Romantic Suspense Review: Guarding Mr. Fine by HelenKay Dimon

guarding

Guarding Mr. Fine by HelenKay Dimon (Tough Love #3)

Published by: Loveswept

Format: e-ARC

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Order at: Amazon

Reviewed by: Erin

What to Expect: Car chases, explosions, an exciting mystery, and men who would rather cut off a limb than have a feeling.

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What’s on My Kindle: February 10th, 2017!

Hey hey, book bingers! New What’s On My Kindle is here. Today I talk books by: Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell, Joe Abercrombie, and Piper Vaughn.


 


Can’t wait to listen but really need some new books? Here’s what’s on my kindle this week:

Hard Wired by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

hard wire

My FallenCon agenda is simple: sit on a couple of panels and let people meet the real me. Jesse Garvy—mod of a famous Twitch channel and, if I ever come out of my shell, future vlogger. I definitely didn’t plan to sleep with a moody tattooed fan-artist, but he’s gorgeous and can’t keep his hands off me. There’s a first time for everything, and my first time with a guy turns out to be the hottest experience of my life.

But the next day, I find out my moody fan-artist is Ian Larsen AKA Cherry—someone I’ve known online for years. And he’d known exactly who I was while shoving me up against that wall. Before I figure out whether to be pissed or flattered, the con ends.

Now we’re back online, and he’s acting like nothing happened. But despite the distance between us, and the way he clings to the safety of his online persona, we made a real connection that night. I don’t plan to let him forget.

***

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

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Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

The deceived will become the deceiver.

Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

The betrayed will become the betrayer.

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

Will the usurped become the usurper?

But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds that his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

***

Wanting by Piper Vaughn

wanting

Jonah Beckett has been in love with his older brother’s best friend, George “Laurie” DeWitt, since he was thirteen-years-old. When his boyfriend, Dirk, breaks up with him for refusing to put out, Jonah uses his heartbreak over the situation as an excuse to ask Laurie to teach him all about sex before he starts college in the fall. Problem is, he made Dirk up, and Jonah has no idea what will happen when Laurie finally finds out the truth.


iStock_000013953939MediumJudith is the curator of Binge on Books. You can hear more of her in her monthly podcast, Author Chat, as well as her reviews on the site.

You can also check out more of her recommendations in her USA Today column, Rainbow Trends.

Get in touch with her on Twitter: @bingeonbooks.


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Historical Romance Review: Eleventh Hour by Elin Gregory

elin gregoryTitle and Author Eleventh Hour by Elin Gregory

Published by: Manifold Press

Format: mobi

Genre: historical romance/spy/secret agent romance

Order at: Amazon

Reviewed by: Anya

What to Expect: Delightful slow-build spy romance with a cross-dressing MC Read More

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Authors in Audio on 11/28: Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali talk (more) sex!

karen-and-santino-a-in-a-for-b-on-b-long-version
Hello! And welcome back to Authors in Audio, a podcast special at Binge on Books which features authors Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali answering reader questions in audio! You asked and they answered and through the end of the year, this new series of Authors in Audio will captivate you.
Today they’re focusing on…more sex! As Santino described it to me: “This one has sex related questions (whether we have to be in a certain mood to write a sex scene, dirtiest questions we’ve been asked, if we can write sex scenes in public, etc)”.

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New Binge Worthy Book: Sara recs Spindrift by Amy Rae Durreson

spindriftTitle and Author: Spindrift by Amy Rae Durreson

Published by: Dreamspinner Press

Format: epub, paperback

Genre: mm romance, paranormal

Order at: Amazon

Reviewed by: Sara Beth

What to Expect: An old fashioned, beautifully written, skillfully rendered ghost story. This tale is perfect for a chilly autumn night, tucked in under the covers, with every single light on. If you enjoy paranormal romance, with a dash of mystery, this is the Halloween read for you.


 

Plot: When lonely artist Siôn Ruston retreats to the seaside village of Rosewick Bay, Yorkshire, to recover from a suicide attempt, he doesn’t expect to encounter any ghosts, let alone the one who appears in his bedroom every morning at dawn. He also doesn’t expect to meet his ghost’s gorgeous, flirty descendant working at the local museum… and the village pub, and as a lifeboat volunteer. But Mattie’s great-great-grandfather isn’t the only specter in Rosewick Bay, and as Siôn and Mattie investigate an ill-fated love affair from a bygone era, they begin a romance of their own, one that will hopefully escape the tragedy Mattie’s ancestor suffered.

