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

Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's time to vote again!

Only this time you get to vote for my kidlet. She in the semi-final round of the Cocky & Rude Fight Club. Up against Michelle M, who is roughly the size of a peanut and FDot, who is a boy. Enough said. :-P So stop by and vote for "the kid" a time or 50. Vote early and vote often, that's our motto. Keep Canada's hopes alive in the ultimate internet fight club.

Just click on the picture for the post and the poll is embedded or if your firewall, like mine, thinks C&R has too much cock and is way too rude, you can just go to the poll itself.

This is her trash talk. I'm so proud of my little girl. *sniff* *sniff*

If you think adding a third person to this fight will phase me, think again. After being in a thirteen man cage match in the underground back in ’97 there ain’t a chance that I’ll lose. I’m fierce and have put on over 10 kilos of muscle from training with the highest class of security guards around. I’m strong, I’m tough and I’m god’s unwanted child. I plan on taking this ring by storm and not only will I tear up the competition I’ll tear out the ring, the crowd and anything that’s within the square kilometer. Just call me the Hulk because once I’m in the ring I’m ready to explode.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wicked Wednesday

I haven't posted a blather post for a bit. Today's subject is the naughty, wicked taboo, twincest. Like many subgenres, I have no desire to have sex with a sibling (that I don't have), and in real life would I be squicked out if real twins told me they were romantically involved? Probably. Obviously twincest is an off-shoot of incest in general, which I don't find hot at all. I think parent/child (or step-child) has too much of an inequality factor. Even m/f incest turns me off and maybe that's more of a physical inequality. With twin men you have the same size and age so there seems to be something more equal in my brain. I also seem to gravitate to m/m/m involving twins, but not exclusively.

I know twincest doesn't trip everyone's hot button. There are kinks that don't work for me, but that's okay. I don't think a fantasy means anything negative, it's pretend and lord knows straight men have been fantasizing about twins for centuries. :-)

I thought I would list some of my favourite twincest books and you can tell me your own or if this is really not your cup of tea. I won't hold it against you.

Gemini by Chris Owen

This was the first twincest book I ever bought. I read it with one eye, and it was squinted half-shut. I was prepared to be freaked ... Now I read it about every month or two. When I can't focus on anything else, I know I can pull this one out and pass the time. It was also my first fisting scene and first m/m/m (I think). Holy smokes, talk about throwing myself into the deep end of the pool ... filled with piranhas.

D.N.A. Double Helix by Jaye Valentine

There was some controversy surrounding this book when Amazon removed it from it's catalog because it was deemed unsuitable because it was twincest. Although I see you can still buy Gemini there. Go figure. This is young men who are a popular musical duo who get caught by their manager having a relationship. It's only a short story and I know there is a novel coming of their story which I am looking forward to. Often twins are opposites which is the case here, one brash and bold, one more quiet and introspective.

Telling the Truth by Lee Brazil

This was book two in the series with one a set of twins who had a rough childhood. There was some debate as to whether they really were together, but to me a BJ is close enough to all out sex to count. However I love twinky twins and they were sweet.

Baked by Sean Micahel

This is set in the Hammer world which is an exclusive BDSM club. Two bratty twins need themselves a good Dom to take them in hand. Their brother hands them over to a Dom, who is a twin himself. The two brothers end up hooking up as well as the twins and the Dom. Rather typical of the Hammer stories, LOTS of sex.

Dinner and a Movie  and My Secret Valentine by M. Durango

This is the story of twin college-aged brothers. The first story is when they admit their feelings for each other and then the second is where one is more insecure about their relationship, sure his brother is going to find a more "normal" boyfriend. They were cute shorts if you want to give twincest a try before spending more money on a novel length books.

I know there are other twin stories out there. There are some I've come across in anthologies like Toy Box: Twins, sometimes with a third, sometimes just two. There is also the other "sub-sub-genre" with twins who don't seem to be sexually involved with each other but only the third, examples are the Horsfall series by Jade Buchanan and Fever Lust by Lizzie Lynn Lee.

I even wrote (am writing?) something that has twins but they are secondary characters and I don't imagine I'll actually write anything more than a few current public displays of affection between them. I really should get back to that story.

So tell me what you think of twins in romance or your favourite books.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Movie Review - Coffee Date

So FINALLY our gay TV channel had something worth watching, although I'm thinking I might start watching Gay Army since it seems funny. Last night this movie was on so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

It's from 2006 and was made on a shoestring budget and that was my biggest complaint. The sound. I had my TV cranked as loud as it would go at times to hear them, then the next scene the microphone would be closer and it was loud, then far away and quiet. Sigh. But sound issues aside, I found myself laughing more than once.

Jonathon Bray - Todd
Todd is a divorced man who is finally going out on a date with a woman he met over the internet via his brother who is mooching off him and living at his place. Oddly the meeting place is a gay cafe. Todd is very uncomfortable and has a little run-in with a guy, but they eventually agree to share a table until their respective dates arrive. They get to talking and ... OMG, he is Kelly. He assumed Kelly was a girl as his brother had hooked them up. After they get over the shock, they do have a lot in common and go out to a movie. To play a joke on his brother, Kelly sneaks in with Todd and they pretend to have sex. Only the whole thing backfires because Todd's brother phones his mother who comes running and NO ONE will believe he's not gay.

