Category: Features

Sunday Spotlight: Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis

Posted June 25, 2017 by Rowena in Features | 6 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

Jill Shalvis has been a go to author of ours here at Book Binge for a while now. If she wrote it, we read it and more often than not, we loved it. She writes great contemporary romances with lots of heart and she knows how to bring the laughs.

Lost and Found Sisters is her latest book and it’s one that I’m really looking forward to reading…especially after reading the excerpt provided below…

Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis
Series: Wildstone #1
Genres: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

From New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis comes her first women’s fiction novel—an unforgettable story of friendship, love, family, and sisterhood—perfect for fans of Colleen Hoover, Susan Mallery, and Kristan Higgins.

They say life can change in an instant…

After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.’s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she’s looking for a missing piece she can’t find?

The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie.

On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles. Though she doesn’t quite fit in right away, she can’t help but be drawn to the town’s simple pleasures…and the handsome, dark-haired stranger who offers friendship with no questions asked.

As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there’s another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn’t a house or money, but rather something earthshattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have—and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she’s searched so long for.

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

To Mick’s relief, he caught Quinn in the parking lot, leaning against her car, her thumbs moving furiously over the screen of her phone. When she saw him, she grimaced.

He lifted his hands and stayed out of her personal space. “Thought you could use a ride back to the B and B,” he said.

“I’m not driving.” She lifted her phone. “I’m trying to get an Uber.”

He smiled. “How’s that going?”

She sighed and slipped her phone into her pocket. “So Wildstone doesn’t have drive-throughs, Thai takeout, or Uber? Seriously?”

“We have other things.”

“Yes,” she said. “Ghosts. Big bugs. Cute dogs. And girlfriends, apparently.”

“Lena’s not my girlfriend,” he said. “She’s Boomer’s. Sort of.” He shook his head. “It’s complicated.”

She didn’t take her eyes off him. “But you’ve slept together.”

He arched a brow.

“I’m sorry,” she said, closing her eyes. “That was rude. There’s a chemistry there, and a familiarity, that’s all. You know what? Don’t listen to me. My tongue’s running the show and I think I’m just jealous at how everyone else seems to take life’s shit in stride and keep going. I haven’t learned that trick and I need to. And how to keep going, that is. Like the Energizer Bunny. Or my electric toothbrush. God.” She pressed her hands to her face. “I really need to stop talking. Make me stop talking!”

He took her hand and tugged her to his truck.

“Wait,” she said, putting a hand to his chest and fisting it in his shirt to hold him to her. “You’re not a murderer or a rapist or anything like that, right?”

He lifted a hand. “Scout’s honor.”

“Were you a Boy Scout?”

Laughing a little at that because he’d been just about the furthest thing from a Boy Scout, he gently pushed her into the passenger seat and leaned in to buckle her seat belt, and suddenly their faces were an inch from each other. He heard her suck in a breath and he did the same.

Talk about chemistry.

“Mick?” she whispered.

“Yeah?”

“Are you feeling something?”

“You could say that,” he murmured. “You?”

She licked her lips and he nearly groaned. “I think so,” she whispered.

“That’s good.”

“Are you going to kiss me?”

He cupped her face, let his thumbs trace her jawbone, his fingers sinking into her silky waves. “No,” he said quietly. “And not because I don’t want to, but because when I do, I want to know you’re ready. That you’ll feel it.”

She sighed. “Guys do whatever they want all the time, no emotions necessary. I want that skill.” Another shaky breath escaped her, and since they were literally an inch apart, they shared air for a single heartbeat during which neither of them moved.

Her gaze dropped to his mouth. “Okay, so I’m definitely feeling things.” She hesitated and then her hands came up to his chest. “Maybe we should test it out to be sure.”

God, she was the sweetest temptation he’d ever met, and he wanted nothing more than to cover her mouth with his. Instead, he brushed his mouth to her cheek.

“Please, Mick,” she whispered, her exhale warming his throat. He loved the “please,” and he wanted to do just that more than anything. But when she tried to turn her head into his, to line up their mouths, he gently tightened his grip, dragging his mouth along her smooth skin instead, making his way to her ear.

“Not yet,” he whispered, letting his lips brush over her earlobe and the sensitive skin beneath it.

She moaned and clutched him. “Why not?”

It took every ounce of control he had to lift his head and meet her gaze. “Because I want to make sure you’re really with me, that you’re feeling everything I’m feeling. That there’ll be no doubt, no regrets.”

“You sure have a lot of requirements.”

He laughed. And she was right, it was all big talk for a guy who didn’t do relationships anymore. Still, he forced himself to step back and shut the passenger door.

As he rounded the hood to the driver’s side, he tried to remind himself of all the reasons she was a bad idea. He lived two hundred miles away and he was hoping to move his mom up by him and never come back here. Not to mention that Quinn lived an equal two hundred miles in the opposite direction and she was in a deeply vulnerable place. No way would he even think about taking advantage of that.

But when he slid behind the wheel and their eyes locked, he realized that while his mind could stand firm, the rest of his body wasn’t on board with the in-control program.

Well alrighty then…this sounds like just my kind of book so I’m definitely in. You?

Giveaway Alert

Giveaway: 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!

About the Author

Jill Shalvis

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER
| INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | GOODREADS

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras with her family and far too many assorted quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental.

Look for Jill’s latest, SWEET LITTLE LIES on shelves and e-readers now, and get all her bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold.

Visit Jill’s website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Retro Post: Fifty Shades of Grey is Not Romance

Posted June 21, 2017 by Holly in Features | 19 Comments

Retro Post: Fifty Shades of Grey is Not Romance

I (Casee) love this post. I have these books in my TBR pile. This is the second time this post has been reposted, but I feel that it is deserving. This post was originally posted in 2012 (when the books were published) and again in 2015 (when the movies were released).

It seems everyone is talking about Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James. Whether you read it or didn’t, loved it or hated it, I bet you’ve either talked about it with someone or read about it somewhere. Maybe you only heard the title mentioned and know nothing else about it. Or maybe you’ve read it 18 times and can recite it line-by-line. Whatever the case, it’s out there.

First, let’s just get this out of the way: I read all three of these books in a day and a half. As soon as I finished the first one, I bought the second. Likewise with the third. I paid $9.99 PER BOOK for digital copies. It’s possible I was drunk at the time (or should have been). Especially while reading the third. That was just a big ball of WTF rolled up in 500-something pages.

There’s been a lot of criticism on many fronts for this trilogy. I’m not going to touch on the fanfic aspects, because frankly I know nothing about fanfic and I’d only come off sounding like a moron (if you’re interested, author Kate Davies posted an interesting piece about fanfic and Dear Author did an entire series about it) . I’m also not going to address the “mommy porn” label that’s been ascribed to these books. The term makes my head want to explode and I have too much to live for. I will say that “mommy porn” is insulting and it makes me want to punch someone in the junk (because I’m sure a man came up with that).

I would like to address two misconceptions that bother me greatly about this series.

This is a romance novel.

I disagree. While there are many similarities, what keeps this from being a romance in my book is the nature of the relationship between Christian and Ana, the main protagonists. Yes, it has many of the same tropes we find in romance: Billionaire, Tortured Alpha Hero becomes intrigued with Virginal, Malleable Heroine. She thinks she can save him and he only wants her for sex – but then becomes intrigued by her and decides he wants to keep her. On his terms, of course. Which she, naturally, doesn’t agree to. Much angst ensues. Until finally, Happily Ever After (complete with rainbows and unicorns a meadow full of wildflowers and mention of tasting breastmilk).

I know what you’re saying to yourself. You’re saying OMFG what do you MEAN tasting breastmilk??? “Gee, Holly, this sounds an awful lot like a romance novel to me.” And yes, I know on the surface it seems that way. But the truth is, at its core, this is a book about a sad, troubled man who tends toward being abusive and the woman who enables him in being this way.

After reading this trilogy I wanted to write a post titled Why Stalking Is Not OK. Actually, I still kind of want to write that post. But for now I’ll just say it here. Stalking Is Not OK.

