Countdown to a New Year, December 31: Amy Jo Cousins

Countdown to a New Year, December 31: Amy Jo Cousins

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!**

2017 has been one damn rough year.

From the personal to the political, this year has been pretty much nonstop stress and anger and sadness for me, and I didn’t actually read a ton of new books this year. In these kinds of situations, I tend to do a lot of comfort rereading instead, especially of mystery and SFF novels, and let me tell you…my bookcase got a workout. But when I picked up a new book this year, I made some stellar choices, so I’m here to tell you about my favorite reads of 2017.

Let Us Dream by Alyssa Cole makes 1917 Harlem come alive, with the politicians and nightclub owners, the prostitutes and church ladies, the immigrants and the police, the number runners and the hairdressers, all moving in and out of each other’s orbits in a tight-knit world of labor and corruption and gossip and kindness. Bertha is magnificent. She is fierce and demanding and controlling and care-taking. And Amir is angry and judgmental and kind and sexy as hell. I just loved the both of them, and the secondary characters too. This is the kind of book where, after I finished it, I wanted to turn right back to page one and start all over again. It’s fantastic. (Alyssa’s Civil War series that starts with An Extraordinary Union is also recommended, but brace yourself. I was so tense reading it, I almost gnawed my own hand off.)

My number one goal for 2018 is to get Hillary Clinton to read Hamilton’s Battalion by Sarah Lerner, Courtney Milan, and Alyssa Cole (yes, Alyssa again!). This collection of novellas set during and after the American Revolutionary war is magnificent, bringing us one of the angriest heroines it has ever been my absolute pleasure to read, along with so many missing pieces of American history: Jewish soldiers fighting in the hope of creating a nation where they will be welcome, LGBTQ folks, people of color, and bit about cheese that really ought to be in the history books. I did the literal LOL thing, and then pages later I would find myself crying, because there’s a lot of truth, painful honesty, and compassion in this book.

Yoon Ha Lee has blogged about how he didn’t intend to write about being trans in a book, because that would touch too close to home, but realizing he’d done it anyway with Ninefox Gambit. He’s also written a brilliant military sf book about math, sacrifice, loyalty, manipulation, madness, and revolution. I found it intensely apropos to current events and brilliantly written. Oddly enough, I particularly recommend this book to Tolstoy fans, especially those who read SFF too.

A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson is a gorgeous story of love and magic, gods and math, wending through time and a world where men dance and war while women study. Beautiful writing, really intriguing worldbuilding, with a gorgeous and risky m/m romance, I was full of stress reading this one because I wasn’t sure if it was meant to be a romance novel or a SFF novel with strong romantic elements. The HEA did not seem guaranteed, which leads to Much Anxiety. But it is indeed a romance novel, and a beautiful one.

The Infamous Miss Rodriguez by Lydia San Andres is a historical romance set in the Spanish Caribbean. The opening scene of this book hooked me in an instant, as the heroine plots to get herself into a big enough scandal to convince her fiancé to end their engagement, while the heroine’s aunt calmly ignores her every provocation. Add a conflicted but admiring hero, excellent secondary characters, a saturated sense of place, a sharp awareness of class issues, and a terrifically witty narrative voice, and this delightful book became one of my favorite historical romances of the year. 

I am a huge fan of the holiday novella and this past year of reading gave me two of my favorites: The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish and Suleikha Snyder’s story in the Silver Belles anthology, “A Taste of Blessings.” Suleikha’s story is set during the Indian holiday of Durga Puja and is full of large community gatherings, much food, and gossiping aunties. I was so happy to find it in an anthology of stories featuring characters over forty. Roan’s Corbin Wale is a fey loner who is very gently invited to share meals and friends and more by a magical baker (yes, magical) whose return to the small town where his mother lives is complicated by many feelings about his own failures and possible futures. A fairytale with a clear eye for the real world, The Remaking of Corbin Wale was a pure pleasure.

When I’m stressed (and 2017 was pretty much nonstop stress, as previously discussed), I reread more than pick up new books. This year, I did a lot of rereading, including a week-long binge of everything KJ Charles has ever written. (Happy sighs. That was awesome.) Spectred Isle by KJ Charles kicks off her latest series, the Green Men, and ties in to her Simon Feximal stories. Post WWI, a small handful of remaining occultists and arcanists are left from the wreckage of the battlefield to protect England from ever-growing magical threats. The two men who feature in Spectred Isle are wounded and jaded and pretty damn miserable, until they meet each other, figure out they’re better off working together than yelling at each other, and save the world. Not a bad day’s work.

This one’s for the epistolary fans! Zen Cho is a delightful writer, witty and kind and full of sparkling insight. The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo is recorded in the journal entries and letters of Jade Yeo, who writes articles about dress hemlines for women’s magazines and one scandalously scathing book review for a literary mag, Zen Cho’s book sings with the wittiness of Austen or KJ Charles. I love Jade’s blunt honesty and also her utter obliviousness to the lovely man who’s absolutely fallen for her.

Devin Harnois’s Rainbow Islands exists because of a tumblr post where the replies to a homophobic comment about gays and lesbians dying out if they were all sent to separate islands became the outline of a killer dystopian LGBTQ adventure novel. If I hadn’t seen that original tumblr post, I might have found the worldbuilding a little too precious, but because I had read it, the entire story was just nonstop fun.

The best nonfiction book I read this year (and one of the best I’ve ever read) is The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein. We do a terrible job in this country of teaching ourselves our own history, and Rothstein’s book rewrote the past one hundred years for me, showing me how our nation’s racial segregation was codified by hundreds of laws and explicit government regulations. This book will radically change your understanding of how segregation happened and how our attempts to stop it in the future did nothing to address the calculated damage done by 20th century laws creating and enforcing systemic racial oppression.

Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman is a sweet, funny, Jewish f/f romance about two artists, a painter and the yarn dyer who is inspired by the painter’s color palette. This novella is a super charming, closed-door romance about two delightful women who navigate the early days of a relationship with caution and care for each other’s sore spots. It’s just lovely. 

One of the proudest bits of 2017, for me, has been my involvement in the Rogue anthologies. Kicked off on Twitter by Emma Barry’s brainstorming about a couple admitting they were in love amidst a constitutional crisis involving the president, the Rogue anthologies became the place for us to fight all our fears by writing about our hopes for those battling on the side of equality and compassion and science and the power of government service to do good and not evil, while guaranteeing nonstop HEAs. (WHICH WE ALL NEED. IT’S NOT JUST ME. THROW US A FRIGGING BONE, 2017.) I have loved reading all of my anthology-mates’ stories, but Kris Ripper’s story in Rogue Affair has a special place in my heart. A widowed female president and her bodyguard, a younger trans man, fall in love so gradually and with such care for each other, my heart was made happy.

I don’t generally do well with serials, as my impatience knows no bounds and I am easily frustrated by cliffhangers and waiting. But I started reading Mia West’s post-Roman Empire Into the Fire series when all the books were already out and collected into multi-book volumes, plus I’ve loved her Tell Me When time travel erotica series (don’t get me started about the volume that made me cry my eyes out, which was not what I expected from time travel erotica!) and her Grizzly Rim shifter books. Her writing just clicks with me. I’m still working my way through this one, rewarding myself with a new volume when I’ve accomplished something particularly onerous, and I love reading about the developing relationship between the ex-Roman soldier and the powerful blacksmith who are traveling together across the wasteland of a fallen empire.

Maybe my favorite book of 2017, period, Peter Darling by Austin Chant is magic. It’s about the loyalty of fairies and adventure, the dangers of rage and forgetting, swirling frock coats and fabulous boots, and the seductive lure of imagining yourself as the hero, even as you figure out that you might be the bad guy. It’s funny, and heartbreaking, and always, always full of hope, with a HEA that made my heart happy. “”That’s the trick of growing up. Nothing stays the same.” Hook sounded oddly sympathetic. “You see the faults in everything. Including yourself.””

Okay, so it turns out, I read even more great books in 2017 than I’d remembered. Here’s hoping 2018 reading will be done for reasons of pleasure and not mental health protection! Help me kick off the year right by telling me your favorite reads of 2017? Thank you!


Amy Jo Cousins writes contemporary romance and erotica about smart people finding their own best kind of smexy. She lives in Chicago with her son, where she tweets too much, sometimes runs really far, and waits for the Cubs to win the World Series again. Amy Jo is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency.

Connect with Amy JoWebsite


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Countdown to a New Year, December 30: Layla Reyne

Countdown to a New Year, December 30: Layla Reyne

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!**

Reading Outside the Box

My first year published was crazy. Awesome, but crazy. A lot of writing, a lot of editing, and a lot of promo for the four releases I put out, including my debut, Single Malt. That said, I still managed to squeeze in some reading here and there. Since I was writing either romantic suspense for the Whiskey Verse or sports romance for my Changing Lanes duology, I focused my reading outside those genres. I got cozy again with paranormal/fantasy romance and dipped my toe (then my whole body) into historical romance. Here are just a few of my favorite outside the box reads from 2017!

