Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks

Sunday Spotlight: Kiss Me at Christmas by Valerie Bowman

Posted November 25, 2018 by Holly in Features | 3 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

Sunday Spotlight: Kiss Me at Christmas by Valerie BowmanKiss Me at Christmas (Playful Brides, #10) by Valerie Bowman
Series: Playful Brides #10
Also in this series: The Right Kind of Rogue
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 299
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

A spirited lady facing spinsterhood. A common man with a noble mission. And a surprise that just might be waiting for them under the mistletoe. . .

Bow Street Runner Daffin Oakleaf abhors Christmas. Carol singing and holiday cheer only remind him of a dark time. When a close friend calls on him for help, Daffin is happy to capitalize on the distraction. But when he learns the lovely Lady Regina is the one in danger, he’s to become bodyguard to the captivating woman…

Regina has one mission: to find a night of passion in the arms of a gentleman. Considered firmly on the shelf, Regina has given up on marriage—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be denied the pleasure married ladies experience. Daffin has long captured her attention…and when a threat calls him to her side, the sparks between them ignite. But how can a hired bodyguard find his way into Regina’s noble heart?

I’m generally anti-Christmas until after American Thanksgiving, but I make an exception every year for holiday romances. I start stockpiling them in October. I’m a sucker for them. This is book 10 in the series, but I’m told it can stand alone well. There’s something really satisfying about historical holiday romances, don’t you think?

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“But Daffin, it’s been days and there’s been no sign of anyone,” Nicole insisted the next morning. She was lying on the sofa in the middle of the green salon, her hand resting on her forehead, one foot rocking back & forth. “I cannot stay inside a moment longer or I’ll go mad. I merely want to have a short jaunt around the meadow on my horse. I need some fresh air. Desperately. Please, it’s Christmas Eve.”

Regina sat across from Daffin, nodding vigorously. “Yes, I agree. Please, may we go for a ride?”

“Should you be riding in your condition?” Daffin countered, addressing Nicole. His booted foot was crossed over his knee and he was eyeing her with a mixture of suspicion and tolerance.

“Racing, no,” Nicole replied, her voice still pleading. “But a quick jaunt will hardly hurt me, and Atalanta is a perfectly trained horse.”

“Grimaldi wouldn’t want either of you to go,” Daffin replied.

Regina paused and set the embroidery in her lap. She contemplated the question for a moment. “Yes, but in all these days, you’ve found no evidence we were followed here. I say it’s safe to believe the man who tried to hurt me is still in London.”

Daffin groaned and rubbed a hand across his face. His gaze bounced between the two ladies. “I have a feeling I’m going to regret this, but very well. I insist upon accompanying you, however.”

“I never doubted it,” Nicole said with a smug smile. She hoisted herself from the sofa and headed toward the door. “I’m off to dress in my riding habit.”

Less than an hour later, outfitted in his own riding gear, Daffin accompanied Regina and Nicole out the back of the manor house. As they set out on the path to the stables, Daffin glanced around uneasily. He didn’t like the idea of Regina being out in the open. It was true that he had seen no evidence of an intruder since they’d been here, but he didn’t like to take chances.

Nicole spun in a circle and sucked in lungsful of air. “It’s so good to be outside. I don’t even care that it’s so cold.”

Regina laughed. “I agree. It’s been positively stifling in that house.”

He was barely listening. He was focused on keeping his eyes and ears sharp, attuned to any noise or movement. The usual servants bustled about. He’d got to know them all over the last several days. Nothing appeared out of the ordinary.

“Honestly, Daffin, you cannot think the shooter could be here of all places. We’d see him coming a field’s length away,” Nicole said.

Daffin continued to scan the countryside. The meadow was clear and packed with untouched snow. Beyond it, a copse of trees. Nicole was right. No one could approach the house without being seen, and he’d had the footmen and groomsmen on watch round the clock. He stood watch daily himself. “Until we have a better idea who he is, I don’t know what he’s capable of, which means if you’re outside, you’re potentially in danger.”

They entered the stables and the smell of fresh hay, leather, and horses met their nostrils. Nicole waved to one of the groomsmen. “Good morning, Jacob. Did you saddle Atalanta?” They’d sent a footman to ask the groomsman to saddle the horses.

“Yes, my lady,” the groomsman replied. “She’s right there in the stall.”

“And Excalibur?” Regina added.

Daffin’s head snapped to the side to face her. He arched a brow. “Your horse is named Excalibur?”

“And she’s a girl,” Regina said with a nod. “I was a bit grandiose as a child.”

Daffin shook his head and grinned at her.

“Let me go greet my girl,” Regina said, on her way toward the stall. “I’ve missed her so much.”

