Steadfast Blog Tour: Author Guest Post and Giveaway!

STEADFAST

I’m very excited to be part of the Steadfast Blog Tour today!

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Today author Michelle Hauck guest posts on the blog for her Steadfast tour! Let’s take a look at Steadfast.


Eonly_9780062447203 CoverTitle: STEADFAST (Birth of Saints #3)

Author: Michelle Hauck

Pub. Date: December 3, 2017

Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse

Pages: 560

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooks

The final novel in Michelle Hauck’s Birth of Saints trilogy, Steadfast follows Grudging and Faithful in telling the fateful story of Claire and Ramiro and their battle against a god that hungers for blood.

When the Northerners invaded, the ciudades-estado knew they faced a powerful army. But what they didn’t expect was the deadly magic that was also brought to the desert: the white-robed priests with their lethal Diviners, and the evil god, Dal. Cities have burned, armies have been decimated, and entire populaces have been sacrificed in the Sun God’s name, and it looks as if nothing can prevent the devastation.

But there are still those with hope.

Claire, a Woman of the Song, has already brought considerable magic of her own to fight the Children of Dal, and Ramiro, a soldier who has forsaken his vows to Colina Hermosa’s cavalry in order to stand by her side, has killed and bled for their cause. Separated after the last battle, they move forward with the hope that the saints will hear their prayers, their families will be saved, and that they’ll see each other once more.

A stirring conclusion to the Birth of Saints series, Ramiro and Claire’s journey finds completion in a battle between evil and love.


And now to Michelle Hauck’s Guest Post…

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Tell us about how you got into writing?

Writing didn’t interest me in school with the exception of one creative writing class as an elective in college. I got a degree in finance for heaven’s sake and worked as a cost accountant. I doubt many can actually describe what a cost accountant does. Hint: not much writing. But I was always a heavy reader—I’m talking reading a book at the dinner table type of reader—though I had no desire to create my own stories. Not in my 20s, 30s, or even early 40s. My focus was on other things like raising a family. I’m what you might call a late-blooming writer.

So then I had a small medical problem, got it taken care of with a little surgery, and presto, I felt better than I had in years. All this energy showed up all of a sudden. And with that came a flood of ideas and imagination. When I was younger I used to fall asleep by spinning stories in my head. With new health, came the return of those stories. My kids were older and able to drive themselves. They were busy with homework, friends, or video games and didn’t need their mother. My husband said why don’t you try writing your own book? I said okay and here we are…

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Or something like that. It was a little harder than just saying why don’t you write a book. I didn’t know the rules. I didn’t know about agents or querying or passive writing. I sure as hell didn’t know about creating conflict. My first manuscript was ter-ri-ble. Terrible. Maybe admitting that it was 246,000 words gives you a better idea how bad. It got three requests from agents.

But I had a knack for characters who jumped off the page and crafting dialogue. Big ideas came naturally. I just needed to work on other skills.

I joined writing groups and entered stories in critique marathons where you give and get critiques. I learned and grew and got involved in the writer community. A big step was joining twitter and being able to follow agents and read their advice. I made writer friends and started hosting contests.

Long before this, I stopped trying to write a sequel to that first story and started something else. This time I went with young adult because young adult was the hot new thing. This manuscript was leaps and bounds better. No agents wanted it, but it sold to a small press. Then I took a turn at dystopian right when the dystopian market went bust. Not so good but proof that sometimes your luck boils down to timing. After that I wrote some more, playing around with middle grade humor, and landed an agent.

Getting that far probably took five years. No overnight success here. That middle grade book didn’t sell—a painful lesson on disappointment—but I kept moving forward. I didn’t sit still while my MG was on sub, but went back to the sort of stories I loved and wrote a Spanish-inspired adult epic fantasy. Bingo. Harper Voyager wanted a three book deal.

I was in my late 40s when I got a Big 5 deal. Don’t let anyone say that writing is only for the young. The young at heart can play this game too! I wouldn’t say that I was an overnight success by any means. But I was persistent. I learned the tough skin required in this industry and plodded on. And the story isn’t over yet. I have more goals to meet!


