Author: Holly

What Are You Reading? (+ Karen Ranney Giveaway)

Posted August 16, 2019 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 5 Comments

Casee: This has been an ah-maze-ing reading week for me. TBH, I don’t know what is going on.

I’m currently reading Blood Truth by J.R. Ward. This is a book in her Black Dagger Legacy series. They are the recruits that are in training. I really enjoy this series. I haven’t gotten that far into it, but what I have read I really liked.

I’m still glomming Meghan March on audio. I listened to four of her books this week. I’m now listening to Real Sexy by Meghan March which is the second book in her Real Dirty Duet. I’m not liking this Duet as much as the others I’ve read/listened to, but it’s still good.

Holly: I had another slow reading week. I tell ya, between work and kid stuff I barely have time to breathe, much less read. I’m hopeful someday I’ll get back to it. Thank goodness for audiobooks I can listen to in the car, at practices and at work. Otherwise, I’d have read nothing this week.

I reread a couple books; Mystery Man and Broken Dove by Kristen Ashley and Repeat by Kylie Scott. Aside from that I finished The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook (so good!) and listened to Good Girl by Lauren Layne (it was awful) and Hot as Puck by Lili Valente (I liked it).

I’m currently listening to Trade Me by Courtney Milan. I’m not quite halfway through but I’m enjoying it so far.

Rowena: I’ve been in training all week on a new position at work so I haven’t been reading much of anything. The only thing that I read this week was The Iron Duke (Iron Seas #1) by Meljean Brook and I really enjoyed that but other than that, I haven’t read anything.

I’m starting Coming Up Roses by Staci Hart and Water Bound by Christine Feehan, wish me luck on that.

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? (+ Karen Ranney Giveaway)To Love a Duchess by Karen Ranney
Series: All for Love #1
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 372
Add It: Goodreads
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From New York Times Bestselling Author Karen Ranney comes the first book in a royally romantic and deeply emotional new series about taking risks and allowing the power to love satisfy the questions of the heart...

Undercover as a majordomo, spy Adam Drummond has infiltrated Marsley House with one purpose only—to plunder its mysteries and gather proof that the late Duke of Marsley was an unforgivable traitor to his country. At the same time, Adam is drawn to a more beguiling puzzle: the young and still-grieving duchess—a beauty with impenetrable secrets of her own. For Drummond, uncovering them without exposing his masquerade will require the most challenging and tender moves of his career.

That a servant can arouse such passion in her is too shocking for Suzanne Whitcomb, Duchess of Marsley, to consider. Yet nothing quickens her pulse like Drummond's touch. It's been two years since the duke lost his life in a tragic accident—and even longer since she's been treated like a woman. But when Drummond's real mission is revealed, and the truth behind Suzanne's grief comes to light, every secret conspired to tear them apart is nothing compared to the love that can hold them together.

What Are You Reading: To Love a Duchess by Karen Ranney

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


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Review: Most Valuable Playboy by Lauren Blakely

Posted August 15, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Most Valuable Playboy by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Holly
Most Valuable Playboy by Lauren Blakely
Narrator: Zachary Webber
Series: Ballers and Babes #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 1, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 306
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Hands down, my favorite thing in the world is to score. Touchdowns.

Don't let the fact that I'm the leading pick in the Most Valuable Playboy charity auction fool you. These days, I'm only a player on the field. I've kept my pants zipped all season long because nothing's more important than leading my team to victory every week. Except maybe escaping from the team owner's recently-widowed and handsy-as-hell sister who's dead set on winning more than a date with me.

Enter Violet and a well-placed Hail Mary.

She's my best friend's sister with a smile as sweet as cherry pie and a mind that runs quicker than the 40-yard-dash. After Violet saves the day with the highest bid, I don't even give her a two-minute warning before I kiss her in front of the whole crowd and then announce that she's my girlfriend. Which would be fine except my agent tells me we have to keep up the act while he's negotiating my contract.Violet takes one for the team and pretends to be mine, but our boyfriend-girlfriend scrimmage quickly turns into a full contact sport, and I want it to go into overtime. The problem is--I've been riding the bench for years.

How can a guy like me, who finally has a chance to prove his worth on the field, convince the girl she's most valuable to his heart?

*MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY is a brand new standalone sports romance written in the guy's POV!*

Most Valuable Playboy is the first book in Lauren Blakely‘s Ballers and Babes series. I listened to the prequel novella last week, which is told solely from Violet, the heroine’s, point of view. This is told solely from Cooper’s point of view. This is an Audible Escape (formerly the Audible Romance Package) find. It was a cute, light listen. I really like Zachary Webber as a narrator. He did a great job with the story.

