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Merry Christmas, Everyone!

http://www.christmasgifts.com/christmas-clipart-bells-vintage

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, everyone!
I wish you all happiness and joy, and also time filled with fun, great friends and fabulous books!
Thank you for spending another year with Nocturnal Book Reviews, and here is to many more!


I'm on a mini-break from blogging until 1st of January, so I can celebrate my birthday and New Year in quiet, so I see you all in 2014!
Happy New Year!!!


My Personal Best Reads of 2013!

http://christmasgifs.org/artists/cole_weston/

It has been a very good reading year for me, peeps!
I didn't read as many as last year, but it was still aplenty.

So what are my reading highlights of the year?

What are the book that I thought were glorious reads?

Without further ado, here is the list.

Just click on the cover and it will take you to my review. Enjoy!

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Kara-karina has completed her goal of reading 200 books in 2013!
hide

http://nocturnalbookreviews.blogspot.com/2013/01/apocalyptic-scifi-ya-review-and-all.htmlhttp://nocturnalbookreviews.blogspot.com/2013/02/paranormal-mystery-review-discovery-of.html
Since And All The Stars I've read more of Adrea K Host, and she is firmly on my shelves with her backlist titles, because her writing is wonderful. The Handmaid's Tale was my first forage into Margaret Atwood, and I know now why she is one of the dystopian classics. Since then I watched the movie, and it was no less gripping than the book itself. At last, Deborah Harkness was simply glorious.

http://nocturnalbookreviews.blogspot.com/2013/03/historical-paranormal-ya-review.htmlhttp://nocturnalbookreviews.blogspot.com/2013/04/contemporary-new-adult-review-penelope.htmlhttp://nocturnalbookreviews.blogspot.com/2013/03/military-sci-fi-review-soldiers-duty-by.html
Another unlikely fantastic trio. Libba Bray writes phenomenal books, and The Diviners weren't the exception. I would never have thought I'd love Jean Johnson, but her sci-fi  series blew my mind with its complexity and awesomeness. At last, Penelope was utterly magical.

http://nocturnalbookreviews.blogspot.com/2013/05/ya-sci-fi-early-review-parallel-by.htmlhttp://nocturnalbookreviews.blogspot.com/2013/06/sci-fi-early-review-lexicon-by-max-barry.html
Parallel was another sci-fi new adult that blew my mind, and now I have Lauren Miller firmly on my to-read list. I've discovered Max Barry's work this year and fell in love. Pure, wonderful and very dark satire. At last, Valente was another new author for me, and she shocked me by the depth of her writing.

http://nocturnalbookreviews.blogspot.com/2013/06/contemporary-fantasy-review-she-hulk.htmlhttp://nocturnalbookreviews.blogspot.com/2013/07/historical-fantasy-early-review-ghost.html

What can I say? Marta Acosta is always a riot, and this time she took on a heroine from the comic book. Forging Zero was another absolutely epic sci-fi, and The Ghost Bride hit just the right spot with its wonders of Chinese world of the dead. 

http://nocturnalbookreviews.blogspot.com/2013/08/dystopian-ya-review-bone-season-by.html
The first two authors are my all time favorites, but Samantha Shannon was a newcomer, and what a great talent she has. That book left me speechless.

http://nocturnalbookreviews.blogspot.com/2013/11/historical-fiction-review-spirit-keeper.htmlhttp://nocturnalbookreviews.blogspot.com/2013/11/sci-fi-review-last-hour-of-gann-by-r.htmlhttp://nocturnalbookreviews.blogspot.com/2013/12/steampunk-fiction-early-review-study-in.html
The Spirit Keeper was so beautiful it brought me to tears. I discovered R. Lee Smith by accident, and oh boy, her writing is addictive, and The Last Hour of Gann was one of the best sci-fi sagas I've ever read. At last, A Study in Ashes although a third book in the series was a fabulous example of why I love steampunk so much.

This was a wild horse, a murder mystery with an unlikely romantic couple with whom I helplessly fell in love.

It's a motley crew all right, and you probably noticed that there wasn't as much urban fantasy on it as I would like, but I think the reason for this is that I buy my favorite UF authors and have no time to read them because the review books take priority, which is what must have happened this year.

I hope to catch up next year.

Any of this titles were your favorites? What do you think?
Are you tempted to read any?

The Postman Knock #59

I'm sitting in the caravan drinking homemade pomegranate liqueur which we bought at local Christmas market because it's freezing at night.
I've got a couple of posts scheduled for this week but other than that I'm taking the rest of the year off. *grinning*
We have couple of parties and my birthday is next Sunday, so this is the last postman knock of 2013...

