*Blog Tour + Excerpt* Vial of Tears by Cristin Bishara

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the VIAL OF TEARS by Cristin Bishara tour! Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

9780823446414Book Title: Vial of Tears

Author: Cristin Bishara

Publisher: Holiday House

Release date: October 5, 2021

Genres: Young Aduly, Fantasy, Mythology, Retellings


Two sisters become trapped in the underworld–and in the machinations of deities, shapeshifters, and ghouls–in this lush and dangerous Phoenician mythology-inspired fantasy.

Sixteen-year-old sisters Samira and Rima aren’t exactly living the dream. Instead, they live with their maddeningly unreliable mother in a rundown trailer in Michigan. Dad’s dead, money’s tight, and Mom disappears for days at a time. So when Sam’s grandfather wills her the family valuables–a cache of Lebanese antiquities–she’s desperate enough to try pawning them before Mom can.

But she shouldn’t. Because one is cursed, forbidden, the burial coin of a forgotten god. Disturbing it condemns her and Rima to the Phoenician underworld, a place of wicked cities, burning cedar forests, poisoned feasts of milk and lemons, and an endless, windless ocean.

Nothing is what it seems. No one is who they say. And down here, the night never ends.

To get home–and keep her sister safe–Sam will have to outwit beautiful shapeshifters, pose as a royal bride, sail the darkest sea… and maybe kill the god of death himself.


Order Today!

Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

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Author Information


Cristin Bashara RAW Images

Cristin grew up in a small Ohio town where she got her first library card at age three. She’s been reading and writing ever since. Before publishing Relativity, Cristin worked as a freelance business writer, authoring magazine articles, as well as copy for food catalogs, ads, websites, and tourist guides. She’s taught composition and creative writing, both at the college level and in community workshops. In her spare time, she loves to travel, attempt to learn Spanish and Arabic, and cook, especially her grandmother’s Lebanese recipes. Learn more about Cristin by following her on Instagram.

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

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About My Review…

I’m actually currently half way through reading VIAL OF TEARS, so I did not want to post a full review when I have not finished this amazing book yet. What I will say is that I am enjoying every word of this book! I love the sisterly bond between Sam and Rima; Sam will do everything to ensure her sister’s safety when she accidentally condemns them to the Phoenician underworld. She’s fierce and brave and does whatever she can to try to get her and Rima back to their home safely. The world building is just exquisite, and the writing is beautifully captivating. I was sucked into this story from the first page. I definitely think VIAL OF TEARS is a contender for one of my favorite books this year. Once I finish reading this book, I will post a full review!

So far, things I love about VIAL OF TEARS, in no particular order:

  1. The bond between Sam and Rima
  2. How Sam refuses to be a damsel in distress and fights her own battles to get her and Rima home.
  3. The mythology is beautifully captured and one of my favorite parts of this story!
  4. The lush writing that brings this story to life

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Karm El Mohr, Syria ( modern- day Lebanon), 1903

In the night his mother disappeared, the boy had tiptoed to her room to ask for a glass of water.

The moon shone through the windows, casting a glowing walk-way across the floor. The air was fragrant with blossoming orange trees. He would tell her that he couldn’t sleep, that lately his dreams had been strange. Had hers been, too?

It was an uncertain time. The Turks had been coming without warning. They galloped through the village taking whatever they wanted— livestock, clothing, jewelry, young men for their army. In his dreams, they rode dragons instead of horses.

He nudged her bedroom door open. Father was not yet home; he was drinking arak and playing backgammon next door at Aami Hanna’s.

Mother stood in the center of the bedroom in her nightgown. Her hair was down, long tangles of black. In her arms she cradled a jug—

the one she’d found yesterday while exploring the mountain caves.

Over the years, she’d come home with other treasures: a metal spear, the jawbone of a lion, a clay seal, glass beads. Truly, though, she told her son, the most precious thing she found was a bit of solitude.

“Mother,” he whispered. Was she asleep with her eyes open?

Behind her, the moonlight glistened on a spiderweb, a hexagon of silken threads. “Shoo saar? Shoo aam b’seer?”  What happened? What  is  happening?

She tilted her head as if she’d heard something beyond his voice.

Perhaps it was an animal; wolves sometimes stalked the village at night. He, too, listened so intently that, for a moment, he thought he could hear the spider plucking its legs along the web, perfecting its trap.

He noticed she held something— small and round— between her fingers. “What do you have, immi?” he asked.

And then he saw something strange spreading before his mother’s bare feet: a dark pool, black smoke bubbling up from its center.


