Goodreads

Erin's bookshelf: read

Private Pleasures
Vampyres of Hollywood
HellFire
Religio Duplex: How the Enlightenment Reinvented Egyptian Religion
Four: A Divergent Collection
Fated
Mighty Dads
Cuffed, Tied, and Satisfied: A Kinky Guide to the Best Sex Ever
Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming
Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self
The Casual Vacancy
Middlemarch
Middlemarch
Midnight Crossroad
Play Him Again
Just My Typo: From
This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl
Reasons My Kid Is Crying
Crave
Christianophobia: A Faith Under Attack


Erin O'Riordan's favorite books »

Saturday, November 22, 2014

American Girls Beforever: 'The Roar of the Falls' by Emma Carlson Berne #kidsbooks

The Roar of the Falls: My Journey with KayaThe Roar of the Falls: My Journey with Kaya by Emma Carlson Berne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is exactly the kind of book I hope my 10-year-old niece will read. She'll like it because it has horses. I like it because a) it emphasizes the qualities that go into making a good leader and teaches girls (and boys who read it too) how they can effectively become leaders, and b) it's a realistic depiction of what life was like for the Ni-Mii-Puu (or Nez Perce, using the French term) people in the late 1700s.

This is the second Beforever book I've read (see my review of the Rebecca book The Glow of the Spotlight), and I really liked the way these stories help 21st-century girls step into the shoes of girls just like them who lived in different historical times and places. I wasn't a fan of the "choose your own adventure" books when they first became popular, but these are a lot more fun.

I received this book at no cost to me in exchange for a review through the Amazon Vine program. This review represents my own honest opinion.

View all my reviews on Goodreads


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Jane Slayre: The Literary Classic with a Blood-Sucking Twist

Jane Slayre: The Literary Classic with a Blood-Sucking TwistJane Slayre: The Literary Classic with a Blood-Sucking Twist by Sherri Browning Erwin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've long been a fan of monster mash-ups; you get all the fun of rereading the classic, plus the fun of the supernatural twist. This is an especially good one. I started reading this around Halloween.

I love that it includes the whole Jane Eyre story - unlike the erotica mash-up Jane Eyre Laid Bare: The Classic Novel with an Erotic Twist, which disappointingly excludes the St. John Rivers story. In Browning Erwin's telling, St. John is the Daryl Dixon of the tale, slaying vampires and werewolves with a crossbow of his own invention. Zombies have also come into play, but their fiercest slayer is Jane herself. Saving people and hunting things is the Slayre family business.

This book does include the line "Reader, I buried him," causing me to laugh out loud - but fear not, the happy ending is still intact. In short, this is the monster mash-up done right.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

I purchased this book with my own funds from Better World Books and was not obligated in any way to review it.

Next, I'm going to read Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead. It's the fifth book in the Vampire Academy series.



Sadly, the Frostbite movie campaign failed to find funding, so even if I enjoy Spirit Bound (doubtful, since I hate Strigoi!Dimitri), I'll never see it reach the big screen. 

You know what I think could have saved the Vampire Academy movie franchise? Letting Misha Collins play Dimtri. He already answers to the name Dimitri, because it is his name. I don't even care that he's 40 and not 25. Let Dimitri Belikov be older; let his relationship with Rose seem that much more inappropriate. 

No offense to Danila Kozlovsky (age 29); I still think he's gorgeous. 

Допускается использование материалов и фотографий в соответствии с лицензией Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0. При использовании обязательна ссылка на сайт.
It's just that American audiences aren't all that familiar with Russian actors, even if I really wouldn't mind getting familiar with Danila. 

Oh, well, Maybe the Vampire Academy series can do what A Series of Unfortunate Events is doing and continue on as a Netflix web series. (Squee!)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

'Pray the Gay Away,' Despite Its Title, Is a Pro-#LGBTQIA Romance

Pray The Gay Away (A Southern Thing, #1)Pray The Gay Away by Sara York

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this young adult/high school romance novel about the new kid in town who gets involved with a popular football player. The edition I read has some typos, but I didn't think they distracted me too much from the story. The author can also get a little heavy-handed with the "prejudice against gay teenagers is bad" message, but that's okay too, because I really liked Andrew (the new kid) and Jack (the jock) as characters.

But I also understand why these kinds of stories are important, because sadly, abusive parents are still an issue faced by LGBTQIA youth. (ALERT: Jack's father is physically abusive toward him, and Andrew's parents punish him by starving him. This book may be a trigger if you are sensitive to reading about abuse and/or issues around eating.)

