Thursday, August 30, 2018

UNCHARTED: Interview with author Erin Cashman & Giveaway!

Today I'm thrilled to be featuring a fabulous new release that's been on my most anticipated 2018 reads list for quite some time!  UNCHARTED hits shelves next week and author Erin Cashman is stopping by to tell us a little more about herself and her book! And thanks to the lovely folks at Page Street Publishing, I'm giving away a beautiful hardcover copy of Uncharted to one lucky reader! 
Here we go! 

Welcome, Erin!!

Describe Uncharted in 5 words: 
Legends, Mystery, Secrets, Romance, Danger, Magic (I know I cheated and used six!)

Who was your favorite character to write---and who gave you the most trouble?
I loved writing Holly. She’s a straight shooter, she doesn’t care what other people think of her, and she’s willing to take risks to go after what she wants – and to help a friend. She’s loyal, funny, and unique.

Griffin gave me a LOT of trouble! I can’t say too much because of spoilers, but at times he can be a real jerk. He has his reasons—but it was still hard to write those scenes because I totally love him!

 Where is your favorite writing spot? Coffee shop?  Kitchen table? In the park surrounded by people?
 My sofa or kitchen island if no one is around! I need it to be very quiet, I can’t have music or background noise, because then I have a hard time having conversations in my head, or finding the right words to say what I’m trying to say, without relying on clichés. If my husband and kids are home, I hide in my bedroom with my laptop!

 Is there anyone special, a teacher or mentor, who inspired you on your path to becoming a writer? 
My parents were my biggest influences, in very different ways! I have my mother to thank for my (sometimes wild) imagination. She was from Ireland, and only had a sixth grade education. When she wasn’t helping with her younger brothers and sisters, she loved to spend her time on Galway Bay, where she was fed a steady diet of myth and legend. Even as an adult, she believed in ghosts, premonitions, kelpies, fairies, changelings, angels, and Sea Maidens. My father was a big reader—I was allowed to buy as many books as I wanted at the bookstore! Between them, they inspired my love of stories—hearing them, reading them, and writing them.

Was there any music that fueled writing Uncharted?
 Not so much as music, but the sounds of nature. If I found myself stuck, I’d take a walk in the woods, or sit by the water, and write what I heard, smelled, and saw. It didn’t always work—but at least then I’d have the backdrop for another scene when I needed it!

Favorite writing snack?  
Strong Irish tea and chocolate!

What kind of books did you read as a teen? 
I was a pretty varied reader. I fell in love with Shakespeare in high school English, and went on to read most of his plays and many of his sonnets. I also fell in love with Lord of the Rings in 9th grade, faked sick so I could miss school and read all three books over the course of a few days, and then read many, many, sci-fi and fantasy books. I also loved the classics,Wuthering Heights being one of my favorite books, and Winnie the Pooh—there is always great advice to be found in Winnie the Pooh books!

What the best advice you can give to aspiring authors? 
Mainly, to just keep at it and don’t give up! My writing improved dramatically when I did three things. First, I try to write most days. Even if it’s just a half an hour. It helps keep the story fresh in my mind, and in turn I think about the characters more—when I’m driving, or walking my dog, and I find I do far more world-building that way, without even consciously doing it. Second, read, read, read. Then pick a book you loved, and read it again, and pay attention to things like cadence, character arc, setting, etc. Third, and most importantly, find a good critique partner and be open to criticism, and in turn be a good critique partner. I’d be lost without my CP, the wonderful author Diana Renn! There are also so many wonderful, and free, opportunities for writers now—from pitch contests, to workshops. I am the coordinator and a permanent mentor of the 1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop, which is a great opportunity for writers to have their pages critiqued by published authors, other participants, and a literary agent. (You can read more about it, here!)
Thank you so much for having me on your wonderful blog, Becky!!!