About Michelle:

MichelleMichelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Two papillons help balance out the teenage drama. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.

She is a co-host of the yearly contests Query Kombat and Nightmare on Query Street, and Sun versus Snow.

Her epic fantasy, Kindar’s Cure, is published by Divertir Publishing. Her short story, Frost and Fog, is published by The Elephant’s Bookshelf Press in their anthology, Summer’s Double Edge. She’s repped by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary.

Website | Twitter |Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr


Check out Michelle’s other books in the series!

 

About the Book:Grudging

Title: GRUDGING

Author: Michelle Hauck

Release Date: November 17, 2015

Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse

Formats:  eBook

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

A world of chivalry and witchcraft…and the invaders who would destroy everything.

The North has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood.

On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps.

The Women of the Song.

But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power. And time is running out.

A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the opening salvo in the Book of Saints trilogy.


Faithful n1 (1)Title: FAITHFUL

Author: Michelle Hauck

Pub. Date: November 15, 2016

Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse

Pages: 384

Formats: eBook

Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksGoodreads

 Following Grudging–and with a mix of Terry Goodkind and Bernard Cornwall–religion, witchcraft, and chivalry war in Faithful, the exciting next chapter in Michelle Hauck’s Birth of Saints series!

A world of Fear and death…and those trying to save it.

Colina Hermosa has burned to the ground. The Northern invaders continue their assault on the ciudades-estados. Terror has taken hold, and those that should be allies betray each other in hopes of their own survival. As the realities of this devastating and unprovoked war settles in, what can they do to fight back?

On a mission of hope, an unlikely group sets out to find a teacher for Claire, and a new weapon to use against the Northerners and their swelling army.

What they find instead is an old woman.

But she’s not a random crone—she’s Claire’s grandmother. She’s also a Woman of the Song, and her music is both strong and horrible. And while Claire has already seen the power of her own Song, she is scared of her inability to control it, having seen how her magic has brought evil to the world, killing without reason or remorse. To preserve a life of honor and light, Ramiro and Claire will need to convince the old woman to teach them a way so that the power of the Song can be used for good. Otherwise, they’ll just be destroyers themselves, no better than the Northerners and their false god, Dal. With the annihilation their enemy has planned, though, they may not have a choice.

A tale of fear and tragedy, hope and redemption, Faithful is the harrowing second entry in the Birth of Saints trilogy.


 

Now to the Giveaway!

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Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive paperbacks of the first two books in the series, GRUDGING & FAITHFUL, US Only.

Enter to win here!


 

Blog Tour

12/6/2017- Cuz I’m A Nerd– Review Book 1

12/6/2017- Always Me– Excerpt

12/7/2017- BookHounds Interview

12/7/2017- Books and Ladders– Review Book 1

 

12/8/2017- Spilling Words– Excerpt

12/8/2017- Myth! Magic! Mayhem!– Review

Week Two:

12/11/2017- Book for Thought– Review

12/11/2017- Author Dan Koboldt– Interview

12/12/2017- Don’t Judge, Read– Review Book 1

12/12/2017- Literary Musings– Spotlight

12/13/2017- Two Chicks on Books– Interview

12/13/2017- K.T. Hanna – Author– Review Book 1

12/14/2017- Books at Dawn– Excerpt

12/14/2017- books are love– Review Book 1

12/15/2017- Twinning for Books– Guest Post

12/15/2017- Book Briefs– Review


 

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The Last Mrs. Parrish Review

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062667572

 

Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted.

To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.

With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.

Order here!


Review:

This book might be one of the few books that left me pumping my fist at the last page.

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I literally sat up in my chair a couple of chapters toward the end of this book because I had a thrill course through my body, a giddy sensation to what this outcome would be.

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The Last Mrs. Parrish starts off with Amber, a woman who has dedicated her life with a heinous plan to snatch a wealthy husband, even if he’s married.

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Amber has set her sight on wealthy entrepreneur and extremely handsome, Jackson Parrish, and to get to him she makes friends with his wife, Daphne.  Daphne seemed to have the perfect life of wealth with two little girls. She also runs a non-profit called Julie’s Smile, in honor of her sister who died from Cystic Fibrosis. This seems to be the only downside to her life.

