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Weekly geeks 2009-09 (F. Scott Fitzgerald 2)

Today’s passage is from a short story called "The sensible thing". George is visiting his fiancée (and had to quit his job in order to be able to), who had written him a somewhat disturbing letter.

"So glad you’re here," she sighed. "Wish you never were going away again, darling."

"Do you miss me?"

"Oh, so much, so much."

"Do you – do other men come to see you often? Like those two kids?"

The question surprised her. The dark velvet eyes stared at him.

"Why, of course they do. All the time. Why – I’ve told you in letters that they did, dearest."

This was true – when he had first come to the city there had been already a dozen boys around her, responding to her picturesque fragility with adolescent worship, and a few of them perceiving that her beautiful eyes were also sane and kind.

"Do you expect me never to go anywhere" – Jonquil demanded, leaning back against the sofa-pillows until she seemed to look at him from many miles away – "and just fold my hands and sit still – forever?"

From "The sensible thing" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Surrender love by Kayelle Allen

Synopsis: Luc is sad, depressed and lonely after his lover Wulf left him. When he meets Izzorah, the drummer of a rock band Luc’s company is contracting, he’s smitten – and vice versa. However, Luc and Izzorah both are harbouring some secrets they don’t want to reveal. 

Review: I read this book because the plot sounded interesting and I had read a fantastic review of the book somewhere. Well, I liked some of it, but disliked other parts. It is the first part of a trilogy with Surrender Trust and Surrender Will to follow.

What’s the good stuff?

  • Luc and Izzorah are good characters. I liked them immediately. I understood the reasons they didn’t want to reveal some of their secrets to each other at first.
  • The world Allen built is extremely fleshed out.
  • Good side characters. The band members, Izzorah’s relatives and Luc’s friends and servants. I especially liked the android butler (I usually hate machines acting like people), Nanchonta (I’d like to know more about him) and even Pietas (what a name for such a character!)
  • Good romance with no idiotic misunderstandings. Good communication between Luc and Izzorah.

What didn’t I like that much?

  • World too fleshed out for me. Mind you, I’m totally ok if the world is as complex as anything, but I do not want to have to read a prologue that covers thousands of years of history in order to understand what is going on in a novel. Neither do I want to have to consult the writer’s website to get background info. I understand that Luc appeared in at least one previous book, so there might be more information to be gathered in those other books, but this is the first book of three, so I would expect it to be a good place to start.
    The setting is futuristic, not on Earth, with lots of other species or humans from God knows what planets bouncing all over the place. Just too complicated for me, after all I’m not watching the 75th episode of Star Trek and I know who’s who and who’s from where.
  • The names of people and places were exotic to the extreme. I hardly could remember who is who, just because of the names themselves. Besides, I prefer it to recognize from the name whether a person is a man or woman. Maybe I’m just too narrow minded, though.
  • What is that game Peril about? I didn’t get that at all. What is it good for? Why do they play it? Is it only to pass the time, since the Sempervians have so much at hand? A mystery.
  • I hate love scenes that happen when people are dreaming. Not scenes in which lovers can only come together in a dream, but the ones in which people dream about it, but in the end they find themselves alone. I especially don’t want to read remembered love scenes with an ex.
  • The sexual tension was dragged on forever. Luc and Izzorah couldn’t get together for various reasons, which is fine, but then the release of the tension was sort of an anti-climax (no pun intended). The scenes were cut off so quickly and suddenly the reader found Luc and Izzorah having breakfast hours later. Huh, we’re talking erotica here, I found that strange.
  • Now, Wulf, the whiner. I can’t believe that Luc would be so blind and stupid not to notice that Wulf didn’t like what Luc asked of him (commanded him to do, forced him to do, whatever). Luc didn’t strike me as a man who just pursued his own pleasure without any consideration for his partner. Why Wulf would accept all that crap without enjoying it and never say a word "because of his love" for Luc is beyond me. Was he afraid Luc would leave him? Can’t be, since he left Luc after all.
    Edit: I just realized there is another book out, obviously a prequel, "Wulf". It’s about how Wulf and Luc came together in the first place. It is "a romance that lives forever". NOT! At least in that respect one can’t blame Allen for being unrealistic. The everlasting romance lasted a whopping 5 years.

