Review of Weekends by Edward Kendrick

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Rating: 3.25 stars

Marcus Hampton is secure in his habits, secure in his job as an accountant, and secure in his identity as a confirmed bachelor. He has his cat, Daisy, and his routines. Each and every day rolling with the same predictability, and he likes that too.  Until he meets Demitri Costas, a young photographer who snaps a picture of him.  Demitri is immediately attracted to the older man, and not just because he is wonderfully photogenic under his lens. Dimitri asks Marcus to pose for him, and to Marcus’ surprise, he agrees.

One photo session leads to another and Demitri develops a crush on Marcus but does nothing, believing Marcus to be married and straight. Marcus is neither. When Demitri discovers Marcus is both gay and available, he pursues  the older man but Marcus gently rebukes Demitri as Marcus thinks he must represent a father figure for the young photographer.  Through holidays and weekends, the men struggle with their feelings towards each other, family  expectations, and their pasts as well as insecurities.  Marcus’ self image of himself as a confirmed old bachelor is one Dimitri must shatter if  they are to have a future together.

Weekends charts the relationship between two very different men from its beginnings to that of an established couple.  Each chapter represents a different weekend in their lives, a neat format for the story.  The first chapter is titled The Weekend Before Thanksgiving.  In it, we establish a “base line” for each man before they meet.  We see their lives, their  routines, and in Demitri’s case, his hopes of becoming a photographer.  I like that Kendrick chooses the weekends around the holidays to move the story forward, as that is a time of vulnerability and introspection for most people, especially those alone.  With Marcus, it is particularly affecting, as Daisy is his only companion and his aloneness comes into stark focus for the reader.

Kendrick delivers two very believable people in Marcus and “Mitri” as he is called.  Also authentic is the manner in which Mitri  slowly brings Marcus out of his rigid notions of himself as “old and settled”.  Mitri is fighting against his father’s expectations for him to finish college with a degree in Engineering as all he longs to do is take pictures and make a living do so.  Even with a marked lack of communication between the two, they slowly make their way into a relationship.

So. Believable characters, creative story format, happy ending.  Why the long face, girl, as they say.  Interest. For however nice Marcus and Demetri are, they are boring.  And I am not talking about a lack of angst here.  I have never felt that angst is a necessary part of a story, although it helps to balance out a story.  I have read other novels that I loved whose  plot also revolves around the same storyline.  Men meet, get to know each other, fall in love, and live happily ever after or at least for now.  The big difference is that I found those men compelling.  They endeared themselves to me in multiple ways, it could be a sense of humor, an engaging outlook on life, something that says wow, I am so happy to got to know you.  It is like that in real life.  Sometimes you click with someone, sometimes you don’t.   Some people are beige to other’s rainbow.  Unfortunately for me, there was a whole lot of beige and very little clicking going on here. There is much to admire in Weekends but in the end, the main characters make it far too easy to forget them once the story is over.

Cover: Cover art by Reese Dante.  I normally love Dante’s covers but here I am of two minds.  One, I am the only person who sees George Bush in the man in the front? I am not sure if I find that hysterical or scary. The other says “great job”, love the relevancy of the mens ages and great design. But boy, does he look like George Bush….

A New Addition to the Garden, the Week Ahead in Reviews and the Sazerac, an American classic cocktail

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So, here we are again.  It’s a rainy Sunday in Maryland, perfect day for reading and snoozing with the pooches.  I was out earlier in the week, gallivanting around and made a quick stop into one of our local nurseries to check out their perennial sale (50 percent off woo hoo!) and what did I behold? A zen froggy waiting for someone to take him home.  Really how could I pass him up?  Here’s are 2  pictures.   He is now perched in all his zen-like concentration behind the fish pond to Kirby’s everlasting confusion.  I watch Kirby looking at him every time he goes out and can just see the slow wheel turning in our third smartest dog’s mind.  Like “hmmmm, didn’t see that before, wonder if it is edible” “will he play with me?”.  Cracks me up everytime.  So I believe our zen froggy deserves a name.  Any suggestions?

 

Now on to the Week in Reviews.  There were just some lovely books this week. Lashings of Sauce was a standout based on just the shear number of great authors who contributed to this anthology. We run the gamut from contemporary romance to supernatural lovers this week:

Monday:                           (Un)Masked by Anyta Sunday & Andrew Q.Gordon

Tuesday:                           Shelton’s Homecoming by Dianne Hartsock

Wednesday:                    Wick by Megan Derr

Thursday:                         Lashings of Sauce-a British Anthology

Friday:                               Weekends by Edward Kendrick

Saturday:                           The Cool Part of His Pillow by Rodney Ross

Cocktail of the Week: The Sazerac

The Sazerac, created in New Orleans in the 1800’s, an American Classic Cocktail

Ingredients:

1 1/2 teaspoons (1/4 ounce) club soda
1 sugar cube (preferably rough-cut and unbleached*) or 1/2 teaspoon raw sugar, such as turbinado or Demerara
4 to 5 dashes Peychaud Bitters
5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces) VSOP Cognac
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) absinthe
1 cup ice
1 lemon
Directions:

In chilled cocktail shaker or pint glass, pour club soda over sugar cube. Using muddler or back of large spoon, gently crush sugar cube. Swirl glass until sugar dissolves, 20 to 30 seconds, then add bitters and Cognac and set aside.
Pour absinthe into chilled double old-fashioned glass or stemless wineglass. Holding glass horizontally, roll between your thumb and forefinger so absinthe completely coats the interior, then discard excess.
Add ice to cocktail and stir until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain cocktail into chilled glass rinsed with absinthe. Using channel knife, cut thin 4-inch strip of peel from lemon directly over glass, then place peel in glass and serve.