Archive | May 2018

Review: The Similars

Title: The Similars

Author: Rebecca Hanover

Date of Publication: January 1st, 2019


Goodreads Summary:

When six clones join Emmaline’s prestigious boarding school, she must confront the heartbreak of seeing her dead best friend’s face each day in class.

The Similars are all anyone can talk about at the elite Darkwood Academy. Who are these six clones? What are the odds that all of them would be Darkwood students? Who is the madman who broke the law to create them? Emma couldn’t care less. Her best friend, Oliver, died over the summer and all she can think about is how to get through her junior year without him. Then she comes face-to-heartbreaking-face with Levi—Oliver’s exact DNA replica and one of the Similars.

Emma wants nothing to do with the Similars, but she keeps getting pulled deeper and deeper into their clique, uncovering dark truths about the clones and her prestigious school along the way. But no one can be trusted…not even the boy she is falling for who has Oliver’s face.

My Review:

I’ve been having a problem with the newer YA fantasy books lately, so it was nice to get a breather from that business. I’ve read clone type books before, so this was a pretty fun take on it. Kind of The Islandish mixed with a soap opera, I’d say.


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At first, at the beginning, I didn’t like the political type feel, so I had to zone that out. But once we get past that it really gets flowing. The romance aspect was the best part—I really adored Levi. There were a lot of times when I was questioning what was going on with him—never quite sure what was behind that persona.

Emma was a great character, thank goodness not annoying! I’ve been getting too many boring or uninteresting female characters on my radar lately! She was smart and always seemed to ask the right questions. I will say, I guessed the twists pretty early on, but I’ve read so many books and seen so many movies, I’m rarely surprised these days.

The author’s writing was right up my alley. She had a good way of pulling me in without me getting bored with pointless descriptions. Yes, it does end on a cliffhanger, and yes, I want to read the next book!


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Author Interview: Calvin Demmer


Book Description:
The world’s fate lies with a comatose young girl; an android wants to remember a human she once knew under Martian skies; men at sea learn that the ocean is a realm far different from land, where an unforgiving god rules; a school security guard discovers extreme English class; and a man understands what the behemoth beneath the sea commands of him.
The Sea Was a Fair Master is a collection of 23 stories, riding the currents of fantasy, science fiction, crime, and horror. There are tales of murder, death, loss, revenge, greed, and hate. There are also tales of hope, survival, and love.
For the sea was a fair master.

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Meant to be Broken: Trailer Reveal + Excerpt

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Date of Publication: July 2nd, 2018


Rayne Davidson is perfectly happy fading into the background. Her mama’s antics garner enough attention in their small Southern town for the both of them, but when Rayne catches the eye of all-star quarterback, Preston Howard, she’s enamored with the possibilities. Too bad Preston doesn’t make her heart thump—his brother does.

Gage Howard doesn’t mind the town’s stares because he doesn’t get them. Growing up in his older brother’s shadow, Gage shrugs off the endless parade of girls Preston brings home—until Rayne.

But there are unwritten rules that shouldn’t be broken, like cheating on your boyfriend or betraying your brother. Rayne and Gage deny their growing attraction, neither willing to hurt Preston—until the town finds out.

They think overcoming the gossip will be the hardest obstacle.

They’re wrong.

Rayne’s mama has a secret, and its revelation could divide the town, the families, and the new couple.

Can love endure if it’s all built on a lie?




At 9:30 Saturday morning, I find out Preston Howard wants to date me. At 11:30, my mama hears it from old lady McAlister and has a “spell” in aisle three of the Piggly Wiggly. It’s taken seventeen years, but I finally understand the two things my social life and Mama have in common. They’re both erratic and one usually suffers because of the other.

The store manager calls me on my cell and asks me to come get her. He has my number because he’s Daddy’s best friend’s brother and used me to babysit his kids a few times last year. I answer, expecting another job offer.

“Rayne? This is Dave Sullivan, you know, the manager down at the Piggly Wiggly? There’s been an incident with your mama.”

Apparently it’d happened in front of the Luzianne tea bags. She was comparing the family size to smaller ones when Mrs. McAlister offered her a coupon… and a piece of news.

