Blog Tour: The Archer at Dawn

Blog Tour

The Archer at Dawn (The Tiger at Midnight Trilogy #2)

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: May 26th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, India, Cultural, Mythology
Synopsis:
The Sun Mela is many things: a call for peace, a cause for celebration, and, above all, a deadly competition. For Kunal and Esha, finally working together as rebel spies, it provides the perfect guise to infiltrate King Vardaan’s vicious court.
Kunal will return to his role as dedicated Senap soldier, at the Sun Mela to provide extra security for the palace during the peace summit for the divided nations of Jansa and Dharka. Meanwhile, Esha will use her new role as adviser to Prince Harun to keep a pulse on shifting political parties and seek out allies for their rebel cause. A radical plan is underfoot to rescue Jansa’s long-lost Princess Reha—the key to the stolen throne.
But amid the Mela games and glittering festivities, much more dangerous forces lie in wait. With the rebel Blades’ entry into Vardaan’s court, a match has been lit, and long-held secrets will force Kunal and Esha to reconsider their loyalties—to their country and to each other. Getting into the palace was the easy task; coming out together will be a battle for their lives.
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Giveaway info below:

Prize: Win a copy of THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT and THE ARCHER AT DAWN by Swati Teerdhala (US

Only)

Starts: 26th May 2020

Ends: 9th June 2020

Click here to enter.

Blog Tour: Below

Blog Tour

Below (North #1)

By Alexandria Warwick
Publisher: Wolf Publishing
Release Date: February 4th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Synopsis:
From the author of The Demon Race comes a YA dark fantasy series inspired by Inuit mythology.
In the heart of the frigid North, there lives a demon known as the Face Stealer. Eyes, nose, mouth—nothing and no one is safe. Once he returns to his lair, or wherever it is he dwells, no one ever sees those faces again.
When tragedy strikes, Apaay embarks on a perilous journey to find her sister’s face—yet becomes trapped in a labyrinth ruled by a sinister girl named Yuki. The girl offers Apaay a deal: find her sister’s face hidden within the labyrinth, and she will be set free. But the labyrinth, and those who inhabit it, is not as it seems. Especially Numiak: darkly beautiful, powerful, whose motives are not yet clear.
With time slipping, Apaay is determined to escape the deadly labyrinth with her sister’s face in hand. But in Yuki’s harsh world, Apaay will need all her strength to survive.
Yuki only plays the games she wins.
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Guest Post:

Inuit Mythology Facts

 

The following should not be construed as facts, but rather beliefs. There are variations of mythologies depending on the location (i.e. the Inuit who live in Greenland may have differing mythologies than those who live in Nunavut or Nunavik). Lastly, this is only information I found during my research. I’m not Inuit so please take my following research findings with a grain of salt.

 

  1. The Northern Lights are believed to be spirits of the dead. Some Inuit believe they are human spirits playing a game with a walrus skull. Others believe they could be walrus spirits playing with a human skull.
  2. The Ijiraat are shape-shifting demons that cannot disguise their red eyes.
  3. The ruler of the sea goes by a variety of names depending on region: Sedna, Nerrivik, Arnakuagsak, among others. She is the creator of all marine life.
  4. Speaking of marine life, the seals, whales, and walruses were born from Sedna’s fingers.
  5. Those known as the shadow people live in a world beyond our perception and are almost never seen.
  6. It is said a brother and sister were playing a game of kissing. The sister lit a piece of moss and ascended into the sky. The brother followed. The sister became the sun, and the brother, the moon.
  7. Some Inuit believe polar bears are more human than bear, and that they walk on their hind legs. Nanuq (“polar bear” in the Inuktitut language), they believe, is the great bear who determines how successful an Inuk will be when hunting a polar bear.
  8. Inuit myths and legends are preserved through oral traditions, as well as song and dance.
  9. There is a demon that tickles its victims to death! It is called Mahaha.
  10. Parents and elders tell these myths and stories to teach children lessons.

 

About the Author

Alexandria Warwick is the #1 fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender. She is the author of The Demon Race and the upcoming North series.