He comes home to find the head of the local PFLAG at his house. His mother is played by Sally Kirkland and she is very funny and makes Todd crazy. Also, when he goes out to a movie with Kelly and some gay friends he runs into his gay co-worker who then spreads the word and the next thing he knows he's being offered partner benefits by his understanding boss, his female coworker is asking his advice on the best lube for anal sex, his coworkers pay for a male stripper for his birthday, and he's invited out for drinks with the girls. Still, no one believes he's straight no matter what he says. It was really very funny and Kelly was so sweet and cute. 

Wilson Cruz - Kelly
Even funnier, Todd's older brother who seemed homophobic admits that he's gay and no one believes him because his mother thinks he's just jealous of the attention Todd is getting. In the end Todd starts to question his sexuality. He likes Kelly a lot, and when he picks up a girl at a bar, Little Todd decides not to show up to the party. Kelly's solution is to try sex with him and if he likes it, he's gay, if not, then he's straight. Unfortunately Kelly ends up with a broken heart out of the deal. You could see it coming and I was kind of hoping it would be a GFY HEA ending where Todd realizes that he loves Kelly even if he's a guy, but the ending was probably more realistic. In the end they manage to remain good friends.

If you can get a hold of this movie either through Netflix or something on-line it's a great little movie to lighten your mood. It's not graphic. The only sexual contact you see if Kelly and Todd kiss although there lots of innuendo. Sure it's not academy award material and the sound is not great, but I found myself snorting so many times as poor Todd tried to convince everyone he was straight and they insisted he was just in denial. And oh, Wilson Cruz is so cute.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lazy Saturday

Just feeling like a bit of a lump today. My kid is away all day and while I could have been doing laundry and going to get groceries, I've managed to talk myself out of it. I can do both later, or tomorrow. :-) I can order pizza. Yeah, that's the ticket. 

I did manage to go through all of my e-mails to make sure that all the books we are committed to reviewing have been selected, downloaded, etc. I'm now a bit freaked by my TBR file. I'll soon ignore it and pretend it's not there and feel better. I got a little reading done this week when I wasn't watching animation.

Soft Focus by Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine (95 pages)
M&V Tailz at Smashwords

Ethan is a wildlife photographer who also writes gay erotic romance. After a run-in on a plane with a guy with a BDSM magazine, he decides to contact the Dom in the magazine and ask if he can interview him before writing his next book. By chance David is going to be a fetish show near Ethan so they agree to meet. David arrives with his cross-dressing partner of 5 years Kiyoshi. Before long Ethan is back in their room and naked getting a first hand look at BDSM. He's a bit confused, he's attracted to both, but Kiyoshi seems a bit snarky, however the next day they talk it out and it seems Kiyoshi is afraid that David will choose Ethan, but Ethan confesses he likes them both soothing Kiyoshi's fears. There is a run-in with a total jerk who pushes Kiyoshi until he issues a challenge which nearly gets him beaten and raped later until Ethan saves him. My only frustration was Ethan. He's supposedly just picked himself up two new lovers, for the weekend at least and some guy grabs his zipper in the bathroom and he just stands there and gets a blow job from a stranger while Kiyoshi is being abducted. WTF? Are men REALLY so ruled by their dicks? He didn't even TRY to push the guy off. Okay, they needed the plot point but I would have been a billion times more pissed off than David was since Ethan was supposed to be looking out for Kiyoshi.  Anyway, it's an interesting look at BDSM and the stigma attached to being involved and how idiots like the one in the story can give a whole community a bad name. Kiyoshi was cute and impertinent.

Russian Roulette by Alex Alder (150 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Jacob is a martial arts/fitness instructor who gets a hot new neighbor Nate, who moved from Dallas. Before long they are dating and Jacob thinks everything is super. Soon women are being found murdered and it's suspected that a serial killer form Dallas is killing women in the new city. When one of my Jacob's students is murdered, he starts to get suspicious as to why Nate refused to allow him in his apartment and he moved form Dallas and ... Jacob confesses his concerns to one of his students who is a police officer and they raid Nate's apartment, finding nothing but some notes from an apparent stalker. Needless to say Nate is not ready to forgive Ethan, but when the stalker strikes trying to get Jacob out of the way, all hell breaks loose. I really liked Jacob and Nate together, however I was a bit annoyed that Nate behaved in a way that led Ethan to believe what he did. Every time Jacob asked to see his place he refused and wouldn't say why and wouldn't say why he moved, all very suspicious. Jacob tried to ask but Nate refused to tell him. And yet when the police entered the apartment, everything he didn't want Jacob to see was in a bedroom with a closed door so there was no excuse. My other annoyance was Jacob's feeling guilty every time someone liked him and he said no. He felt so bad when the dead girl had asked him out as if he was crushing her very dreams by saying "I'm gay", same when the clerk at the cafe asked him out, he felt sooooo bad that he said no, even if he was dating Nate. Look buddy, you weren't god's gift to man-kind, they'll get over it. Although given his history with his ex-girlfriend, maybe I can see his reaction but sheesh, you're not obliged to date every person who looks at your sideways. On the whole though I enjoyed it.

Friday, September 23, 2011


The last couple of days I got to attend the Television Animation Conference in my city for work. Part of the time was spent in seminars about funding and tax credits (kind of boring but important for my work) and part was spent in interesting seminars like the interactions of social media with television stations, which touched on things like what kind of responsibilities does a TV broadcaster have if someone (especially children as much television animation is geared towards teens and down) appears to be suicidal or violent on message boards and how do you deal with that, to the emergence of animation for adults and what direction that is going in with some very funny stories. Adult Swim was there which is one of the most well-known adult oriented channels. But when I wasn't learning important stuff, I had a chance to see some of the videos that were in competition. I couldn't see them all of course, otherwise I would have spent two days in that dark room on the comfy couches watching movies, (not that it would have been a bad thing) but I got to see nearly two  competitions.