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It’s quite clear that Amber only wants Jackson and it doesn’t matter that she would be tearing a family apart. So honestly I never liked this character or connected with her. I was getting frustrated with Daphne and Jackson and the cluelessness to Amber’s plans. I was almost to the point of putting the book down when I reached the halfway point  where Daphne’s chapters arrive…and thing got interesting.

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The story shifts from Amber’s third person narrative to Daphne’s first person point of view. It was any easy flip because honestly I loathed Amber and relished Daphne’s side of the story. Secrets are revealed in Daphne’s chapters and the pace quickens. Believe me this is where you strap in and hold on tight for the twisted rollercoaster of a ride Constantine gives you.

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I finished this book in two days because I had to know what happened. The ending resolved all issues and I was immensely satisfied. Constantine did a wonderful job at immersing the reader into two different characters’ setting and the outcome that they each played in the story. She did a wonderful job at showing the luxurious lives of the wealthy by describing the details of clothing, purses, beverages and monstrous homes. I marveled at the secrets revealed and the enjoyment I had reading this book. It’s definitely a fun read.

Should you read it? Yes! A thrilling read with twists and turns at every page with an ending that leaves you satisfied.

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Pre-Pub Adventure: December Part 1

It’s that time of month where we check in with our authors to see how they are doing on their publishing adventure!

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Every month we follow authors on their publishing adventure. Have you ever wondered how authors prepare for a book release or what they are working on while also getting ready to publish a new book? How do they multitask? What is publishing like? Find out on Pre-Pub Adventure as we follow authors to publishing their books!


Today we have a new author joining us! Welcome Mae Respicio!

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Mae Respicio

1. Introduce yourself! 

Yay! Thanks so much for having me, Tawney. My name is Mae Respicio and my middle grade novel is called THE HOUSE THAT LOU BUILT—it hits stores on June 12, 2018 from Random House Kids and Wendy Lamb Books. I live with my family in the Bay Area not far from the Golden Gate Bridge, and my favorite thing to have in arm’s reach while writing is iced coffee (which all of the local baristas know by now!).

2. Tell us a little about your book and how it came to be?

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My book is about a 12-year-old Filipina American girl named Lou (short for Lucinda), whose greatest dream is to build a tiny house for herself. But of course, building one isn’t as easy as she thinks it’s going to be. Along the way Lou gets into all kinds of adventures with her friends and cousins and in the end, she learns what makes a true home. The book revolves around Lou and her big, extended Filipino American family. Growing up, I had the best time with my cousins creating these really elaborate forts—we’d sit inside and dream of having our own space (what kid doesn’t want her own little house?). Those memories served as a very small spark for the book’s premise, as did my experiences as a kid straddling two cultures and eventually I found Lou’s unique, rich story.

 3. Any plans for the holidays?

Even though they can be hectic, I love the holidays. For me it’s about reconnecting. I get to hang out with family I haven’t seen in a while, and I spend lots of time with my kids hiking and enjoying non-crowded beaches (my favorite part of California during the holiday season!), plus other traditions. I also have a goofy personal tradition of swapping my normal middle-of-the-night revising time for a glass of wine while wrapping presents and watching Love, Actually (don’t knock it ‘til you try it!). I also usually plan on getting some writing done. Publishing seems to slow down during these months so I feel like I can focus on projects without the pressure of deadlines, and surprisingly I accomplish a lot with that mindset—it’s a lovely way to ring in the New Year.

Follow Mae on: Twitter * Instagram Blog


 

Dana Mele

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1.What have you been up to since last we checked in?

I’ve been working on a few different possibilities for my second book. I wrote People Like Us very quickly, so the process for book two has been comparatively long and drawn out. Everyone says that the second book is harder (and often the hardest) and I fully endorse this idea. It’s really tough following up that first one! I may finally be onto something, but only time will tell!

2.Your book People Like Us releases in February, how are you preparing for that?

