REVIEW | The Wickerlight (The Wren Hunt #2) by Mary Watson

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Title: THE WICKERLIGHT

Author: MARY WATSON

Released: 30TH MAY 2019 by BLOOMSBURY YA

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FANTASY

TWs: Death, talk of divorce, talk of adultery, parental separation, abuse, torture – physical and mental.


Zara’s family moved to Kilshamble for a new beginning. But everything changed the night her sister was found dead on the village green.

Two months later, Laila’s death is a riddle that nobody wants solved. Where were her injuries? Why was she so obsessed with local folklore? And what does all this have to do with David, the boy who lives at the big house?

As Zara delves deeper into her sister’s secret life, she becomes entangled in an ancient magical feud. All too unwittingly she is treading the same dangerous path that led Laila to the village green.


I HAVE BEEN AWAITING THIS SINCE I FINISHED READING THE WREN HUNT LAST YEAR!! Set not long after the close of The Wren Hunt, we find a new family has moved to Kilshamble and one of them has stumbled upon a deadly secret. I love everything that is fantasy and set in Ireland, so it was no surprise that I loved this as much as I did. It was equal parts mystical, dark, and beautiful. Chock full of Irish mysticism with a little South African detail!! I highly enjoyed that Mary Watson utilised her own background to develop the main family in this story.

I adored Mary Watson’s writing style in The Wren Hunt and she did not let us down in The Wickerlight! Her ability to invoke such immediacy for the reader has only improved from The Wren Hunt to now. As I started reading, I was completely lost in the world of judges and augurs once again. The world building and character development is (…out of this world? 🤣) unreal – so freaking good! Mary Watson is a writing ninja and I love her!!

I found The Wickerlight to be slightly more interesting only because we get more into the judges and their community, rather than only focusing on the augurs. It nearly felt like the augurs were the villains in this story, but truly villainy nearly always depends on the narrator, doesn’t it? We readers really get a lot more information about the feud, etc. in this companion. Plus, the mystery of the introductory death adds a bit of excitement and enigma to this world that wasn’t quite there in The Wren Hunt.

I highly recommend you pick this beautiful story up with some gin spritzes and read it as soon as you can! Read The Wren Hunt first, though! They’re connected, even if The Wickerlight isn’t a direct sequel. You’ll love Kilshamble and its inhabitants.


Thank you to Bloomsbury UK for this review copy.

five stars

REVIEW | The Forgotten Girl: A Thriller by Rio Youers

Title: THE FORGOTTEN GIRL

Author: RIO YOUERS

Released: 28TH MAY 2019 by TITAN BOOKS

TWs Graphic violence and body horror. Gore; On the page character death, parental death; Behavior and descriptive language akin to self harm, and references to such; Reference to suicide and suicidal ideation.

Genre: ADULT THRILLER | SCI-FI | HORROR


This was an awesome novel! It more than met my expectations and I truly enjoyed it. I’ve never read Youers before, but after this I’ll definitely be adding him to my list of authors to watch! I am so glad I was able to pick this up.

The plot was so interesting and unique. I can’t say I’ve ever read anything quite like this. There is so much life, and death, in The Forgotten Girl. I found myself thinking about this story even when I wasn’t reading, and there were several times I kicked myself for not bringing it along with me to read in my downtime.

The characters were so real and the writing actually made me feel I was in the room with them dodging bullets and engaging in high speed car chases! Even the secondary characters were so well written and captivating.

It is such a page-turner and I urge you to pick this up as soon as possible! It will surprise you in the best way.


“She possesses a unique and powerful ability. Just like we can erase data from a computer hard drive, Sally can erase memories from a person’s mind.”

Abducted and brutally beaten by a group of thugs, street performer Harvey Anderson is convinced he’s a victim of mistaken identity when they demand to know the location of his girlfriend, Sally Starling. Harvey Anderson has been single for years. 

She dominated my dreams. Sometimes as a lover, more often as a scared, lonely girl running from something that slathered and swooped. I woke with her name on my lips, clutching the empty half of the bed, knowing beyond all doubt that she should have been next to me. 

Aided by his thugs, a sinister man known as “the spider” has tracked Sally to Harvey. He has pursued her for nine years, desperate to possess her remarkable talents. Yet emotion runs deeper than memory, and so Harvey goes looking for a woman he loves but can’t remember, and encounters a danger beyond anything he could ever imagine.


Thank you so much to Lydia Gittens at Titan Books for the review copy!

ARC REVIEW | Wilder Girls by Rory Power

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Title: WILDER GIRLS

Author: RORY POWER

Released: 9TH JULY 2019 by DELACORTE PRESS

REP: LGBTQ+ | TWs taken from https://itsrorypower.com/wilder-girls/: Graphic violence and body horror. Gore; On the page character death, parental death, and animal death, though the animals are not pets; Behavior and descriptive language akin to self harm, and references to such; Food scarcity and starvation. Emesis; A scene depicting chemical gassing; Reference to suicide and suicidal ideation; Non-consensual medical treatment.

Genre: YA HORROR


This story made me highly uncomfortable and I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT. We really need a lot more novels that explore what people are able to become, even when it’s not nice to examine. Wilder Girls is a story about a boarding school in which the entire community is affected by something they’ve taken to calling the Tox, but they don’t know exactly what it is or how it came to affect them.

My favourite thing about this story is that it focused on female friendships rather than romance or anything else. Girls are so strong when we lift each other up and have each other’s backs! The POV switches between Hetty and Byatt, two of the main three girls. The triumvirate rounded out by Reese. The relationships between each are very different and seem to be held together by Byatt, so you can imagine how messy it gets once Byatt is gone…

The girls are so flawed! Not only are they conscious of that fact, but they’re also allowed to be so! There’s definitely a discussion on the ideals of society as regards young women in there. The only thing I’d change is getting more answers about all the things I still have questions about, because damn, I need to know!! There are so many things to love about this, though! The atmosphere, the girls, the plot, the tension throughout, and the not knowing what will come next! Rory Power just made my list of auto-buy. I just love her writing

Hands down a FIVE STAR read for me.

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It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.


Thank you so much to Rory Power + Delacorte Press for the ARC.

five stars

ARC REVIEW | Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

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Title: LITTLE DARLINGS

Author: MELANIE GOLDING

Released: 30TH APRIL 2019 by CROOKED LANE BOOKS

Genre: HORROR, MYSTERY, THRILLER

Rep: POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION | TWs: CHILD ENDANGERMENT, CHILD ABDUCTION

I finished Little Darlings not long ago and omg…my heart…my FEELINGS. MY BRAIN!!! That was so amazing…

How could her brain conjure something that seemed so real, something laden with so much horrifying detail, and yet there be nothing at all?

What a weird, creepy, and darkly twisty little tale- kind of like that cover! It seems to half take place in a nightmarish land and also half in reality, which makes you wonder if that’s maybe also a discussion on postpartum depression and how it affects new mothers. The story was mostly between that and the twisted fairytale details. It seems to me that the idea of changelings probably stems from new mothers suffering from PPD before people actually understood what it was and why it happened, but I’ve also read that they potentially stem from children that begin to show signs of disability after the initial birth. Either way, they are very sinister in the stories, and that is no different from this tale.

Look at someone every day for long enough and you stop seeing what everyone else sees. You start to see what no one else sees, what is kept hidden from most people.

Lauren seems to have very little support from either her husband, family, or nursing staff, which is not really all that uncommon for many women. They all seem to expect her to get on with it and know how to take care of everything, as well as looking after the housework, etc. Especially her husband who MOVES OUT OF THEIR BEDROOM SO HE CAN GET SOME REST!! What an absolute bastard of a man. He complains nearly the whole time and doesn’t take any responsibility for the boys. I really didn’t like him much throughout the story. Also, those damn nurses and midwives are assholes! How dare they treat her that way… I don’t understand what that’s actually about.

Anyway, this tale about changelings and faeries is gripping and so interesting, yet still very strange. I truly could not put this down once I began reading. The writing is amazing and strikes straight to the heart of so many issues! Also, I was really shocked by the ending, which doesn’t happen to me very often.


SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE

APRIL 2019 LIBRARY READS PICK!

“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother.

Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.

A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley—to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.

Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.

Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some of our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking—and rechecking—your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.