Paranormal / Fantasy Romance

Peter Darling by Austin Chant – I am admittedly late to this party, but I come bearing champagne for a marvelous read! I was never a fan of Peter Pan, so I’d hesitated reading this retelling, but I’m so glad I took the chance. This book was lyrical, magical, romantic, and thought-provoking. Everything I could want, and now I can’t wait for the rumored sequel.

The Community Series by Santino Hassell – This one’s a little bit of a cheat for me given the suspense element, but the psychic aspect is definitely paranormal. While each book featured a different main couple, I appreciated how well each story built on the last, continued to expand The Community world, and furthered the overarching plot. All that while still maintaining the steamy heat and gritty New York atmosphere we expect from Santino’s books.

Wolfsong by TJ Klune – This coming-of-age story involving a human among a pack of shifter wolves was exciting, heartbreaking, and heartwarming. I don’t read many shifter romances, or many coming of age stories, but everything about this book—from the writing, to the characters, to the plot, to the fated mates (two alphas: one wolf, one human)—was just lovely. (Technically, a 2016 release.)

Historical Romance

Sins of the Cities Series by KJ Charles – Last year, I read and loved KJ’s Society of Gentlemen series, my first real foray into historical romance. I had no idea what I’d been missing! Sins of the Cities carried on what I love best about KJ’s books—great plotting, a mystery that keeps me engaged, and swoon worthy heroes. I mean, Justin Lazarus… His redemption arc put him firmly among my top ten romantic leads.

The Turners Series by Cat Sebastian – If KJ’s books were the lure that got me interested in historical romance, Cat’s stories reeled me the rest of the way in. The Lawrence Browne Affair is hands down my favorite book of 2017, and Cat’s writing, her characters, and her deft handling of modern topics in a historical context is marvelous. It Takes Two to Tumble, Cat’s latest, promises more of the same!

The Enlightenment Series by Joanna Chambers – The push and pull tension in this opposites-attract romance remained high throughout the three-book series. Watching David and Murdo fall in love, try to resist, then ultimately realize they couldn’t live without each other, all while set against the Scottish ton and country backdrop, was page-turning catnip. I couldn’t put it down! (Technically, a re-pub.)


About Layla Reyne: 

Author Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs. Layla is a member of Romance Writers of America and its San Francisco, Kiss of Death, and Rainbow Romance Writers chapters. She was a 2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist in Romantic Suspense.

Her next release is a contemporary m/m romance called Relay, out on 1/8/18.


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The Thousandth Floor and The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee

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Neighborhood Girls by Jessie Ann Foley

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Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson

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That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston

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Exclusive Interview with Mackenzi Lee, Author of A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue + giveaway!

Binge on Books is joined today by guest reviewer and writer, Moog. She chat with Mackenzi Lee about all things queer historicals and also her stellar new release, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.

When I first learned about The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, I honestly thought I’d misheard. A queer YA historical road trip book? Surely I had just made that up out of my head and it couldn’t really exist. But it did! And does! And is out June 27th!

Blurb: Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.
But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

We were lucky enough to catch up with the lovely Mackenzi Lee before the release of Gentleman’s Guide to talk about YA historical fiction, weird research facts, and what she’s working on next.

Moog for Binge on Books: Hi Mackenzi! Thanks for being here. I loved The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue from page one (especially Monty, disaster of my heart). I read a lot of YA and a lot of historical romance, but there’s not much historical fiction in YA. Your first book, This Monstrous Thing, and Gentleman’s Guide are both YA historicals with fantasy elements. What draws you to this genre in particular?

Mackenzi: Historical fiction is a hard category in YA–I feel like I’m constantly fighting against the idea that historical fiction is boring, and so many of my readers start their positive reviews of my books with the caveat “I generally don’t like or read historical fiction but…” And as delighted I am that they read and enjoyed mine in spite of that, I wish everyone loved historicals because they’re so magical! I love that historical fiction feels like fantasy, because the world is so foreign to modern readers, but it’s all real (which makes the fantasy such a natural addition, though I do tend to favor historicals that are lighter on the fantasy, or whose fantasy is rooted in the real history of the time it’s set in). But on the flip side of that, I love how, when you read historical accounts, you realize people don’t really change. We’re the same through centuries and across time and space. I was also a history major in college, and very close to becoming an academic writer, until a professor told me my papers read like historical fiction novels and I realized I might be writing in the wrong genre.

