Thursday, August 31, 2017

Monthly Wrap-Up ► August 2017

  August 2017

I haven't done a monthly wrap-up since March... yikes! I guess I forgot most months and kinda lost track of it. But August seemed like a good month to start doing these wrap ups again. Hopefully I can keep it up in the next months also. 

I liked all the books I read this month so no complaints there. Most of these books I read on my vacation. And I actually have two favorites this month. A Song of War: A Novel of Troy, an anthology written by several historical fiction authors and Eagles in the Storm by Ben Kane, about Arminius and the Roman army. Both excellent reads!

Picture comes from 50 Book Pledge

The Tower and the Emerald by Moyra Aldecott ► 4 stars
Eagles in the Storm by Ben Kane 5 stars
Portrait of a Conspiracy by Donna Russo Morin ► 3 stars
The Amethyst Bride by Kelsey McKnight 3 stars
The Artist's Muse by Kerry Postle 4.5 stars
The Sin Eater by Jennifer Harlow ► 4.5 stars
Wilde in Love by Eloisa James ► 3 stars
Thousands by Pepper Winters ► 4 stars
Flame Kissed by Alexis Radcliff ► 3 stars
Indebted by Inger Iversen ► 4.5 stars
James Cook: A Life From Beginning to End by Hourly History ► 4 stars

Have you read any of these books? What was your favorite book of August?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Can't-Wait Wednesday: My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie

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.

My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie
Expected publication: April 3rd 2018 by William Morrow Paperbacks

From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.

A general’s daughter…

Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war.

A founding father’s wife...

But the union they create—in their marriage and the new nation—is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all—including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness.

The last surviving light of the Revolution…

When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle—to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…

Ever since I read America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie (which is still my #1 favorite historical novel to this day) I've been looking forward to their next upcoming book. So it's not really a surprise that My Dear Hamilton is my highest anticipated book of 2018. I'm sure it's going to be amazing and I can't wait to get my hands on it. I also absolutely love the cover so the paperback will look lovely on my bookshelves. ♥

Read my 5 star review of America's First Daughter here.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Review: The Artist's Muse by Kerry Postle

Title: The Artist's Muse
Author: Kerry Postle

Publication: August 25th 2017 by HQ Digital
Genre: Historical Fiction
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Kobo
Rating: 4.5/5

Vienna 1907

Wally Neuzil must find a way to feed her family. Having failed in many vocations, Wally has one last shot: esteemed artist Gustav Klimt needs a muse, and Wally could be the girl he’s been waiting for. But Wally soon discovers that there is much more to her role than just sitting looking pretty. And while she had hoped to establish herself as an emerging lady, the upper classes see her as no more than a prostitute.

With her society dreams dashed Wally finds herself at rock bottom. So when young artist, Egon Schiele, shows her how different life can be Wally grabs hold of the new start she’s been desperately seeking. As a passionate love affair ensues will he be the making of her or her undoing?

I didn't quite know what to expect when I started The Artist's Muse. To be honest, I figured it would be a light historical book but it ended up being so much more. Starting the book I wasn't actually sure that I knew about the major characters of the book, Wally Neuzil or Egan Schiele but somewhere along the way I started remembering that I saw a short documentary about Wally once because some events in the story were familiar to me. I loved this, of course.

What I noticed right from the start was how beautiful the writing was. The writing style was actually really unique and I loved how Wally ometimes spoke to the reader. That, together with the elegant writing made the story even more stunning to me.

For those who don't know, this is the story of Wally Neuzil who was the muse (hence the title) of the controversial artist Egon Schiele. They had their ups and downs together but overall you could call it a pretty toxic relationship. But I thought this only made the end so much better, in my opinion. It was all written very well.

Lately I've been feeling drawn to books set in the early 1900's and The Artist's Muse ended up being so damn good that I definitely want to continue reading books in this era. I loved it all.

Overall, The Artist's Muse by Kerry Postle was simple a work of art. It was poignant, stunning and I could barely put the book down. It's definitely one of my favorite books of the year! 

If you want to find out more about this book or the author you can find more info at:
Website | Twitter

Friday, August 25, 2017

Review: Thousands by Pepper Winters

Title: Thousands
Author: Pepper Winters

Series: Dollar #4
Publication: August 15th 2017

Genre: Dark Romance
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google PlayKobo

Rating: 4/5

“Love had been stolen from me for reasons entirely my fault. But then a miracle happened, and Pim gave me something I thought was lost forever. She gave me a love I’d earned. Love that ruined me. Love that made me hopelessly hers…”

Once upon a time, I didn’t think I’d ever be normal.
Now, I’m talking and trusting, and it’s all thanks to Elder.
He gave me my life back, and I gave him my heart, but love stories like ours are never simple.
I did something to protect him.
He did something to survive me.
We screwed up.
And now, it’s no longer just about us.
It’s about safety, sanctuary, and sin.