Don’t know whether I’d read the next book or not. Possibly if the next book is a sequel to Luc and Izzorah I might, just to find out what’s going on. After all, this first book has an open ending (HEA, but with lots of open questions). Also, I’m hoping to find out more about Nanchonta. So, "Surrender love" is a draw for me.

Available at Loose ID

[rating: 3]

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Weekly geeks 2009-09 (F. Scott Fitzgerald 1)

This weekly geeks’ theme is quotes. "One of my favorite Weekly Geeks last year was: A Quote a Day. This will have you pulling books off your shelves and Googling for your favorites. It also means a post a day for the next week – or as many as you can do."

I thought about a theme for the whole week. Claire was talking about F. Scott Fitzgerald this week and I in return mentioned his short stories. I haven’t read them for a long time, but maybe now is the time to get re-acquainted with them.

So, my first quote, or rather passage, for this week is from one of my favourite short stories by Fitzgerald, called "Outside the cabinet-maker’s". A man and his daughter are waiting in the car outside a cabinet-maker’s for the return of the mother who went into the shop.

"Listen," the man continued. "Do you see that house over the way?"

The little girl looked. It was a flat in back of a shop. Curtains masked most of its interior, but there was a faint stir behind them. On one window a loose shutter banged  from back to forth every few minutes. Neither the man nor the little girl had ever seen the place before.

"There’s a Fairy Princess behind those curtains," said the man. "You can’t see her but she’s there, kept concealed by an Ogre. Do you know what an Ogre is?"

"Yes."

"Well, this Princess is very beautiful with long golden hair."

They both regarded the house. Part of a yellow dress appeared momentarily in the window.

"That’s her," the man said. "The people who live there are guarding her for the Ogre. He’s keeping the King and Queen prisoner ten thousand miles below the earth. She can’t get out until the Prince finds the three -" He hesitated.

"And what, Daddy? The three what?"

"The three – Look! There she is again."

"The three what?"

From: "Outside the cabinet-maker’s" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Feeling safe by Sonja Spencer

Synopsis: Larson, a police officer, rescues Calvin from a tricky situation with a burglar in which Calvin was injured badly. After taking him to the hospital he offers Calvin a place to stay for a few days, since Calvin can’t go back to his place. They both develop feelings for each other, but Larson is afraid that Calvin is suffering from a sort of reverse Stockholm syndrome and once he’s got over his initial trauma, Larson will be left behind, heart-broken. Calvin tries hard to convince him that his feelings are real and not the by-product of gratitude.

Review: This novella almost feels like a cabin romance. Even though we are not in a remote location and Larson still leaves to go to his job, Calvin and him mostly are just spending time at home, getting to know each other, reflecting their own feelings and planning how to make this awkward situation work for them. There is hardly any outside input, at least not much that has any relevance for the relationship between the two men.

I’m not a particular friend of stories with cops, ex-cops, detectives etc, which is weird considering that I enjoy reading detective novels. However, in this story it all works out perfectly. Larson and Calvin were attracted to each other right from the start, but due to a lack of clear communication (or rather understanding) they constantly misread the signs. I thought this was a bit odd because, even though one of them expressed his feelings, the other one still didn’t quite get them. Larson was constantly fretting that even though Calvin made it clear how he felt, this would change as soon as Calvin got a grip on his life again.

I liked the characters in the story a lot, even Larson’s cat didn’t bother me. Usually I hate stories with animals (or kids), but here I was ok with it. It had just the right length and was very enjoyable. If you like  stories with a plot focusing on the couple and no outside interference this is the right one for you.

