Size still matters anthology – two more stories

There are two more stories in the "Size still matters" anthology from Dreamspinner. The first two Stories "Sight unseen" and "Take my picture" I reviewed in two separate posts, but I’d like to quickly review the other two in one post.

Start from the beginning by Chrissy Munder

Blurb: A heart attack leaves Miles wrangling with a slow recovery and a quiet retreat; just one cabin down from wounded warrior Drew.  Although he’s unhappy to have his solitude invaded, Drew finds himself fascinated with Miles, but he can’t bring himself to push aside his skittish nerves.  Both men fear rejection for different reasons, but what if they’ve instead found the acceptance they crave?

Quick review: A good short story. We didn’t learn a lot about the two protagonists, but they were still complex enough. I always wonder why the basic tortured hero has experienced all the rejection he has. People continuously flinch at the sight of scars etc. and consequently reject the prospective partner. How come? We’re talking about scars (and not even in the face, where they are the most visible. In that case, people wouldn’t show interest anyway if they are so superficial) and not about the personality of a psychotic mass murderer, which tends to put people off. Who the hell cares about a few scars on the back of a person you might come to love? Anyway, I digress. That’s how life is for the tortured hero. Drew and Miles were fantasizing about each other from afar for quite some time, but once they got together they were a good match.


Evan’s Heaven by Nicki Bennett

Blurb: Actor MacAlester Kerr wanders into a whole new world of pampering and pleasure when his director sends him to Evan’s Heaven for a pedicure.  Right off, he meets the Evan and finds himself head over heels.  Mac’s on Cloud Nine when he finds out Evan feels the same.

Quick review: This was totally different from the other three stories. It was told from Mac’s POV, part playing now, part in retrospect, remembering how Mac and Evan met and what followed. Apart from the fact that Max is an actor and Evan is the owner of the beauty salon we know nothing about the two men. They meet, have sex and have sex again, mostly with some beauty treatment as foreplay and some mild kink (learned some stuff about love beads) thrown in. They do have a serious relationship, but we don’t get to know anything about other aspects of it.

In the other three stories the characters all had various issues to deal with, not here. It was a story purely based on getting off. Not bad in itself, if you like that, but by the time I got to this last one, I just expected more.

Anthology available at Dreamspinner Press


Passion by M. L. Rhodes

Synopsis: Robert, a successful businessman, has been ogling Jesse, the bartender in the local GLBT run bar for some time now. Jesse has noticed Robert as well, but never let on to any customers that he’s gay. He wants to leave his past behind and is not interested in any sort of relationship or even a short interlude. One evening the two men are thrown together by bad weather and spend a passionate night. However, Jesse doesn’t seem to be ready for being with Robert, because he left the morning after with a short, impersonal note.

Review:  We met Robert already in the story about "The elf and Shoemaker". There we saw him in a short scene in Logan’s shop, a scene that is re-played here from Robert’s point of view. I liked how Robert and Jesse were attracted to each other, but never made a move. Robert because he thought Jesse was straight and Jesse because he didn’t want to get involved with anybody, even though he was dying to get to know Robert. The way they watched each other in the bar and noticed every little bit about the other was just like in real life.

The situation that forced them to spend the night together was credible. OK, blizzard and snow rifts are not the most original way of achieving that, but at least they are feasible. I could also relate to Jesse’s issues and his suspicions towards Robert later on. They both were complex, realistic characters and I just had to know how everything was going to be resolved. Once more a well meaning room mate gave a helping hand. It’s always good to see friends or family actually help instead of throwing constant spanners into the works – a device that is being used way too often in straight romance,  at least for my taste.

"Passion" was a pleasurable read – perfect to cuddle up with on a cold evening, preferably with lots of snow outside.


Available at Amber Allure


Amnesia by Sean Michael

Part of the blurb: When Thaine wakes up in the hospital after a bull riding injury, he has a few problems. He doesn’t remember the last five years, or his new boyfriend, and all he wants in the world is his ex-lover Jerry. Thing is, he and Jerry broke up a long time ago, and no one is sure Jerry will come.

Review: Once more the good old amnesia theme. This was different though. For once it was not about the lover slowly trying to help the amnesia sufferer regain his memory. On the contrary.

Thaine loses his memory in a bull riding accident and thinks he is still together with Jerry, his lover of five years ago. Drew, his current lover, the total opposite of Jerry, he doesn’t even recognize. Doctor’s orders are to play along for some time. Jerry, a successful businessman with the accompanying attitude, comes flown in and takes over. Since he’s still somewhat in love with Thaine, he has no problem with that. After being told about the current status (Drew his lover, Jerry gone, mother dead) Thaine has no problem to heartlessly kick Drew out of his life in order to make room for his ex. Drew is left behind with basically nothing, but Jesse, Thaine’s old friend who has been pining for Drew for ages, offers him a place to stay and a job on his ranch.

In fact, it turns out that Drew and Jesse are a much better match than Drew and Thaine had been. Drew realizes that he’s always put Thaine – who never really loved him like he loved Jerry –  on a pedestal and now, with Jesse, he has found true love. Thaine, on the other hand, is happily screwing his days away with Jerry.

OK. I can honestly say I have never disliked a main couple in a book as much as I disliked Thaine and Jerry. Thaine isn’t only an idiot, who went back to bull riding against the advice of his doctors, thus almost losing his life later on in the book, better yet, he is an idiot without any style whatsoever. The way he discards Drew, his lover of three years, is disgraceful. It is true he has no idea who Drew is, but I’m sure there would have been better ways to deal with this situation. We don’t get any insight to what his relationship with Drew was before his accident, apart from the knowledge that Drew worshipped him as a hero and he didn’t love Drew that much, but surely there must have been some sort of connection. Consequently for Drew this is just awful; he didn’t deserve such treatment. Thaine’s relationship with Jerry was obviously based on sex and sex only, if we can go by what we see of them later on. I just didn’t like the interaction between Thaine and his friends once Jerry was back. The way Jerry was reacting to Jesse and his threats to hire a lawyer to get Thaine’s stuff back weren’t endearing either. I just hated those two guys and only scanned most of their scenes (a lot of them were merely sex scenes anyway).

