Tuesday, January 15, 2019

{Blog Tour} ANALIESE RISING by Brenda Drake—Guest Post + Giveaway

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Analiese Rising
by Brenda Drake


When a stranger gives Analiese Jordan a list of names before he dies, the last thing she expects to see is her own on it. Not. Cool. Her search for answers leads to the man’s grandson, Marek, who has dangerous secrets of his own. Both are determined to unlock the mystery of the list.

But the truth is deadly. Analiese is a descendant of the God of Death, known as a Riser, with the power to raise the dead and control them. Finding out she has hidden powers? Cool. Finding out she turns corpses into killers? No, thank you.

Now the trail plants her and Marek in the middle of a war between gods who apparently want to raise an army of the Risen, and Analiese must figure out how to save the world—from herself.

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Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
• Publisher: Entangled Teen
Add the book on Goodreads!
Purchase: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / TBDIndieBound

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by Brenda Drake

TOP TEN GODS AND GODDESSES
FROM ANALIESE RISING


There are several gods in Analiese Rising. Listing my top ten favorite gods and goddesses from the mythologies from around the world was difficult. There are so many that would make number one for me. So I decided to list them in the order of my favorites in the book, and here they are.

1.       Sidapa comes from Philipine mythology. He’s the god of death. In the novel, he doesn’t have his power anymore. He’s in love with the Bulan and sees him only during the full moon when the other god can come down to earth.

2.       Oyá is from African mythology. She’s an Orisha of winds, lightning, and violent storms, death, and rebirth. She’s a kick butt goddess, and she makes a grand entrance into the story.

3.       Lugh comes from the Irish mythology. He’s a trickster god. There’s hardly nothing he can’t do. He has so many powers and magical items. I decided to explore his more trickster side which was tons of fun to create.

4.       Thor aka Bjorn—do I need to tell you about him? Okay, I will anyway. He’s the hammer-wielding Norse god who can control lightning and thunder. In my novel, he goes by one of his many aliases, Bjorn.

5.       Inanna, the ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, war, and political power, keeps Ares on his toes. She’s a strong goddess and doesn’t let others walk over her.

6.       Horus is a sky god in ancient Egyptian mythology. He’s associated with the falcon.

7.       Ares is the Greek god of war. He’s arrogant and an instigator.

8.       Bastet, the Egyptian goddess of protection, used to be worshipped as a lion form before becoming a cat.

9.       Pazuzu is the Babylonian demon god. He’s the demon that possessed the little girl in The Omen. I have to say it creeped me out writing him.

10.   Janus is the Roman god of beginnings, transitions, doorways and passages, endings, and time. In the novel, he protects the entrance into a creepy catacomb that Analiese and Marek must enter to search for a clue left behind by Marek’s grandfather.


There we have it, ten of my favorite gods and goddesses from Analiese Rising. Who are your favorites from the mythologies around the world?

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Brenda Drake grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. Her fondest memories growing up is of her eccentric, Irish grandmother's animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. With kids of all ages populating Brenda's world, it was only fitting that she would choose to write stories with a bend toward the fantastical for both younger readers and the young at heart. And because she married her prince charming, there's always a romance warming the pages. Her favorite books are The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, Kings Row by Henry Bellamann, and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. When she's not writing, she hosts workshops and contests for writers such as Pitch Wars and Pitch Madness on her blog, and holds Twitter pitch parties on the hashtag, #PitMad. In her free time, Brenda enjoys hanging out with her family, haunting libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or just reading someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).


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Continue on for the giveaway! ~

Sunday, January 13, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Heroine by Mindy McGinnis

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Title: Heroine
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 432
Pub Date: March 12, 2019
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books/Harpercollins
Book Source: publisher via edelweiss
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Synopsis: When a car crash sidelines Mickey just before softball season, she has to find a way to hold on to her spot as the catcher for a team expected to make a historic tournament run. Behind the plate is the only place she’s ever felt comfortable, and the painkillers she’s been prescribed can help her get there.

The pills do more than take away pain; they make her feel good.

With a new circle of friends—fellow injured athletes, others with just time to kill—Mickey finds peaceful acceptance, and people with whom words come easily, even if it is just the pills loosening her tongue.

