Literary Fiction Review: Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead

Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead

Published by: Arsenal Pulp Press

Format: Softcover

Genre: Literary Fiction

Order here: Arsenal Pulp PressAmazon

Reviewed by: Alex

What to Expect: A literal and figurative journey crafted by an own-voices author, an indigiqueer two-spirit, working to get home for his step-father’s funeral. The baggage he gathers inevitably explodes, leading the reader to witness how one might pluck a sense of being and belonging from the remnants of family, community, identity, sex, love, cyber-presence, queerness, rez life, language, remembrance, and how to express all that is left and left behind.  Read More

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YA Review: Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Published by: Dial Books

Format: ePub

Genre: YA/LGBT+

Release Date: August 28, 2018

Pre-Order/Order at: Publisher | Amazon

Reviewed by: Alex

What to Expect: A story about a boy and not just any boy. This is a boy who is an undesirable and, simultaneously, unapologetically himself. When he goes to Iran, a place people in his social circle consider his home but a country he has never been in, he meets his grandparents and a  boy named Sohrab, who teach him more about love than he has ever known. Chock full of reflections about being depressed, overweight, bi-racial, gay, and unfriended. I cried at least three times. I smiled more often than that. Darius the Great Is Not Okay is the lead contender for my fave YA book released in 2018.

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Fantasy Review: Roar by Cora Carmack

Roar by Cora Carmack

Published by: Tor Teen

Format: Ebook and Audiobook

Genre: Romance/Fantasy

Order at: Amazon | B&N

Reviewed by: Madison

What to Expect: An unlikely hero, conflicted villains, and a lot of secrets.


Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.


I stumbled upon this book when looking for an audiobook for a long car ride. Following a week of the flu, this book has become my constant companion. I highly recommend for sick days and long car rides. First and foremost I love our heroine. Aurora is an unlikely heir. She doesn’t show a lick of magic to protect her kingdom and she is forced into hiding by her mother for the fear that someone may find out her secret. She is then arranged to marry with a brooding and dark prince named Cassius from the kingdom of Locke. Don’t get heart eyes on me yet. Carmack does an amazing job at stringing you along to trust this prince and then shatters your heart within the first few chapters. I am one of those readers who will always love the first romantic interest. It’s like I have some loyalty to them. This book was the exception.

Without giving too much away Aurora finds herself in the black market of magic and teams up with a group of magical hunters. What do they hunt? Storms. Aurora cleverly devises a plan to leave with them under the guise of her new identity, Roar. Roar is bold, unafraid, and relatable. The hunters are suspicious of her. This is not a “buddy buddy perfect friendship” kind of book. The relationships are complicated and they should be. Though this is set in a fictional world I found myself relating to a lot of the characters for their human flaws.

What you might not like/doesn’t work for you: There is nothing I truly disliked. If I had to pick one thing I wish when Aurora transitioned to Roar there was a bit more awkwardness to it. Sometimes she felt so strong. She was sheltered for years. There is a description in the book that her servants were changed out so often they only knew what herbs to put in her bath. I think in the beginning when she trusted Cassius that showed this naive girl. But I wish it carried a bit more into that transition. It’s not a huge thing because there were awkward and naive moments throughout.

What you will love: The story is completely original. If you are looking for some high fantasy that you feel like you haven’t read before, this is it!The world the author built was quite lush and dynamic.

Madison is our newest reviewer here at Binge on Books! When not working on her own first novel, she loves reading YA & Fantasy and listening to podcasts.

You can get in touch with her on Twitter: @MPMarkerWrites

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Countdown to a New Year, December 20: Megan Erickson

Countdown to a New Year, December 20: Megan Erickson

From December 20 through December 31, Binge on Books will be hosting a series of posts each day counting down to the new year. Joined by authors, publishers, and fellow bloggers, this series will focus on takeaways from 2017 and what we can look forward to in 2018. Think the biggest, longest, most book-filled reflection of the past year and the hopes and dreams for the new one all wrapped into one: that’s Binge on Books’ Countdown to a New Year. Come see what your favorite members of the book world have to say about the past year and what’s up next for them in the year to come!

