Author: Book Binge Guest Blogger

Retro-Guest Review: When A Stranger Loves me by Julianne MacLean

Posted September 27, 2017 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 2 Comments

Retro-Guest Review: When A Stranger Loves me by Julianne MacLeanReviewer: Brie
When a Stranger Loves Me (Pembroke Palace, #3) by Julianne MacLean
Series: Pembroke Palace #3
Published by Avon
Publication Date: January 27th 2009
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

I saved his life . . . and I had much to demand in return.

When he washed up on shore, I knew my prayers had been answered, and that I, Lady Chelsea Campion, need no longer fear poverty and heartbreak. To secure my family's estate, all I needed was a child. Handsome, clearly noble-born, and with no memory of his previous life, the mysterious man was perfect. All I had to do was visit his bedchamber and seduce him. I had expected him to be a skillful, scandalously wonderful lover, but once in his arms I was overcome by something more than mere passion. I had fallen hopelessly, desperately in love.

My plan has gone shockingly awry. But I will not give up a man who makes me feel such wicked ecstasy. No matter his true identity, no matter the secrets he struggles to remember, I will do anything in this world to make this stranger love me.

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

Holly: We’ve been blessed to have some pretty amazing guest reviewers over the years. From readers to other bloggers to authors and industry professionals, we’ve seen some lovely talent here.

This review was originally published on May 7, 2009

Scandalized years prior, Lady Chelsea Campion lives a life of exile on the Jersey Isles with her family. Since her brother and sister in law have been unable to create an heir to save the Earldom, Chelsea’s overbearing mother is eager to have her married off to a distant and cousin whom Chelsea does not want, but is the only man who will have a “ruined” woman. One day while walking along the beach, Chelsea comes across an injured man lying lifeless in a cave. She goes for help and the man is brought back to the family’s estate where the stranger is nursed back to health. When the stranger comes to, he has no memory of who he is, therefore, Chelsea has no way to return him back to his family.

The stranger’s extended stay does open up an opportunity for Chelsea. Not only does he incite her passion, but he seems to be the answer to her families biggest problem. Chelsea devises a plan with her brother and his wife to become pregnant by the stranger, whom she calls Jack, and then let them pass the baby off as their own. That way, Chelsea is saved from marriage to a man she doesn’t want and the Earldom remains in the family. Jack and Chelsea embark on a passionate affair until she realizes that she’s falling for him and no longer wants to keep up the charade. But before Chelsea can reveal the truth to Jack, he finds out on his own about Chelsea’s plans and in enraged. Then his brother arrives, sharing the news that “Jack” is really Blake and he is from a family of nobility and must go back to England at once.

By this point, Blake has become attached to Chelsea and even though he is beyond angry with her devious plans, he knows that she might be carrying his child so he demands that she come along. Chelsea goes, because she is in love with Blake even though he has made it clear that he wants nothing to do with her further than the child that she might be carrying. Still, all of Blake’s posturing can’t keep him from longing for Chelsea and what they shared on the Isles. But they soon find out that neither of their feelings for the other really matter because their is something from Blake’s past that promises to keep them apart, no matter how bad they want to be together.

I can’t say that I enjoyed When a Stranger Loves Me. The plot is more than a little outlandish and because of that I had a hard time getting into the story. Chelsea’s plan that she comes up with her brother and sister in law, was just plain silly. I had to wonder what kind of brother that claims to care for his sister would agree to letting her sleep with a man just so that he can pass the baby off as his. The relationship that Chelsea had with her mother was another low point. It was clear that her mother cared more about herself than anyone else, and even the so called “resolution” that they came to in the end rang false. The first half of the book was very unengaging, and the only saving grace was the second half, after Blake’s family finds him, and that was only because Chelsea took a back seat and Blake was able to shine. For my first Julianne MacLean book, this was a disappointment, but there is always next time.

3.5 out of 5

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here.

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: To Hear the Ocean Sigh by Bryant Loney

Posted October 22, 2015 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: To Hear the Ocean Sigh by Bryant LoneyReviewer: Tina
To Hear the Ocean Sigh by Bryant Loney

Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Jay Murchison believes he is a nobody at his high school in Oklahoma. Coming from a conservative family of affordable luxury, Jay has an overwhelming desire to become something great. After a mysterious girl named Saphnie in North Carolina mistakenly texts him, an unlikely relationship develops that affects Jay’s self-perception and influences the rest of his sophomore year. This correspondence leads him to a group of thrill-seekers who provide a grand departure from the quiet life Jay is familiar with and eye-opening experiences to witness first-hand the truth behind the loose morals his fellow classmates have come to know.

