An Epic Episode of Linkity

Contests

  • Jackie of Literary Escapism is holding a baby pool – two lucky winners will receive $15 gift certificates to the online bookstore of their choice.
  • Ms Moonlight is giving away five print m/m romance books (Tri-Omega Mates by Stormy Glenn; Switch by Claire Thompson; Frost Fair by Erastes; Male of the Species by Kate Steele; Polar Reaction by Claire Thompson) to a follower of her blog. Contest closes noon EDT, May 7. You must live in the US or Canada to win.

Free Reads

  • Check out the Free Gay Ebooks page at the GLBT Bookshelf, which has free stories from Josh Lanyon, Mary Calmes, Victor J. Banis (the first Stanley and Tom Deadly mystery! I love that series.), Eden Winters, P.D. Singer, P.A. Brown, Claire Thompson, and more. (Thanks to Mary Calmes for the link!)
  • My Reading Update (below) has links to some of the books above, plus links to additional free m/m romance ebooks. Apparently it was freebie week!

Reading & Book Miscellania

  • Beware this nasty and elaborate scam in which victims are pressured to accept a “‘pre-trial settlement’ for copyright violations.”
  • Hmm. This bookcase seems like it’d be a bit hard on books – but what great exercise!

Ebook News & Views

  • Some articles on how public libraries are dealing with ebooks.

Covers

  • Thanks to SciFiGuy for the link to the amusing Good Show, Sir blog, which features the very worst of scifi and fantasy covers, complete with snarky commentary.

Reviewing

Learn, Make, Do, Think

  • Lay’s has restructured salt to help it dissolve faster and reduce the amount of salt needed for taste.
  • If you’re into genealogy, check out the new FamilySearch.

Huh

  • A sculpture made from cords and cables – love the quote from Gizmodo: “I do, though, wish I could stop myself from thinking how annoying it’d be to untangle all of those cords.”

