Saturday Spotlight: The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees

TWKTitle: The Waking Forest

Author: Alyssa Wees

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: March 12, 2019

Page Count: 304 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary:

Pan’s Labyrinth meets The Hazel Wood in this novel about a girl with terrifying visions and a wish-granting witch whose lives collide in the most unexpected of ways.

The waking forest has secrets. To Rhea, it appears like a mirage, dark and dense, at the very edge of her backyard. But when she reaches out to touch it, the forest vanishes. She’s desperate to know more–until she finds a peculiar boy who offers to reveal its secrets. If she plays a game.

To the Witch, the forest is her home, where she sits on her throne of carved bone, waiting for dreaming children to beg her to grant their wishes. One night, a mysterious visitor arrives and asks her what she wishes for, but the Witch sends him away. And then the uninvited guest returns.

The strangers are just the beginning. Something is stirring in the forest, and when Rhea’s and the Witch’s paths collide, a truth more treacherous and deadly than either could ever imagine surfaces. But how much are they willing to risk to survive?

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Purchase Links

Amazon    Barnes & Noble    Book Depository     Indie Bound

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Preorder Giveaway

Alyssa has an awesome preorder giveaway going on, so check it out here!

If you have already preordered, fill out this handy-dandy form here!

Everyone who preorders will be entered to win the grand prize!

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 About the Author

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In between training in ballet and watching lots of Disney movies, Alyssa grew up writing stories starring her Beanie Babies. She earned a BA in English from Creighton University and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago. Currently she works as an assistant librarian in youth services at an awesome public library. She lives in the Chicagoland area with her husband and their two cats. (Bio and photo provided from Goodreads)

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Saturday Spotlight: Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

fdqTitle: Four Dead Queens

Author: Astrid Scholte

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Release Date: February 26, 2019

Page Count: 432 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Read My ARC Review

Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but she’s, in fact, one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. He runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie both find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.

With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.

An enthralling fast-paced murder mystery where competing agendas collide with deadly consequences, Four Dead Queensheralds the arrival of an exciting new YA talent.

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Purchase Links

Amazon    Barnes & Noble    Book Depository     Indie Bound

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Preorder Giveaway

Astrid has two awesome preorder giveaways going on, so check them out here!

If you have already preordered, fill out this handy-dandy form here!

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 About the Author

astrid

Raised on a diet of Spielberg, Lucas and Disney, Astrid knew she wanted to be surrounded by all things fantastical from a young age. She’s spent the last 10 years working in film, animation and television as both an artist and manager. Career highlights include working on James Cameron’s Avatar, Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tin Tin andHappy Feet 2 by George Miller. She’s a visual writer and aims to capture the vivid stories that play like movies in her head. When she’s not writing, she’s painting her favorite fictional characters and obliging her furry overlords, Lilo and Mickey.

FOUR DEAD QUEENS (Putnam, 26th of February 2019 and Allen & Unwin, 4th of March) is her debut novel. (Bio from author site)

*First Line Friday* A Danger to Herself and Others- Alyssa Sheinmel

39986808   Only when she’s locked away does the truth begin to escape… 

Four walls. One window. No way to escape. Hannah knows there’s been a mistake. She didn’t need to be institutionalized. What happened to her roommate at her summer program was an accident. As soon as the doctors and judge figure out that she isn’t a danger to herself or others, she can go home to start her senior year. In the meantime, she is going to use her persuasive skills to get the staff on her side.

Then Lucy arrives. Lucy has her own baggage. And she may be the only person who can get Hannah to confront the dangerous games and secrets that landed her in confinement in the first place.

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“When I first got here- when they brought me here- a man with blue pants and a matching shirt, both of which looked like they were made of paper, asked me questions.”

Hope you guys have a great and safe weekend!

stacy

*ARC Review* The Similars by Rebecca Hanover

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Title: The Similars

Author: Rebecca Hanover

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: January 1, 2019

Page count: 352 pages

Genres: Young adult, Science Fiction

My Review: 4 out of 5 stars

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.

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My review

“I stop in my tracks as I arrive at our old spot. I’m not alone. They’re ten, fifteen feet away, at most. Their presence — their existence — sends my heart hammering in my chest. I freeze, watching, observing. I don’t think they can see me, not yet — but I can see them.”

When I first came across The Similars, I instantly was drawn to the cover and the optical illusion. It has a type of cover you don’t see very often in YA. And then I read the summary and I just knew this was a book I had to read. And I was not disappointed.

