Tracy Banghart

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    Bookanista Review: Untraceable

    I know, I know. It's been a while since my last Bookanista review. I hate how little time I have to read! One thing I DON'T hate?? Untraceable, by S. R. Johannes! In fact, I LOVE IT. :-D

    I've been hearing about the Nature of Grace series for a while, and given that the books take place in the wilderness of NC - and I both like the wilderness AND live in North Carolina - they seemed right up my alley. So I decided to check out Untraceable, the first in the series.

    From Goodreads:

    16-year-old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival. 

    When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.

    One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father. 

    Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.

    My Take

     It took me about three chapters until I was as desperate as Grace was to find her dad. This story had a lot of elements - suspense, mystery, environmental thriller, romance, and coming of age to name a few - and they all combined seamlessly to create an intense, fast-paced read. It took me a few pages to get used to Grace's voice, but I think it's because it was very authentic...and she begins the book a bit of a whiny teenager. Of course, she has reason to be. She's lost her father and everyone else seems to be moving on. In a way, this story is about faith...and also the process of letting go.

    I loved how the forest became a character in and of itself. I LOVE books where the setting does more than merely provide a backdrop, and the wilderness here is a great example of this. I love how Grace's state of mind is reflected in how she perceives the forest...when she's relaxed and confident, it's beautiful and comforting. When she's scared, the trees claw at her and make her stumble. It's so beautiful when a character's inner state is reflected in her/his surroundings...and Johannes does this SO well.

    The environmental thriller element was really well done and I actually learned a lot without feeling like I was being preached to. I particularly like the "tips" at the beginning of each chapter. That was a nice touch!

    I didn't feel as invested in the romance, but I have a feeling the next books in the series are going to build on that element, so I'm looking forward to that. In general, I think it will be fun to get to know the characters even better and discover what new injustices Grace is going to fight.

    The plot moves quickly and took some unexpected twists and turns. I really had no idea how it would turn out. Well, I had *some* ideas but they were all wrong. :-) 

    If you're a fan of environmental thrillers or coming of age stories, this is a great blend of the two. You'll be rooting for Grace in no time! :-) I'm off to check out book 2, Uncontrollable!


    Check out what the rest of the Bookanistas are raving about this week!



    A Very Special Giveaway

    Happy Monday! Today kicks off the amazingly awesome BY BLOOD BLOG TOUR!! The full schedule is available HERE and is hosted by Xpresso Blog Tours, the awesomest blog tour organizer ever!

    I'm so excited for this tour - there will be lots of reviews of both By Blood and Moon well as interviews, guest posts, excerpts, and Top 10 Lists (ever wonder about my top 10 favorite places in the UK? NOT TO WORRY - you will find out soon enough! ;-))

    In addition, the tour features a massive contest with TONS of prizes! To enter, see the lovely Rafflecopter below:

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    And if THAT isn't enough, I'm hosting another little giveaway right here on this blog! Here are the deets:

    I always love to hear what people have to say about my books! Reviews are an important part of any author's sales "pitch" to potential readers. If you read and reviewed By Blood or Moon Child on Amazon and/or Goodreads, I would love to thank you for sharing your thoughts about the book! Just post a link to the review in the comments and I'll send you a signed, paperback, PRE-RELEASE copy of my next novel SHATTERED VEIL (Feb 2014) this fall. (If you haven't read By Blood or Moon Child yet, not to worry! The giveaway runs until the end of the tour, Oct 4, so you've got lots of time to read and review, if you choose. :-))

    What is SHATTERED VEIL, you ask? 

    WELL. Thanks for asking! ;-)

    It is the first book in my new NA scifi series! Here's the quick and dirty:

    When the man she loves is Selected for Military and sent to war, Aris Haan gives up everything - her home, her name, even her face - to be with him, only to discover that her new role as a Military Flyer has much larger implications - it could change the fate of her entire nation.

    Sound interesting? :-)

    More about that soon!

    In the meantime, good luck in the giveaway, and thanks so much for checking out the By Blood series! If you'd like more info on new releases, contests, and other fun stuff, be sure to sign up for my newsletter (sign-up to the right)!




    I've got some pretty exciting stuff coming up - giveaways, cover reveals, etc - and I thought it'd be good to set up a newsletter for folks who would like updates on all the coolness. :-)

    If you are one of these people, check out the banner on the right...see that spot for your name and email? Yup! That's the sign-up for this totally awesome newsletter. 

    You can expect to receive one, maybe two emails a month...NO spam. Promise!

    I'll be announcing things like new releases, contests, and well as teasers of new projects and fun promotions. 


    It's just another way to connect to my supremely awesome readers, i.e. YOU!! :-)


    More Praise for By Blood!

    The San Francisco Book Review had this to say about By Blood...

    By Blood
    By Tracy E. Banghart
    Tracy E. Banghart, $2.99, 368 pages, Format: eBook

    Star Rating: 4 out of 5

    American teen Emma Wong has been condemned to spend her summer in England with a mother she hates, a father-in-law she can’t respect, and an infant brother who couldn’t possibly be actually related to her. Nothing, not even the attention of two gorgeous guys, or the fact that she’s technically of legal drinking age in England, can fully distract her from her ever-worsening disappointment. Nothing, that is, until she is drawn into a friendly-seeming group who call themselves Druids. They teach her to be at peace with herself and to be one with nature. But their simple rituals and celebration of life soon take a darker turn, and the question becomes: is this merely a cult, or is there actual power in what they are doing? And, either way, what are their true goals, and how dangerous could they become to themselves and to others?

    By Blood captures Emma’s adolescent confusion, frustration, exasperation, and her desperation to fit in, as she staggers between her family issues and the irresistible magnetism of the Druids and their leader, Simon. Along the way, the story touches on questions of rebellion, independence, family, identity, and belonging. In a genre overpopulated with modern fantasy stories, By Blood keeps its feet planted on the ground as Emma simultaneously yearns for something magical to believe in, but also quests for proof, of solidity and reality, all while disoriented by a haze of hormones and alcohol.

    The first-person narration can be frustrating at points when Emma dithers over which boy she prefers, but by frustrating the reader, it also captures her own emotional state, enacting her turmoil as she avoids thinking about the critical problems in her life. Overall, it is quite a worthwhile read, and while readers may either sympathize with Emma or not, those issues that she encounters are, in the end, genuinely thought-provoking.


    YAY!!! :-D I love this review. I love that the reviewer didn't always LIKE Emma but did feel she was an authentic teen character and understood what she was going through (I didn't always like Emma either when I was writing her, but I didn't always like myself as teenager either!). The reviewer also seemed to pick up on and respond to the themes of the book, which is amazing. Hooray!! And... 4 STARS! WHOO HOO!!!


    Big Weekend!

    I'm very excited to announce that MOON CHILD is now available in both print and ebook! I believe the Nook and Kindle versions are up and running, with lots more formats available through Smashwords starting tomorrow. To celebrate the release, MOON CHILD is on sale for $0.99 until Friday! I hope you get a chance to pick up a copy...and that you enjoy it! (For more info, and to read the first chapter, click on the "Moon Child" tab above.)


    And as an added bonus, today only you can download a copy of BY BLOOD for free! Just click on the image - it'll take you to Amazon.

    You can read By Blood and Moon Child in any order...while they share several characters, they're meant to be standalone stories. :-)

    I hope you enjoy!