I know some novels in recent years have glorified stalking. Most notably for me – probably because it’s marketed to young adults – is the Twilight franchise. But Edward sneaking into Bella’s room to watch her sleep without her knowing was nothing compared to this.

Let me outline a few examples for you.

A. Ana drunk dials Christian one night and he freaks out over the fact that she’s drunk and demands to know where she is. She hangs up on him. 15 minutes later he shows up at the bar. When questioned, he reveals he tracked her cell phone to find out where she was.

“How did you find me?”

“I tracked your cell phone, Anastasia.”

Oh, of course he did. How is that possible? Is it legal? Stalker, my subconscious whispers at me through the cloud of tequila that’s floating in my brain, but somehow, because it’s him, I don’t mind. (Grey p.57)

B.  Christian sends Ana gifts to and drives her home.  Only, she never mentioned where she lives, so how did he know?

“He pulls up outside my duplex. I belatedly realize he’s not asked me where I live – yet he knows. But then he sent the books, of course he knows where I live. What able, cell-phone-tracking, helicopter-owning stalker wouldn’t.” (Grey p.74)

C. He returns unexpectedly from a trip because she meets a friend for a drink instead of going straight home. Yes, he actually cancels a business trip because she met a friend. He specifically told her to go home and when she didn’t, he rushed home to spank scold her.

D. Despite having only known him for a few weeks, he knows her social security and bank account numbers. And he accesses them without her permission.

Now, Ana does call Christian out for his behavior. But she does it in a way that says she doesn’t think it’s a very big deal. Personally I would have stabbed him in the throat called the cops the very first time he said he used my cell phone to track my whereabouts 5 days after I met him. But that’s just me. Ana sort of laughs off most of the things he does. If she does become angry and points it out to him, he apologizes and she forgives him. And then he does it again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

As I was reading, I kept wondering in what world it’s ok to do the things he did. Were we, the readers, supposed to accept his behavior because Ana did? Or perhaps I was supposed to accept his behavior because he was just a sad little boy on the inside? One who was “Fifty shades of fucked-up” from the emotional and physical abuse he suffered as a child? Because that doesn’t work for me. Honestly, that just freaks me out even more. An unbalanced, self-proclaimed “fucked-up” guy is stalking me at my place of work, knows every detail about my life and follows me around town without my knowledge or permission? I don’t laugh it off and say “now, now, be a good boy”. I run screaming in the opposite direction.

This is a healthy, loving relationship.

No. This is a sad, destructive, abusive relationship. Over the course of the three novels it becomes slightly less destructive and abusive, but only slightly. When I finished the third book I did so with a heavy heart and a bad taste in my mouth. Yes, they are eminently readable. But they’re also depressing as hell.

The mind games and emotional bullying Christian indulges in to get his way; The fact that Ana seems more like a victim suffering from Stockholm Syndrome than a woman in a healthy, loving relationship. These are textbook signs of an abusive relationship. Cutting her off from her friends unless he’s with her or can control the environment she meets with them in, following her on a trip to see her mother even though she expressly asked for time alone to digest things, having her followed and spied on, buying her a computer and a Blackberry and a car, so he can get in touch with her whenever he wants, ordering for her and steamrolling her when she complains:

“Two glasses of the Pinot Grigio,” Christian says with a voice of authority. I purse my lips, exasperated.

“What?” he snaps.

“I wanted a Diet Coke,” I whisper.

His gray eyes narrow and he shakes his head.

“The Pinot Grigio here’s a decent wine. It will go well with the meal, whatever we get,” he says patiently.

“Whatever we get?”

“Yes.” He smiles his dazzling head-cocked-to-one-side smile, and my stomach pole vaults over my spleen. I can’t help but reflect his glorious smile back at him.

These are not signs of a healthy relationship. That Ana tolerated this behavior – and even excused it, or worse, came to enjoy it – does not make it okay.

I think the worst part, however, is the way he casually dismisses her feelings. Especially in the beginning when it comes to being a submissive. The first time he spanks her, she’s very upset afterward. She tells him she felt demeaned and abused. His response?