Moog: That’s so cool! What sort of things were you writing in your papers?

Mackenzi: Basically I would write things like “Henry VI was hurt and angry over this” and write dialogue for Richard III (my history degree emphasis was Wars of the Roses in England :). Which apparently you are not supposed to do. And in general I think my writing style skewed a little too narrative driven for my professors.

Moog: Le gasp! Not narrative! And writing historical fiction, like writing academic papers, comes with a bunch of research (I say, staring down my shelf full of Victorian social history books that I claim are for “research” and not just for my own heart). Was there any particular fact you found out while writing/researching for Gentleman’s Guide that you couldn’t find a way to include?

Mackenzi: Oh gosh, so much research. The trick to being a historical fiction writer is both knowing how to research (and loving it) and also knowing when to put down the research and start writing–it’s so easy to use it as an excuse to not get words on the page. My favorite fact, which didn’t end up in the book but is in the author’s note, is that there were more gay bars and clubs in London in the 1700s than there were in the 1940s. There was a thriving subculture for queer people in 18th century Europe!

My other favorite fact that didn’t make it in anywhere was that in the 1700s, the British were exporting prostitutes to pirate islands like Tortuga to discourage the pirates from just getting it on with each other. (But beyond random sex with each other, pirates also had a sort of civil marriage that bound two male pirates and their booty together, and often they shared living space and provisions on the ship. Pirates were pioneers of gay marriage 🙂

Moog: *hoards queer history facts like a tiny dragon* Speaking of, I also really loved that Gentleman’s Guide includes a PoC love interest, a bisexual hero, and a character with a chronic health condition, all of which have also been underrepresented in mainstream publishing. Are there similar themes in your future books?

Mackenzi: Thank you! I’ve been generally frustrated with the lack of diversity in historical fiction, and non-fiction narratives. We use “historical accuracy” as an excuse for not including characters with marginalized identities in historical fiction, or we often make them tortured side characters (especially the queer ones). And it’s not that the narratives don’t exist–I read a lot of primary sources from black, chronically ill, and queer people in England in the 1700s. They were there! We just erase them and instead keep telling the story of the straight white guys.

And I’ve been trying really hard to not be part of that problem! I don’t feel like a lot of these narratives are mine to tell, since I’m a white lady, but I try to do what I can to include minority characters in my historical fiction and nonfiction that are more than being tortured outsiders.  

As far as future books, I have an anthology of my Bygone Badass Broads essays coming out next year [Editor’s note: #BygoneBadassBroads is Mackenzi’s Twitter series about forgotten badass ladies from history], and I made an effort (which my publisher was hugely supportive of) to make sure we were including marginalized women and their stories. And my next book is about sexuality and gender identity and set in the 1600s in Holland.

Moog: It’s wonderful to hear that your publisher was so supportive! Your upcoming books both sound amazing. Felicity from Gentleman’s Guide  is 100% a Bygone Badass Broad, right? Which of the Bygone Broads do you think would get on best with her and/or best form a terrifying alliance with her to change the face of medicine forever?

Mackenzi: Thank you! Bygone Badass Broads was a true passion project for me, and to see it take off the way it has has been both surprising and incredibly rewarding. Of the Bygone Badass Broads I’ve featured, I think Felicity would pair best with Mary Anning, the paleontologist in 1700s England, or Clelia Duel Mosher, the American physician in the turn of the century who helped dispel myths about female fragility. They’re all three science minded and independent (neither Mary nor Clelia ever married). I think the three of them would make a kick ass science girl squad.  

Moog: I would 100% read that book! If you were suddenly confined to a desert island and, for some archaic island reason, you could only take queer historical books (of any sub-genre) with you, which would be the first three books you packed?

Mackenzi: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (not on-page queerness, but you can definitely do a really solid queer reading of it, and it’s my favorite book in the world so I’m bending the rules for it)

Moog: Your desert island would have the best tiny library! Thanks again for being here, Mackenzi <3 Chatting queer historical has been glorious. As a last note: three random quick-fire questions! Weirdest home decoration you own?

Mackenzi: My dad made me a to-scale mechanical arm for the This Monstrous Thing trailer, which now functions as a charming table ornament in my apartment.

Moog: How do you take your tea (or hot beverage of your choice)?

Mackenzi: Fruity. I’m generally disinclined to tea, but I love fruit teas, which are not as commonly available in most places as I want them to be. But I was just on a research trip in Holland and they serve fruit tea at almost every restaurant! I’ve never been so delighted.

