BLOG TOUR | Scion of the Fox by S.M. Beiko + Excerpt

Title: Scion of the Fox
Author: S.M. Beiko
Release Date: October 17th, 2017
Pages: 440 pages
Source: Hardcover from the publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
As the winter ice begins to thaw, the fury of a demon builds — all because one girl couldn’t stay dead . . .

Roan Harken considers herself a typical high school student — dead parents, an infected eyeball, and living in the house of her estranged, currently comatose grandmother (well, maybe not sotypical) — but she’s uncovering the depth of the secrets her family left behind. Saved from the grasp of Death itself by a powerful fox spirit named Sil, Roan must harness mysterious ancient power . . . and quickly. A snake-monster called Zabor lies in wait in the bed of the frozen Assiniboine River, hungry for the sacrifice of spirit-blood in exchange for keeping the flood waters at bay. Thrust onto an ancient battlefield, Roan soon realizes that to maintain the balance of the world, she will have to sacrifice more than her life in order to take her place as Scion of the Fox.

American Gods meets Princess Mononoke in this powerful first installment of a trilogy sure to capture readers’ imaginations everywhere.

Preorder now! 

I promised that I'd be back with more cool stuff, and I'm here to deliver! In the next few weeks, I'll be participating in quite a few blog tours that will introduce you to new titles that you may or may not have heard of. Today, I'm here to introduce a book that caught my radar when the publishing company, ECW Press, kindly approached me and asked me if I was interested in their book. I was immediately intrigued when this book was compared to Princess Mononoke because that's like my favorite Studio Ghibli film of all time. I myself have already gotten my hands on a copy so if your interest still hasn't been peaked, here's an excerpt that will do the trick! Also, don't forget to be following me on the gram because I have a fall-inspired giveaway featuring this gem. Follow me at @thebooksbuzz.

Excerpt from Scion of the Fox by S.M. Beiko

Oh she’s so glamorous, she’s so cool, long legs that go to heaven and lips that tell me to get outta town. Pretty lady that won’t give me the time of day — she’s a stoooone FOX!
That song. The song my dad used to sing at my mom on the good and the bad days. It’s my only memory of my parents. I was too young when they died, became an orphan before any other memories could stick. But this one did. 
My dad singing intentionally off-key, chasing Mom around the kitchen until she gave up being mad at him for whatever unspeakable thing hung between them, and then they’d kiss and make it better. I’d squeal and demand to be picked up, to be a part of their fun, and we’d hold each other until I fussed to be put down again. I felt their love like a fire. They loved me. I know they did. Even if it didn’t last. 
My mother was a compact creature. Very hard to crack. Sometimes she would lock herself in my dad’s little greenhouse and go quiet for days. She would let only me in (though I don’t remember my father ever trying to get through to her), and I’d give her peanut-butter-and-­banana sandwiches that my sloppy preschool hands had made, hoping it would make her remember she had to love us. It was as hot as a sauna in there, even in winter, the warmth rolling off her in angry waves. I would find her in the back by the stuff Dad called belladonna, and she would be staring out through the glass, fixated on our big yard as if imprisoned.
She spoke like someone else was standing over her, and she’d say something like, “A darling little stone menagerie, with the power to kill and create.” Was it a fairy tale she was telling me? Was she even speaking to me at all?
I never asked. I should have. 
Instead, I would put down the sandwich and jump to see over the table of plants and out at the little statue garden. Still in her trance, and without looking away, my mother would lift me as if I were a pebble in the palm of her hand. 
Then I would wind my fingers in her seemingly infinite hair. “The fox is the prettiest, Mommy, the prettiest like you.”
She sighed and squeezed me so tight it hurt, but I didn’t ask her to stop. 
Out in the garden, there was a pair of stone deer leaping. A stone owl midflight. A stone seal diving through a stone wave, a stone rabbit bolting, and, yes, a stone fox. It sat amongst them but apart from them, still and staring and quiet. The set had been a present from my grandma, my mother’s mother. There was no special occasion, but a truck had backed into our yard one day with men hired to move the statues into it.
I frolicked and cartwheeled that summer, feeling like it was Christmas in July. But my mother just stood there, still as a warrior waiting for the next onslaught.

 Take it back, she’d scream over the phone to someone I never knew. I don’t want it anywhere near this family. My dad would try to calm her, but she’d only grow angrier. She’s telling me to just accept it. To let it happen for the greater good. I won’t! I won’t let them take her!

