Friday, January 15, 2016

The Covenant by M. LeAnne Phoenix: #Review #Interview #Giveaway @MLPhoenix

Cover Artist: Kellie Dennis
The Covenant
by M. LeAnne Phoenix
(Covenant Series, Book 1)

Length: 280 pages
Genres: Contemporary, M/M Romance, New Adult, Drama, Poetry
When love is forbidden, who can you trust?

Seventeen year old David has been best friends with Jonathan for as long as he can remember but the day he sees the pastor's daughter press a soft kiss to Jonathan's cheek, everything changes. Overcome by jealousy, his explosive reaction reveals a deeper connection that sends their relationship spiraling down into dangerous territory.

When their clandestine love is discovered, they have nowhere to turn for help. The brutal circumstances of their parting test David and Jonathan's covenant to each other in unimaginable ways. Forced to face their fears, it is in their darkest moments that the two young men discover that the courage, hope, and strength they need to to fight for their love, has been the foundation of their covenant all along.
Carly: Today I’m very excited to be welcoming M. LeAnne Phoenix. We were lucky enough to collaborate on a charity project last year. Not only a talented author, she is someone I have come to consider a close friend. So, hi Annie *waves ecstatically* let get started!! I know you love to read. Do you buy a book because of the cover, the blurb, or something else?

Annie: Typically, when I buy a book, it’s because of the author. I have authors that I will buy the book for the sole purpose that it’s THEM. If it’s a book that’s come recommended, it has to be a genre that interests me. Recently, I’ve had The Maze Runner series by James Dashner recommended. The idea sounds quite interesting, so maybe. At the moment, the one I am in serious need of possessing is Itoshi’s second book in the Orochi no Kishi series. Hourglass was AWESOME, but it’s not long enough. I. Must. Have. Book. Well, that and THARROS by Master Cody Kennedy. Kennedian4Life, am I!

Carly: What does ‘romance’ mean to you?

Annie: Romance. I think it means something different to everyone. For me, it’s something really that’s never quite happened to me. To be truly romanced, I think it’s about showing each other how much you feel, and for me, ironically, without words. It doesn’t have to be hearts and flowers and wine (or coffee for people like me), it’s music, a walk in the park, a well-timed episode of Doctor Who, poetry not by a famous poet. To me, romance is a one-word description of falling in love.

Carly: What are your current projects?

Annie: Book two in The Covenant series. Next up is the Ice and Fire series, books one and two. One is in primary edits. Two needs revision and finish. I’m thinking about doing these during Camp NaNo. NaNo2016 will be book three of The Covenant series.

Carly: What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

Annie: Getting time to write with my current RL job.

Carly: Tell us something about yourself that would surprise people.

Annie: I do not like Oreos or watermelon.
David opened his locker to get out his Biology, History, and Music History books and shoved them into his backpack, swallowing hard against the lump in his throat. Jonathan’s comforting hand lit on David’s side as he came to lean on the locker to the right of David’s own, holding up in one paint-besmeared hand, a small piece of black cardboard. On it, David saw symbols, ones he thought might be Greek. Remembering the foreign exchange student from Thessaloniki shared Jonathan’s sixth period art class, he smiled and turned to his boyfriend as he took the proffered gift.

“What does it say?” David couldn’t help but smile at the joy lighting Jonathan’s eyes. “This has to be something that Kallias helped you make—”

“You aren’t wrong,” Jonathan interjected. “That is Greek writing and Kallias even taught me how to say it.”

“Enlighten me, please!” David rasped, focusing wholly on Jonathan’s gift. “Say it and then tell me what it means.”

“If I say it right, it’s agape menomou—”

David furrowed his brow, repeating, “A guppy man oh moo?”

Jonathan slid down the locker in a giggle. “Noooo! I must have said it wrong because your face… oh my gosh, your face!”

Blushing and biting his lower lip, David sank down to his haunches in front of Jonathan. “Then say it again, slower, and tell me what it means!”

Jonathan looked around, and seeing no-one in their locker bank, leaned up to whisper the Greek in his ear, the sounds slower… thicker. “Agape menomou means O love of my heart.”

5 of 5 stars
I was fortunate enough to be involved in the beta reading process during The Covenant's creation, which means I was able to immerse myself into the characters' psyche and multi-dimensional plot development. Annie's stories always have a bit of an otherworldly feel to them; her writing is contemporary but with a hint of soulfulness that make them timeless. 

That many young people are forced to hide their true selves for their own safety is a bitter truth that Phoenix tackles head on. The malevolent reaction to their love is both disturbing and heartbreaking. Jonathan references the depth of emotion found in the Greek concept of agape love when describing his feelings for David. Their love is pure; forged in the fires of prejudice and hate.

The Covenant will strip your bare and then carry you up out of darkness and into the light. It's one of the most powerfully emotional stories I've ever read. Built on a foundation of love, it's the type of story meant to be read more than once because you'll discover something new every time. It isn't for the faint of heart but persevere until to the end and you will walk away with a deeper understanding of compassion, strength and hope.
M. LeAnne Phoenix would tell you that the worst time of her life was the two years that she attempted to take off from writing. If you asked her to explain exactly why she did such a thing, you would most likely get the mad attempt to arch an eyebrow like her dad and then a shake of the head as she told you it was unlucky to speak of such things. Suffice it to say, it will never happen again!

Born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas in the mid-1970's, Ms. Phoenix was young and wild (and even free!) during the crazy wondrous decade known as the 1980's and the even crazier but now grungy decade of the 1990's. Music is second only to the muses that live and breathe to fill her mind with beautiful men, and music always helps them to tell their stories. She is never without her iPod or her computer no matter where she goes, although, she does like to hike and take pictures of the sky and the moon, and even the occasional shot of the sun through the branches of a tree.

An avid cat lover, Ms. Phoenix has been owned by many throughout her life, though her current owner is one Lily-Rose, who really would like for her to step away from the keyboard and pay her some attention! After all, hasn't she earned it?
Tour Dates & Stops:

15-Jan: Prism Book Alliance, KathyMac Reviews, Velvet Panic, Mikky's World of Books, It’s Raining Men, Carly’s Book Reviews

18-Jan: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Kimi-Chan, Nephy Hart

19-Jan: Bayou Book Junkie, Unquietly Me

20-Jan: Louise Lyons, Books A to Z, Michael Mandrake, My Fiction Nook

21-Jan: Iyana Jenna, Hearts on Fire

22-Jan: Havan Fellows, Happily Ever Chapter

25-Jan: MM Good Book Reviews, Wicked Faerie's Tales and Reviews

26-Jan: Inked Rainbow Reads, Dawn’s Reading Nook, A.M. Leibowitz

27-Jan: Jessie G. Books, BFD Book Blog

28-Jan: Love Bytes, Elisa - My Reviews and Ramblings, Alpha Book Club