giovedì 26 febbraio 2015

I've been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award !

YAY! This is my first nomination for the Versatile Blogger Award and I wanted to thank you Natasha Anne first, because she is a dear follower and second, for this nomination ! You can find her @ Dreamland : A teenage fantasy 

Rules for the Versatile Blogger Award

*If you are nominated, you've been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award.
*Thank the person who nominated you. :)
*Link back to their blog. They'd be ever so grateful!
*Select blogs or bloggers for the award (ones you recently discovered or follow regularly)
*Nominate them for the award (remember to notify them once you do!)
*Lastly, tell the person who nominated you seven things about yourself. Easy as that!

7 things about me

1. I am a serious chocolate addicted. I could eat it all day without feeling ill. I like
chocolates of all kinds and particulary like orange chocolate.
2. I love studying (I know, it's insane... I'm still trying to figure this out).
3. I have a passion for English literature
4. I am a couch potato who loves complaining about her flat body
5. I love pets, I had turtles, bunnies, parrots, cats and dogs. For the moment I just have
a funny dog, Luna, and an evil little cat called Sophie
6. This year I started studying chinese at university and I completely fell in love 
with their writing.
7. I have absolutely no creativity, of any kind. 

And now!
My nominees are ...

Kristie @ Lost In Ever After

Thanks so much for the fun !

mercoledì 25 febbraio 2015

Book Tour: The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki [Interview + Giveaway]

The Accidental Empress
by Alison Pataki

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million

New York Times bestselling author Allison Pataki follows up on her critically-acclaimed debut novel, The Traitor’s Wife, with the little-known and tumultuous love story of “Sisi,” the Austro-Hungarian Empress and captivating wife of Emperor Franz Joseph.
The year is 1853, and the Habsburgs are Europe’s most powerful ruling family. With his empire stretching from Austria to Russia, from Germany to Italy, Emperor Franz Joseph is young, rich, and ready to marry.
Fifteen-year-old Elisabeth, “Sisi,” Duchess of Bavaria, travels to the Habsburg court with her older sister, who is betrothed to the young emperor. But shortly after her arrival at court, Sisi finds herself in an unexpected dilemma: she has inadvertently fallen for and won the heart of her sister’s groom. Intrigued by Sisi’s guileless charm and energetic spirit, not to mention her unrivaled beauty, Franz Joseph reneges on his earlier proposal and declares his intention to marry Sisi instead.
Plucked from obscurity and thrust onto the throne of Europe’s most treacherous imperial court, Sisi has no idea what struggles and dangers—and temptations—await her. Sisi upsets political and familial loyalties in her quest to win, and keep, the love of her emperor, her people, and of the world.
With Pataki’s rich period detail and cast of complex, compelling characters, The Accidental Empress offers a captivating glimpse into the bedrooms and staterooms of one of history’s most intriguing royal families, shedding new light on the glittering Habsburg Empire and its most mesmerizing, most beloved “Fairy Queen.”

Also by Alison Pataki..

The Interview

Your new novel, The Accidental Empress, focuses on of the history of one of the most intriguing royal families; is there a reason why you decided to choose the Habsburgs? Is there something in particular that inspired you?

I would agree with you, they certainly are one of history’s most intriguing families! And yet, the American audience knows very little about Sisi and the Habsburgs. Hopefully The Accidental Empress will change that! 

I came across the story of Sisi and was inspired to write her story as a result of a very personal journey—and I mean that quite literally. Years ago, I was traveling through Austria and Hungary and the Czech Republic with my family. I am Hungarian-American by descent; Pataki is an odd-sounding and, yes, Hungarian last name. The purpose of the family trip was to visit the places from where our relatives had emigrated, almost a century earlier. This took us, then, to the lands of the former Habsburg Empire—the former realm once labeled on maps as Austria-Hungary.
While on this trip, I kept seeing beautiful images of this same young woman. She had this quizzical smile, this rich chestnut hair curled in these elaborate hairdos. I saw her face at every gift shop, museum, even in restaurants and hotels.