**Plus every day in the countdown will feature prize packs of ARCs and book giveaways plus a final BIG giveaway of a Kindle Fire! Enter every day for a chance to win!**

Goals (not resolutions!) for 2018

I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions, mainly because it feels so…set in stone. The definition of resolution is the firm decision to do or not do something. And as soon as someone tells me to do something or not to do something, I balk. Because I’m immature. To me a resolution is like lobbing a life preserver into the sea and asking me to swim to it. If I don’t make it, I drown. Since I hate swimming, this is altogether a terrible and daunting thing.

Goals on the other hand—are much less intimidating. Rather than asking me to swim or I drown, goals are like little life preservers on the way to dry land where I can rest before moving on. To me, success is 75% mentality, so even the act of giving myself goals rather than resolutions is a huge help.

So, with that said, I figured I’d lay out some goals I have for 2018. It’s a little scary because now you all are reading these and will know if I fail, but oh well. Maybe I just rested longer on a life preserver than I was supposed to. I’ll make it to land eventually!

1) Be more active. This job is so sedentary. I sit in my bed, or at my desk, or on the couch and write. Sometimes I mix it up and go to Starbucks. But either way, I’m on my butt and I’m not moving. It’s not healthy. This Christmas, my husband and I are treating ourselves to a treadmill, so that’s going to be step one in taking better care of myself. Step two is finally making those doctor appointments I’ve been putting off. Baby steps!

2) Slow down. These past couple of years, I set myself up with back-to-back deadlines. At first, I loved it. But by mid-year in 2017, I was burnt out. I’ve been taking time off now and my mental health is so much better for it. So I’m making sure I don’t schedule myself out of a happy life in the future.

3) Get back to enjoying promotion. I used to love to promote my books! It was one of my favorite things. Lately, it’s felt like a chore. So my goal for 2018 is to get back to enjoying it. Treat every book differently and come up with a unique way to promote it rather than fall back on the same thing over and over. First up is Zero Hour, which releases the end of January, and is about a team of hackers. I’m going to do a live-tweet re-watch of the movie Hackers, because that movie is ridiculously fun. There’s no way that will feel like a chore.

4) Clean my house. Honestly my house is a disaster because I’m a disaster. I need to get it organized so that my brain feels clearer. I’m going to set up a nice little schedule for myself so it seems less daunting. I can do this!

5) Call my friends (okay maybe text). Our lives are busy. We have kids and jobs and all of that, but I can’t let that get in the way of my valued friendships. They matter and enrich my life.

6) Set nights aside for my kids. I spend a lot of time after they get home from school and in the evening on my computer and I need to stop. Put down the laptop. Social media can wait. Emails can wait. Focus on my kids and give them more attention. Also I’m tired of listening to them watch toy unboxing videos on YouTube.

7) Speaking of social media… cool it. I need to spend less time on social media. It’s not even that I’m posting a lot. I’m reading my Twitter feed and checking my FB timeline. This is not necessary! Half the time, it raises my blood pressure. I want to be clued in to what’s going on in the world, but I don’t need to be plugged in 24/7. I would like to set aside several working hours while the kids are at school where I close out of all social media and focus on getting my daily word count. Maybe on my treadmill desk, haha.

8) Pet my cats more. I actually have zero problems with this and pet my cats a lot, but they deserve it because they are soft and improve the quality of my life 100%. So yeah, extra cuddles in 2018.

9) Keep records of my expenses as I go so it’s not such a big task at tax time. I actually am not sure I will do this, but hey it’s a goal.

10) Be happy. If I feel myself slipping into an anxious hole, seek help immediately, reach out to friends, do what I have to do to keep my head above water. Indulge in the simple things that bring me joy.

