Archive | June 2020

Cover Reveal: Sit With Me While I’m Mad

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“There are sensors in my hands and cameras in my walls. I’m sure of it.” But when Milly Thiringer mentioned this to her friends, the only thing they were sure of was that she needed to see a doctor.

Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at age nineteen, Milly spent years running circles through the revolving door of the public mental healthcare

system, being told to focus on symptom management and coping strategies as no significant improvement in her prognosis could be expected.

She almost gave up. Almost. Along the way Milly’s learned to be her own advocate while fighting through and redefining “recovery.

Publisher: Filles Vertes Publishing

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Review: Snow, Glass Apples

Title: Snow, Glass, Apples

Author: Neil Gaiman

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Goodreads:

A retelling of the Snow White fairy tale from the point of view of the “wicked stepmother.”

My Review:

First off, the pictures in the book I have were glorious and beautiful and I couldn’t stop looking at them! I also love Snow White retellings because I freaking love Snow White.

This was an original and unique graphic novel on the original story. I will admit, there was some really weird stuff going on that I need some answers to! It was an addicting little tale and I’m glad I found it, but again, what in the world? Anyway, I definitely recommend checking it out!

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What’s your favorite Snow White retelling?

 

 

Author Interview: Jaqueline Snowe

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Rule one: Soccer is life.
Rule two: Forget boy drama.
Rule three: Stay out of Trouble.

Lana Reyes has no intention of breaking her own rules for senior year. That is until she doesn’t get her soccer scholarship—the one and only shot of getting out of her small town. With only one more showcase to make a name for herself, she needs help to increase her speed and agility—a skill set touted by her ex-crush and hottest guy at school.

Dylan Cadwell’s perfect spirals and chiseled features can’t erase the struggles he faces at home or in the classroom. With failing grades and parents who engage in constant yelling matches, the dream of playing college football is his only escape—one that could easily slip through his fingers if his lackluster grades aren’t pulled up immediately. If he loses a full-ride scholarship, he’s destined to be stuck in their small town forever.

When Lana and Dylan discover each other’s situation, they hatch a plan: He’ll train her; she’ll tutor him. It’s a seamless strategy, designed to help each other keep their eye on the prize—until rekindled feelings emerge and the greatest prize of all could be the love playing out between them.

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Published with Filles Vertes Publishing

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Author Interview:

How did you come up with the idea for Our Last Chance?

I really wanted to tell a story about two people who were from different crowds, who had a common goal and a messy past. High school is hard for everyone. You change friend groups, learn life lessons, and Dylan and Lana’s story came from the question: what if everything you’ve worked for is out of reach? What do you do? Pair up with someone you shouldn’t?

Dylan comes from an awful home life, but was cool at school, where Lana had the supportive family and was pushed to the side. With each being exposed to the opposite, what did that teach them? I wanted to see them grow and work together.

Also, as a former athlete who spent most of my youth playing year-round sports, I could relate to the fierce desperation of playing your heart out. So all those ideas combined to give Lana’s and Dylan’s story.

Who is your favorite and least favorite character from Our Last Chance and why?

My favorite character (besides Lana and Dylan) would have to be their coaches. I wanted to portray them as being who cared about the whole student, the whole person, not just someone who was good at a sport. I had wonderful coaches growing up who changed my life beyond the field, and I wanted them to have that experience too. Even with the heartbreak of sports, or not achieving every dream, lessons learned from playing on a team are ones that you carry for life.

My least favorite is obviously Krissy, Dylan’s ex-girlfriend. The hard part about writing her was not to make her motivations too shallow. Why was she so intent on hating Lana and being unfair to Dylan? I wanted to give her more depth but in reality, after attending (and teaching!) high school for so many years, sometimes people are just cruel because they are unhappy with their own life. She played a stark contrast to Lana—where Krissy ignored what Dylan said and often called him stupid, and played upon their sexual chemistry where Lana listened to Dylan, asked him questions and showed him he was more than just an athlete.

If you could put Our Last Chance into three words, what would they be and why?

