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Sunday Stealing: The Monkey’s Meme

Sunday Stealing: The Monkey’s Meme

1. Name one person who made you smile today: Corin

2. What were you doing at 8am this morning? Making breakfast for two little monsters.

3. What were you doing 45 minutes ago? 45 minutes ago it was 8am. Refer to no. 2

4. What is your favorite candy bar? We had that last week already. Baby Ruth.

5. Have you ever been to a strip club? I don’t think I have.

6. What was the last thing you had to drink? Coffee

7. What was the last thing you ate? Cereal

8. The last sporting event you watched? This must have been an ice hockey match years ago.

9. Do you go to church every Sunday? Hell, no.

10. Do you prefer Chinese food over pizza? I like both, depends on my mood.

11. What are you doing tomorrow? Tomorrow’s going to be a holiday. Not sure yet.

12. What do you think of when you hear Australia? “A town like Alice”

13. Biggest annoyance right now? I’d have to think about that one, so the annoyance can’t be that big.

14. Last song listened to? “This charming man”

15. Do you have a maid service clean your house? I wish

16. Are you jealous of anyone? No

17. Is anyone jealous of you? How would I know?

18. What do you usually do during the day? Chat with colleagues and do some work along the way.

19. Do you hate anyone that you know right now? No. But there are some people I dislike. There are lots of shades of grey.

20. Are you thinking about someone right now? Yes

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Read at Work! Now it’s even easier.

I stumbled about this absolutely brilliant website yesterday. If you want to read at work, but are afraid that you get caught red handed, just have a look at Read at Work! It looks like Windows XP and all texts are organized in folders on the desktop. Emily Dickinson or F. Scott Fitzgerald as Powerpoint presentations need a bit getting used to, but they do look pretty impressive to your boss, I bet.

Read at Work

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Straight Tequila Night by Rhianne Aile

Synopsis: Mark meets his high school crush Dylan in a bar. He has never been able to forget Dylan, even though Dylan never even noticed him enough to remember his name. The two hit it off immediately this time and Mark is planning for more than just a quick one night stand.

Review: Mark & Dylan have known each other in high school so I can’t say that this is instant chemistry. It is true for Dylan, though, who feels attracted to Mark immediately now that he has noticed him properly. Mark, on the other hand, has been fantasizing about Dylan since they were fellow students even though Dylan acted like a total jerk. What can you say, it’s always the jerks who are most admired.

Now, 16 years later, the two men click at once and spend a nice evening together with a promise for more the next night. And so it is. Hot love and the prospect of a possible relationship. We were told already that Dylan has some sort of lover who makes him put up with a lot of crap and I was waiting for the inevitable confrontation.
Surprisingly that angle resolves itself very quickly. I expected Paul to cause some sort of trouble to make it harder for Dylan and Mark to come together. Instead it is a misunderstanding that seems to threaten their HEA. Not for long though. Everything gets cleared up and smoothens the way for their future together.

One thing that bothered me a bit were the quick declarations of love. I’m all for loving each other, but Dylan has known Mark for about two days (I’m not counting high school years, as he was treating Mark badly then). Mark has been in love forever, so to see his fantasy coming true probably makes him giddy and emotional, but Dylan? I don’t really see that at that speed.
Other than that, it was totally enjoyable. The love scenes were hot – and they were love scenes, not just some quick getting off. If you want a quick read without much tension and a lot of loving, this is it.

Available at Dreamspinner Press (in the bottom half of the list; I don’t think there is an anchor)

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The Caldwell Effect by Remmy Duchene

Blurb: Stone Caldwell has always been a good boy; the nerd in high school, you know the one. The one with the thick glasses, nose stuck in a book, with the tall lanky body. Even after he’s grown up and gets himself a brand new body, he still drives the speed limit, pays his taxes on time… until Brent Harrison walks back into his life. 
Brent Harrison would not have been caught dead even talking to Stone Caldwell in high school, but when he needs help with a case he is working on, the only person that comes to mind is the tall, lanky nerd with glasses.  Tracking him down to a bunch of successful nightclubs, Brent walks in to find Stone behind the counter of one and even Brent had to admit that Stone had grown up in all the right and sexy places.
Unfortunately, one bullet threatens to cut the cut their reunion short.

Review: Severe SPOILERS ahead!

Brent was a bully in high school, he and Stone never were friends. Now, years later, Brent needs Stone’s help to find a hacker and realizes that Stone looks great. Enough for him to want him, the sooner the better. Stone on the other hand finds Brent very attractive and decides to play a little with him and then drop him to get his revenge. What sort of revenge is that? To arouse someone and then leave him unsatisfied? That is the revenge for years of being bullied in high school?

Then Stone realizes that he is petty and that Brent feels really bad about his behaviour in school. Since he desired Brent from the start he now switches gears and gets real. They become a couple and irrevocably in love. Wow, this was quick.

Then they find a clue as to who the hacker is. That mystery is a bit confusing, too. I don’t understand how the hacker worked, why he was detected in the first place and how Stone could identify him so quickly. But that aside. Now they have a suspect and what do they do? Brent, the police officer, gives his bullet-proof vest to Stone, who wants to come along (they did agree that he has to wait outside, so why he would take the vest and Brent wouldn’t I don’t know). He, himself, goes without one. They go to the suspect’s house, Brent goes in alone and gets shot. Now, is that believable at all? Let me say it again. The officer gets some lab guy to bring a warrant to the suspect’s house. He goes in without any backup whatsoever (and without his bullet-proof vest) to arrest the suspect, while lab guy and newly found love wait outside. And then he gets shot. I don’t know much about police work, but this sounds extremely wrong to me.

So Brent almost dies, gets major surgery, is released very quickly and ready to jump into bed with Stone at the next opportunity, which arises very quickly. That’s about it.

If you have read any of my previous reviews you know that I am more than willing to suspend any sort of disbelief, but this story was too much, even for me. 

Available at Dreamspinner Press

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Thursday 13: Musings on pangrams

After the list of palindromes some weeks ago I decided to tackle pangrams next. Usually the shorter the better, but for my purpose it was nicer to choose pangrams that made some sort of sense. A 26 letter pangram for example would be “Glum Schwartzkopf vex’d by NJ IQ.” But does that sound like fun? So I decided to use longer ones that used letters more than once. Here I go… Disclaimer: I did not invent the pangrams, I only interpreted them in a way.

1. The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog.
We all know this one and I’m sure everybody already speculated about why the fox (are foxes brown at all? I always thought they were reddish) jumps over a lazy dog. Why the fox would even get close to the dog after his experiences with fox hunting I don’t know. Maybe simply because the dog seems to be lazy. What if this is a feint? His goose will be cooked then.

2. Forsaking monastic tradition, twelve jovial friars gave up their vocation for a questionable existence on the flying trapeze.
Can’t say I blame them. However, from a monastic existence to the dangers of circus life in general (being eaten by lions, being trampled over by elephants, the ever present clowns) and the ones of the trapeze in particular is a big change. This proves without a doubt that living like a monk befuddles your mind in such a way that you can’t trust your own judgement anymore.

