Tag: bookstagram

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Created by Chami @ ReadLikeWildfire and Ely @ Earl Grey Books

Everyone and their aunt has been doing this tag lately… I might as well do it too 😉

‣ Best book you’ve read so far in 2019?

Oh, my gosh, this was a hard one to answer. I don’t have a definitive favourite book of the year so far so I’m just going to mention one I loved that doesn’t fit into any of the other prompts.

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

‣ Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019?

Brave the Tempest (Cassie Palmer #9) by Karen Chance

‣ New release you haven’t read yet, but want to?

The Bride Test (Kiss Quotient #2) by Helen Hoang released May 7th, 2019.

‣ Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?

From the Grave (Arcana Chronicles #6) By Kresley Cole due for release August 2019 and I really really hope that doesn’t change! I’ve been burned before by release dates changing just a few weeks beforehand.

‣ Biggest disappointment?

Biting Cold (Chicagoland Vampires #6) by Chloe Neil

‣ Biggest surprise?

Real Murders (Aurora Teagarden #1) by Charlaine Harris

‣ Favourite new author (debut or new to you)?

Helen Hoang. It might be a bit presumptuous to choose her for this since I’ve only read The Kiss Quotient but I really loved that book!

The Kiss Quotient is available on Kindle Unlimited

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‣ Newest fictional crush?

I actually had very few new crush potentials to choose from this since a lot of my books were continuations in series. I decided to go with Duane Winston from Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers #1) by Penny Reid.

‣ Newest favourite character?

OK, she’s not really new but she is my favourite so far this year and that is Cassie Palmer from Karen Chance’s Cassie Palmer series.

‣ Book that made you cry?

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling. This was a reread but it still brought a tear to my eye.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is available on Kindle Unlimited

‣ Book that made you happy?

I’m delighted to say most of the books I read made me happy 😄 Truth and Beard by Penny Reid actually had me giggling though.

‣ Most beautiful book you’ve acquired this year?

I haven’t bought any pretty books this year which I will have to rectify before December. I’ve gotten a lot of second-hand paperbacks and none of them will be winning any beauty contests but they’re in good condition.

‣ What book(s) do you need to read by the end of the year?

I really need to make a dent in the pile of books I’ve bought this year and I need to catch up with romanceopoly.

‣ Favourite bookish community member?

This is so hard to answer! There are so many bloggers, BookTubers and Bookstagrammers I love and I’d hate to hurt someones feelings by forgetting to mention them.

Instead why don’t you share your blog, Bookstagram or BookTube in the comments for everyone to check out.

Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

Wrap Up | June 2019

I really felt like I read only 5 or 6 books in June but nope. I read 13! I would prefer to break up a wrap up over 5 books into two posts but I wasn’t paying attention 😅

I had a few let downs this month and one book I decided to drop.

Fate's Edge The Edge 3 Ilona Andrews Elaine Howlin Bookstagram

Fate’s Edge (The Edge #3) by Ilona Andrews ★★★★☆

Fate's Edge (The Edge, #3)

This is an urban fantasy series set in the Edge which is a realm between the Broken (our world) and the Weird (mirror to our world but with magic). The series is meant to be paranormal romance and definitely starts out that way but by this book I think it’s more like urban fantasy with more focus on the suspense plot than the relationship.

Taken as urban fantasy it’s a brilliant book but taken as paranormal romance it doesn’t quite work.

A Bogie in the Boat (Linx & Bogie #2) by Elizabeth Hunter ★★★★★

A Bogie in the Boat (Linx & Bogie, #2)

I really hope Hunter will write more and maybe longer books in this series. So far the stories have been pretty short but really engaging. It’s a buddy story about a woman and the ghost of a detective who constantly tries to get her to solve mysteries.

The Ice Princess (Princes Trilogy #3.5) by Elizabeth Hoyt ★★★★☆

The Ice Princess (Princes Trilogy, #3.5)

Super short story at the end of Hoyt’s Princes trilogy about the madam of Aphrodite’s Grotto. I’m generally not a fan of short romances but since I already had an idea of Carol’s character from previous books I actually enjoyed this one.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang Elaine Howlin Bookstagram

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1) by Helen Hoang ★★★★★

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1)

Oh my gosh, I loved this!! I was really surprised by this book! I didn’t expect to like about about a male escort and I also was not prepared for how steamy this book is! I totally judged it by it’s cover and expected a sweet and silly romantic comedy style story. It is certainly sweet but not at all silly.