The details get a little sketchy from there—something about her sinking to the floor and gasping for air. That’s when the manager came over with one of those small brown paper sacks they use to bag up ice cream and had her breathe in it. A nurse and a vet, both in the crowd assembled around her, agreed from their varied medical expertise it didn’t appear to be life-threatening. When the paper bag seemed to work, he decided to call me instead of the ambulance.

I pull into the parking lot ten minutes later. She’s sitting on the front bench beside the automatic doors where the employees go to smoke, under the “I’m Big on the Pig!” sign. Mrs. McAlister sits beside her, a little too close, waving a folded-up circular in her face. I wonder what the store employees and shoppers think of me, casually parking the car, walking-not-running, and looking both ways before crossing the main traffic flow. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out they’re all watching from between the weekly specials scribbled on the plate-glass windows.

I don’t feel the need to rush. It isn’t a heart attack or stroke. I call it her bipolar though Daddy gets mad when I refer to it like that. The diagnosis is anxiety, better known as my evil little sister—always around, always a pain, and always ruining my life.

This sort of episode has happened before, just not too often in public. In most societies that’s considered good news—but not in the South. They say we don’t hide our crazy, we dress it up and parade it on the front porch. And even if we don’t, someone else will do the parading for us—telegraph, telephone, tell-a-southern woman. We know how to reach out and touch some people.

Mrs. McAlister jumps up from the bench and grabs my arm as I step up on the curb. “I suwannee, child. She liked to turned over her buggy and spilt them groceries everywhere.”

Talking to some of the older ladies in town always feels like walking out of real life and into some part of Steel Magnolias. She gives me her version of the sordid details. Mama created quite a scene, not just with her episode but also by her scandalous choice of groceries. The mayonnaise was the only casualty, rolling out the leg hole of the kiddie seat portion of the cart when Mama accidentally gave it a rough shove while collapsing on the linoleum.

Mrs. McAlister hadn’t bothered to pick that up and put it back in the buggy, which was now waiting by the customer service desk. It wasn’t Dukes Mayonnaise. She leans in close to whisper because how embarrassing would that be for Mama. To her, it’s further proof Mama hadn’t been feeling well long before their conversation. What southern woman in her right mind buys off-brand mayonnaise?


About the Author:

Brandy Woods Snow is an author and journalist born, raised and currently living in beautiful Upstate South Carolina. She earned a BA in English/Writing from Clemson University and worked in corporate communications and the media for more than 17 years before pursuing her true passion for novel writing. Brandy is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and Young Adult RWA.

When Brandy’s not writing, reading, spending time with her husband or driving carpool for her three kids, she enjoys kayaking, family hikes, yelling “Go Tigers!” as loud as she can, playing the piano and taking “naked” Jeep Wrangler cruises on twisty, country roads.

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Review: Kiss Collector

Title: Kiss Collector

Author: Wendy Higgins

Date of Publication: December 18th, 2018


Goodreads Summary:

When seventeen-year-old Zae Monroe gets cheated on by the only guy she’s ever loved, then watches her parents’ marriage crumble, she decides to forget about relationships and turn the tables on the boys of the world. It’s time to take what she wants, and what she wants are kisses. Athletes, musicians, poets, and bad boys—their lips are all on her agenda, and it’s time to collect.

Zae proposes a contest with her friends to see who can kiss the most boys during spring break. But what starts as a harmless competition leads to a downward spiral she can’t seem to break free of. As family, academic, friend, and guy drama come to a head, Zae is forced to face the reasons behind her boy angst, and starts to wonder if she was wrong about the male race…or at least some of them.


My Review:

I’m a big fan of Wendy Higgins’ books, so it’s no surprise I really liked this one. It was a fun and sometimes emotional ride that was a great escape from a lot of the books I’ve been having to trudge through lately. Plus, there was kissing! Lots of kissing!

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Zae was a relatable character, especially when it came to her friends. It reminded me of my high school days. You have a group of girl friends and sometimes you love each other, sometimes you’re jealous of one another, but in the end, you always fight for one another.

I thought the poetry aspect was super cute, and there was one particular boy who held my attention for most of the story. I also really, really loved the ending!

