Saturday, May 20, 2017

Stacking The Shelves: May 20, 2017

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

The Medici Curse by Matt Chamings
Mill Girl by Sue Reid
The Chimes by Anna Smaill
Snakehead by Ann Halam
The Sultan's Seal by Jenny White
Sins of the House Borgia by Sarah Bower
The Maid by Kimberly Cutter
The Poet's Wives by David Park

I bought these books at a bookfair called boekenfestijn and ended up only having to pay 1.40€ for them all because I had won a coupon on Instagram a few weeks ago for it. Pretty awesome! <3

For Review: 
Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George
Pretty excited about this one!

For Review:
Luca by Sarah Castille
I absolutely loved the first book (Nico) so of course I couldn't say no to Luca. ;)

Have a great weekend, everyone! ♥

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Review: The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: A Story of Botticelli by Alyssa Palombo

Title: The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: A Story of Botticelli 
Author: Alyssa Palombo
Publication: April 25th 2017 by St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: Historical Fiction
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo
Rating: 4/5

A girl as beautiful as Simonetta Cattaneo never wants for marriage proposals in 15th Century Italy, but she jumps at the chance to marry Marco Vespucci. Marco is young, handsome and well-educated. Not to mention he is one of the powerful Medici family’s favored circle.

Even before her marriage with Marco is set, Simonetta is swept up into Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici’s glittering circle of politicians, poets, artists, and philosophers. The men of Florence―most notably the rakish Giuliano de’ Medici―become enthralled with her beauty. That she is educated and an ardent reader of poetry makes her more desirable and fashionable still. But it is her acquaintance with a young painter, Sandro Botticelli, which strikes her heart most. Botticelli immediately invites Simonetta, newly proclaimed the most beautiful woman in Florence, to pose for him. As Simonetta learns to navigate her marriage, her place in Florentine society, and the politics of beauty and desire, she and Botticelli develop a passionate intimacy, one that leads to her immortalization in his masterpiece, The Birth of Venus.

Wow! This story was something very special. Botticelli is one of my favorite artists so I just had to read this. It really reawakened my love for books set in the Renaissance and Italy. Both have always been favorite topics of mine to read about, especially Florence. I devoured this book in less than two days, which I didn't think I'd be able to but I just couldn't put the book down. 

This book tells the story about Simonetta Cattaneo who was declared the most beautiful woman in Florence. After getting married to Marco Vespucci and moving away from her parents' home in Genoa, she fully embraced her new life in the midsts of Florence's most acclaimed politicians like Lorenzo de' Medici, artists like Sandro Botticelli and many others. When Botticilli asks Simonetta to pose for him, they grow very close and eventually she becomes his muse for his masterpiece, The Birth of Venus.

The story is very character driven. I didn't always like most of the characters all the time but I felt really invested in them. Especially when it came to Simonetta and Botticelli. I knew this book would probably end in tragedy but I still wasn't prepared for that rather sad ending. Still, I think it was written in a rather remarkable way. And the writing was just so stunning. I absolutely loved it. 

The book features obviously a lot of historical figures who have actually excisted. Those are my favorite kind of historical fiction novels. Simonetta was unknown to me before I read this book so I'm glad the author wrote about her and Botticelli even though we won't know for sure how and if they truly had some sort of relationship. But it seems very likely to me. Also, I would highly recommend for any readers of this book to read the author's note. It was really interesting to me. 

ALYSSA PALOMBO is the author of The Violinist of Venice and The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence. She has published short fiction pieces in Black Lantern Magazine and The Great Lakes Review. She is a recent graduate of Canisius College with degrees in English and creative writing, respectively. A passionate music lover, she is a classically trained musician as well as a big fan of heavy metal. The Violinist of Venice is her first novel. She lives in Buffalo, New York.
Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Invictus by Ryan Graudin

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.

Invictus by Ryan Graudin 
Expected publication: September 26th 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Time flies when you're plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far's birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he's ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.
But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far's very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

In this heart-stopping adventure, Ryan Graudin has created a fast-paced world that defies time and space.

