Sunday, January 24, 2021

Book Review: White Trash Warlock by David R. Slayton

 

White Trash Warlock      


Author: David R. Slayton

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

American release date:  October 13, 2020

Format/Genre/Length: Kindle/Fantasy/260 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

Adam Lee Binder of Oklahoma is on a mission to find the amoral warlock who is making and selling charms at the expense of the misery of members of other species. Being a practitioner of magic himself, Adam takes umbrage at this misuse of magical power, but his search is also a bit personal. He thinks the warlock just might be his dear old dad, long missing in action.

Adam lives in Oklahoma with his Aunt Sue, another practitioner, and has since his release from Liberty House, the cruelty-ridden mental institution where he was relegated as a teen by his older brother, Robert, with the assistance of their mother. Unable to handle Adam’s being different, they shut him away in what was essentially a hell-hole. No wonder he doesn’t exactly stay in close communication now that he’s out and on his own.

However an urgent text from his usually reticent brother sends Adam driving up to his brother’s home in Denver. Bobby’s wife, Annie, is… ill, for lack of a better word, and Bobby think he needs Adam’s expertise to deal with the situation. Looks like a family reunion is in the cards, as their mother, Tilla, is staying with Bobby too.

As far as witches go, well, Adam doesn’t consider himself a witch, and his power is somewhat lacking, but he does believe in patterns. The first mention of Denver came from a Saurian named Bill, the second is that Bobby lives in Denver. And the third has to do with a pool cue Adam is trying to find out about which apparently came from a pawn shop in Denver. So going to Denver becomes a no-brainer.

As Adam nears Denver in his beloved Cutlass, he sees quite the disturbing sight in the form of a large creature hovering above the city, with tendrils that reach into various places, including Bobby’s home.  Probably right into his wife, if what Adam suspects turns out to be true. This task is not going to be easily accomplished, and most likely Adam can’t do this alone. Might even have to talk to the elves about it, which he really doesn’t want to do, seeing as he has an ex who is an elf, one who ran out on him years before, breaking his heart.

Not to mention, elves can be… difficult to deal with.

Damn, life is so complicated.

I was given a copy of this book by my daughter-in-law, and I fell in love with it from the beginning.  In some ways, it reminds me of the Dresden Files, which I also happen to love. And happily this is just the first book in a series.

The writing is great. David Slayton has a deft touch with humor that I can relate to, and his characters come alive on the page. Even the ones you want to punch for being jackasses. Adam is not your typical warlock in that he considers himself to be white trash from Oklahoma, isn’t rich and doesn’t think of himself as particularly good-looking, not to mention that being locked up in a mental institution as a teenager has given him serious insecurity issues. But I think he’s great, and a much better person than he realizes. He just needs to find the right person who can convince him that he is worth loving. The story is very imaginative, and I love the different types of supernatural beings we get to see, including but not limited to Saurians, elves, leprechauns, and gnomes. And let’s not forget Death and death reapers. Throw in a little romance, and I’m in heaven.

The only criticism I can really make is that the book would have benefited from a little more careful editing, but that’s because I’m an editor and I notice these things. Most people wouldn’t. I look forward to reading more books in the series, whenever they are published.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Wednesday Briefs: Super Trooper #52 (12.3)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts. 

Evan is beginning to doubt himself and his relationship with Chan's siblings. Maybe he isn't what they need. Maybe he's doing things all wrong. See what's happening in this week's chapter of Super Trooper. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Super Trooper #52 (12.3)

Evan sat lost in thought in the station break room. His pad of tickets lay open on the table before him as well as a cup of coffee. He’d been asked to trade shifts for tonight and had readily agreed. Not only would he be helping a fellow trooper, but he couldn’t help but think in the back of his mind that maybe the others would like a night without him being there.

Not Chan, of course, he hastily told himself. He meant the children. But that thought felt disloyal as well.  As did his relief at not being there. And that only made him feel guilty on top of everything else.

Maybe he’d been too harsh with Kamal the night before. He tried to make allowances for the boy. He’d been through a lot recently. He was still very young. And just maybe he didn’t realize how much words could hurt.

