Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Hanukkah Hotness, Night 4: Kat Dennings

Happy 4th night of Hanukkah! Tonight's Hebrew hottie is Kat Dennings.



(Sometimes I go boy-girl-boy-girl, but this year it's alphabetical by first name).



I won't lie - I love her wisecracking Max on Two Broke Girls. (It's too bad CBS's Two Broke Girls and Fox's Sleepy Hollow compete in the same time slot, because I love both. Fortunately, Fox also reruns Sleepy Hollow on Fridays.)



The first thing I saw her in was Charlie Bartlett, playing Robert Downey Jr.'s daughter, but I didn't pay her much attention until I became a fan of Max's sass. You may remember her from such films as Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (based on the book by Rachel Cohn and David Levitan) and Thor.



Before Charlie Bartlett, Dennings was cast in the pilot for a TV series - unfortunately, never picked up - based on Practical Magic. Dennings' website is called Kat Dennings is Fabulous, and she writes diary entries on there. Which is awesome.



She has a sidebar with some of her favorite books, which include The Phantom Tollbooth, Lolita, Kate Mansfield's short stories, and The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.



On Twitter, she is @OfficialKat, and she says things like this:
Her parents, Gerald and Ellen Judith Litwack, are a molecular pharmacology professor and a poet respectively.



On TV, her best friend is played by Beth Behrs (is Beth Behrs Jewish? That I don't know. Her last name sounds German-ish, and German-sounding names sometimes indicate Yiddish-speaking ancestors, but by all means not always), and in real life, one of her best friends is Nikki Reed, the Jewish-American actress best known for playing the gorgeous Rosalie Hale in the Twilight movie adaptations.




Follow on Bloglovin


Friday, November 29, 2013

The Hanukkah Hotness, Night 3: The Franco Brothers

Tonight's Hanukkah Hotties are a 2-fer, like the Gyllenhaal sibs: James and Dave Franco. The Francos have a father of Spanish and Portuguese descent, and their mother is the Jewish one. James is the older of the native Californian brothers.



The first time I noticed James Franco was in Spider-Man (2002). He's in all three of the Spiderman films that star Tobey Maguire. I'm not a big fan of the first two, but I do have a certain affection for the third, as I wrote about in "Spiderman's Aunt May is a Goddess."

Lately, you may have seen him and Seth Rogan in "Bound 3," a frame-for-frame remake of Kimye's (Kanye West and Kim Kardashian's) "Bound 2."

By far my favorite James Franco project, though, is Howl, in which he plays Allen Ginsberg (like yesterday's Hanukkah Hottie, Daniel Radcliffe). His other literary projects have included the film adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's phenomenally popular Eat, Pray, Love (book review here by Mal at Lazy Boleyn blog) and William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying.

The latter caused a bit of a flap in September 2013 when a tie-in edition of the classic was released with Franco's face on the cover.


This inspired Minh Le to postulate what might happen if Franco's face were on ALL the book covers.









Okay, so maybe James Franco isn't William Faulkner or Allen Ginsberg, but he does write. As Goodreads will tell you, he's written Actors Anonymous, A California Childhood, and more. He also wrote a foreword to Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair's Youth by Hermann Hesse (translated into English from the German by Damion Searls).



Some scoff at his Renaissance-man literary pretentions, but I think it's rather sexy.



Bonus: James rates his own page in Color Me Swoon, a coloring book for big girls.


Note last year's Hanukkah Hottie Joseph Gordon-Levitt to the left of Channing Tatum on the cover. I may have bought this for myself earlier this month at Barnes and Noble.

Dave is a bit less well-known than his big brother, but he's in one movie I particularly like: Warm Bodies. Unfortunately, his character gets eaten by a zombie. But Dave is still fun to look at.



I couldn't find a picture of him reading, though.



So, which Franco is your favorite Franco?


Follow on Bloglovin

Movie Opinion: Peter Parker's Aunt May Is a Goddess

Author's Note: This was originally published at The Erotic Woman in June 2007. Its relevance will become clear later today. 



First, a confession: When I was three years old, I carried a Spiderman doll around with me everywhere I went.  When I ate, Spidey had to sit at the table with me.  The little Spidey outfit came off, and when I took a bath, Spiderman had to take one, too.

     I haven’t had much interest in Spiderman since then.  He seemed to fall outside my girly world.  I didn’t plan on seeing the first film, and did so only thanks to the enthusiasm of my comic-book-crazed younger brother.  I was a bit more willing to sit down and watch the second one, if only because of Alfred Molina.  (I’ve had a slight crush on him ever since watching him try to seduce his wife by eating yogurt on the sitcom Ladies’ ManChocolat only sealed the deal.)  To get me to the theater to see Spiderman 3 once again took the intervention of my brother.

     Spiderman 3 was directed by Sam Raimi and written by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi and Alvin Sargent.  The plot involves Peter Parker/Spiderman (Tobey Maguire) deciding to ask his girlfriend, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), to marry him.  Naturally, obstacles of the supervillainish variety stand in his way: there’s the thief who killed Parker’s Uncle Ben, Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church), whose body has somehow become made out of sand; and an alien symbiote that takes the form of a black suit.  The black suit first makes Parker do bad things, then changes hands and makes Parker’s rival Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) do bad things.  Oh, and Parker’s best friend, Harry Osborn (James Franco) sometimes mistakenly believes that Parker killed his father, and tries to kill Parker. 