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Windswept: Release Day+ Excerpt + Giveaway



Tanzy’s journey continues in Windswept, the second installment of the Hightower Trilogy…
An Unseen World believes Tanzy Hightower is the key in an ancient prophecy meant to deliver the only new birth in all of time. They have waited a thousand years for her soul to return to life in human form. Some of them will stop at nothing to fulfill the prophecy, and others have sworn an oath to end Tanzy’s existence, permanently.
Tanzy’s body is compromised. Her veins are now home to the blood of a savage, wild horse, and its instincts are becoming impossible to control. Her world is also divided. She is determined to rescue Lucas, an Unseen creature who has loved her since her first life, and to find her treasured Harbor and the other stolen horses, which are bound for a catastrophic end in a world she can’t access on her own. Yet the only allies she has left insist she seeks refuge in a remote safe house on the Outer Banks.
While her fellow candidates beg her to stay in hiding, new enemies work to draw her out, making it clear Lucas and the horses are hers for the taking. But Tanzy knows all to well that when your loved ones are used as bait, finding them is only the beginning.



“Our enemies are close. Too close,” Maris whispers, and swings her gaze from me to Jayce and back again. “If we all join hands, I will be able to seal our sounds inside so we can speak freely.”

“How do I know you’re not an enemy, too?” I ask.

“You don’t.” She flexes her fingers, but waits for me to decide to make contact.

“For Pete’s sake, Tanzy. This isn’t The Bachelorette Candidates’ special edition. You’re not getting married. You’re just casting a damn spell.” Jayce grabs my arm with one hand and Maris’s arm with the other, and joins us together. “There. Hashtag let’s-do-this-already,” she says, clamping her palms in ours to complete the circle.

Maris suppresses a smile and closes her eyes. I deny a shudder of nervousness and force out a long, slow exhale.

“May I begin?” Maris asks, barely tilting her face in my direction.

I open my mouth. Close it. Yes, I mentally project, and Maris squeezes my fingers. It takes every ounce of self-control left inside me to not jerk away.

“Air and water join us here, use our light, and make a sphere. Seven colors round and round, shield our circle, hide our sounds,” Maris commands. She repeats the incantation two more times. The air warms and thickens. A growing charge pulses through my arms like an electric current.

Maris falls silent. Everything does. The mist continues to drizzle, blanketing the muddy earth and barren trees, but the steady hiss has vanished. Even though we sit within a few steps from the creek, I can’t hear it. With a start, I realize it must work both ways. No sounds in. No sounds out.

“We are safe to speak, but it won’t last long.” Maris slips her hand from mine. Her charcoal skin is pale in places where I’d unwittingly tightened my grip. Will I ever learn how to use the horse’s strength deliberately?

I rub my clammy, filthy hands together, trying to make them warm enough to stop shaking. They’re sweaty with nervousness, and the rust-colored film on my hands rolls into beads. It’s not gritty like the dirt I clung to when I climbed out of the ravine at Wildwood. It’s smooth, and presses flat into tiny flakes wherever I push down.

This is not earth.

This is dried blood.

David Andrews’s blood, caked in the webbing between my fingers and crusted beneath my nails.

The sound of his last, sputtering breath echoes in my brain. I let out a cry and wipe my fingers violently against my dress. Copper streaks the wrinkled white linen within seconds. The color leaves my hands, but there’s no relief from its weight, its smell.

 “What’s wrong?” Jayce’s voice is an octave too high. “Is that blood?” She sniffs at the air. Her pupils dilate as she arrives at her own conclusion.

I can’t summon the focus to answer—can’t stop trying to make my hands clean. From the expression on Maris’s face, she’s seeing the memory of me strangling Vanessa’s husband. The image of life leaving his eyes. The nightmare I can’t wake from.

Her gaze trains on Asher’s mark, and she brings an open palm to the brand. Heat crawls across my chest, but I’m frozen in place. My arms don’t heed the mental command to bat her hand away. Two of the circles turn black, shimmering like the coming night, and then fade back into the appearance of an old scar.

 “When did this happen?” She regards me with new distance, studying my face like I’m a complete stranger.

“Vanessa tricked me into believing her husband was attacking her. She told me he would kill her. She set me up. She made me believe . . . I thought he was Asher.” The confession tumbles from me, heavy and slipping.