On the other hand, Evan knew he meant what he said when he reminded him that Chan was his brother, not Evan. Evan knew he wasn’t their brother, but it wasn’t like he was a passing stranger either. He had a place in their lives now, whether they liked it or not. Whether they cared to admit it or not.

Evan had called Chan earlier, just to see how things were going. And what Chan had said was disturbing. At least, to him it was. Apparently he’d taken all of them out to dinner. As though what happened yesterday didn’t matter. As if his feelings were of no consequence.

Stop thinking that way, you’re a grown man. Suck it up.

Maybe they would just be better off without him…

The sound of a throat clearing drew him from his reveries. He glanced up to find Christina standing in the doorway.

“I was going to offer you a penny for your thoughts but I didn’t want to startle you,” she said as she entered the room and took a seat beside him. “You okay?”

Evan automatically responded with his standard line of “I’m fine.” He couldn’t help but notice that Christina had changed out of her uniform and into a pretty blue dress that fell just below her knees. She’d draped a lacy white shawl around her shoulders. He could detect the faintest hint of floral scent around her. It didn’t require much detective work to guess where she was going, and with whom.

The look she gave him told him he was wasting his time trying to fool her. She knew him too well for that.

“Just dealing with things,” he amended. “Trying to, anyway.” He wasn’t being deliberately vague. He appreciated her concern, but he found it hard to explain something he didn’t completely understand himself. “So, you and Nate going out tonight?”

If he’d hoped to deflect her with tactic, her next words told him she wouldn’t be so easily sidetracked.

“We are, yes.” She reached across the table and took his hand in hers. He could see concern in her pretty brown eyes. “I know there’s a lot going on, with you and Chan and his family. You’ve all been through so much. It must be so hard to lose your parents like that, especially at such a young age.”

Evan nodded, not trusting his voice, and unsure what to say.

“It must be especially hard for you guys. I mean, you haven’t been going out very long, or living together very long. And suddenly you have a family to take care of. I’m sure that wasn’t what you planned, was it?”

“No, I can’t say it was,” Evan admitted. “But that’s not the point. It’s happened. I need to deal with it.”

We need to deal with it,” he corrected himself. But even to himself, he sounded weak. Like he was trying to avoid blame, which wasn’t the case at all.

Was it?

“Children are very resilient, you know,” Christina said, her expression serious as she held his gaze. “And they can also be very cruel. They haven’t learned not to say exactly what they’re thinking at all times, like adults have. They just say what comes to mind and never mind the consequences.”

A moment of silence passed between them as Evan gathered his thoughts. “I appreciate honesty,” he said at last. “I’m just not sure if they like me at all. Like maybe they think I don’t belong there. I’m an outsider, when they just want Chan, and I’m in the way.”

Damn, he hadn’t even said these things to Chan. How did Christina manage to get him to talk to her so candidly?

“Give them time,” she said as she gently patted his hand. “Don’t give up on them. They just don’t know you yet and they’re used to having Chan’s undivided attention, am I right?”

“I guess so.” Evan knew she was right about that. Chan had told him he hadn’t brought anyone to his parents’ house before Evan, so his siblings had never had to deal with his romantic life before. And on top of that, their parents just died. He needed to learn more compassion.

So why did he suddenly feel so out of place?

 to be continued

Now go see what's up with the other Briefers!


 Cia Nordwell

J Alan Veerkamp

Carol Pedroso

 

 

 

 


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 24 by Kazue Kato

 

Blue Exorcist, Vol 24        


Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: August 4, 2020

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/234 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

Eighteen hours have passed since Yuri’s labor began and she is no closer to delivery than she was when it started. Because of the cradle barrier, medical experts are unable to give her an injection, and she is exhausted.  Not to mention that during this ordeal, the poor woman is on display, and there’s nothing anyone (meaning Shiro) can do about it. He is helpless to help her. Yuri pushes hard and manages to birth the first child, which has its own consequences. Poor Rin, an unseen silent witness to the events of the past, becomes convinced more than ever that he should never have been born.

Sir Pheles feels Rin’s pain and removes him to another place.

Meanwhile, aboard the airship Dominus Liminus, Yukio has been summoned by the commander, Lucifer, who informs him that his test results are back. While Yukio is not a demon, he is not exactly a normal human either. Yukio’s left eye shows signs of severe temptaint, which is probably why Satan is able to use the eye as a window onto Assiah.

