*Blog Tour + Giveaway* Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda & Valynne E. Maetani

BOOK COVER (1)

Title: Seven Deadly Shadows

Authors: Courtney Alameda & Valynne E. Maetani

Publisher: HarperCollins

Release Date: January 28th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Synopsis:

Kira Fujikawa has always been a girl on the fringe. Bullied by her peers and ignored by her parents, the only place Kira’s ever felt at home is at her grandfather’s Shinto shrine, where she trains to be a priestess.

But Kira’s life is shattered on the night her family’s shrine is attacked by a vicious band of yokai demons. With the help of Shiro—the shrine’s gorgeous half-fox, half-boy kitsune—Kira discovers that her shrine harbors an ancient artifact of great power . . . one the yokai and their demon lord, Shuten-doji, will use to bring down an everlasting darkness upon the world.

Unable to face the Shuten-doji and his minions on her own, Kira enlists the aid of seven ruthless shinigami—or death gods—to help stop the brutal destruction of humankind. But some of the death gods aren’t everything they initially seemed, nor as loyal to Kira’s cause as they first appeared.

With war drawing nearer by the day, Kira realizes that if this unlikely band of heroes is going to survive, they’re going to have to learn to work together, confront their demons, and rise as one to face an army of unimaginable evil.

IMG_2250

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Books 

Apple Books | Book Depository

sword 1

Author Information

Author - Courtney

A veteran bookseller and librarian, Courtney Alameda now spends her days writing thriller and horror novels for young people. Her debut novel, SHUTTER, was nominated for a Bram Stoker award and hailed as a “standout in the genre” by School Library Journal. Her forthcoming novel, PITCH DARK (Spring 2017), is a genre-blending science fiction/horror novel in the vein of Ridley Scott’s 1979 film ALIEN.

Courtney holds a B.A. in English literature with an emphasis in creative writing. She is represented by the talented John M. Cusick of Folio Literary. A Northern California native, she now resides in Utah with her husband, a legion of books, and a tiny five pound cat with a giant personality.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

sword 1

Author - Valynne

Valynne E. Maetani (pronounced Vuh-lin Mah-eh-tah-nee) grew up in Utah and obtained a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. In a former life, she was a project manager and developed educational software for children with learning disabilities. Currently, she is a full-time writer. She is a member of the We Need Diverse Books team and is dedicated to promoting diversity in children’s literature because every child should grow up believing his or her story deserves to be told. Her debut novel, Ink and Ashes, is the winner of the New Visions Award 2013, a Junior Library Guild 2015 selection, and Best Fiction Book in Salt Lake City Weekly’s Best of Utah Arts Award for 2015. She lives in Salt Lake City.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

sword 1

My Review

I am a girl surrounded by monsters and ghosts from an ancient world.”

I really enjoyed the Japanese folklore and how the authors used that history and mythology to create a truly compelling story. I could see how much research went into this book and that honestly made my heart soar because there’s times where I had to do some research on books that depict mythology. But I didn’t have to do that with Seven Deadly Shadows. The authors really went all out with this book and I loved that.

With that being said, the mythology in this book is exceptional. Each page, each character, is steeped in Japanese mythology. I learned so much about Japanese folklore and culture from this story – I was unfamiliar with just how many demons and death gods are in this mythology, but not anymore. These co-authors truly created a story with an immersive world and enthralling characters.

“‘I’m not ashamed of who I am….Not anymore.'”

Kira is an exceptional character. She’s wonderfully flawed and strong and brave. Her character development throughout the story is phenomenal; her growth isn’t all at once but over the course of this entire story. Kira is also deeply devoted to her family, which is why it’s so devastating when her family shrine is attacked. She will do anything for her family and anything to protect them, which is why she teams up with Shiro to help right the wrongs of this ancient world.

I liked Shiro as a character; he’s fun and brings a certain light to this dark tale. I did feel the romance was a tad bit too fast, but nonetheless, I thought both characters worked well together and added to the overall plot. Actually, all of the secondary characters made the story interesting and definitely helped with Kira’s character development. Each character played a role and it was done beautifully.

“I suppose even death looks beautiful, sometimes. But its beauty is a lie.”

The atmosphere of this book was amazing. There was never a point where the story and world felt too dark. But I did enjoy how, as the reader, I could feel when a demon was about to greet Kira and her friends. I liked how the authors added a slight darkness to those scenes. The overall writing of this story is beautiful. I couldn’t tell the difference between which author wrote what scene, and that is honestly brilliant. I love not knowing the authors’ writing styles (though I do try to figure them out), so Seven Deadly Shadows became an even more fun book to me.

