Thursday, March 28, 2013

Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold, narrated by Kate Reading

Why I listened to it: I loved The Curse of Chalion (scroll down for review) and other Bujold titles I have listened to.  This book is universally recommended by people who have liked those same books - I was also told it was more romantic than Chalion so it was a no brainer really.  I picked it up at Audible recently, initially disappointed that Lloyd James wasn't reprising his narration.  However, Kate Reading has become my new favourite narrator.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  Three years have passed since the widowed Dowager Royina Ista found release from the curse of madness that kept her imprisoned in her family's castle of Valenda. Her newfound freedom is costly, bittersweet with memories, regrets, and guilty secrets - for she knows the truth of what brought her land to the brink of destruction. And now the road - escape - beckons.... A simple pilgrimage, perhaps. Quite fitting for the Dowager Royina of all Chalion.

Yet something else is free, too - something beyond deadly. To the north lies the vital border fortress of Porifors. Memories linger there as well, of wars and invasions and the mighty Golden General of Jokona. And someone, something, watches from across that border - humans, demons, gods.

Ista thinks her little party of pilgrims wanders at will. But whose? When Ista's retinue is unexpectedly set upon not long into its travels, a mysterious ally appears - a warrior nobleman who fights like a berserker. The temporary safety of her enigmatic champion's castle cannot ease Ista's mounting dread, however, when she finds his dark secrets are entangled with hers in a net of the gods' own weaving.

In her dreams the threads are already drawing her to unforeseen chances, fateful meetings, fearsome choices. What the inscrutable gods commanded of her in the past brought her land to the brink of devastation. Now, once again, they have chosen Ista as their instrument. And again, for good or for ill, she must comply.

What worked for me (and what didn't): This book blew me away.  The combination of an exceptional narrator and most excellently plotted story and clever, engaging characters was a total win for me.  There is very little I can say on the negative side, other than that when it ended I felt sad because I wanted it to keep going.  But I can't really criticise that - the story was told after all. It's just that I wasn't ready to let go.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Family Man by Heidi Cullinan & Marie Sexton

Why I read it:  I had this one pre-ordered.  Cullinan and Sexton are two of my favourite m/m romance authors.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  Sometimes family chooses you.

How does a man get to be forty without knowing whether he’s gay? That’s a question Vince Fierro is almost afraid to answer. If he is gay, it’ll be a problem for his big, fat Italian family. Still, after three failed marriages, he can’t help but wonder if he’s been playing for the wrong team.

There’s only one way to settle it, once and for all—head for Chicago’s Boystown bars, far from anyone who knows him. Naturally, he runs smack into someone from the neighborhood.

Between working two jobs, going to school, taking care of his grandmother, and dealing with his mother’s ongoing substance abuse, Trey Giles has little time for fun, let alone dating someone who swears he’s straight. Yet after one night of dancing cheek-to-cheek to the sultry strains of Coltrane, Trey finds himself wanting to help Vinnie figure things out—no promises, and no sex.

It seems like a simple plan, until their “no-sex” night turns into the best date of their lives and forges a connection that complicates everything.

What worked for me (and what didn't): Vince Fierro has long had an attraction to men but his strict Catholic upbringing meant that he pushed those desires firmly away. He was so deep in the closet he didn't even realise he was in it.  But, after three divorces, he decides maybe it's time to explore his attraction to men and see where that takes him.   

Monday, March 25, 2013

I'm over at AAR & AudioGals today...

I have audiobook reviews in today's Speaking of Audiobooks column of Rush by Maya Banks and Breaking Point by Pamela Clare

PLUS I have a review of Calculated in Death up at AudioGals.

Come say hi. :)

Lover At Last by JR Ward

Why I read it:  I received a review copy from the publisher.  I read and enjoyed the first few books in the series and I own all the rest.  But, I stopped reading the series at Phury's book - it was sooo long and the series was heading away from PNR and more into urban fantasy territory.  I have been hearing about Qhuinn and Blaylock for a while now though and I was so excited that a mainstream publisher was printing an m/m romance.  That, in itself would have been enough to make me want to read it.  I caught up on the series using cheatsheets put together by Decadence at Book Thingo.  Fair warning, my opinion may be is no doubt coloured by not having read all the books in the series.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  Qhuinn, son of no one, is used to being on his own. Disavowed from his bloodline, shunned by the aristocracy, he has finally found an identity as one of the most brutal fighters in the war against the Lessening Society. But his life is not complete. Even as the prospect of having a family of his own seems to be within reach, he is empty on the inside, his heart given to another....