Thank you so much to Melanie Golding and Crooked Lane Books via Netgalley for the ARC.

five stars

BLOG TOUR | ARC Review | In Another Life by C.C. Hunter

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Title: IN ANOTHER LIFE

Author: C.C. HUNTER

Publishes: 26TH MARCH 2019 BY WEDNESDAY BOOKS

Genre: YA CONTEMPORARY FICTION/MYSTERY

My Thoughts

This was unexpected. I knew I would enjoy it, but was unaware exactly how much I’d love it! Both Chloe and Cash are exceedingly relatable for different characteristics and I loved them both. Chloe is going through her parents’ rough divorce, as well as a move during high school, so she’s very much struggling to cope with all the changes in her life. Plus, we find out her mother has been very sick lately and struggles with depression, so there’s already a lot going on with her. Cash is a kid who’s been in the foster system for years and has learned to trust no one because they probably won’t stick around. He also thinks people are inherently trying to pull tricks on you due some things that occurred in his childhood. Match made in hell, right? But I felt it worked well.

The theme of foster homes and adoption (which I don’t really see much in YA) really got to me, as I had my fair share of touches with the system growing up, making for an emotional read. Both Chloe and Cash are affected by the care system in different ways, which is kind of the main aspect of the story and why they are connected in the first place. Chloe’s biological parents are Cash’s foster parents, so he knows who she is as soon as she steps into him. I’ll admit, I was shocked by the beginning scene… I couldn’t figure out why it was related at all, but that quickly becomes apparent once we see more of Cash’s scenes. There was also a particular scene I loved between Cash and his foster father about consent and I loved the SHIT out of it! So good!

This story is told in alternating PoV’s chapter by Chapter, so we get both Chloe and Cash telling the story. I thought this really added to the experience, as we get details from one that we might not necessarily get if it was just one PoV or the other. It is a VERY fast-paced novel with a lot of foreshadowing to keep you invested as you read. I read this in less than 24 hours because I simply could NOT put it down. I needed to know what happened ASAP.

Complete FIVE STAR read for me!

Will you be reading it?

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What would you do if your whole life was a lie and learning the truth could cost you your life?

From New York Times bestselling author of the Shadow Falls series comes C. C. Hunter’s new YA thriller about a girl who learns that she may have been kidnapped as a child, and must race to uncover the truth about her past before she winds up a victim.

Chloe was three years old when she became Chloe Holden, but her adoption didn’t scar her, and she’s had a great life. Now, fourteen years later, her loving parents’ marriage has fallen apart and her mom has moved them to Joyful, Texas. Starting twelfth grade as the new kid at school, everything Chloe loved about her life is gone. And feelings of déjà vu from her early childhood start haunting her.

When Chloe meets Cash Colton she feels drawn to him, as though they’re kindred spirits. Until Cash tells her the real reason he sought her out: Chloe looks exactly like the daughter his foster parents lost years ago, and he’s determined to figure out the truth.

As Chloe and Cash delve deeper into her adoption, the more things don’t add up, and the more strange things start happening. Why is Chloe’s adoption a secret that people would kill for?