The Similars had surprising twists and turns, where even some of the twists caught me off guard that I literally went “holy crap!” And trust me, for me, that doesn’t happen very often. I’m usually very good at predicting what is going to happen, but I missed some of the shocking discoveries in this book. The last one hundred pages of the story, I was gripping the book, hoping that the clues I desperately needed to solve this mystery would surface. Most did, but the author did a marvelous job at revealing those clues only when they needed to be revealed. And that made for a very intriguing story.

The idea behind The Similars is brilliant and wonderfully unlike anything I have read in the YA genre. I thoroughly enjoyed the aspect of the six clones and what they represented in a world that didn’t want anything to do with them. And the dynamic between Emma and Levi brought the story to a whole new level, in the sense of how their relationship evolved over the story.

Like the summary states, Emma wants nothing to do with the Similars. She doesn’t want to constantly be reminded of the best friend she lost. But every mystery she uncovers links back to the Similars, and she soon realizes she has no choice but to become involved in their lives. Over the course of a year (or close to a year), Emma unearths dark secrets about the Similars, which tests her loyalty to those closest to her and puts a strain on the relationships she has with each Similar.

Rebecca Hanover’s writing will pull you in and keep you planted in the story’s roots until the very last line. And even after that, you’ll be craving more of Emma’s story. Hanover’s storytelling was captivating and so on-point, in the sense that she only gives the readers enough details to try to uncover each mystery before Emma does. I wholeheartedly enjoyed Emma’s voice and how her opinions slowly changed overtime. It was not an instant switch of emotions. Emma is easily a character that will charm readers, with her strong-headedness and personality.

“The boy is Oliver–only he is not. he is, and he isn’t….He has every feature that Oliver has–had. Only none of the memories. None of the stuff of our lives, the stuff that made us us. This boy has none of it; he knows none of it. Because Oliver is dead, and this, most definitely, is not him.”

And Levi. Oh, my sweet, sweet Levi. Levi has quickly become one of my favorite characters. In his own way, he’s charismatic and alluring, which Emma soon realizes as she becomes tangled in the Similars’ lives. He may look like Emma’s dead best friend, but he is in no way like him. Levi is one of those complicated souls that easily captures your attention. I looked forward to his scenes in the book, not just because he added a type of complication to the story, but because he swiftly became my favorite character in the story.

How The Similars ended left me open mouthed and going, “well, where’s the rest?” I need to know what happens after that ending, so I cannot wait for book two.

The Similars hits bookshelves January 1, 2019.

All quotes are from the advanced reader copy and may not appear in the final novel.

nikole

*ARC Review* Prince of Secrets and Shadows by C. S. Johnson

secretsTitle: Prince of Secrets and Shadows, book two in the Order of the Crystal Daggers trilogy

Author: C. S. Johnson

Publisher: Prodigy Gold Books

Release Date: December 4, 2018

Genres: Young adult, Romance, Historical fiction, Fantasy

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary:

“How do I know you’re telling me the truth?” The last thing I wanted to do was hurt him, but if I did not find a way to break free of him, I would risk doing even more harm.

Ferdy met my gaze with his. “I promise you this, Ella, that as of now, I will never lie to you again.” He leaned forward and kissed me again, and I stood there, letting him, desperately debating whether I could trust him or not. His promise burned through me, his words scorched into my being. It was so tempting to believe him, more tempting than anything else I had ever faced in all my life.

Freedom was only freedom if I could trust it to be true.

PRAGUE, 1870

After joining the Order of the Crystal Daggers, led by her dauntless grandmother, Lady Penelope, Eleanora Svobodová set out to save her kingdom from oncoming devastation.
And she failed.

Following the attack on Prague Castle, Eleanora is determined to redeem herself. She sets out to win Karl’s trust while distancing herself from Ferdy, whose secrets and lies have done nothing to stop her from falling in love with him. As she struggles to let him go, questions about the mission and her mother’s past cause a rift between Amir and Lady Penelope and add to the growing discord between Eleanora and her brother. 

But when a cunning provocateur arrives in Prague, Eleanora discovers there is an even more deadly game afoot, one that reaches into Amir’s past and threatens Lady Penelope’s future. Now, the members of the Order must work together if they are to uncover the true enemy hiding in Bohemia. 

Can they work together despite their divisions? Or will their division lead to even more destruction?

With spies, secrets, and suspense, Prince of Secrets and Shadows is the second book in The Order of the Crystal Daggers, a spy adventure series from C. S. Johnson.


