My Sister & I Attend Dublin Pride 2019!


Yesterday me and my sister Sharon attended our first Pride in Dublin. It was a really wonderful day out for both of us.

We were on the train and some other people on the train were going to the parade. At one point, I did hear one of them saying when talking about someone who was bisexual that bisexuality meant to them to quote being a ‘greedy bastard’ so yeah, lovely support there from the community. I dread to think what this person would think of a pansexual. But I didn’t care. I was sitting happy and proud with my pansexual pin which I was happy arrived from Amazon in time for the parade.

Thankfully after that, there was no further jerks we encountered as the day went on. As we arrived in Dublin, I spotted a grand spot we could go watch the parade at through the train windows and it was where we ended up and it was a fantastic spot. We had this rainbow flag which we were holding between us and I had my rainbow bag and pansexual pin and we were wearing some of the rainbow colours.

There was brilliant colour, great music and just an all-round community atmosphere of pride, equality and fun. We seen several dogs which for a person who loves dogs, I couldn’t stop awing at them in their little coats, flags, scarves, ribbons, etc … or without. There was a little terrier with a mini rainbow scarf tied to the back of them, a sausage dog with a flag who found a paper bag on the ground and was trying to find food in it, a pug all dressed in a mini rainbow t-shirt, a dog up on a float and several other darlings that just took my heart.

We got took in a photograph. I’m still trying to find it but I’d love to see the picture. There was someone going around taking photographs. The sausage dog was took as well. Still haven’t found that photograph either but I would love to see it too.

We didn’t see all the floats but we seen most of them and I’ll list here who we seen. Amazon were there with Abba’s Gimme, Gimme, Gimme playing. As a regular customer of Amazon, it seemed apt that their choice of Abba song was my favourite Abba song. We seen the float by The George which was fun. The Dublin Bus we seen too. We got free flags from them so that was nice. It was a great float and it was nice to see Panti Bliss. We also seen floats by many of the political parties like Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein. The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and health minister Simon Harris were there marching with Fine Gael. We seen Aer Lingus’ float with all the fake planes which was cool. The Army was there playing some music. The GAA was there. Katherine Lynch, Brian Kennedy and Valerie Mulchy were marching with them. RTE was there and Bryan Murray and Una Crawford O’ Brien were marching with them. We also seen Citi, Indeed, Coilite, Twitter, Google, RAHM, LinkedIn, Dropbox, AXA, Aviva, An Post, Sporting Pride, Emerald Warriors, Leinster Rugby and Bank of Ireland (who did a little of rugby for the crowd), Dublin Devils FC, Frontrunners, Wet and Wild, Flaming Feathers Badminton Club, Out2Tennis, Pink ladies Hockey, Out and About Hiking Club, Sky, Macra Na Feirme (with a rainbow tractor), Groupon with Soar, Salesforce, Mastercard, RNLI, Paypal, Grant Thornton, Bord Gais, The Outing, Fre Now (My Taxi), Asana, Qualtrics, Dell EMC, Adobe Customer Solutions, Workday, Accenture, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Cognizant Technology, Airbnb, Autodesk, RSA, Ikea, AIB, ESB, Nestle, Primark, Fidelity, Irish Life, KPMG, Ulster Bank, Websumit, HubSpot, Oracle, Deutche Bank, Irving/Top Oil, Press Up, Symantec, Workhuman, Wix Online Platforms Ltd, Intel, ViaSat, Alexion, Argos, Barclays, Bayer Limited, Bearing Point, Bristol Myers Squibb, Brown Brothers Harriman, Cartrawler, Demonware, Disney, Docusign, Expedia, Fenargo, HSBC, IBM, ISS, LogMeIn Ireland Ltd, Majorel, Mercer, New Relic, Northern Trust Hedge Fund, P&G, Pinterest, PWC, Seimens, Sunlife, Telnyx, Twillo, Verison, Volt, WeWork, Zendesk, Garda Marching Band, G Force, Public Service, Coast Guard, HSE, Prison Services, Facebook, Ebay and Microsoft. The latter I think we got a free colour stamp of the rainbow colours from. If I’m being honest I thought the little stamp thing was a Tic Tac machine so when the person asked me where I wanted it put I decided on the front of my hand but thankfully they didn’t take me as thick and it was a nice freebie. I’ll just have to keep that in mind for next year! Someone also high-fived me which was cool. I didn’t catch what float they were from though.

