Thursday, July 28, 2016

♥ I'm On Vacation! [28/07 - 13/08] ♥


It's that time again when I go on my yearly vacation to the Belgian coast.

I'll be gone from July 28th til August 13th. 

Here are some pictures of the town (Middelkerke) I'll be staying in.






So see you all again in a little over two weeks!


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Blog Tour ~ Review: Pennies by Pepper Winters


“A beaten slave and a richly dressed thief. Money is what guided their separate fates. Money is what brought them together. And money is ultimately what destroys them.”

Meet Elder in PENNIES,
Pepper Winters’ newest Dark Romance Series!

ONLY $0.99!



Title: Pennies
Author: Pepper Winters

Series: Dollar #1
Publication: July 18th 2016
Genre: Dark Romance
Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play
Rating: 5/5


“At 18 I had pennies, but money didn’t make me bold.
At 19 I had dollars, but it didn’t dull the pain of being sold.
At 20 I had hundreds, but then I met him and was found.
At 21 I had thousands, but all I wanted was to be bound.”
***
“At 23 I had dollars, but life changed and made me rich.
At 25 I had hundreds, but it wasn’t enough to stop my killing itch.
At 27 I had thousands, but my reputation didn’t set me free.
At 29 I had millions, but I met her and could finally see.”
***
Tasmin was killed on her 18th birthday. She had everything planned out. A psychology degree, a mother who pushed her to greatness, and a future anyone would die for. But then her murderer saved her life, only to sell her into a totally different existence.

Elder went from penniless to stinking rich with one twist of fate. His lifetime of crime and shadows of thievery are behind him but no matter the power he now wields, it’s not enough. He has an agenda to fulfill and he won’t stop until it’s complete.

But then they meet.

A beaten girl and a richly dressed thief. Money is what guided their separate fates. Money is what brought them together. And money is what ultimately destroys them.

She was poor.
He was rich.
Together…they were bankrupt.


Pennies was absolutely flawless. Once I started reading, I almost couldn't stop. It's just one of those books that make you want to read "just one more page" until you suddenly have finished the book. Because of that I stayed up until three in the morning because I couldn't stop reading, which hasn't happened to me in a very long time.

In Pennies, Tasmin (a.k.a. Pim) was sold at 18 to what honestly was one of the worst and most despicable human beings ever. Two years later she is still his captive, getting beating and abused on a daily basis. Pim's life is full of pain every single day but still she isn't broken completely. Then Elder Prest walks into her life and everything changes.

There's been a lot of questions about this book. Is it darker than Tess and Q's series, Monsters in the Dark? In my opinion, it definitely is. But I don't think you can really compare it to Tess and Q's story. These are totally different books. But I do have to say that Pennies gave me the same feel as with Tears of Tess. 

What makes this book different in a way is that Pim has refused to talk ever since she got sold to that bastard. She doesn't even talk to Elder when he comes into the story, no matter what he does to make her talk to him.

Elder in the meantime is enigmatic. His points of view are pretty obscure. We get a feel of who is he and where he comes from but he's still wrapped in mystery. Unwillingly he gets really fascinated by Pim, the slave of the man he's doing business with.

The whole book felt like a prelude to what's yet to come in the next books. The ending was explosive, bloody and made me so nervous, actually. It's making me want the next book so very badly. Seriously, I need the second book right now!

Written in two different points of view, Pennies is the start of Pim and Elder's story. The writing was gorgeous, the story dark and the characters so very intriguing. Pepper Winters does is yet again! It might even be my favorite of hers after the Monsters in the Dark books. Bring on book two, please!




       About the Author

Pepper Winters wears many roles. Some of them include writer, reader, sometimes wife. She loves dark, taboo stories that twist with your head. The more tortured the hero, the better, and she constantly thinks up ways to break and fix her characters. Oh, and sex... her books have sex.
She loves to travel and has an amazing, fabulous hubby who puts up with her love affair with her book boyfriends.



Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Blog Tour ~ Review: The Architect of Song by A.G. Howard + Giveaway (INT)

Welcome to my stop of blog tour of The Architect of Song by A.G. Howard.
This book was so great, one of my favorites of the year! Don't forget to enter the amazing giveaway (open internationally!) below and to check out the other blog stops. ♥



Title: The Architect of Song
Author: A.G. Howard
Series: Haunted Hearts Legacy #1
Publication: August 15th 2016 by Golden Orb Press

Genre: New Adult ~ Historical Romance
Purchase: Amazon

Rating: 5/5

Review copy received in exchange for an honest review.

A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower - intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.

For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.

To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.

International and NYT bestselling author, A.G. Howard, brings her darkly magical and visual/visceral storytelling to Victorian England. The Architect of Song is the first installment in her lush and romantic Haunted Hearts Legacy series, a four book gothic saga following the generations of one family as - haunted by both literal and figurative ghosts - they search for self-acceptance, love, and happiness.

New Adult: Recommended for ages 17+.


This book was gorgeous, simply gorgeous. I had high expectations and I'm so glad they were all met. I knew this was going to be a great read but it still took me by surprise in the best way possible. 

The heroine of this book, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline was really interesting and I liked her so much.  As the summary says, she is quite isolated by her deafness until she risks losing her home to Lord Thornton. A lot of mystery surround him as well as a ghost of an young English nobleman that appear when Juliet touches the petals of a unique flower she found on a headstone that has the name "Hawk" on. Together with the ghost she goes to investigate when she visits Lord Thornton's manor. 

Juliet was really a great heroine. I also liked the ghost Hawk, and Lord Thornton also, even though I wasn't totally sure he was actually a good guy. This book really made me go back and forth between these two men. I don't want to reveal how they are connected or if  both of them are indeed good guys or not but holy plot twist, this author knows how to shock me.

The romance was so amazing, so beautiful. And yes, there was a love triangle, sort of, in a complicated way but it's one written so well that I don't even care about that. Both men envoked a lot of feelings in Juliet that she always wanted to explore. Honestly, I loved them both to bits and pieces. They were just swoon-worthy. I have no other word for them.

The mystery about Hawk and Thornton was kind of driving me crazy. I wanted to know what was going on and who Juliet could actually trust. And I thought the end was a little sad but actually pretty perfect also.

Overall, The Architect of Song by A.G. Howard was the perfect gothic novel. Set in Victorian England, it had a dark atmosphere, a ghost surrounded by mystery, captivating romance and the writing was oh so beautiful. I can't wait for the next three books in the Haunted Hearts Legacy series!




       About the Author:

A.G. Howard was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always wondered what would've happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child.

When she's not writing, A.G.'s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.

                   

Giveaway!


All tour prizes (INTL): 
 2 - signed The Architect of Song paperbacks 
 3 - The Architect of Song e-books 
 1 - heart locket necklace 
 1 - Architect of Song poster 
 1 - faux leather journal 
 1 - 5X7 musical print 
 3 - The Architect of Song swag packs 
 1 – LitCube surprise box 
 13 separate winners

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Schedule:

Week One:

7/25/2016 - Dark Faerie Tales - Guest Post-Hybrid Author
7/25/2016 - a GREAT read - Review

7/26/2016 - Lisa Loves Literature - Review
7/26/2016 - Bookfever - Review

7/27/2016 - Fiktshun - Character Interview
7/27/2016 - The Cover Contessa - Review

7/28/2016 - The Reading Café - Review
7/28/2016 - Adventures of a Book Junkie - Review

7/29/2016 - Please Feed the bookworm - Review
7/29/2016 - 21st Century Once Upon A Times - Review

Week Two:

8/1/2016 - Once Upon a Twilight - Exclusive Excerpt
8/1/2016 - Ramblings of a Daydreamer - Review

8/2/2016 - My Friends Are Fiction - Guest Post- Fashion
8/2/2016 - Sarcasm & Lemons - Review

8/3/2016 - Cornerfolds - Review 
8/3/2016 - BookHounds YA - Review

8/4/2016 - Bookiemoji - Exclusive Excerpt
8/4/2016 - Owl Always Be Reading - Review

8/5/2016 - Mundie Moms - Review
8/5/2016 - Two Chicks on Books - Guest Post- Playlist



Monday, July 25, 2016

Review: The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur

Title: The Man I Love
Author: Suanne Laqueur
Series: The Fish Tales #1
Publication: 
June 16th 2014 by Cathedral Rock Press
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Play | Kobo

Rating: 5/5

Review copy received in exchange for an honest review.


