Hmm. This was supposed to be a short linkity post, due to my long holiday weekend. FAIL.

Congrats to Kaetrin, who won Beyond Reckless by Ava March! Beyond Reckless will be released by Amber Quill Press on Sunday, November 28.


Freebies

Contests

Bookity

  • Author and publisher news and more from Dear Author and ReadReactReview (including a link to the very expensive official Dark-Hunter dolls).

Ebookity

Think, Do, Learn, Make

Linkity Peeps

Gift Ideas

Cool

  • I can’t believe we didn’t get a chance to see this awesome mural while we were in San Francisco.

Huh

LOL

Teh Cute

Reading Update
Breathe by Sloan Parker. ebook. Very good m/m romantic suspense about a guy who’s just spent six months in prison and is returning to his home town. I don’t want to say more about it, because part of this book’s strength is how what happened in the past and what’s happening in the present unfold together. Every time I was sure I had things all figured out, I was wrong. 🙂
Last Call Europe: Black Wolf by Belinda McBride. ebook. Very good kinky m/m paranormal romance about a lone wolf shifter and detective who’s been following the trail of a killer around the world. He ends up in London, at the paranormal bar Last Call Europe, where he’s teased by a saucy Siberian Husky shifter…
Caught by Surprise by L.D. Madison. ebook. Good m/m romance (from Loose Id’s Coming Out Day series) about two FBI agents who wake up naked in bed together with no memory of how they got there… My only complaint about this book was a plot thread that seemed to be going somewhere but was dropped.
Hit and Run by Cassidy Ryan. ebook . Good m/m romantic suspense about a guy who witnesses a crime, then ends up on the run, trying to stay alive long enough to testify.
After Hours by Cassandra Gold. ebook short. Cute steamy short m/m story about a guy closing at a bakery, who’s kind of impatient when a customer rushes in at the last minute…
The Hitcher and His Ride by Misty Malone (according to ARe, even though that doesn’t match the cover…). ebook short. Ok short paranormal m/m story about a lost driver who sees a wrecked motorcycle on the road and picks up the injured rider. This was a variation of a pretty traditional hitchhiker ghost story, with a few twists.
Nature’s Own by Nica Berry. ebook. Meh m/m urban fantasy about the fae, with a menagey bit. Alas, this story never drew me in, nor did I particularly care about any of the characters by the end.
Beg for More by A.J. Hardcourt. ebook short. So-so short m/m encounter between an architect and the owner of a construction company when they’re working late one evening.
The Club at Cool Harbor by Christiane France. ebook. Meh m/m romance about two guys who are trying to figure out who’s leaking secrets from an exclusive gay mens’ club. My major problems with the book were a plot based on a big misunderstanding, stalkerish tendencies (after a single date that didn’t actually happen, one guy called, sent letters, etc, for months?! Really??), instalove, and a lack of dramatic tension.
Sleepless in San Francisco by Ryan Field. ebook. PWP based on the movie Sleepless in Seattle. I knew this wasn’t going to be a good book, but it was worse than I expected.


“Everything looks so upside down. I wonder why?” -Mayhem

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The Missing Link-ity found!

Congrats to arzu, who won Twice in a Lifetime by Shawn Lane! Twice in a Lifetime will be released on September 5 by Amber Allure.

Congrats to Tara, who won What To Do With Lore by Jade Archer! What To Do With Lore will be released by Total-E-Bound on September 6.

Congrats to kasjo_peja, who won Gay Day! Gay Day! (G-A-Y, Book 11) by Kim Dare! Gay Day! Gay Day! will be released on September 6 by Total-E-Bound.


Contests

Bookity

Ebookity

  • The University of Chicago Press is offering the 1906 edition of the Chicago Manual of Style as a free download this month. Make sure you use the link in the “Update” section of this post to get the DRM-free version! (Thanks, KZ!)

Make, Do, Learn, Think

  • August was the weakest month of car sales since 1983. Maybe people are realizing that they don’t need to replace their cars as often as the automobile industry keeps pushing us to? *sends happy longevity thoughts out to beloved 1997 car*
  • Have an earworm? Unhearit will help you get rid of it… by possibly giving you a new one. 🙂

Linkity Peeps

Cool

Huh

LOL

  • Hyperbole & a Half on social entrapment. Love this quote: “One of the most difficult aspects of interacting with other people is figuring out how to extricate yourself from a conversation without appearing rude or mentally unstable.”

