Monday, February 25, 2019

Review: Stain by A.G. Howard

Title: Stain
Author: A.G. Howard
Publication: January 15th 2019 by Abrams/Amulet Books

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Play | Kobo
Rating: 5/5

A high-fantasy gothic fairytale inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Princess and the Pea.

Once upon a nightmare, her fairy tale begins...

After Lyra—a princess incapable of speech or sound—is cast out of her kingdom of daylight by her wicked aunt, a witch saves her life, steals her memories, and raises her in an enchanted forest ... disguised as a boy known only as Stain. Meanwhile, in Lyra's rival kingdom, the prince of thorns and night is dying, and the only way for him to break his curse is to wed the princess of daylight, for she is his true equal. As Lyra rediscovers her identity, an impostor princess prepares to steal her betrothed prince and her crown. To win back her kingdom, save the prince, and make peace with the land of the night, Lyra must be loud enough to be heard without a voice, and strong enough to pass a series of tests—ultimately proving she’s everything a traditional princess is not.
Like the synopsis says, Stain is inspired by the fairytale of Hans Christian Andersen's The Princess and the Pea, which just happens to be one of my all time favorite classic fairytales. I must've read it more than a hundred times as a child. And Stain did just read like a magical fairytale. This was one of my favorite things about the story. The writing was beautifully lyrical and just took my breath away at times. I also thought it had some Sleeping Beauty vibes. Another one of my favorite fairytales.

Something else what stood out to me was the world building and complexity of the curse and magic. I love magic, curses and a well-built world in high-fantasy books and the way the author wrote all of this was also excellent. I literally have nothing negative to say. I always say no book can be perfect but Stain was very close to it.

The next thing that I loved with this story were the characters. Most book have either great characters or great writing. At least the ones I've read recently and especially in this genre. I could probably go on about the characters because there were so many that I adored. Princess Lyra and Prince Vesper (swoon swoon!) were fantastic main characters. I was getting pretty nervous about them actually ending up together because due to certain events they hadn't actually met yet (I hope this isn't a spoiler) through most of the book but I really enjoyed reading about them both. I also, in a weird way, enjoyed reading about Lyra's evil aunt because she was well-written and so very wicked. Crony, Luce and Scorch were very dear to me as well and I just know they're gonna be other readers' favorites too. You just can't help but like them. I feel like I've been going on about the character so I'll just stop here.

If I had to describe Stain I would say it was in one word: STUNNING. I've loved all of A.G. Howard's previous books, especially the Splintered series but I've got to say I think this is her best work so far, in my opinion. It was just such a wonderful story to read. I loved it so much. 

About the author:
A. G. Howard is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of RoseBlood and the Splintered series. She lives and writes in Amarillo, Texas.
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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Review: Overture by Skye Warren

Title: Overture
Author: Skye Warren
Series: North Security #1
Publication: February 19th 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo
Rating: 4/5

Forbidden fruit never tasted this sweet…

The world knows Samantha Brooks as the violin prodigy. She guards her secret truth—the desire she harbors for her guardian.

Liam North got custody of her six years ago. She’s all grown up now, but he still treats her like a child. No matter how much he wants her.

No matter how bad he aches for one taste.

Her sweet overtures break down the ex-soldier’s defenses, but there’s more at stake than her body. Every touch, every kiss, every night. The closer she gets, the more exposed his darkest secret.

She’s one step away from finding out what happened the night she lost her family. One step away from leaving him forever.

OVERTURE is the first novel in a brand new series from New York Times bestselling author Skye Warren.

This story is about Liam North, ex-military and Samantha Brooks, violin prodigy. Liam got custody of Samantha when her father died six years ago. Obviously that's where the forbidden love comes in. Now that Samantha is all grown up Liam can't deny he has strong feelings for her and vice versa. How I love military characters. Liam is strong, broody and very protective. I also really liked Samantha. She may have been younger than Liam but their chemistry was very real. And I thought it was great how much she loves playing the violin.

There were quite a few secondary characters that I loved reading about as well. Samantha's friends Laney and Cody for example were great. I hope to read more about them in the next book. I don't know why but I always tend to like the author's secndary characters more sometimes than the leads. I just loved Liam's brothers, Josh and Elijah (I REALLY WANT THEM TO GET THEIR OWN BOOKS PLEASE!). The three brothers had a pretty great dynamic together, even though they didn't always agree with one another. I especially liked Josh. So if there were some kind of spin-off books coming I'd probably be most excited about his story. 

Another thing I want to mention that I really enjoyed about this book the tidbits of information about music. Just some little facts that I really liked reading about. It just gave the story something extra and unique. I loved that. Also, did I mention this book was hot as hell? Because it really was. The sex scenes will definitemy make everyone swoon. I'm sure of that. 

Nobody does forbidden love better than Skye Warren. And she proved it yet again with Overture. Just when I think a certain trope has been done a million times before, she goes ahead and changes my mind completely. Every. Single. Time. There's a reason she's one of my most-read authors and it's rare when I start a book by her and not finish it in a single day, which is exactly what I did with Overture because I simply couldn't put it down. 

About the author:
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.
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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Release Blitz: Breaking a Billionaire’s Rules by Annika Martin

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Breaking a Billionaire’s Rules, a laugh-out-loud romantic comedy by New York Times bestselling author Annika Martin is live!

This standalone romcom is set in the same world as The Billionaire's Wake-up-call Girl and Most Eligible Billionaire.