3. No kidding — Lorenzo called off his trip to visit Mexico City just because they told him the conquistadores were extinct.
OK, I thought people went to Mexico for sun bathing and jumping off cliffs. Not so Lorenzo. He obviously wanted to to meet some adventurers (also read: greedy bastards, in this case) and when he found out he is about 600 years too late he cancelled the whole trip. Bummer for him at the time of booking he was so determined that he forgot to pay for a travel cancellation insurance. Now he’s stuck with a 100% fee.

4. Jelly-like above the high wire, six quaking pachyderms kept the climax of the extravaganza in a dazzling state of flux.
It took me a while to even figure out what all those words mean. But now I got it. The quaking pachyderms on the high wire are a circus act (see no. 2). Every time the audience thinks that the last trick was the culmination of their unmet skills they go and do something even more astonishing, thus keeping the audience at the edge of their seat, never to be fully satisfied.

5. Ebenezer unexpectedly bagged two tranquil aardvarks with his jiffy vacuum cleaner.
John gave me a hint about this one. I’m no film buff and Dracula I only watch if it is done as a romance with a sexy Dracula (now you know I’ve never watched the one with Max Schreck). With his help however, I was able to pin the meaning of this one down. Ebenezer, the studio cleaner at Universal’s, was in charge of the tidying up of the set after filming Dracula with Bela Lugosi. By accident he vacuumed the aardvarks up (they had two, one the original one that appeared on screen and another one as a back-up). They were lying around dozing and he never thought to watch out for them. Thus their promising career came to a sudden and bitter end. So was Ebenezer’s when Universal found out their prize aardvarks were gone. Thankfully seven years later he found another job at RKO Radio Pictures as a leopard caretaker.

6. The explorer was frozen in his big kayak just after making queer discoveries.
What could he possibly have discovered that he was frozen in the kayak? Was he frozen because it was so cold or was he frozen because he was so stunned about his “queer” discoveries? I don’t want to go into that anymore, I’m afraid what I’m going to find out.

7. Jaded zombies acted quaintly but kept driving their oxen forward.
I know that zombies are all the rage at the moment, so I can’t resist having a few on this list as well. I know my fair share of zombies, after all I’ve read some Anita Blake books. Never have I heard of zombies harnessing oxen. Why would they need them? Zombies don’t eat veggies, so they wouldn’t need to plough the fields, would they? They only eat brains, as far as I know. On top of that, even quaint zombies would probably recognize the comfort of modern machines and use a tractor.

8. Amazingly few discotheques provide jukeboxes.
And why would they? Nobody in their right mind can be amazed about it. Jukeboxes are for ice cream parlours and diners of the fifties, not for modern clubs. You wouldn’t hear the jukebox music anyway over all that noise.

9. Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs.
The person is obviously planning for an outing. Over here it was father’s day only recently. I don’t know whether other countries have that same excuse for the men to go out with their buddies and get pissed. It is an old tradition where they take a handcart with a barrel of beer or two and wander through the countryside only to call their wives in the evening to tell them to pick them up from God knows where. The pangram is the original request for his wife to prepare his provisions.

10. Painful zombies quickly watch a jinxed graveyard.
Zombies and graveyards just belong together. I suppose the zombies are watching the graveyard to make sure they can still go back into their graves once they are done above the ground. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Anita Blake has something to do with pain the zombies are suffering from OR / AND the jinxing. That woman can screw up anything!

11. Bored? Craving a pub quiz fix? Why, just come to the Royal Oak! 
Give the Royal Oak a wide berth! A pub quiz doesn’t sound like entertainment at all. It probably wouldn’t provide the necessary thrill to get you out of your funk. To give you an idea what to expect I found some pub quiz questions that might be asked.

From what book are the following first lines and who is its author?

It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him. Yossarian was in the hospital with a pain in his liver that fell just short of being jaundice.

What year was “Carry on Doctor” released?

What song and which artist won the Eurovision song contest in 1976?

Now, isn’t that fun? Didn’t think so either.

12. All questions asked by five watched experts amaze the judge.
There was this show when I was a kid where self-proclaimed “experts” had to answer questions to prove how well they knew their subject (however obscure it was). This is a different take. The experts ASK the questions and someone totally unknowledgeable has to answer them. The most original answer (it doesn’t have to be necessarily true, but rather original and imaginative) wins the prize.

13. The last one is a famous German pangram, which also leaves a lot of room for speculation.
Franz jagt im komplett verwahrlosten Taxi quer durch Bayern.
(Franz chases in the completely run-down cab straight across Bavaria)

I can imagine a couple of scenarios:

  • Franz is a bank robber and an old shabby taxi is the only one he could hi-jack to escape. He robbed a bank in the North of Bavaria and now tries to get to Italy (a popular hide-away country for Bavarian bank robbers) as soon as possible.
  • Franz is a taxi driver and a slob. He owns his taxi and has never bothered to clean it up properly. The taxi association has investigated after a number of complaints from passengers about the poor state of the vehicle. To evade a fee and other penalties he is getting out of the city as quickly as possible to settle down somewhere else (preferably Italy, a popular retirement country for cab drivers on the run).

Check out more Thursday 13 participants!

If you want to find out the answers to the intriguing pub quiz questions, turn the page upside down.

pub_quiz_answers

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Songs you know by heart by Dr. Noh

This is a story that I found through a link at Uniquely Pleasurable.

David gets mugged on the way home from a party. He’s got no money on him and – as compensation – he offers the mugger a blowjob…

Think this sounds like a fantastic story? You got it right. It is.

David is a complete arsehole. A cynic who treats everybody like shit. He’s jaded and uncaring. Jazz, the mugger, is a talented pianist, who was out for some money to buy a suit at a thrift store in order to find a job. He is getting more and more emotionally involved with David, he moves in with him (sort of) and believes they have a thing going on. David doesn’t think so.

This kept me enthralled from start to finish. The slow and subtle change for David from a total jerk to an ok guy was done perfectly. He didn’t even want it himself, it just happened.

If you like intense stories, rough sex scenes, an original plot and great characterization, pick this one up! Best of all – it’s free!

I must admit that I don’t get Live Journal at all. I have no clue how it works, but I think in this case if you go to Shousetsu Bang*Bang’s Live Journal homepage (or whatever it is called)  there is more to be discovered.

Available at the LJ of s2b2

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The gallery on Main Street by Christiane France

Synopsis: Martyn inherits one half of an antiques shop from his uncle. Because of certain stipulations he cannot sell it on as planned but is forced to work together with the owner of the other half, Simon. Martyn and Simon, the son of the former partner of Martyn’s uncle, have known each other for a number of years, but never got along. In spite of the obvious dislike they have for each other, there was always a sexual attraction between them.

Review: I’ve stopped reading excerpts, so it came unexpected that the story is told from Martyn’s point of view in first person and in present tense. I am not a great fan of first person storytelling and the present tense  is something I really had to get used to at first. Once I got into the story, however, it didn’t bother me at all anymore.

The reason Martyn doesn’t like Simon is Simon’s stand-offish, superior attitude, but there is a reason for it. Once it gets evident that they are on the same level, things become easy. But Martyn is still left in the dark about the nature of his and Simon’s "relationship". Simon could have been a bit more forthcoming with his feelings, but then the story would have been shorter than it was already. Martyn is rather insecure, and since we only know what he knows, we are being left hanging in midair as well. This was quite realistic. You know, you’re in love, have a sexual encounter and afterwards you are forced to wonder about whether this was a one-night-stand, whether it will turn into some sort of fling, a steady relationship, what?