The story between Drew and Jesse was a really good one. I enjoyed their time together. For once Sean Michael had a couple not spending all their time in the bedroom but actually do other stuff. A nice change. They were both likeable characters and sweet together; too bad, the larger part of the story was taken up by the other two.

Available at Torquere Books


weekly geeks 2009-12: Linking reviews

This week’s weekly geeks is about linking to reviews of other bloggers who have reviewed the same books that I have. That’s probably pretty difficult in my case because the genre of books I usually review isn’t that common among my fellow geeks. There are a few romance readers among them, but even less that seem to read m/m romance. Doesn’t matter, I’ll persevere.

If you have reviewed any of the books that I talked about, please leave a comment and I will be more than happy to add a link to your review in the actual post. I always like to compare reviews and see what other people think about a book. To find all the books I reviewed, you can click on the reviews category.

I’ll go and have a look at other weekly geeks whether I’ll find some books that we both talked about. I have an inkling I might be lucky at Literary Escapism and Erotic Horizon if she is participating this week.

I’ll post later on in the week to see how successful I was.


Take my picture by Giselle Ellis

Synopsis: Five years ago Aaron went to a casting for a photographer and was chosen by Jake as his new assistant after looking at him for two seconds, discarding all other blokes that were standing in line. Now, five years later, their relationship seems to come to a close. Aaron is moving out and Jake lets him go.

Review: This story is part of the anthology "Size still matters" from Dreamspinner Press.

Neither my synopsis which I kept extremely short nor the blurb on Dreamspinner can possibly convey what this story is about. I was actually considering skipping it altogether, because from reading the blurb I didn’t think it was for me. Now I’m so grateful that I didn’t remember what the blurb said when I started reading yesterday. I decided to just move on to the next story and I was drawn in right away.

Mild spoilers ahead!

OK, from the beginning. It starts funny and in a light tone. Jake’s and Aaron’s banter with cheeky remarks and snappy retorts was refreshing. The two guys got along from the start and became not only co-workers (of a sort), but good friends as well. Very soon Giselle Ellis starts to describe what both think about the other and that gives the story a completely different undertone. Aaron has boyfriends, Jake hates all of them. A boyfriend talks bad about Jake, Aaron just kicks him out for good. Jake has one night stands, all of them look like Aaron. I so felt with those two, I couldn’t stop reading to finally see them come together. The way the story went I wasn’t even sure that this was ever going to happen.

I usually hate stories where people are so blind that they don’t recognize their own feelings, or where they don’t own up to them, but here Giselle Ellis described everything in such a clever way that I was totally blown away.

The way Aaron practically lived with Jake, even though he had his own apartment. The way Jake called Aaron in the middle of the night to know he was there and Aaron’s reaction to that *. The way they were jealous of each other’s boyfriends or one-night stands. The way they looked after each other. The way Aaron described to Jake what he was looking for without seeing that he already had found it, that it was standing right in front of him. The way they knew everything about each other, except for the other one’s true feelings. The way they were utterly miserable without each other, not realizing they were in love. The way Jake went to Aaron’s house and just sat there and Aaron watching him. The way they were a couple without knowing it. It broke your heart. When someone is lovesick for whatever reason you normally think, ah, he’ll get over it after a while. Never for once did I think that about either one of those two guys. It was clear from the beginning that there would never be another one for them, and that neither would ever get over the other. It was incredible.

I felt like Alyson, Jake’s former assistant and friend, for the most part of the book and wanted to just yell at them both and tell them to open their eyes. Unfortunately, even after Jake and Aaron realized that what they felt for each other was love, they couldn’t bring themselves to acknowledge it. Usually by now I’d be sitting there and think "How hard can it bloody be?", but not here. It all made perfect sense. Thank God for Matt, Aaron’s current boyfriend, who must be the most selfless person ever, for recognizing what was going on early on and do something to help those two miserable guys on their way.

There was only one love/sex scene in the whole story, which is rather unusual in that genre, but, believe me, that one scene is one of the (if not the) most intense one I’ve ever read. Passionate doesn’t even begin to describe it, those guys are in a frenzy. It totally made up for the agony that everybody went through (including myself).

This is one of the most emotional reads that I’ve come across so far. The story is a real gem, I can’t say enough good about it and highly recommend it. Unfortunately I checked on Dreamspinner for more stories by Giselle Ellis, but found none. How come? How very disappointing! I want to read more of her.

* I’m reading too much into that really, but it reminded me of something Karl Kraus said: "Is a woman in a room, before someone enters, who sees her? Is there the woman per se?" (My translation, so it might be wobbly, forgive me).


The anthology is available at Dreamspinner Press.


Sight Unseen by Shay Kincaid

Synopsis: Jackson Prescott, a well known artist and actor, dials a wrong number and gets connected to Devon. The two hit it off and keep up a telephone friendship over the next few weeks. However, to get to know Devon without all the baggage of being a celebrity Jackson didn’t give Devon his true name. After a couple of weeks Devon suggests to meet.

Review: This story is part if the "Size still matters" anthology. It contains four stories classified as "short stories", but I was surprised to find that it was quite long. I’ve read novellas shorter than that. I’m partial to the "meet your partner via ad, chat or phone" plots and this story was the reason for me to buy the anthology in the first place. And the money wasn’t wasted, even though I haven’t read the other stories yet.

In the beginning the story reminded me of "Short and Shy" by Rhianne Aile, but the plot was more elaborate and continued for a long time, where "Short and Shy" was resolved very quickly (not surprising, since the latter is a just a "day dream" and not meant to be anything else than a quick read).

Jackson and Devon’s relationship developed beautifully. They had conversations over the phone and got to know each other quite well before they even met. When they did eventually meet and Devon found out he had been deceived to an extent he didn’t shrug it off but had ambiguous feelings about continuing this friendship. Once he decided to give Jackson a chance to show him that he was still the person he was when they talked on the phone, they  turned out to be perfect for each other. What a delightful couple! Jackson, the older man, always knew what he wanted, but at the same time knew that he had to give Devon time to realize that what they had was special. He was never pushy and was actually extremely trusting and easy-going when he suggested Devon should go and find out for himself that their relationship isn’t something you can find just anywhere.