     Throughout all this chaos, one figure remains the wise, stable moral authority.  She is the archetypal crone, the goddess of wisdom.  That figure is Peter Parker’s Aunt May.

Played by Rosemary Harris, she is (or should be) the face of elderly feminine beauty, with her flawless skin and pretty hazel eyes.   She gives Parker two important clues as his makes his way through the maze of his life.  First, she tells him that if he wants to get married, he has to be willing to put his wife before himself.  Again and again, we watch Parker do stupid, selfish things to his girlfriend Mary Jane.  His plans to propose in a French restaurant come at a woefully bad time.  He kisses another woman in front of her.   He turns down her offer of help in a fit of anger.  Only at the end of the film does he master Aunt May’s lesson of respect for marriage.


     Parker does the same stupid, selfish things to his “best friend” Harry Osborn.  When Osborn loses his memory, Parker withholds the truth.  Later, under the influence of the black suit, which makes him more aggressive, Parker delights in attacking and seriously wounding Osborn.  We watch as Aunt May’s truth about marriage stretches to include friendship:  to be a friend, Parker must learn to put his friend first.

     When Parker reports (wrongly) that the man who killed Aunt May’s husband Ben has been killed by Spiderman, he expects Aunt May to be happy, or at least to feel relieved.  She doesn’t.  Instead, she dispenses her second clue to the maze: revenge is destructive.  “Spiderman doesn’t kill,” she says.  Power is to be used to protect the innocent, not to punish the guilty. 

      With these insights, Aunt May Parker fits either of these definitions of the crone:

     “ As the crone, the woman represents the Goddess of wisdom and prophecy . . . [and] contribute[s] invaluable insight and the perspective of age.” (Naomi R. Goldenberg, Changing of the Gods)

     “ . . . The modern female elder is often a beautiful, savvy woman who uses the knowledge she has gained through the years, and the inherent spiritual wisdom of interrelatedness that continues to grow throughout the years, to impart values that support and encourage the growth of others and the preservation of life.” (Joan Borysenko, A Woman’s Book of Life)

     That’s a strikingly powerful female image for a movie aimed at adolescent boys.  Now, to be fair, the message of friendship, not revenge, is also repeated by the film’s male elder, Osborn’s man-servant Bernard (John Paxton).  And in the voice-over narration in one of the final scenes, Parker states that Osborn, not Aunt May, taught him which moral values to uphold.  Parker is wrong.  Aunt May is the film’s preacher, its priestess, its crone-goddess of wisdom.


     Another message of Spiderman 3 is that stereotypical male behavior is wrong.  The black suit  turns Parker into a walking male stereotype.  It makes him use the extra power it gives him to bully ever other male who crosses his path.  Whenever a strange woman crosses his path, he does a smarmy, repellent kind of mating dance for her.  He blatantly uses his flirtations with other women to hurt Mary Jane’s feelings.  And in the midst of all his aggressive and sexual energy, Parker shoves Mary Jane to the ground.  The audience’s sympathy resides with Mary Jane; throughout none of this has Parker been presented as anything but a jerk.  Spiderman 3's moral path is clearly a feminine one.  The right thing for Parker to do is to behave according to the rules of the goddess, Aunt May.

     Although it was written by three men and aimed at adolescent males, there is more to Spiderman 3 than Kirsten Dunst playing the damsel in distress while the male characters get all the good lines.  The film places value on female elder wisdom, respect for marriage, and friendship.   

     There are only two things that I would have done differently, had I been one of the film’s writers.  First, I would have given speaking roles to some of the African-American actresses in the film.  Several of these actresses are noticeable, especially in the flirty-black-suit-Parker scenes.  But their roles are simply that: to be noticed.   To be used as human props, rather than individuals.  This disturbing media trend should have ended a long time ago.

     Second, I would have written in more male nudity.  Sure, we get to see the well-built James Franco in his underwear.  But is the underwear really necessary?  And the scene with Peter Parker in the shower could have used a floor-to-ceiling tracking shot.  Tobey Maguire’s not the most traditionally pretty guy ever to grace the screen in a superhero suit, and that’s what I like about him.  He’s like one of the real-guy guys you see in the pages of Sweet Action*.  Surely someone could have convinced Tobey Maguire to bare all for his art.

     My childhood Spidey would take off his clothes for me.

Full sources of works cited:

Goldenberg, Naomi R.  Changing of the Gods: Feminism and the End of Traditional Religions.  Boston: Beacon Press, 1979.  Page 98.

*An erotic magazine for women, now defunct. Currently, the most popular uses of the name Sweet Action seem to refer to a craft beer, an ice cream shop, or a comedy podcast. So don't confuse the one thing with any of those others. 

Borysenko, Joan.  A Woman’s Book of Life: The Biology, Psychology, and Spirituality of the Feminine Life Cycle.  New York: Riverhead Books, 1996.  Page 7.

Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Hanukkah Hotness, Night 2: Daniel Radcliffe

Happy second night of Hanukkah!

For a long time, I didn't realize Daniel Radcliffe was Jewish. When I found out, I was really excited. Not that there's anything wrong with being non-Middle Eastern. It's just nice to belong to the same tribe as the cool kids.


From Sorceror's Stone and Chamber of Secrets, Daniel Radcliffe was just "that kid who plays Harry Potter." In Prisoner of Azkaban, Daniel Radcliffe became "that cute kid who plays Harry Potter." Then, right around the time of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - right about the time he starred in Equus on London's West End - it became, "Wow, Dan Radcliffe is an actual hot guy."



