Monday, May 29, 2017

ARC Review: Luca by Sarah Castille

Title: Luca
Author: Sarah Castille
Series: Ruin & Revenge #2

Publication: June 27th 2017 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Play | Kobo
Rating: 3/5

Luca Rizzoli was nearly destroyed by a brutal betrayal that cost him his family. Now a ruthless crime boss in the city of sin, he lets nothing touch his frozen heart--until a smoldering encounter with a beautiful stranger ignites his passion. One night isn't enough for a man who takes what he wants, but his mysterious temptress has slipped away.

For two years police detective Gabrielle Fawkes has lived for revenge. But a night of indulgence with a sexy stranger changes everything. Powerful, charming, and deliciously dangerous Luca, has his own private reasons for offering to help her pursue the drug lord who killed her husband. There's a lot Luca isn't telling her and the more she finds out the less she wants to know.

When Gabrielle becomes the target of the drug lord she has vowed to hunt down, she must do the unimaginable: place her life in a mobster's hands. To save her, Luca must break his Mafia ties--or risk losing Gabrielle forever.

It didn't take me very long to read this book but I still felt like I struggled a bit with it. Sadly enough I didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the first book, Nico. It wasn't a bad book at all because the story was really solid but I wanted to like it a little more.

I actually did love Luca as a character. He's your typical dominant alpha male that I love reading about. Gabrielle on the other hand I liked a lot less. She was probably the biggest reason why I didn't like the story more. I just thought she was a tad annoying. I also didn't like how cavalier she was about her being a police detective. It just irked me for some reason.

I also wasn't a fan of the Paolo chapters because I didn't feel they added anything more to the story than was necessary. However, in the first book Nico I did like the additional POV that was in there so it's probably just because I wasn't a fan of Paolo, I think. 

I did love Gabrielle's friends a lot, though. So I'm hoping the next book might be about one of them. Maybe Nicole? I really want a happy ending for her.

Overall, Luca didn't quite pack the punch that the previous book did. All in all I liked the story well enough but some things bothered me too much too fully enjoy it. The writing, though, was really excellent and there are lots of steamy and sexy scenes. 

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Sarah Castille, writes contemporary erotic romance and romantic suspense featuring blazingly hot alpha males and the women who tame them. She is the author of the Redemption series, the Sinner’s Tribe MC series, and the Legal Heat series. A recovering lawyer and caffeine addict, she worked and travelled abroad before trading in her briefcase and stilettos for a handful of magic beans and a home on Vancouver Island.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Saturday, May 27, 2017

ARC Review: The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd

Title: The Indigo Girl
Author: Natasha Boyd
Publication: October 3rd 2017 by Blackstone Publishing

Genre: Historical Fiction
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Kobo

Rating: 5/5

“Natasha’s writing is a fresh and modern spin on great Southern literature.” - Ashley Pullo, author of the New Amsterdam series, praise for the author
“A delight to read…Thank you, Natasha, for giving Eliza the recognition she deserves.” - Margaret F. Pickett, author of Eliza Lucas Pinckney: Colonial Plantation Manager and Mother of American Patriots, 1722–1793

A deeply-researched and powerfully-written work of historical fiction, based on the untold story of Eliza Lucas, an extraordinary sixteen-year-old girl in Colonial-era South Carolina, whose actions were before their time: the story of the indigo girl.

In 1739, bright and determined sixteen-year-old Eliza Lucas is charged with keeping her family’s struggling plantations afloat, in her father’s absence. Learning of the high value of indigo, Eliza becomes determined to learn the secret of growing the enigmatic crop, believing it to be her family’s salvation, but everyone tells Eliza growing indigo in the region is impossible. Thwarted at nearly every turn, even by her own family, Eliza finds her only allies in an aging horticulturalist, an older and married gentleman lawyer, and a slave with whom she strikes a dangerous deal: teach her the intricate thousand-year-old secret process of making indigo dye and in return—against the laws of the day—she will teach the slaves to read. So develops an incredible story of romance, intrigue, hidden friendships, threats, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice, based on historical documents and Eliza Lucas’ own letters.