This is only the first book in a series, though. I hope Jack and Andrew get the happily-ever-after they're planning for and dreaming of. They're really a good couple. What York has written especially well in this novel is the gradual way the guys go from physical attraction to falling in love. It's realistic and it makes for a satisfying reading experience too.



I downloaded this book to my Barnes and Noble Nook when it was available for free on the B+N website. I was not compensated for this review, which represents my own honest opinion.

Bonus: You can change the name "Jack" to "Dean" and "Andrew" to "Castiel" and read this as a Destiel high school AU.

View all my reviews on Goodreads and check out Sara York's blog

Friday, November 14, 2014

Paranormal Romance: 'Caressed by Ice' (Psy-Changeling #3) by Nalini Singh #FridayReads


Goodreads Summary: "Nalini Singh explores new heights of sensuality, returning to the world of the Psy - where two people who know evil intimately must unlock the good within their icy hearts...

"As an Arrow, an elite soldier in the Psy Council ranks, Judd Lauren was forced to do terrible things in the name of his people. Now he is a defector, and his dark abilities have made him the most deadly of assassins - cold, pitiless, unfeeling. Until he meets Brenna...

"Brenna Shane Kincaid was an innocent before she was abducted - and had her mind violated - by a serial killer. Her sense of evil runs so deep, she fears she could become a killer herself. Then the first dead body is found, victim of a familiar madness. Judd is her only hope, yet her sensual changeling side rebels against the inhuman chill of his personality, even as desire explodes between them. Shocking and raw, their passion is a danger that threatens not only their hearts, but their very lives..."

When I read the first book in this series, Slave to Sensation, I thought, "Wow, Nalini Singh is REALLY talented." I wrote on Goodreads:

"More, please! I could totally get hooked on the Psy-Changeling series. It's like the movie Equilibrium, but instead of the entire society having no emotions, the Psy co-exist with humans and changelings. This book introduces us to DarkRiver, a pack of big-cat shifters (mostly leopards) and SnowDancer, the werewolf pack. This is a PNR, so it's a foregone conclusion that panther Lucas and Psy Sascha (who shouldn't have feelings, but does) will end up together, but there's also a thriller element: a serial killer has Brenna, a member of the wolf pack, and Sascha is desperate to help find her and bring her back alive. Everything is at stake for Sascha and Lucas, which made this a very compelling read. It was one of those books I read slowly because I didn't want it to end."

However, I wasn't nearly impressed with the second book, Visions of Heat. I was afraid I would have to abandon the Psy-Changeling series because I got so bored with that book. My faith in Singh was restored with this third novel, though, and I think it's because this time, the Psy is the man and the changeling is the woman. It seems much less formulaic than the second book.

Plus, Judd Lauren is a hot, hot wounded hero. I like the boys when they're badly damaged. I didn't imagine Judd looking at all like the cover model above, on the edition that I own. The French edition shows him as looking a little more like I imagined.


...which is to say, a little bit like Jeremy Renner.

Shapeshifters are always fun, and a werewolf heroine makes for a sensual twist. But it's almost too bad I started the Psy-Changeling series instead of Singh's Guild Hunter series. That series has vampire hunters and angels. The Goodreads description for the first book, Angels' Blood, ends with, "For when archangels play, mortals break." So like Destiel fan fiction (my latest obsession), but hetero.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Perks of Being a Marketing Wonk

I've survived the first week at my Exciting New Day Job. The bad news is, I have much less time to read than I used to when I was a freelancer/telecommuter. The last book I bought was the collector's edition of Divergent, but I don't know when I'll get a chance to actually read it.


Another perk of working in the marketing department of a corporation: free glossy magazines that come in with the advertising crew. Yesterday I picked up a copy of Four Two Nine with Alan Cumming on the cover. Cumming - the bisexual Scottish actor who played Mr. Elton to Gwyneth Paltrow's Emma Woodhouse in the 1996 adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma, among many other roles - has recently had his memoir, Not My Father's Son, published.


The GLBTQ magazine also features some lovely poetry by Tom Capelonga, including a poem called "Altar Boy." The Catholic altar boy in question here is Capelonga himself as a young man, He writes:

"No surface in this church
reflects me back at myself,
the clever little gay boy
in ill-fitting cassock

"Mysterium tremendum
before the congregation
ringing bells to accompany
wincing refrains of

"sensitive and
               not-like-most-boys.

"Whittled to two dimensions
I lay bricks around my heart
to temple the faceless presence
missing from the gospel.