What are your goals? Any similar to mine?

Megan Erickson is a USA Today bestselling author of romance that sizzles. Her books have a touch of nerd, a dash of humor, and always have a happily ever after. A former journalist, she switched to fiction when she decided she liked writing her own endings better.

Her next release is Zero Hour, book one of the Wired and Dangerous series, which releases January 30 with Grand Central Publishing/Forever.

Connect with Megan: Web | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Enter to win one of 3 prize packs of books! 

Prize Pack #1:

Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh + swag trading cards

a place called No Homeland by Kai Cheng Thom

A Very, Very Bad Thing by Jeffery Self

Prize Pack 2:

My Brother’s Husband by Genoroh Tagame

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo

Prize Pack #3:

The Wicker King by K. Ancrum

27 Hours by Tristina Wright

Vanilla by Billy Merrell

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Guest Post + Giveaway: When Romantic Suspense and True Crime Accidentally Meet by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Hi all! Happy Halloween! To help us celebrate this spookiest of holidays, author Rebekah Weatherspoon joins Binge on Books to talk Romantic Suspense and True Crime and also to bring you, a giveaway!

When Romantic Suspense and True Crime Accidentally Meet by Rebekah Weatherspoon

I’ve been a fan of true crime since America’s Most Wanted made me suspicious of every white man over the age of twenty-five. Now-days you could say I’m obsessed. From the old school American Justice and Forensic Files to NBC and CBS’s Dateline and 48 Hours I have a thing for what a friend of mine dubbed “Murder Shows”. Despite this weird interest of mine, I’d never considered writing horror, mystery or romantic suspense. That all changed in 2016. For obvious reasons the world got a little darker. I wanted to write something dark. I wanted to let out a little bit of the anger that was cranking through me. I started drafting HAVEN, which opens with two homicides. When I first picked the location for Shep’s mountain home I didn’t think to google any true crimes in that area. Why would I? I was writing fiction, based on my own imagination.

But, not 24 hours after I started working on HAVEN (I’d written the 2 murders in question and put the heroine and hero through one hell of a meet cute) fellow romance author, HelenKay Dimon tweeted about watching a true crime show on the Keddie Murders. I caught the tweet and just had to google. The Keddie Murders are a horrific, violent crime that resulted in the death of four people back in 1981. It also happened in the same Northern California town where I had set up Shep and his secluded cabin. I couldn’t believe it. Later, when I started listening to the true crime podcast My Favorite Murder, they too, covered the Keddie Murders that are still unsolved to this day. I ended up changing the name of Shep’s mountain because while real life does drive fiction, I didn’t want to link the two that way. The next book in the series, HARBOR, will have an intentional link to the Long Island Serial Killer, an ongoing, unsolved investigation.


You can learn more about what happened in Keddie California here or check out episode #13 of My Favorite Murder.


Rebekah Weatherspoon is celebrating Halloween with a special HAVEN giveaway! Enter below to win your choice of either an e-copy (international) or paperback (USA) of her bestseller, HAVEN!

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About Haven

A week-long getaway…

City girl Claudia Cade’s carefree life is plunged into chaos when a camping trip with her brother in the national forests of Northern California turns into a deadly dash for her survival.





Bio: Award-winning author Rebekah Weatherspoon was raised in Southern New Hampshire and now lives in Southern California where she finally found her love for writing romance.
 Most recently her queer paranormal romance, SOUL TO KEEP, Book 3 in the Vampire Sorority Sisters Series won the Lambda Literary Award for Best LGBTQ Erotica. And her coming romantic suspense title, HARBOR hits shelves Spring 2018. Come on by and get to know Rebekah on twitter at @rdotspoon . You can find more stories by Rebekah at

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Sounds Like Halloween: Day 7 with Emma Barry

Emma Barry joins Sounds Like Halloween with a suspenseful scene from Earth Bound.

