Friday, June 22, 2018

Mid Year Freak Out Book Tag 2018

I did this tag last year too and I saw it on a couple of other blogs like (un)Conventional Book Views, Ruby Rae Reads & Paper Fury as well this week so thought I might as well do it again this year. Consider yourself tagged if you want to do it yourself. ♥


How much I've read

What I've been Reading
*ratings*

Best book of the year so far
My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie {Review}
Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt {Review}

Although My Dear Hamilton is my #1 favorite book of the year so far, I just had to add Ecstasy too because it's a close second. Both are historical fiction and I just can't recommend these books high enough. No other books I've read have come even close to them both.

Best sequel of the year so far
Final Debt by Pepper Winters {Review}

I haven't read many sequels yet this year. Maybe this is why I have so many unfinished series? But I thought the last Indebted book by Pepper Winters was incredible! I'm also kind of proud of myself for finally finishing this series so now I've read every single book by this author. It was one of my goals for 2018.

New release you haven't read yet but want to

Clash of Empires by Ben Kane
Legendary by Stephanie Garber
LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff
The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco

These are just a few out of the never ending list of new releases that I still have to read. Which one should I pick up first? 

Most anticipated release for autumn/winter?

Shades of Wicked by Jeaniene Frost
When Women Ruled the World: Six Queen of Egypt by Kara Cooney
Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
Someday by David Levithan

I'm looking forward to many new releases this autumn/winter but these books are my top 4. I think it's also pretty funny that they're all different genres. 

Biggest disappointment of the year so far:

Let's just say I kind of couldn't stand this book. If you want to know more you can read my review.

Biggest surprise of the year so far
Audiobook: Amanda Noble, #zoolife by Lesa Boutin {Review}

It wasn't a surprise that I loved a book by this author because I've highly enjoyed her work in the past but that I actually loved an audiobook is a bit of a surprise. I had to choice between the e-book or audiobook and for some reason I picked audiobook. I'm so glad I did because it worked so well for me. I couldn't stop listening to the book. 

New Favorite Author

This was a little hard for me to choose because I haven't read many authors this year so far that were new to me but I'm going with Faith L. Justice because I loved Twilight Empress {Review} so much + she seems like such a nice person as well.

Your Newest Favorite Character

Sutton is one of the billionaires in the story that wants to claime the main character, Harper. I totally fell in love with him in Survival of the Richest although I'm actually not quite sure if I can fully trust him yet but hopefully I'll find out in the second book. #TeamSutton

Book that made you cry
The Girl and Her Ren by Pepper Winters {Review}

This is the only book that has made me cry so far this year so you can imagine how much it hurt my heart. It was brilliantly written but damn it was so tough!

A book that made you happy
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer 

Re-reading Artemis Fowl always make me incredibly happy. I've also been re-reading the rest of the series. I'm at book six now.

Most beautiful book so far
Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray
Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt

These two are my favorite covers by far! Lily of the Nile recently got this new gorgeous cover, which I'm just crazy about. And the cover of Ecstasy has blown me away from the start. I plan on buying a hardcover copy of it sometime. I just have to!


What's your favorite book of the year so far? (or any of the other questiosn from above.) I'd love to know!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Book Blitz: Dark Water by J.A. Armitage + Giveaway (INTL)


Hi everyone! 
Welcome to the book blitz of Dark Water by J.A. Armitage. It's the fourth book in the Reverse Fairytales series but I think they can be read as standalone (I'm not 100% sure, though). The story is a retelling of The Little Mermaid (my fave!) so I definitely want to read it.
Also, don't forget to enter the giveaway below. It's open internationally and the prices are:
A mermaid swag pack + a signed copy of Dark Water,
$20 Amazon giftcard + an ecopy of Dark Water,
An e-copy of Dark Water
~~


Dark Water
J.A. Armitage
(Reverse Fairytales, #4)
Publication date: June 19th 2018
Genres: Fairy Tales, Young Adult

