ARC Review: Mask of Shadows by Lindsey Miller

I wanted this to be so good. I really did. But then it just … wasn’t. I ended up giving it 2 stars and 1 really impassioned review because I thought it had so much potential and then it never lived up to it.

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From the Notebook: June 2016 Wrap Up

Hey guys! Back this week with my June wrap up, even though it’s a bit later than I wanted. I only read 5 books this month, and only 1 for my PopSugar challenge, BUT I’m 50% of the way there and on track for my 100 book overall Goodreads challenge goal!

ARC Review: “And I Darken” by Kiersten White

27190613And I Darken (The Conquerers Saga #1) by Kiersten White

Goodreads | Amazon

NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL.

And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

3 1/2 stars

Thanks to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for the eARC! This title will be released June 28th, 2016

As someone who has read almost every Kiersten White book in existence, I still don’t know what to make of this one. It opens up with a disclaimer that this is like no other Kiersten White book you’ve ever read, and that’s fair. But it’s for all these good AND bad reasons that are jumbled in my head and have left me mightily confused.

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ARC Review: “Risuko” by David Kudler

risuko-v2b-medium-circleRisuko: A Kunoichi Tale (Seasons of the Sword #1) by David Kudler

Goodreads | Amazon

Can one girl win a war?

My name is Kano Murasaki, but most people call me Risuko. Squirrel.

I am from Serenity Province, though I was not born there.

My nation has been at war for a hundred years, Serenity is under attack, my family is in disgrace, but some people think that I can bring victory. That I can be a very special kind of woman.

All I want to do is climb.

My name is Kano Murasaki, but everyone calls me Squirrel.

Risuko.

Though Japan has been devastated by a century of civil war, Risuko just wants to climb trees. Growing up far from the battlefields and court intrigues, the fatherless girl finds herself pulled into a plot that may reunite Japan — or may destroy it. She is torn from her home and what is left of her family, but finds new friends at a school that may not be what it seems.

Magical but historical, Risuko follows her along the first dangerous steps to discovering who she truly is.

Kano Murasaki, called Risuko (Squirrel) is a young, fatherless girl, more comfortable climbing trees than down on the ground. Yet she finds herself enmeshed in a game where the board is the whole nation of Japan, where the pieces are armies, moved by scheming lords, and a single girl couldn’t possibly have the power to change the outcome. Or could she?

Two and a half stars

Thanks to NetGalley and Stillpoint Digital Press for this eARC! This title will be available on June 15th, 2016.

If you read that blurb, like I did, you might be under the impression that a lot happens in this book. It doesn’t. This book was a constant push and pull for me, where I really wanted to like it … but nothing ever really happened. While Risuko was an interesting character, the cast around her fell flat and the overall plot seemed underdone. I was intrigued by the world and the overall politics, but they were never dealt with overmuch. All in all, this book had all the elements–it just didn’t use them.

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THE WEEKLY WRAP UPS THAT NEVER WERE!

Okay, these are still late. But you know what, these exist. We’re wrapping up the last two weeks in a weird, timey-wimey video that shows that we really did try to have these out on time. The editing just never happened because Michaela and I are struggling to find a new rhythm in our new post-grad lives. Please love us while we fix this kinks!

Monday, May 23

Tuesday, May 24

Wednesday, May 25

Thursday, May 26

Friday, May 27

Monday, May 30

Tuesday, May 31

Wednesday, June 1

Friday, June 3

 

ARC Review: “The Vanishing Throne” by Elizabeth May

Wow, what a trippy experience. I filmed this review back in February, and I haven’t even watched it since then. I am very, very enthusiastic about this book. Like a lot. How cute of past Gretchen. Anyways! Let’s just get started. In case you missed my long and storied history with this series, here’s my videos on the first book, The Falconer:

Thanks to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for this eARC!