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    Pasadena Loves YA Blog Tour: Interview with Romina Russell + Giveaway

    plya_21_revised

    I am totally stoked to be participating in the Pasadena Loves YA Blog Tour and hosting a Q&A with the very amazing Romina Russell, author of ZODIAC and the upcoming WANDERING STAR. If you’d like to check out what she had to say about her books,  scroll to the interview, which is just a bit further down in the post. (And yes there may be a teaser…)

    And if you’d like to enter the giveaway for a chance to win some amazing books, the Rafflecopter is at the end of the post.

    For those of you who aren’t familiar with Pasadena Loves YA, here are the deets…

    plya_square_2015

    When: May 23, 2015 at 12 noon – 4 p.m.

    Where: Pasadena Public Library, Central Branch, 285 East Walnut Street, Pasadena, CA

    What: Meet 20 YA authors | Panels & Book Signings | Giveaways & Refreshments | Free tote bags for the first 150 guests!

    Cost: Free

    Registration: No registration required

    Authors: Keynote speaker Mary McCoy (author of Dead to Me) with Katie Alender, Victoria Aveyard, Alexis Bass, Julie Berry, Livia Blackburne, Virginia Boecker, Jessica Brody, Stephen Chbosky, Brandy Colbert, Ava Dellaira, Kody Keplinger, Liz Maccie, Morgan Matson, Lauren Miller, Alexandra Monir, Jennifer Niven, Romina Russell, Sarah Tomp, and Kiersten White

    For more info: Visit www.pasadenateenbookfestival.com

    Note: Book sales by Vroman’s Bookstore will begin at 11 a.m. The event is co-sponsored by Bridge to Books. No registration is required, but they would appreciate it if you would post, share, tweet, and tell everyone you know about the upcoming event! Use hashtag #PLYA2015.

    PLYA_2015_flyer_rev


    The Interview

    Q&A with Romina Russell

    Q. If you had to describe ZODIAC (the book or series) in 25 words or less, how would you describe it?

    In a galaxy of people divided by their ZODIAC signs, Cancer’s young Guardian must unite the twelve Houses before an ancient evil destroys them all.

    Q. If you could meet one of your characters from the Zodiac series in real life, who would it be?

    I’d love to answer, but my ship would be showing… 😉

    Q. For those anxiously awaiting the sequel, WANDERING STAR, can you tease a favorite quote or short passage from it?

    Oooh, I don’t know if I’m officially allowed to do this, but I’m not strong enough to refuse! Here are Wandering Star’s opening lines, from the prologue:

    WHEN I THINK OF MOM, I think of the day she abandoned us. There are dozens of memories that still haunt me, but that one always shoves its way to the surface first, submerging all other thoughts with its power.

    Q. What can readers expect from future books in the Zodiac series?

    ZODIAC explores the evolution of a young leader who’s been thrust into the galactic spotlight before she’s had a chance to figure herself out. Rho’s rise to power takes place in tragic and turbulent times, so she must learn the lessons of leadership on the job, and always on the run. In subsequent books, readers can expect Rho to try even harder to unite her universe, which means traveling to new Houses and exploring new and wildly different cultures, technologies, and worlds. <3

    Thanks so much for having me! xoxoxo


    About Romina Russell

    romina-russell

    Romina Russell is a Los Angeles based author who originally hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a teen, Romina landed her first writing gig—College She Wrote, a weekly Sunday column for the Miami Herald that was later picked up for national syndication—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. When she’s not working on the ZODIAC series, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a Virgo to the core.

    WEBSITE | TUMBLR | TWITTER | TWITTER2FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTERESTGOOGLE+GOODREADS


    About ZODIAC

    Zodiac_Cover

    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: ZODIAC (Zodiac #1)
    Author: Romina Russell
    Release date: December 9, 2014
    Publisher: Razorbill
    Pages: 336
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Description…

    At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain….

    Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

    When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

    Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

    But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

    Embark on a dazzling journey with ZODIAC, the first novel in an epic sci-fi-meets-high-fantasy series set in a galaxy inspired by the astrological signs.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | GOODREADS

    Find the Series…


    About WANDERING STAR

    9781595147431_WanderingStar_BOM_6p.indd

    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: WANDERING STAR (Zodiac #2)
    Author: Romina Russell
    Release date: December 8, 2015
    Publisher: Razorbill
    Pages: 352
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Description…

    Orphaned, disgraced, and stripped of her title, Rho is ready to live life quietly, as an aid worker in the Cancrian refugee camp on House Capricorn.

    But news has spread that the Marad–an unbalanced terrorist group determined to overturn harmony in the Galaxy–could strike any House at any moment.

    Then, unwelcome nightmare that he is, Ochus appears to Rho, bearing a cryptic message that leaves her with no choice but to fight.

