Tag: Book Binge Turns 10

Joint Review: A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

Posted December 13, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 12 Comments

Joint Review: A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Casee, Holly and Rowena
A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Wallflowers #5
Also in this series: Again The Magic, The Devil in Winter, Scandal in Spring
Published by Macmillan
Publication Date: November 2nd 2010
Pages: 224
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas invites you to spend the holidays with the Wallflowers—four young London ladies who finally found the men of their dreams...and will join together once more to help the world's most notorious rogue meet his match.
The magic of Christmas
Rafe Bowman has just arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady-in-waiting, and if it weren't for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed. Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen...
BEGINS under the mistletoeWinning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants. However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic...and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts.
"Splendid romance."—Booklist

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: The three of us haven’t done a review together in awhile. I remember how much I loved this series. Getting this novella was such an lovely bonus.

This post was originally published October 14, 2008

 

It’s been awhile since we did a joint review here at Book Binge, but when Rowena, Casee, and I realized we’d all read A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas, we decided to do one. Please note: There will be spoilers below.

Holly: It was great seeing the Wallflowers again, though I’m glad the story wasn’t totally focused on them. I adored Hannah and Rafe both. There was something very real about them and their relationship. I think Hannah’s understanding of her situation was very well done. I really didn’t like Lady Natalie, though. I’m not sure if LK meant for her to be a sympathetic character, but I didn’t buy it. Especially the way she treated Hannah when she didn’t get her way.

Rowena: I KNOW! I am not a fan of Natalie’s. I hated the way that she treated Hannah, especially when she wanted to spend time alone with Rafe. The way she talked down to Hannah in front of Rafe as if that made her cooler to Rafe seriously pissed me off and sealed her fate for me as the tramp I didn’t like at all.

But, I LOVED THIS BOOK! I thought it was such a fast and cute holiday read. I loved how The Wallflowers were all reunited and happily married. It was fun to see them all band together to help Hannah and I loved the whole Cinderella theme as well.

Rafe was a hottie of a hero, loved him! I loved his personality and I loved his hotness and I just effing loved him! The way he was with Hannah and the way that he was with his sisters and the kids. He was an all around great hero.

Hannah was great too! I loved how we saw her change her mind about Rafe. I loved how smart she was and how she wasn’t afraid to show how smart she was and I loved how easy it was for her to befriend the Wallflowers and fit in with them. She was great, great, great.

Casee: I couldn’t stand Lady Natalie. The way she treated Hannah was just awful, especially in front of Rafe. I thought I would like her b/c of how amused she was when Hannah told her about meeting Rafe. But then she just seemed spiteful and petty.

I loved the first meeting between them. The way Hannah was so apalled by Rafe’s manners was freaking funny.

Like Rowena said, it was a fast and cute holiday read. I really enjoyed it.

H: Natalie was very much the spoiled child. I’m still not clear if LK meant for her to be likable or not. I mean, were we supposed to want her to end up happy, just not with Rafe? I certainly didn’t feel that way in the end. I wanted her to get her comeuppance. I loved that the Wallflowers kind of jumped in and took Hannah under their wing. The scene where they find the letter from Rafe and are examining it is hilarious. It starts with one and then another pops her head in and they all said the same thing, “Hannah found a letter. It’s a secret. Come in.” Adorable. I liked Rafe, too. He was very chivalrous. The way he joked and teased them was great. I definitely loved the intimacy he and Hannah established right in the beginning. How they talked to each other about things and really listened to each other. Oh! How about that first kiss? Scorching! One thing that really bothered me was Lilian. Why in the world would she think Westcliff was cheating on her? That really didn’t ring true for me at all. She was always self-assured and confident and having her question herself and Marcus just..didn’t work. Is that just me?

R: I hope she wasn’t meant to be likeable because I didn’t like that little tramp at all. So crosses fingers not meant to be likeable.