Now that they were in the confines of the stable, Daffin relaxed a bit, but his guard remained up. They were about to ride through open fields, and that would be dangerous. Jacob should come with them for added protection. It couldn’t hurt to have another set of eyes. He turned to speak to the groomsman.

A gasp from Regina made him swivel. She stood by her horse’s stall, her hand over her mouth.

“What is it?” Daffin asked, quickly making his way to join her.

Regina pointed toward the saddle. Daffin turned his gaze in the direction she’d indicated. He narrowed his eyes. There was a small card sticking up between the saddle and the horse’s back.

He leaned closer and snatched up the card. Only five words were scrawled on it in a messy hand.

I’m watching you, Lady Regina.

Playful Brides

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: November 2018

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 Valerie Bowman

Valerie Bowman Headshot

Valerie Bowman’s debut novel was published in 2012. Since then, her books have received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus. She’s been an RT Reviewers’ Choice nominee for Best First Historical Romance and Best Historical Romance Love and Laughter. Two of her books have been nominated for the Kirkus Prize for fiction.

Valerie grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English Language and Literature with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her mini-schnauzers, Huckleberry and Violet. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS.

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What Are You Reading? (+ Helena Hunting Giveaway)

Posted November 2, 2018 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 10 Comments


Casee: I’m still reading/listening to the same books I was last week. Yep, I may have reverted back to my curse. One bad reading week isn’t going to get me down, though. It just wasn’t a great week. I’m a little farther into Archangel’s Prophecy by Nalini Singh. I just simply love this series. This series is it for me.

I’m also still listening to Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven. It’s gotten really, really good and I’m hoping to finish that off in the next few days.

Holly: I spent the week mostly re-reading. I binge-watched The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix, and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. That took up a lot of my reading time.I reread Fantastical, Broken Dove, Midnight Soul, The Time in Between, Sweet Dreams and The Gamble by Kristen Ashley. I know, I know. Once I started I couldn’t stop. I finished listening to Natural Dual-Mage by K.F. Breene and started a re-read of Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs.

I’m currently reading Sleepover by Serena Bell.

Rowena: This week was a pretty slow week for me on the reading front. I blame my having to watch and re-watch Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House with everyone in my life that I forced to watch it so that I can discuss it with them. I’ve watched the entire series 2 and a half times and I enjoyed watching it every single time. It’s so good, you guys should watch it for yourselves.

I did manage to get some reading in though. I finished Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs and enjoyed that one, even though I was expecting a bit more with the villain in the end. Still, it was a good addition and I’m looking forward to continuing the series. After that I started three different books before I finished one of them last night. I started Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs, Wait for It by Mariana Zapata and Sleepover by Serena Bell. I finished the Serena Bell last night and thought it was a cute romance. A great single parents romance that made me smile and look up the other two books that are linked with this book (even though it’s listed as a standalone, grrr). Today, I’m going to jump right back into the Patricia Briggs book and finish that one and the Mariana Zapata book over the weekend.

Giveaway Alert

We are very fortunate here at Book Binge. We have loads and loads of books to read and we want to share the wealth so each week, we’ll be tacking on a Freebie Friday giveaway to our What Are You Reading posts. This week, we’re giving away…

What Are You Reading? (+ Helena Hunting Giveaway)I Flipping Love You (Shacking Up, #3) by Helena Hunting
Series: Shacking Up #3
Also in this series: I Flipping Love You (Shacking Up, #3)
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Format: Print
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

A new kind of love story about flipping houses, taking risks, and landing that special someone who’s move-in ready…


Rian Sutter grew up with the finer things in life. Spending summers in The Hamptons was a normal occurrence for her until her parents lost everything years ago. Now Rian and her sister are getting their life, and finances, back on track through real estate. Not only do they buy and sell houses to the rich and famous, but they finally have the capital to flip their very own beachfront property. But when she inadvertently catches the attention of a sexy stranger who snaps up every house from under her, all bets are off…


Pierce Whitfield doesn’t normally demo kitchens, install dry wall, or tear apart a beautiful woman’s dreams. He’s just a down-on-his-luck lawyer who needed a break from the city and agreed to help his brother work on a few homes in the Hamptons. When he first meets Rian, the attraction is undeniable. But when they start competing for the same pieces of prime real estate, the early sparks turn into full-blown fireworks. Can these passionate rivals turn up the heat on their budding romance — without burning down the house?

I FLIPPING LOVE YOU, set in the Shacking Up world, follows two people, both working in real estate, who find themselves vying for the same properties in the Hamptons, leading to a sometimes-not-so-friendly competition.

What Are You Reading: I Flipping Love You

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!