But as the pressure to be Mickey Catalan heightens, her need increases, and it becomes less about pain and more about want, something that could send her spiraling out of control.
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*** POSSIBLE SPOILERS ***

When I wake up, all my friends are dead.
Mindy McGinnis is an auto-buy author for me, and this book is a prime example of why. She knows how to grip me from page one and keep me hooked 'til the very last page.

Heroine blew me away. The book opens up with a glimpse into the future of the story, but chapter one starts out with a terrible car accident. Mickey and her best friend (and softball teammate) are severely injured—Mickey, our MC, gets the worst of it. She ends up with three screws in her broken hip and laid up in bed two months before spring training. Mickey is frustrated and feels as if her best friend, Carolina, blames her for the wreck. Mickey struggles with her relationships at home as well, and she feels as if she has no control over her own life. Mickey quickly turns to the one thing that makes her feel better; makes her feel as if she can make it to spring training, and numbs the physical pain as well as the emotional—Oxy.

I'm a map of pain, needle pricks you could connect all over my skin...

I'm not taking Oxy because it makes me feel good.
I'm taking it for other people.
Mickey quickly realizes her prescription is not enough and seeks out other—illegal—sources. She slowly, but steadily, tumbles down the rabbit hole of addiction. She finds new people to hang around with, and although she feels as if they are her friends, like they understand her, they only seem to be around when there are drugs involved. In no time at all, Mickey moves from Oxy to heroine.

This story is just amazing. I haven't read a teen addiction story that really gripped me like this one did. Mindy McGinnis is a fucking genius. I bow down to her storytelling. It's a slow-burn, but it holds onto you like nothing else. I LOVE HER BOOKS. This book was no exception. Watching Mickey fall down further and further as she tried to get up was an emotional experience for me, and this is because it's something people go through every single day; it's a real thing. Addiction is a disease and it doesn't discriminate. I think Mindy did a wonderful job of presenting a true look into what addiction can be like; it isn't a decision someone makes. I love love love the insight in this book, and in Mickey's journey.

I also appreciated that the end wasn't really a happily-ever-after. I won't give away the details, but it is, again, a true portrayal of addiction. You don't go to a rehab center and get “cured”. It is a lifelong struggle/decision to never go back to your vice, and that is reflected in Heroine. Amazing storytelling!

Overall, this book was perfection. Mindy McGinnis really has done it again, but I'm honestly not surprised. She does contemporary so very well. This book has highs and lows, and it has feeling and intensity. It is an honest look into what addiction can look like from many angles, and how it can happen to almost anyone, even if you've never even thought to expect it. I loved the characters and found them to be multidimensional. The story kept me on my toes and wanting more. There is some sensitive content, obviously, but this is still an important book. I recommend it for all!
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Saturday, January 12, 2019

{Blog Tour} OUR YEAR OF MAYBE by Rachel Lynn Solomon—Guest Post + Giveaway

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Our Year of Maybe
by Rachel Lynn Solomon


Aspiring choreographer Sophie Orenstein would do anything for Peter Rosenthal-Porter, who’s been on the kidney transplant list as long as she’s known him. Peter, a gifted pianist, is everything to Sophie: best friend, musical collaborator, secret crush. When she learns she’s a match, donating a kidney is an easy, obvious choice. She can’t help wondering if after the transplant, he’ll love her back the way she’s always wanted.

But Peter’s life post-transplant isn’t what either of them expected. Though he once had feelings for Sophie too, he’s now drawn to Chase, the guitarist in a band that happens to be looking for a keyboardist. And while neglected parts of Sophie’s world are calling to her—dance opportunities, new friends, a sister and niece she barely knows—she longs for a now-distant Peter more than ever, growing increasingly bitter he doesn’t seem to feel the same connection.

