In which Mayhem taunts all of you and I include a few links

Contests

  • Karen’s trying whip her knitting WIPs into shape. Answer the questions (how many WIPs will she have left at the end of April and will she be able to resist starting any new projects during the month) in her comments by midnight (Danish time), April 20, for your chance to win two skeins of Malabrigo worsted.

Books & Reading

  • Nicole found some great links – make sure you follow the one to Librarysarie’s post about her new favorite Dewey number.

Learn & Do

Things I Found Amusing

Cute!

Reading Update
Admit One by Jenna Hilary Sinclair. ebook. Wow. This m/m romance gutted me, because it was such a powerful read. And yet… I can’t tell you much about it, because part of its power and impact is in how the story develops and in how things are revealed. At the most simple level, it’s the story of a deeply closeted high school teacher in conservative rural Texas, who very occasionally drives to Houston to hook up with someone – but never the same someone twice. It’s a story of being afraid, of having extremely valid reasons to be afraid, and of living a life so constrained by those fears as to barely be alive. Definitely recommended.
Give and Take by Anne Brooke. ebook short. Good m/m romance about a guy who, two years after his partner of 13 years died, is out at a bar trying to connect with another guy for the first time in a very long time – and he so doesn’t want to have to make all the decisions…
Journey to Compromise by Mara Ismine. ebook short. Good paranormal m/m romance about a guy following an itch to travel. He’s had a bad year (lost love, lost job), but maybe things are starting to look up…
Healthy Obsession by Carolyn LeVine Topol. ebook short. Meh m/m romance about a player who’s finally decided he needs more out of life than one-night stands. While he’s at the gym, he meets a guy in the process of getting divorced and coming out and it’s twue wuv. (Hmm. Kinda snarky there. Possibly because I wanted to slap characters while I was reading.)
A Promise Given by Stormy Glenn. ebook. The usual m/m romance fare from Stormy Glenn in this follow-up to A Promise Kept. Can Alec possibly have a good reason for vanishing from Cooper’s life ten years ago? And if they have that pesky serial killer behind bars, who’s killing guys that fit the same profile now?
Blue Skye and Ryan’s Harbor by Viki Lyn. ebooks. After reading and enjoying Viki Lyn’s paranormal m/m romance, Last Chance, I decided to try this pair of m/m contemporary romances. Meh. Blue Skye was about an out artist and a closeted architect who meet again as adults. They were friends in high school, until they acted on their attraction and the architect fearfully rushed back into his closet. Ryan’s Harbor was about the architect’s gay assistant and the architect’s straight brother – this was a better read than Blue Skye, but be warned that the HFN ending suggests there could be more books in the future… *sigh*
Rescue by Sean Michael. ebook short. A quick little m/m about a guy who lost everything in a fire going home with one of the firefighters.
Purple Pen Diaries by Julia Talbot. ebook short. Fun m/m short about a mystery writer on a cruise who hooks up with a security guy trying to solve a mystery.
Landing with Both Feet (Thatcher Brothers, Book 2) by Julia Talbot. ebook. So-so m/m romance that had way too many flashbacks, between the Jed/Eli and Ross/Kevin stories. Too confusing. And I spent a fair amount of time being upset at people. Hmph. This felt like “Hey, that other Thatcher Brothers book did well – how about another one? Let’s mess up their lives to justify this sequel!”
Taking the Leap (Thatcher Brothers, Book 3) by Julia Talbot. ebook. Ok m/m romance tying up the last bit of the mess from the second book. After that angstfest, this book has no angst whatsoever.
Turguoise: Something’s Gotta Give by Kiernan Kelly. ebook short. Ack! Another stalker! Other than that, this was an ok romance about a guy who gets involved with a cop that he met when giving a statement about his ex stealing all of his stuff.
Texas Hold ‘Em, Slow Play, Pocket Pair, and Different Suits (Poker Night, Books 1-4) by Carol Lynne. ebooks. Decent m/m romance series about a group of guys who play poker together every other Saturday night. Each book focuses on one of the poker players as he finds love. As EH has commented, while you always know what you’re going to get with a Carol Lynne book, sometimes that works just fine.
Wild Raspberries by Jane Davitt. ebook. Very good m/m romance about a young man who runs away from home, then heads into the woods after some bad experiences on the road, where he runs into a cranky landowner.
Artistically Yours by Z.A. Maxfield, Andy Slayde & Ali Wilde, and C.T. Piatt. ebook collection. I enjoyed each of the three short stories in this collection of m/m romances about artists getting much, much closer to their models.
Rock Bottom by Celia Kyle. ebook short. Lyrically written m/m romance short about a guy whose partner died in a car crash and who’s been drinking to forget, until he hits rock bottom.
Night at the Office by Drew Zachary. ebook short. Nicely done, steamy short m/m encounter between a night watchman and a guy working late.
Playing the Market by Drew Zachary. ebook. Good m/m romance about a workaholic stockbroker and a footloose construction worker who find unexpected common ground.