But the ghosts aren’t the only ones with secrets, and the things Siôn and Mattie are keeping from each other threaten to tear them apart. And all the while, the dead are biding their time, because the curse of Rosewick Bay has never been broken. If the ghosts are seen on the streets, local tradition foretells a man will drown before the summer’s end.

Review:

Secrets. This book is all about them. They weave in and out of the story, much like the ghosts that populate Rosewick Bay. Durreson does a flawless job of creating a suitably haunting an atmosphere for this tale of loss, hope, and redemption. The town is by turns quietly unsettling and incredibly peaceful, reflecting where each character is at in the story itself as it moves forward.  

Sion and Mattie, both individually and as a couple, are very relatable. An easy match to get behind. Their relationship runs parallel to that of the ghosts that haunt them, Matthew and Joshua . The ghosts themselves are as enthralling as the main characters, and I found myself grieving for them, even as my heart unfolded with hope for Sion and Mattie.

On the surface, Mattie is the sun to Sion’s darkness, but it becomes evident that things aren’t always as they seem – not for these two, not for the town, and not for the ghosts that haunt them all. Everybody has things they hide, even from themselves, and that’s what this story is really about: confronting the most painful parts of our past in order to reclaim the future that we are sometimes determined to cheat ourselves out of, before it’s too late.

What you might not like: I really feel there is a place in this genre for quietly passionate relationships, the sexy parts of which are left to the reader’s imagination.

However, I know some romance readers are very attached to steam on page. If that is the case, this is not the book for you. While Mattie and Sion are tender and gentle and flirtatious and obviously falling in love, the more physical parts are not described or included in the text.

What you will love: Simply put, Durreson is an amazing author. I enjoy her style and technique, and haven’t been disappointed yet by any of her books, though this one is standout for me. The truly haunting ghost story, and the feelings it draws from you, aren’t easily forgettable. I know I still find myself shaking off a tiny shiver when I stop and think about the atmosphere Durreson has created, and the flawed, lovable characters she has populated it with. And that cover….GEEZ!!!!


 

Red Magic ShoesSara Beth loves to read, write about what she reads, and really, really loves to talk about what she’s reading. So, she looks forward to many hours of conversation with you all surrounding books, books, and more books. Connect via: Twitter: @sarathebeth

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Authors in Audio on 11/16: Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali talk NaNoWriMo

Hello! And welcome back to Authors in Audio, a podcast special at Binge on Books which features authors Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali answering reader questions in audio! You asked and they answered and through the end of the year, this new series of Authors in Audio will captivate you.

Today they’re focusing on NaNoWriMo and have a message for you about this special month before starting…

karen-and-santino-a-in-a-for-b-on-b-long-version
Hi Everyone,
 
We wanted to include a note to go along with this podcast because it’s not a typical one.
 
As all of you know, Santino and I both have very busy schedules, but we do our best to make time to record these podcasts because we enjoy them and hope they’re helpful to our listeners. We’d intended to record this special NaNo edition of the podcast last Tuesday, before I left town for a conference, but we wound up listening to the election results instead and, despite our efforts, neither of us felt up to recording anything that night.
 
We recorded this while I was away and had some unfortunate technical difficulties, so the sound is off in a few places which makes it sound like I’m answering questions before Santino asked them. Since this is about NaNo we wanted to get the podcast to you in November because, in spite of the fact that both of us have been derailed from NaNo this year, for the past 5-6 years we’ve both found NaNo to be an incredibly positive experience.
 
Apologies for any parts that are hard to hear and for the fact that we’re not quite our normal peppy selves.
 
Thanks for tuning in to listen to our podcasts. I’m always grateful for the laughs we have while recording these. We hope you can laugh along with us.
 
All the best,
Karen and Santino


author photo Karen Stivali 2015

Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies, and fictional British men. She’s also the multiple award-winning author of contemporary and erotic romances. She writes novels about love…like real life, only hotter.

Connect with Karen in all the places: 

Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Website

Pinterest  |  Goodreads

You can hear Karen and writing pal, Santino Hassell, in audio in earlier recordings of their podcast series, Authors in Audio!


Santino Hassell

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Connect with Santino: 

Web | Facebook | Twitter

Patreon | Goodreads | Amazon

You can hear Santino and writing pal, Karen Stivali, in audio in earlier recordings of their podcast series, Authors in Audio!