You think you know the story of The Little Mermaid…
A tragic accident on the eve of her eighteenth birthday leads Princess Erica to a chance encounter with a mysterious man on the beach. When he turns up at her birthday party and whisks her off her feet, she knows she has to find out everything about him, but why won’t he speak and where does he keep disappearing to?
Ari knows he’s crossed a line by mingling with the land humans, but how can he resist the beautiful princess whose life he saved? He must decide whether to stay on land and become like her, or continue to live without her in the depths of the ocean.
Trapped in a centuries long battle between his kind and hers, his decision will rock both their kingdoms.
With a sea witch that needs repaying and the small matter of Erica’s engagement to someone else, Ari knows the odds are stacked against him.
Dark Water is the fourth in the Reverse Fairytale series and the first Little Mermaid retelling by USA Today bestselling author J.A.Armitage. Take everything you think you know about fairytales and turn it on its head.
EXCERPT:
CHAPTER ONE
“May God bless her and all who sail on her.”
I cleared my throat, hoping I’d said it correctly, and gripped the bottle of champagne, terrified of letting it go too early or, worse still, missing the ship entirely.
Beyond the ship, the ocean shimmered in the midday sun. Diamond-like sparkles of light bounced off the calm cerulean water—water that looked so inviting, I wanted nothing more than to jump in, to surrender to the balmy ripples. Of course, wanting it and doing it were two different things. First of all, I couldn’t swim, and secondly, my mother would pitch a fit if I took another step closer to the dock edge. She was already a bag of nerves from today’s event.
I looked behind me, needing reassurance from my parents. This was my first official royal engagement, and I was terrified of messing it up. My father beamed at me with pride while my mother gave me a thin smile. I could see the fear in her eyes although she was doing her best to hide it. I was amazed she’d come at all. The ocean positively terrified her. My father’s hand was almost white with how hard my mother was squeezing it. Next to them, my little brother, Anthony, was picking his nose and examining the treasure he found up there. Not for the first time I was reminded how fortunate it was that I was the first in line to the throne.
Beside me, my life-long best friend nudged me to let go of the bottle. Officially, his title was Sir Hayden Harrington-Blythe, but to me, he was just Hayden. He’d been my first crush since our first day in kindergarten when he’d pulled on my pigtails, and I’d stamped on his foot. Despite our unpromising start, over the years we’d turned into friends. My crush on him was long since over, and his pigtail pulling days were long gone, but somehow, our friendship had survived.
“You do know you are supposed to let go of the bottle right?” whispered Hayden in my ear. I gave him a look I only ever reserved for him and lifted the bottle. Letting go, I watched it swing on a length of string, arcing towards the majestic ship’s wooden hull. It made a tinkling sound as it smashed against the side of the ship, scattering glass all over the paved dock. I couldn’t help thinking it was a waste of good champagne and that it would be better served at the ball being held in honor of my birthday in a couple of days’ time. Still, I felt invigorated by the salty smell of the ocean, the atmosphere of a thousand happy people coming out to see the launch, and the fact that I now had a boat that bore my name. I was feeling as excited as I could hope to feel, second only to being allowed to actually go out on the damn thing.
The Erica Rose’s white sails flapped in the breeze below the official flag of Trifork as if she were eager to be off, out onto the ocean. I couldn’t blame her. To sail on the ocean was a lifelong dream of mine. Ever since I could remember, I’d looked out of my bedroom window toward the ocean and dreamed of the day that I’d be able to disappear beyond the rolling waves toward the horizon.
It was a dream that had never, and would never, be realized as long as my parents were in charge. For a kingdom so well-known for its naval and merchant vessels, my parents were ridiculously strict about letting me go near the ocean. This was the closest I’d gotten in the whole eighteen years of my life, and I had a full team of palace guards surrounding me, stopping me from taking one step closer to the water’s edge than I had to. It was all because of my mother, of course. My father might have been the one that ruled Trifork, but in the palace, my mother was the one that wore the pants, so to speak. If my mother said I couldn’t go near the ocean, then my father wasn’t going to argue with her. However, today was a special day, and not even my mother could come up with a good enough reason for us not to be here. She might have been absolutely petrified, but she was the queen, a duty she held above everything, even crippling panic.
Everybody clapped as the wooden ship began pulling up its anchor, its crew readying themselves to set sail.
I took a deep breath and inhaled the salty air. Above the excited chatter of the crowd, seagulls cawed to each other as they flew overhead looking for an easy snack. Oh, how I envied them and their freedom.
My father managed to extricate himself from my mother’s vice-like grip and joined me on the dock’s edge. My poor mother’s face turned even more ashen, and she had to grip a nearby railing instead to save herself from fainting. It was almost cruel, living so close to the ocean and being so frightened of it. I saw her eyes darting past my father and me to the ocean behind us as though it could somehow climb above the dock and swallow us whole. I don’t doubt it could on a stormy day, but today the skies were blue, and the sea was calm.
“We here in Trifork have a rich sailing heritage, one of which I am immensely proud,” began my father into the microphone that had been set up for the occasion. “Today is a big day for me, both as a king and a father. As you all know, my daughter, the princess Erica Rose, will turn eighteen in just two days’ time. Her first official engagement was supposed to be at the ball, but she begged me to be allowed to launch this ship. Being the dutiful father I am, I agreed.” He paused at this point waiting for a laugh. When he got it, he carried on. “This is my birthday gift to you, dear Erica. I know you’ve always had a fondness for the sea and so this ship not only bears your name but also belongs to you.”
