Publisher: Self-Published

Review: Radiance by Grace Draven

Posted September 21, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Radiance by Grace DravenReviewer: Holly
Radiance (Wraith Kings, #1) by Grace Draven
Series: Wraith Kings #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 297
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-half-stars

THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE

Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE

Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

This was an adorable story. If you’d told me prior to reading this that I’d think a dude with gray skin and yellow eyes would be adorable, I’d have called you crazy. Yet here we are. Brishen was adorable. I loved the main conflict – that they’re different races and find each other hideous.

“You find me ugly, don’t you?”
“Hideous. A hag of a woman. And you? You don’t think me a handsome man?”
“Had you crawled out from under my bed when I was a child, I would have bludgeoned you to death with my father’s mace.”

She’s human and he’s Kai. They’re to be married at the edict of their respective kings. Neither is looking forward to being married to a monster. He calls her a hag and she calls him a dead eel. That may not sound like the makings of a great romance, but it was. I loved their banter and how they came to see each other in a different light.

Ildiko was strong and practical. I loved how she embraced her new life and kept an open mind. Brishen was kind and thoughtful, especially when it came to Ildiko. They made a great team together. Their romance was very sweet, despite their differences. I love how they chose to support one another, rather than being angry because they were forced into the marriage.

“You are also a princess of the blood through marriage, a member of the royal family. My wife. Every Kai in that room owes you their allegiance and respect. I will cut out any tongue that would try and besmirch you, Ildiko.” He pressed his lips to her palm. The tiniest crack appeared in her serene composure.

Her mouth twitched with the hint of a smile. “Or bury an axe blade in their heads?”

His guilt over his inability to rescue her from his own family eased a little at her humor. “I’m adept with spear and sword as well. Just name who you want me to skewer for you.”

The majority of the book is spent on Ildiko learning about Brishen and his people, as well as settling into her new life. While it could have been slow and boring, instead it was sweet and engaging. Early on Brishen and Ildiko decide they need to be a team if their marriage is going to work. I loved their solidarity and how adult and mature their romance was. Though there is some minor outside conflicts, that’s not the focus of this book and I loved it.

Brishen was adorable. Ildiko was perfect for him. Together they were unstoppable.

4.25 out of 5

Wraith Kings

four-half-stars


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Weekly Wrap Up: September 3 – September 9, 2018

Posted September 9, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Giveaway Winners | 2 Comments

Here’s what you missed this week on Book Binge…

What We Reviewed


Tracy reviewed Going Rogue by Chantal Fernando | 3.5 out of 5
Tracy reviewed Hidden Blade by Sherry Thomas | 4 out of 5
Holly & Rowena reviewed Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely | 4 out of 5
Casee reviewed Alpha & Omega by Patricia Briggs | 4.5 out of 5
Holly reviewed The Chase by Elle Kennedy | 3 out of 5
Holly retro-reviewed Sabine by Moira Rogers | 3.5 out of 5
Tracy reviewed One Perfect Kiss by Jaci Burton | 2.5 out of 5

What We Posted

Happy Labor Day!
Giveaway: Celebrate Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven with a Romantic Fantasy Starter Kit
Release Day Blitz: Hot as Sin by J.T. Geissinger
Monthly Reads: August 2018
2018 Releases Holly Should Have Read by Now
What Are You Reading? (+ Tara Thomas Giveaway)
WTF Cover Saturday (276)
Sunday Spotlight: Intercepted by Alexa Martin

Book News

Did you guys see the cover reveal for Fireworks by Sarina Bowen? If you missed that, check it out.

Weekly Wrap Up: September 3 – September 9, 2018Fireworks (True North, #6) by Sarina Bowen
Series: True North #6
Also in this series: Bittersweet, Steadfast (True North #2), Steadfast, Bittersweet, Keepsake, Bountiful (True North, #4), Speakeasy (True North, #5)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 13, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 451
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

Skye Copeland is on paid leave from her broadcasting job after accidentally drawing a pecker on the traffic map.

Let that sink in. Like it’s her fault the traffic pattern that day created a perfect schlong?

Skye isn’t laughing. She needs this job. And that’s the only reason she’s agreed to chase down a story in her least favorite place—that hell on earth known as Vermont.

A quick trip. In and out. Much like - never mind. Skye can sneak into the town that once tried to break her, get the story and get back into the good graces of her producer. Easy peasy.

Except things go sideways even as she sets foot over the county line. Her step-sister is on the run from a violent drug dealer. And the cop on the case is none other than Benito Rossi, the man who broke her teenage heart.

His dark brown eyes still tear her apart. And even as she steels herself to finally tell him off after twelve years, the old fireworks are still there.