Once Martyn and Simon have cleared up everything they have such a nice thing going on, it’s too cute. I can picture them so vividly, working together in their antiques shop, living in their perfect cottage, happily ever after. It was enough to make my heart melt.

Highly recommended to everybody who likes it sweet.

Available at Amber Allure

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Catching a Buzz by Ally Blue

Blurb: Adam Holderman isn’t your typical twenty-something college boy. He prefers jazz to Goth, shuns body piercings and street-waif clothing, and despises the lack of vocabulary among his peers. Some call him uptight, but Adam doesn’t see it that way. Just because he prefers his men articulate and well-groomed doesn’t make him a stick-in-the-mud. He simply has standards, unlike most guys his age.
The new employee at Wild Waters Park, where Adam works, single-handedly throws a monkey wrench into Adam’s orderly world view. Buzz Stiles wears eyeliner and black clothes, listens to emo bands, and talks like a teenage skate punk. He’s the polar opposite of Adam’s avowed “type”. So why can’t Adam get him out of his head?
When Adam finally agrees to go out with Buzz, he finds there’s much more to Buzz than a hot body, a sharp wit, and a Goth fashion sense. Buzz is someone Adam can see himself being with for the long haul. But you need more than mind-melting sex to make a relationship last. Can they keep their hands off each other long enough to find out if they have what it takes?

Review: I like the two protagonists a lot. Buzz is the fun, no worry in the world sort of guy, Adam the typical procrastinator. Whatever unpleasant task is waiting for him, he always plans to “think of it tomorrow” or “do it the next day”. I can relate to this. A lot. Adam and Buzz are still young and the story totally focuses on those two. Supporting characters play no big parts at all.

I think two things are worth mentioning.

  • Buzz’s use of the iPod. Highly inventive! I thought it was hilarious. Apple really meets every need, :-).
  • One sex scene that involves a beer bottle. If you have read Teleny, a homoerotic story attributed to Oscar Wilde, you might be reminded of a certain occurrence mentioned there. I’m not certain whether the guy in the story died from it (after all it was the 19th century), but that is irrelevant anyway. Because of this I couldn’t enjoy the scene as I could have otherwise.

This was a lovely short story. I enjoyed the fact that Buzz and Adam got to know each other before they got involved and became great friends. Highly recommended for a fast and fun read.

Available at Samhain Publishing

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In a wolf’s eyes by Cassandra Gold

Blurb: Months ago, former model Reed Emerson was nearly killed in a car accident. While on a trip to celebrate his recovery, he gets lost in the woods and meets an unusual wolf. When the animal turns out to be more than just a wolf, Reed is astonished and a little afraid.
Werewolf Ethan Amhurst has been alone a long time. Finding Reed lost on his property seems to be a stroke of luck. He wants to show Reed that his scars don’t matter, but can there be any future for a werewolf and a scarred ex-model?

Review: After being so enthusiastic about “Fool for Love” I decided to try out another book by Cassandra Gold, this time a paranormal story with a werewolf. Add a scarred hero as the second protagonist and you have a story that I’m bound to like.

The story goes medias in res with Reed being lost and meeting Ethan, just he doesn’t know it. We only learn what happened to him further on when he confides in Ethan; just what I like, no long prologue and no backstory to go through.

Reed’s reaction to Ethan’s revelation that he is the wolf is pretty astonishing. If I met a man and he told me he was the wolf I slept side by side with last night I’d be more than a little surprised. But I suppose on 47 pages you can’t squeeze in too much misgivings about a werewolf. You either take it or leave it. The slight misunderstanding as to Ethan’s motive to let Reed go so easily is getting cleared up rather quickly with the help of the standard jerk-y ex boyfriend.

There is still a question or two that wasn’t answered. We hardly know anything about Ethan. There is mentioning of the Elders who are against human / were relationships as a rule, but that’s about it. Does he always live in his cabin in the forest?  As far as I know (my knowledge all derives from PNR, but I have to start somewhere) werewolves usually have some sort of pack continuously meddling in everybody’s affairs. Where is it?

But all that aside, I really liked the story. If you like weres, paranormal and a straight storyline with no ramifications, this is great for you.

Available at Cobblestone Press

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Sunday Stealing: The A to Z meme

Sunday Stealing: The A to Z Meme

A
• Are you available? For what?
• What is your age? 40 something
• What annoys you? Stupidity
B
• Do you know anyone named Billy? No
• When is your birthday? July
• Who is your best friend? You wouldn’t know her
C
• What’s your favorite candy? Baby Ruth
• Crush? No
• When was the last time you cried? I can’t remember
D
• Do you daydream? Yes
• What’s your favorite kind of dog? Haven’t got one. Most dogs are ok, if I don’t have to look after them.
• What day of the week is it? Sunday
E
• How do you like your eggs? Scrambled
• Have you ever been in the emergency room? Only with my kids
• Ever pet an elephant? No
F
• Do you use fly swatters? No
• Have you ever used a foghorn? No
• Is there a fan in your room? No
G
• Do you chew gum? No
• Do you like gummy candies? Yes
• Do you like gory movies? No
H
• How are you? Fine, thanks
• What’s your height? 1,70m
• What color is your hair? dark blonde
I
• What’s your favorite ice cream? Mozart, which is a mixture of chocolate, pistachio, marzipan, just like the Mozartkugel
• Have you ever ice skated? Yes, but I sucked
• Ever been in an igloo? No
J
• What’s your favorite Jelly Bean? I hate them
• Have you ever heard a really hilarious joke? Yes, two.
• Do you wear jewelry? A little
K
• Who do you want to kill? I don’t want to kill anybody.
• Have you ever flown a kite? I tried without much success.
• Do you think kangaroos are cute? Oh, yeah.
L
• Are you laidback? Doesn’t everybody think they are?
• Lions or Tigers? Whatever this means, it’s tigers.
• Do you like black licorice? Yuck!
M
• Favorite movie as a kid? Three nuts for Cinderella
• Ever shopped at Moosejaw? At what?
• Favorite store at the mall? I don’t go to malls usually.
N
• Do you have a nickname? Not really
• Whats your favorite number? I haven’t got one.
• Do you prefer night or day? No preference.
O
• What’s your one wish? I’ve got no wish. Haven’t you ever read the Monkey’s paw?
• Are you an only child? Yes
• Do you like the color orange? No
P
• What are you most paranoid about? I’m not, or am I?
• Piercings? No
• Do you know anyone named Penelope? No, but I know a restaurant called that.
Q
• Are you quick to judge people? Yes
• Do you like Quaker Oats? Don’t know them
• Know anyone that makes quilts? Yes
• Do you think you’re always right? Yes
• Do you watch reality TV? No, I don’t watch TV at all.
• Reason to cry? Sad book endings.
S
• Do you prefer sun or rain? Rain
• Do you like snow? Sort of
• What’s your favorite season? Autumn
T
• time is it? It is.
• What time did you wake up? 6.15am
U
• Can you ride a unicycle? Why would I?
• Do you know anyone with a unibrow? No. But If I did, I’d be very careful. Remember: "Beware of windfallen apples and of men whose eyebrows meet". (From “The company of wolves”)
• Uncles do you have? I had.
V
• What’s the worst vegetable? Beetroot
• Did you ever watch Veggie Tales? Never heard of it.
• Ever considered being vegan? Bloody hell, no.
W
• What’s your worst habit? I’m a procrastinator.
• Do you like water rides? No
• Ever been inside a windmill? Yes
X
• Have you ever had an x-ray? Yes
• Ever used a Xerox machine? Yes
Y
• Do you like the color yellow? No
• What year were you born in? In the sixties
• Do you yell when you’re angry? Yes
Z
• Do you believe in the zodiac? Yes, no, maybe.
• What’s your zodiac sign? Cancer
• When was the last time you went to the zoo? A few weeks ago.