Available at Dreamspinner Press

[rating:4]

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Thursday 13: Book binding

Thursday 13 today is about book binding. Handmade books are wonderful. They look fantastic, feel good and are one of the nicest things to give or receive as a gift. 

Bind it fast. Make or repair books with an easy technique

Free online book binding books

How to make a casebound book

How to make a book clasp

Instructions for various book styles

Single signature book tutorial

Five-stitch-bookbinding tutorial

Case binding tutorial

Glossary of binding terms

Chinese binding styles

You tube video: Bookbinding – a traditional technique

Bookbinding: Start to finish – a flickr set

Hand book bindings from Special Collections in the Princeton University Library

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100 books

I love lists, and this is a great one. I found it at Thorne’s world, who in turn found it on Nicholas’ A Gentleman’s Domain.

"A list of books that the BBC website had shown some months ago.  There are 100 titles in all and the BBC, or whoever is in charge of this sort of thing at the BBC, reckon that most people will have read only six of them." Six is pretty poor, isn’t it? So, let’s see. I’ll colour the ones I’ve read in blue…

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6 The Bible –

7 Wuthering Heights -Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch – George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis

34 Emma – Jane Austen

35 Persuasion – Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne

41 Animal Farm – George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving

45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding

50 Atonement – Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel

52 Dune – Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men- John Steinbeck

62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

72 Dracula – Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses – James Joyce

76 The Inferno – Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal – Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession – AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Bank

94 Watership Down – Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

What a fun list, and what variety! I’m glad, they have Vikram Seth on it, as well as Nevil Shute. I haven’t thought of Donna Tartt’s book for a long time, I must get it out again and re-read it.

 

Actually I just found another 100 books list at BBC which is obviously some reader’s choice list. Also interesting. I’ll go over that one later.

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Need by Sean Michael

Synopsis: Trick, a hustler, is being picked up by Bast. Bast looks like he is 16 at most, loaded and sexy. After a paid night, they meet by accident later again and hit it off big time. Trick more or less moves in with Bast and they have a fabulous time – until Bast decides it’s time to tell the truth and reveals to Trick that he’s a 749 year old vampire. Trick’s first reaction is to run away, but later realizes that he was hurt rather about being lied to, not because of Bast’s actual  "condition". So, off he goes to make up with Bast…

Review: It’s hard for me to write a synopsis. The book basically is about Bast and Trick getting together, separating and getting together again, this time for good. Really good. Bast and Trick are both loveable characters. Trick is street smart, trusts only in himself and has a hard time owning up to the fact that he fell for Bast. Bast looks like a boy, but has seen more than you’d want to know.

Together they are a hot couple. Bast has such a wild need for Trick, it’s not funny. Trick is getting addicted to Bast in the same way. It’s really weird and oddly pleasant. You wouldn’t want to be in their place and at the same time you would. Together they decide that Trick would be Bast’s only source of blood (apart from blood bank stuff), thus becoming his Chosen. This reminds me of the Aveu de Sang between Orlando and Alain in Alliance in blood and doesn’t bode well for the future. I noticed just now that there is a sequel to "Need" out, "Chosen" the blurb of which already hints at interfering, well-meaning friends (a pet peeve of mine) and dark clouds on the horizon. But, since we’re talking about erotica, the problems will be solved rather quickly and we’ll be returning to our regularly scheduled program.

There are tons of love scenes, extremely hot, but I could have done without the multiple partner ones. Unless it is a menage book, I’d rather read about exclusive relationships. Mind you, the thing between Bast and Trick is as exclusive as it can get. They strictly differentiate between their relationship and playtime with others. Maybe Michael thought it was necessary to get that across, but even without those scenes the seriousness of Bast’s and Trick’s relationship came over pretty loud and clear.

Available at Torquere Books

[rating: 4]

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Weekly Geeks 2009-08: political & social issues

This week the weekly geeks talk about political or social issues.

