Genre: New Adult

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Posted July 10, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasReviewer: Holly
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult
Pages: 419
Length: 16 hours and 7 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas is the first book in the Court of Thorns and Roses series. I’ve had this book in my TBR pile for years. Recently I requested a good Paranormal/Fantasy series on Twitter, and this was one of the top recs, so I dug it out. I had the Kindle version with the audio add-on, so I read and listened. The narrator was good. I really enjoyed the writing and the world-building, but I found the story moved slow at times and I had a hard time focusing on it. The second half picked up, however, and I was fully invested in Feyre and her journey.

For hundreds of years the Faeries and Humans have been bound by a treaty that keeps the Faeries from killing humans and/or keeping them as slaves. Feyre and her family live near the wall that separates the two lands, in abject poverty. While she’s out hunting, she kills a wolf that turns out to be faerie and forfeits her life in return. Rather than killing her, Tamlin, the faerie who comes for her, tells her she must come and live with him over the wall in Prythian. Once she arrives in the Spring Court, she’s surprised to learn she won’t be a prisoner, but rather a permanent guest. Her whole life she’s grown up hating the faeries for how they treat humans. As she spends time with Tamlin and the other faeries at the Spring Court, she comes to realize there’s more to the story than she ever knew..and not all faeries are bad.

At the beginning of the novel, Feyre was a hard character to like. Her vain, shallow mother has died, and her father has lost their fortune and retreated into himself, leaving Feyre to care for him and her two self-absorbed sisters. She’s had to teach herself to hunt, how to barter for what they need and how to survive in a world so unlike the one she was meant to inhabit. This has made her hard and a little jaded, not to mention focused solely on herself and her own needs (or those of her family). It’s not that I blamed her, as I understand what poverty can do to a person, but it didn’t make her very likable in the beginning. As she settles into life in Prythian and relaxes her guard, I came to enjoy her more. The novel spans several months, which gives us an opportunity to watch her grow and blossom away from the oppressing burdens of her human life. This is the Feyre she was meant to be, but with a core of steel she may have never grown otherwise.

I never really warmed up to Tamlin. He was different than I expected from the way he burst into Feyre’s home and forced her home with him; a bit old fashioned, but very sweet. He encouraged her to find herself and rediscover her love for painting, explore the area and make herself at home. Tamlin had his own agenda. Though he was kind to Feyre, it was obvious he was waiting on something from her. There were also several instances where he came off as very weak, not a warrior, for all his “I kill the bad things” vibes. I didn’t dislike him, necessarily, but I didn’t really like him, either.

Around the 70% mark, Feyre is forced to go Under the Mountain (another Court in Prythian, ruled by an evil faerie) to save Tamlin. This is where the novel really picked up. I loved watching Feyre use her wits and strength to survive and overcome. Still, it was hard to read, because while Feyre survived, parts of her were broken in the process. The latter part of the book was focused pretty much solely on Feyre. She was doing what she was doing for Tamlin, but he wasn’t really involved.

Having said that, I loved how Feyre changed and grew over the course of the book, and I was invested in her romance with Tamlin and her life in Prythian. The world-building and court politics and intrigues were very well done. I loved learning about the different Courts, being introduced to all the Faeries and coming to understand the truth behind Tamlin’s actions. Though this wasn’t a perfect read, I was invested in Feyre and her journey enough to continue reading, even through the slow parts. While it doesn’t necessarily end in a cliffhanger, I did immediately pick up the second book because I needed to see where Feyre’s story headed next.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

A Court of Thorns and Roses

three-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: The Dare by Elle Kennedy

Posted July 5, 2020 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 4 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. 🙂

I haven’t been reading as much New Adult lately, but Elle Kennedy is one of the few authors I still auto-buy in that genre. The Dare is the latest novel in her Briar U series. I’m looking forward to reading it.

Sunday Spotlight: The Dare by Elle KennedyThe Dare by Elle Kennedy
Series: Briar U #4
Also in this series: The Chase (Briar U, #1), The Risk (Briar U #2), The Play
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 16, 2020
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 354
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

College was supposed to be my chance to get over my ugly-duckling complex and spread my wings. Instead, I wound up in a sorority full of mean girls. I already have a hard time fitting in, so when my Kappa Chi sisters issue the challenge, I can’t say no.

