Book Reviews, Bookish Features

[BLOG TOUR + Q&A + GIVEAWAY] The Demon Race by Alexandria Warwick

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Welcome to my stop on The Demon Race book tour! Thank you to Alexandria Warwick for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour stop!


ABOUT THE BOOK

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Title: THE DEMON RACE
Author: Alexandria Warwick
Pub. Date: September 18, 2018
Publisher: Wolf Publishing
Formats: Paperback, Kindle
Pages: 351
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon

A race across the desert.

An unimaginable prize.

It occurs once every thousand years: the Demon Race. A test of will and strength, it is a race across the Saraj, a fight for the prize of a lifetime. And it is the key to Namali Hafshar’s freedom.

When shy, seventeen-year-old Namali learns of her arranged marriage, she flees home and enters the Demon Race for the chance to change her fate. But to compete, she must cross the Saraj on a daeva, a shadow demon that desires its own reward: to infect her soul with darkness.

Namali soon learns the desert holds more dangers than meets the eye. The only person she can trust is Sameen, a kind competitor seeking his own destiny. As her affection for him grows, however, so too does the darkness in her heart.

In this race of men and demons, only one can win. But the price of winning might be more than Namali is willing to pay.


REVIEW

It’s called the Demon Race, and it does only take place every one thousand years. People enter because the prize is worth the risk of crossing the Saraj.

Namali is entrapped in an arranged marriage her father concocted. Upon this realization (and much sooner than anticipated), Namali is left with no choice but to join the Demon Race. Giving up her most prized possession and friend, she barters with a merchant to buy the necessities to enter the race.

She would enter the Demon Race. She would win. And she would wish this marriage away.

She soon discovers that things aren’t as easy as they seem, and are in fact, way more dangerous, but it is entirely worth the prize of freedom. Understanding that she will have to ride a demon across the Saraj, she quickly realizes that her soul may also be at stake. Can she win the race without giving herself up in the process?

And the prize?…What do you get if you win?

“The deepest, most hidden desire of your heart…A wish”

I love that this was a standalone novel. Nowadays, we see everything turned into a series, and this was a refreshing change. Not only that, but the idea was so unique and so unalike anything we have seen before. The reader gets a taste of romance, but it is not overpowering (thank you!). As we read, we see Namali grow as a character, and the messages were those we all should follow and strive for. This was a fast-paced, learning, and unique read that everyone should read!

★★★


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Alexandria Warwick is the #1 fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender. The Demon Race is her first novel.

 

 

Follow Alexandria:
Website | Instagram


Q & A

Q: When did you first get the idea for The Demon Race and what was your inspiration for this novel?

A: I actually remember the moment pretty clearly. It was 2015 and I was in my last semester of university, sitting in one of my ecology classes and brainstorming, when I started thinking of the movie Hidalgo. That was the initial inspiration–a race across the desert. I’ve always been drawn to competitions because it’s an automatic high-stakes story, and I loved how the terrain would add additional obstacles for the characters.

 

Q: Did THE DEMON RACE have a certain soundtrack you listened to while writing?

A: The soundtrack to the video game Journey by Austin Wintory really helped me picture the setting of the Saraj. It’s very eerie. It made me think of solitude and desolation, and I feel that the harmonies he used (a lot of dissonance) were a good reflection of how Namali felt traveling alone through the desert.

 

Q: What is your dream cast for THE DEMON RACE?

A: Namali would be cast by Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani. In the novel, Namali does not believe herself to be beautiful, but I imagined her to have striking features as Golshifteh does. Sameen would be cast by Palestinian actor Mousa Kraish, whose features are rather boyish and open. And finally the merchant would be cast by Iranian-American actor Pej Vahdat. I always imagined the merchant to have sharper features, so Pej would portray him beautifully.

 

Q: What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?

A: Hmm. This took me a while to think about because I wrote the story so long ago. I would probably say the greatest challenge was believing in the story. So many people said no to The Demon Race, and it did take a toll on my self-esteem as a writer after a while. There came a time when I began to doubt my writing abilities, my abilities as a storyteller, because the story I wrote was not the story publishing was looking for. But even when I trunked the novel, I knew I couldn’t let it stay there. So I decided to say yes to myself, to this story, and give it a chance at being read by people who would hopefully understand Namali the way I did.

