A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan ARC Review

I’m actually reviewing a BEA ARC on time! I give this one 3 stars for being an enjoyable adventure but not having as much world building or character development as I would like.

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Betwixt the Books: Naked by David Sedaris Review

Michaela and I picked this one out for a PopSugar challenge for a book popular the year we were born, and really thought we’d like it. We didn’t! We were surprised! And sad! Find out why…

Betwixt the Books Review: “The Gracekeepers” by Kirsty Logan

Look what we’ve managed! A second joint review. Unlike with Paper Towns, this one is a lot more divided – but that is why we do these things! Michaela liked it more than I did, but we both had our issues with this one. Turns out, hype is not always what it’s cracked up to be!

51jwue6mtpl-_sy344_bo1204203200_The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan

Goodreads | Amazon

A lyrical and moving debut in the tradition of Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood, introducing an original and commanding new voice in fiction

As a Gracekeeper, Callanish administers shoreside burials, sending the dead to their final resting place deep in the depths of the ocean. Alone on her island, she has exiled herself to a life of tending watery graves as penance for a long-ago mistake that still haunts her. Meanwhile, North works as a circus performer with the Excalibur, a floating troupe of acrobats, clowns, dancers, and trainers who sail from one archipelago to the next, entertaining in exchange for sustenance.

In a world divided between those inhabiting the mainland (“landlockers”) and those who float on the sea (“damplings”), loneliness has become a way of life for North and Callanish, until a sudden storm offshore brings change to both their lives–offering them a new understanding of the world they live in and the consequences of the past, while restoring hope in an unexpected future.

Inspired in part by Scottish myths and fairytales, The Gracekeepers tells a modern story of an irreparably changed world: one that harbors the same isolation and sadness, but also joys and marvels of our own age.

Gretchen’s Rating: 3 stars | Michaela’s Rating: 4 stars

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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Review: “After” Anthology: 19 YA Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia

Welcome all to my first video review without Michaela! Given separation anxiety (and because he also read it anyways) Taylor from Bibliomancy for Beginners is also guest starring! It is a longer review, but that’s because this is a short story anthology … and we can’t stop insulting each other.

13455518After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

Goodreads | Amazon

If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.

New York Times bestselling authors Gregory Maguire, Garth Nix, Susan Beth Pfeffer, Carrie Ryan, Beth Revis, and Jane Yolen are among the many popular and award-winning storytellers lending their talents to this original and spellbinding anthology.

Gretchen’s rating: 3 stars | Taylor’s rating: 4 stars

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Review: “The Twentieth Wife” by Indu Sundaresan

27298The Twentieth Wife (Taj Mahal Trilogy #1) by Indu Sundaresan

Goodreads | Amazon

Published February 18, 2003, by Washington Square Press

An enchanting historical epic of grand passion and adventure, this debut novel tells the captivating story of one of India’s most controversial empresses — a woman whose brilliance and determination trumped myriad obstacles, and whose love shaped the course of the Mughal Empire. Skillfully blending the textures of historical reality with the rich and sensual imaginings of a timeless fairy tale, The Twentieth Wife sweeps readers up in Mehrunnisa’s embattled love with Prince Salim, and in the bedazzling destiny of a woman — a legend in her own time — who was all but lost to history until now.

Three stars

Random historical fiction alert! This is for my Pop Sugar Reading Challenge and also happens to be a re-read. I haven’t read this since high school, but I remembered really liking it. I took my original review down from four stars, for reasons I’ll explain, but I think I’m still really excited to read the next book in this series, The Feast of Roses.

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Betwixt the Books Review: “Paper Towns” by John Green

Look who’s here for our first joint video review! Today, Michaela and I are discussing Paper Towns by John Green! It also happened to work for our PopSugar challenge, though for different sections!

6442769Paper Towns by John Green

Goodreads | Amazon

Who is the real Margo?

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew…

My overall rating: 3 stars | Michaela’s overall rating: 3 stars