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The Postman Knock #25 and Happy Easter!

Fantastic week on book front again which you could probably see from highly rated book reviews I've managed to post so far ;)
I also seem to find that I cope better with blogging when I actively socialize, answer your comments and return them on weekend instead of each day of the week, so please forgive me again for my silence, but I will get back to you today!

Other than that,
Happy Easter to all those who celebrate it!
 Russian Orthodox Easter is on 5th of May this year, but I made Easter cakes last night in celebration of Western Easter as I'm going away on the 6th of May. These are the equivalent of Italian panettone,  and when they tell you it takes around 4 hours to make them? They LIE. Usually it takes all day (I spent 9 hrs) :D
Anyway...

I HAVE READ:

I had some problems with BLOOD ROSES in the end but I hope that good editing can change it before the book goes into print. Overall I do like this series. It's harsh, doesn't sugarcoat paranormal beings and reads like very intense mind-games. I had to put the book down and walk away few times, because it was getting too intense and I needed a breather. TWICE TEMPTED was absolutely delightful, and I really enjoyed reading about Vlad and Leila. Way stronger than the first book in this series. At last, AN OFFICER'S DUTY was just as awesome as book #1! I love and worship this series, and that's the end of it. Need to read Hellfire soon.

BOUGHT:

£1.19 on kindle UK!
 I really wanted to read it but with the retail price of £20 couldn't afford it until now.

Obviously pre-order came in and I dropped everything to read it straight away!

Again, after finishing the first book last week I couldn't think of anything else apart from ordering the second book and reading it as soon as I get it...

FOR REVIEW:

Thank you, Harper Collins!
Don't forget there is a giveaway for this book here.

LIBRARY:

Fair Game request was inspired by Blodeuedd and Revelation by Melliane ;) You know who you are, gals!

This is it.
How was your week, me dears?

Beautiful video. I had to watch it few times, and it's impossible to stay unhappy after it :)
You can't watch it here but it's well worth your while clicking through YouTube. Trust me.
                                         
Ciao!

The Deadly Sisterhood of Powerful Women of Renaissance: Book Spotlight and Giveaway (US only)

When I first heard of this book, dear readers, I knew I had to read it. It's about Renaissance (which I love) and powerful women in its history (subject I can not resist), so I begged Harper Collins to allow me to spotlight the book and its heroines in exchange for a giveaway. 
Unfortunately the giveaway is only limited to US because the hardback is heavy and expensive, but it also has some gorgeous illustrations that is a must for a fan of the era. 
Allow me to briefly introduce you to The Deadly Sisterhood...

Lucrezia Tornabuoni
In Florence, a city where there was no princely court to provide titles of authority to women and at a time when women were frequently kept from the public sphere of men, Lucrezia Tornabuoni (b. 1425–d. 1482) exercised an impressive influence over the politics and culture around her. Her parents were members of two of the oldest and most powerful Florentine families, the Tornabuoni and Guicciardini, and with her marriage to the eldest son of Cosimo de’ Medici, she was destined to become the prima donna of the city. Her family network would, in fact, serve as her source of influence: she was sister to the banker Giovanni Tornabuoni, wife of Piero de’ Medici, the de facto head of the Republic, mother of Lorenzo “the Magnificent,” and grandmother of future popes Leo X and Clement VII. Lucrezia would act as close advisor to her brother, husband, and children as well as overseeing the education of many of her grandchildren. Her influence extended beyond expected roles of domestic management, and in Tornabuoni’s case specifically, her activities would include that of landowner, business woman, patron, political emissary, and poet. 

 Clarice Orsini
Clarice Orsini was the daughter of Jacopo Orsini, Lord of Monterotondo and Bracciano, and his wife and cousin Maddalena Orsini. Born in the Papal States, she is most known as the wife of Lorenzo de' Medici, de facto ruler of the Florentine Republic. 
Clarice married Lorenzo by proxy when she was 16. The marriage was arranged by Lorenzo's mother, who wanted her eldest son to marry a woman from a noble family, in order to enhance the social status of the Medicis. Clarice was not initially popular in Florence because her strict religious personality was in deep contrast with the humanist ideals of the age.
Despite the initial circumstances of their marriage, Clarice quickly proves herself to be much more than a political pawn. Sharp, patient, and deeply committed to Lorenzo, she’s a valuable advisor to her husband.