Gluten-Free

LOL

The Cute

Reading Update
All or Nothing (Taking the Odds, Book 3) by James Buchanan. ebook. Very good m/m romantic suspense, being the continuing adventures of Nicky and Brandon. With a beloved series, I always worry that a new release won’t live up to the previous books, but I should’ve known better. So go. Go get the first book, Cheating Chance, and read it. I’ll wait. :)
Only for Him (Only, Book 2) by Shawn Lane. ebook. Sweet m/m romance about a slightly outrageous administrative assistant at a law firm who’s really attracted to a cutely nerdy guy (one of the firm’s partners).
Cow Pie Bingo by Addison Albright. ebook short. reread. A guy who’s recently realized that he’s gay but has no idea what to do next discovers a very cute guy in line at his kissing booth…
The Wish by Eden Winters. ebook. Very good m/m paranormal romance about two guys who have never met, but dislike each other based on reputation and circumstance. (Hmm. Possibly my most vague summary ever!) I don’t want to tell you too much about the story, because part of what I enjoyed about it was reading and putting the pieces together. How about I just say I highly recommend it? :)
The Boy Under the Bridge by Eden Winters. ebook short. This is about a character who makes a brief appearance in The Wish and isn’t treated particularly well or shown in the best light – it’s surprisingly satisfying to find out what happens to him. You should definitely read The Wish first!
The Telling by Eden Winters. free ebook. Good m/m romance about a soldier who returns from Iraq suffering from PTSD and crippling guilt.
The French Have a Word for It by Josh Lanyon. free ebook short. Very good short m/m romance about a young man painting in France who runs into the bodyguard who rescued him from kidnappers when he was a teen.
Pinky Swear by Lynn Lorenz. ebook. Good m/m romance about two guys who grew up next door to each other in New Orleans and were best friends until a misunderstanding drove them apart and they lost touch… and then Hurricane Katrina arrives.
Upwardly Mobile by Clare London. ebook short. Steamy m/m romance about a couple talking to each other on the phone, one from his parked car, the other from the train…
Home Sweet Home by Clare London. ebook short. Ok m/m romance about a couple who have been taking a break from each other, not sure that their differences are surmountable.
Swap Meet by Lolita Lopez. ebook. This m/m romance is terribly misnamed. It should be The Straight French Billionaire and the Gay Firefighter, especially since it reads like a smokin’ hot category romance, complete with the slightly awkward writing. The straight French billionaire is accompanying a female coworker to a partner swapping event – he’s just there because she needs to appear to be part of a couple to get in. A mysterious, magnetically handsome man gives the billionaire a card with just a name and a room number and the billionaire cannot resist going to the room… (Issue: If this is a couple’s event, who the heck did said magnetically handsome man arrive with? That’s never mentioned.)
Last One Standing (The Five of Swords) by Andy Slayde & Ali Wilde. ebook. Decent m/m romance about a prostitute who tries to blackmail a customer and instead ends up off the streets, working as a dishwasher. I liked this a lot more before the ending – it felt like the story simply stopped. If this kicks off one of those Torquere serials, I’ll be mightily annoyed. (Also, if they managed to tie the Tarot into this Arcana, I completely missed it.)
Angelfish by M. King. ebook. Very good m/m story about a guy, back in New Zealand after attending college in England, who isn’t settling comfortably into parental expectations as he’s haunted by the mocking image of a tattoo.
The Ice Shack by M. King. ebook short. Good m/m short about a couple getting away from their families over the holidays.
First Day of Forever by Mary Calmes. free ebook short. Sweet m/m romance about two guys who were best friends growing up. Did one wait too long to figure out what he wanted? (Needs a few more commas…)
If by Rowena Sudbury. free ebook short. Meh m/m story about two martial artists who train and live together, until one realizes the other has been lying to him. I didn’t really care about either of them by the end of the story, so… *sigh*
Waiting by P.D. Singer. free ebook short. Good m/m romance about a spring break that gets off to a really rocky start when Daniel’s boyfriend shows up at the airport with a girl clinging to him.
More Than Just a Good Book by Sloan Parker. free ebook short. Very good m/m short story about two guys who meet in the college library. *fans self*
Gregori’s Ghost by Sarah Black. free ebook. Very good m/m romance about a neurologist whose dying grandfather charges him with looking after the son of a man befriended by his grandfather during WWII. I’m definitely going to be reading more Sarah Black.
Some Place Only We Know by Christiane France. ebook. Ok m/m romance about a rather innocent bookstore owner who volunteers at a hospice, where he meets a writer who’s visiting his brother. Beware! Instalove alert!
The Five of Wands by Sara Bell. ebook. Decent m/m romance about a resident suspended after being accused of a careless medication error who finds help from an unexpected source.
Only Human by Glyn Soitino. ebook short. Good paranormal m/m romance about a man, created by a wizard with all the knowledge he needs to survive, who falls for a closeted cop. I didn’t realize until I was well into this story that it was the sequel to Out of the Blue. Oh well.
Hoosier Werewolf: Howl and Prowl by Kate Steele. ebook collection. Very good paranormal m/m romance collection of three stories about werewolves finding their mates. The cover’s the usual Changeling Press horror and the title’s kind of weird, but this was one well-done and scorching read.
BDSFerret by Celia Kyle. holiday ebook short. While this m/m paranormal romance about a ferret shifter going to a prairie dog shifter bar is billed as being a satire, it only managed that once or twice.
Passion’s Victory by K.C. Kendricks. ebook. So-so m/m romance about a guy who owns part of an architectural firm and can’t resist the newly contracted, older architect. Does Kendricks always write in first person point-of-view? Seems like it, from what I’ve read. Not my favorite, especially when the characters don’t seem particularly guy-like.
A Hard Habit To Break by K.C. Kendricks. ebook. Another so-so romance about two guys who’ve been in love with each other since high school, but allowed massive miscommunication and misunderstandings to come between them. Another story told in first person… Also, I think the blurb for this one is a bit misleading, so beware.


*happy sleepy stretchy clawy purry* -Chaos

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Absolinkity

Contests

  • Jane of Quiddity is celebrating her sixth blogiversary with a contest – guess how many pairs of socks she’s made since she started knitting and you could win yarn, a project bag made by Jane, and a calendar of her gorgeous flower photos. Contest closes at midnight EDT, March 21.

