2016 End of the Year Survey

Hosted by The Perpetual Page-Turner

Number Of Books You Read: 61 (including novellas etc)
Number of Re-Reads: 1
Genre You Read The Most From: Historicals

1. Best Book You Read In 2016?
I really can’t choose just one so here’s top 4 in no particular order:
A Song of War: A Novel of Troy by various
Karolina’s Twins by Ronald H. Balson
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
Days of Sun and Glory by Anna Belfrage

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Girl With No Name by Diney Costeloe. It’s set in WWII and sounded so interesting but it was so boring that I didn’t finish it.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Who Is to Blame? A Russian Riddle by Jane Marlow. I was pleasantly surprised how good this was.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I didn’t do that.

5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?
Best new series: Da Vinci’s Disciples by Donna Russo Morin. Best sequel: Can’t choose between A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab and Days of Sun and Glory by Anna Belfrage. Best Series Ender: I didn’t end any series this year.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?
Ronald H. Balson. I loved Karolina’s Twins!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Didn’t read anything out of my comfort zone this year.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Karolina’s Twins and Time and Regret by M.K. Tod

9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I don’t think I’m doing any re-reading.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?
The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose. I chose her book cover the best last year too :)

11. Most memorable character of 2016?
Hmm… This is a tough one… I’d say Hector from A Song of War: A Novel of Troy. Still recovering from his death…

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?
Not sure…

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?
Born Survivors by Wendy Holden

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?
A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii by various.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?
I can never remember those…

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?
Shortest: The Assassin and the Princess by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass extra)
Longest: Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton

17. Book That Shocked You The Most
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
A Song of War: A Novel of Troy. So many deaths!

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
Curran and Kate from Kate Daniels.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
hmmm, I’ll say Kate and Andrea (Magic Shifts)

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Portrait of Conspiracy by Donna Russo Morin

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
I don’t think I read any

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?
Hector from A Song of War: A Novel of Troy

23. Best 2016 debut you read?
Who Is to Blame? A Russian Riddle by Jane Marlow and Promised to the Crown by Aimie K. Runyan

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Unknown Soldiers by Väinö Linna. Even though it’s a story about a war it’s fun to read because of the characters.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?
A Song of War: A Novel of Troy. That was such an emotional book and sometimes it sucks to know the history…

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Unknown Soldiers.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
A Song of War again…

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?
I don’t know

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Born Survivors by Wendy Holden. It tells about three women ho gave birth in a concentration camp.

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?
For The Most Beautiful by Emily Hauser

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?
A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I’m not sure what’s coming out yet…

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?
A Conjuring of Light

Mailbox Monday 26.12.2016

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is now hosted on its own blog.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas with their families! Here’s what I got for Christmas:


Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar by Tom Holland
Eleanor of Castile: The Shadow Queen by Sara Cockerill
Alfred the Great by Justin Pollard
The Welsh Kings: Warriors, Warlords, and Princes by Kari L. Maund
King John: England’s Evil King? by Ralph V. Turne
The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff
Ghettopäiväkirja: nuoren tytön elämä Łódźin ghetossa by Rywka Lipszyc
Isabella: Queen Without a Conscience by Rachel Bard

Duty to the Crown by Aimie K. Runyan

Duty to the Crown (Daughters of New France 2) by Aimie K. Runyan

Set amid the promise and challenge of the first Canadian colonies, Aimie K. Runyan’s vividly rendered novel provides a fascinating portrait of the women who would become the founding mothers of New France.

In 1677, an invisible wall separates settlers in New France from their Huron neighbors. Yet whether in the fledgling city of Quebec or within one of the native tribes, every woman’s fate depends on the man she chooses—or is obligated—to marry.