 

Q: What writers inspire you?

A: This is a great question! I find that different writers inspire me for different reasons. When it comes to the types of stories I write, about young women finding their own path and learning their strengths, Tamora Pierce, hands down. She was the reason I wanted to become a writer. When it comes to navigating the indie world of publishing, Elise Kova, as she managed to build her own success. In terms of writing craft, Marie Rutkowski (her prose kills me) and Maggie Stiefvater. And if we’re talking about writing characters and character relationships that are painfully slow to develop but are wrought with tension, well, that would be none other than C.S. Pacat!


GIVEAWAY

ENTER HERE


 

Book Reviews, Bookish Features

[BLOG TOUR + Q&A] The Raging Ones by Krista & Becca Ritchie

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Welcome to my stop on The Raging Ones book tour! Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour stop!


ABOUT THE BOOK

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Title: THE RAGING ONES (The Raging Ones, #1)
Author: Krista & Becca Ritchie
Pub. Date: August 14, 2018
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Formats: Hardcover
Pages: 352
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NTBD

In Altia, everyone knows the day they’re going to die from the moment they’re born. But what happens when that day passes and you’re still alive?

THE RAGING ONES (Wednesday Books; August 14, 2018), a YA debut for bestselling authors (and twin sisters) Krista and Becca Ritchie plunges head-first into a sci-fi romance that will keep you guessing until the last page.
THE RAGING ONES follows three teens who should have died young: Franny Bluefort, a young orphan who lived fast and hard, only to wake up the next morning after her death day in the cold, unforgiving city streets; Mykal Kickfall, who was meant to die at 8 but instead was forced to flee his rugged home to avoid questions of his survival; and Court Icefort, the mysterious boy who acts like an Influential, but has a terrible secret. And, for some inexplicable reason, they can feel each other’s emotions as if they were their own.

With the threat of people learning the teens have dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet, Saltare-3, to survive. Who knows what will happen if people suddenly think they might be able to escape death? But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people who are far smarter, will live longer, and will never fear death the way that they do.

The Ritchie sisters have already amassed a large following for their steamy romances, infusing their young adult novel with romantic tension and displaying a new talent for excellent world building. Full of action and adventure, THE RAGING ONES is part space odyssey and part coming of age story with three teens trying to escape their difficult pasts.

“A potently addictive blend of romance, fantasy, and science fiction full of unexpected twists.”
— Kirkus Reviews, STARRED Review
“…a heartfelt, high-octane saga with gripping twists that will leave readers hungering for more.”
— Booklist Online


REVIEW

I’m not special because I’m dying. Everyone dies, and everyone knows when.

In a world where everyone knows the day they will die, we follow three teenagers on a journey to defy all odds.

I found it a little funny that the countdown to death hovered above the peoples’ heads for everyone to see. This reminds me of the video for “Remind Me” by Nickelback if anyone has seen that (and you’re old like me)?

I feel them. For the first time, I realize they’ve been my strength, my hope, and they can be my peace. I just have to let them help me.

Franny, Court, and Mykal have a grave secret. By sharing this secret, they become close friends, willing to die for one another. Instead of living a life hidden from the rest of the world, they decide to embark on a journey called the Saga 5 Mission. Five lucky Influentials will be launched into space to convey peace between the other planets. However, Franny, Court, and Mykal aren’t your typical Influentials. Competing against a thousand other applicants, will they make it abroad the ship and leave all of their worries behind?

It means my life. If I fail, I could die. Altia Law: people caught passing as Influentials will be sent to Vorkter Prison until their deathdays arrive.

But Court has a secret. Will Franny and Mykal ever find out the truth behind his past? If they do, does that also put them into danger? 

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! It was fast-paced, action-packed, and sucked the reader into the plot. There were a couple unexpected twists and there was never a dull moment!  My only complaint is I’m still slightly confused by the love triangle, but I’m excited to see how that develops in the next novel. I honestly have been waiting to be able to give a 5-star rating to something again for a while now, and this novel more than deserved it! Having never read a book by the twins before, this was a great experience, especially since their previous novels were of a different genre entirely. By their answers from the Q&A, it was nice to have a picture of who they describe the characters, as well as, a playlist to go along with the novel while reading!

