Review + GIVEAWAY: The 13th Sign by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb (@ktubb @MacKidsBooks)

Received a complimentary copy from the author as part of her blog tour.

I met Kristin at a blogger/author dinner a couple months back, as she is yet another Nashville author (I know that one day I will probably tire of saying “WHO KNEW SO MANY AWESOME AUTHORS LIVED IN NASHVILLE?” but today is not that day). I hadn’t read any of her books yet, as I don’t read a lot of middle grade, but Kristin was so much fun that I decided to make an exception for her first fantasy, The 13th Sign. I went to her launch party on Friday, and judging by the fabulous turnout, I’m not alone in thinking this book was a lot of fun.

The Plot (from Goodreads)

What if there was a 13th zodiac sign?

You’re no longer Sagittarius, but Ophiuchus, the healer, the 13th sign.

Your personality has changed. So has your mom’s and your best friend’s.

What about the rest of the world?

What if you were the one who accidentally unlocked the 13th sign, causing this world-altering change—and infuriating the other 12 signs?

Jalen did it, and now she must use every ounce of her strength and cunning to send the signs back where they belong. Lives, including her own, depend on it.

My Thoughts

Okay, I feel like this book needs a few things going into it. You either need to really believe in astrology — like, a whole lot — or, if you don’t believe in it, you have to be completely willing to thoroughly suspend your disbelief. I fall into the latter category. But how many fantasy worlds do we really believe are actually real? Um, if you’re like me, none of them. So I was totally willing to jump into the fantasy world of this book, where personalities really are determined by your Zodiac sign, even though I personally don’t buy into it in the real world.

You also need to remember it’s a middle grade, not YA. And as such, it reads like a book for 13-year-olds, not 18-year olds. And that’s what it’s supposed to do. I’ve read some reviews that seemed to want it to skew older, and that’s just not its purpose. It’s the whole “don’t judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree” thing.

Disclaimers aside, I thought this book was a lot of fun. I honestly have never paid much attention to the Zodiac — I couldn’t even tell you any of the defining personality traits of my sign (Virgo) — but as each of the signs manifested and challenged Jalen, I found their different personalities really interesting. I also loved the New Orleans setting (because who doesn’t love a New Orleans setting?) and the non-stop action.

I did think some of the challenges Jalen faced were a bit too easy, and the solutions a tad bit contrived, but again, had to remind myself that given the intended audience, they were fitting. And I liked the “altered” version of some of the characters’ personalities better than the original versions. Which…that could be a pro or a con, depending on your perspective. I enjoyed the creativity, the little puzzles Jalen had to solve, and just the overall charm of the book. There was just something fun and refreshing about it.

By far, my favorite thing about this book was the break-neck pace. It honestly had no good stopping point, which is why I read the whole thing in a day. When Kristin saw I had finished it the day after receiving it in the mail, she said, “Wow, you’re a fast reader!” My response: “Well, you didn’t give me a good place to take a break!” The characters literally spend the entire book running and fighting. It’s crazy.

If you want a fun and original fast-paced middle grade fantasy, this could be the book for you.

And now for the giveaway! As I have a shiny finished copy, I no longer need my *SIGNED* ARC. So I’m giving it away to a lucky reader! Enjoy it yourself, or give it to the young reader in your life. Giveaway ends 1/28/13. U.S. only. Must be 13 or older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

THE 13TH SIGN Preorder Contest! (@KTubb)

Welcome to DAY TAURUS of 13 Days of THE 13TH SIGN Preorder Contest! TAURUS is traditionally considered to be the second sign of the zodiac. TAURUS characteristics include: successful, dependable, faithful, a homebody, obsessive, and patient. (Want to learn more about your 12-sign horoscope, your 13-sign horoscope, and which horoscope sign you ACT like? Take THE 13TH SIGN quiz!)

The Housework Can Wait is happy to host Day Two of this contest!

So. What is this contest all about?

If you preorder a copy of THE 13TH SIGN by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, you will be entered into a contest! Where you can WIN THINGS! And there are new prizes every day!

And. EVERY preorder will be *matched* by a $1.00 donation to RIF, a literacy program committed to placing books in the hands of kids who need them most.

What can I win TODAY?

If you preorder THE 13TH SIGN today, Saturday, November 24th, you could win:

-key charm
-star-spangled headband
-signed 13th Sign swag
-signed copy of DEFIANCE by C. J. Redwine
-signed THE DARK UNWINDING by Sharon Cameron swag
Kristin O’Donnell Tubb
-a 13th SIGN tshirt

How do I enter?

Preorder THE 13TH SIGN! You can preorder it through Amazon, Barnes & NobleIndiebound, or through your local independent bookstore. Then email your receipt TO KRISTIN at You will be entered into that day’s drawing, the grand prize drawing, and your purchase will be *matched* by a $1.00 donation to RIF!

Are there other ways to enter the contest?

Yep! You can be entered into the daily prize drawings by doing one or more of the following:
-Each preorder of THE 13TH SIGN = 10 entries into grand prize drawing and 10 entries into that day’s drawing
– Each person who blogs about the contest = 10 entries into that day’s drawing
-Each person who changes Twitter or Facebook avatar to cover = 5 entries into that day’s drawing (for each day it is present)
-Each Tweet or Facebook status mention of the book and contest = 2 entries for that day’s drawing (must include hashtag #the13thsign)
-Each RT of book and/or contest = 1 entry for that day’s drawing

BUT. You have to preorder THE 13TH SIGN to enter to win the grand prize and to have your purchase matched with a RIF donation.

ALSO. To make sure you get the correct amount of entries, please let Kristin know if you’ve done any of the above! You can email her at with everything you’ve done to enter.

What is the grand prize?

A Nexus 7 ereader! BOOM. The grand prize will be given away on Kristin’s blog ( on Friday, December 7th.

How long does the preorder contest last?

13 days total! You can visit these other blogs for each day’s prizes:
DAY ARIES: The Book Vortex
DAY TAURUS: The Housework Can Wait
DAY GEMINI: Magnet 4 Books
DAY CANCER: Abby the Librarian
DAY LEO: Mother Daughter Book Club
DAY VIRGO: S. R. Johannes/Market My Words
DAY LIBRA: Elizabeth O. Dulemba
DAY SCORPIO: Citrus Reads
DAY OPHIUCHUS: Young Adult Books Central
DAY SAGITTARIUS: Bloggers [heart] Books
DAY CAPRICORN: – Middle Grade Mafioso
DAY AQUARIUS: Smack Dab in the Middle
DAY PISCES: From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors

Good luck! And don’t forget to take THE 13TH SIGN quiz!