“You’ve killed someone?” Jayce asks, her throat constricting around the words.

“She has taken two lives. Two of these rings belong to her now,” Maris says. Her fingers curl. She stares past me. I risk a glimpse of Jayce, whose face falls from brazen to defeat within a single second.

“Tell me about the first,” Maris orders, her mouth forming a grim line.

“An Unseen attacked Vanessa in the woods. I got between them. He picked me up by my throat and I . . . exploded,” I whisper. “I didn’t want to kill him, but he kept coming.” The memory plays in front of my open eyes. “If I hadn’t killed him he would’ve killed me.”

“Doesn’t matter. She’s useless.” Jayce shakes her head and mutters under her breath.

“I’m not useless.” My fingernails dig into my palms.

“Yes. You are,” Jayce growls.

“Enough,” Maris says. “This is Hope’s fault. She chose to keep Tanzy in the dark, and this is the price. Tanzy, you can’t kill anyone else, Seen or Unseen, for any reason.”

“A third kill, and you belong to Asher,” Jayce adds, focusing her icy glare on my face.

All the air is sucked from my lungs. I was under the impression the three circles had everything to do with Spera. How could I have missed this? A mental path quickly links the two lives I took, and arrives at one common denominator: Vanessa. She’s masterminded every move I’ve made since waking with the horse’s Vires blood coursing through my veins. She must know what will happen if I take a third life.

It’s an insurance policy, I realize. If I won’t use the Vires strength for Asher, I can’t use it at all.

Windswept is HERE y’all! And with it comes a category 5 giveaway. Don’t you just love a good storm?

Up for grabs:

* $50 Amazon gift card

* Custom leather Kindle cover inspired by Wildwood and hand detailed by Rockstar Custom Leather

* Custom leather bronc halter hand detailed by Rockstar Custom Leather

* Signed paperback of Wildwood, book #1, with bonus swag

* Signed paperback of Windswept, book #2, with bonus swag

How do you enter? Why, spread the word about Windswept, of course! Use the Rafflecopter form below to submit your entries. The giveaway opens Tuesday, May 22nd, and ends Saturday at the stroke of midnight. Winners will be selected at random by Rafflecopter within 48 hours of closing.

Windswept is on sale NOW for just $1.99 on Amazon for Kindle. If you haven’t read Wildwood yet, you’re in luck, because it’s on also on sale for just $2.99.

Click here for the Amazon listing for Wildwood

Click here for the Amazon listing for Windswept

Want a little taste test? Check out snippets, book trailers, and more on Jadie’s Instagram page.

Thank you so much for celebrating Windswept’s release week! If you win the gift card, what will you splurge on? Comment below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Review: Allied

Title: Allied

Author: Amy Tintera

Date of Publication: May 1st, 2018


Goodreads Summary:

In the final book in the New York Times bestselling Ruined series, the romance of The Selection and the epic stakes of Red Queen come together in a story of revenge, adventure, and unexpected love.

Emelina Flores and her sister, Olivia, were determined to bring peace to the people of Ruina. But as the war for liberation raged on, what triumph and freedom meant to Em and Olivia slowly changed. As Olivia’s violence and thirst for vengeance became her only ambition, Em was left to pick up the pieces.

But it’s not only Em who is upset by Olivia’s increased violence. Other members of the Ruined army are beginning to see the cracks, and soon a small group of them defects from Olivia’s army and joins Em instead. The two sisters are soon pitted against each other in an epic battle for the kingdom and the future, and only one will win.

My Review:

I have been a huge fan of this series, and I also loved Amy Tintera’s other duology! I was wondering how this would end. Good? Bad? Ugly? I’ll just say it ended how I wanted, but the road getting there wasn’t fist pumping worthy.


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I did like this book, but didn’t love it as much as the other two. I liked Galo, but I wasn’t rooting for his chapters in this book. I just wanted to keep getting back to the others’. However, his relationship with Mateo was extremely cute.

Loved Em! Loved Cas! My two little babies will forever hold a special place in my heart. Olivia was still cray-cray and as hostile as ever.

I actually think this trilogy would have worked better as a duology, but it was still fun, full of action, and sprinkled with cute romance. Plus, Tintera’s dialogue is always the best!