 

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Alisa Listens, Audio Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Title and Author:  It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Narrator:  Olivia Song

Published by:  Simon & Schuster

Format:  Audio

Genre:  NA, romance  

Order link: Amazon

Reviewed by:  Alisa

What to expect:  This is a unique book that tells a very raw and emotional story. Read More

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Countdown to Halloween: 13 Songs & Films that Get Me Stoked for Halloween by J.C. Lillis

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So I said I would do this list and then I realized I don’t read scary books, listen to scary songs, or watch scary movies as a general rule. I love Halloween but I mainly associate it with frantic yet meticulous construction of whatever costume the kid’s dreamed up, followed by a week of sneaking PB cups and fun-size Mounds from her candy stash. But writers are known for their Olympic-level talent for fudging it, so here goes.

Songs:

“Spooky” / Classics IV. I actually hate this song but I have a Pavlovian reaction to it: I hear the first chords and instantly think Halloween. I don’t know if it deserves its status as a Halloween classic, since the girl in the song is not particularly spooky, just sort of a flake. It kills me that the guy spends the whole song yammering about how she winks at other dudes and plays games with his heart, and yet he’s planning a Halloween proposal, like that’ll solve all their problems. Honestly I just ride out the song to hear the little “whooo!” ghostie sounds in the verses.

“Monster” / Lady Gaga. When the Fame Monster EP came out, everyone was creaming themselves over “Bad Romance” and “Dance in the Dark” and this song never got its due, despite being danceable and hilarious and awesome. If I had a Halloween party, which I won’t because that would involve cleaning and decorating, this would be #1 on my playlist.

“Time of the Season” / The Zombies. This is not technically a Halloween song but for some reason I always associate it with summer’s slow slide into fall. Plus one time my mom told me she used to think the lyrics were “it’s the time of the season for zombieeeeees,” like the Zombies were pulling a Wang Chung and name-dropping themselves in the song, so every time I hear that line I picture zombies doing jazz hands.

“Burn-Up” / Siouxsie & the Banshees. The entire Peepshow album is supremely freaky and makes an excellent Halloween soundtrack. I picked this one because it’s like a haunted hayride in song form.

“Monster Mash” / Bobby Pickett. This used to be a “dragged to the seventh-grade Halloween dance against your will” song, and then I used it in “Memory Hill” for the Lead Me into Darkness antho, and now it’s a “jaded ghost mourning unrequited love” song. It’s much nicer now.

“Red Right Hand” / Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Like, I should’ve just said “Nick Cave” in general, because Nick Cave could turn “Walking on Sunshine” into a murder ballad, but this song is pretty much the pinnacle of Nick Cave creepiness. It’s about this evil rich power-mad dude who gains followers by preying on fear and making false promises but actually thinks of people as “microscopic cogs in his catastrophic plan,” not that someone like that could actually rise to power today.

 

 

Movies:

What We Do in the Shadows. Definitely in the top three funniest vampire mockumentaries set in New Zealand.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula. After you watch WWDitS, you might as well watch this one, because the number of laughs per minute is roughly the same. (More in scenes where Gary Oldman turns into a hundred rats or Keanu Reeves has to act British.)

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. When I was a little Catholic schoolgirl I used to want to spend Halloween with Linus in his most-sincere pumpkin patch, waiting for the elusive deity to show his giant orange face. I hope Linus is now a comfortable Great Pumpkin agnostic who counsels other young believers through crises of faith.

The Addams Family. This is the film that launched my epic, invincible crush on Anjelica Huston. We rewatched it recently and it still holds up pretty well. I think we base like 60% of our parenting choices on “what would Gomez and Mortitica do?”

The Others. This is the only scary movie I ever bought on DVD. I like how old-fashioned it is, how it relies on psychology and the power of suggestion instead of gore and special effects. It’s so well made I don’t even mind the “they’ve been dead all alonnnnnng!” ending. (No spoiler warning for movies more than 15 years old.)

Return of the Living Dead. I can take or leave most things zombie, but how can you not love a film with 1) character names like Scuz, Trash, and Spider, 2) dialogue that contains multiple references to “rabid weasels,” and 3) a scene where the zombies eat the paramedics and then radio to “send more paramedics”? (I just found out there’s this band from Leeds called Send More Paramedics, which is the best thing I’ve heard in at least two days.)

Shaun of the Dead. The other exception to my anti-zombie rule. That scene where they’re arguing over which records to throw at the zombies—I can see someone being exactly that nerdy, and that someone is me.


J.C. Lillis is the author of contemporary YA novels HOW TO REPAIR A MECHANICAL HEART, WE WON’T FEEL A THING, and the upcoming A&B, plus various other stories about fandom, friendship, love, and art. She lives in Baltimore with her patient family, a possibly haunted dollhouse, and a cat who intends to eat her someday.