Moog: What are you reading right now?

Mackenzi: Oh gosh too many things–I’ve been picking up and putting down a dozen books a day lately. At this moment, I’m deep in Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor and Undercover Girl: The Lesbian Informant who Helped Bring Down the Communist Party by Lisa E. Davis.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee is published by HarperCollins and is released on June 27 2017.

***

Mackenzi Lee holds a BA in history and an MFA from Simmons College in writing for children and young adults, and her short fiction and nonfiction has appeared in Atlas Obscura, Crixeo, The Friend, and The Newport Review, among others.  Her debut novel, THIS MONSTROUS THING, which won the PEN-New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award, is out now from HarperCollins. Her second book, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, a queer spin on the classic adventure novel, will be released in June of 2017.

She loves Diet Coke, sweater weather, and Star Wars. On a perfect day, she can be found enjoying all three. She currently calls Boston home, where she works as an independent bookstore manager.

Moog Florin is a writer, blogger, and lacker of balance. She lives in London with her wife (lovely) and an octopus (stuffed), and can be found blogging into the void about books, stickers, and queer romance at MM Florin Writes. You can also find Moog on Twitter: @MM_Florin

***

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It’s…an Audio Giveaway! Four authors, four books, four chances to win!

Hey there! You’ve found this post, meaning you’ve read all about my favorite books in audio over on HEA USA TODAY! Now courtesy of my favorite authors, we are giving away some audiobooks! Here’s your chance to win audio from Roan Parrish, Amy Jo Cousins, Avon Gale, and Santino Hassell! There are four audiobooks up for grabs – one from each of the authors – and you have four chances to win!

 

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Countdown to Halloween: Loving Halloween with Stacey O’Neale + Giveaway


countdown-with-bob

Loving Halloween with Stacey O’Neale

I love Halloween. It’s my second favorite holiday.

Since I was a kid, I’ve always been intrigued by the history of Halloween in this country and beyond. Because of this fascination, I spend a lot of time watching the History channel during the month of October. They always show different specials about the history of the day, and other fun things like witches, pumpkins, and costumes. I guess you could say it’s become a tradition.

Another is that I watch Hocus Pocus every year. It’s my all-time favorite Halloween movie. I’ve been known to quote the movie from time to time. Bette Midler has so many quotable lines, and I think it’s one of her best performances. The other two witches are great, but she really steals the show. It’s fantastic. I never get tired of it. And now that my daughter is nine, she watches it with me.

I also enjoy decorating. My house is cluttered with orange and black of everything. I have spiders, pumpkins, witches, monsters, vampires, and candy everywhere. We even have a blow-up black cat that sits in the driveway. And regardless of how much I own, I buy more every year. I can’t help myself. It’s so much fun. I swear, I’d keep those decorations up all year if my family would let me.

I’m not much into costumes. I used to do it every year, but it became a hassle now that my daughter is into it. She loves dressing up and usually creates a matching costume with my husband. Last year, they were Star Wars characters. She was Darth Vader and he was a Storm Trooper. She doesn’t care much for the girlie princess stuff. She usually dresses up in whatever character she’s into at the moment.

It’s difficult to point out which Halloween-type books I like to read because fantasy is my favorite genre. Instead, I’ll just name a few YA fantasy series that I really enjoyed. Vampire Academy, Hex Hall, Starcrossed, Splintered, and The Mortal Instruments are all completed series I loved from beginning to end. There are many individual books I liked, but there’s not enough space to name them all.

fragile-reign-amazonEach year, I also tinker with the idea of writing a witch series. I’ve done a truckload of research on the subject. Actually, I did an entire presentation on witchcraft in college. Unfortunately, I haven’t come up with something that I’m just dying to write. I have one idea about five witch families in a small town. Sort of a mish-mash of the Covenant and Secret Circle. But I haven’t fleshed it out yet. Maybe someday.

Big thanks to Judith at Binge On Books for giving me the opportunity to talk about such a fun subject. If you’re interested in reading something in YA Fantasy, my book, The Shadow Prince, is available for free on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It’s about an exiled fire elemental prince that has to decide if he’s willing to kill an air elemental princess he has never met to save his court. Sound interesting? I hope so. 😀

Happy Halloween!


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author-photoAward-winning author, Stacey O’Neale, lives in Annapolis, Maryland. When she’s not writing, she spends her time fangirling over books, blogging, watching fantasy television shows, cheering for the Baltimore Ravens, and hanging out with her husband and daughter.

