Tuesday, May 22, 2018

My Top 5 Books — Books I Read Before Goodreads

Today I'm sharing 5 books that I read before I joined Goodreads, which was back in early 2011. Those were the times where I had to go to the bookstore  and their tiny English selection to see what they books had. I'm excluding the Artemis Fowl books for this because I read  the Dutch translated version when I was 13 so they don't really count. Sorry, Arty.

Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison
YA, Paranormal
Add on Goodreads

This is the book that introduced me to Kim Harrison and her wonderful writing. I really love this trilogy and feel like it doesn't get enough recognition or that not many readers know about it. My favorite character was Barnabas and I'm still mad Madison couldn't have ended up with him somehow. 

Wings by Aprilynne Pike
YA, Paranormal/Fantasy
Add on Goodreads

Wings was my first book that was about faeries. And oh I loved it so so so so much. And these books are still four of my all time favorite covers. The faeries in this book are pretty different from the ones you see these days that are more deadly but they still have a place in my heart. Oh and team Tamani all the way, right?!

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
YA, Urban Fantasy
Add on Goodreads

Christina from Booklover's Tea Party recommended this book to me and I thought well why not it sounds good. I really didn't think I'd still be reading books in the Shadowhunter world. So the book that began it all will always be special to me. And I'm so glad Christina got me to read it so many years ago.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer
YA, Dystopia/Science Fiction
Add on Goodreads

The Host is an amazing book. You can say whatever you want about Twilight. Hate it or love it (I love it personally) but The Host is the one that I think is Meyer's best one. The movie of The Host was awful, though. Absolutely the worst movie adaption ever. But seriously I looooove this book and in the days before Goodreads all I did was reread this book. I must've reread it 6 times or so in total and I hope I can reread it this year because it's been a while. And let's just all agree that Ian O'Shea was the best damn human being, okay? 

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
Urban Fantasy

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Bitten is the book that introduced me to the awesome Kelley Armstrong. I've also read a couple of her YA books but Bitten is my favorite of hers. I've only read the first two books in this series so I do have some more reading to do. Elena and Clay will always be two of my most favorite couples in literature and the side characters were all amazing as well. + I really liked the tv show.

Which of these titles have you read or what books that you read years 
ago would you recommend?

Monday, May 21, 2018

ARC Review: Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Title: Furyborn
Author: Claire Legrand
Series: Empirium #1
Publication: May 22nd 2018 by Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Play | Kobo
Rating: 5/5

Follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world...or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed...unless the trials kill her first.

A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable--until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world--and of each other.

I don't know if I'm going to be able to find the right words to express my love for Furyborn. Obviously it was amazing because otherwise I wouldn't have rated it with five stars. So yes it was amazing, well written, action-packed and full of twists. The perfect fantasy book, in my opinion. 

The book was basically two stories in one. First of all we have Rielle Dardenne who's been keeping her power over all seven elements secret for years until she has to safe her best friend who's also the crown prince of Celdaria. 
Second, we have Eliana Ferracora who lives a thousand years later where the tale of Rielle is nothing but a story. Eliana is an assassin for the Undying Empire until her mother disappears without a trace and she joins the rebels to find her.

I absolutely loved these two stories in one. We know from the start that Rielle's story doesn't have a happily ever after but with each chapter that revolves around her we get more and more of her story, which was truly epic. Eliana's story was equally riveting, I thought. I love reading books feauturing female assassins so I must say that my preference went out to Eliana in the end. But I really did enjoy reading about both of them. The story in itself was also really fascinating with how power like Rielle possessed it could go both ways, good or evil.

I also wanna say that the secondary characters in this book were fantastic as well. I have some favorites like Simon (I ship the hell out of him with a certain assassin...) and I also totally loved Zahra, who came a bit later into the story but that doesn't mean she wasn't amazing. The story definitely had a great cast of characters in general, even the villains like Corien who I thought was really fascinating. I'm sorry but the bad boys steal my heart. And another thing... angels. I don't want to give too much away but this book features angels. And everyone who knows me just a little bit knows I'm not a fan of books with angels but damn these angels. They're something else. I was simply hooked.

At the start of the book I hadn't expected Furyborn to end up in my top five of favorite books that I read in 2017. The book doesn't release until May 2018 so the wait for the sequel is going to be absolutely horrible but I'm sure it'll be worth the wait because I'm super excited to see how it will all continue.

{Another thing I want to mention but that has nothing to do with Furyborn is that in 2014 I read another book by Claire Legrand: Winterspell, a retelling of The Nutcracker story. And yes, it was as amazing as it sounds so I'd also highly recommend that book.}

Author bio:
Claire Legrand used to be a musician until she realized she couldn’t stop thinking about the stories in her head. Now she is a writer and librarian living in central New Jersey (although her heart will always live in her home state of Texas).

Her first novel is The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, one of the New York Public Library’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing in 2012. She is also the author of The Year of Shadows, a ghost story for middle grade readers; and Winterspell, a young adult re-telling of The Nutcracker. Some Kind of Happiness, her middle grade novel about mental illness, family secrets, and the power of storytelling, is a 2017 Edgar Award Nominee. Claire’s latest novel, Foxheart, is a classic fantasy-adventure and a 2016 Junior Library Guild selection. She is one of the four authors behind The Cabinet of Curiosities, an anthology of dark middle grade short fiction that was a Junior Library Guild selection, a Bank Street Best Book, and among the New York Public Library’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing in 2014.

Her work is represented by Victoria Marini of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.
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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Stacking The Shelves: May 19, 2018

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly bookish meme hosted @ Tynga's Reviews & Reading Reality.

I haven't read it yet but I'm so glad I finally got my hands on it! Also, this might be my favorite cover out of them all.

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
I won this book from Olivia @ The Candid Cover and I can't wait to read it. I hope I'll end up loving it because this book sounds amazing!

Clash of Empires by Ben Kane
I was super surprised that my order of this book already was in my mailbox yesterday. It only arrived in 3 days from the book depository and it usually takes 10-14 days so I'm not sure what happened but oh I am so glad! 

Tardis Magnetic Bookmark
from Hello Papers Co
I've wanted a magnetic Tardis bookmark for ages but didn't realize Hello Papers Co had one on her Etsy store. When I found out I ordered it right away. I love it so much!

Naughty Desires by Sarah Castille
Piece of Work by Staci Hart

For Review:
Breakaway by Michelle Diener
The Isle of Gold by Seven Jane

Don't forget to enter my giveaway that I'm hosting to win a book of choice from TBD. 2 winners, open INTL — Click here

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Review: Twilight Empress by Faith L. Justice

Title: Twilight Empress
Author: Faith L. Justice

Publication: May 8th 2017 by Raggedy Moon Books
Genre: Historical Fiction
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | iBooksKobo | Smashwords

Rating: 4/5

One woman battles the coming Dark Ages. "Twilight Empress" tells the little-known story of a remarkable woman: Placidia, sister to one of the last Roman Emperors. Roman Empress and Gothic Queen, Placidia does the unthinkable: she rules the failing Western Roman Empire. A life of ambition, power, and intrigue she doesn't seek, but can't refuse, her actions shape the face of Western Europe for centuries. A woman as well as an empress, Placidia suffers love, loss, and betrayal. Can her intelligence, tenacity, and ambition help her survive and triumph over scheming generals, rebellious children, and Attila the Hun?

If there's a type of story I like more than anything it's books about little-known and strong women from history. As someone who's a self-proclaimed history geek I always jump on the chance to read books like this. That's why I loved Twilight Empress so much, along with several other reasons I will state below. It's also been a long time since I stayed up late to finish a book, which is what I did with this one. I just couldn't stop reading and had this intense need to know how it all would end. 

Twilight Empress takes place in the 5th century in the Western Roman Empire that is declining steadily and Placidia is the sister to one of the last Roman Emperors, Honorius. The story starts with her having to flee and getting taken hostage by Alaric, king of the Visigoths who successfully sacked Rome. I can sincerely say I was hooked right from the very first page. The story and the character of Placidia as well as several of the side characters fascinated me so much. It was hard to put the book down because I didn't want to stop reading. 