    Now Rho must embark on a high-stakes journey through an all-new set of Houses, where she discovers that there’s much more to her Galaxy–and to herself–than she could have ever imagined.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | GOODREADS


    The Giveaway

    plya_21_revised

    The tour includes a giveaway for…

    • Any THREE (3) books from the 2015 Pasadena Loves YA authors – US ONLY

    **Giveaway ends May 20, 2015**

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Share

    Exclusive Cover Reveal: WANDERING STAR (A Zodiac Novel) by Romina Russell + Giveaway

    I am over-the-moon excited to be able to reveal the ahhhh-mazing cover for Romina Russell’s WANDERING STAR, the second book in her epic and riveting Zodiac series. And I have to say that it is absolutely stunning.

    It is an explosion of stars where the first book’s cover is a sky devoid of most but the constellations. The contrast between darkness and light is more dramatic and it flips their placement drawing the eye up versus down. And it reveals Taurus and Capricon, whose houses I imagine will feature in this novel.

    And although there are these differences from the first book’s cover, there are similarities – the fonts, the tagline, the placement of tagline, title and author, the use to two constellations, the pale peachy-orangey colors in the nebula – making both covers cohesive and perfectly paired for a bookshelf.

    Anyway, enough about what I think about this absolutely gorgeous cover. You’re here to see the cover for yourself.

    And…

    So…

    Now…

    For…

    The…

    Cover…

    Reveal…

    9781595147431_WanderingStar_BOM_6p.indd

    Coming December 2015

    Add to Goodreads

    Pre-order at The Book Depository

    Find the Series…

    What do you think?

    So what do you think? Stunning? Amazing? Dramatic? A perfect complement to ZODIAC’s cover? A book you’d be happy to showcase on your bookshelf?

    Here they are side-by-side for comparison…


    The Covers Side-by-Side

    Zodiac-Series

    Add to Goodreads


    About Romina Russell

    romina-russell

    Romina Russell is a Los Angeles based author who originally hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a teen, Romina landed her first writing gig—College She Wrote, a weekly Sunday column for the Miami Herald that was later picked up for national syndication—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. When she’s not working on the ZODIAC series, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a Virgo to the core.

    WEBSITE | TUMBLR | TWITTER | TWITTER2FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTERESTGOOGLE+GOODREADS


    About ZODIAC

    Zodiac_CoverTitle & Series: ZODIAC (Zodiac #1)
    Author: Romina Russell
    Release date: December 9, 2014
    Publisher: Razorbill
    Pages: 336
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Description…

    At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain….

    Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

    When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

    Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

    But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

    Embark on a dazzling journey with ZODIAC, the first novel in an epic sci-fi-meets-high-fantasy series set in a galaxy inspired by the astrological signs.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | GOODREADS


    The Giveaway

    A hardcover copy of ZODIAC to ONE winner

    • Must be 13 or older to enter
    • Giveaway is International to anywhere The Book Depository ships
    • Giveaway is open until March 9th at 9:00 a.m. Pacific
    • Prize will be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository depending upon location
    • Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter, announced in the Rafflecopter and contacted by email
    • Winner will have 72 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen

    Enter the Rafflecopter below...

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Share

    Review: ZODIAC

    Zodiac_Cover

    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: ZODIAC (Zodiac #1)
    Author: Romina Russell
    Release date: December 9, 2014
    Publisher: Razorbill
    Pages: 336
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Description…

    At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain….

    Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

    When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

    Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

    But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

    Embark on a dazzling journey with ZODIAC, the first novel in an epic sci-fi-meets-high-fantasy series set in a galaxy inspired by the astrological signs.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | GOODREADS

    Note: The review is based on a finished copy received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.


    The Review

    Action-packed, riveting, epic and original, ZODIAC is the first book in a new series of the same name that invites readers to explore a fascinating and intriguing world that is elaborate, unique and incredibly imaginative. It delivers a story filled with nail-biting suspense, deadly battles, catastrophic loss, devastation, deception, and heartbreak and introduces a heroine strong enough to fight, to stand up against those that doubt her, and to pick herself back up after she’s been knocked down.

    Rhoma Grace barely had time to recover from the fallout from the explosion on Thebe that left most everyone at the Academy on Elara dead and her home, House Cancer, ravaged, let alone mourn their loss, before being asked to step in as her House’s next Guardian. Young and untrained, she’s not sure she’s the right person to read the stars and lead her people. Especially when no one else sees what she sees in her readings.

    But with no other options, no home to return to, and her family’s whereabouts unknown, she has nothing left to lose by saying yes. Except for her life, the lives of everyone counting on her to keep them safe, the entire Zodiac.

    Romina Russell has built a world, a galaxy, a universe, that is utterly enthralling and hugely inventive. One that is filled with a vast array of interesting characters whose customs, behaviors and appearances vary widely from House to House. She has created a story that is constructed from myth that is not commonly used as a basis for stories in the genre. Myth that she expanded upon, made exciting, made her own.

    She brought the Zodiac to life. She developed each House, its landscape and its citizens – some beautiful, whimsical, fantastical, others peaceful, others practical, others disturbing, others dangerous. She created Houses that could be trusted and others that are suspect. And she introduced an enemy that could unite or destroy them all.