Her career in publishing started as a blogger-turned-publicist for two successful small publishers. Stacey writes young adult fantasy and adult science fiction romance. Her books always include swoon-worthy heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing.

the-shadow-prince-amazonStacey loves hearing from readers. Follow her on Twitter @StaceyONeale, look for her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Goodreads. You can also visit her blog at staceyoneale.com/.

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A Spotlight and Giveaway for…Magic Mansion by Jordan C Price!

Now it’s no secret that I’m a rabid Jordan C Price lover: she has so much talent and so much energy and so many crazy, fantastical, wonderful stories inside her that you can’t NOT be a fan. She’s one highly engaging writer of urban fantasy and these ideas she gets? Well…let’s just say that I’d be hard pressed to name anyone of any era who can match her there.

One idea she had – for a reader interactive story where characters were voted out as the story progressed – became the novel we know today as Magic Mansion. Don’t know it? Well, let me break it down for you:

Professor Topaz is tired of fending off advice that he should retire in Vegas where magicians his age have an easier time finding work.

Ricardo Hart’s career has sunk so low, he’s resorted to shaking his moneymaker at bachelorette parties.
magicmansion-ace But there’s a casting call for a new reality show called Magic Mansion that could change everything for these two gay stage magicians, one recovering from the loss of his partner, and the other awe-struck by the presence of his idol. Each is poised for a critical second chance: at fame, and at love.

Who will win? Step into the Mansion, and find out….

magicmansion-neverperform

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How We Began Anthology Giveaway Extravaganza!

How We Began AnthologyHow We Began by Alexis Hall, Delphine Dryden, Vanessa North, Amy Jo Cousins, Annabeth Albert, Geonn Cannon

Available on: Amazon

Release Day Extravaganza Organized by: Liz

I was lucky enough to read an ARC of this anthology a few weeks back, and after I finished it, I felt like I was in a bit of a daze and also floating on the happiest bubble into a rainbow. This collection of stories, the proceeds from which are all going to benefit The Trevor Project, felt almost monumental to me. Some stories are bigger in scope than others, but all are so human and touching and every single one of them is affirming in a way I wish I could have had when I was in high school.

So, we thought about how best to showcase this wonderful anthology, and decided that hey, a giveaway is a beautiful thing. A TRIPLE giveaway? Even better. All money goes to charity? Sound the trumpets!

It’s time for an Extravaganza!

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Exclusive Deleted Scene: Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell

SB Blogtour Banner

Hello all you lucky Sutphin Boulevard lovers: I have the BEST stop on Santino Hassell’s blog tour because I get to share an exclusive scene from the book. Only this scene? It was deleted cause it was too sexy. I’m serious. From Santino’s mouth to your ears, there was too much sex and this scene was the casualty. Good thing I convinced him to share it with the world cause HOLY–

…well, you be the judge?

(and just as a precaution, this is totally an 18+ scene so, you’ve been warned!)

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I Love YA Fiction is now Binge on Books plus a HUGE Book Giveaway!

In case you hadn’t noticed, I Love YA Fiction is looking a little…different? Unusual? Completely not the same at all? Whatever word(s) you choose, it’s true! There’s been a complete site overhaul and now you’re looking at the new, improved, gloriously, more aptly named: BINGE ON BOOKS!

*throws confetti* *shouts* *plasters a big smile on and opens arms wide to all the guests* Welcome to the new site! We’re still just as cool and fun as before but now we can more comfortably talk about the books and book news that you enjoy. It’s a win for everyone! And you know what I have to do whenever there’s big news on the site…

binge-on-books-twitter giveaway

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Tell Us YOUR Top reads of 2013!

Best Books 2013

Hello, folks. You know what? I’m a little bit sad these days because 2013 is slowly, inexorably coming to an end! Where did this year go, right?! Uhhh, how can it be December already? The only good thing about the end of the year is this: recapping all the amazing literature we’ve read over the last 12 months. We’ve read a lot and so have you and I think if we put two and two together, we’ll get a pretty exhaustive list of what we should be reading. Obviously though to do this, we need YOUR

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help to decide which books were the absolute

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best of the best, the creme de la creme of all the books you’ve plowed through. Below are three polls in the three main categories we review, YA, NA, and Romance. Take a few seconds to let us know what your fave in each category is. Help a fellow reader discover a fantastic read!

Top 3 winners in each category announced in two weeks and maybe a contest will be included…vote on!

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