Have you started this series yet?

Review: Wildwood

Title: Wildwood

Author: Jadie Jones

Date of Publication: September 26th, 2017


Goodreads Summary:

Tanzy Hightower is not crazy. At least, that’s what she tells herself. Crazy looks more like her mother, who studies each sunrise with the same fascination other women give tabloid magazines in the grocery store checkout line. Crazy sounds like the woman on the radio claiming there’s a whole separate world existing parallel to our own. Still, Tanzy can’t deny the tingle of recognition she feels each time she sees her mother standing at the kitchen window, or hears the panic in the woman’s voice coming through the speakers of her father’s truck.

Tanzy intends to follow her father’s footsteps into the professional horse world. But the moment she watches him die on the back of a horse in an accident she feels responsible for, everything changes.

On the first anniversary of his death, a fight with her mother drives her back to her father’s farm in the middle of a stormy night. Neither Tanzy nor life as she knows it escapes unchanged when she is struck by lightning and introduced to a world… unseen, and receives proof her father’s death was no accident.

Two strangers seem too willing to help her navigate her new reality: Vanessa Andrews, a psychiatrist who believes lightning chooses who it strikes, and Lucas, a quiet, scarred stable hand with timing that borders on either perfect or suspect. But Tanzy has secrets of her own. Desperate for answers and revenge, Tanzy must put her faith in their hands as her past comes calling, and her father’s killer closes in.

My Review:

Love the cover and love the name Tanzy! If I had another kid, I might’ve actually named her that! Also, she loves horses! Who doesn’t love horses? They are mystical and magical and awesome!


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I really liked the writing in this one! It wasn’t over the top or not enough—it was the perfect blend of what needed to be said. After Tanzy’s father is killed in an accident, things pick up right away. Tanzy has questions along the way and you kind of guess along with her as she isn’t sure about a lot of things.

I’m already ready for the next book and to learn more about the worlds and get more of Tansy!


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Author Interview: James J. Cudney


Author Interview with James J. Cudney:

What made you want to become an author?
Characters are always running around and plots are feverishly weaving together inside my head. There are days I get lost in thoughts where I can’t do anything but write what I’m feeling and thinking. It’s one of the only places I am creative, otherwise I’m very organized, specific, and focused on anything I do. Being able to assemble a story or a book, then share it with others, is a very rewarding feeling. I love knowing I can bring some amount of joy and analytical thought to a reader’s mind just as I get from reading hundreds of books each year, too. It’s a passion, and when I had the opportunity to take a chance on changing careers, I jumped in with full excitement and fear.
What inspires your stories?
Families, secrets, and emotions. For me, a story must impact the reader in some way, shape, or form. I write about the fundamentals of being alive and experiencing pain, love, and fear. I want to offer alternative ideas to people who might need a break from their own lives, some difficult moments, or a new way of interpreting their emotions. Once I pull this together, I figure out the surprise and shock moments so that I can push the envelope just a bit more than normal reality. I love reading stories about everyday life, as there’s something comforting and cathartic in seeing how other people react, but when you can push them over the edge and bring about a step out of normalcy, even if it’s a bit unrealistic, it’s still a break from what we’re used to seeing or experiencing. And that’s what reading is all about for me — putting me slightly out of my comfort zone and pushing me to consider a wider sense of what’s going on in the world.
Tell us a little about Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure. How are they alike/different.
Watching Glass Shatter is about a large family full of secrets that are not truly ever meant to be known, but must be revealed in order to save a few lives and re-connect as a family. Like most families, they’ve had moments where they are extremely close and completely separated, but unlike most families, they are a bit larger than life. Five brothers with hidden truths. Death of the patriarch. A mother questioning where she went wrong. And an impending doom that will wreck havoc on people who haven’t even figured out how to properly grieve for what they’ve lost. Part mystery, part emotional journey, it’s a classic tale of how to accept differences and admit when you’ve been wrong.
Father Figure is about two women who are desperately seeking something from a father. One looks in all the wrong places to replace what she’s lost. The other is on quest to find out who her father is. What they share in common is a rather large secret that has been kept hidden for far too long. Unfortunately, revealing it causes the past to re-create itself in ways neither had expected. Mothers and daughters have complicated relationships. When they’re left untended, there can be pain and a sense of lost direction in life. Both women suffer through tragedy and try to find their way back to the surface in very different manners. Part suspense, part emotional journey, it’s a story about how to find yourself when encountering a roadblock nearly every step on the path.
They’re both about relationships, but whereas Watching Glass Shatter is built from 8 different character perspectives, Father Figure is told from only 2 women’s POVs, but it’s across two different time periods. Watching Glass Shatter has more humor and tears. Father Figure has more suspense and questions. But I’ve put my heart into both to make everyone as realistic and reachable as I possibly can in just a few hundred pages.
What genre do you tend to write in and why?
This is a tough question to answer because my style crosses a few genres. Contemporary fiction at the highest point, but then there’s a mix of mystery, family drama and realism fabricated into each story. Both books have characters ranging from 18 to 70, but where Watching Glass Shatter is leaning towards women’s fiction, Father Figure is focused on New Adults (20s). I feel most comfortable in these genres, but I plan to write a cozy mystery series and a thriller in the next two years.
Do you look up to any other authors?
Yes, but in general ways. I feel my style falls into the same areas as Liane Moriarty, Amanda Prowse, and Lisa Jewell, as I tell stories from different character perspectives, usually about emotional life journeys, mysterious secrets exploding around you, and a mix of sub-genres. I would love to write a few mystery series like Agatha Christie and Dan Brown. And I’m very enamored with the idea of historical fiction like Ken Follett and Kate Morton.
What’s the biggest struggle you face when writing?
I can be overly descriptive when I want to ensure a reader sees the same picture as I do in a specific scene. I’ve learned to edit myself down through multiple versions, but I feel I can push myself a bit more to use less words and more powerful imagery.
Do you have a favorite character you have written? Tell us a little about them.
Olivia Glass. She’s a powerhouse. This woman has just lost her husband, found out a secret he’s been keeping, and when she turns to her family, she learns even worse things… she’s questioning where she went wrong and is too closed-minded to figure it out at first. To readers, it’s quite easy in the beginning. She’s had tunnel vision for years, forgotten her roots, let money color her approach to things, and been hands off in terms of mothering the boys as they became young adults. At the same time, she says and does enough that you want to like her and hope she finds her way. Despite a few slips along the way, she eventually finds a way to re-establish who she once was, but it doesn’t come without major repercussions and losses. Her life isn’t over at ~65, but it will be very different than she planned it to be. What I adore about her is that she can learn and change. She comes from a generation where all the things her sons have done are considered wrong and bad, but in reality, people are different. And we accept one another for who we are at the core, not at the surface. When she can recognize those things, she becomes a mother again. There’s something powerful about a woman who can re-gain control but still make you feel loved and supported.
Did you take any classes in writing or are you more of a natural?
In college, I took a few creative and fiction writing classes. They helped me understand many of the basics, but I’ve not taken any courses in the last 15 years. When I began writing again, I spent some time searching on the Internet to learn more about the publishing industry and editing approaches, but for the most part, I tend to learn on my own. I make a list of my questions or the things I don’t yet have a grasp on, seek those answers specifically, then dive in.
What do you find to be the best thing about writing?
Being able to create a character with flaws whom someone can still love. In reality, that’s hard to do. When someone makes a mistake, or hurts you, people hold grudges and sometimes even lose a relationship over disagreements. In a book, you can play out that scenario in words across hundreds of pages, but also bring them back together in the end. And in some instances, that will bleed into real life and help readers figure out a way to solve their own life dilemmas. I’ve had that experience reading a few books, and it’s quite cathartic and heartwarming.
What process do you use when writing? To outline or not to outline?
I’m an outliner! I usually write a ~25 page outline with full character and setting descriptions, a scene by scene and chapter by chapter bullet point summary, and a target schedule to complete everything. I will know that 3 things need to happen in a Chapter 7, and I’ll know the 2 or 3 scene locations, but how it plays out on the pages is where my creativity works in the moment. Once the first draft is written, I update the outline so it’s as current as possible, then I weave in all the hidden secrets, red herrings, clues, etc.
What’s your favorite book you have read?
Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy. It speaks to me on so many levels. It has a character for everyone, one with emotional intelligence, fear, and innocence. It’s a representation of who we are at different points in our lives.
After publication, what do you find to be the hardest part?
Either figuring out how to market or waiting for reviews. You can only do so much as a writer, and once you put your work out there, it’s up to others to react and share. I do a lot of my own marketing, but I have to trust the book will stand on its own two feet and be successful. That’s never easy for a control-freak! 🙂
What other books do you have for the future?
I’ve currently got 4 books in outline format. I plan to write one this summer and publish in the fall, then keep the cycle moving so I can hopefully publish around 2 books every 12 to 18 months. I’m writing: (1) Watching Glass Prequel Short Stories and Sequel, (2)  Cozy Mystery Series, (3) Very emotional tale that I can’t stop tearing up over while drafting the outline and (4) thriller / suspense novel.
Any advice to other writers out there?
You must first know why you write and what you want to achieve if you have any chance of being successful. If you don’t know the goals or the reasons, you will flounder for too long.
Have thick skin for negative reviews and feedback, but always be polite and try to learn from it. Never respond back with negativity or rudeness even if someone else is unnecessarily cruel in their review of your work.
Publishing is changing. The market is flooded. People are changing how and when they read. Figure out your niche and keep focusing on how to find those marketing avenues. It is getting less and less easy to sell a best seller when there are so many good authors out there. Have alternative income lines to support yourself so you can do your best work without worrying about paying bills and saving up for the future.