The competitions have different categories and they are submission from around the world. There are high school production, slick commercials from companies like Coke and Mr. Peanut along with college/university pieces, commercial animation studios and just people who do it for fun.

Some were very cute and really short, some were more in-depth and longer and some were 0__0. One I arrived in late because of another seminar and it was papier mache rabbits (walking and wearing clothes like people), really well done and as I watch it, suddenly the male rabbit leaves his wife in the forest, goes home, eats some papier mache food, then promptly vomits it up, takes a stuffed animal back to the forest where his wife is being attacked by a dog and a hunter who takes her away, then the husband is stuck in the leg hold trap (I didn't realize his wife was also, missed the beginning), she returns, they hug and can't get him out so she finds some white strawberries and they eat them and start vomiting blood and die. Oh. Um. Yeah. Wow. Technically so cool, but ... Not the animation you take your kids to. :-)

I found some of the ones I saw on-line. The first one is one of the more abstract concepts I saw. It is a submission from the US. 

Two from Steven Subotnick on Vimeo.

This was a Canadian submission and is more of an information video rather than entertainment. I loved the colors used and the simplicity of the animation that really got the point across.

This is only a short clip from a Canadian college which has a digital media course. It was only done in black red and white and was so beautiful with the music and how negative space was used. Wish I could have found the whole video for you.

Paso Doble teaser from Jamie Metzger on Vimeo.

I think this was my favourite. I was just captivated when I saw it. Such a cute idea and so well done.

This particular style and look, very simplistic, stark, little or no use of colour and just very basic minimal artwork seemed to crop up several times. It's not my favourite look but I an appreciate the simplicity of it in telling a story and not cluttering it up with background. It is from the US.

Stay Home from caleb wood on Vimeo.

This is a far more traditional look from Germany. It's quite a cute little story and would be good for families. I just realized this is just clips from the movie rather than the whole thing, but it's a good example of the animation.

Hinterland Trailer from Jakob Weyde on Vimeo.

This was one of the very smooth 3-D-ish animations from Pepsi who probably spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for this. Very well done of course.

This was just a cute little video that combined real video with animation. There were a few that combined live action and types of animation. I liked the little flame guys. It is from Japan.

There were others that were really interesting. If you ever get a chance to see The Last Norwegian Troll (Det siste norske trollet) which is narrated by Max Von Sydow it was excellent. Much more traditional animation but longer and a wonderful story. Unfortunately not on line. Things You Better Not Mix Up from the Netherlands had us all laughing out loud. I'm sorry I couldn't find those two on-line.

On the whole I was very impressed and while not everything was to my taste, I can appreciate the amount of work that goes into animation. One company who did a case study has been working on a feature length movie in Quebec for 2 years for Christmas release and we won't see it in English Canada until next Christmas. It's not a career for those who enjoy instant gratification. I think next year I'll get my daughter and I some passes and see some of the other shows together.

Hope you enjoy the movies, all are suitable for kids, if not appealing to them, and have a super weekend.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday Two

Barging In by Josephine Myles (207 pages)

This is now available today. Dan is a journalist who is doing an article about barging on the canal near Bath. He's pretty hopeless at it really, and literally runs into hottie Robin, who lives on his boat. He's surly and not impressed with idiot tourists, however before long, self-professed slut Dan, with no interest in a relationship, and firmly-bi Robin, have agreed to spend the week together, no strings. Well, we all know how that goes right? At first Robin comes across as a bit of an ass, and Dan is a good-time Charlie, but the more you get to know them and dig beyond the surface you find out what they are really about. Why Robin behaves as he does toward Dan, and Dan's sexually-free lifestyle and why he is staying away from commitment. I really really liked this story. It takes the time to develop the relationship, even after the week vacation, there's no easy answer to their issues, especially the distance. The cast of secondary characters was great, the locals who live on/beside the canal, Robin's very upper-crust family and Dan's blue-collar family, and his best friend and sometimes bed-buddy Tristan, all play important roles and are individuals with distinct personalities. I may have sniffled a bit at one point, but it's not super angsty. There are funny parts and serious parts and both men change and grow and move forward in their personal growth due to the other. If I had any niggles it was Robin's female friend who interfered a bit (but I appreciated that both guys ignored her LOL), and I would have loved to see Robin address his bi vs gay status, but those are very minor. So I am saying, rush out and get this great little story. You'll fall in completely love with Dan and Robin by the end of the book. I'm kind of hoping Tristan gets to find his HEA soon. :-)