Chapter excerpt

1

“What are you doing?” I ask when Dad pulls over at a convenience store only a mile from where Mom and I are now living. My voice sounds rusty after not talking during the five-­hour ride. But I was afraid that if I said anything, it would all spill out: My anger. My hurt. My disappointment in the man who used to be my superhero.
“I need gas and a bathroom,” he says.
“Bathroom? So you can’t even come in to see Mom when you drop me off?” My heart crinkles up like a used piece of aluminum foil.
He meets my eyes, ignores my questions, and says, “You want anything?”
“Yeah. My freaking life back!” I jump out of the car and slam the door so hard, the sound of the metal hitting metal cracks in the hot Texas air. I haul ass across the parking lot, watching my white sandals eat up the pavement, hiding the sheen of tears in my eyes.
“Chloe,” Dad calls out. I move faster.
Eyes still down, I yank open the door, bolt inside the store, and smack right into someone. Like, my boobs smash against someone’s chest.
“Crap,” a deep voice growls.
A Styrofoam cup hits the ground. Frozen red slushie explodes all over my white sandals. The cup lands on its side, bleeding red on the white tile.
I swallow the lump in my throat and jerk back, removing my B cup boobs from some guy’s chest.
“Sorry,” he mutters, even though it’s my fault.
I force myself to look up, seeing first his wide chest, then his eyes and the jet-black hair scattered across his brow. Great! Why couldn’t he be some old fart?
I return to his bright green eyes and watch as they shift from apologetic to shocked, then to angry.
I should say something—like, add my own apology—but the lump in my throat returns with a vengeance.
“Shit.” The word sneaks through his frown.
Yeah, all of this is shit! I hear Dad call my name again from outside.
My throat closes tighter and tears sting my eyes. Embarrassed to cry in front of a stranger, I snatch off my sandals and dart to a cooler.
Opening the glass door, I stick my head in needing a cool-down. I swat a few stray tears off my cheeks. Then I feel someone next to me. Dad’s not letting this go.
“Just admit you screwed up!” I look over and am swallowed by those same angry light green eyes from a minute ago. “I thought you were . . . Sorry,” I say, knowing it’s late for an apology. His look is unsettling.
He continues to glare. An all-in-­my-­face kind of glare.
As if this is more than a spilled slushie to him.
“I’ll pay for it.” When he doesn’t even blink, I add an other, “I’m sorry.”
“Why are you here?” His question seethes out.
“What? Do I know you?” I know I was rude, but—hotness aside—this guy is freaking me out.
His eyes flash anger. “What do you want?” His tone carries an accusation I don’t understand.
“What do you mean?” I counter.
“Whatever you’re trying to pull, don’t do it.”
He’s still staring me down. And I feel like I’m shrinking in his glare.
“I’m not . . . You must have me mixed up with someone else.” I shake my head, unsure if this guy’s as crazy as he is sexy. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. But I said I’m sorry.” I grab a canned drink and barefoot, carrying sticky sandals, hurry to the front of the store.
Dad walks in, scowling.
“Careful,” a cashier says to Dad while mopping up the slushie just inside the door.
“Sorry,” I mutter to the worker, then point to Dad. “He’s paying for my Dr Pepper! And for that slushie.”
I storm off to the car, get in, and hold the cold Diet Dr Pepper can to my forehead. The hair on the back of my neck starts dancing. I look around, and the weird hot guy is standing outside the store, staring at me again.
Whatever you’re trying to pull, don’t do it.
Yup, crazy. I look away to escape his gaze. Dad climbs back in the car. He doesn’t start it, just sits there, eyeballing me. “You know this isn’t easy for me either.”
“Right.” So why did you leave?
He starts the car, but before we drive off, I look around again and see the dark-­haired boy standing in the parking lot, writing on the palm of his hand.
Is he writing down Dad’s license plate number? He’s a freak. I almost say something to Dad but remember I’m pissed at him.
Dad pulls away. I focus on the rear-view mirror. The hot guy stays there, eyes glued on Dad’s car, and I stay glued on him until he’s nothing but a speck in the mirror.
“I know this is hard,” Dad says. “I think about you every day.”
I nod, but don’t speak.
Minutes later, Dad pulls over in front of our mailbox. Or rather Mom’s and mine. Dad’s home isn’t with us anymore. “I’ll call you tomorrow to see how your first day of school was.”
My gut knots into a pretzel with the reminder that I’ll be starting as a senior at a new school. I stare out at the old house, in the old neighborhood. This house once belonged to my grandmother. Mom’s been renting it to an elderly couple for years. Now we live here. In a house that smells like old people . . . and sadness.