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Review: Escaping from Houdini

Title: Escaping from Houdini

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Date of Publication: September 18th, 2018


Goodreads Summary:

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.

But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The strange and disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?

My Review:

This is such a fun series. I like the gory factors, Cresswell—especially Cresswell, and the cool themes that are intertwined. So when I saw carnival on a ship, I was incredibly ecstatic.


Photo Credit

Let me start out by saying the book started off very well—we get some killing right away. But then a mysterious guy with a face mask who is the carnival’s leader, Mephistopheles, comes into the picture. This is where our girl, Audrey Rose, starts getting a little ridiculous.

My favorite thing about this series has been how Audrey and Thomas Cresswell are a team. A lot of this book Cresswell wasn’t even there … but Mephistopheles was. Uh oh, that means possible love triangle. I hate when you’re so invested in two characters, especially when you are at book three—there does not need to be another guy in the picture!

Anyway, so besides Audrey and her ridiculous choices, I loved the book! The atmosphere was gorgeous, awe-inspiring and creepy—a mixture of the best kind. It was incredibly well written, and I’m excited to see what happens in book four!

Have you started this series yet?



Bookstagram Interview: Christine Manzari AKA Xenatine


You have probably seen Christine Manzari or @xenatine ‘s awesome bookstagram account over on Instagram. Today I have an interview with her for you guys!

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What made you decide to start a bookstagram?

I started my bookstagram by accident. At first I was just interacting with other book lovers to try to connect with YA readers, but then I stumbled upon some amazing bookstagram accounts and decided to join in on photo challenges for fun. When I started gaining larger numbers of followers, I dedicated my account solely to books.

When did you start your bookstagram account?

I don’t know the exact day, but it was in May of 2016 when I started posting solely about books.

Do you take a lot of pictures at once or do you take them each day?

Since I usually post 3-4 times a day, I take lots of photos when I do photo shoots. Most of my photos are taken Monday-Friday in the morning and I’ll take 5-8 photo layouts. I find that if I do an elaborate setup, it’s easy to take a lot of photos with different perspectives and just save those pictures for a rainy day.

What would you consider your style or vibe when it comes to your pictures?

My style is colorful and often geometrical or symmetrical. I was an art major in college and I was a graphic designer for about ten years, so doing bright color combos and detailed compositions are my bread and butter.

What kind of books do you like to feature on your account?

I like to feature the kinds of books I read. That usually means YA fantasy, sci-fi, romance, and sometimes paranormal. I feature NA romance sometimes too, but fantasy and sci-fi are the most common because that’s what I read most often.

Where do you get all your accessories that accompany the books in your pictures?