Goldilocks and His Three Bears by AM Riley (105 pages)
Loose Id

Brian is new to LA and has found solace in one of the leather bars. One night he meets Paul, a big tattooed leather Daddy and they start up an exclusive relationship. Paul has roommates who are never home and things are going well, when Paul has to leave for several months for his job, and he never makes a commitment to Brian. He's hurt Paul left, but he meets Jim, a bit of a pot-head and they start a relationship, when Jim finally takes him home, holy hell, it's Paul's house. Then before long, just when Brian is getting attached, Jim disappears and asks Brian to water his pot plants. One day, Scott, the third roommate shows up and before long they are having fun, when, oops, Paul and Jim come home and find him in bed with Scott. Brian feels guilty and yet Paul never even discussed their relationship, nor did Jim. Before long they are all in bed together, however things can be a bit awkward and before long Jim and Scott have some kind of complicated thing going on, and what does that means for all of them. I liked that it wasn't just "easy", that everyone fell into bed and la la la, life is perfect. It was complicated and messy and confusing at times, and I think it naturally made sense that they tended to pair off with play-time still between all four. And the fact that Scott didn't get the D/s relationship between Paul and Brian, and felt it was abusive, so they had to try and explain to him how it worked for Brian, was an interesting twist. If you only like your two main heroes together then this isn't for you, but I think this was an interesting portrayal of a semi-open (polyamorous to an extent) relationship with three very different bears who all offered Brian something different that made a complete relationship for him. I quite enjoyed the complexity.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Torquere Two

Ah. Sunday. I got some house cleaning done on my day off Friday. Not as much as I'd hoped but ... Anyone want to come and take care of my second floor? Sigh. No big plans for the weekend, I need to do some laundry and grocery shopping, but a quiet weekend for me. My kid was off at 7:45 this morning to watch a horse show with some friends, far too early to be up on a weekend. :-)

Three More Wishes by Sean Michael (230 pages)
Torquere Press

This is a follow up to Three Wishes which I didn't read, but it's essentially three men who run a "fantasy island" for BDSM fantasies. Each book is three stories of men who come to the island seeking a particular BDSM fantasy. Three men run the island, Guard, Damian and James, however I found myself wondering about the back story of the men as James is pushing away his lovers because he's in a wheel chair, but it's unclear what happened but Damian believes he's responsible.

The three stories are a man going blind whose intention is to commit suicide after this fantasy, however the man chosen to be with him is seeking someone to care for, and he fits the bill. The other is an author of thrillers who wants to try a kidnap/slave fantasy. However it doesn't go as well as he expects. The third is a Dom who wants to be a sub for 5 days to better understand what it's like and is shocked when he sees he knows the guy chosen to be his Dom for the week.

I really liked the first story, it was the longest of the three and I felt for Cameron whose ex actually helped him by the pills. Sheesh. Nice guy. The second story had me a bit on edge as the author was not coping well with the sex slave thing and FINALLY used his safeword. I wasn't sure exactly where that was going, but conveniently worked out. And the third was kind of cute as the Dom confessed he was in love with the wanna-be sub. I was curious though they both "trained" subs but he said he didn't want to date a sub. So the sex with subs is what, like your day job? I don't quite get that. This is a typical SM with LOTS of sex and at times I found myself skimming to get to the relationship resolution. There was some movement on the original trio, but I still would have liked to see more than a little intro and epilogue to know more about them and if they could work it out.

Cereus: Building by Julia Talbot, Sean Michael, BA Tortuga (190 pages)
Torquere Press

This is set in the world of the Blood Rose club where several short stories have been set by Julia Talbot. In this case, the original author has created a new resort location and then each author has written a story about a pairing within that world. I thought it was well done and they all merged in a fairly common voice and characters would spill over from one story to the other. The set-up is that a dragon, Daniel, asks Jonny to build an exclusive resort for paranormal creatures, mostly to protect his own lair because other dragons steer clear from humans.

The first story is werewolf Chayton who is a carpenter on the construction who is driven mad by interior designer Kenny. They are attracted but after sex Chayton pretty much accuses Kenny of being an incubus as he's a demon, so Kenny gets pissed. Eventually Chayton pulls his head out of his ass after a visit to his brother and he's very thrilled with Kenny's horns and tail and allows him to be himself without hiding it.

The next story is twincest. Cat shifters Marco and Stephan are the pastry chef and regular chef who are always fighting. Bar manager Faelan is fascinated with them and things are going well until during their shift on the full moon Faelan loses his head and attacks Marco and he has to get back in their good graces. These are typical twins, one naughty, one good, one more protective of the weaker more submissive brother. Nothing very different but they were cute.

The last one is dragon Daniel who sees BDSM master demon Zee. However Zee is all he-man alpha and Daniel just basically laughs at him, although secretly he wants it. I loved how Daniel make Zee crazy because he didn't cower in front of him and would egg him on. Also Daniel's self-consciousness about the fact he's rather small for a dragon was sweet, they were just a cute couple.

There will be more stories set at the resort as this story ends as they are just ready to open and lots of characters were dropped in who could have the potential for stories. Like most "anthologies" some couples will appeal more than others, but in this case you actually get a bit longer stories for some than in the shorts.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday Three

So, another week nearly finished. Well, getting closer. I'm still liking my job, the part I'm not liking so much is not to do with the people I work with, but the general fact that I work for an organization that still exists in a 1975 mind-set. Ugh. It's so frustrating. I shouldn't have to be out of pocket $1100 until you decide to reimburse me because the concept of a company credit card is foreign to you. Sigh. Hopefully I can get it worked out today but I was ready to smack someone around yesterday afternoon.

My kid had a job interview Wed. Not sure she'll get it, it was at a shoe store, but it was her first one so that's good experience for her. Of course that meant running out to find black dress pants which Mom then had to hem up. But she's got them now. She really wants to get a job at the movie theatre so she can get free movies. Ah, the priorities of youth. :-)

Have a great Thursday everyone.

