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review 2018-06-03 16:51
The life of a journalist and statesman
Kurt Eisner: A Modern Life - Albert Earle Gurganus

Kurt Eisner lived a life that bracketed that of the Second Reich which he helped replace. Born into a family of military tailors to the Prussian court, love led him to abandon his scholarly studies for a career as a journalist. He soon emerged as a leading writer in the left-wing press, and after a brief term in prison for lèse-majesté be became editor of Vorwärts, the central organ of the left-wing Social Democratic Party, in 1898. Forced out seven years later in an ideological purge, he nevertheless remained a major columnist and critic until the outbreak of the First World War. Eisner's opposition to the war soon cost him his journalistic platform while his role in organizing a munition workers' strike led to another term. Witt the collapse of the German army in 1918, however, Eisner was released and in a matter of weeks spearheaded a peaceful revolt that overthrew the monarchy in Bavaria. Selected as prime minister, Eisner led Bavaria for three tumultuous months before his assassination in February 1919, the victim of a right-wing aristocrat.

Despite his prominence in Wilhelmine politics and his role in the German revolution Eisner has lacked a biography in English until now. Albert Gurganus has now filled this gap admirably with an account of Eisner's life that traces his professional career and the evolution of his ideas over the course of his life. The man who emerges from his pages is one committed to his beliefs regardless of expediency or cost, a commitment that was key to both his leadership in the German Revolution and in his political downfall on the eve of his assassination. It serves not just as a biography of an unjustly overlooked figure but a portrait of the political left in the Second Reich and a description of German politics during a pivotal period in the history of Europe.

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review 2018-05-31 16:31
Asterix and Obelix's Birthday: The Golden Book, Goscinny & Uderzo
Asterix & Obelix's Birthday: The Golden Book - Albert Uderzo; Rene Goscinny

It's the 50th Anniversary of Asterix and Obelix, so they get their own Birthday Book! What would our heroes be like in the year 1 AD? It's amusing to find out, but let's face it, the perpetual 50 BC they are stuck in is more fun, so let's return there after out glimpse of the future...

 

How old are our heroes, anyway? Why aren't they married? What should they get as Birthday Gifts? How many characters from previous adventures will show up to celebrate? How will Caesar try to ruin the party? How many artistic styles and famous paintings can Uderzo parody (amazingly well) in one book? Just how surreal can one Asterix book get???

 

This has to be the most bonkers Asterix book of them all - by some considerable stretch! Best appreciated by those most familiar with the entire history of the village of Indomitable Gauls still holding out against the invaders...

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review 2018-05-17 13:28
Release Blitz - Level Up

 
TitleLEVEL UP
Series: loosely related to the #gaymers series, but stands alone
Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Annabeth Albert
Release Date: May 17, 2018
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 40,000 words
Genre: Romance, contemporary m/m romance, gay romance, geeks, nerds, friends-to-lovers, gamers, gaymers
 

Add to Goodreads

 

 

Synopsis:

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Landon can’t believe he’s let himself get roped into participating in a charity calendar, let alone one that features tastefully photographed nudes. The genius physicist is hardly model material and he’s dreading the nude part of the photoshoot. Amid his reluctance, the one bright spot is his emails back and forth with the photographer.
 
However, Bailey ends up being not quite what Landon expects, and their first meeting is decidedly awkward. Bailey’s persistent though, and gradually Landon warms to the burly photographer, and they discover they have a shared love of gamer culture.
 
A tentative friendship is born, but the road from friends to lovers isn’t easy. Landon’s battling past trauma and must decide how much of a risk he’s willing to take. A sexy connection may not be enough to keep them together unless both are willing to put their hearts on the line.
 
Approximately 40,000 words. Previously released as part of the EXPOSED anthology, and loosely linked to the #Gaymers universe, this friends-to-lovers, hurt/comfort story stands alone with a guaranteed happy ending. Contains a brief mention of a prior assault, but no on-screen violence or flashbacks.

 

 

Excerpt:

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LEVEL UP EXCERPT—This is their first kiss, because I absolutely love writing first kiss scenes!
 
***
 
Bailey was the type who moved a lot as he gamed, biceps flexing, knees wiggling, shoulders jostling. Landon always liked people who got so into gaming, but it was more than a little distracting. His body was quickly coming to associate that orange scent of Bailey’s with good things, and other parts of him apparently liked Bailey’s nearness, which was a novelty because instead of intimidated, as he would have expected, he was more than a little turned on.
 
