Blog Tour- First We Were IV Guest Post and Giveaway

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I am so excited to be taking part in the Blog Tour for First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy run by Brittany’s Book Rambles. Today I’ve got Alexandra on the blog talking about First We Were IV and some truths and a lie! You figure out which is the lie.

But first about the book…

Book Info:

FIRST WE WERE IV - coverFirst We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy

Publication Date: July 25th, 2017

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Link: http://bit.ly/2lx6UyI

Buy Links: 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

A group of friends start a secret society in this out-of-control thriller from the author of The Telling and The Creeping that examines the all-consuming love of lifelong friendship—and what someone is capable of when they’re afraid of losing it.

Izzie loves nothing more than her three best friends, Viv, Graham, and Harry, and the bond the four of them share. And she’s terrified of their friendship falling apart next year when they go off to college. To bind them together, she decides to create that will belong only to them, a special thing that they’ll always share between the four of them. And so they dream up the Order of IV, a secret society devoted to mischief that rights wrongs and pays back debts. At first, it works like a charm—but when the Order of IV’s escapades get recognition beyond their wildest expectations, other people start wanting in. And soon, what started as a game of friendship is spiraling into something dangerous and beyond their control—and before it’s over, they’ll pay the ultimate sacrifice.

Author Bio:

Author Photo small sizeAlexandra Sirowy is the author of the young adult thrillers THE CREEPING, the Bram Stoker Award® Nominated THE TELLING, and the upcoming FIRST WE WERE IV. Alexandra attended a women’s college as an undergrad and received her graduate degree in International Studies. When she isn’t writing, she loves to travel, read, eat, and get into mischief. She lives with her husband in Northern California.

Guest Post

Hi, I’m Alexandra Sirowy author of the YA thriller FIRST WE WERE IV. There are best friends, confessions, lies, heroes, villains, and secret societies in my twisty new book.

The four protagonists of FIRST WE WERE IV are going to play a round of Two Truths and a Lie for you. They’ll each introduce themselves and then share three secrets – two truths and one lie. And they dare you to try and figure out which is which. Added bonus: email me (Alexandra.sirowy@gmail.com) with all four lies (one from each character) and I’ll send you FIRST WE WERE IV temporary tattoos, plus a signed bookplate.

Happy lie-hunting!

Hi! My name’s Izzie – Isadora Anne Pendleton. You could probably say that there’s nothing more important to me than my three best friends, Viv, Graham, and Harry. We’ve had adventures before but this fall, we’re topping everything. We’re going to leave our mark on Seven Hills. No one’s going to forget us or think of us as those four outcasts or losers ever again. And better yet, we’re going to bring justice to Seven Hills.

  1. I’m the mastermind of the Order of IV, a secret society my three best friends and I started so we’d have something in common to keep us close when we all move away for different colleges next year. If it was all by idea, I guess everything that went wrong, is sort of my fault.
  1. I found the girl’s body five years ago on the big rock behind Viv’s apple orchard. I’m the one who climbed up to see why the vultures were circling while Viv waited down below. I saw what had happened to the girl…how she’d been I plan to use the Order of IV to help her get justice.
  2. I know Graham, Harry, and Viv as well as I know myself. What I mean is, we don’t have secrets from each other.

Hey, guys! I’m Harry Rocha, writer for the Seven Hills High School news blog, big brother to Simon, and on the hunt for my perfect song. You should see my room – records stacked against the baseboards, covering my desk, filling my book shelves.

  1. When Izzie said we should start a secret society, I thought hell yeah, anything to keep us all talking after graduation. I’m the only one who might end up with the broke-as-a-joke version of college next year, stuck living at home and going to community. I don’t want my friends to forget about me.
  2. I wouldn’t say I’ve been bullied. I mean, sure, Conner Welsh has been on my case since my family moved to Seven Hills in middle school. We live in one of Conner’s dad’s rentals. It’s just normal high school crap, though. He’ll get his someday, but I won’t be the one giving it to him because I’m trying to be the hero of my own story.
  3. There’s this one girl I’m into. She always makes me laugh. But going for it might change everything.

Hello, my little darlings! I’m Vivian Marlo, but you can call me Viv. You probably saw me in last year’s Seven Hills High School production of The Scarlett Letter. I love sinking my teeth into a really juicy starring role – I was born for drama. And to be Izzie’s best friend. She’s my ride-or-die girl.

  1. The instant Izzie said secret society, I was in. Secret societies have rituals and initiations. I’m in charge of our ceremonial holiday and it’s going to be epic. I’ve heard there are rumors going around school about what we’re up to – others want in.
  2. Secret societies have got to have rules. Ours: Never lie. Never tell. Always love each other. And I never broke one, not even for an instant.
  3. Amanda Schultz has been my nemesis since forever. I don’t know what her issue is – probably jealous that I always get better roles than her. I want to say that I’d never use our invention, the Order of IV, to get even with Amanda, but that would be a lie.

Pleased to meet you. I’m Graham Averbach III, best friend of Izzie since she helped me get away with the infamous cookie heist of Seven Hills Community Pre-School. My mom’s an anthropologist – an expert in dead civilizations. Our attic is crammed full of creepy artifacts. Good inspiration for the Order of IV.

  1. Izzie’s probably told you that the Order of IV was all her idea. Maybe it was mostly, but I like to think that without all our adventures, all our competitions to see who’s braver, she never would have had the guts to go through with it. Then again, neither would I.
  2. I think most people like their heroes to be a little unlikable. More relatable.
  3. One of us does not survive this story.

XO

The Order of IV

Tour Schedule: 

Week 1

July 10:  Bookish Lifestyles- Review and Tote Design
July 11 Brittany’s Book Rambles – Guest Post
July 12 Emily Reads Everything – Review
July 13   Biscotto’s Books – Moodboard
July 14 Forever Lost in Literature – Review

Week 2
July 17 My Friends Are Fiction – Guest Post
July 18 Literary Legionnaire – Review
July 19 The Reader and the Chef – Review
July 20:  Novel Novice – Guest Post
July 21:  Dark Faerie Tales – Interview

Week 3
July 24:  YA and Wine – Review + Guest Post
July 25 YA Book Central – Spotlight
July 26 Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Review
July 27:  A Perfection Called Books – Guest Post

Rafflecopter Giveaway:

1 signed hard cover copy of FIRST WE WERE IV

Fujuifilm instax mini 9 Polaroid camera in smoky white (& film) like the one in the book!
Strand of gold stars

FIRST WE WERE IV swag (temporary tattoos & bookmarks)

Evie Seo Designed Tote Bag

Embeded code: a Rafflecopter giveaway

FIRST WE WERE IV Review Tour Assets – myfriendsarefiction@gmail.com – Gmail

FTC disclaimer: US entires only. No purchase necessary to enter, giveaway items provided by Alexandra Sirowy.

Blog Tour- The Crown’s Fate by Eveyln Skye Guest Post + Giveaway

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I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for The Crown’s Game! I loved this book so much and I had planned to write a review along with Evelyn’s guest post ( 5 things we don’t know about Evelyn). Unfortunately, I had a bad fall last Friday and broke my wrist in a couple places so I’m not able to type comfortably so I’ll type up my review once I heal. And by the way, I looove all the facts about Evelyn I relate to 4 out of the 5 (and I wish I related to that one, lol).

About the Book

CrownsFate Final CoverThe gorgeous and darkly compelling sequel to The Crown’s Game—perfect for fans of Red Queen and Shadow and Bone.

Magic is growing, shadows are rising, and the throne is at stake…

Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.

Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.

For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.

With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.

Book Details:
Formats: Hardcover (416 pages) and eBook
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 16th, 2017
Author Info + Social Media Links:
Evelyn Skye was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win. When she isn’t writing, Evelyn can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies. THE CROWN’S GAME is her first novel. Evelyn can be found online at www.evelynskye.com and on Twitter @EvelynSkyeYA.
Author Links: WebsiteTwitter | Goodreads | Tumblr | Instagram | Facebook
 

Guest Post- Five Things You Didn’t Know About Evelyn Skye

  1. I really like exercise.

I don’t always feel like working out, but when I do, I’m happy I did. There’s something about pushing myself and sweating and getting stronger that makes me feel badass. Plus, all that exercise balances out the cookies and sweets I eat! 

  1. I’m afraid of ghosts.

When I was in first grade, someone told me to go into the dark girls’ bathroom and summon Bloody Mary from the grimy mirror. I don’t think anything actually happened, but to this day, I’m still terrified of mirrors when it’s dark, which means nightfall finds me rushing any time there’s a mirror to walk by.

And yet, I have a story idea bouncing around in my head that involves ghosts… that’s going to be a terrifying writing process!

  1. I don’t like clutter.

Ahhh! Clutter! It drives me bananas when there is stuff all over the coffee table and on the kitchen counter and crammed into the hall. I’m forever trying to donate things to Goodwill, even though my family still needs or wants it. I know I’ll never live in a house that looks like a Pottery Barn because, well, real people live here, and people have STUFF, but hey, a girl can try, right?

  1. I am an introvert.

I really like people. Some of my favorite things are meeting readers at book events and hanging out with my author friends. But no matter how much I love these events, and no matter how social and outgoing I seem, I do have a limited “fuel tank.” I’m an introvert, and after a lot of people and excitement, I need quiet time to recharge, which often means curling up on the couch at home for a few days with a stack of books or reruns of “The Gilmore Girls.”

  1. I love surprises. 

I love surprises so much!! Even if I’m told there will be a surprise, I won’t do anything to spoil it. In fact, I’ll be extra careful not to spoil it. Recently, my boyfriend told me I couldn’t look in the closet in his home office, because there may or may not have been birthday gifts in it. I didn’t even step foot in the office, just in case. That’s how much I love being surprised. (P.S. It was totally worth it–the birthday was epic! Come see me at a book event, and I’ll tell you all about it if you ask.)

TCFIG

Rafflecopter Giveaway:

Open to US & International Applicant

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Tour Schedule:

Week 1
May 8th: Bookish Lifestyles – Review + Tote Design
May 9th: Brittany’s Book Rambles – Interview
May 10th: Alexa Loves Books – Author Guest Post
May 11th: It Start at Midnight – Mini Review + Fancast
May 12th: The Book Buzz – Review
Week 2
 
May 15th: The YA Book Traveler – Trailer + Interview
May 16th: Lost in Literature – Review
May 17th: Stories and Sweeties – Recipe
May 18th: My Friends Are Fiction – Review + Author Guest Post
May 19th: Paper Fury – Review

Blog Tour- Review for Shadow Run by AdriAnne Strickland and Michael Miller + Giveaway

ShadowRunShadow Run
By: AdriAnne Strickland, Michael Miller
Release Date: March 21st 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Format: E-ARC
Source: Publisher

Summary:
They can steal her home. They can attack her ship. But they cannot touch her crew.

Nev just started as the cargo hauler on the starship Kaitan Heritage. His captain, Qole, is the youngest-ever person on Alaxak to have her own ship. She’s brassy and bold, and she brooks no argument from her crew of orphans, fugitives, and con men. Nev can’t resist her, even if her ship is a rust bucket.

As for Nev, he’s handsome and impetuous—and Qole and the crew have no idea that he’s actually a prince in hiding. He thinks Qole holds the key to changing galactic civilization, but when her cooperation proves difficult to obtain, he resolves to get her to his home planet by any means necessary. Word of Nev’s presence on board spreads quickly to other ships, however. Soon a rival royal family is after Qole, and they’re more interested in stealing her abilities than in keeping her alive. Before he knows it, Nev’s mission to manipulate her becomes one to save her.

To survive, she’ll have to trust her would-be kidnapper. Nev may be royalty, but Qole is discovering a deep reservoir of power of her own—and stars have mercy on whoever tries to hurt her ship or her crew.

My Thoughts:
I had been really looking forward to Shadow Run since the cover revealed and I wasn’t disappointed. It was everything I wanted- adventure, great characters, snappy dialog and chemistry. What I didn’t expect was just how much I’d love the characters- especially the secondary ones. They were so well developed and I felt like part of Qole’s crew. Each member of the crew was given adequate time and personality.

Qole- wow what a character. She’s so strong and powerful but has so much internal struggles and I loved her dedication to her crew and her brother. She was so tough but also so incredibly loving. I can’t imagine how it must feel living with what she does and knowing her fate is somewhat decide. Her and Nev have such great chemistry and I loved all their scenes together. Nev was so easy for me to like- there was so much about him I could immediately discount (spoiled, his somewhat questionable approach to his goals) or hold against him but his heart. I couldn’t help but love him.

The very beginning was a tiny bit slow to me just as I tried to get myself absorbed into the world but a couple chapters in the pacing sped up and it became hard to put down. I loved the action scenes- they were so well done and I could visualize everything- the ships, planets and characters. I loved that this book sort of had a fantasy vibe in some aspects-  there are magical powers and a Prince. A Space Prince. If that’s not a selling point I don’t know what is.

Final Thoughts:
Shadow Run was a fast paced space adventure with incredible characters, dialog and chemistry. I can’t wait to read more about these characters.

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Giveaway

This is an US only giveaway. The prize (1 hardcover copy of Shadow Run) will be sent by the publisher.

