Fantasy Romance Review: Peter Darling by Austin Chant

Peter Darling by Austin Chant

Published by: Less Than Three Press

Format: mobi

Genre: LGBTQIA+ Fantasy Romance

Order at: Amazon | B&N | Publisher

Reviewed by: Sara and Alex

What to Expect: A clever, own-voices retelling of a classic with realized queer characters that gets better with every read. Read More

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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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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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Authors Interviewing Authors: Avon Gale Interviews Piper Vaughn

March Authors Interviewing Authors is here and with it, we get a very special treat: the first ever in person edition! Avon Gale recently caught up with Piper Vaughn in her home to discuss Piper’s plans for future books, Young Adult Fiction from the 90s (shout out to Judith’s fave, LJ SMITH!), and their shared passion, hockey!

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Avon: Hello! I’m Avon Gale and I’m so excited to interview Piper Vaughn today, especially because I am sitting next to her on her couch while we watch some hockey. So thank you for having me, both as a house guest and as an interviewer!!

Piper: Thanks for coming! I’m thrilled to have you here watching hockey with me, and I’m excited to get to the interview. 😀

Avon: So, since I am sitting here in your house I’m able to look at your bookshelves! I already noticed that you and I share a love for an Elizabeth Lowell series (and are both sad that she never wrote Eric’s story!), but you have quite an eclectic collection as a reader. As a writer, what other genres are you interested in writing?

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Piper: Outside of M/M, I’m most interested in writing mainstream YA, though I’ll probably stay true to my roots and keep it LGBT related. I have plans for a couple of contemporary, coming-of-age stories, and I also have a broad outline for a potential urban fantasy series.

Avon: What kind of YA books were your favorite when you were younger?

Piper: I was a big fan of LJ Smith. Hello, “Vampire Diaries,” “The Secret Circle,” “The Forbidden Game,” “Dark Visions” and the “Night World” books. I read everything she wrote. I also loved RL Stine, and Christopher Pike. Then there were the Sweet Valley High books, and this series called “Love Stories,” which were basically category romances for young adults. My little romance-loving heart adored those books. I consumed them like candy! My favorite was “Sharing Sam” by Katherine Applegate.  

Avon: I loved Sweet Valley High! I’m pretty sure I shipped Jessica/Lila before I knew what that meant. Have you gone back and re-read any of your favorite YA series recently? I’d totally be down for a Christopher Pike re-read bonanza if you want. Do you see influences of your favorite YA or romance series in your own writing, and if so, tell us about it!

Piper: Oh, that might be fun! I haven’t read a Christopher Pike book since high school. I wonder if I’d still enjoy them. As for influences, I think if I ever write the YA urban fantasy series, it might be influenced by what I loved about LJ Smith–strong, kickass heroines I both envied and had crushes on and heroes I wished I could keep for myself. But I don’t know that there’s any one author or series in particular that I can say influenced my own style. I certainly admire plenty of authors and love many series, but I just do my own thing and hope people enjoy it. 🙂

Avon: You have a lot of historical romance novels on your shelves, but they’re primarily het. And you write mostly M/M contemporary. What interested you about that genre in M/M that didn’t capture your attention as a reader of M/F?

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Piper: Yeah, I never read very much M/F contemporary. Some, but not nearly as much as historicals or paranormal books. I think my lack of interest in M/F contemporary came from an inability to relate to the heroines, to be honest. I rarely saw myself in or felt connected to most of these modern-day heroines, and that lessened my enjoyment. That expectation wasn’t there when I read historicals or paranormal. I didn’t expect those heroines to be relatable, if that makes sense. My day-to-day life isn’t filled with werewolves or dance cards and the censure of the ton. I always connected to the heroes of contemporary instead–and I think that’s why when I discovered M/M as an actual book genre (I’d been reading it online in fanfic for years before that), I was drawn to contemporary. I get along well with men, and I’ve always been a tomboy. I think my brain is male (and, trust me, I don’t say that lightly), and I feel like the power dynamic in M/M contemporary is much more equal than it is in M/F. Then when I started writing original stories in M/M, I found that 90% of my ideas were contemporary, and I just rolled with it.

Avon: Thank you for sharing all of that! I always like hearing how authors find their genre and their interests. Speaking of interests, we started talking not only because of our shared M/M love (and can I take this opportunity to share with everyone how absolutely welcoming and supportive Piper is to new authors? <3) — and our love for hockey! We’re both sitting here talking about points and standings and the playoffs, but as you’ve mentioned, this is your first playoff season being invested in the outcome (and I’m sorry because sports exists to break your heart 🙁 ). What got you into hockey, and led to the point where you’re muttering at the Wild about closing out this game in OT?