What captivated me the most, though, was the writing. I loved the lush descriptions because they made me really feel as if I was in the Late Antiquity that the story takes place in. That's honestly all I want from a story, especially when it's historical fiction. As for secondary characters, I loved so many of them. I absolutely loved Placidia's first husband Ataulf (who was also king of the Visigoths), Lucilla, Sigisvult... so there was definitely no lack of great characters to get invested in and rooting for.

There were so many various themes in this book that I almost couldn't keep track of them. There's love, revenge, loss, obligation and so on. Placidia felt it all so very deeply and changed immensely from the beginning of the book until the very end. The tragedies she experienced throughout her life were extremely sad but they also gave her the purpose to go on. I must admit that I didn't always liked her as a person but that's why her character developement was remarkably on point in that area, which is something that I think is very important in any book. The author did that very nicely.  

As always I would highly recommend any future readers of this book to read the author's note because she goes more into how historically accurate the story actually was (I think she did well in that area) and how she shaped the story. She mentions in it that she fell in love with the Theodosian women: Placidia, Pulcheria and Athenais. Those last two were also characters in this book. I can say that I feel the same now because I just want to research them and learn everything there is to know about them. Overall, I really enjoyed Twilight Empress and can't wait to read more books by Faith L. Justice. I want to read them all!

Author bio:
Faith L. Justice writes award-winning novels, short stories and articles published in venues such as Salon.com, Writer's Digest, and The Copperfield Review. A varied life provides the staples for Faith's stories. Day jobs included lifeguard, paralegal, computer systems analyst, human resources executive, college professor, and freelance writer. Travel and research provides the spice. She haunted the leading museums of Europe, tramped the streets of ancient ruins, and volunteered at archaeological sites. Currently, Faith writes in her historic home "The Suffragette House" in Brooklyn, New York where she lives with her family and cats. Sample her stories and books, check out her blog, find out where she travels next, or ask Faith a question at her website: www.faithljustice.com.
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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Isle of Gold by Seven Jane

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. It's based on Waiting On Wednesday hosted at Breaking the Spine.

The Isle of Gold by Seven Jane
Expected publication: October 9th 2018 by Black Spot Books

Mystery, Myth & Magic Meet in an Epic Adventure of Two Women Lost at Sea—
and the Secret that Binds Them Together


The year is 1716—the Golden Age of Pirates. An orphan who sleeps in the dusty kitchens of a quayside brothel, Merrin Smith is desperate to unravel the secrets of her past and find the truth about the events that brought her to the Caribbean island of Isla Perla as a child. Disguised as a sailor, and with the help of her longtime friend Claudette, Merrin joins the crew of the pirate ship Riptide, helmed by the notorious Captain Erik Winters. Tenacious and rumored a madman, Winters is known as much for his ruthlessness as for his connection to the enigmatic and beautiful proprietress of the Goodnight Mermaid, Evangeline Dahl, who vanished from Isla Perla two summers before.

At sunset the Riptide sails for the mythical island of Bracile, a place hidden between air and sea and that exists only for a moment every two years, and which has never returned any man who has sailed for its shores. The journey will be perilous and long, and it will take Merrin far away from the only home she’s ever known. Because she can read, Merrin will serve as the Captain’s apprentice, deciphering old texts for clues to the island’s whereabouts as the ship sails through haunted, frozen waters and into the very heart of the ocean. As she struggles to navigate the rough, seafaring life aboard a pirate ship, Merrin must keep her identity hidden from the scrupulous gaze of not only Captain Winters, but also Mister Brandon Dunn, the ship’s surly, legend-spouting quartermaster, and Tom Birch, the charming boatswain Merrin can’t help but feel drawn to.

As the Riptide makes its way to Bracile, Merrin begins to suspect that the men she has worked so hard to deceive may in fact be more connected to her than she would have imagined, and that perhaps her own past might have more to do with the Dunn’s legends and myths than she ever could have guessed.

In The Isle of Gold [Black Spot Books, October 9, 2018] Merrin Smith must face perilous waters, cursed sea goddesses, and the embodiments of some of the ocean’s most terrifying legends as she not only struggles to survive her journey, but to find the answers to the mysteries of her past.

A story where history meets fantasy, The Isle of Gold is an epic, emotional adventure of two women—one desperate to save herself, and the other determined to be rescued—and the secret which binds them together.