1. Choose a political or social issue that matters to you. If you were a Weekly Geek last May and already did this theme, pick a different theme than the one you did at that time.
2. Educate readers about your topic by telling us a little about it and any involvement you’ve had in this issue.
3. Find books addressing your issue; they do not necessarily have to be books you’ve read. They can be non fiction, fiction, poetry, etc…Give a little synopsis of the book or a link to the description.
4. Use images which you feel illustrate your topic.

I’m going on a rant about the state anti-smoking law now. This is a strictly regional issue, even though, of course smoking affects all of us. Until some time ago smoking over here was allowed everywhere. Then the government decided to do something about the threat to everybody’s health and made the states come up with individual anti-smoking laws. This resulted in a different law in every state. In one state it was allowed to smoke in small pubs, in others you could smoke in discos, but not in restaurants, and in mine smoking wasn’t allowed at all in public places. Our oh so tough government, the protector of the innocent, was proud to have the toughest anti-smoking law in the history of mankind. It was heaven for all of us (except maybe for the smokers, who, from now on, had to go outside for their cigarette, when the rest of their friends could stay inside and continue talking).

Then the elections came and the government received a kick in the butt. Not necessarily because of the anti-smoking law. Smokers meanwhile were reconciled and actually enjoyed their little trips outside to breath in some fresh air together with their nicotine. Lots of issues had pissed the voters off, but the issue that was blamed for the debacle was the anti-smoking law. How to appease the voters better than to change the law back, not exactly to what it was before, but to a vague, foggish sort of parody. Soon it will be allowed to smoke again in some places but not in others (depending on the number of rooms, the sort of food that is being served, and the nature of the establishment). Soon we will all go to a place without knowing beforehand whether it is allowed to smoke or not (unless you have been there before). Soon the time of careless going out with kids will be over. Good to know that our politicians take care of their own.

I didn’t look around for smoking books, but I remembered "Smoke" and "Blue in the face", for which Paul Auster wrote the script. I enjoyed watching them, but thank God I didn’t have to be there. 

 

  

Now, if I look at those cool pictures of Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo, I’m not surprised that people think smoking is great. Aren’t they gorgeous? Just thought I’d show them here, because they look so good.

What’s the attraction of smoking? I found this quote by Jerry Seinfeld:
"Smoking is certainly one of the oddest and stupidest human idiosyncrasies. Why did anyone think a camel is a good product image for a cigarette? I think each one is the equivalent tar of smoking an actual camel. I love the ad campaign they had a few years ago on their anniversary-’75 years and still smoking’. Well, not everybody. I think there might be a few empty chairs at that birthday bash. Maybe the appeal is the fire. There’s something very scary and exciting about fire. People always run to see a fire. They’re very proud that they have a fireplace. This is what smoking is really all about. The power of “I’ve got some fire right here in my hand. Smoke and fire is literally coming right out of my mouth.” and it’s very intimidating to the nonsmoker because it’s like talking to someone who’s going, “My head could open up. Lava could explode out, pour right down my face, doesn’t bother me a bit.”

 

He might be on to something here, because Harold Robbins said: "There’s something luxurious about having a girl light your cigarette.  In fact, I got married once on account of that." However, just remember "The cigarette does the smoking – you’re just the sucker." ~author unknown

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An unnatural worth by Mya

Synopsis: Lexis, a vampire, gets a little too conceited and confident and pisses his elders off. As a punishment his coven turns against him, blinds him and leaves him for dead. He gets captured by humans and, together with other supernatural beings, is being experimented upon in some institution. When some of his fellow inmates make it possible to escape he’d rather stay behind and just die. However, Bryce, a werewolf, has other plans and drags him along. Bryce wants to avenge Lexis – against Lexis’ will -, but as a result of this well-meaning action, his old coven captures Lexis to finish him off for good.