"Madonna in her brown slip
dances on the altar

"when you call my name
                 it's like a lit-tle prayer

"beside monuments
to what's available:
Achilles, Patroclus
Saint Sebastian
and James Dean,
depending on whom you ask.

"What joy, to profane
This ungentle shrine
from the right hand of the father,
to find comfort in transgression

that I might someday dance
laurel-crowned
at funerals for what
they thought
I'd become."

That's a powerful statement. The speaker grew up in a religion that sought to deny and destroy him, but he found a path to survival and self-expression anyway, and he subversively found ways to celebrate the gayness that was an unquenchable part of his own experience even in a repressive environment. I feel like this poem deserves a hug and a "go, boy."

Another good news is I now have almost two hours every weekday to listen to audio books in the car. I hope my local library has a good selection of smutty romances on CD. That's what I'm really in the mood for, and it's unfortunate that smutty fanfics do not come in audio book format.

One that I particularly like right now is "Imagine Dean Praying Dirty Things to Castiel." Yes, let's imagine that, shall we? The writer's handle is "deansvagina." The fic is tagged as "plotless," which means it's just porn. The writer writes, "This is the first gay smut I've ever written so sorry if it sucks. It's quite short too. -Oli," (I'm thinking "Oli" is short for "Olivia" or something similar and that the writer is a woman, but I don't really know.)

Well, it's a little bit of a diamond in the rough, but it doesn't suck. Some of its yummier bits include:

* One time, when Dean was having sex with a woman, he called out Castiel's name by mistake - but Cas was ignoring him that day and didn't hear it.

* Dean is watching guy/guy porn and imagining himself with Cas.

* "He couldn't help himself-the too close touches, the almost kisses, longing glances. He wanted the angel so bad."

* This time, while Dean is watching porn and touching himself, Cas can hear quite clearly that Dean would much rather being doing lovely things to the angel than to himself.

* Cas shows up just in time to watch Dean finish. They kiss. Cas is aggressive, shoving Dean against the wall. But Dean would really rather be the one in charge, so he shoves Cas back toward the couch and gets on top of him.

* Soon they're naked, or as the writer puts it, "free of clothes and skin to skin." It's really hot. Dean has his mouth on Cas and his fingers...exploring...places. He wants Castiel to talk to him and tell him how good it feels, but Cas is only communicating in noises. So Dean backs off a little bit and makes the angel beg.

* Then, the angel buttsex. So hot. I've been imagining Cas on top, but Dean on top is very, very good, too.

*Afterward, a little bit of cuddling on the couch - but not on the same couch that now has a rather noticeable angel cum stain on it.

My next dilemma will be figuring out what to use my Destiel decal on.


I ordered this from frostovision on Etsy.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

STAY WITH ME by LAYNA PIMENTEL #BDSM #Erotica

BLURB

Master Alex is furious when a friend’s submissive invites a naive stranger to his party. With his reputation on the line, he must keep her out of trouble and away from curious Doms. Observing signs of interest from her, he leads her down the path of wicked temptations. However, when his ex-sub pushes her way back into his life, he tries to find a balance between his discreet life and his public one.

Mercedes is fearful of the world she’s stepped into, but the curiosity of what pleasures lie beyond keep her interested in far more than the play. All is going well until a jealous woman convinces her she’s out of her league. Desperate to regain control over her life and heart, she pushes Alex away.

Will these two manage to find their way to each other, or is their relationship doomed from the moment they meet?



EXCERPT

Mercedes popped an eye open to see the candle nearly burnt out. I don’t remember lighting this last night. Oh! The weight of a large arm wrapped around her, and the sheet hung off the edge of the bed. Alex! He spent the night.

He groaned into her ear as she adjusted her position. As she did so, there was a knock at her door. Mercedes gently lifted his arm and rolled out bed, grabbing her silk robe from behind the bedroom door and glancing at the time on the digital box, which read eight-o’clock.

Who the hell could be visiting so early? She’d paid the landlord three months in advance, and she hadn’t really met anyone to expect house calls.

From behind the door she called out “Who is it?”

“It’s me, dummy. Poppy and Brian.”

Shit. What now? “Poppy, it’s not really a good time. I was sleeping.”

“Just open the damned door. We won’t take up too much of your time. We just want to make sure you’re okay.”

Mercedes sighed. Reluctantly, she did as she was asked, and they made their way inside. “I’m sorry I don’t have any coffee, guys. I haven’t even been here long enough to go grocery shopping.”

“That’s all right, sugar. We only stopped in to see how you were holding up after last night,” Brian spoke up.