Anyway, here is what I've READ:


CLEAN SWEEP was like a breath of fresh air for me. Absolutely lovely and wonderful! I've recently made a list of best books I read in 2013, which made me realize that I chose very little urban fantasy - a genre which used to dominate my reading preferences. Then I panicked and started reading UF books like a starved woman. SINS OF THE DEMON was pretty awesome as well. I'm reading the next one now, catching up on all my favorite UF authors.

BOUGHT:

Courtney Milan is on my must-buy list, and Shades of Milk and Honey was on my wishlist for ages, and I bought it when it was on kindle daily offer, hooray!

NETGALLEY:

Looking forward to this one, thanks to the publisher!

Here it is, short but sweet.
Have a great Christmas and Happy New Year! See you in 2014!
*huge hugs*


Fantasy Review: Mistress of The Wind by Michelle Diener

Mistress of The Wind by Michelle Diener


Egalley thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
Bjorn needs to find a very special woman . . .

The fate of his people, and his own life, depends on it. But when he does find her, she is nothing like he imagined, and may just harbor more secrets than he does himself.

Astrid has never taken well to commands. No matter who issues them . . .

She's clashed her whole life with her father, and now her lover, the mysterious man who comes to her bedroom in darkness and disappears to guard his mountain by day as a bear, is finding it out the hard way. And when he's taken by his enemies, no one is prepared for Astrid's response.

It is never wise to anger the mistress of the wind . . .

A captivating and magical adult retelling of the fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon.

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

8/10

* * *
 I love books based on fairy tales, and Mistress of The Wind was not an exception. It's sweet, lovely and airy. There are no surprises and you don't have to guess how it ends. You just know.

Steampunk YA Review: A Lady of Resources by Shelley Adina

A Lady of Resources by Shelley Adina (Magnificent Devices #5)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
You can choose your friends, but you cannot choose your family … or can you?

Now sixteen, the twins Lizzie and Maggie are educated young ladies who have not been called “the Mopsies” in years … except by their guardian, Lady Claire Trevelyan. With the happy prospect of choosing their own future, the girls can leave their dodgy past behind, and Lizzie can bury her deepest childhood memories where they can do no harm. Upon her graduation from school, Lizzie is awarded an enormous honor—but can she pay the price? Is she ready to be separated from Maggie and become the woman she believes she was meant to be—or will old habits tempt her into defiance and plunge her into disaster?

On a dare, Lizzie picks the wrong man's pocket and nearly loses her life. But these frightening events bear unexpected fruit: The dream Lizzie holds closest to her heart comes true in a most unexpected way. But this dream, too, comes with a price. Lizzie must decide whether her true family is the one she was born to … or the one she chose that long-ago day when the Lady of Devices steamed into their lives …

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

8/10

* * *
I remember really enjoying The Mopsies in the previous books of the series, so when I heard that A Lady of Resources was out I grabbed it pretty fast. And it was fun to read. Boisterous, action-driven and light fun.


Mystery Fiction Review: Murder in Thrall by Anne Cleeland

Murder in Thrall by Anne Cleeland (Scotland Yard #1)


Egalley thanks to Kensington

Synopsis from Goodreads
From Anne Cleeland comes the first in a captivating new mystery series, following the perilous exploits of two Scotland Yard detectives as they track down London's most elusive killer. . . First-year detective Kathleen Doyle and Chief Inspector Michael Sinclair, Lord Acton, are a most unlikely pair. An Irish redhead of humble beginnings and modest means, Doyle is the antithesis of Acton, the British lord who has established himself as a brilliant but enigmatic figure with a knack for solving London's most high profile homicides. But Acton senses something exceptional beneath Doyle's awkward naivete and taps her to help him with his investigations. And her spot-on intuition is just what he needs to solve a chilling string of murders. . .

When a horse trainer is found dead at a racetrack, Doyle and Acton begin interviewing witnesses and the victim's associates, but the killer continues to strike and they're left with more questions than answers. Their investigation is further muddled by their colleagues at CID Headquarters, whose career-driven jealousies and workplace blunders could jeopardize the case--and their nosing into the nature of Doyle and Acton's after hours relationship could lay bare the most classified information of all. . .

Perhaps the trainer was the target of a jilted lover on a killing spree. Or maybe the victims were collateral damage in a political coup gone awry. As the murders pile up, Doyle and Acton uncover something far more sadistic than they could have imagined, and now that they know too much, they'll find themselves squarely in the crosshairs of a cold-blooded killer. . .

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

9.5/10

* * *
By far this is my favorite book by Anne Cleeland right now. In fact, it's so awesome I want to either re-read it or get my hands onto the next book in series which will only be out in summer next year. 

The Postman Knock #58

Hello, me dears!
I haven't seen a single Christmas tree yet an we haven't been decorating at all. Shame on me! 
You kind of lose your sense of time here on the farm when every day is sunny and warm *grinning*
However I solemnly promise to kick my butt into gear next week and do some much needed Christmas shopping.
And how is your week going?

I've READ:


 MISTRESS OF THE WIND was based on a familiar fairytale, and I adore fairytales!  PRINCE OF HEARTS was charming and featured a Russian prince as a main hero, so I enjoyed the story. THE BREAKER'S CONCUBINE I think was read because it stayed on my wishlist for ages and I had an impulse to read it and strike it off that list. I tell you though, after The Last Hour of Gann, it's really hard not to compare other sci-fi to it... So this short read was just OK.

NETGALLEY:

Thanks to Ace publishers!

BOUGHT:


For those of you who missed the post on Friday, there is a treat here from D.B. Reynolds including an international giveaway!

This is it for today, happy Sunday!


Seven Days of Giveaways Blog Tour Stop or Aden and Sidonie's First Christmas by D.B. Reynolds!



http://graphicssoft.about.com/od/freedownloads/ig/Free-Christmas-Graphics/Christmas-Garland-Graphic.htm
Aden and Sidonie's First Christmas
D.B. Reynolds

Aden managed to wait until the elevator doors closed before rubbing his forehead in a fruitless attempt to relieve some of the stress. Life had been so much simpler before he’d become Lord of the Midwest. Sometimes he wondered what the hell he’d been thinking. The elevator doors opened on his private quarters, and a rare smile crossed his face as he was reminded of the one reason he’d never regret coming to Chicago. He’d never have met Sidonie otherwise, and, although few people knew it, after centuries of bitterness, she’d made his life sweet.

She was in the other room now singing Christmas music along with the radio. And she’d lit a fire. He could smell the aromatic smoke from the applewood she’d bought just for the holiday. After a slight detour to his private office, he followed the sound of her voice to their bedroom and found her dancing around a small Christmas tree, hanging ornaments. He paused, leaning against the door jamb and watching her silently. She was graceful and beautiful, and she was his.

Sidonie spun around at that moment and saw him standing there. A welcoming smile lit up her face, a smile of such warmth and happiness . . . for him. It still surprised him sometimes. But tonight the surprise was for her.

“Aden!” She fairly skipped over to greet him, going up on her toes, her fingers fisted in his jacket, face raised expectantly. He rested a hand against her lower back, fingers splayed as he pressed her closer, as he brushed his lips over hers, once, twice, then crushed her mouth against his, wrapping her long, curly hair around his fist and holding her there. She moaned softly, and his dick was instantly hard.

“Good evening, habibi,” he murmured. “Did you miss me?”

“Endlessly.” Her arm brushed against the gift he was hiding behind his back, and her eyes lit up. “What’s in the box?”

“What box?”

Sidonie did a fair imitation of a vampire’s snarl, and he laughed. “It’s a present for you.” She made a playful grab for it, but he pulled it away. “It goes under the tree. Isn’t that how this works?”

“Only if you believe in Santa Claus, and my brothers ruined that for me ages ago. Can I open it?”

Aden pretended to consider her request. The truth was he’d fully intended that she open the gift tonight, since it was something for her to wear two nights from now, when they had dinner with her parents. Aden didn’t give a damn whether her parents liked or approved of him. Sidonie was the only one who mattered. But he knew it was important to her, and he wanted them to know that she was important to him. Fair warning: hurt his Sidonie and, parents or no, you will pay.

“I guess you’re right,” he agreed. “Let’s sit over there.”

Sidonie gave him an extra-long, lingering kiss then snagged the elegantly wrapped box and hurried over to sit on the sofa, her face flushed with pleasure. Aden sat next to her, leaning back to watch in bemusement as she stroked the embossed silver foil, caressed the brilliant blue silk ribbon before finally ripping it apart and lifting the lid. It was a fair sized box, big enough to hold a pretty party dress or a warm jacket. But what Sidonie found was layers and layers of silver and sapphire tissue until finally . . .

Her face paled, losing all of its color as she looked up at him in shock.

“Open it, habibi.” He could hear her heart racing as she opened the small velvet box.

“Aden,” she whispered reverently, then gazed up at him, her blue eyes full of crystal tears. “But we’re already—”

“Mated. But this is for you. For your family, so they’ll know you’re mine.”

Sidonie lifted the stunning ring with shaking fingers. She looked up.

“Will you . . . .”

Aden took it from her, then cradled her elegant hand in his huge paw and slid the ring onto her finger. He rubbed his thumb over her knuckle then raised his eyes to meet hers. “Will you be mine, Sidonie?”