Lucifer decides to play tour guide and takes Yukio around his airship. A set of twin pistols catches Yukio’s eye. Turns out they are the test type and prototype of the Armumahel gun and its power “has the same qualities as the black flame” they consider to be “the flame of Gehenna.” In a surprise move, Lucifer offers the guns to Yukio and he accepts.  However, Lucifer explains, before Yukio can wield both weapons, his arm needs to be repaired, which could take five or six weeks. But there is a way in which it could be done in only one day…

Lewin Light (aka Lightning) is on trial for his attack on Director Drac Dragelescu. Lightning attempts to tell them (including Arthur Angel) that Drac has been working for the enemy, working at producing clones of demons. That doesn’t go very well, so now it’s up to Suguro to find the proof of Lightning’s innocence. Is he up to the task?

Shima gives Yukio some confidential information and tells him to do with it what he will. Yukio can’t help but wonder which side Shima is on. Shima says he wonders the same thing about Yukio. But what Shima tells him about Lucifer constantly changing bodies makes sense and explains much. Also explains much about Dragulescu.

The evidence of Dragulescu’s perfidy comes a day late and a dollar short as the man has flown the coop. Meanwhile, Lucifer has allowed Yukio to witness the experiment involving so-called “chosen ones” for whom this is not their first time at the rodeo. And now Lucifer reveals the reason for wanting Yukio to be present at this time…

Shiemi finds herself among the Grigori as an honored guest and given a complete make-over. They refer to her as Lady Shiemi and her wish is their command. She is unsure of why she is there. And she makes an unexpected discovery…

I’ve been waiting a long time for this next volume, and it doesn’t disappoint. On the contrary, I am now impatient for the next one. I only hope the wait is shorter.

Rin is beginning to think he should never have been born, as if his birth was the cause of anything. I hope he gets over this soon. Yukio, on the other hand, has come back into my good graces. I should have known better. The jury is still out on Shima. Suguro is pretty awesome, and has been trained well by Lightning, who isn’t as useless as he often seems. Even Mephisto Pheles shows an uncanny knack for knowing where and when he is needed and what to do in any given situation.

I still feel bad for Yuri. She was used as a pawn for something that was none of her fault. The heart loves where it loves. Not enough Shiro in this volume, but that’s not unexpected. Important things are happening, I can’t wait to see what they are. Another great volume of Blue Exorcist!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Wednesday Briefs: Super Trooper #50 (12.1)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts. 

Chan finds himself stressed out by work, and wonders if he might be driving Evan away. See what's happening with them in this week's chapter of Super Trooper. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Super Trooper #50 (12.1)

Chan’s head throbbed, a pounding rhythm which made thinking difficult at best. The numbers on the balance sheet sitting on his desk refused to add up. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he was also acting as head teller, as the previous one had abruptly quit one day and moved away from Tucker Falls. Announced she was chasing her dream of being a circus performer. Seriously? That meant he had to make sure the tellers each balanced their drawers before leaving. And sometimes that was just easier said than done. Not to mention one of the regular tellers was out sick, and one of the two savings counselors was on medical leave for another couple of weeks. Altogether that meant longer hours for Chan, but what could he do? He had children to provide for.

He’d applied for social security on his siblings’ behalf, but that would take a little time to process. And whenever it did start, he would set it aside for them, to go toward their future education. He would provide for their needs without touching that money. Evan had agreed that was the thing to do.

Evan.

Chan sighed and closed his eyes momentarily against the pain. Evan was being so good about everything, he couldn’t be any sweeter. But things at home were not going exactly smoothly. Not for lack of trying. The children… well, they were children. And he wasn’t mad at them, he could never be. They’d been through so much.

And yet, life would be much easier if they were a little bit better behaved. And by they he actually meant Kamal. Laksha was always a little lady. Maybe she was a little more quiet than usual, but at least she wasn’t acting out like their brother. Madhu, on the other hand, was worrisome. She spoke even less than before and he seldom saw her smile anymore.

Why was life so damn complicated?

Chan opened his eyes and glanced at the time on his computer screen. Almost four. Normally, he’d be leaving soon, but he didn’t think he’d be on time tonight any more than he had been the past few nights. Evan should be headed home, if he wasn’t there already. What to do about dinner? He could ask Evan what he wanted, and then take it from there.

