Betwixt the Books Recommends: Beachy Reads

Wherein Michaela and Gretchen discuss a handfull of books that they feel are great books to bring to the BEACH or just generally read during those hot summer months.

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October 2016 Wrap Up

I am in love with this video for several reasons. The first is that October was a seriously weird reading month, so the books I read are all over the place and only like one of them was good. I think it was so good that it leeched all the potential for the rest of the month. Also, it’s the first time I’ve DNFed something in a really long time. Then there is the fact that I begin to slowly lose my mind as the video goes along. Anyways. Uh. Enjoy?

Interview + Giveaway with Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

Hey guys! Would you look at this – content on a Thursday. I might be slacking, but there are some great authors out there who are doing you guys justice! One such author is Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban, author of Two Moon Princess and the soon-to-be released The King in the Stone. Let’s meet her!

DSCN5574-e1457049581624-300x246I was born in Galicia (Northern Spain) and went to college in Madrid, where I finished my Ph.D. in Biology. For the next ten years, I worked as a researcher both in Madrid and at the University of Davis in California.

My writing career started when I came to live in Pennsylvania in the 1990s. Following my first sale, a magazine article on latex allergy, I published four books for Chelsea House (Facts on File): Heroin, Ritalin, Mad Cow Disease, and Lung Cancer.

My Young Adult novel Two Moon Princess, (the story of a discontented medieval princess, eager to live life on her own terms, who lands in modern day California) was published in 2007 by Tanglewood Press. It was recognized with the bronze award by the ForeWord Magazine in the Juvenile fiction category. It’s also available now as an e-book.

Two Moon Princess won first price in the 2015 Latino Book into Movie Awards, family and children category.

Immortal Love, a paranormal romance, (Crimson Romance, 2012) follows my adventures in search of a literary agent in a contemporary alternate world where the late Spanish poets Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer and Federico García Lorca are immortals.

Website | Blog | Facebook

Now, she’s here today to answer some questions about her upcoming novel, A King in the Stone. What’s this book about, you ask? Well, let me tell you!

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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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ARC Review: “Lions in the Garden” by Chelsea Luna

lions2bin2bthe2bgardenLions in the Garden (The Uprising #1) by Chelsea Luna

Goodreads | Amazon

Prague, 1610

Ludmila Novakova–Mila–has barely set foot outside Prague Castle in her seventeen years. But with the choice between braving the bandits and wolves of Bohemia’s uneasy roads or being married off to a disgusting old baron, she’s taken what she can carry and fled.

Escape won’t be easy. Even Mila has heard the rumors of a rebellion coming against the court. The peasants are hungry. The king hasn’t been seen in months. Mila’s father, the High Chancellor, is well known and well hated.

But Mila can’t sit behind a stone wall and let fear force her into a life of silk gowns and certain misery. Her mother’s death has taught her that much. She has one ally: Marc, the son of the blacksmith. A commoner, a Protestant–and perhaps a traitor, too. But the farther she gets from the castle, the more lies she uncovers, unraveling everything she thought she knew. And the harder it is to tell friend from enemy–and wrong from right…

Three stars

Thanks to NetGalley, Kensington Books and Lyrical Press for this eARC! This title will be published on March 1, 2016.

As a lover of anything vaguely historical fiction, I knew I had to request this from NetGalley. Luna tackles a period of history and a place that I had never read anything of before, and that alone hooked me. However, the first few chapters … well, they were really rough.

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