January 22, 2016

Sword & Verse by Kathy MacMillan Blog Tour & Giveaway!

by Kathy MacMillan
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: January 19th 2016
by HarperTeen

Raisa was just a child when she was sold to work as a slave in the kingdom of Qilara. Despite her young age, her father was teaching her to read and write, grooming her to take his place as a Learned One. In Qilara, the Arnathim, like Raisa, are the lowest class, and literacy is a capital offense. What’s more, only the king, prince, tutor, and tutor-in-training are allowed to learn the very highest order language, the language of the gods. So when the tutor-in-training is executed for teaching slaves this sacred language, and Raisa is selected to replace her, Raisa knows any slipup on her part could mean death.

Keeping her secret is hard enough, but the romance that’s been growing between her and Prince Mati isn’t helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slave rebels—to help liberate Arnath slaves. She wants to free her people, but that would mean aiding a war against Mati. As Raisa struggles with what to do, she discovers a secret that the Qilarites have been hiding for centuries—one that, if uncovered, could bring the kingdom to its knees.

Advance praise for Sword and Verse:

“I was completely enthralled by the fascinating and unique world that Kathy MacMillan has created.  The depth and skill she demonstrates with her ability to build an original mythology based on words and the power of language are highly unusual for a first-time novelist and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.” – National Book Award finalist Franny Billingsley

“A tense, romantic fantasy epic about prejudice, political struggle, and the power of words, SWORD AND VERSE kept me guessing at every turn. Kathy MacMillan is a writer to watch.” — R.J. Anderson, Andre Norton Award-nominated author of Ultraviolet

“Fans of Megan Whalen Turner will enjoy MacMillan’s debut novel…MacMillan explains the complicated political twists and turns clearly, and her characterizations are layered and believable.” — Publishers Weekly

“Literacy becomes the key to liberation in a thoughtful debut fantasy.” — Kirkus Reviews

“MacMillan’s love of learning, knowledge, and literacy shapes both plot and character development, while raising ethical questions with no easy answers. Beneath what appears to be a romantic fantasy, discerning readers will find complex, broader issues among the predictable comforts of the genre.” — Booklist

“MacMillan has created a believable world, complete with its own mythology.” — School Library Journal


NOTE: This teaser is quoted from an ARC/Uncorrected Proof copy of the book.

     I HAD ONE moment of agonizing dread, and then there was just agony. The first lash sliced through my thin dress like a knife through pudding, leaving a slash of fire across my back. I gasped and choked back a cry, forming a deluded resolution not to scream.
     That resolution held until perhaps the fourth lash—or was it the fifth? I lost count as I clutched the cold stone and my world narrowed to the endless cycle of a whoosh, then pain, a whoosh, then more pain.
     I am certain I screamed and begged for mercy. My vision darkened and I sagged against the pillar, the only thing anchoring me to reality as pain exploded around me, unending and inescapable. I wished for death—anything to stop the relentless rending of my body.
     In the distance, between the whistles that brought more agony, and more, I now heard a voice, angry and loud. Then more voices, and then—it seemed years later, but it couldn’t have been—I was being dragged and jostled. I screamed as something pressed my shredded back, and finally I fell into darkness.


ICYMI, here is my review of SWORD AND VERSE. I LOVED IT! :) 

Sword and Verse takes readers on an unforgettable adventure. Not only is this book amazing from the first word to the very last, it is also unpredictable, and has the PERFECT romance.

When I first saw the cover to this book I immediately knew I had to get my hands on it. Then I read the blurb and I was sold! I knew it would be one of those books that would keep me up all night reading, and would leave me with that craving for more. I honestly did not expect to be so into the story, and completely captivated with the characters like I was. It was all I thought about. Every single time I had to put the book down, I would get upset. I could not wait to dive back into Raisa’s story. It is THAT good.

One of the biggest things I love most about this story is the way the author wrote it. The story starts with Raisa as a young girl, and ends with her as a grown smart woman. I did not get lost once with the timeline. The author did an excellent job piecing it all together. For some reason this was a huge plus for me. The way the characters grow, the romance between Raisa & the Prince, the suspense whenever Raisa and the rebels were together, it was just flawless!

I will say that a little more than half of the story is romance. Of course, me being a romance junkie, this just made me fall in love with the book ten times more! I can’t describe the emotions I felt. Prince Mati & Raisa’s feelings for one another bled off the pages and I absorbed every bit of it! At one point, the author had me worried. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen to them as a couple, and was about ready to scream, but in the end I was happy with the outcome. Every detail, event, emotion, all happened at the right time, and all flowed together like putting the pieces to a puzzle together.

SWORD AND VERSE is a GOOD CHOICE FOR READING! It’s a story that you will devour and never forget. At least it was for me. Kathy MacMillan is officially on my MUST-READ list. If her other books are written anything like this one, it will be a sure read!

5 Stars! 



Kathy MacMillan is a writer, American Sign Language interpreter, consultant, librarian, signing storyteller, and avowed Hufflepuff.  Her debut young adult novel, Sword and Verse, explores questions of power and prejudice in an epic fantasy setting, and has been called “fascinating and unique” by National Book Award finalist Franny Billingsley.  Kathy is the founder of The Sweet Sixteens (www.thesweet16s.com) debut group of 2016 middle grade and young adult authors, and serves as the Published and Listed Member Coordinator for the Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia Region of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.  She is also the author of eight resource books for educators, librarians, and parents, including Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together (Huron Street Press, 2013). She lives near Baltimore, MD with her husband, son, and a cat named Pancake.  Find her online at www.kathymacmillan.com or on Twitter at @kathys_quill.

5 Winners will receive a finished copy of SWORD AND VERSE. US Only.

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