5 for Friday – June 15

As you read this, I am kicking back and (hopefully) enjoying my vacation.  It’s been a great week for reading. I finally treated myself to that Once Burned arc and it totally lived up to my expectations! The best from Jeaniene Frost I have read in a long time.  I also read Tempest’s Fury and am still reeling from the killer ending. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to read this weekend, but what I think makes a good vacation isn’t always what the rest of the family has in mind.  All I know is that if someone says “bathing suit” to me, they are getting a kick in the shin.

5. Karen Marie Moning has released the blurb for her new Fever-world book Iced.  Check it out:

The year is 1 AWC—After the Wall Crash. The Fae are free and hunting us. It’s a war zone out there, and no two days are alike. I’m Dani O’Malley, the chaos-filled streets of Dublin are my home, and there’s no place I’d rather be.Dani “Mega” O’Malley plays by her own set of rules—and in a world overrun by Dark Fae, her biggest rule is: Do what it takes to survive.

Possessing rare talents and the all-powerful Sword of Light, Dani is more than equipped for the task. In fact, she’s one of the rare humans who can defend themselves against the Unseelie. But now, amid the pandemonium, her greatest gifts have turned into serious liabilities.

Dani’s ex–best friend, MacKayla Lane, wants her dead, the terrifying Unseelie princes have put a price on her head, and Inspector Jayne, the head of the police force, is after her sword and will stop at nothing to get it. What’s more, people are being mysteriously frozen to death all over the city, encased on the spot in sub-zero, icy tableaux.

When Dublin’s most seductive nightclub gets blanketed in hoarfrost, Dani finds herself at the mercy of Ryodan, the club’s ruthless, immortal owner. He needs her quick wit and exceptional skill to figure out what’s freezing Fae and humans dead in their tracks—and Ryodan will do anything to ensure her compliance.

Dodging bullets, fangs, and fists, Dani must strike treacherous bargains and make desperate alliances to save her beloved Dublin—before everything and everyone in it gets iced.”

I’m not sure how I feel about this.  Dani is obviously still quite young. There is no talk about romance –and I’m glad.  I can’t quite imagine Mac really trying to kill her. I’m not a big Dani fan, but I keep reminding myself that I didn’t like Mac in the beginning either, so I will definitely give it a chance. (I am a little scared, though.)

4. Maya Banks has revealed the cover for her upcoming Highlander Most Wanted.

It’s gorgeous, right? This is for the second book in her series Montgomery/Armstrong series, out in February.  Book one, Never Seduce a Scot, releases September 25th.

3. New Magic Mike trailer. Perhaps the best thing that has happened to me this week.  I know I shared it with many of you on Twitter, but it’s worth it to watch it again, yes?

It’s got bare asses and big dicks in silhouette. My life is complete. (The banner says July 11th, but it’s out June 29th.)

2. I don’t usually spend much time talking about YA or Twilight kind of stuff, but have you seen the Entertainment Weekly cover on the new Breaking Dawn movie?

It is positively creepy how much that little girl looks like she could be their child.  Wow.

1. I told myself I wouldn’t watch True Blood this season, but then I asked myself, What if Joe Manganiello gets naked?  Then, of course, I watched it.  And he kept all of his goddamn clothes on.  I saw Sheriff Andy’s bare white ass. I saw Sam’s extremely mooby moobs.  But Alcide didn’t even take off his shirt. What. The. Hell.  I am totally not watching next week.   

But what if Joe Manganiello gets naked?  Who am I kidding?

A big thanks to everyone who participated in the Shameless Summer Hop this past week.  You guys are the best!

Until next time!
XOXO
Jen

5 For Friday – May 18

Happy Friday, friends.  It’s been a crazy week at my house. The hubs is in Miami to visit his best friend and to attend some porn convention.  This makes me the Best Wife Ever, and gives me the green light to attend the book conventions of my choice over the course of the next year. Win-win.  My temporary single-mom status has made it hard to get much reading done, but tonight, you can be sure I am hunkering down with Armed & Dangerous and a glass of wine!   I’ve been dying to read this one and I didn’t get to start it until late last night. Cut and Run is definitely my favorite m/m series.  With that in mind, let’s get this party started:

5. The Hop Against Homophobia is currently underway.

If you aren’t familiar with it, the hop is an effort from more than 250 m/m authors, reviewers and publishers to stand together and create awareness of homophobia.  There are some really great posts here and they’re delivering a message that needs to be heard by everyone.  I urge you to check some of them out. You could also win some great m/m book prizes.

