Cover Reveal: FIRE WITH FIRE by Destiny Soria

I am so excited to bring you today’s post. This is one of the highlights of my blogging career and I feel really honored to be hosting Destiny Soria’s cover reveal for her 2021 Spring release, Fire with Fire. Before we get started, Destiny and I don’t want to distract from what’s happening in this country. We both support Black Lives Matter and want to share a couple of resources with you where you can help either financially or with your signature. Please take a look at these and contribute if you are able. Thank you.

Donate to Birmingham Community Support Fund here.

Help homeless Black trans women by donating here.

Sign this petition that calls for justice for Breonna Taylor.

I was first introduced to Destiny Soria through her debut novel Iron Cast. It’s one of my favorite historical fantasies. If this is your first introduction to this author, I encourage you to check out her previous novels as you eagerly await this 2021 spring release. Before the cover reveal, I asked Destiny a few questions about her upcoming novel Fire with Fire. Check out the interview below along with a few teaser images.

1. Fire with Fire focuses on two sisters, what can you tell us about these characters and their relationship with one another?

Eden and Dani Rivera are from a family of legendary dragon slayers. Eden, the older sister, is ambitious and driven to become the best slayer of her generation. Despite her dedication, Eden is continually frustrated by how effortlessly Dani seems to best her in every aspect of training, even though Dani cares more about her friends and summer job than she does about slaying dragons. The tension between the sisters reaches a boiling point when Dani discovers that she has a magical bond with a dragon and must decide once and for all where her loyalty truly lies.

2. Your previous two novels (Iron Cast & Beneath the Citadel) were both character-driven and friendship focused. Can we expect the same with your upcoming release?

Absolutely! I loved exploring the complexities of friendship in this novel, as well as the even messier complexities of family. Of course, that’s not to say there’s not also a fair supply of magic and mayhem driving the plot. Even though this book has a contemporary setting (the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee), I hope readers of my other books will find familiar enjoyment in the friendships and snark.

3. This is one of the first times I’ve seen a dragon fantasy with Latinx characters (the other is Amparo Ortiz’s upcoming release, Blazewrath Games), tell me why you decided to explore this particular myth with these characters rather than traditional Latin American folklore.

Like Eden and Dani, I’m half-white, half-Mexican-American, but I was raised mostly divorced from my Latinx heritage. There’s often a strange kind of alienation experienced by biracial children. When I was growing up, I knew I wasn’t white (not even passing), but I also had so little connection to my Mexican family and traditions, that I didn’t feel like I was allowed to claim my Latinx heritage either. I’m still learning how to navigate my own biracial identity, and in writing these characters as a reflection of my own childhood experience (minus dragons and magic, alas), I hope there are others who can see themselves represented as well. Latinx and biracial identities are an infinitely rich tapestry, and there are so many wonderfully diverse books out there. I hope we can keep seeing more and more represented in YA literature, especially in books where the characters’ identity isn’t the sole focus of the book.


4. Fire with Fire is your third novel, what was different about writing this one? Anything get easier or harder?

You’d think that writing books would be the sort of thing that gets easier over time, but in my experience at least, writing each new book is like jumping out of an airplane with no certainty that your parachute will open—or that you’re even wearing one. The only thing that gets easier for me is recognizing my own weaknesses. This is my first time writing in a contemporary setting, so that presented a whole new host of challenges. In particular I’ve learned just how outdated my taste in music is, heh.

And now for the big reveal…

I love this cover so much! The color scheme is gorgeous and I cannot wait to see how the colors pop in person. Special shout out to Viv Tanner who illustrated, visit their site here and Mary Claire Cruz who designed the cover, visit her site here.

Learn More About Destiny Soria’s Fire with Fire:

Title: Fire with Fire
Author: Destiny Soria
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s
Release Date: Spring 2021

      “Dani and Eden Rivera were both born to kill dragons, but the sisters couldn’t be more different. For Dani, dragon slaying takes a back seat to normal high school life, while Eden prioritizes training above everything else. Yet they both agree on one thing: it’s kill or be killed where dragons are concerned.
      Until Dani comes face-to-face with one and forges a rare and magical bond with him. As she gets to know Nox, she realizes that everything she thought she knew about dragons is wrong. With Dani lost to the dragons, Eden turns to the mysterious and alluring sorcerers to help save her sister. Now on opposite sides of the conflict, the sisters will do whatever it takes to save the other. But the two are playing with magic that is more dangerous than they know, and there is another, more powerful enemy waiting for them both in the shadows.”