Teh Cute

Reading Update
Unconventional (Conventions, Book 3) by T.C. Blue. ebook. Very good m/m romance about a computer game programmer, not able to work due to a lawsuit, who moves to California to live with his deeply closeted actor boyfriend.
Duet by Eden Winters. ebook. Excellent m/m romance that’s a bit challenging for me to categorize. The first half takes place in the Scottish Highlands 200 years ago and the second half takes place in the present day. This is a story about an English tutor/violinist and about the Scottish heir who despises the English. It’s the story of a love that transcends the ages. Oh, whatever – it’s just a darn good love story. 🙂
Double or Nothing by Cassandra Gold. ebook short. Decent m/m romance about a casino owner whose con artist ex shows up, asking for a chance to prove that he’s changed.
Collared Hearts and Frosted Hearts by Angelia Sparrow & Naomi Brooks. ebook shorts. Very good kinky short m/m romances about an artist with a prissy boyfriend who not only owns the gallery at which the artist shows, but also gives him money for his rent and bills and leaves him feeling like a whore.
Submission Times Two by Claire Thompson. Good kinky m/m romance about a couple, deeply in love with each other, who are both submissive. Will they manage to keep their need to submit from destroying their relationship?
Masked Submission by Claire Thompson. ebook. So-so kinky m/m romance about a submissive PhD student who goes to a club and becomes fascinated by a cruel and mysterious masked dominant. I definitely like Claire Thompson’s more recent books better, because I found this one to be melodramatic and overwrought.
Dark Submission by Shayne Carmichael. ebook short. Ok short paranormal m/m romance about a young man, hired as a live-in secretary, who discovers several unusual and intriguing things about his employer.
Call Me Sir by Stormy Glenn. ebook. Um. Stormy Glenn does D/s. What else is there to say, really?! Well, ok, fine. So-so kinky m/m romance about a club owner who decides, after one look at a young man in his club, that the young man would be his forevermore.
Topping Timothy by Erin O’Niall. ebook short. So-so steamy m/m tale about a young man who’s fascinated by a dominant older man he keeps seeing at the bar he frequents, but who’s also sickened by the thought of bdsm. (And this is one of the ugliest stock photo covers I’ve ever seen.)
Catching a Second Wind by Sean Michael. ebook. This m/m romance about a vet who visits an appealing young psychologist as part of trying to get over the unexpected death of his long-term lover was so sweet and angst free that I confess to being bored… Ok, yeah, there was a titch of near-angst – but seriously, nothing that wasn’t resolved within a page or two.


“I want to sleep now, not be entertained. Go away.” -Mayhem

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It’s far too late to come up with a remotely clever linkity title

Congrats to Jase, who won the copy of Gay Pride (G-A-Y, Book 7) by Kim Dare!


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Books & Reading

  • Both Kris and Katiebabs have posts about the difference between comfort reads and rereads.

Learn, Do, Make

  • If you’re not exactly sure how a cell phone call works, check out this infographic.

Wow

Huh

LOL

  • Oh oh… If you’ve been following Brigitte’s quest to not alert Atticus that he’s going to the vet… there’s been a dark turn of events.