Blay, after years of unrequited love, has moved on from his feelings for Qhuinn. And it’s about time: The male has found his perfect match in a Chosen female, and they are going to have a young- just as Qhuinn has always wanted for himself. It’s hard to see the new couple together, but building your life around a pipe dream is just a heartbreak waiting to happen. As he’s learned firsthand.

Fate seems to have taken these vampire soldiers in different directions... but as the battle over the race’s throne intensifies, and new players on the scene in Caldwell create mortal danger for the Brotherhood, Qhuinn finally learns the true definition of courage, and two hearts who are meant to be together... finally become one.

What worked for me (and what didn't): This is a long book - nearly 600 pages - but if you expect wall to wall Qhuinn and Blay you will be disappointed.  There are various plot threads advanced - a little bit from Beth and Wrath, some from Xcor and Layla, Layla and Qhuinn, Assail and a new lady by the name of Sola, Trez and iAm, the lessers, Wrath's reign, changes to the laws - it's all happening.    In amongst it, is the romantic culmination of Qhuinn's and Blay's story.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Short Soup by Coleen Kwan

Why I read it:  I received a review copy from the author.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  A story about best friends, childhood dreams, and the healing power of Chinese food…

Toni Lau and Dion Chan were connected from birth — first via their parents’ jointly-owned restaurant, then via their bone-deep friendship. But children grow up, and Toni leaves their sleepy hometown looking for more than it can offer.

Now Toni is back, raw with the knowledge that not all childhood dreams come true. Dion is on the brink of realising that both his own ambitions and his childhood friend have the power to derail all of his hard work. But loving Toni — and winning her love in return — has always been on his wish list. Can Dion really put her on the back burner while frying up his chef dreams? Or is it possible that together they can come up with a recipe for happiness?

What worked for me (and what didn't): I liked this little book.  The style was engaging and fun and, at just over 100 pages, it was an easy evening's read.  Toni and Dion are both Australians of Asian descent and the mix of Australian culture and Chinese culture was a bonus in the book.

I really enjoyed that no attempt was made to "Americanise" the text - I don't think US readers would have a problem with understanding it and it made me feel more at home.  It was after all, an Australian romance, set in Australia.  It should sound Australian don't you think?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Too Stupid To Live by Anne Tenino

Why I read it:  I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  It isn't true love until someone gets hurt.

Sam’s a new man. Yes, he’s still too tall, too skinny, too dorky, too gay, and has that unfortunate addiction to romance novels, but he’s wised up. His One True Love is certainly still out there, but he knows now that real life is nothing like fiction. He’s cultivated the necessary fortitude to say “no” to the next Mr. Wrong, no matter how hot, exciting, and/or erotic-novel-worthy he may be.

Until he meets Ian.

Ian’s a new man. He’s pain-free, has escaped the job he hated and the family who stifled him, and is now—possibly—ready to dip his toe into the sea of relationships. He’s going to be cautious, though, maybe start with someone who knows the score and isn’t looking for anything too complicated. Someone with experience and simple needs that largely revolve around the bedroom.

Until he meets Sam.

Sam’s convinced that Ian is no one’s Mr. Right. Ian’s sure that Sam isn’t his type. They can’t both be wrong . . . can they?

What worked for me (and what didn't): This book was a whole lot of fun.  It's more than just funny but it is certainly that.

I have the prequel books on my reader (they're available free from ARe) but haven't read them yet (no time!).  Given my enjoyment of this story, I don't think there is any need to have read the earlier stories.  Given my enjoyment of this story, I definitely plan to read the earlier stories.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Captive Prince Vol 1&2 by S.U. Pacat

Why I read it:  I read a post by the author on Anna Cowan's blog a while back and that put the book on my radar.  More recently, my tweetstream has been going wild for it so I had to read it.  

Note: Even though  this is two books, I'm reviewing them together.  Volume 1 isn't a complete story and Volume 2 can't be read as a stand alone.  Volume 3 isn't out yet (sadly) or I'd probably be reviewing that at the same time too.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  This was Vere, voluptuous and decadent, country of honeyed poison.”