It was quite realistic that Devon needed time to decide whether he wanted to make a commitment to Jackson, considering what a relationship with him would entail. Even after he made his decision the story didn’t stop but continued to describe the problems Jackson and Devon were facing when being together, but had a good wrapped up ending. I liked that a lot. As for the love scenes, they were very sensual and well written. Shay Kincaid described Jackson’s and Devon’s feelings and that their connection is more than just physical in such a way that you were with the characters all the time.

I absolutely loved this story. This was my first read by Shay Kincaid, I will definitely check out her other stuff. If you like stories with deep feelings that concentrate on the main characters, this is a wonderful read for you.

Anthology available at Dreamspinner Press


100 movies to see before you die. Really?

I came across this list at An eerie tapestry. Since I love lists, I thought I’d play along, even though the list has not much to do with books (if anything). I could probably stretch it a bit and say that a lot of them are either based on books or some dubious writer came up with a not so good novelization later to make a few more bucks. Which ones they are I can’t say, that would take too much research and time I don’t want to spend that way. But I’m sure you’ll live without that valuable knowledge.

The bold one I’ve seen, the blue ones I really liked.

12 Angry Men (1957)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) √
400 Blows (1959)
8 1/2 (1963)
The African Queen (1952)
Alien (1979)
All About Eve (1950)
Annie Hall (1977)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
The Battle of Algiers (1967)
The Bicycle Thief (1948)
Blade Runner (1982)
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Blow Up (1966)
Blue Velvet (1986)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Breathless (1960)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Casablanca (1942)
Chinatown (1974)
Citizen Kane (1941)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Die Hard (1988)
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Double Indemnity (1944)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Duck Soup (1933)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Enter the Dragon (1973)
The Exorcist (1973)
Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)
The French Connection (1971)
The Godfather (1972)
The Godfather, Part II (1974)
Goldfinger (1964)
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1968)
Goodfellas (1990)
The Graduate (1967)

Grand Illusion (1938)
Groundhog Day (1993)
A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
In the Mood For Love (2001)
It Happened One Night (1934)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Jaws (1975)
King Kong (1933)
The Lady Eve (1941)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
The Lord of the Rings (2001)
M (1931)
M*A*S*H (1970)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
The Matrix (1999)
Modern Times (1936)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)
Network (1976)
Nosferatu (1922)
On the Waterfront (1954)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Paths of Glory (1958)
Princess Mononoke (1999)
Psycho (1960)
Pulp Fiction (1994)

Raging Bull (1980)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Raise the Red Lantern (1992)
Rashomon (1951)
Rear Window (1954)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Rocky (1976)
Roman Holiday (1953)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Schindler’s List (1993)
The Searchers (1956)
Seven Samurai (1954)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
The Sound of Music (1965)
Star Wars (1977)

Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
The Third Man (1949)
This is Spinal Tap (1984)
Titanic (1997)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Toy Story (1995)
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Vertigo (1958)
When Harry Met Sally… (1989)
Wild Strawberries (1957)

Wings of Desire (1988)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Women On the Verge of Nervous Breakdown (1988)
The World of Apu (1959)

I don’t know whether I agree with the list. You can certainly live without having seen The sound of music and the like. And obviously I missed a lot of so-called must-sees. In fact I take pride in the fact that I’ve never seen E.T. or Titanic. Some of the films on the list I should certainly go and see, like for example Schindler’s list.

An eerie tapestry (unfortunately I don’t know his name, so I have to call him by the name of his blog) suggested to add a film to the list, which I think is a good idea. He added Brazil, another film, I haven’t seen. Oh well, I’m adding:

Manhattan (1979)


Thursday 13: Computer haiku


I already mentioned computer haiku once in a previous post. Today I’m listing a few of my favourite computer haiku. Programmers or who ever comes up with error messages might want to take a look and get some inspiration.


Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.
Suzie Wagner


Login incorrect.
Only perfect spellers may
enter this system.
Jason Axley

ABORTED effort:
Close all that you have.
You ask way too much.
Mike Hagler

Yesterday it worked
Today it is not working
Windows is like that
Margaret Segall

No keyboard present
Hit F1 to continue
Zen engineering?
Jim Griffith

Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.
Ian Hughes

First snow, then silence.
This thousand dollar screen dies
so beautifully.
Simon Firth

For a new PC,
Center of my universe,
I abandon all.
Bob Ruby II

Server’s poor response
Not quick enough for browser.
Timed out, plum blossom.
Rik Jespersen

wind catches lily
scatt’ring petals to the wind:
segmentation fault
Nick Sweeney

Everything is gone;
Your life’s work has been destroyed.
Squeeze trigger (yes/no)?
David Carlson

Seeing my great fault
Through darkening blue windows
I begin again
Chris Walsh

Printer not ready.
Could be a fatal error.
Have a pen handy?
Pat Davis


See more Thursday 13 participants over at Thursday 13


Book thieves

Times online recently published an article about the most stolen authors in the UK. Apparently, apart from reference books and maps, Terry Pratchett is the most stolen author. On the other hand, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows” is the most borrowed book in the UK. How anybody can steal books is a mystery to me. They can be borrowed in libraries, swapped or even found. And usually they don’t cost a fortune either. I’m not a big fan of Günther Grass, but for once he’s right when he says “Even bad books are books, and therefore sacred.” (“Die Blechtrommel”, “The Tin Drum”)


M/M romance challenge

Christina is hosting a M/M romance challenge on her blog “I heart paperbacks”. A good way to start reading that genre if you are interested but never knew where to start or just to get even more into it (as if we needed a challenge for that). Anyway, there are prizes to be had and lots of fun. I think I’ll have to give up another one of the challenges I signed up for, but that won’t be a problem really. I just have to decide, what to drop.