★★★


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Krista & Becca Ritchie_Author PhotoKrista & Becca Ritchie are New York Times Bestselling Authors and identical twins, one a science nerd, the other a comic book geek. With their shared passion for writing, they combined their mental powers as kids and have never stopped telling stories. Graduates from
the University of Georgia in Biology and English & Journalism, the twin writing duo now lives in Atlanta. The Raging Ones is their first young adult novel.

Follow Krista & Becca:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads


Q & A

Q: Working with another author is hard, let alone WITH YOUR TWIN, what was working together like and how did you address differing opinions on the work? What are your favorite and least favorite things about writing with each other?

A: We’ve been writing together since high school, so we’ve been able to really fine-tune our process. Being sisters seems like we’d bicker a ton, but we find our bond a huge strength. We understand each other’s vision and welcome varying opinions and ideas. We always describe what we have as a mini “writer’s room” where we constantly bounce thoughts off one another and try to improve our work. When we have different opinions, it kick-starts discussions, which often ignites better stories. Our favorite part of working together is definitely collaborating. We value our time together and our discussions surrounding our projects. Always having someone equally passionate and invested in the book fuels our love of writing. Least favorite part: honestly, there aren’t a lot of negatives! Maybe our three-minute silent treatments when we’re frustrated, and then we make up almost immediately.

 

Q: When did you first get idea for The Raging Ones? What was your inspiration for this book?

A: Back in college, one of us (Krista) had this concept about a world where everyone knows the die they’ll die, but three teens don’t die on their deathday. We’re huge fans of science fiction and fantasy, and we’d written several Young Adult novels that never saw the light of day. But we wanted to write a new story together with new characters, and I jumped on board once she agreed to add a fantasy element. While writing THE RAGING ONES, we were really inspired by character-driven stories with science fiction backdrops. From movies like Interstellar to television shows like The 100.

 

Q: THE RAGING ONES is your first YA novel. What made you decide to move into the genre, and was the transition difficult? Was writing in a different genre/for a different age group hard? Was your process different?

A: Even though THE RAGING ONES is our first published YA novel, it isn’t the first one we’d written together. In our childhood, high school, and college, we mostly only wrote YA. The harder transition for us had been going from writing Young Adult fantasy novels to writing contemporary romance. In a lot of ways, THE RAGING ONES was like returning to something we’d started but hadn’t finished yet. We always attribute our romance books as the reason why we’re better writers, and when we went back to this other genre, we realized how much more we could do and push ourselves. Our writing process is pretty much identical across the map for Young Adult and Adult.

 

Q: What is the weirdest thing you had to research for the novel?

A: Since THE RAGING ONES takes place on a frozen planet, we had to keep jumping down an Animal Planet rabbit hole. We paid close attention to the animals that could exist. It’s not too weird, but there were a lot of times we had to double-check each other and be like, “Cotton isn’t a fabric here” and “You can’t make them eat chicken. There are no chickens.”

 

Q: Did THE RAGING ONES have a certain soundtrack you listened to while writing?

A: Yes! We always listen to music while we’re writing, and we complied a public Spotify playlist for the book, which includes songs that were in our earbuds as we were typing. We love the dramatic scores from Gravity and Interstellar, but we always say “Keeping Your Head Up” by Birdy is the essence of the book.

THE RAGING ONES Spotify Playlist: https://spoti.fi/2AkHkXi

***I checked this out and I like a lot of the songs and it is really nice to listen to while reading the novel!***

 

Q: What is your dream cast for THE RAGING ONES?

A: We love dream casting our books and making Pinterest boards! For THE RAGING ONES, we can imagine Lyrica Okano as Franny Bluecastle, Henry Zaga as Court Icecastle, and Noah Teicher as Mykal Kickfall.

THE RAGING ONES Pinterest Board: https://www.pinterest.com/kbmritchie/the-raging-ones-series/

 

Q: What was your greatest challenge in writing this book? *My personal question*

A: Krista: One of the hardest parts was not revealing the end twist too soon. We didn’t want to give too much away, and we had to build the world around the idea that no one would see the twist coming. Which meant that the reader wouldn’t see it coming either.

Becca: Definitely what Krista said, and we went into THE RAGING ONES with a goal of making the characters the number one focus. We always hope that readers are invested in the characters first and foremost, and so we took a lot of time shaping these three characters into unique individuals, who we can only hope that readers will love, too.