Troubled Range by Andrew Grey (180 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

This follows in the Range books and Philip has been lost his job and has decided to head out and visit Dakota and Wally. He's kind of hoping he can hook up with the foreman he had a fling with last time, however he's got a man of his own now. Philip's a bit down but meets Haven, from the neighboring ranch, however Haven's father hates Dakota and his father with a passion and Haven has to watch never to be caught near them, but he accepts Philip's invite to a date and is ready to explore his gayness with him. Suddenly after some suspect fence breaks, somehow Haven's father dies when he's out riding on Dakota's ranch in the middle of the night and the horse goes down. They then find out dear old Dad was about to sell the farm leaving Haven out in the cold. Then Philip has to deal with his natural inclination to run and not wanting to be a kept man by Haven but his own career. I liked that the evil dad was gotten rid of fairly quickly, even if his influence went on. I always wanted Philip to find his guy and there was enough kinky interest on Haven's part to keep Philip happy. A cute story that fans of the series will enjoy.

Unexpected by Sommer Marsden (110 pages)

Jen recommended this one so I thought I'd try it. Her review pretty much sums it up. When I saw the cover originally I thought "Oh no, another "he's left with the baby" book. I'll pass." But it wasn't quite what I expected. Yes, he got left with the baby after his best friend couldn't cope, but the emphasis was not on that so much, there was pages of him changing diapers and buying strollers, etc. Yes, it was insta-love but it didn't bother me too much. Perhaps Charlie was a bit emotional. He cried more than I thought maybe necessary and was pretty chatty about his emotions but it while it walked close to the line it didn't quite cross it for me. I also found at the beginning I felt at times like I was kind of dropped into the middle of a scene and it took me a moment to get my bearings, but either that stopped happening or I adjusted to it because I didn't notice it later. So don't let the baby turn you off if that's not your thing.

Clear Water by Amy Lane (214 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Patrick is a bit of a rich boy with no real purpose. He lives off his Dad's money, ends up with bad boyfriends and generally floats along with his father's disdain. He finally decides to start taking Ritalin again and go back to school and tell his Dad he's gay. However when the boyfriend finds out the gravy train is stopping, he nearly kills Patrick in a car accident and he's rescued by Whiskey, a biology researcher doing research on pollutants in the river causing mutant frogs with his lesbian best friend. They take Patrick in and before long have formed their own little family with Whiskey slowly falling in love with ADD Patrick and realizing Patrick's so much more than everyone told him, he just has to convince Patrick of that. I think everyone needs a Whiskey for their mate. Someone who supports you and believes in you and doesn't judge. The best part for me was when after the boyfriend comes back and nearly gets them all killed Whiskey doesn't shy away from laying into Patrick's father who always wrote him off as flighty rather than having a serious disability and needing medication. I loved that he called a spade a spade and made Patrick's father see the light. Patrick was a bit of a spaz by his own admission but he was just adorable and his love for Cal and Catherine the two-headed frog was so sweet and even the crusty best friend was won over by his cuteness. There is some poignant parts, as Patrick reassesses his life and how he wants to change it, but it's not overly angsty and you are just cheering for Patrick to realize he's as great as Whiskey knows he is.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Two for Tuesday

I might need a shot or two. Another god awful early conference call. At least it was during my waking hours. I got rather spoiled only dealing with people in the US and Mexico so my time zones weren't that off. Now India? Europe? Ack! Oh well, I can listen/watch in my pjs then go into the office.

Here's a couple of books I read last week. Hope everyone has a great day.

Psychic Moon by M.D. Grimm (112 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Derek is an animal control worker who is also a wolf shifter. He takes his job very seriously and often falls into rages at the cruelty people inflict on the animals he has to rescue. He's been working with Brian, a vet at the shelter the animals go to for a couple of years. He likes that Brian is always cool and he always seems able to calm the animals but he doesn't ask him out because he wants to keep his secret. However Brian has a secret as well, he can communicate with animals and that's show he's good at his job. After another blow-up, Derek finally asks him out and things are going well until Brian is attacked by a wolf out of the blue, then comes in the "who is after him" plot. At first I thought it was going to be Brian's abusive ex, but it wasn't and another character from a special paranormal agency was brought in to capture the wolf. I'd be curious if he's getting a story. It was an okay read, my only issue, which stuck in my mind so much I found myself discussing it with my daughter on the weekend. Brian had 3 dogs, 2 German shepherds and a pug and Derek had 3 dogs, all big, then they moved in together into what I took to be a relatively small house in the city (not a farm house) and they adopted a 3-legged lab. So they had 6 large and one small dog (and a cat) in a house in the city. If I was their neighbour I would be NOT impressed. I like dogs as much as the next person but 7 dogs? Seriously? Isn't there a by-law against that? LOL See, it's still making me shake my head days and days later. :-)

The Book of Daniel by Z.A. Maxfield (175 pages)
Loose Id

This is Daniel's story. He is Jake's brother who is in the process of divorcing and exploring his new gayness to the fullest. He is also dealing with his injured arm that was crushed in the car accident in the last book. Cam is the fire fighter that saved him and is friends with Jake and JT, however Cam and Daniel seem to rub each other the wrong way, even though Daniel finds him hot, he's not interested in staying in St. Nachos or having a relationship. He's on the gay buffet. However he can't help his attraction and eventually they start a sort of relationship but when Daniel's partner wants to buy up some local land and open a casino, it causes stress in the town despite Daniel being against it. There is also a sub-story of Daniel and Jake's father who is trying to get back in their lives. I found Daniel a bit flighty despite being a business man. He decides suddenly to stop lying and confesses to his ex about his cheating which basically has negative repercussions all around. His ex was a piece of work with major psychological issues which seemed to spill over on Daniel. I'm just not sure I really liked him all that much. He was okay, but not my favourite character, although he stepped up to the plate at the end without expecting anything in return. However I loved the pets in the family and gave Cam a lot of credit for putting up with Daniel. For those who follow the series it's a must. Lots of characters from the past, especially the pie shop.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Day in Montreal

