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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pride Parade aka Irene can't get us down

I am finally getting my Pride post up. While we got only the dregs of Irene, it was very cool and windy and cloudy, but no rain. My friend Michelle joined us (Why do I know so many Michelle M.s? What's up with that? She's #3.) and we enjoyed the parade. There weren't very many floats but it was a pretty good size for our city.

The wind-blown crew

We got some swag. We got a free Legalize Gay t-shirt from American apparel, candy, beads, magnets, stickers, a couple of condoms, a band-aid carrier (which my daughter was most thrilled with) and of course lots of propaganda from various sources.

We didn't see any "religious" folks out condemning the crowds, but maybe they were in another part of the parade. Lots of straight couples, families and groups of friends of all persuasions. Although I must say the parade was rather short on hot mostly naked guys (thank the baby jeebus for the university engineering students) and heavy on middle-aged lesbians. Save for that pesky orientation thing, I would have fit right in. LOL

One of the parade participants came over to me and said she liked my t-shirt. We saw quite a few variations on the Fck H8 t-shirts. We didn't go to the festival grounds, but we had a good time seeing everyone out and supporting the community. Hopefully next year the hurricanes will stay away and we'll get some sun for a change.

Enjoy the video.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Summary ... again

I'm so uncreative with my titles. I've slowed down a bit on the reading, but not too bad. They were saying no rain for us from Irene, now they are saying 40% chance tomorrow at 4:00. I just hope it holds off as our Pride parade is tomorrow at 1:00 and there is nothing more pitiful than a soggy parade. The kid and I are meeting a friend downtown to see how it is this year. Hopefully I'll get a post up Monday or so.

Hope everyone in the main hurricane path stays safe and dry.

 After the Sunset by Mary Calmes (168 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

This is a follow-up book to Timing. Stefan and Rand have been living together for a couple of years and Stefan has FINALLY committed fully to their relationship by taking a job at a local college and giving up his apartment in the city making Rand happy. However after a bit of a run-in with Rand's family on his dad father's side, it's up to Stefan to attend a local rodeo while Rand is out of town or lose some of their land Rand's uncle has been trying to get from him. These stories have a bit of a soap opera quality to them which is part of the fun. Stefan wasn't quite so perfect in this one, however at the rodeo he does manage to charm most everyone around him and of course their business is thriving and they are basically rich. The conflict with Rand's family was worthy of any good afternoon soap, but it was still a fun read. When Stefan found out he HAD to participate in one of the rodeo events and the only one left was saddle bronc, his city-boy thought process before and during his ride had me chuckling out loud. Having just attended a rodeo this summer it struck me as quite amusing. The smexin' is hot and if you can just go with the fun slightly OTT aspect of this it's a fun read.

Sometimes It's Fate by Angela S. Stone (390 pages)

Chris recommended this one. It's two mounties in New Brunswick. David is 34, divorced with three small children and best friends with his partner Jason. One day he inadvertently finds out Jason is gay. Jason has hidden it for obvious reasons. Suddenly David clues in to his attraction to Jason and they start an affair. Things are going well until Jason's fuck-buddy shows up HIV positive and he and Jason didn't use condoms. However this was not the kind of drama where David freaks out, he's there for Jason 100%, doesn't care and gradually they start to come out to people, although it seems everyone already knew they were together or should have been, including David's ex. So while she had issues, him being with Jason wasn't one of them. So there were some nice twists, no evil homophobic ex, not gay bashings, but there were also stories that showed it wasn't gaytopia in general. I quite enjoyed the fact that they were best friends and how they interacted and were there for each other 100%. The sex was hot and sometimes funny as Jason initiated David into gay sex, although both men appeared to be well over averagely endowed. *slight eyeroll* LOL Still, I quite enjoyed it. There is one thing that Jason volunteers for at work that I can see being a major hurdle for them as a couple, but nothing was mentioned of it, so I'm wondering if there is meant to be a sequel, since if I was living with someone and they volunteered for that without even discussing it I'd be pissed.

Out of Focus by LA Witt (227 pages)

Dante and Ryan (Angel) are photographers who work together and are lovers. However they are both doms so from time to time they take on a sub to meet their needs. They see Jordan, the brother of the bride at a wedding they are working at and are both attracted. When Jordan asks them to shoot his horses they feel him out and eventually make a move. The think is Jordan has been interested in BDSM for a couple of years but has never tried it and he still lives with his ex-BF which is rather awkward. However he's wanted to try and they give it a whirl.  No strings, just fun, which soon turns into everyone feeling awkward when they realize they love each other. Then comes the ugly part where they figure out what to do. Jordan feels like he'll always be expendable because the guys have been together for 12 years and Angel feels that Jordan can give Dante something he can't as he never bottoms and basically it's a bit ugly mess of feelings. Which I appreciated. Too often triads seem to just happen and everyone falls in love and no one worries they'll be left aside or what could happen down the road. I appreciated the insecurities which I think are far more realistic. It's kinky hot and I really liked all three guys, I will say for some reason I had trouble distinguishing between Dante and Angel when it was there POV. Maybe because they were both similar guys, workaholic photographer older well-traveled doms, that they were often doing the same things while "talking". I sometimes had to double check who was speaking because I would get confused. No clue why because physically they were different but their head-space seemed similar, whereas Jordan was very different. I enjoyed it greatly though and for fans of m/m/m I think it's an excellent example.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friend's New Blog

My friend Talita has started her first ever blog and I thought I would give her a bit of a shout-out here. She lives in New Jersey (but is way more gorgeous and "normal" than anyone on Jersey Shore - thank god), I've never met her, but we met through her younger brother Enrico who I have met a couple of times.

Her new blogs is going to be all about her wedding to fiance Ray which is coming up next year, pictures and stories about her babies (aren't they cute?) and her challenge to finish nursing school while working and planning and all that other stuff us girls do.

