Saturday, January 20, 2018

Stacking The Shelves: January 20, 2018

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



Bought:
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller


Bought:
The King by Skye Warren

For Review:
Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt


For Review:
Interference & Insurgency by Michelle Diener — 4.5/5{My Review}
Shadow Warrior by Michelle Diener 


For Review:
Too Wilde to Wed by Eloisa James
2020 by Kenneth Steven



Have a great weekend and happy reading, everyone! ♥


Friday, January 19, 2018

Review: Interference & Insurgency by Michelle Diener

Title: Interference & Insurgency
Author: Michelle Diener
Series: Verdant String
Genre: Science Fiction
Publication: January 14th 2018 by Eclipse
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Rating: 4.5/5

The Verdant String Series

The seven planets of the Verdant String, the green, fecund sources of life spanning five solar systems, comprise the Verdant String Coalition. This is the setting for a new science fiction romance series from award-winning science fiction romance novelist Michelle Diener. While the people of the Verdant String know they have a common ancestor, a group of explorers who colonised the planets at the same time a thousand or more years ago, the mysteries of who they were, and where they came from, persist.

Interference (A 25,000 word novella introducing the world of the Verdant String)

Interference can go either way . . .

The tiny moon of Cepi is on a countdown to destruction, and while Nyha Bartali has been persuaded to take her four wards for a final look at the archaeological wonder, now she's eager to leave. The only problem is, someone has other plans--plans to exploit Nyha and her girls' status as the betrayed orphans of the Verdant String in order to give them time to steal Cepi's secrets.

Nyha and her wards' value as survivors of the destruction of Halatia means it would be political suicide for any leader of the Verdant String to endanger them again--something the hostage-takers know very well. What the hostage-takers don't know is that Nyha and her girls have more help than they realize.

Mak Carep knows his team's presence on Cepi is the last flex of Arkhor's muscle before the moon is blown to bits. Arkhor has interfered on Cepi since it discovered the ruins four hundred years ago, but sometimes, interference can have unexpected consequences. When Nyha and her girls are taken hostage, Mak and the rest of his special forces team are the only ones who have any hope of rescuing them, and they're ready and willing to do what Arkhor does best . . . Interfere.

Interference was first published in the Orphans in the Black Anthology in July 2017.

Insurgency (Insurgency is a 45,000 word short novel set in the Verdant String series)

The Parnian city of Var is under siege. Buildings are being targeted by insurgents whose only aim seems to be destruction. Nick Bartega is part of the Protection Unit team investigating the explosions, but with no discernible pattern, and no one taking responsibility, he and his colleagues have hit a blank wall.

That is until his neighbor, Tila, is caught up in the first real mistake the insurgents have made. Cornered, forced to take Tila's whole office hostage, the insurgents are surrounded and out of options, until they use Tila as their shield.

Tila sees herself as Parnian first, Halatian second, but her dark blue hair, and the strong emotions her very existence provokes in others means the insurgents see her as the perfect hostage. No one on Par wants to give the order that might catch her in the crossfire. They'd rather let the insurgents get away.

But Nick, and his commander, Drake, see the first glimpse of a pattern in the insurgents behavior. Not that long ago, Halatians were used as hostages in another incident on the tiny moon of Cepi, and the parallels are hard to ignore. So is this attack on Var an isolated incident, or is there a bigger conspiracy at play?

Whatever the truth, Nick isn't prepared to leave Tila in the insurgents hands. And he's prepared to break any rule, and disregard any order to do it.

Interference: 4/5★
Insurgency: 4.5/5★


Interference:

Interference was a really great introduction to the world of the Verdant String. I'm always looking forward to Michelle Diener's next science fiction book because it always has a great cast of characters, especially her main characters. It obviously was no different with this novella. I adored Nyha and Mak and loved their chemistry together. I also have got to say that even though it was only a 25,000 word novella I still thought the story has really great world building. It was very well-written and also action packed, with a little bit of romance that definitely makes the reader want more. Nyha even ended up being one of my favorite characters that I've read about from this author. I just loved how although she knew Mak could help her in the bad situation she ended up in, she also was determined to save herself and the ones she loves. "He was a lifeline, the only one she had, but she needed to work on a way out of this without him, too. She couldn't depend on being saved."
It was just a really good story and a huge page-turner!