Cooper is finally where he wants to be professionally – the starting quarterback for the San Francisco Renegade’s NFL team. He was a first round draft pick, but he ended up sitting on the bench while the man he thought he’d replace continued to dominate. He has some big shoes to fill, and his entire career is riding on him doing well this season, especially since his contract is up for renegotiation. When the owner’s sister gets a little too handsy and makes it known she wants more than a platonic date when she wins him in a charity playboy auction, he asks his best friend’s little sister to rescue him. He’s known Violet since second grade, they’re great friends and both know the score. So he has no trouble asking her to play his girlfriend for the rest of the season to keep the owner’s sister away.

I’ve come to expect a fun, easy to fall into story from Blakely, and she easily delivered here. Cooper and Violet’s friendship came through well, and I loved how they came to know each other in a more intimate way. I liked the progression of friends to lovers and how the fake relationship turned into a real one. Violet was a lot of fun, but I think I got more out of the story for having listened to the prequel novella, Most Irresistible Guy, first. It gave me a better understanding of where she was at with Cooper and why she agreed to the charade.

There isn’t a ton of football in this book, but there was enough with the team and coaches to make this feel like a well-rounded story. I’m looking forward to the next book.

If you’re looking for a sweet, fun romance, this is the one for you.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Ballers and Babes

four-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan

Posted August 12, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Caution: This book may include potentially sensitive content, including but not limited to: Sexual Violence or Abuse.
Summer Reading Challenge Review: Long Shot by Kennedy RyanReviewer: Holly
Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan
Series: Hoops #1
Also in this series: Hoops Holiday, Long Shot (Hoops, #1), Hook Shot
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 22, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 460
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Holly's Summer Reading Challenge, New to Me Challenge, Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A FORBIDDEN LOVE SET IN THE EXPLOSIVE WORLD OF THE NBA...

Think you know what it's like being a baller's girl? You don't. My fairy tale is upside down. A happily never after. I kissed the prince and he turned into a fraud. I was a fool, and his love - fool's gold.

Now there's a new player in the game, August West. One of the NBA's brightest stars. Fine. Forbidden. He wants me. I want him. But my past, my fraudulent prince, just won't let me go

*Certain aspects of this story may be sensitive for some readers.

Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan is the first book in the Hoops series. It won a RITA in 2019. This was a very difficult book to read. I understand why it won. This is an emotionally charged novel. It left me feeling emotionally wrung out.

Trigger Warning: There was a lot of abuse on page, including repeated sexual assault.

I started this book several times, but kept setting it aside in favor of other books. Part of it is the basketball angle. I’m not a fan and books that focus on the sport don’t appeal to me. More than that, though, is I’d heard this was a dark, difficult read and I wasn’t really in the mood to take that on. I eventually pushed through, however, and I’m glad I did.

Iris and August meet one night in a bar and have an instant connection. They keep crossing paths. Every time they do, they seem to fall in deeper with each other. He’s about to head into the draft and she’s dating someone else, so the timing isn’t right. Just when Iris decides she’s ready to leave her boyfriend, things happen and she ends up stuck. Then things turn bad and he started abusing her, and she’s stuck in a different way.

Iris’ personal journey, her strength and the way she pulled herself out of a bad place, was really inspiring. There’s an Author’s Note in the back that talks about domestic abuse and the women who suffer because our system is so flawed, and I really felt that. I felt Iris’ desperation, her pain, her lack of options. It hit me in ways I didn’t expect. This is a novel I’ll think about long after it’s done.

I really and truly loved August. He was wonderful from day one. His faith in Iris, the way he championed her, was so wonderful to read about. I loved that he wanted Iris to live her dreams, to become what she wanted.

I really enjoyed the family August was born into, as well as the one he made in San Diego. I also loved Iris’ cousin. I’m looking forward to her book.

Still, for all that, Iris made a lot a questionable decision at the end, and it kind of killed things for me. Just when I thought she’d come out of her situation stronger, she did something so ridiculous I can’t even think about it without getting angry. I wanted to love this book the way everyone else seems to, but honestly, I didn’t understand a lot of the decisions Iris made, so I didn’t connect with her the way I should have.

View Spoiler »

Still, I can’t deny this was an emotional, gripping read. I was fully invested in Iris and August finding their happily ever after.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Hoops

three-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Unbreak Me by Michelle Hazen

Posted August 11, 2019 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 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. 🙂

Michelle Hazen is a new-to-me author, but I’m crazy excited for Unbreak Me. The early reviews have been great and the blurb makes me think this is my kind of jam.

Sunday Spotlight: Unbreak Me by Michelle HazenUnbreak Me by Michelle Hazen
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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A contemporary romance about a New Orleans cowboy battling systemic racism post-Hurricane Katrina and a woman recovering from a public trial following a sexual assault.

What could two troubled souls from different walks of life have in common? Maybe everything.