“I’m fine. Really. Though it was a shocker that Poppy would even think to invite me. But, as you can see, I made it home safe and sound, eventually.”

Never mind the fact that she had walked into a sick joke by Alex’s ex-sub—or whatever the heck she was called—Mercedes wouldn’t forget last night any time soon. The moment she had a chance to take up the issue with Poppy, she would. But not until they were alone.

As she sat across from her company in the armchair, Mercedes clenched her butt cheeks and relaxed them. She couldn’t get comfortable with the damned plug in her ass, and squirming or pouting wasn’t going to make it go away any time soon. Shoot! I forgot that was still there. “Is there any reason why this conversation couldn’t have waited ’til a more decent hour? Christ! It’s Saturday, and I had a long night, if you hadn’t noticed.”

Brian smirked and peered around her to look on the dining room table where Alex had left his jacket. “You never told us you had company.”

“Well, that’s because you never asked. Last I checked, I didn’t realize I had to inform you.”

He snorted, patting Poppy on the knee. “You’re a cheeky one. I can see why you and Poppy get along so well. We’ll be on our way.”

“So soon? I thought we might all go out for breakfast,” Alex announced from the bedroom door, wrapped in nothing but the bed sheet.

Mercedes flushed like a child caught with her hand in the proverbial cookie jar. Great. Now, everyone knows the kind of things we’ve been doing together.

“Christ, Mercedes. There’s no need to be shy. We’re all adults here. Now, come in here and get dressed so we can go out for some food. After that, I’ll take you to the grocery store.” Alex nodded to his friend. “Brian, how about you and Poppy meet us at Alessandro’s family diner?”

Mercedes was so embarrassed by the chance meeting between her friends and lover that she couldn’t meet his eye. I can’t believe he just did that. He might as well have stood there naked. Mmm…now there’s a thought.

Alex prancing around her apartment in the nude made for perfect entertainment. Who needed art to hang on the walls, when one swift look at his impeccably well-kept form was pleasurable enough? Just how did I get so lucky? If someone would have told her a week ago, that she’d move back to her hometown and find herself in the arms of a handsome, built, and uber sexy gentleman, she would have called them a liar.

She wasn’t exactly the perfect zero, or whatever the preferred size of women was these days. She was a healthy size twelve, with large boobs and a generously curvy butt.

For years, she had struggled with weight loss and trying to keep up with the social norm. But no matter what fitness center she joined, or fad diet she tried, her svelte body always came back. She’d practically given up thinking that anyone would accept her body for what it was. That is, until now.

Ugh. Must think positive thoughts. Alex…naked…

She imagined reaching forward and yanking the sheet from his body. Damn. Today is shaping up to be a good one.

WHERE TO BUY

Secret Cravings Publishing: http://goo.gl/1hRYvz

Amazon (U.S): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HLRD822/

Amazon (Canada): http://www.amazon.ca/Stay-Me-Layna-Pimentel-ebook/dp/B00HLRD822

Amazon (U.K): http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00HLRD822/

All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-staywithme-1387008-147.html?referrer=6bdb1f9160564c0525b41f36e51861a0

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/395595?ref=cw1985


BIOGRAPHY

Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Layna discovered her love of reading at an early age. When she isn’t devouring salacious romance novels or writing, she enjoys losing herself in researching ancient history and mythology, weaponry, and hiking. She lives in Northern Ontario, with her husband and two daughters.

Layna is a member of the Romance Writers of America, creator of the Romance Author at Large blog, and is a monthly contributor at 69 Shades of Smut. For updates on her upcoming releases, or to leave her a comment, you can find at:

Blog/Website: www.laynapimentel.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/LaynaPimentel

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorLaynaPimentel

Sunday, November 2, 2014

My Favorite Women of 'Californication'

The hubby and I recently finished watching all seven seasons of Californication on Netflix. I didn't love the show, mainly because the two main male protagonists, Hank Moody (David Duchovny) and Charlie Runkle (Evan Handler), are misogynistic, unrepentantly racist douchebags. (Unrepentant racism was also a problem with Weeds, a show I liked better than Californication despite its flaws.)

The main female protagonists, Karen and Marcy, aren't much better. Karen is ridiculously indecisive. Marcy has a serious cocaine addiction and a mean streak. Mia is a thief who perpetrates a literary fraud, and a troublemaker in general. (A troublemaker isn't necessarily a bad thing, and there's a part of me that feels for Mia.) They're difficult women - interesting and complex characters, to be sure, but still not very likable as written. Methinks the team of writers was overburdened with testosterone.