Add Fire with Fire on Goodreads now!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Destiny Soria is a Young Adult fantasy author and freelance writer. Her debut novel IRON CAST is about magic, mobsters, and two best friends kicking ass in 1920s Boston. Her second novel BENEATH THE CITADEL features rebels, seers, and stolen memories. She lives in Birmingham, AL, where she spends her time trying to come up with bios that make her sound kind of cool. She has yet to succeed.

FOLLOW DESTINY SORIA:

Website: http://www.destinysoria.com/

Twitter: @thedestinysoria

Instagram: @thedestinysoria

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dlsoria

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14757755.Destiny_Soria

Purchase Destiny Soria’s previous work on Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon now!

What do you love about the cover? Are you also looking forward to Destiny Soria’s upcoming release Fire with Fire? Let’s talk in the comments!

Snapshot Review: The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang

Title: The Dragon Republic
Author: R.F. Kuang
Series: The Poppy War, #2
Pages: 654
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: August 6th 2019

TW: mentions of self-harm, suicide, drug use, rape, graphic violence

      “In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.
    With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.
      But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.
      The sequel to R.F. Kuang’s acclaimed debut THE POPPY WAR, THE DRAGON REPUBLIC combines the history of 20th-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters, to devastating effect.”

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      “People will seek to use you or destroy you. If you want to live, you must pick a side So do not shirk from war, child. Do not flinch from suffering. When you hear screaming, run toward it.”

  • Rin – Rin is a character who is hard not to root for even when she makes mistakes. She is a child of war whether she chooses to be or not. As the last living Speerly there is a heavy weight on her shoulders. She is constantly torn between grieving for the people she never knew and fighting for the very people who had a hand in their genocide. She is a character continually othered because of colorism, because of prejudice, and because of her power. In the first novel, Rin was just discovering her ability to harness the power of the gods. In this second novel, Rin’s personal journey is more about her understanding who she is apart from this power and reclaiming herself from those who would turn her into a weapon.
  • Heavy Issues – From war to PTSD to drug addiction, Kuang’s series does not shy away from tough topics. War isn’t just about victory but about the people who end up suffering because of it. Rin’s addiction to opium, once a way to help her connect to the gods, becomes a way for her to escape her grief and her guilt. She isn’t the only character who experiences PTSD, and it is sobering to see characters like Kitay, who had such a light in them lose this.
  • Kitay – If there is a characters who has undergone just as many changes as Rin, it is her once-schoolmate, Kitay. Seeing him deal with the loss of a loved one and how this alters who he is is heartbreaking. He was once the softest character in the series, but is driven by vengeance and pain. Those soft edges have hardened and I’m not sure there is a rewind button for him or anyone in this series.
  • Rin and Nezha – I am going to be honest and say I live for their interactions. I love how far they have come from being school rivals to being friends. Their relationship is constantly evolving and I cannot wait to see what happens next between them.
  • Morally grey characters – Kuang does not paint her characters black and white. Much of the time as a reader you can only guess at the true motives of the characters in power. I love both the uncertainty and the layers to every character because of this.

  • Minor characters – As much as I’ve enjoyed Rin’s journey, I do think a bit more time could be spent on a few key minor characters. After the death of their leader, Rin was put in charge of the Cike. This presents a lot of interesting dynamics; however, I don’t think as readers we spend enough time with any of them to feel a real emotional impact when they are put in danger.


If I could describe R.F. Kuang’s series, The Poppy War, in one word it would be epic. The Dragon Republic is just as gut-wretching as its predecessor and sets up what promises to be an explosive finale.

★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5)

The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

Title: The Kingdom of Copper
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Series: The Daevabad Trilogy, #2
Pages: 621
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: January 22nd 2019

**Contains spoilers for The City of Brass!**

      “S. A. Chakraborty continues the sweeping adventure begun in The City of Brass conjuring a world where djinn summon flames with the snap of a finger and waters run deep with old magic; where blood can be dangerous as any spell, and a clever con artist from Cairo will alter the fate of a kingdom.
    Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad—and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.
      Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of a devastating battle, Nahri must forge a new path for herself. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family—and one misstep will doom her tribe…
      Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid—the unpredictable water spirits—have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.
      And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad’s towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.”