A mere moment later, Chan’s cell began to ring. He recognized Evan’s ringtone immediately, a song they both loved. In spite of his headache, Chan smiled as he answered.

“Hello,” he greeted Evan. “I was just thinking of you.”

“I like the sound of that,” Evan replied. “How’s your day going?”

“Don’t ask.” Chan tried not to whine, but sometimes he could hear it in his own voice, and he hated his weakness.

Chan heard a knock at his door. He barely had time to tell Evan to hold on a sec when it opened and a young blonde teller’s face appeared. Cindy was in her early twenties and had only been working at the saving and loan for a couple of weeks. Her smile was both apprehensive and apologetic. “I’m sorry, Mr. Basu. I hate to bother you… but…”

She didn’t have to finish that sentence. Chan knew instantly what was coming. “I’ll be happy to help you balance,” he said softly. “And please, it’s Chan.”

“Thank you… Chan,” she amended and made an immediate withdrawal.

Chan returned to his phone call. “I’m sorry,” he apologized. “I have to go. The new teller…”

“Don’t be sorry, it’s your job. Tell you what, when you get off, why don’t we take the kids out for burgers? They love those.”

That was very true. While his mother had raised them on many traditional Hindu dishes, they’d also eaten their fair share of American cuisine and thrived on it. His family was very American in that regard. Burgers, pizza… they loved it all.

“That’s a splendid idea, thank you.” At least dinner would be taken care of, one less worry. At least for tonight.

“Call me when you’re on your way and I’ll make sure they’re ready to go,” Evan said.

“Thank you. Thank you very much.”

“Don’t thank me, I love you, Chan. I’d do anything for you.”

Chan’s heart swelled at his lover’s words, knew they were true. “I love you too, Evan,” he said. “I’ll call as soon as I can.” Once he’d hung up, Chan sat there for a moment, replaying Evan’s words, basking in the glow of his love, albeit over the phone.

Oh yeah. Cindy. Work before play. He briefly massaged his temple before exiting his office to help the young woman balance her drawer so everyone could go home on time. Hopefully.

 to be continued

Now go visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them!

Cia Nordwell

J Alan Veerkamp

Carol Pedroso


Thursday, December 31, 2020

Virtual Book Tour: All Bags Go to Cleveland by CS Hale

 Good morning everyone! Please welcome author CS Hale to Full Moon Dreaming. He's here to tell us about her new release, All Bags Go to Cleveland. The author will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter in the tour via Rafflecopter. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops on her tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post!


 


ALL BAGS GO TO CLEVELAND

by CS Hale

~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

GENRE:  

 

paranormal romantic comedy

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

BLURB:

 

Angela Grimalke appears more blonde bombshell than the gremlin she is. But there is no denying her supernatural truth after her clumsiness gets her fired from her modeling career. Forced to work for her family’s upscale airline, she spends her days slinging luggage and wishing her parents would get off her back about finding a nice gremlin guy to settle down with. 

 

Relationships were the last thing on her mind, not that her family would accept that. 

 

For Dave Ford his frequent business travel made it next to impossible for him to find a woman who could tolerate his chaotic schedule. Which is why he appreciates Angela. Neither of them are looking for love, but Dave feeds Angela's addiction for chocolate while she provides him with the chaos to keep him on his toes.

 

However, as Angela’s parents bombard her with a parade of "eligible" gremlin men at their weekly family dinners, she finds herself torn between who she longs to be and her family’s expectations. Will she give in and live the life of magic they want for her? Or risk it all by to confessing to Dave that she isn’t human?

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

EXCERPTS:

 

 

“You owe me.”

 

Angela glanced up from her computer screen. Dave Ford stood in front of her. The blood drained from her face. “Do I?” She raised her “helpful” smile.

 

“Yes.” Dave handed over his passport and put the Louis Vuitton garment bag on the scale. “Last time, you sent my bag to Cleveland.”

 

“The system isn’t perfect,” Angela said, punching Dave’s information into the computer. “Things do happen sometimes.”

 

“You control the system. I think you owe me a glass of wine for having to find a tailor at six a.m. I had a nine o’clock business meeting and just my jeans and sweatshirt.”