Books & Reading & Beyond

  • I’m quite intrigued by the Spring Designs Alex eReader, but I’ll be waiting a while so I can read some reports from users after it ships mid-April.

Learn Stuff

Geekery

Huh

  • When you’re desperate for that caffeine fix, you might want to try the Coffee Inhaler.
  • Arachnophobes might want to avoid this gadget stand (and completely skip the spider story in the post about the stand).

Moment of Silence

LOL

  • Wren posted a great list of random thoughts. Here’s one of my favorites from the list: “MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. I’m pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.”
  • Love xkcd’s take on romance novels… (as always, hover your mouse over the cartoon for additional amusing text)

Teh Cute

  • Chaos does the same thing, only he manages to splatter a much larger area.

Reading Update
A to Z by Marie Sexton. ebook. Very good m/m romance about a video store owner who hires one of his customers. They become best friends and… :) I would definitely recommend that you read Sexton’s Promises first, as there’s a bit of character congruence. Definitely shouldn’t be a hardship, since both are good reads (although I think Promises is the stronger book). And after you’ve read both, there’s a free short story about the guys from Promises – it takes place shortly after A to Z.
Only in His Dreams by Shawn Lane. ebook. Sweet m/m romance about a law firm billing manager who has a crush on one of the seemingly unattainable partners at the firm.
And Call Me in the Morning by Willa Okati. ebook. In this very good m/m romance, two straight doctors, whose friends always tease them about being a couple, kiss each other just to prove there isn’t anything like that between them. Whoops. (And, as many others have mentioned, neither of the characters is described as looking as old as the guys on the cover look.)
Saying I Do (Quinn Security, Book 3) by Cameron Dane. ebook. Pretty good m/m romance about the two guys from Finding Home (Quinn Security, Book 1) during their hotel stay in Vermont the week before their wedding.
Finding Home (Quinn Security, Book 1) by Cameron Dane. ebook. And then I had to reread this one. Still smokin’ hot.
Netting Neptune (Southern Cross Resort, Book 1) by KC Kendricks. ebook. Ok m/m romance about a resort owner who helps out a stranded and skittish traveler on the beach.
Damn Gorgeous by Jaye Valentine. ebook. Decent paranormal m/m romance about a tabloid reporter doing a story on Lizzie Borden’s house who gets involved with the mysterious owner of the inn where he’s staying.
The Wedding Planner by G.A. Hauser. ebook. An m/m romance about a stockbroker and his wedding planner that started strong, but about 2/3 of the way through deteriorated down to preteen girl gushing. *sigh*
Calling Dr. Love by G.A. Hauser. ebook. Disclaimer: This was a free m/m romance from ARe over the holidays, or I wouldn’t actually own it. So why did I read it? Um, I figured, since I already had low expectations based on how the previous book panned out… It didn’t help. Gah. And then… I kept reading out of sick fascination. I’m so ashamed. Especially after reading “Phil cuddled Phil…” and continuing.
Lifting Spirits by Alexandria Rayne. ebook. Um, should I confess that I bought this m/m romance simply to see if the continuity error in the excerpt was actually in the book? Yup, it sure was. Might’ve had potential, but with editing issues and way too much weird self-referential stuff from the author, it was a confused mess.
Nowhere Man by Jamie Craig. ebook. Good m/m romance about a grad student who tracks down a reclusive writer and works to break through the writer’s shell. (Yup,  you’re right – that is Neck Crick Guy on the cover!)
Calendar Boys March: Kiss Me by Jamie Craig. ebook. Ok sort of holiday (St. Patrick’s Day) m/m romance about a photographer who starts to date a p0rn star.
Carey’d Away by J.M. Snyder. ebook. So-so m/m romance about two guys working at a comic book convention who hook up. I could definitely have lived without the slanguage.
A Feral Christmas (Lost Shifters, Book 2) by Stephani Hecht. ebook. Good paranormal m/m romance being the continuing story of a family of jaguar shifters searching for their lost siblings.
Sex, Lies and Wedding Bells by E.M. Lynley. ebook. Reread. Very enjoyable m/m romance in which a snarky Manhattan columnist researching a runaway bride story finds himself falling for groom #4.


“I love you, pink fluff, even if you aren’t sparkly!” -Mayhem

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“Once in a very blue moon…”

Tonight – a very rare and special, once in 20 years blue moon! Looks like we’ll have cloudy skies here in Minneapolis, but maybe you will be luckier… Happy New Year!

Don’t forget to leave a comment on the contest post by 7 pm CST, January 6 for your chance to win a copy of Wren Boudreau’s new m/m romantic suspense, Ice Cream on the Side!

Janna’s giving away an ebook copy of Bronwyn Green’s steamy romance, Cuffed and Dangerous – leave a comment by midnight, January 7, for your chance to win.

Don’t forget to stop by Sweet Vernal Zephyr for her near daily updates on new book contests.

Donna (Fantasy Dreamer) shows us that it’s a big week for urban fantasy and paranormal romance releases. And SciFiGuy covers both in his weekend update, along with all sorts of other fun things. Don’t miss his overview of the January paranormal, urban fantasy, and scifi releases, either.

This is a great time of year to get reading ideas as people post their favorite books of 2009 lists. I’m sure we’ll see many more of these over the next few weeks. I might even put one together.

Keira’s got some great book links over at Love Romance Passion. So does Dear Author, including a link to free ebooks at All Romance eBooks.

Certain ebook readers make it very easy to track your reading habits – how much does your reading privacy matter to you?

Shrink Pic looks like a really useful Windows program to resize pictures on the fly.

HP ink costs more than blood?! This graph makes oil look like quite the bargain, doesn’t it?

How did I not know that the magnetic north pole now is shifting nearly 37 miles a year?!

Gizmodo has another handy flowchart of inappropriate times to use your smartphone. Plus a little Snuggie humour

Unsurprisingly, one of these calendars is on its way to me right now.

Evidence continues to mount that Chaos isn’t simply a minion, but is actually Basement Cat.

Those wacky engineers are at it again – this time they’re playing laser tag with cats.

I think we all need an antivirus kitten, don’t you?

Cute burn warning! (I know you’ll all click anyway…)