Although Claudine Deschamps and Gabrielle Giroux both live within the settlement, their prospects are very different. French-born Claudine has followed her older sister across the Atlantic hoping to attract a wealthy husband through her beauty and connections. Gabrielle, orphan daughter of the town drunkard, is forced into a loveless union by a cruel law that requires her to marry by her sixteenth birthday. And Manon Lefebvre, born in the Huron village and later adopted by settlers, has faced the prejudices of both societies and is convinced she can no longer be accepted in either. Drawn into unexpected friendship through their loves, losses, and dreams of home and family, all three women will have to call on their bravery and resilience to succeed in this new world… (publisher)

This book follows Manon, Gabrielle and Claudine who we met in the last book.

All the girls are from different backgrounds but they all have their lives intertwined. Manon is back with the Lefebvre family after being cast out by her Huron village. Both the Hurons and the French treat her with suspicion. Claudine becomes to live with her sister at the Lefebvre mansion and has big dreams about finding a young, handsome and rich husband. Gabrielle works at her adoptive parents’ bakery and dreams about becoming a seamstress.

I loved to see how the girls changed during the time. Claudine became from a silly girl into a devoted mother and realizes that she might have to lower her standards with life and getting a husband. Gabrielle went from an alcoholic and abusive father to an abusive husband but manages to change her life and finds love in her life. Manon finds her life between two very different worlds and found love and family.

I really loved this book and I’m hoping there will be a 3rd book.

4/5

Published: Kensington (October 25, 2016)
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley

Who Is to Blame? A Russian Riddle by Jane Marlow

02_who-is-to-blameWho Is to Blame? A Russian Riddle by Jane Marlow

Jane Marlow’s debut novel is a beautifully written historical saga of two families—one born of noble heritage and the other bound as serfs to the noble’s household. Set during the mid-1800s in the vast grainfields of Russia, Who Is to Blame? follows the lives of two star-crossed serfs, Elizaveta and Feodor, torn apart by their own families and the Church while simultaneously trapped in the inhumane life of poverty to which they were born.

At the other end of the spectrum, Count Maximov and his family struggle to maintain harmony amidst a tapestry of deception and debauchery woven by the Count’s son. The plot twists further when the Tsar emancipates twenty million serfs from bondage as the rural gentry’s life of privilege and carelessness has taken its final bow, while much of Russia’s nobility faces possible financial ruin.

Aficionados of historical fiction will be captivated by the lyrical flow of Marlow’s intertwining stories of love, loss, courage, and pain against her backdrop of social upheaval. The novel’s riddles flow subtly throughout, spurring readers to ponder where the blame actually lies. In the end, we must tap into our own hearts to navigate the depths and quandaries of the author’s perplexing question.

“When you try to describe Russia you can use well-known historical events. If you want to know about the lives of the Russian people, it becomes a little murkier until now. Jane Marlow has done a marvelous job in giving the reader a deep and beautiful insight into the day to day life of the Russian people from nobles to the peasants in the 19th century. As you immerse yourself in the book you can feel their struggles and experiences as though you were walking in their shoes. Brilliant!” -Mark Schauss, host of the Russian Rulers History Podcast.

The book is set in the 1800s before the emancipation of the serfs and follows Count Stepan Maximov and Elizaveta who is a peasant.

Elizaveta loves her childhood friend but they can’t marry because marrying your godparents’ child can’t happen. Instead, she has to marry a man she knows is a violent one and the marriage isn’t a happy one. But it seems like abusiveness kinda runs in Ermak’s family and Elizaveta’s sister-in-laws aren’t having any more luck in their lives.

Maximov’s lost their child and Stepan’s wife never got over her grief and it starts to affect their marriage too. Stepan struggles to run the estate, to find new ways to grow and develop it but new things takes time. In the latter part, we see more of Anton, the eldest Maximov son who spends most of his time drinking and playing cards.

I don’t really know what to say about this. I loved the book and was pleasantly surprised how good it was. It’s always hardest to write about a book you like… I just wanted to keep reading and wanting to know what happens next!