My review

Please note: this is the second book in the Order of the Crystal Daggers trilogy and may contain spoilers from the first book. You can check out my review of the first book, Kingdom of Ash and Soot, here


Dozens of authors write fantastic first books in a trilogy. And most struggle with writing an excellent sequel. Sometimes the sequel doesn’t live up to the first book, but it’s still good. And sometimes the sequel is just as good as the first book, if not better. In this case, Prince of Secrets and Shadows exceeds its predecessor, Kingdom of Ash and Soot.

“You are young yet, but even you know there are things worth dying for.”

I knew this book was going to be phenomenal when I started the first chapter. I adore books that start almost right where the previous book left off. It’s a wonderful way to refresh your memory and get a feel for the impact the first book left on the main characters. And just like the first book, C.S. Johnson starts the story off with an important scene, one that involves one of my all-time favorite characters. Johnson sets the boundaries straight in the first chapter and gets the reader ready for what to expect throughout the novel. It’s exciting and a great way to start a sequel.

And then enter the one known as the Prince of Secrets and Shadows. He was a very interesting character and added a lot of grief to the story, in the sense that he did not make it easy for the characters. He’s a double-edged sword and, frankly, not someone I would want to mess with. It’s not that he’s necessarily a dangerous character, but he plays a dangerous game of cat and mouse. And his role in this story thickened the plot in a way I did not see coming.

“I used to think being free meant an escape; I thought it meant I would be able to move away from authority and addiction, to be still against the forces of time and space. But as he held me there, pushed against a wall, I knew freedom was not an escape, but a coming home.”

In Prince of Secrets and Shadows, Ella struggles with deciding what she wants to do with her life. She’s in the Order because she wants to follow in her Mother’s footsteps. But her heart desires something different, something more than the life Ella has chosen. Ella wants freedom and love and not to be controlled like she has been most her life. And throughout this book, she starts to realize that freedom and love can decidedly be the same thing.

“Even if you deny your heart, your heart does not go away. That is why everyone lies, everyone has secrets, and everyone has regrets.”

Ella struggles with many of her relationships, in more ways than one. Her brother distances himself from her, causing an unforeseen rift in their relationship. She connects with one of her trainers in a way she didn’t expect. And her relationship with Lady POW grows stronger in a surprising way.

And then there is Ferdy. Oh, Ferdy. There isn’t a part of me that doesn’t love this character. He’s charming, considerate, and just an all-around great character and love interest for Ella. And though Ella battles with her heart and what she perceives as right, he never once gives up on her. Most of my favorite chapters consisted of Ferdy and the tension between him and Ella.

In the first book, Ella is a strong and courageous character. I’m not saying she isn’t in the second book (she’s quite brave and strong-headed), but she now realizes she has way more at stake than just her freedom. And to protect those she loves, she may have to knowingly play that game of cat and mouse.

If you haven’t ready Kingdom of Ash and Soot, I highly recommend. C.S. Johnson has beautifully woven a story that you will not soon forget. Kingdom of Ash and Soot is available now and Prince of Secrets and Shadows comes out next Tuesday, December 4!

Thank you to the author for sending an advanced e-copy for me to read and write an honest review! All quotes are from the advanced e-copy and may not appear in the final novel.

nikole

 

*Author Q&A & Giveaway Blog Tour* Girl at the Grave – Teri Bailey Black

About the Book

girlTitle: Girl At the Grave

Author: Teri Bailey Black

Publisher: Tor Teen

Release Date: August 7, 2018

Genre: Young Adult — Historical Fiction, Mystery

Synopsis:

Valentine has spent years trying to outrun her mother’s legacy. But small towns have long memories, and when a new string of murders occurs, all signs point to the daughter of a murderer.

Only one person believes Valentine is innocent—Rowan Blackshaw, the son of the man her mother killed all those years ago. Valentine vows to find the real killer, but when she finally uncovers the horrifying truth, she must choose to face her own dark secrets, even if it means losing Rowan in the end.

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33294216-girl-at-the-grave

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2RlslRp

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/girl-at-the-grave-teri-bailey-black/1127026392#/

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Girl-at-the-Grave-Teri-Bailey-Black/9780765399489

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780765399489

About the Author

Teri-Bailey-BlackTeri Bailey Black grew up near the beach in southern California in a large, quirky family with no television or junk food, but an abundance of books and art supplies. She’s happiest when she’s creating things, whether it’s with words, fabric, or digging in the garden. She makes an amazing chocolate cherry cake—frequently. She and her husband have four children and live in Orange County, California.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TeriBaileyBlack

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

Website: https://www.teribaileyblack.com/


Q&A with Teri Bailey Black

Thank you so much for stopping by on the blog, Teri! I’m so excited to host you here today! Girl at the Grave is absolutely stunning! 

1. One thing I love hearing authors talk about is their inspiration for their books. What inspired you to write Girl at the Grave?

I’m a very visual person (I grew up in a family of artists), so for me a story usually starts as an image in my mind. This book began with the image of a little girl in the 1800’s, with wild hair and dirty feet, looking through a schoolhouse window. The teacher tries to draw her inside, but she runs away. Most of the kids call her names, but one boy watches her with piercing attention. I wondered why that little girl was an outcast and decided her mother was hanged for murdering a prominent man—the father of the boy who watches her. After I’d written about a hundred pages of that little girl’s story, I realized I was more interested in the 17-year-old girl she becomes. So I started writing a new book where the handsome son of the murdered man still watches her, and it became a love story as well as a murder mystery. I thought up a few interesting plot twists and secrets—and I was off and running. Well, typing.

2. Every writer has a different writing experience. What was your writing experience like? Did the story come naturally or all at once or did you have to claw the story out of your characters? Or was it something else entirely? 

I’m a “seat of the pants” writer by nature (start with a vague idea and make it up as I go) but I do WANT to be an outliner (sigh) and I do TRY to outline ahead of time. My first draft of GIRL took about a year and was quite different than the final printed story. The first quarter of the book was Valentine’s childhood (seeing her mother hanged but not understanding why), and then the story jumped to her teen years. 

I sent out queries to agents and got several requests for the full manuscript, followed by rejections with some encouraging compliments. One agent asked for a revision and resubmit, with a suggestion to make it either a full children’s story or a full YA story. Seemed so obvious, suddenly. I spent about six months completely rewriting it, even changing the underlying murder mystery quite a bit.

I sent the new version back to that agent, who replied with some looovely compliments about my writing abilities that gave me hope—but now had issues with the characterizations. Sigh. I set it aside for six months, then attacked it again with fresh eyes. And THIS time, I was able to fly through it fairly quickly because I really knew my characters and story, so it was easy to move the pieces around.

After I signed with an agent (the amazing Barbara Poelle) and sold it to Tor Teen, my editor Amy Stapp had some powerful insights that made another major revision necessary. And then it became a book. Looking back, this book took several years because I was learning to write as I wrote it. The book I’m working on now is flying together much more easily.

3. Which one of your characters do you resonate with the most and why?

I feel a strong connection with my main character Valentine. She’s grown up as an outcast, never fitting in, and I think most of us have had those moments in our life when we feel like we don’t fit in. I love Valentine’s hard work ethic. She lost her mother at age six (or was it five? funny how I’ve forgotten!), so she’s had to learn how to cook and clean and survive on her own. (In my first draft, she spies through town windows watching other mothers, but that was cut.) I’m quite crafty myself and love the way Valentine sews a vest for Sam and bakes gingerbread for Birdy. Oh—and Birdy!! Valentine has such a warm, generous heart. She knows what it feels like to not fit in. She cares about those even less fortunate than herself, which is why she wants to work with Alina Lunt.

4. What is a quirky or unique habit you have?

I start writing at 4 or 5 in the morning—yes, really! The world is asleep, the house is quiet, and I can disappear into my story. Then, alas, the sun rises, the house gets noisy, time to shower and make the bed and throw in a load of laundry. I still write throughout the day, but I’m much more creative and productive in those early morning hours. The downside: my brain melts at 8pm.

5. If you could choose one character from your novel to spend a day around town with, who would you choose and why?

I love creative people, so I’d love to hang out with Rowan Blackshaw. I would enjoy watching him draw and paint. (Three of my sisters went to art school, and I always love watching them work.) Rowan is a deep-thinker—and smart—so I’d love to listen to him ramble about just about anything. And yeah, he’s gorgeous, so that doesn’t hurt. 

6. This is another question I love to ask authors! What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Writing advice! Mostly—keep it fun. Join writing groups and go to conferences and make personal connections, because that’s the good stuff. I know . . . most of us are closet introverts, but it’s worth the effort to find some writing friends. My critique group meets once a week and we have a blast. In the past, I had a critique group that only met online (living across the globe, literally), and that was also rewarding.

