piranha: red origami crane (Default)
this was a very welcome relief from a string of truly execrable crap i've been reading lately.

larger than usual because it's probably my favourite mm cover of the year so far. catt ford did it (catt can write AND do good covers; impressive).

blurb: Conrad Muller's heart is the center of a web of friendships, fights, and love lost and found in a close-knit group of gay men in Orange County, California. Six months ago, Conrad died, and his organs were donated for transplant. A month later, Conrad's lover, Christian, receives a letter from the recipient of Conrad's donated heart.

Christian can't stop thinking about the letter, and he's not the only one affected by loss. Conrad's best friend Eban is also brokenhearted, and he's struggling with his lover Damien, who has always resented living in Conrad's shadow. Though Conrad is gone, his friends and his lover will have to cope with their grief to move on and find new love.

that blurb is a bit dry when compared with the actual book, *little snrk*. read more; i tried to make it non-spoilery )
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
genre: homoerotica, gay romance, m/m

i won't buy the book in paperback solely because i am reducing the square footage my books cover, since we're still gonna move onto the boat some day, i hope. but here's another good example of why the current model of ebook licensing publishers force on us is crap: if i could buy this ebook for other people, i would buy several copies, because this is an example of what m/m can be at its best. does anyone need more reasons why otherwise law-abiding people pirate? will publishers ever learn this? not holding my breath.

summary blurb: Ever since Chris Bennett graduated high school a year ago, he's been trying to figure out what's next. His lifeguarding job has kept him busy, and in southern California, poolside isn't a bad place to be. But he's spent most of his time thinking about Seth, the former classmate who became something more for a few brief moments last summer. Now Seth is back, but he seems to be running toward Chris and running away from him at the same time. Meanwhile, Chris is increasingly drawn to Alex, his gorgeous new neighbor who puts up a sexy, confident front but may be harboring a few romantic demons of his own.

covers with 3 men on them always make me hope for a good polyamory read, of which there are sadly all too few. alas, it was not to be -- but i didn't mind at all (except that i kept wondering how the writer would get there, because once my mind drops in a rut, it really keeps, uh, rutting, *sigh*). anyway. no polyamory, no threesomes. but solid, believable, fully realized characters, a lovely romance which takes its time to develop and never becomes too gushy (these are actual guys, not bishonen uke in disguise), a plot line that doesn't trod the same fallow ground as so many, and loads of hot sex.

i didn't like all the characters equally, mind. while i initially grokked why he acted the way he did, i ended up not too fond of seth, and i am not sure i'd buy a book in which he is the protagonist (then again, i might, since i was this impressed by the writing). i'd buy a book with marty, alex's long-time friend though!

also, tiniest of quibbles: does anyone else have trouble telling characters apart when their names have the same number of characters? it seems even the author got confused a little, because the actors are accidentally reversed in a couple of places. it seems odd to me that this would confuse me because "chris", "alex", and "seth" are all quite different from each other, but i did have to re-read chris/alex scenes at times to remind myself of who was who. anyway, no biggie.

all too often in m/m i am faced with the choice of either hot sex or great story. not here; the book delivers both. very satisfying read, no complaints.

i'm now gonna buy everything rachel west has written. unfortunately that's so far only one other book, but i am sure hoping there will be more.

you can read the first... 94 pages (wow, that's some excerpt) at google books.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
the most sex-positive thing i've seen in ages. and adorable. also hotter than hot.

warning: no full frontal nudity, but men making out. which might not be what you would be watching at work, or while your grandma is visiting.

francesco d'macho (tattoos on arm and back) and adam killian (tribal tattoo on left hip). i have no idea whether they're involved with each other; they're porn actors -- wow. i've never seen such enjoyable porn, ever; it feels real.

via jesus_h_biscuit. why can't all porn be like this?
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i think the books that irritate me the most are those that have a story seed of something valuable and characters i could come to care for, which then gets squandered bit by bit until nothing is left.

i thought i'd give claire thompson another chance, despite my prior disappointment with masked submission. this time i read golden boy, the story of johnny wilson and eric méndez.
long, even for me, and contains some explicitly sexual language )
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
albeit in more muted colour schemes.

smut that annoyed me:

claire thompson's masked submission. dylan is searching for something more, something deeper than random play scenes, and he thinks he might have found it in tomas, a mysterious, masked dom he meets at an exclusive BDSM club. they have a definite connection, and dylan falls in love -- except even at their closest tomas will not unmask himself, he remains distant and that hurts dylan.

the rollercoaster ride of his new love and the submissive feelings it brings out in dylan make him confide in his thesis advisor jack, who's come out as gay and dominant to him during their blossoming friendship. jack seems to be developing deeper feelings for him, and things come to a head after a drunken tumble in bed. but dylan can't give up his fantasy love, and jack has ... secrets.

ok, so overall this isn't all bad (if a bit overly dramatic at times), which is probably why the big scene towards the ending really really annoys me. there's the usual amount of squick because of too much pain (which i don't grok) and too much humiliation (which makes me a bit nauseated), and this book didn't help me feel less squicked, but that's not what i am talking about. no, what's stuck in my craw is that after all the talk about trusting in your dom even when the dom really pushes your comfort envelope -- trusting even when you're very much afraid, because your dom has promised he will be there and watch over you, and have your back, _this_ dom isn't there and isn't watching, he leaves dylan in the hands of other people, and dylan almost gets badly hurt (and not in the good way).

