I SEE KITTY by Yasmine Surovec

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I SEE KITTY is an adorable board book, perfect for preschoolers and younger. The simplistic, bright and engaging illustrations will delight small children. They will be entranced as we follow Chloe, a sweet little girl who loves kitties. First she sees them in the pet shop window up for adoption, which sets her imagination on fire. Chloe sees Kitty in the clouds, in a puddle, in cotton candy and in a woman’s crazy up-do hair at the bus stop. Chloe dreams of kitty in a psychedelic kitty paradise complete with a milk river and more cardboard boxes than any kitty could ever dream to hide in…

Read more!

New manuscript alert – SALEM!

Carrots!

Okay, maybe not as exciting as carrots, but…

The first two chapters of my latest manuscript is up! Check it out at the top of the page, or click here.  Set in 1692 just before the infamous Salem Witch Trials, this manuscript has witches, dark faeries, twisted romance and lots of creepiness. So, essentially something for everyone. :)

Check it out! Let me know what you think in the comments.

As always, thanks for reading!

denise

Saint Anything, by Sarah Dessen

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Sydney was happy with her life before her brother went and ruined everything. When her handsome, enigmatic brother falls down the slippery slope of drinking irresponsibly, he accidentally cripples a young neighborhood boy. Suddenly, Sydney is being stared at everywhere she goes and her brother is sent to prison. Her parents, attentive before the accident, have completely forgotten her. Everything is about her brother, his rehabilitation and his life inside those dark four walls…

Read more!

Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell

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Cath is leaving home for the first time to attend college. As if this wasn’t hard enough, Cath’s twin sister, Wren, doesn’t want to be roommates. She wants to find herself and become her own person away from Cath. Burn.

So off to college Cath goes, meeting a new roommate and her hot boyfriend, as well as secretly writing her Simon Snow fan-fiction. She isn’t just a fan of Simon Snow, a Harry-Potter-esque magical book series. She’s the BIGGEST fan, writing fan fiction that thousands of followers read every week. She can’t let the fascinating world of Snow go. After all, it’s what she and her sister clung to after their Mom left them years ago. Most of all, Simon Snow lets Cath dive into a world that’s not her own, and continue being the girl she was back at home.

But challenges arise when her writing professor dumps on her fan fiction. Then she falls for the hot boyfriend of her roommate, and her sister gets herself into some serious trouble. Add in her Dad and his own bouts of mental illness, and it’s enough to make any freshmen lose it. Can Cath keep it all together? Can she grow up and still be the same Cath who loves Simon Snow and her thousands of fans?

This is a really fantastic read – definitely my favorite contemporary YA. I’m not usually a big fan of the genre, but this one was so unique, and so well written, that I immediately fell in love. As a HUGE Harry Potter nerd myself, I identify with a character who has a hard time letting go and growing up. I thought Cath was accessible and likable, and I rooted for her the whole way. You should definitely pick up this book today!

PNWA 2015!

Winning

The fantastic PNWA Conference just finished, and I’m exhausted. I attended with my two FABULOUS crit group partners, J and M. We all had great success at the pitch appointments, reveled in the copious amounts of free coffee, and suitably obsessed over every tiny little thing every agent and editor said like ninth graders.

Not in a creepy way, of course. Be cool, man. Be cool.

Overall, it was the best conference I’ve attended! The panels were informative and interesting, especially the ones about craft. I love me a good discussion on dialog. 😉

My favorite part was the “First Page,” where agents and editors rip apart your page in front of a live audience. It’s anonymous.

As long as you don’t burst into tears.

I did not.

So a win for all! Thanks for nailing it for me, Picard.  Really, though, our whole group had a great first page experience. Lots of helpful and positive feedback, which is so great when you have been working on something in a black hole that you call your office for the last few months. An agent even asked me to talk to him after the session, so I tried not to bounce out of my seat. It was a Charlie Sheen-worthy win!

Now we are all preparing to head to New York for the Writer’s Digest Conference. I’ll be pitching Salem there as well. I’ve sent out all my requests for this conference – 9! – so now I can finally breathe. Finger’s crossed for me, y’all.

And a bonus pic because I found this while searching for the pic up top. You’re welcome.

Engage

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

The Husband's Secret

Cecelia is the perfect tupperware-wielding upper class wife. Her adorable children are successful at their private school, and her handsome husband makes all of her friends jealous. But something is…off. So when she accidentally finds a letter addressed to her, from her husband, she’s terribly curious. The instructions say to open only in the event of his death. She starts running through oddities in her head, adding up his private crying fits and foul secretive moods into something huge. Should she open the letter? What could he possibly be hiding from her, and is it the reason he’s been acting so strange for their entire marriage?

Unable to take the suspense, she opens it. What she finds will tear her world apart, and shed light on a decades-old mystery. Told from multiple perspectives, The Husband’s Secret is a fascinating thriller unlike others. Instead of trailing us along to finally realize who did what, we know up front some pretty horrible truths. The bigger question is, what would you do with a secret that could ruin the life of someone you love? Follow your sense of morality, or defend them to the death?