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Weekly Geeks 2009-19: Start of Summer

This week there are plenty of options for the weekly geeks.

  1. With Memorial Day in the U.S. this coming Monday, I thought it would be appropriate to focus on the military. Either share your favorite book on war or movie on war and why. Provide a clip from the movie if you’d like or a passage from the book that shows us why you it’s your favorite book or movie. Or do both. OR choose your own military theme, for example, if you have a relative or friend in the military and you would like to send them a video or a message of thanks, do that on your blog. OR do all three. The book and movie also don’t have to be "patriotic" necessarily. For example, one of my favorite fictional books on war is Johnny, Get Your Gun by Dalton Trumbo.
  2. Again with Memorial Day Weekend here in the U.S. starting traditionally on Friday evening, it also is unofficially the start of summer. You’ve probably been asked this in other meme groups in which you participate, but do your reading habits change over the summer? Do you choose lighter fare? What do you enjoy to take to the beach, for example? What is the ultimate summer book? OR what are your favorite travel guides — official or unofficial guides? Again, an example, I think of Holidays In Hell by P.J. O’Rourke, of places I’d rather not vacation. Along those lines, where do you vacation? Any places you recommend or even don’t recommend?

I chose no.2, because I don’t particularly like the military theme in general. However, I strongly support reading the Dalton Trumbo book. “Johnny got his gun” is the best anti-war book ever and a must-read for everybody.

That being said on to the beginning of summer.

The enchanted AprilOver here the beginning of summer is no big deal. My reading habits don’t change at all. I read just what I always read and what I fancy at any given moment. I don’t see any reason why all of a sudden I should start to read chick-lit or other stuff, that I usually don’t read. Whenever I see promotion tables in bookshops saying “summer reads” or “vacation books” or the like I wonder who on Earth is going to pick up a book because it is a book “good for the beach”. I either would like to read it and then I’d read it any time of the year,  or I wouldn’t at all.

Therefore for the beach – if we had one – I’d just take whatever I want, there is no beach literature for me. I probably would even take my e-reader, even though Dave from Read Street says that you can’t leave an e-reader lying around on the beach towel. I would. With my cute cover nobody would recognize it for what it is anyway – I hope. A room with a view

It won’t come as a surprise now that I can’t come up with the ultimate summer book. But for a great read that is vacation-related I’d recommend The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim. It is a wonderful, uplifting story which has also been made into a great movie. Another wonderful story for a vacation would be A room with a view by E. M. Forster. Coincidence that both books are set in Italy for a large part? I don’t think so. Italy is a beautiful country. Being there just mellows you. 

For a vacation it is the place for me. It is not too far away. In a few hours we can be at Lake Garda, which is one of the nicest spots I’ve seen so far. It is warm, but not too hot, the lake is beautiful, the mountains impressive, the food delicious, Milan, Verona and Venice are not too far away – it is perfect.

 

Torbole

Image of Torbole from Wikimedia Commons

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Fool for love by Cassandra Gold

Blurb: Three years ago Vince lost his partner and has been alone since. One day he meets Rob, a student who lives next door. Rob and Vince, who is 24 years his senior, start a relationship eventually, but Vince still is not 100% certain this will work out.

Review: Vince is 45 and finds himself checking out his 21 year old neighbour. He can’t believe it himself and tries to ignore the attraction. Rob, who is extremely mature for his age and always liked older men, knows he’s finally found what he’s looking for. Until those two men find a way to stay together they have to go through some serious self-induced troubled times.

Vince and Rob are two great characters. Vince is afraid and until very late in the book does everything he can to destroy whatever it is he and Rob have going on – even if sometimes only subconsciously. Rob, on the other hand, is a strong young man, who in a lot of ways can teach Vince a thing or two about trust and going with the flow. They were great together. Often it is as if their parts were reversed and Rob was the older one of the two.

For once a couple who decides to take it slow does exactly that. They take it slow in the real sense of the word. They just spend time together, go out, see films etc. and only when they feel the time is right they give in to their desire. By that time the sexual tension had built up quite a bit. This was a nice change to the usual hopping into bed the first day based on instant attraction only. In Ms. Gold short story "Special delivery" the two protagonists do the same and prefer to get to know each other first, so I don’t know whether this is characteristic for her, or whether it is just a coincidence. Either way, I liked this a lot.

Ms. Gold put a quote at the beginning of every chapter.  The quotes are fitting the chapters very well and give you a hint of what’s to come. Being a quote lover I found some great ones to add to my collection.

The story very much focuses on the feelings of the two men with a few nice secondary characters thrown in. Rob’s flat mates are interesting and range from the supportive best friend to a rather condescending friend who changes his attitude in the course of the book. Rob’s family also wasn’t all happy about the age gap, even though I felt that there could have been a bit more details about the negative reactions from that side. They were only hinted at. It was good to see that not everybody reacted with benevolence to Vince and Rob’s relationship. Even nowadays an age difference of 24 years is frowned upon by a lot of people, so everything else would have been extremely unrealistic.

Until now I didn’t consider myself to be a fan of stories with the young man – older man constellation, but after reading this story I think I am.

One more word about the overall theme of this story. I came across the term “May – December romance” only recently and it annoyed me right away. If you assigned a month to the characters May and December would imply that one of the partners is almost in the middle of his life and the other at the very end. I might take this too literally but I don’t get that term at all. I read on the net that there is a new politically correct term for this sort of romance, which is “age-gap relationship”. I’m all for calling a spade a spade and this is exactly why this time I prefer the PC term by far.

Available at Red Rose Publishing

Article

Thursday 13: The symbolism of colors

Today is about color. Don’t take my word on all the things that colors symbolize, I collected this from various websites and some were contradicting each other. I had the idea for this TT because of the Idée Labs that creates these images based on your color input from millions of pictures on flickr. Explore it, there are other search options as well, it’s fun!