I blinked a couple of times, unsure if what I was hearing was true. The ship was mine? I wasn’t allowed to dip my toes in the shallow waves at the beach, but I was allowed to own a ship?
I gazed up at the huge galleon. “She’s mine?” Hope rose in my chest that I might, for the first time in my life, be able to go out on the ocean. My parents had never so much as let me sail in a dinghy before now, let alone go on a ship.
“She’s all yours, sweetheart. As part of our fleet and a working ship, she will be taken out by her captain, Captain Jackson. But when she’s back in Trifork, you will be able to see her whenever you want.”
“See her?”
“Yes,” beamed my father, oblivious to the disappointment I was feeling. Only see her? I didn’t want a ship to look at. I’d spent my entire life watching the ships of Trifork sail in and out of the harbor. I wanted to sail to foreign lands, to feel the sea breeze upon my cheek. I wanted to know what it felt like to roll over the gentle waves with the vastness of the ocean the only thing in view.
My mother caught my disappointment though. She could read me like a book. An elegant woman with a sharp tongue and an even sharper sense of style, she swallowed her terror and took a few steps toward me, toward the ocean. She walked tall and calmly, but a slight tremor in her step gave her away.
“Aren’t you happy with your new ship?”
“Yes ma’am,” I lied. What was the point of having a ship if I wasn’t allowed on it?
She flicked her eyes past me, once again, toward the ocean. What was it she was looking for? Her eyes snapped back to me. “You know my feelings on you going near the sea, Erica. It’s a dangerous place. I nearly drowned when I was about your age.” She took my hand and pulled me a couple of steps toward her—away from the dock’s edge.
I’d heard the story a million times. Every time I even hinted at wanting to go near the sea, she’d dredge up the same story about how she nearly drowned when she was younger. I wasn’t in the mood to hear it again.
The ship was cast off, the gangplank raised. My ship was about to go on an adventure I could only dream of. The wind caught the sails and the majestic vessel began to move, her crew waving at us as she inched away from the dockside.
My father clapped me on the back, a beaming smile on his face. Even my mother, who usually had a face like a prune when it came to anything to do with water, had found her smile again. I glanced over at Hayden. He knew I was disappointed. I talked about nothing but the ocean with him. He loved the water as I did, but unlike me, he could go out onto it whenever he wanted. He even had his own boat. It was nowhere near as grand as the Erica Rose, but at least, he was allowed to sail in it.
He flicked his eyes almost imperceptibly towards the ship. I arched a brow.
“Do it,” he mouthed silently and cast his eyes towards the ship once again.
He wanted me to jump on the ship! He was actually daring me to do it. Thoughts of all the silly childhood pranks and adventures he’d led me into filled my mind. Hayden was the epitome of an irresistible bad idea. I followed his eye line to where the gangplank had been pulled up. The gate was still open, but it wouldn’t be for long. The ship was already a foot away from the dock and moving swiftly towards the open sea. I had seconds to make a decision.
My heart hammered, and adrenaline took over. Without thinking too hard, I ran from my parents, barged past the palace guards, and jumped as far as I could right off the dock. The ship had moved much faster than I’d anticipated, and I missed the gate by a long shot, and instead of landing on the ship, I plunged head first into the sea.
All I could hear were my mother’s screams as the water crowded in around me.
The water that had looked so warm and inviting when I’d been standing on the dock was actually a lot colder than I’d imagined, and as I scrambled for air, its icy grip took my breath away
Mouthfuls of briny water flowed into my mouth, causing me to choke as I tried desperately to keep above the water’s surface. In one terrifying instant, I realized what it was that my mother had been keeping me from for all these years. As I’d never been allowed in water deeper than a bath, I’d never learned how to swim. It occurred to me now that this wasn’t exactly my finest moment.
The dress I’d had picked out for me, a knee length cotton blue dress was perfect for looking smart and launching a ship. It was utterly useless as a floatation device. The heavy, waterlogged fabric weighed me down, making it even harder to try to keep my head above water.
Beside me, I heard a splash. I looked over to see a red and white life ring bobbing close by with a rope attached to it. On the other end of the rope, the Erica Rose’s crew shouted at me to grab hold. After I’d managed to pull myself through it, they heaved me up and pulled me over the side of the boat.
A group of worried faces peered down at me. One of the men reached a hand down to help me up. As I righted myself, my dress dripped ocean water all over the deck and tightened around me. I felt so uncomfortable in the soggy outfit, but when I saw how far from the dock we’d already moved, excitement flooded through me. The fear I’d felt just moments before dissolved, leaving me feeling exhilarated. I was on a ship for the first time in my life, and we were sailing away from the dock.
With giddy excitement, I gripped a railing. On the edge of the dock, my parents shouted and waved for us to come back. My heart fell as I caught the expression on my mother’s face. Her usual stern expression had contorted to one of absolute fear, and she wasn’t trying to hide it anymore. Her screams pierced the air, her usual stoic facade dropped completely as she tore at my father who was desperately trying to pull her back from the edge of the dock.
Her fear of falling into the ocean was obviously smaller than losing one of her children to it.
My stomach churned as I realized the severity of my actions. I’d only wanted to go out to sea. I didn’t want to hurt my mother in the process. I was going to be in the worst kind of trouble for this little stunt, and as we floated further and further out to sea, the more I realized that the adventure was not worth it.