Historical fiction like The Indigo Girl that tells the story about a person in history that has actually excisted is my absolute favorite to read. Especially if they are about women who accomplished amazing things, like Eliza Lucas.

Starting the book I knew nothing at all about her but I'm now so glad that Natasha Boyd wrote about this book. It made me want to find out even more about Eliza's life. I'm so fascinated by her right now.

I absolutely loved Eliza. And they way the author wrote her. Eliza was ahead of her time and I just loved her courage and ambition and how in the end she never did give up on making indigo dye, even though people kept telling her she wouldn't be able to and even sabotaged her. She was a bit naive, it's true but that made her spirit even more lively and I was really rooting for her to succeed.

Overall, The Indigo Girl ended up being my favorite book by Natasha Boyd so far and even one of my top favorite historical novels. I loved how well-researched the story was and that it was based on historical documents. The writing was amazing and I really liked reading the excerpts from Eliza's actual letters. They gave it all a little extra and made it even more enjoyable.

Natasha Boyd is an internationally bestselling and award-winning author of contemporary romantic Southern fiction. She has a background in marketing and public relations and her debut novel Eversea was a finalist in the 2013 Winter Rose Contest for Contemporary Romance and won the 2014 Digital Book Award for Adult Fiction. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Georgia Romance Writers, and Island Writer's Network in coastal South Carolina. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and lives with her husband, two sons and the cast of characters in her head. Her books have been translated into Italian, German, Turkish and Indonesian.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Review: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Title: The Alice Network
Author: Kate Quinn
Publication: June 6th 2017 by William Morrow Paperbacks

Genre: Historical Fiction
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Play | Kobo

Rating: 5/5

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the matter where it leads.

“Both funny and heartbreaking, this epic journey of two courageous women is an unforgettable tale of little-known wartime glory and sacrifice. Quinn knocks it out of the park with this spectacular book!”—Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of America's First Daughter

I've only read the author's books set in ancient Rome so I was a tiny bit sceptical about her newest book that alternates between World War I and 1947. I haven't actually read a lot of books that are set in these times. But then I started the book and ended up being hooked from page one and now it's my favorite book of 2017. Kate Quinn just never disappoints.

In 1915 Eve Gardiner enters the Crown's service during World War I as a spy and is send to France. And in 1947, Charlie St. Clair who's pregnant and unmarried is determinded to find out what happened to her cousin who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France. When circumstances throws them together, along with Finn Kilgore and his Lagonda LG6, they're going on one hell of a roadtrip to discover the truth that Eve and Charlie desperately are looking for.

I absolutely loved reading about Eve, Charlie and Finn. These three made quite the trio. I also loved the chapters set in 1915 because I was very much intrigued by Eve as she started spying with the help of "Queen of Spies" Lili, who was also a really outstanding character, which I can only applaud the author for. 

As a Belgian this book resonated pretty deeply with me, obviously. I even shed a few tears at some parts. But I thought the book was quite witty at times as well. The humor versus the parts that were pretty terrible to read about at times were very well balanced, in my opinion. And also, so many emotions went through me with the story. It was really amazing!

Overall, The Alice Network by Kate Quinn was simply phenomenal. It just touched me to the core. I cried and laughed and devoured the story page by page. I would highly recommend to more than any other book I've read this year so far. I absolutely loved it! 

Kate Quinn is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance detailing the early years of the infamous Borgia clan. All have been translated into multiple languages.

Kate has succumbed to the blogging bug, and keeps a blog filled with trivia, pet peeves, and interesting facts about historical fiction. She and her husband now live in Maryland with two black dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo

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 Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo
Expected publication: September 26th 2017 by Macmillan/Imprint

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

I'll definitely be buying a hardcover of this book. I just know it'll be so very gorgeous. I really can't wait for this book to be released. <3

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

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