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text 2020-06-28 22:30
The Sunday Post



It's Sunday and I don't have much to post other than Scotland apparently has not had any COVID-related deaths for a 3rd day in a row, infection rate is low, and businesses are opening up again ... slowly. 

So, it's mostly good news all round. 


However, I'm definitely in a reading slump. I've not really read much at all. Instead, I've been catching up on tv series, Netflix, and ... baking. 


I've come across a new to me recipe this week and managed to make it - with a few substitutions as I have neither apricots nor raspberries, and i didn't not fancy going to the supermarket just for them. I had tinned peaches, tho. They worked a treat! I also added some cinnamon. 


All in all, this is super delicious. It doesn't need the ice cream. It's just pretty perfect as it is.


Happy Sunday!

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text 2020-06-21 23:20
The Sunday Post

It's been a while since my last Sunday Post but to be fair there hasn't been much going on that was worth writing about since ... whenever it was that the virus took hold. 


So, with lockdown slowly easing in Scotland (and easing at a different speed to the rest of the UK, in case you were wondering), this weekend was the first time I had a chance to meet up with a couple of friends. We tried last week, but the weather wasn't allowing us to have a socially distanced picnic in the back garden AND stay dry.


Yesterday, finally!, we got to hang out in my back garden and chill and catch up and not use video chat and all able to dig into this:



I also made a kiwi fruit and banana cake. (I only forgot to take a picture after I put the glaze on.)



Both were demolished within minutes. We had a lot of fun. But it is fair to say that the sight of seagulls circling above us made us eat faster, too. 


Today I just chilled with John Donne. I finished reading the Everyman's Library collection of his works and look forward to picking up the book for re-reads of some of the poetry whenever the mood strikes. 


But of course, good poetry made me hungry for some equally sophisticated snack, so I played around with an idea for olive tapenade. It was nice.


Happy Sunday!

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review 2020-06-21 03:11
When I first read this story back in 2016...
Rented Heart - Dan Calley,Garrett Leigh

I felt like the story got off to a bit of a slow start and while I very much enjoyed the story back then upon re-reading my review I feel like the me of 4 years ago thought that maybe this slow start wasn't such a good thing. Interestingly enough 4 years later I'm feeling like that slow start was just what this story needed. 


While the sex came fast in this story...lonely, rich man meets rent boy...I don't think one can realistically expect differently. It's the other part...the emotion, the connections and deeper feelings that are slow to follow and in the scheme of things it all works and makes sense to the me of now.


Liam's still reeling from the loss of the man he thought he'd spend his life with. A loss that's affected him in so many ways both personal and professional. When Zac sees him and decides that he's going to hit on him, it's only with a moments hesitation before he agrees and follows Zac to his flat for night of no strings attached sex. It's a win/win all the way around...Liam gets what he needs and Zac...well, Zac's got to eat and pay the rent so Zac gets what Zac needs as well.


What was suppose to be a one night stand slowly turns into two and then three and then more. Neither Liam or Zac truly realize when it happened but both men slowly realize that things have changed or maybe it's just that they've come to see that things were never what they thought they were. After all Liam never really thought that Zac was a rent boy and Zac never truly felt like Liam was just another John. Unfortunately realizing this isn't enough to make things right for either man.


It's going to take a drug addicts intervention, a huge misunderstanding and nearly loosing Zac to make Liam see the second chance that he's being given and make him see that if you want something bad enough than fighting for it isn't an option it's simply what you do.


Zac's never believed that he deserved anything good in this life. He's worked on the streets as a hooker since he was 15 and kicked out of his home by his parents for being gay. He's already been saved once by his best mate Jamie the only person who's ever had his back. 


I really needed to see Zac get some happy in his life and there really wasn't anyone better suited to give him that happiness than someone who'd had it once and lost it through no fault of their own. Sweet, kind, lonely, sexy Liam. A man who'd had love, lost it and still had so much to give. 


While I've only listened to a few books narrated by Dan Calley, I'd have to say this one is probably my favorite so far. I've enjoyed them all but for me, Dan Calley really nailed the voices and brought Zac and Liam to life just a bit more than previous stories that I've enjoyed...which is not to say that they were bad by any means but just that this one was even better.