I asked someone who she was and the response was that she was “Sisi,” the most beloved of all Habsburg Empresses. I heard just a bit about Sisi’s epic and tragic life—about the legends that she grew her hair to the floor, that she was considered the most beautiful woman in the world, that every other foreign ruler at the time was in love with her.

I read about how Sisi didn’t mean to seduce her sister’s fiancé the emperor, but did, at the age of 15. Just enough to whet my appetite! I went home and dug in, reading everything I could about Sisi’s story; what I found astounded me. Hers is a story of love triangles, love, lust, betrayal, and so much more. It’s an incredibly human story, told against a glittering and beautiful—yet dangerous and duplicitous—backdrop of the Habsburg Court.

The so called "princess Sisi" is one of the most popular feminine characters of the nineteenth century, and has been the subject of many historical novels. Are there any particular aspects of her character that you decided to focus on?

Sisi has been the subject of many European adaptations, but almost nothing exists about her for the American audience. She remains hidden in history, not at all well-known, even though she is a leading lady with such a fascinating and worthy story. So much historical fiction lately has been devoted to Anne Boleyn and the British, or Marie Antoinette and the French, or Catherine the Great and the Russians, or the Italians families like the Medici and the Borgias. Sisi is the most fascinating, most significant
heroine of them all, and yet her story remains less well-known. I can’t wait to shine the spotlight on her.

Empress Elisabeth, or Sisi, was and continues to be an enchanting, complex, modern, beautiful, and tragic leading lady. She was Europe’s last great Empress, as it was her family that declared war and began World War I. She was known as the “most beautiful woman in the world,” but it was her wit and intelligence and charisma that made her a legend in her own time.
And yet, somehow, Sisi has become a footnote in modern history; she’s a member of a family that we briefly learn about in high school history, and that’s it. It is so interesting to me how many women—women who accomplished huge things—have slipped through the cracks of history with their stories going largely untold.

I want people to read the story of Sisi so that they can empathize with the great things she did and tried to do. So that they can be transported to the beautiful and romantic world of the imperial Habsburg Court, filled with Walt Disney-esque castles and grand ballrooms and violin waltzes. So that they can be drawn into the love triangle in which she found herself entangled. So that they can empathize with the incredibly moving and relevant difficulties Sisi weathered, not only as a Habsburg empress, but as a wife, a mother, and an individual seeking her own purpose in a treacherous court and a shifting world. So that they can be inspired in their own lives to learn more about history in a fun, entertaining and accessible way.

If you should think about a movie adaptation of your book, is there someone you would like to play the beautiful Elisabeth?
What a fun question to think about! I’d be fibbing if I said I haven’t spent time mulling over this exact question before. Who would play Sisi on screen? It would have to be an actress with an incredible on-screen presence and strength. It would be so much more than just the ingénue role—Sisi is the leading lady. I like Alicia Vikander from Anna Karenina and A Royal Affair. I also like Rebecca Ferguson, who was in The White Queen. I also like Lily Collins and Felicity Jones. Or perhaps someone with the stage presence of a Keira Knightley.

 Any other books in the works? Goals for the future?
Absolutely, there will be many more books, but my goal for right now is to spread the enchanting story of Sisi and Franz Joseph to as many readers as possible! I want readers to feel like they’ve been immersed into the glamorous and intriguing world of the Habsburg Court.

The Author
Allison Pataki is the author of the New York Times bestselling historical novel, The Traitor's Wife. She graduated Cum Laude from Yale University with a major in English and spent several years writing for TV and online news outlets. The daughter of former New York State Governor George E. Pataki, Allison was inspired to write her second novel, The Accidental Empress, by her family’s deep roots in the former Habsburg empire of Austria-Hungary. Allison is the co-founder of the nonprofit organization, ReConnect Hungary. Allison is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and, as well as a member of The Historical Novel Society. Allison lives in Chicago with her husband. To learn more and connect with Allison or on Twitter.

The Giveaway
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domenica 22 febbraio 2015

Where have you been this week? To Barcellona ! #besttrip

Hi lovely followers? How are you?