“Oh man, that was a rush.” Bailey laughed as both of their health meters dipped to zero. “I’m almost wishing I’d gone into game art, not photography. Amazing how these graphics have held up over the years.”
 
“Totally. And speaking of art, let me find the Space Villager stuff.” Landon reluctantly stepped away from the game. He headed to the nearby kitchen, where he was pretty the papers were buried with a stack of mail. Paper control was not his strong suit. “You’ll go nuts at the latest screen shots and promo teasers.”
 
“Cool.” Rather than follow Landon, Bailey went to sit on the couch.
 
“You want a drink while I’m in here?” Landon called to him after he found the papers under a pile of pizza ads. “I’ve got four flavors of Snapple, soda, and water.”
 
“Surprise me with a Snapple flavor.” Bailey looked right at home on Landon’s couch, lounging back.
 
He really did not look at all like any photographer Landon had ever met, and curiosity had him asking, “So why photography? You said you could have done game design?”
 
“Yeah, I had plenty of friends at the art institute go that direction. But I’ve been in love with photography ever since I worked on our middle school yearbook. I figured out quickly that taking pictures of events and sports was far more fun than trying to do the sports myself, so I did yearbook all through high school, got a photography scholarship to the art institute in Portland.”
 
“So you don’t play a sport?” Landon had a hard time believing that. With Bailey’s height and breadth, he totally looked like he lived for weekend games of some type.
 
“Nope. Hopelessly uncoordinated.” Bailey shot him an endearing smile when Landon handed him the bottle of tea.
 
“Me too.” Landon clinked bottles with him, then held up the papers. “Found the codes. But can I show you some stuff on the TV screen while you have your drink?”
 
“Absolutely.” Bailey took a long swig of tea, and Landon had to look away before he got mesmerized by Bailey’s full mouth, how it looked when his tongue chased a stray drop of moisture, how pink it was in contrast to his paler skin and brown beard.
 
Landon queued up the pre-release trailer Josiah had sent him a link to. Bombastic music filled his small living room as on the screen, and a spaceship pulled in for a landing on a planet filled with ruins of a once-powerful civilization. The narrator had an iconic voice and detailed all the special features of the expansion pack. Landon had already watched this a half-dozen times, and it still gave him happy chills.
 
“Wow. I can’t wait.” Bailey looked suitably awed. “This is even cooler than when War Elf added the mystic raids.”
 
“I know, right? Now look at the in-game screen shots.” He brought up another video, body relaxing more and more despite Bailey’s nearness. It was just so awesome to have someone new to share this with. He’d been hyped about this all week, but Pike was distracted by his boyfriend Zack’s deployment, Savannah didn’t game much, and the rest of his regular crew seemed to have other things occupying their attention.
 
Somehow, as he shared more video clips, he drifted closer to Bailey, so that their knees were almost rubbing. It wasn’t a giant couch, so there wasn’t a ton of room to move back, but even so, Landon wasn’t looking for an escape. He was aware of Bailey, very much so, but not nearly as freaked out as he’d been a few hours ago. Instead, his senses seemed to soak up Bailey’s scent and nearness, and it wasn’t until the fourth or fifth video that he realized that he was aroused.
 
Clink. Somehow Landon’s left hand, holding his drink, and Bailey’s right hand tangled.
 
“Oops.” He tried to extricate himself without spilling both beverages. Bending to put his on the floor, he hadn’t realized that Bailey had also leaned down until their heads collided.
 
“Ow,” they said simultaneously.
 
“Oh my gosh. I’m so sorry.” Bailey reached out, feeling around on Landon’s head. “Did you see stars? Break the skin?”
 
“I’m fine.” Landon didn’t pull away. Bailey’s hand felt damn nice. Gentle. Soothing more than just the bump on his head. Their eyes met, and he really needed to move back, break this spell, but he didn’t, instead leaning into to the touch. Bailey’s eyes darkened, and he stroked down Landon’s jaw. God, that felt so good, like an extra blanket on a chilly night, warmth he hadn’t realized he was missing. How long had it been since he’d been touched like this? Hugged, sure. He’d hugged Savannah goodnight, and hugged and wrestled around with his best friend Pike at the last LAN party, but neither of those things was touch like this. Caring. Sweet. Arousing.
 