Invictus just sounds SO amazing! It's like the description of the book has been written to appeal to me especially. That's how much I love the sound of it. I honestly wish the release date wasn't so far away because I want to read it right now! But I guess I can be patient... If I have to. ðŸ˜‰

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Book Blitz: Lady of Sherwood by Molly Bilinski + Giveaway (INTL)

Lady of Sherwood
Molly Bilinski
(Outlaws of Sherwood #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 24th 2017
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult

Robin of Lockesly was neither the son her father wanted, nor the daughter her mother expected. When she refuses an arranged marriage to a harsh and cruel knight, the deadly events that follow change her destiny forever.
After a night of tragedy, Robin and the few remaining survivors flee to Nottingham. With a newfound anonymity, they start to live different lives. There, she and her band make mischief, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. But charity isn’t the only thing she wants–she wants revenge.
As the sheriff draws his net closer, Robin’s choices begin to haunt her. She’ll have to choose between what’s lawful and what her conscience believes is right–all while staying one step ahead of the hangman.
Lady of Sherwood is a unique young adult retelling of the beloved Robin Hood legend. Filled with action and romance, this new series follows a teenage heroine through her fantastic, yet dangerous adventures.
Other girls—some of the youngest ones from the kitchen—came from the brush. Smoke clung to them like a shroud, and tears had run in rivers down soot-stained cheeks. Ginny, the youngest at six, ran to Jemma and attached herself like a limpet to the older girl’s legs.
“Where is everyone else?” Robin asked, glancing between them and then back at the flaming manor. “Where is—where’s—” Her face heated even as the rest of her body grew chilled, and she stuffed her first in her mouth to muffle her scream.
“We are the only ones.”
Robin looked up at Kitty, surprised to find herself on her knees in the damp grass. She curled her shaking fingers into fists, and then rested them on her thighs. “How—what happened?”
“That man,” the girl went on, absently twisting her skirt in her hands. “The one who’d been courting you… he came for you in the night. When he couldn’t find you, he gathered everyone in the great hall.”
“Except you lot?” Jemma inquired.
“He was hurting her.” Kitty’s eyes took on a glossy quality. “He had Maggie by the hair, and he was hurting her. She had Ginny behind her, protecting her. I—I hit him over the head with a candle stand.”
“We went through the old tunnel,” another voice piped up. Maggie slipped her hand into Kitty’s. “Me and Kitty and Ginny.”
“And my—my mother?” Robin took a deep, shuddering breath.
“She kept her secret. We heard ‘im, shouting. He wanted to know where you was.” Ginny, this time. She wandered away from Jemma, and Robin opened her arms for her to nestle into. She’d helped Jemma look after the younger servants on the sly for years. Whether they’d been orphaned at birth or left to the streets, Jemma had brought them each back to the manor, and she’d given them a home and a hope the rest of the world didn’t offer. “She didn’t tell, Robin. She didn’t tell him where you was.”
“I heard Charlotte say you were gone,” Maggie said quietly. “She’d gone to your mother’s chambers to tell her. Miss Jemma was gone, too, and so was your bow.” She shrugged, a delicate lift of her shoulders. “We all thought you had gone to the field.”
“And she said nothing?” Robin’s heart beat hard against her ribcage.
“Lady was very brave,” Ginny murmured.
“She was,” Robin agreed. “Like you are. You all.” She looked at each of the other girls, who stared back, clearly waiting.
It hit her then—they were waiting for her. With the only survivors of the manor in front of her, and her mother dead—God rest her soul, God hold them all in His hand—it occurred to her in that moment. She was the Lady of Lockesly.

Author Bio:
Molly is a 2013 graduate of William Smith College with a bachelors in chemistry. She puts her science powers to use by day and is a novelist by night (and weekend...and any five minutes she can find). When she's not writing or working, she's scoping out coffee shops, exploring her new city (Buffalo, NY), taking day trips to Canada, and putting together puzzles.


Monday, May 15, 2017

FLYLÄ“F's 2nd Anniversary Celebration ~ [FRIENDSHIP] + Giveaway (INTL)

FLYLÄ“F turns 2! To celebrate, an amazing group of bloggers and I have planned posts for you to enjoy, all centered around the theme...
Please make sure to visit them, and perhaps make a new friend along the way.

We can probably all agree that friendship comes in a lot of shapes. In recent years I've discovered that you don't have to see your friends every day or that you even have to know them in real life. The book blogging community is so huge and has people from literally all over the world. I'm glad I have quite a few people who I can truly call my friends even if we all live quite far away from each other. The different languages (even though we speak English to each other), cultures, etc makes it all the more fun to be friends. Personally not any of my friends in real life have a big interest in books like I do and they definitely don't read any English books, which kinda sucks but that's why I'm so grateful to all my blogging friends that I'm able to talk and fangirl to about all the books we love. So thank you, blog community, for your friendship! :)

First of all I want to say happy 2nd anniversary to you, Lonna! I hope these past two years have been amazing for you! I think in the recent months we've been commenting more on each other blogs? I know I sometimes don't comment regularly but your blog is always one I try to comment on when you have a new post, which by the way are always really great! I also wanted to thank you for including me into this celebration. Thank you! <3 

