I decided to start doing book hauls again as a way to help keep myself accountable. The only way that I am going to be able to work on fixing my habits is if I have some kind of checks in place. In the month of December I received 3 books from authors, 2 books as gifts, I grabbed 1 for free, I was approved for 1 on Netgalley, 2 from subscription boxes, 2 were preorders, and I purchased 14.
I took some books and sold them this month so I used that to justify purchasing more than I probably should have.
Received from Authors/Publishers
The Joy of Christmas Present by L.G. Rollins | (A Dickens of a Christmas Book 2) | Regency Romance, Proper Romance, Christmas Story | Add to Goodreads
Helena Spencer will never forgive the Earl of Chapman for snubbing her so publicly. It wasn’t her idea that they get married, after all. She was practically a bystander to the whole debacle, yet she alone bore the brunt of society’s judgment. Snubbed by an earl? She’d likely never recover. But then she finds herself at the same holiday house party with Lord Chapman. What a way to ruin Christmas.
After his father’s sudden death, Lord Chapman had little choice but to step into a life he hardly felt ready for. He quickly learned that everyone had opinions about how an earl’s life should look, even the aging relative who tried to marry him off to a woman he’d never even met. Now he had to spend Christmas at a house party with his mother and sisters? What a wretched way to spend the festive season.
With their shared history, Helena and Lord Chapman are unlikely friends. But when circumstances continue to throw them together, Helena presses the earl to help repair the damage he inflicted on her reputation by aiding her attempt to snag a husband from among the gentlemen at the party. The only trouble? Lord Chapman is falling for Helena’s charms himself. Would that she allow the gentleman that wins her heart to be him.
The Peace of Christmas Yet to Come by L.G. Rollins | (A Dickens of a Christmas Book 3) | Regency Romance, Proper Romance, Christmas Story | 5 Stars | Add to Goodreads
Miss Martha Cratchit is barely making ends meet. As a woman who once belonged to high society, options to secure a better income are limited. Blessedly, the aging vicar agrees to pay Martha if she will clean the church house for him. He even agrees to keep her employ a secret, allowing her to keep what little standing she has left in society. Hopefully, the coin she earns will be enough to keep her and her two brothers housed and fed. It is a tenuous plan, but it is all she has.
Peter De Ath, Duke of Pembroke, hates everyone and everything; he has no qualms with his reputation as the Silent Duke. He’s been alone nearly all his life and is content to remain so. All he needs is a few minutes a week, alone in the church house, to commune with the one being who won’t judge him for his incurable stutter.
When a wisp of a young woman stumbles upon him in the church house, Peter finds his solitude shattered. Martha, for her part, is far too terrified of the Silent Duke to wish herself anywhere but far away from him. But fleeing isn’t an option; the cost of caring for her ailing grandfather is growing and she’s running out of options. It seems this Christmas may be the one that finally breaks her family apart.
Soothsayer by Kathryn Amurra | Ancient World Historical Romance | Add to Goodreads
Aurelia has always valued love and happiness over titles and power. Though her kind-hearted father has allowed her to turn away suitor after suitor in pursuit of a love she cannot yet define, when he dies her choices die with him. Knowing that marrying the elderly governor of a neighboring province can secure her mentally challenged brother’s safety, she gives up on her dream of finding love in return for his protection.
Cassius is the ill-fated captain of the governor’s guard tasked with escorting the Lady Aurelia and her unpleasant aunt to the governor’s estate. Since the soothsayer Tullia foretold an early death for him, Cassius wants nothing more than to keep his hands busy with labor and his heart free from any connections to the world he believes he will be leaving soon. As they work through a series of misfortunes on the road to the governor’s province, the words of the soothsayer start to make sense, and together they find the courage to allow their true destiny to unfold.