If you’re a huge anime fan, then I think you will definitely enjoy this book. I haven’t watched anime in years (I need to fix that, for sure, after reading this book), but reading Seven Deadly Shadows reminded me of why I loved watching anime and reading manga. This book provided me with teen memories I haven’t reminisced about in years, and I loved that added touch because it made the story more personal to me.

“He disappears into the shadows, leaving me to wonder what a death god might fear.”

All in all, Seven Deadly Shadows was a fun read filled to the brim with Japanese mythology and demons. If these two authors decide to write another book together, you best believe I will be buying it the day the book comes out.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

sword 1

Tour Schedule

Check out the amazing bloggers on this book tour!

Seven Deadly Shadows

sword 1

Giveaway

Grand Prize PictureGrand Prize: Win a signed copy of SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS, a signed copy of Courtney Alameda’s SHUTTER, and a signed copy of Valynne Maetani’s INK AND ASHES; anime portraits of Kira and Shiro; a stuffed fox omamori charm from the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine in Japan; an origami fox hand-folded by Valynne Maetani; a yokai mini sticker sheet; and an assortment of Japanese Kit Kats (not pictured) [INT]

Second Prize: Win (1) of (2) A signed copy of SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS with anime portraits of Kira and Shiro (INT)

OPEN INTERNATIONALLY

Starts: 28th January 2020

Ends: 11th February 2020

maxresdefault

sword 1

Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club, for having us on this wonderful blog tour!

8974a-header2Bsml

*Blog Tour + Giveaway* Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

book cover

Title: Woven in Moonlight

Author: Isabel Ibañez

Publisher: Page Street Books

Release Date: January 7th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis:

A lush tapestry of magic, romance, and revolución, drawing inspiration from Bolivian politics and history.

Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight.

When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place.

She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princess, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge—and her Condesa.

IMG_2250

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Books 

Kobo

sword 1

Author Information

author

Isabel Ibañez was born in Boca Raton, Florida, and is the proud daughter of two Bolivian immigrants. A true word nerd, she received her degree in creative writing and has been a Pitch Wars mentor for three years. Isabel is an avid movie goer and loves hosting family and friends around the dinner table. She currently lives in Winter Park, Florida, with her husband, their adorable dog, and a serious collection of books. Say hi on social media at @IsabelWriter09.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

sword 1

My Review

Woven in Moonlight is one of the books I could easily fall in love with: enjoyable characters with strong development, incredible world building, and lush prose. It had all the elements I love in a fantasy novel. This book is truly a strong and masterful debut in the Young Adult fantasy genre.

“Words empowered by justice can never be silenced.”

Ximena is the decoy for the Queen, someone she easily sees as her sister. She understands how important her role is and what it means to protect the condesa from those that would wish to harm her. And when a Llacsan king demands the condesa’s hand in marriage, Ximena goes in her place, doing what she can to protect the condesa. But Ximena has plans of her own: plans that involve breaking this forced marriage and finding a path of her own, one that might possibly separate her from the condesa’s standin. Her courage and love for her people is inspiring, and it makes it difficult for any ready to not like her as a character. Yes, she has flaws (what character doesn’t?), but those flaws never overpower her true mission or her heart.

The world building in Woven in Moonlight is by far phenomenal and beautiful; the lush descriptions really make it easy to picture the world and the hardships many people face, including Ximena. This story is filled to the brim with storytelling and that dash of magic, I thought, really brought this story together nicely. I was, overall, very impressed with the layout and pace of this story – it’s not too slow, not too fast, and it builds tension (and a slow burn romance, might I add) really well, well enough to keep the reader on the edge of their seat.

“Rising tides can’t be held back, but they can be ridden.”

Ibañez has a way with her words. Her writing is powerful and lavish; she could turn even a truly dark scene into a scene that captures the beauty of the light. Her writing brought this world to life and gave the characters a strong and heartfelt voice, especially Ximena. It’s what made the story authentic and feel so real. Ibañez did an amazing job giving this novel (and the characters) a voice.

Woven in Moonlight is inspired by Bolivian culture and history and the current political situation; with all that said, this book beautifully captures that culture and historical background. I was really moved by this book and became deeply attached to some of the characters. I’m looking forward to reading Ibañez’s next work, as she has easily become an instant-buy author for me.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Tour Schedule

Check out the amazing bloggers that are part of this tour!