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos, but when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Beautiful, manipulative and deadly, his new master Prince Laurent epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is at it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country.

For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reasons to hate him than anyone else...


 “This was Vere’s most powerful lords unfurling their banners for war.”

With their countries on the brink of war, Damen and his new master Prince Laurent must exchange the intrigues of the palace for the sweeping might of the battlefield as they travel to the border to avert a lethal plot.

Forced to hide his identity, Damen finds himself drawn to the dangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgling trust between the two men deepens, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them the crowning death blow...

What worked for me (and what didn't): I don't suppose the basis of this story is terribly original.  A stranger in a strange land learns to appreciate another society and experiences changes in himself from his exposure to difference.  The concept is not new.  But in romance, that is very common.  There are only so many tropes after all.  It is all in the delivery.  And, here, we have a gem.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold, narrated by Grover Gardner

Why I listened to it:  I loved Shards of Honor so much I wanted to listen to the next one to see what happened next.  Luckily it was on my TBL.

What it's about:  (from Audible)   Political intrigue, culture clash and romance make a stirring mix in this award-winning follow-up novel to the acclaimed Shards of Honor.

In the wake of interplanetary war, former commander Cordelia Naismith has deserted her own planet to marry the leader of the defeated enemy, Aral Vorkosigan. On his home planet of Barrayar, two rival factions are eyeing the recently vacated throne, and Aral, recently appointed Regent of Barrayar by the Emperor on his deathbed, must stand between them. 

Lord and Lady Vorkosigan, Aral and Cordelia struggle to establish stability in a fragile government thrown into confusion by the transition of power and the threat of civil war. When a palace coup endangers the government, their lives, and her unborn son, Cordelia takes action to secure the safety of her new family and new home.

What worked for me (and what didn't): I have been so fortunate in my reading and listening this year.  Soon I shall worry I'm getting soft.     Following on almost immediately from Shards of Honor, Barrayar is the story of what happens when Aral takes the post of Regent for the young emporer Gregor.  Barrayar is politically unstable and there are a number of opportunists who would like to take advantage and grab power for themselves.    Cordelia and Aral are expecting their first child and there is risk to the child, herself and her beloved husband. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Down and Dirty by Christine Bell

Why I read it: I received a review copy from the publisher.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  He was a dare she’d never been able to resist…

Cat Thomas has never been the kind of girl to stick. A self-professed infatuation junkie, she latches on the newest, hottest guy on the block, then finds a reason—real or imagined—to dump him. When she accepts a dare to rekindle her high school flame and jump in bed with her brother’s best friend, Shane Decker, she knows she’s in trouble. She can’t resist the man, even after all these years apart, and that just won’t do.

Shane has come back to town for a couple reasons. The biggest one? He’s tired of living away from those he loves, including Cat. But now she’s spooked and will do anything to drive a wedge between them, including trying to fix him up with other women through an online dating service.

What does he have to do to make her see that settling down doesn’t mean settling, and he’s ready to spend a lifetime proving it?

What worked for me (and what didn't): I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Down For The Count - I liked the author's style so I expected I'd like this one.  I did, but with some qualifications around story and characterisation.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wolf With Benefits by Shelly Laurenston

Why I read it: I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  Ricky Lee has no plans of getting serious about anyone, but he will protect Toni Jean-Louis Parker. Not just because he’s been hired to do so, but because it’s the right thing to do. And if that means traveling around the country with one complicated She-jackal, dealing with chocolate-eating wild dogs, instigating trouble between his brothers, and having the most amazing sex he’s ever had…well, who said his job didn’t have perks?

Toni doesn’t know how she keeps getting herself into these situations. But even she has to admit there’s something about Ricky Lee Reed that she finds kind of interesting…and downright sexy. Now they just have to survive long enough to figure out if what they have is worth fighting for…

What worked for me (and what didn't): I confess I haven't read any of the previous 7 books in this series.  Looking back, I think that put me at a disadvantage.  There were a lot of characters in this book.  A lot.  I lost count at 30.  Toni has 2 parents, 10 siblings and a best friend, Ricky Lee has 3 siblings plus his mother and various cousins and there are multiple other characters who play a part in the book.  Trying to keep track of them was difficult at first.  And, because there were just so many of them, the set up took a long time.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Take It Off by LA Witt & Aleksandr Voinov

Why I read it: I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  Turnabout is foreplay.

