Sick Kitty

My Gabe kitty has obviously lost weight, so it’s a tough time at my house right now. Blood work was inconclusive, so he’s getting an ultrasound on Wednesday. The vet suggested pancreatitis, but I’m worried about cancer. 
My bigger worry is that I’m struggling to find things Gabe will eat. He nibbles at dry kibble, scarfs treats, and will lick tuna cans though, so those may be our staples for a while. I have ideas for healthier options, but finances limit how quickly I can buy them. 

I just hope Wednesday brings some answers. 

Posted in update | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Fanbase Press #Geeks Care interviews Zachary Levi of NerdHQ about Operation Smile!


Fanbase Feature / Geeks Care: Zachary Levi’s NerdHQ Partners with Operation Smile (Exclusive Interview)

As a special feature of The Fanbase Weekly podcast, the Fanbase Feature focuses on and celebrates a specific element of geek culture.  When Fanbase Press is not providing you with the latest in geek news and entertainment, the Fanbase staff hopes to offer our readers a myriad of opportunities to give back to the community. We love reading comics, watching movies, and playing video games, but we are never happier than when we are able to help others in need. With #GeeksCare: How You Can Help, Fanbase Press will provide you a variety of causes that would greatly appreciate your time.

In this joint Fanbase Feature / Geeks Care installment, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with actor and NerdHQ co-found Zachary Levi regarding NerdHQ‘s partnership with Operation Smile, the largest volunteer-based medical charity that has been providing free cleft surgeries since 1982.  Nerd HQ is a FREE, four-day event held the same weekend as San Diego Comic-Con and offers exclusive gaming and tech activations, nightly events, and intimate celebrity panels benefiting Operation Smile. The event is scheduled to be held July 21-24, 2016, at The New Children’s Museum in downtown San Diego, California.  Dillon and Levi discuss the genesis of The Nerd Machine and NerdHQ, how he became aware of Operation Smile, and how fans can get involved and give back to Operation Smile to help children all across the globe.

Find the full audio interview at: Fanbase Press!

Posted in update | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Serena’s Plight by Carol Madison Book Review


Serena has grown up poor, unambitious, and unmotivated since she knows her life will never be more than she has now.  She’ll become her minimum wage earning alcoholic mother struggling to get by on her meager paychecks if her dreams don’t come true…Serena envies her childhood best friend, Sam Everhart, for having a normal family, but she also thinks he started her downfall into being used by her string of boyfriends when they had sex and then she was unceremoniously dumped. By the end of high school Serena has given up hope of being with Sam, but when he approaches her with a proposal to help him afford the Ivy Leagues and get her out of backwoods Kentucky she finds herself giving in…even if it means letting the young man she thought she loved turn her into a high priced whore.

I have absolutely no problem with erotica, and I’ve read a variety of novels with explicit sexual content.  However, my initial reaction to the blurb for Serena’s Plight was “How is this romantic? She loves him, but she lets him pimp her out? We’re supposed to want these people to get together at the end of the trilogy?” (Yes, there are three volumes to Serena’s degradation).  I decided to give it a chance to prove that the topic could be handled in a compelling, engaging manner.  Unfortunately, Serena’s Plight was worse than I could have imagined.

First, I envisioned Sam and Serena have a sweet but platonic relationship that bordered on the line between friendship and love, which is why Sam felt that he could beg Serena to sleep with Ivy League men to help him pay his way through college.  It still feels pretty icky, but at least there’s a bond that helps explain why a young desperate woman would sacrifice herself. The author of Serena’s Plight told me that Serena and Sam shared a strong bond, but they’d barely spoken after he dumped her right before high school (oh, and right after they’d had sex a few times).  Sam even tells his childhood friend that the “only thing she’s good at is sex,” which is why he thinks this might be an opportunity for her. Nothing convinced me that Serena cared enough for her first boyfriend to let him pimp her out.  Actually, neither of the two primary characters felt well-developed enough to read as more than a bad porno (seriously, at one point Serena goes over her looks and her cup size as she gets older, which feels like male gaze more than female in a book allegedly marketed to women).

The other characters don’t have much more in the way of development.  Serena’s johns mostly exist in terms of their penis size, physique, and how comfortable they are with sex. Other than a few brief exceptions they treat the main character well, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are paying for sexual access and companionship. Mrs. Nobels, Serena’s elderly landlady, seems too good to be true given that she never questions the rotating stream of young men to the cottage’s door and even gives her tenant the head’s up that the pool isn’t visible from the house and that it’s okay to have sex in the hot tub (although I did love her encouraging Serena to read by having her start books by reading them outloud until it was obvious the young woman was hooked). Everyone seems to love Serena, which almost makes her a self-insert except that she’s not bright and has a horrible background.