So stop by and check it out and maybe you'll get to give your advice on how we can keep her from turning into Bridezilla and making the rest of the family craaaaazy. :-) Just click on her banner above to go to her site.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I need your votes ... again.

So back on my birthday I whipped Paul Deen's buttery butt and won my round of Fight Club. Well, we're into the next bracket of the competition and I'm again. Only this time it's a three-way and definitely, not in a fun kinky way. I am up against my own kid and our friend John. So I need y'all to pop by and vote for ... someone. LOL There are no limits on how often you can vote, although I did discover that after about 50 votes Poll Daddy makes you take a time out and rest your clicker finger. Just click on the logo above and it will take you to the post with the voting thingamajig. Voting is open for 24 hours, till midnight Thursday, winner announced Sunday. So vote for any of us, we're all worthy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Snow Day!

No, even in Canada it doesn't snow in August. I'm NOT ready for real snow. Ugh. However, now that KZ Snow has a spanking new website, I realized how far behind I was on my Snowy reading, so I caught myself up. :-) Now we can have a Snow day review. Wheee.

Visible Friend by KZ Snow (160 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Chris is addicted to heroin and finally knows he has to get off and goes into rehab. On his last night, Denny appears in his room and he freaks. Then Denny shows up in his apartment. He's sure he's having hallucinations, although little things Denny says start to add up, and it seems Denny was his imaginary friend as a child (perhaps not so imaginary) and has been looking out for him his whole life and growing along with Chris. Can Chris accept Denny is really a person? Is it too freaky? I've never been addicted to drugs or even really known anyone who was, so I could be wrong but I thought the siren's call of escape and drugs was really well done. Chris still wanted them, even though he knew in his head it was bad, his body was another matter. I also enjoyed seeing Denny's perspective. He was as confused at times as Chris, his desire for Chris and his love for him seemed to be out of place for his role as guardian angel and what did that mean? So there were lots of levels, some light positive stuff, some more reflective and some not so pleasant, but it sucked me in and I wanted to know how it all worked out. The epilogue (which is really a prologue I suppose), I found particularly touching.

It made me think though, if guardian angels exist, and you don't believe in angels (not saying Denny was an angel per se, he didn't even seem to know), do you still get one? I never had an imaginary friend. Maybe I don't have one. Maybe I don't need one. :-)

Abercrombie Zombie by KZ Snow (130 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Quinn and Hunter are psychic mediums. Quinn is in love with Hunter but beyond one little incident in a car, Hunter appears to be straight and was even engaged to a woman for awhile. They are approached by odd, but well dressed Dustin, who asks to work with them, in return for a favour. Okay, Dustin is a zombie and he can't seem to find his ex who turned him and needs the guys help. And maybe he can help them along the way. This is a very cute story with some creepy paranormal stuff. I liked the descriptions of their paranormal work and how it affected them emotionally to be connected to someone who was murdered or dead. Their ghost hunting in the old asylum was suitably creepy and yet had an edge of humour to it. I really felt for Quinn. He was going to have to decide if he could continue to work with his best friend, considering he was in love with him and it was just getting worse. You only get Quinn's perspective, so you don't really know what Hunter is thinking or even Dustin much, but I liked Quinn so much I was okay with that. It was neat to get a quick glance at Jackson Spey. A lighter look at zombies, no brain munching involved. I really enjoyed this.

Mongrel by KZ Snow (202 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Well, this is quite different and had me racing to the end and probably a look of horror on my face at time. I fear for KZ's mind at times. She comes up with some creepy weird stuff. 'Tis good. :-) Fanule, Fan, is a mongrel, which is part human part something, and they live in the equivalent of a ghetto. He has been elected their de facto leader and he knows something hinky is going on. Mongrels are disappearing and he feels it's got something to do with the mechanical circus. He goes there and engages Will, who sells patent medicine, to try and find information. He doesn't get much, however later in a bar he runs into Will and they spend the night together. Will is smitten (they both are) and eventually along with Will's ex-lover, a bounty hunter, and Fan's ex, a vampire, they work to find out what's going on. There is so much here it's hard to describe, but it was never too much. This is steam punk and I'm pretty illiterate in the steam punk world, but there was enough to give me an understanding without overwhelming me with details about how every little machine worked. I appreciated that. And wow, the bad guys were freaking creepy and it was rather disturbing what they were doing and planning to do and I was on the edge of my seat for the big show-down. I loved Will and Fan and how they were both sort of stunned by finding someone to love. It was also nice not to see a "perfect" hero as Fan suffers from bi-polar disorder. I'd love to tell all about the supporting characters and how some parts made my heart break a little, and it seems like "All that in 200 pages? Too much no?" But it wasn't. It all fit perfectly. Can't believe took me so long to read it.

So I think I'm caught up now. :-) So you've got your choice here. Something dealing with a serious issue like drug abuse, a lighter look at zombies and magick, or a more dark and sinister steam punk mystery. Something for every mood.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Summary

Kind of a lazy weekend. Didn't even leave my house yesterday. Today we did a few errands and I really must continue with that laundry I started in the basement. Lordy I hate laundry. It's been rather gray and rainy today so a nice day to be a bit lazy.

So I went through my manic reading phase for about 2 weeks there I whirled through books like no tomorrow, now I'm in a bit of a depressive state again. I've been diddling around writing a bit, reading a bit, surfing. So I read these a week or more ago. Finally getting to posting.

Cherries on Top by Rowan McAllister (66 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Craig is the straight bartender at a gay bar. After his awful relationship ends, he decides he wants to try gay sex. He's attracted to Doug, one of his customers whom he knows is moving to Chicago soon, so figures a one time will be no big deal, and Doug has a different guy all the time anyway. Doug is a bit taken aback by the proposal, but decides it can't hurt, everyone's adults right? Craig isn't so sure but has accepted it, however Doug comes back for more. Which is kind of annoying Doug too. He doesn't date, so why is he doing this. Before long they have exchanged e-mails and Doug is making a surprise trip back to Detroit to visit Craig for the weekend. This is just a cute story of a guy with ugly bedding (kind of funny) and someone who is not interested in a relationship (noooooo, not him) who manage to have one despite themselves. Sweet and not too angsty.