The dare: seduce the hottest new hockey player in the junior class.

Conor Edwards is a regular at Greek Row parties…and in Greek Row sorority beds. He’s the one you fall for before you learn that guys like him don’t give girls like me a second glance. Except Mr. Popular throws me for a loop—rather than laughing in my face, he does me a solid by letting me take him upstairs to pretend we’re getting busy.

Even crazier, now he wants to keep pretending. Turns out Conor loves games, and he thinks it’s fun to pull the wool over my frenemies’ eyes.
But resisting his easy charm and surfer-boy hotness is darn near impossible. Though I’m realizing there’s much more to Conor’s story than his fan club can see.
And the longer this silly ruse goes on, the greater the danger of it all blowing up in my face.

Excerpt

“Tell me something…why aren’t you already here with someone?”

“What do you mean?”

“There isn’t a guy in the picture somewhere?”

It’s my turn to shrink away from the topic. I’d probably have more to say with regards to thirteenth-century textiles than dating. And since I’ve embarrassed myself enough for one evening, I’d rather not compound my humiliation by sharing the details of my non-existent love life.

“So there is a story there,” Conor says, misreading my hesitation for coyness. “Let’s hear it.”

“What about you?” I volley back. “Haven’t settled on that one special groupie yet?”

He shrugs, unbothered by my teasing jab. “Don’t really do girlfriends.”

“Ugh, that sounds slimy.”

“No, I just mean I’ve never dated anyone for more than a few weeks. If it’s not there, it’s not there, you know?”

Oh, I know the type. Bores easy. Constantly looking over his shoulder at the next thing passing by. A walking meme in the flesh.

Figures. The pretty ones are always aching for their freedom.

“Don’t think you’ve distracted me,” he says, giving me a knowing smile. “Answer the question.”

“Sorry to disappoint. No guys. No story.” One unremarkable entanglement sophomore year that hardly fulfilled the definition of a relationship is too pathetic to warrant mention.

“Come on. I’m not as dumb as I look. What, did you break his heart? He spend six months sleeping on the sidewalk outside the sorority house?”

“Why do you assume I’m the kind of girl a guy would pine over in the rain and sleet?”

“You kidding?” His silvery eyes sweep over me, lingering on various parts of my body before returning to meet my gaze. Everywhere he looked is now tingling like crazy. “Babe, you’ve got the kind of body that boys build in their heads under the sheets after dark.”

“Don’t do that,” I tell him, all humor draining from my voice as I start to turn away. “Don’t mock me. That’s not nice.”

“Taylor.”

I jerk when he takes my hand, keeping me in place so that we’re still facing each other. As my pulse kicks into overdrive, he presses my shaky hand against his chest. His body is warm, solid. His heart beats a quick, steady rhythm beneath my palm.

I’m touching Conor Edwards’ chest.

What the hell is happening right now? Never in my wildest dreams did I envision the Kappa Chi Spring Break Hangover party ending this way.

“I mean it.” His voice thickens. “I’ve been sitting here having filthy thoughts about you all night. Don’t mistake my manners for indifference.”

Briar U

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: July 2020

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 Elle Kennedy

A New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle writes romantic suspense and erotic contemporary romance for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!


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Review: Heartland by Sarina Bowen

Posted February 4, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Heartland by Sarina BowenReviewer: Rowena
Heartland by Sarina Bowen
Series: True North #7
Also in this series: Bittersweet, Steadfast, Steadfast, Bittersweet, Keepsake, Bountiful, Speakeasy, Bittersweet, Steadfast, Fireworks, Keepsake, Bountiful, Fireworks, Heartland
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 329
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

An emotional friends to lovers romance full of risky secrets and late-night lessons in seduction.