As I wrote here, I do not mind his vertically-challenged status. Height is not required for hotness.

Grace Norwich published Daniel Radcliffe: No Ordinary Wizard in 2005, when Radcliffe was 15-ish and still in the "cute; I'd be into him if I was in high school" phase. I bought it (at a card shop that also sold books, now out of business) because I was as Potter-obsessed then as I am today, and I read it, too, although the writing is clearly intended for a teen/tween audience.

For your edification, I'll quote a few passages.

"...Dan shares a lot of similarities with the fictional character that has made him a household name. First off, they are both British, and very cute!...'We have curiosity [and] loyalty,' Dan told People magazine...Another similarity that Dan and the fictional wizard seem to share is a level of wisdom and maturity that is beyond their years, which is probably due to the fact that they both had to handle a great deal of responsibility at such a young age."



"Daniel Jacob Radcliffe was born on July 23, 1989, in London, England, to Alan Radcliffe and Marcia Gresham. He grew up in the well-to-do neighborhood of Fulham, in the southwest part of the city. Daniel attended Sussex House, an exclusive all-boys private school in Chelsea, where his favorite classes were gym and science."



On how Dan came to audition for the role of Harry Potter: "One summer Dan went to the theater with his parents to see Stones in His Pockets, a comedy about two extras on a big American movie shooting in Ireland. In the row directly in front of the Radcliffe family were two men who knew his father. And they were behaving oddly. Instead of concentrating on the play in front of them, the men kept turning around to stare at Dan....The two men turned out to be none other than David Heyman and the screenwriter, Steve Kloves."



"More than ten thousand fans gathered to scream and swoon when Dan arrived at the world premiere of Harry Potter in London. At the momentous event, Dan watched the film for the third time. Although he loved the final product, he hated seeing himself on the screen, especially that evening."



"There were a lot of people who would weigh in on this film, but perhaps there was no one more important than J.K. Rowling. She made her firm pronouncement after seeing the film. 'I think Dan nailed it,' she said in a written statement later published by the Toronto Star..."



"Not surprising are Dan's sophisticated tastes. He likes music from bands that broke up way before he was even born. But Dan has been hanging around adults on film sets for a long time now, and has picked up a thing or two. He also is the only child of two very sophisticated parents, who took him to the theater regularly and exposed him to a lot. Dan wasn't going to settle for any Britney Spears or the latest boy band. Instead Dan is into edgier stuff. In fact, with his main musical passion, punk, he doesn't even like the current bands."



"He has a ton of crushes on the leading ladies of rock. He admitted to Radio 1 that he is a sucker for Brody Dalle, the lead singer of the punk band the Distillers, who sports enormous tattoos and thick black eyeliner. 'I'm madly in love with her!' Dan said. He also professed love to Marcie Bolen, the adorable red-head guitarist for another punk band, the Von Bondies."



"When the inevitable time arrives for Dan and Harry to go their separate ways, Dan's future will be wide open and anything is possible. Who knows what he will try next?"



We do! We've already seen him in The Woman in Black. Next up, we'll see him in the adaptation of Joe Hill's horror novel Horns and as Allen Ginsberg (squee! He's my dead gay Jewish boyfriend) in Kill Your Darlings.


Follow on Bloglovin

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Hanukkah Hotness, Night 1: Anton Yelchin

Happy first night of Hanukkah! Let's get directly to our first Hanukkah Hottie of 2013: Anton Yelchin.

public domain image
How do I love Anton Yelchin, an American actor of Russian-Jewish descent? Let me count the ways:

1. He's Charlie Bartlett in Charlie Bartlett, an underrated gem of a film. As a bonus, it has two other beautiful Jews: Robert Downey Jr. and Kat Dennings. (More on Kat Dennings to come.)



2. He's Kyle Reese in Terminator Salvation. (See post from earlier today.) It's the one with Christian Bale - not Jewish, as one might guess from his Christian name, but still hot - so double nom.



3. Fright Night. With Colin Farrell as a sexy-ass (but evil) vampire. Double nom again.



By the way, this movie has two pretty cool songs on its soundtrack:

"Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People

"99 Problems" by Hugo

4. Star Trek. I'm not the big Trekkie of the house - that would be Tit Elingtin. My favorite Trek franchise is actually Voyager, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy the latest reboot of the films. It's full of man candy: melted-chocolate-eyed Zachary Quinto, Chris Pine, Karl Urban (love me some Eomer), nerd king Simon Pegg, John Cho's fine ass...but Pavel Andreievich Chekov steals every scene he's in with that accent and Yelchin's curly-headed adorableness.



Yelchin's actually 24 now, but he still looks 18.





This is my favorite one of him. It's a scientific fact that men are hotter when they have books in their hands.



It's a good thing we're The People of the Book. Middle Eastern cultures are some of the oldest literate societies in the world (along with China). The Jewish culture's lengthy history with books totally explains James Franco - but more on that later.

Happy Hanukkah!

Follow on Bloglovin



Getting a Rise From the Machines: 'Terminator' As Erotica

Author's Note: This was originally published September 28, 2009 at the now-defunct erotica website OystersAndChocolate.com. Its relevance shall become clear later today. 

The time-traveling, rock-‘em-sock-‘em-robot Terminator film series seems to inspire erotic filmmakers. It’s no surprise: the sex scene between Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor and Michael Biehn as Kyle Reese is a surprisingly tender, and arousing, scene in the original, mainstream 1984 film. The sex under James Cameron’s direction isn’t explicit, but the loving close-up of their intertwined fingers tells the viewer everything she needs to know about John Connor’s conception. And with the release of Terminator: Salvation, it becomes clear John Connor grows up to resemble Christian Bale, the mere sight of whom moistens panties the world over.