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“And then he took off, sprinting toward the cliff edge. He ran as fast as he could and when the cliff gave way to air, he kept going, hurling himself into empty space. For one petrifying moment, he was falling, the distant, rock-strewn ground he was about to be dashed upon rushing up…”

S.A. Chakraborty’s delivers another imaginative and extraordinary story with The Kingdom of Copper, the second novel in the Daevabad Trilogy. Following the events of the first book, Nahri, once a street thief, is fully immersed in Daevabad’s royal court. As the last surviving Nahid, Nahri has been named the Banu Nahid, healer and leader to her people. Ali, prince of Daevabad, has been exiled, but circumstances force him to return to his home, a place he is no longer welcome. Nahri and Ali both must navigate the moods of a tyrannical king while trying to protect the most vulnerable in the city. But they must do so alone as their friendship was severed the moment Ali cut down Nahri’s Afshin, Dara. Five years have past, but the hurt still remains. Daevabad is already on the brink of a civil war as tensions between the tribes and the shafit inhabitants comes to a head, but it is an unexpected player from outside that threatens to bring the city to its knees.

Chakraborty writes some of the most mesmerizing characters I’ve ever come across in a fantasy. Nahri’s very existence challenges many of the preconceived ideas the people of Daevabad have. She grew up without family and without ties to her heritage. Accidentally summoning a daeva led her to another world where djinn rule and while this knowledge led to Nahri gaining power, the most important discovery for her has been learning more about her family. Still, there are a lot of secrets in this city, and no secret is benign. Despite being at odds with people with enormous amounts of power, Nahri isn’t afraid to challenge them. Though her allies are few, she’s always thinking ahead and is willing to take the path less traveled if it means keeping power out of the hands of those who would readily abuse it.

I had issues with Ali in the first novel like his need to always play the hero, which got him into all kinds of trouble, and his naivete, which led him astray on many occasions. Ali, five years older, is more mature and maybe a little humbler. He is returning to the father that cast him aside and a brother who is less than welcoming. Still, he hasn’t lost his moral code and in a place where shafit, offspring of humans and djinn, are mistreated, Ali is one of the few djinn who will stand up for them. Unfortunately this often pits him against his father the king and more recently the heir and Ali’s brother, Muntadhir. This latter relationship has shifted from the first book and although Mundahir has been loyal to the family name, it is clear that Ali exhibits characteristics that would make him the better leader, something that does not go unnoticed by their father and which sows even more animosity between the brothers.

Dara has always been my favorite in this series. His life has been devoted to service, both voluntarily and compulsory. His connection with Nahri was completely unexpected and ultimately led to him being severed from her. Dara’s greatest strength is his loyalty but it’s also his greatest weakness. He’s been used over and over again as someone else’s weapon and though he may want to escape from the endless battles, he’s still willing to sacrifice freedom for someone else’s cause. As complex as these leads are, Chakraborty still infuses just as much intricacy into her secondary characters. I can’t think of a single flat character and continually marvel at how well Chakraborty juggles all of these different personalities in a consistent and compelling way.

The Kingdom of Copper is full of political machinations, dangerous secrets, and flawed characters whose foolhardy beliefs may spell doom for them all. This sequel is can’t-miss and I am counting down the days until we get the finale.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(5/5)

Mini-Reviews: Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe (ARC Review) & A Sprinkle of Spirits

It’s been quite a long time since I did a series of mini-reviews, but you might see more of these as I am not having the easiest time writing reviews these days. Today I have a couple of middle grade reviews for you, both are sequels and both are by Latinx authors. If you haven’t checked out these series, I highly recommend them. They are a lot of fun and perfect for those looking for books that will uplift you.

