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Friday, June 24, 2016

Blog Tour- EMPIRE OF DUST by Eleanor Herman An Interview & Giveaway!


I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on blog tour for EMPIRE OF DUST by Eleanor Herman! I freaking LOVED this book so hard!! I have an interview with Eleanor to share with you today! And make sure to enter the awesome giveaway for a set of the series! 


Haven't heard of THE KING SLAYER? Check it out!

Title: EMPIRE OF DUST (Blood of Gods and Royals #2)
Author: Eleanor Herman
Pub. Date: June 26, 2016
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 432
Format: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Find it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Goodreads
In Macedon, war rises like smoke, forbidden romance blooms and ancient magic tempered with rage threatens to turn an empire to dust 

After winning his first battle, Prince Alexander fights to become the ruler his kingdom demands—but the line between leader and tyrant blurs with each new threat. 

Meanwhile, Hephaestion, cast aside by Alexander for killing the wrong man, must conceal the devastating secret of a divine prophecy from Katerina even as the two of them are thrust together on a dangerous mission to Egypt. 

The warrior, Jacob, determined to forget his first love, vows to eradicate the ancient Blood Magics and believes that royal prisoner Cynane holds the key to Macedon's undoing. 

And in chains, the Persian princess Zofia still longs to find the Spirit Eaters, but first must grapple with the secrets of her handsome—and deadly—captor. 

New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman entwines the real scandals of history with epic fantasy to reimagine the world's most brilliant ruler, Alexander the Great, in the second book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.
Grab the FREE novella VOICE OF GODS Now!

&

The novella QUEEN OF ASHES for $2.99!


Now on to the interview!

Hi Eleanor! First I want to say welcome back to Two Chicks on Books! I loved LEGACY OF KINGS and EMPIRE OF DUST and can’t wait to read what’s next! I am so happy that you could stop by for a visit!

For the readers: can you give us a little recap of LEGACY OF KINGS and the characters? Do you have any actors that come to mind? (For each of the actors Eleanor has for her dream cast I will link to their IMDB page)

Alexander: Macedon’s sixteen-year-old heir needs to prove himself worthy of the Crown. In his first major battle, he will face the best warriors in the world. He finds himself strangely attracted to a peasant girl, Katerina, who helps him quite unexpectedly in the battle, shifting the tides of war. Actor: Daniel Sharman.

Katerina: Comes to Alexander’s palace with a secret mission: kill the queen who killed Kat’s mother. She can’t marry Jacob, the boy she loves, until she has wreaked her revenge. Kat’s plans take a strange twist, and in the kingdom of Halicarnassus she learns about the powerful magic that has always been percolating in her blood. Actress: Emma Watson.

Hephaestion: Alexander’s best friend, Heph is fiercely loyal but finds that his pride and passion often stand in his way. Will the prince forgive him for his betrayal on the battlefield? Actor: Jack Falahee.

Jacob: Wants to make Kat proud of him so she will become his wife. But the path he chooses to do this makes him an enemy of Macedon, rendering his one goal in life impossible. Actor: Matt Lanter.

Cynane: Alexander’s warrior half-sister will do anything to rule and lead armies. Anything. Actress: Caitlin Stasey.

Zofia: Alexander’s Persian fiancée, the runaway princess makes a long journey east to find the Spirit Eaters and change her fate. Actress: Shay Mitchell.

Queen Olympias: Alexander’s manipulative mother wants one thing only: for her lover, trapped in snake form, to come back to her as a man. Actress: Charlize Theron.

What about book 3? Do we have a title yet?

Yes! Book 3 is called Reign of Serpents, and on the last page of Empire of Dust you will understand why.

Who was your favorite character to write (mine was Heph lol)? What about your least favorite?

