The Unicorn Quest: Secret in the Stone Blog Tour: Q&A with author

I’m so excited to be part of The Unicorn Quest book 2 blog tour!

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Today author Kamila Benko answers some questions regarding her book 2 on this part of the blog tour.

The first book The Unicorn Quest was a delight and I’m happy to return to Benko’s world again. Check out my review for the first book The Unicorn Quest here.

Let’s take a look at The Unicorn Quest: Secret in the Stone.

  • Age Range: 8 – 12 years
  • Series: The Unicorn Quest (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Order here

Claire Martinson and her sister Sophie have decided to stay in Arden–the magical land they discovered by climbing up a chimney in their great-aunt’s manor. If what they’ve learned is true, the sisters are the last descendants of the royal family, and only a true heir of Arden–with magic in her blood–can awaken the unicorns.

Since Sophie has does not have magic, the land’s last hope rests on Claire. The sisters journey to Stonehaven, a famed Gemmer school high in the mountains of Arden, so Claire can train in the magic of stone. As Claire struggles through classes, Sophie uncovers dangerous secrets about the people they thought they could trust. With Arden on the brink of crumbling, can Claire prove she is the prophesied heir and unlock the magic of the unicorns before it’s too late?


1. What was it like working on book 2? Was it different than book 1?

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It was very different! In book one, the possibilities were limitless! Your characters can say and do anything they want without being beholden to previous choices, and you can switch up the world to be whatever you need it to be. You need a mountain? Put it in! The forest needs to move north? Switch it! But in book 2, you have to stay true to the decisions you made in Book 1, and also set up the finale events of Book 3. And that was also challenging. Book 2 needed to be bigger and more exciting than Book 1—but not give away the ultimate ending of Book 3. It took a lot of work, and a lot of rewrites, but at the end of the day, I’m so proud of Secret in the Stone, and I can’t wait for people to read so I can talk about the ending!

 

2. What are you excited about for readers in regards to this new adventure of Sophie and Claire?

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In book one, the sisters spent most of the pages apart, but in book 2, Secret in the Stone, the sisters get to explore the magical land of Arden together. It was really fun to have the sister together and to be able explore the ins and outs of their relationship. It was particularly fun to hang out with Sophie, instead of only seeing her in Claire’s memories. She’s so spunky!

 

3. How do you unwind after a long day of writing?

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I really love to cook dinner. It’s a way of being creative that doesn’t involve the same brain muscles and my eyes can be so tired of looking at a screen or a page, that it’s not super relaxing to watch TV or read a book. Plus, writing always makes me hungry!

 

4. What are you currently working on?

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I’m currently working on Book 3 of the Unicorn Quest trilogy which should come out in about a year, as well as collaborating with Disney on a middle grade novel that will bridge the FROZEN with FROZEN II.


Kamilla Benko spent most of her childhood climbing into wardrobes, trying to step through mirrors, and plotting to run away to an art museum. Now, she visits other worlds as a children’s book editor. Originally from Indiana, she currently lives in New York with her bookshelves, teapot, and hiking boots.

Follow Kamilla: Twitter * Instagram * Blog

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Song of a Whale Blog Tour: Spotlight

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (February 5, 2019)
  • Order here!

In the spirit of modern-day classics like Fish in a Tree and Counting by 7s comes the story of a deaf girl’s connection to a whale whose song can’t be heard by his species, and the journey she takes to help him.

From fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she’s the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she’s not very smart. If you’ve ever felt like no one was listening to you, then you know how hard that can be.

When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to “sing” to him! But he’s three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him?

Full of heart and poignancy, this affecting story by sign language interpreter Lynne Kelly shows how a little determination can make big waves.


 

If you want a feel good book Song for a Whale is for you!

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With wonderful characters named Iris and a whale named Blue 55, you couldn’t help but fall in love with the story. Iris is deaf and she finds it hard to be herself among hearing kids. Blue 55 can’t speak to other whales of his kind, they just don’t seem to hear him. Both come together in this special story.

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It was nice to see a disabled kid as the main character. Iris was strong but struggled to be herself among people who don’t understand her. It was Blue 55 that gave her something that she felt only she could do…find his song and speak directly to him.