In a story filled with injustice, hope, hatred, love, grief, and understanding, readers will ask themselves what it truly means to hear the ocean sigh and learn of the dire consequences that come with its responsibilities.

Tina’s review of To Hear the Ocean Sigh by Bryant Loney.

First of all I have to say that in the past couple years I have read many Young Adult novels. I got started when my small-town library started running out of books for me to read. One day when coming up pretty empty-handed, the librarian suggested I try a couple YA books. I told her that I really didn’t have any desire to read books revolving around teenagers and all their drama, as I am a parent of a teenager myself and really don’t need to read about it – I LIVE it on a daily basis. Anyway, she talked me into trying a few, and I have to say that I have never looked back from that day. These books are nothing like I expected. Most of the ones I have read are beautifully written, poignant tales that stick in your head. I have discovered some amazing writers this way and I am glad that I gave the genre a chance as I would’ve missed out on a lot of great books.

To Hear The Ocean Sigh by Bryant Loney is my most recent read. I received an ebook copy in exchange for a review on The Book Binge, a blog where I am a guest reviewer. First, I would like to say that I liked how the author told the story with text messages and social media posts of all the characters. With this being such a big deal with every kid on the planet these days, I felt like this added to the whole reading experience, making it so much more appealing to the age group it is written about.

The main character Jay is basically your typical high school sophomore. He’s not a popular kid, doesn’t have a lot of friends, he’s not a trouble-maker, a brainiac or a jock. He is pretty much cruising through his high school experience like the rest of us did – below the radar. Jay finally gets a cell phone for his 16th birthday and is looking forward to being “connected” with other kids his age. One day he gets a random text sent by mistake from a girl named Saphnie who he doesn’t know. After he texts back to her explaining that he just got the phone and didn’t really have anyone to talk to, the two develop an unlikely friendship through their messages to each other. Jay begins to look forward to the texts he receives from Saphnie, and she becomes someone he relies on for not only her thoughts on life in general, but also her taste in literature and music as well. I felt that she gave him courage to break out of his rut and try things from a different perspective. He finally acquires some friends and starts to have a typical teenage life. Life seems to be looking up for our main character.

Now here is where it gets a little slow for me. I found myself having some trouble keeping myself engaged in the story at this point. I felt there was a lot of descriptive stuff that I was wading through that I could’ve done without. I got a little bored a couple times and would have to lay my tablet down for awhile. Now this doesn’t mean that I didn’t like the writing. This is Mr Loney’s first book after all, and he does a fine job. I just found myself becoming stalled in a couple of spots – it could just be me.

I have to also be honest at this point and admit that I really thought that I had the whole thing figured out by about the 5th chapter. Our little underdog was going to meet his female “texting buddy”, they would fall in love and live happily ever after. (Spoiler Alert) Well……that doesn’t happen. I got it all wrong. This is the point where it starts getting interesting. The story makes a sharp turn at this point and I am once again hooked.

The ending of To Hear The Ocean Sigh totally blew me away. Bravo to Mr Loney for bringing it home in the best way possible. You deserve serious kudo’s for that. This story covered so many different issues that all teens have dealt with for years. It doesn’t matter if you graduated in 1981 or 2014 – things really haven’t changed all that much. Every high school has a Jay Murchison. My school did and so will yours – it’s a given. I really enjoyed being able to experience this impressive coming-of-age story through the eyes of Jay. It was real and raw and honest.

I would like to thank the publisher as well as the author for giving me the chance to review this book. I think Bryant Loney has great potential and will appeal to readers who enjoy similar books by authors like John Green, Sarah Dessen, etc.

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

Posted July 27, 2015 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

the bourbon kings
Chrystal‘s review of The Bourbon Kings (The Bourbon Kings, Book 1) by J.R. Ward

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal….

For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.

J.R. Ward is known for writing paranormal novels set in worlds that are all their own, and she is good at it. So when I first picked up The Bourbon Kings, I was a little skeptical. It’s a contemporary romance set on a Kentucky Bourbon Makers property. I never in a million years thought I would enjoy a book so much!

