Article

The Copier Guy by ardveche

I found the link to this story at Whispered Words. The person who submitted it, falconer, added a short blurb: “The narrator has just accepted the fact that he is gay, after about 20 years of denial. Now the Copier Guy may well the one to help him embrace his sexuality.” He/she added that the plot reminded him/her somewhat of “mw smoker seeks seclusion”, a story I blogged about some time ago.

This is not totally far fetched, but for me the similarities ended on the second or third page. Yes, the first person narrator is gay, works as a secretary and sounds lonely at first, but he’s neither such a terrible cynic as Clyde, nor nearly as snarky or as misanthropic. Actually he is a really nice person and falls for the guy who comes to repair the copy machine – and vice versa. That bit reminded me again a bit of “Special Delivery” by Cassandra Gold. But all that aside, this is a really sweet story. Mike and Scott are such lovable, great characters. They meet by chance, meet again with the help of (clumsy) machinations of Mike and fall in love. This all takes place between Thursday and Sunday. I loved it.

You can get the story for free at Nifty.org or ladiesweb.net.

Article

Mastering Stefan by J. M. Snyder

Blurb: Three years and Stefan’s yet to find that certain someone who can take him to the precipice of lust, dangle him over the abyss, and shove him headlong into the darkness of his own desire. Someone who drives him to the edge but won’t let him fall. Someone he can trust completely, body and soul, someone he can lose himself in. When a local gay bar called the Code hosts a fetish night, Stefan goes looking to be conquered.

There Stefan meets the man of his dreams, known only as “Master.” But when put to the test, can he prove himself worthy of such a man?

My thoughts: I read this book because I’m somewhat in the same position as Val when it comes to BDSM. She explains in a very good post about BDSM and her reluctance to read it why she isn’t a big fan of it and I wholeheartedly agree with her. However she recommended this story in her review of “Mastering Stefan”, so I gave it a go.

I liked the fact that Master was looking for a long term relationship. However, to “test” someone to see whether he is worth it, I’m not sure about that. Master’s name is never given, too impersonal for me. I couldn’t relate to Stefan’s fetish, but I found it interesting to read about it nevertheless. The whole story was sort of cut out of the characters’ everyday life. An episode without an anchor. Admittedly it is a very short story, but had I known a little more about Stefan and Master I probably would have enjoyed it more. But that is just me, I always need lots of background details to get into a story. Still a good read that taught me quite a bit about latex.

Available at eXcessica Publishing

Article

Sunday Stealing: The Heretic Meme

Sunday Stealing: The Heretic Meme

1. Who was the last person of the opposite sex you lay in a bed with? My husband

2. Where was the last place you went out to eat? A mediterranean restaurant, can’t recall the name.

3. What was the last alcoholic beverage you consumed? Argentinian red wine

4. Which do you prefer – eyes or lips? Eyes

5. Medicine, fine arts, or law? Fine arts

6. Best kind of pizza? simple ones with up to three toppings

7. What is in store for your future? Who knows, I’m no psychic

8. Who was the last band you saw live? I can’t remember, but the next band I’m going to see live is Depeche Mode

9. Do you take care of your friends while they are sick? No

10. How many songs are on your iPod? Not many

11. Where is the last place you drove to? Grocery store

12. Where did your last kiss take place? Car

13. What were you doing at 11:59 PM on Monday night? sleeping

14. Are you a quitter? Depends

15. Who was the last person you had in your house? The last person in my house? You mean like a guest? Justin.

15.2. What do you think about people who party a lot? Each to his own

16. Does talking about sex make you uncomfortable? No

17. What was the last CD you purchased? Depeche Mode, Sounds of the Universe

18. What are two bands or singers that you will always love? Morrissey, Dave Gahan and Robert Smith (can’t leave any one of them out, sorry)

19. Which of the seven deadly sins are you guilty of? Obviously none, I’m still alive.

20. How is your last ex doing? He’s fine as far as I know. Why? You want his number?

Article

Weekly Geeks 2009-27: Best movie adaptations

This week’s weekly geeks: With the release of Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince this past week, I thought it would be good to turn once again to movie adaptations. In March, with the release of Watchmen (using that as a jumping off point for discussion), I brought up the subject of worst movie adaptations. This time, I’d like to bring up best movie adaptations (not saying if the recent Harry Potter movie is or isn’t faithful to the book since I’ll be honest I haven’t read the book, but using the subject as a jumping off point for discussion).
So what are some of your favorite movie adaptations of books? Include trailers or scenes from Youtube if you’d like.
Also along with that question, or instead of that question, what book or series would you like to see be made into a movie or movies? Tell us why you think it or they would work as a movie. If the book already has a book trailer, include that, to help make your point.