Passion, obstacles, courage.  Both Lana and Dylan have a passion for their sport that runs deep into their veins, motivating every decision they make. Obstacles because every person has their own challenges to overcome, even though they might look different. Courage because trying something and failing, but continuing to try harder takes a lot of guts. Both Lana and Dylan experience that and instead of shutting down and bowing out, they try harder.

What is your writing process like?

I wish I had a super great answer, but in all honesty, I still down with a blank document, put on a song that motivates me, and write. My first draft is how I discover my characters. I learn what upsets them or what motivates them. It’s messy, but by chapter five, I know the arc of the story.  I also am a spreadsheet nerd and track word counts, where I wrote, and color code them. Nothing excites me more than seeing the word count tracker organized by color.

Do you prefer stand alones or series?

I love standalones in a connected series.

Name three books you could read over and over again.

The Hating Game, The Name of the Wind, and The Wall of Winnipeg and Me

If you could take one character from any of your books and bring them to life, who would it be and why?

My very first book baby, titled Let Life Happen, has a character named Mike that is one-hundred percent based of my grandpa. My brother and I were lucky enough to have an incredible relationship with our grandfather, and in high school, we would meet every Tuesday morning at six am to have breakfast with just the three of us. It was our thing. It continued when we went to college, so during the summers and breaks we would meet at the same place. My (now) husband started going when we first began dating and he became part of our breakfast crew. My brother’s wife did too. It was our unique, special pastime and we recently lost him after he lived a very long, wonderful life.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a total punster. I’ve tried plotting so many times and end up frustrated because I stray away from the details thirty seconds after I start. Music plays a huge role in how I write, so I can go into a scene and type what I think will happen, but the song can change the mood to something different. The best advice I ever received was write what you want to read and I think about that every time I sit down to write.

If your writing could be described as a color, what would it be?

Bright turquoise. Doesn’t work for everyone but to certain people, it’s their favorite. My way of writing is not for everyone. I can see down and write 10K in a day and not touch it for three weeks or I can write 2K a day for two months straight. There isn’t a pattern or rhythm—but it works for me.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read. Read outside what you write to see how others use their craft. Also, the things I’ve learned after ten books, is you have to find a schedule that works for you. I’m a super early bird. I write at five-thirty am, but that works for me so at night, I can hang with my kiddo. It took years to find the time but once I did, my word count never halted.

Also, find CPs or Beta readers. They will help you hash out your story more than you ever could on your own!

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Jaqueline Snowe lives in Arizona where the “dry heat” really isn’t that bad. She identifies as a full-blown Gryffindor and prefers drinking coffee all hours of the day. She is the mother to two fur-babies who don’t realize they aren’t humans and a new mom to the sweetest baby boy. She is an avid reader and writer of romances and tends to write about athletes.

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Review: The Reckoning of Noah Shaw

Title: The Reckoning of Noah Shaw

Author: Michelle Hodkin

Date of Publication: November 13th, 2018

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Goodreads Summary:

Noah Shaw doesn’t think he needs his father’s inheritance.
He does.

Noah believes there’s something off about the suicides in his visions.
There is.

Noah is convinced that he still knows the real Mara Dyer.
He does not.

Everyone thought the nightmare had ended with Mara Dyer’s memoirs, but it was only the beginning. As old skeletons are laid bare, alliances will be tested, hearts will be broken, and no one will be left unscarred.

My Review:

I love the Mara Dyer first trilogy so much! I had a problem with the last Noah book, which is why it took me so long to read this one, but finally we’re back in the game!

Noah will always get five stars from me because I love him so much. His head is an interesting place to be because he isn’t perfect but he’s perfect to me! The friendship he has with Goose is my favorite thing in the world! Their chemistry is just spot on.

In this whole series there is stuff I don’t quite understand, but the weirdness of it all is what keeps me turning the pages! My one con in this book is that Mara wasn’t there, and I would have liked to have been dual POV, but it was still awesome! I just missed them together! Michelle just has such addictive writing along with the best dialogue. Now, I seriously need the last book after that cliffhanger!

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Have you started this series?

Review: The Sleeper and the Spindle

Title: The Sleeper and the Spindle

Author: Neil Gaiman

Date of Publication: October 23rd, 2014

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Goodreads Summary:

A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell – weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish.