 Personal Training by Andrew Gray (112 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Holton is 42 and decides he needs to lose some weight so joins a gym. He's enamoured with manager Marcus but nothing happens and Holton works very hard to drop a few pounds and change his life. Suddenly Marcus notices him and makes a move, however Holton seems very shy and skittish, not just about Marcus but men in general. Marcus introduces him to some of the other guys (from the other books) hoping he'll ease up. Eventually Holton reveals that he was abducted and raped 20 years ago and he's never been with anyone since. Some discussion about taking what you want and before long he and Holton are getting it on. These books are pretty standard but I do enjoy them. I liked that Marcus admitted that he wouldn't have looked at Holton when he was heavier (not that much, 30 pounds or so), but I couldn't fault him. I think if in a room of total strangers, you are likely going to be attracted to the one that most resembles your idea, as personality doesn't manifest itself in looks. I did wonder though if Holton shouldn't have been in some therapy considering he'd never dealt with the attack. I'm not sure just pulling up your socks and the love of a good man can do the trick. Maybe. Everyone is different I suppose.

Guava Red: Almost Paradise by TC Blue (175 pages)
Torquere Press

Bastian is taking a year off before university, however his plans have changed. When his family found out he was gay they decided to send him to Hawaii to work with the family business, learning the fruit business from the ground up and hoping his cousin (who turned straight) will influence him. However he knows he's gay and eventually meets Chance at a party and they start dating. He wants to have sex but Chance doesn't want to be the first, however he finally gives in and when they forget to use a condom, Bastian freaks, then leaves the islands the next day when his father falls ill without getting Chance's details. Many years later, Sebastian (he uses that now) is trying to expand the family business in the east and is attending a dinner with someone who could be an investor. (Riley's uncle and they are celebrating Riley's birthday) at a fancy hotel in Rhode Island. Where it so happens Chance is the chef. He kind of freaks but they get together and things are great. However Bastian lives in Boston. There is some conflict with the long distance and Bastian being ready to REALLY be committed. Chance had a nice female friend, who wasn't too annoying although she was all upset because he was going to move. I've never had a friend I cared about enough to be upset that they would choose love over me. To me that's weird. But maybe I just don't have any close friends who live where I do. Still a cute story and you get to see Riley and Kelly. I'm still not liking the uncle's BF, TC is going to have to sell me on that one if it comes up.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday Three

Ugh. Damn stupid computer. My apologies to those who saw the partial post yesterday. LOL

Also known as a Lost Shifter binge. I was a bit behind on these so I went on a binge and read them all in one fell swoop.

Shane's Fury by Stephani Hecht (111 pages)
eXtasy Books

I put off reading this for a long time because I knew it would be difficult. It is part 2 of the last book, where Trevor, psycho leopard Shane's mate was kidnapped by the cobra bad guy. Shane's going insane trying to find him. This however combines a couple of other stories, or beginnings of such. Riley is an eagle shifter, probably the only one in the world, and he is afraid of heights and is under hawk Colin's tutelage. It seems all Colin does is yell at him and tell him how shitty he is. When Riley finally makes a move, Colin tells him no, but is then stunned when Riley has sex with hawk twins. (I know some people had issues with this, but I was fine and it all makes sense nest book.) As well, when on the search when Trevor they find Dalton a young captive who was near Trevor before he was sold to some other snakes and thinks the sun rises and sets on Shane because of Trevor's stories. Dalton ends up kind of like their foster son. I love Shane. I know he's a psycho assassin, but he's adorable. LOL I loved how everyone was so confused by Dalton's hero worship and it still kind of annoys me that they are happy to have Shane kill someone for them, but don't want to be around him much. However he and Trevor are cute as a bug in a rug.

Riley's Regret by Stephani Hecht (111 pages)
eXtasy Books

Riley's life is rough. Since his little escapade with the twins he's being picked on by some of the hawks, Colin is meaner than ever and he's practically a captive because he would be so valuable to the slavers. He tries escaping and you know something happened to him before that his friends helped him through but you don't know much. After another run in with nasty hawks, you find out the truth about Riley. He's a cutter. He uses it to escape the pain and goes a bit too far. Luckily when Colin goes to get him, he finds him in the nick of time and saves him and finally realizes he loves him. He overhears the friends talking about what has been happening with Riley, both currently and before, and they finally tell him about Riley. It seems Riley is a bi-polar cutter which is odd because traditionally shifters don't suffer mental illness, except for eagles. They get him some help but it's a bit nasty at times. My heart broke a little for Riley and I may have sniffled. I thought Stephani did a good job of bringing up some issues that aren't touched on much in romance (m/m or any other version). I was also glad Riley's friends stood up for him when no one else would. I really enjoyed this one.

Ranger's Folly by Stephani Hecht (122 pages)
eXtasy Books

Ranger has noticed someone following Riley. When he finally confronts the stalker, he discovers it's another eagle. The twin they suspected surprised the murder of their family by their mother. However Xavier freaks and tasers Ranger and escapes. Xavier was raised by ravens who lived in isolation, largely because their daughter has mental disabilities and the ravens ordered her killed. So Xavier considers Dulla and her brother Chance are his siblings as they were raised together. Xavier falls ill from using a special spray which hides your scent, however Ranger manages to track them down just in time. Every agrees that the ravens are not dangerous, and they allow them to come to the compound. Ranger knows that Xavier is his mate and helps him recover. It was pretty typical, although dealing with the handicap of their sister was nice and also to see that not all ravens are evil icky things. I did find though that considering Xavier was raised in total isolation he didn't seem quite as naive about the world as I expected. It opened up some possible other couplings.