Insurgency:

Insurgency was in one word: unputdownable! I loved it even more than Interference and I already thought that story was really amazing. 

Insurgency features two new characters named Tila and her new neighbour Nick, whom she connects right away. Nick is part of the Protection Unit team investigating explosions that have been going around in the city of Var. Tila is a Halatian (I already knew a lot about the Halantians from Interference so I was really glad this book was also about one). Unfortunately being Halatian causes her to be abducted by insurgents. Of course Nick doesn't hesitate to go after her along with his commander Drake. 

Needless to say this story was pretty action-packed, which I loved. There was never ever a dull moment and I just kept wanting to read the next page and the next and the next until I had finished the book. I adored the two main characters. I loved the "tension" that surrounded them and their blossoming actraction towards on another. This book isn't heavy on the romance but I love the subtlety that the author created between these two. 


Overall, Interference as well as Insurgency were two really good stories and a fantastic introduction to the Verdant String series. The worldbuilding was really incredible so I can't wait to read more of this world and the people in it.  




Author bio:
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.


Check out my reviews of Michelle's other books:

{Science Fiction)
Sky Raiders (Sky Raiders #1) — 3/5 
Calling the Chance (Sky Raiders #2) — 4/5★ 
COMING SOON: Shadow Warrior (Sky Raiders #3) 

{Science Fiction}
Dark Horse (Class 5 #1) — 5/5★ 
Dark Deeds (Class 5 #2) — 5/5★ 
Dark Minds (Class 5 #3) — 4/5★ 

{Paranormal}
Breaking Out Part I (part of Entranced Halloween Box Set — 4/5★ 
Breaking Out Part II — 4/5★ 

{Fantasy}
The Golden Apple (The Dark Forest #1) — 4/5★ 
The Silver Pear (The Dark Forest #2) — 5/5★ 

{Fantasy}

{Historical Fiction}
The Emperor's Conspiracy (Regency London #1) 5/5
Banquet of Lies (Regency London #2) 5/5★ 
A Dangerous Madness (Regency London #3) —5/5★ 

 {Historical Fiction}

 {Historical Fiction}
In a Treacherous Court (Susanna Horenbout and John Parker #1) 5/5
Dangerous Sanctuary (Susanna Horenbout and John Parker #1.5) 5/5
Keeper of the King's Secrets (Susanna Horenbout and John Parker #2) 5/5
In Defense of the Queen (Susanna Horenbout and John Parker) 5/5


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Review: King Arthur: A Life From Beginning to End by Hourly History

Title: King Arthur: A Life From Beginning to End
Author: Hourly History
Publication: September 19th 2017
Genre: Nonfiction, History
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Rating: 4/5

Dating back to the fifth century, the legend of King Arthur, his Queen Guinevere, and the Knights of the Round Table is an integral part of British national mythology. From its beginning as a few lines of Latin text written in a sixth-century monk’s hand, Arthurian legend has blossomed over the years into a unique universe built on the real foundations of Britain’s Dark Ages and the principles of ancient chivalry.

Liberally expanded over the years to include romantic entanglements, an imaginary ancient empire, and the threat of the supernatural, the legend of King Arthur remains as engaging today as it was in medieval times. King Arthur’s life, whether it happened or not, cuts to the core of the Matter of Britain and reveals the heart of Britain’s fanciful idea of its origin.


I actually really liked this short book about King Arthur and where his myth came from. It doesn't go into deep about it all but it's only 37 pages so it's to be expected. 

The story of king Arthur and the knights of the round table has been a favorite of mine for ages so I really liked learning more about where it supposedly all started, which is around the time that the Romans left Great Britain and the remaining people needed a hero. 

The book also goes into the different stories that surround the legend of Arthur and maybe it's just me but I couldn't help but notice how some of these stories, though not all of them, were very similar to some Greek myths that we all know very well. For example, I couldn't help but draw parallels between King Arthur and Hercules. It was striking actually.

