Christmas Gift Alert: Soy Literary Candles

Posted December 17, 2018 by Holly in Features | 1 Comment

Way back in 2008, we started a feature called “Christmas Gift Alerts“. This was to give you, our lovely readers, a few ideas about what bookish gifts to tell your loved ones that you would like, what bookish gifts to buy for yourself, or what bookish gifts to buy for that special someone in your life. Unfortunately that feature only lasted one year. Fast forward ten years and bookish things are better than ever. While putting together our Christmas Gift Alerts, we have found that there is no shortage of bookish gifts. So go forth and buy. Buy for yourself or buy for someone else. Just buy!

Literary Candles

Named for the locations in literary classics, these soy candles evoke the book’s most memorable moments.

Available from Uncommon Goods for $16 each with expedited shipping options, so you can easily get them before Christmas.


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Featured Review: My Favorite Half Night Stand by Christina Lauren

Posted December 17, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Featured Review: My Favorite Half Night Stand by Christina LaurenReviewer: Casee, Holly, Rowena
My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

By the New York Times bestselling author who “hilariously depicts modern dating” (Us Weekly), My Favorite Half-Night Stand is a laugh-out-loud romp through online dating and its many, many fails.

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship...but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

Perfect for fans of Roxanne and She’s the Man, Christina Lauren’s latest romantic comedy is full of mistaken identities, hijinks, and a classic love story with a modern twist. Funny and fresh, you’ll want to swipe right on My Favorite Half-Night Stand.

Casee: I listened to this book on audio & the narrators were not very good. I was very disappointed with that part.

I really like the friends to lovers storyline. I loved Reid. I thought he was a fantastic hero. I didn’t really care much for Millie. I understood her hang ups, I really did. They just got old after awhile.

Holly: It’s funny, because I expected to dislike Millie. I thought what she did, the way she catfished her best friend, would kill her character for me. That wasn’t the case, though. I really sympathized with her. I think, in part, because she fully expected him to figure it out in the beginning. She didn’t start it to be malicious or get one over on him. She thought he’d know it was her. I also understood why she created a second profile to begin with.

Rowena: Same. I thought that I would hate the catfishing thing a lot more than I did because it reminded me of the Netflix movie that I watched a few months ago, Sierra Burgess is a Loser, and I freaking hated that movie. I was so happy that I didn’t let my feelings for that movie keep me from reading this book because Millie was no Sierra and I really enjoyed seeing her and Reid fall in love.

Millie was such a likable character and from the jump, I liked her. She was so normal and so funny that I just fell in with whatever she had going on. I didn’t agree with how long she kept the catfishing going and I also wanted to smack some sense into her when she thought she’d keep the whole thing from Reid forever but man did I like the way that she redeemed herself to Reid. She was just great.

Casee: I also agree about Molly not having malicious intentions with her second profile. I completely understood why she created it, but I really thought it went on too long. I disagreed with her decision to keep it from Reid at the end. Especially when it was Millie that wanted to tell him the truth.

Holly: I do think it went on longer than it should have, and I didn’t agree with her choice to act like it never happened, but I couldn’t not like her. She was so real and down to earth. She reminded me of us. She could have been any one of us.

Casee: What was hard for me was that she was so unavailable. How did Reid like her that much when she never shared anything personal? That didn’t make sense to me.

Holly: See, I thought her being emotionally unavailable was explained well by her childhood and the way her father was. After the death of her mother, she was praised for keeping her thoughts and feelings to herself, and basically stonewalled by her dad any time she tried to talk about her feelings. She chose to put a “happy” front on, then got to the point where she just couldn’t open up. It made me sad for her in the end.

I also kind of liked the role reversal. How often do we read romance novels where the hero is closed off and refuses to share anything personal? I thought it was great that it was the heroine this time around.

View Spoiler »
 

Rowena: I did like Reid’s family and was super glad that his sister Rayme got her man because I was low key waiting for Chris to open his damn eyes. Ed and his boo were cute too.

Holly: Man, my heart broke for poor Reid when he found out. To lose his best friends and the woman he loved all at once? I felt for the guy. I really liked Reid all the way around. He was a stand-up guy.

Rowena: I also adored all of the boys. They all had me cracking up.

Holly: I loved all the group messages between the friends. Hilarious.

Casee: I loved the group dynamic when they were all together. The instant IM’s cracked me up.

Rowena: Another thing that I really liked about this book and with this writing duo is that this is a standalone romance. Everything was wrapped up in this book and there weren’t any loose ends, no teasers for books for the other characters in this book, just a straight up romance all in one book. I dug it.

Holly: I also liked that this was a standalone romance (a real one this time).