So Sunday after my god awful early conference call, we got our butts on the road and headed off to Montreal for the day. Turned out to be a perfect day. The best part was we met Adam of Cocky & Rude and Mr. Sombrero who are in Montreal having a little French Canadian vacation. It was wonderful to meet Mr. S in person and see Adam again. We had a nice vegan/vegetarian lunch and then went to a little park with some giant chess pieces and hung around for a bit until the kid and I left for the museum.
Am I a midget? What's up with that?
My kid making her move with the white knight.
We couldn't take pics at the museum exhibit. It was a special Indiana Jones exhibit. There were props from the movies and it was an audio exhibit so there were mini-lectures about some of the fact vs fiction in the movies which was interesting. It was a fun exhibit and my kid is a big Indy fan so she really enjoyed it. VERY expensive though for the size. Oh well. It's not everyday you get to see the actual ark they used in the movie.

The museum is right out on one of the piers and it was a gorgeous sunny day, so we were looking across the river and we love this apartment complex. Every time we see it we say we would want to live there. It looks like it's made out of stacked blocks. I'd want to have one of the apartments that is right over a hole, so it would be like being suspended. 

After the museum we headed off to the Botanical Gardens for the lantern festival. Again, perfect day, sunny, around 22C, just perfect. We walked all around the gardens and Kristen took some pictures of the roses and lilies that are still in bloom. We were disappointed however that they now longer seem to have the little shuttle train which used to go all around the gardens. It's HUGE and it was probably a good 30 min. ride just to get around. It probably takes 40-50 min. (more if strolling) just to get from one end of the gardens to the other. Oh well, budget cuts right? Sigh. 

So as the day wound down, we had an ice-cream and went to the Chinese garden. They have hundreds of full-size silk lanterns. You can see the size, they are more or less life-size. 

Same size as the kid.
We think they were lions
There is a small pagoda on the hill across from the large one and for the festival they sell little souvenir type things inside. It's lit up after dark and has lanterns around it as well.

This is the main pagoda and the large lake in front of it where most of the lanterns are set up. Inside this year they had a calligraphy exhibit and behind it there are other gardens with bonsai trees and more lanterns and lots of interesting Chinese features. Each year they have a theme representing a story or event in history. This time it was some procession of an emperor, I forget the details but he was riding in the chariot with all of his minions around him.

The blue dragon in the daylight and then as it's getting dark. It wasn't even completely dark when we left but it was in a tree sheltered area where you could see how the dragon lit up.
A large dragon in the forest.

A turtle who was looking up at the tiger below.

The warriors on the water.

A pheasant (?) at the entrance to the exhibit.
So after we left the gardens we went and grabbed some dinner nearby and then left for home around 8:30. We made it back at 10:30. Not without a bit of excitement. I was paying by credit card and my daughter said something about "don't leave your card" because I've done that TWICE at the same restaurant near my house. And I said "I'm NOT going to forget it." So we pay and leave and the parking is behind the restaurant and as I'm pulling up near the door, there is our waitress waving us down. Yep, sure as hell, I left my credit card. Sheesh. I shouldn't be allowed out alone it seems.

But we had a good trip home, no police. ;-) However today I am uber-grumpy because I'm tired. LOL I should go to bed early tonight but ... Anyway, if you ever get the chance to go to Montreal there is some amazing things to see and do. Living so close we can make it a day trip is something I really appreciate about living here.

Have a great week everyone.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Happy Friday

Yay. Even though it was a short week for me, I'm glad to be at the end of it. I'm still enjoying my new job although it's much busier than my old job on top of trying to learn everything. I have to be on a conference call for Europe this Sunday. At 6:00 AM. Ugh. I'll be in my jammies pretending I know what I'm talking about. :-)

I also foolishing volunteered for our United Way Charity campaign. Not because it's not a good cause. My department alone raised over $1.5million last year, but it's suddenly taking way more time. There was a bus tour of centres we've given money to, there are kick-off breakfasts, meetings, training. Ugh. Monday will be 4 hours of my day devoted to this. Come on. I just wanted to hand out forms and remind people. Sigh.

Sunday we are heading to Montreal. It's supposed to be nice weather, and since I'll be up already anyway LOL I thought we would head out. As a bonus, my friend Adam (he of the plaid) will be there with his BF so we are going to get together for lunch. I just have to find a vegan/vegetarian restaurant. *muttersillyvegansmutter* Then Kristen and I are going to an Indiana Jones exhibit. Apparently they have props from the movies and stuff and then it's the Chinese lantern festival at the Botanical Gardens where they have HUGE lanters all set up on the lake by the Chinese pagoda and in the hills around it. It's gorgeous. So we'll be able to walk around the gardens for awhile and then after it gets dark and we see the lanterns, we'll probably grab a bite to eat and head home. It will be a long day but we haven't been for a couple of years and I'm looking forward to seeing Adam and Mr. S. Hope everyone has a great weekend 

So I've done some reading this week. Not tons but a couple of books.