Me too. I thought that adding the Wallflowers into the story would kind of take away from my enjoyment of Rafe and Hannah but that wasn’t the case at all. I think LK did a fantastic job of writing them into the story without them stealing the thunder away from Hannah and Rafe. I loved the scene that you mentioned because it showed us just how close each of the Wallflowers are and even after all this time and then all the time spent apart to see them all together again and acting as if they had spent everyday together was great to see and I was glad that they all came together to help Hannah, it was cute, adorable and oh so right.

That first kiss was…wow. I loved it, it was right then that I fell like a rock for Rafe. So confident and cocky and sexy he was and I ate it all up.

One of my favorite scenes was the one where Hannah gets roped into helping the little kid get the toupee back….oh how frickin’ hilarious that was.

As for the whole Lillian thing, she’s never been a favorite of mine but I do agree that her insecurities about Marcus threw me off a bit because of the Lillian we all knew from the other books. I didn’t think anything of it though, it was just a fleeting thought, one I didn’t dwell on at all so all of that was, BLAH.

C: I really thought Natalie was going to end up being a heroine in a novella with one of the Bowman twin brothers. That was at the beginning when she seemed likeable. After reading the book, though, I’m not interested in reading about her at all.

The scene about Rafe’s letter and all the Wallflowers coming in was probably my favorite scene in the whole book. I just really thought that it really highlighted why these four women became the best of friends in the most unlikely of circumstances. Hannah fit right in and I loved how they took her under their collective wing.

I agree to a certain point about the Lillian thing. I think that LK was trying to show that even a woman as strong as Lillian can have insecurities. Lillian was never a favorite of mine, either, but I really felt bad for her. The part for me that was totally un-Lillian like was when she asked Marcus to be discreet. The Lillian we knew would have bashed his head with whatever heavy object was at hand.

H: You know, at first I didn’t realize there was even an outside story involved (when we first heard the title, but had no synopses, I mean). I thought it was just going to be a reunion of the Wallflowers. I’m glad we got a glimpse of each of them (St. Vincent is effing hot!), but you’re right, they balanced the story rather than taking it over. Oh, that scene when she got stuck on the ledge was wonderful! I really liked not only Rafe rescuing her, but also the scene after, where they decorated the tree as a family. The wager they made and the forfeit Rafe had to give up made me all melty inside. I heart him.

R: Oh yes! I know what you mean, I loved the little forfeit thing, I got all gooey inside, it was great. I’m telling you, this story was another fantastic LK book and I really, really enjoyed it.

The only thing that I was miffed about was that I didn’t think we got enough Simon and Annabelle. I feel like after their story, they were done. They’re mentioned and they’re around but we don’t get to see as much of them as we do of the others, the same with Matthew and Daisy. Those two couples are my favorite in the series and we either hear about how they’re doing or they’re in the background whereas Lillian and Marcus are always around and have parts in other books as well as Seb and Evie, and as much as I love them, I want to see more of the others.

Is that too much to ask for? Maybe but it doesn’t stop me from wanting more sexy Simon and magnificent Matthew…=)

C: I wished there was more of Simon and Anabelle, too! Am I the only one that thought it was weird that Anabelle refers to Simon as “Mr. Hunt” to the Wallflowers? I’ve always thought that seemed so impersonal.

I’m re-reading Devil in Winter right now. I loved getting the small glimpse back into St. Vincent and Evie. Those two…sigh

I thought it was just going to be a Wallflower reunion book, too. I’m glad that we got a little of everything. Getting a new love story along w/ reading more about the Wallflowers, what could be better?

H: You know, it’s funny, but I think Lilian and Marcus are the least favorite Wallflowers by pretty much everyone, but they’re the ones that crop up most often. Even Evie and Seb take a backseat to them. Do you think LK is playing favorites? LOL

Overall I’d say this is a total winner. The main romance between Hannah and Rafe is very well done and the Wallflowers really enhanced the story. I had a couple gripes, but it goes in the keeper pile and I know I’ll pick it up again. 4 out of 5 You?

R: I agree, overall the story was completely well done. The romance between Rafe and Hannah was great and easy to fall into. Great characters, great storyline makes for a winner for me and I think LK did a fab job!