“For as long as men have sailed the ocean, they have told stories about the sea,” says Jane. “It’s a place of mystery, myth, and magic—and this makes The Isle of Gold a perfect setting for an epic adventure that is not only a tale of historical fiction, but of the very evolution of a woman’s spirit as she seeks to find herself in a world of unpredictability and uncertainty.”

“There is an old saying that ‘the cure for anything is saltwater—tears, sweat, or the sea.’ In The Isle of Gold, Merrin’s journey requires all three.”

I just stumbled upon this new upcoming book the other day and it just sounds incredible! Not only is the cover absolutely gorgeous I also love that it's a story where history meets fantasy. It sounds like it could be right up my alley!

And don't forget to enter my giveaway that I'm hosting to win a book of choice from TBD. 2 winners, open INTL — Click here

Monday, May 14, 2018

Review: Eagles in the Storm by Ben Kane

Title: Eagles in the Storm
Author: Ben Kane
Series: Eagles of Rome #3
Publication: March 23rd 2017 by Preface Publishing

Genre: Historical Fiction
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Play | Kobo
Rating: 5/5

Arminius has been defeated, one of the three eagles has been recovered, and thousands of German tribesmen slain.

Yet these successes aren’t nearly enough for senior centurion Lucius Tullus. Not until Arminius is dead, his old legion’s eagle liberated and the enemy tribes completely vanquished will he rest.

But Arminius is still at large, devious, fearless and burning for revenge of his own. Charismatic as ever, he raises another large tribal army, which will harry the Romans the length and breadth of the land.

Into this cauldron of bloodshed, danger and treachery, Tullus must go - alone. His mission – to find and bring back his legion’s eagle – will place him in more danger than he has ever faced before.

Can he succeed? Can he even survive?

It's not often that I rate a trilogy with five stars for all three books, but with Ben Kane's Eagles of Rome trilogy I did it and it's so well deserved!

Eagles in the Storm was a fantastic conclusion. I could barely put the book down, it was so thrilling and as always well-written. It was also heart-wrenching at times I must say.

The story returns with its great cast of characters like Tullus, Armenis, Maelo, Piso and several others.Tullus is still holding hope after so many years to find the lost eagle of the 18th and revenge on Arminius. Meanwhile Arminius is desperate to lead his people and the other tribes into battle against the Romans.

The book had its fair share of battles. It was all very action-packed and as always really brutal. The author's way of writing not only the battle scenes but every other detail made me feel as if I was actually there. I also can't help but praise the subtle humor as well.

The story was amazing and I thought the ending was pretty much perfect but some characters' deaths basically punched me in the gut. The unexpectedness of that made it even a more powerful ending of my one of my favorite trilogies.

Author bio: Ben Kane is a bestselling Roman author and former veterinarian. He was born in Kenya and grew up in Ireland (where his parents are from). He has traveled widely and is a lifelong student of military history in general, and Roman history in particular. He lives in North Somerset, England, with his family. Read his full bio here.
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Friday, May 11, 2018

Book Beginnings | The Friday 56: Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray

              Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader

Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice

Grab a book, any book. Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader. Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) and post it.

     Book Beginning:

December 40 B.C.
They came from Memphis, Thebes, and Heliopolis to see the Savior born.

    Friday 56:

"Come, Selene, play your kithara for me today," the emperor said. "It will cheer you up, and I know you want to please me. That much was true. The night I'd forsaken Euphronius, I made pleasing the emperor my only choice.

Lily of the Nile is a novel about Cleopatra's daughter Selene and I'm loving it so far. I've read a book about Selene before that I also enjoyed but this one already is different for sure but even better than the one I read before. I personally really like the beginning of the book. It's a strong start. And I'm not actually yet at 56% so that short quote kind of makes me freak out so I'll just have to read on, I guess.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Heiress of one empire and prisoner of another, it is up to the daughter of Cleopatra to save her brothers and reclaim what is rightfully hers...

