- JessaLu’s celebrating her blogiversary with a big contest – she’ll have five knitting related prizes, one for each year that she’s been blogging. The prizes are wonderful – some of her gorgeous box bags, socks knit for you on her sock knitting machine, or gorgeous sock yarn dyed by Scout. Contest closes midnight EST, February 19… and tell her I sent ya.
- Closetwriter Lea’s giving away an ARC of Julie James’ forthcoming romance, Something About You. You only have until the morning of February 19 to leave a comment and enter!
- Bronwyn Green’s celebrating, and to do so, she’s giving away a copy of Just Right, her scorching paranormal update of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Leave a comment by 8 pm, February 19, for your chance to win.
- Julie James is giving away a signed copy of Shiloh Walker’s forthcoming romantic suspense, Broken. Comment by 10 pm CST, February 19, for your chance to win.
- Largehearted Boy is giving away a copy of Peter Straub’s new novel, Dark Matter, and Emma Straub’s novella, Fly-Over State, along with an assortment of books and cds. Contest closes midnight CST, February 19.
- Jenre of Well Read is reviewing and giving away two of the Petit Morts (see Reading Update below for more details on the Petit Morts). Contest closes midnight GMT, February 20.
- Tracy’s running a contest for a copy of L. B. Gregg’s forthcoming m/m romantic suspense, Catch Me If You Can (Romano & Albright, Book 1). Leave a comment by 11:59 pm PST, February 21, for your chance to win. (I highly recommend this one!)
- Donna Fantasy Dreamer’s giving away a copy of the fifth Cal & Niko book, Roadkill, by Rob Thurman. Enter by midnight CST, February 25, for your chance to win.
- SciFiGuy’s giving away two copies of Robin Hobb’s new fantasy, Dragon Keeper. To enter, leave your comment entry by midnight EST, March 1. He’s also giving away two copies of Kim Harrison’s new urban fantasy, Black Magic Sanction. That contest also closes midnight EST, March 1.
- Answer a trivia question about Julia Rachel Barrett’s Captured for a chance to win $5.00 that you can use to purchase ebooks from Siren Publishing. Contest runs through March 31.
- Abigail of All Things Urban Fantasy has an amazing 88 contests posted in this week’s roundup!
Reading & Beyond
- You can get your book news and contest roundups from Donna Fantasy Dreamer, SciFiGuy, and Literary Escapism.
- Jessica of Racy Romance Reviews has all sorts of linky goodness that’ll get you thinking.
- Local bookstores Uncle Hugo and Uncle Edgar’s have posted their most recent newsletter, which is packed full of new and forthcoming release info for mysteries, science fiction, paranormals, urban fantasy, and more.
- Be prepared for a very fun read as Wren Boudreau rises to the challenge of Kris’ “Choose Your Own M/M Story” challenge! (And then go vote for the choices that the next sucker author will have to write around. You must vote for the potato shaped like Bono’s head.)
- What lessons might the publishing industry learn from the music and movie industries? And how come the publishing industry doesn’t seem interested in connecting with buyers, aka readers?
- Dear Author has an interesting post about using Calibre and Dropbox to put your ebooks “in the cloud” so you can access them wherever you are.
- Gizmodo found some interesting glasses that tilt your vision so you can read while lying flat in bed. (Hmm, I’m getting motion sick just thinking about tilted vision.)
- What are your reading neuroses? A major one of mine is getting extremely anxious about what’s going to happen to characters in books, to the point that I need to put the book down and have a bit of a lie down.
- Oh, Awful Library Books, how I do love you and the surreal things you find in circulation…
- Members of Team Edward, you can buy your very own Edward Cullen body pillow… O_o alas for Team Jacob, as that pillow is sold out.
- Thanks to trek for alerting me to this important news about Minnesota: it’s the fourth happiest state in which to live! (Hawaii’s first.)
- Must remember to pick up the The Minnesota Beatle Project cd…
Get Your Geek On
- Thanks again to trek for the link to this lovely laptop cover, made from a thrift shop sweater.
- You can make your own MagSafe connector to protect your laptop, so that when you trip over its cord, the cord snaps free instead of sending your laptop into oblivion.
- After you’ve scanned all of your old slides, why not use them to make a gorgeous and colorful privacy screen for a window?
- Conceptually, Computer Engineer Barbie is cool, but as TeddyPig asks – what’s up with the sparkly stretch pants?
- Did you know there’s a Motorola Droid app that will emulate a tricorder and actually do some cool and useful things?!
- McGuyver a light tent out of paper and binder clips!
- Clever – there’s a website that will help you find that filler item on Amazon to get your purchase to $25 for free shipping. Or if it’s just a single book you want, maybe you should go to the Book Depository instead so you don’t end up buying a random item.
- Hopefully you’ve been following the Google Buzz fiasco and have done what you need to do to make your Google account a bit safer? Update: You can now completely disable Google Buzz.
- Music blog Star Maker Machine is focusing on Canadian songs this week in honor of the Olympics.
- Don’t these gluten-free cinnamon rolls look delicious?!
Fun & Kitties & Goats, Oh My
- Part 2 of the Simon’s Cat “Snow Business” episode is finally out!
- Aww! How come my kitties have never slept in such a configuration?!
- What your kitties are thinking when they’re sleeping with their heads in your shoes?!