Review: OK, this was different. The whole story is being told in first person. I usually don’t like that I only get one person’s angle, but from an excerpt I knew already that the story was told from Lexis’ point of view. So no complaints here. What was strange for me was that Lexis also is blind, so we never receive any visual impressions, but only Lexis’ feelings and what he experiences by touch or from hearing.
Bryce is totally smitten with Lexis, a fact that Lexis doesn’t recognize. He is totally unaware of his own appeal. On the other hand he feels dependent on Bryce and is quite taken with him as well. The love scenes are hot (I wouldn’t expect anything else) and took some getting used to. The warning on the shop site that the story contained sex in shifted form made me wonder whether I’d like it at all (given my opinion about the Wolf Tales by Kate Douglas), but I went for it anyway. So once I got over the fact that Bryce turned at some point to a certain degree the scenes were quite good, but nothing I’d like to read repeatedly.

What I liked was Bryce’s dedication to support Lexis and his determination to avenge him and help him restore his eyesight. Even though Lexis doesn’t recognize this himself and even fights it, it is just what he needs. Those two certainly make an interesting couple. All in all, this was a good read and the unique perspective made it quite extraordinary.

Available at Loose ID

[rating: 3]

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Thursday 13: Name generators

This Thursday 13 is about generators. Some people think a name makes or breaks a book (see my blog post here). So I thought I’d hunt down a few name generators on the web. They can be fun!

1. Elvish name generator

2. Hobbit name generator

3. Serendipity
Generator for loads of things. Names, places, creatures, characters, novel titles, room descriptions and much more. You can create even Mary-Sues. Here is the one the generator came up with when I did it:

A groundbreaking woman lawyer, Desirée Larousse-Fairfax has vibrant hazelnut orbs and satiny bronze hair, and cannot disguise her streak of white hair. All are awed when she reveals the beauty of a thousand blooming roses. Little does she know she is really Mme. Hucheloup’s long-lost cousin.

4. Vampire name generator

5. Random name generator
for various races, locations etc.

6. The Forge
All purpose fantasy names, creature names, setting and location names, spells, effects and arcane names.

7. Fantasy name generator
Various options to choose from as well.

8. Lovecraftian name generator
Names in the style of, you guessed it, H. P. Lovecraft. More generators available at Seventh Sanctum.

9. Pirate name generator

10. Jedi name generator

11. Generatorland
Lots of fun stuff, e.g. horror movie title generator ("Bounced Checks of the Dwarf"), Twitter status generator for people without a life of their own ("Fundamentally evasive and playing with war machines.") and so on.

12. Band name generator

13. Romance story generator
The following is the first story that came up: This story starts in an electronics store. In it, an illogical fighter pilot is in love with a bandit who is more than meets the eye. It seems a betrayal will bring them even closer together.
Doesn’t sound any stranger than some stories I have read. Maybe this is the secret source of romance writers.

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Hero, Stay & Scars by Jessica Freely

Synopsis: David’s life is at stake when he gets robbed by a few gang members.Fortunately he is rescued by a homeless man who kills one of his attackers. David, who is leading a boring life as a book seller and is craving some adventure, asks him to come home with him, intending to feed him and put him up for a night.Seth turns out to be the perfect man for David. They click on a lot of levels. David is determined to make this relationship work, however, Seth’s traumatizing past is hard to overcome.

Review: The story is told in three instalments.
In Hero, David and Seth meet and spend their first night together.
In Stay, David makes it clear to Seth that he wants him to stay for good. He also finds out that there is more to learn about Seth’s past.
In Scars, after trying to find a job, Seth decides he won’t be a burden to David and leaves. David can’t accept that and tracks him down. He learns more about Seth’s horrifying past and persuades Seth to try to make things work for both of their sakes.

There is one complaint about this trilogy. It is way too short. I do enjoy reading novellas, but the whole plot deserves much more than what we got. OK, can’t be helped now, but I truly hope that we haven’t seen the end of David and Seth. There are some loose ends to be tied up, but besides this, those two guys deserve much more screen time just because.
David and Seth are wonderful characters that I want to know more about. Seth is as tough as can be, but at the same time vulnerable, gentle, loving and caring. How he carried those traits through his life, I can’t fathom,but that he did shows just what a strong personality he’s got. David on the other hand is a bookworm, nothing has ever been going on in his life, he is trusting to the point where you ask yourself whether he is in his right mind, but turns out to be correct with his assessment all along.