    ZODIAC is an amazing story that is rich with detail, exploding with possibility, filled with heart-stopping danger, thrilling adventures, swoon-worthy romance, and grievous loss. It is a daring and refreshingly different story with a likable and fearless heroine and two loyal and protective heroes that will hold readers captive from beginning to end. It’s an outstanding story that will be unputdownable.

    It is a must read first book in this series that is absolutely mind-blowing.

    The Rating

    06

    Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

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    ZODIAC Blog Tour: ‘On Creating the Zodiac Universe’ Guest Post + Giveaway

    Zodiac_BT

    I cannot tell you how excited I am to be a part of the ZODIAC Blog Tour. I hadn’t been aware of this amazing book’s upcoming release until I was invited to be a stop. But once I read its description I was fascinated, intrigued, excited to read it and host the author on the blog.

    And now that I have, I am totally blown away. It is one of my top ten books of 2014. The world-building is incredible. The story is epic. And riveting. And action-packed. And heartbreaking. And so much more.

    I adore Rho. She’s strong. She’s determined. She’s a fighter. She does not give up. I adore Nishi and Hysan and Mathias, too.

    I love every single thing about this book. I want everyone to add this to the top of their must reads list. I can’t wait for everyone to read it so I can talk about what happened. And I cannot wait for the next book in this outstanding series to be released.

    This book received my 6-star off-the-menu rating in my review which will post tomorrow. Today I have an awesome guest post by Author Romina Russell on creating the ZODIAC universe and I just had to add in a giveaway for a copy of the book.

    If you haven’t yet heard all about ZODIAC, be sure to head over to its website to learn more. It was released on Tuesday so that if you’re as captivated as I was by the description, which is below, you won’t have to wait to add it to your collection.

    Anyway… I am going to turn the blog over to this incredibly imaginative and wildly creative author before I end up revealing something too spoiler-y – like which “Team” I’m on, or why there were tears, or which Houses I trust and which I don’t.

    divider

    About Zodiac

    Zodiac_Cover

    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: ZODIAC (Zodiac #1)
    Author: Romina Russell
    Release date: December 9, 2014
    Publisher: Razorbill
    Pages: 336
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Description…

    At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain….

    Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

    When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

    Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

    But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

    Embark on a dazzling journey with ZODIAC, the first novel in an epic sci-fi-meets-high-fantasy series set in a galaxy inspired by the astrological signs.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | GOODREADS


    The Guest Post

    On creating the ZODIAC universe

    by Romina Russell

    What’s exciting to me about ZODIAC is that it takes something we all have—our astrological signs—and explores what life would be like if they determined everything about us. Where we live, what we’re like, whom we love.

    Each planetary system in the Zodiac galaxy is completely catered to the culture of its people. On House Libra, where justice is prized above all, a democratically elected government passes new laws, and a jury of twelve ordinary citizens must approve each one for ratification. On House Taurus, industrious Taurians who like to work hard to play harder will power through three-day workweeks so they can enjoy four-day weekends. House Cancer, where the protagonist (Rho) lives, is a nurturing, maternal society run by the Matriarchy—the eldest mothers in the House’s twelve founding families. And so on.

    Rho has never left the Crab constellation before, but when she discovers Ophiuchus hiding in the Zodiac’s stars, staying home is no longer an option.

    One of the most powerful insights she gains as she ventures through the universe is how integral our differences are to our unity. As more and more planets are attacked, Rho realizes that the more the Houses close themselves off to each other, the smaller their worlds grow—even their worldviews shrink. She starts to understand that the reason the Zodiac has a dozen worlds isn’t so they can learn about each other, but from each other. They each bring a different strength to the galaxy because they’re meant to work together, not apart.

    This is an integral insight that changes the way she looks at the Zodiac and shapes the kind of leader she becomes.


    About Romina Russell

    romina-russell

    Romina Russell is a Los Angeles based author who originally hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a teen, Romina landed her first writing gig—College She Wrote, a weekly Sunday column for the Miami Herald that was later picked up for national syndication—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. When she’s not working on the ZODIAC series, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a Virgo to the core.

    WEBSITE | TUMBLR | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOOGLE+GOODREADS


    The Giveaway

    A hardcover copy of ZODIAC to ONE winner

    • Must be 13 or older to enter
    • Giveaway is International to anywhere The Book Depository ships
    • Prize will be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository depending upon location
    • Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter, announced in the Rafflecopter and contacted by email
    • Winner will have 72 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen

    Enter the Rafflecopter below...

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Share

Graphics

All content - except for guest posts and guest reviews - has been written by me and can not be copied or used without permission. All graphics and images used on my site – aside from book covers used for purposes of discussion – have either been given to me by authors, publishers or bloggers for guest posts, blog tours, interviews or promotion, have been sourced, have been designed by me or have been purchased for my exclusive use. Aside from images with a “grab code” beneath, no images can be used or displayed without permission.

FTC

All reviews on this website are unbiased and reviewers are in no way compensated for their reviews by the author, publisher, or any other agencies. While some reviews may be based on receipt of ARC copies of an authors work, a fair and impartial review is always given by the reviewer. Most of the reviews, however, are based upon books purchased after publication date.