book review, giveaway, Something To Do

A #MGbook for Rick Riordan fans: The Storm Runner (+ a Giveaway!)

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Just released from Rick Riordan’s imprint, The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes does not disappoint and lives up to the imprint name!

I’m so happy to be partnering with the Disney Book Group for this amazing giveaway.

The Storm Runner

The Storm Runner- The Runner Novel: Book 1

Let me start by saying that The Storm Runner hits really close to home for me. First, right after I finish this blog post I’ll be traveling to New Mexico for a long-awaited adventure, I mean vacation. Second, I use to own property in Western New Mexico and it had a volcano on it and I could see 7 others. I wish I had known an entrapped Mayan god lived inside, I would have been so down with that.

The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes reads like a Rick Riordan book should. The story is captivating from the first sentence and you end up skipping meals, appointments, soccer practices, and bedtimes, just so you can keep reading. When it finally ends you start a countdown calendar until the next book in the series comes out.

J.C. Cervantes is a brilliant storyteller who weaves myth, legend, and heartfelt characters into the fold. Some of those characters you want as friends and family, and some you don’t. All of them, you will have a reaction to.

How can one boy with a limp stop the Maya god of death, disaster, and darkness from destroying the world?

Zane has always enjoyed exploring the dormant volcano near his home in New Mexico, even though hiking it is challenging. He’d much rather hang out there with his dog, Rosie than go to middle school, where kids call him Sir Limps a Lot, McGimpster, or Uno – for his one good leg.

What Zane doesn’t know is that the volcano is a gateway to another world and he is at the center of a powerful prophecy. A new girl at school, Brooks, informs him that he’s destined to release an evil god from the ancient Maya relic he is imprisoned in–unless she can find and remove it first. Together they return to the volcano, where all kinds of crazy happen. Brooks turns into a hawk, a demon attacks them in a cave, and Rosie gives her all while trying to protect Zane. When Zane decides to save his dog no matter the cost, he is thrust into an adventure full of surprising discoveries, dangerous secrets, and an all-out war between the gods, one of whom happens to be his father.

To survive, Zane will have to become the Storm Runner. But how can he run when he can’t even walk well without a cane?

Grab a copy of this book on Amazon Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and on Rick’s website.

About the Author 

J.C. Cervantes

J.C. Cervantes is the author of Tortilla Sun, which was called “a beautiful and engaging debut” by Kirkus, an “imaginative, yet grounded novel” by Publishers Weekly, and “lean and lightly spiced with evocative metaphor” by School Library JournalTortilla Sun was a 2010 New Voices pick by the American Booksellers Association and it was named to Bank Street’s 2011 Best Book List. When Jennifer isn’t reading or writing, she’s helping her husband with his gubernatorial campaign.

About Rick Riordan Presents

The Rick Riordan Presents imprint is dedicated to providing entertaining middle-grade fiction based on various world mythologies. Rick Riordan is involved in the selection, editing, and promotion of these books, working with great authors to tell exciting stories inspired by the mythologies of their own heritage. Learn more about the imprint and its current and upcoming titles on their official site.

A HUGE  thank you to Disney Book Group for partnering with me for a giveaway!

The storm runner giveaway

 But First…Something To Do

New Mexican Hot Chocolate

New Mexican Hot Chocolate
New Mexican Hot Chocolate

In The Storm Runner, Zane is introduced to the elixir of the Mayan gods, hot chocolate. They even have a goddess of hot chocolate named Ixkakaw. She was a fertility goddess worshipped in Meso-America. Her name means Coco Woman. She is part of the Mayan creation myth and brought into being the twins. She taught the people about agriculture and how to plant, tend, and harvest their fields. During this time the Meso-American world was a matriarchial society. She was a compassionate goddess who cared for her people.

Then everything changed.

Ixkakaw was turned into a business, meaning her cocoa beans were used as money. Soon her cocoa beans were the “food of the gods” and only available to rulers and warriors. Soon there was famine and drought and many people suffered. There was unbridled gluttony in the land. Montezuma, a very famous ruler, was drinking 40-50 goblets of hot chocolate a day.

The goddess of love put an end to all of this nonsense. The people no longer sang, or danced. People were starving and hungry and the land was no longer bountiful.

The goddess of love in her gratitude to Ixkakaw, reminded the people that there was more to life than just working for rulers. In paying homage to Ixkakaw, The Goddess of Love adorned her with flowers and beads from head to toe. Ixkakaw was allowed to return to her people.

No more work without rest.
No more work without time for family and friends,
No more work without time for music and dance.
And above all . . .

No more work without love.

New Mexico also has its own hot chocolate story. I frequently visit Chaco Canyon. There, the ancient Pueblo people lived about 800 to a 1000 years ago. There were trade routes between Mexico and Chaco Canyon. While excavating these beautiful ancient ruins, they discovered several long cylinder jars. When they sent them to be tested they discovered that the residue in them was hot chocolate.

New Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe:

Important: Do this the night before you need it.

  • 3 heaping tablespoons dark Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1 pint of half and half
  • 4 cups 2% milk
  • 2 dried New Mexican red chiles ( to taste), stemmed, seeded, and crumbled (Hatch chilies are the best)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3  tablespoons sugar ( add more to taste)
  • Whipped Cream
The Night Before:
In a large pitcher, gently whisk together the half and half, and cocoa powder until smooth. Stir in the milk, chiles, spices, and salt. Refrigerate overnight.
Next Morning
Strain the milk mixture into a large pot. Add the sugar to taste then warm over medium-low heat for approximately 20 minutes, or until bubbles begin to form around the edges and the chocolate is heated through. Stir occasionally as it heats.
Pour into mugs and add whipped cream if desired.
Important Detail:
It is difficult to judge how spicy the chocolate will be until after the spices have infused in the milk overnight. Wait for at least four hours before adjusting the spices to avoid making the hot chocolate too spicy.
( This recipe modified from the Santa Fe Folk Art Museum’s version)

New Mexico Volcano Coloring Page

The New Mexico volcanos and calderas are stunningly beautiful. Here’s a really fun and knowledgeable coloring page from the New Mexico Natural History Museum.

Mayan Gods and Goddesses

Explore and Discover more about the Mayans here.


The storm chaser prize pack

ONE winner will receive a copy of The Storm Runner plus a branded umbrella and Mexican hot chocolate!

 Giveaway begins September 21, 2018

  • Prizing and samples provided by Disney Book Group.
  • Giveaway open to US addresses only
  • Residents of USA only, please.
  • Must be 18 years or older to enter
  • One entry per household.
  • Staff and family members of Audrey Press or Disney are not eligible.
  • Grand Prize winner has 48 hours to claim the prize.
  • Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on October 6, 2018


a Rafflecopter giveaway