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June New Book Releases We Are Dying to Read!

Karina:
I see a lot of gorgeous books from the authors who have been on my auto-buy list for  long time, and it just makes me giddy! I've read The Saint already, and it's ah-mazing! So as Neanderthal Marries Human. *grinning* What are you waiting for, Vika?


Vika:
Absolutely! So many gorgeous books K. :)

Vika's Historical Romance Review: The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams

The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams


Ecopy via Penguin’s First to Read

Synopsis from Goodreads

Passion, redemption, and a battered suitcase full of secrets: the New York Times-bestselling author of A Hundred Summers returns with another engrossing tale.

Manhattan, 1964. Vivian Schuyler, newly graduated from Bryn Mawr College, has recently defied the privilege of her storied old Fifth Avenue family to do the unthinkable for a budding Kennedy-era socialite: break into the Mad Men world of razor-stylish Metropolitan magazine. But when she receives a bulky overseas parcel in the mail, the unexpected contents draw her inexorably back into her family’s past, and the hushed-over crime passionnel of an aunt she never knew, whose existence has been wiped from the record of history.

Berlin, 1914. Violet Schuyler Grant endures her marriage to the philandering and decades-older scientist Dr. Walter Grant for one reason: for all his faults, he provides the necessary support to her liminal position as a young American female physicist in prewar Germany. The arrival of Dr. Grant’s magnetic former student at the beginning of Europe’s fateful summer interrupts this delicate détente. Lionel Richardson, a captain in the British Army, challenges Violet to escape her husband’s perverse hold, and as the world edges into war and Lionel’s shocking true motives become evident, Violet is tempted to take the ultimate step to set herself free and seek a life of her own conviction with a man whose cause is as audacious as her own.

As the iridescent and fractured Vivian digs deeper into her aunt’s past and the mystery of her ultimate fate, Violet’s story of determination and desire unfolds, shedding light on the darkness of her years abroad . . . and teaching Vivian to reach forward with grace for the ambitious future––and the love––she wants most



Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository | Fishpond

8.5/10


* * *
Just in time for the long weekend, grab your beach tote and a copy of The Secret Life of Violet Grant and have yourself a lovely summer day at the beach with a perfect book in hand!

Beatriz Williams once again delivers a fascinating love story. It’s passionate and romantic, woven with history and family intrigue, best served with a side of mystery that will have you racing through the pages. And for the fans of Williams’s previous summer gem, A Hundred Summers, there is a special appearance by Lily Dane. So grab your copy and get ready to be transported in time.

Steampunk YA Review: Third Daughter by Susan Kaye Quinn

Third Daughter by Susan Kaye Quinn (The Dharian Affairs Trilogy #1)


Ecopy thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
Skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue... and, of course, kissing.

The Third Daughter of the Queen wants her birthday to arrive so she'll be free to marry for love, but rumors of a new flying weapon may force her to accept a barbarian prince's proposal for a peace-brokering marriage. Desperate to marry the charming courtesan she loves, Aniri agrees to the prince's proposal as a subterfuge in order to spy on him, find the weapon, and hopefully avoid both war and an arranged marriage to a man she does not love.

Third Daughter is the first book in the The Dharian Affairs Trilogy (Third Daughter, Second Daughter, First Daughter). This steampunk-goes-to-Bollywood (Bollypunk!) romance that takes place in an east-Indian-flavored alternate world filled with skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue. And, of course, kissing.

From the author of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy, The Dharian Affairs is a new series filled with equal doses of action-adventure and romance, meant to appeal to fans of Mindjack.

Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository

8.5/10

* * *
What a beautiful book, folks! Vivid, lush and boisterous. I would recommend it to any fan of YA fantasy with strong female leads.

The Postman Knock #80

Oh, a week of rain here! So good for the plants and we had a week of rest as well. Consequently I read a lot more than before! Now we are back to being hot and sweaty... How was your week?