The Kiss Quotient is available on kindle unlimited

Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers #1) by Penny Reid ★★★★★

Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers, #1)

Loved this and another surprise for me for pretty much the same reasons as above. I expected a homey small town story but there’s a slight edge to it that pushes it out of that category. We follow Duane Winston who has had the hots for Jessica for most of his life but she’s mad for his identical twin brother.

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The Taken (Celestial Blues #1) by Vicki Petersson ★★★★☆

The Taken (Celestial Blues, #1)

I stumbled across this book on Scribd and listened to it based solely on the cover. I love the rockabilly elements from the main female character. This is a noir urban fantasy mystery series (yes please!) following rockabilly reporter Kit and ex-P.I. fallen angel Griffin as they look for her friends murderer.

Last Kiss Goodnight (Otherworld Assassin #1) by Gena Showalter ★★★☆☆

Last Kiss Goodnight: An Otherworld Assassin Novel

I’m in two minds about this book. I think the world was well built and interesting but the characters were pretty one-shot and a little generic. Another small issue I have is that the main female character is deaf but I think the way her deafness is portrayed wasn’t very realistic (though I can’t say that for sure). Last Kiss Goodnight is a sci-fi romance about an alien zoo in a circus run under the iron fist of Vika’s father when Soloman is captured and put on display in the zoo.

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje ★★★★★

The English Patient

I adored this but it is a bit of a heavy read so I really took my time with it. I’ve been reading it since January and finished it up this month. I’m really happy I took my time with it and soaked in what the book had to say. The English Patient centers around four people in a villa in Italy at the end of World War 2 coming to terms with what has happened to them over the past few years.

Hyde & Seek (Hyde #1) by Layla Frost ★☆☆☆☆

Hyde and Seek (Hyde #1)

Say hello to my only one star read this year (so far). I only finished it because I wanted to complete a square on the Romanceopoly board. I don’t want to get really negative about this book because a lot of people seem to love it (I’m in the minority) but this really wasn’t for me. None of the characters felt realistic and the main female character was bordering on a Mary-Sue. She seems to have Beyonce’s figure (but feels she’s too curvy), smells like cake and every man and his uncle wants to bang her because she listens to metal and has tattoos.

Hyde & Seek is available on kindle unlimited

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey Elaine Howlin Bookstagram

Fix Her Up (Hot and Hammered #1) by Tessa Bailey ★★★☆☆

Fix Her Up (Hot and Hammered, #1)

This book has been hyped quite a bit recently among romance readers and I’m kind of in two minds on whether it deserves it or not. On one hand I enjoyed it and on the other it featured tropes that I’m sick of. A lot of people have been commenting on it’s steaminess level as well but I didn’t think it was that high (read The Professional by Kresley Cole if you want a super steamy book). We follow Travis who has just returned home after an injury has ends his pro baseball career and Georgette, a professional clown, who has been on love with him her whole life. They both want to change their image so decide to fake date for a bit.

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough ★★★★☆

The Thorn Birds

This was so close to being a 5 star read but some things really annoyed me around the middle of the book. Mostly character actions so we won’t get into it 😉 The story was a wonderful sweeping saga following the Cleary family but mainly the daughter Meggie. There are a lot of interesting looks at gender in the book especially perceived gender roles and how the people are influenced by their religion.

The Raven Prince (Princes #1) by Elizabeth Hoyt ★★★★★

The Raven Prince

One of my absolute favourite historical romances!! There are strong Beauty and the Beast themes in this one but it isn’t really a retelling. I LOVE books with Beauty and the Beast themes 💜

The Leopard Prince (Princes #2) by Elizabeth Hoyt ★★★★★

The Leopard Prince (Princes Trilogy, #2)

This one has the most interesting subplot following along the romance. It’s a murder mystery, SHEEP MURDER!! It’s a lot of fun to read and unravel with the characters while they fall in lurve.

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Watch my Summerathon Vlog and Wrap Up

June Instagram Templates

June Favourites Instagram Template by Elaine Howlin
Wrap Up June Instagram Template
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An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

An Unkindness of Magicians

I love the premise of this book but when listening to the audiobook I found it to be a bit of a mess. I decided to stop listening around halfway and I’m going to try the print book at some point and see if I follow it better.

July TBR

“But here I am in July, and why am I thinking about Christmas pudding? Probably because we always pine for what we do not have. The winter seems cozy and romantic in the hell of summer, but hot beaches and sunlight are what we yearn for all winter.” 

Joanna Franklin Bell, Take a Load Off, Mona Jamborski

I’m taking part in Jane Austen July this year which I’m really excited about. You can check out my TBR for that here.

I’m really behind on the Romanceopoly so I’m really hoping to catch up this month. I have about 20 spaces to read for between now and the end of the year which is definitely doable I just struggle with reading a book for a specific task.

July is going to be a busy month for me so I’m not expecting to get too many books read but here are the ones (other than the ones for Jane Austen July) I would like to read.

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Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo

I felt a bit deflated about the Grishaverse after finishing Ruin and Rising but so many people have told me Six of Crows is better that I’m going to pick this one up.

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

Synopsis: Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

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Alpha (Shifters #6) by Rachel Vincent

This series I need to finish and it suits the Leather Lane spot on romanceopoly.

Alpha (Shifters, #6)

Synopsis: The unscrupulous new Council chair has charged Jace, Marc and me with trespassing, kidnapping, murder and treason. Yeah, we’ve been busy. But now it’s time to take justice into our own hands. We must avenge my brother’s death and carve out the rot at the heart of the Council. 
It’s not going to be easy, and loss seems unavoidable, but I have promised to protect my Pride, no matter what. With a target on my back and Marc at my side, I’m heading for a final showdown that will change everything forever. A showdown I’m not sure I’m ready for. 
But life never waits until you’re ready.

Falling for a Dancer by Deirdre Purcell

I’ve been itching to do a reread of this and summer seems like the perfect time. It’s my favourite book.

Falling for a Dancer

Synopsis: If the bus hadn’t broken down that August afternoon on the road between Dublin and Cork, Elizabeth Sullivan would never have met George Gallaher, a travelling actor of infinite charm and fatal weakness. She would not have been forced to marry, nor found herself trapped in an alien landscape.

The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark

I’d like to fit some short books this month if I can. I started this one during my 24 Hours of Reading challenge and I really liked it so I want to finish it.

The Girls Of Slender Means

Synopsis: Like the May of Teck Club itself, “three times window shattered since 1940 but never directly hit,” the young women of London after WWII do their best to act as if the world were back to normal: practicing elocution, jostling over suitors and a single Schiaparelli gown. Chosen by Anthony Burgess as one of the Best Modern Novels in the Sunday Times of London, The Girls of Slender Means is a taut and eerily perfect novel by an author The New York Times has called “one of this century’s finest creators of comic-metaphysical entertainment.”

July TBR Reading Plan Instagram Story Template Elaine Howlin Book Blog
Instagram Story Template

What are you reading in July?

June Book Haul | Second Hand Books

Ok, it’s a big one this month. 16 books! One of them I received from Harper Collins and another I actually bought in May but as it was the only book I bought in May I decided to haul it now. Everything else I ordered from thebookshop.ie second-hand online store. 10 books for me and 4 books for himself.

June Book Haul 2019 Elaine Howlin Bookstagram

A Tapestry of Treason by Anne O’Brien

A Tapestry of Treason

Her actions could make history – but at what price? 

1399: Constance of York, Lady Despenser, proves herself more than a mere observer in the devious intrigues of her magnificently dysfunctional family, The House of York.

Surrounded by power-hungry men, including her aggressively self-centred husband Thomas and ruthless siblings Edward and Richard, Constance places herself at the heart of two treasonous plots against King Henry IV.  Will it be possible for this Plantagenet family to safeguard its own political power by restoring either King Richard II to the throne, or the precarious Mortimer claimant?

Although the execution of these conspiracies will place them all in jeopardy, Constance is not deterred, even when the cost of her ambition threatens to overwhelm her.  Even when it endangers her new-found happiness.

With treason, tragedy, heartbreak and betrayal, this is the story of a woman ahead of her time, fighting for herself and what she believes to be right in a world of men.

Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas

Blue-Eyed Devil (Travises, #2)

The story of the charming, volatile and ambitious Hardy Cates, who is determined to carry out his private revenge against the Travis family. Haven is the rebellious Travis daughter who struggles against her overpowering attraction to the most dangerous man in town.

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Middlemarch

Middlemarch is a complex tale of idealism, disillusion, profligacy, loyalty and frustrated love. This penetrating analysis of the life of an English provincial town is set during the time of social unrest prior to the first Reform Bill of 1832. It is told through the lives of Dorothea Brooke and Dr Tertius Lygate and includes a host of other paradigm characters who illuminate the condition of English life in the mid-nineteenth century.
Henry James described Middlemarch as a ‘treasure-house of detail’ while Virginia Woolf famously endorsed George Eliot’s masterpiece as ‘one of the few English novels written for grown-up people’.

