Paranormal Romance Review: Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk

HexbreakerHexbreaker by Jordan L Hawk (Hexworld, Book 1)

Published by: Widdershins Press, LLC

Format: eARC

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Order at: Amazon

Reviewed by: Erin

What to Expect: A cop, trying to hide his secrets and his magic. A cat-shifter, trying to fight his attraction and his bond. A stunning, beautifully detailed paranormal historical romance and the start of a new series!

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What Are We Reading? May 1st Edition – What Erin’s Reading

Welcome to What Erin’s Reading for the week of May 1st! This week we have a Gilded Age steel baron, a hot and steamy MC romance, and a hockey romance featuring honest-to-God bisexuals in the wild.

 

What Erin’s Reading

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Most Anticipated Books for 2016: A Podcast Four Way!

Hey everybody! It’s Judith from Binge on Books and today you better get your one-click finger ready as you listen to this very special and BONUS edition of my monthly podcast!

3 Bloggers

Joining me are three amazing book bloggers from all different corners of the book world: Vilma from Vilma’s Book Blog, Abby from Crime by the Book, and Elisabeth Lane from Cooking Up Romance! Each of us talks our three most anticipated reads of 2016 and believe me, there is a little something for everybody, from fantasy fairy-tale retellings to grisly Swedish crime fiction, from sexy magical wedding stories to campy queer mystery. A word of caution: you may have to wait more than a few months for some but only a few days for others (and at least 3 are already out! YES!). So sit back and listen in as we chat about all the gorgeous new reads that we’re dying to get out hands on!

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No time to listen but still want to stock up on great reads? Check out each blogger’s picks here:

Vilma from Vilma’s Book Blog, a site focused on Fantasy, NA, Contemporary, Suspense

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Judith from Binge on Books, a site focused on Romance, Fantasy, YA, NA
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Despite Everything (tentative title) by Roan Parrish
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Want to hear more podcasts like this? Check out Binge on Books’ Author Chat, a monthly segment where Judith sits down with some of her favorite authors and talks about anything and everything!
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Authors Interviewing Authors: Sam Schooler interviews Wes Kennedy

It’s time for a little…Authors Interviewing Authors here on Binge on Books! April’s interview features Queer New Adult author, Sam Schooler, chatting with brand spanking new author, Wes Kennedy. With Wes’ quirky and diverse debut out April 27th, we wanted to learn more more more(!) about her and what else she has in the works. So here’s Sam Schooler and Wes Kennedy talking debut novellas, grammar and editing, and a love of all things Kung Fu!

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What Are We Reading? April 24th Edition – What Erin is Reading

Welcome to the “one of these things is not like the other” installment of What’s She Reading…as well as the “cheap as heck” one, because all of these books are currently $1.99 or less at Amazon! You could kick back, relax, and have yourself a lovely afternoon of reading all three of these books for less than $4. Pretty sweet.

What is Erin Reading? 
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First and First Blog Tour: WhatsApp, Santino Hassell?

First and First Blog Tour in the house! If you haven’t heard of this book, or Santino Hassell’s gorgeous and gritty Five Boroughs series…umm…hi, I’m Judith. Have we met? It’s basically all I talk about. The writing is raw and honest, the characters are sexy and so so real. It’s just–gah! Read it ok?

For those of you who don’t know about this book (or series) here’s the blurb:

Caleb Stone was raised on the Upper East Side, where wealth and lineage reigns, and “alternative lifestyles” are hidden. It took him years to come out to his family, but he’s still stuck in the stranglehold of their expectations. Caleb knows he has to build his confidence and shake things up, but he doesn’t know how… until Oliver Buckley enters the picture.

Oli is everything Caleb isn’t—risk-taking, provocative, and fiercely independent. Disowned by his family, Oli has made his own way in the world and is beholden to no one. After a chance encounter on New Year’s Eve, Caleb is smitten.

As Caleb sheds the insecurities that have held him back for years, he makes bold steps toward changing his career and escaping years of sexual repression. But for Caleb to take full control of his life, he has to be brave enough to confront his feelings and trust Oli with his heart. 

And now, here’s Santino Hassell giving us the dirt on how important social media is to First and First + a giveaway! Read More

Contemporary Romance Review: First and First by Santino Hassell

FirstandFirstFirst and First by Santino Hassell

Published by: Dreamspinner Press

Format: eARC

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Order at: Amazon

Reviewed by: Erin

What to Expect: 30-somethings trying to find their way in their world, social media, hot sex, stunning writing, a prickly pair, and even more hot sex.

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What Are We Reading? April 17th Edition – What Erin is Reading

Hello! Welcome to a new feature here at Binge on Books, where we talk about what we’re reading for the week. There are so many books we read and love that we don’t always have time to do a full review for, so here we’ll do some quick summary reviews of what we’re excited about this week.

Please comment with what you’re reading this week! We always love to hear about new books.

WHAT IS ERIN READING? 
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Spotlight Post: The Starving Years by Jordan C Price

Psst! Today’s Spotlight features one of my most favorite Urban Fantasy Authors doing what she does best: giving you awesome books…for free! That’s right FOR FREE. But let me break it down for you:

Who: macabre Queen of Urban Fantasy, Jordan C Price!

What: The Starving Years, her MMM Dystopian Romance:

starving yearsImagine a world without hunger.

In 1960, a superfood was invented that made starvation a thing of the past. Manna, the cheaply manufactured staple food, is now as ubiquitous as salt in the world’s cupboards, pantries and larders.

Nelson Oliver knows plenty about manna. He’s a food scientist—according to his diploma, that is. Lately, he’s been running the register at the local video rental dive to scrape together the cash for his outrageously priced migraine medication.

In a job fair gone bad, Nelson hooks up with copywriter Javier and his computer-geek pal Tim, who whisks them away from the worst of the fiasco in his repurposed moving truck. At least, Nelson thinks those two are acquainted, but they’re acting so evasive about it, he’s not sure how they know each other, exactly. Javier is impervious to Nelson’s flirting, and Tim’s name could appear in the dictionary under the entry for “awkward.” And with a riot raging through Manhattan and yet another headache coming on, it doesn’t seem like Nelson will get an answer anytime soon.

One thing’s for sure, the tension between the three of them is thick enough to cut with a knife…even one of those dull plastic dealies that come in the package with Mannariffic EZ-Mealz.

When: now through April 8th

Where: Amazon

How: Do you read in Mobi? Or are you a Kindle Unlimited user? Yes? No? Get on it…now! For a limited time, JCP’s groundbreaking book, The Starving Years, will be free for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. Get it, devour it, and then go on to read all of her amazing urban fantasy reads and then demand why you never did it before!

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Historical Romance Review: A Gentleman’s Position by KJ Charles

A Gentleman's PositionA Gentleman’s Position by KJ Charles

Published by: Loveswept

Format: eARC

Genre: Historical Romance

Order at: Amazon

Reviewed by: Liz

Get ready for: A gorgeous conclusion to a stunning historical queer series!

Plot: Among his eccentric though strictly principled group of friends, Lord Richard Vane is the confidant on whom everyone depends for advice, moral rectitude, and discreet assistance. Yet when Richard has a problem, he turns to his valet, a fixer of unparalleled genius—and the object of Richard’s deepest desires. If there is one rule a gentleman must follow, it is never to dally with servants. But when David is close enough to touch, the rules of class collide with the basest sort of animal instinct: overpowering lust.
 
For David Cyprian, burglary and blackmail are as much in a day’s work as bootblacking—anything for the man he’s devoted to. But the one thing he wants for himself is the one thing Richard refuses to give: his heart. With the tension between them growing to be unbearable, David’s seemingly incorruptible master has left him no choice. Putting his finely honed skills of seduction and manipulation to good use, he will convince Richard to forget all about his well-meaning objections and give in to sweet, sinful temptation.

Review: The KJ Charles series “Society of Gentlemen,” which began with the short called “The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh,” is coming to end. In fact, it has, with A Gentleman’s Position. And sometimes, you really do have to wonder–will the ending live up to the promise of the beginning? Will it be everything you have ever wanted? Here, knowing this book was in KJ Charles’s very capable hands, I didn’t worry–and I was right not to. It was everything you could have possibly asked for, both as a fan and as a more casual reader (though how it’s possible to read these books ‘casually,’ I have no idea. I read A Seditious Affair three times in a row when I first got it. It’s currently in re-reads for an even four. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read Ruin).

To get back to the point at hand, however, here it is–the final chapter that we are to get with these characters. And it’s a stunning conclusion. I noted, a while back, that reading the series has felt a bit like getting pulled into a tornado, or a hurricane, perhaps. The story of Ash and Francis starts us off with a bang, so to speak, and then we are quickly sucked into the main action by Harry and Julius. Harry, as the first outsider, pulls us into this world and gets us going, as both he and the readers are familiarized with the setting and its people. All the complicated relationships begin to become clearer, but it is with the second story–that of Dom and Silas–that we get even deeper in, even closer to the center.

Everything in this series, then, has been leading up to this. In almost every way, Richard and Cyprian have been the eye of the storm, and their relationship and role in the action of each story have been crucial in a way that was almost difficult to see, you were so close. But as their relationship unravels, so do the threads of all that, between them, they have held together for so long. With turmoil between the two, the rest of the Ricardians finally begin to fully realize the sort of precipice they have been shielded from with Richard’s money and Cyprian’s nearly otherworldly abilities and ruthless attention to detail.

But I’m getting more into plot than anybody wants. What struck me most about this book was how unpredictable it truly was. Not just in how the main issues are dealt with–and I wouldn’t spoil you for it if you paid me, it was so deliciously diabolical–but with how the action unspools. The true crux of this story–the love between Richard and Cyprian and the seeming inability to make it into anything concrete due to the differences in their roles–underlies everything, and the conflict comes quick. The resolution? Now, that takes much, much longer.

In a very realistic way, that makes sense. It takes time for us to unlearn habits, time to truly begin to understand what we have been missing all our lives due to how we have lived them. Between them stand power, privilege, and the sort of misunderstandings that you can only realize are misunderstandings the hard way.  This is what happens when Cyprian puts a problem forth to Richard that Richard is unable to solve on his own.

Which is, of course, the opposite of how problems get solved in Richard’s world–Cyprian has always done it for him.

So many people who’ve read the previous books have been waiting for Richard to get his comeuppance for all the ways in which he’s made so many others miserable with his principles and the stick that is so far up his arse, it probably polishes his teeth when he’s sleeping. But what we get with this book is far more than that–it is a look at the actual man behind the facade, the life that has been both privileged and anything but. It’s poignant, beautiful, and, yes, still entirely satisfactory to watch him get hit over the head with anvil after anvil of his own mistakes.

(Sometimes I felt like Jed Bartlett, pointing my finger at him, going, “Just stand there and be wrong in your wrongness!”)

And then, of course, there’s Cyprian. The mysterious, sly, vaguely amoral, red-headed valet who hides in plain sight and solves everybody’s issues with seemingly but a click of his well-turned fingers. And he, of course, is so much more than he appears. Cyprian’s story and Cyprian himself are key in understanding just what it means to “step into someone else’s shoes” and whether that’s even enough. As Silas points out in at one point, that is not how you truly get to understand the other person’s point of view. You must think the way he could think–not the way you would think, standing in his shoes.

So much of this book, this whole entire series, is about accepting the differences instead of trying to smooth them over or pretend they don’t exist altogether. It’s a complicated endeavor, and KJ Charles pulls it off beautifully. Her characters are difficult, imperfect, and yet always human in a way that resonates.

If A Seditious Affair involved saying “no” and meaning “please understand that I am really saying yes and trusting you with it,” A Gentleman’s Position is about learning to say “no” and mean it even when your entire being wants to scream out “yes.” Equally, it’s about learning to say “yes” despite your brain and entire outlook on life telling you that it could not possibly be the right thing to do.

This book is about love of every kind–that between lovers, between those who feel they cannot be lovers no matter their feelings, love between brothers, sons and fathers, sons and mothers, friends, and every iteration hidden within all of them. It’s a beautiful unraveling and coming together of people who have chosen to be with each other, either through circumstance or despite it, and it satisfies on every level. Intellectual, emotional, erotic–you name it, it does it.

It is such a joy to see Silas and Dom in their happily ever after, a joy to watch Julius move heaven and earth to protect Harry once again, a joy to see Francis hover over Ash in a way that shows he’ll stop at nothing to shield the love of his life from those who’d threaten him. Quex and Shakespeare and Zoe all make an appearance, when Charles takes us even further behind the veil that separates servant and master. We also get a beautiful look at the inner sanctum of Richard’s family life, the home of Philip and Eustacia. Both characters get their shining moments in the sun, and both are so compelling, I want their book, as well.

The subtleties of human nature are handled with infinite care by Charles. Philip’s learning disability, Richard’s complex sexuality, what it means to be truly moral and principled and how your actions behind closed doors reflect on your actions outside of them–all of it is rendered with such compassion, yet never simplified and nothing comes easily to anyone here, not even privilege.

In conclusion: everything about this book is as satisfying as it can get, apart from one minor flaw: that it even has to end.

What May Not Work For You: The only thing I can even remotely think of is if you have no interest in historical queer fiction. In which case, what are you even doing here? *perplexed look* (Or politics, which are not as prominent in this book as they were in the previous one, but still play quite a large and integral role.)

What You Will Love: Uhm…all of it. The humor (this book is fucking hilarious, okay?), the love stories, the sex is SCORCHING, the characters fully realized and imperfect, etc, etc, see above.

 

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