Review of Summer Sizzle by Berengaria Brown

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Rating: 3 stars

Craig, a history teacher is on break at Two Waters Beach, enjoying his month rental cabin when he spies Seth on a beach towel nearby.  Seth is exactly Craig’s type and immediately Craig tries to figure out the best way to approach him.  Seth has the exact same reaction to Craig, and runs up to introduce himself.  After an afternoon of hot sex, Craig and Seth find out they have much in common. Both teach at the high school level and never has the sex been as right as it is with each other.

Just as they are getting to know each other better, Seth gets a call from home from a fellow teacher to return home for a school meeting.  At the meeting, the school administrators inform the teachers that the private school is closing and they are all fired. Shattered by the loss of his job, Seth wonders what the future will hold for him and Craig.

Summer Sizzle is a very quick read at 69 pages but to be honest, it often felt much longer.  Brown’s descriptions of Two Waters beach contain more feeling and heart than her descriptions of Craig and Seth who come across a cardboard cutouts of each other.  Both teachers at the high school level, one teaches History, the other English.  Brown does a nice job of bringing in bits of information about Beowulf and ninth grade reading lists to make their discussion of crossover subjects in teaching both realistic and knowledgeable.  This and the section with Seth’s job interviews struck me as authentic and made me wish she had used the same amount of skill throughout the story.  Unfortunately that was not the case.

As I said the men never came across as fleshed out human beings, and the same goes for their sexual encounters.  Given the large amount of time Craig and Seth spend having sex, I would have hoped for some real sizzle with descriptions that raised their scenes together above the “insert tab A into Slot B” activity.  But Brown’s descriptions and word choices for her “dirty talk” never engaged me as a reader.  Some authors can turn up the heat with a simple “pull on the hair”.  To make the scenes heat up the pages, I need to feel the men are emotionally invested in each other’s pleasure…I need to “feel’ the sizzle between them.  Instead it felt like reading a “How To” manual on sexual positions.

And finally we come to relationship timing.  Like that overused lesbian joke (What does a lesbian bring to a second date? A U Haul), this is Craig and Seth’s relationship two week plus time line.

They met, had lots of sex (including blowjobs without condoms but have sex with condoms?), they talk, Seth loses job, Craig helps Seth get job, they declare their love for each other and move in together.

If you are going to go that route, at least make me believe in that instant love.  That these two men were so passionately drawn together that being separated was unbearable.  Did anything here make me believe that about Craig and Seth? No.  I came very close to giving this 2.75 stars but Brown’s feelings about Two Waters beach where she spent time growing up and that lovely bit about teaching history and english pushed it up to 3.  I haven’t read anything else by Brown so I am left wondering if this is typical of her stories or just an off day at the keyboard.  Let us know what you think if you have read other books by this author.

Summer Sizzle previously published by Elloras Cave in 2010, now available at Torquere Press.

Cover:  I think I actually prefer the first edition cover to the latest version. Both sizzle.  What do you think?

It’s Football Season and I’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, the Week Ahead in Reviews and A Cocktail

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It’s Labor Day weekend here in the States, a time to hunker down and celebrate the end of summer.  For some families this means a last dash to the beach or the start of school. It is also the start of football season.  It’s the start of tailgating parties, stadium crowds and team colors.  Mine used to be red and yellow, the colors of the  Washington Redskins, my family’s team.  It all started with my Dad.  He loves the Redskins.  We have been fans through thick and thin as they say.  I can even remember Dad taking me to a Redskin home game when they were coached by Vince Lombardi. That was 1969.  My dad and his friend Tom Cox had a group of season tickets and when one of “the gang” couldn’t go, Dad brought me.  What a thrill.  Redskin fans are beyond fanatical, they are legendary.  And every game, RFK shook from the ground to the rafters with their fervor.  I will never forget it as long as I live. Screaming until I was hoarse, the people towering around me as all stood to watch a play on the field and then the ride home, Dad’s either thrilled because we won or furious with a loss. Later on, the ride home included Dad listening to Sonny and Sam (that’s Sonny Jurgenson and Sam Huff) dissect the day’s game.  We had Redskin blankets, hats, and scarves.  We went through the George Allen and Jack Pardee years before we arrived at the Golden Age.  That would be owner Jack Kent Cooke, affectionately known as The Squire, Bobby Beathard the GM, and Joe Gibbs, the Winningest Coach of them all.  From 1981 to 1992, we basked in the glory that was the Redskins and quite frankly made up for all the years it took to get there.

But 10 years ago, the Squire died and Dan Snyder bought the team.  I hung in there as long as I could but the soul went out of them that day.  Dan Snyder single handedly has ruined the Redskins for me (and many others).  How can you back a team when the owner sues it’s fans? When die hard season ticket holders could no longer afford their season tickets because of the economy (some losing everything), the Redskins sued their fans to recover the costs of the passes, even a grandmother living on retirement! No other team did that. Made the headlines, they recanted, a bit.  Still did it though.  Then a small free newspaper takes Dan Snyder to task over his actions.  He sues the newspaper!  I guess free speech is not to be tolerated in Snyder territory.  On and on it goes, one man’s arrogance and bad karma wiping out half a century of fans adoration and goodwill.

And now I give up.  I won’t root for them any longer.  Some will say the very name “Redskins” is cursed.  Perhaps they are right. It’s long past the time to retire a name offensive to so many.  Maybe I will look around for another team to root for.  The Ravens don’t do it for me.  I like the Packers and the Saints.  So who knows?  In the meantime, I have the Capitals and Ted Leonsis to cheer for.  And The Washington Nationals have risen above their “Natinals” days to become an inspiration and a team worthy of cheering for and not just because they are winning, but winning in the right way!  Go, Nats!   Without football, perhaps I will have more time to knit, certainly to read.  And reflect on the past.

This coming week’s reviews are:

Monday:                      Solid As A Stone by Amylea Lyn

Tuesday:                      Gambling Men, The Novel by Amy Lane

Wednesday:                Jewel Bonds series by Megan Derr

Thursday:                    One Day At A Time by Dawn Douglas

Friday:                          Summer Sizzle by Berengaria Brown

Saturday:                      Vocabulary Gone Bad Looks at Sexy(Not) Dirty Talk or Spank Me Harder, Bunny Poo!

Our last summer cocktail to finish out the summer this Labor Day weekend for those of you in the States is the Sidecar!

The Sidecar. 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 lemon wedge
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) Cognac
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) Cointreau or other Triple Sec orange liqueur
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) fresh lemon juice
1 cup ice

Directions:

Spread superfine sugar on small plate. Rub lemon wedge halfway around rim of chilled martini or coupe glass. Dip moistened side of glass in sugar to lightly coat outside rim of glass. Set aside.
In cocktail shaker, combine Cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice. Add ice and shake vigorously until well chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into prepared martini or coupe glass and serve.