Aside from the abysmal character development the entire book suffers from various typos.  The most egregious caused me to snicker wildly because it could have been fixed with a good editor.  Authors, there is a distinct difference between “striping” and “stripping;” only one is considered erotic. Once would have been forgivable, but when the wrong word is used nearly twenty times in a long scene I couldn’t unsee it.None of the other errors were quite as bad, but repeated words and phrases or bad spacing did not improve the reading experience.

For many readers the characters in an erotic novel don’t matter, and they can forgive a multitude of writing sins if the sex is steamy and exciting. Unfortunately, for me Serena’s sex scenes with her various johns just got, well, dull. I liked the non-bedroom interaction between the lead and the various young men who had purchased time with her, but it wasn’t enough to make me care about the drawn out, mostly vanilla sex scenes between two people in a business transaction. For me part of the thrill of erotica is when there’s an element of a chase between two or more people who are drawn together by various forces. Because Serena is an exclusive prostitute there is no chase, no will they-won’t they. The sex is a foregone conclusion, which just contributed to my lack of interest in the story.  The fact Sam develops jealousy toward Serena’s sex partners as the story progresses is supposed to add an element of excitement, but their bond was so poorly developed that I just didn’t care. Besides becoming a high class call girl wasn’t Serena’s idea, so Sam needs to own up to his role in advertising and soliciting her exclusive lovers for pay and accept that he created the situation.

Overall, I started out hating the concept of Serena’s Plight but I ultimately found the presentation even worse. It wasn’t well-written enough to be edgy and help me look at things from Serena’s perspective (if it had made me understand her struggle with loving her pimp but supporting him by selling herself, etc, I might have been more sympathetic), and the characters all felt like tropes i.e. the incredibly beautiful but poverty stricken girl, the boy next door, the shy guy who can’t talk to women, the artist, the intellectual, etc. If you can get past all this and enjoy porn without pictures, this book is for you.  However, I cannot, in good conscious, recommend this book to anyone. It’s so flat that I would have stopped reading it if I hadn’t committed to providing an honest review.

1 Penis Measurement at a Glance out of 5

Posted in reviews | Tagged | Leave a comment

Angel in Scarlet by Lavinia Kent Book Review


After Ruby got her happy ending in Revealing Ruby I felt certain that the amazingly sensual Bound and Determined series had come to an end. Madame Rouge’s brothel provided a setting for lovers and those of distinct tastes to meet discreetly to indulge in fantasies not deemed appropriate for proper society.  When I saw Angel in Scarlet show up for review on NetGalley I was thrilled because it meant a world I fell in love with wasn’t over yet.  Hopefully, there will be more additions to the series since Ms. Kent has clearly shown that Madame Rouge may be a catalyst for romantic entwinements, but the heated encounters can continue outside of her doors.

How far would you go to revenge yourself against a romantic slight? Angela Ripon was sure that the Earl of Colton intended to make her a marriage offer, but he suddenly turned cold and eventually left her heart hurting. A more traditional young lady would just move on to another suitor, but Angela wants Colton to suffer the way he made her suffer even if she risks ruination by tempting him. Angela begs the infamous Madame Rouge for tips to make a man want her, but she isn’t prepared for what her target craves most of all.  By the end of the game will Angela really be able to leave Colton behind, or will she discover that his darkest desires set her aflame?

Angela is an incredibly charming heroine because she insists on going for what she wants even if it’s not always advisable.  Admittedly throughout the story she has to think about what her ultimate goal is, but I appreciated that she didn’t know everything since a young woman nursing a broken heart would be more likely to act rashly. She knows that taking revenge on Colton is a bad idea, but part of her soul needs to know that her faithless suitor hurts as much as she does.  When Angela commits to tempting Colton she refuses to back down even when she’s uncomfortable or nervous with what he asks of her.  Her strength of will impressed me and watching her sexual discovery and exploration highly enjoyable.

I’m not nearly as fond of Colton simply because I didn’t like how he handled Angela’s sudden change of demeanor.  Instead of just talking to her (admittedly I doubt our heroine would have expressed her true feelings to him at that point) Colton walks out of her life and leaves her wondering if she did something horrifically wrong. He begins to redeem himself when Angela starts her game of teasing and temptation because his ultimate goal becomes her pleasure, not just what he would like to do with her willing body.

Oh my gosh, the sex in this is scorching! While sometimes I wanted to hit the main characters upside the head with a staff of “Just talk to each other already!,” the chemistry in their encounters sizzled off the page.  The element of exhibitionism isn’t my thing but combined with someone exploring BDSM for the very first time I thought it was extremely erotic.