 Beatrice D'Este
Beatrice d'Este (29 June 1475 – 3 January 1497), duchess of Bari and later of Milan, was the wife of the Milanese ruler Ludovico Sforza (known as "il Moro"). She was one of the most beautiful and accomplished princesses of the Italian Renaissance. A member of the Este family, she was the younger daughter of Ercole I d'Este and the sister of Isabella d'Este and Alfonso d'Este. Along with her sister, Beatrice was noted for her excellent taste in fashion and for having invented new clothing styles.
Beatrice belonged to the best class of Renaissance women, and was one of the cultural influences of the age; to a great extent, her patronage and good taste are responsible for the splendour of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, the Certosa of Pavia, and many other famous buildings in Lombardy. A fresco with her portrait faces da Vinci's Last Supper in the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.

Caterina Sforza
Caterina Sforza, Countess of Forlì (early 1463 – 28 May 1509) was an Italian noblewoman, the illegitimate daughter of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan and Lucrezia Landriani, the wife of the courtier Gian Piero Landriani, a close friend of the Duke. Raised in the refined Milanese court, Caterina later held the titles of Lady of Imola and Countess of Forlì, by her marriage to Girolamo Riario. She was also the Regent for her first-born son, Ottaviano. The descendant of a dynasty of noted condottieri, Caterina, from an early age, distinguished herself by her bold and impetuous actions taken to safeguard her possessions from possible usurpers, and to defend her dominions from attack, when they were involved in political intrigues that were a distinguishing feature of 15th century Italy.
In her private life Caterina was devoted to various activities, among which were experiments in alchemy and a love of hunting and dancing. She had a large number of children, of whom only the youngest, Captain Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, inherited the forceful, militant character of his mother.

Isabella D'Este
Isabella d'Este (18 May 1474 – 13 February 1539) was Marchesa of Mantua and one of the leading women of the Italian Renaissance as a major cultural and political figure. She was a patron of the arts as well as a leader of fashion, whose innovative style of dressing was copied by women throughout Italy and at the French court. The poet Ariosto lauded her as the "liberal and magnanimous Isabella", while author Matteo Bandello described her as having been "supreme among women". Diplomat Niccolò da Correggio went even further by hailing her as "The First Lady of the world".
She served as the regent of Mantua during the absence of her husband, Francesco II Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua and the minority of her son, Federico, Duke of Mantua. In 1500 she met King Louis XII of France in Milan on a diplomatic mission to persuade him not to send his troops against Mantua.
She was a prolific letter-writer, and maintained a lifelong correspondence with her sister-in-law Elisabetta Gonzaga. Lucrezia Borgia was another sister-in-law; she later became the mistress of Isabella's husband.
source

 Guilia Farnese
Giulia Farnese (1474 – 23 March 1524) was mistress to Pope Alexander VI. She was known as Giulia la bella, meaning "Julia the beautiful" in Italian. Lorenzo Pucci described her as "most lovely to behold." Cesare Borgia, son of Alexander VI, described her as having "dark colouring, black eyes, round face and a particular ardor."
source

Isabella D'Aragona
or Isabella of Naples (2 October 1470 – February 11, 1524) was the daughter of King Alphonse II of Naples by his wife, Ippolita Maria Sforza. From 1489 to 1494, she was the Duchess consort of Milan, and from 1499 to 1524 the Duchess of Bari and Princess of Rossano. After her brother Ferdinand II's death, she was the heir of the Brienne claim to the title King of Jerusalem.
She married her first cousin, Gian Galeazzo Sforza, who at the time was the Duke of Milan. However, his uncle Ludovico Sforza was the de facto ruler.
source
Internet is rife with rumours that Isabella is the face behind Mona Lisa's portrait...

Lucrezia Borgia
Lucrezia Borgia (18 April 1480 – 24 June 1519) was the daughter of Pope Alexander VI, and Vannozza dei Cattanei. Her brothers included Cesare Borgia, Giovanni Borgia, and Gioffre Borgia.
Lucrezia's family later came to epitomize the ruthless Machiavellian politics and sexual corruption alleged to be characteristic of the Renaissance Papacy. Lucrezia was cast as a femme fatale, a role she has been portrayed as in many artworks, novels, and films.
source

Wouldn't you want to know more about these fascinating women?

UK cover                                           US cover

Summary
The book is one of drama on a grand scale, a Renaissance epic, as Christendom emerged from the shadows of the calamitous 14th century. The sweeping tale involves inspired and corrupt monarchs, the finest thinkers, the most brilliant artists, and the greatest beauties in Christendom.

Here is the story of eight of its most remarkable women, who are all joined by birth, marriage and friendship and who ruled for a time in place of their men-folk: Lucrezia Turnabuoni (Queen Mother of Florence, the power behind the Medici throne), Clarice Orsini (Roman princess, feudal wife), Beatrice d'Este (Golden Girl of the Renaissance), Caterina Sforza (Lioness of the Romagna), Isabella d'Este (the Acquisitive Marchesa), Giulia Farnese ('la bella', the family asset), Isabella d'Aragona (the Weeping Duchess) and Lucrezia Borgia (the Virtuous Fury). The men play a secondary role in this grand saga; whenever possible the action will be seen through the eyes our eight heroines.

These eight women experienced great riches, power and the warm smile of fortune, but they also knew banishment, poverty, the death of a husband or the loss of one or more of their children. As each of the chosen heroines comes to the fore in her turn, she is handed the baton by her 'sister' and Leonie Frieda recounts the role each woman played in the hundred-year drama that is THE DEADLY SISTERHOOD.

Release date: April 2nd 2013
Buy:
Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond


Swedish by birth, but educated in Britain, Germany and France, Leonie Frieda speaks five languages. Her researches on Catherine de Medici has taken her to Paris, Florence and Rome, as well as the châteaux of the Loire. Her next book is a biography of the Great War soldier and letter-writer Edward Horner. She lives in London with her daughter Elisabeth and son Jake.

Find Leonie:
Website | Twitter

Giveaway
US only.
Ends 6th of April 2013.
Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

April New Book Releases I'm Dying To Read

I might have missed something I want, but this is pretty much it. Already read Blood Roses (good) and Wicked As She Wants (awesome), and have Clockwork Mafia, The Eternity Cure, Renegade and Hot Blooded to read next.

How about you? What are you waiting for?

Paranormal Romance Review: Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost

Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost (Night Prince #2)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
Dating the Prince of Darkness has its challenges...

Leila's psychic abilities have been failing her, and now she isn't sure what the future holds. If that weren't enough, her lover, Vlad, has been acting distant. Though Leila is a mere mortal, she's also a modern woman who refuses to accept the cold shoulder treatment forever–especially from the darkly handsome vampire who still won't admit that he loves her.

Like choosing between eternal love and a loveless eternity...

Soon circumstances send Leila back to the carnival circuit, where tragedy strikes. And when she finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer who may be closer than she realizes, Leila must decide who to trust– the fiery vampire who arouses her passions like no other or the tortured knight who longs to be more than a friend? With danger stalking her every step of the way, all it takes is one wrong move to damn her for eternity.


Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US($6.45)/UK(£4.49) | The Book Depository US/UK 

9/10

* * *
This was absolutely fabulous and utterly delicious! What a contrast with Once Burned, which for me just fell flat when I read it last year.

Military Sci-Fi Review: A Soldier's Duty by Jean Johnson

A Soldier's Duty by Jean Johnson ( Theirs Not to Reason Why #1)


won from Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Synopsis from Goodreads
...What if you could see the future? What if you foresaw that, three hundred years from your time, your entire galaxy would be destroyed in an overwhelming invasion? What would you do to stop it, when it would all happen long after you were dead and gone?

These are the questions that Ia must face, and the obstacles she must overcome. Spurred by her teenaged visions of an apocalyptic future, the young heavyworlder woman seeks to set up a series of events, a domino-chain of actions and repercussions that will hopefully stop the coming invaders long after her time has passed. But in order to do so, she must enter the military and engage in a four-front war: an old, barely contained enemy whose twin goals of galactic conquest and lunch terrify all sane sentients; an ancient foe whose technology vastly outstrips anything the Alliance can fling at it; a fanatic, xenophobic religious movement on her homeworld which Ia dares not stop; and her ongoing battle against Time itself.

If Ia fails, the stars and planets of the Milky Way will cease to exist, and so will the countless lives that depend on them. But the odds of her winning the ultimate battle are very, very small, when even the slightest, most innocent-seeming misstep could domino down through time in the wrong way, and doom untold septillions of sentients to a dark and terrifying fall. Bound by the ice of her duty, burned by the fires of her conscience, driven by what she foresees, Ia must become the herald of death herself:

The soldier known as Bloody Mary.