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What Are You Reading? (+ Donna Grant Giveaway)

Posted October 19, 2018 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 18 Comments


Casee: October is proving to be a better reading month for me than September was. And September was good to me. I am still reading The Perfect Gentlemen series by Shayla Black and Lexi Blake. I adored the first two books. Adored. I’m currently reading Big Easy Temptation. It is book three in the series and just not as good as the first two. The book is written in two parts. “Then” and “Now”. Part One was incredibly slow. I think I started this book last Saturday. I was out of town, but I had time to read. I just couldn’t get into it. I buckled down when I got home and am now reading Part Two. It’s much better and I’m sure I’ll finish it up today. After that I will start the fourth book, Smoke and Sin.

I just finished listening to The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang this morning. Oh my, but this book was good. The narrator was good too. I highly enjoyed Stella and Michael. A heroine with autism and a prostitute hero is extremely unusual, but this author made it work. I’m going to start listening Speakeasy by Sarina Bowen today. I have really enjoyed the True North series.

Holly: I spent basically the entire week reading Shadow and Ice by Gena Showalter. It was so.freaking.slow. I had a really hard time getting into it, but I promised I’d read it to review with Rowena and Casee, so I couldn’t set it aside. I’m so glad to be finished with it.

I finished listening to Speakeasy by Sarina Bowen, which I enjoyed. It isn’t my favorite of the series, but I ended up liking May and Alec together. I’ve been trying to read Archangel’s Prophecy by Nalini Singh for months. I keep picking it up and then setting it aside. I finally decided I needed to reread Archangel’s Heart to refresh my memory, so I listened to the audio this week. It was so good, I immediately dove into Archangel’s Prophecy. I loved it. This series is amazing. It’s definitely my favorite of all Singh’s series.

I’m currently listening to The Scribe by Elizabeth Hunter (currently $1.49 for Kindle and included in the Romance Package on Audible). I’m really liking the story itself, but the narrator isn’t my favorite. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to finish listening, or if I’ll have to read instead. Next up I’m going to read The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox. I started it some time ago, but ended up setting it aside in favor of another book. Now I’m in the mood for something spooky.

Rowena: Rowena has some things she is taking care of today, but she will be back next Friday.

Giveaway Alert

We are very fortunate here at Book Binge. We have loads and loads of books to read and we want to share the wealth so each week, we’ll be tacking on a Freebie Friday giveaway to our What Are You Reading posts. This week, we’re giving away…

What Are You Reading? (+ Donna Grant Giveaway)Torched (Dark Kings, #13) by Donna Grant
Series: Dark Kings #13
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Format: Print
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 368
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

The King of Silvers. Cunning, perceptive, resourceful. Determined. Banished from Dreagan eons ago because of a betrayal that shattered his entire existence, his sole focus in life is to exact revenge against the Dragon Kings. A formidable fighter with centuries of rage on his side, Ulrik will stop at nothing to take down those who exiled him.

He has been alone, trusting no one for thousands of years. Until she walks into his life. He should not yearn for her, but there is no stopping the fiercely burning attraction. When he’s with her, he isn’t thinking of war or revenge. He only thinks about her, craves her. Burns for her. But soon he will be forced to choose: Will he continue on his course of destruction or will he be able to set aside his vengeance to save the woman who risked everything for him.


What Are You Reading: Torched by Donna Grant

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!

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Review: The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne

Posted October 17, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan ByrneReviewer: Holly
The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo (Victorian Rebels, #6) by Kerrigan Byrne
Series: Victorian Rebels #6
Also in this series: The Highlander
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 333
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

The bravest of heroes. The brashest of rebels. The boldest of lovers. These are the men who risk their hearts and their souls—for the passionate women who dare to love them…

He is known only as The Rook. A man with no name, no past, no memories. He awakens in a mass grave, a magnificent dragon tattoo on his muscled forearm the sole clue to his mysterious origins. His only hope for survival—and salvation—lies in the deep, fiery eyes of the beautiful stranger who finds him. Who nurses him back to health. And who calms the restless demons in his soul…


Lorelei will never forget the night she rescued the broken dark angel in the woods, a devilishly handsome man who haunts her dreams to this day. Crippled as a child, she devoted herself to healing the poor tortured man. And when he left, he took a piece of her heart with him. Now, after all these years, The Rook has returned. Like a phantom, he sweeps back into her life and avenges those who wronged her. But can she trust a man who’s been branded a rebel, a thief, and a killer? And can she trust herself to resist him when he takes her in his arms?

The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo is the first book I’ve read in Kerrigan Byrne’s Victorian Rebels series. A friend was talking about it and it piqued my interest, so I downloaded it from NetGalley. We saw quite a few of the couples from previous books, but I don’t feel like I missed much by starting here. It read fine as a stand-alone.

Lorelie was crippled as a child and therefore rarely leaves the family estate. When she finds and rescues a young man who’s been beaten nearly to death, she finds sudden purpose for her life. Caring for him becomes everything to her. They fall in love, but he disappears without a trace. For 20 years she longs for him, until one day he returns. But the devilish pirate who returns to avenge her isn’t the same boy she once knew and loved…or is he?

I really loved the first half. The angst and emotion from both main characters really pulled me in, as did the suspense of who, exactly, the boy with the dragon tattoo was. Unfortunately the story lost me somewhere around the halfway point. I think I’d have liked to see less focus on the emotional aspects of the book and more on the action. I know, I know, that’s not something us romance readers generally want. But the purple prose of the love-scenes along with the heavy focus on the “L” word really pulled me out of the story. Plus, the amount of time spent on how each character was feeling made the story feel heavy and bogged down.

I really loved parts of it – most notably the hero’s devotion to his lady – but I’d have liked to see more focus on the outside conflict, and more action.

3 out of 5

Victorian Rebels


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What Are You Reading? (+ Suzanne Enoch Giveaway)

Posted August 24, 2018 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 14 Comments


Casee: I am reading Cross Breed by Lora Leigh. This is Cassie Sinclair’s book. Part Wolf, part Coyote, part psychic, Cassie can pretty much do anything. She’s bad ass. I’m really liking it because she’s such a strong heroine. I’m also really liking the hero. Not too many heroes would do, but this one definitely gives her a run for her money. Of course there are things that have annoyed me, but I’ve (mostly) been able to move past them.

I’m also listening to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on audio. I spend a lot of time in the car commuting and I’m so glad I decided to listen to this book. I’m really liking it. I am just about halfway through it. The narrator is pretty darn good, which is huge.

Holly: My reading is all over the place right now. I’m still bouncing around from one book to another. I finished The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne. I really loved the first half, but the second became bogged down by the flowery prose and focus on the internal angst of the characters. I also finished listening to Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely. I really enjoyed the overall story and the narrators were so wonderful (Richard Armitage is one!). I highly recommend the audiobook. At Tracy’s recommendation I read Lumberjack Werebear by T.S. Joyce. It was a light, pretty funny PNR. Perfect for cleansing my palate between reads. Also because of Tracy, I ended up rereading Saving Grace by Julie Garwood. I discovered this past weekend that Tracy had never read it. How is that even possible, you ask? I really don’t know. But not to worry, she read it and loved it.

I’m currently reading When a Duke Loves a Woman by Lorraine Heath. I’m only a few chapters in, but so far it’s really good.

Rowena: This week was a pretty good week in reading for me. I finished Two Weeks Notice by Whitney G, which I didn’t like nearly as much as Ames did and then I finished listening to When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon, which was super cute. I did a quick re-read of Castles by Julie Garwood, which was lovely and due to some discussion on an online book club that I’m in. After that, I read Under Control by Shannon Stacey and that was yet another fabulous straight up contemporary that I enjoyed. Now I’m listening to Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely and reading The Governess Game by Tessa Dare. I’m not that far into either book but I’m enjoying them so far and am hopeful they’ll continue to be great reads.

Happy reading, everyone!

Giveaway Alert

We are very fortunate here at Book Binge. We have loads and loads of books to read and we want to share the wealth so each week, we’ll be tacking on a Freebie Friday giveaway to our What Are You Reading posts. This week, we’re giving away…

What Are You Reading? (+ Suzanne Enoch Giveaway)Rogue with a Brogue (Scandalous Highlanders, #2) by Suzanne Enoch
Series: Scandalous Highlanders #2
Also in this series: Rogue with a Brogue (Scandalous Highlanders, #2), Mad, Bad, and Dangerous in Plaid (Scandalous Highlanders, #3), Some Like it Scot (Scandalous Highlanders, #4)
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 333
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

A Rogue For Every Lady

London, 1817: Stuck in a Mayfair ballroom, thanks to his lovestruck brother, Highlander Arran MacLawry wants nothing but a bit of distraction from an arranged betrothal—and a clever auburn-haired lass in a vixen's mask promises just that . . . until he discovers that she's the granddaughter of the Campbell, chief of clan MacLawry's longtime rival. Despite their families' grudging truce, falling for fiery Mary Campbell is a notion too outlandish even for this Highlander…

The Thrill Of The Forbidden

Raised on tales of savage MacLawrys, Mary is stunned to realize the impressively strapping man in the fox's mask is one of them. Surely the enemy shouldn't have such a broad chest, and such a seductive brogue? Not that her curiosity matters—any dalliance between them is strictly forbidden, and she's promised to another. But with the crackling spark between them ready to catch flame, love is worth every risk…

What Are You Reading: Rogue with a Brogue

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!

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