{Photo Credit: Peter Su}

Erin Cashman is an award-winning writer of Young Adult fantasy. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, three children, and their very energetic dog. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading (of course!), walking her dog, hiking, and watching TV with her family (all diehard fans of Harry PotterLord of the RingsStar Wars, and Star Trek), and running the First Five Pages Workshop. She also loves to bake and is known for making her family and friends ugly but yummy birthday cakes.

Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Seventeen-year-old Annabeth prefers the fantasy of her books and paintings to reality—because in reality, her mom is dead, and it was all her fault. When she accompanies her father to the funeral of some family friends who drowned, she’s surprised to find her grief reflected in the face of Griffin Bradford, the son of the couple who died. Griffin is nothing like the carefree boy she once knew. Now he’s irritable, removed, and he’s under police investigation for his parents’ deaths.

One night following the memorial service, Annabeth’s dad goes missing in the woods, and she suspects Griffin knows more about the disappearance than he’s letting on. He refuses to answer her questions, particularly those related to the mysterious “expedition” his parents took to Ireland, where they went missing for seven months.

Annabeth fears her father isn’t lost, but rather a victim of something sinister. She launches her own investigation, tracing clues that whisper of myth and legend and death, until she stumbles upon a secret. One that some would die to protect, others would kill to expose—and which twists Annabeth’s fantasy and reality together in deadly new ways.

*        *        *        *        *

And on to the giveaway!!
Enter below to win a hardcover copy of 

US addresses only please
Must be 13 or older to enter
Deadline: Sept 7th, 2018 11:59 PST

a Rafflecopter giveaway For another chance to win a copy, head over to my Instagram where I'll be giving away an ARC of Uncharted also!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. A spin-off of the meme called "Can't Wait Wednesday" is now hosted at Wishful Endings. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.
by Gwendolyn Clare

hitting shelves February 19th, 2019  
from Imprint
Worlds collide in this thrilling sequel to the epic, imaginative, acclaimed fantasy Ink, Iron, and Glass.

In an alternate 19th-century Italy, Elsa has an incredible gift: she can craft new worlds with precise lines of script written in books. But political extremists have stolen the most dangerous book ever scribed―one that can rewrite the Earth itself.

Now Elsa must track down the friend who betrayed her and recover the book before its destructive power is unleashed. Can she handle the secrets she’ll uncover along the way―including the ones hiding in her own heart?

My thoughts:  So, while getting this post ready, I was looking back on the blog for my review of the first book to this series, Ink Iron & Glass. Guess what?  Found it sitting in my reviews folder...forgot to post it LOL. So look for that in the next few days. In the meantime, let me tell you how much I'm anticipating this second installment---because that ending in book one just about killed me. O.o  💔

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. A spin-off of the meme called "Can't Wait Wednesday" is now hosted at Wishful Endings. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.

by Cat Winters
hitting shelves April 16th, 2019  
from Amulet Books
Seventeen-year-old Edgar Poe counts down the days until he can escape his foster family—the wealthy Allans of Richmond, Virginia. He hungers for his upcoming life as a student at the prestigious new university, almost as much as he longs to marry his beloved Elmira Royster. However, on the brink of his departure, all his plans go awry when a macabre Muse named Lenore appears to him. Muses are frightful creatures that lead Artists down a path of ruin and disgrace, and no respectable person could possibly understand or accept them. But Lenore steps out of the shadows with one request: “Let them see me!”

My thoughts:  So anyone who's been reading this blog for awhile knew I was going to pick this one this week, right? xD Cat Winters is one of my absolute favorite authors and I couldn't be more excited to have her tackling a story of young Edgar Allen Poe.  Plus, she always gets the most stunning covers and this one, which was revealed this past week, is certainly no different. ♥.♥

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Monday, August 20, 2018

Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty {review}

Willa of the Wood
by Robert Beatty
♦publisher: Disney-Hyperion
♦released: July 10th, 2018
♦hardcover, 384 pages
♦intended audience: Middle Grade
♦series: Willa, book 1
♦source: ARC from publisher for review consideration
Move without a sound. Steal without a trace.

