Welcome to the By Blood Blog Tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours! I know you’re excited to get to all the goodies I have in store for you, so let’s get started!
Tracy E. Banghart is a cheesy movie–loving, fantasy football–playing (go Ravens!), globe-trotting Army wife who began “practicing” her craft at the age of five, when she wrote her first story. She loves visiting the international friends she met while pursuing her MA in Publishing and spends a portion of every summer at her family’s cabin in Canada, where she finds inspiration and lots of time to relax on the dock. She lives with her husband, son, two lazy dogs and one ornery cat. When not writing or spending time with her family, she is on a mission to bake the perfect cupcake.
By Blood (By Blood #1) by Tracy E. Banghart
For 17-year-old Emma Wong, spending a summer in England should be a dream come true. Gorgeous scenery? Check. Lots of hot guys with accents? Yes, please.
Throw in an estranged mom, annoying new stepdad, and drooling baby half-brother, and it’s a disaster even her favorite cherry red leather jacket can’t fix. Even worse, there’s (hot) live-in research assistant Josh to contend with. The only thing more embarrassing than drunk-kissing him hours after they meet? Knowing he’ll be witness to her family’s dysfunction all. summer. long.
But when Emma meets a mysterious girl who happens to be a Druid, her vacation suddenly promises to be far more intriguing than she anticipated. Powerful rituals, new friends, an intoxicating sense of freedom…and Simon, the sexy foreign stranger she was hoping for. It’s all a perfect distraction from dirty diapers and awkward family dinners.
Trouble is, intriguing doesn’t often mean simple. And Emma is about to discover just how not simple her life really is.
By Blood is a novel about the ways that blood can bind us to others – or tear us apart.
3 1/2 stars
The book opens up not where you would expect it at all. Emma is teaching a self-defense class with her cop dad. She’s really good at it. But then, on the way home, her dad drops a bomb. Her mom (his ex wife) is heading to Oxford, England, for a sabbatical, with her new husband and baby. She wants to bring Emma along to “help with the baby.” Her dad thinks it’s a good idea she goes. Emma doesn’t get an option. Oxford, of course, is her own personal hell. Her room is small, all her clothes don’t fit, she has to deal with baby puke and the too-cute, live-in research assistant her step-disaster has. Then she meets Ash, who introduces her to the fiery hot Simon and her Druid group, and … well, the story goes on from there.
One of my bigger problems was how long it took to get to the action-y part of the book. I felt like almost 50% of the book was ramping up to get somewhere. You understand later why Emma was almost incapable of making smart life choices, but after she makes stupid mistake after stupid mistake, it just starts to get annoying. Now, IN the second half of the book the tension is palpable and my heart was racing, so it was fantastic. It just took forever to get there.
I liked Emma as a character when she wasn’t being an idiot. She’s a fierce fashionista with a lot of sass and sarcasm. But behind all that swagger is a girl who is still trying to figure out how everything goes, and it shows in the most awkward, realistic moments. I felt really bad that all the stuff about her family was shoehorned in around all the guy drama, because I thought that that really needed more fleshing out. It’s a really big deal, but it just becomes a thing that happens and then is kinda jumped around for the rest of the book.
Then there is Simon and Josh. Simon is the dark, swoony, dangerous one. Josh is the cute, smart, geeky one. Do I need to say more? Because ARGH love triangles.
The Druid group was also filled with mostly stock characters. You’ve got the b*tchy one, the happy-go-lucky one, the slutty and all over each other guy/girl couple and the brooding, almost silent guy at the back. I thought that Ash, the happy-go-lucky one, certainly would have had some serious fleshing out if her family had been brought into it more, but they really weren’t important so that just stayed in the background.
Honestly, my favorite part of this is the last 50% of the book. The tension, the stakes, the crazy–ALL of it gets ramped up a bajillion notches. I also was NOT expecting the ending at all, and it’s really hard to get me not to guess how it’s going to end. What Banghart did, instead of making this your typical paranormal, was very interesting and unique and I really respect her for it. I can’t talk about this part much, obviously, but know that getting through the first 50% is worth the second half. I promise. I really promise.
If you’re looking for a new taking on paranormal themes, I recommend this book to you! And don’t forget to check out the companion novel to this series…
Moon Child (By Blood #2) by Tracy E. Banghart
Before Emma’s adventures in Oxford, her best friend Diana came face-to-face with a killer…
Diana Calvert is so over high school. Who cares if Olivia hates her? And David needs to forget about having a crush on her STAT. Even Emma’s crazy fashion choices can’t keep Diana entertained. All she can hope for is a dance scholarship to a college as far away as possible from too-small, too-boring, too-nothing-ever-happens New Freedom, PA.
Then Diana meets Nicholas Woodhaven. He’s pale, angry…yet weirdly charming. The more time they spend together, the more she wonders who – or what – he really is. Because he isn’t anything like the other guys she knows. Not with the whole only-going-out-at-night thing. And living with his creepy aunt. And not going to school.
Just when Diana thinks she’s got Nicholas all figured out, people in her small, nothing-ever-happens town start dying. She has to wonder – can she trust him? And even more alarming – could she be next?
A murder mystery with a paranormal twist, Moon Child is best read under the covers with a flashlight…if you dare!
Don’t both of those sound awesome? Well, you’re in luck, because CHECK OUT THIS AWESOME GIVEAWAY!
Grand prize giveaway
1) (US only) SIGNED paperback copies of BY BLOOD & MOON CHILD + $20 Amazon, B&N or Smashwords gift card
2) (US & INTL) (2 winners) paperback copies of BY BLOOD & MOON CHILD + $10 Amazon, B&N or Smashwords gift card
3) (US & INTL) (2 winners) E-copies of BY BLOOD & MOON CHILD + $5 Amazon, B&N, or Smashwords gift card
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Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour!