Xpresso Book Tour: Thunderstruck by Brenda Drake (Excerpt, Review, and Giveaway)


by Brenda Drake

Published by: Entangled Crave
Publication date: September 11th 2017
Genres: Mystery, Mythology, Romance

Stevie Moon is famous…at least to the subscribers on her comic review vlog. At school, she’s as plain as the gray painted walls in the cafeteria. So when Blake, the hot new guy at school, shows an interest in her, she knows trouble when she sees it. Been there. And never doing it again.

As the son of the god Thor, Blake Foster’s been given an important mission—to recover the Norse god Heimdall’s sacred and powerful horn before someone uses it to herald in the destruction of the entire universe. But while Blake is great in a fight, the battlefield that is a high school’s social scene is another matter.

Blake knows his only choice is to team up with the adorable Stevie, but she’s not willing to give him even the time of day. He’ll need to woo the girl and find the horn if he hopes to win this war. Who better to tackle Stevie’s defenses than the demi-god of thunder?

“Every page brims with captivating Norse mythology and deliciously creative worldbuilding.” Pintip Dunn, New York Times bestselling author.

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After disposing of the troll, Blake rushed to May’s house and showered. His thoughts kept going to Stevie. After hearing what Jörd said to him, he wanted to see her. The pull to go to her was too strong. He had no choice but to give in to it.

He climbed the tree outside Stevie’s room and sat on the branch. A blue light blinked on and off inside the room. He lightly tapped on the window. Muffled voices from within the room hummed against the glassed pane.

The curtain pushed aside. Amira was close to Stevie’s back when the curtain slid to the side. Stevie said something to Amira that Blake couldn’t hear through the thick glass. Amira turned away and dropped onto the bed. Stevie flipped the locks and opened the window.

“You scared the shit out of us,” Stevie snapped.

Amira crossed her arms. “Yeah, we’re watching scary movies here.”

Blake tried not to laugh, but he couldn’t hold it in. “My apologies. Can I have a moment alone with you, Stevie?”

“With me?” She glanced back.

“No.” Amira heaved a sigh. “With the other Stevie in the room.”

“Where do you want to go?”

He reached his hand out to her. “Out here is fine.”

She narrowed her gaze on him. “I don’t think so.”

“Come on,” he said. “It’s perfectly safe. This branch is thick. Trust me.”

“Stop being a chicken and go already. I have to pee.” Amira shuffled off.

Stevie hesitated before grabbing his hand and letting him guide her out the window and onto the branch. “This is crazy, you know that?”

My Review

Thunderstruck is heavy with Norse Mythology, but having full knowledge in such things is certainly not needed to enjoy this fast-paced story.

Thunderstruck is enjoyable and fun, with just enough plot twists to keep the reader engaged and turning the page to find out what happens next. Geared toward teens and maybe young adults, Thunderstruck has all the teen angst elements as most teen/young adult books but with a mythological twist. Gods living among us as teenagers? Well, that’s interesting.

The overall story is quite refreshing and modern, and Brenda Drake does a decent job weaving in the mythological characters without bogging down the plot. As an added bonus, Thunderstruck just may encourage the reader to run off and discover more about Norse Mythology.

As the main character, Stevie Moon certainly has some interesting flaws and issues that lend an air of believability to an otherwise fantastical story. For instance, she has a weak heart, and I’m not just talking about her feelings for Blake (aka Einar, the god posing as a teenage boy who has no clue how to actually behave as a teenager, making him quite endearing). Without providing spoilers, I will only say that Stevie is personally connected to this mythical world, and she finds herself embroiled in a real-life version of the comic heroes, heroines, villains, and other creatures that she loves so much. Kyle (aka Lajos, who is Einar’s brother) is my favorite. His character starts off completely annoying, but he definitely goes through some cracking good developments.

The ending chapters are almost too exciting, with action coming at you from all directions. I received an advanced copy from NetGalley.

Author Bio:
Brenda Drake is a New York Times bestselling author of young adult fiction. She grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. Her fondest memories growing up is of her eccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. So it was only fitting that she would choose to write stories with a bend toward the fantastical. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

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To me, music helps bring mood to a story while I’m writing. I need a playlist of songs that inspire and enrich the words and emotions as they’re entered onto the page. Songs breathe life into the journey the story takes the reader on, where everything is a little more frightening or sweeter because it accompanies the story so magically. Today, I’m thrilled to share the songs that inspired me while writing THUNDERSTRUCK.

The THUNDERSTRUCK playlist starts with You and Me by Lifehouse. Such lyrics like What are the things; That I want to say; Just aren’t coming out right; I’m tripping on words; You got my head spinning; I don’t know where to go from here represent Blake’s feelings for Stevie at the opening of the story. He’s nervous to talk to her. Unstable on Midgard.

Imagine Dragon’s Thunder actually doesn’t fit Blake as much as it fits his brother, Kyle. Lyrics like, I was uptight, wanna let loose; I was dreaming of bigger things fit Kyle perfectly. He’s always trying to get out of Blake’s shadow who is most favored by their father, Thor. And, I was lightning before the thunder represents Kyle and Blake. Kyle stave that shoots lightning and he’s older than Blake whose hammer sounds like thunder after he releases its power.

5 Seconds of Summer’s Jet Black Heart also plays into the brothers’ relationship. Kyle has always felt broken and he just wants to be better and loves Blake. The blood in my veins; Is made up of mistakes; Let’s forget who we are; And dive into the dark; As we burst into color
Returning to life.

OneRepublic’s Love Runs Out was a great song for one of the scenes where Blake, Stevie, and Kyle are running. It definitely describes Blake’s thoughts during this scene. I’ll be our light, your match, your burning sun; I’ll be the bright and black that’s making you run; I got my mind made up and I can’t let go.

Louis Tomlinson and Steve Aoki’s Just Hold On was perfect for the climax and when Blake and Stevie have to push through some tough situations. It’s not over ’til it’s all been said; It’s not over ’til your dying breath; So what do you want them to say when you’re gone? That you gave up or that you kept going on?

How could I not include Coldplay and The Chainsmokers’ Something Just Like This? It just fits the entire book perfectly. And this is how Stevie feels, I’m not looking for somebody; With some superhuman gifts; Some superhero; Some fairytale bliss; Just something I can turn to; Somebody I can kiss. And fun teaser, Blake finds it on Stevie’s playlist.

Thank you for having me on your blog today to share the THUNDERSTRUCK playlist. I hope you all enjoyed it. What song inspires your writing or reading?

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