For a free book, King Arthus: A Life From Beginning to End was a pretty good one. It was a really quick read as all Hourly History books are since they can be read in way less than an hour and can be read in one sitting even. 




Check out my other Hourly History reviews:



More Hourly History reviews to come soon!



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Little Mermaid and Other Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen

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 Little Mermaid and Other Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen
Expected publication: March 6th 2018 by Harper Design

Featuring beloved characters such as the Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, and the Snow Queen, a deluxe full-color edition of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairytales, illustrated with stunning drawings and interactive artwork from MinaLima, the award-winning design studio behind the graphics for the Harry Potter film franchise—the perfect companion for fans of the Disney live-action film The Little Mermaid which will include a mix of songs from Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Menken.

Nearly two hundred years after its publication in 1837, Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless fairytales continue to inspire young imaginations. This beautiful unabridged edition brings together many of the Danish writer’s favorite stories that have become literary classics, including "The Little Mermaid", "Thumbelina", "The Snow Queen", "The Princess and the Pea", "The Ugly Duckling", "The Emperor’s New Clothes", and more.

The thirteen stories in The Little Mermaid and Other Fairy Tales are illustrated with specially commissioned artwork and ten exclusive interactive features including:

A dial with six mermaids
A Duckling transforming into a swan
Mattresses that pull away to reveal a pea
The Snow Queen’s palace
Gorgeously designed, this keepsake illustrated edition—the fourth book in Harper Design’s series of reimagined children’s classics—will be treasured by readers of all ages for generations to come.




Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Review: To the Ends of the Earth by Skye Warren

Title: To the Ends of the Earth
Author: Skye Warren
Series: Stripped #5
Publication: November 14th 2016

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

A story about the lengths we go for love...

"What happens when a girl from a cult catches the eye of a strong, dangerous fighter? I loved this passionate story of a woman on the run and a man who is totally freaking obsessed with her." – Annika Martin, New York Times bestselling author

Another rundown apartment. Another job that pays cash. Every new city it becomes harder to hide but I can't stop running.

There are two men after me...
One wants to save my soul. The other wants to claim my body.

Part of me wants Luca to catch me, even knowing what he's capable of. An enforcer. A fighter. The only language he speaks is violence.

How far will he go to find me?
What will he do once he does?

A wild glance over my shoulder. The shadows are moving.
I'm about to find out.

TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH can be read as a standalone! It includes characters introduced in the Stripped series, so if you strongly prefer to read from the beginning, you can one-click Tough Love for free!


I don't know how it's even possible but for some reason I didn't know there was a fifth book in the Stripped series so I didn't get around to buying and reading it until recently. This is my favorite series by Skye Warren and this book confirms it yet again. 

I really enjoyed To the Ends of the Earth. It was a very quick read and it had just the right tempo for me. It wasn't rushed like some shorter books tend to be and the romance was so amazing. And gosh, how I loved Beth and Luca. They're my second favorite couple from the series (the first being Ivan and Candy).

This is the story of Beth formerly known as Sarah Elizabeth who grew up living in a cult. Now she's on the run with her one-year-old daughter from two men. One wants to save her soul, the other wants to claim her body, like the synopsis says. 

The scenes between Beth and Luca we're pretty heavy with chemistry but nothing actually happened until 70% of the book. I guess there could've been a little more sexy scenes but considering what happened to Beth in the cult I thought it was all written pretty well. Luca definitely didn't want to rush into things with Beth, no matter how much he wanted her and I liked him for that. And I loved how sweet Luca was with Beth's daughter. There definitely was the 'awww' factor with them.

Overall, To the Ends of the Earth by Skye Warren was a sweet and sexy story. It can be read as a standalone but as always I would recommend you to start from the beginning, starting with Tough Love. 


Author bio:
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.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest


My other reviews in the Stripped series:
#0.5: Tough Love — 3/5
#1: Love the Way You Lie — 4/5
#2: Better When It Hurts — 3/5
#2.5: Even Better — 3.5/5
#3: Pretty When You Cry — 5/5
#3.5: Caught For Christmas — 4/5
#4: Hold You Against Me — 4/5