Harrison Cheung's tell-all is on my to-read list 
The 1995 film Terminatrix, directed by Mikio Hirota, is an early example of such inspired erotic filmmaking. (The original is in Japanese; an English-language version was released by Asia Pulp Cinema in 2001.) In its apocalyptic vision of the future, the world’s population has become so large, people are only allowed to have sex according to a schedule determined by a computer. A resistance movement is instigated by a young woman named Hanako…but only if a resistance fighter from the future can prevent a sexy cyborg (Kei Mizutani) with a penis-mangling vagina from rendering Hanako’s father infertile.

Termiatrix is a decidedly soft-core porn film, with plenty of excuses for the women to walk around topless and/or straddle the men. The women have beautiful natural bodies, and the early scene of a young couple’s enthusiastic romp in the back seat of a car in a parking garage leaves little to be desired. (If only they’d had a chance to finish before the Terminatrix showed up to steal the woman’s clothes.) Taking its cue from the original film, Terminatrix allows a sweet romance to bloom between Hanako’s father and the resistance fighter who traveled back in time to save him (Saeko Ichijou and Yuuki Fujisawa).

Much more sexually explicit is Penetrator 2: Grudge Day, the porn take on the 1991 film Terminator 2: Judgment Day. In fact, as the title may imply, this Pleasure Productions film directed by Nic Cramer is virtually wall-to-wall hetero sex. That’s because Farrah Connor (Melissa Hill), confined to a mental health hospital because no one believes her stories of an apocalyptic future in which humans are sex slaves to machines, and her teen (18, it may be presumed) daughter Dawn (Kaitlyn Ashley) are being pursued by sex machines, the Penetrators. The original make and model of Penetrator (Alberto Rey) is out to help Dawn and her mother, while the evil P-1000 (Jonathan Morgan ) is out to destroy them.

P2 works best when it sticks close to the plot of the 1991 film, as when the good android helps Dawn spring her mother from the institution. The seemingly-endless scenes of hetero sex become repetitive and boring after a few minutes, though the scenes of female solo masturbation are hot. Melissa Hill gives an especially passionate exhibition of frenzied self-love. The women-only scene best skipped is the creepy encounter between a busty guard and a comatose, drugged-out Farrah Connor.

Which is the better erotic film? It depends on what the viewer is looking for. P2 is closer to the mainstream film in style, look, and hard-rock soundtrack, and also very much more sexually explicit. The guys in P2 have great bodies, but aren’t given much of interest to do with them. The actors lack chemistry, and there’s no suggestion of any real emotion in this film. Even the mother-daughter relationship is oddly emotionless, as perhaps it needs to be, since the plot requires Farrah Connor to dream about her rebel daughter’s sexual future and to be with Dawn in very intimate circumstances.



Terminatrix, on the other hand, bears little resemblance to a big-budget Hollywood production, but makes up in heart what it lacks in special effects. There is genuine chemistry between Ichijou and Fujisawa. Though director Mikio Hirota is able to take the depiction of their lovemaking further than James Cameron was able to take the sex between Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese, there’s the same kind of sweetness, despite the desperation of the circumstances, to rebel leader Hanako’s conception.


Terminatrix is available for rent from Netflix [as of the original writing], while viewers can add Penetrator 2 to their DVD Avenue* queues.

*DVD Avenue as a rental service appears to be out of business. 

Follow on Bloglovin

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hanukkah Hotties: The 2011-2012 Recap Post

Prepare for The Holidays to begin: Hanukkah will begin at sundown tomorrow night, falling even earlier than U.S.A. Thanksgiving this year. To prepare you for this year's eight nights of The Hanukkah Hotness (it's a little thing we do here at Pagan Spirits - no big deal), here I recap my Hebraic hotties from 2011 and 2012.

Yep, they're almost always actors, with a few musicians sprinkled in for flavor. As you can read in Louise Berkinow's The American Women's Almanac:

"Powerful Harry Cohn at Columbia Pictures refused to groom Judy Holliday for stardom, shouting, 'You're joking! Films are made for Jews and by Jews--not WITH JEWS.'"

...Yet the history of filmdom would suggest that Yiddishkeit and screen time are not antithetical, and The Hanukkah Hotness only provides further evidence of that fact.

2012:

Barbra Streisand



Hank Azaria



Ellen Barkin



Joseph Gordon-Levitt



P!nk



Jason Segel



Patricia Arquette



Zac Efron



2011:

Robert Downey, Jr.



Meital Dohan



Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal



Adam Levine



Scarlett Johansson



Winona Ryder



Adam Lambert



Kat Graham



Who made this year's list? Tune in tomorrow evening to find out. Also, feel free to leave me your suggestions for the 2014 list.

If you need something seasonal to read for Hanukkah, I highly recommend "Spicy, Earthy, Sweet."


Follow on Bloglovin

Monday, November 25, 2013

Manday Hotties Blog Hop - My First Time

Manday Hotties Hop - Every Monday!

This is my first time linking up with Felicity Heaton for the ManDay Hotties Hop. I hope it goes well! (By which I mean, I hope I'm doing this right.) I could use a good weekly blog hop now that Oh How Pinteresting is no more.















If you enjoyed this post, you may also like Eschelle's Man Candy Mondays.