And if you chose to ignore the truth, can you handle the consequences?

This is a fabulous beach read for the summer! Intriguing and dark without dipping too far into psychological mayhem, Moriarty keeps us guessing what people will do until the very end. It’s a very real, human story about making hard choices, The Husband’s Secret will make you question just what you would do if put in an awful situation. The story is told from very clean multiple perspectives, and is done well. I always knew whose head I was in, which is hard for many writers. I would highly recommend it!

Book Review – The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train is the debut novel of journalist Paula Hawkins.

Rachel loves the train. She rides it each day on her way in to London at the exact same time, and takes it back out again like clockwork. What she loves most about her morning trip, though, is the sneak peek she gets into the lives of those in trackside house number 15. He’s handsome, she’s beautiful, and they are enormously happy. At least, that’s the story she’s made up about them in her head complete with imagined names and personal quirks. And since everything in her life is spinning out of control, Rachel relishes their normalness.

Until one morning in the train, she sees the trackside woman with another man. A man who is most definitely not her husband. When it is revealed a few days later that the trackside woman of number 15 is missing, Rachel begins an investigation into the perfect lives of people she’s never even met.

Following Rachel down the rabbit hole, we learn about her tangled history with the train, London, her ex-husband and the very house that she has eyed each morning for the past year. Is Rachel herself telling the truth? Who are these people, really, and what connection does she have with them?

And did she have anything to do with the woman’s disappearance?

This is an adult psychological thriller in the vein of Gone Girl. A fantastic book that I literally could not stop reading! Hawkins flips us back and forth between narrators and timelines, keeping the reader on their toes. What happened to the woman? Who really is Rachel, if not just another girl on the train? You’ll be guessing until the twisty end! I absolutely loved it, and highly recommend it! This is adult fiction, so not for younger readers, but I think that it’s a beautifully done novel that anyone would enjoy.

 

 

Book Review: Graduation Day

Graduation Day (The Testing Trilogy Series #3)

 

Graduation Day, by Joelle Charbonneau, is book three in The Testing series. Read my review of book one here, and book two here.

Cia is back, and it’s time to graduate. Will she and her friends find a way to bring The Testing to an end? Will she be able to do what it takes to make sure innocent kids won’t be killed – even if that means killing the testmakers herself?

I won’t do a full review, as I don’t want to give too much away if you haven’t read the series. Overall, this series is a fast-paced adventure that is perfect  for fans of The Hunger Games or Divergent. Cia is a totally relateable, likable character. I love that she is mechanically inclined and can create tools and weapons out of seemingly nothing! She is no wilting flower waiting to be saved. She’s fiercely loyal and terribly smart, and I loved following along on her adventure. Ingenuity is the name of the game in this series, and fans of dystopic or thrillers won’t be disappointed. Charbonneau is an excellent writer who really grabs you from page one.

I highly recommend this series! And, lucky you, the whole series is already finished. You can buy or borrow it all at once, like I did! There is seriously nothing better than reading a series like this one after another. You will not be disappointed!

Buy it now!

Book Review – DUST, by Hugh Howey

Dust

 

DUST, by Hugh Howey, is the second book in the WOOL series. Read my review of WOOL here.

Juliette made it back. She was sent to clean by her people, thrown out into the wilds of the desolate landscape to die, and made it out alive. She was made Mayor of the Silo, a job she doesn’t really want. Plus, people are starting to question her wild stories of a nearly empty Silo nearby with a few kids and a strange man named Solo. Why put all of the resources of their precious Silo toward rescuing them? Is there even anyone to rescue?

Juliette is determined to find a way to save her friends until disaster strikes. The Gods who created the silos have grown angry and decided it’s time for her people to die. Can she save Solo and the children, as well as her own people? Who are the devils who call themselves Gods who decided their fates in the first place?

This fascinating, thrilling conclusion to WOOL will not allow you to put it down. It took me two (sick) days in the house to read it. I absolutely loved it as much as the first. It was gripping, powerfully-written and at times painful to read. It will make you question what you would do to save those you love in the face of adversity. I absolutely recommend this book!

Book Review – Independent Study

Independent Study (The Testing Trilogy Series #2)

Independent Study, by Joelle Charbonneau. Ready my review of book one, The Testing.

Cia is back in this thrilling follow-up to The Testing. Set in a future world where the US is struggling to make it’s way back from the brink, Cia is one of the lucky few chosen to attend The Testing. If she passes, she’ll move on to the University to study among the country’s greatest minds and will eventually help turn the world into a more habitable place. Of course, The Testing is nothing like she’s been told all of her life. Candidates spar with one another for top spots, using poison to eliminate candidates. The government has rigged the tests to inure or kill students who get wrong answers, and those who fail are eliminated. Permanently.

Cia has made it through the testing and endured the memory wipe. Thanks to some ingenuity, she’s left her self a message that explains every horrible thing that happened to her. With this knowledge, Cia realizes that the University is not what it seems. She knows that if she fails here, she’ll be executed – even if no one has admitted that. So when she gets wind of a revolution, she joins up. She’ll do anythi