Friday, April 20, 2018

Book Beginnings | The Friday 56: My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie

Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader

Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice

Grab a book, any book. Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader. Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) and post it.

Book Beginning:

The promise of liberty is not written in blood or engraved in stone; it's embroidered into the fabric of our nation.
And so is Alexander Hamilton.
My husband. My hero. My betrayer.

Friday 56:

"Mademoiselle, you are a most excellent patriot," Lafayette said when I returned to the safety of Johnston Hall, where I reported everything.
To my surprise, the Frenchman seemed sanguine. "It is good you learn of all this in secret while all eyes were upon your father and me. You have been an essential asset to the cause."
It was flattery—French flattery at that!—and I wanted to believe it was true.

I've said it a couple of times before on my blog here but My Dear Hamilton is my highest anticipated book of this year so I'm really happy to be finally reading it. And I gotta say so far it's not been a disappointment. I am enjoying it so much! I have a feeling the romance is going to break my heart in a million pieces but I'm sure it's all worth it. 

A novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton

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...

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Audiobook Review: Amanda Noble, #zoolife by Lesa Boutin

Title: Amanda Noble, #zoolife
Author: Lesa Boutin
Narrator: Katherine Littrell
Publication: March 30th 2018 by Boot in the Door Publications 

Purchase Links: Audible | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo
Rating: 4/5

Amanda's life is a zoo. For real. Her family owns the Noble's Ark Zoo, and it's equipped her with a particular set of skills. She can worm goats, bottle-feed a sick chinchilla, and wrangle a wayward snake with her eyes closed. But when her father becomes a local TV celebrity where he's pecked, clawed, and pooped on for Central Florida's viewing pleasure, she's not sure how to cope with it. Change her name? Move to another city? Then there's Kyler. He's her best friend - the guy who taught her to belch the alphabet kind of friend. And friends don't date friends. Right?

When the family is in danger of losing the zoo, it may take more than a working knowledge of gator wrestling and avoiding the business end of a skunk for Amanda to handle a second-string mobster, find a missing body, and convince Kyler they're meant to be together. All this without suffering an epic social media fail. #Zoolife

I know what you're thinking. An audiobook review from me? It's a rare thing. I usually have a hard time concentrating on audiobooks, although I do enjoy them, but I really felt like listening to this one for some reason and I'm so glad I did because I adored the story. The start was a bit slow for me but after the first 30% or so I could hardly stop listening. I did guess how things would end up going but I didn't really mind because this book was such a joy to listen to.

The title of this book probably says it all, this is about a 15 year-old girl named Amanda Noble that lives in a zoo, which I think is such a cool concept. Now I kinda wish I lived in a zoo... But anyway, back to the story. I absolutely loved Amanda and her snark. Aside from the living in a zoo thing she seemed a pretty typical teenager with a dad who was a bit clueless and dorky and crushing on her best friend, Kyler. The story really starts getting interesting mobsters start showing up and Amanda gets involved in a mystery that may or may not include a murder. 

The secondary characters were all pretty loveable. I really liked Amanda's dad even though he was a bit clueless at the start. I loved that he was a bit of a hero at the end, though. With Amanda's best friend, Kyler, I went back and forth. Sometimes he was just a typical clueless teenage boy that kind of frustrated me but other times he seemed like the smartest person out of whole cast. I even liked Vanessa to a certain point because she did seem to want to be really friends with Amanda. 

I was a little surprised by how suspenseful this book actually was. Especially towards the end the suspense was kicked up a notch and I just had to know how it would end. I loved that. And another thing, this story was HILARIOUS. I can't remember the last time I laughed so much with a book. The things Amanda says and the shenanigans she gets into are too funny for words. I laughed out loud several times. I also feel like I have to mention that there was a Harry Potter reference once or twice, which made me smile. And even if the story doesn't hook you right away, the end of chapter 6 definitely will!

About the narrator: 
Amanda Noble, #Zoolife was the first book I have listened to that was narrated by Katherine Littrell. I loved the voices she did for each character, especially when she did accents. I just loved that. I'd definitely want to listen to more books she narrated. I literally have nothing negative to say. She did such a good job!

Author bio:
If I said I enjoy my own company, would I sound like a narcissist? Maybe I should say I love the company in my head. I can't remember a time in my life I wasn't imagining myself in other places, meeting new people, and living wild adventures. The problem was, I lived in the woods. Not the country or the forest where cute little animals frolic, but the woods where there's nothing but trees, and brambles, and bugs, and snakes, and wild animals, and, well, etcetera. So, my head was my favorite place to be. As a young adult, I only wanted to read adult novels, which is odd since now, as an adult, I only want to write Young Adult novels.

The coolest thing about being a writer is that I get to become all the things I dream of. If my character lives in a zoo, I volunteer at the zoo--scooping goat poop. If my character is a ballerina, I tour the Houston Ballet Academy and get to know a real-life ballerina. I haven't quite decided on writing fantasy yet. Not sure I can be trusted with a magic wand.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Falcon of Sparta by Conn Iggulden

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 Falcon of Sparta by Conn Iggulden
Expected publication: May 3rd 2018 

Conn Iggulden, the bestselling author of the Emperor, Conqueror and The Wars of the Roses series' returns to the Ancient World with a ferociously bloody epic . . .

In the Ancient World, one army was feared above all others.

401 BC. The Persian king Artaxerxes rules an empire stretching from the Aegean to northern India.

As many as fifty million people are his subjects.

His rule is absolute.

Though the sons of Sparta are eager to play the game of thrones . . .

Yet battles can be won - or lost - with a single blow. Princes fall. And when the dust of civil war settles, the Spartans are left stranded in the heart of an enemy's empire, without support, without food and without water.

Far from home, surrounded by foes, it falls to the young soldier Xenophon to lead the survivors against Artaxerxes' legendary Persian warriors.

Based on one of history's most epic stories of adventure The Falcon of Sparta masterfully depicts the ferocity, heroism, and savage bloodshed that was the Ancient World.

I've been obsessed with all things about Sparta lately so this book is just calling out to me. Especially since it also involves the Persian king Artaxerxes (who is the son of Xerxes I. He was a major player at Battle of Thermopylae.) I can't wait to read about Sparta vs Persia. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Cover Reveal: The Girl and Her Ren by Pepper Winters

The Girl & Her Ren by Pepper Winters 
The Ribbon Duet Book 2. Final Conclusion 
Publication Date: 5th June 2018 
Genre: Coming of Age Romance


“What do you do when you write down all your secrets? No…that’s not enough. What do you do when you write down all your secrets and the one person who should never read them does?

I’ll tell you what you do.

You hope.”


Ren didn’t know the meaning of love until he took Della for his own.

To begin with he hated her, but as the months bled into years, he learned the opposite of hate, dedicating his life to giving her everything.

Every sacrifice, every gift, he gave wholeheartedly.

But then love turned to lust and ruined everything.


I was stupid to write my secrets down, but I’d been stupid before so it was nothing new.

I couldn’t blame him, hate him, fix him.

I tried to move on without him.

But no matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to delete the secrets I’d written.

Until something happened.

Until he came back and read my stupid secrets.

And nothing was the same after that.


Google Play:


Google Play:

About the Author:

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 19 books currently published, she has hit the bestseller charts twenty-six 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.

Connect with the Author: 
Never miss an update! Sign up for Pepper’s newsletter today! 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Blog Tour — Review: Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt + Giveaway (US)

Today I'm sharing my review of Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt, a historical fiction about Alma Mahler set in turn-of-the-twentieth century Vienna. I read this book back in January and it's still my favorite one of 2018. Nothing has been able to top it just yet. I definitely need to buy myself a hardcover copy at some point of it because I just need this book on my shelf. It was truly amazing! ♥

Title: Ecstasy
Author: Mary Sharratt
Publication: April 10, 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary
Pages: 400
Purchase Links: Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Book DepositoryBooks-A-Million | Google PlayIndiebound | Kobo
Also in AudioBook: Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million
Rating: 5/5

In the glittering hotbed of turn-of-the-twentieth century Vienna, one woman’s life would define and defy an era.

Gustav Klimt gave Alma her first kiss. Gustav Mahler fell in love with her at first sight and proposed only a few weeks later. Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius abandoned all reason to pursue her. Poet and novelist Franz Werfel described her as “one of the very few magical women that exist.” But who was this woman who brought these most eminent of men to their knees? In Ecstasy, Mary Sharratt finally gives one of the most controversial and complex women of her time center stage.

Coming of age in the midst of a creative and cultural whirlwind, young, beautiful Alma Schindler yearns to make her mark as a composer. A brand new era of possibility for women is dawning and she is determined to make the most of it. But Alma loses her heart to the great composer Gustav Mahler, nearly twenty years her senior. He demands that she give up her music as a condition for their marriage. Torn by her love and in awe of his genius, how will she remain true to herself and her artistic passion?

Part cautionary tale, part triumph of the feminist spirit, Ecstasy reveals the true Alma Mahler: composer, daughter, sister, mother, wife, lover, and muse.
Oh, to sense the heights. To be a mountain. To be great and expansive, bursting with potentiality.

I signed up for the blog tour of Ecstasy because the synopsis sounded incredible and right up my alley. In the last year I've become really intrigued with books set in the early 20th century, especially if the setting is in Vienna and if the story revolves around a real woman in history like Alma. She definitely wasn't a perfect character. She had her flaws and problems but even so I hadn't expected to fall in love with this brilliant book the way I did. I even read until 2:00 pm to finish the story just because I didn't want to put the book down and stop reading.

The story is about Alma Schindler (later Alma Mahler), who more than anything wants to be a sucessful composer. When she meets the nearly twenty years older and accomplished composer Gustav Mahler, they fall for each other. But for their marriage his condition is that she gives up her music so that there's more room for his own, essentially. This causes Alma to be utterly torn between her passion for composing and her love for Gustav.

I can't quite put my finger on what exactly made this book so good. Vienna at the turn of the 20th century, the complex character of Alma, the artistic men she came in contact with and who all seemed to be enchanted by her, the bittersweet element of the story, the writing... I just loved it all. 

It also doesn't happen often but I ended this book with tears in my eyes. This just shows how totally taken I was with it. I'm so glad the author put the spotlight on Alma Mahler the way she did in this amazing story. I want more people to also read this book and hopefully also fall in love with it the way I did. 

Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt was one amazing and beautifully written story. I honestly fell in love with it from the very first page and continued being completely hooked throughout the whole novel. It was just phenomenal! 

Praise for Ecstasy

“In ECSTASY, Mary Sharratt plunges the reader into the tumultuous and glamorous fin de siècle era, bringing to life its brilliant and beguiling leading lady. Finally, Alma Mahler takes center stage, surging to life as so much more than simply the female companion to the brilliant and famous men who loved her. Sharratt’s portrait is poignant and nuanced, her novel brimming with rich historic detail and lush, evocative language.” – Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Empress
“A tender, intimate exploration of a complicated woman, Mary Sharratt’s ECSTASY renders in exquisitely researched detail and fiercely imagined scenes the life of Alma Mahler — daughter, wife, mother, lover, and composer — and the early 20th Century Vienna and New York in which she came of age. I loved this inspiring story of an early feminist standing up for her art.” – Meg Waite Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Race for Paris
“Evocative and passionate, ECSTASY illuminates through its tempestuous and talented heroine a conundrum that resonates across the centuries: how a woman can fulfill her destiny by being both a lover and an artist.” – Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers
“Mary Sharratt makes a triumphant return to the page with this masterful portrait of Alma Mahler, the wife of the famous composer Gustav Mahler. Set in a time and place when a woman could only hope to be the power behind the throne, Sharratt brings a meticulously researched and richly illuminated account of a young woman who was a brilliant composer in her own right. Alma may have had to suppress her own talents to support Mahler; however, ECSTASY reveals that she was a woman who “contained multitudes.” ECSTASY is an important work of historical fiction, as well as a timely and topical addition to the canon of knowledge that needs to better represent important women and their contributions.” – Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books
“Alma Mahler’s unexpected, often heartbreaking journey from muse to independence comes to vivid, dramatic life in Mary Sharratt’s ECSTASY. Sharratt skillfully evokes turn-of-the-century Vienna and the musical genius of the era, returning Alma to her rightful place in history as both the inspiration to the men in her life and a gifted artist in her own right.” – C.W. Gortner, bestselling author of Mademoiselle Chanel
“Mary Sharratt has more than done justice to one of the most interesting, shocking, and passionate women of the 20th century. Overflowing with life and lust, ECSTASY explores this flawed but fascinating woman who was not only muse but a genius in her own right.” – New York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose
“A deeply affecting portrait of the woman rumored to be the most notorious femme fatale of turn-of-the-century Vienna. Mary Sharratt’s ECSTASY is as heartbreaking and seductive as Alma Mahler herself.” —Kris Waldherr, author of Doomed Queens and Bad Princess

About the Author

MARY SHARRATT is an American writer who has lived in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, for the past seven years. The author of the critically acclaimed novels Summit Avenue, The Real Minerva, and The Vanishing Point, Sharratt is also the co-editor of the subversive fiction anthology Bitch Lit, a celebration of female antiheroes, strong women who break all the rules.

Her novels include Summit Avenue, The Real Minera, The Vanishing Point, The Daughters of Witching Hill, Illuminations, and The Dark Lady’s Mask.

For more information, please visit Mary Sharratt’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, April 10
Review at Broken Teepee
Wednesday, April 11
Feature at Passages to the Past
Thursday, April 12
Review at Bookfever (It's me! ♥)
Review at Unabridged Chick
Friday, April 13
Interview at Unabridged Chick
Review at View From the Birdhouse
Saturday, April 14
Review at Clarissa Reads it All
Monday, April 16
Review at Cup of Sensibility
Tuesday, April 17
Review at Based on a True Story
Wednesday, April 18
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Thursday, April 19
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Friday, April 20
Review at Linda’s Book Obsession
Sunday, April 22
Review at Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings
Monday, April 23
Review at A Bookaholic Swede
Tuesday, April 24
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, April 25
Review at A Literary Vacation
Thursday, April 26
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Friday, April 27
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, April 30
Review at Caryn, the Book Whisperer
Tuesday, May 1
Review at A Bookish Affair
Thursday, May 3
Interview at The Writing Desk
Monday, May 7
Review at What Cathy Read Next
Wednesday, May 9
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, May 10
Review at Writing the Renaissance
Friday, May 11
Interview at Writing the Renaissance
Monday, May 14
Interview at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, May 16
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Thursday, May 17
Review at Nicole Evelina
Friday, May 18
Interview at Nicole Evelina 

Win a paperback copy of Ecstasy!
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.