“You know you want to rub my very soft and fluffy tummy! But you can’t! *neener neener neener*” -Mayhem

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Kitty toes and linkity

Congrats to Kathy K, who won the copy of LB Gregg’s Catch Me If You Can (Romano & Albright, Book 1)! (Don’t forget about LB’s review contest, which runs through March 16.)


Contests

Books & Reading & Readers, Oh My!

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Things That Didn’t Fit Elsewhere

LOL

Reading Update
The Larton Chronicles by James Anson. I heard about this delightful m/m romance when Josh Lanyon mentioned on his blog that it was one of his comfort reads. The book is about Robert, ex-policeman and mystery author who moves to the obscure village of Larton, and Michael, the horse-mad and out of control village “squire”. Written in a fabulously understated style that seems quite British indeed to me (Jenre and EH will have to confirm or deny this for me), the book chronicles the ups and downs of building a life together. (Also, all sex occurs entirely offsides and is only referred to in the most discrete terms.) I’d definitely recommend picking this up directly from the publisher and not from Amazon – the price difference is quite significant. Recommended.
The Dark Farewell by Josh Lanyon. ebook. As previously mentioned, I won this historical m/m romance over at Jessewave’s. This was an extremely well-done story about a reporter from NYC in central Illinois to follow up on a union-related massacre when he becomes intrigued by a medium who is staying at the same boarding house. From Josh’s comments on Jenre’s review of this ebook, I was sort of prepared for the abrupt ending to the story, which is modeled on ghost stories from the period (early 1920s), but I found myself really wanting to know more about these characters! Recommended.
No Souvenirs (Florida Series, Book 3) by K.A. Mitchell. ebook. Very good, steamy, and intense m/m romance about that mysterious ER doctor we met in previous books. Hard to go wrong with K.A. Mitchell! Recommended.
Custom Ride by K.A. Mitchell. ebook. Good m/m romance about a guy who has an anonymous encounter with a mysterious stranger at Pride (in Minneapolis!), then keeps encountering the guy again back home in St. Cloud.
Scared Stiff by Laura Baumbach, William Maltese, Josh Lanyon, & Sarah Black. ebook collection. This was a good m/m paranormal romance collection overall, although each story had its foibles. Baumbach’s was unfortunately plagued by egregious editing errors such as misused words, missing words, and randomly introduced names. (Wait, I thought that Eli and Mason were in bed together. Where did this “Josh” come from?!???) Black’s story suffered somewhat from the main characters overusing each other’s names in conversation, so their conversations seemed stilted. (Handily, author Patti O’Shea just posted about this very problem.) Lanyon’s story was very good, with just a condom use issue. I skipped Maltese’s story because I’m not a big fan of his style, plus it was fantasy.
Primal Passions (Lost Shifters, Book 1) by Stephani Hecht. ebook. Enjoyable paranormal m/m romance about a paramedic who suddenly discovers that the world is much weirder than he knew when he’s imprisoned by thugs and rescued by a feline shapeshifter.
Fire and Ice by A.J. Llewellyn & Stephani Hecht. ebook. I definitely like Stephani Hecht’s work on her own better. This m/m romance about a former boxer and a hockey goalie was all over the place, with instalove and bits of story that didn’t fit very well.
Garron’s Gift and Rawley’s Redemption (Good-Time Boys, Books 2-3) by Carol Lynne. ebooks. Ok m/m romances being the continuing story of the Good brothers, their guys, and dangerous homophobes in their small Nebraska town. It appears that this series, like Campus Cravings, also intersects with the Cattle Valley series. Apparently Cattle Valley is like the Borg…
Now and Forever by Addison Albright. ebook short. Sweet m/m romance short about a couple planning their wedding reception, during the all-too-brief time gay marriage was legal in California.
Moving On and Moving Along by Addison Albright. ebook shorts. These are sweet m/m romance shorts about a guy trying to move on after his lover was killed in a car accident a year ago.
Aidan and Ethan (Seeking Redemption, Book 1) by Cameron Dane. ebook. Angsty m/m romance about a guy who vanishes without a word after planning a life together with his best friend, then reappears over a decade later. I started out feeling as if the entire premise of the story was extremely flimsy, but that was actually addressed a bit later. (Also, not so good with the condom thing in this book.)
Private Dicks by Katie Allen. ebook. This m/m romantic suspense was a reread – it’s one of my comfort reads. Obviously I think it’s a good book! :) And you’ll have a chance to win a copy of the sequel in the not-too-distant future…


“Mom, do I really want to know why you’re taking a picture of my back toes?” -Chaos

If you commented on this post before 7:30 am CST, March 11, your comment has vanished. Sorry! My fault entirely.