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I just couldn’t put this book down and highly recommend it. I could picture Iris signing and Blue 55 swimming through the ocean. I love the fact that there were chapters in the book in Blue 55’s perspective. You felt his loneliness seeking someone to communicate with. What a wonderful job Kelly did on Iris’s struggle speaking with others. You felt the disheartening sadness as she tried but through all the emotions you felt in this book the ending brings you pure joy.

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Parkland Speaks Blog Tour: Review

  • Order here!
  • Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers (January 22, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1984849999

 

 

The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School share their emotional journeys that began on February 14, 2018, and continue today. This revealing and unfiltered look at teens living in the wake of tragedy is a poignant representation of grief, anger, determination, healing, and hope.

The intimate collection includes poetry, eyewitness accounts, letters, speeches, journal entries, drawings, and photographs from the events of February 14 and its aftermath. Full of heartbreaking loss, a rally cry for change, and hope for a safe future, these artistic pieces will inspire readers to reflect on their own lives and the importance of valuing and protecting the ones you love.


 

Tawney’s Review: The collection of essays, poems, pictures and art were moving. With such a tragedy that had happened at this school and told by survivors some of these stories will wreck you.

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It was very eyeopening to read their experience during and after the horrors of that day. What they went through and felt draws a connection for the reader to these survivors. You feel for them. You cry with them. Very powerful words and art by students who should have never been through an experience like this.

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Should you read this? Yes! A book every teen or adult should read on a tragedy that brought loud voices to be heard.

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The Break Line Review

 

  • File Size: 1322 KB
  • Print Length: 362 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0440001471
  • Publisher: Berkley (January 29, 2019)
  • Order here!

 

Officially, Max McLean doesn’t exist. The British government denies all knowledge of the work he does on their behalf to keep us safe. But Max and his masters are losing faith in each other. And they’ve given him one last chance to prove he’s still their man.

Sent to a military research facility to meet a former comrade-in-arms, Max finds the bravest man he ever knew locked up for his own protection. His friend lost his mind during an operation in West Africa. The reason? Absolute mortal terror.

Max is determined to find out why.

Ahead lies a perilous, breathtaking mission into the unknown that will call into question everything that Max once believed in.

Acting alone, without back-up, Max lands in Sierra Leone with his friend’s last words ringing in his ears: ‘They’re coming, Max. They’re coming . . .’

The Break Line is a debut dripping with authenticity and menace. Smart, unputdownable and packed with irresistible set pieces and jaw-dropping plot twists, this is a thriller like no other.


 

Tawney’s Review: I am a sucker for thrillers.

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Max McLean is an assassin working for the British Intelligence office. He always follows the rules until one day he lets a target live. Oops!

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This target, a woman who doesn’t fit the information he was given, knows his face. That’s a problem and because of this she must die. But Max doesn’t do that and breaks protocol. He’s a true killer who was trained to do his job without emotion. So now his bosses are wondering if he is uncut for the job and disposable. They have two choices for Max’s fate; promote him or kill him.

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He is sent to Sierra Leone where something terrible is happening. Of course Max seems to get in trouble in all the wrong places with the CIA, African rebels and Isreal’s intelligence service. And that was what was fun to read! How was Max going to get out of all this chaos?

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This thriller had fast pace plot with heart pounding action, which kept you at the edge of your seat. There was always a feeling of dread that came over me when I knew Max was about to get into a dicey predicament.  The author does a wonderful job at explaining Max’s world and the vivid detail helps set the setting. I love anti-heroes books and this was no exception. Max was strong and bold but had a conscience. It was fun to follow this complex character and root for him until the very end of the book.

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Should you read this? Yes, a fast pace debut thriller with action that grabs your attention until the very end.

 

Song of the Dead Blog Tour

 I am excited to be part of the Song of the Dead Blog Tour!

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Today I am doing a Listicle on facts about necromancers…since Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, raising the dead!

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So the definition of necromancy is a practice of some type of magic that involves communication with the dead, by summoning a spirit or raising a dead body for the purpose of retaining information or to be used as a weapon.

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Necromancer’s can be evil or maybe they can be good…like Odessa. There are plenty of genres regarding necromancer’s besides novels like Song of the Dead. There are comics, games, and they are in movies like Lord of the Rings.

 

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One question I do have is in The Walking Dead comic and TV series there are antagonists called the Whisperers, who wear the flesh of the dead and walk among the dead. Are they necromancers because they are bringing the dead to life by wearing them? Because they live with them?