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At the moment, I’m sitting tight. I’ve gotten together some fun preorder gifts that I’ll announce as soon as I have time to take pretty pictures of them, but until then, I’m reading the reviews as they roll in and just getting excited as the big day gets closer and closer!

3.What are you currently reading?

At the moment I’m reading an ARC of Kaitlyn Sage Patterson’s The Diminished, a wonderful, heart-pounding fantasy out this April! I’ve been reading mostly ARCs this year and it’s been so cool to have had the opportunity to read so many amazing books before they hit the shelves. I can’t wait until they’re out and everyone is talking about them!

Follow Dana: Twitter * Facebook * Blog


 

Rachel Lynn Solomon

Rachel Lynn Solomon_photo credit Ian Grant.jpg      YOU'LL MISS ME WHEN I'M GONE hi-res final-smaller.jpg

1.What have you been up to since last we checked in?

I’ve been hard at work on my 2019 book! It’s dual POV, like my debut, and currently untitled. It’s about the aftermath of a kidney transplant between best friends, complicated by the fact that the donor is in love with the recipient. It’s about friendship codependency and unrequited love and discovering who you are without the person who’s defined you your whole life. 

2. Your book You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone releases next month! Yay! How are you preparing for that?

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I can’t believe it’s almost out in the world!! I’ve been busy making connections with local bookstores, writing guest posts, planning giveaways, and reaching out to media organizations. I’m also planning my book launch! I was on the fence about having one, but I’m so glad I decided to — my best friend is flying out from Boston to be there (her first time in Seattle!) and it’ll be a blast to see all my friends together and hopefully meet some new ones :). For Seattle-area folks, the event is Saturday, January 6 at 3 p.m. at the University Book Store in the U-District

3. What are you currently reading?

I’m reading Shea Ernshaw’s THE WICKED DEEP, another 2018 Simon Pulse debut! Shea’s writing is so atmospheric, and the book is witchy and captivating. 

Follow Rachel: Twitter * Instagram * Snapchat * Blog


 

A.M. Rose

A.M. Rose    Road to Eugenica (Eugenica Chronicles) by [Rose, A.M.]

1. What have you been up to since last we checked in?

Since my last check in I had surgery on my ankle so I am playing catch up. Luckily the surgery went well, but I will be off my foot for the next 3 weeks. I do have a single leg crutch to get around that makes me feel like a pirate.

2. Your book ROAD TO EUGENICA releases in February, how are you preparing for that?

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To get ready for my release in February, (from my couch) I am putting together some fun preorder gifts that I am really excited to share. (Soon – very soon.)

3. What are you currently reading?

Also, since the surgery I am taking a little break from my WIP and catching up on my reading which is really nice. I just finished Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu, and am currently reading The Third Kiss by Kat Colmer and The Breathless by Tara Goedjen.

Follow A.M. Rose: Twitter, Facebook, Blog


 

Kelly deVos

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1. What have you been up to since last we checked in?

Well, I once again tried and pretty much abjectly failed at Nanowrimo. But I did get a lot of outlining and project planning done and I was able to check in with all my Nano buddies, so overall, I consider it time well-spent. In our house, November is birthday month. Both my daughter and I have November birthdays as do a few important friends (like my favorite twins from this very blog), so we’ve been doing a lot of celebrating!

2. How does it feel seeing the ARC of your book in reader’s hands?

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It’s awesome and scary! On one hand, the idea that people might actually be reading my book is a dream come true. Since I started writing Trixie Belden fan fiction in the 5th grade, I’ve been dreaming of getting a real book published. On the other hand, people might actually be reading my book! What if they hate it? What if they DNF me? What if they give me 1 star on Goodreads? I’m excited but also filled with mortal terror.

3. What are you currently reading?

I recently read Amy Trueblood’s NOTHING BUT SKY, which is a beautiful YA historical that I was lucky to read in early draft form and then again as a finished book. Brenda Rufener’s WHERE I LIVE, a really poignant book that tackles young adult homelessness, is another recent read. Right now, I’ve got my hot little hands on Tara Sim’s CHAINBREAKER and I can’t wait to see where this series goes!