I know it's been almost two weeks since my last post, but I did not give up on blogging, I just had an awesome trip with my boyfriend to one of the most beautiful cities I've ever been : Barcellona ! I really had no expectations for this city, and not for the country, I've never been attracted to Spain even if their culture seems amazing!

But GOD, Barcellona was so good ! It was crowded, full of beautiful places, amazing brands, tasty food and a beautiful seacoast.

I thought it might be interesting to share with you some of the best photos I've taken during my visit. Check 'em out !

Mercat de la Boqueria - S. Josep


Sagrada Familia

My beautiful model at Barceloneta - seashore

Fuente del dragon - Park Güell

Me in Park Güell and Casa Batlló on the outside

Inside of Casa del Guarda - Park Güell
View from Montjuïc's castel
On top of Montjuïc's castel

If you want to have a trip and you still don't know where to go, I really recommend you to go and visit Barcellona, you won't regret it ! Moreover, if you book in advance, like we did, the prices are so low ! I know for certain that one day I will visit Barcellona again 

martedì 10 febbraio 2015

Mini- Review : The Retribution of Mara (Mara Dyer #3) by Michelle Hodkin

The Retribution of Mara Dyer
Mara Dyer #3
by Michelle Hodkin

Author: Michelle Hodkin
Published: 4th November 2014
PublisherSimon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 470
Format: Hardback
Source: Bought
Purchase: Amazon, TBD 

Mara Dyer wants to believe there's more to the lies she’s been told.
There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She should.
She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.
Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.
Retribution has arrived.

My Review

I am so messed up I don't know where to start. This is one of those books I hate because I don't really feel like writing a review about it, because it's SO good I don't even think I have the right to discuss about it, but at the same time I DO have to spend a few words about it and ... GOD, this is as insane as this whole trilogy had been.

Mara, Mara, Mara, where do I start? First, if you haven't checked out my reviews of book #1 and #2, do it now, so you'll have an idea about how much did I love the first two books. But now, let's just talk about this beautiful ending.

Once again, Michelle Hodkin amazed all her readers with a breath-taking finale to one of the most beautiful trilogy I've ever read. I was surpised by how the ending mismatched with what I thought the book would be, but, seriously, I couldn't hope for a better storyline. As always, the author plays with the reader's mind: this is one of those wonderful books where the reader doesn't exactly know where the story is going, how the characters are evolving and above all, who the characters are. The impossibility to trust Mara, is one of the things I've always loved about the series, because it makes the mystery so much thicker than it already was.

I was happy that I finally had the chance to discover more about Mara's life and the truth about everything that was happening to her; I don't think this is something we should underestimate, because it is not rare to find series that even in their final books do not satisfy the reader's curiosity, and I think this is a MUST. Michelle Hodkin , instead, with great ability and an appealing style analysed deeply the background of the project in which Mara was involved, mixing past and present in an incredible plot, that in the very ending, cleares all the ambiguity one may have had about Mara's life and her grandma's.

The characters are just perfect, I love everything about them. Mara is strong and brave and intelligent and Noah is sweet and caring and provocative. Perfect mix, perfect couple. I loved that Michelle put under the spotlight also other characters that we just started to know in book #2. I love Jamie, loved him from the first book and I was so happy to know about the role he would have in book #3. Speaking the truth, all characters changed a LOT, but conversely to what other people thought I didn't feel upset about their growth, I just thought it was inevitable considering everything they have been through. The only thing I would reproach to Michelle : I needed more Noah Shaw. That was absolutely not enough, but I forgive you anyway.

The dynamism of the book, the never-ending struggle across all the country to find out more about Mara's disease was brilliant and insane. It was so interesting to follow their movements and to keep count of their progress that you really can't put the book down until the end. 

I really liked the veil of humour that was added to this book; I think that this detail was present in book#1 but completely disappeared in book #2 where things kind of got too messed up to make funny of it. In book #3 the special bond between Mara and Jamie makes it possible to lighten the atmosphere once it a while.