Listen to your critique partners and DON’T BE OFFENDED. Listen and learn. Nobody starts out great. You have to figure out your weaknesses before you can improve. You want critique partners who point out both the good and the bad. It’s not very helpful if they only say, “Wow, this is great.” And it’s discouraging if they only say, “Um . . . no.”

Publication seems like an obvious end goal, but that adds a truckload of pressure, both getting there and then getting through it, so decide if you’d rather just write for personal enjoyment—which is a worthy goal. I repeat: keep it fun!

Thank you again for stopping by, Teri! 🙂


Giveaway!

19_d1a46b34-4d61-4685-b2f8-6e4bf4a84a23_1800xPrize: Wonderland Book Beau, size XL for a standard hardcover (USA only)

Starts: 10/25/18

Ends:  11/2/18

ENTER HERE!


Tour Schedule

http://fantasticflyingbookclub.blogspot.com/2018/09/tour-schedule-girl-at-grave-by-teri.html

Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club for hosting this wonderful book tour!

 

*Blog Tour, Review, and Q&A* What the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra

Thank you to Tale Out Loud for having A Court of Coffee and Books on this blog tour! I absolutely loved this book and I’m glad I am able to be part of this!

What the Woods Keep US CoverTITLE: What the Woods Keep

AUTHOR: Katya de Becerra

PUBLISH DATE: September 18th, 2018

PUBLISHER: Imprint/Macmillan

GENRE: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dark Fantasy

SYNOPSIS:

What the Woods Keep is the stunning debut of Katya de Becerra, who combines mystery, science fiction, and dark fantasy in a twisty story that will keep you mesmerized right up to the final page.

On her eighteenth birthday, Hayden inherits her childhood home―on the condition that she uncover its dark secrets.

Hayden tried to put the past behind her, and it worked. She’s getting ready for college, living in a Brooklyn apartment, and hanging out with her best friend and roommate Del. But now it’s all catching up with her: her mother’s mysterious disappearance a decade before, her father’s outlandish theories about a lost supernatural race, and Hayden’s own dark dreams of strange symbols and rituals in the Colorado woods where she grew up.

As soon as Hayden arrives at her hometown, her friend Del in tow, it begins: Neighbors whisper secrets about Hayden’s mother; the boy next door is now all grown-up in a very distracting way; and Hayden feels the trees calling to her. And among them, deep in the woods, Hayden will discover something incredible―something that threatens reality itself.

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Pre-Order Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1250124255?tag=macmillan-20

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-the-woods-keep-katya-de-becerra/1128980012?ean=9781250124258#/

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/What-Woods-Keep-Katya-De-Becerra/9781250124258

Books-A-Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/product/9781250124258

Indiebound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250124258 

Author Information:

Katya de Beccera Author Photo (2)Katya de Becerra was born in Russia, studied in California, lived in Peru, and then stayed in Australia long enough to become a local. She was going to be an Egyptologist when she grew up, but instead she earned a PhD in Anthropology. What the Woods Keep is her first novel.

Author website: http://katyabecerra.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15140719.Katya_de_Becerra

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KatyaDeBecerra

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

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


My Review:

“There are terrible forces hiding in this town, in these woods, that we don’t understand and that are dangerous.”

This wonderfully dark atmospheric novel will keep you fixated on the world and Hayden’s journey. What the Woods Keep is an eerie novel that will make you question the daily noises you hear and the things you see and quite possibly your own sanity. This book gives a new meaning to uncanny and the obscure. I was pleasantly hooked to this haunting tale.

What the Woods Keep bends mystery, paranormal, and fantasy. It does so in wonderful fashion, equally sufficing all genres in one book. There’s also the sense of an unknown horror. I’m one of those people that loves the horror genre, along with all the genres listed above. I don’t read a lot of horror, but when I do, I’m usually engrossed in the novel or bored because I know how everything will play out. What the Woods Keep was in no way boring or predictable, but rather an edgy new addition to the YA genre.

The book starts off with the reader meeting Hayden, the main protagonist, and learning surprising aspects about her life, the main one being that her mom died in a rather suspicious way. Hayden finds out on her eighteenth birthday that she has inherited her old house, a Manor in Promise, Colorado, based on her Mom’s will. However, her Mom leaves her a set of cryptic conditions:

“My first condition is that Hayden goes to the Manor and looks for the gifts I left her. They’ll call to her. She needs to listen with her blood.

“My second condition is that Hayden uses my gifts to destroy my darkest secret – my hidden treasure, my heaviest burden.