High-end Market Garden rentboys Tristan and Jared have found their niche. Men are willing to pay good money to watch Tristan tease Jared, and the two of them seduce London’s elite with sex and power games.

Except Tristan is less and less interested in getting money out of the johns these days. He wants his partner in crime, and he wants the seduction to be real. But is Jared just in this for the pay?

When Rolex, the john who started it all, returns to Market Garden, the boys jump on the opportunity to service him—and each other—for a fresh pile of cash. Rolex isn’t the only one itching for a rematch, though. Jared’s been waiting for a chance to get back at Tristan for teasing him so mercilessly the first time.

And for a former stripper, revenge is a dish best served extra hot.

What worked for me (and what didn't): In my review of the first book Quid Pro Quo, I mentioned that Tristan was not well known because it was told from Jared's point of view.  Delightfully, this story is told from Tristan's perspective so I feel I have a better handle on the couple now.  I know from the first book, that Jared was very attracted to Tristan.  In this book, which takes place some little time afterwards, Tristan has found himself smitten but is uncertain of Jared's affections.  Because there has been some time which has passed and Tristan acknowledges that he recognised Jared's crush earlier, the reader is left in somewhat delicious doubt of Jared's affections - just as Tristan himself is.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Once a Brat by Kim Dare

Why I read it: I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  Experienced dominant Marcus has a stalker. On the plus side, the boy following him around his local leather club is gorgeous and a self-professed submissive. Unfortunately, he’s also inexperienced, bratty, and liable to drive Marcus insane within his incessant chatter and questions.

Bret Daniels fell head over heels with Marcus the moment he first saw him. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to get Marcus’s attention and prove his worth as a submissive. He might not be a traditional sub, but he knows he has a lot to offer a dom who can handle his quirks.

When Marcus gives in and agrees to do a scene with Bret, sparks fly. One scene quickly becomes another, and another. But will it be a case of once a brat, always a brat? Bret intends to prove to Marcus that—expectations and experiences aside—he deserves his master’s collar. 

What worked for me (and what didn't): The blurb gives fair warning there is insta-love from Bret to Marcus and insta-love is not my favourite thing.  I like to read romance for the courtship and the emotional connection.  In some books, there can be instant feelings but there is still time and interaction for the feelings to develop and to sell them to me as the reader.  The problem for me with this book was that the interaction was almost all sexual and, while the scenes were very hot and well written, there wasn't much interaction outside of that.  Bret and Marcus didn't have much by way of conversation.  I didn't see them falling in love, at least not Marcus falling for Bret.  I was told it happened by didn't see why.  There was certainly a sexual connection but that is a very different thing IMO.  I knew that Marcus generally avoided relationships but I didn't know why.  And, when he decided to break that rule for Bret, other than the sub's persistence, I also didn't see why.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Delusion in Death by JD Robb

Why I read it: I've had this on my TBR for some time and decided I should read it before Calculated in Death turns up on my iPod. Not a hardship.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  'What would cause someone to want so many people, surely many of them strangers, to slaughter each other?'

The scene that greets Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her team one terrible evening in New York is more shocking than any of them have ever witnessed. A usually comfortable downtown bar is strewn with bodies - office workers who have been sliced, bludgeoned or hacked to death with the nearest weapon available. It appears they all turned on each other in a desperate blinding rage.

As Eve and her husband Roarke - who owned the bar among his many properties - investigate the big-business workers of the city, they link the attacks back to the Urban Wars and the chemical warfare used all those years ago. With another slaughter imminent, Eve must turn to unexpected sources in order to stop a killer who is getting revenge by creating mass carnage...

What worked for me (and what didn't): I'm an unabashed fan of the series.  I find the storytelling reliably good and, having read all the previous books, I feel like I know the characters well - not just Eve and Roarke, but the secondary ones too.  It's a little like catching up with family for me.  And I'm still not sick of it.  Not in the least.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Where Nerves End by LA Witt

Why I read it:  I've had this one on my TBR for a while, having bought it shortly after it was released.  After reading some other Tucker Springs books, I wanted to read all of them.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  Welcome to Tucker Springs, Colorado: Population, 70-something-thousand. Home to beautiful mountain views, two respected universities, and a ridiculously high cost of living.

