Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Queen's Fortune: Desiree, Napoleon, and a Dynasty by Allison Pataki

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 Queen's Fortune: Desiree, Napoleon, and a Dynasty by Allison Pataki
Expected publication: February 11th 2020 by Ballantine Books

A sweeping and inspiring novel about the almost-forgotten woman who captivated Napoleon and changed the course of history--from the New York Times bestselling author of The Traitor's Wife, The Accidental Empress, and Sisi.

As a beautiful socialite in the south of France, Desiree Clary must leave her privileged life behind when the Revolution roils the countryside and it falls on her to save her family from the guillotine. She finds an unlikely friend in the ambitious young military prodigy Napoleon Bonaparte. And when her devoted sister Julie marries Napoleon's brother Joseph, Desiree and Napoleon enter into their own passionate, dizzying courtship--one that leads to a secret engagement and an exchange of vows. Yet no one could prepare Desiree for the chaos and heartbreak that await her, and as Desiree makes plans to join Napoleon in the capital, he stuns her by taking up with the rising star of Parisian society, the Creole enchantress Josephine de Beauharnais.

Desiree is called to the glittering halls of the French capital and plunged into the inner circle of the new ruling clique, quickly entangled in a complicated relationship with Napoleon, the Bonapartes, and his new wife and empress. Her fate takes another stunning turn when she falls for Napoleon's confidant and star general, the indomitable Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. But when these two men become political rivals and military foes, Desiree must choose between the love of her new husband and the love of her nation.

From the lavish estates of the French Riviera to the raucous streets of Paris to the snow-strewn city of Stockholm, Desiree finds herself at the epicenter of an empire rising and falling, navigating a constellation of larger-than-life political giants and dangerous, shifting alliances. Transforming from an impressionable girl into a fierce young woman, she discovers that to survive in this world she must learn to rely upon her instincts--and her heart.

Allison Pataki's meticulously researched and brilliantly imagined novel sweeps readers into the unbelievable life of a woman almost lost to history--a woman who not only adapts and survives but, ultimately, reigns. When Desiree is offered the throne of Sweden, will it be the end of her life and those she loves most, or, will it be the beginning of a dynasty to outlast all of the giants around her?

I haven't read a book by Allison Pataki yet but the cover and synopsis of this historical fiction already got me hooked. It looks and sounds absolutely amazing! ♥

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Monthly Wrap-Up — August 2019

Hello bookworms! It's finally September!
I haven't done a monthly wrap-up since October 2018... oops?
I decided to start doing them again or at least attempt to because I haven't been super active on my blog this summer. It's been pretty hot here in Belgium so I didn't really have the motivation to blog a lot aside from a few reviews I've posted occasionally. But anyways... here is my wrap-up!

Imperium by Robert Harris — 5/5★ {Review}
Petra: The History of Jordan's Rose City by History Titans — 4/5 {Review}
Othello by William Shakespeare — 4/5

Roman Empire: The Ancient Superpower by History Titans — 3/5 {Review}
The Body Painter by Pepper Winters — 4/5 {Review}

Heroes by Stephen Fry — 4/5 
Akhenaten: The Pharaoh of the Sun-God by in60Learning — 4/5
And Another Thing by Eoin Colfer —3.5/5

The Aztecs: Rise and Fall of an Empire by Serge Gruzinski — 3/5
The Impressionists by Vanessa Whinney — 4/5
Come Close by Sappho — 5/5

Favorite book of the month:

When Tiro, the confidential secretary of a Roman senator, opens the door to a terrified stranger on a cold November morning, he sets in motion a chain of events which will eventually propel his master into one of the most famous courtroom dramas in history.

The stranger is a Sicilian, a victim of the island's corrupt Roman governor, Verres. The senator is Cicero, a brilliant young lawyer and spellbinding orator, determined to attain imperium - supreme power in the state.

This is the starting-point of Robert Harris's most accomplished novel to date. Compellingly written in Tiro's voice, it takes us inside the violent, treacherous world of Roman politics, to describe how one man - clever, compassionate, devious, vulnerable - fought to reach the top.

Imperium was my first book of the month and it remained my favorite. I randomly picked it up because I wanted to read a book set in ancient Rome but ended up being so pleasantly surprised by it that I know I must read more books by Robert Harris in the future. It was a brilliant read!

What was your favorite book of August?

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Stacking The Shelves: August 31, 2019

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

Bought at bookstores (Fnac & Standaard Boekhandel):
Come Close by Sappho
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Bought at secondhand store: (Opnieuw & Co):
Alexander: The Virtues of War by Steven Pressfield
Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
The Illiad by Homer
The impressionists by Vanessa Whinney

Have you read any of these books? Or which one do you think you'd like to read?

Friday, August 30, 2019

Cover Reveal: The Living Canvas by Pepper Winters

Hello bookworms and welcome to the cover reveal of The Living Canvas by Pepper Winters, the sequel to The Body Painter which I highly enjoyed. I can't wait to read The Living Canvas and I'm just in love with this cover. It's perfect!
The Living Canvas 
Pepper Winters
(Master of Trickery Duet #2)
Publication date: November 15th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

“Must be brave, stubborn, and impervious to the tempers of loved ones.” The first line hissed with history.