Piper: And now that the Wild have won in a shootout (woot!), I can answer this question. 😛 I actually got into hockey through Tumblr. I follow a few hockey fans and had seen their reblogs about certain teams and players. I started to get really invested in Jonathan Toews and some of the other Blackhawks and started wanting to watch games and possibly write a hockey romance. Because my husband is a longtime hockey fan (he loves the Red Wings), he encouraged this idea. I started watching with him late last season, and the rest, as they say, is history. It’s now become an obsession. And sometimes loving hockey does feel like suffering. You’re right about the heartbreak. Oi. But I do love it so.

Avon: That’s the great thing about writing hockey romance — you can give your characters, and their teams, a happy ending! What about hockey do you think makes it a good focus for a romance novel?

Piper: I love the way hockey teams become a family of a kind. I love the nicknames and the intensity of the sport and the potential for rivalries–and how for a lot of players, that rivalry can end once they step off the ice and they can actually be friends. And, well, by now I think hockey is the greatest sport of all time, and if I want to read–or write–about any sport, this is going to be it. Hockey has become one of my happy places, and so is romance. Of course I’d want to combine the two. 🙂

Avon: I love that too, about the teams, and especially how even beyond the team name on the front of the jersey, hockey players, coaches, staff, fans….it’s all a family! It’s so much fun to meet and talk to other fans (even if you end up having to change your FB and Twitter icon to a hated team logo because of a bet *coughs*) who share a similar passion for the sport. As an author in M/M, would you say that is a similar sort of feeling?

Piper: Yes! I’ve mentioned this to you before, but when I first discovered M/M romance as a book genre, nearly 8 years after I started reading slash/fanfic online, I felt like I’d found my people. The M/M romance group was only about 200 members, maybe, when I joined. There were so few of us reading and writing at the time, about 6+ years ago, and people were so welcoming. I felt like I’d finally found where I belong–as a person and as an author–and I’ve made some of my best friends in this community.

Avon: As an author and a reader, what are your hopes for the genre in the larger scheme of the romance community?

Piper: Well, more than anything, I’d love to see it get more visibility. I’d love to see more of our (as in the collective M/M romance writing community) books hitting mainstream bestseller lists and being reviewed on the bigger blogs and in magazines. I’d love for it not to feel like a subgenre of the broader heterosexual romance community. I want it to be considered romance, period, and I’d love to see more of our books in my brick-and-mortar stores.

Avon: If you had a shelf for your favorite M/M romances, give us a sample of what you’d find on it!

Piper: Sure! I’m a huge fan of Jordan Castillo Price, so of course the “PsyCop” series would be on it. I love Andrea Speed’s “Infected” series, though I’d call it M/M urban fantasy with romantic subplots instead of M/M romance. “Bone Rider” by J. Fally would definitely be there, too, along with “Brothers of the Wild North Sea” by Harper Fox and Marie Sexton’s “Coda” series, JL Langley’s “With or Without” series and “Speechless” by Kim Fielding. There’d also be a few Megan Derr titles on there and plenty of others! I have lots of favorites.

Avon: What advice would you give to new authors who are just venturing forth into the world of publishing, no matter what genre?

Piper: I’d tell them to write what they enjoy. Sometimes we can get caught up in the market and what the next big trend is–and I’m not saying it’s not important to keep an eye on trends–but I feel like if you’re not writing what you love, you run the risk of burning yourself out and the whole process can lose its fun. I think it’s more important to love what you’re doing than, say, forcing yourself to write about firemen if you don’t actually have any interest in writing books about first responders. Write what calls to you and find the publisher best suited to help you polish and promote that book. That’s probably my best advice, aside from the whole practice makes perfect thing. 😉

Avon: And finally, who’s your prediction for the Stanley Cup matchup and eventual winner? The romantic version, or the more mundane RL one 😉

Piper: Well, if the Hawks get their act together, I can see them being in the championship again and possibly destroying the Washington Capitals to win the Stanley Cup. In the more romantic version, I think it’d be amazing to see it come down to the Boston Bruins against the Minnesota Wild. I’d be happy if the Bruins won, because you did sway me over to their side, but I’d be so thrilled to see the Wild win. I do love those boys, and not to be disloyal to my Blackhawks, but it’s not like they haven’t won a few times in the last 6 years. I mean, I do have a tube of melted 2015 Stanley Cup ice sitting on my bookshelf from their win last year, and I did watch that game. So, yeah. I think it’d be fun to see the Wild take the Cup. 🙂

Avon: There is only one thing in this that I can support, that being the Boston Bruins in the finals. Since, as we all know, I hate your hockey team. But luckily, our rivalry is a fun part of our friendship (and if you weren’t such a great friend, I’d toss that bottle of Stanley Cup ice into traffic. What?) and hockey fans are family no matter the team.