Teh Cute

Reading Update
Icing on the Cake by Shayla Kersten. ebook. Very good m/m romance about a guy who’s the man of honor for his best friend’s wedding. She puts him in charge of getting the cake… and oh, that baker is hot. (I wish Shayla Kersten wrote more m/m, because I’ve really enjoyed what she does have out… *hint hint*)
Gaps in Your Soul by Shayla Kersten. ebook reread. Um, yeah, so after reading the previous book, I felt the need to read some more Shayla Kersten. This is a pretty good m/m romance about… Hmm. Having trouble with a summary. At its most basic? I’d say it’s about how the US military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy messes with people’s minds and ultimately messes them up.
The One That Broke Free (One, Book 4) by T.C. Blue. ebook. Very good m/m romance about a soldier who was discharged ten years ago after his leg was permanently damaged. Since then, he’s been living alone in the small, closed-minded Southern town where he grew up, but after being in Boston for his brother and brother-in-law’s wedding, he’s rethinking his life. (I was lucky enough to win this from the author! Thanks, TC! And hey, TC will be giving away an ebook here at SOC tomorrow…)
Out of Balance by Stephani Hecht. ebook. Pretty good m/m romance about a banker who’s been going through a rough time when a hunky customer asks him out.
Two Man Team (Team, Book 2) by Jet Mykles. ebook. Do I hear bodies hitting the floor out there?! 🙂 Sarah reviewed this book and I was intrigued. (No, it wasn’t because of the Candy Cane Guy cover!) It’s an m/m romance that starts as an m/f/m romance and I’m not a fan of menagey books. But this one managed to avoid the big issue I have with menagey books, so it actually worked pretty well.
Vindaloo and the T-Bird by Sarah Black. ebook short. Good m/m romance about an eye surgeon who buys an old T-Bird so he has an excuse to spend time with the mechanic he used to date. There’s one thing that bothered me about this, but it’s a spoiler – we can talk about it in email if you’ve read the book!
Object of His Desire by Ava March. ebook. Good m/m Regency romance (I’ll give you a minute to recover) about a young man who’s been at a debauched house party for a week. He hasn’t participated because he’s been pining for the lord who’s hosting the party. Alas, he knows his affections won’t be returned, as the lord is ostensibly using the week to audition for his next mistress… (And yes, that’s Underwear Guy on the cover!)
Convincing Arthur by Ava March. ebook. Another good m/m Regency romance! It turns out that I don’t mind (and actually enjoy) historicals if they aren’t overburdened with historical details. I know that some love reading elaborate details of the clothes, the furnishings, the food… but that’s what turned me off of historicals in the past. Anyway! Leopold’s been waiting for Arthur to be free from his long-term and unfaithful lover. Now that Arthur’s free, will Leopold’s own debauched reputation keep Arthur away?
Fantasies: Christmas by Cassandra Gold. ebook. Good m/m romance about a guy who’s had a really bad week (he gets laid off, his beloved old cat dies, and his boyfriend dumps him by email) until he wins a Hawaiian vacation at the liquor store and invites the helpful guy next in line to go with him.
Cutting Cords by Mickie B. Ashling. ebook. Good m/m romance about two young men who end up as roommates in NYC because their dads were pro baseball teammates once upon a time. One guy is going blind but in denial (about more than just going blind *ahem*). The other is dealing (not so well) with crippling self-esteem issues. This story is told in alternating first- and third-person point-of-view, but I think it would’ve worked better if it had been entirely in third-person.
Poker Night 5: Full House by Carol Lynne. ebook. Well, I had to know how it all ended, since the story of Kent and Marco has been building through the previous four books! I enjoyed it, but I’d recommend reading the rest of the series first.
Theron’s Return (Campus Cravings, Book 11) by Carol Lynne. ebook. Um, I sort of pick these m/m romances up randomly as the descriptions strike my fancy, so for me, this is a completely nonlinear series. This one’s about a guy living in BK House who’s had a really, really bad year and simply can’t deal with it any more. It was ok – exactly the sort of read I needed at the time.
Calendar Boys April: Out of the Storm by Jamie Craig. ebook. Good m/m romance about a meteorologist who’s just been dumped by his boyfriend on a weekend getaway when a hunky ranger shows up at his cabin door, stranded by a surprise storm. (Wait, just how many dumped boyfriend books did I read this week?!)
Calendar Boys August: Scorched by Jamie Craig. ebook. Another good m/m romance – this one’s about a NYC firefighter who returns to Utah to help fight an out-of-control wildfire and runs into his former best friend’s kid brother.
Apotrope by Chris Owen. ebook short. Huh. This paranormal m/m romance about a vampire trying to impress a guy just never came together for me. (It’s part of Torquere’s Spice It Up series and the spice in question was garlic.)
Murder by Design by Jade Falconer. ebook. Um. Well, this m/m romance about a cop investigating the murder of a slutty model’s sugar daddy might’ve been better if half of it was cut out – I’d recommend the extremely repetitive scenes in which our two heroes gushed lovingly at each other over and over and over, ad nauseum.