In the end, considering that I think this is one of those book you can't really review without spoilers I just want to add : READ IT ! NOW, ASAP! To all those who haven't started the Mara Dyer trilogy, DO IT NOW! You won't regret it. You will be searching for more like it, like I'm doing.

Rated 5.0

lunedì 9 febbraio 2015

Book Blitz: Greta and the Glass Kingdom by Chloe Jacobs + Give@way!

Greta and the Glass Kingdom
Mylena Chronicles #2
by Chloe Jacobs

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Once upon a dark time…

Greta the human bounty hunter never quite fit into the shadowed, icy world of Mylena. Yet she's managed to defeat the demon Agramon and win the love of the darkly intense Goblin King, Isaac. Now Isaac wants her to rule by his side—a human queen. And the very announcement is enough to incite rebellion…

To make matters worse, defeating Agramon left Greta tainted with a dark magick. Its unclean power threatens to destroy her and everything she loves. With the Goblin King's life and the very peace of Mylena at stake, Greta must find a cure and fast.

Her only hope lies with the strange, elusive faeries in the Glass Kingdom…if she can get there before the evil within her destroys everything.

Other book in the series...

Buy Links

Guest Post

5 Things You Don’t Know about Greta from Greta and the Glass Kingdom 
1) So, the thing you probably can’t miss about Greta is that she really hates winter. But after all this time having to listen to her complain about it, I think I’ve got to cut her some slack. You see, she finally admitted that she used to LOVE winter. Especially when the bright sun bounced off the fluffy white snow. She’d loved the snowball fights, and building snowmen on Saturday afternoons with her brother. She always wanted to go snowboarding, but never got the chance before ending up in Mylena. And somehow you’d think that a world of winter would be all about the skiing, snowboarding, and assorted cold-weather fun, but…not so much. The combination of constant, punishing weather, and being stuck in a world where everyone hated her eventually sucked the joy out of it for her. 
2) Greta is a strong, kickass bounty hunter who can totally take care of herself, and yet she wasn’t always so sure of her own abilities (even now, there are moments…) Greta would kill me if she knew I was telling anyone this, but as a child she was painfully shy and insecure. She never got stellar grades in school, and always felt a little stupid. But in Mylena she started to think that maybe she had something better than smarts. Maybe she was destined for something other than math homework and biology labs. 
3) Greta has a birthmark on the back of her leg just under her butt cheek that looks a little like a strawberry. Nobody has ever seen it, not even her. In fact, she has no idea it’s there and if someone should ever find it…she’s going to be SO embarrassed. 
4) Greta’s favorite color used to be pink. She had a pink backpack and pink shoes, and even wore pink clips in her little girl blonde hair. After Mylena, Greta’s favorite color became orange. Orange is the color of the juice her mother used to pour for her in the mornings, and the color of sunshine. 
5) Greta’s favourite treat in the whole wide (human) world is…licorice. Yes, the big bad bounty hunter would trade her soul for a Twizzler. And when it comes to Mylena, she used to say there was absolutely nothing redeeming, nothing she liked about the icy, harsh place at all. But recently she’s found several things to like about this place that had once been so forbidding. At first, it was just the tea—made from a hardy linberry fruit. Sour and bold, it takes a little getting used to…a lot like someone she knows. And now there’s one more thing she likes about Mylena, too.

The Author

Chloe Jacobs is a native of nowhere and everywhere, having jumped around to practically every Province of Canada before finally settling in Ontario where she has now been living for a respectable number of years. Her husband and son are the two best people in the entire world, but they also make her wish she'd at least gotten a female cat. No such luck. And although the day job keeps her busy, she carves out as much time as possible to write. Bringing new characters to life and finding out what makes them tick and how badly she can make them suffer is one of her greatest pleasures, almost better than chocolate and fuzzy pink bunny slippers. 