Bailey leaned in again, way slower this time, all the time in the world for Landon to stop him. But he didn’t. Bailey’s beard tickled an instant before their lips met, a soft slide of mouths. Not aggressive at all, not the on-a-tight-schedule rush of a hookup, Bailey kissed like they had a sleepy Sunday afternoon to kill, like each reaction of Landon’s mattered, like he was trying to memorize something important and was going to take his time learning the lesson.
 
Landon was the first one to take things further, mouth opening on a sigh, welcoming Bailey’s agile tongue. He tasted sweet, like tea, and minty like the gum he’d popped after the pizza, familiar yet new at the same time. How had he managed to forget how awesome kissing could be? A laugh bubbled up in his chest, but quickly transformed to a groan of pleasure as Bailey nipped at his lower lip.
 
Not content to let Bailey be the one exploring, Landon sent his own tongue on a quest, tracing Bailey’s full lower lip, delving inside to rub tongues, retreating playfully to earn another nip. Fuck. This was nice. The video switched over to something random, and he barely registered it. He couldn’t say how long they kissed, just that he didn’t want it to ever end.

 

Purchase at Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level UpLevel Up by Annabeth Albert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Landon absolutely did not want to do this calendar shoot. If the photographer had not known how to coax him out of his shell, it could have been a disaster. Afterwards, he realizes he is attracted to the quiet photographer and wants to spend more time with him.

Bailey is immediately attracted to Landon. He appreciated the qualities that make him the shy almost recluse of a professor that he is. After spending time gaming together - they realize this could be worth a shot. Now if they can just put past pain and hurt behind them.

I felt like these characters were a great mix. I loved the reference to the amazing Gaymers series also! This story unfolds at a rather steady pace. The heat is obvious, but the solution is not. As always, this author brings us a book that makes us smile. Even after the storm.



***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

 

 

 

Meet the Author:

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Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series. To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: www.annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.
 
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Annabeth's Newsletter | Annabeth's Angels

 

 

Giveaway:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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review 2018-05-17 12:41
Asterix and the Class Act, Goscinny and Uderzo
Asterix and the Class Act - Albert Uderzo,René Goscinny

The collected Asterix short stories!


These are as varied as they are fabulous!


We see: a story about how the animals of the village also hold out against Roman Imperialism; a story about Gaulish fashion; the birth of our heroes; Asterix in the styles of several other comix; the Obelix family tree; how Lutetia won a competition to host the Olympics; how Spring defeated Winter with the help of the village of Indomitable Gauls; a lot of Roman-bashing; and numourous other adventures! Absolutely top-notch work from Goscinny and Uderzo, spanning 40+ years of Asterix comics history.

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review 2018-05-11 17:04
After Birth, by Elisa Albert
After Birth - Elisa Albert

As we approach Mother's Day in the U.S., pop culture has lately been reassuring me that my decision to never have children is a good one.

 

Most recently, I went to see the movie Tully, in which a woman who's just had her third child struggles to sleep and care for herself until finally she relents and accepts her brother's gift of a night nanny. Life for her improves markedly, perhaps magically (for a reason).

 

Inspired by Tully, I consciously chose to read After Birth. Might as well ride this wave of mother-related trauma, I thought. The novel follows Ari, a first time mother, over the course of three months, her son just turning one. It flashes back to when she was pregnant, endured what she feels was a needless C-section, and when what is likely to be post-partum depression ensues.

 

In its bitterness, its sometimes funny rants and ambivalence about Jewish identity, After Birth felt of a piece with Albert's first novel, The Book of Dahlia, which I read last year. I admired that book for its stubbornly unforgiving protagonist, dying of brain cancer. Similarly, Ari's often caustic, volatile voice, her resentment at modern birth practices and various mothering cliques, as well as the unnecessary isolation of motherhood, was often refreshing to read. Sometimes, however, it became a bit much for me.

 

Ari wrestles with her past, doomed relationships with other women, including her mean mother, who died of cancer when she was young, former friends, roommates, lovers. In the present, she befriends and helps a new mom who was in a seminal feminist band. This relationship enables Ari to "grow up," to perhaps become less judgmental or bitter about the women in her life, and those who may become a part of her life.

 

Like everything else, motherhood in the U.S. has become commodified, both as an inextricable part of the health care industry and as a way to sell "stuff" that mothers have done without for ages. The most valuable, engaging aspect of After Birth is the insistence that, however individual birth plans and approaches to mothering may be, women are not meant to raise children on their own (whether there's a man or not); we're meant to help each other.

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