last few days.

The Rifter - The Shattered Gates by Ginn Hale (100 pages)
Blind Eye Books

BEB is offering a serialized book by Ginn Hale. It's a fantasy story that comes every month in 100 page chunks for 10 months. It does end on a cliff hanger and I know serials and cliff-hangers aren't for everyone. You'll be able to buy it after I'm sure but I know I'd never buy a 1000 page book.

John is a regular guy with a freaky roommate. Kyle has tattoos (on his eye lids no less) and is very mysterious, but introvert John is okay with that because he pays his rent on time. When Kyle disappears John opens an envelope with a key. One night when out exploring some suddenly exposed rocks with two friends, he manages to get them sucked into another world. Seems Kyle (aka Kahlil) was supposed to keep an eye on John and kill him because he could threaten their world. Ooops. So Kyle heads back home. After that it gets a bit complicated with John and his friends trying to survive in a snowy wasteland and eventually meeting a young man who seems to be training to be what Kyle was. Hmmm. Oh oh, soldiers.... It's quite complex, there is even another language they are learning (glossary in the back - I'm thinking about adopting the swear words, no one will ever know you're swearing at them) and I have tons of questions, but I'm sure they'll all be answered - eventually. It's not all dark and angsty, John's new-agey friends add a bit of lightness to the story. Definitely worth a read for those who like the concept or are willing to wait for the longer final version.

The Cabin by Shae Connor (43 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Jen did a great review of this at BER. However for my own review, Jesse needed to get out of the city so heads to a rental cabin in the mountains. He meets is neighbor Eli and they hit it off and decide to go hiking together. There is lots of flirting and they get to know each other, eventually spending the night together and agreeing to get together once they get home. There is no angst here, there is no drama, stalkers, bear attacks or anything like that. It's just two normal (although hot) guys getting to know each other and purely by chance meeting on a weekend away. It's nice to have people who don't keep secrets, who talk about their family, haven't been wickedly damaged in some ways. It's just a sweet story of two guys meeting and starting out. When you need a nice light snack after something darker it's a great palate cleanser. I find the author's style and voice works well for me.

Celadon by KIL Kenny (86 pages)
Torquere Press

Surfer dude Bryan sold the clothing business in Australia he'd started with his best friend from college and moved home to Ohio, unsure what he'll do with his life. While taking his nephew to a Boy Scout activity he meets local potter Nilsson. Right away Nilsson comes on strong, then basically says thanks but I'm kind of busy, as he has a huge custom order for a customer that requires a special celadon glaze and it's not going well. However Bryan wants more. He's kind of bored, finally gets his own place and tries to connect with Nilsson who basically keeps blowing him off except for occasional sex. Bryan finally takes drastic measures to make it clear what he wants. This is another nice story about two normal guys, one who works like a maniac because he needs to in a way and figuring out how to make it work. There is some minor drama near the end and some confusion over the artsy life Nilsson lived when he was younger and Bryan's feelings for his ex-partner, but that's not the main drama and it's not blown out of proportion. It's more how do you make an independently wealthy (more or less) beach bum and a workaholic artist find a compromise that lets them be together? I could really see both sides. Bryan wanted a boyfriend not a fuck buddy, and Nilsson needed to keep himself out there if he wanted to be a success and make a living as an artist. You wanted them to work it out and again, another nice story about two guys. There is some good touches of humour as Bryan lets his niece and nephew help him decorate his new apartment. Lets just say Justin Bieber pillow cases are involved and chenille unicorn throws. :-)

Stroke to His Cox by JL Merrow (20 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Another one that Jen reviewed. (I'm finally catching up on those books that I say "Oh, I'd like to read that.") Dave is the half-Japanese cox for this university rowing team. For those who don't row (and I barely know the basics), it the usually much smaller guy who sits in the boat and keeps the others on track. He's much smaller of course than all the huge hulks who row and has been crushing on Archie for a while, figuring no way. After they win a big race, Archie makes a move much to Dave's surprise and delight. This is told from Archie's point of view. I liked his voice, he's a bit sarcastic and snide and his oarsman don't seem to be the brightest of the lot some of them and while they say racist things, it's not because they don't like him, they're just oblivious. As I said, I know nothing about rowing and there is some terminology I didn't really get, but you don't need to in order to get the story, it's still a cute read about a surprise pairing, well, delightful surprise to Dave.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I'm on a reading roll now

Well, I seem to have my groove back. I've been reading like a maniac. :-) Kind of a decent day here today, with a hint of spring in the air but I'm not holding my breath.