So you felt demeaned, debased, abused & assaulted – how very Tess Durbeyfield of you. I believe it was you who decided on the debasement, if I remember correctly. Do you really feel like this or do you think you ought to feel like this: Two very different things. If that is how you feel, do you think you could just try and embrace these feelings, deal with them, for me? That’s what a submissive would do.

And naturally, she’s thrilled he thinks of himself as hers, and brushes aside the fact that he’s told her to get over her feelings and let him humiliate and debase her.

As the series continues, Ana learns to stand up for herself a bit more and Christian learns to give in to her occasionally – oh wait, no. That didn’t actually happen. The author told us that’s what happened, but the actions of the characters didn’t change a whit.  Christian still ordered Ana about, cutting her off from her friends and managing her life whether she liked it or not. And she let him.

This does not a romance novel make.

Are these books very readable? Yes. Are they enjoyable? I would say no, but I think that depends on the individual person reading them. Are they romance novels? Not even a little bit.

Fifty Shades of Grey is not a romance.

*I made some minor editorial changes to the revised post

Weekly Wrap Up: June 12 – June 18, 2017

Posted June 18, 2017 by Rowena in Features, Giveaway Winners, Giveaways | 9 Comments

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, sorry about that. We’ve had blog issues and all kinds of madness going on in the background but I’m back and here’s what you missed on Book Binge…

What We Reviewed


6/12: Holly reviewed Silver Silence by Nalini Singh | 4.5 out of 5
6/13: Rowena reviewed Silver Silence by Nalini Singh | 4.25 out of 5
6/14: Tracy reviewed Iain’s Plaid by Skye Taylor | 4 out of 5
6/14: Casee retro reviewed Beyond the Night by Joss Ware | 4.75 out of 5
6/15: Tracy reviewed Claiming His Highland Bride by Terri Brisbin | 3.5 out of 5
6/15: Tracy reviewed Graffiti in Love by GG Andrew | 4 out of 5
6/16: Tracy reviewed A Suitable Affair by Erica Taylor | 4 out of 5

What We Posted

6/12: Silver Silence Blog Tour: Ten Reasons to Read the Psy/Changeling Series
6/14: REPOST: Book Binge Turns 10: June Giveaway
6/16: What Are You Reading? (334)
6/17: WTF Cover Saturday (213)
618: Sunday Spotlight: Revenge by Lexi Blake

Current Giveaways

Book Binge Turns 10: June Giveaway

Monthly Reads: May 2017

Sunday Spotlight: June 2017

Giveaway Winners

We have some winners to announce this week! Congratulations to the following…

Sunday Spotlight: May 2017

Anita Hui

*****

Monthly Reads: April 2017

*****

Book Binge Turns 10: May Giveaway

Mara

*****

Hope T.

Winners: Please email us at contests @ the book binge . com (no spaces) and let us know where you would like us to send your prize. You have two weeks to get back to us before we choose another winner. Check back on Sundays to see if you’re a winner in one of our giveaways.

That does it for this week’s weekly wrap up. How was your week in books? Hear any book news that you’d like to share? Get any new books you want to share? Review any books we should check out? Please share.

Sunday Spotlight: Revenge by Lexi Blake

Posted June 18, 2017 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 2 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

I have been a fan of Lexi Blake since I first read Ruthless. I have since glommed her Masters and Mercenaries series and read all the Lawless books. A few weeks ago I spotlighted Satisfaction in anticipation of Revenge. This book is fantastic. It lived up to all my expectations! Drew Lawless is fiercely protective, downright mean when he has to be, surprisingly vulnerable and sweet and when it comes to Shelby, he is almost an open book. If you haven’t read this series you need to get on it.

Revenge by Lexi Blake
Series: Lawless Series
Also in this Series: Ruthless, Satisfaction, Satisfaction
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Publisher: Berkley

When Drew Lawless discovers a fatal flaw in his plan to avenge his parents’ deaths, he turns to the one woman he’d promised he wouldn’t touch. He offers her a deal, one that will bring her into his investigation, his life, and his bed. Investigative reporter Shelby Gates never dreamed how twisted the case would become—or how fascinated she would be with Drew. Every day they spend together binds them. As their feelings for each other grow, so does the danger. From the streets of Dallas to Austin’s high-tech business world, Drew and Shelby play a game begun twenty years before—a game they will win, or die trying.