Casee: I was super happy that this ended up being a stand-alone. Not too many authors do this these days and I really appreciated it.

Final Grades

Casee: 3.5 out of 5
Holly: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Dare to Love a Duke by Eva Leigh

Posted December 16, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 5 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Dare to Love a Duke is the third book in Eva Leigh’s London Underground series. It features Thomas Powell, the new Duke of Northfield and Lucia, the owner of the Orchid Club, also known as Amina. This story looks pretty good with secret identities and masked Dukes in secret clubs.

We’re pleased to be featuring an excerpt from this book so read on to check it out…

Sunday Spotlight: Dare to Love a Duke by Eva LeighDare to Love a Duke (The London Underground, #3) by Eva Leigh
Series: The London Underground #3
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: December 24, 2018
Format: eBook
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

For a dashing duke and the proprietress of a secret, sensual club in the London Underground, passion could lead to love… if they dare

Thomas Powell, the new Duke of Northfield, knows he should be proper and principled, like his father. No more dueling, or carousing, or frequenting masked parties where Londoners indulge their wildest desires. But he’s not ready to give up his freedom just yet. The club is an escape, a place where he can forget about society and the weight of his title… and see her, the woman he’s wanted forever.

Lucia—known as Amina—manages the Orchid Club, a secret society where fantasies become reality. But for Lucia, it’s strictly business, profitable enough to finance her dream: a home for the lost girls of the streets. Surrounded by lovers, she only observes, unwilling risk her future for any man. No member has ever intrigued her...until him, the masked stranger whose heated looks sear her skin. After months of suppressed longing, they dare to give in to temptation…

But the late duke’s legacy comes with a shocking secret, and the scandal threatens to destroy everything Tom loves… his family, the Orchid Club, and even Lucia.

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || GOOGLE BOOKS || KOBO

Excerpt

Tom took a glass of wine from a passing footman, then sipped as he surveyed the room. He took his usual place by the window. The moment a woman in a red dress began approaching him, he moved on. Over the course of the year, he’d fielded many offers of sex from interested parties, but he’d never accepted. That wasn’t why he came to the Orchid Club.

He crossed the threshold of the ballroom. This was where he’d first met Amina, a night he’d never forgotten. As always, the notes of a waltz drifted from the musicians as the guests on the dance floor surrendered to the seductive air of unfiltered desire. This was not sanctioned London. It was the secret, dark side. The place where people of all walks of life came for release, to cavort and be free.

He sensed a charge like unheard music, a subtle threading of awareness moving invisibly through his
body. Despite being engaged in watching the unfolding action, Tom became conscious of a new presence
in the room.

Amina had arrived.

She glided through the chamber, calm and assured, a small, unreadable smile playing about her lips as she stopped to chat with guests, making certain they had everything they needed. Tonight, her mask was emerald green, embroidered all over with gold thread and tiny pearls. The mask matched her richly hued gown, which hugged her curved body.

Tonight, her thick black hair was pinned up, though small brilliants seemed to twinkle in the dark waves. But it could have been his imagination. For surely whenever she was near, he had eyes for no one but her.

Riveted, Tom watched her glide through the ballroom, expertly weaving through the crowd. She kept that slightly removed smile on her face as she talked with the celebrants. Occasionally, she waved over a servant to provide more refreshments to the guests.

She checked with the musicians and adjusted the position of a candelabra on a table. This is my realm, she seemed to silently declare. The ruler of Bloomsbury. The empress of the Orchid Club. Regal and confident, her head held high, her shoulders back.

She caught sight of him, and he straightened to his fullest height. A thrum of excitement pulsed through him, all the way to his bones, as she approached. The lingering clouds of his unease lifted the nearer she came. This close, he could see the deep brown of her eyes shining behind her disguise. Her pupils were large, fathomless.

“Rogue,” Amina said when she stood before him.

“You chide me baselessly.” His heart took up double time to have her so close and to hear her low, throaty voice again. Every now and again, he caught a hint of an unknown accent in her words, yet he could never ask after her origins.

She had to be from somewhere warm, a place where, beneath a gleaming sun, dark-eyed beauties felt temperate breezes caress their tawny skin. The thought of all Amina’s flesh bared to the sunlight
made his mouth water.

“I’m not a capricious creature,” she said crisply. “I do nothing without reason.”

“If you are my judge, I’m entitled to know the offense for which I am accused.”

She clicked her tongue. “Even worse that you don’t know.” At his mystified silence, she explained, “Six weeks. It’s been six weeks since I’ve last seen you within these chambers. I thought you’d enlisted or run off to Argentina.”

He smiled to himself. “You think me an adventurer?”

“I think you dreadfully rude to have disappeared,” she said coolly.