 

“Hmm. By that reckoning, I think I’d owe the tailor for having to get you a functional suit so quickly at that early hour.”

 

“I tipped him £100. Least you can do is buy me a glass of wine in return.”

 

Angela lifted her gaze. Dave—all six feet of him with his fabulous hair— had a hopeful expression on his face.

 

“I’m not in the habit of buying strange men alcohol.”

 

Dave stuck his hand out. “Hi. Dave Ford. Business traveler.” Angela laughed. “All I’m asking for is a glass of Malbec. Or maybe pinot noir. Small price to pay in comparison to my having to fight off jet lag via acupuncture.”

 

“Acupuncture?”

 

Dave shrugged. “It was early for the tailor. His aim wasn’t quite what it could have been.”

 

Angela dipped into Dave’s mind. The tailor had stabbed him a couple of times. And Dave was playing with her. He wanted to see what she’d do.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~



INTERVIEW 12

What group did you hang out with in high school? I hung out with the drama nerds. They were the most fun group ever. We were actually a lot like Adam and his friends in The Goldbergs. And it was even the 80s. Whether it was bringing our kazoos to football games and playing “Tequila” until the band joined in, leaving the cheerleaders confused with pom poms on their hips, or slapping ourselves against the movable wall separating the stage and drama room from the rest of the multipurpose room to the cry of “Barnacle!” we always had something going on. At the private school I went to my first two years of high school, two of the students spent an entire night wiring EVERYTHING IN the history teacher’s room to the ceiling, creating an upside down classroom. There was even a paper airplane wired to skim the floor, and they reversed the magnet in the clock so that it ran backwards. Trevor lost his keys to the building after that stunt, but his partner-in-crime went on to teach physics at Edinburgh University.

What are you passionate about these days? Kindness. I have been bullied most of my life, even as an adult, and I don’t care how much you disagree with someone, there is never any excuse to be mean. Actually, the more you disagree with someone, the kinder you need to be. Your getting heated only makes you dangerous and someone who needs to be eliminated. It’s the basic fight or flight response we have little control over. I’m always willing to be open to changing my mind, but I’m also Irish and a pretty good shot. You don’t want to mess with me if I haven’t done the flight response. And I have a circle of friends who would make sure you were never found. So be kind. The life you save might be your own.

If you had to do your journey to getting published all over again, what would you do differently? Nothing. I spent eight years trying to go traditional and it allowed me to create four separate different worlds with an eventual twelve separate books plus the other character who has been talking to me for several years. I learned a lot and watched publishing change. Some for the better. Some not. Those eight years allowed my skills to grow. I wish I had done things differently with Fall From the Moon’s first cover. That was a $1,200 learning experience, but I ended up with Melissa and an absolutely gorgeous cover in the end. Things were not in place to have that cover on the first go-around.

Ebook or print? And why? I have to confess that I don’t own an e-reader. I love paper. The way it smells. The way it feels in your hand. I do understand how handy an e-reader can be to take on vacation. I took 5 print books with me on my honeymoon many moons ago (I needed something to do on the beach).

I love that in the UK bookstores are still on nearly every corner and you see people everywhere reading print. And both my cover designer and formatter turn out gorgeous print books that you just can’t do on an e-reader. Even Cleveland had to change from fun fonts to distinguish the different characters texts to plain bold as you can’t do specialized fonts for Kindle. I get that ebooks are MUCH cheaper and easier to tote around, but check out the print interiors of Lichelle Slater’s Forgotten Kingdom series and tell me that you don’t wish every book had an interior like them.

What is your favorite scene in this book? My favorite scene is the one where Dave and Angela first picnic by the Central Park boat pond and Dave tells Angela how much he’s always admired Stuart Little. I cried when I wrote that scene because it so perfectly summed up the theme of the book - you need to embrace your differences, instead of hiding from them, and just go out and do things.

 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Catherine “C.S.” Hale has been writing fantasy since she could hold a pencil. When not holed up in a comfortable corner writing all her books out by longhand, she can be found somewhere by the sea, enjoying tea and pastries.

 

Website: cshalebooks.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CatSHale

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorcshale

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FVDJL54

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Wednesday Briefs: Super Trooper #49 (11.4)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts. 

Everyone had adjustments to make to the new situation, but Evan is afraid the children just don't like him, and he isn't sure what to do about it. See what's going on in this week's chapter of Super Trooper. Then go visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Super Trooper #49 (11.4)

The first couple of weeks after becoming a family was spent in adjusting to the new situation. Some adjustments were easier than others, Evan found. He and Chan had had their own routines, but these were gone now, naturally. Although some things were similar, such as meals. They still shared the cooking duties, although Chan was by far the better chef. An opinion which was born out by his siblings, who seemed less than enthusiastic when Evan cooked. In all fairness, Evan had done little cooking for himself prior to meeting Chan, other than grilling when the mood hit him. Even so, he was trying to please their palates, just not succeeding very well.

Chan and Evan didn’t work the same hours. Well, Chan did, but Evan’s schedule tended to change. Sometimes he worked into the evening, or over the weekend, and was off during the week. On those days, he would stay home with Madhu, instead of Denise. At least that was the plan. But after she cried pitifully when left alone with him, he found himself calling the babysitter, who rushed right over. Evan didn’t know what he was doing wrong, but he didn’t want to upset the little girl. She’d just lost her parents and still didn’t understand why her whole world had changed. He didn’t want to add to the problem.

Every day, Laksha and Kamal walked home together from school, a few short blocks away. Once inside the house, Kamal would toss his backpack into his room, grab a snack and run off to play with one of his friends while Laksha studied. When Evan expressed an interest in knowing where he was going, Kamal informed him that it was none of Evan’s business, he wasn’t his father. Before Evan could react, he’d run out the door. He glanced uncertainly at Laksha, but the young girl only shrugged, as if to say not her problem, then picked up Madhu, who was tugging at her skirt, and carried her into the kitchen.

Evan debated telling Chan about what had happened but decided his lover didn’t need the added pressure. He would just have to figure things out for himself. Hopefully the children would not act up forever. Or for very much longer.

One night Evan decided to try his hand at making curry, hoping to please everyone. He found a recipe online, and luckily they had all the ingredients on hand. He grilled pork chops with it, and asparagus. Chan declared it delicious, and Laksha seemed to like it as well. But Kamal only played with his food for a while then asked to be excused and wanted to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Chan started to say no, but then gave in and agreed. Madhu picked at her rice quietly.

“I’m sorry,” Evan apologized later, when they were alone in bed. Not the way he’d wanted the evening to go, not at all.

“For what?” Chan asked, stretching his arms and legs, and then his neck until it popped and he relaxed. “Dinner was great, I promise. Thank you for that.” He kissed Evan softly and patted his cheek. “Things are different for them, that’s all. They’ll adjust. I promise.”

Evan wasn’t so sure, but he wasn’t about to express his doubts or add to Chan’s stress in anyway. So he nodded his agreement instead and buried his misgivings. Turning to face Chan, he laid one hand upon Chan’s slim hip—since moving into the house, they’d begun wearing sleep pants rather than sleeping in the nude as they had before—and began to stroke his leg, wanting Chan so badly he could taste it. Chan meant the world to him and he wanted to show him just how much.

Sliding his hand beneath Chan’s waistband, he was gratified to find that Chan greatly desired him as well. He cupped Chan’s erection, caressing his warm length, as Chan scooted closer to him to facilitate his reach.

“What did you have in mind?” Chan teased, his fingers stroking the faint stubble on Evan’s jaw.

“You, of course,” Evan replied before he claimed Chan’s lips. He tightened his grasp of Chan’s cock and began to slowly pump it.

“Chan!” An imperious voice broke into the moment. Evan recognized it immediately as belonging to Kamal. Maybe if they kept quiet…

But no, as a few seconds later, “Chan, I’m thirsty,” could be heard as well as the rattling of their doorknob. Evan wasn’t worried as he knew the door was locked, for their privacy, but even so…

“I’ll get him a glass of water and be right back,” Chan promised. “Okay?” He looked so anxious that Evan could do no less than agree.

“I’ll be right here,” he replied.

“Sorry,” Chan murmured. He rolled from the bed, adjusting himself as he did, and threw on a robe before answering the door. Just then a wail sounded from  down the hall. Madhu was crying.

The mood was broken now. Evan sighed and got up, to see if he could help in anyway. Somehow he doubted that he was wanted by any of them, though.

to be continued

Now go see what's up with the other Briefers!

Cia Nordwell

J Alan Veerkamp

Carol Pedroso


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 27 by Tite Kubo

 

Bleach, Vol 27        


Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: June 2, 2009

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

Ulquiorra has taken Orihime hostage, capture while she is being escorted back to the World of the Living. Warning her that resistance is futile, he allows her to go to Kakura Town to say good-bye to one person, without being seen, and then she is to report to Hueco Mundo. Orihime agrees, rather than see anyone get hurt. And of course the one person she chooses to say good-bye to is Ichigo.

Meanwhile, the battle between the Soul Reapers and the Arrancars continues, following the arrival of Uruhara. Yammy thinks he’s killed Kiskue but the shop owner is a lot tougher than he’s given him credit for. And he’s a quick study. Fool me once, shame on you… but Kiskue won’t be fooled again.

Ichigo, along with Rukia,  is battling Grimmjow, and things aren’t going particularly well when Dutch Boy (Shinji) shows up, and he isn’t anything Grimmjow has ever seen before. And neither will he explain himself to the Arrancar, which infuriates him. But just as Dutch Boy lashes out with a Cero of his own, and it seems as if the tide has turned in their favor, the call comes to the Arrancars that the battle is and they are to return. Obviously a sign that their objective has been attained, ie the capture of Orihime, although the others don’t know that yet.

An exhausted Ichigo is taken home to recuperate and is totally unaware of Orihime’s arrival and her heartfelt good-bye in the middle of the night. But when Hitsugaya arrives the next morning and detects her spiritual pressure, that knowledge seems to change everything. Now the Soul Reapers will do nothing to assist in her rescue, claiming that she has joined Aizen et al of her own accord and is therefore a traitor. Rukia and the other Soul Reapers are ordered back to Soul Society immediately and the Captain General forbids Ichigo to help Orihime either, claiming he needs him for more important thing.

Like Ichigo’s going to listen to the old man when Orihime’s life is in danger.

Before he heads off to Hueco Mundo, Ichigo briefly returns to school and cuts ties with his friends for their own protection, then heads to the shop, suspecting Kiskue can help him get to Hueco Mundo. But rather than play Lone Ranger, it seems that Ichigo will have a couple of companions, who have been waiting for him to turn up. And they are not the only ones keeping Ichigo on their radar.

An interesting turn of events with the capture of Orihime. Now we finally understand just why Uruhara wanted to keep her from the battle, and it has nothing to do with her abilities or lack of, but it was done for her protection, knowing she will become a target of Aizen. See how well that worked out. Now is the time to find out what this seemingly fragile, mind-mannered, sweet young girl is truly made of. In order to survive Aizen and his cohorts in Hueco Mundo, it had best be something really strong.  Also interesting is her admission of her feelings when saying farewell to Ichigo.

Perhaps losing the support of the Soul Reapers – at least for now – was for the best, because that’s what is allowing Uryu to come along, providing the loophole in his agreement with his father which helped him regain his Quincy powers. But it seems that dear old Dad is not surprised, as even Isshin can tell.

In this volume, we get a little more of a glimpse into Kiskue as more than a comic relief character who happens to own a shop in the World of the Living.  Did you really think that was his only purpose? No, that man has a lot more to him, and a lot more we have to learn about him. You just don’t become a supplier to the Soul Reapers without having some sort of inside knowledge… maybe friends in high places?

The first arc of Bleach involved the saving of Rukia, and now on to the saving of Orihime. Not coincidentally, both rescues involve Aizen, the renegade Soul Reaper, who no longer has any redeeming values. That man is just bad to the bone. And more than a little egomaniacal and crazy. No telling what that kind of crazy will do, as it tends to want everything.

Another good volume of Bleach, setting the stage for what is coming, namely battle with Aizen and pals on their own turf. That can’t be good, surely, especially when he was so many bad things at his disposal. So what is his long-term agenda?  Well, he still has the Hogyoku, waiting for it to come to fruition. What’s he plan to do with it? Hard to say.

Can’t wait for the next volume.