Find her

The Giveaway

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giovedì 5 febbraio 2015

Review: Florence (Florence Waverley #1) by Ciye Cho + Give@way

Florence Waverley #1

Author: Ciye Cho
Published: July 1st 2012
Format: eBook
Number of Pages: 336
Source: Received from author
Purchase: Amazon

Seventeen-year-old Florence Waverley is out of her depth. Literally. Kidnapped and taken below the waves to the mer world of Niemela, she is the ultimate gift for merman Prince Kiren: a human familiar tied to his side. But nothing is what it seems amid the beauty and danger of a dark ocean.

Every Niemelan has a role to play, from the mermaids who weave towers out of kelp to the warriors who fight sea monsters. But in trying to survive, Florence will end up in the middle of a war between the mer and the Darkness. A conflict that will push her between two brothers: Kiren, the charmer inexplicably drawn to both her and the monsters; and Rolan, the loner who has been pushing her away since the day they met. But in order to take a stand--and find out where she belongs--Florence will have to risk it all: her life, her heart... and her very soul.

My Review

As for Witch Song, this has been my first mermaid book and for this reason, I can admit that I had absolutely no expectations, and I would also add that I though this book was not going to amaze me, the way it actually did. I've never liked mermaids, they kind of scare me, though I find them really fascinating, and Ciye Cho, may just have confirmed my theories about the complexity of their personalities.

At first, I found the book to be quite slow, I couldn't see a turning point approaching; I thought it was quite predictable, the average story about an appearently simple girl, who actually becomes important in some kind of way. 

The story, however, turns out to be everything but predictable. 

First of all, I think that Ciye has an amazing ability in describing imaginary worlds: Niemela looks amazing in my head and all because of his talent. I loved how he played with colours and shapes and animals to create an incredible underwater fortress. I really enjoyed his accuracy in describing the mermaids and mermens' structure, their colors, and how they played with the ocean's lights. I thought it was amazing that every mermen was characterised by its own color, so that you could easily recognize them by the splash of color approaching. More than interesting, was how Niemela was organised, how animals agreed to cooperate with mermens  but especially, I found so captivating the concept of the Darkness, that is to say, the open ocean outside Niemela. I thought it was great that the author actually left a veil of mystery around this dimension, because I'm certain there will be more of it in the sequels, and this certainly involves the reader in keep reading the series.

I loved the characters, they were all unique, with special personalities and opinions. When I first read about the two prince brothers, Kiren and Rolan, I really feared that the story would have turned out into the typical love triangle (Please Ciye, don't keep this surprise for the sequels !). I really enjoyed discovering the differences between the princes progressively, and see Florence's mind cleare about her feelings to the both of them along with her. I was really surprised by how the events developed (and I am usually the one who succeeds in anticipating things) and by how the plot twists completely upset the reader's feelings toward Kiren and Rolan. It was great to see things mainly through Florence's dreams because it kind of give you the time to adjust to the news before they completely struck the world of Niemela.

Speaking of the protagonist I need to say that I don't feel particulary attached to her, and this is probably why I am not giving this book 5 hearts. There was nothing wrong about her, except that I didn't like the abysmal difference between who she was in the real world and who she managed to be in Niemela. I hope that my bond with her will grow with the reading of book 2 and 3, though.

Overall, an amazing read about an incredibly vivid, underwater world where a human girl has been forcely brought into. Will she melt in?

Rated 4.0

The Giveaway

The author has been kind enough to agree to a giveaway, and he has chosen an amazing prize! Some
of you will have a chance to read the whole Florence Waverley series, because, you know, you will certainly need book 2 right after book 1 !! So, say thank you to Ciye and .. GOOD LUCK peeps !

**Please note that I made a mistake ! Ciye is currently writing book #4 in the series, so the Florence Waverley series is not a trilogy, he will be giving away the first three books xP

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Book Blitz: For Sure & Certain by Anya Monroe

For Sure & Certain
by Anya Monroe

Release Date: 02/05/15
Add on Goodreads

***She knits, cans jam, and lives in the city. He’s an Amish college student, breaking the rules. They're so right, it's wrong.*** Marigold, a recent high school graduate with a shady past, is looking to redefine herself. She doesn’t know what she wants exactly, but college isn’t it. When she meets Abel, an Amish guy on Rumspringa, his ‘running around’ time, she doesn’t plan on falling for someone wearing a straw hat and suspenders. But she can't help it, Abel is the breath of fresh air she's been waiting for. Abel, who’s moved to the city for a summer program at Jamestown, never imagined Marigold would be drawn to the life he was trying so hard to avoid. His family expects him to take over the family farm; college parties and dorm life don’t quite fit in with their plans for him. Opposites attract, but nothing is easy with love. When they trade places for the summer they learn a life together isn’t as for sure and certain as they thought.