Follow on Bloglovin

Sunday, November 24, 2013

#BookReview: Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James

I've now completed E.L. James' Fifty Shades trilogy. (Don't read further if you don't want to be spoiled on the end of the trilogy.) You can read my review of Fifty Shades of Grey here, and my review of Fifty Shades Darker here.


Book Review

If you have read my previous reviews, you'll recall I got rather attached to Christian and Ana as a couple when I read the first book. When I got to its cliffhanger ending, with them broken up, I was eager to read the next one to make sure they got back together. As I read the second book, though, I became disenchanted with Christian's controlling behavior. I could no longer remember why I was so invested in them as a couple. I was also a bit bored by the pacing of the story. It does have some relatively interesting moments, but I felt they were too few and too far between.

Nonetheless, when I start a trilogy, I generally want to finish it, and I wanted to see what happened to Christian and Ana in the third book. I didn't love Fifty Shades Freed for the same issues I had with Darker: Christian can be controlling, and he can also be annoyingly childish when he's upset about something - and he's often upset about something he has absolutely no right to be upset about; the book also appears to be at least 100 pages longer than it needs to be, with unnecessary passages describing the French honeymoon and the ski trip to Aspen. There are some exciting bits, however, so with tighter pacing, it had the potential to be a good story. I didn't dislike the plot very much.

I do wish Ana had more of a backbone to stand up to her husband. She's still so in awe of him, and she's especially willing to give him a free pass on bad behavior because of his terrible childhood. He's not cruel, which according to Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan differentiates between the alpha male hero and his "alphole" (alpha asshole) counterpart. But he is a control freak, manipulative, and one of those awful types of people who get silent when they're angry instead of discussing things in an adult fashion. In a real-world partner, these traits would be a deal-breaker, but we all know this is fiction.



So I just hope that in Ana and Christian's HEA, she has broken him of some of his more unpalatable personality traits and gained her own strength and confidence at the same time. She spends a lot of time worried about his anger or potential anger, and life's just too short for that nonsense.

They've never been a perfect couple, but they do sincerely love each other. This was one of my favorite passages:

"'You wanna dance? Let's dance,' he growls close to my ear, and as he rolls his hips around into mine, I can do nothing but follow, his hands holding mine against my backside.

"Oh, Christian can move, really move. He keeps me close, not letting me go, but his hands gradually relax on mine, freeing me. My hands creep around, up his arms, feeling his bunched muscles through his jacket, up to his shoulders. He presses me against him, and I follow his moves as he slowly, sensually dances with me in time to the pulsing beat of the club music.

"The moment he grabs my hand and spins me first one way, then the other, I know he's back with me. I grin. He grins.

"We dance together and it's liberating - fun. His anger forgotten, or suppressed, he whirls me around with consummate skill in our small space on the dance floor, never letting go. He makes me graceful, that's his skill. He makes me sexy, because that's what he is. He makes me feel loved, because in spite of his fifty shades, he has a wealth of love to give. Watching him now, enjoying himself...one could be forgiven for thinking he doesn't have a care in the world. I know his love is clouded with issues overprotectiveness and control, but it doesn't make me love him any less."

It isn't the most graceful writing in the world; it's a little awkward. At other places in the book, James writes dialogue and narration that sound so utterly British, I can't imagine any American who wasn't a transplant from the U.K. uttering them. (Then I start reading silently but imagining I'm reading in an English accent, and then I start laughing.) This trilogy will never win a literary award, but as I mentioned in the first review, my investment is in the characters' relationships, not in the literary style.

Ana simply wants to feel graceful, sexy, and loved. Can anyone really blame her? In real life, overprotectiveness and control are relationship red flags, and very young women especially have to be careful about not letting their fledgling feelings of love overwhelm their reason - and safety. This is Ana's fantasy, however - not reality - and I can't help but be a little happy for her when, at the end, she has her sexy billionaire husband, her dream house, and her son and daughter to make her happy.



The Weird Thing

Now let's talk about the weird thing. In the epilogue, when Ana is pregnant with her daughter, there's this little exchange between Ana and Christian:

"He grins as Blip Two somersaults inside me.

"'I think she likes sex already.'

"Christian frowns. 'Really?' he says dryly. He moves so his lips are against my bump. 'There'll be none of that until you're thirty, young lady.'"

I think even Christian is a little weirded out by Ana's statement that her unborn daughter "likes sex already." I'm glad that Ana seems to be comfortable with her sexuality and accepting of her pregnant body, but in what sense does she think her fetus "likes" sex? Am I wrong, or is that kind of a weird thing for a mom to say about her daughter? I don't have kids - never been pregnant - so maybe it's not as strange as I think it is. Is it?

The Movie

I'm usually excited about movie versions of book I've read and enjoyed, but I have no intention of seeing the movie when it comes out some time in 2014. It's not so much that I don't "approve of" the actors who were cast in the roles of Ana and Christian. I don't even recognize their names. It's more that I'm only going to be happy my imaginary versions of Ana and Christian, not with anybody else's.

I usually don't feel this way. I think Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson are a great Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. The more I look at Theo James, the more I think, "He'll be a great Tobias Eaton." I think I'll like the Divergent movie series. But I can't imagine getting into a Fifty Shades film trilogy.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Explicit #Erotica Excerpt + #Giveaway: Riptide by Susan Hayes



Riptide by Susan Hayes

Description:


Rory Frazier is destined to be the next leader of Kismet Cove, a secret colony of seal shape-shifters known as selkies. The catch? Rory can only claim his birthright if he and his blood brother Evan Sinclair find a suitable mate.

