Binge on Books Top Books of 2017: Sara Beth’s Favorites

Sara Beth’s top reads of the year

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Urban Fantasy Buddy Review: The Year of the Knife by G.D. Penman

The Year of the Knife by G. D. Penman

Published by: Meerkat Press

Format: mobi

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Mystery

Order at: Publisher | Amazon | B&N

Reviewed by: Edwin & Alex

What to Expect: Fun, ambitious, mostly successful queer urban fantasy featuring a kickass heroine, tons of magic, and an alternative history of the good ol’ US of A. Read More

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Romance Review: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Published by: Washington Square Press

Format: E-book

Genre: Romance

Order at: Amazon | B&N | Publisher

Reviewed by: Madison

What to Expect: A well written story that forces you to reflect on the different versions of yourself. Prepare yourself with tissues. Read More

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Historical Fiction review: House of Names by Colm Tóibín

House of Names by Colm Tóibín

Published by: Scribner

Format: ePub

Genre: Historical Fiction

Order at: Amazon | B&N | Publisher

Reviewed by: Alex

What to Expect: A pithy, high-tension retelling of what happened after Clytemnestra’s killed off her husband, King Agamemnon. I never knew I needed this until I read it. 

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Contemporary Romance review: Scorpio Hates Virgo (Signs of Love #2) by Anyta Sunday

Scorpio Hates Virgo

Published by: Anyta Sunday

Format: ePub

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Order at: Publisher | Amazon 

Reviewed by: Alex

What to Expect: A cute love affair of boys who have resisted each other for as long as they’ve known each other. Ah…if they could only have been smarter than…oh, wait…I was clueless, too. Read More

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Paranormal Romance review: Blood Guard by Megan Erickson

Blood Guard by Megan Erickson

Published by: Loveswept

Format: ePub

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Order at: Publisher | Amazon | B&N

Reviewed by: Alex

What to Expect: Plucky heroine falls for hot, hardass vampire when she’s supposed to be ‘destined’ for his brother…but, you know… hardass vampire is right heretomorrow may never come, and instant gratification is so instant.

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Sci-Fi Fantasy review: Dalí by E.M. Hamill

Title: Dalí by E.M. Hamill

Published by: NineStar Press

Format: Mobi

Genre: Queer SFF

Order at: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Publisher

Reviewed by: Alex

What to Expect: When we meet Dalí Tamareia, they’re like Princess Leia combined with Han Solo in that first moment they met, except with more drugs, more sex, more implants, and more time in emergency care than a Sol Fed Ambassador should have to endure. This sci-fi novel goes fast and, damn, is it good.

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YA Fantasy Review: Magic of Blood and Sea by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Title: Magic of Blood and Sea: The Assassin’s Curse; The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Published by: Saga Press

Format: Mobi

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Order at: Publisher | Amazon | B&N

Reviewed by: Alex

What to Expect: Just your standard, everyday, typical run away from your arranged marriage only to fall in love with your own assassin romance whilst being a pirate, escaping demons who keep ripping through the fabric of your world in order to steal the assassin of your dreams, creating cautious friendships with manticores, and being surrounded by magic of the blood and sea variety.  Read More

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Guest Review: Romantic Thrillers: Playing with Fire by G.J. Phoenix

 

A too-good-to-be-true job opportunity. A mystery of life and death proportions. Help sought from the most unlikely of places. All of these are what makes the beginning of a thriller. Then, person meets person, and sparks fly. You just found yourself in a romantic thriller, let the magic begin.

I think my love of romantic thrillers began when a friend gave me Iris Johansen’s Wind Dancer series. In typical romantic thriller way, it snuck up on me. Starting with a historical, Wind Dancer moved from the Italian Renaissance to Revolutionary France straight to modern times. I didn’t realize just how much I loved it until I immediately went online and tracked down the rest of Johansen’s work. By the time I finished the Eve Duncan series, I was a goner. Tess Gerritsen, JD Robb, Catherine Coulter, and so many others became staple in my TBR pile.

Most people know Gerritsen as the momma of Rizzoli and Isles. I recently read Playing with Fire, released in 2015. This book was dark, twisty, and all kinds of thrilling goodness. When Julia finds an unpublished waltz in an old book of sheet music at a sketchy antique dealer in Italy, I had no idea how dark Gerritsen was going to go.

Then Julia goes home to loving husband, Rob, and adorable toddler Lily and things got pitch black. (trigger warning: animal violence almost made me put the book to the side, but this author is usually worth it, so I kept going).

Julia plays the waltz she found, and her daughter instantly changes from a beloved doll to … well, Annabel. As she fights for herself, her family and mostly her child; Julia flies back to Italy determined to find out why the music transformed her baby into a demon. Or did it? Playing with Fire is two stories which are eventually brought together in the end. Told at the same time, is the heartbreaking story of Lorenzo and Laura, who meet and fall in love just as World War II turns their homeland into a place of nightmares. Gerritsen, a musician herself, writes about other musicians with passion, insight, and understanding that really can’t be faked. She even composed the waltz Julia found and had it recorded. You can listen to it on her website!

Both of these stories are told at a fast clip, you will get paper cuts from turning pages to keep up. Seriously, Tess Gerritsen makes you feel like you’re sitting next to the characters on a roller coaster and the next plummet will either be epic, or everyone’s going to die. The ending isn’t typical for most romance readers, but I still really enjoyed it. The combination of mystery, horror, historical, and romance is a strong one and will definitely place Playing with Fire on my favorite Gerritsen list.


About G.J. Phoenix: As a child, I got to ride the lightening and a dreamer was born. I stood on the top of the world, and traveled to the lowest point that can support life. I got to swim with dolphins and sharks, some of which were on dry land. I didn’t shoot the Sheriff but I definitely knifed the deputy–he looked at me funny. My life has taken me to many exotic places, and I was honored to meet some truly amazing people. I learned about God and religion through the stories people were kind enough to share with me, and the books I read.

The truth is, in one way or another, most of my books are based on real people, facing hellish problems, involving intriguing legends or myths, and finding solutions through the power of hope.

I’m G.J. Nice to meet you. Please spend some time and get to know me as well as my family-the characters in my books. My newest romantic thriller, God Remains, third installment of my Ethiopian Chronicles series, is due in stores before the end of the year.  Let’s see if the prince of Ethiopia can steal the heart of the queen of thieves. Cheers!

Connect with G.J. Phoenix: Website  |  Books  |  Book Trailer  | Twitter  |  Facebook


 

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Historical Romance review: The Masterpiece by Bonnie Dee

Title and Author: The Masterpiece by Bonnie Dee

Genre: Historical M/M Romance

Order at: Author Site | Amazon | B&N

Reviewed by: Anya

Why you need this book: Slow-build, adorable romance which is perfect to chill with on hot summer days. Read More

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