Book Blitz: Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron

I am realizing that I am definitely missing out if I don’t start picking up all the amazing middle grade books out there! That’s why I’m really excited to participate in this book blitz hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours for Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron!! Be sure to check out the other blogs on the blitz schedule, you can find a full list of the schedule here!

Book Info:

Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publishing Date: 9/22/2020

Book Links:

Barnes and Noble
Book Depository


In this highly anticipated contemporary fantasy, twelve-year-old Maya’s search for her missing father puts her at the center of a battle between our world, the Orishas, and the mysterious and sinister Dark world. Perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the End of Time and The Serpent’s Secret.

Twelve-year-old Maya is the only one in her South Side Chicago neighborhood who witnesses weird occurrences like werehyenas stalking the streets at night and a scary man made of shadows plaguing her dreams.

When Papa goes missing, Maya is thrust into a world both strange and familiar as she uncovers the truth. Her father is the guardian of the veil between our world and the Dark—where an army led by the Lord of Shadows, the man from Maya’s nightmares, awaits. Now that the veil is failing, the Lord of Shadows is determined to destroy the human world and it’s up to Maya to stop him. She just hopes she can do it in time to attend Comic-Con before summer’s over.

About the Author

Rena Barron grew up in small-town Alabama where stories of magic and adventure sparked her imagination. After penning her first awful poem in middle school, she graduated to writing short stories and novels by high school.

From a very young age she loved reading stories where kids saved the world, tamed dragons, wielded magic, flew spaceships, became the chosen one. She desperately searched for characters in books who looked like her and was always disappointed to find none, which fueled her early interest in writing.

Before HarperTeen acquired her Young Adult Epic Fantasy, Kingdom of Souls, Rena spent 10 years in the query trends–writing across multiple genres and age groups in the pursuit of publication. In 2017, she entered Pitch Wars, a popular and highly sought-after online mentorship program that included an agent showcase round. Rena’s entry (then titled “The Last Witchdoctor”) received multiple offers of representation. She signed with Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary shortly after, and the manuscript went on to sell in a heated auction.

In addition to the Kingdom of Souls series, Rena also has written a middle grade epic fantasy titled Maya and The Rising Dark debuting in Spring 2020, pitched as Stranger Things meets Percy Jackson, that sold in a pre-empt to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

On a personal note, Rena loves all things science fiction and fantasy, ghosts, and superheroes. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading or brushing up on her French.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

Book Review: Shielded

As soon as I read the synopsis for this book, I knew it was the YA fantasy book I had been craving! I finished this book pretty late at night because I could not put it down! I was sucked in right at the start of the book and instantly felt like I could connect to the main character, Jenna! There were some parts of the book that dragged towards the beginning, which I feel is to be expected in the first book of a series to allow for some world building. However, once I was through the slower part, the book flew by! ⠀

I really enjoyed the characters and their relationships and it made me ache for my family that’s spread out across the US. I kept startling my cats because I would get excited or nervous for the characters. I cannot wait to see what happens in the rest of the series! ⠀

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 out of 5 stars! ⠀

For fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Furyborn comes a thrilling new fantasy about a kingdom ravaged by war, and the princess who might be the key to saving not only those closest to her, but the kingdom itself, if she reveals the very secret that could destroy her. The kingdom of Hálendi is in trouble. It’s losing the war at its borders, and rumors of a new, deadlier threat on the horizon have surfaced. Princess Jennesara knows her skills on the battlefield would make her an asset and wants to help, but her father has other plans. As the second-born heir to the throne, Jenna lacks the firstborn’s–her brother’s–magical abilities, so the king promises her hand in marriage to the prince of neighboring Turia in exchange for resources Hálendi needs. Jenna must leave behind everything she has ever known if she is to give her people a chance at peace. Only, on the journey to reach her betrothed and new home, the royal caravan is ambushed, and Jenna realizes the rumors were wrong–the new threat is worse than anyone imagined. Now Jenna must decide if revealing a dangerous secret is worth the cost before it’s too late–for her and for her entire kingdom.

Thank you so much, TBR & Beyond Tours, Kaylynn Flanders, and Penguin Random House for the eARC in exchange for my honest review!!

Introduction and Book Blog Newbie Tag

Hi everyone!

My name is Megan and welcome to my new blog, Thorana Reads!

A little backstory on my name! Back when Facebook Messenger first introduced nicknames, a few of my friends and I (#burrowsquad) decided that it would be fun to have Avengers nicknames which then evolved into Disney nicknames. I loved both the nicknames I had (Thor and Moana) so I ended up combining them!

I’ll be completing the Book Blog Newbie Tag today as a way to introduce myself! I’m not sure who originally came up with this tag, but I’ll link them if I figure it out!

Why did you start this blog?
I wanted to be able to post more robust book reviews and rave about so of my favorite books in a new avenue! Also, I’m that person when (COVID 19 aside) I like to go to coffee shops and work on my computer, so this will actually give me something to do when I can go again eventually!

What are some fun and unique things you can bring to book blogging?
I would like to think that I have unique opinions, too many popular culture references, and rants about how many feels a book may have given me haha!

What are you most excited for about this new blog?
I am excited to have a new place to interact with my bookish friend and learn more about how websites and such work!

Why do you love reading?
Reading has been my escape since I was a kid and continues to be the biggest way I ensure I take care of myself as an adult. Reading gives me a place to go when the real world is too much (and let’s be real, it’s been too much in 2020) and forces me to unplug.

What book or series got you into reading?
I distinctly remember a teacher of mine reading the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books to us in 1st grade and I absolutely loved them and I still have my very well loved copies on my book shelf now! I also was very into The Magic Attic and Nancy Drew series at a young age!

What questions would you ask your favorite authors?
I would ask them probably some of the most generic questions- like where did your inspiration come from and WHY DID YOU KILL MY FAVORITE CHARACTER! However, I also like knowing about people’s day to day lives so I would also probably want to know what a day in the life might look like!

What challenges do you think starting a book blog will be the hardest to overcome?
Definitely technology. I haven’t done much with websites and have been frantically messaging one of my friends who is a blogger with a bunch of questions.

When did you start reading?
My parents always read to me when I was young, and apparently I used to try to get them to read to me pretty late into the night. Once I learned how to read myself I never left the house without at least 2 books and I haven’t stopped since!

Where do you read?
Anywhere! My favorite places to read are my designated reading chair and my couch where I can curl up with my cats, Amren & Juno! I never leave the house without a book and/or my Kindle and I try to read at work if there’s down time or on break, or if I have to wait somewhere for an appointment!

What kinds of books do you like to read?
Fantasy is definitely my most read genre (YA and adult), followed by thrillers, sci-fi, and contemporary romance. I have been getting more into graphic novels and nonfiction books this year but they haven’t made it onto my most read genre list quite yet!

Thanks for reading this! Hope to be back with another post soon!