More about J.C. and her AWESOME books:

How to Repair a Mechanical Heart: amzn.to/1rM486A

We Won’t Feel a Thing: http://amzn.to/1mndD6m

A&B: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32296251-a-b?from_search=true

website: jclillis.com

twitter: twitter.com/jclillis

instagram: instagram.com/jclillis

facebook: facebook.com/jclillisbooks

pinterest: pinterest.com/jclillis


 

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Countdown to Halloween: Reviewer Madison talks Fall Favorites

countdown-with-bob

I’ve just made a leap of faith from humble New Jersey to sunny Florida. It is still in the high 80s here and I went swimming in a pool yesterday. This is not my normal mid October I’m used to. My body doesn’t quite comprehend that Halloween is only a few weeks away and there are creepy clowns running around the U.S. Creepy clown epidemic aside… I love Halloween! I love picking pumpkins, drinking cider, those little cookies with the ghosts and pumpkins on them (I eat more of the raw dough than the cookie), and lots of candy corn. Aside from dancing the Monster Mash with my five-year-old niece as we put up fun window stickers and colored lights, we are all excited to know if she is going to be Snow White or Ariel. It’s totally tough being five. We introduced her to the Time Warp and she was totally digging it. Did anyone realize that the Rocky horror Picture Show remake will be on TV soon? I sound like a puppy chasing my own tail. Call me basic but I am so excited for everything fall.

I’ve always been a fan of black and white Halloween movies from Bela Lugosi in Dracula to Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein. I still get excited when the 13 Nights of Halloween movie marathon comes on ABC Family (Now Freeform… I’m not ready to commit). There is nothing like watching Hocus Pocus or The Nightmare Before Christmas before bed.

I’m a bit braver when it comes to books. Some of my favorite stories actually come from the children’s genre. I had a substitute in elementary school read my class the book “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” by Neil Shusterman and Alvin Schwartz. Needless to say I checked it out of the library the very next day and love picking up the book. It’s a compilation of short scary stories with many different twists. There are also sequels to the book but nothing is like the original. They give just enough scare appropriate for a child but enough to make an adult question in their mind, “What if that happened to me?” I’d recommend this book for kids who aren’t easily scared and maybe to read during the day.

Going toward the YA genre I’ve always loved the Touch Series by Laurie Faria Stoltz. The first book is called “Deadly Little Secrets”. The series follows 16-year-old Camelia and her romance with a boy with a huge secret. She receives eerie phone calls, threats, and she is hearing voices. There is a paranormal essence to the series. I remember reading this in the middle of the night when I was 14 (I so should have been asleep) and having to put it down because of how spooked I was. This book is a nice balance of typical high school YA but isn’t too young for an adult to enjoy. Aside from movies and literature, I enjoy prancing around Bath and Body Works to find the most fall smelling candle without being overwhelmed by cinnamon. This year’s winner: Cider Lane. It smells like a smoky caramel apple. You won’t regret it.


screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-12-09-08-pmMadison 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 Halloween: Alisa talks Spooky Stories!

countdown-with-bob

Spooky Stories with Alisa

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and each year I try to work in some spooky stories to my reading list.  Here are some I’ve read this year that I thought were really good.  

The Damned by Andrew Pyper

Blurb:  Danny Orchard wrote a bestselling memoir about his near-death experience in a fire that claimed the life of his twin sister, Ashleigh, but despite the resulting fame and fortune he’s never been able to enjoy his second chance at life. Ash won’t let him.

In life, Danny’s charming and magnetic twin had been a budding psychopath who privately terrorized her family—and death hasn’t changed her wicked ways. Ash has haunted Danny for twenty years and now, just when he’s met the love of his life and has a chance at real happiness, she wants more than ever to punish him for being alive—so she sets her sights on Danny’s new wife and stepson. 

Danny knows what Ash really wants is him, and he’s prepared to sacrifice himself in order to save the ones he loves. The question is: will he make it back this time? 

This author has a great storytelling style.  I listened to this on audio and found myself getting increasingly more creeped out as the story went on.  By the 40% mark I had decided I couldn’t listen to it at night time.  Here is a short passage of the MC when he wakes up and thinks he hears something in his house (You know you’ve all done this):

“It held me where I stood beside the bed. Trying to listen to whatever else may have been beyond the door breathing along with me. Waiting. Nothing I could hear but there was something. The thing you imagine when you get up in the middle of the night wakened by what might have been a footfall downstairs but you don’t search for because you’d rather talk yourself into believing it’s not there. Except it IS there. You can feel it in the stillness. A too quiet creature that can hold it’s breath longer than you.” 