You can see that the author has done her research and there are lots of little details but it’s well written in the story.

We get to see how disconnected the nobility and the peasants were and had so little contact with each other. Nobility thought that the peasants should be thankful because they are being taken care of…. By working them to death yet they were seen as just lazy…

I wanted to slap Anton so many times that I’m not surprised that Stepan was so frustrated with him. He did change his ways a bit in the end but I would like to know if he manages to really change. But I think there is next book coming so I’m hoping we’ll see that.

4/5

Published: River Grove Books (October 18, 2016)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 301
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Mailbox Monday (28.12.2016)

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is now hosted on its own blog.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted my mailbox but these are what I’ve got in the past month or so. I’ve already read Who Is to Blame? and loved it.

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The Heaven Tree by Edith Pargeter (bookmooch)
Storm Born by Richelle Mead (bookmooch)
Who Is to Blame? A Russian Riddle by Jane Marlow (for review)

Roma Amor: A Novel of Caligula’s Rome by Sherry Christie

02_roma-amorRoma Amor: A Novel of Caligula’s Rome
by Sherry Christie

Marcus Carinna hears a voice whisper, “Your turn,” as he rides past his family tomb. An unseen presence also startles the Germanic priestess Aurima, whom he is bringing to Rome. But hardheaded Romans scoff at ghosts, and Marcus can’t believe it’s a warning from his brother, who killed himself three years earlier.

37 AD: To great acclaim, 25-year-old Caligula Caesar has become Rome’s new master. No one is more pleased than Senator Titus Carinna, who helped him succeed to the throne. It’s a shame the Senator’s older son–Caligula’s closest friend–committed suicide after being charged with treason. But that still leaves Marcus, his second son.

Headstrong and hot-tempered, Marcus would rather prove his courage by leading legions against Rome’s enemies than take his brother’s place. Yet when his father orders him to befriend Caligula, he has no choice.

Caught in a web of deceit, conspiracy, and betrayal, he will uncover a secret that threatens his family, the woman he desires, even his life… and may bring chaos to the young Roman Empire.

The first installment in a page-turning saga that revisits the heroes and villains of the grandest city of the ancient world…. Comes alive with the long gone characters who were its lifeblood” -Kirkus Reviews

‘Combines current political concerns, the wide lens of the serious historical novel, and emotional maturity and realism with an utterly splendid grasp of what it must have been like to live in Rome under Caligula’s reign.” -Sarah Smith, Agatha Award winner and New York Times Notable author

Marcus Carinna isn’t happy when his father orders him to leave the army life behind and come back to Rome and befriend the new Caesar Caligula. Three years ago Marcus’ brother (and Caligula’s best friend) committed suicide after charged with treason and Marcus hasn’t forgiven his father that he let it happen. It’s after he becomes Caligula’s friend he starts to unravel old family secrets.

I liked Marcus who was so devoted to learning the truth about his brother’s death. He had earned quite a reputation in Rome but seemed committed to reforming his name and to live up to his father’s expectations. When Marcus develops an interest in the Marcomanni Priestess called Aurima, his father is less than pleased.

I really liked Aurima and the chapters with the so-called barbarians. We see that women had much more rights in their life than the Roman women. I’ve never read books with Caligula with in it so this was new. Didn’t really make me like Romans more than usually…

In the end, I really loved this and it was quite a quick read too.

Published: Bexley House Books (April 15, 2016)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author03_Sherry Christie

After earning a Phi Beta Kappa creative award in college for an early draft about a nobly born charioteer, Sherry Christie spent many years of research and revision developing ROMA AMOR into the story about fathers and sons that it wanted to be. It’s a joy to immerse myself in the lives of first-century Romans–and a distinct change from my day job as a . In addition to writing, Sherry is a professional copywriter. She lives on the coast of Maine with a native-born Viking and two cats.

