Author: Holly

Throwback Thursday Review: Unclaimed by Courtney Milan

Posted March 22, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Unclaimed by Courtney MilanReviewer: Holly
Unclaimed (Turner, #2) by Courtney Milan
Series: Turner #2
Published by HQN Books
Publication Date: September 20th 2011
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 422
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Her only hope for survival...

Handsome, wealthy and respected, Sir Mark Turner is the most sought-after bachelor in all of London and he's known far and wide for his irreproachable character. But behind his virtuous reputation lies a passionate nature he keeps carefully in check...until he meets the beautiful Jessica Farleigh, the woman he's waited for all his life.

Is to ruin the man she loves...

But Jessica is a courtesan, not the genteel lady Sir Mark believes. Desperate to be free of a life she despises, she seizes her chance when Mark's enemies make her an offer she can't refuse--seduce Mark and tarnish his good name, and a princely sum will be hers. Yet as she comes to know the man she's sworn to destroy, Jessica will be forced to choose between the future she needs and the love she knows is impossible.

Every Thursday in 2018 we will be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally published on September 28, 2011.

I considered not finishing this book when, more than halfway through, the heroine was still being dishonest about her motives and intentions with the hero. While I’m glad I finished it, I find her actions – both before he learned of her deceit and after – tarnished the story.

Jessica is a courtesan that can’t stand to be touched by men. She needs money to start over somewhere else and the only way she can get it is by ruining the most popular man in England. Mark Turner is supposed to be chaste, but Jessica knows all men have a price. She just has to find his. If she can, she’ll receive enough money from her former protector to start a quiet life elsewhere.

Mark needs a break from the pressure of London and the hordes of adoring fans, so he retires to the country. Which is where he meets the widow Jessica Farleigh. Mark isn’t just chaste – he’s trying to live a chaste lifestyle. That means doing the right thing because it’s right, not because it’s fashionable. He isn’t a hypocrite. He has needs and desires the same as every other man. He’s just chosen not to act on them..because to do so wouldn’t be fair to either himself or the lady in question.

Jessica is wounded. Her life hasn’t been what she expected it would be and things have only gone from bad to worse. She needs an out, and for a woman in her position life doesn’t offer many. I understood that. But I had a hard time connecting with her. Part of the problem is my own hang-up. I can’t stand it when a character keeps a massive secret from his/her counterpart for the entire book. Especially when it’s something that will cause the other person pain. Since Jessica did this – even having good reasons for doing so – I had a really hard time forgiving her.

Aside from that, I truly enjoyed her personal journey. She needed to learn to like herself. It wasn’t always easy, but with Mark’s help she was able to recognize her own worth. I found this personal aspect of her story fascinating.

Mark was..well, honestly, Mark was close to perfect. He wasn’t just pretending to be a chaste man. He wasn’t just pretending to want to do the right thing. He was a flawed man willing to own his mistakes and shortcomings, and to try to overcome them. It wasn’t that he wasn’t flawed, because he was, but he accepted his flaws.

This was a well written historical romance that deals very well with the personal journey of the heroine. But I found it somewhat lacking in the romance. Not that I didn’t believe in the HEA, but I wasn’t invested in them as a couple so much as I was curious about them as individuals.

The romance world needs more heroes like Sir Mark Turner.

3.75 out of 5

e=UTF8&tag=boobin-20&link_code=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969″ target=”_blank”>here or here in e-format.


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Lightning Guest Review: The Chosen by Thea Harrison

Posted March 22, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Guest Review: The Chosen by Thea HarrisonReviewer: Tracy
The Chosen: A Novella of the Elder Races by Thea Harrison
Series: Elder Races #9.7
Also in this series: Lord's Fall, Pia Saves the Day & Peanut Goes to School, Dragos Takes a Holiday, Night's Honor, Night's Honor, Dragon Bound, Midnight's Kiss, Midnight's Kiss, Dragos Goes to Washington, Shadow's End, Pia Does Hollywood, Liam Takes Manhattan, Pia Does Hollywood
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: March 19th 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 176
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

From New York Times bestselling author Thea Harrison

A Wolf on the hunt... Wulfgar Hahn, better known as the Wolf of Braugne, is a man on a mission. Determined to avenge the murder of his brother, he stops at Camaeline Abbey to meet with the Chosen of Camael, goddess of the Hearth. Unfortunately, it appears the Chosen wants nothing to do with him.

A leader in disguise... Captivated by the Wolf of Braugne despite herself, Lily poses as an unassuming priestess in order to learn more about this ruthless man. But things are not as they seem, and after foiling an assassination attempt, Lily must decide if Wulf is the destroyer from her visions, or the hero of her dreams.