Some of my props are things I have around my house, but I get most of my things from Michaels craft store or Amazon. Storygramtours has a great post on their website with links to different props that the owners used and I’ve found some fun items on there that I’ve added to my prop collection over the last two years.

Do you have a particular favorite bookstagrammer?

I don’t have one favorite and I don’t like choosing because I have so many dear friends on bookstagram, but here are a few accounts that have inspired me for various reasons.

– @darkfaerietales_ does a nice variety of shots and styles which I admire. She can do cosplay, epic stacks, shelfies, flatlays, etc. I am in awe of the shots she takes.

– I love the bright and colorful feed of @paperfury and her captions are the best ones on bookstagram. I wish she could live with me and just leave me funny notes in varoius places around the house. The only reason I ever go on twitter is to read the posts that @paperfury makes.

– @everlasting.charm has a gorgeous feed that looks so peaceful and perfect. I’m not a girly type of girl, but she makes me want to love pink.

– The pictures by @myfriendsarefiction are so lovely and she does a great job of showing off merchandise. I also love that she reads a lot of ARCs so she does the hard work of reading books ahead of time and letting followers know which ones are worth putting on their TBR.

– I really like the way @eden.hammond uses colors and geometrical layouts. She’s so creative and unique in her setups.

– I wish I could take pictures like @lifeandliterature @ursula_uriate and @lifeinlit Their styles are magazine worthy and I love looking at them. 

You’re also an author, reader, and mother, how do you juggle it all?

It’s all about getting into a routine. I’m a creature of habit so I take bookstagram photos in the morning, do my mom duties during the day, and write and read at night. I try to squeeze in reading at other times of the day by listening to audio books in the car or while I work out. When I’m lucky, I can usually do some writing during the day, too.

As for being an author, can you tell us a little bit about your books and any upcoming releases you may have?

One theme that is prevalent in all of my books is that I like to write strong female characters. They are bold and sassy and clever. So far I have written six books and co-written two others.

The first series I wrote is a YA dystopian trilogy, called The Sophisticates Series, which is about a group of teens who have been genetically modified to be human weapons against terrorism. The Sophisticates Series is great for fans of The Darkest Minds and the X-Men.

I’ve also written a NA romcom trilogy called the Hearts of Stone series. They are all standalone books which are connected by three men who all share the last name Stone. These romcoms are a little bit steamy and a lot snarky and perfect for fans of Helena Hunting and Christina Lauren.

I’ve co-written a NA romance trilogy with Laura Ward called the College Bound Series. We are publishing the third book in that series this summer. The interesting thing about this trilogy is that there are special needs characters in each book who have integral roles in the stories. What I love about this series is that it mixes my snarky sense of humor with Laura’s tender storytelling to create stories that I think fans of Colleen Hoover would enjoy.

Lastly, I’m currently working on a YA fantasy about stolen magic, a fearless warrior girl, and a gladiator tournament. Fantasy has always been my first love so I’m excited to share this story with readers.

Do you have any advice for others interested in bookstagramming and building their fanbase?

I think the biggest piece of advice I can give is to have fun! Interact with people in the community and be genuine. Be you. If you interact with other bookstagrammers by commenting on their photos and chatting with them, you will develop true friendships and discover that this community is more than just pictures of books. It’s about finding your tribe.

As for taking pictures, joining in monthly photo challenges is a great way to find inspiration that will help you discover your style. You can love other accounts without having to take the types of photos they take. Be unique, be you, find the types of photos that you enjoy taking. Show off the books you love in a way that shows your personality too. Bookstagram should be fun so don’t worry about numbers of likes or comments. It takes time for those to come and the more active you are, the more fun you’ll have. And that’s what reading should be about.

The technical advice I can give:

– Take pictures when you have good natural light. I take pictures in my library in the morning.

– I use my iphone so you don’t need special cameras, your smartphone can take great pictures.

– Use monthly photo challenges for inspiration.

– Take photoes of the books YOU love, not what you think others want to see.

– Anything can be a prop. You don’t have to go to the store or Amazon to buy crazy props. I’ve used silverware before and old bridesmaids dresses for splashes of color. Things around your house can create fun textures, places around where you live can be pretty backdrops. Experiment!


Christine’s Social Media Links:








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