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WWW Wednesdays 2/3

This meme was created by Miz B formerly of shouldbereading and currently hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What I Read

The Down Days

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

My Review

The Dreamers

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Girlhood: Teens from Around the World in Their Own Voices

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Blog Tour February 5th

The Project

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Summer Frost

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Surge

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My Review


What I’m Reading

Wife of the Gods

I am reading Wife of the Gods as part of Blackathon, an annual read-a-thon that highlights black authors.

Introducing Detective Inspector Darko Dawson: dedicated family man, rebel in the office, ace in the field—and one of the most appealing sleuths to come along in years. When we first meet Dawson, he’s been ordered by his cantankerous boss to leave behind his loving wife and young son in Ghana’s capital city to lead a murder investigation: In a shady grove outside the small town of Ketanu, a young woman—a promising medical student—has been found dead under suspicious circumstances. Dawson is fluent in Ketanu’s indigenous language, so he’s the right man for the job, but the local police are less than thrilled with an outsider’s interference. For Dawson, this sleepy corner of Ghana is rife with emotional land mines: an estranged relationship with the family he left behind twenty-five years earlier and the painful memory of his own mother’s inexplicable disappearance. Armed with remarkable insight and a healthy dose of skepticism, Dawson soon finds his cosmopolitan sensibilities clashing with age-old customs, including a disturbing practice in which teenage girls are offered to fetish priests as trokosi, or Wives of the Gods. Delving deeper into the student’s haunting death, Dawson will uncover long-buried secrets that, to his surprise, hit much too close to home.


The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

I am reading The Secret Lives of Church Ladies as it was a finalist for the National Book Awards and also on the Tournament of Books longlist.

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church’s double standards and their own needs and passions.


Just My Luck

My Blog Tour stop for Just My Luck is April 9th.

It was supposed to be the lottery win they’d always dreamed of…

For fifteen years, Lexi and Jake have played the same six numbers with their friends. Over drinks, dinner parties and summer barbecues, the three couples have discussed the important stuff—kids, marriages, careers—and they’ve laughed off their disappointment when they failed to win anything.

But then the unthinkable happens. There’s a rift in the group. Someone is caught in a lie. And soon after, six numbers come up that change everything forever.

Lexi and Jake have a ticket worth millions. And their friends are determined to claim a share.

#1 Sunday Times bestselling author Adele Parks returns with a riveting look at the dark side of wealth in this gripping tale of friendship, money, betrayal and good luck gone bad…


What’s Next

How to Build a Heart

  • Young Adult/ Romance
  • Hardcover, 352 pages
  • Published January 28th 2020 by Algonquin Young Readers

Blood Grove

  • Mystery/Thriller; Easy Rawlins series
  • Hardcover, 320 pages
  • Published February 2nd 2021 by Mulholland Books
Featured

WWW Wednesdays 1/27

This meme was created by Miz B formerly of shouldbereading and currently hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The Three Ws Are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’ve Read

The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Your Corner Dark by Desmond Hall

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Mr. Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Buzz Books: Great Reads Spring/Summer 2021 by Publisher’s Lunch

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Follow Me To Ground by Sue Rainsford

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dispossession by Tayari Jones, narrated by Gabrielle Union

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Prodigal Son by Gregg Hurwitz

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

What I’m Reading

Daughters of Africa, Edited by Margaret Busby

I have fallen behind schedule on my reading of Daughters of Africa. But if I double up over the course of the next few days I should be back on track.

Girlhood: Teens Around the World in Their Own Voices by Masuma Ahuja

At first I started reading this one with my daughter thinking about how awesome it was to see other girls, their dreams and their aspirations. But I do not think she is ready yet to process everything within this book. This book is tailored to a slightly older audience as the statistics sections talk about prevailing attitudes towards women, including abuse and femicide. So I have started to read ahead and preview the stories before hand which I should have been doing in the first place.

Right now I am about halfway through and feel that this is a wonderful anthology. Not only do you get to see the commonalities, but you also get to see the struggles that women in other countries experience. It allows you to see that however hard our road may be we are still fortunate.

The Down Days by Ilze Hugo

I am reading this title for the 2021 Tournament of Books. I had quite a few starts and stops. Not that there was anything wrong with the book but because in my anxiety I was avoiding anything concerning epidemics and quarantines. But now that I have given this book the chance that it deserves I am enjoying it immensely. For those of you participating in a reading around the world challenge, The Down Days is set in South Africa.


What’s Next

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

  • Literature/Short Stories
  • Paperback, 192 pages
  • Published September 1st 2020 by West Virginia University Press
  • 52 Weeks of Women of Color
  • 2021 Motley Reading Challenge

The Project by Courtney Summers

  • Young Adult/Mystery/ Thriller
  • Hardcover, 352 pages
  • Expected publication: February 2nd 2021 by Wednesday Books
  • 2021 Motley Reading Challenge

Surge by Jay Bernard

  • Poetry
  • Paperback, 58 pages
  • Published June 20th 2019 by Chatto & Windus
  • Life of a Book Addict Color Challenge
Featured

WWW Wednesdays 1/20

Happy Humpday Everyone! It’s that time of week again. Time to take an inventory of our reading.

This meme was created by Miz B formerly of shouldbereading and currently hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The Three Ws Are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’ve Read

I have not read one of these in a while. I stopped because my NetGalley shelf was getting out of control with all of my requests. But now that I have gotten past the 80% feedback ratio I figured that I would try to get the jump on some of the hot releases this season.

My Review

I cannot believe that my request for this book came in so early from my library. But I was so excited to read/listen to it that I literally stayed up all night until I finished it. Both Angie Thomas and Dion Graham get all the stars!

This is a coming of age novel written in verse. Our protagonist faces many odds but she learns how to deal with the loss of friendship and how to stick up for herself in a male dominated arena.

This is the prequel to Ladee Hubbard’s The Talented Ribkins. Here me meet the family’s patriarch and learn what made him The Rib King. Full of historical references and social commentary this one sometimes rings quite close to our present.

This book is best approached without any spoilers. It is a mystery, fantasy perhaps even mythology that has us examine science, religion, and isolation.

This is Roxane Gay’s first graphic novel. That’s right. That Roxane Gay. Illustrations are done by artist Ming Doyle.


What I’m Reading

I am continuing with my yearlong challenge for both 52 Weeks of Women of Color and 2021 Pop Sugar Challenge.

I still have not finished this one. Not anything wrong with the book but my anxiety is getting the best of me these days so I have been trying to find something lighthearted and humorous to read.

I’m not far into this but so far I like Frankie’s voice.

I am listening to a full cast production of this title while cleaning and setting up for my daughter’s birthday.


What’s Up Next

  • Literature/Short Stories
  • Paperback, 192 pages
  • Published September 1st 2020 by West Virginia University Press
  • 52 Weeks of Women of Color
  • 2021 Motley Reading Challenge
Featured

WWW Wednesdays 1/12

Hey Everyone! Hope you had a wonderful week of reading! Personally, I got side-tracked by my allergies. But I am trying to get back on track. I am hoping that with the children returning back to school this week that I will be able to steal more time to read.

For those of you new to WWW Wednesdays: This meme was created by Miz B formerly of shouldbereading and currently hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’ve Read

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My Review

Their Frozen Graves by Ruhi Choudhary

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Blog Tour

Black Beach by Glynis Guevara

Rating: 4 out of 5.

My Review

Dog Flowers by Danielle Geller

Rating: 3 out of 5.

My Review

Loving Donovan by Bernice L. McFadden

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This year I have committed myself to reading the works of three authors: James Baldwin, Bernardine Evaristo and Bernice L. McFadden. Loving Donovan is the first novel that I have read for this challenge this year. It is the third book that I have read from Ms. McFadden and one commonality that I have found in her books is that they get to the heart of human emotion. Her characters and their backstories have so much depth and are complex. You can’t help but identify with their pain and their joy. Even if you don’t see yourself in her pages you feel as if you know someone just like that. Her writing is just brilliant.