On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents.

My Review:

Another illustrated story by Gaiman filled with beautiful artwork! I loved this book so much. It was a mesh and merging between Snow White and Sleeping Beauty and, of course, with a cool and fresh spin to it!

Three of the dwarves travel with Snow White to help her free Sleeping Beauty’s kingdom and break the curse so that everyone can wake once more. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say, go read it!

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Do you prefer Sleeping Beauty or Snow White?

Author Interview: Faydra Stratton

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The devil has come to Devil Springs. Except he hasn’t. Not at all. But try and tell that to Mesa Crane’s grandmother, Mayor Avis Kneller. This is not the senior year Mesa had pictured for herself. She’s used to her grandmother’s restrictive dress code and no boys rule, but thanks to some skinny-dipping cheerleaders make some questionable social media posts, Avis is ratcheting up her expectations and decreeing spiritual warfare. Mesa is sick of being bullied into fake piety, but defying her grandmother will mean losing the small freedoms she does have, including her spot on the cross country team. Most unfortunate since she’s started training with the school’s best (and okay, admittedly hot) athlete, Cody Howard. But when Mesa won’t get baptized—as Grandma Avis mandates—her isolation begins. The actual devil may not have come to Devil Springs, but judgment sure has. Can Mesa endure until graduation? Or will she find the swell of faith she needs to stand up to her grandmother once and for all?

Purchase: Amazon

Published with Filles Vertes Publishing

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How did you come up with the idea for Devil Springs?

I read a very tiny news blurb about a small-town Florida mayor who banned the devil from her town, and I thought… What kind of person? What kind of town? But it is not based on a true story. I know as much as about the actual story as I just shared.

Who is your favorite and least favorite character from DS and why?

I love Mesa of course.  Her kindness, her bad-assery. Yancey makes me laugh.  I could absolutely hang out with Drew.
I don’t have a lot of patience with Kenzi (yes, I said Kenzi, not Morgan) and Avis is truly awful.

If you could put Devil Springs into three words, what would they be and why? 

Resist and persist 🙂

What is your writing process like?

Unfortunately at the moment with my kids home all day and needing to work full-time (I teach.) it leaves me with little energy for much else. I’m really look forward to the summer!  During non quarantine times, I write better if I leave my house and go to a coffee shop. When I’m engrossed in a first draft, I’m that person who will write and re-write the first few chapters before finally moving on with the story and then I’ll do some light plotting in a journal, know some major scenes I’m heading towards, but that’s about it.  I mostly learn the story as I go.

Do you prefer stand alones or series?

For writing, I’ve only written stand alones. For reading, I prefer stand alones too. It takes a lot for me to commit to reading a series. The amount of popular series I’ve abandoned after the first book is very high. 

Name three books you could read over and over again. 

The Harry Potter series, any Jane Austen novel, and the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson. 

If you could take one character from any of your books and bring them to life, who would it be and why?

I have a re-telling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion (not yet published) and I’d love to have Maggie, the main character, cook for me.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? 

Light plotter, more of a pantser.

If your writing could be described as a color, what would it be? Laid back, beach vibes–it’ll happen when it happens (as long as I’m not under contract/deadline) so… teals and blues.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

It’s as much about work as it is about talent, but read widely to help improve your talent.

Stratton.Faydra

Faydra Stratton is a writer, English teacher, wife, and mom to three boys. Her youngest son has Fragile X Syndrome, a spectrum disorder similar to autism but with a known genetic cause. Faydra attended the University of Florida (Go, Gators!) for undergrad and UNC Wilmington where she received an MFA in creative writing. Faydra was born and raised in West Palm Beach, FL and now resides with her family a little farther up the coast in Port St Lucie. When not teaching, reading, or writing, she loves all things beach life: sunbathing, kayaking, paddle boarding, boating, and snorkeling. But not scuba diving. She just can’t clear her ears.

Connect with Faydra online:

Author Site: http://www.faydrastratton.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/faydrastratton

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorFaydra/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/faydrastratton

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What did you like best about the interview?