I've READ:


FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK was good, ladies and gents. Much more adult and mature than I thought it would be, which I'll talk about in my review. SOULBOUND disappointed me, to be honest. Nice writing, but so many glaring holes in the plot, it made me cringe. NEANDERTHAL MARRIES HUMAN was wonderful so much so, that I had tears in the end. At last, ENSLAVED BY THE OTHERS was an excellent urban fantasy. Glad, Haines's series stays strong!

FOR REVIEW:



Thank you, thank you, Penny! I was ecstatic to get this :)  And thanks to Cassie, I am very curious about her new series!

BOUGHT:

Still haven't read anything past first two novellas, but I will soon.

This is it for me, peeps. Hope you have lovely Sunday! Tchau!


Urban Fantasy Review: Night Owls by Lauren M. Roy

Night Owls by Lauren M. Roy (Night Owls #1)


Egalley thanks to Ace

Synopsis from Goodreads
Night Owls book store is the one spot on campus open late enough to help out even the most practiced slacker. The employees’ penchant for fighting the evil creatures of the night is just a perk…

Valerie McTeague’s business model is simple: provide the students of Edgewood College with a late-night study haven and stay as far away from the underworld conflicts of her vampire brethren as possible. She’s lived that life, and the price she paid was far too high to ever want to return.

Elly Garrett hasn’t known any life except that of fighting the supernatural werewolf-like beings known as Creeps or Jackals. But she always had her mentor and foster father by her side—until he gave his life protecting a book that the Creeps desperately want to get their hands on.

When the book gets stashed at Night Owls for safe keeping, those Val holds nearest and dearest are put in mortal peril. Now Val and Elly will have to team up, along with a mismatched crew of humans, vampires, and lesbian succubi, to stop the Jackals from getting their claws on the book and unleashing unnamed horrors.

Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository | Fishpond

6.5/10

* * *
Oh man, this book could have been amazing! Instead it left me underwhelmed, slightly entertained and mostly bored.

What went wrong?

Vika's NA Post-Apocalyptic Fiction Review: West by C.S. Starr

West (Campbell #2) by C.S. Starr


Ecopy thanks to author

Synopsis from Goodreads

After her world was turned upside down by the death of her twin and a new alliance forged through an unexpected friendship, Lucy Campbell left West determined to return to her old life.

It took four years and a natural disaster for her to admit that was impossible.

Hatched from a lie devised to keep them both safe, the conflict with East has affected Lucy and Tal Bauman in different ways. It’s left Lucy engulfed in a bitter power struggle with her war-hungry brother. It’s forced Tal to align himself with Campbell, despite questioning their motivations in continuing to attack East, when peace seems attainable. He’s also left to sort out the mess left behind by his predecessor and best friend, Connor Wilde.

When they are reunited by a tragedy, Lucy and Tal are forced to question how far their duties stretch, where their loyalties lie, and how far they would go for one another.

They’re also left reevaluating their morals, values, and the futures of those around them.

West is the second book in the Campbell trilogy.



Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository

8.5/10

* * *

I came across the Campbell trilogy last year when upon a recommendation I decided to give it a try and the rest… well, you know how that story goes. (You can check my review of Campbell here by the way).

I was surprised and even taken aback by the story, yet fascinated; it left me curious and wanting more. So when the second book arrived earlier this year and C.S. Starr asked me to read and review it, I leapt at the opportunity. And let me say that West is a great read, well-written and unique among the myriad of post-apocalyptic and dystopian novels crowding the shelves of bookstores these days. What set it apart are its raw honesty, unapologetic nature, brutality, and gritty details. It is a roller-coaster of emotions and as the story progresses C.S. Starr continues to explore a variety of subjects including power/control, politics, sexuality, and character identity -- all under the scope of this harsh, post-apocalyptic world.

Tagged: The Book Blogger Test

Joy from Joyous Reads, evil woman that she is, tagged us to this questionnaire during our blogoversary. Of course, we couldn't say no to her evil genius.