The Incredible Nellie Bly by Luciano Cimino

Rating: 3 out of 5.

My Review


What I’m Reading

Daughters of Africa edited by Margaret Busby

This anthology includes biographies and writings from women all across the African diaspora. It is arranged chronologically starting with Traditional African poems. This is part of a yearlong project for me. So far I have 1500 BC – 1820’s. (So about 90 pages. Ha! Ha!) I enjoy learning about these incredible women in history. Oftentimes I find myself stepping away from the book to research them further.


The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez

This is a short story collection by Argentine author Mariana Enriquez. All of these stories have a bit of the macabre. I am not sure whether I would classify them as magical realism or horror. But will say is that I have been absolutely captivated by this collection. Each story touches upon some human element that is typically ignored. Her writing is utterly original and I find that I cannot help myself but to read the stories over back-to- back so that I can glean more from them. I actually started journaling about each story. Who knows by the time I finish my notes may be longer than the book. LOL


The Woman Inside by Anna-Lou Weatherley

The Woman Inside is an intense emotional thriller about a woman left for dead. When questioned she cannot remember anything from the day of the attack. DI Dan Riley needs her to gain her memory back in order to catch the serial killer. I’m super excited to read this one. My Blog Tour review will be live tomorrow morning. So check back here for all the juicy details!


What’s Next?

Your Corner Dark by Desmond Hall

  • Contemporary/ Young Adult
  • Hardcover, 384 pages
  • Expected publication: January 19th 2021 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
  • NetGalley

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

  • Literature/Short Stories
  • Paperback, 192 pages
  • Published September 1st 2020 by West Virginia University Press
  • 52 Weeks of Women of Color
  • 2021 Motley Reading Challenge
Featured

WWW Wednesday 1/6

It’s been some time since I have done a WWW post. But I realized that not only was it fun to see what you all were reading, but it also gave me a moment to pause and consider what I had read over the week. So WWW Wednesday will be one of the memes I continue throughout 2021.

So what is WWW Wednesday?

This meme was created by Miz B formerly of shouldbereading and currently hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’ve Read

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was a poignant and emotional memoir. I recommend listening to the audio which George Johnson narrates himself.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This epic retelling of the Trojan War is told from the women’s points of view. Haynes begs the question what makes someone a hero during war. How many lives you vanquish? Or how many lives you touch and nurture?


What I’m Reading

This book will be part of an ongoing process and will be included in my 52 Weeks of Women of Color challenge for 2021. As the second volume came out, together these two (at 1841 pages) will count towards my 2021 Pop Sugar Challenge for “The longest book on your TBR.” So far I have been enjoying reading a few pages each morning while I sip on my coffee. There is something about starting your day off with a good book that warms my soul. I also have been journaling my thoughts and writing up additional info that I come across while researching these women.


So far I like the character’s voice and am expecting this to be a 5 star book. Somehow though I got sidetracked watching the election yesterday (and today) so I might not finish this one until tomorrow. Not a good way to start off the year — reviewing days after publication but all I can do now is get it in as soon as possible.


What’s Next?

I have three blog tours coming over the next week:

1/8 – Find Me in Havana

I have already and reviewed this title. The link will be open at midnight Pacific time January 8th. Link to Blog Tour


1/10 – Their Frozen Graves

  • Mystery/ Thriller
  • Kindle Edition, 381 pages
  • Expected publication: January 7th 2021 by Bookouture
  • 52 Weeks of Women of Color
  • NetGalley

1/14 – The Woman Inside

  • Mystery/ Thriller
  • ebook, 331 pages
  • Expected publication: January 13th 2021 by Bookouture
  • Bookopoly Challenge
  • NetGalley

WWW Wednesday 12/9

Hello and Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was created by Miz B formerly of shouldbereading and currently hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’ve Read

Since I did not post a December 2nd WWW post I am including all 8 books that I’ve read in December so far:

What I’m Reading

I am currently reading a BOTM title for the 2021 Tournament of Books that was chosen by my GoodReads friend Jennifer.

Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums, determined to move up in life, who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir is an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right-wing political party, and finds that his own ascent becomes linked to Jivan’s fall. Lovely–an irresistible outcast whose exuberant voice and dreams of glory fill the novel with warmth and hope and humor–has the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything she holds dear.

Taut, symphonic, propulsive, and riveting from its opening lines, A Burning has the force of an epic while being so masterfully compressed it can be read in a single sitting. Majumdar writes with dazzling assurance at a breakneck pace on complex themes that read here as the components of a thriller: class, fate, corruption, justice, and what it feels like to face profound obstacles and yet nurture big dreams in a country spinning toward extremism. An extraordinary debut.


My second current read is a YA mystery/ fantasy that I am listening to for a book club challenge – “Read a book with apple in the title or on the cover”

When Deena’s wild and mysterious sister Mandy disappears – presumed dead – her family are heartbroken. But Mandy has always been troubled. It’s just another bad thing to happen to Deena’s family. Only Deena refuses to believe it’s true.

And then the letters start arriving. Letters from Mandy, claiming that their family’s blighted history is not just bad luck or bad decisions – but a curse, handed down through the generations. Mandy has gone in search of the curse’s roots, and now Deena must find her. What they find will heal their family’s rotten past – or rip it apart forever.


What’s Next?

  • A Spy In The Struggle
  • Mystery/ Thriller
  • Paperback, 352 pages
  • Expected publication: December 29th 2020 by Kensington Books
  • NetGalley
  • 52 Weeks of Women of Color
  • Wrong Alibi
  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Paperback, 384 pages
  • Expected publication: December 29th 2020 by HQN
  • NetGalley
  • Blog Tour 12/29/20

WWW Wednesday 11/18/20

Hello and Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was created by Miz B formerly of shouldbereading and currently hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’ve Read

  • Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
  • Case Studies/ Sociology
  • Hardcover, 304 pages
  • Published July 9th 2019 by Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
  • Nonfiction November
  • Popsugar Challenge
  • Life of a Book Addict Pick It For Me
  • Mem by Bethany C.Morrow
  • Science Fiction
  • Kindle Edition, 189 pages
  • Published May 22nd 2018 by The Unnamed Press
  • PopSugar Challenge
  • 52 Weeks of Women Color
  • Spell the Month in Books

What I’m Reading

This is my second time trying to read this one. The first time I was listening to the audiobook and it just did not click with me. This time reading on the Kindle. Not quite where I was the last time but more of the plot is sinking in and I am connecting more So maybe this time I will finish it.


What’s Next?

  • White Ivy by Susie Yang
  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Hardcover, 368 pages
  • Published November 3rd 2020 by Simon & Schuster
  • 52 Weeks of Women of Color
  • Tattoo by Jenna Cosgrove
  • Young Adult
  • Kindle Edition, 448 pages
  • Published March 27th 2016 by The 8 Percent
  • Goodreads Giveaway

WWW Wednesdays 11/11

Hello and Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was created by Miz B formerly of shouldbereading and currently hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’ve Read

Rating: 4 out of 5.

See my stop on The Forgotten Sister Blog Tour.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Here’s My Thoughts.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

See my Review Nonfiction November #2


What I’m Reading

Currently I am focusing my energy on cutting down my NetGalley pile while incorporating some Nonfiction titles. Black Sun and The Purpose of Power are ARCs. Three Women is a book club pick from GoodReads.

  • Science Fiction/ Epic Fantasy
  • Hardcover, 454 pages
  • Published October 13th 2020 by Saga Press
  • Nonfiction/ Political Memoir
  • Hardcover, 336 pages
  • Published October 20th 2020 by One World
  • Nonfiction
  • Hardcover, 304 pages
  • Published July 9th 2019 by Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster

What’s Next

“A dazzling debut novel about a young woman’s dark obsession with her privileged classmate and the lengths she’ll go to win his love.”

“You judge me when you look at me because of the tattoos that cover my body—but that’s only because you don’t understand what they mean…….”

“You judge me because my tattoos make me look strange, dangerous. But there’s more to them than that. To understand the way I look, you need to know where I came from. To understand me, you need to know my story…”

WWW Wednesdays 11/3

Hello and Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was created by Miz B formerly of shouldbereading and currently hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’ve Read

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

#52WeeksOfWomenOfColor #76

Samantha Rajaram’s background with sex trafficking law is what started her on the path to writing this book. Set in 1600s Amsterdam and Batavia The Company Daughters highlights the real life experience of poor indigent women who were sent to the Dutch colonies and married off to settlers.

For my thoughts on the book visit my blog tour stop.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

First off I must admit that I do not like dystopian novels. I read this one for the Tournament of Books Super Rooster as I have been participating in their challenges for the last 5 years.

For the most part the book was engrossing. It kind of lost my attention around the 2/3 mark. In Station Eleven’s opening scene the lead actor dies on stage while in the middle of his performance. The theater is packed and in the chaos that ensues afterward we learn of the Georgia flu. Gripping right? My mind started racing trying to figure out if our King Lear is patient zero and if Jeeves would emerge as the hero who saves the world. But Station Eleven is more sophisticated than that. Kirsten emerges from the shadows as St. John Mandel takes us on a journey through this afterworld. Shifting time frames between the before and the after, we get to watch Arthur as he reflects on his life and reevaluates his values. And because “survival is insufficient,” we watch as people learn to appreciate what remains of their lives after disaster.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

#52WeeksOfWomenOfColor #77

A solid addition to the scholarship on Malcolm X’s life. See my post Nonfiction November #1 for a full review.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

#52WeeksOfWomenOfColor #78

I received this book WAAY back in February and although I was very excited as you know all he!! broke loose when Coronavirus hit. So here I am 9 months later finally getting to this awesome book. If you would like to read my review stop by my GoodReads page.


What I’m Reading

I probably will be wrapping this one up by the end of the day but I have to say that it has been an eye-opening experience. I walked into this book with so many misconceptions. Although I have not found any of the women featured here endearing I appreciate that the author is like-minded and holds them accountable for their actions.

What’s Next

The Forgotten Sister is an historical novel set during the Tudor era. It involves time travel, a curse and romance. Please check back here on Tuesday, November 10th for my stop on the blog tour.

Those of you who visited my WWW post last week might remember this title. I have not gotten to it yet but will make a concerted effort to get to it soon. With all of the debates and election coverage I got sucked into the TV and social media. Obviously, I have some catching up to do on my reading.

WWW Wednesdays 10/28

Hello and Welcome to WWW Wednesday! Forgive me for being a little late today but my hubby and I are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. He’s so cute and attentive. He’s taken the whole week off and has been spoiling me at every turn. So back to today’s post: This meme was created by Miz B formerly of shouldbereading and currently hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. Now let’s get to it!

The Three Ws Are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’ve Read

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As you can see from the rating, I enjoyed this science fiction thriller slash moral quandary. I found it interesting how Gilmartin managed to have so much happening in such a confined space. Would recommend for readers who appreciate suspense with a bit of character depth. For more of my thoughts and an excerpt visit my blog tour stop for this book.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was my second time reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X and I took home a considerable bit more than the first time. I know age factors into this but I also feel that the current political climate had me looking at his life and his opinions through a different lens.


What I’m Reading

Currently on page 205/333

I usually don’t like post-apocalyptic fiction so I am surprised by my response to this book especially during the middle of this current pandemic. I am reading Station Eleven as part of the Tournament of Books Super Rooster where it got knocked out in the opening round. But I am invested now and truly want to know what happens to the characters so I will read on merrily.


Currently at 84% in ebook

In this book Payne is trying to give a more personal look at Malcolm X’s life by including interviews of the people closest to him. So far I am the most intrigued by his secret meeting with the Ku Klux Klan back in 1961.


What I’ll Read Next

Goodreads: From the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Resistance Reborn comes the first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy, inspired by the civilizations of the Pre-Columbian Americas and woven into a tale of celestial prophecies, political intrigue, and forbidden magic.