I really think the author should make up the equivalent of a family tree for all these people. I sometimes forget who was whose brother/roommate/friend. If I was more enthusiastic I'd do it myself. LOL I find it hard to remember who was in book 3 when I'm on book 12.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Are you getting harsher?

Well, not counting Kris of course, because we know that's true. :-P But I noticed in general that I seem to give out fewer 5 stars over at Goodreads and not many A's at Brief Encounters Reviews. So I'm not sure it's that there aren't as many books out there blowing my socks off, or if I'm just getting harsher as I read more and more m/m.

This is me when I first discovered m/m.


When I first discovered the genre I LURVED everything, well, almost. There was some right off the bat that didn't work for me and I continue to avoid, but in general it was all new and shiny and interesting and I loved it all.

This is me now?
That's not really fair, it's not that I'm "meh" about it all, I still keep reading and have been on a total binge the last week or so. It certainly hasn't stopped me spending my money on it and I'm enjoying it, I'm just not twirling with glee most of the time.

So is this a bad thing? Or am I only refining my taste? Or do I just think I'm not finding GREAT books. I only marked 14 books in 2010 a 5 star reads. That's slightly more than one per month. Really? But I must have read 400+, so am I just imagining that I'm not reading as many? Maybe. Or maybe I'm just more discerning. I really wish GR had a half star (I know, I know, whine whine), but for me 5 stars is WOOOOOWWWWWWW! Many I like a lot, more than a lot but I'm not sure it's a WOOOOOOOWWWWWW, so I give it 4 and may say 4.5. Eh. Maybe I should be marking up? I don't know. Sigh. 

So do you find yourself less forgiving than you were when you first discovered m/m (or started noting your ratings)? Or are you as generous as ever and have lots of 5 star reads? I'm always a bit surprised when people have 400+ books and a rating average of over 4.5. Really? Wow. :-)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Reading Reading Reading

So we made it home from Chicago safe and sound. Pretty uneventful. It's kind of nice to have a couple of days to get it together before I start my new position. Spent a small fortune on groceries today as my fridge was empty, otherwise just kind of hanging out and getting psyched up for the end of vacation. I read quite a bit the last couple of days.

Used, Rare and Limited Editions by Chris Owen (116 pages)
Torquere Press

This is a compilation of several stories that were under the Chaser banner. Dave is sent by his boss/lover to do some bookshelves for an old friend. The friend assumes Dave is a submissive and in the lifestyle, however quickly apologises, as Des has his own sub, Wyatt. Both couples have an open relationship and before long it's decided that Des and Dave can get together and eventually Wyatt and Archie, which allows Archie to indulge in his bondage kink as Dave is pretty much vanilla, save for the whole partner swapping thing. It was interesting to see how it all came together and I thing there is another set of books that follow. I never really got a handle on Wyatt and Des and what their relationship was like. However if you don't mind books with open relationships (the only on-page sex is between the four characters, although reference is made to Dave and Archie having other partners and they are very open about it), it's a good read and I'll definitely check out the follow-up to see how they work the 4-way thing.

Paper Planes by M. Jules Aedin (145 pages)
Loose Id

Photographer Stuart spends much of his time speaking at GLBT events, about his lover who died during a plane hijacking. It's been nearly a year but while landing in Dallas, the captain of the flight, flirts with him. By chance Dustin is also at the rally and offers to get him to the airport, however they get talking and he misses his flight so stays with Dustin. He's not ready for a relationship but starts thinking about Dustin more and more and finally after much mulling and talking with his therapist gets in touch. They eventually start a long-distance relationship. This is just a nice story about two guys who have both suffered losses (Dustin's lover died of AIDS) who are getting to know each other and watching Stuart move on from his grief over the death of his partner. It was a bit sad and some funny and sweet and sexy. Interestingly, Dustin is 48, half-Korean and an amputee having lost his leg in a car accident. It was nice to see it treated as "normal" and not made a big deal. Also the reality of Dustin being 48 and not able to have 15 orgasms in a night was smoothly slipped in without making something of it. I was kind of sad when the story ended, not because I didn't want them to get their HEA and I did want them to move in together, but just because I was enjoying them so much I kind of hoped it would be longer. A perfect read when you're not looking for an angst fest or just a sex-filled read.

A Change of Pace by JM Cartwright (190 pages)
Torquere Press

I've kind of taken of taken a liking to these "Changes" books. In this case, Drew is forced to leave his job as the assistant to the mayor of Chicago (his Dad) and takes the fall for a political scandal. He's annoyed that he has to move to Asheville (fool, I totally fell in love with Asheville and would move there in a minute), and is rather surly about the whole thing. He meets Ridge, one of the co-owners of the inn he's staying at and is instantly attracted. They can't seem to keep their hands off each other, although Drew can be a total ass when he wants to be but Ridge doesn't take it to heart and deals with it in a straight-forward manner. Drew was adopted by his parents when he was 14 and has commitment issues, however Ridge doesn't let him run. Each chapter starts with some quirky little saying by one of the guys and I quite liked it. I really liked Ridge, who was a bit younger and less experienced, but he wasn't afraid to see where it would go, despite his sister's overbearing attitude. On the whole there is not a lot of angst, besides Drew being a jerk on occasion and the attraction and sex between the men is hot and sexy. A nice read when you're in the mood for something light and enjoyable.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Review Update

Sigh. This was supposed to be posted Friday, my travel day but the stupid scheduler didn't work. Oh well, WHATEVER (accompanied by eye rolls).