What are your top three book pet peeves?

KARINA:
For me it's mostly about the character flow rather than world-building.
  1. a TSTL heroine - a heroine with no instinct of self-preservation. The one who'd go into the forest with a stranger or get drunk in the club and then walks home alone on the deserted streets, etc. It's a heroine that everyone end up saving multiple times in the book, because she is too stupid to live.
  2. a heroine/hero with a huge chip on her/his shoulder - the tough one that gets offended by people saying something wrong or offering help because she/he thinks she/he is too independent or too proud. You know what, f*ck your pride! Let people help you or get close to you without biting their heads off. The whining is exhausting to listen to.
  3. modernization of thinking - this is harder to explain, but I loathe when a heroine in a historical romance/historical fiction starts thinking like a modern feminist, especially when she starts talking like this. I see a glaring anachronism, and my vision goes white. That's what happens when someone has huge love of history I suppose. *shrugs sheepishly*
VIKA:
This is a hard question! How do I pick only three? Okay, let's try...
  1. misunderstandings as the plot device. Argh!!! I absolutely hate it when events happen because of a simple misunderstanding between the characters. (I'm looking at you Ms. Gabaldon, admit it, you had a personal vendetta against poor Roger Wakefield. And yes, I'm still bitter about it.)
  2. shivers and chills that characters experience all of a sudden in 100F degree weather. (Somehow all of my biggest pet peeves seem to relate to Outlander... go figure.) But yet again, Ms. Gabaldon is a big offender of this. She really loves to make her characters shiver and have the hairs on their necks stand up because of events and revelations happening around them. Ever notice that? It's like in every other paragraph. 
  3. unnecessary scenes and event that add nothing to progression of the storyline. I have lots of favorite books, but even then, I don't want to read pages upon pages of descriptions and scenery just for the hell of it. Move on and give me something good and thoughtful to read about.
Describe your perfect reading spot.

KARINA:
I'll build it someday...

VIKA:
Aww, it does look lovely K.! :)

I can read almost anywhere, as long as I'm left alone. So, most of the time you can find me reading in bed. Something about fluffy pillows and blankets, a couple of dogs snuggling next to me - and I'm good.

Tell us three book confessions.

KARINA:
  1. I'll read anytime anywhere. Literally.
  2. I don't borrow people my paperbacks if I can help it. Most people treat books terribly, and I'd rather give the book away than have it returned to me violated :)
  3. I hate a conversation starter: "What are you reading?" The chances are whoever asked you a) is a non-reader b) reads only mainstream literature c) will get embarrassed if you show too much enthusiasm. What if I'm reading erotica? What if it's Tiffany Reisz? What shall I say? "It's about a sadistic Catholic priest and an erotica writer, but don't worry it's mostly one big mindf*ck!" I don't think it will go down well.

VIKA:
  1. I used to hate reading when I was young. Don't get me wrong, if someone was reading to me - I totally loved it, but I struggled reading myself. However, now it's a whole different story. :)
  2. I haven't read as many classics as I should have. Someday...
  3. In college, I read books during lectures that didn't particularly inspire me if you will, so I'm very good at tuning out background noise while reading. 
When was the last time you cried over a book?

KARINA:
Had to look it up on Goodreads. Deeper by Robin York made me teary-eyed.


VIKA:
I rarely cry while reading, but in general animal abuse is a hard topic for me to handle. There is a very graphic scene in Delirium by Lauren Oliver where a dog is brutally killed - and I admit, I barely managed to read those pages. I was bawling by the time I got through it. 



How many books are on your bedside table?

KARINA:
A redundant question. I read from kindle. There are 526 books on it right now. Around 400 of them are unread.

VIKA:
There is an occasional book or two on my bedside table, but generally it's all on my Kindle.

What is your favorite snack whilst reading a book?

KARINA:
I read while I'm eating anyway, so anything will do. I just have to keep my kindle away from the messier food.

VIKA:
I don't usually snack while reading, but a cup of tea or coffee go exceptionally well with a book.