Cover Reveal: Our Last Chance

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Publisher: Filles Vertes Publishing

Date of Publication: December 15th, 2020

Rule one: Soccer is life.

Rule two: Forget boy drama.

Rule three: Stay out of Trouble.

Lana Reyes has no intention of breaking her own rules for senior year. That is until she doesn’t get her soccer scholarship—the one and only shot of getting out of her small town. With only one more showcase to make a name for herself, she needs help to increase her speed and agility—a skill set touted by her ex-crush and hottest guy at school.

Dylan Cadwell’s perfect spirals and chiseled features can’t erase the struggles he faces at home or in the classroom. With failing grades and parents who engage in constant yelling matches, the dream of playing college football is his only escape—one that could easily slip through his fingers if his lackluster grades aren’t pulled up immediately. If he loses a full-ride scholarship, he’s destined to be stuck in their small town forever.

When Lana and Dylan discover each other’s situation, they hatch a plan: He’ll train her; she’ll tutor him. It’s a seamless strategy, designed to help each other keep their eye on the prize—until rekindled feelings emerge and the greatest prize of all could be the love playing out between them.

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Review: Teeth in the Mist

Title: Teeth in the Mist

Author: Dawn Kurtagich

Date of Publication: June 11th, 2019

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Goodreads Summary:

Before the birth of time, a monk uncovers the Devil’s Tongue and dares to speak it. The repercussions will be felt for generations…

Sixteen-year-old photography enthusiast Zoey has been fascinated by the haunted, burnt-out ruins of Medwyn Mill House for as long as she can remember–so she and her best friend, Poulton, run away from home to explore them. But are they really alone in the house? And who will know if something goes wrong?

In 1851, seventeen-year-old Roan arrives at the Mill House as a ward–one of three, all with something to hide from their new guardian. When Roan learns that she is connected to an ancient secret, she must escape the house before she is trapped forever.

1583. Hermione, a new young bride, accompanies her husband to the wilds of North Wales where he plans to build the largest water mill and mansion in the area. But rumors of unholy rituals lead to a tragic occurrence and she will need all her strength to defeat it.

Three women, centuries apart, drawn together by one Unholy Pact. A pact made by a man who, more than a thousand years later, may still be watching…

My Review:

I really, really loved And the Trees Crept In, so I had to read this bad boy! It was another very atmospheric read but this time with past and present POVs!

Let me start with Roan! I seriously loved her POV, and that one was a five star read for me! Her story was addicting, and there was all kinds of weird crap going on, and the romance parts were on point! Rapley was so adorable and lovely! Just brilliant!

I didn’t connect with Zoey’s POV chapters as much, only because I’m kind of confused by them and I’m still confused about another character who showed up out of no where. Also, the romance in these chapters felt off for me, but I think it was just because it felt very insta love? I don’t even know! But the story there was still very interesting!

From the ending, I think there is supposed to be another book? Or I hope there will be one! I definitely recommend Teeth in the Mist because the writing is awesome, the story unique, and there were characters that I loved so much!

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What is your favorite horror book or movie?

Author Interview: Jenny Hickman

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SINCE HER PARENTS WERE KILLED, VIVIENNE HAS ALWAYS FELT UNGROUNDED, SHUFFLED THROUGH THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM. JUST WHEN LIBERATION FINALLY SEEMS POSSIBLE—DAYS BEFORE HER EIGHTEENTH BIRTHDAY—VIVIENNE IS HOSPITALIZED WITH SYMPTOMS NO ONE CAN EXPLAIN.

THE DOCTORS MAY BE PUZZLED, BUT DEACON, HER MYSTERIOUS NEW FRIEND, CLAIMS SHE HAS AN ACTIVE NEVERGENE. HIS FAR-FETCHED DIAGNOSIS COMES WITH A WARNING: SHE IS ABOUT TO BECOME AN INVOLUNTARY TEST SUBJECT FOR HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATION FOR ORDER AND KNOWLEDGE—OR H.O.O.K.

VIVIENNE CAN EITHER ESCAPE TO NEVERLAND’S KENSINGTON ACADEMY AND LEARN TO FLY (DID HE REALLY JUST SAY FLY?) OR RISK STICKING AROUND TO BECOME A HUMAN LAB RAT.