Follow Kelly: Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Blog


 

Amy Trueblood

 

Amy TrulyThankful 🍂air

 

 1.What have you been up to since last we checked in?

Since we last talked I’ve been outlining two new books. One is YA Historical – 1930s San Francisco. The other is YA Paranormal – which is a huge leap for me, but I’m super excited by the idea!

2. How did it feel to hold the ARC of your book for the first time?

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Honestly, I sobbed when I held my ARC for the first time. NOTHING BUT SKY was five years in the making and it felt surreal to actually be holding it as a book in my hand!

3.What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading an ARC of Kim Chance’s KEEPER and loving it.

 Follow Amy: Facebook * Instagram * Twitter *Blog


 

Don Zolidis

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1. What have you been up to since last we checked in?

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I’ve been plugging away at my second novel, “SPEECHGEEK,” which is about a girl who joins the greatest high school speech team in the country – in order to destroy it from the inside out. I didn’t quite win #nanowrimo, but I’m about 170 pages into the book now and it’s starting to come together. There are many more drafts to come, of course, but I’m hoping to make it through to the end of the novel before Christmas. I’ve also just premiered a new Christmas play, “THE ELF ON A SHELF MUST DIE” which is a dark comedic adaptation of Pupl Fiction – (two boys accidentally murder their elf of a shelf and have to find a way to dispose of its body before Santa discovers it’s missing.)

2. You write plays as well, how different was it to writing your book The Seven Torments of Craig and Amy from a play?

There are Sooo many differences between writing a play and writing a novel. For starters, there’s length. The play version of the book weighs in at about 12,000 words, where the novel is just over 70,000. So it feels so much bigger. Mostly, though, a play is meant to be performed, so you’re essentially writing a blueprint for a performance by real people. You don’t need to describe what the characters look like, or even what the scenery looks like. In the book, one character is described as very blonde, but a dark-haired actress played her in the play. In real life, you’re using the people who show up to be in the show, so you can’t have any pre-conceived notions of what the characters look like even when you’re writing it. It’s a very different process in a novel – you have to imagine and picture everything.

3. What are you currently reading?

I just finished THE GOLDEN COMPASS – I know, I’m an extreme latecomer to this series! Next up, I’m reading BINTI, by Nnedi Okorafor and ALWAYS NEVER YOURS, a debut title from Austin Siegumund-Broka and Emily Wibberley. One of the great joys of this author journey has been the chance to read so many books of writers who are new to publishing this year.

Follow Don: Twitter * Facebook * Blog


 

Maxine Kaplan

 

1. What have you been up to since last we checked in?

What I have been up to since we last checked in is mainly worrying about things I can’t control 🙂 This is because, in so far as what I can do, THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL is done! No more copy edits, no more changes–it is in the can…the terrifying, final can. So what I’ve been working on instead is my next project, a YA fantasy that hopefully subverts the genre tropes of the tavern wench and the wicked queen. The first draft of that is done, so I’ve been working on making it what I call “less awful” before sending it to my wonderful agent Ali for her notes. I’m also starting to coalesce my pitch for the companion to BAD GIRL. And just livin’ life, man. Reading the news and railing about it.

2. Your book The Accidental Bad Girl got a new cover and it’s gorgeous. Did you have any input on it?

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Thank you so much! I think it’s great, too. The overall design change was done without my input, but I’m thrilled with it. But generally Abrams has been great about letting me contribute my two cents. The full jacket (stay tuned!) has these doodles all over the back and the flap, and my editor Maggie was awesome about letting me come up with the ideas for them. They’re a bunch of little Easter eggs for the mystery in the book. That was a lot of fun.

 3. What are you currently reading? 

I have been reading so many good 2018 debuts! Readers next years are in for a serious treat if they seek out the work coming out of the Electrics. I just finished OUT OF THE BLUE by Sophie Cameron, which is beautiful. And I finally have had the emotional wherewithal to crack open HRC’s WHAT HAPPENED. My love for her continues unabated.

Follow Maxine: Blog * Twitter


 

Until Part 2 of the next December Pre-Pub Adventure!