Sidonie launched herself into his arms, gripping his neck so tightly he could feel her heart beating against his chest.

“Silly vampire,” she whispered. “I already am.”
http://graphicssoft.about.com/od/freedownloads/ig/Free-Christmas-Graphics/Christmas-Garland-Graphic.htm

The festivities are full on for Vampires in America, so please click on the picture and start entering giveaways!

http://www.bellbridgebooksblog.com/?page_id=2644
I am honored to host Aden and Sidonie's First Christmas as a first stop of this blog tour and I am extremely glad that one of my favorite series is having a well deserved book covers makeover starting with ever so delicious Raphael...

If you haven't started this series yet, today is the perfect day to do so. I hear there is a promo price on this book from your favorite ebook retailers :)
Amazon US/UK

Erotic Romance Early Review: The Dom Project by Heloise Belleau and Solace Ames

The Dom Project by Heloise Belleau and Solace Ames


Egalley courtesy of Carina Press

Synopsis from Goodreads
By day, Robin Lessing has a successful career as a university archivist. By night, she blogs about her less-than-successful search for Mr. Tall, Dark and Dominant. Living up to her handle "The Picky Submissive," she's on the verge of giving up and settling for vanilla with a side of fuzzy handcuffs when she discovers her best friend and colleague has a kinky side, too.

Sexy, tattooed techie John Sun is an experienced Dom who never lacks for playmates, male or female. If he can't satisfy Robin's cravings, maybe no one can—after all, he knows her better than anyone. So he offers to help her master the art of submission for one month.

Robin eagerly agrees to John's terms, even the pesky little rule forbidding any friendship-ruining sex. But rules are made to be broken, and once they begin their stimulating sessions, it's not long before she's ready to beg him for more—much more…

Release date: December 23rd 2013.
Amazon kindle US/UK

7.5/10

* * *
Don't expect anything dark or super steamy, peeps. Instead this is short and sweet and romantic. I loved how The Dom Project was about two close friends finally finding love with each other.

Paranormal Romance Review: Aden by D.B. Reynolds

Aden by D.B. Reynolds (Vampires in America #7)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
She was seeking revenge. What she found was a vampire who swept her into the darkest depths of passion.

Chicago, Illinois... the windy city. Home to football greats, dinosaurs named Sue, and, when the sun goes down... powerful vampires battling for the right to rule the city and beyond.

Born into slavery, Aden is one of the most powerful vampires in North America, waging war on others of his kind in a struggle to become the next Lord of the Midwest. But in the midst of the deadliest fight of his long life, the ghosts of his past have come back to haunt him. Slavery still exists, and Aden is hellbent on destroying it and the vampires who profit from it.

Sidonie Reid is an investigative reporter in pursuit of the biggest story of her career, until that story costs the life of a friend and Sid realizes she has to do much more than write about it. Intent on bringing down the vampires and their slave network, Sid gains entry to the highest levels of vampire society, where she finds herself confronting the raw sexuality that is Aden.

Caught up in a dark passion that neither can resist, Aden and Sidonie join forces, determined to defeat the old regime and everything it stands for. The dangers are beyond calculation, but the ultimate reward is worth the risk. If they survive...

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

8.5/10

* * *
 I always know I can rely on D.B. Reynolds to deliver exactly what I want, so when Aden came out I snatched that book straight away. I love my comfort food, and this is what it is for me - cool non-technophobic mafia-like American vampire lords fighting for their territory, and strong, gutsy and clever women with whom they hook up. Total win.

The Postman Knock #57

Hello, me darlings!
Awesome week all around.
We've done all the olive picking at last!!!
I am absolutely exhausted and ready to move on to the next task...
I've also tried my hand at making a perfume oil. Ask me again in a month if it works :)


Here's what I READ:


NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED has been reviewed already, and I've said all I wanted to say about the book. ADEN like everything D.B. writes was comforting and enjoyable. I love her! A LADY OF RESOURCES was pure, boisterous, steampunky fun.  THE DOM PROJECT was short and sweet. At last, MURDER IN THRALL was simply uber awesome, and I loved every moment of it. Overall, not a bad reading week, eh?

NETGALLEY:



Thanks to the publishers!
With Ian McDonald I have Be My Enemy on my kindle, so I just have to read it first before Empress of The Sun. Looking forward to it!

BOUGHT:


Almost all auto-buy authors for me, and nothing short of awesome.

This is it for me, peeps. Lots of love and hugs,
take care and stay warm!
Adeus!

Al found this band. Aren't they awesome?


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KARINA IS READING

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The Night Circus
Legacy
Gabriel's Inferno
Touch

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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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