Category: Discussions

Summer Reading Challenge: Five Books We Want the Team (and you) to Read

Posted June 29, 2018 by Rowena in Discussions | 22 Comments

Holly: Recently, Rowena, Casee and I were talking about our Five Books Everyone Should Read feature and books we’ve been meaning to read came up. All of us added a lot of books to our TBR piles during that feature, but we haven’t gotten to many of them. The question was posed, if we could choose five books for the others to read, which would we choose? It seems easy enough. Pick five of your favorite books, right? But it isn’t that simple. Because I’d want to pick books I know Rowena and Casee will love, not just books I myself loved. While we all enjoy some of the same things, we all have different reading tastes.

We agreed for our Summer Reading Challenge, we will each read 5 books chosen by the other two. Each of us will choose 2 books for the others to read, along with a joint pick. We’d like to invite all of you to read with us. Pick a book (or 5) from our list and read along in July and August. Or, if you’ve read all of these, check out the Master List of recommendations from your favorite authors, readers and industry professionals and choose five books from there.

For Casee

Alpha & Omega by Patricia Briggs
Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs (Currently $2.99 for Kindle!)
Sustained by Emma Chase
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews
The Deal by Elle Kennedy
The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years #2) by Sarina Bowen

Holly: Casee is hard to pick for. She reads mostly dark paranormals and romantic suspense. While I enjoy a good PNR, I’m allergic to RS. I’m choosing Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs, the prequel to the Alpha and Omega series and Cry Wolf (book 1). I know this is technically 2 books, but Alpha and Omega is short and it’s a companion novella. You really can’t read one without the other. I’ve been telling her for years she’ll love the series, and bonus! it’s third person. (Hint Hint: It’s a dark paranormal with suspense!). For my second choice I’m going to choose Sustained by Emma Chase. I really loved it and I know she will, too.

Rowena: Trying to figure out what books I wanted Casee to read was a lot harder for me than Holly’s list was and that’s because Casee isn’t a fan of a lot of my favorite kinds of books. She hates reading in first person and a huge chunk of the books I want her to read are in first person. I’m choosing Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews and The Deal by Elle Kennedy. Burn for Me is a given because there’s absolutely no reason that you shouldn’t have read this book already, Casee. Same with The Deal, that series is too good for you to not try.

Holly & Rowena: We chose The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen for our joint recommendation for Casee because it’s really sad that she doesn’t know and love Bridger. Be a part of our club, Casee…you know you want to. 🙂

For Holly

Raphael by D.B. Reynolds
The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
The Trouble with Love by Lauren Layne
Satisfaction by Lexi Blake

Casee: Holly is a hard one. She has always been the most difficult of the three of us. Maybe that’s why I’m having such a mother-loving hard time figuring out what to pick for her. I decided to steer completely clear of RS because she’s so finicky about it. It took me two days to think of a paranormal that she might not find fault with. I chose Raphael by D.B. Reynolds. I absolutely adore this couple and this series. I was thrilled when I discovered D.B. The next book, well, lets just say I’m glad we don’t live in the same state. I chose The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward. Not because I’m a JRW fan, but because I really liked the Bourbon Kings series. It’s super soap opera-y (except the third book). I was so pleasantly surprised and I want to see what she finds wrong with it if she might possibly like it. Yeah, probably not. Who am I kidding? She’s going to kill me. What can I say? Suck it up, Princess.

Rowena: The two books that I chose for Holly to read are The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang and The Trouble with Love by Lauren Layne. I adored both books and I really want to introduce these two authors to Holly. I think she’ll like them both if she gave them a chance.

Casee & Rowena: Rowena and I have literally five authors we mutually read, so it wasn’t easy to pick a book for Holly. We originally chose Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon because we want her to kill us in our sleep love Acheron as much as we did. Then we remembered that she actually DNFed it. DNFed Acheron. Honestly, Holly. You poor, poor soul. Rowena and I regrouped and decided to go back to basics. Lexi Blake. A while ago we tried to get her to read Ruthless, which probably wasn’t the best way to go because it’s our least favorite in the Lawless series. Rowena and I agree that the best book is Satisfaction, so Satisfaction it is. No DNFing. You’re in it to the bitter, bitter end.

For Rowena

Untamed by Pamela Clare
Beyond the Night by Colleen Gleason
Coming Undone by Lauren Dane
In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks
Midnight Rainbow by Linda Howard

Casee: Rowena is so hard to pick for because our reading tastes are so opposite. I want to pick books that I know she will like, but I want to take her out of her comfort zone as well. I’m being a total bitch because one of the books that I’m picking is smack in the middle of a trilogy. Untamed by Pamela Clare was on my Best of 2009: The Books. I still remember how much I loved that series and that book in particular. The second book I am choosing for her is Beyond the Night by Joss Ware/Colleen Gleason which is the first in a Dystopian/Post-Apocalypse series. I think you all know how much I love my Dystopians.