Thanks Piper!! I had so much fun interviewing you, watching hockey and finding out how to tweet Elizabeth Lowell and tell her we need her to write a book about Eric. Let’s do this again sometime! 😀

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Avon Gale was once the mayor on Foursquare of Jazzercise and Lollicup, which should tell you all you need to know about her as a person. She likes road trips, rock concerts, drinking Kentucky bourbon and yelling at hockey. She’s a displaced southerner living in a liberal midwestern college town, and she never gets tired of people and their stories — either real or the ones she makes up in her head.

Find Avon: @Facebook  |  @avongalewrites.com  |  @twitter

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Piper VaughnPiper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, she loves them all (and has a two-thousand-book library to prove it!). She grew up in Chicago, in an ethnically diverse neighborhood, and loves to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life…even if it’s only in a book.

Visit Piper at: Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Google+

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Authors Interviewing Authors is a monthly series featuring your favorite authors interviewing their favorite authors. If you have recommendations for interviews you’d like to see happen, please feel free to submit them at any time: submit@bingeonbooks.com.

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Romance Review: The Subs Club by J.A. Rock

Subs ClubThe Subs Club by J.A. Rock

Published by: Riptide Publishing

Format: eARC

Genre: BDSM Erotic Romance

Order from: Amazon

Reviewed by: Erin

What to expect: This club has everything: floggers,enemas, BDSM Ron Swanson, a SyFy Original movie, heartwarming tales of friendship, a Mos Def lookalike, and kink politics galore Read More

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Paranormal Historical Romance review: Maelstrom by Jordan L Hawk

MaelstromMaelstrom by Jordan L Hawk

Published by: Amazon Digital Services

Format: eARC

Genre: Paranormal Historical Romance

Order now: Amazon

Reviewed by: Erin

Get ready for: Whyborne like you’ve never seen him before, Christine like you’ve never seen her before, and threats from both The Beyond and the local florists’ shop. Read More

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Paranormal Romance: Dangerous Spirits by Jordan L Hawk

Dangerous SpiritsDangerous Spirits by Jordan L Hawk

Published by: Widdershins Press LLC

Format: Kindle

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Buy It Now: Amazon

Reviewed by: Erin

Rating: An exciting continuation of the Spirits series, featuring an impulsive inventor, a conflicted medium, a very angry ghost, and the most exciting climax on a clocktower since Back to the Future! Read More

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Paranormal Romance: Restless Spirits by Jordan L Hawk

Restless SpiritsRestless Spirits by Jordan L Hawk

Published by: Widdershins Press LLC

Format: Kindle

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Buy It Now: Amazon

Reviewed by: Erin

Rating: A fantastic new historical/paranormal series, featuring ghosts, hot mediums, a diverse cast of characters, and a whole lotta scary. Read More

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Fantasy Review: Charmed and Dangerous anthology, edited by Jordan C Price

Charmed and DangerousCharmed and Dangerous Anthology, edited by Jordan C Price; featuring stories by: Rhys Ford – Dim Sum Asylum; Ginn Hale – Swift and the Black Dog; KJ Charles – A Queer Trade; Nicole Kimberling – Magically Delicious; Jordan Castillo Price – Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns; Jordan L. Hawk – The Thirteenth Hex; Charlie Cochet – The Soldati Prince; Lou Harper – One Hex Too Many; Andrea Speed – Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom; Astrid Amara – The Trouble With Hexes

Published by: JCP Books LLC

Genre: Queer Fantasy Anthology

Reviewed by: Judith, Santino, and Anna

It’s a week of some BIG firsts here on Binge on Books. First we had Santino Hassell chatting up Jordan C Price in a frank author-to-author Q&A to celebrate the release of the highly lauded magical anthology, Charmed and Dangerous. And now, we have our first ever group review: it’s me, Santino Hassell (who just can’t seem to leave Jordan C Price alone), and a new guest contributor, Anna Hullum.

We’re going to do this review as a set of question and answer prompts to really see what three different reviewers thought of such a unique and diverse anthology. So let’s have at it!

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Charmed & Dangerous Anthology Release Day: Santino Hassell interviews Jordan C Price

Hello all you lucky readers! Today there’s two MAJOR reasons to be excited here on Binge on Books:

1. Charmed and Dangerous, the hotly anticipated, new urban fantasy anthology we mentioned a few weeks ago is finally HERE! Woot woot! It is edited by Jordan C Price and features work from the current masters of the genre: Jordan C Price, Ginn Hale, Rhys Ford, KJ Charles, Nicole Kimberling, Jordan L Hawk, Charlie Cochet, Lou Harper, Andrea Speed, and Astrid Amara. Anything this full of amazing writing is sure to blow your mind (and believe me, it will. We’ve read it and it is, in a word, oustanding).

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2. Santino Hassell is here today with a treat for you and me. What’s that? Oh right, he’s chatting up the queen of urban fantasy herself, Jordan C PriceIt’s two big voices in M/M discussing the Charmed and Dangerous anthology, personal favorites in books, characters, authors, upcoming projects, and so much more in a frank Q&A. So without further ado, let’s get to it.

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