Yellow

Magical Snap - 2009.04.30 22.09 - 004_Bildgröße ändern

represents…

…age/aging, warmth, cowardice, caution, happiness, slow, sunshine, summer, the Orient, electricity, liberalism/libertarianism, Easter, wisdom, joy, happiness, Thursday

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orange

Magical Snap - 2009.04.30 22.09 - 003_Bildgröße ändern

represents…

desire, warning, fire, flaming, Halloween, power, healing, vitality

 

 

 

 

 

 

RedMagical Snap - 2009.04.30 22.07 - 001_Bildgröße ändern
represents…

aggression, blood, stop, courage, guilt, energy, passion, anger, hell, hatred, fire, socialism, sacrifice, sin, violence, negativity, danger, warning, communism, blushing, honor, leadership, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, love, prosperity & joy (China), Tuesday, Mars

 

 

 

 

Pink
Magical Snap - 2009.04.30 22.08 - 002_Bildgröße ändern

represents…

girls, love, health, breast cancer awareness, fairies, Valentine’s Day, homosexuality, bisexuality, spring, Easter, romance

 

 

 

 

 

Purple

Magical Snap - 2009.04.30 22.13 - 008_Bildgröße ändern

represents…

royalty, imperialism, nobility, Easter, upper class, good judgment, peace of mind

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Light blue

Magical Snap - 2009.04.30 22.11 - 006_Bildgröße ändern

represents…

good imagination, creativity, a practical approach to life, health, healing, tranquility, understanding, softness, Friday

 

 

 

 

 

Dark Blue

Magical Snap - 2009.04.30 22.12 - 007_Bildgröße ändern

represents…

ice, water, sky, sadness, winter, royalty, boys, cold, calm, conservatism (universally), capitalism, communication, knowledge, power, integrity, seriousness, Saturday

 

 

 

 

 

Green

Magical Snap - 2009.04.30 22.11 - 005_Bildgröße ändern

represents…

nature, growth, hope, youth, health, Islam, spring, envy, fertility, self-respect, well-being, learning, growth, harmony, Wednesday

 

 

 

 

 

Brown

Magical Snap - 2009.04.30 22.17 - 010_Bildgröße ändern

represents…

nature, earth, soil, skin, classicism, ancient philosophy, knowledge, maple leaf, peace, repressed personality, laziness, stability, Sunday

 

 

 

 

 

Grey

Magical Snap - 2009.04.30 22.19 - 013_Bildgröße ändern

represents…

boredom, reality, seriousness, neutrality, dullness, mediocrity, undefinedness, contentment, sorrow, security, maturity, dependability

 

 

 

 

 

Black

Magical Snap - 2009.04.30 22.18 - 012_Bildgröße ändern

represents…

darkness, secrecy, and mystery; silence and concealment; death (including execution) and bereavement; (with orange) Halloween; end, chaos, and lack; evil, bad luck, and crime; conversely, elegance, , elegance

 

 

 

 

 
White

Magical Snap - 2009.04.30 22.18 - 011_Bildgröße ändern

represents…

purity, lack, snow, ice, heaven, peace, life, clean, light, nothing, frost, good, air, innocence, kindness, Monday

 

 

 

 

 

 

Multicolor, just for the fun of it

Magical Snap - 2009.05.19 21.04 - 001

Images all done with the help of Multicolr Search Lab

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Article

Fake vol.1 by Sanami Matoh

Blurb: Ryo and Dee, two of New York City’s finest, are called in to investigate the activities of some two bit street punk. The operation goes south rather quickly when Dee is kidnapped and Ryo must put all of his skill and training to the test to get his partner back in one piece. Their partnership is on the line as electrified emotions raise questions within them that are hard to ignore.

My thoughts: I think I got it now. Manga is not for me. On amazon I read this: “Hugely popular in Japan, especially among teenage girls, gay manga is making its way to these shores courtesy of TOKYOPOP…”. I’m not a teenage girl, maybe that’s it. But maybe it’s just me.

I chose this manga, because the plot sounded like something I would have read otherwise as well, so I figured it would be a safe read. I was wrong. I’m still in the first third of the book, and I really have no idea what is going on. I’m looking at the pages and read the dialogue without getting a thing. It’s like when you’re reading a book and you’re so tired that you recognize the letters, but don’t understand the sense and you go over the same page five times without being the wiser. Same here, just that I’m not tired at all. People pop up in panels that haven’t been in the last and I have no idea where they came from (or who the heck they are). Emotions are bubbling up in a panel that weren’t there in the last and I have no idea how they built up. Action is being expressed with “bang” and “boom” and what not. I couldn’t connect to it at all. The straw that broke the camel’s back was a panel in which Dee said something to the effect of that they’re going to leave dealing with something to the police. Well, considering that Dee and Ryo ARE the police that plan didn’t really make sense to me. So I quit.

I’m not saying manga is bad, that this manga is bad or anything. It’s just that obviously this genre is not mine. But I can live with that and I’m sure there are enough teenage girls out there for the manga industry to thrive without my financial support.

Available at amazon

Image of Kyoto International Manga Museum by kiyoshi.be at flickr

Article

Torn by Sage Whistler

Blurb: Josh and Jaime have always been different…from the rest of the world that is. To them, they are one and the same person. Born identical twins, even they have difficulty telling where one ends and the other begins. They know that their love for one another crosses all social boundaries, but living apart would kill them. Fearing the backlash of being discovered, they bide their time, and explore the new dynamics of their powerful relationship. 
But will they be Torn apart?

Review: There’s just something about twincest that makes the whole story much more interesting. The forbidden nature of the relationship and the efforts of the protagonists to hide it are probably a large part of the plot most of the time. I personally don’t see why twincest would be a problem anyway, if both partners are men. It’s not that there would be any offspring coming of it. As far as I am concerned they can love each other to their hearts content, and, well, they do.

I liked the interaction between Joshua and his brother. He had been suppressing his true feelings for Jaime for some time and was gobsmacked to find out that Jaime felt the same way.  With Joshua being the older, more sensible one, he always looked out for Jaime and it’s the same when it comes to their relationship. He initiates their first sexual encounter, he decides it’s time to come out to their brother and he was going to do it, if not for an annoying, interfering “friend” who makes a pass at Jaime and blurts the truth out to Emilio.

While reading you got the feeling that there really couldn’t be another partner for either of those two and hoped that everything would turn out ok for them. And, of course, it did.

BTW: This e-book needs some serious editing (more than most), so if you are even slightly pedantic, stay away from this!

Available at Cacoethes Publishing

Article

The one that got away by TC Blue

Synopsis: Michael got dumped by Alex and is devastated. His flat mate Jim suggests a friendship with benefits to help him over this bad time. No problem until Jim realizes he’s in love with Michael and, in order to give Michael some space to recover first from his bad relationship, pulls away. Michael interprets this in a totally wrong way and eventually leaves town without a word to Jim.

Review: Friends with benefits. It works if both partners actually don’t have deeper feelings for each other. If one of them does, however, this sort of arrangement isn’t the best idea. And if both have feelings for each other, it doesn’t work out either.

After the initial arrangement was agreed upon by Jim and Michael the story took a little while to turn into one of my pet peeve storylines – the big misunderstanding and – even worse – the separated couple without communication. I had to come to terms with this first in order to be able to enjoy it. Once I got reconciled with the idea that Jim and Michael were the typical “I’d rather draw my conclusions based on misjudged observations and on my own lack of self-confidence” people instead of the “I just go and talk to him” kind, it became a good read.

Jim loves Michael, Michael doesn’t know. Jim thinks Michael doesn’t want love and withdraws. Michael thinks Jim withdraws because Michael’s too clingy (something his ex complained about) and withdraws himself. Thus we have the spiral down into misery.