First of all I want to say that I had a little trouble getting into the story in the beginning. I did get hooked again once Pim and Elder were reunited again, which took less than 30% so it wasn't that long. Still, the start wasn't too great for me, which is why I bumped one star off the rating when all the other books have gotten 5 stars. Obviously I just want Pim and Elder to be together. And that's it. Of course it's never this simple with books by Pepper Winters.

In this book Pim and Elder were a little bit awkward towards each other. They were at the point where they weren't sure how deep their feelings for one another went. It was clear for themselves, but they weren't sure about the other. In the meanwhile they also dealt with the growing threat of the Chinmoku, who would surely find them. It would be only a matter of time.

There were a lot of amazing and swoony scenes. The sexual tension between Pim and Elder skyrocketed in this book. There was also the masked ball at Hawksridge Hall so I knew Jethro and Nila (from the Indebted series) would be showing up. I was really so thrilled to be reading about them again. I felt like Pepper Winters was giving her readers treats by doing that. 

And then there was that ending that about killed me. I thought I had figured out how it would end. I was pretty sure the Chinmoku would show up and maybe take Pim from Elder. I don't want to say if this does happen because I don't want to spoil the story for those who haven't read it yet but the end sure had a very unexpected twists. And let me just say... it wasn't just Jethro and Nila making appearances in this book.

Thousands by Pepper Winters was a great addition to the Dollar series. The author's beautiful writing never fails to amaze me. Also, she's the queen of plot twists, which may or may not be a good thing depending on who you ask. But you can't deny that she writes some thrilling endings. It made me even more excited to get my hands on the final book, Millions. I, for one will be counting the months, weeks and days for it.  

My reviews of the other books:
#1 - Pennies
#2 - Dollars
#3 - Hundreds

Pepper Winters is a multiple New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today International 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. With 20 books currently published, she has hit the bestseller charts twenty-nine times in three years.

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 and Turkish. Audio Books for her entire back-list will be available in 2017.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | InstagramGoodreads

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Review: Calling The Change by Michelle Diener

Title: Calling the Change
Author: Michelle Diener
Series: Sky Raiders #2
Publication: July 17th 2017 by Eclipse

Genre: Science Fiction
Purchase: Amazon 
Rating: 4/5

He rescued her despite impossible odds—Garek has rescued Taya and the rest of his village from the sky raiders, but their return home doesn't bring easier times. The sky raiders aren't simply going to go away—they still need the shadow ore they came for, and they want the ships Garek stole from them back. But they aren't the only threat . . .
First she was in danger from the aliens who abducted her, now she's in danger from her own people—Taya's been rescued, but she isn't home a week before she's taken again, this time by men who walked the walls with Garek. They've taken her as a consolation prize of sorts, having failed to get hold of Garek himself. They think Taya's value to the people they're working for is her relationship to Garek, but they are wrong . . .

Garek and Taya never gave up on each other before, even when the distance between them was impossibly far, and they aren't giving up on each other now. As Garek searches for her, and Taya engineers her escape, they discover the motivations behind the new attacks on them are darker than the endless reaches of space they've just escaped from.

I'm not sure exactly why but I enjoyed Calling the Change a lot more than the previous book, Sky Raiders. Don't get me wrong, the first book wasn't bad or anything, I just didn't love it as much as I would've wanted. Now back to Calling the Change... I was really into it right from the start and I had a hard time putting the book down. It was a great read!

The story was really action-packed (just as I like it.) so there was actually never a boring moment. The story pretty much revolves around Garek having yet again to try and find Taya who's been abducted by men who walked the walls with Garek as the synopsis says. So obviously they don't have just the sky raiders to fear this time even though they're still a dangerous foe they face.

I really enjoyed reading about Taya and Garek again. They were seperated for a part of this book but it's so worth it in the end, I thought. I especially liked Taya this time because she is not some damsel in distress that needs rescuing even though Garek does go after her. Taya definitely can take care of her own, that's for sure. 

As always with a book by Michelle Diener, I thought it was written in a really great way. The romance isn't a major part of the book, although there are a couple of very swoonworthy moments between Taya and Garek, which I loved.

The ending left me super excited for the third and final book. I have so many questions. Will they find Aidan? Will Taya learn to control her change better? It sounds like the next book will be just as thrilling as this one. I can't wait!

Read my review of Sky Raiders #1 here

Michelle Diener writes historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction. Having worked in publishing and IT, she’s now very happy crafting new worlds and interesting characters and wondering which part of the world she can travel to next.
Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa and currently lives in Australia with her husband and two children.