Love Ahead by Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux. ebook collection. These two m/m romances were decent, but you can definitely tell that they were older stories from Urban and Roux. And, as Tam pointed out when she read them a week or two ago, how names are used in each story was definitely odd. In the first, both guys mostly used each others’ last names. That was ok, since they knew each other through their work at a construction site. Then, later in the story, when they started to use each others’ first names, it was obviously supposed to indicate their growing closeness and intimacy. I get that. But why the hell did they both have first and last names that could be first or last names?! It was so confusing. So very confusing. And in the next story? The name thing? Really? You never exchanged actual names after talking to each other on the phone for months? *headdesk*
Snow Plowed (Bay City Paranormal Investigations) by Ally Blue. free holiday short. This was a cute’n’steamy m/m Valentine’s short with the characters from Love, Like Ghosts. And if you haven’t read the Bay City Paranormal Investigations series, what are you waiting for?! It’s one of the series that sucked me into reading m/m romance. Hmm… Ok, maybe that’s why you haven’t. 😉
Petit Morts 1-5: Hue, Tint and Shade; Slings and Arrows; Moolah and Moonshine; Other People’s Weddings; Spanish Fly Guy (1, 3, 5 by Jordan Castillo Price; 2, 4 by Josh Lanyon). ebook shorts. These delightful little m/m romances are all loosely based around a mysterious chocolate shop and Chance, its equally mysterious proprietor. Although I enjoyed each and every one, I think that #4 (Other People’s Weddings by Josh Lanyon) was my favorite, with #1 (Hue, Tint and Shade by Jordan Castillo Price) following closely behind. Recommended. (Val at Obsidian Bookshelf has much more detailed reviews of the Petit Morts, as does Jenre of Well Read.)
Holiday Outing by Astrid Amara. ebook. Another delightful Hannukah m/m romance from Astrid Amara! A successful author of gay fiction, still closeted to his family, gets snowed in with his family (and a high school nemesis) for Hannukah.
Fantasies: Thanksgiving by Cassandra Gold. ebook. Enjoyable m/m romance about two guys, one gay, one straight, who have been friends for many years… and then something changes in their friendship. (We’ll be revisiting this cover image at some point in the future, too.)
True North (Lost Boys & Love Letters, Book 1) by Bethany Brown & Ashlyn Kane. ebook. Darn good m/m romance about a deeply closeted petroleum engineer and the new doctor in town, and about how limiting it can be to let your fears control you.
Picture Perfect (Lost Boys & Love Letters, Book 2) by Bethany Brown & Ashlyn Kane. ebook. Ok m/m romance that started out feeling like a freestanding story, but seemed as if, partway through, it suddenly needed to become part of a series (the few paragraphs that were apparently supposed to tie it to True North didn’t seem, to me, to fit)… probably right about the time it detoured into m/m/m for a bit. Very ambivalent about reading the third book.
Hero by Heidi Cullinan. ebook. This was another read for Kris’ m/m rut challenge. This was a fantasy (I guess sort of an urban fantasy, actually) based on the Japanese myth of the kitsune. Intellectually, I could tell it was a pretty good story, but I was fighting against the fantastical elements of the story the entire time. So, basically, I don’t think I can fairly rate this one.
Heart and Soul (The Assignment, Book 2) by Evangeline Anderson. ebook. Ah, this poor m/m romantic suspense got a bit caught in my expectations for it (sequel to The Assignment!) and my discomfort with parts of the story itself. Don’t get me wrong – it was a decent read and definitely worth reading if you enjoyed the previous book (and subsequent shorts) – but I had trouble reading around all the plot holes. *sigh*
Coach, In Bear’s Bed, Office Advances, and A Biker’s Vow (Campus Cravings, Books 1, 7, 8, & 9) by Carol Lynne. ebooks. Reading Carol Lynne is like eating potato chips – not very filling and you know they’re probably not good for you, but you just can’t stop. O_o As you might guess from the name of this series, it’s set on a college campus. (And yes, that is Candy Cane Guy In Bear’s Bed! That naughty boy…) Oddly, at the end of A Biker’s Vow, this series appears to be intersecting with Lynne’s Cattle Valley series.
Sonny’s Salvation (Good-Time Boys, Book 1) by Carol Lynne. ebook. See my comment on reading Carol Lynne books above. Sonny quit the FBI to run the family ranch in Nebraska after his dad died. Too bad there aren’t many gay men in rural Nebraska… (And I already know I won’t be reading past the third book in this series, based on the subject matter of the fourth book.)
Rules Were Made To Be Broken by Lenore Black. ebook. Pretty good m/m romance about a guy who recently took over running the family sporting goods store and his (straight) best friend who’s feeling a bit jealous of the store and all the time it takes up. Very nice review of this and Lenore Black’s other works over at Dear Author.
Dead Men Get No Tail by Misty Malone. ebook short. Ok m/m romance about two college roommates, one of whom decides to have a fake funeral for himself. This one left me sort of “Huh?”
Fool for Love by Cassandra Gold. ebook. I’m not a big fan of May-December romances, but Cassandra Gold does a nice job with this m/m romance between a professor and his college student neighbor.
“Sheesh, May, you totally missed this spot by your elbow when you were bathing. What a slob.” -Chaos
*strikes kitty yoga pose #742* -Mayhem