And then Elliot turns up. Unfortunately TC Blue does not tell us how he was introduced to Michael. As an ex lover, a friend, the new love (though “friend” would be the most conceivable)? Michael makes assumptions once more without knowing anything and, of course, it doesn’t occur to him to ask. Next thing you know is without one more word he leaves town on the spur of the moment in a furtive way. I couldn’t believe it! How can someone act in such a way without any knowledge as to what is really going on? I was very annoyed with Michael at that point.

The time he spent away was sped up. We learn the important things, whom Michael meets and who helps him along the way, but skip all the parts that don’t help the story along. Thank God for that. I hate it when a time period that I want to be over with as quickly as possible gets dragged out forever by telling me every little detail. Since TC Blue dealt with it in such an expedient manner this part of the story wasn’t nearly as hard for me to read as I expected.

By the time Michael finally, with Jamie’s help, saw the error of his ways and decided to go back to at least apologize to Jim, I was so wrapped up in the story that I couldn’t wait for them to get back together for good. And they did that in such a loving way, I was in love with them myself.

The supporting characters were equally likeable. The “slutty kid brother” Elliot might have been just that, but to me he seemed pretty down-to-earth and sensible. What he said about Michael before he came back from Boston totally made sense – as long as you were not in love with Michael. Then, of course, you wouldn’t want to hear this. Jamie was adorable, and so were David and Russell (even though those two were just the catalyst to get Michael’s healing on the way). And of course Trish and Chandra, the lesbian couple. All they could do was roll their eyes at the men, really.

This story contained two plot factors that I usually dislike a lot, but TC Blue pulled it off in such a way that I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I’ll definitely give her other books a try as well.

Available at Torquere Books

Article

Sunday Stealing: The 29’er Meme

Sunday Stealing: The 29’er Meme

1. What bill do you hate paying the most?
I hate paying bills in general. But over here we don’t pay bills knowingly, it all comes out by direct debit, so we won’t notice.

2. Where was the last place you had a romantic dinner?
That must be years ago and I can’t remember. I’m not the romantic dinner type anyway. In fact I just asked John when was our last romantic dinner and he said “We went for a romantic dinner the other day, but it wasn’t romantic because you were involved.” Charming, huh?

3. How many colleges did you attend?
None, I was so happy when 13 years of school were over that I decided not to.

4. Why did you choose the shirt that you have on right now?
I’m wearing my PJs. It didn’t take any decision making to put them on.

5. First thought when the alarm went off this morning?
It is Sunday! No alarm!

6. Last thought before going to sleep last night?
”Bummer, I need to leave the light on.”

7. What do you miss being a child?
The carefree attitude.

8. What errand/chore do you despise?
Any given household chore.

9. Have you found real love yet?
Possibly.

10. What do you get every time you go into Wal-Mart?
We don’t have a Wal-Mart.

11. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?
Not sure. It probably is.

12. What famous person would you like to have dinner with?
Mae West

13. Ever had to use a fire extinguisher for its intended purpose?
No.

14. Somewhere in California you’ve never been and would like to go?
Not sure. I now regret that I didn’t spend more time in Yosemite National Park. So maybe that would be it.

15. At this point in your life would you rather start a new career or a new relationship?
Neither. Both would be too impractical

16. Do you have a “go to” person?
Not for everything, but yes.

17. Are you where you want to be in life?
I think so.

18. Over the years, what about you do you think has changed the most?
I’m not as bitchy as I used to be.

19. Looking back at high school were they the best years of your life?
No, but they come close.

20. Are there times you still feel like a kid?
No, but I don’t feel like my age either.

21. Where was the hang out spot when you were a teenager?
A café where we went to when we skipped classes.

22. Who do you think impacted your life the most?
My kids.

23. Was there a teacher or authority figure that stood out for you?
There still is, my boss.

24. Do you tell stories that start with “when I was your age”?
No.

25. What is the scariest thing that has happened to you as an adult?
Oh God, they managed to sneak in the “worst fear” question, just in reverse to cover it up.

26. What advice would you give to someone about to get married?
I’m not someone to give advice. Everybody needs to make their own mistakes.

27. What advice would you give someone starting their first job?
I’m not someone to give advice.

28. If you could go back and change one thing you did, what would it be?
I wouldn’t, you never know what would come of it.

29. If you could go back and change one thing someone else did, what would it be?
I wouldn’t, you never know what would come of it.

God, this was boring. I don’t know whether it’s just my boring life or whether it was the boring questions, but now I feel depressed. What a way to start a Sunday!

Article

Weekly Geeks 2009-18: Literary tour

This week’s weekly geeks:

This week, take us on a literary tour of your hometown!
Do you live in a place where a famous author was born? Does your town have any cool literary museums or monuments? Does Stephen King live at the end of your street? Was Twilight set in your hometown?
Share your fun literary facts about the town or area where you live. You can talk about famous (or not so famous) authors who live there, novels that have been set in your area, or any other literary facts that you know about where you live. Feel free to embellish with pictures of places and/or authors, maps of the area, and fun facts about the authors.
As usual, feel free to personalize this. Don’t like your hometown? Pick another! Do you live in a literary wasteland? Feel free to expand and discuss a region. Feel like returning to a place you lived 20 years ago? Go for it!

Nürnberg 1493

Nuremberg is not my hometown, but the city I live in. Nuremberg was mentioned first in an official document in 1050, the document was about the manumission of a female serf. So it has a long history.

Johannes Gutenberg In 1390 the first German paper mill was put into operation in Nuremberg. After the invention of the European printing press by Johannes Gutenberg around 1450 the book culture in Nuremberg was in full bloom around 1500. Albrecht Dürer, who lived in Nuremberg, created wood carvings that were printed in bound books. Book painters decorated books for local rulers, their business was thriving. Albrecht Dürer

In 1640 a Bible was printed in Nuremberg that is known either as Nuremberg Bible or as Ernestinian Bible, because it was printed under the supervision of Ernest the Pious (Ernst der Fromme).

In modern times German authors have started to write detective novels set in Nuremberg. For some reason the location has become quite popular. On an international scale the only book that comes to mind where the location has something to do with Nuremberg is “The Gargoyle” by Andrew Davidson. Some of it, the medieval part, plays in a cloister not too far from here. I described the location in my blog post “book locations: The Gargoyle”.

Then of course, Nuremberg has a well known history connected with burners of books. We all know what the Nazis did with books they didn’t like (and with their writers), so no point elaborating. I’m showing some pictures of buildings that are still around today in my blog post “History location: Nazi party rally grounds“.

Article

Conflict in Blood by Ariel Tachna

Blurb: As the Alliance wizard-vampire partnerships grow stronger, the dark wizards feel the effects and become increasingly desperate to find enough information to counter them, unaware of the growing strain of the blood-magic bonds on the wizards and vampires alike.
The conflict is spreading. The strife of uncomfortable relationships, both personal and professional, is threatening to tear up the Alliance from the inside, despite the efforts of Alain Magnier and Orlando St. Clair, Thierry Dumont and Sebastien Noyer, and even Raymond Payet and Jean Bellaiche, leader of the Paris vampires, who is fighting to establish a stable covenant with his own partner so he might lead by example.
As the war rages on and heartbreaking casualties mount on both sides, the dark wizards keep searching for clues to understand and counter the strength of the Alliance, while the blood-bound Alliance partners hunt through ancient prejudices and forgotten lore to find an edge that can turn the tide of the war once and for all.