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Blog Tour- Traitor to the Throne Review and Giveaway

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I am so excited to be sharing my review of Traitor to the Throne as well as this giveaway. These books are just so good! I love them so. Without further ado here’s my review…

Review:

Ttraitortothethroneraitor to the Throne
By: Alwyn Hamilton
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

Summary:
The sizzling, un-put-downable sequel to the bestselling Rebel of the Sands!

Mere months ago, gunslinger Amani al’Hiza fled her dead-end hometown on the back of a mythical horse with the mysterious foreigner Jin, seeking only her own freedom. Now she’s fighting to liberate the entire desert nation of Miraji from a bloodthirsty sultan who slew his own father to capture the throne.

When Amani finds herself thrust into the epicenter of the regime—the Sultan’s palace—she’s determined to bring the tyrant down. Desperate to uncover the Sultan’s secrets by spying on his court, she tries to forget that Jin disappeared just as she was getting closest to him, and that she’s a prisoner of the enemy. But the longer she remains, the more she questions whether the Sultan is really the villain she’s been told he is, and who’s the real traitor to her sun-bleached, magic-filled homeland.

Forget everything you thought you knew about Miraji, about the rebellion, about djinni and Jin and the Blue-Eyed Bandit. In Traitor to the Throne, the only certainty is that everything will change.

My Thoughts:
I absolutely adored Rebel of the Sands and this sequel was fabulous though it does have a much different feel than Rebel had. Rebel was all action, shooting and that fun dialog between Amani and Jin. Traitor separates these two (both on their own journeys) and there was more focus on the politics surrounding Miragi and the Sultan. I enjoyed seeing these aspects of the story and I feel that it gives us a different understanding of the world and characters.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I missed Jin. I love him so and he really wasn’t in this book nearly enough. I’m hoping that we’ll see much more in the next installment. I felt that it was necessary for the story to go in the direction it did and I still really love the world building and Amani. She’s such an amazing character and we really see some growth for her.

Go into this book expecting a bit of a slower story line than the first book. Rebel had me swept up and not able to put it down until I finished- this book I took more time to savor and enjoy the smaller details. Since we aren’t traveling the dessert in this book the setting takes place in a much smaller scale but this allows for the focus to be on other conflicts.

Hamilton has done such a great job with the mythology and magic in this world she’s created. I adore it and am constantly impressed with the side characters and the magic introduced.

Final Thoughts:
Traitor to the Throne has a different feel than Rebel did but I loved it. It was a slower read that was more focused more on politics and subtle character growth. Things have been set up wonderfully for the next installment which I need immediately.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter for a chance to win one (1) grand prize set of Alwyn Hamilton’s books, including a paperback copy of Rebel of the Sands and a hardcover of Traitor to the Throne, or to win one (1) of five (5) paperback copies of Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (ARV: $10.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on March 6, 2017 and 12:00 AM on March 27, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about March 29, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
3/6 – The YA Book Traveler – Mood Board
3/7 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Author Q&A
3/8 – Love is Not a Triangle – Review
3/9 – Mundie Moms – Review + Favorite Quotes
3/10 – Butter My Books – Guest Post
Week Two:
3/13 – Brittany’s Book Rambles – Guest Post
3/14 – The Eater of Books! – Favorite Quotes
3/15 – Two Chicks on Books – Author Q&A
3/16 – Lost in Lit – Review
3/17 – My Friends Are Fiction – Review
Week Three:
3/20 – The Yong Folks – Author Q&A
3/21 – The Book Addict’s Guide – Traitor Candle
3/22 – Seeing Double in Neverland – Review
3/23 – Bookworm Everlasting – Review
3/24 – Fiction Fare – Guest Post

Blog Tour- Guest Post -The Valiant by Lesley Livingston + Giveaway

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I am so excited to be on The Valiant Blog Tour. Last year one of my bloggy dreams came true and I was asked to read the manuscript for this novel and provide a blurb. I still can’t believe my words made it on the advanced reading copies of this book. Since I read it so long ago I recently reread this book and loved it even more the second time around. I am honored to have the author, Lesley Livingston, here to talk about gladiatrix.

About the Book

thevaliantcoverThe Valiant
By: Lesley Livingston
Release Date: February 14th 2017
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

Summary:

Lost to history, the story of the female gladiator has never been told. Until now.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king and the younger sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha. When Fallon was just a child, Sorcha was killed while defending their home from the armies of Julius Caesar.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in her father’s war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured by ruthless brigands who sell her to an elite training school for female gladiators owned by none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon s family might be her only hope of survival.
Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, deadly fights in and out of the arena, and perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier and her sworn enemy.