“Hours are endless, pay is non-existence, quitting absolutely forbidden.” The second line ached with truth.

“Able to function on no sleep, refrain from running when times get hard, and be more than just a living canvas but a lover.”
The third thrummed with honesty.

“Other attributes required: forgiving, opinionated, and not afraid to tell me when I’m wrong. Must also enjoy being touched and kissed at any time of my choosing.”
The fourth glowed with promise.

“Call or email ‘YOUR HEART, HIS SOUL’ if interested in applying.” The final made my future unfold.

The advert was so similar to one I should never have applied for.
A twist of fate that brought two destined people back together.
A job I would take in a heartbeat if the employer could offer such terms.
But I wasn’t free.
Neither was Gil.
Therefore, my interview could never happen.

The second and final book in the Master of Trickery Duet.

Sequel to:

Author Bio:
Pepper Winters is a multiple New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestseller.
After chasing her dreams to become a full-time writer, Pepper has earned recognition with awards for best Dark Romance, best BDSM Series, and best Hero. She's an multiple #1 iBooks bestseller, along with #1 in Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense, Contemporary, and Erotica Thriller. She's also honoured to wear the IndieReader Badge for being a Top 10 Indie Bestseller.
Pepper is a Hybrid Author of both Traditional and Self-published work. Her Pure Corruption Series was released by Grand Central, Hachette.
Her books have garnered foreign interest and are currently being translated into numerous languages, including already released titles in Italian, French, German, Hebrew, and Turkish.


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Review: Portrait of a Conspiracy by Donna Russo Morin

Title: Portrait of a Conspiracy
Author: Donna Russo Morin
Series: Da Vinci's Disciples #1
Publication: May 10th 2016 by Diversion Books
Genre: Historical Fiction
Purchase it on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo
Rating: 3/5

One murder ignites the powder keg that consumes a Florence under the iron rule of the powerful Medici family. Amidst the chaos, five women and one legendary artist weave together a dangerous plot that could bring peace, or get them all killed.

Seeking to wrest power, members of the Pazzi family draw blades in church and slay the beloved Giuliano. But Lorenzo de’ Medici survives the attack, and seeks revenge on everyone involved, plunging the city into a murderous chaos. Bodies are dragged through the streets, and no one is safe.

Five women steal away to a church to ply their craft in secret. Viviana, Fiammetta, Isabetta, Natasia, and Mattea are painters, not allowed to be public with their skill, but freed from the restrictions in their lives by their art. When a sixth member of their group, Lapaccia, goes missing, and is rumored to have stolen a much sought-after painting before she vanished, the women must venture out into the dangerous streets to find their friend. They will have help from one of the most renowned painters of their era—the peaceful and kind Leonardo Da Vinci.

It is under his tutelage that they will flourish as artists, and with his access that they will infiltrate some of the highest, most secretive places in Florence, unraveling one conspiracy as they build another in its place.

I'm a big fan of books set in 15th century Florence. Anything that's related to Leonardo da Vinci, the de' Medici family or anything at all about the Renaissance has my full attention.

I definitely liked Portrait of a Conspiracy. It was a quick read and throughout the whole book I just kept thinking oh I'll just read one more chapter and before I knew it I had finished the story.

However, I couldn't give the book more than three stars. Some of the plot twists I just didn't particularly liked and some of the characters' actions didn't sit well with me either.

I do think that the story had some great and powerful female characters that were really strong. This I did like a lot because we definitely need more of this in books.

I also liked how atmospheric the writing was and how it made me feel as if I was actually in 15th century Florence.

Overall, I wish I had loved Portrait of a Conspiracy by Donna Russo Morin more but I did enjoy the story in general. The writing was great and the characters, especially the female ones were fascinating and amazing to read about.

About the author:
Donna Russo Morin was born in Providence, Rhode Island. Her writing endeavors began at age six and covered such timely topics as The Pink Pussy Cat for President and The Numbers 2 and 4 are in Love.

Traveling through adolescence on the wings of the ‘60s gave Donna a lot of grist for her writing mill. Feminism, civil rights, the Vietnam War were all a disturbing yet highly motivating muse. Donna found her voice in fiction and with the appearance of a new horror writer on the book scene, a little known author named Stephen King, she turned her pen to the gruesome and the grotesque.

After graduating from the University of Rhode Island, Donna worked in marketing and advertising for large corporations and small non-profit arts organizations. When she had her children, she knew with a certainty that she needed to show them, by example, that if you believe in yourself, anything is possible.

In addition to writing and teaching writing (in the classroom and online, Donna is a professional author consultant/editor with more than thirty years of experience. She's also worked as a model and actor since the age of seventeen when she did her first television commercial for Sears. Since then she has appeared in more than thirty television spots and print ads, everything from changing the oil in her car (that was acting) to modeling fur coats. She also appeared in three episodes of Showtime’s THE BROTHERHOOD, as well as in Martin Scorsese’s THE DEPARTED. She is currently at work blending her two careers and is now writing for the screen as well.

Donna lives peacefully, close to the beautiful shoreline of Rhode Island that she loves so much. Her two sons--Devon, an opera singer and Dylan, a trained chef--will always be her greatest works.
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