Author Social Media Links: 

GIVEAWAY

Prize #1: Win (1) signed paperback copy of BELOW by Alexandria Warwick (US Only)

Prize #2: Win (1) e-copy of BELOW by Alexandria Warwick (INT)

Starts: 29th January 2020

Ends: 12th February 2020

 

Click here to enter!

Tour Schedule Here.
Tour Organized By:
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Book Review: Lifestyles of Gods & Monsters

Book Reviews
*Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest, free review. All opinions are my own. *

 

Gods & Monsters Cover.jpg

 

Lifestyles of Gods & Monsters Review

By: Rae

 

 “My parents make me do it because the gods told them to…”

“Haven’t you noticed that the gods mostly tell people to do stuff they already want to do?”

– Emily Roberson, Lifestyles of Gods & Monsters

 

When Greek mythology meets reality TV things are bound to get interesting… and let me tell you, Roberson’s world was petty, hopeful, crushing, amusing, and risky.

 

The idea that royalty sells really is the ultimate summary of this book where sixteen year old Ariadne’s world gets flipped upside down when the gorgeous and mysterious Theseus arrives to compete in The Labyrinth Contest. The Minotaur remains undefeated – much to Ariadne’s relief – but the show’s ratings are dropping and “Daddy” is demanding something more to make Athens continue to pay for their crime. When the attraction between Athen’s prince Theseus and Ariadne is unable to remain hidden, Ariadne’s world falls to lies and heartbreak.  Her mother takes over her makeup, she is onscreen more than off, and she is told she has this important part to play to appease the gods. No pressure…

 

Will she help Theseus?

What will Ariadne sacrifice to get her desire – freedom?

Who is the villain?

The hero?

 

I adored the fact that this entire book was full of reality angst and played on the nitty gritty of sex, drugs, and money. There were strong hints of prostitution, drugs, alcoholism, animalistic… well you get the point. Either way I think Roberson did a great job of bringing these myths into a contemporary world. However, if you aren’t familiar with Ariadne, Theseus, and the minotaur, you may have some struggle with connecting to their reworked storylines. I love the side-eyes and nods to their antique parts and grinned at the crazy that is Greek mythology on the big screen.

 

It was fast, it played dirty, I had a love-hate relationship with 99% of the characters, and I was left wondering at what I really wanted for Ariadne, but overall, I give Lifestyles of Gods & Monsters a 4/5.

 

Lifestyles of Gods & Monsters is available today!

Check out my interview with Emily Roberson here.

 

Author Interview: Melissa Bashardoust

Author Interview

Meet Melissa Bashardoust.

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The Interview.

Hi Melissa! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.
From my bio (excuse the third person):
Melissa Bashardoust received her degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, where she rediscovered her love for creative writing, children’s literature, and fairy tales and their retellings. She currently lives in Southern California with a cat named Alice and more copies of Jane Eyre than she probably needs. Girls Made of Snow and Glass is her first novel. Her second novel, She Was and She Was Not: A Fairy Tale, will be released in spring 2020.

Author website: http://www.melissabashardoust.com

Prior to your rediscovery of writing, children’s literature, and fairy tales, had you been writing? Considering writing?
Definitely! I’ve been writing since childhood. I would always throw myself into creative writing assignments in school, and as a kid, I wrote stories that usually involved something supernatural, like witches or fairies or ghosts. I fell out of the habit a bit in high school apart from class assignments, but writing has always been a part of me, and so it was just waiting for me to come home to it again.
Was there a line in either of your novels that you really wanted to have but ultimately had to cut? If not, what is one of your favorite lines from either novel?
I actually think everything I’ve cut was cut for a good reason, so I’d love to share a favorite line from my upcoming novel, She Was and She Was Not:
“She had read enough stories to know that the princess and the monster were never the same. She had been alone long enough to know which one she was.”
What is it about that Jane Eyre that requires “more copies” than you probably need?
Since Jane Eyre has been around for so long, there are SO many beautiful copies that I sometimes can’t help myself from acquiring no matter how many I already have. I read Jane Eyre because it was assigned in high school, but it ended up becoming my absolute favorite book. I was captivated with it from the beginning and found the entire experience to be an amazing emotional rollercoaster.