'Rented Heart' may have had a bit of predictability to it but sometimes knowing there's something good coming and knowing that you can count on it to happen in a story really can be a good thing. I loved knowing that in the end Liam would have Zac to love and that Zac was willing to love him back and letting Garret Leigh put the icing on the cake with the details of how they got there was all I needed to make my soul sigh with contentment.



An audio book of 'Rented Heart' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. 

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review 2020-06-21 00:02
The first time I listened to an audio book written by Gregory Ashe...
Police Brutality - Gregory Ashe,Tristan James Mabry


was back in December of 2018...so not really that long ago and I admit I did it for two reasons...#1 some of my friends were reading or listening to his stories and saying some good things and #2 I discovered that Tristan James was the narrator and I've been a fan of his from the first audio book narrated by him that I ever listened to. I've enjoyed around 50 audio books narrated by Tristan James...that is if you only count each title once and not how many times I've listened to a particular audio book...which would mean that I've listened to a whole lot more.


But the subject here is Gregory Ashe's 'Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords' series or to be more precise 'A Union of Swords' book #2 'Police Brutality'. Fans of this pairing will know that while this is only the second book in this series this is in fact the eighth novel featuring this couple...give or take a novella and/or story here and there.


The important thing to take away here is that if you want to enjoy the full Hazard and Somerset experience you need to go back to the beginning...back to the original series and yes, it might seem daunting but it's so worth it. I was actually late to the party in discovering what a hidden gem these stories are but once I found out, I was all in. I gathered up the audio books and I marathoned my way through book after book loving every minute of them to the exclusion of all else.


As a rule I'm a big fan of series that present a different set of MCs every book or even two...mostly because in the past I've found that my interest tends to lag as things begin to feel repetitive and so far that has not been the case at all with these stories. Not only has the criminal/investigative aspect of these stories varied in terms of the who, what, where, why and when but the relationship dynamics between Ellery and John-Henry has held a realism to it that's been to say the least kept my need to know 'where things are going for these two men?' 


Back in 'Pretty, Pretty Boys' we watched as Emery Hazard returned to his hometown to find himself partnered with John-Henry Somerset the bane of his existence when he was younger and as they go from antagonistic partners to cautious allies to friends and more in each successive story the reader gets to share in the emotional roller coaster ride as well as the dangers they face along the way.


Even after all this time things are not perfect between Ellery and John-Henry and just like couples in the read world their relationship is a work in progress. It's not all sunshine and light with these two...sometimes it's hard and it's just not pretty.  It was at the end of the first series that we saw Emery Hazard leave the police force and with the encouragement of his John-Henry, he set out to become a private investigator. 


So now here in their follow up series 'A Union of Swords' we get to see the effect of Emery's decision on their relationship. In book #1 "The Rational Faculty" we saw the beginnings of how things are changing for the former work partnership and it's impact on their personal relationship but here in book #2 "Police Brutality" the changes continue and with John-Henry talking about marriage and the addition of Dulac, Somerset's  recently acquired work partner, who seems to be there at Hazard's every turn and add in Hazard's newest client...Walter Hoffmeister, a rather unpopular police officer that we've encountered in previous stories, along with the fact that 'The Keeper of Bees' is very probably still around and a  threat to all that Ellery holds dear and this series is shaping up to be even more intense and mind gripping than the first one.


As much as I enjoy all aspects of the story, I have to admit for me it's the dynamics between Hazard and Somerset that keep me coming back for more. I love how these two men are together. I love that they see the flaws and imperfections in each other, that they fight...sorry, but in the real world people fight and argue and they make up. They say I'm sorry...not always with words but in ways that only someone who truly loves them can see and understand. Theirs is not a perfect relationship but one that's built on love and determination with a bit of sarcasm and snark thrown in for good measure.


Hazard and Somerset is about second chances, it's about flawed men, broken men who are to stubborn to stay down no matter how hard the world tries to keep them there. It's about men who do the right thing even when it's often not the easy thing to do and it's a series that grabbed my attention and has won my heart. I love this couple and having been there for the beginning I absolutely want to be there for whatever comes next.



An audio book of "Police Brutality" was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.




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text 2020-06-19 22:44
The Parcel

LoL. My mum sent me parcel that resembles more of an apocalyptic emergency package than any previous birthday gift. It made me laugh so hard:



And yes, this is an entire box full of coffee and chocolate...oh, and a mask, of course. XD

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