The way those two men come and stay together is heartwarming. Seth got out of the hell he’s been in out of his own accord and it is not surprising that he is insecure and can’t believe his luck. David is someone who stands by him no matter what. When he’s told about a previous murder Seth is probably involved in, he hardly bats an eyelid. In other novels that’s the stuff that drives along a plot full of misunderstandings and lack of communication. Not so here and thank God for that. David does address the issue which leads to the revelation of Seth’s past. But he doesn’t have to think twice about his feelings. He accepts what happened and lets nothing stand in between them. I just loved that.

The way Jessica Freely packs the whole plot (and I left out quite a bit) into two short stories and a short novella is amazing. Plus, she writes some hot love scenes on top of all that that feel neither rushed nor crammed in. I don’t know how she managed that. On the other hand, she could have dragged the whole story out into a volume of hundreds of pages and I still wouldn’t have had enough. I still want to read more about how Seth gets vindicated of the murders, how David and Seth go on with their live, how Seth gets a proper job, etc. Just more of everything. Can you tell I’m totally enthralled?

One word of advice: If you decide to get "Hero", just pick up the two sequels right away. After reading the first part, you will want to read right on.

Available at Torquere Books

[rating:5]

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I stumbled upon…#3

Today I stumbled upon…

this Fortune cookie. Love it.

Want to hide something? How to make a hollow book to create a little place for your secrets.

Just some Handsome books to look at.

Don’t like the happy Disney fairy tales? Here are some Gruesome fairy tale origins with not so friendly endings.

Lots of free books can be found at manybooks.net. Among them is one of my favourites, "The enchanted April". They are all downloadable in a lot of different formats.

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Book locations: The Gargoyle

Part of The Gargoyle is set in a cloister in medieval Germany. What I wasn’t aware of is the fact that said cloister was just around the corner from where we live. So I thought we’d go today and have a look at what the location looks like today. Not much of the cloister is still there. In 1565 it was abandoned and the property divided. Engelthal (valley of angels) is a village in the middle of nowhere. I was amazed at the amount of snow there. Where we live the snow is melting and muddy, but up the hills in the countryside there are tons left. Figures that I have to go there in the middle of winter when all the snow services are complaining about the lack of road salt, :-).

This is the parish church that was built around 1270. I’m not sure whether it belonged to the cloister or not. To see a few more pictures, please click on the image or here.

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The sequel to Dracula

Not that this is real news, since the Guardian talked about it already last October, but I only read it in the January issue of Writers’ News. Dacre Stoker, Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew is writing an official sequel to Dracula. The story, set in 1912, will feature characters of the original as well as some that were removed from it and even Bram Stoker himself.

The title will be Dracula: The Un-Dead and will be published this October. Already a film version is planned. Prior to the release a previously un-published version of Dracula will be published in the US and in the UK.

Dacre Stoker intends to "give the novel’s legions of loyal fans [...] the return of the real Dracula."

I can hardly wait.

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The Elf and Shoemaker by M. L. Rhodes

Synopsis: Logan Shoemaker runs an unsuccessful magick shoppe. No customers, no money for the energy bill, no food but instant ramen noodles. All in all, he’s pretty down. Along comes Hallan, an elf from a parallel world, who has been watching Logan through a mirror for nine months now (or rather longer in elf-time) and who finally had the chance to cross over into Logan’s world. Not only provides Hallan Logan with a powerful potion that sells like hot cakes in his shop, but also he turns Logan’s love life – so far non-existent- upside down. However, Hallan lives in a dangerous world he can’t just leave behind.