Willa, a young night-spirit, is her clan's best thief. She creeps into the cabins of the day-folk under cover of darkness and takes what they won't miss. It's dangerous work--the day-folk kill whatever they don't understand--but Willa will do anything to win the approval of the padaran, the charismatic leader of the Faeran people.

When Willa's curiosity leaves her hurt and stranded in the day-folk world, she calls upon the old powers of her beloved grandmother, and the unbreakable bonds of her forest allies, to escape. Only then does she begin to discover the shocking truth: that not all of her day-folk enemies are the same, and that the foundations of her own Faeran society are crumbling. What do you do when you realize that the society you were born and raised in is rife with evil? Do you raise your voice? Do you stand up against it?

As forces of unfathomable destruction encroach on her forest home, Willa must decide who she truly is, facing deadly force with warmest compassion, sinister corruption with trusted alliance, and finding a home for her longing heart.

{Becky's Thoughts}

I really enjoyed Willa of the Woods. The story moves a little slow to start out, but not necessarily in a bad way---the heavily descriptive and picturesque way the author takes the time to show Willa's world reminded me a lot of classic fiction like The Hobbit or Tuck Everlasting. I didn't read the Serafina books so I didn't have a prior connection with Willa, but I did really enjoy her brave character and magical cleverness, and the passionate way Willa connect with her home in the woods. 

After a great loss, she longs to find a place where she really feels a sense of belonging and knows she doesn't feel it with her clan. Where she does find it will have her questioning everything she ever thought she knew. There are moments of great excitement and danger and darkness mixed in with passages of a sort of quiet fascination as Willa reflects a lot on what she knows of the world and what she is learning along her journey. I was actually really surprised just how dark and violent several parts of this story were! Not quite sure I would put it in the hands of a younger middle grade reader (I know my kids would have been pretty disturbed reading this as 8 or 9 year olds!) but possibly more suited for the younger end of YA, maybe 12 or 13. However, the writing is enchanting, the plot was utterly compelling, and the messages are important ones. I will definitely find myself reaching for more Robert Beatty's work in the future. 


Robert Beatty lives in Asheville, North Carolina with his wife and three daughters, who help create and refine his stories. He loves to explore the historic Biltmore Estate and the darkened forest trails where his novels take place. He writes full-time now, but in his past lives, Beatty was one of the early pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, the co-founder of Beatty Robotics, and the chairman/CTO of Narrative Magazine. In 2007, he was named an Entrepreneur of the Year. When asked about the inspiration for his books, Robert said, “The Serafina and Willa books were inspired by my desire to write about unusual and heroic young girls for my three daughters."
Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Friday, August 17, 2018

#Murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil {review}

by Gretchn McNeil
♦publisher: Freeform
♦release date: August 7th, 2018
♦hardcover, 352 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: #murdertrending, book 1
source: ARC from publisher for review consideration
WELCOME TO THE NEAR FUTURE, where good and honest 8/18 citizens can enjoy watching the executions of society’s most infamous convicted felons, streaming live on The Postman app from the suburbanized prison island Alcatraz 2.0.

When eighteen-year-old Dee Guerrera wakes up in a haze, lying on the ground of a dimly lit warehouse, she realizes she’s about to be the next victim of the app. Knowing hardened criminals are getting a taste of their own medicine in this place is one thing, but Dee refuses to roll over and die for a heinous crime she didn’t commit. Can Dee and her newly formed posse, the Death Row Breakfast Club, prove she’s innocent before she ends up wrongfully murdered for the world to see? Or will The Postman’s cast of executioners kill them off one by one?

{Amy's Thoughts}

Reality shows collide in this horror mash-up, where only the smartest, keenest, most cunning survive against serial killers out to right the wrongs. Survivor meets Big Brother, meets Scream Queens where this time the killer becomes the prey, and being the sole survivor takes on a whole new meaning. Fast-paced, riveting and unputdownable, #murdertrending takes social media to a whole new level. 

Unique, original and utterly twisted, #murdertrending takes a walk on the dark side with its own style of humor. Filled with serial killers with names like; Molly Mauler, Hardy Girls, Robin Hoods, Cecil B. DeVioleny, and DIYnona who all kill with flair in their own stylized set. As an added bonus for those who are familiar with San Francisco; this is a fun ride through an altered Treasure Island turned into the deadly Alcatraz 2.0.

Gretchen McNeil does it again with her fantastic ability to capture her reading audience within the very first page.  A true Queen of young adult suspense, McNeil makes her readers mindfully unaware of the deathly twists turns they are about to be taken on.

A book that makes you think about entertainment in America, the allure behind reality shows, how little we all have control, and what if one person takes it too far.  While the whole idea of a murder island sanctioned by the government is an all–too scary reality, this story is a gripping page-turner that will leave you guessing until the very end.


Gretchen McNeil is the author of the YA horror/suspense novels POSSESS, 3:59, RELIC, GET EVEN, GET DIRTY, and TEN (a YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, a Romantic Times Top Pick, and a Booklist Top Ten Horror Fiction for Youth) all with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins. Gretchen’s first YA contemporary I’M NOT YOUR MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL, also with Balzer + Bray, hit shelves in 2016, and her next novel will be the horror-comedy #MURDERTRENDING for Disney/Freeform in August 2018.

Gretchen’s novels have been published internationally in Chinese, Spanish, Turkish, and Czech. The film adaptation of TEN starring China Anne McClain (Descendants 2, Black Lightning), Rome Flynn (The Bold and the Beautiful), and Callan McAuliffe (Flipped, I Am Number Four), directed by Chris Robert for Rain Maker Films, premiered on Lifetime on September 16, 2017.

Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. A spin-off of the meme called "Can't Wait Wednesday" is now hosted at Wishful Endings. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.
by Jodie Lynn Zdrok

hitting shelves February 12th, 2019  
from Tor Teen
Paris, 1887.

Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day’s new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered—from the perspective of the murderer himself.

When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie's search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie's strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer’s identity--and she'll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.

My thoughts:  This is giving me major Stalking Jack the Ripper vibes, and I'm ready to go down that wondrously creepy road---but this time with mysterious powers and a 19th century Paris setting! :D 

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning: Launch Party Recap & Giveaway!

Launch party for Sea Witch by Sarah Henning in conversation with Renee Ahdieh

Last week I had the amazing opportunity to attend Sarah Henning’s Launch party of, Sea Witch at The Raven Book Store in Lawrence, Kansas. A charming independent bookstore in the heart of the beautiful, historic downtown beckons passersby to stop in for a spell to be whisked into a land of enchantment.  Holding true to its magical feel, Ngaio (the bookstore’s black cat) greets you upon entering, while her fellow employee cat, Dashiell monitored the quickly growing crowd.

In the evening Kansas heat, a bustling crowd quickly swelled to overwhelming numbers, as the shop seemed to expand at the seams to accommodate. A tremendous show of support for their local author, as well as comradery from fellow authors, there was no doubt that this debut will be one to remember.   

NYT Bestselling author of The Wrath and The Dawn duology, and Sarah’s first “book friend,” Renee Ahdieh moderates the event, asking questions that were insightful, heartfelt, fun and enlightening, allowing everyone to see the woman behind the mesmerizing, dark story of Sea Witch. Let’s jump right into the conversation:

Renee: Who is your favorite villain?
Sarah: The sea witch, but she doesn’t feel like she is a villain. What about you?
R: Ursula.  She is an incredibly misunderstood villain. First off, she had Ariel sign a disclaimer, Ariel knew what she was getting into! What are the top three emoji’s used on your phone?
S: Double pink hearts, laugh cry emoji, and of course the mermaid!

R- Why this story?
S – As a kid of the 80s, and 90s, I grew up on Disney’s Little Mermaid, but when I got older and read the actual tale I wondered, where did Disney even come up with their ideas? I am originally a mystery and thriller writer, so I wanted to blend it all together.