Captain Jackson, a tall man with a perfectly groomed black mustache and oiled down hair greeted me with a salute. I’d never been saluted before. Bowed to and curtseyed aplenty, but a salute was new to me. I raised my hand and saluted back, unsure of the etiquette.
“I’m going to try to turn the ship back, your highness, but it may take a little time to adjust the sails. The wind is not optimal right now. There’s a squall coming, and I’d hoped to get far enough away to miss it.”
I glanced out to the horizon. The seamless blue sky was darkening, and the sea below it matched its threatening color. Where had that come from? Only seconds before, the weather had been as perfect as anyone could wish for.
“Yes, please turn around.” My heart dropped as I realized that my adventure was over before it had even started, and I’d gotten nothing out of it except to embarrass myself in front of thousands of onlookers and terrify my poor mother.
I looked back over to the shoreline. My parents and all the onlookers were barely dots on the horizon now. To my right, I could see the public beach to which people flocked in the summer months. Beyond that were magnificent white cliffs that I’d heard plenty about but never actually seen before as they were only visible from the sea. To my left, the coast was much rockier, and here was where the royal castle stood. Only a wide promenade separated the rocks from the castle. It looked so dark and imposing with its granite grey towers; I barely recognized it from this angle.
“Why don’t you go to my cabin and get changed out of those wet clothes. I’ll have one of my crew show you where it is.”
Captain Jackson swiveled on his toe and left me alone, feeling terrible. I’d not paused to consider the crew or the captain, and now they were going to have to abort their mission. I could chalk up a few more people to the list of those I’d disappointed. With a sigh, I walked to the other side of the deck to look out at the vast ocean. In the distance, the sea turned black and churned ominously almost as though that part of the ocean was alive and out to get us. It was a stark contrast to the crystal clear and calm water beneath the ship. Above me, the crew of the Erica Rose battled to maneuver the sails to turn us around.
“Your Royal Highness.”
I heard someone shouting at me above the wind that was now blustering fiercely. Lightning forked, splitting the sky in two, and the wind tugged my hair from the clip that had been keeping it in place. Strands of long red hair whipped around my face. I turned to see a young man heading toward me.
“I’m Joe, Your Highness, the second in command of the Erica Rose,” he said, giving me a quick bow. “The captain has asked me to escort you to his cabin.”
Joe was barely older than me, with short, dirty blond hair and a winning smile. I was surprised to see someone so young be the second in command of such a ship.
“It’s getting a little choppy,” Joe cautioned, his cheeks red as he took my hand. “They are going to struggle to get the ship back to shore. The forecast mentioned a little bit of turbulent water, but it looks to be shaping up to be a proper storm out there.”
I followed Joe to a big wooden doorway, which he opened for me and beckoned me inside. As I thanked him, a boom filled the darkening sky.
“Thunder,” Joe remarked, taking my hand and leading me down a corridor. I held on tightly to him as the ship listed violently to one side from the sharp turn of the wheel. He showed me to a large room with a writing desk on one side and a bed on the other.
“There will be some clothes in the wardrobe there,” he said, pointing to a small door. “I don’t expect the captain has any dresses, but I’m sure you’ll find something dry to wear.”
I watched the storm unfold through a small porthole as Joe left me to help the captain. It seemed no one was expecting the weather to be this bad and how could they? Only ten minutes earlier, there hadn’t been a cloud in the sky, and now there was barely any blue left, only the darkness of the sea and the sky. It was strange how quickly the storm had taken hold. I certainly had never seen anything like it before. Outside, the rain began to lash down, pitter-pattering on the round window. Thunder crashed as the waves became more intense with the roaring wind that whipped all around us. The storm had sneaked up on us quickly, and as far as I could see, we were getting further and further away from the coastline. Whatever Captain Jackson’s men were doing to turn the ship around, it wasn’t helping.
I hated admitting it to myself after dreaming of the day I could finally sail on the sea for so long, but I was beginning to get scared. My mother’s screams echoed in my head, although we had drifted too far to really hear her. The boat creaked with the strain, and from out of the window, I could see we were being pulled closer and closer toward the storm. A crash from behind me made me jump. I turned to find that some previously neatly stacked dishes had been flung from the cupboard and were now in hundreds of pieces on the floor. Holding on was almost impossible, the ship was lurching so much. I tried walking over to the wardrobe that Joe had pointed out, but the floor beneath me was rocking so much under the motion of the waves that I could barely stand at all. With a shock, I saw a stream of water pushing the remnants of the dishes across the floor. It was coming from the doorway. We were taking on water. I held on to the writing desk to keep myself upright, but the motion of the ship knocked me to the floor. Something sharp pierced my side, and when I looked down, I saw a sliver of broken plate had cut through my dress and into my flesh creating a bloom of fresh blood on the wet fabric.
I looked up to grab hold of the desk to pull myself back up and was shocked to see that the window was now partly submerged. We were sinking, and we were sinking fast. Pulling myself up, I ran to the door quickly. I had to get out, or I would drown. I yanked the door as hard as I could, and as it opened, a deluge of water rushed in knocking me over once again. The lights flickered out leaving me in complete darkness as the water engulfed me, sending me flying into something hard. Water filled my lungs as the blackness folded in around me, my mother’s warnings of the fierceness of the ocean echoing in my head.