I love writing all of them. They are, of course, different aspects of myself in concentrated form. It was hard developing each one as a different person at first, but much easier for Book 2. Now I’m halfway through Book 3 and I’ve completely got them down! I like how Alex’s mind workssort of like an ancient Greek computer, searching for the logical answers. He lives very much in his head. Heph is more human, living in his heart and consequently making mistakes as we all do. I adore Kat’s bravery and spunk, and Jacob’s loyalty and cleverness. I love Zo’s journey because it’s not just the miles she puts in on the Royal Road, it’s a journey of learning who she really is and what she can be. And I adore writing the bad girlsCynane, so fiercely ambitious for power in a man’s world, and Olympias, especially now that karma is catching up to her.

What is your favorite passage/scene in EMPIRE OF DUST?

I love writing battle scenes so the fight in the tunnel was a load of fun. For this battle I read several ancient books written on warfare and borrowed some of their strategies. I also love the Egyptian scenes where Kat and Heph are sliding down the Nile, amazed at what they are seeing. I enjoyed creating the accursed city of Sharuna and the creepy Ushabti warriors.

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

I read several books about Egypt in this time period. It wasn’t the heyday of the pharaohs; they had built the Pyramids two thousand years earlier and by the time of Empire of Dust the Persians had conquered Egypt. But it was a timeless land still steeped in ancient traditions. I really want the reader to feel a marked contrast between the vastly different cultures of Macedon, Persia, and Egypt.

What are you reading right now? Or what do you have on your TBR that you’re dying to read?

I just finished read Amy Lukavic’s Daughters Unto Devils, a story, as one reviewer wrote, that blends Stephen King with Little House on the Prairie. I was on the treadmill and couldn’t put it down and when I finished after two hours I could hardly step down from the treadmill my legs were so sore. Before that, I read Cait Reynold’s Angel Hands, a historical romance about what happens to the Phantom of the Opera after the opera burns. I fell in love with the phantom, despite whatever was going on under that mask. Next on my list is Julie Kagawa’s Talon series.

Who is your ultimate Book Boyfriend?

I so loved Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars.  He was supportive, funny, smart and amazing, even though he had lost a leg to cancer, even when the cancer came back. I was so sad thinking about the man he would have become, a great husband, father, employee, boss, community activist, etc. There was this hole in the world for me when he died. What a loss. What a waste. I know he was a fictional character but I still think I will never get over him dying. My eyes are stinging just typing this.

If you were to write another YA series from a different time in history what would you write and why?

I think ancient Egypt now that I have done so much research about it, and not just for Empire of Dust, but for Queen of Ashes, the novella of the immortal Princess Laila of Sharuna, whom Kat and Heph travel down the Nile to meet. Queen of Ashes is available to download free on August 1.



Thanks so much Eleanor for answering my questions! I can’t wait to read book 3!





About Eleanor: 

Before the Game of Thrones craze swept the nation, Eleanor Herman was hard at work entertaining readers with her extensive research on courtly intrigue and romance. She is the New York Times bestselling author of Sex with Kings, as well as three other works of nonfiction: Sex with the Queen, Mistress of the Vatican, and King Peggy.

Obsessed by all things royal and historical, she lives in McLean, Virginia with her husband and four extremely dignified cats. Legacy of Kings is her first novel.

Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive a paperback of LEGACY OF KINGS & a hardcover of EMPIRE OF DUST, US Only.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Tour Schedule:

Week One:
6/20/2016- The Cover ContessaInterview
6/21/2016- Zach's YA ReviewsReview
6/22/2016- Fiction FareGuest Post
6/23/2016- My So-Called Book ReviewsReview
6/24/2016- Two Chicks on BooksInterview

Week Two:
6/27/2016- Lisa Loves LiteratureReview
6/28/2016- A Dream Within A DreamGuest Post
6/29/2016- Mundie MomsReview
6/30/2016- Once Upon A TwilightReview
7/1/2016- Curling Up With A Good BookInterview


Grab book 1 now!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Dying To Read (161)- BLACK ROSE by Bree Barton


Hey y’all thanks for stopping by to see my Dying to Read post and of course as always I have to give credit to the lovely Jill over at Breaking the Spine for the Waiting on Wednesday Meme!


There's no cover for this one yet I keep hoping it will be revealed soon! I've had this one on my TBR forever and since I have been sharing 2017 books I wanted to share this one!




Title: BLACK ROSE
Author: Bree Barton
Release Date: 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: ?
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Goodreads 
Bree Barton's BLACK ROSE trilogy, pitched as Graceling meets Pride and Prejudice, about a girl who, on the eve of her marriage to a prince, discovers she has dark, forbidden magic, magic that her powerful family's sole purpose was to destroy.

So what do you think? Will you be adding this to your pile? What are you dying to read this week?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Blog Tour- AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White An Interview


I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on blog tour for AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White! I really liked this reimagining of Vlad the Implaer as a girl if you want to see my review for the book it's HERE! I have an interview with Kiersten to share with you today! 


Haven't heard of AND I DARKEN? Check it out!

Title: AND I DARKEN
Author: Kiersten White
Pub. Date: June 28, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, audiobook
Find it: Amazon | Barnes& Noble | iBooks | Goodreads
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.

Now on to the interview!

Hi, Kiersten! First, I want to say welcome to Two Chicks on Books! AND I DARKEN was absolutely fantastic, and I can’t wait for everyone to read it! And I am so happy that you could stop by for a visit!

Can you tell our readers a little bit about AND I DARKEN?

Hi! Thank you for having me! And I Darken is the first book in a new epic historical trilogy. It stars Lada and Radu, a brother and sister who are political prisoners in the Ottoman Empire in the 1400s. I decided to write a series filled with assassination attempts, violent successions, fratricide, arranged marriage, impalements, and other very current teen issues. Gotta stay on trend, and nothing says trend like reimagining a relatively obscure medieval Romanian prince as a princess instead, am I right? (Seriously, though, the more I study history, the more I realize things never change. That’s what’s fun about writing genreyou get to explore modern issues using another world.)

So do you have a title for book two yet?

Yes! My brilliant editor, Wendy Loggia, came up with the titles for all three books. In the middle of a massive title brainstorm, she emailed her ideas and I got chills, they were so perfect! But I can’t tell you . . . yet. :)

Being an amateur scholar on this particular subject, I know the history pretty well, so this is something I have been wanting to ask you. Why do a gender swap of Vlad Dracul? Wasn’t he fascinating enough as he was?

No, he wasn’t. All men can be improved by the addition of ovaries.

Just kidding! (Mostly.) What I wanted to explore with this series is how good people get to the point where they can justify atrocities in pursuit of their goals. I loved researching Vlad the Impaler because he was so deeply nationalistic, and everything he did made a sort of twisted, bloody sense. He had to fight so hard for every inch of his land. But then I thought, what if he had been a girl? She would have had to fight so hard for every inch of everything, ever, simply because she wasn’t a man, and that’s when it clicked. Plain and simple, it was history to me until I wondered how it would have been different if Vlad had been Lada. And then it changed from history to story, and I had to write it.

Who was your favorite character to write? Who was your least favorite?

Honestly, I loved writing every single character. It’s a large cast, much bigger than I usually work with, and they all brought different things to the story. So far Lada does seem to be the favorite character of most readers. I think it’s because I gave her absolute permission to be unrepentantly awfulangry, violent, brutaland I didnt try to soften her. There was always the temptation to pull her backgive her some redeeming sweetness, or make her beautiful, or do SOMETHING to make her traditionally appealing. But I didn’t, and I’m delighted that readers appreciate her in all her raging glory.

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

All the research. So much. I did research on Vlad, on Mehmed, on Constantinople, on the Ottoman Empire, on Islam, on Orthodox Christianity, on Vlad and Mehmed’s contemporaries, and on actual historical women who were able to rise to positions of tremendous power. You name it, I researched it. Part of me thought these books would be a little easier because history had already done so much of the plotting for me. The part of me that thought that was an idiot. Such an idiot.

I was fortunate in that I had already been to Romania and visited all of Vlad the Impaler’s historical sites. (We really didn’t plan to do a Dracula tour, but we ended up around his old haunts and so made a point of seeing them.) We visited a church that his father was patron of, climbed 1,300 steps to the remains of his mountain fortress, and visited his birthplace and his capital. So much is still the same, and walking through his history was so inspiring. My only regret with this series is that I haven’t been able to visit Constantinople (now Istanbul). Someday! Until then, I will continue to frequent countless strangers’ photos on the Internet.

Who is your ultimate book boyfriend?

Here’s the sad thing. I’ve hit the point in my life where I read things like Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle series and I don’t want to bed any of the characters, I want to PUT them to bed with a glass of warm milk and all the parental love and support they aren’t getting. I’m such a mom.

What inspired you to write YA?

I think the most innovative, interesting, and frankly just plain fun writing is happening in YA. That’s the community I wanted to be a part of, the stories I wanted to tell, and the readers I wanted to tell them to. No book I read as an adult had anywhere near the impact on me that the books I loved as a teen did. If I could do that for someone else, I can’t think of a higher privilege as a storyteller!
I also love the themes and questions of YA. Who am I? Who do I want to be? How do I get there? Teens are coming into their own and starting to be in a place to really make decisions for themselves for the first time in their lives, and those questions are universalboth intimate and huge. Theres no more exciting age to write about and for.

Lightning Round Questions

What are you reading right now? Or what do you have on your TBR that you’re dying to read?
Nnedi Okorafor’s LAGOON. I’m itching to read Leigh Bardugo’s SIX OF CROWS!

What Hogwarts house would the Sorting Hat place you in?
Teen me was all Ravenclaw. Adult me would be a hard call between Ravenclaw and Slytherin.

Twitter or Facebook?
Twitter.

Favorite superhero?
Jessica Jones.

Favorite TV show?
Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Sweet or salty?
Sweet.

Any phobias?
Trypophobia. Google it. You’ll know REALLY fast if you have it, too.

Song you can’t get enough of right now?
“Genghis Khan” by Miike Snow.

Thanks so much, Kiersten, for answering my questions! I can’t wait for everyone to read AND I DARKEN!

CLAIM THE THRONE. Visit AndIDarken.com to order now!




About Kiersten:

Kiersten White is the NYT bestselling author of the Paranormalcy trilogy, the Mind Games series, Illusions of Fate, The Chaos of Stars, In the Shadows with artist Jim Di Bartolo, and the upcoming historical reimagining, And I Darken. She has one tall husband and three small children and lives near the ocean, where her life is perfectly normal. Visit her at www.kierstenwhite.com.








AND I DARKEN Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, May 30th through Friday, July 8th (Mondays through Fridays)

Monday, May 30thIcey Books, Review
Tuesday, May 31stBookiemoji, Guest Post (Character Profiles)
Wednesday, June 1stSeeing Double in Neverland, Review
Thursday, June 2ndAlexa Loves Books, Playlist Post
Friday, June 3rdAwesome Book Nut, Review

Monday, June 6thJessabella Reads, Review
Tuesday, June 7thThe Eater of Books!, Top Five Roundup
Wednesday, June 8thAcross the Words, Review
Thursday, June 9thPandora’s Books, Sneak Peek for Book Two
Friday, June 10thTales of the Ravenous Reader, Review

Monday, June 13th: A Midsummer Night's Read, Review
Tuesday, June 14thThe Irish Banana Review, Top 10 Guest Post
Wednesday, June 15thStories & Sweeties, Review
Thursday, June 16thJenuine Cupcakes, Author Mystery Guest Post
Friday, June 17thThe Soul Sisters, Review

Monday, June 20thWinterhaven Books, Review
Tuesday, June 21stTwo Chicks on Books, Q&A 
Wednesday: June 22ndThe Book Swarm, Review
Thursday, June 23rdRead. Sleep. Repeat., Top Five Fantasy Books Kiersten Loves to Re-Read
Friday, June 24thPlease Feed The Bookworm, Review

Monday, June 27thComfort Books, Review
Tuesday, June 28thFitshun, Q&A
Wednesday, June 29thAddicted Readers,Review
Thursday, June 30thLindsay Cummings, Movie Casting Post
Friday, July 1stRabid Reads, Review

Monday, July 4thReading Teen, Review
Tuesday, July 5thYA Bibliophile, Guest Post (Trip to Romania)
Wednesday, July 6thCarina’s Books, Review
Thursday, July 7thMundie Moms, Author Mystery Guest Post
Friday, July 8th:  My Friends Are Fiction, Surprise Post!


Top Ten Tuesday (70)- My Top Ten (20) Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year


Hi thanks for stopping by!!! And welcome to my Top 10 Tuesday post! 

Thanks to the lovely ladies at The Broke And The Bookish for creating this weekly meme!

Here's this week's topic.

June 21: Top Ten Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year 

I'm going to show the book covers for this and they aren't in order from my most favorite till the least I'm just going through my goodreads "read" list (so click on them and it'll take you to the goodreads page). I've also cheated a bit since some of these books haven't released yet but I loved them so much I wanted to share!

1. 



2. 


3. 


4. 


5. 


6. 


7. 


8. 


9. 


10. 


And I'm going to be a huge cheater but there's been some fantastic books this year so I can't keep it to 10! Here's a bunch more of my favorite reads of the year!














So what about you? What are some of your favorite 2016 books so far? And check back next week for my Top Ten....FREEBIE WEEK! I'm still deciding what to do lol!


Hugs,
Jaime


Monday, June 20, 2016

Book Review- AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White



Title: AND I DARKEN
Author: Kiersten White
Pub. Date: June 28, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, audiobook
Find it: Amazon | Barnes& Noble | iBooks | Goodreads
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.


Let’s get this out of the way. If you’re looking for a paranormal story about vampires, you’re not going to get it here you’re not even going to get a magical fantasy so I’m not really sure why the book is being compared to Game of Thrones since most of this stuff really happened. 

This is a historical tale about the heirs to the Drăculești throne. And here’s where it gets fun, it’s not a pure historical since Kiersten flipped the script and did a gender swap, Vlad Dracula is now Lada, a girl. If it were a pure historical I may be reviewing this differently since I am such a nerd about the real Vlad Dracul and have studied him and his family for a long time. There’s things that would really make me unhappy with this book but since it’s a gender swap I took my issues off the table and just enjoyed what I was reading. And I loved what I read! I honestly think this is Kiersten’s best book to date!

There’s not much known about Vlad’s life in the Ottoman empire so Kiersten had room to play with Lada’s life there and it was really brilliant! But what historical aspects she did write she wrote well! Kiersten definitely did her research and it showed. She took the historical and blended it with her “twist” into a completely enjoyable story! I will say that the “love triangle” (oh yes there is one) did kind of make me mad because historically there is no proof of a certain character’s sexuality (only speculation) but, there is proof of his undying loyalty to the Ottomans though and therefore I get why she did it. It increases the tension and makes for a good read. 

I’m not going to talk about the romance except to say that it was swoon worthy but this wasn’t the heart of the story, at least not in my opinion. This story was about Lada and her strength to become what she needed to be. A warrior, comfortable in her own skin as a woman, and a ruler. I loved her time in the Ottoman empire but I am really looking forward to the next installment when she is back in Wallachia! If Kiersten follows history (as accurately as she can) that’s were all the interesting/fun things start! I NEED BOOK 2 NOW!

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