By Any Other Name by Tia Fielding (200 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

This story clicks onto a couple of my fave themes. It's m/m/m and it's a hurt/comfort story. Dru and Thom have been together for 3 years although Thom still has attacks of insecurity as Dru is about 10 years younger. Out of the blue they are contacted by a mental hospital that says Dru's first love and childhood friend who disappeared Skye is being released and has nowhere to go. Seems the "uncle" who took Skye after his family abandoned him, enslaved him and abused him in anyway possible, including sexually. They both agree, despite being nervous, to take Skye in. Eventually Thom realizes that Skye and Dru are in love, but so is he. However Skye is in no place to have any kind of a normal relationship, certainly not sexual and it gets pretty complicated. I liked that there was no magic dick here. In fact Skye wasn't even sure he was gay, or was it only because he was raped and brainwashed. It took time, a lot of time and little things like being afraid to be touched in any way, panic attacks, I thought it was all well done, along with therapy sessions. I wasn't sure I liked their female friend who wanted Skye for herself, but in the end seemed to be scheming to keep them apart, but on the whole I liked how this went and I liked that each character got to tell their story so you knew why they were acting as they were and how they felt. I really enjoyed this. Oh I should add if you're looking for rampant m/m/m sex here, it's not there. Yes, eventually they all do have sex, but it's not like some where it's nothing but variations of the threesome positions through the book, which in this case would have been totally inappropriate and I would have been annoyed if that had shown up.

Notice by M. Raiya (176 pages)

As someone noted on GR, this is less a romance than an adventure story with gay characters. Although there is a relationship and Adrian FINALLY pulls his head out of his ass about Josh, his live-in lover, but primarily it's the dragon story-line which leads. Adrian is a high school teacher, leader of his dragon clan and gay man. And never the three worlds shall collide. Although he lives with flamboyant nail polish wearing artist Josh, no one at school or in the dragon clan knows he's gay and neither of those know he's a dragon. He is given notice by a knight in his classroom which means he must now fight for his life, but he won't fight a student although things go bad. Eventually he finds out the student was the son of the last knight he killed who has special powers, and only went after him because the knights threatened his girl friend. It gets very complicated with political intrigue, betrayal, time travel, mystical stuff, but it's all pretty well done and while I was left with a few questions, in general it's not too confusing. Adrian is prepared to do what he has to in order to save his people, even if it means he could die and leave Josh who he finally figured out he's in love with. He faces some truths about his own behaviour and finds out more about Huntington, the student sent to kill him. I loved Josh who was so much more than Adrian thought, he was a bit funny and sarcastic and I did want to smack Adrian for the way he had treated him over the years, like a filthy secret. Thankfully he redeemed himself. If you like dragons or more mystical adventure stories that are light on the romance (but it's still there), it's a good choice.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tuesday Two

Hope those who had a long weekend enjoyed it. We went from high humidity and heat to very cool temps. I did get all of my laundry done (still one basket to put away) and ALL OF MY IRONING!!! Yes, give me a medal people. I am awful for just ironing what I need in the morning, but yesterday I buckled down and now my closet is soooo crowded.

Looking forward to a nice short week although at my new job it's going to be like back to school. Everyone is returning from vacation so it will be odd to have so many people around. I guess I'll find out if the cubicles are noisy or not. It's also first day of 11th grade for my daughter. She only has a half day today, but she's looking forward to it I think which is odd for her. She's not a fan of school, although she's good at it. :-)

Have  great week everyone.

Hayashi's Hero by Marie Harte (140 pages)
Loose Id

I think this may be book 2 in the series, but it's the only m/m one. Hayashi belongs to an elite military group called circs who were experimented on and can change into half animal creatures. They are used for special missions and are now searching for their ex-captain who did the experiments. One of Hyashi's special gifts is he can see the future. He keeps seeing a green-eyed man and it leads to his leader's death and his shunning by his team, his only family for being gay. While the change means they go through mating urges where they have gay sex, the other men are not gay and he fears being revealed, although Morgan shows up as an ex-mercenary brought in to help them. Little does Hayashi realize Morgan has an ulterior motive and has been searching for Hayashi, his destined mate and Morgan has his own powers that are natural. The usual happens, Hayashi fears coming out, but everyone is ticked at him for shunning Morgan not for being gay. I was interested in the political intrigue storyline. Someone is behind the bad guys and now they want the leader because of his special skills, but all of the other stories are going to be m/f so I'll pass although I'd like to know how it all ends some day. This has several scenes of m/m/m including one with Hayashi/Morgan/Julian who has to make an alpha play after Hayashi and Morgan are together, so that may not be for everyone.