Reminder for everyone that moves their clocks forward this weekend (for those who do).

Blue Sky Lodge by Chris Owen, Sean Michael, Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga (220 pages)
Torquere Press

This is an anthology of 14 short stories set around a gay-friendly ski resort, the Blue Sky Lodge. They are all quite short and range from employee couples getting together to stories about guest/employee hook-ups, and couples who are there for vacation. There were so many I won't get into them but there were some interesting themes. A double amputee musician who hooks up with a young snow board instructor, a blind man who comes with his long-time lover who's trying to pull him out of the depression she's suffered following the tragic accident that blinded him, a bit of a D/s employee couple who have an open relationship. They were the only couple who featured in two stories, once with others and once with each other, a temporary threesome and couples needing to reconnect and figure out their relationship. I found those stories had a lot more depth when it was the couples who came to try and use a luxury vacation to get their life back on track or to reconnect. Some stories are very graphically sexual, others less so. The writing all has a similar quality to it, as usual BA Tortuga's stories tend to feature more rough-hewn cowboys and for fans of the series, the Jarheads make a trip to the resort in the last story. There is also one story set at the resort in the summer, but most are focused on skiing and snow. I kind of liked the idea of all the stories being in the same setting and kind of mingled, made me want to go to such a resort as it sounded wonderful (not the skiing so much, but hot tubs and big rooms, massages and delicious food).

Too Soon for Love by Kimberly Gardner (320 pages)
MLR Press

The book starts with Michael at his lover's funeral. You soon discover that Michael is blind and despite his lover's family's good intentions he just needs to escape. The nurse's aid the family had hired to help (the lover had a stroke) comes to the rescue and offers to drive Michael home. It seems Alan has been crushing on Michael for awhile and realizes his timing sucks, but offers to be a friend and read Michael's mail as Michael is tired of depending on his lover's family who treat him like an invalid and want him to move in with them. While helping Michael, Alan discovers evidence that the lover was cheating on Michael and is torn about whether to tell Michael figuring it will just hurt him. They do have sex but Michael says too soon and lo and behold the other man shows up. Seems he had a threesome with the couple on vacation and comes in the guise of a friend, now Alan is torn even more about telling Michael when it all blows up and goes to hell. I really liked Michael and I thought his handling of his life alone was really well done. He's very capable but things like dealing with the mail or getting into town (live way out in the burbs) suddenly leap up and smack him in the face. I stayed up way too late reading this because I wanted to know if Alan would spill the beans about Robby and the dead man and then how it would all work out. The only thing I found a bit "preachy" if you will, was a gay couple at the nursing home Alan worked at who dealt with the family coming in and spiriting away the ill man across the country because his lover of 20 years had no legal rights. Except for showing how horrible that is and unfair, there was really no relevance to the rest of the story. Otherwise I quite enjoyed this. It could have been quite maudlin, but I didn't find it too much so, there were a few things that happened to lighten the mood.