Author Bio:
J.A lives in a total fantasy world (because reality is boring right?) When she’s not writing all the crazy fun in her head, she can be found eating cake, designing pretty pictures and hanging upside down from the tallest climbing frame in the local playground while her children look on in embarrassment. She’s travelled the world working as everything from a banana picker in Australia to a Pantomime clown, has climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and the bottom of the Grand Canyon and once gave birth to a surrogate baby for a friend of hers.
She spends way too much time gossiping on facebook and if you want to be part of her Reading Army, where you’ll get lots of freebies, exclusive sneak peeks and super secret sales, join up here
https://www.subscribepage.com/v7o8k4

Somehow she finds time to write.
Reviews for J.A.Armitage's work.
Endless Winter is a unique story that takes place in a beautiful world. J.A. Armitage's writing is lyrical and almost poetic. Janelle Fila for Readers' Favorite

I devoured this book like a rich box of chocolates. Sara C Roethle


GIVEAWAY! 
• Mermaid Swag pack including prize candle (with ring worth between $15 and $5000) and a signed copy of Dark Water
• $20 Amazon giftcard plus an ecopy of Dark Water
• An e-copy of Dark Water

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Blog Tour — Review: Survival of the Richest by Skye Warren

Survival of the Richest, an all-new emotional and romantic standalone from New York Times bestselling author Skye Warren, is available NOW!


Title: Survival of the Richest
Author: Skye Warren

Series: Survival of the Richest #1
Publication: June 12th 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Purchase Links: Amazon US | Amazon Universal | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

Rating: 4.5/5

An heiress without a cause.
Two billionaires determined to claim her.
And a war fought on the most dangerous battlefield--the heart.