There was great music at the event. I liked a lot of the tunes but it is definitely my sister’s playlist which we were joking about because most of them are some of her favourites. We had Abba hits like Dancing Queen and Gimme, Gimme, Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, Madonna’s Vogue, YMCA by The Village People, a Disney track, a bit of Girls Aloud and The Spice Girls, I’m Blue (Da Ba Dee) by Eiffel 65 and Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen among the tracks. Freddie Mercury’s voice sounded as wonderful as ever. There was wonderful samba music and great drum-playing too.

I won’t mention what float it was but there was someone blowing kisses specifically to me from one of the floats. It was very flattering. Don’t think I knew how to react in the moment. I’m awkward and introverted after all but yeah, it was nice. Surreal but nice. And yeah, I found them very good-looking too! 🙂

When we got back home, we were in Supervalu where we had a chat with one of the people that worked there who was asking us if we had been to the parade. Supervalu have actually been great about Pride this year. There is flags up and some of the staff members have been wearing the rainbow colours.

I would have loved to have seen Bi+ Ireland, TENI, Irish Cancer Society, Amnesty International and the Humanist Association of Ireland because I do love the work of these organisations so maybe I’ll see them and all the other organisations, etc … we missed at some stage in the future.

So my sister and I are no longer Pride virgins! It was a fantastic day! 🙂

The following is a great photo album by a photographer called William Murphy from the day:

DUBLIN LGBTQ PRIDE PARADE 2019 [NEAR MOSS STREET - TALBOT BRIDGE]-153936

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Save the Date By Annabeth Albert & Wendy Qualls Review!

Save the Date (2017) by Annabeth Albert and Wendy Qualls is a beautiful love story where opposites attract.

Readers meet Randall who is an introverted, geeky astrophysicist and a virgin and Hunter who is an assertive military man who is most definitely not a virgin. The two men meet on a night out in a gay bar and end up having a one-night stand in Oregon. After that they think they will never hear from each other again. But plans change however as Randall is his sister’s “man of honor” at her upcoming wedding and Hunter is set to be his best friend’s best man when he gets married soon. Yes, you guessed it: it’s the same wedding. So reluctantly (but maybe not totally reluctantly) they will be spending more time together than they first thought they would be. As they get close, they wonder if they can work as a long distance relationship as they live quite a bit from each other.

This book really works. The two central characters are nice lads and really like each other. As you can imagine from the plot, there is a lot of humour in this book especially during the wedding parts. The humour often comes from awkwardness and some of the best humour does often come from that. It is well-written and their relationship is gorgeous. Very well paced and with absolutely lovely chemistry. It’s a fun read, very light and enjoyable with some hot sex scenes included too.

I really liked both Hunter and Randall. But Randall is my favourite character in the book. I could relate a bit more to him and I think with a book that has two great and adorable central characters in their individual ways it will definitely come down to things like who you relate to and maybe just personal taste about what kind of characters you generally like. There’s not much in it in other words. They are both great guys and make for excellent characters who you find yourself easily rooting for to get together.

I loved the read. It was a very straightforward feel-good read. A gorgeous comfort read with superb and very natural dialogue especially between the two central characters. Kudos to the two authors.

A joy to read.

To get your free copy of Save the Date by Annabeth Albert and Wendy Qualls go to:

And for more information about Annabeth Albert and her work go to:

http://annabethalbert.com/

And for more information about Wendy Qualls and her work go to:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14691146.Wendy_Qualls

Friday Fictioneers: Scumbag

 

 

Scumbag

 

Ronan watched Zach on the stage. Opening night.

The scumbag was always a charmer. Charmed me out of my pants, into getting the job for him at my father’s company, into falling in love with him. He always was a great actor. He was made for this.

Ronan felt the metal of the gun in his pocket.

He was always so smug. So assured of himself. He wouldn’t be assured with a bullet between his forehead. He wouldn’t be anything.

The performance ended. Ronan left the theatre.

Why didn’t I kill that scumbag who stopped me trusting any other guy?

 

My book Black Coat based on a previous Friday Fictioneers prompt is available at:

 

For Friday Fictioneers Writing Prompt. Check out the website at:

https://rochellewisoff.com/

 

Only His Touch By Elsa Winters Review!

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Only His Touch (2017) by Elsa Winters is a great book. I loved it from page 1.