I suppose I’ll sign up for the 10 books. Until August this should be manageable. I’ll decide on the books as I go along.

edit: I already thought of a few books to read. My list an be found at the M/M romance page

Want to sign up? Head on over to her blog.


Excerpt for “Conflict in blood” available now

If you have read my reviews of Alliance in blood and Covenant in blood you will know that I absolutely love the “Partnership in blood” series by Ariel Tachna. The third volume “Conflict in blood” will be released in May and an excerpt is now available on Dreamspinner. The excerpt is about Jean and Raymond, not one of my favourite  couples in the book, but I enjoyed reading it nevertheless. If you are interested, I strongly recommend you read the first two books, otherwise the story won’t make much sense to you.


Blood and Sex vol. 1: Michael by Angela Cameron

Blurb from Ravenous Romance: Detective Victoria Tyler is investigating Collins Bay’s new serial killer, one of the city’s vampires. Since they have marked her as a human to be killed or conquered, Tori knows that Michael is her only hope for survival. But she hasn’t spoken to him since the night she tried to kill him.
As the enforcer for the Italian vampiro cosca, Michael expects a certain amount of cooperation from his boss. That amount has been shrinking ever since their leader took a new sadist lover. So when the detective requests his help, it’s just the excuse he needs to take control of the city and the delicious human.
Risking it all, Tori agrees to let Michael take her neck and lead her on a journey through a world of bondage, domination and blood to stop the killer. But can she resist the dark lusts he sparks? Or will her weakness get someone else killed?

Reason I bought this book: I got it for a book discussion on Shelfari. Otherwise I probably wouldn’t have. The title is too obvious even for me, :-).

Review: After about 10 pages it dawned on me that this is a re-telling of "Guilty Pleasures" with sex. There are so many similarities between these two stories, it is not funny.

Tori is a tough police detective in search of a serial killer. She is acquainted with Michael, a high ranking vampire who runs the nightclub "The Fallen". She once tried to kill him, she doesn’t trust him, he’s mad about her. Sound familiar? Tori is not quite as bitchy and aggravating as Anita Blake, but she’s almost there. She’s attracted to Michael – has been from the start, – in fact the real reason she tried to kill him was jealousy -, but guilt, qualms and self-denial have kept her at bay. This is one of my pet peeves, and more than half the book Tori oscillated between sleeping with Michael and loving it and rejecting him later, because "she can’t do this". So not for me. This "I love him, but I can’t let myself do this" device is a major plot key in a lot of romance books, and I hate it every time.

The evil vampire master of the city/clan/family is the next thing. It says "Nikolaos" all over. Michael later defeating him and becoming the new master/padrone? I’m not saying any more.

The bond between Tori and Michael, that he forced on her without her knowledge in order to save her life?  The master/servant thing? Been there, done that.

Once I got over those obvious similarities the story took off into a slightly different direction since there had to be some justification for the sex. Because of  Tori not owning up up to her attraction to Michael, there obviously couldn’t be a sex scene right at the start. How to solve this? Easy! Dreaming of sex with Michael, of course. Another thing I don’t like. Later on Tori did  comply and have sex with Michael and submitted to him (something she always wanted to do and Michael knew this from the get go), but, of course, this wasn’t the end of it. Right after, there was the inevitable rejection scene. This "I like you, I like you not" game went on for an eternity until all of a sudden Tori changed her tune and decided to love Michael after all. Huh?

All over the story Italian words were scattered about. I don’t really mind this, but at least they should be understandable. The Italian word for slave is not shiavo/shiava, but schiavo/schiava. The word "inamorato" is spelled "innamorato". Innamorato means "in love", and if it can be used to address a woman as "sweetheart" at all, which I doubt very much, it would be innamorata, since we are speaking about a woman. Just small details, but those just annoyed me.

If I hadn’t read "Guilty Pleasures" I probably would have liked the story a bit better than I have. As it is I didn’t like it at all, because even the concept wasn’t new to me. If you have never read Laurell K. Hamilton and enjoy reading about women who can’t make up their minds and won’t stick to their decisions, men who know exactly how submissive women are without even knowing them and with immediate sex scenes, you might enjoy this book.

Foot note: The customer service at Ravenous Romance is far from stellar. I got this book taking advantage of a "buy one gift certificate, get one free" deal. Three days after my purchase I inquired for the second time about when I’d get the second GC. Then I finally got an answer that consisted of exactly one sentence: "I will get to them tomorrow". Hello? No form of address, no "sorry about the delay", nothing. I’m the customer here and I’d expect a bit more than a snippy phrase. Anyway, the tomorrow turned out to be the day after tomorrow. Thanks a lot for it. After redeeming it, I won’t shop there again. There are plenty of shops out there who offer excellent customer service. In that respect I highly recommend Dreamspinner Press. They answer customer emails very fast and are extremely helpful.

[rating: 1.5] Because I did finish it for the discussion’s sake it gets a rating of 1.5. Otherwise it would have gotten a rating of 1


Weekly geeks 2009-11: Historical fiction

This weeks weekly geek:
Is there a particular era that you love reading about? Tell us about it–give us a book list, if you’d like. Include pictures or some fun facts from that time period, maybe link to a website that focuses on that time. Educate us.
Do you have a favorite book that really pulled you back in time, or perhaps gave you a special interest in that period? Include a link to a review of it on another book blog if you can find one (doesn’t have to be a Weekly Geek participant).
A member of your book group, Ashley, mentions that she almost never reads Historical Fiction because it can be so boring. It’s your turn to pick the book for next month and you feel it’s your duty to prove her wrong. What book do you pick?
If you’re in agreement with Ashley on this one (or even if you’re not): Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to browse through this week’s WG posts, and by the end of the week, pick a book from one of the posts to read. Report on which book you picked, linking to the Weekly Geeks post where you found it.

Cicero attacking Catilina

Great topic. When I read historical fiction and/or historical detective novels it is mostly set in ancient Rome. I absolutely love reading about this time. I don’t want to say that my love of Ancient Rome started with Asterix, but it was my first contact with the Romans. I think that the books that really started me to get into all things Roman were "I, Claudius" and "Claudius, the God" by Robert Graves. I read them when I was still young and absolutely loved them. I remember that we used to watch the TV series with Derek Jacobi as Claudius and the excellent John Hurt as Caligula. All the actors were brilliant, and I don’t give a toss about the fact that the show doesn’t meet nowadays’ standards of filmmaking. I still love to watch it. But back to books (not all of them are fiction).