About Earth Bound by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner: 

Houston, Texas, 1961
The race to the moon is on, and engineer Eugene Parsons has two enemies: danger and distraction. Nothing is more distracting than his attraction to the brilliant, beautiful computer scientist on his team, but he’s determined to overcome it since he needs her to help America win.
Charlie Eason is used to men underestimating her. It comes with being a woman in engineering, but it’s worth it to join the space race—even if she can’t figure out what’s behind the intense looks one tightly wound engineer keeps sending her. But life isn’t as unemotional or predictable as code, and things soon boil over with the intriguingly demanding Parsons.

With every launch, their secret affair grows thornier. The lines between work and play tangle even as Parsons and Charlie try to keep them separate. But when a mission goes wrong, they’ll have to put aside their pride for the greater good—and discover that matters of the heart have a logic all their own.

About Emma Barry: 

Emma Barry is a novelist, full-time mama, and recovering academic. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves hugs from her twins, her husband’s cooking, her cat’s whiskers, her dog’s tail, and Earl Grey tea.
Connect with Emma: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Learn more about the Sounds Like Halloween audio series, including authors taking part & what you can expect, here.


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Guest Post: Found Family in Romance by Pene Henson

My love, there’s only you in my life. —Lionel Richie, Endless Love

Over and over, fiction tells us romantic love is our primary goal. It’s the highest height, the most powerful salve to loneliness. There’s something compelling about that story – a story that pits lovers against the universe, a story about love over everything else. It’s epic, fated, star-crossed romance, with a beautiful soundtrack.

But real life tells a different story. One in three Americans over 45 are lonely, regardless of whether these people are happily in a relationship or not. In real life we need broader relationships as old and as deep as romantic love.

It felt like a family reunion for the family I’d never really known, a homecoming at the place where I was always meant to be but hadn’t known how to find. —David Levithan, Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story

When I fell in love with my wife, Robbie, I inherited a dirt bike, a yellow and white vintage trailer, a dinghy, two pets, and four best friends.

Robbie’s friendship with these women has survived heartbreak, coming out, illicit substances, dance parties, softball teams, double beds. They have thousands of memories I’ll never share. They have twenty-year-old nicknames, thirty-year-old schemes, almost forty-year-old stories. They say “mate” the same way. They talk about dogs and building projects and boats. They give Robbie room to be frustrated or thrilled, tired or caring, and always herself.

I come with my own mismatched collection of essential humans—people I turn to with a new plot or anxieties at work, people I trust to read bad reviews and admire photos of my kids. These people type ALSO I LOVE YOU in all caps, send heart eyes emojis, and celebrate a book birthday by telling everyone they know. They remember my poor decisions; they tell me I’m strong. These are the people I open a third bottle of champagne with, even though these days we have to wake up at 6 a.m.

Together, these people form our family of choice.

We all look for a haven at the end of the day. Many people, especially queer folk, don’t have that home with their family of origin. Found families aren’t bound together by blood or awkward rules about being nice to your aunty. They don’t mean you leave your principles at the door. They do mean you’re committed even when it’s tough.  

I thought about my found family when I wrote my first novel, and threw a group of twenty-two-year-olds into a rundown beach house, and when I wrote my second novel and gave Lien a layered queer community in Sydney.

We read to know we are not alone. —William Nicholson, Shadowlands

There’s a thrill in opening a new book. Who are these characters? Who do they love? What breaks them? What puts them back together?

I love stories where the main characters have a chosen family already in place. I love the fondness and knowledge and teasing, the ferocious kindness. I love watching them fight for and sometimes with one another.

There are narrative benefits. Found family adds strength and breadth to the romance—the delight when a family of choice accepts and values a love interest. Found family gives the characters support and safety in their worst times—in heartbreak the character’s found family is there with food or fighting words and that understanding that years of knowing someone brings. Found family can build conflict—it’s terrible to see a character pulled between romance and a family they’ve chosen.