Erik "Fish" Fiskare loves the theatre, but his guarded nature prefers backstage to center stage. While studying stagecraft at college, his spotlight turns on a talented dancer named Marguerite "Daisy" Bianco. Soon, Erik is drawn into a first love as soulful as it is passionate. For two years, the romance thrives within a tight-knit circle of artists and friends. Then a newcomer arrives: James, a brilliant but erratic dancer with a misguided infatuation and a burning desire to belong.

Rejection sets James on a course for destruction and when the smoke clears, Erik's world lies in ruins. He soon discovers that in the face of heartache, grief and betrayal, love is not always enough to make you stay. And sometimes, it's the only thing that can bring you back.

Spanning fifteen years and following a man's thrilling emotional journey back to the truth of himself, Laqueur's debut novel explores the dark side of devotion and the futility of running from one's past. The Man I Love is an epic tale of love and forgiveness that will linger long after the last page is turned.


First of all I want to say that I'm really critical when it comes to contemporary books. It's never been a top favorite genre of mine, although I've read a lot of contemporary books that I adore so I'm very happy to say that The Man I Love turned out to be the best book I've read so far this year — it was that good. And I'm pretty sure nothing is going to ever top it. The book was beautiful, it was tragic and it was all-consuming for me. I loved it so much.

I also feel I gotta say that nothing I can say in this review is going to do justice to this book. And it's also been a while since I raved about a book like this but... it was everything and more! The Man I Love takes place over the span of fifteen years. And usually I'm not a fan of things like that in books, but with this one? I devoured it. It was perfectly written like that. 

And the story... Oh my gosh, it was hitting me so hard emotionally. Not a lot of books can do that. I loved Daisy and Erik, I loved their relationship and I loved their group of friends, before everything broke between them. And even then, I loved this story. I don't want to say too much about it all because I want people to just read this book and experience it on their own. Seriously people, read this book!

Even now while I'm writing this review I'm getting a little choked up thinking back to everything that happened to these characters, which is also very rare for me. But it shows how much of an impact this book had on me. 

The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur was a very special book. The writing was absolutely gorgeous, the characters went through a lot and had flaws but that made this book all the more beautiful. It invoked so many emotions in me. Some good, some sad. It was truly larger than life. A top favorite of mine and one of the best books I have ever read. 




       About the Author:

Suanne Laqueur’s first novel, The Man I Love won a gold medal in the 2015 Readers' Favorite Book Awards. Its other 2015 accolades include a gold medal for Best Debut Author from Feathered Quill Book Awards and being named a finalist with the Kindle Book Awards.

Suanne graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater. She taught at the Carol Bierman School of Ballet Arts in Croton-on-Hudson for ten years. She lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two chil-dren. An avid reader, cook and gardener, she started her blog EatsReadsThinks in 2010 and now blogs at suannelaqueurwrites.com







Sunday, July 24, 2016

Review: Dark Minds by Michelle Diener

Title: Dark Minds
Author: Michelle Diener
Series: Class 5 #3
Publication: July 22nd 2016 by Eclipse

Genre: Science Fiction
Purchase: Amazon

Rating: 4/5

Review copy received in exchange for an honest review.

The mind is the most powerful weapon of all . . .

Imogen Peters knows she's a pawn. She's been abducted from Earth, held prisoner, and abducted again. So when she gets a chance at freedom, she takes it with both hands, not realizing that doing so will turn her from pawn to kingmaker.

Captain Camlar Kalor expected to meet an Earth woman on his current mission, he just thought he'd be meeting her on Larga Ways, under the protection of his Battle Center colleague. Instead, he and Imogen are thrown together as prisoners in the hold of a Class 5 battleship. When he works out she's not the woman who sparked his mission, but another abductee, Cam realizes his investigation just got a lot more complicated, and the nations of the United Council just took a step closer to war.