Things are about to go boom.

Woot, we’re getting Benito’s book. I’m looking forward to seeing him fall in love as I have adored him in the other books. He’s a great brother to Zara and Alec and he’s a cop. I love a cop hero. 🙂 It comes out on my birthday too so woo hoo, Happy Birthday to Me!

Weekly Wrap Up: September 3 – September 9, 2018On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street, #1) by Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street #1
Also in this series: Down London Road (On Dublin Street, #2), Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street, #3), Before Jamaica Lane, Fall From India Place, Fall From India Place, Castle Hill, Echoes of Scotland Street, Moonlight on Nightingale Way, Moonlight on Nightingale Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, On Hart's Boardwalk (On Dublin Street #6.7) , On Hart's Boardwalk
Publisher: Signet
Publication Date: August 31, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare…

Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well—until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.

Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.

But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her… down to the very soul.

Samantha Young is re-revealing the new cover for her On Dublin Street book and it’s got a cartoony feel to it. What do you guys think of it? She also released the first chapter of the book from Braden’s POV and you can read that over here.

Current Giveaways

Sunday Spotlight: September 2018

What Are You Reading? (+ Tara Thomas Giveaway)

Monthly Reads: August 2018

Giveaway: Celebrate Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven with a Romantic Fantasy Starter Kit

Giveaway Winners

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

Denise

What are You Reading? (+ Sarah MacLean Giveaway)

Winners: An email will be sent to you shortly. Please 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.


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Review: The Chase by Elle Kennedy

Posted September 6, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Chase by Elle KennedyReviewer: Holly
The Chase (Briar U, #1) by Elle Kennedy
Series: Briar U #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: August 6, 2018
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 377
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-stars

Everyone says opposites attract. And they must be right, because there’s no logical reason why I’m so drawn to Colin Fitzgerald. I don’t usually go for tattoo-covered, video-gaming, hockey-playing nerd-jocks who think I’m flighty and superficial. His narrow view of me is the first strike against him. It doesn’t help that he’s buddy-buddy with my brother.

And that his best friend has a crush on me.

And that I just moved in with them.

Oh, did I not mention we’re roommates?

I suppose it doesn’t matter. Fitzy has made it clear he’s not interested in me, even though the sparks between us are liable to burn our house down. I’m not the kind of girl who chases after a man, though, and I’m not about to start. I’ve got my hands full dealing with a new school, a sleazy professor, and an uncertain future. So if my sexy brooding roomie wises up and realizes what he’s missing?

He knows where to find me.

The Chase is the latest contemporary new adult release by Elle Kennedy. I’ve been dying for Elle Kennedy to return to this world. I loved the Off-Campus series and I was so excited when I saw she was releasing Summer and Fitzy’s book. Although we met Fitzy in the Off-Campus series, this stands alone just fine.

Summer has been crushing on Collin Fitzgerald for a few months. A New Years Eve party gives her the perfect chance to see if their chemistry is everything she thinks it’ll be. When things go awry, she ends up kissing another hockey player, Hunter, instead. Her living plans fall through a couple weeks before she’s supposed to start at Briar U, and she ends up rooming with Fitzy, Hunter and one other guy, so things get pretty complicated. She and Fitzy are still dancing around each other, but Hunter makes it clear he’s interested..and how. Summer wants to like Hunter, but unfortunately it’s Fitz who has her attention.

Fitzy really wants Summer, but he doesn’t want to want her. He’s a quiet introvert, and someone like Summer who is always in the spotlight just isn’t for him. He keeps saying and doing the wrong thing with her, but somehow he can’t seem to stay away. When push comes to shove, can he stand his ground and be with someone like Summer? Or is it too late for them?

I really wanted to like this story. I went into it with high expectations, but in the end I was left feeling like the book was unfinished. There were too many open threads and unresolved plot-lines. More, I really disliked the love-triangle between Hunter, Summer and Fitz. I feel like Summer spent the majority of the book leading Hunter on, while Fitz lied about how the way was clear because he didn’t want her. The first time I read the book, I was glad Summer and Fitz got together, but I read it a second time and I couldn’t get over how poorly they both treated Hunter. As a friend, teammate and roommate, he deserved more from them.

I also felt like the sleazy professor bit was unfinished. Or maybe the final resolution was just unsatisfactory. I wish we’d seen the fallout of that on page. I also wish we’d seen more than just a lame apology from her adviser.

In terms of the romance, I really enjoyed Summer and Fitz together. The push-pull of their relationship was wonderfully done. I loved how different they were, yet how compatible for all that. I really liked that Fitz was a nerdy introvert. I also really liked Summer. Her ADHD was explained well, and I loved that she and her family were so close. The conversations between her and her parents had me cracking up. My heart also broke for her as she struggled with her self-confidence about her smarts. She was a confident woman in many aspects of her life, but the inferiority she felt because of her ADHD came across so well, my heart really went out to her. There’s so great humor in this book, too. Fitz and Summer kept getting interrupted during sex and I laughed out loud a couple times over it.

While I loved parts Fitz and Summer’s romance, the way they handled things with Hunter, coupled with the unfinished feel of other parts, sullied the story overall. Without that, I’d probably have given it a 4. As it is, I have to go with:

3.0 out of 5

Even so, I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

Briar U

three-stars


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Joint Audiobook Review: Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely

Posted September 5, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Joint Audiobook Review: Wanderlust by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely
Narrator: Grace Grant, Richard Armitage
Series: Part Time Lover #1
Publisher: Self-Published, Lauren Blakely
Publication Date: March 20, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 338
Length: 8 hours and 46 minutes
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

From #1 NYT bestselling author Lauren Blakely comes a sexy new standalone romance!

The first time I met him, his sexy British accent almost talked me into giving him my number on the spot. The second time, he nearly charmed the panties off me with his wit. Then I learned he's the key to success in my new job in Paris. The man who tempts me into fling-worthy dirty daydreams has turned out to be my personal translator, and his accent is the hottest thing I've ever heard.My mantra is simple -- Don't mix business with pleasure. I do my best to resist him as he teaches me how to converse with my co-workers, navigate the metro and order the perfect bottle of wine at dinner. But I also figure out how to tell the charming and clever man what I most want to say -- that I want him to take me back to his flat -- tonight. Except there's a catch...

***One more assignment before I take off on my big adventure...

And it involves the toughest work ever -- resisting the fetching American woman I spend all my days with. But you know what they say about best intentions. Soon, we're spending our nights tangled together, and I don’t want to let her go. The trouble is, my wanderlust is calling to me, and before we know it I'll be traveling the globe to fulfill a promise I made long ago.

What could possibly go wrong with falling in love in Paris? Nothing...unless one of you is leaving.

Holly: Rowena and I are both relatively new to listening to audiobooks. Personally, I prefer to listen only when I’m unable to read, i.e., in the car, at work, etc. This month Rowena suggested we listen to a full audio for our Joint Review and we settled on Wanderlust because Richard Armitage narrates the hero’s POV. Let me just say, he was worth it. ::dreamy sigh:: Grace Grant narrates for the heroine, and she did a great job as well.

I feel like we need to talk about Richard Armitage first. Because holy mama, his voice is so effing sexy.

Rowena: This was the first book that I listened to from beginning to end without any lengthy breaks and Richard Armitage was the reason. He did a fabulous job as Griffin and made the listening experience such a pleasure. Man, that accent. swoon

Holly: Right? Lord, every time his voice came up I was all melty. Joy, the heroine of the book, says something in the beginning about how devastating British accents are to her. I didn’t totally agree until RA started talking. Whew.

Rowena: Same. I didn’t know I had a thing like that for a British accent but I do now…haha.

Holly: Anyway, the story. Joy is ready for some major changes in her life, so when her company offers her a year-long position in France, she jumps at the chance to get out of Texas and expand her horizons. Her first day on her own in Paris she runs into the sexiest man she’s ever met…and he just happens to be British, her personal accent kryptonite. He turns out to be witty and funny and she really wants to get to know him better. When they run into each other again, she knows it’s kismet…except it turns out he’s actually her new translator at work. She can’t risk mixing business and pleasure, so she resolves to remain just friends.

Griffin is working as a translator in Paris while saving up for his next big adventure – running a marathon in Bali, then continuing to travel the world. He isn’t in a place to settle into a relationship with anyone, but the hot American he meets at a pastry shop sure does tempt him. Joy is right to put that on hold since they’ll be working together, but staying away from each other is hard when they spend all their time together and their chemistry is off the charts.

I thought this was a really cute story. I loved the premise and the way their friendship developed over time.

Rowena: Great recap of the story. I thought this was a cute story, too. The flirty sparks, in the beginning, were too cute and I really liked seeing Griffin and Joy’s friendship that just continued to grow with each passing day. The narrators were fantastic and it was super easy to fall into the story with them. I think of all the narrators that I’ve listened to so far, they’re both my favorites.