Bradford Bourbon Company (BBC) is the largest and most successful Bourbon distillery this side of the Mason-Dixon line. And when you’re a member of Kentucky’s most successful bourbon family, well things can get a little crazy. Lane Baldwine is the second eldest son of William Baldwine and Virginia Bradford Baldwine. After getting a call that “his mama” was dying, Lane drops everything to fly to a home he hadn’t been to in two years. That’s where he runs into Lizzy King, his family’s head horticulturalist and his former lover. But she’s not the only female he runs into. Chantal Baldwine, Lane’s wife, is also there.

When money and liquor are involved drama is bound to happen.

Lane’s father gets the most joy when he sees his children suffer. Lane’s mother, Virginia, is heavily medicated and bed ridden. Lane’s siblings are no better. Edward, the eldest, is a recluse and a physical and mental mess after surviving a horrific kidnapping in South America. Virginia (Gin) has so many self-esteem and daddy issues, she sleeps with anything that has a cock. Maxwell, the youngest of the Baldwine boys, has gone off the grid, and no one knows where to find him. After some sketchy moves by Lane’s father, Lane and Edward discover the giant skeleton in the family closet. Lanes father has financially ruined the family. He was running the BBC into the ground.

After having his wretched wife served divorce papers, Lane tries to rekindle the romance he let go two years before with Lizzy.
Lane will do whatever it takes to win Lizzy back and save his family legacy.

In short, this family is a hot mess; a hot sexy mess that you can’t wait to dive into.

Ward’s many-faceted characters are so well written. They’re easy to relate to. I found myself thinking many times ‘I know someone like that’.  I wanted to be friends with Lane and Lizzy. Shoot, I wanted to be them! Even Chantal Baldwine, by the end of the book,I almost felt pity for. I could see her misery and a part of me wanted to pity her and try to understand why she is the way she is. I felt their pain as they experienced it, and wanted to yell at them when they were being idiotic. Ward has a knack for writing her characters to feel so real, so alive. I love that about her work.

My favorite character though, is Gin. She’s fantastic! She isn’t perfect. She has real insecurities, real issues. She’ll give up everything, even herself, to save her family. I felt like I knew what she is going through. Almost as if I’d walked in her shoes.

We have yet to meet Max, and I’m still holding out hope for Virginia coming around to help pick up the pieces of her broken family.
It wouldn’t be a J.R. Ward novel without the wonderful pop culture references that remind us what time period we are in. And as she mentions many times, this is a modern day Sabrina, without the happy ending.

I love how the world she builds is tangible. As a reader, I felt as though I could buy a plane ticket and travel to these places and be there with the characters, in the moment.

By the time I finished The Bourbon Kings, I wanted to go to the store just to see if I could find a bottle of Bradford Bourbon Company’s No. 15. J.R. Ward brought fantasy to reality with The Bourbon Kings. I would have to say this is possibly the best book she has written. I can’t wait for the next one!

5 out of 5

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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Guest Review: Captivated by You by Sylvia Day

Posted December 24, 2014 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

captivated by you by sylvia dayChrystal‘s review of Captivated by You (Crossfire, Book 4) by Sylvia Day

Gideon calls me his angel, but he’s the miracle in my life. My gorgeous, wounded warrior, so determined to slay my demons while refusing to face his own.

The vows we’d exchanged should have bound us tighter than blood and flesh. Instead they opened old wounds, exposed pain and insecurities, and lured bitter enemies out of the shadows. I felt him slipping from my grasp, my greatest fears becoming my reality, my love tested in ways I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to bear.

At the brightest time in our lives, the darkness of his past encroached and threatened everything we’d worked so hard for. We faced a terrible choice: the familiar safety of the lives we’d had before each other or the fight for a future that suddenly seemed an impossible and hopeless dream….

Captivated by you is the fourth book in the Crossfire series by Sylvia Day. It is an aptly named book as both Gideon Cross and Eva Tramell have held us captivated from the beginning of Bared to You, the first book in the series.

It picks up not far from where Entwined with You left off, but…. from Gideon’s point of view!  Can we pause for a fan girl squee?! We’ve all wanted into the head of that mega mogul super hottie since we first read about him. How he made Eva melt right then and there in the lobby of the Crossfire Building!

Well, inside that head is a past as dark as the gorgeous hair that crowns it. One thing I absolutely love about this book was that we were able to get into Gideon. His fears and pains were opened up to us. Not just through the eyes of Eva but through his own thoughts and fears; His needs and wants.

Sylvia Day also kept a good balance when jumping from Eva to Gideon. We were able to feel with her as she picked up the pieces of Gideon after he confessed everything to his stepfather.  Our hearts broke right along with hers.There isn’t much more I can say without giving away all the wonderful details, but I can say this:

Sylvia Day is an amazing author. She is talented in ways not many writers are.

She has an ability to make a person feel. To take some of the most taboo subjects, pains and experiences most people try not to even think about, and write them. She gives hope for people who feel so damaged they don’t believe there’s someone out there for them. She let’s us all know and believe there is someone to slay our dragons. There will always be someone to help us fight our demons and chase away the darkness.

I loved everything about this book and can not wait to read the next one!

5 out of 5

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it from here or here in e-format.


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Guest Review: Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha Young

Posted November 5, 2014 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha YoungNatasha’s review of Echoes of Scotland Street (On Dublin Street #5) by Samantha Young.

Shannon MacLeod has always gone for the wrong type of man. After she drifted from one toxic relationship to the next, her last boyfriend gave her a wakeup call in the worst possible way. With her world shattered, she’s sworn off men—especially those of the bad-boy variety.

Cole Walker is exactly the sort that Shannon wants to avoid—gorgeous, tattooed, charming, and cocky. But his rough exterior hides a good man who’s ready to find “the one.” He’s determined to pull Shannon from her self-imposed solitude and win her heart.

As Shannon opens up in the face of Cole’s steady devotion, the passion between them ignites to blazing levels. But when Shannon’s past comes back to haunt her, her fears may destroy the trust Cole has built between them—and tear them apart for good…

Oh boy, Samantha Young has done it again! Echoes of Scotland is the fifth book of her On Dublin Street series and this may be my favorite so far. Going into this I was already jumping up and down for joy knowing this was about Cole and hopefully his happily-ever-after ending. When Cole was first introduced into this series, it was during Jo (his older sister) and Cam’s (his now brother-in-law) book. Jo basically raised Cole because there was no father in the picture and their mother was nothing but an abusive alcoholic drunk. And of course, because Jo loves her brother to no end, had to hook up with older men with lots of money to help support herself and her brother but all that came to an end when Cam came into the picture. This kinda gives you an idea of what Cole’s upbringing was like. He may have had the unconditional love of his sister, his brother-in-law and some close family friends, that still could not mask the unwanted feeling he received from his own mother. Who would be the one to capture the heart of this sexy man?

Shannon MacLeod would be this lucky woman but she fights it every step of the way. I love Shannon! Her description that of a “wee fairy” with her too red auburn thick wavy hair and less than average height and of course her spunky attitude made for the perfect companion. One of my favorite parts of the book is the Prologue where Cole and Shannon first meet as young fifteen year olds. They were so cute and innocent and everything around them seemed to fade away until that stinkin’ horn ruined the moment. I believe Shannon said it best when describing that first meet between those two, “I felt like fate had just handed me two cups and I’d stupidly drunk from the wrong one”.

Well its been nine years since that day and fate would have it that they should meet up once again. Neither Cole nor Shannon is the same young innocent fifteen year old from that day. Each have gone through their own experiences that have shaped who they are and the way they live today. With that being said, it seriously frustrated me that Shannon kept fighting tooth and nails to keep her distance from Cole. Okay, so what if he appeared to be the epitome of everything she just promised herself to stay away from but how can you deny this magical connection you feel with this man? I mean sheesh, at least give him a try. I’m not saying to jump his bones right then and there but try to start off some kind of a friendship. Not come off as some snotty stuck up biyotch!! If she had just given it some time to get to know Cole, she would have found out that he wasn’t anything like those losers she dated who took advantage of her. She seriously was a magnet for some sorry ass excuse for a boyfriend. I mean don’t get me wrong, I get Shannon was burned really bad by these loser boyfriends of hers but it ticked me off that Cole was getting treated this way because of their mistakes. Cole did not deserve that, especially coming from some receptionist they just hired. Hell, she knew nothing of him nor did he know anything about her. It was a wonder they were able to have a civilized conversation but that was only after she finally apologized.

This was such a great read and a totally unexpected pleasure to revisit some of the characters from her earlier books. It was an even better treat to meet some of these fabulous new characters that really made this book so great! Thank you Ms. Samantha Young for letting me escape my reality and be a part of your On Dublin Street world. I feel like I know all these characters as if we were long time homies. Until the next book, I’m out!

Rating: 5 out of 5

This title is available from NAL.  You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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