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Today’s forecast is for sunshine and linkity

Contest Update

  • 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. :)

Reading & Beyond

  • 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.

Yay, Minnesota!

Get Your Geek On

Eh, Canada

  • Music blog Star Maker Machine is focusing on Canadian songs this week in honor of the Olympics.

Yum

Fun & Kitties & Goats, Oh My

  • Aww! How come my kitties have never slept in such a configuration?!

Reading Update
Thanks to jmc of Shuffling through a book-less desert, where I won a copy of the historical m/m romance, Seducing Stephen!

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

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Chaos re-butts… :)

Congrats to Tracey D, who won the ebook copy of Keeping Promise Rock by Amy Lane! And thanks again to Amy for donating the book. :)


Contests

  • Both Renee and Lea are giving away copies of Carolyn Jewel’s new historical romance, Indiscreet. Renee’s contest closes at midnight PST, February 5, and  Lea’s contest closes early morning, February 6.

Book & Reading News & Views

  • I’m a big fan of the journals that Oberon Designs makes, but I only recently realized that they make gorgeous ebook reader covers. They’re specifically sized for Kindles, Sonys, and the Nook. I’ve sent them an email to see which cover they think might work for my Hanlin V3/Astak EZReader…

Learn

  • Is lack of computer access keeping you off your exercise equipment? Check out the DIY PVC laptop stand.

Things That Amused Me

Cats

Reading Update
Keeping Promise Rock by Amy Lane. ebook. The only reason I didn’t spend half of this m/m romance sobbing my eyes out is because I took frequent breaks when I started to get wound up. :) Parts of it were gut-wrenching. And parts weren’t. As a whole, this was a powerful, excellent read that I highly recommend.
Quinn’s Hart by Cassandra Gold. ebook. Why, yes, this is the ebook I just won at Jessewave’s. :) This was a really nicely done m/m romance about two wildly dissimilar guys who get to know each other on a singles’ trip to Disney World.
Why, Why, Zed? by Leigh Ellwood. ebook short. Ok, having never flown into Toronto, I totally didn’t get the pun of this title until I read the quote from Neal Pert at the beginning. (Toronto’s airport being YYZ.) This was a so-so m/m romance, although I will confess that the ending surprised the heck out of me.
Footprints and Just Like in the Movies by Clare London. ebook shorts. For some reason, these short m/m romances (the first about two guys who are part of a counter-terrorism team and the second about two hostage negotiators) never fully engaged me – maybe it was the somewhat reserved first person narrative?
A Stranger’s Touch by Anne Brook. ebook short. I have to confess that this m/m tale about a prostitute and a mysterious stranger who delves into his psyche mostly just confused me.
Healing Doctor Ryan by Carol Lynne. ebook. Ok m/m romance about a cancer patient who asks his doctor out after completing treatment.
Lift Me Up by Rayne Auster. ebook. Cute m/m romance about an IT geek who ends up with a broken ankle when his cute neighbor trips over him in the hallway. I got a little frustrated with the dense language now and then, mostly because my brain was in the mood for fluff. :)
Thaw in Winter and Darling Brat by Kate Steele. ebook and ebook short. Thaw in Winter was agood m/m romance about Mark, an architect who saves Joe’s life when he’s injured while camping. Joe and Mark are attracted to each other… but Joe can’t remember why exactly he’s wearing that mysterious wedding band on his ring finger. I liked this one a lot, until the point at which the first book stopped abruptly, leaving unresolved a plot point that had been played up quite a bit. I then discovered that there was a short second book, which resolves that plot point. Grrr. I would’ve been happier for it to all be in one book… and maybe it was at one point.
Out of My Mind by M. L. Rhodes. ebook (reread). Well-done m/m romance in which a recently divorced police officer struggles with his growing attraction to his (work) partner/best friend.
Promises by Marie Sexton. ebook. Very good m/m romance about two guys, one gay and one not, in a small Colorado town who become close friends – this was all about letting your fears constrain your life and how good it can feel when  you finally stop doing so. Recommended.
JackMagic by Jillian Snyder. ebook short. Nicely done short m/m romance about a guy who gets dragged to a sexy magic show (part of his sister’s bachelorette party) and bumps into the magician outside between acts.
Private Property by Chloe West & Audra Beagle. ebook. So-so m/m romance about an author with writer’s block who takes a hate to a guy who shows up on his doorstep, claiming the house is his. I found the three main characters annoying and wanted to slap them all. That never makes for a happy reading experience… for me, at least!


“That was really mean of Mayhem. This box doesn’t make my butt look big! This box rocks!” -Chaos

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