Jason Davis can handle a breakup. And an overwhelming mortgage. And a struggling business. And the excruciating pain that keeps him up at night thanks to a shoulder injury. Handling all of it at once? Not so much. When his shoulder finally pushes him to a breaking point, he takes a friend’s advice and gives acupuncture a try.

Michael Whitman is a single dad struggling to make ends meet. When a mutual friend refers a patient, and that patient suggests a roommate arrangement to alleviate their respective financial strains, Michael jumps at the opportunity.

Living together would be easy if Jason wasn’t so damned attracted to Michael. Good thing Michael’s straight, or the temptation might just be too much.

Well, their mutual friend says Michael is straight…

What worked for me (and what didn't): I quite liked this book.  I enjoyed Jason and Michael's relationship and their mutual friendship with Seth.  (Seth's getting his own book soon - Covet Thy Neighbor - cannot. wait.).  It was certainly sexy and I enjoyed the slow build of the sexual tension.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Why I read it:  I picked up a review copy at NetGalley.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads):  Anna remembers a time before boys, when she was little and everything made sense. When she and her mom were a family, just the two of them against the world. But now her mom is gone most of the time, chasing the next marriage, bringing home the next stepfather. Anna is left on her own—until she discovers that she can make boys her family. From Desmond to Joey, Todd to Sam, Anna learns that if you give boys what they want, you can get what you need. But the price is high—the other kids make fun of her; the girls call her a slut. Anna's new friend, Toy, seems to have found a way around the loneliness, but Toy has her own secrets that even Anna can't know.

Then comes Sam. When Anna actually meets a boy who is more than just useful, whose family eats dinner together, laughs, and tells stories, the truth about love becomes clear. And she finally learns how it feels to have something to lose—and something to offer. Real, shocking, uplifting, and stunningly lyrical, Uses for Boys is a story of breaking down and growing up.

Warning: There is a sexual assault in the story – it isn’t violent but if you have triggers, beware.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I would categorise this as YA rather than romance, although there is a romantic thread near the end and there is a hopeful ending, the book is more about Anna’s journey, so don’t expect the traditional romance arc.  (For example, the “hero”, Sam, doesn’t show up until around the 2/3 mark of the book.)  The story is told from Anna’s first person POV and I wasn’t quite sure how reliable she was as narrator – at least in relation to her relationship with her mother. Perhaps it is that I don’t want to belief that her mother could be that self-absorbed and selfish.  Perhaps it is that there is some inconsistency with how Anna’s mother acts toward the end of the book and what Anna tells the reader about her at the start.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I'm over at AAR today with

2 audiobooks reviews in the Speaking of Audiobooks column.   There's plenty other stuff in the column from Lea and other reviewers too.  Come say hi :)

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

Why I read it:  I received a review copy from the publisher.  I *may* have done a happy dance when I opened the package.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  Shapeshifter Mercy Thompson's life is calming down, at least enough that she can focus on mundane matters like Black Friday sales. But on her return, Mercy is unable to contact her mate, Alpha Adam Hauptman, or the other members of their pack. All she knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. With the werewolves fighting a political battle to gain acceptance from the public, Mercy fears Adam's disappearance may be related - and that he and the pack are in serious danger. Outclassed and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from the most unlikely of allies: the vampire seethe.

What worked for me (and what didn't): Patricia Briggs delivers again.  How does she do it?   With every book I get a bit scared that it's not going to live up to expectations.  And then she blows me away. Again.

The intricate plot went unexpected places (why does this surprise me?) and challenged me just enough that I had to concentrate in places but not enough for me to get lost.  Someone kidnaps the wolves (How you ask? Well, there is an explanation and Adam won't let it happen again, you can be sure of that.) and Mercy is left scrambling to protect those of/associated with the Pack left behind (namely Kyle, Ben, Jesse, Gabriel and his family) and try and locate Adam and the other wolves without creating an interspecies incident which could lead to problems for the Pack.