Dylan is my best friend, and the only person in my life who understands me. He doesn’t mind my social awkwardness or my weird history. The only glitch? He doesn’t know that I’ve been hopelessly, desperately in love with him since the first day we picked apples together in his family’s orchard.But I know better than to confess.Now that we’re both in college together, I’m seeing a new side of him. College Dylan drinks and has a lot of sex. None of it with me.Until the night I foolishly ask him to tutor me in more than algebra…and he actually says yes.

But the cool morning light shows me how badly I’ve endangered our friendship. And I don’t know if anything will be the same again.

Heartland is the seventh book in Sarina Bowen’s True North series and she just keeps bringing on the happy sighs and cute romances, doesn’t she? I really enjoyed this one and am keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll keep getting books for this series for a long time to come. I’m pretty anxious for Daphne’s story.

So Heartland follows Dylan Shipley and Chastity Campbell to college. They’re both going through different things. Dylan is going through a frustrating phase with his growly older brother and Chastity is still trying to catch up to the rest of the world after spending years living in a cult. To add to Chass’s plate, she’s got an unrequited crush on Dylan Shipley and he has no clue. It sucks for her though because she’s around to see him work his charm on every girl on campus, every girl, but her. Right now, he worked his charm right into her awful roommates pants and it’s become a thing. A thing she hates to witness because she knows Dylan. She knows that he’s a kind-hearted person and so she doesn’t understand why he has such bad taste in women. Things start to get really interesting when Chass brings up making some money together. Their new business adventure features the leftover goat milk from Dylan’s family farm that Dylan needs to move. Making caramel together brings them a lot closer and feelings spring forth, feelings that they don’t know what to do with.

Dylan was exactly the lovable nerdy hero that I hoped he would be when we first met him, as a young high schooler in Bittersweet. I thought he was super sweet to Chastity and when he finally gets his head out of his ass about Kaitlyn, I was glad. I wanted to smack some damn sense into him a time or two while reading this book but overall, I loved him. He was a good person who loved his family and struggled with trying to figure out his place in his family, in their family business and in his future. I loved seeing him grow into the man that he was in the end. It wasn’t easy for him but when he finally stood up for himself, I was so relieved because he needed to get all of that shit out so that he can figure out where to go from here. I loved seeing him work through his feelings about his future and his feelings about Chass.

Chass was a great heroine on her own but she was also a perfect match for Dylan. She was kind, she was strong and she was super smart even though she had trouble with her classes in school. I really felt for her when she was stuck seeing Dylan, the object of her affections, with everyone but her and seeing her find her way at school, at home and everywhere in between was a lot of fun for me. She really comes into her own and I was rooting for her from the very beginning. I loved seeing her make friends outside of Dylan at school and even when she was trying to move on from Dylan, and hurting Dylan’s feelings in the process, I just loved it.

Sarina Bowen writes light moments in angsty romances and I just adore her writing style. I will read whatever she writes because she writes the kind of books that I want to read. Heartland was another fabulous addition to this series and if you’re a fan of the other books, I’m confident that you guys will be fans of this book. Dylan and Chastity have what it takes to carry a romance on their own and I have every confidence that you guys will enjoy this one. Do yourself a favor and read this one! 🙂

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

True North

four-stars


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Release Day Blitz: Heartland by Sarina Bowen

Posted January 28, 2020 by Rowena in Promotions | 1 Comment

Here at Book Binge, we are huge fans of Sarina Bowen and of Bowen’s True North series so we are super excited to celebrate Heartland’s release today with an excerpt from the book!

Release Day Blitz: Heartland by Sarina BowenHeartland by Sarina Bowen
Series: True North #7
Also in this series: Bittersweet, Steadfast, Steadfast, Bittersweet, Keepsake, Bountiful, Speakeasy, Bittersweet, Steadfast, Fireworks, Keepsake, Bountiful, Fireworks, Heartland , Heartland
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 329
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

An emotional friends to lovers romance full of risky secrets and late-night lessons in seduction.

Dylan is my best friend, and the only person in my life who understands me. He doesn’t mind my social awkwardness or my weird history. The only glitch? He doesn’t know that I’ve been hopelessly, desperately in love with him since the first day we picked apples together in his family’s orchard.But I know better than to confess.Now that we’re both in college together, I’m seeing a new side of him. College Dylan drinks and has a lot of sex. None of it with me.Until the night I foolishly ask him to tutor me in more than algebra…and he actually says yes.But the cool morning light shows me how badly I’ve endangered our friendship. And I don’t know if anything will be the same again.