4.5 out of 5 for me.

C: I was completely happy when I closed this book. I thought it was a perfect Christmas read. The only thing that would have made it better was an appearance by Derek Craven. Heh.

4.25 out of 5.

Grades:
Casee: 4.25 out of 5
Holly: 4. out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

The Series:

  

This book is available from St. Martin’s Press. You can buy it here.

four-half-stars


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Retro-Review: Must Love Mistletoe by Christie Ridgway

Posted December 6, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Retro-Review: Must Love Mistletoe by Christie RidgwayReviewer: Casee
Must Love Mistletoe (Holidays, #1) by Christie Ridgway
Series: Holidays #1
Published by Avon Books
Publication Date: December 1st 2006
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 358
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Bailey Sullivan can't stand Christmas, even though her family's business is a store specializing in the perfect holiday. But now her hometown's chief supplier of rooftop Rudolphs and treetop angels is in danger of going under--it's up to Bailey to save the shop.

She has it all planned: She'll arrive on December 1 and be gone by Christmas. Plus there's always spiked eggnog to ease the pain. But "Humbug" Bailey's not the only one home for the holidays. Finn Jacobson--legendary local bad boy-turned-Secret Service agent "and" Bailey's long-lost high-school sweetheart--is once again the boy next door. Only this time he's "all grown up," and the sparks are flying faster and hotter than ever!

Bailey believes in true love about as much as she believes in Santa Claus. But as the holiday draws closer, she's starting to think about one thing she'd like to find under her tree . . .

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: I really love some of Ridgway’s books. I can’t remember if I reviewed this book here, but I do remember I really enjoyed it.

This review was originally posted on December 18, 2008.

I know I’ve said this already, but I love Christmas books. My favorite Christmas book of all time is Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn Pappano. I re-read it every year. I’ve had this book for a few years, but I never got around to reading it. This holiday season, I decided that it was just what I needed.

Bailey Sullivan barely tolerates Christmas. Her idea of a good Christmas is to pretend that it’s not Christmas. Unfortunately this Christmas isn’t going to be what she hoped it was. When she finds out that her parents store, The Perfect Christmas, is in trouble, Bailey immediately heads home. From the moment she sets foot back in her hometown, she’s determined to do what needs to be done and get out. Her deadline is December 25th.

Nothing ever goes according to plan, especially when it comes to Christmas.

Finn Jacobson has never forgotten his GND-Girl Next Door. As a rebellious teen, Finn’s parents decided that the best thing for Finn would be to go spend summers with his grandmother. Though he hated it at first, it didn’t take long for him to fall for Bailey, a girl that was so different from the type of person he was. Finn has never forgiven her for leaving town without a word. When she comes back to town, he decides to keep his distance.

Again, nothing ever goes according to plan.

Bailey is a heroine that has issues, but has never admitted that to herself. When her dad walked out when she was little, Bailey remembers her mom’s devastation. That shaped the woman that she’s become. Though she loves her stepfather, Bailey keeps her distance even from him. The fact that her mom and stepfather have separated only proves Bailey’s point. Still, she has a hard time staying away from Finn, the only person that’s understood her.

This was exactly what I was looking for when I picked it up. It had humor and poignancy. The secondary romance between Bailey’s mom and her stepfather was beyond sweet. Bailey’s inner struggle with her feelings for Finn were extremely sad. She doesn’t easily accept that she needs him in her life. But Christmas is a time for miracles, right?

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Happy Holidays from Book Binge: Kindle Giveaway

Posted December 1, 2017 by Rowena in Giveaways | 17 Comments

10 Years ago we started Book Binge as a place to talk about the books we love, the books we hate and all the books in between. To celebrate 10 years of blogging, we’re giving away a prize pack each month this year! For Christmas, we’re also going to be giving away a Kindle Paperwhite.

Winner’s choice of color – Black or White
Wifi without offers means no annoying ads!
Subscribe to Amazon Prime and/or Kindle Unlimited for thousands of free books
e-INK display reads like a real book
Backlit for easy night reading
Store thousands of books on the device and never be without something to read

This contest runs all month!