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

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 24
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 25
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, October 26
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook

Friday, October 28
Guest Post at What Is That Book About

Monday, October 31
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, November 1
Review at Bookfever

Wednesday, November 2
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Friday, November 4
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, November 7
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Wednesday, November 9
Review at Bookramblings
Review at The Book Junkie Reads
Interview at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, November 10
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, November 11
Review at Beth’s Book Nook
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Guest Post at The True Book Addict

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An Address in Amsterdam by Mary Dingee Fillmore

adress-in-amsterdamAn Address in Amsterdam by Mary Dingee Fillmore

Rachel Klein hopes she can ignore the Nazis when they roll into Amsterdam in May 1940. She’s falling in love, and her city has been the safest place in the world for Jewish people since the Spanish Inquisition. But when Rachel’s Gentile boyfriend is forced to disappear rather than face arrest, she realizes that everything is changing, and so must she—so, although she is often tired and scared, she delivers papers for the underground under the Nazis’ noses. But after eighteen months of ever increasing danger, she pushes her parents to go into hiding with her. The dank basement where they take refuge seems like the last place where Rachel would meet a new man—but she does. An Address in Amsterdam shows that, even in the most hopeless situation, an ordinary young woman can make the choice to act with courage—and even love. (publisher)

Rachel is 18 when the Nazis invade Holland. Soon after she joins the Dutch resistance by delivering letters and false documents. She tries to change her father’s mind about going into hiding but he doesn’t believe Nazi’s would actually harm people, especially German born like himself.
When the war breaks out, Rachel falls in love with Michel who turns out to be a resistance member. She wants to marry him but doesn’t believe that her parents would approve her relationship with a Gentile.

I liked to see how Rachel changed from a rather naïve schoolgirl into a resistance member living a dangerous life. At the start we see the Nazis behaving quite well but the situation started to worsen suddenly. I haven’t read books where it’s been told that things were moderately ok at first. Then there was this huge change in the attitude of all people.

I didn’t get Rachel’s father who just refused to see what was going on. I mean the situation had been horrible for some time before he even started to think about going into hiding.

The first half of the book is told from Rachel’s point of view but then it changed in the second half. In there we have Rachel’s, her parents and, if I remember correctly, Rolf’s. Rolf was Michel’s friend who also worked in the resistance and came into hiding with them. I didn’t see the point of that but oh well.

I would have liked to know what happened to them. I didn’t see the point of getting invested in these people and then not to know if they made it through the war.

Overall I enjoyed the book and I liked to read about the resistance work.

3/5

Published: She Writes Press (October 4, 2016)
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley

Mailbox Monday (17.10.2016)

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is now hosted on its own blog.

It seems I haven’t done Mailbox for some time but these are what I’ve got in the last month or so. I haven’t had much time to read either but I hope life will get back to normal soon.

But here’s what I got:

books17-10-16

Frau by Terhi Rannela (Finnish novel about Lina Heydrich, wife of Reinhard Heydrich) (purchased)
The Diplomat’s Wife by Pam Jenoff (bookmooch)
The Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff (bookmooch)
For The Most Beautiful by Emily Hauser (bought)
Watch the Lady by Elizabeth Fremantle (bought)

Days of Sun and Glory by Anna Belfrage

02_days-of-sun-and-gloryDays of Sun and Glory (The King’s Greatest Enemy 2) by Anna Belfrage

Adam de Guirande has barely survived the aftermath of Roger Mortimerís rebellion in 1321. When Mortimer manages to escape the Tower and flee to France, anyone who has ever served Mortimer becomes a potential traitor – at least in the eyes of King Edward II and his royal chancellor, Hugh Despenser. Adam must conduct a careful balancing act to keep himself and his family alive. Fortunately, he has two formidable allies: Queen Isabella and his wife, Kit. England late in 1323 is a place afflicted by fear. Now that the kingís greatest traitor, Roger Mortimer, has managed to evade royal justice, the king and his beloved Despenser see dissidents and rebels everywhere ñ among Mortimerís former men, but also in the queen, Isabella of France.