In general I’m no fan of movie adaptations. I absolutely loved “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy as a movie, in fact I loved it much more than the books. But to talk about LOTR would probably carry me away…So, instead, I decided to talk about a book that we all know, most of us love and whose hero every woman swoons over. 

There are a number of adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, but none is as perfect as the BBC mini series from 1995. Of course, the story is always the same, but in a mini series there is much more time to go into details, whereas a 90 minute movie just can’t cover everything.

The cast is absolutely perfect. I can’t think of a single actor who didn’t fit the part. We don’t need to talk about Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. I have yet to meet someone who complains about him. He IS Mr. Darcy. Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth might be a bit old, admittedly, but I just love her looks and her composed air.

All the supporting characters are cast perfectly as well. Mrs. Bennett and her husband – a wonderful couple. Mr. Wickham, slightly dubious from the beginning. Charlotte Lucas – practical and reasonable to the extreme. And probably the best supporting character, Mr. Collins. That was the first time I saw David Bamber and I just adored him. Mr. Collins was a great bootlicking sycophant. Oh so brilliant. My opinion of David Bamber was confirmed years later when I saw him again as Cicero in “Rome”. Wonderful again. And, of course, the condescending Miss Bingley. I loved her, too. I can’t say enough good about the cast.

So, if you haven’t seen P&P as a movie yet and wonder which one to watch, choose this mini series. You can’t go wrong.

This here is one of my favourite scenes of the whole film, just look at Mr. Darcy! And he doesn’t say a single word…

 

As to the second part of this week’s assignment, I always wondered why nobody ever made a series from the Darkover books by Marion Zimmer Bradley – or at least I never heard of one. I think they would make a fantastic series with lots of interesting characters. The books are not all related and were not written in chronological order, so one could pick and choose to some extent. I for one would love to see them made into movies.

Article

My heart is within you by Marguerite Labbe

Blurb: The power of heart and soul holds the key to the survival of the last of the ancient vampires. Kristair is running out of time. His race has faded away, prey to delusion and deterioration, and his only chance to live long enough to find a cure is to bind his psyche to a human vessel in a long forgotten ritual.
Kristair’s chosen vessel is Jacob Corvin, a man of passionate stubbornness and fierce loyalty; he has captured Kristair’s fantasies so completely that he is both the vampire’s greatest strength and most crippling weakness. Drawing upon Jacob’s spirit and Kristair’s resolve, they each bind a portion of their souls to one other. For as long as Jacob carries Kristair’s heart within him, the vampire can continue his quest.
Just when they have hope, their mission is threatened by The Syndicate, a group of younger vampires who attempt to force Kristair to teach them his secrets before he disappears like the rest of the ancients. Battling both The Syndicate’s attacks and his unexpected need and love for Jacob, Kristair’s strength begins to fade, forcing him to make a decision that will change his and Jacob’s lives forever.

Review: The story is told in alternating first person. One chapter it is Kristair’s, the next it is Jacob’s POV. Even though I’m not a fan of first person, I really liked it like that. Almost always the chapters start exactly where the last one ended. The excerpt should give you a good idea of what to expect.

I used to read a lot of paranormal romance, but usually when it comes to gay romance I prefer contemporary, non-paranormal settings. How come that it seems that my favourite series are paranormal nevertheless? I don’t know, but it’s true. Apart from Ariel Tachna’s “Partnership in blood” series, which is definitely my favourite, this one comes in a close second, even though only one book is out so far. It is the first volume in the Triquetra series.