4. I just found out that the uber-awesome Stacia Kane is releasing a prequel novella to her amazing Downside series.  It’s called Finding Magic and it comes out June 4th. An early birthday present to me, perhaps?

Before Chess Putnam was a magic-wielding Churchwitch, she was a student in the Church of Real Truth—with a keen sensitivity to magic, a strong rebellious streak, and a penchant for self-destruction. And in Finding Magic, a grisly ghost murder becomes Chess’s baptism of fire.

When eighteen-year-old Chess Putnam is offered the chance to train with a special team of investigators known as the Black Squad, she feels torn. She’s never been a team player and hates how one male Inquisitor condescends to “the new kid.” But at her first bloody crime scene, she gets a taste for investigation—and is hooked on the high. Though the seasoned Inquisitors consider the series of ghost murders random events, Chess starts to detect a pattern. Is a psycho killer summoning ghosts from the City of Eternity and using them as murder weapons? As Chess gets closer to the dark truth, she puts herself in grave danger and risks losing everything she’s fought so hard for.

I’m excited, but can I love Chess without Terrible? (And what’s up with the blond hair?)

3. Speaking of Terrible…

I am so excited to be his champion in the VBC Alpha Showdown.  We’re up against tough competition.  I mean, who doesn’t love Kate Daniels? But Terrible fans, we need to unite! Come cast your vote Monday, May 21st.

2. HBO has released its first trailer for Season 5 of True Blood.  Check it out:

There was no doubt that the show would have to veer away from the books this season since they decided not to make Jason a were-panther and that is such a huge part of Dead as a Doornail.  But other than some left-over Debbie Pelt stuff, this looks like a main story arc completely independent of the Charlaine Harris series.  Personally, I hate the fact that they left the books, but I know some folks prefer the changes.  What do you think? Will you be watching next month?

1. The Magic Mike release is only six weeks away! And Entertainment Weekly has a great spread on the sexy stars in its next issue.

There’s also a behind the scenes video from the cover shoot.  Click below if you want to watch it, but wait until you’re done reading everything here, because the link will take you to the EW website.  It’s worth it just to see how many times Channing Tatum can say “junk” in under 3:00.

Warning: Joe Manganiello is not in this video.

That’s about it for this week. I need to go finish crying over the Grey’s Anatomy finale.

XOXO
Jen

DragonCon: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Without a doubt, I would consider the DragonCon experience to be a positive one.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was definitely something everyone should experience at least once.

Photo Courtesy: insouciant-tumblr

The Good:

Obviously, Joe Manganiello rocked my world, but he wasn’t the only uber-hot celebrity on the premises.   I also got a chance to see Misha Collins in the autograph signing area.  Sadly, cameras were not allowed in there and I didn’t get a picture.  But let me assure you that the man is even better looking in person.  My one regret is not ponying up the cash for a photo session with him.  I missed the Supernatural panel Saturday due to a conflict.  I do, however, have the memory of his gorgeous face burned into my retinas.
My other big celebrity squee came from the panel with the Buffy cast. I attended their Sunday panel and it featured James Marsters (Spike), Nicholas Brendon (Xander), Eliza Dushku (Faith), Claire Kramer (Glory), Julie Benz (Darla), and Mercedes McNab (Harmony).  Our seats weren’t very good. Even though we arrived more than an hour before it started, the line already took up three floors of the Westin hotel.  So yes, my pictures suck.  It was all audience Q & A.  The cast joked about how David Boreanaz was always flashing people and farting on set.  They talked about how scary it was to prepare for “Once More With Feeling” and then how gratifying it was when it paid off.  James talked about how hard it was to film the scene in the bathroom when Spike tried to rape Buffy and how it put him in therapy.  But I’ve got to tell you, Nick stole the show on the panel. He was self-deferential and funny as hell.  A great hour!
The parade was also fantastic.  The crowd was enormous and the participants were all letting their freak flags fly.  I think my favorite group consisted of the Mortal Kombat characters, but there were representatives of just about every sci-fi or fantasy genre you can imagine.  Plus, I had some great geeky-chicks behind me narrating every group that walked by. “Oh look, there are the Browncoats.”  — “Oh look, there is the giant spaghetti-monster.”  Without them, I would have been lost.
The Bad:
I don’t have too many complaints.  The lines sucked. Food and drinks were overpriced. The hotel staff and volunteers were on a slight power trip.  Oh –and the seats were too close together at the panels.  There are some pretty big people in this world and I happened to sit next to one such lady at a True Blood panel. She was seated before I was and literally took up half of my seat.  I had to watch the whole thing perched on the edge of my chair.  I know the organizers want to fit in as many people as possible, but that was not cool.
The Ugly (You Know):
This one is really too easy.  I saw more tits & ass at this convention than possibly an entire lifetime of Mardi Gras parades growing up in New Orleans.  And very few of the folks had the bods to support being nearly-naked.  –This is not a value statement on anyone’s size. I assure you, I do not have the figure to pull off a mesh body suit.  But then again, I was kind enough to wear jeans and a cotton shirt while I walked around the hotel.  If only I had thought to bring eye-bleach when I packed my clothes.  And if only I’d had the foresight to take pictures of all the male superhero characters who didn’t think to wear a cup.  Then you could be scarred for life too!