Holly: The main conflict, aside from the fact that Griffin is Joy’s translator at work, is that Griffin has plans to travel the world and Joy is pretty grounded in Paris for at least a year. I thought it worked pretty well. Watching their friendship grow and deepen, I kept wondering how they were going to work it out. I thought Griffin was so sweet, wanting to see Joy succeed. I also thought it was great that Joy didn’t want to hold Griffin back from achieving his dreams.

Rowena: I felt the same way. I really enjoyed seeing their friendship blossom. I mean, sure, they were hella attracted to each other but they didn’t let them get in the way of their working relationship and they genuinely cared for each other. I really dug that. I wasn’t sure how Blakely was going to make everything okay without one of them giving something important to them up but I thought she handled their situation well.

Holly: I also really liked the friendships they had outside each other. Griffin hung out with his mate, Christian, and Joy spent time with her girl, Elise. They didn’t have to be in each other’s pockets all the time. They wanted to spend time together, yes, but they also had interests away from each other. This felt like a mature, adult romance. I loved it.

Rowena: This was definitely one of those straight up contemporary romances where there wasn’t any of that annoying drama that seem to plague younger characters and I liked that. I liked that two consenting adults got to know each other, enjoyed each other, fell in love and then tried to figure out how to be together. I loved that they were each going through something, had decisions to make and were genuine in their feelings for themselves, those around them and each other. This was just a sweet romance all around.

Holly: Exactly. It was two adults figuring out how to have a relationship as adults. I loved it.

Rowena: And their sexual chemistry was off the charts. Griffin put it down in bed and with Richard’s accent, I had to keep fanning myself because damn boy!!!

Holly: OMG, his accent during their sex scenes had me all kinds of warm. At one point he says something like “I have orgasms to give you” and I was like, “you sure do!”

Rowena: LOL, yep. If I was Joy, I never would have left the bed. We would have permanently worked from home.

Is this the first book that you’ve read by Blakely?

Holly: This is my first book by Blakely, but it won’t be the last. I already have two more in my TBB list. What about you?

Rowena: I read one other book by Blakely but feel like I have plenty of her older releases in my TBR pile. I will definitely be checking them out.

I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars, what about you?

Holly: I’m giving it a 4 out of 5 as well. Though I think I might have to give Richard Armitage 5 out of 5 for his narration. Because, damn son.

Rowena: Yes, Richard Armitage gets 5 out of 5 stars!!

Holly’s Grade: 4 out of 5
Rowena’s Grade: 4 out of 5

Part Time Lover

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Hidden Blade by Sherry Thomas

Posted September 4, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: The Hidden Blade by Sherry ThomasReviewer: Tracy
The Hidden Blade (The Heart of Blade Duology #1) by Sherry Thomas
Series: The Heart of Blade Duology #1
Publisher: Self-Published, Sherry Thomas
Publication Date: July 20, 2014
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 350
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

In the waning days of the last dynasty, in a quiet, beautiful corner of imperial Peking, a young girl's blissful ignorance is shattered when she learns that she is the illegitimate daughter of an English adventurer and a Chinese courtesan. What future is there for such a girl? But a mysterious figure steps forward and offers to instruct her in the highest forms of martial arts--a path to a life of strength and independence.

Half a world away in England, a young boy's idyllic summer on the Sussex downs implodes with the firing of a single bullet. Torn from his family, he becomes the hostage of a urbanely sadistic uncle. He dreams of escaping to find his beloved friend--but the friend is in China, ten thousand miles away.

The girl trains to be deadly. The boy flees across continents. They do not know it yet, but their lives are already inextricably bound together, and will collide one fateful night when they least expect it.

'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' meets 'Downton Abbey,' this remarkable tale of friendship, danger, and coming of age will stay with you long after you have finished the last page.

A prequel to MY BEAUTIFUL ENEMY.

This book is a prequel to My Beautiful Enemy and a story that needs to be read before that book is picked up.  The back story to the lives of Leighton and Ying-Ying are so very important to the core of the story.  It’s also an incredibly wonderful book!

I loved reading about Ying-Ying’s life and how it differed from that of Leighton.  The rules of the Chinese culture were something I found fascinating.  Her training as a martial artist was intriguing, especially as she started it at such a young age – I believe she was somewhere between 6-8 if I remember correctly.

Leighton’s story was heart breaking.  I loved reading about the bond he had with his father, and his father’s friend, Herb, as well as the close relationship he had with his little brother.  The author could have so easily left the mother and younger brother on the sidelines of the story but she made them a big part of it and I loved that.

This is a book filled with love, though it’s not a romance.  It’s a wonderful novel of family, and also what it’s like to grow up without one.  I’ve loved Thomas’s writing before, but this was something different – and worth reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Heart of Blade Duology

four-stars


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