Review: M. L. Rhodes is starting to become one of my favourite erotica writers. Her characters are so endearing, you can’t help rooting for them constantly. That goes for this story as well. It is classified as a fairy tale and this fits perfectly. A good to the core human, struggling to make a living, elves, an evil usurper king, magical objects, wondrous potions, it’s all there, woven into a great tale (unfortunately way too short for my taste). The love scenes are sizzling hot and leave nothing to be desired; those two guys are just made for each other. One thing I particularly like about the story here is the fact that an issue, that always leaves me wondering, is being resolved in the end. The pairing of an immortal and a mortal person is somewhat dissatisfying in the long run (at least for the immortal one). Thank God, the HEA here leaves Hallan and Logan on equal terms in that respect.

After reading this novella M. L. Rhodes goes on my autobuy list. Do I need to say any more?

Available at Amber Allure

[rating:5]

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Organize your book collection online

Obviously organizing books on your shelves is a popular topic to talk about. Organizing online would be another interesting topic. There seem to be a lot of online communities or sites out there to help you organizing. I use Shelfari and am totally happy with it. I like the various groups and the way I can tag books.

These sites are just a few I found on the net.

Shelfari shelf

Living social
Shelfari
Goodreads
The library thing
Reader²
Gurulib
Lib.rario.us

If you are on Facebook you can also use Visual Bookshelf.

 

Nothing nicer than a well organized book shelf.

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Thursday 13: Book quotes

 For today’s Thursday 13 I’m listing some of my favourite book quotes…

  1. Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.  ~Author Unknown
  2. It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.  ~Oscar Wilde
  3. "Tell me what you read and I’ll tell you who you are" is true enough, but I’d know you better if you told me what you reread.  ~François Mauriac
  4. There are two motives for reading a book: one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it. ~Bertrand Russell
  5. A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face.  It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.  ~Edward P. Morgan
  6. My test of a good novel is dreading to begin the last chapter.  ~Thomas Helm
  7. I’ve never known any trouble that an hour’s reading didn’t assuage.  ~Charles de Secondat,
  8. Books had instant replay long before televised sports.  ~Bern Williams
  9. If you have never said "Excuse me" to a parking meter or bashed your shins on a fireplug, you are probably wasting too much valuable reading time.  ~Sherri Chasin Calvo
  10. A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition. Like money, books must be kept in constant circulation. Lend and borrow to the maximum — of both books and money! But especially books, for books represent infinitely more than money. A book is not only a friend, it makes friends for you. When you have possessed a book with mind and spirit, you are enriched. But when you pass it on you are enriched threefold. ~Henry Miller
  11. The public library is the most dangerous place in town. ~John Ciardi
  12. I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library. ~Jorge Luis Borges
  13. A lot of people ask me if I were shipwrecked, and could only have one book, what would it be? I always say ‘How to Build a Boat ~Stephen Wright
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Souls Deep by M. L. Rhodes

Synopsis: While trying to escape a few killers hired by his family Griffin is shot and rescued by a stranger who saves his life. The stranger, Jarrah, turns out to be a vampire  to whom he feels extremely drawn.  Jarrah, in turn, develops feelings for Griffin and is determined to help him face and overcome his past.

Review: I chose this story for the erotica challenge and I didn’t go wrong here. My synopsis really doesn’t do this novella justice. Jarrah and Griffin are compelling characters who both have a need to find someone to love and who loves them. Both have been betrayed in their past and are very unhappy with their current lives. The way they find each other and after a short interlude find each other again is so heartwarming, you can’t help feeling warm and fuzzy yourself.

The love scenes are hot and sensual, yet at the same time loving. A word about the spanking scene. I usually hate them. To me they always feel stilted and forced, never fit into the context and seem as if just put in the book because the writer felt they had to have one. This is not so in this story. It fits right in and is fun to read. I never thought I’d say that about a spanking but I really enjoyed it, :-).

This won’t be the last story by M. L. Rhodes for me. If you enjoy novellas with a decent plot, hot scenes and deep emotions, "Souls Deep" is a good place to start.

Available at Amber Allure

[rating:5]