Short & shy by Rhianne Aile

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

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

Available at Dreamspinner Press

[rating: 4]



Weekly geeks 2009-09 (F. Scott Fitzgerald 7 – last day)

The last passage for this series of weekly geeks is from "The bridal party". Michael is dancing with Caroline with whom he is still in love. Caroline has recently announced her wedding with Hamilton and this is one of the last occasions Michael can try to change her mind.

"Michael, it’s so nice to be dancing with you again."

He smiled grimly.

"I’m so happy you came," she continued. "I was afraid maybe you’d be silly and stay away. Now we can be just good friends and natural together. Michael, I want you and Hamilton to like each other."

The engagement was making her stupid; he had never heard her make such a series of obvious remarks before.

"I could kill him without a qualm," he said pleasantly, "but he looks like a good man. He’s fine. What I want to know is, what happens to people like me who aren’t able to forget?"

From "The bridal party" by F. Scott Fitzgerald



Thursday 13: Favourite children’s books

kids_shelf My list today is about my favourite children’s books. Not that I read them for myself, even though some of them are wonderful and entertaining, no, I read them constantly to our kids.  Thank God they are big book lovers, both of them. To illustrate this, here is a picture of the book shelf in their room. I think for two boys, age 3 and 5, this is pretty good going.

So, here in random order, my 13 favourites (not necessarily theirs, I might add).

1. Where the wild things are by Maurice Sendak
My top favourite book. Best book ever to read aloud. Only in English though, the German translation isn’t great at all.

2. Tyrannosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson
Absolutely wonderful. We love everything by her, but a few are on this list. We met her once at a reading (or rather playing) in a local bookstore. She was there with Axel Scheffler, who illustrates a lot of her books, and her husband. It was fabulous. I was very impressed with her German, too.

3. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
What can I say? A total hit!

4. The Gruffalo’s child by Julia Donaldson
The wonderful sequel about the big bad mouse.

5. The fox in socks by Dr. Seuss
Our favourite part is "Gooey goo for chewy chewing! That’s what that Goo-Goose is doing." We love Dr. Seuss, but who doesn’t?

6. Green eggs and ham by Dr. Seuss
I read that often in order to get our older son to try food before rejecting it. Doesn’t work.

7. Tiger by Nick Butterworth
Great for smaller kids.

8. Nigel by Carina Axelsson
The illustrations are beautiful, I could look at them forever. And a wonderful story about dragons.

9. A squash and a squeeze by Julia Donaldson
You didn’t think I was finished with her yet, did you?

10. Night Monkey – Day Monkey by Julia Donaldson
I just love those little monkeys and the recurring lines.

11. Milo and the Magical Stones by Marcus Pfister
The same author also did the Rainbow Fish books. In this book, the kid can choose whether he/she would like to hear the good or the bad ending. After the middle of the book, the pages are divided horizontally and you can continue either way.

12. The wizard, the ugly and the book of shame by Pablo Bernasconi
Great story, like a mixture of the sorcerer’s apprentice and Riquet a la houppe. The illustrations, done by the author himself, are different, but awesome. Very stylish and not childlike at all. An additional bonus: A quote by Oscar Wilde at the beginning, not the usual choice for a kids’ book.

13. Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer by Robert L. May
I’ve got an edition that is a reprint of the original one from 1939 with the illustrations by Denver Gillen. It must have been some anniversary of Montgomery Ward in the 1990s when I bought it, I think. It is absolutely lovely, not like those flashy editions you see pop up everywhere. And the kids don’t miss that tacky, colourful style at all, don’t know why publishers nowadays think they have to do everything in wild colours and fancy fonts.



Weekly geeks 2009-09 (F. Scott Fitzgerald 6)

Today’s quote is from one of the most popular stories called "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz". It’s the morning after John’s arrival at the château that belongs to Percy’s family.

"Good morning, sir. Are you ready for your bath, sir? Oh, don’t get up – I’ll put you in, if you’ll just unbutton your pajamas – there. Thank you, sir."

John lay quietly  as his pajamas were removed – he was amused and delighted; he expected to be lifted like a child  by this black Gargantua who was tending him, but nothing of the sort happened; instead he felt the bed tilt up slowly on its side – he began to roll, startled at first, in the direction of the wall, but when he reached the wall its drapery gave way, and sliding two yards farther down a fleecy incline he plumped gently into water the same temperature as his body.

From "The diamond as big as the Ritz" by F. Scott Fitzgerald



The authentic Shakespeare

A portrait of Shakespeare has been unveiled in London a couple of days ago. It is the only portrait painted while Shakespeare was still alive. It dates from 1610 when Shakespeare was 46. The painting has been in possession of the Cobbe family, who is related to the great granddaughter of Shakespeare patron, Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, for centuries. Only in 2006 a member of the family made a connection between their portrait and Shakespeare when he saw the Folger painting of Shakespeare at a travelling exhibition in London. Until then the family thought it was a portrait of Sir Walter Raleigh.

From 23rd of April (Shakespeare’s birthday) the portrait will be displayed at an exhibition in Stratford-upon-Avon.

See the picture here or here



Weekly geeks 2009-09 (F. Scott Fitzgerald 5)

Today I chose two passages that talk about couples where the end came sooner than expected…

His engagement to Irene Rikker was the most unsatisfactory thing in his life; they were tired of each other  but unwilling to put an end to it. Just as, so often, the two richest young people in a town are drawn together by the fact, so Bill McChesney and Irene Rikker, borne side by side on waves of triumph, could not spare each other’s nice appreciation of what was due such success. Nevertheless, they indulged in fiercer and more frequent quarrels, and the end was approaching.

From "Two Wrongs" by F. Scott Fitzgerald


And again from Bernice bobs her hair…

There, for example, were Jim Strain and Ethel Demorest, who had been privately engaged for three years. Every one knew that as soon as Jim managed to hold a job for more than two months she would marry him. Yet how bored they both looked, and how wearily Ethel regarded Jim sometimes, as if she wondered why she had trained the vines of her affection on such a wind-shaken poplar.

From "Bernice bobs her hair" by F. Scott Fitzgerald



VGL male seeks same by Rick R. Reed

Synopsis: Ethan has given up hope to find a partner by going out and looking around in real life, so he decides to give it a go in the cyberworld. Not a bad idea, however, with his user picture, nobody seems to have interest in him. He finds a quick remedy for this by just uploading an attractive man’s image up as his own – and oh wonder – responses to his post start flooding in. One of them is from Brian, who seems to be the perfect partner for him, age, interests, it all fits. However, Ethan sooner or later will have to own up to his little subterfuge.

Review: So far I have never read any erotic story that was paired with lots of humour. So I was very surprised to find myself laughing so hard the tears were streaming down my face. All the little scenes when Ethan was thinking about how to get out of the mess he created, his thoughts about the receptionist in his company, his feelings about Brian’s mail that sounded "stalkeresque" (I have no idea whether this is a word or not, but it sure looks extremely elegant, especially for such an unpleasant action), I just kept laughing.

The way Ethan was hoping for answers, waiting or when the next reply from Brian would arrive, the agonizing over why no reply came in only minutes after sending a mail to him and whether he had said something to put Brian off, it all was very realistic. Everybody who has ever tried to start (or keep up) an online friendship can relate to that.

This was a delightful novella. If you want to take up online dating, read this first!

Available at Amber Allure

[rating: 4]



Weekly geeks 2009-09 (F. Scott Fitzgerald 4)

The following passages are from the short story "Bernice bobs her hair".

"She’s sensitive enough to know she’s not getting away with much, but I’ll bet she consoles herself by thinking she’s very virtuous and that I’m too gay and fickle and will come to a bad end. All unpopular girls think that way. Sour grapes!"

"Oh, my Lord!" cried Marjorie in desperation. "You little nut! Girls like you are responsible for all the tiresome colorless marriages; all those ghastly inefficiencies that pass as feminine qualities. What a blow it must be when a man with imagination marries the beautiful bundle of clothes that he’s been building ideals round, and finds that she’s just a weak, whining, cowardly mass of affectations!"

"First, you have no ease of manner. Why? Because you’re never sure about your personal appearance. When a girl feels that she’s perfectly groomed and dressed she can forget about that part of her.  That’s charm. The more parts of yourself you can afford to forget the more charm you have."

"Young boys too shy to talk are the very best conversational practice. Clumsy boys are the best dancing practice. If you can follow them and yet look graceful you can follow a baby tank across a barb-wire sky-scraper."

From "Bernice bobs her hair" by F. Scott Fitzgerald



Weekly geeks 2009-09 (F. Scott Fitzgerald 3)

Today’s passage is not from a short story, but from "Tender is the night". Dick is telling Nicole about his plans for an oncoming party.

"Nicole," he shouted, "I forgot to tell you that as a final apostolic gesture I invited Mrs. Abrams, the woman with the white hair."

"I suspected it. It’s an outrage."

The ease in which her reply reached him seemed to belittle his megaphone, so she raised her voice and called, "Can you hear me?"

"Yes." He lowered the megaphone and then raised it stubbornly. "I’m going to invite some more people too. I’m going to invite the two young men."

"All right," she agreed placidly.

"I want to give a really bad party. I mean it. I want to give a party where there’s a brawl and seductions and people going home with their feelings hurt and women passed out in the cabinet de toilette. You wait and see."

From: "Tender is the Night" by F. Scott Fitzgerald



What books are you lying about today?

Obviously lots of people lie about the books they have read. According to a recent survey people lie to impress others, even though it is highly unlikely that those others have read the books in question. The two top books people claim to have read when they haven’t are "1984" and "War and Peace".

Other books people have lied about were for example:

  • The Bible
  • books by Jane Austen
  • books by the Bronte sisters
  • books by Charles Dickens

Most astonishing of all is the fact that people claim they have read Barack Obama’s memoirs. Why on earth would you think you can impress someone by reading Obama’s memoirs? Are they already a classic and a must read? Not to my knowledge.

More info on this can be found on the BBC site and The Guardian site.



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



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]



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?"


"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



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




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



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.



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]



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



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]



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.