Excerpt

“So why were you having a bad day, anyway?” Ellie asks. “Man trouble?”

“Not exactly. It’s more like a lack of man trouble. I kissed my hot algebra tutor. And I wasn’t supposed to.”

Her big eyes widen. “Which hot algebra tutor? You never said.”

“He doesn’t work at the lab,” I say hastily. “He’s a friend. And he wants to stay that way.”

“Oh.” She looks deflated. “That is a bummer.”

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

“No.” She makes a face. “It would be nice, though. This year is kind of lonely. My roommate is a total bitch.”

“Oh, I have one of those, too.”

“Yeah?” Ellie’s eyes brighten. “Does yours steal your clothes and then lie about it?”

“Um, no. She wouldn’t want any of my things. We have singles, anyway. Just a common bathroom.”

“Lucky! She must be easier to stand, then.”

“You’d think.” I take a gulp of mint tea.

“My roommate took my brand-new scarf. With the tags still on! And when I called her out on it, she tried to gaslight me.”

“Gaslight?” I feel my cheeks flush like they sometimes do when I don’t understand the idioms that people use.

“You don’t know Gaslight? It’s a movie from the forties.”

“Ingrid Bergman,” says Dylan’s voice. “We haven’t got around to the classics yet.”

I startle, sloshing my tea over my hand. And when I look up, Dylan is right there. Clear brown eyes. Tousled hair. Tight, muscular body that’s clothed in a nice sweater and ripped jeans. A handsome face that I finally kissed.

Pain slices through me. Because I’m never going to get over him. There will never be a day when I look at Dylan and don’t wish for more.

“Can I talk to you for a quick second?” he asks, taking the mug and grabbing a napkin off the table. He wipes the tea off my hand.

“Now is not a good time,” I say quickly. Because I don’t want to cry in the coffee shop in front of my only new friend.

Dylan actually rolls his eyes. “Fifteen seconds, Chass. Give a man a break.”

“I’d talk to you.” Ellie raises her hand like a school girl. “Pick me.”

And that’s just what I need—another girl in my life who’s swooning for Dylan. Because that always turns out well.

“Fine. Fifteen seconds.” I jump to my feet. Let’s get this over with.

Dylan takes my arm and tows me gently over toward the bulletin board, where nobody is currently reading the flyers for meditation circles and ski equipment sales.

“Look, I’m sorry,” is his opener. “You’re avoiding me. Not that I blame you. I’m sorry things got so out of control.”

“Which things?” I ask warily. Because I don’t want an apology for fooling around with me.

“Pick one!” Dylan raises his hands. “All the things. I shouldn’t have been so inappropriate.”

“But…” I know Dylan was in a serious state of drunken depression when he kissed me. It’s not like I was expecting to hear those kisses made him as happy as they made me. But would it kill him to be a little less patronizing? “Dylan, I’m not twelve years old. It was just a kiss or two. I don’t think I’ll need a full course of therapy to recover.”

He blinks. “Okay. Good?”

“So did you really need to drag me over here to apologize a third time? Did you apologize to all the girls you kissed during Spin the Bottle in seventh grade?”

I heard about Spin the Bottle and Seven Minutes in Heaven only last year, by eavesdropping on Debbie and her buddies at another bonfire. I’d been transfixed by their tales of who’d kissed whom over the years and how often.

At thirteen, Spin the Bottle would have sounded like heaven to me. Seven minutes in a closet with a boy? I would have lobbied for eight. I was always the most inappropriate girl in the bunch.

Yet somehow Dylan sees me as some kind of innocent child.

“No. Good point.” He crosses his delicious arms and smiles at me. “You are in a feisty mood today.”

“Is that so wrong?”

“No.” He shakes his handsome head. “Not at all. Are we going to hug it out?” He opens his big arms wide.