Title: Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe
Author: Carlos Hernandez
Series: Sal & Gabi, #2
Pages: 432
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Release Date: May 5th 2020

**I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley which does not influence my review**

      “Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents the sequel to the critically acclaimed Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, a brilliant sci-fi romp with Cuban influence. Among many other challenges, Sal and Gabi have to try to make everything right with our world when there is a rogue Gabi from another universe running loose.
      Sal Vidón doesn’t want to live a Mami-free life. Pulling different versions of his mother from other universes is how he copes with missing his own, who died years ago. But Sal’s father, a calamity physicist, is trying to shut down all the wormholes Sal creates, because Papi thinks they are eroding the very fabric of our world. All of Papi’s efforts are in vain, however, because a Gabi from another universe has gone rogue and is popping up all over the place, seeking revenge for the fact that her world has been destroyed. While Sal and Gabi work together to keep both Papi and Rogue Gabi under control, they also have to solve the mystery of Yasmany, who has gone missing from school. Could it have something to do with the wormhole in the back of his locker?
      Readers who enjoyed Sal and Gabi Break the Universe will relish being back in the world of Culeco Academy and the Coral Castle along with such unforgettable characters as American Stepmom, the Gabi-Dads, Principal Torres, and the sassy entropy sweeper. With multiple Sals and Gabis in charge, it’s no wonder this sequel offers even more hilarious weirdness and love than the first book.”

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Carlos Hernandez once again delivers a hilarious and heartfelt story with Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe, sequel in his SFF Middle Grade Sal & Gabi series. These books provide a much needed sensitive boy protagonist in Sal Vidón. One of the reasons I’ve loved this series so much is because of how vulnerable this kid is allowed to be. He makes mistakes, learns to verbalize his grief, and also learns what it means to take personal responsibility for his actions. I wish all adults could be just as supportive as the ones written by Hernandez. They are always understanding, yet firm, helpful, but never overbearing. Gabi remains the most relatable to this reformed know-it-all child (slightly reformed?). I love how determined and ambitious she is. She is always in someone’s business with the very best intentions (mostly). I loved that Hernandez shows the value of found family and how these bonds can be just as powerful as the ones you are born into. Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe was just as much fun as its predessor while also expanding the Sal & Gabi multiverse. Please tell me there is a chance for more novels because I am not ready to say goodbye to these characters.

★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5)


Title: A Sprinkle of Spirits
Author: Anna Meriano
Series: Love Sugar Magic, #2
Pages: 309
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Release Date: February 5th 2019

      “Leonora Logroño has finally been introduced to her familys bakery bruja magicbut that doesnt mean everything is all sugar and spice. Her special power hasnt shown up yet, her family still wont let her perform her own spells, and they now act rude every time Caroline comes by to help Leo with her magic training.
    She knows that the family magic should be kept secret, but Caroline is her best friend, and she’s been feeling lonely ever since her mom passed away. Why should Leo have to choose between being a good bruja and a good friend?
      In the midst of her confusion, Leo wakes up one morning to a startling sight: her dead grandmother, standing in her room, looking as alive as she ever was. Both Leo and her abuela realize this might mean trouble—especially once they discover that Abuela isn’t the only person in town who has been pulled back to life from the other side.
      Spirits are popping up all over town, causing all sorts of trouble! Is this Leo’s fault? And can she reverse the spell before it’s too late?”

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Anna Meriano’s A Sprinkle of Spirits is charming from start to finish. In A Dash of Trouble, Leo discovers that the women in her family are brujas and magic is one of the secret ingredients they use in their family bakery. In this sequel, Leo learns how to balance friendship and responsibility. Her training has taken up a lot of her time and as a result her friendship with her best friend Caroline has suffered. She doesn’t want to choose between Caroline and becoming the best bruja she can be, but she isn’t sure if she really has a choice. Leo’s older sisters, Isabel and Marisol, have taken opposite views, giving Leo conflicting advice on how to balance being a brujas and a “normal” girl. This, of course, confuses Leo even further. I love that Leo isn’t the only Logroño daughter who learns valuable lessons as its important for younger kids to recognize that everyone is still learning how to move in the world. I listened to the audiobook of this one narrated by the talented Kyla Garcia. She brings every character to life, lending a different voice to each character and at times it felt like a full cast recording. The second novel in the Love Sugar Magic series solidifies this MG as a must read for those looking to celebrate friendship, family, and a little magical mischief.

★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5)