Well, I've actually got a ton of reading done here in Chicago. Much more than in Manitoba when I did absolutely nothing. LOL Here we've been running like mad but I got lots read. Go figure. The one hour train ride downtown and back did wonders for Lord of the White Hell. Should be finished book 1 tonight. Looking forward to book 2 when I get home. I also like to show off my signed page to my kid daily so I can get a good eye roll from her as I lovingly stroke it. LOL

Moonspun by Lee Benoit (140 pages)
Loose Id

Jamie is a young playwright who has moved to another city but is having trouble working on a new piece. His roommates are noisy and very out gay and while Jamie is gay, he's not out. One day, sent to pick up some draperies, he meets Spider, a tailor who also does his own weaving. Spider's family is from the Dominican Republic including his wacky "aunt" who is into Santeria, the religion of the islands and senses that Jamie and Spider are meant to be. However, there is a kink. Spider is compelled to weave from moon rise to moon set, not matter what. He just weaves like his grandfather and what shows up shows up. He finally confesses to Jamie who it seems writes similarly and is soon wring the Grandfather's life story without realizing it. So there is sort of a mystical element here and both Jamie and Spider are virgins who move in together on day 2 but don't actually do much, even kissing for weeks, if not months, despite sharing a bed. I found that a bit ... weird. 22 year old healthy guys, in bed together, not even kissing? Right. They didn't even seem to jerk off privately. It was an okay story although I would have liked to get some explanation of the whole weaving thing, but I guess the mystery is the point. So if you like mystical stories it's well written.

Wicked Good edited by EM Lynley (260 pages)
Ravenous Romance

This is as it says, an anthology of angel/demon stories. Sometimes both, sometimes just demons, various combinations. Like any anthology I liked some better than others. Some stuck to a very religious theme of trying to save the souls while a demon tried to win them, others went for a lighter look at the whole situation. I particularly liked Kiernan Kelly's Demonology 101 about a demon who teaches that course at a university in an effort to educate humans about the reality of demons. When he catches a demon hunter in his car, he decides to take him home and educate him as well.  Cute with a demon who hungers for good BBQ ribs and classic cars. I also enjoyed Suriel's Sword by Jay Di Meo, which has angel warrior Suriel confused by his attraction to demon warrior Arioch who he keeps helping secretly, although someone's helping him secretly in battle. When they are forced to go on a mission together (angels and demons work together), Arioch leads him to act in ways which get him nearly kicked out of heaven, then when Arioch is injured Suriel has to make a decision which way to go. Most of the themes were not new, angels falling in love with humans and being made human to be together or some version of that with demons and angels, those who enjoy the theme will enjoy it as they are all a bit different.

Getting Gabe (Moon Pack #7) by Amber Kell (
Silver Publishing

The author has taken up her alphabet series again. Gabe works for Anthony, the alpha mate and is attacked one night. He confused and wakes up with the pack told that he must have latent were genes and now he's been changed, like it or not. While figuring this out, in walks twin fae Vielle and Vien. Gabe instantly attacks one deciding he's his mate, however before long he's figured they are both his mates, however the guys are clear, no touchy between the twins. They'll be naked in bed together but don't have sex together (pity that) but Gabe prefers that anyway. On the mutant werewolf side, Gabe is sent with the twins to see the fae king to ask for help, it seems there is much corruption in the fae kingdom and after returning Gabe is attacked by his best girlfriend who wants to make him mutant. I didn't quite get her role, but there was more learned about the mutants and which fae may be aiding the mad scientist in his pursuit to wipe out the regular shifters. I'd say this is an improvement on the previous books which were published under a different publisher, fewer errors and are a bit like candy, a quick read that leaves you looking forward to the next, especially now I'm kind of invested in figuring out the mutant werewolf thing. Hopefully it won't take quite so long for H as it did for G.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Vacation Update

So, finally getting the energy to post. Okay, I don't have the energy but I'll forget it all if I don't. We've been touristing our butts off. For those wondering how wacky the Eminem concert was, this is the field from the top of the Willis Tower we went to on Sunday. You can see a small crowd in front of the stage on the left upper corner. Imagine that red square COMPLETELY filled with bodies, hot sweaty high bodies. :-) The yellow box is the stage, the tiny red dot just in front of the stage was us. Then we had to fight our way out of that mass of bodies and back to the Willis Tower (across the street from the train station) in 40 min. Ack. Definitely an experience.

Tons of sail boats out on the water.
So after going up the tower and looking around (I highly recommend the City Pass which gets you into several museums and sights and lets you by-pass all of the regular lines. It was like being a VIP.), we went to the Aquarium. It was pretty good. We enjoyed the sharks and the belugas who were quite playful and there was a special jelly fish exhibit which was cool. 

When we came out of the museum we expected to catch a cab to the train station thinking 40 min. would be PLENTY of time. Oh no. It was absolutely pouring rain, there were no cabs, we missed the bus, we had no umbrellas so were soaking wet. Ugh. Finally got to the train station 10 min too late and the next train didn't come until 2 hours later meaning we would have gotten home at 10:00. My friend we're staying with drove all the way downtown to pick us up and ordered Chicago style pizza which we picked up on the way home and crashed. Ugh. The weekend train schedule sucks. But hey, we saw a rainbow over the Planetarium. 
Monday my friend Jenn picked us up and we went to the zoo where she is the head nutritionist. Also my friend Tracy had to leave for an unexpected business trip so we are left cat/house sitting. The zoo was really very nice and it was fun to have Jenn who knows all of the animals by sight and can give you their history and who's been sick and who's on a diet or won't eat or had how many babies. The polar bear was a total ham and was playing it up for the audience and their dolphin show as really very good. Oh and of course there was the little baby wombat (well, he's pretty chubby but was absolutely adorable). It was fun to spend the day with her and her husband. We made it home in good time and had leftover pizza for dinner. :-)