So, "I Claudius" started it all, but there are a lot of other great books out there. Just to name a few:

Imperium by Robert Harris, a fictional biography of Cicero

Rubicon by Tom Holland, the last years of the Roman Republic

Cicero by Anthony Everett

Augustus by Anthony Everett

Another book I highly recommend is Caligula by Aloys Winterling. Is is not published yet in English, but it will be out in May according to amazon. It is a biography that shows Caligula from a different perspective and claims that his reputation as a dangerous nutcase tyrant might not be justified after all.

For a nice bit of gossip you could turn to Suetonius "The twelve Caesars". The private secretary of Hadrian, he got all his material from the imperial archives and eye witnesses (and probably hearsay).

If you are into historical detective novels, there are a few series out there that are wonderful reads. People always criticize that the heroes are way too modern and can’t possibly be children of their time, but if you don’t mind this, you’re in for entertaining hours. The ones I’m mentioning below usually take a historical incident and put a spin on it. So they might not be realistic, but they usually encourage me to find out more about that time period and that is a good thing.

The SPQR series by John Maddox Roberts is delightful, however not much as far as the detecting is concerned. Set in the time between end of the republic and during Caesar’s reign.

The Marcus Corvinus Mysteries series by David Wishart. Set during the reign of Tiberius. One of my favourite detectives. He wisecracks his way through his adventures, it’s not funny anymore (well, it is). And he loves his wine.

I can’t resist to add another film recommendation. Rome is purely fictional again, but of course with lots of historical figures thrown in. A wonderful entertaining show that I can watch again and again. And just a little side note: David Bamber, who played the deliciously slimy Mr. Collins in the BBC mini series Pride and Prejudice, plays here the somewhat opportunistic Cicero in an equally captivating fashion. Absolutely loved him.


History locations: Nazi party rally grounds

colosseum 2We went to the playground today and close by is the area where the Nazi party held their rallies, called Reichsparteitage, from 1933 to 1938. There are lots of old photos and information available to learn a lot about that time and place. Wikipedia offers a few good articles about the Nazi party rally grounds and the rallies.

Nowadays the grounds are part of a large recreation area with several lakes, some of them poisonous (yeah, we Germans know how to party and have fun). You can see lots of inline skaters there and in summer people go there for barbecues, sit in cafés by the lake and have a good time. It is also a tourist magnet with a large (and fairly new) exhibition about National Socialism and the Third Reich. The exhibition has its home in a part of the Congress Hall, which is otherwise used for rehearsals of the Nuremberg Philharmonic Orchestra, for small pop concerts in a courtyard and for storage for various companies.

Click on the photograph to see a few more pictures.


Intimate Beings by Jessica Inclán

Synopsis: Lately, Claire Edwards feels like she is floundering. A ho-hum teaching job, a string of terrible dates, nights spent only with Netflix and bizarre dreams of spaceships for company…life isn’t working out the way she hoped. But Claire has an extraordinary secret ability – she can go anywhere at all, just by wishing it. And if the intensely attractive man who suddenly materialises in her car one day is any indication, Claire’s not the only one…Ever since Darl James learned of his true origins, he has been searching for his partner and life mate, the one whose gift will complement and complete his own. Now that he’s found Claire, he vows to never lose her again, or their soul-searching, sensual connection. But keeping her safe won’t be easy when they’ve been marked for destruction by an evil, power-hungry race. A fierce battle is brewing, one that will test Claire and Darl’s new bond to the limit, and decide the future of all their kind…

Review: Darl found Claire very early on in the book and there was no discussion about them belonging together. Also they were separated a good deal of the book, so I suppose to call this book a romance would not be accurate. Actually, most of the book was about the goings on on Upsilia, all the Cygirians to get together and the struggle of Darl and Claire to find each other again as well. They had only a few scenes together and I found this a bit disappointing, as far as the romance factor was concerned.

My favourite couple Stephanie and Porter were there again for quite a large part of the book, and they bickered to a lesser degree this time. I think that slowly they are coming to terms with each other. How ironic that the only couple that might enjoy a break from each other (well, they wouldn’t, but Porter certainly gets on Stephanie’s nerves sometimes) never seems to get separated.

I missed Edan throughout the book. He only arrived at the end of the book and met Claire for the first time. I wonder what it is about him that has everybody in awe. We get hints of what he can do and how extraordinary he is, but so far – due to his lack of presence – we haven’t seen much of his abilities. I certainly hope that Jessica has something in store for us here. Also the search for his twin has me puzzled. EVERYBODY seems to have heard of him, and knows what he can do or at least knows of his power that could be reversed by his twin. So, why on earth doesn’t that girl show up and say, "Hey, here I am, I can make myself younger, I’m the yin to your yang." Where is she, for Christ’s sake?

Apart from all the personal circumstances, which also play a big part in the overall plot, the story developed further, which was good to see. More and more people found their way to their fellow Cygirians and finally an ally was found to help them fight the Neballats (even though that ally might not even be needed, the future will show). So, now, we’ll have to wait until later on in the year to finally get the conclusion of the story. It’s going to be a long wait.

My Review of the first book in this trilogy, "Being with him"

[rating: 4]


Bad case of loving you by Laney Cairo

Blurb: Matthew is a medical student, trying to ignore his various roommates’ wild parties and get through his classes. Andrew is his instructor, a doctor at a prestigious British hospital. They’re not supposed to be attracted to each other, but they can’t deny their undeniable chemistry.
They come together with a heat that surprises them both, and through doctor’s strikes, dealing with Andrew’s teenaged son, and hospital red tape, Andrew and Matthew learn to live, and love together. Is their relationship just what the doctor ordered?