Kurt runs a catering company with his best friend Ricky. His world collides with James when he and Ricky are asked to do a job for James’ bar. Kurt is holding back a huge secret. He was viciously attacked by a group of men and has sustained horrific injuries to his back. The incident has led him to fear intimacy. Meanwhile James has a certain amount of secrets of his own. In short, he is a cad who charms men, shags them and runs for the hills. Add into all this, Ricky is secretly in love with Kurt and James’ ex lovers keep turning up.

Both Kurt and James are fathers. I liked reading about Kurt’s young children coming to visit him and I really liked Cole who is James’ teenage son. He seems a very straight to the point young man.

Kurt and James definitely have chemistry. That is very obvious from even the first scene they are in together. They have great humour together too and in general the book is littered with humour which was a huge reason I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. There is a lot of hot sex in the book between them too.

The book has very natural writing. So wonderfully down-to-earth and I loved that. I read it with ease and quite quickly even though it is quite a long book. It was pleasure really to read. A total page-turner and completely my kind of book and writing style.

Important issues like depression, the impact assault and attacks have on people and how difficult it is to trust again are covered very well in this book and in a very human way.

I like Kurt. He is my favourite character in the book. He has great humour, is very level-headed and kind. I have to admit that a lot of the characters aren’t that nice. James has aggression issues which is shown through his violent encounters with his exs Sam and Alex after they tell Kurt things that he doesn’t want him to hear. Sure they shouldn’t have been interfering but he went too far. Ricky is another character that wasn’t nice. He kissed Kurt when he was drunk and almost asleep which sounds weird as hell. Michael who is dating James’ friend and work colleague Sadie is a nightmare who accidentally nearly kills her in a drunken rage. I actually quite liked Alex up until near the end and I didn’t mind Sam too much up to the same point. But then Sam convinces Alex to get into bed with a sleeping James to take photographs which was a terrible invasion of space. I didn’t think it fitted very well up to that point with their characters and it felt like a way of making James look better in terms of his earlier outbursts. But yes, between the sexual harassment and the violence of numerous characters, the list does get shorter on who you like as the book progresses. James is certainly caring to Kurt and very sensitive to his feelings about the torment he has faced in his past but I wasn’t really rooting for them to end up together even though I knew they would. I couldn’t help thinking that if Kurt said the wrong things in James’ eyes later in their relationship, he would be violent with him.

The novel is written very well. I didn’t dislike anything apart from many of the characters but because one of the two main characters is a sweetheart it still works for me. I did love it. I found myself very intrigued and wanting to find out what happened next at almost every turn. This author is brimming with talent and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

I loved it.

 

To purchase Only His Touch by Elsa Winters go to:

 

And for more about Elsa Winters and her work go to:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14106984.Elsa_Winters

Blind Man’s Wolf (Tooth & Claw #1) By Amelia Faulkner Review!

Image result for amelia faulkner blind man's wolf

 

Blind Man’s Wolf (2014) by Amelia Faulkner is the first book in the author’s Tooth & Claw series.

 

In the novel we meet Ellis O’Neill who is an art dealer and secret vampire and Randall Carter who is a dog trainer and secret werewolf. Ellis has poor eyesight and has a guide dog called Tiberius who has suddenly started bringing him off on involuntary night walks and is just basically acting up. This is unusual for Tiberius. Enter on the scene Randall who has good eyesight and sets about sorting out Ellis’ situation with Tiberius. In this time Ellis and Randall begin to develop romantic feelings for each other. But it’s complicated. Apart from not knowing each other’s secret identities, there is Ellis’ secret of killing someone, an artist who is determined to kill Ellis and so is Randall’s pack if Ellis indeed turns out to be a vampire.

This is a very good start to the series. There’s a bit of everything in it from romance to crime and the supernatural and it worked all very well together. The idea for this story is very good. I think it was very clever to put a secret werewolf as a dog trainer because Randall would be able to understand Tiberius from a more personal perspective. That was a very good idea. I also really liked that important issues such as disability, racism and homophobia were discussed in the book.

There is an opposites attract storyline here. Ellis is an introverted art dealer and vampire who runs in the higher types of circles and has a bit of wealth. On the other hand, Randall is a dog trainer and werewolf just trying to get by on his salary who runs in very different circles. The old romantic in me liked the idea that love could cross wealth status barriers in the book. They also have very good chemistry together and it’s cute. I also quite like Ellis’ dry sense of humour and the fact that Randall would buy a new shirt for a date. Their interactions don’t feel forced either. It feels like they are coming together in a very paced way and slowly becoming more at ease together.