Reading Update
Deep Kiss of Winter by Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter. Kresley Cole’s story is part of her Immortals After Dark series, featuring vampire Murdoch Wroth and Ice Queen (literally) Danii. Since this story ties up all sorts of open storylines, it’s a must read if you follow IAD. This was also my favorite of the two stories. Gena Showalter’s story is part of her Alien Huntress story, and it too ties up some open storylines. While it was pretty good, I didn’t feel as invested in this one.
Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy. ebook. Excellent and highly recommended m/m romance about an Aussie Rules football player, a film festival director, and the complexities of getting involved with someone famous and closeted. If you’ve put off reading m/m romance because you’ve heard it’s all sex, sex, sex, Tigers and Devils would be a very good introduction to the genre – it’s touching and heartfelt: at times I was laughing out loud; at times I was sniffling. I did have some trouble with the Aussie phrases – famed Aussie m/m blogger Kris (and nearly neighbor of Sean Kennedy) directed me to several sites that helped with the lingo barrier.
Thaw and The Stroke of Midnight by Jordan Castillo Price. free ebook shorts. Two sweet holiday PsyCop shorts – one from Vic’s perspective, the other from Jacob’s.
Patient Eyes by Andy Eisenberg. ebook. Good m/m romance about a college freshman who is nearly starving until one of his housemates gets him involved in gay-for-pay pr0n. While I really liked the first 2/3 of this book (I figured I’d be gushing about it without reserve here), I found the last 1/3 disappointing – several critical scenes were skipped, then glossed over in brief flashbacks. There also was a sort of extraneous plot element (hello, stray stalker) that just didn’t feel fully integrated into the story.
Unrequited by Abigail Roux. ebook. Ok m/m romance about multiple unrequited love situations.
Caught Running by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux. ebook. Very good m/m romance about the star high school jock and the nerd, now back and teaching at that same high school ten years later.
Cut and Run by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux. ebook. This m/m romantic suspense about two wildly different FBI agents had a lot of potential, but it just didn’t quite work because it dragged on. Since I know that Urban and Roux can write some great stuff together, it was particularly disappointing.
Pyromancer by Amanda Young. ebook. After mentioning that Young’s m/m books haven’t seemed to really grab me, Tam convinced me to try Pyromancer, which is about a man who can control fire, but only to a certain extent. He can also be incredibly dangerous to the people around him. While I did like this more than the non-paranormals, I ultimately didn’t get completely drawn into this one either.
Burn Card by Laura Baumbach. ebook. So so m/m romance about a crime scene investigator and a guy who owns a security company. I did wonder whether this was part of a series… but not enough to go figure it out.
Seducing Light by K. C. Kendricks. ebook. Ok m/m romance – the title touches on one character being a photographer and the other a famous actor whose last name is Light. The next two books are also by Kendricks – I’ve concluded that while I may find the storylines intriguing, the excessively gushing language always ends up putting me off.
Tango in the Night by K. C. Kendricks. ebook. Another ok m/m romance, this time about two law enforcement agents, one of whom was seriously injured a year ago when his life partner was killed taking a bullet meant for him.
Taming Triton (Southern Cross Resort, Book 1) by K. C. Kendricks. ebook. Again, an ok m/m romance about a guy who’s always suspected that he’s bisexual, but has never acted on his attraction to men until he takes a vacation at the Southern Cross Resort.
Grey’s Awakening by Cameron Dane. ebook. Steamy m/m romance about a high-powered businessman who’s always kept his emotions in tight check. Will that change when he meets a sexy truck driver/artist while taking a vacation?
Time After Time, Liar, and Date Night by Jane Seville. free ebook shorts. These all take place after Zero at the Bone and provide some insight into life after the epilogue.
Tom or an Improbably Tail by Ruth Sims. free ebook short. This was a very cute m/m paranormal romance about a stray cat who isn’t always a cat…


“Ok, deep thoughts are boring. I wonder how this bag will taste?” -Mayhem

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In which May discovers the wonders of white sparkly feathers (and there are lots of book links)

Congrats to Dana, Kelly B, CC, elaing, and Marjorie, who all won copies of Lisa Dale’s It Happened One Night! (I’m amazed at the number of readers I have from Ontario. At least one, but usually two Ontarions have won in each of my Hatchette Book Group giveaways.)

Donna (Fantasy Dreamer) is giving away five Nancy Holder books (plus a tin of Wicked mints) – leave a comment by 8 pm CST, November 27, for your chance to win.

Donna’s also got a great list of bookish giveaways – head over and check it out. Sweet Vernal Zephyr keeps up with many of the latest contests in her Contest Bar (in the sidebar).

The latest Bookworm’s Carnival is up over at Literary Escapism.

Eeeek! How desperate are you for a free ebook? Desperate enough to read Shatnerquake (oh, bummer, looks like it isn’t available for free anymore). Maybe it would be less painful to sign on with Fang-tastic Books as an ebook reviewer.

Beware – Fictionwise has (for an unknown amount of time) all of their er0tica ebooks on sale for 30% off… and they categorize all their m/m as er0tica. (Tangentially, I’m amused that my m/m meme post from Friday is zooming up in page views, albeit low in comments. I can hardly wait to see the search terms on that one…)

The Minneapolis Public Library’s Holiday Clearance Sale runs from Wednesday, November 25, through Saturday, December 19, at the main library downtown.

Hee hee – the shortlist for the bad s3x in books award is out and includes such authors as Philip Roth, Paul Theroux, and Nick Cave.

Wow – too bad this ebook reader from Qualcomm is only an early prototype.

Interesting comic about ebook reading.

Check out the Gizmodo list of gift ideas for readers.

For you iphone people, this sounds like a fun app. Too bad you can’t add your own cats.

This wedding cake caused a spit take (definition 1, people!).

Oh, how I wish I could’ve attended this book signing event

I am not surprised.

Squeee!!!!