A choice to be made... As war looms on the horizon, passion sparks between them, but an enduring relationship between a soldier on the march and a leader who reveres hearth and home is impossible—or is it? Among the swirling snows of the winter Masque, the gods and goddesses of the Elder Races dance, and love will find a way..

The Chosen is the single title release of the novella that was previously published in the holiday anthology AMID THE WINTER SNOW in December, 2017.

This review was originally published in the Amid the Winter Snow anthology review. We’ll pulled it out and are publishing it as a standalone to celebrate the single title release of The Chosen.

This story takes place in the same world as the Elder Races but in one of the parallel magical universes. The Goddess has a Chosen one and she has prophetic dreams. She sees violence coming to her country and she’s not sure who she can trust among the warring men. One man, makes his way into her heart and helps her grow as a Chosen.

I really love Harrison’s Elder Races novels and this was a lovely glimpse into the more magical places in that world. I really loved both the hero and heroine in this story – I just wish it was longer! Lol I was totally into it and then it ended. sigh

4 out of 5


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Sunday Spotlight: The Darkest Promise by Gena Showalter

Posted March 18, 2018 by Holly 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

To celebrate the mass market paperback release of The Darkest Promise, we have a short excerpt for you.

Sunday Spotlight: The Darkest Promise by Gena ShowalterThe Darkest Promise by Gena Showalter
Series: Lords of the Underworld #13
Also in this series: The Darkest Torment, The Darkest Promise (Lords of the Underworld, #13)
Published by Hqn
Publication Date: March 27th 2018
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

New York Times
bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with a sizzling Lords of the Underworld story about an iron-willed sovereign and the somber beauty who melts him with a glance

Possessed by the demon of Misery, Cameo isn't allowed to experience joy. If she dares, her memory is wiped clean. With no other recourse, she sneaks into a land more fantastical than any fairy tale, determined to find the one man with the key to her redemption.

Lazarus the Cruel and Unusual rules his kingdom with a single unwavering focus: to build his army and annihilate his enemies. Nothing distracts him - until Cameo. He is relentless in his quest to make her smile and seduce her into his bed.

As dark forces conspire against them, threatening to destroy the fragile bond they've forged, the once-calm Lazarus grows crazed. Every heart-stopping kiss and wicked touch causes Cameo to teeter on the brink of happiness. But if she falls, she risks forgetting him forever

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“Don’t try to stay ten moves ahead of your opponent. Stay behind him with a knife.”
—Excerpted from Becoming the King You Are Meant to Be, a work in progress by Lazarus the Cruel and Unusual

LIKE ALICE ON HER WAY TO WONDERLAND, CAMEO, host to the demon of Misery, tumbled end over end down a long, dark cavern. When the bottom finally appeared, she braced for impact…only to slip through a glistening portal. The cavern walls vanished, and she spilled from a midnight sky—straight into a new realm.

Never should have touched the Paring Rod. One brush of her fingertips against the pretty glass bulb that tipped its handle, and the ancient artifact had opened a door between the physical and spirit world. Voilà! In a blink, her descent had begun.
As she plunged toward a flat clearing, she braced for impact…

Cameo smacked into the ground. A scream split her lips, her brain banging against her skull, her lungs emptying and multiple bones shattering all at once.

Agony seared her, black dots weaving through her vision. Warmth drained from her hands and feet, collecting in her torso. Her body was in shock.

Hours passed before she gained the strength to roll to her side, her wrecked heart tap-dancing a wild rhythm against broken ribs. Her head swam but thankfully her pain ebbed. Able to breathe again, she noted the sweet scent of ambrosia—the drug of choice for immortals—hung heavy in the air. She almost laughed. For once, lady luck had been on her side. If you had to crash-land, what better place than an ambrosia field?

She drifted in and out of consciousness, the passage of time evidenced by the healing of her injuries and the shift from dark to light. When a beam of sun stroked her, blistering her pale skin, she finally woke for good.

Her nose crinkled as she inhaled. The scent of ambrosia had been replaced by burnt foliage. Where had she landed? Hell? The sun blazed so hot it had scorched sections of land.

Cameo crawled into a shadowed haven, exhaling with relief when her skin cooled. She scanned the lavender sky with its pale green clouds then looked over an unfamiliar forest filled with towering pink trees and plots of azure grass.

Oookay. This is new. A forest fit for a storybook princess. Too bad Cameo was the villain of the tale. Browniebitch and the Twelve Immortals. For her and her family of demon-possessed warriors, nothing had ever been just right.

Cold fingers of dread crept down her spine as a butterfly the size of her fist fluttered past her. Over the centuries, the wretched insects had become an omen. Death and destruction await…

The heavy weight of depression settled on her shoulders, and she wallowed about the travesty of her life.