Whitetail Rock by Anne Tenino (55 pages)
All Romance e-books freebie

I was disappointed when I realized this was over 20K words because I wanted to give it an A rating at BER. I hadn't had one in so long. Nik is a English postgraduate with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. He grew up in a white town, the son of a white couple adopted form India. The only brown kid in town and later, the only gay kid which some were quick to take advantage of. He's home for a visit when he sees uber-alpha state trooper Jurgen. When he flirts, to his surprise Jurgen makes a move which only ticks Nik off when he thinks Jurgen just wants the novelty of an Indian guy for sex. However Jurgen doesn't give up and Nik gives in. Before long Jurgen is traveling 2 hours to spend weekend with Nik, but Nik still doesn't want to admit that it might be more, nor does Jurgen say anything, which eventually leads to a misunderstanding and revelations. Nik was a great character. He starts with a real chip and Jurgen's behaviour make him have to reassess whether his life was so awful and if it's not time to put it behind him. As well the sexual stalking by Jurgen was oh so very hot and sexy and Nik's internal babble as he tries to convince himself that this is nothing and that Jurgen's not even his type was adorable and funny. This little interaction with is friend Sam was typical:
 "He made me pick a safe word." Nik peeked between his fingers. Sam's mouth was hanging open.
"Oh." Sam's voice was a whisper. More of the throat clearing. "What did you pick?"
Not the question he'd been expecting. Nik looked up at Sam from under his hand.
"Lemonade?" Nik nodded. "Do you like lemonade?"
"Does it matter? Yes, I like lemonade."
"Shouldn't you have picked something you didn't like, to make sure there were no, um
inadvertent exclamations at an important moment?"
He dropped his hand and stared at Sam. "Who screams out 'lemonade' in the middle of
Sam blushed. Nik was momentarily grateful for his dark skin. "You'd be surprised," Sam mumbled.
Yes, they didn't talk and that would have saved them some issues, but they were pretty typical guys I think. This is a super read and seriously, for free I expect an okay read, but this surpassed that. I can definitely see myself rereading this and I'll be checking out other work by the author. So I'm giving it my own A rating here. :-)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Another long weekend

Ah, three days off. We have no big plans. We have to get some back-to-school stuff and of course the endless chores of laundry and groceries never end. I considered going to Montreal Monday but we'll see. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Under the Skin by Kannan Feng (85 pages)
Torquere Press

This is set in the future where cybernetic implants are the norm. Padraic is a bit of a nerd who works for high tech companies, although he has done work on himself and has a neural net system which basically is a port in his chest connected to his brain so you could download information. He kind of a giant walking USB drive. His cousin hooks him up with a company in Japan who he believes would be interested in the technology and sends a bodyguard with him, as Padraic is quite naive and doesn't get the full ramifications of his technology. They are met by Minoru who is the son of the company owner, but the company execs aren't interested so they come up with a plan to prove the technology. however when it starts malfunctioning and Padraic wants to back out, both the body guard and Minoru threaten to report him to the police where he'll be arrested for stealing information. I liked the espionage part of this story, who is on his side, what is the truth, however I was very frustrated with Padraic's reaction to Minoru. The guy just threatened to tell the police you stole information if you won't do what he wants, and then you are begging him to kiss you 10 min. later. Ugh. And Minoru was more turned on by doing it with a guy with a port in his chest than Padraic, at least that's how it seemed. I just wanted him to kick Minoru to the curb and get some self-respect. The whole concept was rather creepy, but it's set in a time where being without some kind of modification is looked down upon. An interesting look at the future through sci-fi.

Crying for the Moon by Sarah Madison (200 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Alex is a vampire who is running from his ex and vampire society. He buys a house in the middle of nowhere near his wolf shifter friends, although traditionally wolves and vamps are enemies. His neighbor, vet Tate stops by but Alex is quite rude, he wants to be alone, however he ends up calling on Tate for help with the old house and when one of the wolves is injured by something in the woods when Alex allows them to run on his property, he calls Tate to help. Before long Tate has figured out they are shifters and he's not backing off a relationship with Alex. Alex is a bit mystified with it all but finds himself going along with it. This is quite an ensemble book and although there is a wolf on the cover, the vamp does not get together with a wolf, although the pack plays a pretty large role and you get to know each character in their little pack of four. The reason Tate is so quick to accept werewolves and vamps comes to light later. There's quite a lot of things going on, the explanation of why Alex wants to escape vamp society, his ex returning, one wolf's sister who won't accept what's happened to him, the homophobia in the wolf community, so lots of stuff to cover, but it's done well and with a pretty light hand. It's not overly angsty and I rather enjoyed poor uptight controlled Alex having to deal with a life out of control. Werewolves are living in his house, the snotty sister show up with no intention of leaving and Tate just seems to be bowling him over and not letting him back off. The poor guy was floundering. Definitely a good read when you're in the mood for some paranormal fun.

Lines in the Sand by Lyn Gala (140 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Carl worked for the Armenian (I think) mob until things went to far and he saw an innocent woman killed, so he went to the feds. However he refused witness protection. He's now just waiting for someone to track him down and kill him. He knows his days are numbered and then Pete, the enforcer he worked with, shows up and he's sure death is coming. However to his surprise Pete grabs him and takes him to Mexico where Pete has been living. Seems Carl didn't give the police much information about Carl and he appreciates that so wants to help Carl. Pete runs a repair garage of sorts and when Carl is still not sure what the hell is going on. when he gets drunk and comes on to Pete he freaks and runs, but Carl drags him back and admits he wants him too. Things are going well, the local community accepts them, until a cop shows up which could mean they need to run again. This was quite different and not a traditional "soft" romance. These are two tough guys, criminals, and they don't swan about saying how much they love each other, they just do it and there is a definite D/s edge to their relationship. I liked it though and I though Carl's confusion about what Pete was doing, because explaining it would be to unmanly :-) was well done and showing how both men had changed since their days in the mob, but they weren't completely different. Dealing with the Mexican community was also interesting and the insight into the drug wars in the region was a nice addition. Pete's mechanic/friend Jose was a likable character as well who accepted both men for who they were. I liked it even though non-explainersWTF moment.