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

“Did you actually tell Carly I’m sex on a stick?”

That bastard. “I also said you were Satan incarnate.”

Drew shrugged. “I’ve been called worse.”

“How could you read my e-mails? You said you didn’t suspect me.”

“I didn’t. Reading your e-mails had nothing to do with suspecting you and everything to do with the fact that my mother knows things about you I don’t and it makes me want to hurt her.” He turned back to the window. “She left that photograph for one of us. She planted it there because she thought me or Riley or Bran or Mia would be the next to open that box. She practically signed it. I wanted to see something sweet. If you’d had nude pictures of yourself on that system, I would have looked at them, too. I would have done it to make myself feel better. That’s the kind of person I am. You should think about that.”

Yes, he was all that and so much more. The one thing he didn’t seem to do was lie, and it wouldn’t have taken much for him to see the e-mails since she’d marked them plainly. The message line of the one he’d referenced was Drew Lawless Is an Asshole. She probably would have read that one, too.

And the book had been on her screen when she handed over the laptop. She cringed at the thought of the scene she’d been on. The superhot nerd had been dirty talking her upright reporter heroine.

Yeah, she might have a few fantasies about the man. She’d started the damn book two years before, and her hero had been a big, gorgeous, dark-haired lawyer who’d morphed over the last few months into a blond tech god. She might have her own issues to work through. He was lonely. She was lonely. They were working on a case together. Would it be so wrong to offer each other comfort? It wasn’t a grand passion like Carly and Bran had, but it could be nice all the same. “If I had the crap kicked out of me, how would you comfort me?” Shelby asked quietly.

“What makes you think I’m capable of comforting anyone?”

“I’m an optimist at heart,” she admitted. “Are you saying you’re not capable of giving comfort?”

“I don’t know. I guess I’m saying I’m not very good at it.”

“Try. Think about it. I’ve gone through what you did today.”

He got up and crossed to the bar. He poured himself another drink. “I don’t know. I could offer to buy you something.”

“I don’t need anything.”

“Everyone needs something,” he insisted.

“What I need you can’t buy.”

He slumped back down in his seat. “Then I’m not sure I’m your man. Unless you want me to write you some code. I seriously doubt that would fix things.”

“What would your sister do?”

“She would say something mushy and give you a hug or some . . . Do you want a hug?” He said it like it was a completely foreign idea. And not a particularly welcome one. “I’m not a big hugger.”

“So you don’t believe in physical affection as a way of comforting your partner.”

“I guess I haven’t had the kind of partner who would find that comforting.”

She stood up. It was obvious that talk wasn’t going to get Drew out of his dark place. He needed something way more. While he might not recognize his need, she did, and she was completely unable to stop herself from fulfilling it. She stood and moved toward him.

She held out a hand and he reached for it, realization dawning in his eyes as he pulled her down on his lap. He set his drink aside as he wrapped an arm around her waist.

“Ah, now I understand. You were asking me how I would comfort you, but you were really asking how you could comfort me,” he said with a sigh. “I told you I was slow when it came to the social stuff. Let me start over. I would kiss you, Shelby. I would kiss you long and hard. I would kiss you until you forgot about everything but me.”


What do you think? Honestly, how can you not want to run out and pick up this book?

Lawless Series

Giveaway: 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!

About the Author

Lexi Blake
WEBSITE || FACEBOOK || TWITTER || PINTEREST

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

Her first novel, Their Virgin Captive: Masters of Ménage, Book 1, was a collaboration with New York Times bestselling author Shayla Black. There are five more books available in the series: Their Virgin’s Secret, Their Virgin Concubine, Their Virgin Princess, Their Virgin Hostage, and Their Virgin Secretary. The next book in the series, Their Virgin Mistress, is releasing this April.

In addition to the Masters of Ménage series, she is the author of the Masters and Mercenaries series. There are eight full-length novels and four novellas available now, with more coming in 2015.

In 2013, Lexi also began releasing her urban fantasy series, Thieves. The first five are available now, with Ripper, a spin-off to the series, coming in 2015.