Jessica Jones has come to Tofino to reclaim her life and move on from the grief of her mother’s death. Jess just wants time alone and space to heal, but kismet has something else in store. After a rogue wave sweeps her out into the frigid Pacific Ocean, Jess is rescued by two handsome men who heat her blood and help to heal her wounded heart.


Time’s running out for Rory and Evan. They need to present the colony with their chosen mate and tell Jess the truth about who they really are. When their secrets are finally revealed, will their newfound love survive, or will the emotional riptide tear the three of them apart forever?

Excerpt:  

“Say it,” Rory instructed her in a commanding tone. “I want to hear you say it.”


Jess opened her mouth but no words came out. She didn’t know what to say, or how to say it. This was a whole new world for her and she was certain she was going to screw it up.


“They’re only words, sweetheart.” Ethan insinuated his finger the tiniest bit lower, parting her labia before he stopped moving again. “If you say it, Rory will let me reward you.”


Jess quivered and her gaze flew up to meet Rory’s.


“Tell me what you’re thinking, baby. Evan won’t move his hand until you do.”


Jess tried to buck her hips against Evan’s fingers, but he moved with her and laughed. “Now she’s cheating!”


“Jessica Jones, don’t you dare move until you tell me what you’re thinking!” Rory’s tone brooked no argument and Jess was stunned by the authority he poured into every word.


“I think you’re both gorgeous, and I really wish you’d hurry up and get undressed and get in here with us,” she babbled her answer and then added, “and no one has called me by my full name since I got too big to be spanked!”


Rory’s nostrils flared as he leaned forward, his hands still on the fly of his trousers. “Believe me, baby, you’re not too big to be spanked.”


Jess’s jaw dropped open and she stared up at Rory in shock. He couldn’t possibly have meant that…could he? Before she could ask Rory nodded to Evan and Evan’s fingers dove into her pussy, rubbing hard against her clit.


Jess moaned, her hips writhing against the pleasurable pressure. Rory finally moved his hands, undoing his pants and sliding them down his hips. Jess realized he wasn’t wearing any underwear, and her entire pussy clenched, her inner walls suddenly aching with the need to be filled. Rory’s cock rose up almost to his navel, the tip already engorged and gleaming with pre-cum.


Evan’s clever fingers were making it hard for her to think, but she managed to reach for Rory with trembling fingers, and he took her hand as he finished kicking off his clothing and stepped up and into the tub.


“Is she as responsive as I think she is?” he asked Evan.


“Better.”


“Then I think we should let her come before we start discussing how this is all going to work. A demonstration might help make things clearer.”


Jess whimpered as Evan kept stroking her clit, up and down in a slow, leisurely rhythm.


“Would you like that, Jess?” Rory asked, his tone dark and commanding. “And don’t you dare just nod. I want to hear you say it.”


“Yes, please.”


“Oh god, she said please,” Evan groaned and flicked her clit harder.


“Now that’s sexy.” Rory lowered himself into the water until only his head and neck were visible and Jess realized he was kneeling on the floor of the tub. “You got to taste her cute little toes, Ev. So I’m going to be the first to taste her pussy.”


“What?” The word flew out of her mouth before she’d thought of anything else to say.


“Trust me, we’ve got this.” Rory reached out and snagged her ankles in his hands, drawing her feet up to his shoulders. “You got her, Ev? We don’t want her getting a dunking or I think she’s going to have a few things to say to us.”


Evan’s fingers left her pussy and she bit back a mewl of frustration at the loss of contact. Evan reached up around her ribcage and then crossed his arms near the wrist so he had her in a firm hold, his hands eagerly cupping her breasts. “Got her,” he told Rory and brushed a kiss to the side of her mouth. “You may want to hold onto something, sweetheart.”


“Why would I—oh!” Jess exclaimed as Rory lifted her legs over his shoulders and moved toward her until her hips were just clear of the water and her pussy was a scant few centimeters from his mouth.


“That’s why.” Evan chuckled and pinched her nipples between his fingertips as Rory’s hands came over her thighs and parted her labia. Without another word Rory lowered his head and let his tongue swipe along the entire length of her pussy and Jess cried out at the pleasure of it.


She clutched at Evan’s wrists, bracing herself against the sensual onslaught that Rory’s mouth and tongue were unleashing on her clit.


Rory plunged a long, thick finger into her channel and groaned. “She’s so tight.” The words came out muffled, but Evan clearly understood because his arms tightened around Jess and he kissed her hard.


Jess’s body was a sponge, soaking up every glorious touch and sensation. Hands and mouths stroked and sucked until she was quivering and panting, suspended on the precipice of an orgasm. Evan lifted his head and stared into her eyes, his own gone a stormy blue-gray in his passion.


“I want to watch you come. I want to see your beautiful face when it happens.” He pinched her nipples harder than before. “Come for us, Jess.”

Enter to Win! 


• 3 copies of Riptide, Kismet Cove 1 PDF, Epub or Mobi

• 3 copies of Windswept, Kismet Cove 2 PDF, Epub or Mobi

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

Susan lives out on the Canadian west coast surrounded by open water, dear family and good friends. She's jumped out of perfectly good airplanes on purpose and had lunch next to royalty by accident. She's passionately in love with the written word (and a few of her more hunky creations.)

Writing is her joy, her escape from reality and the only way she knows of to quiet the nagging harridan of a muse she claims the universe assigned to her.