This would definitely be May’s idea of paradise.

Completely how I remember it when Chaos ate a coffee bean as a kitten.

Tofurkey and gravy flavored soda. Bacon flavored envelopes. *blink blink* Please,  just say no.

If you’re poking around in my archives, trying to find posts with Reading Updates, I’ve added a “Reviewettes” sub-category to the “Reading” category. I’m working backwards to update posts and 2009 is done.

Reading Update
So Into You by Sandra Hill. I have the sense that this is probably one of a number of related books set in the Louisiana bayous? (I haven’t read any Sandra Hill before.) Anyway, this was a well-written contemporary romance and it totally sucked me in… even though I wanted to slap the main female and male characters more than once. Or twice. Or three times. :) (I received this copy from the publisher for review.)
Loves Me, Loves Me Knot (Chicks with Sticks, Book 2) by Heidi Betts. This well-done contemporary totally sucked me in – I sniffled more than once while I was reading it. I definitely recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a bit of yarn’n'steam with their romance reading. (Interesting. I see that the Kindle and mass market pb versions are $6.99, but at Diesel Ebooks, the mobi version’ll set you back… $12.03, after $1.97 discount. WTF?!)
To Serve and Protect by Chris Owen, C. B. Potts, Tory Temple, and Alexa Snow. ebook. Decent m/m romance collection about firefighters and cops.
Man of Mystery by Madeleine Urban. ebook. Happy father and downtrodden househusband Alan transforms into Terence, man of mystery, after an accident leaves him with amnesia. Recommended – Madeleine Urban definitely knows how to write an intense m/m romance.
Old Poison (Dangerous Ground, Book 2) by Josh Lanyon. ebook. Very intense and very well-done m/m romantic suspense from Lanyon. You definitely need to read Dangerous Ground before you read this. Both are highly recommended.
Another Dream (Dreams, Book 2) by Addison Albright. ebook. Good m/m romance. Really, my only complaint about Albright’s books are the number of times the characters use each other’s names in conversation. Way, way more than is normal – and enough to be annoying.
Surrendered Victory by K.C. Kendricks. ebook. Nicely done m/m romance about two guys who work for rival construction companies – one who has been afraid to admit that he might be gay, the other very comfortable being gay.
Somebody To Love by Carolina Valdez. ebook. Ok m/m romance about a helicopter pilot/firefighter who is very intrigued by the masked Chippendale dancer who wanders over to kiss him after the show (at a combined bachelor/bachelorette party in Las Vegas). (I bet this cover rates way up there on the MamaTulip Abs Approval Meter.)
Son of a Preacher Man by Jamie Craig. ebook. Ok m/m romance about a man who returns to the town where he lived briefly as a teen, hoping that another encounter with the son of a preacher man will help him sort out his confusion over his sexuality.
My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys by Lynn Lorenz. ebook. Fun m/m romance about a New Orleans dress-up party in which attendees are told whether to attend in drag or stag.
Superstar by Rick R. Reed. ebook. A story of obsessive love unfolds through flashbacks as a man standing on Seattle’s “Suicide Bridge” tries to decide whether to end things.
Through the Closet Door by Rick R. Reed. ebook. Touching story about a married man in his 20s who’s struggling with coming out.
Man-Amorphosis by Rick R. Reed. ebook. Amusing, tongue-in-cheek tale of a gay man who wakes up to discover part of his body has changed its configuration, so the first thing he does is get into drag and head out to bag straight guys. Dang, Reed is definitely a versatile writer!
Mind F*cked (Faerily Imperfect, Book 1) by Mia Watts. ebook. Very nicely done and ever-so-steamy m/m paranormal romance about a stunning half-fae security expert who can read minds and a bank manager who doesn’t believe in magic or that anyone so gorgeous could find him attractive. Recommended.
She’s Got Balls by Mia Watts. ebook. Enjoyable m/m romance about an FBI agent and a cop who have to go undercover as a married heterosexual couple. My only complaint was that the story needed a bit more fleshing out near the end.


“Pretty sparkly feathery snowy toy!! Yum!!” -Mayhem

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