Tuesday we went to the Field Museum (which is a natural history museum) and the Planetarium. Both where good but when you've seen one gigantic dinosaur you've pretty much seen them all. The special horse exhibit which we paid extra for was very worth it though. After we finished up we caught the water taxi across the harbour to the Navy Pier where they have the big Ferris wheel and some rides with small shops and restaurants and theatres. We walked around, ate dinner then JUST missed the damn train home AGAIN. Sigh. At least it ran every hour. So I read more of  Lord of the White Hell and hoped like hell my friend's car had not been towed from the Park'n'ride at the train station because we could not for the life of us figure out what our parking space number was so I just plugged in 250 and hoped no one noticed there was no car in spot 250. It was still there. Whew.  :-)

Today was another adventure. Driving in Chicago. My friend suggested we take her car to the Museum of Science and Industry because it's rather far south of downtown. So I mapped it out on Google Maps and we did really well, except at 10:30 in the morning hit a massive traffic jam. Sigh. But we made it in a little over an hour which was expected. The museum was HUGE and had lots of very cool stuff. The Omnimax movie about tornadoes was amazing, then the weather section with a tornado and the lighting machine and lots of fun stuff was great. There was a baby chick hatchery and an actually German u-boat which was captured during WWII. Seeing how they got it in there was cool. There were so many interactive displays and I find at many museum only about 50% were working but here I'd say 95%. The interactive periodic table where you could use magnets to drag elements and put them together to create compounds was a big hit with my chemistry loving kid. I love the real body displays, the actual nervous system or the muscles of real people was amazing, freaked the kid out, she couldn't look. LOL Guess she won't be going into medicine. Anyway, I'd say a must-see no matter your age. Some stuff for little kids but lots for grown-ups too.

Then to get home we had to go right through downtown at 4:30. Actually downtown was fine, until there was a construction detour, but we were patient and everything went fine. I didn't get lost although it took us nearly 2 hours to get home. Ugh. Then we went to Target to check it out because you have cool products we don't and cheap things like Ben and Jerry's ice cream for $3.25!!!!!!! If I can get it for $5 on sale at home I get it. So we got two and got $1 coupons for more. Hell, I'd exist on nothing but Ben and Jerry's. I got Red Velvet Cake (yummy) and the kid got Phish Food. Then for dinner we went to Sonic. My child's dream has been to go to Sonic. The deliver your meal to your car on roller blades. *shrug* It was a burger. The strawberry lime-ade was tasty though.

So that's it. Tomorrow we are hitting the shopping district. We've done no shopping except for a couple of t-shirts for the kid. Not really looking for anything but who knows. We might go for a boat tour, we'll see how we feel. My friend gets home from her trip late tomorrow night and we have to leave at 6:30 Friday morning for the airport. Whew. A very busy trip but we are having a good time. Will take my feet a few days to recover. :-)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A minute by minute Lollapalooza experience

Okay, maybe not minute by minute, but kind of like live-blogging after the fact.

11:00 - make it to the train station, get tickets, train is only 4 min. late. Yippee. Oh wait, track construction, we arrive in Chicago 25 min. late. At least I had a book and a gorgeous black guy on the other side of the train to distract me. Like model gorgeous.

1:30 - we finally get to the festival and pass through with no lines to get in. Pick up our program and whoo hoo, two $40 itunes gifts cards. That helps off-set the cost of tickets.

1:40 - the great dilemma over which t-shirt the kid will get. HUNDRED of shirts, from the festival and every band there. Finally decided on this one.

1:50 - I'm starving. We find the food area and end up hearing the last song of  An Horse.

2:00 - Go and find drinks (you can't buy drinks in the food area, only from the bar tent) and head over to the stage where we want to catch the 2:30 concert. Find our space on the grass and sit thanks to garbage bags supplied by my friend Tracy since it rained and the ground is wet/muddy. Catch the last couple of songs of Typhoon.

2:30 - have moved to the hillside for Skylar Gray concert. Kid goes and stands up near stage, I remain sitting on the hillside.

3:30 - we walk through the Farmer's Market and get Wisconsin fried cheese and a smoothie. Then go to check out the band Dom.

4:00 - I'm bored, they are okay but we go and check out the market area. Didn't buy anything but then work our way to the other end of the park  - wait, where did all the shady trees go because the clouds and rain are gone and it's sunny - find a spot in the middle of a HUGE field and listen to the end of Mayer Hawthorne and the County.

4:30 - after buying a beer and iced-tea, we spin around to face the other direction and watch Big Audio Dynamite.

5:00 - I'm whining I'm too hot, so we go and find a shady spot by the Dell lounge (whatever that is). I pull out Lord of the White Hell and the kid lays there. All of a sudden she shoots up and takes off into the Dell lounge. Okay, whatever. Someone clears a picnic table so I move there and continue to enjoy my book. Kid comes back 45 min. later shaking. She got to meet the YouTubers she follow and actually had her picture taken with them and got to chat with them. She's now floating on cloud nine. 

5:45 - I'm starving, she has to go to the bathroom. She goes to get in line, I go and buy some food, a Scotch egg (shortest line). I go back to the picnic table and wait and wait and read and eat and FINALLY she comes back. After telling me the horror that is the port-a-potties, I decide I'm not thirsty after all. Dehydration is my friend.

6:15 - we get a spot pretty close to the front (as in 75 yards) for Cee Lo Green. Interesting costume consisting of a long dress with spiked shoulder pads and an all-girl band.

7:30 - we decide to stay put because if we leave we'll never get back near the spot for Eminem at 8:30. Kid has not eaten since a giant burrito at 1:45 but claims if she doesn't think about it she's not hungry.

7:30 - 8:30 - If my child has never smoked drugs she now has a contact high and I have a wicked headache. Also lots of cigarettes, cigars, booze and idiots trying to push through the crowd. We chatted a bit with a couple of young women and some shirtless guy. It is soooooo hot, but thankfully the sun is now behind buildings, but there is no breeze I think because of so many people blocking it off. 