The Empress by Laura Martínez-Belli | Historical Fiction | Add to Goodreads
It’s 1863. Napoleon III has installed a foreign monarch in Mexico to squash the current regime. Maximilian von Habsburg of Austria accepts the emperor’s crown. But it is his wife, the brilliant and ambitious Princess Charlotte, who throws herself passionately into the role. Known to the people as Empress Carlota, she rules deftly from behind the scenes while her husband contents himself with philandering and decorating the palace.
But Carlota bears a guilty secret. Trapped in a loveless marriage, she’s thrown herself into a reckless affair. Desire has blinded Carlota to its consequences, for it has left her vulnerable to her sole trusted confidante. Carlota’s devious lady-in-waiting has political beliefs of her own—and they are strong enough to cause her to betray the empress and join a plot to depose her from the throne. As Carlota grows increasingly, maddeningly defenseless, both her own fate and that of the empire are at stake.
A sweeping historical novel of forbidden love, dangerous secrets, courtly intrigue, and treachery, The Empress passionately reimagines the tragic romance and ill-fated reign of the most unforgettable royal couple of nineteenth-century Europe during the last throes of the Second Empire.
Rose Petal Graves by Olivia Wildenstein | (The Lost Clan #1) | Young Adult, Fantasy | Add to Goodreads
Founded two centuries ago by a powerful tribe of Gottwa Indians, Rowan was a quiet town, so quiet that I fled after graduation. Staying away was the plan, but Mom died suddenly.
Dad said she suffered a stroke after she dug up one of the ancient graves in our backyard, which happens to be the town cemetery. Creepy, I know. Creepier still, there was no corpse inside the old coffin, only fresh rose petals.
As we made preparations for Mom’s burial, new people began arriving in Rowan, unnervingly handsome and odd people. I begged them to leave, but they stayed, because their enemies—my ancestors—were beginning to awaken.
The Princess and the Rogue by Kate Bateman | (Bow Street Bachelors #3) | Regency Romance | Add to Goodreads
A princess in disguise is forced to live with a rogue in order to protect her from danger in this fun, sexy regency romance.
Bow Street agent Sebastien Wolff, Earl of Mowbray, doesn’t believe in love―until a passionate kiss with a beautiful stranger in a brothel forces him to reconsider. When the mysterious woman is linked to an intrigue involving a missing Russian princess, however, Seb realizes her air of innocence was too good to be true.
Princess Anastasia Denisova has been hiding in London as plain ‘Anna Brown’. With a dangerous traitor hot on her trail, her best option is to accept Wolff’s offer of protection―and accommodation―at his gambling hell. But living in such close quarters, and aiding Wolff in his Bow Street cases, fans the flames of their mutual attraction. If Anya’s true identity is revealed, does their romance stand a chance? Could a princess ever marry a rogue?
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson | History, True Crime | Add to Goodreads
Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book’s categorization to be sure that ‘The Devil in the White City’ is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair’s construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.
Burnham’s challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous “White City” around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair’s incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, and Thomas Edison.
The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World’s Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims.
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong | (These Violent Delights #1) | Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings | Add to Goodreads
The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.
A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.
But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.
A Deal with the Elf King by Elise Kova | (Married to Magic #1) | Fantasy, Romance | Add to Goodreads
The elves come for two things: war and wives. In both cases, they come for death.
Three-thousand years ago, humans were hunted by powerful races with wild magic until the treaty was formed. Now, for centuries, the elves have taken a young woman from Luella’s village to be their Human Queen.
To be chosen is seen as a mark of death by the townsfolk. A mark nineteen-year-old Luella is grateful to have escaped as a girl. Instead, she’s dedicated her life to studying herbology and becoming the town’s only healer.
That is, until the Elf King unexpectedly arrives… for her.
Everything Luella had thought she’d known about her life, and herself, was a lie. Taken to a land filled with wild magic, Luella is forced to be the new queen to a cold yet blisteringly handsome Elf King. Once there, she learns about a dying world that only she can save.
The magical land of Midscape pulls on one corner of her heart, her home and people tug on another… but what will truly break her is a passion she never wanted.
A Deal with the Elf King is a complete, stand-alone novel, inspired by the tales of Hades and Persephone, as well as Beauty and the Beast, with a “happily ever after” ending. It’s perfect for fantasy romance fans looking for just the right amount of steam and their next slow-burn and swoon-worthy couple.
Never Call Me Vampire by Tamara Grantham | Paranormal, Fantasy | Add to Goodreads
The world calls him vampire.
But that’s not who I know. He’s my fellow patient at Crimson Hollow, a facility for those infected with the vampire virus. He’s lived for more than a century and been called many things. Vagabond. Circus freak. Prisoner. Murderer. Now he’s the world’s most famous person. He receives blood transfusions to stay conscious and rarely leaves the facility. He’ll never be free. Except in death.
And that was what he wanted…until I arrived. All I wanted was a cure. I wasn’t planning to fall in love.
He knows too much about my secret. And I’ve learned too much about his past.
Someone is plotting to unleash a serum that will destroy the entire world as we know it. But to save everyone—we must sacrifice ourselves.
They call him vampire. But only he knows his true nature
And I may never be prepared to accept it.
Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan | (Gods of Blood and Powder #1) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads
An epic newfantasy series from Brian McClellan, set in the world of his wildly popular Powder Mage trilogy.
A world on the cusp of a new age…
The young nation of Fatrasta is a turbulent place — a frontier destination for criminals, fortune-hunters, brave settlers, and sorcerers seeking relics of the past. Only the iron will of the lady chancellor and her secret police holds the capital city of Landfall together against the unrest of an oppressed population and the machinations of powerful empires.
Sedition is a dangerous word…
The insurrection that threatens Landfall must be purged with guile and force, a task which falls on the shoulders of a spy named Michel Bravis, convicted war hero Mad Ben Styke, and Lady Vlora Flint, a mercenary general with a past as turbulent as Landfall’s present.
The past haunts us all…
As loyalties are tested, revealed, and destroyed, a grim specter as old as time has been unearthed in this wild land, and the people of Landfall will soon discover that rebellion is the least of their worries.
Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kang | Historical Fiction, Fantasy | Add to Goodreads
New York City, 1899. Tillie Pembroke’s sister lies dead, her body drained of blood and with two puncture wounds on her neck. Bram Stoker’s new novel, Dracula, has just been published, and Tillie’s imagination leaps to the impossible: the murderer is a vampire. But it can’t be—can it?
A ravenous reader and researcher, Tillie has something of an addiction to truth, and she won’t rest until she unravels the mystery of her sister’s death. Unfortunately, Tillie’s addicted to more than just truth; to ease the pain from a recent injury, she’s taking more and more laudanum…and some in her immediate circle are happy to keep her well supplied.
Tillie can’t bring herself to believe vampires exist. But with the hysteria surrounding her sister’s death, the continued vampiric slayings, and the opium swirling through her body, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for a girl who relies on facts and figures to know what’s real—or whether she can trust those closest to her.
Mortmain Hall by Martin Edwards | (Rachel Savernake #2) | Historical Fiction, Mystery | Add to Goodreads
Next in the Rachel Savernake series, perfect for fans of the Golden age of mystery and readers of Anthony Horowitz and Sherry Thomas.
Framed for murder and with nowhere to go, Jacob Flint turns to an eclectic group of people on a remote estate to save him…
1930. A chilling encounter on London’s Necropolis Railway leads to murder and a man escapes the gallows after a witness gives sensational evidence. After this string of strange, fatal events, journalist Jacob Flint discovers that he has been framed for murder. To save himself, he flees to Mortmain Hall, a remote estate on the northern coast. There, an eccentric female criminologist hosts a gathering of eclectic people who have all escaped miscarriages of cruel justice. This strange group puts Jacob a little on edge, but they may be his only hope to clear his name.
When a body is found beneath the cliffs near the house, it seems this gathering might be an ingenious plot to get away with murder. Are these eccentrics victims or are they orchestrators of the great deception? Jacob must now set out to uncover the labyrinthine of secrets within Mortmain Hall, alongside Rachel Savernake, woman whose relentless quest for the truth might just bring down the British establishment…
The Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang | (Theonite) | Fantasy | Add to Goodeads
A mother struggling to repress her violent past,
A son struggling to grasp his violent future,
A father blind to the danger that threatens them all.
When the winds of war reach their peninsula, will the Matsuda family have the strength to defend their empire? Or will they tear each other apart before the true enemies even reach their shores?
High on a mountainside at the edge of the Kaigenese Empire live the most powerful warriors in the world, superhumans capable of raising the sea and wielding blades of ice. For hundreds of years, the fighters of the Kusanagi Peninsula have held the Empire’s enemies at bay, earning their frozen spit of land the name ‘The Sword of Kaigen.’
Born into Kusanagi’s legendary Matsuda family, fourteen-year-old Mamoru has always known his purpose: to master his family’s fighting techniques and defend his homeland. But when an outsider arrives and pulls back the curtain on Kaigen’s alleged age of peace, Mamoru realizes that he might not have much time to become the fighter he was bred to be. Worse, the empire he was bred to defend may stand on a foundation of lies.
Misaki told herself that she left the passions of her youth behind when she married into the Matsuda house. Determined to be a good housewife and mother, she hid away her sword, along with everything from her days as a fighter in a faraway country. But with her growing son asking questions about the outside world, the threat of an impending invasion looming across the sea, and her frigid husband grating on her nerves, Misaki finds the fighter in her clawing its way back to the surface.
The Last Moriarty by Charles Veley | (Sherlock Holmes and Lucy James Mystery #1) | Historical Fiction, Mystery | Add to Goodreads
A lovely young American actress from the D’Oyly Carte Opera Troupe comes to 221B Baker Street on a cold November morning, desperately seeking assistance from Sherlock Holmes. Inexplicably, Holmes agrees to help, even though the Prime Minister of England and his cabinet need Holmes to solve a murder case that could threaten a high-stakes meeting with John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan. The clock is ticking. Holmes will need all his physical and deductive powers to preserve innocent lives and prevent political and economic chaos on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet even Holmes cannot foresee how much the ultimate outcome will depend on a mother’s sacrifice, a daughter’s hopes, and on the true identity of the last Moriarty.
Legacy of Ash by Matthew Ward | (Legacy Trilogy #1) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads
A shadow has fallen over the Tressian Republic.
Ruling families — once protectors of justice and democracy — now plot against one another with sharp words and sharper knives. Blinded by ambition, they remain heedless of the threat posed by the invading armies of the Hadari Empire.
Yet as Tressia falls, heroes rise.
Viktor Akadra is the Republic’s champion. A warrior without equal, he hides a secret that would see him burned as a heretic.
Josiri Trelan is Viktor’s sworn enemy. A political prisoner, he dreams of reigniting his mother’s failed rebellion.
And yet Calenne Trelan, Josiri’s sister, seeks only to break free of their tarnished legacy; to escape the expectation and prejudice that haunts the family name.
As war spreads across the Republic, these three must set aside their differences in order to save their home. Yet decades of bad blood are not easily set aside. And victory — if it comes at all — will demand a darker price than any of them could have imagined.
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson | (The Stormlight Archive #2) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads
Expected by his enemies to die the miserable death of a military slave, Kaladin survived to be given command of the royal bodyguards, a controversial first for a low-status “darkeyes.” Now he must protect the king and Dalinar from every common peril as well as the distinctly uncommon threat of the Assassin, all while secretly struggling to master remarkable new powers that are somehow linked to his honorspren, Syl.
The Assassin, Szeth, is active again, murdering rulers all over the world of Roshar, using his baffling powers to thwart every bodyguard and elude all pursuers. Among his prime targets is Highprince Dalinar, widely considered the power behind the Alethi throne. His leading role in the war would seem reason enough, but the Assassin’s master has much deeper motives.
Brilliant but troubled Shallan strives along a parallel path. Despite being broken in ways she refuses to acknowledge, she bears a terrible burden: to somehow prevent the return of the legendary Voidbringers and the civilization-ending Desolation that will follow. The secrets she needs can be found at the Shattered Plains, but just arriving there proves more difficult than she could have imagined.
Meanwhile, at the heart of the Shattered Plains, the Parshendi are making an epochal decision. Hard pressed by years of Alethi attacks, their numbers ever shrinking, they are convinced by their war leader, Eshonai, to risk everything on a desperate gamble with the very supernatural forces they once fled. The possible consequences for Parshendi and humans alike, indeed, for Roshar itself, are as dangerous as they are incalculable.
The Ikessar Falcon by K.S. Villoso | (Chronicles of the Bitch Queen #2) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads
The spiral to madness begins with a single push. Abandoned by her people, Queen Talyien’s quest takes a turn for the worst as she stumbles upon a plot deeper and more sinister than she could have ever imagined, one that will displace her king and see her son dead. The road home beckons, strewn with a tangled web of deceit and impossible horrors that unearth the nation’s true troubles – creatures from the dark, mad dragons, and men with hearts hungry for power. To save her land, Talyien must confront the myth others have built around her: Warlord Yeshin’s daughter, symbol of peace, warrior and queen, and everything she could never be. The price of failure is steep. Her friends are few. And a nation carved by a murderer can only be destined for war.
An Ivy Hill Christmas by Julie Klassen | (Tales from Ivy Hill) | Historical Romance | Add to Goodreads
Richard Brockwell, the younger son of Ivy Hill’s most prominent family, hasn’t been home for Christmas in years. He prefers to live in the London townhouse, far away from Brockwell Court, the old family secret that haunts him, and the shadows of his past mistakes. But then his mother threatens to stop funding his carefree life–unless he comes home for Christmas. Out of options, he sets out for Ivy Hill, planning to be back on a coach bound for London and his unencumbered bachelor life as soon as the festivities are over.
But Christmas in the country presents unforeseen surprises, including encounters with an orphaned apprentice, the first love he disappointed years ago, and Arabella Awdry, a young lady who is far more appealing than he recalled . . . and determined to have nothing to do with him.
Will Christmastime in Ivy Hill, with its village charm, kissing boughs, joyous songs, and divine hope, work its magic in his heart . . . and hers as well?
The Princess Knight by G.A. Aiken | (The Scarred Earth Saga #2) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads
LONG LIVE THE QUEEN
Gemma Smythe dedicated her life to the glory of battle. With her fellow War Monks, she worshipped the war gods, rained destruction on her enemies, and raised the dead when the fancy took her. Until her sister Keeley became the prophesied Blacksmith Queen, and Gemma broke faith with her order to journey to the Amichai Mountain and fight by Keeley’s side.
The Amichai warriors are an unruly, never-to-be-tamed lot, especially their leader-in-waiting, Quinn. But when the War Monks declare support for Gemma’s ruthless younger sister Beatrix, the immaturity of her key ally is the least of Gemma’s problems. She has to get to the grand masters, dispel their grudge against her, and persuade them to fight for Keeley and justice. If her conviction can’t sway them, perhaps Quinn’s irritating, irreverent, clearly unhinged, ferocity will win the day . . .
Seduction on a Snowy Night by Madeline Hunter, Sabrina Jeffries, and Mary Jo Putney | Regency Romance, Christmas | 3 Stars | Add to Goodreads
A CHRISTMAS ABDUCTION by Madeline Hunter
Caroline Dunham has a bone to pick with notorious rake Baron Thornhill—and a creative plan to insure his undivided attention. Yet once in close quarters, she finds herself beholden to their smoldering connection.
A PERFECT MATCH by Sabrina Jeffries
Whisked away from a wintry ball by a commanding colonel, Cassandra Isles struggles with her feelings for Lord Heywood. For he is a man sworn to marry only for money—and Cass is an heiress who will accept nothing less than love.
ONE WICKED WINTER’S NIGHT by Mary Jo Putney
Dressed as a veiled princess, Lady Diana Lawrence is shocked to discover that the mysterious corsair who tempts her away from the costume ball is the duke she once loved and lost. Now ensconced with Castleton at a remote lodge, will she surrender to the passion still burning hotly between them?
Eventide by Sarah Goodman | Historical Fiction, Mystery | Add to Goodreads
MADNESS, SECRETS, AND LIES
Wheeler, Arkansas, 1907
When their father descends into madness after the death of their mother, Verity Pruitt and her little sister Lilah find themselves on an orphan train to rural Arkansas.
In Wheeler, eleven-year-old Lilah is quickly adopted, but seventeen-year-old Verity is not. Desperate to stay close to her sister, Verity indentures herself as a farmhand. But even charming farm boy Abel Atchley can’t completely distract her from the sense that something is not quite right in this little town. Strange local superstitions abound, especially about the eerie old well at the center of the forest. The woods play tricks, unleashing heavy fog and bone-chilling cold…and sometimes visions of things that aren’t there.
But for Verity, perhaps most unsettling of all is the revelation that her own parents have a scandalous history in this very town. And as she tries to unearth the past, sinister secrets come with it—secrets that someone will go to violent lengths to protect….
A haunting tale of long-buried secrets, small-town scandal, and single-minded vengeance by talented debut novelist Sarah Goodman.”
A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem by Manda Collins | (A Lady’s Guide #1) | Historical Fiction, Romance, Mystery | Add to Goodreads
England, 1865 : As one of England’s most notorious newspaper columnists, Lady Katherine Bascomb believes knowledge is power. And she’s determined to inform and educate the ladies of London on the nefarious-and deadly-criminals who are preying on the fairer sex. When her reporting leads to the arrest of a notorious killer, however, Katherine flees to a country house party to escape her newfound notoriety-only to witness a murder on her very first night. And when the lead detective accuses Katherine of inflaming-rather than informing-the public with her column, she vows to prove him wrong.
Detective Inspector Andrew Eversham’s refusal to compromise his investigations nearly cost him his own career, and he blames Katherine. To avoid bad publicity, his superiors are pressuring him to solve cases quickly rather than correctly. When he discovers she’s the key witness in a new crime, he’s determined to prevent the beautiful widow from once again wreaking havoc on his case. Yet as Katherine proves surprisingly insightful and Andrew impresses Katherine with his lethal competency, both are forced to admit the fire between them is more flirtatious than furious. But to explore the passion between them, they’ll need to catch a killer.
Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken | (Dragon Kin #1) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads
It’s not always easy being a female warrior with a nickname like Annwyl the Bloody. Men tend to either cower in fear–a lot–or else salute. It’s true that Annwyl has a knack for decapitating legions of her ruthless brother’s soldiers without pausing for breath. But just once it would be nice to be able to really talk to a man, the way she can talk to Fearghus the Destroyer.
Too bad that Fearghus is a dragon, of the large, scaly, and deadly type. With him, Annwyl feels safe–a far cry from the feelings aroused by the hard-bodied, arrogant knight Fearghus has arranged to help train her for battle. With her days spent fighting a man who fills her with fierce, heady desire, and her nights spent in the company of a magical creature who could smite a village just by exhaling, Annwyl is sure life couldn’t get any stranger.
She’s wrong. . .
And just wait until you meet the rest of the family. . .
How many books did you add to your TBR this month?