The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell by Mira Grant

Blurb:  Outside the classroom walls the Rising was spreading, but inside was a carefully protected sanctuary against the growing threat.

Or so the teachers and students thought.

On what will be the last day in the teaching career of Elaine Oldenburg, she must fight to survive and protect her students when the zombie outbreak shatters the safety of her school.

This is a chilling story set in the Newsflesh world but can be read as a stand alone.  This story follows first grade teacher Elaine on the worst day of her life.  The day that she has to try to save a classroom of children in the middle of an outbreak.  The real horror here is not the zombies as much as the horrible choices people sometimes have to make in the face of crisisThe terror Elaine feels when she realizes the door locks aren’t working and the safety features aren’t working properly jumps off of the page at you. I was listening to this at work and the story felt so real and made my eyes tear up so badly I had to take a short break when I got to the end. 

An excerpt:

She looked around the classroom, taking in the terrified faces and tear-filled eyes, and knew that she had a choice to make.  She could try to calm them, she could try to keep them under control…or she could run.  Her return to the classroom had been automatic, training and habit cutting through the thin veil of panic and forcing her back to the one place she knew she could be safe.  The halls had still been empty when she ran along them, and zombies weren’t good with doorknobs; even if her dimly sensed presence led the inhabitants of the office to break down the door, it would take them time.  She could still run.  She could step back out of the classroom, and she could run.

Emily was hiccupping now, her terror transitioning into misery.  Mikey and Jenna were both crying, her silently, he in great whooping gasps that echoed through the otherwise silent classroom like a heart-beat.  Half of them were still manacled to their chairs, sitting ducks for whatever might come through that door.

Elaine Oldenburg could have run.  But in the end, she was a teacher before she was a survivor, and so all she did was step away from the door, fix a smile on her face, and say, “We’re going to have an adventure.  Won’t that be fun?”

 A Frost of Cares by Amy Rae Durreson

Blurb:  Military historian Luke Alcott leaps at the chance to live in the seventeenth-century country mansion of Eelmoor Hall, home of the Royal Military School of Medicine, after being offered a job cataloging the school’s archives. Luke believes he chose the perfect place to start a new life and put his broken past behind him. But soon after settling into the old house, he hears strange noises—like footsteps—and he begins to suffer from terrible nightmares.

The only person Luke can turn to for help is the taciturn caretaker, Jay, a veteran of the Afghanistan war who carries an old battle wound. Together they try to understand Eelmoor Hall’s history and decipher what could be causing the haunting. As the weather grows colder and snow dusts the countryside, a child goes missing. Luke needs to deal with his own demons and learn to trust in love again if he hopes to face down the angry spirit and find the missing girl.  

This was one of my favorite books this year.  Luke is narrating the story to us and at one point he tells us “This isn’t a ghost story. This is a love story.”  He’s right, there is a really touching love story going on but he’s not being entirely truthful.  The fact that I held my kindle tightly and burrowed against the dog while I read this indicated it was also very much a ghost story.  This is one you may not want to read at night (as I did).

An excerpt:

I woke some time later to the comforting sense of someone asleep on the bed behind me, arm loose across my waist and breathing steady in my ear.  For a moment I thought it was Danny, and then I woke up enough to know better.

“Jay?’ I tried to ask, but only the faintest sound came out.  Yet again I was frozen in my sleep, and I realized suddenly that I could feel wood against my knuckles even though my hands were tucked under the covers.  I made a louder noise, hoping to rouse him.  “Luke?” he said sleepily from the far side of the room.

Behind me, the breathing continued softly, stirring the hairs on the back of my neck.

I tried to scream, and as I did, the fear rose up over me as if I was being buried in ice from the toes up.  My fingers curled up, my pulse quickened, sweat prickled on my shoulders, my back, my brow.  It gripped me so hard I felt like I was convulsing, but I wasn’t.  I was still trapped in stillness, and my scream came out as a thin whistle.”

The first two books are available in audio and I loved both of the narrators.  The last one is unfortunately only available in ebook/print.  (If it ever comes out on audio I’ll be one of the first people to buy it.) Here’s hoping that you find something that catches your eye in our lists of spooky reads and Happy Halloween to all of those who celebrate. 


treeAlisa runs the audio review column, Alisa Listens, at Binge on Books. She loves getting stuff done while she reads which makes audio perfect for her!

You can connect with Alisa on Twitter: @bookgirl0702

 

 

 


 

 

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