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I loved Song of the Dead, a perfect sequel to Reign of the Fallen! The adventure continues in new lands with new characters and a perfect romance for Odessa. If you haven’t read these books check them out now.


 

Song of the Dead Cover

SONG OF THE DEAD

Order here!

The Dead must stay buried.
Karthia is nothing like it used to be. The kingdom’s borders are open for the first time in nearly three hundred years, and raising the dead has been outlawed. Odessa is determined to explore the world beyond Karthia’s waters, hoping to heal a heart broken in more ways than she can count. But with Meredy joining the ocean voyage, vanquishing her sorrow will be a difficult task.

Despite the daily reminder of the history they share, Odessa and Meredy are fascinated when their journey takes them to a land where the Dead rule the night and dragons roam the streets. Odessa can’t help being mesmerized by the new magic–and by the girl at her side. But just as she and Meredy are beginning to explore the new world, a terrifying development in Karthia summons them home at once.

Growing political unrest on top of threats from foreign invaders means Odessa and Meredy are thrust back into the lives they tried to leave behind while specters from their past haunt their tenuous relationship. Gathering a force big enough to ward off enemies seems impossible, until one of Queen Valoria’s mages creates a weapon that could make them invincible. As danger continues to mount inside the palace, Odessa fears that without the Dead, even the greatest invention won’t be enough to save their fates.


 

 

Reign of the Fallen Cover

REIGN OF THE FALLEN

Order here!

Without the dead, she’d be no one.

Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their soul from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised: the Dead must remain shrouded. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, a grotesque transformation begins, turning the Dead into terrifying, bloodthirsty Shades.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears around the kingdom. Soon, a crushing loss of one of her closest companions leaves Odessa shattered, and reveals a disturbing conspiracy in Karthia: Someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is forced to contemplate a terrifying question: What if her magic is the weapon that brings the kingdom to its knees?

Fighting alongside her fellow mages–and a powerful girl as enthralling as she is infuriating–Odessa must untangle the gruesome plot to destroy Karthia before the Shades take everything she loves.

Perfect for fans of Three Dark Crowns and Red QueenReign of the Fallen is a gutsy, unpredictable read with a surprising and breathtaking LGBT romance at its core.

 

Sarah Glenn Marsh_credit Stephanie Dennehy


AUTHOR BIO:

Sarah Glenn Marsh has been an avid fantasy reader from the day her dad handed her a copy of The Hobbit and promised it would change her life; she’s been making up words and worlds ever since. When she’s not writing, Sarah enjoys painting, ghost hunting, traveling, and all things nerdy. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and their menagerie: four rescued sighthounds, a bird, and many fish. She is the author of Fear the Drowning Deep and Reign of the Fallen.

 

 

 

 

 


Follow the tour here!

Week One

January 7 – Bibliobakes – Review

January 8 – Twinning for Books – Listicle

January 9 – A Court of Binge Reading – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

January 10 – Anxious Bookoholic – Creative Instagram Picture

January 11 – Oh Hey! Books – Author Q&A

Week Two

January 14 – The Quirky Book Nerd – Review

January 15 – Dazzled by Books – Creative Instagram Picture

January 16 – Smadas Books Smack – Author Q&A

January 17 – Jena Brown Writes – Listicle: Characters New Year’s Resolutions

January 18 – The Book Shire – Listicle: Gifts the Characters would love or hate

Week Three

January 21 – YA Wednesdays – Creative Instagram Picture

January 22 – Fear Your Ex – Creative Instagram Picture

January 23 – The Fearless Reader – Playlist

January 24 – Novel Knight – Author Q&A

January 25 – The Book Deviant – Review + Inspired by the Book

Week Four

January 28 – The Life of a Booknerd – Favorite Quotes + Creative Instagram Picture

January 29 – The Fandom – Author Q&A

January 30 – Holed Up in a BookAuthor Guest Post: Dream Cast + Creative Instagram Picture  

January 31 – Upon the pages – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

February 1 – Pop the butterfly reads – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

Stain by A.G. Howard Review

I loved today’s book! Not only did the cover attract my attention but the storytelling drew me into a world full of descriptive characters and settings. I love fairytales.

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Let’s take a look at Stain by A.G. Howard.