“Is she home?” Dad asks.
In the dusk of sunset, our house is dark. Gold light leaks out of next door, Lindsey’s house—she’s the one and only person I know my own age in town.
“Mom’s probably resting,” I answer. There’s a pause. “How’s she doing?”
You finally ask? I look at him gripping the wheel and staring at the house. “Fine.” I open the car door, not wanting to draw out the goodbye. It hurts too much.
“Hey.” He smiles. “At least give me a hug?”
I don’t want to, but for some reason—because under all this anger, I still love him—I lean over the console and hug him. He doesn’t even smell like my dad. He’s wearing cologne that Darlene probably bought him. Tears sting my eyes.
“Bye.” I get one slushie-­dyed foot out of the car.
Before my butt’s off the seat, he says, “Is she going back to work soon?”
I swing around. “Is that why you asked about her? Because of money?”
“No.” But the lie is so clear in his voice, it hangs in the air.
Who is this man? He dyes the silver at his temples. He’s sporting a spiky haircut and wearing a T­-shirt with the name of a band he didn’t even know existed until Darlene.
Before I can stop myself, the words trip off my tongue. “Why? Does your girlfriend need a new pair of Jimmy Choos?”
“Don’t, Chloe,” he says sternly. “You sound like your mom.”
That hurt now knots in my throat. “Pleeease. If I sounded like my mom, I’d say, ‘Does the whore bitch need a new pair of Jimmy Choos!’” I swing back to the door.
He catches my arm. “Look, young lady, I can’t ask you to love her like I do, but I expect you to respect her.”
“Respect her? You have to earn respect, Dad! If I wore the clothes she wears, you’d ground me. In fact, I don’t even respect you anymore! You screwed up my life. You screwed up Mom’s life. And now you’re screwing someone eighteen years younger than yourself.” I bolt out and get halfway to the house when I hear his car door open and slam.
“Chloe. Your stuff.” He sounds angry, but he can just join the crowd, because I’m more than mad—I’m hurt.
If I weren’t afraid he’d follow me into the house all pissed off and start an argument with Mom, I’d just keep going. But I don’t have it in me to hear them fight again. And I’m not sure Mom’s up to it either. I don’t have an option but to do the right thing. It sucks when you’re the only person in the family acting like an adult.
I swing around, swat at my tears, and head back to the curb.
He’s standing beside his car, my backpack in one hand and a huge shopping bag with the new school clothes he bought me in the other. Great. Now I feel like an ungrateful bitch.
When I get to him, I mutter, “Thanks for the clothes.” He says, “Why are you so mad at me?”
So many reasons. Which one do I pick? “You let Darlene turn my room into a gym.”
He shakes his head. “We moved your stuff into the other bedroom.”
“But that was my room, Dad.”
“Is that really why you’re mad or . . . ? He pauses. “It’s not my fault that your mom got—”
“Keep thinking that,” I snap. “One of these days, you might even believe it!”
Hands full, chest heavy, I leave my onetime superhero and my broken heart scattered on the sidewalk. My tears are falling fast and hot by the time I shut the front door behind me.
Buttercup, a medium-sized yellow mutt of a dog, greets me with a wagging tail and a whimper. I ignore him. I drop my backpack, my shopping bag, and dart into the bathroom. Felix, my red tabby cat, darts in with me.
I attempt to shut the door in a normal way instead of an I’m -totally-pissed way. If Mom sees me like this, it’ll upset her. Even worse, it’ll fuel her anger.
“Chloe?” Mom calls. “Is that you?”
“Yeah. I’m in the bathroom.” I hope I don’t sound as emotionally ripped as I feel.
I drop down on the toilet seat, press the backs of my hands against my forehead, and try to breathe.
Mom’s steps creak across the old wood floors. Her voice sounds behind the door. “You okay, hon?”
Felix is purring, rubbing his face on my leg. “Yeah. My stomach’s . . . I think the meat loaf I had at Dad’s was bad.”
“Did Darlene fix it?” Her tone’s rolled and deep-fried in hate.
I grit my teeth. “Yeah.”
“Please tell me your dad ate a second helping.”
I close my eyes, when what I really want to do is scream, Stop it! I get why Mom’s so angry. I get that my dad’s a piece of shit. I get that he refuses to take any blame, and that makes it worse. I get what she’s been through. I get all of it. But does she have a clue how much it hurts me to listen to her take potshots at someone I still sort of love?
“I’m going to sit out on the patio,” she says. “When you’re out, join me.”
“Uh-­huh,” I say.
Mom’s steps creak away.
I stay seated and try not to think about what all hurts, and instead I pet Felix. His eyes, so green, take me back to the boy in the store. Whatever you’re trying to pull, don’t do it.
What the heck did he mean?