I love the gothic drama of it all, but it’s Jane herself—her resilience and inner strength, her journey of learning to love and respect herself, her struggle to find the balance between her emotions and her conscience, and to find companionship while maintaining her independence and individuality—that resonates the most with me, no matter how many years pass. I still find wisdom in Jane Eyre that applies at different times of my life, and so I feel like I can never have too many copies!
Do you have any writing quirks that amuse or annoy you?
I love that moment while writing when you’re trying to figure out if something is physically possible, or how to describe a certain movement just right, so you find yourself acting it out in front of your laptop while hoping that no one walks by at that moment to see you swinging your arms around like a fool.
Tell us about your experience from writing to publishing, Girls Made of Snow and Glass.
When I started writing Girls Made of Snow and Glass, I had just set aside a different novel that I had unsuccessfully queried for a while. I was actually working on something else when the idea for a Snow White retelling came to me, and so at first, I thought of Girls Made of Snow and Glass as just a potential future project to come back to one day—but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to write it, so I gave in and let it take over my brain full time.

The first draft was very different from what it ended up becoming—I hadn’t realized I wanted to do alternating POVs yet, and the magical elements were very minor, among other things—but a few drafts later, I began the querying process. As I’m sure any writer will tell you, there are a lot of ups and downs while querying, so I was thrilled when my agent, Meredith Kaffel Simonoff, offered to represent me—when we spoke on the phone, I knew she understood what I wanted this novel to be.

After some more revision, we went out on submission to different editors, including Sarah Barley at Flatiron, where I found my publishing home. I’ve learned so much since I first started drafting this novel, not just about writing and plotting, but also about patience and resilience.
What of Persian/Zoroastrian mythology inspired you for your upcoming novel, She Was and She Was Not: A Fairy Tale?
I had been wanting to write something related to Sleeping Beauty and was trying to figure out what kind of world I wanted to set this story in. I had played around with the idea of contemporary settings, but having recently read a little about Persian myth and the Shahnameh (a Persian epic about kings both real and mythical), I kept thinking about what a Sleeping Beauty story set in Ancient Persia might look like. In particular, there’s already this dichotomy of “good” and “bad” supernatural creatures that seemed to fit with the benevolent and malevolent fairies at the beginning of Sleeping Beauty. That was the spark of She Was and She Was Not, and over time, I found other ways to weave together Sleeping Beauty and figures from Persian myth, including a demon king, a pari (the Persian equivalent of a fairy), and a mythical bird called the simorgh.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?
I’m so grateful to everyone who’s read and reviewed and shared Girls Made of Snow and Glass, and I’m excited to set She Was and She Was Not loose on the world in 2020!

 

Author Interview: Swati Teerdhala

Author Interview

Meet Swati Teerdhala.

 

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Hi Swati! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Swati Teerdhala is a storyteller and writer. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a B.S. in Finance and History, she tumbled into the marketing side of the technology industry. She’s passionate about many things, including how to make a proper cup of chai, the right ratio of curd-to-crust in a lemon tart, and diverse representation in the stories we tell. She currently lives in New York City.

Social Media Links:
Twitter
Instagram

The Interview.

 

Have you gone on any literary pilgrimages or writing trips?

Not yet! I would love to go on a writers’ retreat and am actually trying to plan one right now, so fingers crossed!

 

What inspired Esha’s assassin name in The Tiger at Midnight?

Esha’s rebel name in the book is the Viper, which was based on the two whips she uses for weapons, like the forked tongue of a snake.

 

“Drawing inspiration from ancient Indian history and Hindu mythology…” yes, please! What aspects first got you brainstorming about a possible novel?

A lot of The Tiger at Midnight’s world was drawn from the mythological stories I grew up with like the story of how the Ganga River was brought down to the earth and the tales of Garuda and the Naga (snake) king. As I was building out Kunal and Esha’s story, it felt natural to ground their world in those stories of my childhood.

 

Do you know you would have a three book series as you began writing or did it come as surprise?