Lost so much already. All because she’d made one teeny tiny mistake when she’d lived in Mount Olympus.

That mistake? Helping her friends steal and open Pandora’s box. An appropriate punishment would have been a hand amputation or two. Maybe a few hundred years in the slammer. Instead, she was forced to play host to the demon of Misery for eternity, free will a thing of the past.

To commemorate the occasion, a butterfly tattoo had appeared on her lower back.
The beginning of the end.

Lords of the Underworld

Giveaway Alert

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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!

Gena Showalter


Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld, Otherworld Assassins, and Angels of the Dark series, as well as two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine. She was interviewed on Nightline and has been mentioned in Orange is the New Black. Her books have been translated in multiple languages.

She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees.

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WTF Cover Saturday (253)

Posted March 17, 2018 by Holly in Features | 4 Comments


Happy St. Patrick’s Day, y’all! To celebrate I’ve got a great St. Patrick’s Day themed cover for you. You’re welcome.

I found this bad boy while browsing Goodreads. Why are his boobs bigger than hers? Even better than the cover is the title:

St. Patrick’s Day Romance: Cheating Wife Black Interracial Hotwife Cuckold Pregnancy

I feel like the author was labeling this for P0rnhub instead of GR. Yikes.

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Bookish Thoughts: Santino Hassell, Sarah Lyons and Riptide Publishing, Crimson Romance and RWA Awards

Posted March 16, 2018 by Holly in Discussions, News | 0 Comments

A lot has happened this week in Romanceland.

Santino Hassell Dropped by Publishers

As we mentioned in our statement earlier this week, last week the romance community exploded with the news author Santino Hassell was maybe not everything he’d been purporting himself to be. At that time we were still sorting through everything, but we felt the allegations were serious enough that we didn’t feel comfortable promoting his books. Since our statement, both Riptide Publishing and Berkley have dropped him. He posted a second statement on his website, explaining his side, though again it didn’t really feel like a true apology. “Sorry I’m an asshole” isn’t really the same thing as “I’m sorry I hurt everyone by being an asshole.” Or maybe that’s just me.

If you haven’t had a chance to sort through the whole thing, here’s a list of links:

For the most part, this played out on Twitter. A lot of authors and readers were pretty fierce in their initial defense of SH, including Megan Erickson, who co-wrote the Cyberlove series with SH, and Sarah Lyons of Riptide Publishing. When more and more stories started coming out (with proof) and the depth of the deception was made public, the apology posts started to pour forth. There wasn’t a whole lot of people who weren’t affected by this and we can’t stress enough how sad we are that our community has taken a hit like this.

Isobel Starling commented to let us know Amazon is offering no questions asked refunds for any SH book you’d like to return, no matter when you bought it.

Sarah Lyons Resigns from Riptide Publishing Amid Claims of Inappropriate Behavior From Authors

Author Xen Sanders/Cole McCade recently posted about his experiences with Sarah Lyons. He details extremely inappropriate behavior and abuse in her role as Editorial Director for Riptide Publishing. She resigned as ED shortly thereafter.

It’s really disappointing to see this happening in our romance community. It’s such an ugly situation especially since, for the most part, this community was formed as a safe haven where we could discuss romance, a genre often looked down upon. It’s truly appalling to see someone in a position of power in this industry hurt others like this.

Riptide has since posted a Pledge for the Future, promising reform:

Crimson Romance is Shutting Down

Crimson Romance announced on Twitter their intention to shut down. This comes just days after The Ripped Bodice published their annual Diversity in Romance Study (view the study here), which named Crimson as a leader in publishing diverse romance. I haven’t seen an official announcement outside of Twitter, but PW says S&S attributed the closing to:

“changing consumer reading habits and the continual evolution of the marketplace.” The publisher said these factors made continuing with the business “unfeasible.”

It’s disappointing to hear about any romance imprint closing their doors, but when the imprint closing down is one responsible for publishing such a large number of diverse romances, it hurts even more.

RWA Award Recipients Announced

In one of the only bright spots of the week, RWA announced the winners for this year’s RWA Awards.

The full list:

RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award: Suzanne Brockmann
RWA Emma Merritt Service Award: Leslie Kelly
RWA Service Awards: Xio Axelrod, Robin Covington, Katie Dunneback, Sarah Hegger, Jeannie Moon
RWA Vivian Stephens Industry Award: Pamela Jaffee, Avon Books
RWA Cathie Linz Librarian of the Year: Fran Cassano, North Bellmore Public Library
RWA Steffie Walker Bookseller of the Year: Crystal Perkins

Congratulations to all of the winners, we’re super thrilled for all of you! We’re sure there will be plenty of celebrating in Denver this year and we hope you guys have the best time. Hugs from Book Binge!

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