Andra Lawler lives isolated at her family’s horse ranch, imprisoned by the memories of an assault in college. When she needs help training her foals, she hires a Haitian-Creole cowboy from New Orleans with a laugh as big as the Montana sky.

LJ Delisle can’t stand the idea that Andra might be lonely—or eating frozen TV dinners. He bakes his way into her kitchen with a lemon velvet cake, and offers her cooking lessons that set them on the road to romance. But even their love can’t escape the shadow of what they've been through. Despite their growing friendship and his gentle rapport with the horses, LJ is still an outsider facing small-town suspicions.

Before they can work through their issues, LJ is called home by a family emergency. In the centuries-old, raggedly rebuilt streets of New Orleans, he must confront memories of Hurricane Katrina and familiar discrimination. And Andra must decide if she’s brave enough to leave the shelter of the ranch for an uncertain future with LJ.

Excerpt

She leaned against the refrigerator where it stuck out from the counter, and closed her eyes. She was not imagining the double meaning to his every word. Nobody’s mind was lower in the gutter than LJ’s. He was flirting with her, had probably always been flirting with her, according to her father. It was just a different brand of flirting than she knew what to do with. All possibility, no pressure. And he was certainly doing it on purpose. The man missed nothing. Not the tiniest flick of a horse’s ears, not the morning he brought her coffee because her belt had missed one loop on her jeans and he figured that meant she’d been in a rush that day.

What bothered her was how easy it was. He’d invited himself into her kitchen and her life from virtually his first day on the ranch.

“You took this job for the horses, right?” Her voice came out a little faint, and she opened her eyes to see him frown at her.

“I certainly didn’t take it for the pension plan.”

She bit her lip, hesitating. Watching her, his expression changed.

“Ah.” He laughed. “Don’t flatter yourself, darlin’. You were something else, riding that fancy stallion like you both belonged in the Olympics. But it was Taz who ran away with my heart that first day. That and all this.” He nodded toward the window. “Big sky full of second chances.”

Her stomach twisted, uncertain whether she was relieved or offended he hadn’t taken the job because he wanted to pursue her. Then the second part of his statement caught her, and her eyes narrowed.

“Do you need a second chance?” she asked slowly.

“Doesn’t everybody?” He flicked off both burners and stepped close to her all in one smooth movement. One hand landed on the refrigerator, above her head; one on the counter, next to her hip. He was near enough to let her feel his body heat, but not caging her in. She could step out from under his arm easily, and with a surge of her pulse, she almost wished she couldn’t. LJ stood so close his body was her entire world. Cozy but thrilling. She wanted him pressed against her so she could drown in that bizarre reaction, breathe it in and glory in it.

He ducked his head, his drawl a lower pitch than usual. “What’s on your mind, beautiful?”

She could only blink, as if steam were effervescing out of the air between them and she couldn’t quite see.

“You keep asking all these questions.” He licked his bottom lip, a quick slick of tongue over that mouth of his. “Why don’t you ask me what you’re really wanting to know?”

“The cooking lessons.” Her mouth was so dry she had to swallow before she could continue. “Was that flirting? Is that why you offered in the first place?”

His hand dropped, the inside of his wrist warming her shoulder as he opened the fridge. Taking her other shoulder, he spun her around. “See that?”

She stared, puzzled. Milk, orange juice. Cheese and eggs and containers of leftovers and some lettuce that was starting to go off.

“That’s what a fridge is supposed to look like.” He let the door fall closed. “I like you.”

She didn’t move. He was right behind her, the closed fridge giving them no excuse to keep looking in its direction. They were too close for anything except hugging, her bottom so near the front of his jeans that she couldn’t even shift her weight without touching him. This was the point where she should pull away.
He tapped one finger against the fridge door. “I would have done that much even for somebody I didn’t like. As for the rest?” His knuckles skimmed down the back of her arm so lightly that the rough yarn of her sweater woke up her entire body, her skin rippling with goose bumps. “Now that might be flirting.”

“Might be?” she asked breathlessly.

His breath stirred her hair, as if he’d bent a little closer. “Depends on if you want it to be.”

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: August 2019

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 Michelle Hazen

Michelle Hazen is a nomad with a writing problem. Years ago, she and her husband ducked out of the 9 to 5 world and moved into their truck. She found her voice with the support of the online fanfiction community, and once she started typing, she never looked back.

She has written most of her books in odd places, including a bus in Thailand, an off-the-grid cabin in the Sawtooth Mountains, a golf cart in a sandstorm, a rental car during a heat wave in the Mohave Desert and a beach in Honduras. Even when she’s climbing rocks, riding horses, or getting lost someplace wild and beautiful, there are stories spooling out inside her head, until she finally heeds their call and returns to her laptop and solar panels.


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