Social Links:  

Website  Twitter  Facebook  Goodreads 

Buy Links:


Amazon B+N  Bookstrand  Kobo  

Tour Coordinator:

I ♥ Bookie Nookie Reviews

Please check out the other stops on this tour today:

Reviews 
Reviews 
Reviews 
Reviews 
Reviews 
Reviews 
Reviews 
Reviews 
Reviews 
Reviews 
Reviews 
Reviews 
Reviews 
Reviews 
Reviews 
Reviews 
Reviews 
Reviews 
Reviews 
Reviews 

This Holiday Party Blog tour is being run in conjunction with the 
Check out the entire schedule of the 18 Holiday Party Blog Tour stops & participating bloggers HERE.

Join the party and win from a prize pool of over 1,500 books and prizes by these generous authors!

This post contains Affiliate Links.

Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What's a Selkie?

If you haven't already, you can still go to Kelly Walker's Jaded Stone post for a chance to win $50 in either Amazon.com gift cards or Paypal cash. You'll want to come back tomorrow (November 22) as well for another giveaway.

That giveaway will have to do with Susan Hayes' novel Riptide, a male/male/female erotic romance featuring two brothers who are selkie shape shifters. What exactly are selkies? They're similar to mermaids, but not exactly the same. For the best answer, let's turn to Barbara Sjoholm's oceanic folklore-logue The Pirate Queen: In Search of Grace O'Malley and Other Legendary Women of the Sea



Sjoholm writes:

"Like tales of mermaids who take off their scaly nether parts and walk on land, the better to lure unwitting men to their watery kingdoms, transformative stories of the seal folk abound in the northern islands [of Scotland, namely the Shetlands and the Orkneys]. But seals embody an old animism, when animals were regarded as powerful and numinous, and when humans would mimic them and wear their skins to take on their power. So many stories of the seal folk, selkies or silkies in the local tongue, seem to be about humans trying to capture the spirit of the selkie. One common version begins when a man spies a group of girls sunbathing naked on a beach or a rocky shore.

"When he approaches, most of the girls get away, but one doesn't, for he steals her spotted skin and hides it somewhere secret in his house. He takes her home, and she tries to be a good wife to him. But always in the story comes a time when she finds, or one of her children tells her where to find, the box or the chest with the skin inside. As soon as she finds it, she's gone. Although the tales often seem to be about love, they are never about renunciation. The choice of [Hans Christian] Anderson's Little Mermaid, to become human and to suffer, is not for the selkie wife. No, she's tricked into living in a human body for a time, but she always escapes back to her true element at the end.

"The many stories of seal folk aren't all about capturing seals for wives. Some are about seal men seducing women (an explanation for out-of-wedlock pregnancy, perhaps) and about crossing a boundary between human and animal, about understanding the connection across species. Sometimes men who are great hunters of seals are taken below and shown the wounds of their prey, after which the hunters hunt no more. But many of the stories are about shape shifting, about changing from animal to human and back. The appeal of the selkie, and indeed the seal, is its amphibious nature. That possibility of living in both worlds is what humans hold to, especially seafarers, fishers, coast dwellers. What if drowning were only a dream from which you woke into a beautiful marine world filled with lavish meals and luxurious houses? What if the fathers and brothers who never came back from fishing were safe and sound under the waves? What if the large gray seal lifting his curious head from the sea to look at you were a relative? How comforting that would be."



So the selkies are the seal men and seal women of Northern European folklore (although I'm sure such creatures exist in the folklore of many coastal dwellers, under different names). Now you're up to speed for tomorrow's post.

Follow on Bloglovin

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Worst. Episode. Ever. ~ in which I am emotionally traumatized by #PersonOfInterest ***SPOILERS***

***SPOILERS***

First, a bit of business: Kelly Walker's $50 giveaway entry form is at this post.

Second, a serious note: November 20th is Transgender Day of Remembrance, a solemn event for remembering human lives lost to anti-transgender violent. The victims of such violence are almost always trans*women, often people of color, and often sex workers. It's an opportunity to devote ourselves anew to respecting all transgendered people - but especially our trans* sisters - and to continue fighting misogyny, hurtful gender stereotypes, racism, prejudice against sex workers, and all the places where these deadly attitudes intersect. Today we remember that all human lives have value, and that the most vulnerable members of our society need our support.

You don't have to love sex work, but you do have to respect sex workers as your fellow human beings.

***SPOILERS START HERE***

Now on to a more "lighthearted" subject, which is nonetheless ripping my heart in two. Fictional characters are bastards. They have a tendency to die at the most inconvenient times, such as when one gets extremely attached to them. I'm extremely attached to Jocelyn (Joss) Carter on Person of Interest, and here in the middle of Season 3, the writers have killed her off.

Public Domain Image
I probably should be angry, as angry as all those Veronica Roth fans who returned their copies of Allegiant to the bookstore because they were so chagrined by that thing that happens at the end. (Go here if you want the spoiler-y book review.) Maybe I haven't gotten to the anger stage yet; I'm still processing the grief.

Yes, I'm grieving over a TV character. Her death is so sudden, so horrendous, such a betrayal of the loyal audience. It felt like a cheap ratings stunt, a shocker ending designed to get a gasp out of the viewer. Let me tell you a thing about Joss Carter: she was a complete badass. She was a strong, stable police detective, a Gulf War II veteran and former military interrogator, competent and honest in her job. She was a single mom, divorced from a fellow vet - a good man who was loyal to their son and dealing with his PTSD issues. She was a good partner to Lionel Fusco, a good mom, and still not some perfect Mary Sue it was impossible to like.