Author Bio
C.C. HUNTER is a pseudonym for award-winning romance author Christie Craig. She lives in Tomball, Texas, where she’s at work on her next novel.

Christie’s books include The Mortician’s Daughter series, Shadow Fall Novels and This Heart of Mine.

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Reviews
“Hunter deftly delivers a complicated back-and-forth point of view between Chloe and Cash, building suspense along with a steamy sense of attraction between the two teens.” — Kirkus

Social Links:
http://www.cchunterbooks.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CCHunterFans/
http://twitter.com/CCHunterBooks

Buy Link:
http://wednesdaybooks.com/the-real-deal/in-another-life/

https://amzn.to/2Cgehmd

ARC REVIEW | The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown

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Title: THE TRUTH ABOUT KEEPING SECRETS

Author: SAVANNAH BROWN

Released: 7TH MARCH 2019 by PENGUIN

Genre: TEENS + YA CONTEMPORARY/MYSTERY & THRILLER

Rep: POC, LGBT+, MENTAL HEALTH | TWs: DEATH, GRIEF, DOMESTIC ABUSE, MENTION OF SUICIDE, NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY

Savannah Brown has written a gorgeous debut novel with TTAKS (of course she’s a poet!). She explores some deep themes in death, grief, and learning to live with loss, and she does it beautifully and with the respect it deserves. Those of us who have gone through a loss, expected or not, will find solace in Sydney’s story. Grief is messy and variable because everyone experiences it differently, but damn is it hard! I absolutely cried reading this book…

The characters are realistic and unusual – I just loved them entirely. Brown has given us some real gems in this story. Just the right amount of flaw and validity, plus the intriguing storyline. I was hooked from the off! I nearly felt my heart was being dragged out of me with each chapter. Now, the ending I had an idea who did it, but the way she brings it all together is stunning!

My favourite side character has to be Leo, though. He’s just so funny and brings the perfect amount of levity to Sydney’s life exactly when it’s needed.

Totally had to be a FIVE STAR read for me. Have you picked it up yet?


A stunning coming-of-age tale from poet and writer Savannah Brown.

Sydney’s dad is the only psychiatrist for miles around in their small Ohio town.

He is also unexpectedly dead.

Sydney believes the crash was anything but an accident. And when the threatening texts begin, and June Copeland – homecoming queen and golden child – appears at his funeral out of nowhere, she’s sure of it.

But through Sydney’s newfound relationship with June, she’s given a glimpse of a life without the darkness of an unresolved grief and the chance, just maybe, of a fresh start.

Until it’s clear that the secrets won’t go away, and the truth might bring everything crashing down…

Imperfect friendships, the shadow of grief and the sweet pain of romance – this is a poetic, thrilling ode to being human.

Thank you so much to Savannah Brown, Penguin, and DeptCon4 for the ARC.


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COVER REVEAL | Jennifer Strange by Cat Scully

I’ve got a beauty for you all today, Wayfarers! I’m so excited to get to help promote –

JENNIFER STRANGE, by Cat Scully,

releasing July 23, 2019 from Haverhill House Publishing.

Not only did she get to design her own cover, but also create the illustrated map for her book, as well. How cool, right? Has that ever happened before? So unique! This cover was officially unveiled on YABC, so go find that post for the giveaway and details – which IS international, yay!!!

When I first discovered this was coming out, I knew I needed to get as involved as I could! JENNIFER STRANGE is to be an illustrated YA horror/comic AND I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED!


So, scroll down a bit to see the beauty…

And the map –


About the Book

When her father disappears, Jennifer Strange moves in with her estranged sister Liz in Savannah, Georgia, one of the most haunted places in the United States. When the ghosts begin to tear Jennifer and Liz’s lives apart, the sisters must learn to trust each other again if they hope to uncover the truth about their family history. If they can’t sort out their differences, they’ll not only destroy the veil between the living and the dead, but fall into the hands of a rival family that wants them dead.

Cat Scully’s illustrations bring the ghosts and demons of her fictional world to eerie and beautiful life, harkening back to the style of SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK and Ransom Riggs’ MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN.


I was also lucky enough to have gotten to ask Cat Scully some questions about designing her cover, so read on, Wayfarers!