My thoughts:
“Conflict in blood” is the third book in the “Partnership in Blood” series and you shouldn’t read this as a stand alone. If you haven’t read the first two books you will be at a loss as to what is going on. I’ll just talk about my thoughts about events and various couples while reading the book.

This contains SPOILERS!

Couples:

Orlando & Alain: It’s time for Orlando to get over all his hang-ups. I know he and Alain met only three weeks ago, but to me the time felt much longer (and I think it also did to the characters). Thank God that towards the end of the book Orlando took some action and started to see this himself.

Sébastien & Thierry: What a great couple. When I started reading Alliance in blood I didn’t care too much for Thierry, but he’s really grown on me. Once he overcame his uneasiness and acknowledged his attraction he was great. Sébastien’s qualms were understandable, but since they were for other reasons than Orlando’s he was much quicker in letting them go. He’s a different calibre than Orlando and I like him a lot.

Luc & Magali: I’d like to see more of them, but am not at all sure this will come to pass, since they are tugged away in Amiens. I liked the little interaction that we got to see.

Jude & Adèle: I understand what’s driving them, and I can relate to a certain point, but the aggressiveness that is underlying every time those two are together is grating on me. They seem to be caught in a lust/hate relationship. The constant fight for supremacy between them is aggravating. When they had sex for the first time, before anybody knew what was going on, I disliked them even more. Once I found out the reason for their behaviour I sort of forgave them, only to find out later that they both had that petty “I need to get the upper hand” streak that I really hated. Adèle even more so than Jude. She is a intelligent, independent woman and shouldn’t let feelings like this get to her in that way. From Jude I didn’t expect anything better considering his background. The scene where he gets his revenge for her leaving him behind earlier was pretty bad. Yeah, she desired it (he tasted that) and enjoyed it (and this he didn’t anticipate; in fact he counted on that she wouldn’t, which makes the whole scene a bit dubious). Those two have found their match, I suppose, but I still don’t like them.

Eric & Vincent: Now here’s a surprise. A nice touch to work in a relationship which is not the common wizard/vampire connection. I suppose those two will play a big part in the last book.

David & Angelique: Another pairing that still have to find a way to settle their disputes. I thought they finally got around to it, but then they regressed into their standard behaviour. Still, from the latest events I understand that maybe there is still hope.

Raymond & Jean: Until the end of book two I had misgivings about Raymond, but I must admit that now he and Jean are almost my favourite couple. The dynamics between them were very good, balanced and they seem to have come into their own. I loved them when they were together.

Antonio & Monique: Good set up. I liked that Antonio found his partner among the enemy and how that worked out later on.

Story:

A point I don’t understand is why no re-enforcements are being called in from other places. The war must concern everybody. It seems that the dark wizards are all in Paris gathering around Serrier, so I would think that getting in more wizards and vampires from other cities (e.g. Amiens) would help the cause. And it also would make more powerful pairings possible.

What was the scene with Christophe about? He wasn’t mentioned again afterwards and neither was his fear of what might happen in the future. Is this some foretelling, so we know to be prepared?

Slowly but surely the loyalty of Serrier’s supporters (which in a lot of cases must be based on that they don’t see a way out of what they’ve gotten themselves into) is faltering. That process was shown in a subtle way, which I appreciated. By now Eric & Vincent would probably leave the minute they see a chance for it. Not necessarily to defect to the militia, but rather just to leave the whole affair altogether. And the way Monique made the switch was more than believable after everything that had happened.

The way Orlando is keeping up is astonishing. I would have expected him to be far less unassailable than he turns out to be. Alain seems to be in a worse state than he. Amazing! But thank God for that. That way the book ended on a positive note – if you can say that considering the trouble Orlando is in and given the fact that the wizards and vampires seem to be at a loss at the moment as to how to proceed to free him.

What I like about the whole story the most is that it is a story that focuses on the people and their interaction. Yes, there is a war going on, and war events play a part, but we are not constantly witnesses of battles and strategy meetings and what not (there are some, of course, but they are not the main theme). What we see most is how the couples deal with what happens to them and with each other. Everybody is entwined with everybody else. What happens to one affects all the others in some way or other.

One thing that made me very happy was that FINALLY someone meeting a really old vampire considers doing more than just sleeping with him. Not once in all the vampire books I’ve read the vampire’s lover / partner/ companion ever mentioned that they would like to actually pick his brain about past events. Except for Raymond. From the first vampire story I read I was wondering why nobody ever asked them anything about historical events or situations that they witnessed. You would think that people would go crazy over the opportunity to get first hand information from someone who was around a thousand or more years ago. Obviously not! Except for Raymond. Because of this I find him even more endearing now.

This was another great read. If you have already read the first two books in the series, “Alliance in blood” and “Covenant in blood” you will certainly pick this one up. And if you haven’t yet, I strongly recommend to get those two first. This series is fantastic. Once more the only drawback is that we have to wait until November to get the fourth and last part of the story.

Available at Dreamspinner Press

Article

A haunted love by J. M. Snyder

Synopsis: Nicholas is working as a re-enactor at a historical colony site. One night when he misses his bus home he meets David, a striking young man dressed in the clothes of the same time period. He takes him for another re-enactor but learns the next day that David is not the glassblower’s apprentice as he stated. He meets him again the next night, but again, after a night in the inn, David has vanished in the morning.

Review: Ghost stories seem to be quite rare. Most paranormal is vampires, weres etc., but ghosts? Not so many.
This was different from what I expected, but in a good way. We don’t learn much about Nicholas, even though the story is told in the first person from his point of view. David appears out of the fog and seems to be as real as Nicholas. There was nothing ghostly about him. He tells Nicholas a few details about his life and there are some clues that he is not what Nicholas takes him for, but for some reason Nicholas dismisses them quickly.

I found this somewhat odd. Of course, nobody expects to meet a ghost, but there were quite a few things that at least should have made Nicholas a bit suspicious as to the nature of his companion. Still, this didn’t take any enjoyment away.

SPOILER AHEAD!

What I liked most about it was the revelation when Nicholas and David met again. Both thought the other man was the ghost. And who’s to say? Both had a life and both thought that the other one always disappeared and left them behind. Like two parallel universes existing next to each other – in fact this was not so much a ghost story, but rather something out of Star Trek.

The ending was even more surprising and a smart way to avoid coming up with a definite conclusion. This was my first book by J.M. Snyder, I’ll definitely check out more.

Available at Aspen Mountain Press

Article

Thursday 13: Song binging

dj_sxc_clix Last Sunday there was a question on the Sunday Stealing meme about one’s favourite song at the moment and I mentioned song binging then. A coincidence, since I had already thought about doing a song binging TT this week. So, here I go.

Song binging is one of my vices. It is probably the one that annoys people the most. Whenever I’m in my car I pick one song and listen to it nonstop, for days or weeks on end. If the passengers happen to not like the song, tough luck. When I’m obsessed, I won’t budge an inch. So these are a few songs I’ve been binging on lately. Some are just songs I like, some are by my favourite artists.  If you’d like to explore a bit more, in most cases I’m linking to a cover version or two as well.

