Monday, March 4, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Keeper of the Black Stones by PT McHugh

I have been waiting MONTHS for this day, like, literally. I first featured this book in one of my Waiting on Wednesday posts (Check it out HERE). Not too long after that post, I was on Twitter, and as it turns out, my post was the FIRST blogger exposure for the book! I found the ever wonderful Carrie from Glass House Press gushing about it in one of her tweets-I was SO thrilled to have been a part of that! 

Needless to say, I NEEDED to continue being a part of this book's journey. After some contact with Carrie through Twitter and Email, I was sent an ARC of the book to review, and soon after that, was asked to take part in this amazing blog tour! I could go on forever, but I just want to make it known that this book has found it's way into a special place in my heart, and I am BEYOND honoured to have the tour stop at my blog today! Be sure to check out my review, and an interview with the author =)

Title: Keeper of the Black Stones (Stone Ends #1)
Author: PT McHugh
Release Date:  Feb 26/2013
Adquired: Print copy provided by author
Goodreads: ADD

Awkward in his own skin, shy around girls and worried about anything and everything, Jason Evans is just like a million other teenage boys in high school, with one very large exception: he has been given a gift that allows him to jump through time. A set of stones has fallen into his lap that gives him access to any place - and any time - that he chooses. But along with that gift comes the responsibility of stopping the man who is using those very stones to travel through time and change history for his own purposes.

A man who is now holding Jason's grandfather hostage, and threatening the world's very existence. Jumping through time with his best friend and body guard, Jason must enter the world of Medieval England, learn its customs, navigate unimaginable danger, and help Henry VII win the Battle of Bosworth, in the name of finding his grandfather, rescuing a beautiful girl from the clutches of a corrupt church, and destroying the one man who pledges to turn history inside out.


Time Travel seems to have been the theme of February for me, but without a doubt, Keeper of the Black Stones was the storyline I was most anticipating. I held off reading it for as long as I could-I wanted my thoughts to be fresh for this review. Now my thoughts are scrambling in my brain, each of them fighting to make their way onto this post first. Keepers encompassed ALL of the great things about time travel that I grew up loving, and I couldn't have been more engrossed in both the wild adventure, and educational aspect, it offered. ALSO, there was a reference made to Back to the Future..YEAH..I could have HUGGED this book.

Jason Evans is of the introverted/slightly nerdy kind, and spends the majority of his time with his best friend Paul, who shares his awkward nature. I have to admit, as much as I grew to love Jason's character, I was instantly drawn to Paul. He was witty, and snarky, and pretty much exuded the EXACT things I love in a side-kick type character-I laughed out loud during his FIRST dialogue with Jason, and that was only within the first 5-10 pages! PT McHugh created a duo with Jason and Paul that really helped the story line speak louder than it would, had they not been in it together. Right off the bat, I knew that whatever they ended up getting themselves into, I would be ALL for it.

As we were introduced to more characters, I found that not much space was left in my heart for them. Jason's Grandfather, aka "Doc", came off as slightly arrogant to me-as Jason's sole guardian, I just didn't completely feel the love he should have had for his grandson. The side characters were enjoyable though, and had some really great dialogue, but I just didn't feel like I got to know them enough to form a bond in my mind-so here's hoping that book #2 helps with that! However, overall, the "team" that ended up banding together for the majority of the book was a solid one-everyone had their unique strengths. I especially can't WAIT to read more about Tatiana, I LOVE me some strong female characters, and she is just that in ALL departments.

Can I just say, how much I appreciated the fact that this book did not outwardly throw a teen romance in my face? How glorious it was to be able to focus on things that were of actual importance, and urgency. Keepers of the Black Stones was, at it's core, an adventure story. The book was written to both entertain, as well as educate, and I was able to enjoy both of those aspects. The story line navigates from Present Day to the 1400's, first through Doc's "secret journal," and then with Jason and his friends as they travel back in time to save his grandfather from falling victim to both time, and a deranged man who insists on controlling it. I'll admit it, History was very low on my list of favourite subjects at school, but I completely believe that my interest could be piqued with the right delivery. PT McHugh was that voice that made me listen. I learned SO much while reading this book-I was ashamed to have ever been so ignorant of it all before. 

Even though there wasn't a need to do too much world building, as a lot of the book was based on true locations and events, I thought McHugh did an amazing job of creating a believable and engaging fictional world outside of the historical one. His writing flowed well, and his character's dialogues were just the right length. The ending of this book definitely warranted a "WHOA," out loud, from me. Now that I KIND OF know what's in store for the next book, I can't WAIT to read how PT McHugh will allow his characters to act, and react, to their next adventure!

I HIGHLY recommend this book to both history buffs, time travel enthusiasts, and lovers of a good ol' adventure!


I LOVED the Time Travel aspect in Keeper, why did you chose that topic as the basis for your book?

I desperately wanted to create a series that introduced the joy and fascination that history holds for me. I also wanted to put typical teenagers into impossible situations, along with their highly trained body guard, to see what would happen. Time travel seemed to fit the bill.

Which character did you have the most difficulty developing?

Ironically enough it was Jason, the main character. Writing in first person has its pros and cons, and they showed up all over the place. It's easier to understand how Jason is seeing the world, but at the same time you just can't come out and say, "he feels just like this" because no one talks that way. Our goal was to show how Jason's confidence grows through his actions and thought process, without just coming out and saying it.

The research for this book must have been INTENSE, can you describe an interesting research moment?

I read several wonderful books. A Time Traveler’s Guide to the Middle Ages had the biggest impact on me. I found myself returning to it again and again, not so much for the historical accuracy but for the feel of the era I was writing. What they ate, what they wore, how they lived day to day over five hundred years ago. It was an excellent resource, and helped me with all those crazy descriptions. It really gave me an idea of what it would have been like to get thrown back into that time.

If you could live in any other era in time, which would you chose and why?

Late 18th century, the French Revolution and Napoleon’s reign. It’s always fascinated me, though I wouldn’t want to spend TOO much time there.

I MUST know, what can we expect from the second book in the series?

Much more action, and a blossoming of the characters. That's the beauty of the age we selected (early teenage years) – they get to grow a lot as we move through the books. We will definitely see them jump back into a different era, get in trouble, and have to get themselves out of it. But that’s all I can really tell you about it.


PT McHugh didn’t start out as a storyteller. He was, however, born into a family that encouraged imagination. He became a fan of history in school and then went to college to become a construction engineer, to build a world of straight lines, angles, and equations.

He was just as surprised as everyone else when he realized that he believed in magic, and might just know the secret of how to jump through time. Since then, he’s been researching the possibility and learning everything he can about history. Just in case the opportunity arises.

PT was born and raised in New Hampshire and currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife, two daughters, and a dog named Bob, daring to dream of alternate worlds and cheering for his beloved New England Patriots.

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A HUGE thank-you to Pump Up Your Book for hosting this tour. To Carrie from Glass House Press for being an amazingly amazing person, allowing me to participate and sending me a copy of the book. Finally, to the author himself, PT McHugh for kindly taking the time to let me interview him, and for writing such a great book!

CLICK HERE to follow the rest of the tour

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