QUESTIONS:

1. What was your favorite part of illustrating your cover?

Concepting it! I loved seeing how many different covers I could come up with to represent the same thing. One of my favorite images wasn’t used as the final cover (because it wasn’t EXACTLY what I wanted) but I will probably do a giveaway of it in the future. That’s my favorite part about art is the process and finding the right image and typography to convey the right message. I am such a designer! All of my writing I think visually first. Honestly, I was so nervous to do the cover. I thought our staff cover artist, Dyer Wilk, was going to do it. His work is so brilliant. I’m in awe of his talent. I sheepishly sent him a sketch of what I was thinking. He told me I was good. I didn’t need him. And I totally didn’t believe it. I didn’t feel good enough to do my own cover! I gathered my courage and did it though. I’m so happy with the result, and it makes me want to do more covers!

2. Hardest part?

Having to be my own client as well as my own designer. There were moments I had a lot of “Oh I’d love to do this kind of map!” or “That cover style looks awesome, but which style? They’re all good! I can’t decide!” I had to be the designer and go “that isn’t possible in the time frame” or “that style doesn’t work for what you’re going for.” But it really wasn’t as bad as all that. Actually, I have sort of the opposite problem as a designer. I’m notoriously good at taking criticism and at being a gun-for-hire when it comes to design. Maybe too good. But Jennifer Strange was the first art project I’ve ever done where I had such a strong artistic vision and I had to speak up with my own voice. I was very nervous to illustrate my own project, believe it or not. When I had to stand up and say something for myself artistically, I realized I do have a voice, and I want Jennifer Strange to look like THIS.

3. What was it like to have the responsibility and freedom to design your own cover?

It’s a lot of responsibility to do a cover. Not that it isn’t to do the interiors. A lot of weight is placed on maps. But covers are a whole other beast. You have to think about first impressions. Everything has to be right in tone, including character pose, facial expression, style, elements, and typography. It’s really very much like a tightrope walk. One wrong element and the whole thing is off. I went through a lot of revisions getting the right idea to be the best it could be. I sent it to two trusted cover designers whose work I admire, Dyer Wilk and Todd Keisling, and asked for their feedback. I also sent it to comic book writer Christopher Golden. Their criticism and suggestions shaped the final cover into what it is now. It’s worth its weight in gold to get yourself some publishing friends who will be honest with you, but also have the skill and knowledge to thoughtfully back that criticism up. Dyer suggested the blue haze in the cover while using a pose from a recent drawing I posted to Instagram. Todd suggested I take the girl I designed and place her inside my first cover sketch, which was of two hands encircling the logo. Chris suggested I make her face more comic and less anime. It took a village, but it was so worth it get their suggestions while also pushing back with my own thoughts. My editor John was very funny and supportive through the whole process. I tend to hold myself to a certain standard. He reminds me my art and writing are in fact okay. Not just okay, but great.

4. Anything we should know about it or anything you’d like to share?

JENNIFER STRANGE part comic, part illustrated journal. It’s about a pair of sisters trying to solve the mystery of their families’ past before another rival family hunts them down. Jennifer has the gift of summoning, meaning she can give ghosts or demons corporeal forms. Imagine you’re a ghost and you could have a new body given to you so you can return to the land of the living, no string attached? That’s what Jennifer can do for you. Trouble is, if a ghost or demon is possessing a person… you can see how giving them a body while they’re inhabiting another one could get… messy. The Blackwell family wants to stop her from using her power before all the undead in Savannah try to use Jennifer to cross over back into the land of the living. And poor Liz, Jennifer’s older sister, knows nothing of all this when their dad dumps Jennifer on her doorstep and asks her to watch Jennifer for a few days. She’s an art student at SCAD. But when the ghosts and demons start to find Jennifer, they also start to find Liz, and the two of them half to team up against the undead and the Blackwell family to survive. Pre-order will be available soon!

Where to find her:


Author Bio:

Cat is a writer, designer, and illustrator. When she’s not writing and illustrating books of her own, she works in publishing as a freelance designer and illustrator, best known for her world maps in LABYRINTH LOST and WINTERSPELL. Her first book, Jennifer Strange, is out on July 23, 2019. She lives outside Boston with her husband and children and very fluffy cat.

You can follow Cat on Twitter or Instagram at @CatMScully or visit her website at www.catherinescully.com