He bowed. “Family obligations, unfortunately, have kept me away.”

A corner of her mouth lifted. “I forget, sometimes, that people have families.”

Despite her wry smile, a note of melancholy tinged her voice, making him contemplate her kin. Did she
have any, and did they know what she did to earn her bread?

Then, she said more lightly, “You’re here now. That’s all that matters.”

“Thinking of this night has been a balm to me these past weeks,” he said candidly. There was no need to dissemble or tell flattering half-truths. Not here. Not with her.

“If you’ve been troubled, I am sorry for it.” Sincerity firmed her words. Perhaps he was, to her, more than another masked guest, something beyond a means to keep a roof over her head. God knew she held greater significance to him than her role as manager of this establishment.

He bowed. “I’ll find my way through my difficulties.” Or so he hoped. Every step put him deeper and
deeper into unknown, perilous territory. “Good,” she said. “It would pain me to think of you
in distress.”

The London Underground

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: December 2018

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!


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WTF Christmas Cover Saturday (290)

Posted December 15, 2018 by Casee in Features | 1 Comment

Lets be honest with each other here. This has to be the creepiest, pedo looking Santa I’ve ever seen in my 29 years on this earth.

Moving onto the woman. Her boobs are totally lopsided and she’s getting strangled by Christmas lights. Obviously she’s not on the nice list this year. Seriously though. This Santa looks creepy enough to strangle someone.

I Was Santa's Secret Lover by Dixie Swallow


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What Are You Reading? (+ Manda Collins Giveaway)

Posted December 14, 2018 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 8 Comments

WAYR-New

Casee: Not much has changed for me from last week. I’m still reading Too Far Gone by Christy Reece. I have had more time in the last two days to read than I’ve had in the past week. I’m almost finished with the book. It’s enjoyable, but predictable. Which is saying something coming from me. The next book I’m going to pick up is Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts. It’s the second book in her Chronicles of the One series. I’m curious to see where this series heads.

I DNF’ed Worth the Fight by Vi Keeland because the narrators were simply awful. I still might read it because there is a possibility that it may be good without the narrators. I started Hard Hitter by Sarina Bowen this morning on the way to work, which is book two in the Brooklyn Bruisers series. I’m already loving it and I don’t think I’ve listened to an entire chapter yet.

Holly: My reading has dropped off considerably this week. I ended up DNF’ing Jaxson (Riverwise Private Security #1) by Alisa Woods. I liked the premise, but the characters did a lot of things that didn’t make sense. Plus, the hero smirked a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. It was annoying. I might try to read it someday, rather than listening to the audio, but for now I set it aside. I listened to Never Enough by Lauren Dane but it basically took me the entire week. Things have just been crazy.

I’m currently listening to Feral Sins by Suzanne Wright. I read this years ago, but after a few books I lost track of the series. I wanted to catch up, but I felt like I needed a refresher first. I’m really enjoying the narration.

Rowena: Just like every year, my reading in December takes a hike. I read just one book this week and I read that because I had to get it read for book club tonight. When I first started the book, Hawke’s personality and the way that he talked to Gwen infuriated me. I didn’t care what happened in his past to make him the way that he was, I didn’t think it was okay to do ALL of the things that he did and said to Gwen. In the end, I didn’t HATE him but I didn’t exactly love him either. I felt his pain but still…the overall book was problematic as hell for me too. But yeah, that was the book I read this week. Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley. What did you guys read?

Giveaway Alert

We are very fortunate here at Book Binge. We have loads and loads of books to read and we want to share the wealth so each week, we’ll be tacking on a Freebie Friday giveaway to our What Are You Reading posts. This week, we’re giving away…

What Are You Reading? (+ Manda Collins Giveaway)Wallflower Most Wanted (Studies in Scandal, #3) by Manda Collins
Series: Studies in Scandal #3
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Format: Print
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Pages: 307
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

THE PICTURE OF ROMANCE

A dedicated painter, Miss Sophia Hastings is far more concerned with finding the right slant of light than in finding Mr. Right. But when an overhead conversation hints at danger for another local artist, Sophia is determined to get involved. Even it means accepting help from an impossibly good-looking vicar who insists on joining her investigation—and threatens to capture her heart…

Reverend Lord Benedick Lisle knows that Sophia is no damsel in distress. But he won’t allow her to venture into peril alone, either. . .especially since he finds Sophia’s curious, free-spirited nature so alluring. But protecting her from harm is becoming more difficult than the vicar could have expected as he and Sophia confront their fiery mutual passion. Who could have known that the art of love would prove so irresistible?

 

What Are You Reading: Wallflower Most Wanted by Manda Collins
What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!


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