 

Hardcover: 512 pages

After Lyra—a princess incapable of speech or sound—is cast out of her kingdom of daylight by her wicked aunt, a witch saves her life, steals her memories, and raises her in an enchanted forest . . . disguised as a boy known only as Stain. Meanwhile, in Lyra’s rival kingdom, the prince of thorns and night is dying, and the only way for him to break his curse is to wed the princess of daylight—for she is his true equal. As Lyra finds her way back to her identity, an imposter princess prepares to steal her betrothed prince and her crown. To win back her kingdom, save the prince, and make peace with the land of the night, Lyra must be loud enough to be heard without a voice, and strong enough to pass a series of tests—ultimately proving she’s everything a traditional princess is not.


Tawney’s Review:

There is always magic when you read one of A.G. Howard’s book.

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Lyra was mute, a fact that made me happy. I welcome disabled characters! She is far different than her father or the other’s of the court. With silver eyelashes and moonbeam hair she must stay in the dark or the sun will burn her. When Lyra’s father, the king, is killed she finds her world torn apart as her memories are taken and she masquerades around as a boy names Stain.

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The world building was fantastic. Two kingdoms separated by the sun and the moon. Eldoria lives above with the blazing sun that constantly sails across the sky while Nerezeth lives below in the dark with the moon. There was no info dumping nor was it pushed upon you. You learn through out the book different quirks for each kingdom and its people. The description was vivid with each detail of color or landscape gorgeously set upon you with clear distinction. You fall into this world easily!

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The characters were easy to like though I much preferred Lyra to Vesper. Vesper is her betrothed, an arrange marriage set up by their parents to unit the kingdoms, and waits for his bride to come to him…and we know his bride is in quite a predicament! Lyra had many obstacles but she overcame them all and was a strong character you rooted all the way for.

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Should you read this yes! An enchanting fairytale with grit and a strong female lead that takes you into a gorgeously created world of two warring kingdoms.

 

Bird Box Review

 I am so excited that the movie version of the Bird Box is out!

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This was a great book of an apocalyptic type world where everyone literally has to be blind or suffer consequences. Let’s take a look at Bird Box.


  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (February 10, 2015)
  • ISBN-10: 0062259660
  • Order here

Something is out there . . .

Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now, that the boy and girl are four, it is time to go. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster?

Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar and frightening, Malorie embarks on a harrowing odyssey—a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Under the guidance of the stalwart Tom, a motely group of strangers banded together against the unseen terror, creating order from the chaos. But when supplies ran low, they were forced to venture outside—and confront the ultimate question: in a world gone mad, who can really be trusted?

Interweaving past and present, Josh Malerman’s breathtaking debut is a horrific and gripping snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.


 

Tawney’s Review: Right away I was intrigued by the premises. The world must be blind. People have to wear something over their eyes or they might see some unknown source that will make them go insane.

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The story reverts from the present to the past with our main character Malorie. We start off 5 years after the events that caused the world to hide. Malorie and her two children are trying to escape their home to find help. They have been alone for a while and it’s time to venture out into the scary world. A world where things are hiding, you can feel it but can’t see it.

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The story alternates chapters from the present to revert to the past right when the event happens and the world goes crazy. We follow Malorie as she navigates this dangerous new world where she meets a small group of survivors barricaded in a home. All windows are blacked out and if you must go outside you wear a blindfold, in fear of being infected by whatever is causing the insanity. You must be blind.

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Whenever the characters ventured outside there was this foreboding that something bad was bound to happen. From the past or present, Malerman’s writing keeps the ominous presence of whatever lurks outside in the shadows. I have to admit that throughout the book you never really know what the cause is that makes people go insane. But no matter what it’s scary. Is it aliens? Monsters? Whatever it may be I think Malerman did a wonderful job at keeping the cause a secret. It’s far scarier to not see your assailant and I like that the monsters, or whatever they are, were never revealed.

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The novel is fast pace with great description, especially when Malorie is blind. You feel her fear and hear what she hears. It’s intense and I couldn’t turn the page fast enough. Bird Box was a psychological horror book in a similar vein to Stephen King’s horror. You can’t have a group of people in a house without consequences. Are the monsters outside more dangerous than your fellow survivors?

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Should you read this? Yes! With an intriguing plot full of great characters and invisible monsters it makes for an intense creeptastic read.

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