Imogen's out of her depth in this crazy mind game playing out all around her, and she begins to understand her actions will have a massive impact on all the players. But she's good at mind games. She's been playing them since she was abducted. Guess they should have left her minding her own business back on Earth…


Dark Minds by Michelle Diener in the third and final Class 5 book. I may have enjoyed the other two books slightly more, but I still think this was a fabulous book and a great way to end this trilogy. 

This book features Imogen Peter, another woman who was abducted from Earth and Captain Camlar Kalor. They are thrown together unexpectedly as prisoners on a Class 5 battleship. When Cam finds out she's another abductee from Earth things get complicated and closer to war.

I've always loved the characters of these books. Imogen and Cam are no different in that. Together they made a good team and had loads of chemistry. The book was such a fast read. I went through it in no time, which seems to be always the case with a book by this author. I can't help but want to keep reading.

The writing as always was flawless. As far as science fiction novels go, the Class 5 books are my favorites for sure. I think I've said it before but Michelle Diener is so good at writing in this genre. 

I also loved how Imogen actually found Rose and Fiona. I loved reading about them all together. The same goes for Dav, Hal and Cam as well as Sazo and Eazi. 

Overall, Dark Minds by Michelle Diener ended this trilogy very well. I loved how good everything was wrapped up in the end. I'll really miss reading about the world of the Class 5 books. It was a great ride and sci-fi at its best!




       About the Author:

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.



Saturday, July 23, 2016

Blog Tour ~ Review: Sigil in Shadow by Constance Roberts






Title: Sigil in Shadow
Author: Constance Roberts
Publication: July 12th 2016 by Cedar Fort, Inc.
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Kobo
Rating: 4/5

Review copy received in exchange for an honest review.



Murdering a highborn officer of the crown. Lying to King Lorron himself. Even if I make it out of this alive, retribution will surely be waiting patiently for me in the afterlife.

When nineteen-year-old Ellary Dane finds herself enrobed in riches and luxury in court, all as a result of being mistaken for someone who can call people back from the dead, she can hardly believe her luck. But that good fortune is short-lived—Ellary soon finds herself imprisoned, her privileges stripped, her life in shambles. To escape, she must trust the stranger labeled as her accomplice and face the lie that pushed her into the silent warfare of highborn society.


Sigil in Shadow was a surprisingly great read. I had definitely hoped to like this book but it was even better than I expected. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it was different than other books in the same genre. And trust me, this is a good thing!

This book is about Ellary Dane, a poor girl who more often than not, together with her father, is starving, which is why she recently had shaved off her hair for money. One day she saves the life of a highborn officer by accident and before she knows it is whisked away to court to study, like the synopsis already says, under a renowned healer. Life at court is obviously not easy, especially when secrets about herself that are brought to light. 

I really like books that are set in royal courts. I just love the political intrigue and how basically everyone can unexpectedly betray anyone. This book is no different. It also had a lot of twists that I hadn't seen coming. 

I definitely was a fan of Ellary Dane. She knows how to survive in a world that can be brutal and although she hasn't been totally honest about everything, there's something endearing about Ellary that makes you just root for her. 

There was also a bunch on secondary characters that I really liked like princess Corrin, Ellary's tutor Treya and Denzil who was just super adorable. Of course there were the less likable characters also that cause a lot of trouble for Ellary but make the book all the more intense. There's definitely not a lack of suspense with this story.

Overall, the book mostly reminded me of Red Queen, except that I actually liked Sigil in Shadow more. The writing was also fantastic, which made me not want to put my Kindle down because I just wanted to know what would happen next. It was just a really great book!




       About the Author:

Constance Roberts is a retired flight attendant who turned in her wings to stay at home with her adventurous daughter and to write. She and her husband live in St. Louis, Missouri where they spend the weekends playing board games with friends. She spends way too much time on Pinterest and her house is littered with half-finished craft projects. She is currently working on three titles at once, and has big plans for another fantasy series.


Friday, July 22, 2016

ARC Review: Cadence’s Cauldron by Nicole Pouchet

Title: Cadence's Cauldron
Author: Nicole Pouchet
Series: Elemental Myths #4
Publication: July 26th 2016 

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Purchase: Amazon

Rating: 3.5/5

Review copy received in exchange for an honest review.