My favourite character in the book was Jay and I would love to read a series based on Jay’s marriage with Han. Jay just comes across very warm, loyal and caring. He is very much trying to juggle time with Han and helping Ellis out further than his job description at the art gallery requires. Han seems to really adore him and vice versa and I love them as a couple in the book as well as Ellis and Randall. I also love Ellis’ and Jay’s friendship. They are very close and always there for each other. Their interactions are also often very fun.

My only flaw with this book is that I think there is far too much detail. Don’t get me wrong, detail is good. But I just think there is sometimes a little too much describing in this book of settings, etc … which can at times be irritating as it stops the action side of the plot moving forward. I think the author writes detail very well but the book could be better with a little less detail.

There is a bit of sex in this book and it is gorgeously hot. I read that scene on the train actually and kept looking up to see if anyone was looking! I didn’t stop reading it though so that says all you need to know about the sex scene. It was super hot and keeps the reader’s attention.

One last thing, I loved the little dote that is Tiberius. And the moral of this story is always trust your dog.

A fun and interesting read.

 

To purchase Blind Man’s Wolf (Tooth & Claw #1) by Amelia Faulkner go to:

 

And for more about Amelia Faulkner and her work go to:

http://ameliafaulkner.com/

 

Viscount Temptation By Olivia Helling Review!


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Viscount Temptation (2015) by Olivia Helling is the third book in the wonderful Damon Snow series.

Once again, the story is told from the POV of Damon and this book shows a more vulnerable side to Damon which is made even more emotional by the fact it is told from his point of view. Damon is in love with Byrne who is dying. They have a mentor/protégé relationship too. He wants to love, wants to be loved but he is in denial that it exists. Or more to the point, he doesn’t want to believe it does. He’s insecure but not letting that side out. As a reader, you find yourself frustrated because you care and in the best possible sense you’re hoping he gets it together soon. You also hope that when he does open up more about this aspect that he isn’t shot down and hurt. Obviously much of this denial comes from the fact that he is in love with Byrne and he would much rather believe love didn’t exist than to love Byrne and then lose him. Unfortunately for Damon’s heart, he can’t stop the involuntary feelings of love for Byrne despite all the walls he is putting up.

Damon’s birthday is coming up and he hopes to spend it with Byrne. But Byrne is pushing him away day by day. There seems for much of book to be things they should both be communicating to each other but their communications are guarded because they don’t want to hurt each other or bring up the deep feelings they both have for each other. It’s sad and heartfelt all at once. Very intense. Byrne sets Damon the challenge of coming onto and succeeding with Viscount Ashton. I think he is trying to get Damon to feel more open in his feelings and to distract him from feelings about him. It might not be the most conventional way to go about it but I think that’s what he was doing.

As Damon gets to know Ashton, there does seem to be a bit of a spark between them and there is some very sexy encounters. But ultimately his heart is with Byrne. However he is offered a job as valet and strongly considers it. Ashton says he can’t see Byrne again if he accepts the job and Damon is torn especially since Byrne is getting more and more cold to Damon’s affections every day.

Meanwhile Rogers is still in love with Damon but is still in the friend zone and that looks to be where he will remain. Unrequited love is hard but I found myself thinking that he needs to take a hint at some stage that the ship has sailed and realise that there is someone out there for him but he just isn’t Damon. I’m very fond of Rogers though. He makes me laugh with his wit.

Viscount Ashton is a dangerous sociopath. He is charming and ruthless and I wouldn’t like to meet him on a dark night. But he brings a lot to the plot and he is written so well that you could understand Damon being a bit took in by him and charmed by him. Helling has written here another excellent book in the series. It is a bit heavier than the previous two books in the series but really gives a great insight into the maturing relationship of Damon and Byrne at a crucial point in their romance.

This series is fantastic. And book 3 hasn’t let me down. I look forward to reading book 4!

The first book in the series is free on it’s own. My review of book one and details on where to get your free copy can be found here:

https://culturevultureexpress.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/nocturnal-lessons-by-olivia-helling-review/

While the first four books in the series together are 30% cheaper than the three other books on their own. To get the boxset go here:

And for more about Olivia Helling and her work go to:

http://oliviahelling.com/

Baking Is Murder (Bee’s Bakehouse Mysteries #1) By Kathy Cranston Review!