The “just happen to like it” category:

1. Crying Shame by Jack Johnson
I couldn’t find the video clip, if there is one at all, so I decided to link above to the original song, but with awesome drums from a Brazilian guy. Then there is this great cover version from twostep03. I like the way he puts his own spin on it.

2. Babylon by David Gray – and more or less the rest of “White Ladder”.
Cover version by podline6
On the album is also a great cover version of “Say hello, wave goodbye”. I very much prefer it to the original. I found a good cover of that cover by heifdogg

3. Supermassive Black Hole by Muse – look at this awesome live video. Oh, the red suit! Love it.
And here is a cover of the drums and guitar by Esparoba1

4. It’s been awhile by Staind
And an excellent performance by Aaron Lewis on his own. Cover version from Zashnog

5. God put a smile upon your face by Coldplay 
A piano cover from jwkrap

6. Iris by Goo Goo Dolls – the live version from the concert in Buffalo is the best.
And a good cover by beezteez

7. One more time by Daft Punk – I like this one for sentimental reasons.
A live version by Daft Punk and a Daft Punk piano medley by the Napkin Holder

8. Moondance by Van Morrison
There doesn’t seem to be an original version available.  Cover with two guitars from 6K6R, a cover sung by Eric Shelman and one by Charlese Allen.

The “favourite artists” category:

9. Stirb nicht vor mir by Rammstein – one of my favourite bands. This is my favourite song by them, but not your typical Rammstein song.
And the only full cover version from a Brazilian band I could find, which is not bad at all. Contrary to some of those rude comments on youtube, the German is pretty good and the guy has a decent intonation and all. Some people find fault in everything.

10. Behind the wheel by Depeche Mode – my favourite Depeche Mode song
I found this cover version with only a guitar from a French guy called jjyhyhyy. He’s got lots of other DM covers. Really good.

11. Seasick, yet still docked by Morrissey The Smiths are my favourite band of all. I’m not too fussed on Morrissey on his own, I’m afraid, even though I’d love to be. Do you know the feeling when you desperately want to feel something, but just can’t? This song comes as close to the Smiths as is possible. A bit like “Heaven knows I’m miserable now”. Love it. I chose this video because it is a live video from 1992, when the song came out. The original video clip is here. Sorry, no cover here. I only found three, one was a pain for the ears, one was with an e-guitar (sorry, but you can’t do this!), the third was by a woman with a ukulele. Don’t think so.

The “this is fabulous” category:

12. Minor Swing by Django Reinhardt I like the last second, when they sound really pleased with themselves.
Two cover versions. One from ArtFeile and one from Tony Reynold Lopez and Luca Borgia. I love how they play together.

13. Caramel by Suzanne Vega – not only books can be medicine for the soul. This song is simply perfect.
Above link is from a live performance in 1996, unfortunately it is cut off at the end. This one is also from when the song came out with Suzanne Vega playing guitar, this one here is from 2007 and here is another one which, I think, is from very recently. No covers here, I don’t want to spoil this.

I know, I’ve already got 13, but I can’t leave this one out:
14. It’s too late by Carol King, another one of my all time favourites. No covers here, either. I don’t want to search through youtube and listen to umpteen people butchering it before I give up finding something halfway decent.

I hope you liked my eclectic mix and possibly discovered something new.

Here you can find more TT participants.

 

Image above by clix from stock exchange.

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Zombie haiku contest

Lately I’ve seen the new Pride & Prejudice & Zombies pop up everywhere. It seems to be quite good if you can let go of the thought that Jane Austen and zombies don’t go together. I’m not planning on reading it anytime soon, but found a few reviews if anybody is interested.

Anyway, the zombies are among us and now they even have entered the haiku scene. Over at Stumbling over chaos I read about a zombie haiku contest held at Historic Fibers. Head on over and have a look at them! There are some really, really good ones among the entries.

And to help you out in case you ever meet one of those disgusting creatures, here are a  couple of books to help you deal with them.

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The end of the line by Sean Michael

Synopsis: Sam, a homeless veteran with an injured knee, is looking for a job. He finds one in Chance’s feed store, who offers him to stay at his place until he’s found  one of his own.

Review: Chance has been living alone for a number of years. He and Sam are both easygoing, uncomplicated and enjoy each other’s company. Sam feels attracted to Chance and tries to worm some information out of Chance about whether he is gay, while Chance is afraid to admit it since he thinks Sam is straight. The way they pussyfoot around is quite amusing to read.

This is a really pleasant romance of two men, who are not that young anymore, and who find love unexpectedly. I think both have already given up the thought to ever find a partner. Chance had his last steady one when he was in his twenties, Sam, being in the military, has never had one. Both think they are no good catch due to their health issues.

What bothered me was the constant whining about their age. It was always done in a joking manner, but going on about it as often as they did means there must be an underlying truth to it. Please! To be forty something might have meant impending death a few hundred years ago, but not nowadays. You could have thought they both were in wheelchairs and not able to move anymore. In reality they seemed quite fit to me – in and out of bed. Age issues is something I can’t relate to.

The story focuses exclusively on the two men. Other people are only mentioned in passing. There is no outside interference, just a slow building up of Sam’s and Chance’s relationship. If you, like me, like those kind of stories, this will be an enjoyable read.

Available at Torquere Books

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Brackets by AKM Miles

Blurb: Photojournalist Austin Edmunds is something of a loner, preferring his own company to all of the people his friends try to set him up with. A new assignment in the Smoky Mountains might just change all that, though, when Austin meets big, sexy hunk, Brack Edge.

Austin has never experienced an attraction as immediate as the one he feels for Brack, and he loves the scenery and people he encounters in the Smokies. Despite all that, life isn’t all fun and games for Austin and Brack. They take on helping out a local kid with his homophobic family, and Austin has a story to finish. The hardest part might just be how Brack and Austin will handle the fact that Austin is a Manhattan man to the core, and Brack is a mountain boy, through and through. Can they find a way to keep it together?

Review: SWEET! This describes this story in a nutshell. Nothing disturbs the peaceful atmosphere here. Ok, at first, I thought that the few homophobic local rednecks would kick up a big row and pose a major threat, but after a few violent encounters they faded away never to be seen again. Since I wasn’t especially eager to see the heroes constantly fight some idiotic, inarticulate hillbillies, I was happy about that, though.Still, it left me wondering where the guys had disappeared to.

AKM Miles seems to have a thing for instant attraction, quick recognition of soulmates and an even bigger thing for eye contact. This is the second story I read after “Between us” and in both the guys click immediately on so many levels, it is almost spooky. In “Brackets” I especially noticed the frequent eye contact between Brack and Austin. Not that eye contact in itself is unusual of course, but here it turns into something almost spiritual. There is one love scene in which this becomes exceptionally prominent.

Everybody in this story (except for said yokels) is extremely nice, special in certain ways, and flawless. Brack has no faults, Austin has a few issues from the past, but they more or less are dealt with expediently, and the Jenkins family are the kind of good people you only read about, but never meet in real life. The landscape is breathtaking and everything is just too beautiful to be true.

The love scenes (and there were quite a lot) were sensual, loving, not kinky, and just as sweet as the whole book. If you can let go of the belief that people must have some shortcomings and that there must be some kind of tension that keeps you on the edge of your seat all the time, then you will enjoy this immensely.

Available at Torquere Books