8:30 - Eminem starts right on time and the crowd suddenly rushes about 10 yards forward. Kind of weird and freaky and I had visions of being trampled as people behind push forward. However we settle down, squished in like sardines. I've not been pressed up against that much semi-naked flesh in ... ever. However everyone is sweaty and gross feeling, although thankfully everyone used their deodorant so it wasn't smelly, just hot and sticky.

8:30 - 9:50 - Everyone is rocking out to Eminem except me and the guy beside me. LOL It was okay, but I'm hot, sticky, my feet hurt and I don't even care for his music that much. However he did bring out Bruno Mars which was a nice treat. The kid was very considerate and kept asking me if I was doing okay. Also Skylar Gray showed up for her duet she recorded with Eminem. I have no idea what it's called.

9:50 - he's finished - I know there'll be an encore - but we start moving towards the exit, or what we hope is the exit. We stop for the last song then join the masses hoping they know where the exit is. Some young guy latches on to me and we're weaving through trees and OMG, we're going THROUGH a hedge. LOL We get out and then head across the park to the main exit and ... people funneled down on a mostly blocked bridge. It was going soooooo slowly. FINALLY get out on the street and are racing to the train station. Everyone is chatty and at  light some young guy tells us he lost the girl he was with but he needs the 10:40 train too. Let's run. Excuse me? Run? So I run a block and then say fuck-it. I'll take a cab if we miss it because I'm going to be dead if I keep running.

10:39 - we race down the stairs of the train station, find our train and get on and it pulls out before we find a seat. OH. MY. GOD. I'm thirsty, have to go to the bathroom, can't breath, hot, sweaty, gross. And the car is not air conditioned.

10:45 - we listen to the drunk girl accuse some guy of having teleportation skills. The conductor then tells us the car two cars back is air conditioned. Drunk girls leaves, stops by another young guy and goes "I know you. Shape shifter." Then moves on. LOL

10:50 - we can't take the heat so move back to the air conditioned car, sitting in the seat across from drunk girl (whom I later learned was Britney). She is now having an in depth conversation with some guy about the chances of the Brewers going to the World Series. He's doubting her but she's pulling out statistics drunk though she is.

10:55 - discussion turns to her wanting to get sexy texts on her phone, when cute bearded guy sits behind her I suggest she get him to send her some which starts her deciding she needs to start a website called dickpics.com and he should be her first star. He's not convinced. However I just happen to have a picture on my phone of a naked guy (okay, sometimes when I click Tumblr links on my phone it downloads the pics - honest) so I show her and that's when I learn her name since we now appear to be best friends.

11:30 - a couple on the upper level decide they don't like all the fun we are having in the lower caboose (as we now call it) and start calling her names. I'm thinking "oh shit, fight on the train", but we all just kind of ignore them.

1:40 - I tell Britney it's been a pleasure and we get up to leave. Oh wait, seems she's leaving too and as the conductor comes to unlock the doors she tells him the people were mean to her and before long she's in his personal space with her leg wrapped around him. I think he was quite relieved when the train came to a stop and he could open the doors.

11:45 - 20 min. walk back to my friend's house. We crash, Kristen finally eats something, I drink two huge glasses of water in about one minute, we get on-line for a bit, I wash off the sweat of 200,000 people and go to bed.

So was it worth $90? The kid thinks so. Me? Eh. None of the bands were really my faves. I think the Friday line-up was better. However we went for her and she had a blast and was so excited to meet those YouTubers I think it was worth the $90 to see her so thrilled. I did like the smaller stages with trees and shade, I don't care for being jammed in the middle of a crowd of several hundred thousand people and concerts where the performers insist "put your hands up" are annoying because you can't see for shit then. LOL The food and drink inside the park were not that expensive compared to say our hockey arena and was pretty good. It was an experience. However as we were limping around the house on sore feet she said "I don't think I could go for all three days. I'd die." Yep. I can't imagine doing it again and again. Ugh.

The train ride home was a blast, in general most people were polite and respectful during he crush of the concert (save for a few who believed they need to push through and be closer), I didn't see anyone so drunk they were sick or obnoxious (at one point while waiting for Cee Lo, this young guy drops to his knees beside us, pulls out a can of coke and a baggie of something. Oh, he's got alcohol. He opens the coke, pours some out and opens his baggies. Another guy going by says "Ooooh, double baggie, smart." to which I reply watching him try to pour whiskey into a coke can from a baggie "He's got it down to a science." Guy on his knees looks up and slurs "I've been doing it for 10 years." Guess he learned double baggie works better.) So on the whole and interesting event and worth it just to say we were there I suppose.

Guess I better get up and get ready if we're going to catch the 12:00 train to the aquarium today. Hopefully I can still walk. It will be a shorter day.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Megan Derr story inspired by my pic

Okay, not MY picture, that would be in the horror group at Goodreads, but for the m/m Hot Summer Days story writing extravaganza, I posted the following pic, and the talented Megan Derr came up with Permanent Exhibit: The Guardians. A very cool fantasy story with some steamy smexin' of course. It is part of a series of stories called The Gallery that you can read by clicking on Megan's name above. I'm looking forward to "touring" the exhibits soon. :-)

So if you are a member of the group stop by and check out the story, and all of the other stories, as there are I think over 1000 pages of stories by authors we all know and love, along with some people who are new to me. If you're not in the group and read m/m, or are interested in it, what are you waiting for? Obviously I haven't read them all, but I try to read a few when I get the chance. Just click on the story title.

Thanks again to Megan for taking up the challenge so well.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Life in the country

Wow, now I know why I don't live in the country. LOL Sure it's lovely, but there is nothing to do. People keep saying "So do you have any plans?" To do what? Go to the grocery store? Walk to the corner and back? There are no museums or other entertainment sources here. Sigh. Last night we went to my uncle's and picked raspberries. :-/

Sure we get to see family but it's a bit boring especially for my daughter. And I really don't cope in the small town where everyone knows my business very well. I've been gone too long to ever come back. Maybe I'm just too much of an introvert and like being able to go shopping without having to stop 5 times and be polite to people you know vaguely.