Cadence Williamson has life all figured out. Her London jazz nightclub gives her a place to sing, friends she calls family, and enough money to pay the bills. No man is going to block her chi, especially not the shark trying to buy her out. Who cares if she’s been dreaming of doing the deed with him? Cadence’s perfect plans unravel when she develops fiery superpowers, melts her mic, and has past life visions of an evil force snuffing out the city’s population.

Trystan Tawanti may have his fun, but he’ll never allow another pretty face near his soul again. The serial entrepreneur is determined to purchase Cadence’s nightclub and turn it into a profit machine—no matter the cost to his heart or to his Incan family’s world-saving destiny. He just has to ignore those pesky empathic powers and the feelings signaling his fated mate is near.

Will Cadence and Trystan learn to trust their destiny and each other before ancient evil catches up to them to burn London down?


Cadence's Cauldron was somewhere in between three and four stars for me so my actual rating would actually be 3.5 stars. 

The book follows Cadence Williamson who has been having hot and steamy dreams about a man she has never met until he steps foot in her jazz nightclub and introduces himself as Trystan Tawanti who wants to purchase her nightclub. Once Trystan met Cadence his empathic powers got released, the sign that he has met his mate.

I was really a fan of these two characters and I loved their chemistry. I was always looking forward to a scene with the both of them because it always caused some sparks. I kind of loved how Trystan was a little perplexed by Cadence when they first met. Cadence's elemental power was fire and I thought it really suited her temperament. She and Trystan were a great fit together. 

As always I really love how the Incan empire is sort of connected to these characters, especially because of the brothers featured in every story. I'm also super excited for the next book, featuring Mei and Roman. 





       About the Author:

       Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Nicole Pouchet is a memoirist and a paranormal romance novelist. Books from her Elemental Myths paranormal romance series have enjoyed spots on Amazon’s Bestseller lists. Layla’s Gale, A Paranormal Romance won second prize in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. And, Cadence’s Cauldron, A Paranormal Romance won an Honorable Mention in the 2014 RWA Pages from the Heart Romance Novel contest.

Still amazed to be an adult, Nicole has managed to center her life around raising her two small sons, being true to her family (including husband and friends) and running a bi-coastal marketing agency. She recently traveled cross-country from the D.C. area to Bellevue, Washington and found that she enjoys the rain. Happiest near the water, Nicole spends her free hours plotting her next escape, writing, and staring at the ceiling.


Also don't forget to check out this post to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!




Thursday, July 21, 2016

Review: The ColoringNotebook

Title: ColoringNotebook
Pages: 176 pages
Purchase: ColoringNotebook.com
Rating: 5/5

Amazing inside

For anyone who loves creativity art, or who simply loves the joy of coloring, comes the ColoringNotebook.
We have created a unique product combining coloring book for adults and a classy paper notebook.

Over 50 original coloring pages for adults from the best graphic artists will help you relax and relieve stress. Discover the whimsical illustrations of graceful animals, birds, flowers and other creatures, along with cool geometric, mandala-like, abstract and other types of patterns.

Beauty outside

Each ColoringNotebook is individually crafted from the most beautiful materials: Japanese paper to create hardcover with rounded corners; handmade headband detailing adorns on the top and bottom of the spine adding a hint of contrast. Each book is professionally hand sewn and packaged.

It's an incredibly useful, functional and beautiful product. It allows you to have fun coloring wherever you are.


The ColoringNotebook is superb! 

(see below some of the pages I've colored - I used the staedtler triplus fineliner pens for it.)



Ever since coloring books for adults became a thing, I've loved it. The ColoringNotebook has a lot of amazing pages to color. According to the website, it includes more than 50 original coloring pages, it involves artists from Australia, Canada, Franca, Italy, US, Ukraine and Japan.


The pages to color are fantastic, obviously but also the notebook itself is great. As a (book) blogger it's great to write my notes in about the books I read and write reviews in. I'm sure writers would love it as well. Especially if they can color in between to take a break. 



I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves coloring as much as I do. The notebook aspect is a special and great bonus. 







♥ Holly's Boys ♥

Highly recommended story to check out!