Found families flourish among all kinds of fictional people: a ragtag group of survivors, a circus troupe, a werewolf pack, hockey players, surfers sharing a beach house. These crucial relationships deepen a love story and stay with us long after the book is over.

Mr. Maclay: You people have no right to interfere with Tara’s affairs. We are her blood kin! Who the hell are you?
Buffy: We’re family. —
Joss Whedon, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Family

How about some recs… These are books I’ve read and loved. But tell me your own!

In Michelle Osgood’s Canadian werewolf series THE BETTER TO KISS YOU WITH, romantic relationships are intertwined with vibrant found family relationships that reflect real life queer communities. Human Deanna turns to her BFF Nathan for a tension-releasing laugh or to hold her hand when the whole werewolf thing is too much. Alpha Kira has her brother Cole and right hand Jamie for fierce and unconditional support. In turn she must look out for them.

ROGUE WOLF’s band of space pirates are family from the first page. Elliot Cooper depicts the intimacy between five people who share living space, working space and fighting space. The characters know one another like they know their ship, they anticipate one another’s needs almost without thinking. It makes any secrets between them tougher to handle.

HEELS OVER HEAD by Elyse Springer is a diving romance and it doesn’t start with a found family. Instead it starts with very distinct and quite prickly personalities. But through training in close quarters the characters learn one another’s physicality like they know their own; they learn to have hopes and dreams for one another. They become family.

The upcoming OLYMPIA KNIFE by Alysia Constantine is an extraordinary book where a circus troupe is home and family to queer women and people with little safety elsewhere.

Avon Gale’s SCORING CHANCES series is interlinked stories of love and hockey. Many of the books focus on the hockey family surrounding and supporting these men and the close, sometimes prickly, sometimes invaluable relationships with teammates and coaches.  

In DARK HORSE by A L Brooks, Sadie’s made a home with her best friend and her grandmother. The three of them have an irreverent relationship which rings true to the Australian setting. The book deals with Sadie’s abandonment issues and the impact that has on her chosen family, even while she rebuilds a connection with her mother and falls in love.

Cheyenne Blue’s GIRL MEETS GIRL series of interlinked romances about Australian women living in the outback is enriched by the ways queer women build family over the world.

Pene Henson has gone from British boarding schools to New York City law firms. She now lives in Sydney, Australia, where she is an intellectual property lawyer and published poet who is deeply immersed in the city’s LGBTQIA community. She spends her spare time enjoying the outdoors and gazing at the ocean with her wife and two unexpectedly exceptional sons. Her first novel Into the Blue (Interlude Press, 2016) received a Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Romance. Her second novel, Storm Season, was published by Interlude Press in 2017.

Connect with Pene: or @penehenson on twitter.




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Historical Paranormal Romance review: Spectred Isle by KJ Charles

Spectred Isle by KJ Charles

Published by: KJC Books

Format: eARC

Genre: Historical paranormal romance

Order at: Amazon

Reviewed by: Erin

What to Expect: A terrifying adventure in 1920s England featuring found families, finding meaning of life after the horrors of war, and a sweet love story.

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Contemporary Romance Review: Haven by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Haven by Rebekah Weatherspoon (Beards and Bondage 1)

Published by: Self-Published

Format: mobi ARC

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Order at: Amazon

Reviewed by: Erin

What to Expect:

This book represents everything I love about romance as a genre. It explores something profoundly true about the human condition, all while the characters bone down in increasingly hot and creative ways. What else could anyone want?

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Historical Romance Review: A Gathering Storm by Joanna Chambers

A Gathering Storm by Joanna Chambers

Published by: Riptide

Format: mobi ARC

Genre: Historical Romance

Order at: Amazon

Reviewed by: Erin

What to Expect: Compelling, beautifully written historical romance with a complicated relationship developing at its center.


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