To Isis worshippers, Princess Selene and her twin brother Helios embody the divine celestial pair who will bring about a Golden Age. But when Selene's parents are vanquished by Rome, her auspicious birth becomes a curse. Trapped in an empire that reviles her heritage and suspects her faith, the young messianic princess struggles for survival in a Roman court of intrigue. She can't hide the hieroglyphics that carve themselves into her hands, nor can she stop the emperor from using her powers for his own ends. But faced with a new and ruthless Caesar who is obsessed with having a Cleopatra of his very own, Selene is determined to resurrect her mother's dreams. Can she succeed where her mother failed? And what will it cost her in a political game where the only rule is win-or die?

And don't forget to enter my giveaway that I'm hosting to win a book of choice from TBD. 2 winners, open INTL — Click here

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Book Blitz: Magical Bullet Journal & Planner - Tish Thawer + Giveaway (INTL)

Magical Bullet Journal & Planner
Tish Thawer
Publication date: May 10th 2018

Embrace the energy all around you as you utilize the pages within to create a personal brand of magic all your own.
With correspondence pages including The Wheel of the Year, The Zodiac, The Moon Phases, and more, you can let your imagination fly as you fill in the blank pages to plan out your magical year.
A magical bullet journal and planner inspired by Author Tish Thawer’s Witches of BlackBrook series.

Author Bio:
2017 - #1 Bestseller in Historical Fiction (Witches of BlackBrook)
2017 - Top 100 Bestselling in Paid Kindle Store (Witches of Blackbrook)
2015 - Best Cover - Penned Con (The Witches of BlackBrook)
2015 - Readers Choice Award - My New Favorite Book Awards (The Witches of BlackBrook)

Bestselling and Award Winning Author, Tish Thawer, writes paranormal romances for all ages. From her first paranormal cartoon, Isis, to the Twilight phenomenon, myth, magic, and superpowers have always held a special place in her heart.
Tish is known for her detailed world-building and magic-laced stories. Her work has been compared to Nora Roberts, Sam Cheever, and Charlaine Harris. She has received a RONE Award nomination (Reward of Novel Excellence), as well as nominations for Best Cover, Reader’s Choice, and Author of the Year (Fantasy, Dystopian, Mystery).
Tish has worked as a computer consultant, photographer, and graphic designer, and is a columnist for Gliterary Girl media and has bylines in RT Magazine and Literary Lunes Magazine. She resides in Arizona with her husband and three wonderful children and is represented by Gandolfo, Helin, and Fountain Literary Management.
You can find Tish on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorTishThawer
A common FAQ: "How do you pronounce her last name?"
Answer: Think "Bower" or "Thow-er". It's Persian!


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Shades of Wicked by Jeaniene Frost

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. It's based on Waiting On Wednesday hosted at Breaking the Spine.

Shades of Wicked by Jeaniene Frost
Night Rebel #1

Expected publication: October 30th 2018 by Avon

In this thrilling new Night Rebel series set in New York Times bestselling author Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress world, sexy and ruthless vampire Ian finally meets his match!

The Rule Breaker

Master vampire Ian is unrepentant, shameless… and every shade of wicked. He’s made one too many enemies in his two centuries of existence, including Dagon, a demon who now lays claim to his soul. Ian’s only chance to escape Dagon is to join forces with a Law Guardian, but he’s never been able to abide by the rules for long.

The Law Maker

Veritas’ normal role is police, judge and jury to reprobates like Ian. But she has her own ax to grind with Dagon, so if she can use Ian as bait…well, all’s fair in law and war. As they scour supernatural hotspots to perfect their trap, Veritas soon realizes Ian’s devil-may-care, roguish image hides something much more powerful. And Ian discovers that Veritas has shocking secrets of her own. As they’re drawn to each other with a passion as intense as their peril, either love or justice will prevail. But each will have devastating consequences…

I absolutely can't contain my excitement for Shades of Wicked. It's probably my next most anticipated book of the year. Ian is one of my favorite characters from the Night Huntress books (+ all its various spin-off books) and I never thought we'd actually get a series about him. I remember Jeaniene Frost saying in the past she wasn't ready to write a book about him but I guess the fans finally talked her into it. I'm super happy about that because I never want to say goodbye to this world and all the characters in it. 

And don't forget to enter my giveaway that I'm hosting to win a book of choice from TBD. 2 winners, open INTL — Click here