Name three books you would recommend to everyone.

KARINA:
That's really tough! These reads were a profound experience for me, but plenty of you might not like them at all...
  1. Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente
  2. The Last Hour of Gann by R.Lee Smith
  3. Phedre's Trilogy by Jacqueline Carey

VIKA:
I agree with K., it's unlikely that everyone will love the same books. So, here are three from my favorite shelf:
  1. All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness
  2. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Show us a picture of your favorite shelf in your bookshelf.

KARINA:
Redundant. It's all on kindle, baby!

VIKA:
Since most of my books are Kindle books... you can take a peek at my favorite shelf right here.

Write how much books mean to you in three words.

KARINA:
Equal to oxygen.

VIKA:
Can't live without.

What is your biggest reading secret?

KARINA:
If I tell you that it won't be a secret. *wink* I'd rather give some advice. Be ruthless and axe the books you don't like early, which will leave you more time for those you do like.

Thank you, Joy! We are not tagging anyone, but it definitely was fun to do :) Share in comments what you think!

VIKA:
To quote Lynyrd Skynyrd, "[...] don't ask me no questions/And I won't tell you no lies" ...just kidding! But seriously, there are no big secrets, just read!

Thanks, Joy! ;)

Urban Fantasy Review: Darkness Divides by Susan Illene

Darkness Divides by Susan Illene (The Sensor #3)


Ecopy thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
The blood and violence never ends—it only stops long enough for Melena to relax her guard, to think she might actually survive. For the past year, she’s worked hard to pick up the pieces of her life. The supernaturals in Fairbanks are tolerating her, the angels are shielding her from her enemies, and she’s getting stronger as her body changes into…something else. If not for the man she loves being locked away in Purgatory, she might even believe she could be happy.

But for a sensor, peace is always an illusion. A magical explosion is about to rock the earth between Alaska and parts of Canada, bringing with it a new wave of fear. People she cares about will be hurt and she’s going to need answers. Are her enemies trying to flush her out of hiding or are they up to something even more sinister? It will take all of her newfound strength and the help of every ally she’s got to put a stop to their plans.

Amazon kindle US($3.99)/UK(£2.44) |

8.5/10

* * *
 I am really enjoying this series, folks. While it's not a mind-blowing urban fantasy like Written in Red by Anne Bishop or the latest Kate Daniels from Ilona and Gordon Andrews, it's still a helluva lot better than a lot of new urban fantasy authors I tried recently. Lauren M.Roy, James Elliott, Dana Cameron and Leigh Evans come to mind as authors of the series I unfortunately have absolutely no desire to continue.

The Postman Knock #79

Hello, peeps!
We had another fabulous at our quinta despite me pulling a muscle in my leg and Alex suffering from chronic back ache. Who cares? Sun is shining, all the veg and fruit growing and we even saw our first firefly in years. *happy dance*
Hope your week was good too.

I've READ:


BEND was a pretty shite anthology apart from CD Reiss's story which is why I bought this in the first place, and Alessandra Torre's story. I'll be on the look out for this author. PICTURE PERFECT was a DNF. A freebie on kindle, it was telling the story of a girl who went from a model size two to size twelve due to injury. She was whining so much about it, I stopped reading it in the end. At last, INTERVIEW WITH A MASTER was an impulse buy due to an intriguing review, but I had to DNF it as well. Really simplistic, slightly condescending style of writing, and I grew bored. I think it's not a good idea to mix other BDSM stories while I'm still re-reading Tiffany Reisz - comparing to her writing everything else seems shoddy and poorly written :)

NETGALLEY:

Thanks to the publishers! I'm reading it now, Katiebabs said it's gonna be good :)

BOUGHT:


Picture Perfect was a freebie, so not actually bought :)

IN OTHER NEWS:

Amy Pope, the winner for Penny Reid's swag hasn't replied to me, so I'll be choosing a new winner unfortunately. Sorry, Amy!