Peter fears he’ll forever be indebted to her. Sophie isn’t sure who she is without him. Then one blurry, heartbreaking night twists their relationship into something neither of them recognizes, leading them to question their past, their future, and whether their friendship is even worth fighting for.
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Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA+
• Publisher: Simon Pulse, Simon & Schuster
• Pub Date: January 15, 2019
Add the book on Goodreads!
Purchase: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / TBDIndieBound

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by Rachel Lynn Solomon

MEET THE CHARACTERS FROM
OUR YEAR OF MAYBE


Thank you so much for having me, Sarah! OUR YEAR OF MAYBE is dual POV, so here’s some information about each character:

Sophie Orenstein

The basics
Red hair, freckles, kidney transplant scar below her navel
Jewish
Has a younger sister, Tabby, who has a 1-year-old daughter

Personality
Shy, quiet, and unsure of herself, except when she’s around Peter
Full of yearning, desperate to be loved

Loves
Her best friend, Peter. Everything else is secondary.
Dance—she wants to become a choreographer, but must first overcome her lack of confidence
Her younger sister, Tabby, though she’s never felt very close to her

Quotes

Peter at the piano has an intensity I’ve always admired. An electricity, like if I touched him in the middle of a Rufus Wainwright song, he’d burn my hand. Lower lip between his teeth, dark hair in his face, shoulder blades rolling beneath his T-shirt as he moves up and down the keys. I can never help imagining if he’ll ever touch me with the same kind of gentle desperation.


Deep in my bones I know that if Peter were healthy, if my kidneys had failed instead of his, he would. He’s just never had a chance to prove it like I have.

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Peter Rosenthal-Porter

The basics
Dark wild hair, dark eyes, lanky frame, and one scar that matches Sophie’s, starting beneath his navel and winding around his abdomen, and the ghost of a scar from a failed transplant when he was young
Jewish on his dad’s side
Only child, overprotective parents

Personality
Bookish, intellectual, anxious, indecisive
Curious about the world beyond his somewhat co-dependent friendship with Sophie

Loves
Playing piano, listening to music, reading
His pet chinchilla, Mark
Sophie, but maybe not in the same way she loves him. He’s having trouble figuring this out.

Quotes

That’s what they keep calling it. The “donor kidney.”
Sophie’s kidney, I mentally correct.
Part of Sophie, inside me.


My dad is reading the Hebrew, singing along. As best I can, I follow along with the English transliteration, but I don’t know the tunes of any of the prayers. I like the way they sound, and though all of this is foreign to me, it feels right more than anything. Jewish is what I am; I’m convinced of that now. I’m not half.

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Rachel Lynn Solomon lives, writes, and tap dances in Seattle, Washington. Once she helped set a Guinness World Record for the most natural redheads in one place. She's the author of You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone (out now from Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse), Our Year of Maybe (1/15/19), and Today Tonight Tomorrow (2020). A short story of hers will appear in the anthology It's a Whole Spiel (Penguin Random House/Knopf, fall 2019).






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Continue on for the giveaway! ~

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Cover Reveal ~ WHEN THE SKY FALLS by Scarlett St. Clair

PRESENTED BY XPRESSO BOOK TOURS
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When the Sky Falls
by Scarlett St. Clair


Anora Silby has reached an uneasy alliance with the Order—she will ferry souls into Spirit and help weaken Influence, a God of Chaos who grows in power. To do this, she must train and learn to summon the Adamantine Gates.

But Influence isn’t Anora’s only enemy. Valryn from all over the states begin to protest her freedom. Not to mention, Roth DuPont, the current head of the Order, is essentially holding her hostage.

Then a prominent Elite is found murdered, and all evidence points to the Eurydice.

Shy Savior knows Anora didn’t commit the crime, but proving her innocents becomes difficult when he discovers she’s been conspiring with death-speakers—an act that is considered treason by the Order. As he searches for the real murderer, Shy uncovers threads that lead him to truths that will change his—and Anora’s—world forever.

Alliances shift and a different kind of chaos ensues.

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Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
• Pub Date: TBA
Add the book on Goodreads!
Pre-order: Amazon / B&N / Kobo
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Scarlett St. Clair lives in Oklahoma with her husband. She has a Master’s degree in Library Science and Information Studies and spends a lot of time researching reincarnation, unsolved murders and Greek mythology–all of which made it into her debut novel, When Stars Come Out (Oct 2018).






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Thanks so much for stopping by! Happy Reading!

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