My story starts with a plunge into the cold water of Manhattan's harbor.

A strong hand hauls me back onto the deck of the luxury yacht. Christopher was supposed to be my enemy. Instead he protects me with fierce determination.

That should have been my happily ever after, but then Sutton appeared--ruthless and seductive. He doesn't care that my heart belongs to someone else, because he's determined to win. No matter the cost.

It's an impossible choice, but I can't have them both.


I was so excited to start this new book by Skye Warren. She's one of my favorite authors and I always try to read her newest book. And wow... I was pretty much blown away by Survival of the Richest. It was so freaking good that I couldn't put it down and finished it in one sitting. That's something I almost never do, which only shows how much I enjoyed the story.

I read the prequel Trust Fund before reading this one where I met the characters of Harper and Christopher who were stepsiblings for only a few months. I thought I had figured out where the author would go with the story but I could't have been more wrong when Sutton entered the story in Survival of the Richest. Even though Harper has had feelings for Christopher for years, she felt intantly attracted to Sutton. And that's where the tug and pull began for me. You could say this is a love triangle but it isn't an ordinary one because it was all pretty complex with both the men and Harper.

I absolutely loved Sutton right from the start. I actually wasn't the biggest fan of Christopher in the prequel and a large part of the book because I was so smitten with Sutton. But I could see how Harper had complicated and mixed feelings about the both of them. There were quite a few sexy moments with the both of them and also one big and hot scene that actually caused me to drop my jaw. So yeah. There's no lack of steam in the story. Although I must say it isn't all sexy times and the chemistry between the character, it also involves a library that might or might not be torn down. As a reader I really liked how Harper took it upon her to try and save it.

The ending of the story surprised me because again I thought I knew how it would end. Silly me. Actually the through the whole book I kept being surprised at the twists it all took. I thought I was very much team Sutton but the ending has me leaning more towards Christopher now. And as this is a duology I'm guessing we'll find out who Harper picks in the end when the next book is releaeses, which I'm so excited for. I can't wait! Also, the appearances of some characters from the author's other books were really nice. Especially Blue, who's my favorite guy!

Overall, Survival of the Richest ended up being one of my favorite books by Skye Warren. The story was very steamy, complex and the cliffhanger ending made me want more. It was definitely a rollercoaster of emotions but I loved every bit of it. 

Download your copy today!
Add to GoodReads: https://bit.ly/2IbzSR6

Grab the FREE prequel Trust Fund today!
Amazon Universal: http://mybook.to/TrustFund
Google Play: https://bit.ly/2sfAg7C

Excerpt:
My body heats at the words, at the remembered pleasure of Sutton’s mouth on my sex. Christopher looks down at me, as if he can feel the heat emanating from between my legs. His expression turns stark, as if he’s in pain. That’s only fair, because I’m in pain too. “You deserve better than that,” Christopher says, but there’s no way to pretend he’s talking about Sutton. He’s talking about himself and we both know it. “He gives me what I want, which is something you might try next time you like a girl.” “It wasn’t that,” he says, harsh again. “No?” I step forward and place a hand on his chest, feeling the way his heart beats strong and fast. He may want to be unaffected by me, but he isn’t. I tilt my face up toward him.“You didn’t imagine me naked in the cabin later?” He sucks in a breath.“You were too young then.” My words come out as a whisper.“What about now? Will you do what Sutton said—imagine me in this dress when you go home after this?” “It’s not fucking decent,” he says, even though the silk covers every part of me. It’s a perfectly respectable dress, when it’s not hitched up around my waist. “You can thank Sutton for this,” I say, because it’s true. He’s the only reason I lean forward and place my lips against Christopher’s, touching them in some terrible attempt to show him what he gave up, to prove to myself that I don’t care about either of them. Christopher sucks in a breath. For a second I think he’s going to pull away. He stiffens and grasps my hair with his fist. Easy enough for him to stop the kiss. Instead he dips my head back and deepens it, exploring my mouth with his teeth, his tongue. Opening me wider until I whimper. Pulling me close until I can feel how hard he is beneath his slacks. His other hand fists in the gauze of my dress, and I realize he’s holding me with both hands clenched—one in my hair and one in my clothes. I don’t know whether he’s doing it so he doesn’t have to touch me or because it’s a way to control me without bruising me. He uses both hands to tug me closer; I’m pressed so tightly I can’t imagine getting away. Where Sutton had been raw sensuality and playfulness, Christopher is pure determination. He kisses me like he’s a conquering army, like I’m made of gold he has to grasp—or lose forever.