Has anyone else got very excited about Constantine trailer? I did.

Looks awesome, peeps.

This is it for me, have a fab weekend, tchau!


Noir Paranormal Mystery Review: One Death at A Time by Thomas M. Hewlett

One Death At a Time by Thomas M. Hewlett (Twelve Stakes #1)


Ecopy thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
“People think Alcoholics Anonymous is for drunks. It’s not. It’s for us, the real drinkers. The blood drinkers. All the rest of those meetings are just for show.”

Los Angeles, 1948. Detective Jack Strayhorn is killed while chasing down a suspect in the Black Dahlia murders all by himself.

Los Angeles, 2010. Jack Strayhorn is back in L.A. as a private investigator with a simple mission: catch the bad guys and try not to kill any innocent people along the way.

To him and his kind, human blood is the strongest drug in the world. Fortunately for Jack, he found the secret group within AA dedicated to helping Vampires survive the madness and destruction of their disease.

When a city councilmember with ties to a drug-dealing Fae clan is found dead in his home and the woman lying next to him is Jack’s current missing person’s case, tracking down the ghostlike hitman will test him like nothing before.

But this time, Jack won’t be alone. With the help of his unique powers of investigation, his magically talented friends, and a Medical Examiner with a few secrets of her own, Jack will face down a gang of outlaw biker werewolves, spell-casting Fae high on pixie dust, and an underground order of Vampires intent on ruling the world.

As Jack learned long ago, the only way to get through eternity is one death a time.

Amazon kindle US($2.99)/UK(£1.92)

8/10

* * *
One Death at a Time reminded me of Celestial Blues series by Vicki Pettersson. It's got the same noir paranormal mystery vibe but at the same time it has unique twists in world-building that make it very memorable.

Sci Fi Romance Review: The Ophelia Prophecy by Sharon Lynn Fisher

The Ophelia Prophecy by Sharon Lynn Fisher


Egalley thanks to Tor Books

Synopsis from Goodreads
New sci-fi romance from the RITA Award nominated author of GHOST PLANET!
* * *
Our world is no longer our own. We engineered a race of superior fighters -- the Manti, mutant humans with insect-like abilities. Twenty-five years ago they all but destroyed us. In Sanctuary, some of us survive. Eking out our existence. Clinging to the past.

Some of us intend to do more than survive.
* * *
Asha and Pax -- strangers and enemies -- find themselves stranded together on the border of the last human city, neither with a memory of how they got there.

Asha is an archivist working to preserve humanity’s most valuable resource -- information -- viewed as the only means of resurrecting their society.

Pax is Manti, his Scarab ship a menacing presence in the skies over Sanctuary, keeping the last dregs of humanity in check.

Neither of them is really what they seem, and what humanity believes about the Manti is a lie.

With their hearts and fates on a collision course, they must unlock each other's secrets and forge a bond of trust before a rekindled conflict pushes their two races into repeating the mistakes of the past.

Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US | The Book Depository | Fishpond

7.5/10

* * *
This was a nice read, but it lacked bite, ladies and gents. I think I'm spoiled by Jean Johnson and R. Lee Smith who blew my mind with their complex sci-fi novels, and anything less feels a bit bland.

Blogoversary winners!


Thank you, everyone!
This was a lot of fun for both of us and I hope you enjoyed last week's posts as well.

Here are the winners:

Michelle Diener's book of choice goes to 
Jessica@Rabid Reads!

Elizabeth Hunter's book of choice goes to 
Blodeuedd!

Susan Illene's books and swag go to
Miki!

and

Penny Reid's swag goes to
Amy Pope!
(Amy, I don't have your email, but I'll try to hunt you down :) Please contact me if you see this post first!