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Rosemarked Review

  • Series: Rosemarked
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (November 7, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 1484788559

 

A healer who cannot be healed . . .
When Zivah falls prey to the deadly rose plague, she knows it’s only a matter of time before she fully succumbs. Now she’s destined to live her last days in isolation, cut off from her people and unable to practice her art-until a threat to her village creates a need that only she can fill.
A soldier shattered by war . . .
Broken by torture at the hands of the Amparan Empire, Dineas thirsts for revenge against his captors. Now escaped and reunited with his tribe, he’ll do anything to free them from Amparan rule-even if it means undertaking a plan that risks not only his life but his very self.
Thrust together on a high-stakes mission to spy on the capital, the two couldn’t be more different: Zivah, deeply committed to her vow of healing, and Dineas, yearning for vengeance. But as they grow closer, they must find common ground to protect those they love. And amidst the constant fear of discovery, the two grapple with a mutual attraction that could break both of their carefully guarded hearts.
This smart, sweeping fantasy with a political edge and a slow-burning romance will capture fans of The Lumatere Chronicles and An Ember in the Ashes.

Order here


 

I LOVE FANTASY. Books, movies, comics, manga…

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Anytime I can get my hands on a new fantasy book I’m excited. Rosemarked didn’t let me down.

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Zivah is a healer but soon becomes infected with the Rose Plague.  There is no known cure and most who contract the infection die, become forever plagued and infectious or on the rare occasion come out free from the Rose plague and immune, called Umbertouched. Zivah is forever Rosemarked and must stay in isolation away from her family and village. Dineas was tortured by the Amparan Empire but escaped to reunite with his tribe. He had the Rose plague and survived as one of the few Umbertouched. Together they both infiltrate the Amparan Empire as spies to help save their people.

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This was a great political fantasy. The chapters alternate from Zivah and Dineas point of view and I loved getting inside their heads. It becomes really interesting when Dineas memories are taken away by Zivah. The tension Zivah feels with the Dineas with memories and without creates great drama because she likes one more than the other. And to watch Dineas struggle with his thoughts regarding his mission and Zivah with and without memories is intriguing.

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The descriptions were vivid and I felt like I was right there with Dineas and Zivah’s on their secret quest. I couldn’t turn the page fast enough to see what happens next. This was a great start to a new fantasy series. I definitely will pick up the next book because I’m invested in these characters.

Should you read it? Yes! An engaging fantasy with interesting characters and an action packed plot.

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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter Review

 

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (October 17, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 1524700487

 The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian meets Jane the Virgin in this poignant but often laugh-out-loud funny contemporary YA about losing a sister and finding yourself amid the pressures, expectations, and stereotypes of growing up in a Mexican-American home.
 
Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.

But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role.

Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.

But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

Order here


 

Review:  Once I finished this book I knew it would go down as one of my 2017 favorite books.

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Julia, 15,  loses her sister Olga in a tragic accident. Olga was the model of a Mexican daughter, working and going to college. Julia was the opposite. After Olga’s death her family falls apart. Julia’s mother is now over protective and controlling of her. Her father works long hours and retreats into silence after Olga’s death.

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Julia suffers from depression after Olga’s death and I love how the books shows that and the road to recovery, especially with a quest to discover who Olga really was. The characters were relatable and felt realistic. Sanchez does a wonderful job at making the other supporting characters stand out like Amá and Apá. You want to root for them all.

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This is a wonderful book about Mexican culture, trying to hold onto tradition while exploring new changes, and learning truths about a person you thought you knew. I truly enjoy the diversity of the characters and cultures in this book. It was a refreshing read that was engaging and fast pace.

Should you read it?  Yes! A great book full of diverse characters and a spotlight on a wonderful culture. A refreshing read!

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About the author:

Erika L. Sánchez  Erika L. Sánchez is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. A poet, essayist, and fiction writer, she is the author of a young adult novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2017), which was recently longlisted for the National Book Award, and the poetry collection, Lessons on Expulsion (Graywolf, 2017). Her nonfiction has been published in Al Jazeera, Cosmopolitan, ESPN.com, the Guardian, NBC News, Rolling Stone, Salon, and elsewhere. She has received a CantoMundo Fellowship, a Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize, a Fulbright Scholarship to Madrid, Spain, and a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. She is a 2017-2019 Princeton Arts Fellow.