When she’s not writing, or driving her kids from activity to activity, you can find her blogging at Magical Musings, or online at Twitter, at Google+ and Facebook.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Darkness at the Edge of Town by Jennifer Harlow

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.

Darkness at the Edge of Town by Jennifer Harlow
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Alibi

A complicated, charismatic forensic psychologist tries to rescue her brother from the clutches of a maniacal cult leader in this edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller from the author of Beautiful Maids All in a Row.

After catching an infamous serial killer, Dr. Iris Ballard has become a TV sensation. Exhausted from her appearances on the talk-show circuit, she’s looking forward to some quality time with Luke Hudson, her former FBI partner and on-again, off-again lover. The last thing Iris wants is to get pulled back to her dying Rust Belt hometown, but after the frantic call from her mother, she doesn’t have a choice.

Iris is a disgrace in Grey Mills, Pennsylvania, but her twin brother has gone and outdone her. Billy has abandoned his fiancée, drained their checking account, and quit his job to join a cult called the New Morning Movement. Expecting to find something sinister at play, Iris is eager to destroy the quixotic hold they have on her brother. And that means outwitting the cult’s cunning, sadistic founder, Mathias Morning.

Iris has logic and reason on her side. But Mathias doesn’t play by society’s rules. Just as Iris begins to lose hope, her investigation leads her to cross path with the DEA. And now she needs to save Billy’s life before they’re both caught in the crossfire.

Don’t miss Jennifer Harlow’s first electrifying Iris Ballard thriller:

Darkness at the Edge of Town is the second book in the Iris Ballard thriller series. (Read my review of the first book, Beautiful Maids All in a Row here)
I loved the first book so I'm really looking forward to this second one. I can't wait to see what this book has in store for Iris. I'm sure it'll be thrilling!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Review: The Hummingbird Heart by A.G. Howard

Title: The Hummingbird Heart
Author: A.G. Howard
Series: Haunted Hearts Legacy #2

Publication: August 15th 2017
Genre: Gothic Romance ~ New Adult
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Rating: 5/5

Shortly after escaping a circus tragedy, young Italian orphan, Willow Antoniette, seeks refuge at The Manor of Diversions—a holiday resort in England born of a ghost story. For eleven years, she’s raised alongside the children of the resort’s owners: Julian, his twin brother, Nick, and their younger sister Emilia. Now that Willow is of marriable age, she's determined to escape finishing school along with everyone's efforts to make her a proper lady. The only man she wants to spend her life with is Julian, after all. Yet how can she tell him, when he thinks of her as nothing but a friend?

As a machinist and engineer, Julian Thornton prefers a governable life. He can't allow his ever-deepening attraction for Willow to distract from his amusement park plans to lure a younger, wealthier clientele to their family's resort. In hopes to escape Willow and find investors, Julian sets off on a transatlantic ocean liner headed for the St. Louis World’s Fair, unaware Willow has secretly stowed away on the same ship.

A tiny, mute orphan named Newton and a pair of haunted Italian shoes bring Willow and Julian face to face on deck. Forced to work together to solve the mystery of Newton and his vindictive, ghostly companion, Julian and Willow can no longer fight their untapped passions. However, time to admit their true feelings is running out, for the ghost and her murderer have enlisted them as unsuspecting pawns in a karmic game of cat-and-mouse that could cost all of them their lives.

The Hummingbird Heart was such an adventure! As much as I enjoyed the first book (The Architect of Song) I loved this one even more. The story simply had it all; romance, mystery, ghosts and a lot of swoony moments between the two lead characters.

The story is set nineteen years after The Architect of Song and features one of Nicholas and Juliet's sons, Julian, as one of the main characters along with Willow who's been living at The Manor of Diversions ans raised alongside Julian, his twin brother Nick and their younger sister Emilia.

At one point Julian ends up going to the St. Louis World's Fair on a transatlantic ocean liner. But what he doesn't know is that Willow, the woman he has been having feelings for has secretly come aboard as well.

I loved both characters, especially Julian because he wasn't the any usual heroes in books that I've read about. I loved that he's an engineer and that he designs amusement rides. Willow was a great character to read about as well. I loved her spririt. She had so much fire within her, even though her past was quite tragic.

My favorite part out of the whole book was the time Julian and Willow spend on board of the ship. I lvoed the whole atmosphere of it and combined with the author's gorgeous writing it was all even more amazing.

Aside from being a romantic historical and paranormal story it was also a mystery. It was one I really enjoyed and kept me on my toes. It just was one unexpected twist after another and I didn't see any of them coming so I can only applaud the author for this. 

And gosh... was it one amazing romance! Like I mentioned before there were many swoony moments. Willow and Julian really had some amazing chemistry going on between them. They both had their flaws but in the end I thought it made them all the more perfect together.