Sci Fi YA Review: Empress of The Sun by Ian McDonald

Empress of The Sun by Ian McDonald (Everness #3)


Egalley courtesy of Jo Fletcher Books

Synopsis from Goodreads
World-hopping, high-action adventure starring a smart boy with computer skills and a tough girl who pilots a blimp
 

The airship Everness makes a Heisenberg Jump to an alternate Earth unlike any her crew has ever seen. Everett, Sen, and the crew find themselves above a plain that goes on forever in every direction without any horizon. There they find an Alderson Disc, an astronomical megastructure of incredibly strong material reaching from the orbit of Mercury to the orbit of Jupiter.

Then they meet the Jiju, the dominant species on a plane where the dinosaurs didn't die out. They evolved, diversified, and have a twenty-five million year technology head-start on humanity. War between their kingdoms is inevitable, total and terrible.
Everness has jumped right into the midst of a faction fight between rival nations, the Fabreen and Dityu empires. The airship is attacked, but then defended by the forces of the Fabreen, who offers theEverness crew protection. But what is the true motive behind Empress Aswiu's aid? What is her price?

The crew of the Everness is divided in a very alien world, a world fast approaching the point of apocalypse.

Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK(£2.06) | The Book Depository | Fishpond

8.5/10

* * *
 After a so-so second book in this series I was afraid I wouldn't enjoy Empress of Sun, folks. I shouldn't have doubted Ian's writing after a magnificent Planesrunner.

The Postman Knock #78

Phew! Thank you, everyone, for helping us celebrate our blogoversary! I knew I wouldn't be able to offer any giveaways personally so we managed to beg and cajole our favorite authors to do so for us, for which I'm profoundly thankful!
Anyone wants a list of posts from this week? Just click here!

I've READ:

DARKNESS DIVIDES was a very nice urban fantasy, and I enjoyed Melena's shooting the hell out of Purgatory, hehe. THE SAINT like anything Miss Reisz writes was an absolutely mind blowing five star read. My favorite book in the series. Thanks to it I'm re-reading the whole series from book one and enjoying the hell out of it. THE LAST GOOD KNIGHT serial was bought straight after The Saint, and I loved it, especially Soren's part.

BOUGHT:
I went on a little spree thanks to our blogoversary :)

A little rant here. I've been wanting to read Also Known As by Robin Benway for absolute ages and couldn't because it's only in hardback on Amazon UK. Thank God, I found accidentally that UK kindle title is actually called Spy Society, so I could buy it at last. Why, publishers, why? Dru Pagliassotti's new book which I've been waiting for ages is not connected to a kindle copy directly as well. So I could only see it as paperback on my wishlist (almost £10 for a copy) until I manually typed the name in search again. Why? Surely it just hurts author's sales. *shakes head*

Anyway, this is me done.

The book recommendation thread will be open until further notice, me thinks :) So if you want to use it, it'll be on the sidebar from tomorrow onwards.
Happy Sunday, everyone!

Nocturnal Book Reviews 3rd Blogoversary Celebration Day Five with us... just us!


Hello, peeps!
We are turning THREE on the 9th of May, so we will be celebrating all week with exclusive content from our favorite authors, giveaways and personal tidbits.
Hope you join us in all the fun!
Cheers,
Karina & Vika


KARINA:

I've been thinking what I could get you guys as a present instead of just giving away books which I can't do now anyway and I came up with two ideas. I don't know if Vika would like to join me in this?

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KARINA IS READING

READING

The Night Circus
Legacy
Gabriel's Inferno
Touch

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The Fault in Our Stars
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In case of zombie apocalypse

Hey, guys! I feel like I should say this just in case :)
If you'd like to sponsor a fellow book addict who sometimes can't sleep at night worrying that she won't have enough books to read if internet goes down in the event of zombie apocalypse (I'm convinced it's one of the top five ways to go for human race) you can donate through Paypal to olivesandacorns at gmail dot com or buy a book through any of the links provided with my reviews which will send me a small percentage from the sale. All proceeds will go towards my enormous TBR. I will also shelter you on the remote farm in Portugal when zombie apocalypse starts provided you survive getting there. There will be books, yay?
Thank you! Love you all

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