now, it's not totally swept under the carpet because the dom rides in as a knight in shining armour at the last moment, and feels guilty afterwards and promises himself to never let this happen again, but if i had been dylan, i would have ripped the dom's face off, and it would have been a long time before i would have trusted him again. because this wasn't a small oversight or some unforeseeable accident; the scene was planned this way, and the dom's vetting of the other people was terrible -- everything was about pushing dylan (and consequently making himself look good), but he seemed to put no thought into keeping dylan safe while pushing him way beyond his comfort zone. and this after he'd already gone through one major trust issue with dylan (which he also fucked up).

grade-A prick. it spoiled the entire relationship for me. it also turned dylan into a doormat, and i rather liked him at the start.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)

running from me at buttertubs marsh. i wonder about that bright red colouration -- what's that good for? mate attractor? it really draws the eye, and makes the turtle NOT blend in with the environment.


6-17 long mailbox loop, 2.41 km, 0:27, new personal best. note to self: do NOT start doing this, checking the timer at the bottom of the hill and then pushing yourself up that last bit just to beat your previous time. you know what that leads to, and it's not good for you. take the seconds off that time above. there. better.

insomnia with smut reading apparently leads to me walking faster. *snrk*.

best smut read:

sean michael's catching a second wind. dakota lost his life partner of 16 years less than a year ago, and he thinks he's coping pretty well, considering. but there's something just not right with him at work. as a veterinarian he's got to occasionally euthanize an animal, and while that was never something he liked doing, now it leaves him shaking and hurling his guts out. his partners in the practice think he should see a psychologist. he's not keen on that, but what the heck. ben, the psychologist, turns out to be sympathetic, a good listener, and a fine looking man, even if he asks uncomfortable questions.

this wasn't actually a real smut read for me. not because the smut is bad, it's in fact quite good. but because stories in which people have lost their life partner bring up memories, and those memories don't go well with smut. the story itself is very good, and i'd recommend it to anyone -- except, you know, the m/m smut which is not everyone's taste. *wry grin*. all the mixed feelings dakota has about getting involved with somebody else so soon, the agony of the loss, the guilt of living, the quandary of having a new lover in the place built with the old. dakota is very well written. ben is maybe a little bit too good to be true -- even psychologists get the blues, and a tad more insecurity wouldn't have hurt for somebody just out of college; he felt like a much older, wiser man to me. but i didn't care that much because i could identify with dakota's feelings and because i was ruminating over my own memories. it was a very satisfying read because so much of it rang true for me even if the details were completely different.


Jun. 14th, 2008 21:52
piranha: red origami crane (Default)


6-14 jack point, 4.73 km 1:43, elevation gain 305m. the good part was the light on the way back. the not-so-good part was the sun in my eyes all the way out; forgot about that. tide was in, so no puttering around tidal pools. saw ravens chase a bald eagle. newly blooming: alumroot, couple of as-yet mystery plants.

best smut read:

mike shade -- dust and violets -- jason bought violet house, a run-down victorian, in order to restore it to its former glory. when he settles in and explores, he finds out that no prior occupant stayed for long in the house, and the neighbours think the house is haunted. but jason doesn't believe in ghosts. it's probably mice, or squirrels, or a racoon that keep moving his stuff around. and the cold drafts the source of which he hasn't found yet -- well, old houses are drafty. but some of those breezes are ... interesting, to say the least.

i don't usually care a whole lot for supernatural stuff, but this one was touching. also, hot. :) the house is almost a character in itself, and i really enjoyed that -- but then i also love watching this old house. i had a bit of a problem with the crisis -- the way it was done i didn't see it coming and didn't understand why jason did what he did, and i think it could have been foreshadowed much better. but i liked the resolution, and am fine with it being somewhat open as to whether joshua really is who jason believes he is.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
when i read fiction, i generally love it when something unexpected happens, when people find interesting ways to deal with whatever life throws at them, where relationships don't always end in happily-ever-after, where the most important thing isn't necessarily a romantic relationship. i love it when i learn something from fiction, when it makes me think.

when i read romance, i want a goddamn happy ending where boy gets boy, even if boy and boy fight at the start, or in the middle, or all through the story. but they damn well better end up together if i've angsted with them for 200+ pages.

when that doesn't happen, no matter how amiable the breakup, no matter even how necessary the breakup for one of them, i feel cheated, and i get cranky. i allow myself to wallow in the angst much more so than i do in general fiction, because i know it'll all be relieved by the end. romance is comfort reading. and it's not comforting to feel all the angst and then not receive the expected resolution.

if this had been non-romance fiction, it would have been quite decent, and i'd say "well done", because sometimes love just isn't enough, and other factors must overrule one's heart if one's ever to find any peace, and grow as a human being. even if the other person has done nothing wrong, sometimes the dynamics just don't work out despite all people trying their hardest.

but it was a romance, and damn you, julia talbot, for depriving me of my happy ending *whiny grump*. i am totally pissed off at kevin, and never want to read anything about him again. and i don't care whether ross finds somebody else in the next book. i don't even want to read it. my heart aches.


ETA: talbot julia, the thatcher series: 1. jumping into things, 2. landing with both feet, 3. taking the leap -- it's #2 with which i have the problem; #1 is interesting and got me easily attached to the 4 main characters as well as their dogs (julia talbot is clearly a dog person, *little grin*).


piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

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