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The Duchess by Amanda Foreman

The Duchess

Lady Georgiana Spencer was the great-great-great-great-aunt of Diana, Princess of Wales, and was nearly as famous in her day. In 1774 Georgiana achieved immediate celebrity by marrying William Cavendish, fifth duke of Devonshire, one of England’s richest and most influential aristocrats. She became the queen of fashionable society and founder of the most important political salon of her time. But Georgiana’s public success concealed an unhappy marriage, a gambling addiction, drinking, drug-taking, and rampant love affairs with the leading politicians of the day. With penetrating insight, Amanda Foreman reveals a fascinating woman whose struggle against her own weaknesses, whose great beauty and flamboyance, and whose determination to play a part in the affairs of the world make her a vibrant, astonishingly contemporary figure.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice

First published in 1813, “Pride and Prejudice,” Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners – one of the most popular novels of all time – tells the story of Mr and Mrs Bennet’s five unmarried daughters after the rich and eligible Mr Bingley and his status-conscious friend, Mr Darcy, have moved into their neighbourhood. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” So begins the novel, that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues.

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

The Jane Austen Book Club

Six people – five women and a man – meet once a month in California’s Central Valley to discuss Jane Austen’s novels. They are ordinary people, neither happy nor unhappy, but each of them is wounded in different ways, they are all mixed up about their lives and relationships. Over the six months they meet, marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable – under the guiding eye of Jane Austen a couple of them even fall in love.

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Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…

Working as a lady’s companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Her future looks bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Max de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers…

Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton are alike in appearance, different in character and in love with the same woman. In the midst of the French Revolution, Darnay, who has fled to London to escape the cruelty of the French nobility, must return to Paris to rescue his servant from death. But he endangers his own life and is captured. Carton may be able to help, but will his resemblance be enough to save Darnay’s life? With an enticing introduction by bestselling author, Roddy Doyle.

Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward

Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #3)

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other – six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Of these, Zsadist is the most terrifying member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful aristocrat from the evil Lessening Society.

Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her…

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Lovers by Padraig Standun

Tom Connor arrives home from Dublin he has been lobbying the government to provide work for the islanders he represents to be told by his housekeeper, Marion Warde, that she is pregnant with his child. This would be a blow for any man but it is especially disastrous because Tom is the local parish priest. Because he is a man of strong conscience and no believer in clerical celibacy he determines to tell his people the truth. The resolution of his dilemma makes for dramatic and heartbreaking reading.Lovers is the author’s own translation of Suil le Breith, the classic Irish-language bestseller first published in 1983. Bob Quinn’s award-winning film, Budawanny, was based on this novel. Padraig Standun was born in 1946 and ordained to the priesthood in 1971. He hopes to continue with his twin vocations of priest and writer. “Gaeltacht’s answer to The Thorn Birds. ” Sunday Tribune

Moll Flanders by Daniel Dafoe

Moll Flanders

The story of a woman born and bred in the murky world of seventeenth-century London. Daniel Defoe created a female character-narrator who recounts, from a woman’s point of view, her life and adventures, portraying critically the society in which she lived.

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

The Phantom of the Opera

As Messieurs Richard and Moncharmin prepare to take over as acting managers of the Opera House, they discover their predecessors have bequeathed them the ‘Opera Ghost’. A separate memorandum book has been set aside for his various whims, including extravagant financial needs. Heedless of numerous warnings to comply with these strange demands the managers shrug it all of as a practical joke taken too far. Then a sequence of eerie coincidences and tragic events follow, culminating in the sudden disappearance of the beautiful Prima Donna Christine Daae in the middle of a performance.

Tortured by pangs of unrequited love, the mysterious figure living beneath the Opera House has been awaiting his chance to strike- and once he does, he is deadly…

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Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare Review

When a Scot Ties the Knot (Castles Ever After, #3)Title: When a Scot Ties the Knot

Author: Tessa Dare

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: Castles Ever After #3

Goodreads Rating: 3.97/5

Goodreads Link

Synopsis:  On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter… and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He’s wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters… and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.

When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
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What I thought about the book: I really enjoyed this. It’s a totally fluffy feel-good read that manages to avoid being too cute.

I totally identify with Maddie’s desire to avoid society and her shyness though not to the same extent (she tends to have panic attacks) and Logan *swoon* new book boyfriend right there.

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My Rating: ★★★★☆

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

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Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_