DragonCon: It’s All About Joe

To be fair, there were a lot of great things at DragonCon that had nothing to do with Joe Manganiello.  But as much as I loved those awesome panels with the Buffy cast and Q&A with Sherrilyn Kenyon, I’m pretty sure that neither of them will be feeding my fantasies for six seconds, much less the next six months.  Joe, however, will provide solid fantasy fodder for the foreseeable future.  So let’s dish.

The True Blood panel was the very first event I attended when I arrived at the convention on Friday.  It featured Joe, Kristen (Pam), Jim (Hoyt), and Charlaine Harris.  I can’t say they shared anything particularly groundbreaking. Charlaine did her standard speech about how the show would be boring if it followed the books too closely (Bullshit!) Everyone went on and on about how awesome Alan Ball is (Barf.)  Jim talked about how he’d like to play a darker side of Hoyt, since he has been so thoroughly betrayed by his mother, then Jessica, and now Jason.  And my favorite Joe moment was during the audience Q&A, when a woman told him she was a lesbian, but that she’d like to do him anyway. (Wouldn’t we all?)

The second True Blood panel was Saturday and we scored seats on the fourth row. It was outstanding (except for the fact there was no room for my ass on the seat… but that is a story for another post.)  The fabulous Dennis O’Hare, who played Russell, joined the other cast members for this session and he was wonderful.  He talked about that big scene where Russell came out on television, telling humans he didn’t need their approval and how it served as parallel in his life as a gay man.  It was really quite powerful.  It made Kristen cry. Though to be fair, she seems to be a crier… she also cried Friday talking about her animal charity.  And Jim cried too, over how moved he was by the power of the emotion he felt for the Bill and Sookie love story.  Joe talked about crazy fan moments… how some husbands have asked him to let their wives sit on his lap.  He (and the others) talked about how they trained to adjust their accents on the show. (Joe’s is the best, IMO.) And he was so aw-shucks charming. He complimented Charlaine, pulled out her chair, and he referenced details of the books, which scored him big brownie points with me.

 

And of course, there is this.  The best $30 I have ever spent.  Honestly, I would have paid more.  The photo session was the number one thing I was most excited about in the entire trip.  There were so many people with tickets, the whole thing moved like an assembly line. But standing next to the man was such a surreal experience.  He is so damn tall!! For reference, I’m 5’4.  He says he is 6’5.  I swear to you, I wanted to climb him like a tree.  But it was over so fast.  I grinned like an idiot, saying, “Thank you so much.”  He said, “No, thank you.”  An just like that, it was already some bitch’s turn to have him next.
But she can’t take away the memories.
P.S. Don’t forget to check out my Top 10 Lessons Learned at DragonCon if you missed it yesterday!

Lessons Learned From DragonCon

I’m back from DragonCon… tired and sore in a lot of places. This is thanks in no small part to four days worth of walking and several Buckets O’ Rum.

It was great fun, but also an educational experience.  Just in case you’re thinking of attending next year, it feels only right that I share some of the many lessons I learned.
1. There is someone for everyone.  Whether you’re sexy and buff, short and fat, cool, lame, tall, skinny, geeky or whatever, there is someone out there who is your perfect match.  If you like to go steampunk… be an elf, a zombie, or even be naked… there is somebody out there willing to do it with you.