❖ May 15th - Bookfever: Spotlight / Giveaway
❖ May 15th - A Reader Writer: Spotlight / Giveaway
❖ May 16th - Milky Way of Books: Spotlight / Giveaway
❖ May 16th - Lisa Loves Literature: Spotlight / Giveaway
❖ May 20th - A Kernel of Nonsense: Spotlight / Giveaway
❖ May 21th - SUSANLOVESBOOKS: Spotlight / Giveaway
❖ May 23th - fallxnrobins: Spotlight / Giveaway
❖ May 27th - Utopia State of Mind: Spotlight / Giveaway
❖ May 28th - Book Briefs: Spotlight / Giveaway
❖ May 30th - Foxes & Fairy Tales: Spotlight / Giveaway
❖ June 1st - The Caramel Files: Spotlight / Giveaway

Lonna Yen the creative mind behind FLYLÄ“F (pronounced like flyleaf) who enjoys reading late into the night to satisfy her insatiable addiction to mostly young adult and adult novels: romance (contemporary and historical), fantasy, and paranormal (especially vampires). She believes in the magic of spellbinding words coming together to build breathtaking worlds in our minds’ eyes. Happiness is just a book away, find it at FLYLÄ“F.

Lonna also the host of FLYTIP and Book of Choice Giveaway Hop, and co-host of The Comment Challenge.
Find Lonna @ FLYLÄ“F: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Google+ | Newsletter

A one-month subscription box to Owl Crate, or $35 Amazon gift card for an international winner,
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Stacking The Shelves: May 13, 2017

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted @ Tynga's Reviews.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
I read this book as an e-arc but I loved it so much that I just needed to buy a hardcover copy of it. It's so damn gorgeous in real life!

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova
Bought on sale for 0.99

A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano
Bought on sale for 1.99

Hot Mess by Emily Goodwin
Bought on sale for 0.99

Queen of Emeralds by Kelsey McKnight
Bought on sale for 0.99

Sincerely, Carter by Whitney G.
Bought on sale for 0.99

The Boy Next Door by Ella James
Bought on sale for 0.99

Have a great weekend, everyone! ♥

Friday, May 12, 2017

Review: Now I Rise by Kiersten White

Title: Now I Rise
Author: Kiersten White
Series: The Conqueror's Sage #2
Publication: June 27th 2017 by Delacorte Press

Genre: Historical Fiction ~ Young Adult
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo
Rating: 5/5

Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.

What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?

As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.

Now I Rise was more than a worthy sequel to And I Darken. Things were definitely way more intense in this one, I must say. But the story was just magnificent. I absolutely loved it!

There's something I want to say first before getting around to the rest of my review. I know a lot of people think these books are fantasy. It is definitely not. It does not have a single fantasy element. To remind everyone, it's about a gender-swapped Vlad the Impaler and it's (mostly) set in the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century with events happening that actually took place. 

So let's be honest, Lada is one of the most brilliant main characters out there right now. She is terrible and terrifying and I absolutely love her for that. In this book she was quite brutal in how she would do anything to secure the Wallachian throne, which is exactly what she did. A lot of the things she did were really questionable but I wouldn't expect any less from her. 

Radu was probably my favorite character this time around. I felt like he was in the spotlight a lot more in this book than his sister. His part mostly takes plays in Constanstinople where Mehmhed has send him to be a spy. His wife Nazira comes along with him, which I thought was a very good idea. Although their relationship is purely platonic, I love their dynamic. But it sure wasn't easy everything he went through in Constanstinople and playing a double agent. 

A lot of the secondary characters were really great to read about as well. I already mentioned Nazira but I also liked the new character of Cyprian who ended up being friends with Radu and ultimately they both broke my heart... With Lada I really liked that Bogdan remained so loyal to her. I actually really like all of Lada's men who follow her. Their loyalty was something Lada really needed. Mehmhed wasn't a lot around in this book because the most part took place away from him so I don't actually have a lot to say about him. 

Overall, Now I Rise was every bit as amazing as And I Darken Was. Maybe even a little bit more so. I have said it before and I will say it again, these books are Kiersten White's best work so far. I can't wait for the next book!

Kiersten White is the New York Times bestselling author of And I Darken, Now I Rise, the Paranormalcy trilogy, the Mind Games series, The Chaos of Stars, Illusions of Fate, In the Shadows with artist Jim Di Bartolo, and the upcoming Beanstalker and Other Hilarious Scarytales. Kiersten lives with her family in San Diego, California.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

♥ Holly's Boys ♥

Highly recommended story to check out!