She was realistically strong, not cartoonishly so. (I can admit it: Sam Shaw is a bit cartoonish at times.) She was everything you wanted a female character on network TV to be.

Joss is played by Taraji P. Henson, an African-American woman. How many successful network TV shows feature an African-American woman as one of four principle characters? Not as many as we would like. We could not afford to lose Taraji from network TV. She's an amazing actor, gifted in both lighthearted comedic scenes and heavy drama. She was a staple of this show, its anchor. She was the moral center, even more so than Harold Finch. This literally will be a different show from here on out.

Creative Commons Image
I don't think I'll like it nearly as much. The other badass women - Root, Zoe Morgan and Shaw - are little comfort. They aren't Joss.

The worst part, though? The kiss. Yep, in the last hours of Joss's life, she finally learned John Reese's real feelings about her. They showed each other their scars; we learned she almost died from a landmine explosion and again when she gave birth to Taylor. My heart leapt; I had visions of John and Joss kissing each other's scars as they slowly undressed one another. He confessed to her that she saved his life; he was going to kill himself before the day they met, when she showed concern for him.

Then he touched her face, very tenderly. Then he leaned in (he's very tall) and kissed her. Joss's beautiful face was even more so afterward. You could see the love reflected in her beautiful eyes. Taraji has such beautiful eyes. CaReese was going to happen! They loved each other, I know it! I was in such a state of bliss - though still worried they were going to kill my beloved Lionel.

Then (Erin typed through her tears) that motherfucker Patrick Simmons shot her in the street, and she died in John's arms, calling for Taylor. Horrible Cloud Atlas flashbacks. The Frobisher-Sixsmith feels all over again.

I loved FourTris, but they weren't my One True Pairing. CaReese was my OTP. She deserved so much better than this. She deserved all the happiness. How is one supposed to take it when half of one's OTP is dead?

Excuse me for crossing fandoms, but I feel like I've been attacked by a dementor. I feel like I'll never be cheerful again. My brain wants to play me a jukebox worth of sad songs, and my infinite sadness playlist wouldn't let me sleep last night. Professor Lupin, can you bring me some chocolate, stat?

No, you can't. J.K. Rowling killed you. Fictional characters are bastards, dying at such inconvenient times. Person of Interest, go to the corner and think about what you've done.

If anything happens to Abbie Mills on Sleepy Hollow, TV, I swear to all the gods...

Jaded Stone by Kelly Walker (YA Fantasy): Giveaway + Twitter Party!

I use Grammarly to check grammar online because grammar is as important to a story as feta is to a Greek salad. Feta is everything to a Greek salad.



In Cornerstone, Valencia Roth died to protect her daughter. In Jaded Stone, she'll live for her.

Twenty years before the events of Cornerstone, Valencia Roth is the Crown Princess of Sheas, as lonely as she is privileged. She wants for nothing, except a clear path toward peace for her land. She’s always known personal happiness might not be in The Three’s plan for her. As the future ruler of Sheas, and a Cornerstone, her life belongs to her people.

But when Valencia meets the charming Reid Hendel, she dares to believe love could be within her reach. That is, if they can both survive long enough for it to blossom. A new threat prowls the land, and she’s their primary target. Armed with stubborn pride and all the resources of Sheas, she fears nothing—until her brother leads her intended directly into the fray and at least one of them doesn’t return.

Burdened with grief, Valencia must carve her own path forward. From the forge of chaos, a new era will be born.


Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway


About Kelly Walker

6546134

Kelly Walker is a YA and NA author of several romantic titles, including the Souls of the Stones series. She has an unhealthy appreciation for chocolate, and a soft spot for rescued animals. Her best lessons on writing came from a lifetime of reading. She loves the fantastical, and the magical, and believes a captivating romance can be the most realistic magic of all. Kelly, her husband and her two children share their Virginia home with three dogs who walk her, and two cats who permit her to occasionally share their couch.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Twilight Series Book Haul: The Unboxing

Dropping by for the Holiday Party Book Giveaway Tour? See this post to enter to win Ella Dominguez's This Love's Not For Sale through Nov. 20th.


Now, I have a confession to make: until yesterday, I didn't own any of the novels in the Twilight series. The only Twilight books I ever bought were the first volume of the graphic novel (which I gave away) and The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide. Well, I do have a Twilight (the first novel) audiobook, but we won't count that. When I read the Twilight saga, I either borrowed the books from my mom or from the library. I owned all the movies, but not the books - is that a little sad?

Then I saw this in an e-mail from Better World Books.


BWB knows my weakness - I love to buy discounted books. This was an offer I couldn't refuse.


I think this is the first time BWB's actually shipped me the books in a cardboard box. Usually they come wrapped in green plastic. See, for example, my book unwrapping from last June. What does the box say? It says I'm giving myself a 2-weeks-early Hanukkah present.


These are used books, super cheap (not library sale cheap, but close enough), so I don't really mind that the Eclipse dust jacket is a little torn and the corner looks like a werewolf chewed off the top corner.


I am now the proud owner of all four Twilight novels. (I still have to get The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner.)

I mentioned it the other day in the popular Pinterest pins post, but I''ll repeat it: Andrea at Reading Lark is currently re-reading the Twilight Saga:

Her Twilight review

Her New Moon review

Follow on Bloglovin