Woven in Moonlight

sword 1

Giveaway

PRIZE: Win a copy of WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT by Isabel Ibañez (US/CAN Only)

STARTS: 20th January 2020

ENDS: 3rd February 2020

maxresdefault

sword 1

Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club, for having us on this wonderful blog tour!

8974a-header2Bsml

*ARC Review* The Iron Will of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

TIWOGL

Title: The Iron Will of Genie Lo

Author: F.C. Yee

Publisher: Amulet Books

Release Date: January 14, 2020

Page Count: 304 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology

Summary:

The fate of the heavens is at stake in this hilarious and highly-anticipated sequel to the The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Rise of Kyoshi

Genie Lo thought she was busy last year, juggling her academic career with protecting the Bay Area from demons. But now, as the Heaven-appointed Guardian of California, she’s responsible for the well-being of all yaoguai and spirits on Earth. Even the ones who interrupt her long-weekend visit to a prestigious college, bearing terrible news about a cosmos-threatening force of destruction in a nearby alternate dimension.

The goddess Guanyin and Genie’s boyfriend, Quentin Sun Wukong, do their best to help, but it’s really the Jade Emperor who’s supposed to handle crises of this magnitude. Unfortunately for Genie and the rest of existence, he’s gone AWOL. Fed up with the Jade Emperor’s negligence, Genie spots an opportunity to change the system for the better by undertaking a quest that spans multiple planes of reality along with an adventuring party of quarrelsome Chinese gods. But when faced with true danger, Genie and her friends realize that what will save the universe this time isn’t strength, but sacrifice.

IMG_2250

sword 1

Purchase Links

AMAZON  |  BARNES & NOBLE

INDIE BOUND

sword 1

My Review

Hold it! This is a review of the sequel to the very amazing and kick-butt book, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo. This review may contain spoilers from the first book, so you have been warned if you choose to read on. You can check out my review of the first book here.

Thank you to Amulet Books and NetGalley for the e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

In 2017, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo was one of my favorite reads. I remember being so excited when I found out there would be a sequel. And let me tell you, the sequel did not disappoint. It was honestly one of the best sequels I have read. There’s action, back-and-forth character banter, and so much character growth; the characters (and the story) stay true to what the first book brought to the table.

In the sequel, Genie is not just dealing with the demons – protecting them and finding them a home. She’s also struggling with the idea of her senior year and what comes after: college. Genie knows her parents can’t afford the college she wants to go to, and that insight causes another strain with her parents, especially after the health scare with her mom. And then there’s the part where Genie and Quentin are at a stale part of their relationship and neither really knows how to move forward. All in all, Genie doesn’t really have it easy this year.

One of the reasons I loved this book and its predecessor is the witty and sarcastic banter between the characters, especially Genie and Quentin. It makes the story humorous and makes the characters feel real. Genie and Quentin have such a genuine and loving relationship and, ultimately, have each other’s backs through everything. In this book, they’re now dating, which easily becomes another struggle for Genie. She’s figuring out how to navigate their relationship and how exactly it will fit in her life; she wants Quentin in her life, but with almost every conversation between them ending in an argument, she doesn’t know how to get through the rough patches.

So, needless to say, Genie has a lot on her plate. And her plate starts to overflow when she tries to change the system the gods and goddesses have been following for centuries. Which pegs the ultimate question: will Genie be able to handle everything she’s gotten herself into? What I loved about this is that it really did make Genie feel like a real character. This book showcases her strengths and weaknesses and doesn’t hesitate to illustrate when Genie reaches her breaking point. She dealt with stress and defeat and her anxiety of the future, and I could relate to that on a high level because that’s exactly what it felt like for me when I was finishing high school. It was great to see that portrayal and it was executed in such a phenomenal way.

The writing and flow of this story is wonderful and just as captivating as the first book. There was never too much action, nor was there information overload, which I really appreciated. F.C. Yee has a way of bringing a story together with characters that fit so well and feel so real. He will continue to be an instant-buy author for me, and I cannot wait to see what his next work brings.

Overall, The Iron Will of Genie Lo is a wonderful sequel to the first book, one that is equally as good as its predecessor. Those who loved the first book will not be disappointed, and may, like me, end up liking the sequel more.

My rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 stars

nikole

*Blog Tour + Review* Oasis by Katya de Becerra

9781250124265_FC

Title: Oasis

Author: Katya de Becerra

Publisher: Imprint Macmillan

Release Date: January 7th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Synopsis:

The oasis saved them. But who will save them from the oasis?

Alif had exciting summer plans: working on her father’s archaeological dig site in the desert with four close friends . . . and a very cute research assistant. Then the sandstorm hit.

With their camp wiped away, Alif and the others find themselves lost on the sands, seemingly doomed . . . until they find the oasis. It has everything they need: food, water, shade—and mysterious ruins that hide a deadly secret. As reality begins to shift around them, they question what’s real and what’s a mirage.

The answers turn Alif and her friends against one another, and they begin to wonder if they’ve truly been saved. And while it was easy to walk into the oasis, it may be impossible to leave . . .

Katya de Becerra’s new supernatural thriller hides a mystery in plain sight, and will keep you guessing right up to its terrifying conclusion.

IMG_2250

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Books 

Apple Books | Kobo

sword 1

Author Information

author (12)

Katya de Becerra was born in Russia, studied in California, lived in Peru, and then stayed in Australia long enough to become a local. She was going to be an Egyptologist when she grew up, but instead she earned a PhD in Anthropology and now works as a university lecturer and a researcher. Katya is a short version of her real name, which is very long and gets mispronounced a lot. What The Woods Keep was her first novel (out now), which is followed by another standalone Oasis in 2020. She has also authored and co-authored academic articles, book chapters, guest posts and opinion pieces.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

sword 1

Tour Schedule

Check out the amazing bloggers that are part of this tour!

tour banner (4)

sword 1

My Review

Oasis is a story that will capture your attention and intrigue you; you’ll be sitting on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out the mysterious happenings that plaque this group of friends. Oasis provides nonstop tension with a touch of the supernatural. Katya’s first book, What the Woods Keep, was a favorite of mine last year, so you can imagine my excitement at the release of her second book. Which, I will say, did not disappoint. The idea of mixing science fiction with archaeology is a wonderful and unique idea. And with those two combined, Katya brought to the table a thrilling read.

When Alif and her friends join her dad on his architectural dig site, none of them expect there to be a sandstorm. None of them expect to end up so far away from the campsite that they lose their sense of direction. And none expect to find a beautiful, yet mysterious oasis in the middle of the desert. This intriguing oasis gives the group of friends a safe haven, with food and water and shade from the sun. But only a few of the friends question the surprising popup of this oasis, Alif included.

Alif and Tommy, the guy Alif likes, start to notice strange happenings while they stay at the oasis: delicious fruit and salivating water and beautiful sceneries are great, but something’s not right. But then strange things start to happen: they’re water supply gets poisoned and their rescue seems to never be able to find them, even when they’re in clear site. And there’s this mysterious, yet creepy cave that holds an unknown object that intrigues this group of friends. That’s when they all start to realize that something isn’t quite right with this oasis, that something dark and possibly sinister is taking place. And then tragedy hits this group of friends, which ends up binding them all together. But what that tragedy brings is their rescue and with it, a sense of change in their world and their minds. So, that then poses the question: What really happened at the oasis and was that sandstorm a fluke or a coincidence? And what, exactly, happened at the oasis?

When it comes to Katya’s writing, her writing is descriptive and provides that eerie creepy feeling she had in her first book. As the reader, I was questioning everything and trying to make sense of everything. I enjoyed how Katya de Becerra only released hints of the supernatural plot at certain times and not all at once. Her writing and story structure kept me intrigued and waiting for more.

As with the characters, I was hoping for more character development from the group of friends, as I didn’t feel a true connection with any of them. However, the experience of reading this story and seeing the effects it has on each person physically and mentally did prove for an enjoyable read. There were descriptive scenes with tension and betrayal, where friends were pitied against one another. And I enjoyed how Katya depicted how each experience effected each friend differently.

Overall, Oasis was an interesting and intriguing read with descriptive scenes that illustrated what supernatural traumas can do to the mind. I was pulled into the lush scenery and the mysterious oasis. This was an unique read and a great second book from Katya de Becerra, one that I would recommend to readers that are looking for their next archaeological supernatural read.

sword 1

Giveaway

Prize: Win finished copy of OASIS by Katya de Becerra (US Only)

Starts: January 1st 2020

Ends: January 15th 2020

maxresdefault

sword 1

Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club, for having us on this wonderful blog tour!

8974a-header2Bsml