Do Not Despair...

August 15th is approaching at a breathtaking pace! Now that we're in the final stretch things are starting to happen and my heart is wildly fluttering every time I open my email, not knowing what in the world I will find there this time!

Yesterday it was a collection of BEAUTIFUL, magical memes from the wonderful Sparkpoint Studio - thank you SO much Kristin Bustamante, and to Morgan Rath and Crystal Lee Patriarch - your publicity team is working wonders!

It's amazing and nerve wracking to see your art released into the wild. I've experienced this feeling before when I've displayed my art in various places, but a book is a different experience in that it involves so many words, so many ways to miss the mark - I really didn't know what to expect from critics or reviewers, or from children (and I still can't wait to hear what the children think!!!).

This week's inbox was full of surprises. First, I got the news that "Bridge of the Gods was included in PopSugar's roundup of "Top Middle Grade and YA Novels of the Summer".  I was so relieved that they got what I was trying to do - I think I exhaled a breath I'd been holding for weeks, even months! The Kirkus review last week was my first, and I had been on edge for the next one - had it just been a fluke?

I got an invitation to be interviewed on KBOO on July 27, during a 15 minute segment on the news. This is amazing to me - and a little scary! But I am so excited to talk about the book here - in Portland, Oregon - right smack dab in the middle of where the book actually takes place! Stay tuned for a reminder to tune in, closer to the date. :)

Then this morning - I got the next review. And it moved me to tears. This morning I found a review from Tara Sheehan on Goodreads that at first terrified me because it started out with the words, "I really hate Ms. Rios right now..." but went on to say the sweetest thing I have ever had said to me.

She wrote about the main character, Chloe Ashton: "Chloe in particular is such a wonderful little girl, she's the type of kid I would encourage my daughters to be friends with and to explore the world alongside." 

And she gave it five stars!

I'm just so grateful. This is what Bridge of the Gods and The Silver Mountain Series is all about. Making children (and adults!) feel comforted and inspired by nature. Chloe is me when I was a little girl - an only child, living in the woods - and she faces some very strange and terrifying experiences - like we all do at some time in our lives. Yet by digging deep she manages to find friends and support from the nature around her. Which is the real "magic" we all have at our fingertips! So to find this resonates with a book-reading mama - is everything. xoxox

Here is the full review, and I cannot thank Tara enough. Check out Tara Sheehan's wonderful blog Artistic Bent here! xoxoxo
"I really hate Ms. Rios right now because I got sucked into her book with its mysterious plot line and OF COURSE it’s only the first book and ends without any answers so you’ll read the sequel which I really want to now and patience is NOT one of my virtues!
Rios knows how to write beautiful and vivid imagery that creates these moving paintings before your mind’s eye. She gives human personification to normally inanimate objects using lyrical descriptions all the while providing a wonderful lesson on anger and its consequences when left unchecked. That is just in the prologue. Throughout the book are really cute illustrations that seem to mimic the innocence of her protagonist Chloe.
This novel is very centered on nature, symbiotic relationships with animals, friendship, family, and finding courage in the face of fear, uncertainty, and injustice.
I loved the forest settings as they felt so real I wanted to journey through them myself to experience what Chloe did. The animal friends she made which could talk just like something out of a C.S. Lewis novel were wonderful characters and added a charming depth to her story.
Her plot devices often reminded me of stories from Native American histories and mythologies. Particularly the idea of new types of people moving into an area only to displace the original inhabitants and making their culture appear strange and frightening instead of rich and educational.
Her character work will definitely make you either love or hate people. Chloe in particular is such a wonderful little girl, she’s the type of kid I would encourage my daughters to be friends with and to explore the world alongside.
Laced through all of this is an intriguing puzzle about a hospital, mysterious ambulance, ethically challenged medical workers, inept law enforcement and unconscious patients.
 (less) " — ☘Tara Sheehan☘
Remember to enter the Goodreads giveaway for a chance to win one of ten signed copies!!! Have a great week and weekend friends! xoxoxo 

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