GIVEAWAY

Use the rafflecopter widget to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Retro-Review: Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts.

Posted November 28, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Retro-Review: Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts.Reviewer: Rowena
Savor the Moment (Bride Quartet, #3) by Nora Roberts
Series: Bride Quartet #3
Also in this series: Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1), Happy Ever After (Bride Quartet, #4)
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: April 27th 2010
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 325
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts cordially invites you to meet childhood friends Parker, Emma, Laurel, and Mac — the founders of Vows, one of Connecticut’s premier wedding planning companies.

Laurel McBane has always relied on her friends for support, especially when her dream of attending culinary school was almost ruined by her parents’ financial problems. Now Laurel is repaying the kindness of her friends by creating extravagantly luscious tiers of cakes and other confectionary delights that add the perfect touch to their clients’ weddings. As for romance, Laurel believes in it — in theory. But she’s too low-key to appreciate all the luxuries that other women seem to long for. What she does appreciate is a strong, intelligent man, a man just like Parker’s older brother, Delaney Brown, on whom Laurel has had a mega crush since childhood.

But some infatuations last longer than others, and Laurel is convinced that the Ivy League lawyer is still out of her reach. Plus, Del is too protective of Laurel to ever cross the line with her, or so she thinks. When Laurel’s quick- silver moods get the better of her — leading to an angry, hot, altogether mind-blowing kiss with Del — she’ll have to quiet the doubts in her mind to turn a moment of passion into forever…

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

This review was originally posted on April 27, 2010.

This is another series that I am absolutely in love with. I love that it’s a straight up contemporary series with just two human beings falling in love without be bitten by vampires or taken hostage by terrorists or anything else like that. They’re just two everyday, average, normal people falling in love over the course of time.

This book was good. It was but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Jack and Emma’s story. There were things about this book that I loved, like learning about Laurel’s side of the business, I’ve always been fascinated with baking and Laurel does it well so it was good to see that. I also enjoyed getting to know Del. I’ve always been interested in learning more about Del in the first two books and it was good to finally see Del getting some serious page time.

Laurel and Del’s attraction to each other started in the last book when they’re all at Emma’s family’s house for a bbq and you could tell that this was where that day was going to lead Del and Laurel. Their attraction seemed to simmer on low heat for a few weeks before it boiled right out of the pot. Del is trying to keep seeing Laurel as the little sister he’s always known her to be and Laurel is trying to get over her silly crush on the boy that will always look at her like a little sister. So in a last ditch effort to get Del out of her system, she shows him that she’s NOT his sister and that sets the tone for the rest of the book.

They’re playing this keep away game of Laurel’s shoes and Del is using the shoes to get to know Laurel better. He’s going for this and he’s going to see where it leads them. Watching these two grow closer and closer was cute. Seeing them bicker their way to love made me smile.

Del was a great hero, one who caring, thoughtful and adorable. I really liked him but I didn’t love Del the way that I loved Jack. Del was a good, solid hero but he didn’t make my heart sing the way that his best friend did.

Laurel was one of those feisty heroines who at times made me roll my eyes around the room. Her reasons for being mad at Del about the whole money didn’t make sense to me. She’s known Del most of her life, she’s friends with him. She should have known him enough to understand where he was coming from with the whole paying thing. I mean, she blew something so small into something so big and I just didn’t get it. So Del’s rich, so what? I just didn’t understand where all of her anger from him trying to give her money was coming from. It’s not like he thought she was this two bit loser who he felt sorry for and was trying to give her a break. I could see him doing the exact same thing to Emma and to Mac but Laurel blew that shit up like he was trying to strangle her or something.

Overall, this book was good but it’s not my favorite of the bunch. My favorite part of this book was getting to know Laurel while she was at work. I loved reading about all of her baking bits. Seeing her in action in the kitchen had me wanting to throw my apron on and see what kind of concoctions I could throw together in the kitchen. I love baking in any romance novel and it never fails to amaze me how Nora Roberts can take any occupation out there and make me curious about it. She’s a phenomenal writer and I’m such a fan!

It was good to see the gang all together again and I can’t wait for Parker and Mal’s story. I can’t wait to see how Mal wins her over. It’s going to be interesting because Mal is a fox and Parker is one tough cookie. I can already imagine the sparks that are going to fly. Woot!

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

The Bride Quartet

This book is available from Berkley Trade. You can buy it here.

four-stars


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Retro-Review: Table Manners by Mia King.

Posted November 22, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Retro-Review: Table Manners by Mia King.Reviewer: Rowena
Table Manners by Mia King
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: August 4th 2009
Pages: 336
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

The star of Mia King's "entertaining"(Seattle Times) debut novel Good Things is back-and she's got a full plate.

Deidre McIntosh is everyone's favorite go-to person. She seems so successful, so capable, so just plain perfect, with a popular cooking show, her own line of cakes and cookies, and an ideal relationship with Kevin Johnson-considered one of the most desirable men in Seattle.

Then Kevin's ex-fiancée, sultry magazine publisher Sabine Durant, suddenly appears, and Deidre needs help. Already intimidated by Kevin's glamorous, moneyed world-and his sister, who wants Deidre out of Kevin's life-she fears she's no match for Sabine. And the go-to girl must figure out where to go next before the tablecloth is pulled out from under her...

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: Rowena and I both read a lot of Women’s  Fiction in 2008 and 2009. I think we both grew out of it after that, though we both still dip our toes in occasionally. 

This review was originally posted on August 5, 2009.

I’m a big foodie fan so when I come across books that have bakers and chefs, I get a little (okay a lot) excited. Reading the blurb on this book was no different. I thought the cover was so simple, so cute and it added to my excitement of reading this book. So going into this book, there was a lot of things working in its favor and I’m glad to report that Mia King did a great job keeping me locked into her story.

The only thing that I’m pretty bummed about is that I didn’t take the time to read the book that came before this one, GOOD THINGS. The reason for that is because we meet Deirdre in that book and from what I can tell, her story really starts there. It would have been nice to read that book but I wasn’t completely lost in this story. I enjoyed it a whole bunch and as soon as I can, I’m going to track down that book and read it.

This book is about Deidre moving on from the drama that her life has been. She’s giving baking gourmet cookies a shot and she’s genuinely happy with her life. She’s got a great man by her side and her business is doing pretty well until everything starts to crumble around her. She needs to come up with new recipes for new cookies that will be a hit in five days, she doesn’t think she’ll do it and then she’s got to deal with her boyfriend’s evil sister who hates her guts and then, his ex pops back into their lives and Deirdre is about to lose her mind.

This book showed just how far Deirdre has come since everyone first met her in Good Things. She’s got a new life now, she’s not on TV anymore. She’s baking cookies. Her living arrangements have certainly come up and she’s seriously happy with the way that her life is going but to watch her struggle with this new life and then come face to face with the world that her boyfriend is from and not know where you actually fit in made for a great read. I enjoyed seeing Deirdre bumble her way toward the ending and I just genuinely liked her. I thought she was a great character and I really enjoyed the romance between her and Kevin.

I thought Kevin was such a stud. He was so good to Deirdre and he was just one of those stand up guys that is charming and you can’t help but love him. It was his sister Marla that I couldn’t frickin’ stand. Talk about someone swears her shit don’t stink. And then there was Sabine or Tabby as Kevin called her. She was that perfect woman that nobody can compare to and yet, I liked Deirdre better. I thought Deirdre was more down to earth and the person that I wanted to have as a friend. It was funny to see Tabby eyeing Deirdre, that made me laugh. The cast of characters all brought something to the story and I thought they were all well written.

I’m really glad that I read this book. I definitely recommend this book to those of you guys who are looking for something light but not so light that it’s fluffy. There’s a great story between these pages and I really think everyone should try it out. It was a really fast read and a read that left me feeling wistful and hopeful. A definite recommend.

4 out of 5

Check It Out

This book is available from Berkley Trade. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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