I didn’t know! I certainly hoped it would be. Once I had my first draft of the book done, I could tell the story was going to be large. It demanded a series, but I only fully solidified the number of books when I went on submission.

 

What to you is an “unforgivable” choice?

I think it’s a choice that, on the surface, looks like you’re abandoning your country, family, or duty. And those are the kinds of choices that Kunal and Esha end up facing in the book.

 

Did any of your characters fight you while writing? Meaning did you want them to do something only to have them act in a completely different way?

Ah, Esha! She’s got a mind of her own. But I wouldn’t say any of them fought, per se. They just showed me that the path I had written for them wasn’t the right one. I firmly believe story comes from character, so those tough moments only helped me find the right story.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

I wanted to write a story that celebrated my Indian heritage and tackled the issue of finding your own path, even when there’s familial or community pressure, something that I think is really common for second-generation immigrant kids in America. That’s a huge part of what both Kunal and Esha deal with during this book—their duty to themselves vs. others. Esha and Kunal both struggle with this idea in very different ways. I hope that readers are able to read this book and understand that better.

Thank you Swati for stopping by Bookish Looks!

The Tiger at Midnight is available now!

ARC Review: Outrun The Wind

Book Reviews
*** Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for a free, honest review. All opinions are my own. ***

 

“… I was: a girl fighting for survival on the streets. I could belong somewhere. I could be someone.” Elizabeth Tammi, Outrun The Wind

Outrun the Wind Cover

Outrun The Wind Review

By: Rae

 

The race is declared. The prize is listed. The crowd roars with greed, anticipation, hunger. Who will win the hand of legendary huntress Atalanta and how did she get in such a predicament?

Outrun the Wind is told in the dual prospective of two strong heroines – Atalanta and Kahina. Kahina is a huntress of the Greek goddess Artemis and has only two rules she must obey: never disobey the goddess and never fall in love. Already struggling to fit in with the other huntresses, Kahina breaks the first rule of Artemis to save a legendary huntress named Atalanta from a raging boar. How will Artemis react? What will Kahina do in order to save herself since she is already on the run and needs Artemis’s protection to survive? Meanwhile Atalanta was raised by hunters, found as an infant in the woods, she fights for her place in the hunting party of powerful men, all legends in their own right. With feelings for the prince and fear of a relation of Poseidon in play, Atalanta must use all her strength to survive the boar and the consequences that follow.

Pace, plot, and characters all had me intrigued in this mythological YA fiction. Partial to the supporting secondary characters – I’m looking at you Phelix! – I could easily relate to Atalanta’s and Kahina’s stories. Both young woman were relatable in their fears as they struggled to find their place in a world ruled by gods and goddesses. Of course – no one plays fair!

For Atalanta, she was a touch standoffish from the world she was supposed to know and fighting to survive in a male dominated game of hunting and fighting. Her lessons on being a princess are laughable at best because I really didn’t think she retained much until it counted. She really did her own thing and worked to twist everything to her advantage. I adored how her ability of speed, shown through running, tied into the title of this YA. She doesn’t have any easy time of it. Some parts of her story I suspected from the beginning.

As for Kahina, her story still plagues me. I hated her cousin, hated what had been done to her, and generally just hated Apollo 99.% of the novel. She got the short end of the stick from the beginning all because she decided to save a huntress she was attracted to but didn’t understand why. I could relate to her hate and wariness but how her and Atalanta transitioned from their first meeting to the next remeet and then the ending was smoothly done. The road bumps at the end had me nearly shouting in frustration too. *sigh*

The love aspects of Outrun The Wind are undecided for me. One left me satisfied but felt forced while the other was just so sad and beautifully done – even if I had suspected it at some point in the sharing of backgrounds. I can’t share much without giving anything away so I’ll leave it at that.

Overall, I recommend Outrun The Wind with a 3.5 rating to readers who enjoy mythology, romance, and a lighter read of a coming of age story. While it fell a tad flat in some expectations I had, I still enjoyed the read and look forward to seeing what else Elizabeth Tammi has in store.

 

Outrun The Wind Comes out this Tuesday (11/27)!