2. People standing on the side of you can see your junk behind a fan that covers your crotch.

3. If your belly hangs over your pants/ skirt/ speedo… you need to wear more clothing.  One might think this would go without saying.  One would be wrong.
4. Tape, marker, paint and/or band-aids do not qualify as clothing.  This is especially true in conjunction with lesson #3.  But it even applies to you if you are hot.

5. No matter how hard you work on your costume, someone nerdier than you will find a detail you got wrong.

Sitting in the bus, passing a guy in an awesome elf-warrior costume, the douche next to me turns to his friend and says, “Yeah, he makes a pretty good (whatever the hell he was) –but he got the sword color wrong.”

6. Body odor and patchouli do not create a marketable fragrance.

Seriously. Take a bath.

7. Those platform shoes probably seemed like a good idea an hour ago, but my tennis shoes will keep me from needing a wheelchair tomorrow.

8. If you wear lycra pants and you don’t wear a cup, everyone can see your dangly bits.  Really, this should have been #1.

9. Yes, everyone can smell your nasty fart. You’re not fooling anyone by ignoring it.

10. Have your camera ready at all times. You never know who or what will be around the corner!

*More DragonCon fun to come… including celebrity sightings, my moment with Joe Manganiello and panels with the True Blood cast, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Laurell K Hamilton and others!

Rant: True Blood

You would think I would have learned my lesson. Over and over, people keep telling me that I need to think of True Blood as something totally separate from the Sookie Stackhouse books. And that sounds easy enough, but I just can’t do it. I mean, these are the supposed to be the characters I’ve cared about for all this time.

The basic premise of the series was the same… at least in season one. Sookie Stackhouse, telepathic waitress, gets her first real chance at a relationship with the first vampire she ever meets. Her shapeshifter boss is there, along with her slightly selfish, man-whore brother… The main story arc holds up, as someone kills people with ties to vampires. And not withstanding the horrific accents, it worked. Of course, the amazing casting of Alexander Skarsgard didn’t hurt. His presence is what made me tolerate that whole ridiculous v-addiction storyline.

Then season two came and the bastardization began. Layfayette is alive (the one and only change I was ever on board with)… Jessica is born. The unnamed maenad gets a name and an extended storyline that nearly overshadows the trip to Dallas. There’s the epic fail of the Fellowship of the Sun side-plot and changes involved with making Godric into Eric’s maker. Season 3 gives us the gift of Joe Mangianello and I can forgive the show creators almost anything after that. Except maybe the train wreck that they turned Russell into. Or the terrible miscasting of Claudine and Hadley.

But here we are at season four. And I’ve been waiting, poised between excitement and fear for the adaptation of my favorite book in the series. Only to get the horrific, steaming pile of shit that I witnessed last night. In two episodes, there was nary a shred of storyline that can be reconciled with Dead to the World. In fact, it felt like Alan Ball was giving a huge middle finger to Charlaine Harris fans, making it essentially impossible for the story to mirror future books.

Here are my top 10 complaints:

1. Faerie. This was wrong in so many ways, I don’t even know where to start. Lumieres. Ugly fae. Grandpa EARL? This knocks out the whole Niall storyline and indicates (by Barry’s presence) that Sookie’s telepathy is linked to her being fae.

2. A year has passed.

3. Jason sold Sookie’s house.

4. Tara is suddenly a lesbian.

5. Sam is in a shifter support group that has a soft spot for horses. (Who the hell are these people?)

6. Sam’s stupid brother is still around.

7. Arlene thinks she has a devil baby.

8. Here’s a big one. Bill kills Sophie-Ann. Knocking out huge storyline potential from future books. So much of the upcoming story should have been tied up in Sophie Ann, from Sookie’s trip to New Orleans, to the vampire conference, to Mr. Cataliades, Andre, Sigebert & Wybert… All just wiped out with this one plot device.

9. Bill is King. (Seriously… I knew they weren’t going to send him to Peru, but this utterly changes the dynamic between him and Eric forever.)

10. The witches don’t want to have sex with Eric. Instead of some all powerful, evil witches, we’ve got an old lady who misses her dead bird and a bunch of dabblers. It’s all wrong.

I could go on. Bitch about Crystal being part of the plan to turn Jason into a shifter… Or Andy’s drug dependence on vampire blood. Or Lafayette’s stupid new hair. But I’m starting to feel petty. They couldn’t even throw me a bone and toss a naked shot of Joe Manganiello in there.
((**sigh**)) Alan Ball, you did a bad, bad thing.