I’m a total sucker for stories with couples having a mental or emotional connection. Thank God this has nothing of the sappiness that sometimes goes with it. Both men are self-assured, stubborn and don’t budge easily, yet their connection is very strong, they feel a lot for each other and will do anything to make sure the other is alright. I liked how the story developed, the problems they had with Jacob’s friends and the Syndicate. Jacob didn’t give in easily or quickly, but once he did, he was 100% committed.

SPOILER!

I absolutely loved the final confrontation with the syndicate, the fight, even though we only got glimpses of it, since Kristair and Jacob were otherwise engaged. The way Ussier rules his city is pretty impressive, he was a great supporting character. The ending left me totally stumped. I knew already from the blurb of the second book that this is what would happen, still I was speechless. I was very happy to see that Jacob killed Roland so ruthlessly without any qualms and that he was not forgiving towards Tony. I was afraid that he would go and accept what happened without taking some sort of revenge, which, I suppose, would have been the noble thing to do, but no, and thank God for that.

The last paragraph left me hoping for a happy ending some time later on. This was a great way to finish this first volume. Good thing that September is not too far away.

Available at Dreamspinner Press

There is a very long excerpt available that covers the first two chapters.

Article

Recovery by CB Potts

Blurb: Adam can’t wait to get back to civilian life after months of military life in a war zone. Things don’t go as he plans, though, when his Army buddy and lover dumps him without so much as goodbye, and his family starts pressuring him to make decisions he’s not ready to deal with.
When Adam does tell his dad his plan for the future, his father asks him to wait long enough to help out an old friend who lives in Texas, and sends Adam off to decompress some in the back country. There, Adam finds Calvin, a man who knows what it’s like to be lost, and who knows just what Adam needs to find his way again. Can Calvin and Adam clean up Calvin’s land, and Adam’s life?

Review: I read a review of “Recovery Ranch”, which is the sequel to “Recovery”, over at the Literary Nymphs. When I saw that this is another age gap romance I just had to have it. Not that I was too thrilled with the last cowboy books I read, but I hadn’t read anything by CB Potts, so I gave it a go.

This is a short story, which – for a change – did not go medias in res but took its sweet time to get going. In fact it took so long that I was wondering whether there was enough room left for the actual romance. Calvin and Adam meet on page 23 of 60, for me that didn’t leave enough room for the proper development of their romance. The remaining 30 odd pages stretch over quite a few weeks, even though we don’t experience a lot of them in detail. I suppose as far as timeline is concerned Calvin and Adam had enough time to fall in love (they slept together rather quickly), I just didn’t get to read enough about it. Also, in this story the age gap between the two men doesn’t play such a big part and is no cause for tension or anxiety. I liked both characters enough to want to read the sequel, though. Hopefully there will be more focus on the age difference and a possible conflict resulting from that.

Available at Torquere Books

Article

Weekly Geeks 2009-26: Where in the World Have You Been?

This week’s Weekly Geeks asks you to tell us about your globe trotting via books. Are you a global reader? How many countries have you "visited" in your reading? What are your favorite places or cultures to read about? Can you recommend particularly good books about certain regions, countries or continents? How do you find out about books from other countries? What countries would you like to read that you haven’t yet?
Use your own criteria about what you consider to be "visiting" — whether a book is written about the country or by a native or resident of the country.

I don’t read many books that focus on another country as the main subject. They might be set in other countries and reflect the way of living there, of course, but I don’t pick books based on that. I created the map below showing what countries books I read are set in.  My recommendation to read would be “A thousand splendid suns” by Khaled Hosseini, but probably most of you have read it anyway. This book about two women in Afghanistan is a must-read.

Countries I've read about in one way or another

 

Feel free to tell us about any actual world traveling you’ve done in addition to your literary travels.

The map of countries I’ve visited looks a bit different. As you can see I have no clue about the East or the most part of America or Africa or anything really other than Europe and the US from own experiences.

TripAdvisor Travel Map

I’ve visited 82 cities in 14 countries.

Search millions of traveler reviews, articles, lists and forums on TripAdvisor:

Article

WMSmoker seeks seclusion by PirateGrrl

Clyde, a chain smoking, snarky, misanthropic secretary falls slowly and against his will in love with Sam who worms his way into Clyde’s life. The story is told completely in first person from Clyde’s POV and in present tense. Clyde doesn’t change that much in the course of the book, he’s still the guy who hates people in general and his colleagues in particular. The only difference now is that he’s in love with Sam. I absolutely loved it. At a word count of almost 83.000 words it is a long read, so make sure you set apart some reading time.