Holly: The problem with choosing books for Rowena is there are so many I want her to read. So many I know she’ll love if she just tries them. How am I supposed to narrow it down to 2? My life would be a lot easier if these girls just read the books I told them to, when I told them to read them. In the end, I’m choosing Coming Undone by Lauren Dane and In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks. I originally chose England’s Perfect Hero by Suzanne Enoch for her, but it’s the third book in a series and I can’t remember if you need to read the first two for it to make sense. She’s lucky I love her.

Coming Undone is the second book in the Brown Family series, but i don’t believe the first book needs to be read for this one to make sense. Brody took on the task of raising his brother and sister when his parents died, and I know Rowena is going to love him – and the rest of the family – as much as I do. I just recently re-read In Bed with a Highlander and it held up so well I knew I had to pick it for Rowena. As much as we both love old-school Garwood historicals, I know she’s going to dig this one. (I personally think Casee should have to read it as well, but I’m not going to push it. Right now.)

Casee & Holly: Casee and I went back and forth about what to pick for Rowena, but in the end we settled on an old-school Linda Howard book. This crazy girl hasn’t read many of LH’s older books, despite both Casee and I urging her to try them for years. We went with Midnight Rainbow, because it’s an excellent book and the start of the Kell Sabin series. If I remember correctly, Rowena read White Lies, the 4th book in that series. She’ll love Grant.

Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with any of the books on our lists? Are you willing to read along with us this summer? What books would you choose for us to read? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Updated: #cockygate Part 2: #Cocky Author Files Lawsuit (includes link to full summary)

Posted May 30, 2018 by Holly in Discussions, News | 12 Comments

Note: This is a pinned post. Scroll down for additional content.

Update June 1, 2018: Thanks to Euna Park for the updates she was able to post on the court hearing this morning in NYC. The judge denied FH the temporary restraining order she requested for the publishing of books with the word “cocky” in the title and removed Kevin Kneupper from the lawsuit. Kevin being removed from the lawsuit has no bearing on his trademark case. That is separate.

FH’s lawyer is really claiming that the word “cocky” is synonomous with FH in the romance genre. Wow. Considering nobody knew who she was before all of this came to light, that’s overstating the shit out of things. I mean, sure, NOW that might be true but not in the way I think her lawyer meant.

Author Liv Morris also attended the hearing and had this to say about the Cocktales: The Cocky Collective:

This is more great news for Team Romance. I’m super glad to see that Cocktales will be able to continue to sell books. I really love how supportive our community has been over this whole thing. It makes me so glad to be apart of such an awesome community.

Here is a list of links that Courtney Milan provided that includes all, or well, most documents pertaining to the lawsuit:

Defendants Joint Memo in Opposition to Preliminary Injunction & TRO
Tara Crescent Affidavit
Crescent Exhibit D
Crescent Exhibit G
Declaration for Jennifer Watson
Declaration for Penny Reid
Plaintiff (FH) Reply to Memorandum of Law in further support of Plainitffs Motion
Full Transcript of Preliminary Hearing on June 1, 2018

Here are some other posts that went up in the last couple of days:

Authors Guild and RWA Prevail in Court Defending Authors in “Cocky” Trademark Dispute
Judge Denies Injunction Request in Cocky Trademark Dispute
RWA’s Update on Recent Trademark Proceedings
The Cocky Trademark Author Writes an Open Letter to Herself in Response to Cockygate
How an Author Trademarking the word “cocky” turned the romance novel industry inside out

Marc Whipple has a great running commentary on the entire #cockygate on his blog so be sure to check that out too.

Posted on May 30, 2018: Rowena and I have been on vacation so while we’ve been keeping up with the latest nonsense with #cockygate, we haven’t had a chance to update until now.

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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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Retro-Post: You’re gonna get yours…

Posted December 15, 2017 by Holly in Discussions | 12 Comments

*****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: This post was originally published in 2008. I still love it when annoying/bad/terrible characters get their comeuppance. There’s something very satisfying about a hated character getting their just desserts.

This post was originally posted on July 3, 2008.

It’s confession time once again here at Book Binge. That’s right, dear readers, I feel the need to confess one of my dirtier secrets (remember, confession is good for the soul):

I’m bloodthirsty.

It’s true. Nothing gets me worked up quite like a sleazy ex, or a rotten family member, or whoever. And nothing makes my day quite like when one of those sleazy people gets what’s coming to them.

Sherrilyn Kenyon
is an author that excels at writing revenge-of-the-ex scenes. I remember reading Night Play for the first time several years ago and cheering out loud when Vane shows up Bride’s ex on the street. I love that. Kyrian showed up Amanda’s ex in Night Pleasures, too.

In one of the more recent In Death novels by J.D. Robb one of Roarke’s exes shows up and Eve has to put her in her place. I absolutely adored that scene. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read it.

I’m an equal opportunity revenge lover, though. It’s not just exes I like to see put in their place. It’s parents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, bosses, whoever. In Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie the heroine’s (Min) mom is obsessive about weight and constantly berates Min for it. My favorite scene of the book is when Cal basically tells her to shut up and leave Min alone. I still snicker when I think of it.

In a Harlequin Presents novel I read recently, the h/h’s parents had a hand in keeping them separated for several years and in the end the hero refuses to have anything to do with them. In the epilogue it’s been more than a year and he still refuses to talk to them. I love that.