The Suffering Tree Review

 

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (June 13, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 1484726596

 

Tori Burns and her family left D.C. for claustrophobic Chaptico, Maryland, after suddenly inheriting a house under mysterious circumstances. That inheritance puts her at odds with the entire town, especially Jesse Slaughter and his family-it’s their generations-old land the Burns have “stolen.” As the suspicious looks and muttered accusations of her neighbors build, so does the pressure inside her, and Tori returns to the pattern of self-harm that landed her in a hospital back in D.C. It all comes to a head one night when, to Tori’s shock, she witnesses a young man claw his way out of a grave under the gnarled oak in her new backyard.

Nathaniel Bishop may not understand what brought him back, but it’s clear to Tori that he hates the Slaughters for what they did to him centuries ago. Wary yet drawn to him by a shared sense of loss, she gives him shelter. But in the wake of his arrival comes a string of troubling events-including the disappearance of Jesse Slaughter’s cousin-that seem to point back to Nathaniel.

As Tori digs for the truth-and slowly begins to fall for Nathaniel-she uncovers something much darker in the tangled branches of the Slaughter family tree. In order to break the curse that binds Nathaniel there and discover the true nature of her inheritance, Tori must unravel the Slaughter family’s oldest and most guarded secrets. But the Slaughters want to keep them buried at any cost.

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Review:  This book was a surprise treat. A dark story with a dark ghost mystery.

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Tori and her family inherit a house and the secrets that come with it. One night Nathaniel emerges from a grave under a tree thrusting Tori into an adventure of dark secrets and revealing truths. One peculiar thing to note is that Nathaniel is bound to the tree and must seek revenge!

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This book was a great read with mystery and magic delving into slavery and witchcraft. There was a connection between Tori and Nathaniel that was fun to read. You rooted for them all way and even after the story ends. It does jump from 3 different POV in different time periods and a dreamscape, that kind of confused me but you get use to it. It doesn’t hinder the book but I did like Nathaniel’s POV the best.

Should you read this? Depends on the reader.  It was a great mystery but there was graphic descriptive scenes of self-harm, cutting, in the book that’s not for the faint of heart. This surprised me because I didn’t expect it and there was no warning on the description of the book. So, if that thing bothers you I recommend skipping the book. If not it is an enjoyable read.

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Little Monsters Review

 

 

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press (July 25, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 0553521497

 

For fans of Pretty Little Liars, Little Monsters is a new psychological thriller, from the author of The Darkest Corners, about appearances versus reality and the power of manipulation amongst teenage girls.

   Kacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.
Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them.
Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.
But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all—especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers.
Kacey is about to learn some very important lessons: Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes when you’re the new girl, you shouldn’t trust anyone.

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Review:

Kacey is the new girl to Broken falls. With a new family and friends, Bailey and Jade, this is her time to start over. But when everyone becomes distant and Bailey disappears things aren’t starting to look good for Kacey.

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The story captured my interest from the first page with a chilling plot. The mystery of Bailey’s disappearance drives the reader to want to know what happened to her and who was the villain.

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Thomas does a wonderful job at keeping the pace flowing and the speculating on who did it constant. I liked that Kacey was the main POV but Thomas threw in excerpts from Bailey’s diary, which helped shed the conflict and deepen the mystery.

I felt immersed in Kacey’s life and that of the other teenage girls.  There was a lot of cussing that slowed the reading down a bit. Now I’m not prude but it just seemed like too much for a YA book.

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Should you read it? Yes, a great mystery that with each turn of the page needs to be solved.

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About the Author:

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Kara is the author of the critically acclaimed THE DARKEST CORNERS. Her new book, LITTLE MONSTERS, is coming July 25th from Random House/Delacorte. She’s written for everything from her high school newspaper to Warner Brothers Television. You can find her on Long Island, bingeing on true crime podcasts and TV shows.