Saturday night I did get to meet my cousin's youngest daughter for the first time. She's almost three, and saw some other family so that was fine. Sunday my daughter and I went to the rodeo and had a fun time watching her friend race and all the events and I had my first every corn dog. Monday was a holiday here so we did not much of anything, Tuesday was lunch out and berry picking and not sure today and tomorrow. Friday morning we have to get up and leave for the 5.5 hour drive back to the city to catch our flight to Chicago.

So here a few pics, either of rodeo stuff or just the scenery including rush hour traffic down the main street of my parents' town. If two cars pass on the street that is damn near a traffic jam. You can go nearly an hour between vehicles. LOL Yes, it's that small.

16 year old girl competing in chariots, missed out by a nose. She races against adults of both sexes and a woman took the overall title for the weekend. There were only 3 of them racing against about 20 men.

Lots of good bucking bronc action. There was even a couple of Australian cowboys (or stockmen as Kris calls them, but really, that just sounds stupid.)

You can see how flat it is where I grew up although there is a "mountain" in the background, it's a valley between two small mountains. Also how quiet the town is, and the second biggest store is the greasy spoon, bus station, liquor store, movie rentals and junk food store. On stop shopping.
Some of the other rodeo action. I'm not sure I'd be thrilled to leap off a racing horse onto a cow with with 8 inch horns. One young bull rider got his leg stepped on, but he limped off. These cowboys actually get scholarships to go to US universities that have rodeo teams. Kind of odd, but a scholarship is a scholarship.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Update on Holiday

Well, I'm struggling with my parents' computer so you get a book update rather than a holiday update. I read these before I left. I haven't gotten much reading done except for some yaoi I need to get sent off. We've been busy, rodeoing, visiting family and just kind of hanging out. Hopefully I'll get some holiday snaps up tomorrow or Wednesday. Have a great week everyone.

Lucky by KM Mahoney (219 pages)
Amber Allure

Alli is a very unlucky fae. After being rejected by his people for being gay, he’s forced to live in the human world, however his magic reacts badly on earth and he ends up being a walking disaster. Michael is a bear shifter whose seeking something more and decides to settle in the same town which is known to be friendly to paranormals. He literally saves Alli from being run down in the street and somehow is tasked with caring for him. Alli has attitude. He has no intention of getting close to anyone because he’s been burned and he doesn’t want someone to have his bad luck. However Michael doesn’t take no for an answer and basically insinuates himself in Alli’s life. When someone attacks Alli’s shop writing gay slurs on the walls and suddenly seem to be stalking him, Michael calls on his family for help along with the local deputy who keeps an eye on Alli. I really liked this story. The difference between cynical crabby Alli and go with the flow mellow Michael was fun to watch. I enjoyed seeing Alli bowled over by a guy he couldn’t scare off. So all in all a really cute story with a touch of stalker. :-) But it wasn’t really a major part of the story, it was more Alli dealing with his bad luck and watching Michael break down his walls.

Jumping Into Things by Julia Talbot (220 pages)
Torquere Press

This is a double feature with two brothers. The first is the story of smoke jumper (forest fire fighters who jump out of planes) Eli and pilot Jed. Eli is from Oregon and comes to Colorado to work. He ends up spending the night at Eli’s because they don’t have a hotel. Before he knows his, they’ve slept together and Eli freaks out and pushes Jed away. Things are a bit prickly but eventually Jed convinces Eli to give it a go, especially after he breaks his ankle and is stuck in town unable to travel. However when he’s cleared to fly he can’t seem to get out of town fast enough, but eventually he agrees to move back to Colorado and give it a whirl. Book 2 is Ross, Jed’s “straight” brother who’s a skydiving instructor in the military. He meets Kevin, a civilian employee and is surprised to find himself attracted but goes for it all out. At first Kevin is freaked out because he thinks Ross is playing at being gay, but soon he settles down and they are living together. In general I liked both stories; I especially liked Ross and Kevin (although the whole DADT thing was never addressed). My issue lies in the sequels which I haven’t even read yet and won’t be. In #2 Kevin and Ross have issues and in #3 Kevin leaves him and Ross finds romance with someone else. Umm. No, just no. If someone is with a jerk and they break up great. If the first guy dies, fine, but I adored Kevin and I don’t know why he breaks up with Ross and I don’t wanna know. I’m disappointed I checked it out. Well, maybe not, because I’d be really annoyed if I bought them, so I’m just going to pretend that didn’t happen and they all are living HEA.

Drawn by Sean Michael (220 pages)
Torquere Press

Another of the Hammer novels, Giles is a “crazy” artist who literally runs into Harrison while escaping from the stress of his opening. However Harrison is intrigues and goes to the show and helps Giles out by taking him away from the show. However he soon sees that Giles has issues, he’s a cutter, although Giles won’t discuss it. Harrison figures that Giles needs pain to focus and clear his head, and he can offer it through BDSM. However Giles thinks BDSM is something in books and pretty much ignores the whole thing and even when Harrison is doing it, tying him up, flogging him, he doesn’t really “get it”. Lots of sex telling him why he needs it, and I did find the whole thing where Giles thinks Harrison is very sweet (in part because he’s gives Giles the peace he needs) which rubs big bad top Harrison the wrong way. He is NOT sweet. Giles had a twin sister who was his manager and very supportive of him and his relationship with Harrison, however another older sister who had Giles committed to a psychiatric hospital at one point was never really used in anyway, just said she existed. Having her freak out what have added some tension. For those who like the Hammer series you’ll enjoy it because it has all of the hallmarks you’ve come to expect. I think my patience with Giles would have run out about day 2 with the whole ‘have to be crazy to be creative’ thing going on.