He tried to scream, but he could hardly breathe. Instead he stumbled backward, bumping into the half- open door, his heart pounding against his ribs. Why was there no burning odor, no heat from the smoke? The air was cold.

“Get back, Mother!” he managed to whisper desperately, shivering.

But she seemed oddly calm— trancelike— as she stood near the cusp of the widening pool, which began to swirl like a pot of soup stirred by an unseen ladle. The boy knew he should cry for help or pull her back, but now he himself was unable to turn away, unable to move.

What was it? What was in there?

What was at the bottom?

Long fingers, tendrils of smoke, beckoned him forward with a shushing noise like a mother soothing a child. Mesmerized, horrified, he stepped closer.

Something was materializing and rising up out of the churning pool. Some one.

A man.

“Give it to me,” the man hissed, shadowed in smoke.

His face was hidden by a beard, his cloak trimmed with fur. He spoke in a foreign tongue, with ancient words— but the boy understood. It was the language of his long- lost ancestors. It was in his blood.

But give  what? Perhaps he wanted the jug?

The man glanced at the boy before grabbing his mother by the wrist. Her face collapsed into an expression of pain. The jug fell with a thud.

“Let her go!” the boy begged, frozen.

“Mine,” the man said.

“She is not yours!”

His mother’s eyes snapped into focus. She finally looked at her son— finally saw him standing there— and her face dimmed with terror.

“Go,” she croaked. The ghostly man pulled her toward the pool, which was now a yawning black mouth consuming half of the room.

“You cannot take her!” the boy cried.

 “Habibi.”  His mother’s voice was nothing more than a thick moan.

“Bhebak aatool.”

He reached out to her, the tips of his fingers grazing her nightgown. His balance wavered at the edge of the spiraling chasm.

With a grunt of determination, she pushed the boy away with more strength than he’d known she had, sending him across the room.

He landed on his back, hitting his head on the doorframe. Helplessly, he watched as the man wrapped his cloak around his mother, envelop-ing all but her pale face. Outside, a cloud slid over the moon, turning the light ashen. His mother and the stranger stepped into the bubbling black vortex, which narrowed.

And disappeared.

A final sigh of smoke lingered briefly before it went out like a forgotten campfire.

All was quiet. The bedroom floor was as solid as ever.

But his mother was gone.

He whimpered and pulled himself across the room, lying flat across the spot where she’d been just moments ago. Under his cheek, the floor grew cold and wet with tears. Surely this was only another nightmare— his worst yet— but he could not wake himself up.

 I love you,  she’d said. Forever.

He picked up the jug and held it to his chest; he rocked back and forth and called for her. Outside the window, an owl responded with a forlorn  who- who.

When he finally stumbled next door, frantic and babbling, his father stubbed out his cigarette and cursed. “The Turks!” he cried.

He stood and knocked over the backgammon board, scattering pieces everywhere like a fistful of lost coins. “They kidnapped her!”

He tore through the village, his angry shouts waking children from their sleep. A few men mounted horses and went chasing shadows into the night, ready to slit the throats of her captors. Other than a pack of hyenas, they found nothing.

Secretly, no one held out hope. She was too beautiful. She had surely been taken as a bride. After a month, the village priest stopped praying for her return. After a year, no one spoke of it.

 “Bayye,”  the boy would say to his father, tugging on his pants in their grove of walnut trees. “It was not the Turks.”

He had told and retold his story, but the more he recounted what had truly happened, the less people listened. They patted his head, crossed themselves, and changed the subject.

“There is no such thing as a genie!” his father said finally. “Now stop your talk, once and for all. People are beginning to think you are akhwet. ”

But the boy knew what he had seen. He kept the jug hidden and close. He rubbed it every night, making the same unfulfilled wish—

 Please bring my mother home— until he was an old man ready to die.

Read VIAL OF TEARS to find out how the story continues!

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Blog Tour

Check out the other tour stops on this amazing tour!

Week One:


YA Books Central



A Bookish Dream



Rajiv’s Reviews



BookHounds YA



Sometimes Leelynn Reads



Books a Plenty Book Reviews






Emelie’s Books



A Court of Coffee and Books



FyreKatz Blog


Week Two:


Amani’s Honest Reviews






The Momma Spot



The Litt Librarian



The Bookwyrm’s Den






Dana’s Book Garden



two points of interedt






History from a Woman’s Perspective


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3 winners will win a finished copy of VIAL OF TEARS, US Only.

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There is nothing better than a great cup of coffee and an even better book.

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