My third and final condition is that Hayden trusts no one where my treasure is concerned, especially the ravens.”

Cryptic yet intriguing messages, all that immediately pique Hayden’s (and the reader’s) interest. From there, Hayden and her best friend, Del, take a trip to Promise, Colorado, hoping to find answers not just about her Mom, but also Hayden’s upbringing and why her own Father wants her to never return to Promise (and also to see Shannon, an old — and very good-looking — childhood friend).

“It’s springtime, but Promise seems frozen in an eternal fall, its spirit crushed by rain and wind. It’s wet and miserable, and yet this place feels right to me. As if, despite it being inhospitable and damp and glum, it wants me here — and I belong.”

Hayden knows there is something unusual going on in her old hometown, but she can’t quite pinpoint it. People stare at her as if they’ve seen a ghost. There’s a research facility collecting blood NOT for a traditional blood drive. And then there’s a few members of the town that have been waiting for Hayden’s arrival for quite some time. And even though a lot of red flags go off in Hayden’s head, she is determined to uncover her Mom’s death and buried secrets. She never once thought the paranormal beings, Nibelungs, would be linked to her Mom, nor to her, especially when she believes scientific theories can explain everything.

“For the first time I truly wonder if all of it — my recurring dream about the shadowy army, Mom’s clues, and Dad’s crackpot science — point toward an impossible truth.”

The atmosphere in this book is astounding and unlike most fictional towns. As the reader, you know something is just off when the town is first introduced. The only issue: you don’t know what. But the mysterious townsfolk and luring woods will draw you in and keep you guessing. Just how does everything connect? And how does Hayden and her Mom fit into all of this?

I was overall happy with this book. The ending was a little fast, but the book itself is a tantalizing read. Katya de Becerra weaves beautiful and breathtaking writing to bring to life this haunting and eerie read. With strong characters, mystery, and an undeniable pull to the world, you won’t want to put this book down.

What the Woods Keep hits shelves next Tuesday, September 18! Pre-order now and check out the cool pre-order campaign!

Thank you to the publisher and Tale Out Loud for the advanced e-copy in exchange for an honest review! Any quotes used are from the advanced e-copy and may not be in the final publication. 

My rating: 4.5 stars out of five stars

Read on for my wonderful interview with the author of What the Woods Keep, Kayta de Becerra!


Q&A with Katya de Becerra

Thank you so much, Katya, for stopping by on A Court of Coffee and Books! We are so excited to have you!

The idea for your novel is unique and very intriguing. Did you have to do any research for your novel? If so, were there any interesting facts you stumbled upon?

Thank you! I’m a total mythology buff, so it’s no surprise at all that my debut novel is mythology focused. Aside from myths, I researched physics and psychology to make the science in What The Woods Keep as realistic as possible (though it is still science fiction, emphasis on fiction!). In terms of interesting facts… The Dyatlov Pass Incident is perhaps the strangest. It remains the kind of enduring mystery that several generations of people obsess over. I actually learned about Dyatlov Pass from my mom! I thought she was describing something fictional to me until I looked it up myself and learned all the facts. I just knew then, it had to be in my book in some way!

What character would you want to be stranded on an island with?

From my book or any other? If former, then with Del (the bestie of Hayden, who is the protagonist of What The Woods Keep), because of her optimism and ingenuity. If latter, then Katniss Everdeen, because if anyone can find a way to save herself from a deserted island (I’m assuming it’s deserted?), it’s Katniss – and maybe I can tag along.

What is a quirky or unique habit you have?

It’s more a rule, but let’s cheat and call it a habit. No caffeine after 12pm. Or I won’t sleep at night. At all.

Of course I have to ask: what Hogwarts house would each of your main characters fall in?

Hayden thinks she’s Ravenclaw but probably more of a Hufflepuff. Del is definitely a Gryffindor, through and through. And Shannon is Hufflepuff disguised as Slytherin.

If you could have coffee or tea with any author (even if they have to be brought back from the dead), who would it be and why?

Leigh Bargudo, because she’s awesome.

If you could have your book made into anything (Broadway musical, TV show, movie, ballet dance, soap opera, etc.), which would you choose and why?

Probably a movie, the moody psychological maybe-horror kind. But ballet would be super awesome too, now that you’ve mentioned it.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write what’s important to you. Don’t pay much attention to trends. Read a lot. Only accept critic/feedback from people you know and trust.


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What the Woods Keep Blog Tour Schedule