Remember Me by Lynn Lorenz (95 pages)
Amber Allure

Chad is a Dr. in emergency in New Orleans a year after Katrina. A young man comes in badly beaten when Chad realizes it's his first love from summer camp. He had promised Jeff he'd keep in touch but fear of coming out and his family's pressures meant he never did. Jeff nearly dies and Chad feels responsible for him and all the old feelings come back. He steps in and clears out Jeff's apartment, takes custody of his cat and tells hospital staff they are partners so he can get medical information. When Jeff wakes up a few months later he's pissed that Chad would take over his life and he's still upset about him never calling. However he soon starts to realize that Chad did a good thing and his cat would have been sent to the pound and he would have flunked out of school rather than being withdrawn. I really liked how Chad worked through things as he spent time with Jeff during his coma for those two months, realizing that his behaviour with guys was because he'd never gotten over Jeff. I also liked that when Jeff woke up he was at first upset but then realized that Chad had done a good thing helping him and decided he wasn't going to let another chance at happiness slip through this fingers. It was a fairly quick read but I enjoyed the two guys and you hoped they'd get a second chance at happiness. It would have been nice to see them further down the road, but it's a nice hopeful HEA ending.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sub-genre Schizophrenia?

Yay, the week is almost over. Had quite a few urgent things at work this week which I really don't mind because I prefer it to be busy and I tend to work more efficiently in a crisis. Go figure.

I will take a moment to whine about the weather. Arrgghh. 8 inches of snow followed by 4 inches of rain and more snow on Sunday and then more rain on Tuesday. It's crazy. The rain on snow means a lovely layer of ice on side-walks. Not fun and I nearly did some groovy moves on the walk in today but didn't fall on my butt so it's all good.

Terrible news about the earthquake in Japan. It's been quite the season for natural disasters. The videos of the tsunami were just freaky, seeing the water just go and go and go. Mojo to all and I know the Red Cross in most countries are probably already accepting donations. I know in the US and Canada they are.

Anyway, I've read a book in just about every sub-genre out there. Historical, paranormal, sci-fi. Whew. Two of the three not my normal choices either.

Chasing the Mailman by Amber Redd
Dreamspinner Press

Usher is a horse farmer in ... somewhere they don't usually get tons of snow. One of his horses is killed by what he suspects is a large wolf, however the game warden ignores his calls for help. He helps the mailman (Jarreth) whose truck goes off the road in bad weather and they become friends. Usher would like it to be more since his partner died 8 years ago, but Jarreth gives off mixed signals and finally makes it clear he's not gay. Things start getting weirder and when Usher's dog runs off in the woods at night (ever heard of a leash?), Usher is attacked by a werewolf (movie-style) and protected by a large timber wolf. Soon other people are being killed around town and Usher, Jarreth, and a few of their friends and family are hiding out in Jarreth's house. When the police come to ask questions the big attack happens with lots of drama and a dementia-ridden mother saving the day. This is written in a very unusual style. Regular past tense point of view from Usher, but then every few paragraphs it would flip into his thoughts. An example:

He noted the snow chains on the vehicle too. Maybe I should wait another day and give the township more time to treat the roads before driving into Stone Trail.
So rather than say "He wondered if he should wait another day ...." it hops right into his head and what he's thinking at that time. It was quite different and didn't really work for me and I found it rather distracting. I figured out the mystery of the guardian wolf and the werewolf pretty quickly. Personally I would have been more pissed off if I was Usher at Jarreth's confession later, but he seemed so desperate for the guy he didn't even blink about the lies, including the fact Jarreth WAS gay. Then again, as I've said before, I'm a bit of a vindictive bitch who would make them suffer more. For those looking for a different writing style with the present tense thoughts inserted it's an interesting read and I salute the author for trying something different. In light of all the snow we've had lately reading a story with lots of storms seemed kind of relevant.

The Nobleman and the Spy by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon
Loose Id

Jonathan is a spy and former assassin who is tasked to keep an eye on a German nobleman. By chance he ran into Karl on opposite sides of the battle field years ago. Once Jonathan's cover is blown, there is instant chemistry between the two, despite Jonathan's reticence after being betrayed by his Captain and lover. However part of his job was to keep Karl safe if necessary and when a bomb goes off at a party nearly doing Karl in, they start to work together to solve the mystery of who wants him dead, while figuring out their relationship. I'm not a huge historical fan but I have read one or two of the other by these authors and enjoyed them and this was no different. While there is discussion of Karl and Jonathan being discrete, thanks to their positions they are able to be together and even back then, being royalty meant you could get away with a lot that the average guy on the street couldn't. I know some people didn't care for Jonathan and he is a bit of an everyman, kind of nondescript, no great personality, but I didn't mind him. He probably seemed more normal than most characters and I liked that he had less experience and was figuring out not only a relationship but sex with a more experienced Karl. So if you enjoy historical that while accurate (apparently), but not to the exclusion of a good romance - and I enjoyed the mystery part - this is another good one.

