September 18, 2015

Bloggerversary Review/Guest Post + Giveaway: Zodiac by Romina Russell

at 9/18/2015 12:00:00 PM

At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain….

Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

Embark on a dazzling journey with ZODIAC, the first novel in an epic sci-fi-meets-high-fantasy series set in a galaxy inspired by the astrological signs.


Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository


I first got this book at Comic Con. The colorful cover caught my eye and the blurb pulled me in. I love a good YA with a strong and determined female lead. At first when you meet Rhoma, she's a bit of an odd ball in her community. The population is set up into 12 house, named after the constellations. House Cancer, where Rhoma is from, is a peaceful place with peaceful people. One day there is an attack and Rhoma's world is thrown into chaos. Her people's Guardian (like a president) is killed and Rhoma is named a candidate as a possible replacement. She goes through trials of tests and passes with flying colors. She sets off on a journey to warn other Houses about the coming storm of vengence from Ophiuchus. Throughout her journey you see more depth to her character as well as well-rounded secondary cast members. I loved the complexity of the story and the twists. Despite her best intentions, Rhoma is tried for Cowardice and the deaths of hundreds. At this point, Rhoma is a small fish in a big pond when it comes to politics. Sad as it is, Rhoma was manipulated and played for a fool and paid the price. She's knocked down, but I think she'll make a come back in the second book, Wandering Star.
5 stars

A Day in the Life of Romina Russell

While ZODIAC’s protagonist, Rho, is zooming from planet to planet, evading attacks from Ophiuchus and trying to unite the people of her galaxy, this is what I’m doing:

7am-ish: I wake up—sans alarm clock—ready to write. I make myself an iced latte, open my laptop, and proceed to scroll through Instagram, post a Tweet, debate checking Goodreads but ultimately decide against it, answer Facebook messages, repost something on Tumblr, and then I finally open up ZODIAC 3. And once every word in the doc has loaded, and the cursor is blinking back at me from where I left off the day before…I’ll reverse my earlier ruling and go check Goodreads.

If I have any time left over for writing, I use those early hours to review my notes. Since my mind’s favorite time to brainstorm is right as I’m falling asleep, I keep a Pensieve—aka my journal—on my nightstand. When I open it up in the morning to decode what I wrote the night before, I play a round of Mad Libs.

On a good day, I can make out about two of every five words of my unintelligible scrawl, and I’ll use the surrounding context to fill in the blanks. (And here I thought my SAT skills would never come in handy.)

10am-ish: At this point, I’m late for work. I stuff my laptop into my bag and race to my office job, which is thankfully only one mile from my apartment. I work at a production studio, where I’m a Branded Content Producer—basically, when a brand wants to sponsor a digital video series promoting their product on one of our online properties, I come up with the concept and format (Is it a gameshow? Is it a hosted docu-series? Is it a scripted show with actors?), then I’ll write the series overview and a sample episode.

1pm-ish: When I can, I’ll come home for lunch to squeeze in more writing time.

7pm-ish: Once I’m home from work, I like to shed off every single responsibility for a bit and binge-watch a TV series I love, with no interruptions. The show I pick depends on a number of factors—my mood, the weather, which scene I’m working on in Z3, etc. Some of my favorite standbys are: Buffy, Angel, The Wire, Deadwood, Gilmore Girls, Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, X-Files, and Battlestar Galactica.


Rest of the Night: Invariably, I’ll start to feel a clenching of the heart, a twitching of the eyelids, a faintness of the mind…and I’ll know it’s time to write. So I’ll dive back into Z3 until I pass out, ending the night by setting up the next morning’s Mad Libs.


About Romina!


Romina Russell is a Los Angeles based author who originally hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a teen, Romina landed her first writing gig—College She Wrote, a weekly Sunday column for the Miami Herald that was later picked up for national syndication—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. When she’s not working on the ZODIAC series, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a Virgo to the core.


Goodreads  |  Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook


Giveaway

Prize: SIGNED copy of Zodiac by Romina Russell + swag bag

Rules: One winner possible. You have to be a resident of the USA. No international entries. This giveaway starts on 9/18/15 and ends on 10/2/15. The winner will be announced on 10/3. The winner will have 5 days to respond to my email or forfeits the prize. May the odds be ever in your favor.

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