Review: I read a lot good reviews about this book and I was not disappointed. Andrew and Matthew were two great characters who were just right for each other. I loved the way they got together and how their relationship developed into something serious without much drama or angst. The fact that they were teacher and student, even though it was clear such a relationship was officially forbidden, didn’t bother anybody who knew about it. That might not be realistic, but I liked it anyway.

The story is told in first person, with the POV alternating in each chapter. It was never difficult to understand whose turn it was at the moment and it was nice to read what both characters were thinking.

It seemed to me that the everyday life in a hospital run by red tape and the problems of the British NHS were pictured very well. Thank God I don’t know the NHS from own experience, but I have heard some horrid stories that make even this one sound almost favourable. At times I thought all the medical terms were too much and the overuse of medical gloves (except where recommended) made the love scenes sometimes a bit sterile. I would think that if both partners were tested, as medical staff should be, unprotected sex shouldn’t be such an issue.

The relationship between Andrew and Matthew was balanced wonderfully. Andrew was the teacher, and thus automatically in a position of power. That was totally reversed in the bedroom where Matthew was the Dominant. This Dom/sub relationship was the first one I read about that was understandable to me. I never could relate to master/servant talk and have no much interest in BDSM. The power exchange here seemed natural and right.

The love scenes (quite a lot) were emotional and steamy – very enjoyable. They never felt out of place but slotted in just right. Matthew’s piercing sounded intriguing, so I had to look it up on the net. Apadravya has a long tradition as an aphrodisiac and was found with men of Borneo tribes as well as in the Kamasutra. It certainly looks interesting. Can’t say I didn’t learn anything new from this book.

The supporting characters were extremely likeable as well. I especially enjoyed F, Andrew’s friend and colleague and Henry, Andrew’s precocious son. He wasn’t nearly as much a pain in the arse as I thought he’d be. In fact, I found his statement “I live to aggravate. It’s a lifestyle choice.” very endearing.

For people who don’t like artificial drama and angst, but a solid story, loveable characters and a loving relationship, this story is perfect.

Available at Torquere Press

[rating: 5]


Thursday 13: Oscar Wilde

Today’s Thursday 13 is all about Oscar Wilde.

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish playwright, poet and author of numerous short stories and one novel. Known for his biting wit, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London. (source Wikipedia)

  1. Oscar Wilde was married to Constance Lloyd and had two sons, Cyril and Vyvyan
  2. In 1878 he went on a lecture tour throughout the United States, London and Canada to teach aesthetic values.
  3. Wilde is often associated with the aesthetic movement called "Art for Art’s Sake", which says that art is self-sufficient and does not need to have a moral, social, or political purpose.
  4. Along with his sparkling prose, Wilde is also known for his flamboyant fashion sense. He often, for example, wore green carnations in his jacket lapel.
  5. He was one of the early "celebrities". In some respects he was famous for being famous. His dress was a target for satire in the cartoons, but Wilde didn’t seem to mind. In fact he learnt the art of self-publicity and seemed to revel in it.
  6. Teleny or The Reverse of the Medal, a gay pornographic novel, has been attributed to Wilde, but was more likely a combined effort by a several of Wilde’s friends, which he may have edited.
  7. The last of Wilde’s plays, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, is considered by many to be the finest modern farce in the English language.
  8. He only wrote one novel, "The picture of Dorian Gray"
  9. In 1895, Oscar Wilde was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ (i.e., homosexual acts) and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment with hard labour. He was sent first to Pentonville and Wandsworth prisons in London, and then to another at Reading, in Berkshire. While there, he wrote his long poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol.
  10. After being released from jail in 1897 he adopted the name Sebastian Melmoth, went to Paris, penniless, and is said to have reunited with his friend and lover of many years, Canadian journalist Robert Baldwin "Robbie" Ross.
  11. Oscar Wilde died shortly before two o’clock in the afternoon at the Hotel d’Alsace, 13 Rue des Beaux-Arts, Paris, on November 30, 1900. The funeral took place at 9 o’clock on Monday, December 2, at St Germain des Pres and afterwards at the cemetery at Bagneux. Later he was moved to Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. His tomb in Pere Lachaise was designed by sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein, at the request of Robert Ross, who also asked for a small compartment to be made for his own ashes. Ross’s ashes were transferred to the tomb in 1950.
  12. On 20th August 1962 a voice manifested in the seance-room of British medium Leslie Flint which claimed to be that of the late Oscar Wilde.
  13. Merlin Holland, Oscar Wilde’s only grandchild is keeping the legacy alive today by studying his grandfather’s life and by publishing books about various aspects of Oscar Wilde. His only great-grand-child, Lucian Holland was born in 1979. 


A very short part from "The Ballad of Reading Gaol":

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!


And 13 quotes:

  • There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.
  • I don’t at all like knowing what people say of me behind my back. It makes one far too conceited.
  • It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about, nowadays, saying things against one behind one’s back that are absolutely and entirely true.
  • We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.
  • One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.
  • Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing.
  • All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.
  • True friends stab you in the front.
  • We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
  • They spoil every romance by trying to make it last forever.
  • Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching.
  • Only the shallow know themselves.
  • Ridicule is the tribute paid to the genius by the mediocrities.

And another interesting link: Documentary about Oscar Wilde in seven parts on you tube


Winter love by Andrew Grey

Synopsis: Blayne is forced by his father to drive up to one of his properties and evict the tenant who has been living there for decades. His car getting stuck in a blizzard he arrives at the tenant’s hut in the forest to find a young man his age. Roeder, who turns out to be a satyr, and Blayne make an instant connection and spend a few days together until Blayne goes back to his father to sort out the issue and find a way around evicting his new lover.

Review: This novella was a short but lovely read. Blayne and Roeder are both good characters, that work well together. Blayne’s reaction to the revelation of his lover’s true nature is admirable. There was a short moment of confusion and uncertainty, but that was it. Very refreshing. His father turned out to be a right jerk who betrayed his whole family, but Blayne didn’t back down and sorted out everything in a speedy and efficient way. Not speedy enough for Roeder’s well-being, though. Good for both of them that there were some supporting characters, who were equally likeable, even though we only met them for a very short time.

If you like stories with uncomplicated characters, strong no-fuss feelings and a bit of a paranormal touch, this is a story for you. From what I read there is another longer book out, "Children of Bacchus", that sounds like a lot of fun as well. I’ll definitely check that one out soon.

Available at Dreamspinner Press

[rating: 4]


I stumbled upon… # 5

A few nice and interesting web sites I found on the net.

The top ten literary hoaxes
Find out more about some stories too good to be true.

A poem

The saddest bear of all
A short story with beautiful illustrations

Two sentences
Too bad they are only two sentences. I’d like to know more now.

A beautiful revolution
Doodles "buffeted by misery, dejection and angst, are tentative explorations of social and deep psychological disquiet." (The Big Issue, UK). Not to be missed!


One way street by Laney Cairo

Blurb: Aussie rules football star Shane is having a rough time of it. He split with his lover, Dale, because of the pressure from his coach and his sponsors, who don’t want a gay player on their hands. He’s also sick, desperately so, and he doesn’t know who to go to. Everyone in his life wants something from him, but no one wants to help.
When he can’t take anymore, Shane runs to the one place he knows he’s safe; the old love nest he shared with Dale. When Dale shows up to collect his stuff, he finds a very ill Shane, and the two of them remember why they were so attracted to each other. Things won’t be easy, between Shane’s commitments and Dale’s doubts. Can they find a way to find joy in life again?

Review: Despite the beginning which was extremely depressing and disturbing for me, this turned out to be such a positive and optimistic story. Dale had no qualms at all about getting together with Shane again, which was admirable. Shane is a total wreck and needs constant care for quite some time, but Dale backs him up no matter what. Slowly Shane gets his life together again and regains his health. Since the relationship between Dale and him was established pretty quickly again, the story was more about Shane’s process of fixing all things gone wrong and starting new all over again. This was done in such a great way that the (frequent) sex scenes sometimes even felt like an unwelcome interruption (and that doesn’t happen very often with me).

Dale and Shane did have a lot of sex, which was surprising enough given that Shane’s physical condition left a lot to be desired. He could barely walk, if at all, and was under the influence of countless drugs and counter drugs. Still, sex was always only a thought away. The kinky parts I didn’t care for too much. Just weren’t for me, but that is a matter of preference.

I especially liked the end which gave such a happy outlook. It became clear that Shane succeeded in getting his act together and that life was good again.

Available at Torquere Books

[rating: 4]


The One That Got Away by Rhianne Aile and Madeleine Urban

Synopsis: David is suffering from a migraine and Trace, his best friend, is coming over to help out. A broken shoulder comes into play and Trace decides to temporarily move in with David until he he’s recuperated. David is gay and slowly realizes he’s falling for the straight Trace. However, Trace, a known womanizer, starts to have feelings for David as well.

Review: How easy those two come together! Well, admittedly, it takes a while for the guys to own up to their feelings and act on them. David is resisting since he knows Trace is straight and Trace doesn’t know how to get a handle on things. Still, it seems to me that Trace – even if he’s confused in the beginning- accepts the fact that he’s falling in love with his older friend pretty much without batting an eyelid. No angsty deliberations and eternal shilly-shallying. Really refreshing. Considering that there is no plot worth mentioning apart from the interactions between the two men the story is quite long – I’d say it’s a short novel – and still doesn’t get boring. If you like uncomplicated stories with lovable characters, a growing relationship that doesn’t start with a sex scene on page five, go for it!

Bonus: There is an unusually long excerpt available for this story. What you read there is exactly what you are getting.

Available at Dreamspinner Press

[rating: 4]


Weekly Geeks 2009-10: True Blood season 1 vs. Dead until dark

This week’s weekly geeks is about movie adaptations. "Worst movie adaptations: The recent release of Watchmen based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore got me thinking about what I thought were the worst movie adaptations of books. What book or books did a director or directors completely ruin in the adaptation(s) that you wish you could "unsee," and why in your opinion, what made it or them so bad in contrast to the book or books?"

Right, I usually don’t feel very strongly about movies made from books. If I don’t like them I don’t like them, but that’s it. I can’t remember one that I’d care to elaborate about. I did mention "Needful things" (after the book by Stephen King) the other day over on Book Blogs, but it’s years I’ve seen the film and even longer that I’ve read the book, so I couldn’t even say much about it, other than that the film could never capture the complex and detailed plot and ramifications of the book.

So I decided to go and talk about "True Blood" instead. It’s not exactly a movie adaptation, but rather a TV series they made from the first book of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series, "Dead until Dark", and I have plenty to complain about. If you have never read the books or watched the series, just ignore me. If you plan on watching it or reading the books, beware! Spoilers ahead.

The series does have a few good points that I want to get out of the way first.

  • Great title song by Jace Everett. Fits perfectly, conveys the right atmosphere.
  • Nice opening credits. Well, maybe not nice, but appropriate.
  • Stephen Moyer as Bill, Sookie’s vampire lover. I liked him a lot.
  • Nelson Ellis as Lafayette. OMG, he was wonderful

Now the not so good points.