Get or read it for free at Fictionpress

Article

Weekly Geeks 2009-25: Celebrating Independence

This week’s Weekly Geeks:

Here in the United States, families and individuals are celebrating our independence. Traditionally, July 4th means putting out our flags, watching fireworks displays, going to parades and concerts, barbecuing with family, and beach trips with friends. Fourth of July also makes us think of hot summer nights, summer vacations, and relaxation. In many ways, it signifies the "kick off" to summer. But on a more serious note, it represents the history, government, and traditions of our country.

  1. If you are from another country, other than the United States, share what national holidays are significant to your country. Are any of them similar to our celebration of Independence Day? Are there traditions around their celebration? Do they suggest the beginning of a season or something other than the National purpose?
  2. Go a step further…let’s talk books.
  • Have you read a good fiction or nonfiction book which centers around a country’s search for independence?
  • Do you have any book recommendations which embody the traditions or celebrations of your country?
  • And since the Fourth of July brings to mind summertime … are there any great summer reads you are looking forward to reading over the next month or two?

OK, no. 1. No to all three questions.

Opening of the Brandenburg Gate

Our National Holiday is October 3rd, it’s the day of the re-unification that happened 1990. I’m afraid that in Germany there is no focus on holidays at all. There are no parades, no fireworks, nothing whatsoever to indicate it is a special day to our country. Possibly some politicians might gather for some official service, function or so, but, to be honest, nobody cares. It’s a day off,  you can’t do anything, because everything is closed, and that’s it. Nobody would even dream of throwing a re-unification day party, the idea alone is preposterous. PArts of the Berlin wall are taken down

On the other hand Germany is one of the countries with the most holidays, most of them religious, so we might be a bit desensitized as far as the significance of holidays is concerned.

 

No. 2.

I’m afraid no to any of those either.

I don’t read political books, I don’t read books about Germany, its traditions and celebrations, and I don’t have summer reads to recommend either. I already said that in a previous weekly geeks, that I read what I feel like no matter what the season and the topic of the book.

This was a short Weekly Geeks for me. Read what others have to say.

Article

Weekly Geeks 2009-24: Trivia Time (The solutions)

Here are the answers to the trivia questions.

  1. “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh” by Michael Chabon
  2. “Troilus and Cressida”. Troilus says it to Cressida in Act III., scene II.
  3. His full name is Dr. John Hamish Watson
  4. “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street”. It was rejected 27 times before being published by Vanguard Press in 1937.
  5. James Hilton in “Lost Horizon”
  6. Brunellus
  7. A “beautiful auto-da-fé”. See chapter VI in Voltaire’s “Candide”. In the foot notes it says that the auto-da-fé actually took place a few months after the earthquake on June 20, 1756.

    The phrase “auto-da fé” refers to the ritual of public penance of condemned heretics and apostates that took place when the Spanish Inquisition or the Portuguese Inquisition had decided their punishment (that is, after the trial). Auto de fé in medieval Spanish (and in Portuguese) means "act of faith". The phrase is used most frequently in English in its alternative Portuguese form auto-da-fé. In the popular imagination, "auto-da-fé" has come to refer to burning at the stake for heresy.
    (Source: wikipedia)

Who answered correctly?

Mish was not right, but her deduction was very observant since Othello also deals with the topic of infidelity.

Gavin’s three answers were all correct. 

Sari was right with Lost Horizon.

Jason was right with the Dr. Seuss question and with the question about the auto da-fé in Candide. 

Article

Feathers by Vincent Diamond

I wasn’t too thrilled with it. I liked Brandon’s character, but Ramon’s shilly-shallying really grated on me. He wanted to, but couldn’t go through, and that went back and forth for ages. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but I just didn’t connect with the story at all.

When Brandon couldn’t have Ramon, he went and looked for one night stands who resembled Ramon. Can’t say I cared for that much either.

Lily from I love books gave this a very favourable review, though. So check it out yourself!

Available at All Romance e-books (Publisher Lethe Press)