Ultimately I greatly enjoyed Angela and Colton’s story although the ending felt a little rushed for various reasons (not just the one in the story, mind you!). However, I got the impression that they’ve learned to communicate better, so their future married life should have fewer misunderstandings from not talking than their courtship.

4.5 Shocking Scarlet Dresses out of 5

Posted in reviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Smorgasboard of Topics

I have four books and a comic book to read for review, so my brain is a little tired to come up with a cohesive post.  So today is just a bulletpoint update. 

  • I can let the cats be out with the dogs now! Suzu is so old now that she has no interest in going after them. I only let the cats out when I can supervise because Patience is a bit snappy.  
  • I saw A Place to Bury Strangers live on June 16, and it was incredible! I didn’t get home until 1:45 or so, but I would totally do it again. Check out their music on YouTube and go to see them if you like it!
  • My first belly dance performance will be at the Ladies’ Night Out event at my dance studio on July 2. I’m both nervous and excited. We’ll see how I feel after the fact. 
  • I’m catching up on ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 5, and I’d forgotten how much I enjoy Dorne as a setting. It intrigues more than Westeros overall. 
  • I bathed Suzu and Miki today, and their weak back legs have a surprise benefit; they can’t jump out of the tub. Horrible but true!

Now I’ll go back to my reading, TV viewing, and laundry…plus I have a cat trying to use my back as a seat!

Posted in update | Leave a comment

Summoned by Rainy Kaye Book Review


Twenty-three year old Dimitri has never known what it’s like to live for himself. Raised from childhood to serve the rich and powerful Walker family, his father’s death taught him that Dimitri has no choice when Karl Walker expresses a wish…because the inherited genie bond binds him to the head of the Walker household’s every whim. However, when the young man meets Syd, a beautiful and intense young woman, in a bar their one night stand quickly turns into something more. But how can Dimitri give himself fully to a woman when he doesn’t even belong fully to himself, and would she even believe the truth anyway?

The basic set up of Rainy Kaye’s Summoned from Bastei Entertainment intrigued me. The protagonist struggles with paranormal obligations (in Dimitri’s case he’s become a gangster and muscle for Karl Walker) who stumbles across someone who makes him long for a more traditional lifestyle. I loved Kaye’s blending of various genie mythos into a contemporary suspense story, and I especially enjoyed the concept of Dimitri being an ordinary individual who just happened to be bound to his master’s wishes rather than an all-powerful being. Little details like the protagonist’s increasingly mundane cars when he faced a new assignment or Sylvia’s (Karl Walker’s daughter and Dimitri’s new master presumptive) obsessive cigarette habit and fear of flying grounded the story fully in a realistic world; it just also was one when genies might not entirely be fantasy.

The book is written in the first person, which I find a little off putting, but I adjusted to Dimitri’s voice as I got into the story. In many ways readers need to see the situation from the protagonist’s POV to understand the complications of the genie bond.  However, for me the first person writing also turned the reveals at the end of the book into an info dump rather than a natural unveiling. I still found them interesting, but I also thought it felt a little rushed as if things needed to be tied up nicely in a bow before the next book.

So how did I feel about the romance angle? Honestly, I would have enjoyed the story more without it. The complications of Dimitri’s relationship with Karl and Sylvia, etc, intrigued me, but I never fully bought into why Syd was so into Dimitri. Her initial behaviour made me read her as a little emotional unstable and a stalker, and as the story progressed I never got anything to explain why Dimitri was so into her. They had explosively hot sex, but I never saw more inside the hero’s head. Because everything was in the first person I had no insight to what Syd saw in Dimitri or why she insisted on trying to force a bond between them. Additionally, I knew that Dimitri developed strong feelings for Syd, but I couldn’t understand the reasoning. I think I was supposed to believe it because the book said he did.

Overall, Summoned was a fun, light read, but it didn’t work well for me as a romance. I’m sure my complaints are total catnip for other readers though, so I’m glad that such a well-written story is available to them. Rainy Kaye is an accomplished author who has created an interesting world; I just wanted to play in the world more and not worry so much about the rest of it.

3.5 Ornate Summoning Chambers out of 5


Posted in reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Sickish Yet Again


I’ve been fighting off respiratory crud since last Sunday, so I just don’t have any juice or ability to organize my thoughts well enough to create a blog post.

I have a book review I need to whip together, but I can’t form strong enough sentences or paragraphs to write it when I feel like I have cotton batting stuffing my head.

I’m hoping that I start feeling more lively in the next few days, especially since I have a concert I’m super-excited about on Thursday.


Posted in update | Leave a comment