Max Hilton is my high school nemesis turned billionaire. And tomorrow I deliver his lunch order. In a cat costume.
You know he’s going to love it. He’ll smile that smirky smile, sitting there all superior in his gleaming tower, the wealthiest and most notorious playboy in all of New York, the king of everything.
Turns out it wasn’t curiosity that killed the cat—it was mortification.
I’m almost ready to quit my lunch delivery job, but then my roommate tosses me a copy of The Max Hilton Playbook: Ten Golden Rules for Picking up the Hottest Girl in the Room.
It’s the book that catapulted him to stardom. And it’s my new bible.
I’m going to use his own techniques against him. I’ll wrap him around my little finger, bring him to his knees, and crush his steely heart. Call it payback for all the single girls who had to endure legions of losers wielding his legendary tactics.
But seeing Max every day, I’m discovering a side of him I didn’t even know existed--he’s not the jerky guy I thought he was. He has this smile he shows only to me, and it melts my heart. His touch sends shivers down my spine. And those forbidden kisses are driving me wild.
Falling for him was not in my plan.
Am I breaking his rules or will his rules break me first?

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Download your copy today!
Add to GoodReads link:

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About Annika:
Annika Martin loves fun, dirty stories, hot heroes, and wild, dramatic everything. She enjoys hanging out in Minneapolis coffee shops with her writer husband, and also likes birdwatching at her bird feeder alongside her two stunningly photogenic cats, especially when she should be writing. She’s heavy into running, music, saving the planet, taking long baths, and consuming chocolate suckers. She’s worked a surprisingly large number of waitressing jobs, and has also worked in a plastics factory and the advertising trenches; her garden is total bee-friendly madness and her most un-favorite word is nosh or possibly fob. A New York Times bestselling author, she has also written as RITA award-winning author Carolyn Crane.
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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Stacking The Shelves: February 16, 2019

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

It's been a while since I did a STS post but I got some great books this week that I wanted to share with you all. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Anarchy Found by J.A. Huss
Rock F*ck Club by Michelle Mankin        
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo 
Stain by A.G. Howard

I won Rock F*ck Club from Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookworms some time ago and Lexxie was nice enough to add Anarchy Found to the package as well because it took a little while to be send. Such a nice surprise! ♥

I also received my orders of King of Scars (Nikolai! ๐Ÿ˜) and Stain. I'm currently reading Stain and it's a really unique book so far. The story is inspired by the fairy tale of The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen.

I hope you will all have a great weekend and happy reading! ♥

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Review: Mata Hari: A Life From Beginning to End by Hourly History

Title: Mata Hari: A Life From Beginning to End
Author: Hourly History
Publication: February 4th 2019

Genre: Nonfiction, History
Purchase Link: Amazon

Rating: 4/5

The original international woman of mystery, Mata Hari is maligned as a spy and a traitor. Having seduced a number of the most powerful men in Europe, she was accused of spying for both Allied and Central Powers during the First World War. Mata Hari’s biography tells a different story. From her remarkable transformation from a captain’s wife and mother in the Dutch East Indies to the most celebrated stage presence in Europe, Mata Hari fought for what she believed in. Yet what she believed in was neither France’s independence, nor Germany’s superiority, but her own personal quest for luxury, adventure, and love.

Inside you will read about...
✓ A Wife and Mother
✓ The Night of Horror
✓ Code Name H21
✓ Becoming a Spy
✓ The Trial and Execution of Mata Hari
And much more!

"A harlot? Yes, but a traitress, never!" 
— Mata Hari

There are certain figures in history that I feel really drawn to and where I can just never get tired of reading more books and learning more about. Mata Hari is one of them. I've read quite a few books about her life, historical fiction as well as nonfiction. So when I saw that Hourly History had published a book about her it really kind of made my day. I didn't hesitate and started reading it on my Kindle right away. I've read my fair share of Hourly History books by now but I gotta say this one has definitely made it in my list of favorites. I would actually count it to be in my top three even. 

I don't know what it is about Mata Hari but her life has intrigued me for quite some time now, which is why I always jump on the chance to read about her. Maybe it's because she was a Dutch woman and as a Belgian I've always enjoyed reading about Dutch people from history but even more than that she led a pretty fascinating life and she made things happen for herself and her career by sheer willpower, which was unconvential at the time. This makes her ending even more tragic, in my opinion. I truly believe she was injustly imprisoned and executed, whether or not she really was a spy for the Germans or the French. 

So if you're looking for a short but at the same time informative and interesting book about the life of Mata Hari, this is definitely one I would highly recommend. It covered the life she led before her marriage, during her marriage, the start of her career as a dancer and courtesan all the way through the first world war and to her untimely death. You can absolutely pick it up and finish it in the same day, just like I did, even in just an hour. I took my time and still finished it really quickly. I enjoyed it immensely!

5 interesting facts I learned:

  • Mata Hari also went by the names of Margaretha "Margreet" Zelle, Gretha MacLeod and Madame Rouseau
  • She was born on August 7, 1876 in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands.
  • She was the eldest child and only girl in the family.
  • She married Rudolf MacLeod on March 1, 1856 who was 20 years older than her. The marriage didn't last and they ended up divorcing eventually.
  • Her codename was H21 (given to her by Karl Kroemer, the German consul in Amsterdam)

Some pictures related to Mata Hari:

Performing in 1905

In 1910 wearing a bejewelled head-dress

At her arrest

Statue of Mata Hari in Leeuwarden, Netherlands


Check out my other Hourly History reviews: