Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Book Tour for Galilee Rising by Jennifer Harlow (Review & GIVEAWAY)

Last year I got the opportunity to read, and LOVED, the first book in the Galilee Falls trilogy.  Today I'm excited to bring you it's sequel, Galilee Rising by Jennifer Harlow.  Keep reading to learn more about this book and series through my interview with Ms. Harlow and through my review of it.  For a chance to win a copy of it for yourself fill out the form below too!

TSP:  Knowing what you do now about the publishing business, would you have done anything different career-wise?
JH:  When I started my “writing career” there was no self-publishing. You got an agent, they went to a publisher, and that was that. So I came late to the revolution. I should have published JUSTICE at least a year before I did. It was rejected by every house with the same note: “We adore it, it made me cry, but it’s never been done before so there’s no way in hell we’re taking a chance on it. Sorry.” But I kept on going. There are definitely good reasons to go traditional, you do reach a wider audience, but I’m just glad there’s indie now.
TSP:  What does your writing space look like and do you surround yourself with any particularly inspirational items?
JH:  I usually write at my desk with my machete Bette hanging above it (it’s from my F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad series) or if I haven’t left my house in days I’ll drag myself to the library. But I always, always have my iPod on. Music really helps me write. (And I even post the soundtracks to my books on my website www.jenniferharlowbooks.com if you are so inclined.)
TSP:  Galilee Rising takes place in the world of superheroes, what draws you to this theme?
JH:  This series really has its roots in Batman. When I was about six, my father took me to see Tim Burton’s version and I just became obsessed with the world. How dark it was, how one normal man could make a difference, and all the cool action (yes, I was very weird even at six.) From there I really got into comic books and Batman led to X-Men which led to all things geeky. My F.R.E.A.K.S. series is more X-Men, super powered people fighting supernatural forces but Galilee is more Batman. I just really wanted to explore a character and world where a normal person can contribute to the world even when faced with super situations and people. I also wanted to change things up in the urban fantasy genre, veer away from the usual vampires and werewolves. I adore superheroes and especially supervillains. I read comics all through my childhood and still do sometimes. Really, in my other series I write vampires and werewolves and the difference is so slim. Both superheroes and supernatural creatures are tortured, often have double lives, and have to acclimate to a world where they’re freaks.  If you like vampires and werewolves that make up the glut of urban fantasy, you’ll like superheroes and villains as well. I know I do.
TSP:  Beyond its synopsis, what do you want us to know about Galilee Rising and where the series might be going?
JH:  This one is definitely more a “traditional” romance, and I put that in quotes because this romance is very, very dark. It’s between two incredibly damaged people with very harsh pasts but do find one another and help each other overcome said pasts. There are still big superhero action scenes and thriller aspects, but at its heart it’s a romance. As for where the series is going, I can’t say much without giving away big spoilers from the first two. I can say just when things seem greatfor our tough heroine, her world is rocked once more by a double betrayal while a virus begins decimating the superhero population. That’s all I can give you, sorry.
TSP:  Which of your books would you like to see made into a movie and who would play the main couple?
JH:  When I come up with my stories, I always “cast” the main characters because I see it as a movie in my head, I just hate giving away the actors because I want the readers to use their own imaginations. I will say for Joanna she’s tiny, spunky, she’s an X-Man, been nominated for an Oscar, and stared in an awesome video game that came out this year. For her love interest Jem in GALILEE RISING, I put in several Easter eggs (color plays a big part) but I will say he’s very popular on Tumblr. I will say no more.
TSP:  Of all the heroes you've written, who's the most heroic in your opinion?
JH:  This is a toughie, but probably Joanna by a slim margin. Beatrice (from the F.R.E.A.K.S.) is a telekinetic so she has that in her favor when facing supernatural nasties. Mona (from WHAT’S A WITCH TO DO?) never went looking to be heroic but handled someone wanting to kill her with strength. But Joanna wins because she’s a normal person without any advantage yet still runs into the fray with these living Gods to save people. She knows the odds are against her but still does it. That’s pretty damn heroic in my book.
TSP:  How has the digital revolution affected your career and how you market yourself?  Do you have an eReader yourself?
JH:  I’m still really new to this whole digital revolution. As I said, I came from the traditional world. I had to learn how to buy covers, format ebooks, get them up on the e-book platforms, and I always do a physical book too so all that times two. It’s only been six months but I’m still learning. How I market myself hasn’t changed. My publisher sends the book to the big reviewers like Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus but that’s about it. Unless a publisher deems you the next big thing or you’re James Patterson, you have to do most of the publicity yourself anyway. And I do own an e-reader. I love indie books because I have such eclectic taste in books, usually not mainstream either, I can find such innovative, creative stories…like mine.
TSP:  My site's all about favorite things, so what are your favorite things/the things you can't live without?
JH:  Cable TV, books, Coke, Bejeweled, BBC shows, and now Pinterest.

Love in the time of superheroes...
The year since Galilee Falls lost its reigning superhero Justice has not been kind to Joanna Fallon. She's lost her best friend, her boyfriend, her badge, even her mind. The city of Galilee Falls hasn't fared much better with supervillain related crime skyrocketing to cataclysmic proportions.
Deliverance for the city arrives in the guise of The Royal Triumvirate--King Tempest, Lady Liberty, and Lord Nightingale--who vow to be the heroes the city needs. Salvation for Joanna appears in the brilliant form of Dr. Jem Ambrose, another lost soul in need of saving. But salvation comes with a high price.
When Emperor Cain, an old nemesis of The Triumvirate, decides he will stop at nothing to make sure there is no city left to defend, it is up to Joanna to rise not only for her city, for her new love, but for herself as well…

His last words were, “I love you.”
My tear filled eyes fly open, and I spin around. Jem stands a few feet away, concern radiating from his every pore. His hair is a mess, wild and his clothes rumpled. No glasses either. He came in a hurry. Not like him to forget the details. “Joanna, please get away from there. It’s dangerous.”
I turn back to the abyss. “I was just thinking. About last words.”
“Last words?”
“Yeah. I read the most common are, ‘Oh, shit’ or ‘Oh, God.’ Justin’s were, ‘I love you.’ He looked me square in the eyes and told me he loved me. He’d said it in passing a few times, the usual, ‘You’re my friend, I love you,’ type of thing, but deep down I never really believed him. If he loved me then he should love me, you know? Like I did him. But at that moment, his last moment, I finally became a believer. Because that’s what love is, right? Putting someone before yourself? For twenty years he loved me, and I think I just now realized he loved me a hell of a lot more than I loved him. If I even really did love him. Maybe I’m just not capable of it. Two people were on that fence, and the thought of letting go never even crossed my mind. Not even for a millisecond. But it crossed his. Because he was good, and strong, and capable of the biggest love of all. And he’s dead. And I’m here. It should have been me.”
“No,” Jem says forcefully. All of a sudden he’s next to me, grabbing and turning me toward him. “No.”
“Anyway you look at it, his life was worth more than mine. I die, a few people are sad for awhile, but they move on. He dies, the whole city implodes.” I wipe a tear off my cheek. “Who the hell am I? I’m nothing. A traumatized alcoholic who ruins everything and everyone she comes into contact with.”
“That’s not true.”
“It is. I hurt everyone I care about. Justin, Harry, Lucy. I make everything worse. I mean, why the hell would God let me live when such better people die? Rebecca, Daisy, my dad, Justin. It-It-It doesn’t make sense.”
“No, it doesn’t. That’s why it’s the eternal question: why him and not me? Why does a murderer go free while an innocent man is convicted? Why does my brother draw breath but Uma doesn’t? There is no answer, Joanna. I’ve searched for it all my life and haven’t found a clue. And believe me when I say if you let that question take over your life, it can nearly destroy you. Pursuing that question allows guilt to guide your life, and that is no way to live it.” He closes his eyes. “Believe me.” He opens his beautiful eyes again, looking square in mine. They’re brimming with sadness and hope. “You-You turn around and survey your life, your goals, and you don’t recognize them. Or yourself. But you continue looking because the quest is all you have. And you’re alone. So alone for so long with only that guilt to drive you that when someone wonderful comes along, so wonderful you actually begin to imagine another life for yourself full of love and joy, it rocks you to your core. You’ve seen the dawn after a million starless nights, and it’s beautiful, but you’re afraid it’s just an illusion. That it’ll be taken from you, or that you never really saw it, and you’re alone again once more with that ache. I don’t want that for you. Justin wouldn’t either. You survived. You’re alive. So live.”
I can’t hold back a moment longer. I fling myself against him, wrapping my arms around his torso in a hug. His limbs envelop me as I finally allow myself to burst into tears right against his pulsing heart. It beats so fast and strong against my cheek. Our limbs melding, his warm body feeding my cold one, his smell of stale sweat mixed with faint cologne, all of it bliss.
We remain like this for one perfect second before I sense him gazing down at me. I pull apart to look up but don’t dare meet his eyes. His hands move to my cheeks, cradling my face. His thumbs wipe my still falling tears, and I place my hands over his. “Please tell me I’m not crazy,” he whispers desperately. “Please tell me I’m not imagining this. Please tell me you feel this too. Please.”
I want to speak, but the words won’t come out. Everything becomes real when you say it out loud. Somehow I find the courage to gaze into his eyes, the sadness brimming in them shifts to awe and something else that scares me to fucking death. I leap away. “I-I have to go. I-I can’t…I’m sorry. Bye.”
Like the fucking coward I am, I sprint off that rooftop as fast as I can, down the stairwell, and out of the hospital before all my resolve fades. I can’t take much more of this. I can’t keep this up. He just needs to…no. I stop at the edge of the dark river to catch my breath. No more. This needs to end one way or another. I’m done.
I quit.


Ms. Harlow has created another exciting chapter in her superhero series that kept me on the edge of my seat and my emotions on a rollercoaster ride from start to finish.  Joanna's still recovering from the dark place she went to following the death of her friend/soul mate Justin in the previous book.  Relying on alcohol and isolation almost killed her, as did her survivor's guilt, but she's slowly coming back to life.  With a trio of new superheroes on the scene she has found purpose once again, along with friends and a possible love interest.  Just when happiness looks to be within reach a villain with a personal connection to the Triumvirate rears his nefarious head in a series of bombings and blackmail that might end her life just as it's beginning once again.

Joanna is an admirable heroine who's been put through the wringer repeatedly.  She's rough around the edges and far from perfect but I was always impressed by her ability to keep going no matter how much pain she was in.  I enjoyed her snark as well as seeing her fall for a new man.  She was like a schoolgirl when dealing with new doctor in town Jem Ambrose and I enjoyed every scene that put them together.  After everything she'd been through she deserved the moments of happiness he brought her.

The Triumvirate are an intriguing trio of superheroes with unique personalities and who are great at kicking butt in numerous action-packed scenes.  Their real identities were obvious to me early on but for the most part were kept cleverly hidden throughout the story.  The new villain in town is truly nasty in his personal vendetta and completely turns the superheroes lives upside down with one crushing blow that results in huge ramifications for the rest of the story.  Ms. Harlow once again did the unexpected and I applaud her for keeping readers on the edge of their seats.  Showing Joanna at her worst to build her up to a real life superhero made this an inspirational story and, with its unexpectedly moving romance, a thoroughly sweet and sexy read too.  With an ending that's wiped the previous slate clean I'm greatly anticipating the final book in this series and the intensely emotional read I've come to expect from Ms. Harlow.

My rating for this is an A.

*I received this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.



Jennifer Harlow spent her restless childhood fighting with her three brothers and scaring the heck out of herself with horror movies and books. She grew up to earn a degree at the University of Virginia which she put to use as a radio DJ, crisis hotline volunteer, bookseller, lab assistant, wedding coordinator, and government investigator.
Currently she calls Northern Virginia home but that restless itch is ever present. In her free time, she continues to scare the beejepers out of herself watching scary movies and opening her credit card bills. She is the author of the Amazon best-selling F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad, Midnight Magic Mystery series and Justice, the first in the superhero thriller trilogy. 

WEBSITE:  http://www.jenniferharlowbooks.com
BLOG:  http://blog.jenniferharlowbooks.com  

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