  • Eric. WTF did they do to Eric? They picked a handsome Swede, Alexander Skarsgard, to play Eric, a highly attractive Norse vampire leader who can have any girl he wants, for authenticity, and then they take him and turn him into a greasy inconspicuous bloke who hides behind a curtain of even greasier hair. Not good. His character? Totally wrong. They completely failed to portray his relationship with Sookie in a correct way. The fact that they made Bill instead of Eric kill Longshadow (probably to make Bill shine, since he is a rather boring figure otherwise) makes me wonder how they will come round to set Sookie and Eric off eventually. Sookie and Eric have no kind of interaction in the show that is worth mentioning. Why Sookie would call Eric to accompany her to the orgy in the next book and how that no mark would ever turn up in a spandex suit (was it purple? I don’t remember) I can’t see. Book 4 which revolves around Sookie and Eric will never come to pass in that show.
  • Jason, the man slut. Jason is a slut, but never as explicitly as he was in the show. You will know if you read my reviews that I love erotica and never object to a love scene, but not here, please. The books are not explicit, and since they are written from Sookie’s POV we only hear from Jason’s seedy escapades through hearsay. What they are showing us with Jason is nothing but dirty, cheap and nasty.
  • Jason joining the Fellowship of the Sun? What for, for Pete’s sake. Oh, well, it might be all for the better, since that way he will be put out of his misery soon. Undoubtedly, once he turns into a were ("Dead as a doornail", book 5), he will be shot with a silver bullet by his overzealous fellow brethren.
  • Amy. What is this self-righteous, would-be spiritual bitch doing there? Never was in the book, didn’t have a place in the show either. She so got on my nerves that I actually rooted for the murderer when he finally came around to kill her. He deserved a pardon just for finishing her off alone.
  • Tara. She was never even mentioned in book 1, and didn’t play a bigger part until much later. They way she talked and her obnoxious attitude were so aggravating that she should have been next on Rene’s list.
  • The vampire court. Never happened in the book. Since Bill never killed Longshadow in the first place, there was no reason for it. And Eric never got prosecuted either for the killing. He paid a compensation and that was it. But, of course, without that ridiculous Magister Bill wouldn’t have had to turn that whining Jessica who then turned out to be some nutcase with newly found freedom. Maybe she will be the substitute object of desire for Eric, since the thing with Sookie won’t happen. But even that TV Eric can’t be that desperate. The girl is a pain in the ass.
  • Bill coming out of his grave during daylight to rescue Sookie, who doesn’t need rescuing by him, and getting burnt in the process. Please, can it get any more dramatic? Totally ridiculous and redundant.

MaryAnn or the exorcist woman cum saleslady in a drugstore and her vodoo trailer? I won’t even go into them…. I can see the problems with a series where all the input is provided by the POV of one person, but do they have to add such crap? If they couldn’t handle it properly they could have chosen from other series that are quite successful, too, and turn them into a series. The fans of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books would be certainly more than happy to see a TV series made from them. Those books would have provided enough plot and sub-plots and there would have been no need to invent idiotic stuff at will.


DRM. Sucks.

These days the Sony Reader has hit the shelves over here. Germany is like a third world country as far as technology for consumers is concerned, but we do get stuff eventually. Now it’s the Sony PRS-505. The price of a whopping 299€ doesn’t keep people from buying it, astonishing when you consider that the shop that sells it, Thalia, and Sony are telling people only half the story. If I only knew what they let on about it, I’d NEVER buy that thing.

They say:

  • you can buy an ever growing number of ebooks at Thalia
  • the standard format for ebooks is EPUB, which is equipped with DRM (which is a good thing, "because it makes sure the rights of authors and publishers are being observed")
  • You need Adobe Digital Editions to read your ebooks
  • You need the Sony reader software to read your ebooks
  • The only difference between a .pdf file and an EPUB file is the DRM that comes with the EPUB
  • ebooks from other sources might not work properly

They don’t say:

  • you can buy ebooks from loads of shops on the net (ok, maybe not in German, but English books are a big market over here as well)
  • the Sony reader reads various formats, including .pdf and the reader format .lrf. There are even shops who provide a .pdf file for Sony
  • there are shops that sell ebooks that are not afflicted with DRM
  • you do not need Adobe Digital Editions if you buy ebooks without DRM
  • you do not need the Sony software if you buy ebooks without DRM
  • a .pdf file enables you to read the ebook on any computer anytime you want without having to install software that you ONLY need because of the wretched DRM. EPUB with DRM forces you to install horrible software that you barely comprehend (I don’t even understand how Adobe Digital Editions works and can never find the right button) just because of DRM
  • that there is software out there that is easy to use, cheap ( source and free) and doesn’t suffocate you and your rights as a consumer, for example Calibre
  • DRM sucks. You have to install software that you otherwise wouldn’t need. You have to register with Adobe in order to get an Adobe ID. You can’t transfer your files to another computer. If your computer has to be re-installed you have to go through the rigmarole of re-authenticating everything and possible re-downloading your books – if you still can, that is.

Obviously the ad campaign of Sony and Thalia over here sucks as well. How can they hope to sell the thing if they make people believe all that crap? Oh, well, not my problem! I’ve got one and love it. I never bothered installing the Sony software and never missed it.

The Smart Bitches have a post up about DRM and a list of shops that sell ebooks without DRM. They all sell romance or erotica (obviously the people writing and publishing for that genre are more customer friendly and more consumer oriented than others) and all shops I have bought from offer excellent service. Additionally also the following shops sell ebooks without DRM:

Ellora’s Cave

All Romance ebooks


Another 100 books

Lists of books are popular. This list of the nation’s (UK) best loved novels is slightly different from this one. I just wonder who those people are who "love those books best". According to the other list only 6 books of 100 have been read by the average citizen.

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie

A lot of the books are on both lists, but one of my favourite ones appears on this one, No. 71. If you’ve never read "Perfume" I highly recommend it.  Patrick Süskind did a marvelous job describing the world of scents (and stenches). The film was ok, I suppose, considering the topic, but the book is a thousand times better.


Short & shy by Rhianne Aile

Synopsis: Scott discovers a personal ad by a certain "Short and Shy" guy who is more concerned about the environment than his own looks. He engages in an email correspondence and feels attracted to the man whose name or face he doesn’t know. After weeks of online conversations he eventually asks to meet "Short and Shy". Shy would rather keep up the online friendship that has developed between Scott and himself. His looks have kept him from having serious relationships and he’d rather not endanger what he’s got. But Scott insists and they agree to meet in a bar the same evening.

Review: What a charming short story this was! I absolutely loved Scott’s determination to meet "Shy" and that he didn’t shy away  from him once he met him and found out who he was. "Shy’s" problem to find an appropriate partner and a serious relationship might sound pretty ridiculous at first, but when you come to think of it, it isn’t so absurd at all. His approach (just the opposite of Ethan’s in "VGL male seeks the same") makes total sense to me.
Too bad the story was such a short treat, I would have liked to read on for longer.

Available at Dreamspinner Press

[rating: 4]