Their suspicions are not unfounded. Tired of being relegated to the background by the kingís grasping favourite, Isabella has decided it is time to act – to safeguard her own position, but also that of her son, Edward of Windsor. As Adam de Guirande has pledged himself to Prince Edward he is automatically drawn into the queenís plans – whether he likes it or not.

Yet again, Kit and Adam are forced to take part in a complicated game of intrigue and politics. Yet again, they risk their lives – and that of those they hold dear – as the king and Mortimer face off. Once again, England is plunged into war ñ and this time it will not end until either Despenser or Mortimer is dead.

Days of Sun and Glory is the second in Anna Belfrageís series, The Kingís Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his lord, his king, and his wife.

It was great to see that Adam and Kit have managed to get such a happy marriage despite the way it started. It’s not all happy times but they’re still there for each other and I love their relationship.

I wasn’t a fan of Mortimer in book 1 and I’m still not but I was waiting to see how Adam would feel about the future and Mortimer’s role in it. It seems Adam has chosen prince Edward’s side and I’m glad about that. I wonder how that will go in the future.

I was so glad that Joan didn’t just forgive her husband all the misery he had cost her. I’ve always wondered what she thought about all that Mortimer was doing and his affair with the queen.

I liked the future Edward III and I hope we’ll see much more about him in the next book. I felt bad for Hugh Despenser but then again I have a soft spot for him. This isn’t my view of him in the book but it worked here.

Another great book by Anna Belfrage and this was even better than the previous book. I just wanted to keep reading! I really loved this and I can’t wait for the next book.

4,5/5

Published: Matador (July 4, 2016)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 418
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author03_Annna_Belfrage 2015

Had Anna been allowed to choose, sheíd have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does as yet not exists, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing. These days, Anna combines an exciting day-job with a large family and her writing endeavours.

When Anna fell in love with her future husband, she got Scotland as an extra, not because her husband is Scottish or has a predilection for kilts, but because his family fled Scotland due to religious persecution in the 17th century ñ and were related to the Stuarts. For a history buff like Anna, these little details made Future Husband all the more desirable, and sparked a permanent interest in the Scottish Covenanters, which is how Matthew Graham, protagonist of the acclaimed The Graham Saga, began to take shape.

Set in 17th century Scotland and Virginia/Maryland, the series tells the story of Matthew and Alex, two people who should never have met ñ not when she was born three hundred years after him. With this heady blend of romance, adventure, high drama and historical accuracy, Anna hopes to entertain and captivate, and is more than thrilled when readers tell her just how much they love her books and her characters.

Presently, Anna is hard at work with her next project, a series set in the 1320s featuring Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimerís rise to power. The Kingís Greatest Enemy is a series where passion and drama play out against a complex political situation, where todayís traitor may be tomorrowís hero, and the Wheel of Life never stops rolling.

The first installment in the Adam and Kit story, In the Shadow of the Storm, was published in 2015. The second book, Days of Sun and Glory, will be published in July 2016.

Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com ñ unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 29
Kick Off at Passages to the Past
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, August 30
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, August 31
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight at Queen of All She Reads

Thursday, September 1
Review at Lampshade Reader
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, September 2
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, September 5
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, September 6
Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, September 7
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, September 8
Interview at Books and Benches
Character Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, September 9
Review at A Holland Reads

Monday, September 12
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, September 13
Review at Let Them Read Books
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, September 14
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Thursday, September 15
Review at Seize the Words: Books in Review

Monday, September 19
Review at A Book Drunkard

Tuesday, September 20
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, September 21
Review at It’s a Mad Mad World

Friday, September 23
Review at The True Book Addict
Spotlight at The Reading Queen

Monday, September 26
Review at Diana’s Book Reviews

Tuesday, September 27
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Thursday, September 29
Review at Bookramblings

 

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