BUT ACCEPTING A PLACE AMONG THE P.A.N. MEANS VIVIENNE MUST ABANDON HER LIFE AND FOSTER FAMILY TO SAFEGUARD THEIR SECRETS AND HIDE IN NEVERLAND’S SHADOWS… FOREVER.

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Author Interview:

How did you come up with the idea for The P.A.N.?

I’ve always loved the Peter Pan story. One day I started imagining a world where Peter Pan was real and what he and other immortal teenagers would be up to today. And it all spiraled from there.

Who is your favorite and least favorite character from The P.A.N. and why?

I think my favorite character has to be Deacon. He has a problem with authority and an affinity for pranks which made him the most fun to write. As far as my least favorite character goes, I suppose I’d have to say Lawrence Hooke, but only because he’s an overall nasty person 

If you could put The P.A.N. into three words, what would they be and why?

Peter Pan Reimagining

The “why” is fairly self-explanatory. This isn’t a retelling of a popular fairy tale, rather a reimagining putting Peter and the lost boys and girls in the 21st century.

What is your writing process like?

In general, I don’t start with an outline—that comes later in the process as I decide how to torture my characters. The first thing I usually write is the dialogue because it’s what I love most about books—seeing the interactions between the characters and how their voices develop. Then I flesh out the scenes from there.

Do you prefer stand alones or series?

Series. There’s something special about getting to revisit characters and seeing how their lives play out and I think the timeline is a bit more believable in romances. 

Name three books you could read over and over again.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Emmie and the Tudor King by Natalie Murray

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

If you could take one character from any of your books and bring them to life, who would it be and why?

Deacon. The world needs more handsome guys who can fly (ha-ha)

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Pantser all the way. Trying to plot hinders my creativity. I usually have the beginning and end scenes in my head and then let my characters dictate the middle.

If your writing could be described as a color, what would it be?

Green

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write what you love so it doesn’t feel like a chore.

jennyhickmanauthor

Jenny grew up in Oakland, Maryland and currently lives in County Tipperary, Ireland with her lilting husband and two tyrannical children. Her love of reading blossomed the summer after graduating high school, when she borrowed a paperback romance from her mother during the annual family beach vacation.

From that sunny day forward, she has been a lover of stories with Happily-Ever-Afters. In early 2008, she wrote her first novel, The Mirrors at Barnard Hall. But it was not until she moved to Nashville, TN and met her mentor, Billy Block, that she was encouraged to self-publish the work in 2012.

Seven years, and two additional self-published works later, Jenny has signed with Filles Vertes Publishing for her next novel, The Pan, the first book in a NA Sci Fi-Romance trilogy.

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Review: And The Trees Crept In

Title: And The Trees Crept In

Author: Dawn Kurtachich

Date of Publication: September 6th, 2016

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Goodreads Summary:

Stay away from the woods…

When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt’s home, it’s immediately clear that the manor is cursed. The endless creaking of the house at night and the eerie stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too—questions that Silla can’t ignore: Why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer? Who is the beautiful boy who’s appeared from the woods? And who is the tall man with no eyes who Nori plays with in the basement at night… a man no one else can see?

My Review:

I’ve been going back and forth with being in a book slump lately, but holy moly did I love this story! I loved the weirdness, the dark aspects, the sister bond, the romantic bond, and the atmosphere in general.

Silla was a character that had her struggles, so many struggles, and sometimes she was likable and sometimes she was not, yet I loved her and being inside her head. Nori, her sister, was just sweet as pie, the cutest little thing ever! And Gowan really brought a lot to the story, with his humor, his determination, and his strength.

The idea of the trees creeping in closer was just really cool, because trees are just awesome in general. I pretty much knew the twist early on, but it didn’t take away from the story—it just made me want to know if I was actually right. There were some other cool things I didn’t guess, though. Oh, and it takes a lot for me to cry during books, yet I did shed some tears during this one! I will definitely be reading more from this author!

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What would you do if you noticed the trees surrounding you were shifting closer?