So, tell me. Am I alone? Am I the only one who gets a wonderful feeling of satisfaction when a not-so-great character really gets what’s coming to them? Do you have a favorite “They got theirs” scene you’d like to share with me?

Tell me I’m not the only one…

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Retro-Post: Personal Libraries- To Go All Digital, or Not…That is the Question.

Posted November 15, 2017 by Rowena in Discussions | 33 Comments

*****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: I love how we evolve as readers and book lovers. I know my reading tastes and habits have changed over the years, and I’m sure all of yours have, too. I used to hoard all print books. Whether I loved the book or hated it, I kept the print copy on my shelf. Now, I’ve culled down my print library to mainly favorites and full collections. I know Rowena has purged most of her print library in favor of expanding her digital one. I still have a lot of print books, but I’m buying/keeping fewer and fewer.

This post was originally posted on April 23, 2013


Rowena: When you’re a reader, you dream about having a library that rivals the library that the Beast presents to Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. You want to buy shelves to line the walls of your home and fill them with all of your favorite books. Then once you start building your library, you get a little thrill every time you pass by.

Soon, you fill up the shelf and then you have to buy another shelf. So you do and you fill that shelf up and pretty soon, you’ve got books coming out your ears because they’re everywhere. For a book lover, this is not a bad problem to have but what happens when you run out of space?

Ames and I were emailing back and forth when our personal libraries came up. I told Ames that I was thinking about getting rid of my print TBR pile and going all digital but haven’t actually done it yet because I’m scared.

Scared of what? I don’t really know but taking that first step to getting rid of my personal print library terrifies me.

Ames: I’m right there with you Wena. I recently purged my keeper and tbr shelves and what was left scared me…I’m running out of space! And considering one whole wall in my room is a bookshelf, that’s scary. LOL I decided right then and there that I would make the move to digital. But since then I’ve already come across a few problems. In the purge, I decided to put all my keeper books in storage until I had more space (meaning my own house haha). But lately I’ve been wanting to re-read some favorites and I can’t go digging through all those plastic tubs to look for specific books. So in some cases where the ebook was cheap, I just bought it…I want to make that switch to digital right? Right. But I can’t do that for every book.

And when it comes to new releases, my default thinking is still Chapters or Book Depository…it’s hard to really make that switch to digital. There are just so many factors involved in making that switch, that it does scare me to make that move to 100% digital.

Rowena: You bring up a good point. Purchasing all of your favorite books that you already have in print would get pretty expensive. But let’s be honest, how long have those books been sitting on those shelves? How many print books have you read in the last year? I can tell you that over 95% of the books that I read last year were all eBooks. And no matter how many times I’ve tried to participate in reading challenges to read more from my TBR pile, I fail each and every single year because I’m not reading print books anymore. That makes me sad.

Now, my TBR pile is nowhere near as huge as yours is (I’ve seen that wall of yours and am still so jealous!) but I still have so many books that I just know that I’m probably not going to read. I want to read them but I’m probably not going to so should I keep them? Send them off to better homes? My greed is getting the better of me, I know this but this is still a tough decision for me.

For me, I’m not buying print books at all anymore. I pre-order books right on my Kindle and when they come out, they get delivered straight to my device. Every other book that I get are ebooks for review through Netgalley or Edelweiss so my print book buying days are behind me. And have been behind me for the past year or two. It’s been more than a year since I’ve been to my favorite UBS too.

But I’m curious. How many print books have you read in the past year? How often have you read a book from your TBR bookshelf?

Ames: Because I’m a big nerd, I kept stats of how many books I read and in what format. I read 29 print books from my tbr pile last year. That’s like 85% e-books I read in 2012. And I can’t just keep adding to my tbr pile with print books when I’m mostly an e-book reader now. It just doesn’t make sense. But because I live in Canada, e-books aren’t the cheapest thing exactly either. So I still buy the odd print book from Walmart for example, where paperbacks are way cheaper. And this leads us into a whole other discussion about geographic restrictions. LOL But we’ll keep on topic. Sometimes it’s just cheaper for me to buy the print book. I do read from a variety of e-publishers though, so that’s one good result from looking past the big traditional publishers.

Another thing is keeping formats consistent throughout a series. I used to be bad for that and it’s a hard habit to break. But slowly and surely I’m getting closer and closer to 100% digital. If I’m working at getting digital copies of my keepers, the format issue won’t be a problem since they’ll all be e-books. One day…one day. Haha.

Rowena: So I guess the whole point to this post (there is one, we promise) is to find out how many people are still reading primarily print books. Are there any left? And when you think of the future, do you see yourself moving your personal libraries from print to digital?

Ames: I’m curious to know too, how buying digital has maybe affected your book buying habits. I mean, when it came to buying print books, I was always cheap. That’s still the same with e-books. LOL So I’ll shop around. I always look for good deals. Be it discounts or reward programs. And how many readers are now mostly digital?

Rowena: So, what’s the good word? Tell us about your personal libraries.  Are you going digital or still holding out for…something, like us?


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