Buy Links:

The Excerpt

“You came,” she said it like it was a relief, like she wondered if he’d really be here. He was.
“You’re all set then?” he asked. She nodded and slipped in beside him as the driver shut their door. The taxi delivered them to the bus station, and they were quickly settled into their seats for the ride to Lancaster.
“I brought sustenance,” she said pulling out a paper sack from her purse. “My very best peanut butter cookies and a thermos of coffee.”
“You’re so prepared.”
“I bake when I’m nervous,” she admitted biting her lip.
“Don’t be nervous.”
“Did you tell them I’m coming at least?”
“The whole no phone thing kind of zeroed out that plan.”
“Right.” Her face fell slightly.
“Don’t worry. Seriously, girls always over think these things.”
“Do you bring a lot of girls home?” she asked as the bus pulled out of the city and onto the highway. They had a two-hour ride ahead of them and Abel wasn’t all too keen on spending it rehashing past relationships.
“Bringing girls home isn’t really an Amish thing, everything is discreet. I only courted one girl, Esther.”
“And when did you guys break up?” Marigold asked. Even though Abel was bright, he hadn’t exactly thought through how all of this would sound.
“Two weeks ago, on my way out of town,” he admitted sheepishly.
“No!” She buried her hands in her face. “So I’m a rebound girl?”
“I don’t know what that is, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t good. And you, Marigold, you are good. You are only good.”

The Author

Anya Monroe likes to write stories and paint words on her walls. She believes in love at first sight and fights for happily-ever-afters. As a wife and mom to six kids, she carves out time to write between carpool pick-ups and date nights because words are her heartbeat. She lives a ferry ride from Seattle and is a total Pacific Northwesterner who drinks chai lattes and wears Birkenstocks and has dreadlocks. She's a cliché, but doesn't mind it. Not even a little. She documents her lovely-messy life on IG @anyamonroe. Find her there!

Author Links:

The Giveaway

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mercoledì 4 febbraio 2015

Book Blitz: Ever Darkening by Janeal Falor + Give@way!

Ever Darkening 
by Janeal Falor

Release Date: 01/28/15 
Add on Goodreads

Perfection. Goodness. Elimination of evil. It's what seventeen-year-old Kaylyn has trained her entire life to achieve. But no one is prepared for the consequences of her actually defeating all evil people on the planet. Finally successful in her mission, Kaylyn faces an unfamiliar world, full of good people doing good things, in which she no longer has purpose.

When the skies grow dark, and a stranger from another village pleads for her help, her instincts roar to life. It turns out their perfect world isn't exactly what it seems. Kaylyn's new quest, harder than any she's been on before, will rip apart her friendships, her life, and her soul more than any evil man ever managed to.

An Excerpt

Being the one chosen to kill the entire evil population is a burden heavier than sin. Not that I know what it’s like to sin, but I imagine this is worse. Killing is never taken lightly, even when sanctioned by our leaders, the same leaders who chose me to carry it out. I’ve lost count of how many Malryx I’ve executed for that exact reason. And now there is only one left. Only one evil being. My purpose of being is almost complete.

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The Author

Janeal Falor lives in Utah where she’s finally managed to live in the same house for more than five years without moving. In her spare time she reads books like they’re nuts covered in caramel and chocolate, cooks whatever strikes her fancy, and enjoys the outdoors. Her husband and three children try to keep up with her overactive imagination. Usually they settle for having dinner on the table, even if she’s still going on about the voices in her head.

Author Links: 

The Giveaway

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Images by Freepik