Spotlight on New Adult: Abroad, book 1 by Liz Jacobs

Want a book that will blow you away with its rich characterization and fun, quirky cast of characters? A coming of age story that is honest and cringe-worthy, uber sexy and delightfully naive, and all gorgeously told by a fresh new voice in queer fiction?

I HAVE THE BOOK FOR YOU!

Debut author, Liz Jacobs, is set to take the book world by storm. Her first book is a lushly told coming of age story featuring a queer Jewish immigrant who moves to the UK to spend a semester abroad. What happens there changes him forever. So sit back…relax…and get ready to one click… Read More

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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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Contemporary NA Romance Review: Between A Rock and a Hard Place by Amy Jo Cousins

rock and hard placeBetween a Rock and a Hard Place (Bend or Break 6 & 7)

Published by: Samhain (March 22nd, 2016)

Format: Kindle ARC

Genre: Contemporary NA

Order from: Amazon

Reviewed by: Erin

What kind of awesome can you expect inside: Camping, beards, boning, drama, high fashion, yoga…

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Captive Prince: a Celebration at Binge on Books

It’s February 1st, and for most people, it naturally means the beginning of the month, while for some of us, it actually comes as the end of a very, very long wait.

Tomorrow, February 2nd, the last book in the Captive Prince trilogy by C.S. Pacat will make its debut, and thus put what I’m sure is a gorgeous and satisfying cap on a hugely incredible fannish experience.

You see, Kings Rising isn’t just a long-anticipated book–it’s fandom history, and fandom celebration. Years ago in the wild fannish lands of LiveJournal, Captive Prince got its start as a serial, with chapters being posted every few weeks or so under “freece.” Nominally a well-known trope of slavefic, this series quickly spread like wildfire through fandom, finding its way into many a corner and heart that may not have clicked on it had it not been for their friends discovering it and telling them, no, seriously. It’s not just slavefic. It’s so much more. You have to read this. You HAVE to.

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Binge on Books Best of 2015: Liz’s Top Picks

BeFunky Design Liz big

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Cookies & Books: A Fabulous Holiday Collaboration with Cooking Up Romance

It’s beginning to look a lot like…well, any old day? From the dearth of holiday preparations here at Binge on Books you would never guess that the holidays are right around the corner. Every year I hope to spruce the place up a bit with some fun holiday photos of a gorgeous something or other I popped out of the oven but that will never, ever happen. There’s a very important reason for this: you see…well…the long and short of it is, I am a rather impatient and diffident baker (which is probably why I prefer reading to cooking). While most everyone I know is home baking something warm and fragrant, I’m huddled next to the Christmas tree with my kindle praying for some kindly soul to take pity on me and shower my home with baked goods. Someone usually does but it requires quite a lot of coaxing and quite a lot of smiling and far more energy than I can muster on a good day. This year, however, no cajoling was required; the baked goods came to me. I seem to have been extra specially good because Elisabeth Lane of Cooking up Romance gifted me with cookies! Eight mouthwatering holiday cookies to be exact. When I saw them, I gasped. If you don’t know Elisabeth and her gorgeous blog, do take a moment to peruse her site. She reads books and then creates recipes complete with lovely photos of foods inspired from them.

I’m not sure what prompted this gesture of good will. Maybe she saw the results of my lackluster holiday baking attempts from last year:
Judith Cooks

Whatever the reason, today we have 8 cookies for you to drool over. And what’s even better? The whole Binge on Books team has jumped on this post to pair these glorious cookies with 8 of our favorite reads. It’s an epic Cookie-Book Pairing you will not want to miss (think Meals and Wine…only BETTER cause, well, there’s books!). Here’s a hint of what’s to come:

all-cookies-2 Read More

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Historical Romance Review: A Seditious Affair by KJ Charles

A Seditious AffairA Seditious Affair by KJ Charles

Published by: Loveswept

Format: eARC

Genre: Historical Romance

Pre-order at: Amazon

Reviewed by: Liz

Get ready for: A stunning historical romance of the highest calibre!

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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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New Author Spotlight: Allan Jay

Bare StudsNew Author Spotlight!

Allan Jay is a newly-published author whose short “The Last Snow Globe Repairman” is among the ten stories featured in Dreamspinner Press’s upcoming anthology Bare Studs, out today, September 14th. You may have also previously encountered Allan on Tea Time with Alexis Hall & Friends here, here, and here. Allan is a fresh, new voice in the M/M genre and he’s at Binge on Books today discussing his inspirations, his upcoming projects, and how it feels to now be a published author. There’s also a brief excerpt at the very end to whet your appetites for Allan and the Bare Studs anthology.

Let’s all give a very warm, very hearty welcome to Allan Jay!

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Historical Romance Review: A Fashionable Indulgence by KJ Charles

A Fashionable IndulgenceA Fashionable Indulgence by KJ Charles

Published by: Loveswept

Format: Kindle ARC

Genre: Historical M/M Romance

Reviewed by: Liz

Rating: Enticing, delicious, thought-provoking, glorious!

Fun trip to the Department of Backstory: I came into reading romance very recently through a desire to read historical LGBTQ romance. Essentially, what I was yearning for was a Regency of the swoony Jane Austen variety, only gay. I found quite a few amazing and satisfying reads, but this book in particular is what my Regency-loving heart has been yearning for and this book is what it so gratefully received!

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