So my friend CJ went to RT and all I got was… dang. A lot of goodies! Thank you, CJ! And thanks to all the authors who signed stuff for me. 🙂

“Mom, I’m truly alarmed by the large number of naughty boys and utter lack of black kitties.” -Mayhem

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Ya wanna know the funny part? I didn’t think I’d have enough links to do linkity….

Contests

Books & Reading

Learn Stuff

  • ModernCat has some great pictures of a cat table (sort of an outdoor garden/platform for your cats to enjoy on your deck or patio), plus a link to how to make one.
  • Ugh. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to eat bagged salad again…

LOL

Teh Cute! It Burns!

Reading Update
My Fair Captain (Sci-Regency, Book 1) by J.L. Langley. ebook. Another book for Kris’ m/m rut challenge. This was a scifi m/m romance, with a Regency flair to it… and I totally loved it. (I’m really glad I totally loved it, because if I hadn’t? I’d be afraid, as this is a very popular book.) I was a little frustrated during the prologue and first few chapters, as I tried to pull the bits and pieces together (that world-building stuff), but after I hit the breakthrough point (where you absorb the background and it doesn’t interfere with the story anymore), I was transfixed. Very steamy, yet very romantic and highly recommended read. (Kris is gloating. I can hear her.)
The Englor Affair (Sci-Regency, Book 2) by J.L. Langley. ebook. Not quite as good as My Fair Captain, but still a very good m/m scifi romance.
Friction by J.P. Bowie, Jenna Byrnes, Jude Mason, Kim Dare, Ashley Ladd, S.L. Majors, & Cassandra Gold. ebook collection. This was an enjoyable m/m romance collection. I thought of all the stories were, at the very least, decent, with one exception. And there were definitely a couple that were excellent.
Running Hot by Stephani Hecht. ebook short. Nicely done short m/m romance about a paramedic and an ER doctor.
GPS by Leigh Ellwood. ebook short. Cute m/m romance about a guy who gets a GPS for his birthday, but what the heck is up with the darn thing?! (Yes, you’re right – that is Candy Cane Guy in the background.)
Sea of Sin (Creatures of Sin, Book 3? Book 2.5?) by India Harper. ebook short. Ok m/m romance short about a police commander who lives a celibate, closeted life except for the one week during which he goes on a gay cruise vacation. Based on the sort of non-ending to this story, I suspect it’s part of the setup for the next book in the series.
629 Miles To Love by Fae Sutherland & Marguerite Labbe. ebook. Ok m/m romance about two former lovers on a drive, talking about what went wrong. (Lost points for lack of condoms and lack of discussion of same.)
Skin Deep by S. W. Vaughn. ebook. Quite good urban fantasy m/m romance that was a bit hard for me to read at points, due to graphic violence in a domestic abuse situation. I am glad I persevered. (No condoms here, either…)
Falling (Hawkins Ranch, Book 2) by Cameron Dane. ebook. Good paranormal m/m romance about two ranchers, one of whom happens to be a demon, which I would’ve enjoyed more if it had had a bit less torture. Those parts were hard for me to read and I definitely skimmed the more graphic violence.
ReneCade (Hawkins Ranch, Book 3) by Cameron Dane. ebook. Another good m/m romance (no paranormal this time) about a deeply closeted sheriff’s deputy who’s attracted to the sheriff’s son, but very afraid of the potential consequences of that attraction. I’m glad that this was less brutal than Falling, but the angst was flowing more freely and there was cheating, so maybe it was a draw.
Do You Believe in Magic by Drew Zachary. ebook short. Very steamy short m/m romance that was a good antidote to the brutality of Skin Deep and Falling.
Slap and Tickle by Drew Zachary. ebook. So-so m/m romance about a possessive cop and the stripper he’s in love with. I found the nicknames (“Big Daddy” and “Candy Pants”) annoying and the sex-to-story ratio was so skewed I skimmed a lot to find the tiny bits of plot scattered amongst the nudity. Plus a plot point that was played up throughout the book wasn’t resolved so much as dropped, which was odd and rather unsatisfying.


“Fine, Mayhem. Be that way. I was only trying to help. Now you will be shunned because your ears are dirty!” -Chaos

“Whatever, big kitty. I think you have OCD issues.” -Mayhem

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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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