R- What is your advice to those trying to write?
S- Take something familiar, and turn it into something new. Get to know yourself and write, and write, and write. You also must read a lot, in order to write well, you must be well read.

R-Do you start with a character or a plot?
S- Generally somewhere in the middle. I am a hybrid. I’m going to see the plot points pretty far apart, and then I fill them in. What about you? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

R- I am an extreme plotter. I dream in words. I start with worlds, backdrop canvas, theme, then characters.
S- I find the hook, then fill the characters on the page.
R- What are the cooler moments of the process?
S- This (pointing to the audience) is really cool. Social media is so different now and is a great way to interact. I sold this book 3 years ago, then marketing pushed it to 2017, then said how about 2018?
R- This is definitely not an overnight process! What did you turn to for inspiration, in an industry that is all about rejection?
S- I became a journalist because I didn’t think being a novelist was a great idea. I wanted to tell people’s stories. But you can’t run away from your dreams. When I get down, I realize I would be doing this anyways. I also read other author’s books published with the same agency. It shows that they have done it too.
R What do you have coming up next?
S- Throw Like A Girl, it’s a story of a girl who is the not-so-backup quarterback on her boyfriend’s football team. I was a sports journalist for a long time, so this is for my “sporto’s,” and girls who want to keep up with the boys.
R-What book are you currently reading right now?
S- Darius the Great is Not Ok, is currently on my nightstand, by Adib Khorram who is actually here in attendance.
R- Hogwarts House?
S- Slytherin and Hufflepuff. But I feel that I am more a Divergent.
R- I am a Slytherin ( as she says with laughter)  What was your favorite character to write besides the Sea Witch?
S- Prince Nick. He’s a romantic and a friend.
R- Judging a beautiful book by its cover. Is this what you see when you see the Sea Witch?
S- I sent my editor a private Pinterest board of inspiration, and she sent it to the artist who lives in Scotland. I see her a little closer to the arc cover, which is different from the final cover.
R- If it’s not a spoiler what was your favorite part to write?
S- The flashbacks. I originally only had a few flashbacks, but my editor talked about the prism of grief, so we added more. I wrote them all in big chunks. It was very chartist to write what happened 4 years ago. 
R- Was there anything you had to cut in the editing process that you are upset about?
S- Yes! This was a very different book originally. It had a lot more happy things, but there was not enough space. 

With the, Sea Witch being the most breathtaking read of the summer, this was seriously such a delightful launch, with an amazing line up of questions, answers and a whole lot of information, and take a look at Renee’s shoes ♥

Are you ready to discover the magic for yourself?  To celebrate this amazing launch, I am hosting a giveaway, starting Saturday August 11, on my instagram page Amy_Fortheloveofbooks for an autographed hardback copy. Good luck and Happy Reading.  (image links to giveaway!)

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. A spin-off of the meme called "Can't Wait Wednesday" is now hosted at Wishful Endings. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.
by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy

hitting shelves March 5th, 2019  
from Little, Brown
I've been chased my whole life. An illegal immigrant in Mercer-controlled territory, I've always had to hide who I am. Until now.

When Ari crash lands on Old Earth, and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she becomes the forty-second reincarnation of King Arthur. Merlin awakes to find that having aged backward over the last forty-one Arthurs, he is now-wretchedly-a teenager. Ari may be Merlin's final chance to complete the steps of the cycle: 1) Train Arthur 2) Defeat the greatest evil in the universe. 3) Unite all of mankind. No pressure. 

I don't know about prophecies or kings, but I do know this: Mercer is evil. They've imprisoned my parents, enslaved worlds, and now they're after my friends. I'm done hiding. 

My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.

My thoughts:  I've always been in love with the Arthurian legend...anything to do with Merlin, King Author, Guinevere, Morgana, Excalibur, give me more, give me more. xD  And this just sounds like TOO MUCH FUN. ♥♥♥

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?