Retribution by Jambrea Jo Jones

And on to outerspace. It's like I have a time machine. Doctor, where are you? Okay, enough.

Rave and Kain were lovers working for the Alliance when Rave was falsely arrested for smuggling and sent to prison. As this happened Kain just so conveniently disappeared, leaving him dangling in the wind. A couple of years later, after getting out of prison (badly damaged by his treatment there) Rave and his best friend Sela are running a transport ship. Even though Rave knows Kain is still alive he avoids him until Kain comes on the ship and tells him it was all a big plot and know the plan is to pretend he's kidnapped so when Rave picks up his next shipment which is some kind of weapon, the Alliance will have an excuse to arrest him, thus getting the weapon. Well Kain should have clued in right there with that convoluted plan, but his main goal seems to be the convince Rave to give them another chance and he's not quite sure why Rave is pissed. Duh! When the whole story comes out, both men were used, but I found Kain's naivete at how his military used him, lying to him and coming up with plans that any normal guy would likely have called bullshit on, a bit much. I thought his expectation that Rave should just fall back in his arms after 2 years rather unbelievable. I was happy when Rave punched him. (See vindictive bitch comment from above.) I'm not a huge sci-fi in books fan, but there wasn't overkill and most of it seems to take you to a pretty comfortable sci-fi universe, something most of us have experience with in movies or on TV. I did like the BF Sela, which is unusual because usually the female BF is a raging overprotective/meddling bitch, but she was just right.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Free stuff, discounts and e-book week.

It's e-book week and I may be a bit behind here so you'll have to shop fast but lots of m/m publishers have deals on this week to celebrate.

To start, freebies.

MLR Press is offering Laura Baumbach's Details of the Hunt (number 2 is coming - yay), LA Boneyard by PA Brown and The Hitchhiker by Stevie Woods.

I haven't read LA Boneyard or The Hitchhiker yet but I downloaded them today. I loved Details of the Hunt and I am so not a sci-fi fan, so if it worked for me, it should have wide appeal even if that's not your genre of usual choice. The freebies are little tiny icons at the top of the page.

You can win one of two e-readers HERE. You have to find the answer to a question found on the webpage, but if you are willing to do the work you might be the lucky winner of a Nook or a Kobo. It's open to readers outside of North America but I think you have to pay for shipping.

Dreamspinner Press has 20% off all e-books so snap up some deals there before Saturday night.

Amber Allure doesn't seem to have something directly related to e-book week but I see they have all novels and novellas 25% off in March.

Silver Publishing has a special on: Make a purchase during eBook Week and automatically stand a chance to win a Kindle eReader. You want more? Purchase a New or Coming Soon release and receive 30% off any of our backlist titles.

Rainbow e-books also has a special on this week. In celebration of eBook Week everything in the store is 20% off now through March 12th. Each day at 10pm we'll draw a user and give them everything on their Wishlist. On Saturday, March 12th at 10pm the winner will receive a brand new Kindle AND everything on their Wishlist. Every dollar you spend enters you to win!

These are some of the bigger publishers/resellers of m/m books that I usually shop at. If you are in the Good Reads group, check out Jase's thread where he lists some other smaller sales or more specific themes. People can add deals as they find them.

Happy Shopping. I love being an enabler. :-)

And as a special reward, a cookie or two.
I'm pretending it's warm enough to go to the beach to see these guys, rather than prepping myself for 10 inches ... of snow.