 

Q: What writers inspire you? *My personal question*

A: Krista: Writers who juggle different genres and are hybrid really inspire me like Jennifer L. Armentrout and Wendy Higgins. On an indie romance level, I’m awed and inspired by so many; the list would be endless, too.

Becca: Like Krista, I’m inspired by so many authors. To name a couple of YA writers who have written books that still sit with me: Swati Avasthi and Lena Coakley.


 

Book Reviews, Bookish Features

[BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY] Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

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Welcome to my stop on the Grace and Fury book tour! Thank you to Rockstar Book Tours for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour stop!  I was really happy that there was going to be a blog tour on this novel because I received it in my June 2018 FairyLoot Box!


ABOUT THE BOOK

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Title: GRACE AND FURY
Author: Tracy Banghart
Pub. Date: July 31, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 320
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooksTBD

In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.

Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace–someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir’s eye, it’s Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.

Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.


REVIEW

Serina and Nomi Tessaro are sisters living in a world where men rule. Not many desirable options are available to women. And even those that are, are not entirely fulfilling. Ever since a young age, Serina was molded to become a Grace – the “perfect” companion to the Heir. However, younger sister Nomi is always up to no good. Serina is destined to pay the price for Nomi’s ignorance.

In a way, it is kind of funny that the roles are reversed, just in a more unpleasant way. The wrong move and either could die at any moment. The right moves could break them out of their prisons and save both their lives. Who can be trusted when deceit paints the walls all around them?

Listen, learn, and remember this one thing: Every rule you were ever taught in Viridia – about being quiest, modest, humble, weak – won’t help you here. Here, strength is the only currency.

The reason I preferred Nomi over Serina is because she spoke her mind. As Serina grows throughout the book, she starts to stand up for herself…kinda. She is just so passive and I find it annoying, even when she does try to stand up for herself. It’s just half-butted (sorry, not swearing…you get the point). On the otherhand, Nomi is quite annoying, as well. She has gotten so many people into trouble! Come on girl, I could tell who was going to betray you since the beginning!

Your ability to mask your true feelings, your true self, will be your greatest weapon.

For someone who has a hard time paying attention, I loved that the chapters were shorter and it alternating perspectives between Nomi and Serina every chapter. Also, it is nice to see a sibling connection of our protagonists. Generally, the protagonists don’t initially know each other and somehow end up banding together. We start with them intertwined in the story and the reader gets to understand the characters not only from their own perspectives, but with the knowledge they each know of each other.

We obviously knows there will be at least a second book in the series and I’m excited to see how things pan out. Also, I just really want to know what happens with Renzo. Poor guy. Haha!

In the back of my mind, it had a lot of similarities to The Selection. So, for those of you who liked the series, I think you would enjoy this. However, there is the added benefit of The Hunger Games-like fighting for your lives in a ring feel.

★★★★


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

TracyTracy Banghart grew up in rural Maryland and spent her summers on a remote island in northern Ontario. All of that isolation and lovely scenery gave her the time to read voraciously and the inspiration to write her own stories. Always a bit of a nomad, Tracy now travels the world Army-wife style with her husband, son, cat, and sweet pupper Scrabble. She wrote Grace and Fury while living in Hawaii.

Follow Scott:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY DETAILS

3 winners will receive a finished copy of GRACE AND FURY, US Only.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


FOLLOW THE TOUR

Week One:
7/23/2018 |Tea Party Princess
7/24/2018 |Paperback Princess
7/25/2018 |Confessions of a YA Reader
7/26/2018 |Book Dragon Lair
7/27/2018 |laura’s bookish corner

Week Two:
7/30/2018 |The Desert Bibliophile
7/31/2018 |Do You Dog-ear?
8/1/2018 |Synopses By Sarge
8/2/2018 |CoffeeCocktailsandBooks Blog
8/3/2018 |Kat’s Books

Week Three:
8/6/2018 |Feed Your Fiction Addiction
8/7/2018 |Portrait of a Book
8/8/2018 |To Be Read
8/9/2018 |Brooke- Reports
8/10/2018 |Cindy’s Love of Books

Week Four:
8/13/2018 |A Court of Coffee and Books
8/14/2018 |Smada’s Book Smack
8/15/2018 |The Young Folks 
8/16/2018 |Book-Keeping
8/17/2018 |A Gingerly Review