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

10/10

* * *
Guys, gals, this book is AWESOME. The scope, the sheer complexity of it all is on par with Dune.

I have to admit straight away, this is not a book for everyone and my 10 out of 10 is highly subjective because I personally grew up with reading and rereading Dune, and gobbling up extremely popular military sci-fi in Russia for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

This is like a blast from the past.

Urban Fantasy Review: Death's Rival by Faith Hunter

Death's Rival by Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock #5)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads

Jane Yellowrock is a shapeshifting skinwalker you don’t want to cross—especially if you’re one of the undead…For a vampire killer like Jane, having Leo Pellisier as a boss took some getting used to. But now, someone is out to take his place as Master Vampire of the city of New Orleans, and is not afraid to go through Jane to do it. After an attack that’s tantamount to a war declaration, Leo knows his rival is both powerful and vicious, but Leo’s not about to run scared. After all, he has Jane. But then, a plague strikes, one that takes down vampires and makes their masters easy prey.
 

Now, to uncover the identity of the vamp who wants Leo’s territory, and to find the cause of the vamp-plague, Jane will have to go to extremes…and maybe even to war.

Amazon  US/UK(£4.56) | Amazon kindle US | The Book Depository US/UK

9/10

* * * 
 This was another absolutely fabulous addition to Jane Yellowrock urban fantasy series. Even better than the previous couple of books. You know why?

There was an edge of desperation to Jane, and like with all the predators it only made her so much more lethal. I loved this book in all its savage wonders!

MG Fantasy Early Review: Emilie and The Hollow World by Martha Wells

Emilie and The Hollow World by Martha Wells


ARC thanks to Strange Chemistry

Synopsis from Goodreads
While running away from home for reasons that are eminently defensible, Emilie’s plans to stow away on the steamship Merry Bell and reach her cousin in the big city go awry, landing her on the wrong ship and at the beginning of a fantastic adventure. 

Taken under the protection of Lady Marlende, Emilie learns that the crew hopes to use the aether currents and an experimental engine, and with the assistance of Lord Engal, journey to the interior of the planet in search of Marlende’s missing father. 

With the ship damaged on arrival, they attempt to traverse the strange lands on their quest. But when evidence points to sabotage and they encounter the treacherous Lord Ivers, along with the strange race of the sea-lands, Emilie has to make some challenging decisions and take daring action if they are ever to reach the surface world again.

Release date: April 2nd 2013.

Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US| The Book Depository US/UK(£4.98) | Fishpond

8.5/10

* * *
 I haven't read anything by Martha Wells before and you know that Strange Chemistry titles usually are hit or miss for me, and yet, Emilie and The Hollow World was just as delightful and refreshing as Pantomime.

The Postman Knock #24

Alright, peeps! How is things with you?
I am still really really busy, but at least I've slept well this week. :)

Still no sign of spring here, and I am certainly fed up with the permanent winter, but at least  managed to have a great book haul this week again!

I'VE READ:

Really excellent reads all round! WOLF NIGHT was giggle worthy, funny and smart read. Don't let the cover put you off. It's excellent. THE QUEEN IS DEAD continued really strong urban fantasy/steampunk of the future series, which I'd recommend to any fan of Patricia Briggs with absolutely no reservations. EMILIE AND THE HOLLOW WORLD was a little bit on the younger side, more middle grade than YA fantasy, but still adventurous and lovely. At last, WICKED AS SHE WANTS I absolutely devoured, it was so delicious. Definitely, a recommended guilty pleasure. Oh my, it was hot! Caspar was something else...

I also want to draw your attention to a thought-provoking post from Karina Cooper on genre wars and somewhat echoing it post from Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

EGALLEY:

I can't believe this was on READ NOW on Netgalley!

FOR REVIEW:

I read Throne by Phil Tucker last year and really enjoyed it, so when he asked if I could review his vampire novel, I said yes straight away. Love this striking cover although the typography needs work. Thank you, Phil!

I was dying to read this after a gorgeous first book in the series, Blood Shadows.

BOUGHT:

It actually didn't cost me anything because I applied gift certificate to this. Nevertheless, this is a book I've wanted to read for ages.

Here you go, this is my lot. How was yours?

I will be away for most of May so if anyone: bloggers/authors/readers looking for a guest post, I'll be more than happy to accommodate!
Happy Sunday! Ciao!


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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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