About Skye:
Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of dangerous romance such as the Endgame trilogy. Her books have been featured in Jezebel, Buzzfeed, USA Today Happily Ever After, Glamour, and Elle Magazine. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, sweet dogs, and evil cat.

Connect with Skye:
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Friday, June 15, 2018

Review: Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray

Title: Lily of the Nile
Author: Stephanie Dray
Series: Cleopatra's Daughter #1
Publication: January 4th 2011 by Berkley

Genre: Historical Fiction
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Play | Kobo
Rating: 4/5
 

The extraordinary daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony seeks to reclaim her birthright in the first novel of an epic historical fiction trilogy from the New York Times bestselling author of America's First Daughter.

With both of her parents dead, Princess Selene and her two surviving brothers are left at the mercy of their captors, taken from Egypt and put on display as war trophies in Rome. Trapped in an empire that reviles her heritage and suspects her faith, Selene struggles for survival in a 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.

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 and succeed where she failed. But there’s no telling what success will cost her in a treacherous political game where the only rule is win or die...

I've read several stories by Stephanie Dray but I hadn't actually picked up her debut novel, Lily of the Nile. I had some minor doubt about a story because a story about the daughter of Cleopatra is one I've read before and I was worried it would be too similar but I worried for nothing because it was actually really amazing. I ended up being instantly hooked by the story and I want the read the other books in the trilogy as soon as possible.

It's actually a little strange that I waited so long with purchasing this book because I adore anything related to ancient Egypt. Most of the book is set in Rome but it is about the daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Antony who's named Cleopatra Selene, so it did manage to sate my desire to read anything about the time it's set in.

The story starts in Egypt when Cleopatra famously commited suicide by snake bite. After that Selene, her twin brother Helios and younger brother Philadelphus are taken to Rome to be raised in Emperor Octavian's household. For the most part Selene struggled with coming to terms with being in Rome after losing her parents the way she did and taken away from her beloved Egypt, not wanting to lose her connection to her country and the goddess Isis. She eventually makes friends with the other children in the household and there's even a hint of romance forming with her tutor Juba. Hopefully there's a little more of that in the second book. 

One thing I definitely hadn't expected and what was maybe my favorite thing was the magical aspect that the story and Selene had because of her connection to Isis. It mixed historical fiction with magic and myth. I loved every single part of it. I also loved how complicated most of the characters and their the relationships were. Especially the relationship between Octavian and Selene. There were hidden depths within everyone. 

Overall, Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray was as fantastic as I thought it would be. The writing took me back to the fascinating time and political intrigue of ancient Rome. I would highly recommend it.

Author bio:
Stephanie Dray is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today bestselling author of historical women’s fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into eight languages and tops lists for the most anticipated reads of the year. Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer and a teacher. Now she lives near the nation’s capital with her husband, cats, and history books.
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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Cover Reveal: The Scent of Heat by E.P. Sery


The Scent of Heat
E.P. Sery
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: September 5th 2018
Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance

Ariella Paz is not in a good place. It’s the 1950s, and the 19-year-old is serving her country in the Israeli military, going home at night to a mother who is devastatingly ill, and realizing her dream of leaving home and going to America is slipping further and further away.
Meeting Arik Emmanuel, her boss’s friend, lifts her spirits and distracts Ariella from her sorrows. He showers her with love and luxury, which only masks the dangers inherent in his increasingly possessive behavior.
As their torrid and secret love affair plays out in Israel and Europe, Ariella has some big decisions to make. Can she really leave her family in their time of need? Does she have a legitimate future with Arik? And is there anyone in whom she can confide?
Each direction she turns will change her life dramatically. Perhaps our destiny isn’t something written in the stars, but a path forged by the choices we make.



Author Bio:
Estee Perchik Sery was born and raised in Israel, before moving to Johannesburg, South Africa. Just before a major political shift in her adopted country, Estee moved to California with her family in 1993 and has been soaking in the San Diego sunshine ever since. In addition to raising her children, Estee was a Hebrew teacher and teacher trainer for many years.

Retired now, Estee is putting all of her life experiences to good use.
THE SCENT OF HEAT is her first published novel.

When she's not writing, reading, painting, or traveling the world, she loves spending time doting on her grandchildren.



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