 We’ll find another way.
I wish I’d been old enough to ask. I wish they could have trusted me with their secrets. 
Excerpted from Scion of the Fox by S.M. Beiko. © 2017 by S.M. Beiko. All rights reserved. Published by ECW Press Ltd.

About the Author
S.M. Beiko has been writing and drawing strange, fantastical things since before she can remember. She currently works as a freelance editor, graphic designer, and consultant and is the co-publisher of ChiZine Publications and ChiGraphic. Her first novel, The Lake and the Library, was nominated for the Manitoba Book Award for Best First Book as well as the 2014 Aurora Award. Scion of the Fox is the first book of the Realms of Ancient trilogy. Samantha lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Twitter: @SMBeiko

BLOG TOUR | Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao Q&A + GIVEAWAY!

Title: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
Author: Julie C. Dao
Release date: October 10th. 2017
Pages: 384 pages
Source: ARC from publisher
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retellings
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl's quest to become Empress--and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng's majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins--sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

Buy it now! 
Hello everyone, welcome back to the blog. I know I'm really lagging on these blog posts but trust me, I have some fun stuff coming up in the next few months starting with this blog tour featuring Julie C. Dao's debut novel,  Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. I was lucky enough to have interviewed Julie thanks to Penguin, and I just think her answers are interesting to read.

FOTL was unique in the sense that I had never read a book with an 'evil' or villainous type character. This is not a female heroine story, in fact, we meet a character who has quite malicious and spiteful intentions. Reading about how Xifeng clawed her way to her destiny was a thrilling and intriguing ride, one I hope you all decide to take part in. I'm so honored to kick off this book's release with a Q&A from the one and only Julie C. Dao.

Q&A with Julie C. Dao
What's Next & Inspiration

1. A lot of authors spend time planning what they want to include in their book before they start writing the book. Was there anything you knew you wanted to include in A Forest of A Thousand Lanterns before you even got into actually writing the book?

I knew I wanted it to be a reimagining of Snow White that was completely original and like nothing I had seen before in YA, but still held on to elements of the old fairy tale. So there had to be a magic mirror, an apple, a stepmother/stepdaughter dynamic… even if I twisted these concepts to fit my own purposes! I had to find ways to make the reader still recognize the inspiration behind the story, to ground them in the fairy tale feel, but at the same time make the elements my own so FOTL would feel fresh and new.

2. What’s more important to you when it comes to writing fantasy, the plot or the characters? Is there another attribute of writing you think aspiring fantasy writers should focus on?

Both plot and characters are important, of course, but I think when it comes fantasy, world-building is right up there on the list as well. The world needs to feel real to the reader, even if it has fantastical and magical elements. There need to be laws, rules, and a shared history between the lands of a fantasy world, just as there are in the real world. As a big fantasy reader myself, I love it when I feel like the world of the book is a place I can go.

3. Let’s talk about diversity! Can you recommend some of your favorite fantasy books written by Asian authors/include Asian characters.

I read ASH by Malinda Lo many years ago and loved her compelling F/F version of Cinderella. The prequel, HUNTRESS, is another fantastic read. I picked up SERPENTINE by Cindy Pon at a book festival last year and it was my gateway to everything Cindy has ever written. It’s a gorgeous fantasy rooted in Chinese mythology with a brilliant female friendship at its core. Recently I bought the Dragon King Chronicles trilogy by Ellen Oh, which is set in a fantasy world inspired by Korea and starts off with PROPHECY, and I cannot wait to read it!

4. Congrats on the publication of your debut novel! I know it’s probably too soon to ask, but your readers are dying with anticipation. What are your plans for book two in the Rise of the Empress series? Any mythical creatures you couldn’t put into book one but have saved for the sequel?

Thank you so much! This is so kind! I've always intended for the Rise of the Empress series to be a duology, and for FOTL and Book 2 to be two halves of the same story, with two different women telling it. So you'll see a brand-new main character narrating Book 2. The format is also quite different and you'll get to visit different lands throughout Feng Lu. There is also more magic and mythology, and folktales play a crucial part in the plot. I can't wait to share it with you! 

Enter for a chance to be one (1) of three (3) winners to receive a hardcover copy of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie Dao. (ARV: $18.99 each).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on October 2, 2017 and 12:00 AM on October 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 October 30, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Author Info

Julie C. Dao ( is a proud Vietnamese-American who was born in upstate New York. She studied medicine in college, but came to realize blood and needles were her Kryptonite. By day, she worked in science news and research; by night, she wrote books about heroines unafraid to fight for their dreams, which inspired her to follow her passion of becoming a published author. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is her debut novel. Julie lives in New England. Follow her on Twitter @jules_writes. 

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