"Tranq. Arse."  that one wasn't as clear, but I could understand him and assumed the last word was a location and not and epithet. Though with Ben it was a risky call.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold, narrated by Grover Gardner

Why I listened to it:  I've had this on my TBL for a while and I was in the mood for a fantasy (although in this case, it's really more sci-fi) romance from a reliably good author and I had it on good authority that the narrator was awesome too.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  Cordelia Naismith, Betan Survey Captain, was expecting the unexpected: hexapods, floating creatures, odd parasites... She was not, however, expecting to find hostile humans on an uninhabited planet. And she wasn't really expecting to fall in love with a 40-plus barbarian known to cosmopolitan galactics as the Butcher of Komarr. Will Mother ever understand? And can such an odd beast as love survive an interplanetary war?

What worked for me (and what didn't): Quite a few of my reader friends have recommended the Vorkosigan saga books to me.  This book had been sitting on my TBL for quite a while and I finally found the space to listen.

The story is told in Cordelia's third person POV and I was a little disappointed when at the beginning of the listen it became apparent that she was going to be stuck with a very deep male voice for the whole book.  Grover Gardner has a low baritone and he doesn't even attempt a female voice.  While I appreciated there was no drag-y falsetto, it took some getting used to to "hear" Cordelia in that deep rumble.  But, my friend Brenda told me that the narrator was awesome and the book was as good so I bore down and kept going.  I'm so glad I did.  After a while, the deep voice stopped bothering me because Gardner conveyed the character so well in other ways.  Even though there was little difference between Vorkosigan's voice and Cordelia's, their characters were so different and distinct, that I had littel difficulty in identifying who was talking.  I realised that my friend was right. Gardner is an awesome narrator.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

February Round Up

on Paper/eBook

Rule of Three by Kelly Jamieson - B  Very good m/m/f menage story where the characters actually talk about their relationship, their plans and (begin to) address potential traps which may arise.  Most of the book is spent developing the relationship and changing it from an m/f/m to an m/m/f.  As unrealistic as I gather they are (I understand from Twitter - my source of all the important information - that polyamory is mostly a couple who each (or maybe just one) have separate relationships with others - a triad is apparently kind of unusual), m/m/f are my favourite type of menage stories.  I felt there is more "equality" to the relationship where all three feel love and sexual desire for the other rather than the concept of the 2 guys "sharing" the woman.   The most unfortunately named Dag* is Chris' best friend from college.  He has been out of town, having left after realising his unrequited love for Chris would remain so.  He believes Chris is relentlessly straight.  Even though they have shared a lot of women together, there has never been any touching of man bits.  Chris and Kassidy have been dating about a year and have just moved in together.  They are very much in love.  Kassidy develops feelings for Dag, he develops feelings for her and Chris eventually recognises his feelings for Dag.  Lordly it is a sexy book.  I devoured it in virtually one sitting.  The writing was good; Ms. Jamieson has a very entertaining style.  I would have liked more about their life together as a triad, a bit more about some of the practical difficulties and how they would deal together - this stuff was only just brought up at the very end and, while there were discussions, I wasn't sure how it would work in practice and I wasn't sure if Chris would actually talk more about his feelings (something he struggled with the whole book).  How would Kassidy's parents react?  What would happen if there was some jealousy which arose?  Are interactions between 2 of the 3 okay or do all 3 have to be there?  To be fair, this was the getting together book, not the how it works book, but I can't say I wasn't curious.  Anyways, I enjoyed it quite a bit.

*I don't know if it means the same thing here as in the US, but a "dag" is a bit of sheep's dung caught up in the wool around their rear end and it's NOT what I want to be thinking of in a sexy book. Especially a sexy book where there's backdoor activity, if you know what I'm saying.

Hotel Pens by Geoffrey Knight - B  Very good m/m short about travel writer, Joe Jordan, who broke up with his lover some time ago and has been lonely ever since.  Because of his job, he's always in hotels and he's a keen collector of their pens.  While in New York for work, he meets Claude, a French ex-pat who is living at the Beacon Hotel and translating m/m romance books into French. Claude courts Joe and teaches him a thing or two about love, himself and New York by writing various messages in pen on Joe's body in a kind of scavenger hunt.  I found the writing overall to be engaging and sensitive and I liked how as Joe rediscovered New York, he rediscovered himself also.  I was also happy that Joe had things to offer Claude and it wasn't all one-sided.  The story was very short (56 pages) and ends in a HFN ending.  I wondered what would happen to the couple after - Joe is still a travel writer after all, but maybe there will be further stories for these two?  The author is Australian but I think he's definitely been to New York, there is a great sense of place in the book.