 Guest Post

I’ve always been fascinated by ancient history and it’s been in my mind to write a female gladiator story for quite awhile. Over the past few decades, the existence of gladiatrices in ancient Rome has been the subject of much debate among historians. While there is, of course, ample evidence of male gladiators, ancient texts and artifacts portraying female fighters in the arenas were sparse. Lost to history, the lives of these exceptional girls and women were shrouded in mystery. Were female gladiators a gimmick? A fad? Had they really even existed at all?

And then, in 2001, archaeologists unearthed an ancient Roman-era gravesite in Britain of a 1,900-year-old woman that proved, virtually beyond a doubt in the minds of many (myself included), that female gladiators were real. And they’d most likely led lives just as dangerous and dynamic as their male counterparts—and perhaps even more controversial.

The lavish contents of the burial hinted at the wealth of the occupant, but the grave itself was placed beyond the boundaries of the main cemetery, marking the woman as a likely outcast from society. Individual items left tantalizing clues: a lamp with a design depicting a fallen gladiator, and another depicting Anubis, the god of the dead traditionally associated with the profession. While it’s entirely plausible that the young woman in the grave was the wife or lover of a gladiator (a counter-theory which has been upheld by some scholars), why then the peculiar grave placement? The grave goods include stone pine incense—a fragrant offering long thought to be specifically associated with gladiators. Why would a gladiator’s paramour need incense used specifically to mask the stench of blood in the arenas?

There are other archaeological discoveries that point to the occurrence of female gladiators as more than just a rare novelty or gimmick as well. Like the relief sculpture found at Halicarnassus depicting two female fighters named “Achillea” and “Amazona” (a detail which I was delighted to spin to good use in The Valiant when it came to naming the academies where the girls train for the arena). But some of those artifacts, for the longest time, may have been misinterpreted.

I remember when I was much younger seeing a picture of a small bronze statue of a female clothed only in what looked like a breechclout, holding a curved blade high above her head. She was referred to for years as “the bather”. But even back when I first saw her, such an interpretation struck me (like the gladiator-lover grave theory) as rather sexist. I always wondered why a woman who was simply taking a bath would gesture triumphantly with a toiletry implement! To me, she looked like a warrior—and recent scholarly re-examination of the artifact all but confirms (again) that she was, in all likelihood, a gladiatrix.

Of course, once I started to write about what the lives of these girls and women might have been like, I had to do a lot of research into the lives of their male counterparts—weapons, daily routines, the environments in which they lived and trained—and adapt it for what might have been a Ludus for female fighters. Fortunately, there is an abundance of knowledge in that realm which can be adapted. I also delved into the lives of other female warrior societies, like the Celts and the Amazons, and extrapolated from there. Rituals, relationships, how society would have viewed such a person—for good or ill—and what she might have done had she ever actually won her freedom to reenter society, these were all questions I had to imagine the answers to. Tangible facts are thin on the ground where the gladiatrix is concerned, but there are enough tantalizing clues to weave a compelling tale of what might have been.

 

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Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of The Valiant by Lesley Livingston (ARV: $17.99 each).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on February 13, 2017 and 12:00 AM on March 13, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about March 15, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Week One
2/13 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Gladiator Makeup
2/14 – Two Chicks on Books – Author Interview
2/15 – Alexa Loves Books – Weapon Spotlight: Bow & Arrow
2/16 – Novel Novice – Review
2/17 – Arctic Books – Review + Book Look
Week Two
2/20 – Brittany’s Book Rambles – Author Guest Post
2/21 – What Sarah Read – Review + Mood Board
2/22 – Mundie Moms – Weapon Spotlight: Shield
2/23 – ButterMyBooks – Author Interview
2/24 – Fiction Fare – Weapon Spotlight: Dimachaerus
Week Three
2/27 – Oh the Book Feels – Author Interview
2/28 – Seeing Double in Neverland – Weapon Spotlight: Gladius
3/1 – No More Grumpy Bookseller – Review
3/2 – The YA Book Traveler – Weapon Spotlight: Trident & Net
3/3 – My Friends Are Fiction – Author Guest Post
Week Four
3/6 – The Reading Nook Reviews – Weapon Spotlight: Spear
3/7 – A Page with a View – Like/Try/Why
3/8 – The Young Folks – Author Guest Post
3/9 – Icey Books – Quote Candy + Review
3/10 – Book Addict’s Guide – Bookish Scents