Oh boy. I can’t resist stepping into them. And when he pulls me in, I experience the familiar hormone rush that always happens when I’m close to him. Rapid heartbeat? Check. Goosebumps? Check. My nose lands against his flannel shirt.

My mouth is mere inches from his, of course. But this time he has no interest in kissing me. It takes all my willpower to give him a squeeze and then step back.

“Be well, Chass. I’ll leave you to your tutoring session, even if you’re basically cheating on me right now. But we’re still making caramels this weekend, right? I told Griffin we could use six gallons of goat’s milk. Don’t make a liar out of me.”

“I won’t,” I say quickly. I might be slightly irritated at him, but it will blow over. My capacity to forgive him for not loving me back is basically infinite. “We’ll leave right after Friday classes?”

“You got it. And this is for you. Share it with your friend.” He pulls something out of his pocket. “More market research.”

He puts a little box in my hand and then walks away.

As always, it takes me a second to get over my hormone rush. I stand there blinking for a long moment until I realize Ellie is grinning at me from the sofa. So I go back over to her and sit down.

“Wow…” she says, stealing a glance at Dylan’s retreating backside. “Is that hot hunk of Vermont male your algebra tutor?”

“Yes.” My voice is gravel.

“And your future ex-boyfriend?”

“Nope. I’ll never get that chance. He’s my best friend, but…” There’s no tidy explanation.

“But you want more. I would if it were me.”

I nod, miserable.

Teasers

True North

About the Author

About Sarina Bowen

Sarina Bowen is the RITA® Award winning author of over two dozen contemporary and LGTB romance novels. She most recently hit the USA Today bestseller's list in February, with Brooklynaire. Formerly a derivatives trader on Wall Street, Sarina holds a BA in economics from Yale University.

Sarina Bowen is a New Englander whose Vermont ancestors cut timber and farmed the north country since the 1760s. Sarina is grateful for the invention of indoor plumbing and wi-fi during the intervening 250 years. On a few wooded acres, she lives with her husband, two boys, and an ungodly amount of ski and hockey gear.

Sarina's books are published in a dozen languages on four continents. In 2016, The Romance Writers of America honored HIM by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy with a RITA award for Best Contemporary Romance, Mid-Length.


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Review: Switch Hitter by Sara Ney

Posted December 17, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Switch Hitter by Sara NeyReviewer: Holly
Switch Hitter by Sara Ney
Narrator: Erin Mallon, Jacob Morgan
Series: Jock Hard #0.5
Also in this series: Jock Rule

Publication Date: March 15, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 146
Length: 2 hours and 29 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

I knew something was wrong the second she walked in the door tonight; I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was.
Same hair color. Same legs. Same face.
Except…I look harder. At the small dimple beneath her lip that wasn’t there the last time we went out. And her laugh—that laugh isn’t as loud.
This isn’t the girl I’ve gone out with the past few weeks. It’s her twin sister, and they’ve switched places on me.
Only I’m not quite ready to let them switch back.

Switch Hitter is a sweet contemporary sweet novella I found while browsing the “Nice Guys” section of Audible Escape. I really liked the romance and especially the hero, who was, as advertised, a nice guy. I liked the banter they had and their chemistry, but the premise was kind of frustrating.

Amelia gets suckered by her twin sister, Lucy, into pretending to be her (Lucy) for a date. Amelia ends up having great chemistry with the guy, and she really likes him, but he thinks she’s Lucy. Dash wasn’t interested in the too-aggressive Lucy, but this new version is pretty amazing. As he tries to get to the bottom of her abrupt personally change, Amelia vows to walk away from him and never pretend to be Lucy with him again. Until Lucy calls and begs her to break things off with him for her…

I never understood why Amelia agreed to pretend to be Lucy. I ended up thinking less of Amelia for going along with Lucy’s plan. I wanted her to stand up to her twin and tell her no, but instead she kept going along with the whole thing. First the date, then breaking up with him. It was silly.

Despite that, I still enjoyed the story as a whole (mostly because of Dash). This is my first story by Ney, and I’m definitely interested in reading more.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Jock Hard

three-half-stars


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