I also feel like I should mentioned that the next book is going to be about Julian's twin Nick. And I'm just so excited about this, you have no idea! 

A.G. Howard is the #1 NYT & International Bestselling author of several young adult retellings and spinoff novels, including her gothic Alice in Wonderland Splintered Series, and RoseBlood, a Phantom of the Opera inspired adaptation.

When writing, A.G. is most at home weaving the melancholy, magical, and macabre into her settings and scenes. In her downtime, she enjoys rollerblading, gardening, and visiting 18th century graveyards or abandoned buildings to appease her muse’s darker side.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Books I Read On Vacation

Hi everyone! So since I'm back from vacation it's time that I talk a little about all the books I've read. I read 12 books in three weeks, which is a pretty good amount, I think. And 8 of them were historical books even. Thought that's not much of a surprise. I'm also happy to say that I got through all the books I set for myself. Yay! I basically enjoyed them all and haven't read one that's rated lower than three stars. I'm really happy about that. I'm going to feature them all below and tell you what I thought about them. I will post full reviews of them in the coming weeks and months, though. So be sure to keep an eye out for those!

The Books:

The Hummingbird Heart by A.G. Howard ~ 5 stars
I loved this book even more that the first one, The Architect of Song. The setting was amazing like we're all used from a book by A.G. Howard but oh it was so wonderful!

Mermaid by Jodi Picoult ~ 4 stars
I couldn't resist this short story by Jodi Picoult. It was really good and had a very unexpected twist and ending.

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare ~ 4 stars
I loved this book and I'm now convinced that I MUST read all of this author's book. I have only read 2 full books and one short story of hers but haven't been disappointed yet. 

Waterfell by Amalie Howard ~ 4 stars
FINALLY a book about mermaids (sort of...) that I really enjoyed. I was really hooked by the story and thought the heroine was just so great!

I'm so glad I read A Song of War. Honestly should've read it when it first came out. It was so freaking epic and easily one of my favorite books of the year. Just MAGNIFICENT!

The Tower and the Emerald by Moyra Caldecott ~ 4 stars
I kind of randomly started reading this book because I bought it while I was on vacation but it turned out to be so great. Such a classic adventure!

Eagles in the Storm by Ben Kane ~ 5 stars
This was my favorite book I read and it was just SO satisfying. It's the last in the Eagles of Rome trilogy and obviously I was very happy with the ending.

Portrait of a Conspiracy by Donna Russo Morin ~ 3 stars
I had kinda wished I enjoyed this one a little bit more but overall it was a pretty good read.

The Amethyst Bride by Kelsey McKnight ~ 3 stars
I loved the relationship between the two main characters, although it was just a tad too rushed for my liking. Still enjoyed it a lot, though.

The Artist's Muse by Kerry Postly ~ 4.5 stars
Oh this was a very, very special book. And I'm very excited to post my review of it soon!

The Sin Eater by Jennifer Harlow ~ 4.5 stars
This is the book I'm the happiest about that I loved it because it could've gone either way. And Oliver is still my favorite vampire EVER!

Wilde in Love by Eloisa James ~ 3 stars
This was a good read and pretty unique. Just the drama was a little too much for me.

Reviews of all these books to come soon!

Have you read any of these books? Or do you want to read them? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Stacking The Shelves: August 19, 2017 [Vacation Book Haul)

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

Hi everyone! I just got back from my vacation yesterday so this STS post will be about the books I've bought in the last three weeks. :D ♥

Five of the books below (The Tower and the Emerald, Masterpieces of the Egyptian Museum of Cairo, Wondrous Realms of the Aegan and The Holy Land) I bought for 2€ each. And The Wright Brothers biography for 50 cents so not too bad, right? I'm so happy with all of them. I already read The Tower and the Emerald, which I was really surprised about that I liked so much and right now I'm reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. 

The Tower and the Emerald by Moyra Caldecott
The Wright Brothers: First in Flight by Tara Dixon-Engel & Mike Jackson
One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
Masterpieces of the Egyptian Museum (No link sorry)
Wondrous Realms of the Aegan by Time-Life Books
The Holy Land by Time-Life Books
Mexican Art by Paul Hamlyn (No link sorry)

And of course I couldn't resist buying some ebooks in the meantime too. Buying Thousands was a no brainer. My favorite dark romance author and one of my favorite series of hers. Pim and Elder make my heart ache, though. Wish You Were here was unexpectedly on sale so of course had to buy that one. And last but not least... finally got around to buying Mistress of Rome. It's been long overdue since I already read book #2 and #3 (luckily they can be read as standalones) but now I finally have it. I can't wait to read it!

Thousands by Pepper Winters
Wish You Were Here by Reneé Carlino
Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn

Have a great weekend, everyone! ♥