Instead, my favorite women of the series are:

1. Becca Moody. By far the most sympathetic character on the show, Karen and Hank's musically talented daughter's biggest fault is her terrible, terrible taste in boyfriends. (One of them is played by The Perks of Being a Wallflower's Ezra Miller. He was a cheater.) Can we really blame her, though? Karen and Hank are hardly good role models of adult relationships. I'm not judging them for non-monogamy, which I do not have a problem with, but for their reckless attitudes toward other people's feelings and disregard for the consequences of their actions.

Becca is played by Madeleine Martin. She's a beautiful young woman (born in 1993, so currently aged 21) with the sweetest, most musical voice. If you watch Cartoon Network, you may know her as the voice of Fionna on Adventure Time.


2. Jackie. Played by Susan Sarandon's daughter, Eva Amurri Martino, Jackie is a recurring character in my favorite season, Season 3. She's a student in Hank's creative writing class by day and a stripper by night. Like her mother (on whom I have a perma-crush, no matter her age - loved her as the futuristic shamaness in Cloud Atlas), Amurri Martino is absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. My favorite thing about Jackie as a character is the way she draws attention to the fact that strippers - a job too often degraded, along with all the forms of sex work and related jobs - are human beings, not things to be used and discarded. Go girl.


Like many of the fictional characters on this list, Jackie is never given a last name. In general, if a character isn't given a last name, that means the character doesn't get much development in the series. It's telling that a male character is much more likely to be fully named on this show.

3. Faith. Played by Maggie Grace, Faith came along in Season 6, when Hank is in rehab for his serious drinking problem. (It doesn't work.) Faith is a muse, inspiring rock musicians to write beautiful songs. She acts as Hank's muse when he has to turn his novel-turned-movie into a rock opera. His work sucks, but that probably has to do with Hank's limited productivity rather than with Faith.

You may remember Maggie Grace from such films as Twilight: Breaking Dawn Pt. 2 and such TV shows as Lost. In the Twilight Saga, she was the vampire Irina. She ran to the Volturi to tell them about what she thought was an immortal child, and her reward for trying to do the right thing - at least in her mind - was death. On Lost, as Shannon she overcame her spoiled, selfish, manipulative nature and fell in love with Sayid, and her reward was death. Her characters have no luck.*

4. Jill. Hank's TA (teaching assistant)/one of several lovers in Season 3 is played by Diane Farr, who also wrote The Girl Code. She doesn't just play a smart cookie on TV, she's an actual smart cookie. Jill No Last Name represents women who are very, very smart and also highly sexual, with no contradictions between the two aspects to their personalities. Also, she is absolutely gorgeous.



5. Trixie. Another working girl, Trixie No Last Name the call girl is played by Judy Greer. Greer deserves to be a Hanukkah Hottie, and she should have a bigger fandom than she does. She's played a few roles I find particularly memorable, including Fern/Violette in a '90s cult classic, Jawbreaker, and the one you'd least suspect of being a werewolf in a stupid horror movie that I love, Cursed. (Okay, I really just like the part where Milo Ventimiglia tries to kiss Jesse Eisenberg.) She's also an author.


Trixie is a sex worker because she loves sex. Like Jackie, she helps humanize and give dignity to women that society traditional considers unacceptable.

6. Pearl. Played by Zoe Kravitz (our beloved Christina from Divergent), Pearl is not a love interest of Hank or Charlie, but rather the friend and bandmate of Becca. Their fictional band is called Queens of Dogtown, whereas Kravitz's real band is called Lolawolf. Lolawolf is a mixed-gender trio, but the Queens of Dogtown are an all-woman group.


7. Sue Colloni. The most outrageous and over-the-top of the characters listed here, Sue Colloni is an agent Charlie comes to work with after he's fired from his previous job for excessive masturbation at work. She's played by Kathleen Turner with outrageous aplomb, because Colloni (as she likes to call herself) knows no shame. Why should she? She knows she's the best, even if her working relationship with her artists is highly unconventional and unabashedly sexual. Colloni represents the woman who's old enough to know what she wants and go for it.

*Shannon and her stepbrother Boone (played by Ian Somerhalder pre-Vampire Diaries, who by the way is currently dating Nikki Reed from the Twilight movies) are an example of a more socially acceptable incestuous fictional character pairing, as we discussed here, because they are not biologically related. These types of pairing make up a subgenre of erotica called pseudo-incest. And I'm not judging you if you're into it.