Image result for baking is murder kathy cranston

 

Baking is Murder (2016) by Kathy Cranston is the first book in the author’s Bee’s Bakehouse Mysteries.

In the book, we are introduced to the protagonist and narrator Jessie Henderson. Jessie has recently got divorced from her husband and been let go from her insurance job in New York. She has returned to the small town of Springdale where she grew up to stay and help out in her aunt Bee’s café while she thinks out what to do with her future. She meets a woman called Clarice who is a local dog breeder and becomes an acquaintance of Clarice agreeing to walk her dog Toby for her. But then a fellow dog breeder Lydia is murdered who Clarice recently had an argument with which was a spot of gossip in Springdale. Clarice is arrested for the murder and her future looks bleak. However Jessie is not about to let this woman who she believes to be innocent of the crime end up in prison without a fight. Jessie begins to suspect that animal rights activists are behind the murder of Lydia and the setting up of Clarice.

There is also love possibly on the horizon for Jessie in the form of Mayor Stevens and a continuing romance for her aunt with a mystery man. This added interest to the story. It worked very well and provided some light and fluffy fun which I really enjoyed reading. Jessie’s and aunt Bee’s interactions were fun to read and I liked their relationship.

The idea for this story was very good. But its delivery didn’t always work. The main issue was the character of Jessie. Being honest, I didn’t take to her. And I think for a book to often work for you, you have to like the main character and feel like you are rooting for them. Sure I wanted her to solve the case to get Clarice off if she was innocent but in terms of herself I wasn’t overly pushed. A lot of the issues I felt with Jessie came from the way she was about the animal rights activists especially the head of the protests Kyle. Now I’m all for people debating what they believe in and up to a certain point in the book, I found nothing wrong with her. He had his say. She had her say. But then she went and ruined it by taking the poster out of Jane Waverly’s knitting shop and was too adamant that because someone had a different view to her they were a dangerous, overly angry murderer. What was worse was that I felt she thought she was a great one taking the poster down when in reality what she was doing was stopping Kyle and his fellow protesters from protesting how they wanted to and stopping Jane Waverly (even though her motives for allowing Kyle to put the poster up were shady to say the least) from displaying what she wanted to display in her own shop.

Now there was a few issues with Kyle too. He was protesting on land he shouldn’t have been on but he didn’t get up with a ladder and paint over the sign of her aunt’s shop or break the window or anything. In truth I liked Kyle better than Jessie which doesn’t really work for the story. To make it worse Jessie is 37 and is trying to stop the freedom of speech and expression of a lad years younger than her. This would be alright if she was a character you were meant to dislike but I think she was supposed to be a likable character who everyone was saying had a great heart. In her actions she often came over more as someone who wanted her way and wanted no one else to be allowed to contradict anything that was important to her and those she loved and cared for. She comes over as very bratty and childish often. Lastly she contradicted herself because she said that it was awful that Clarice was arrested just because a fellow dog breeder was murdered because dog breeders don’t just go around murdering each other as they are in competition but didn’t even question her own feelings that a dog breeder is murdered so automatically it’s an animal rights activist as apparently animal rights activists go around killing dog breeders on a regular basis.

As much as I wasn’t fond of Jessie, she has good traits as well. She does love animals and is very good to Toby who is the most adorable, little mischievous pug and agrees to look after Clarice’s dogs for her while she is in custody. Even though it brings out some of her bad traits, she has a good trait in being loyal to those she loves and cares for and always looks out for them. She shows a very caring side especially to her aunt Bee who it is obvious she loves very much and vice versa. She also put herself in the firing line to help a woman she didn’t know well which was kind and admirable.

The author captured the small town atmosphere very well. The way everyone knows your business, knows everyone and knows someone in your family is very authentic. There was also many characters that are staples of small towns in it like the local cop, the local woman in the café, the gossip, the Mayor and the cankerous older lady. I love the setting for the book and thought it was realistically written. It was a very good setting for a murder to take place in as everyone knew something about Lydia and could give Jessie pieces of the jigsaw to put together.

I didn’t love the book but I didn’t dislike it either. I was intrigued to find out who the killer/killers was and loved following the twists and turns that occurred. I also felt that how Jessie figured out who it was in the end was cleverly written and very believable.

A good read.

To get your free copy of Baking is Murder (Bee’s Bakehouse Mysteries #1) by Kathy Cranston go to:

 

And to find out more about Kathy Cranston and their work go to:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15281522.Kathy_Cranston