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Monday, March 27, 2017

Review & Giveaway: K.M. Walton's ULTIMATUM

Hi All~

Life's been very busy lately, so my apologies about not getting around the blogosphere as much as I used to.  I'm buying my very first home (!!!), which is a process full of excitement and phone calls and insurance stuff and budgeting and more phone calls and that sort of thing.

After moving from Colorado to Pennsylvania last Fall, I was lucky enough to connect with a group of writers in the area (including Dianne Salerni, author of lots of awesome books including The Eighth Day series, and the fabulous Joanne Fritz, who writes middle grade fiction and blogs over at My Brain on Books). It was at a recent get-together that I met K.M. Walton, an author of young adult books who had an upcoming book launch. I planned to attend the launch, but unexpected travel plans got in the way.

I called the store ahead of time and bought two signed copies and today, lucky readers, I'm giving one away! JUST LEAVE A COMMENT TO BE ENTERED~ a winner will be chosen on Monday, April 3. UPDATE: The winner of the signed copy of ULTIMATUM is... Julia Tomiak! Congratulations, Julia, please email me with a good shipping address and I'll get it sent to you!

Here's the publisher's summary:


From the author of Cracked and Empty comes a gripping, emotional story of two brothers who must make the ultimate decision about what's more important: family or their differences.
It's not Oscar's fault he's misunderstood. Ever since his mother died, he's been disrespected by his father and bullied by his self-absorbed older brother, so he withdraws from his fractured family, seeking refuge in his art.
Vance wishes his younger brother would just loosen up and be cool. It was hard enough to deal with their mother's death without Oscar getting all emotional. At least when Vance pushes himself in lacrosse and parties, he feels alive.
But when their father's alcoholism sends him into liver failure, the two brothers must come face-to-face with their demons--and each other--if they are going to survive a very uncertain future.


My reading diet is largely made up of chapter books and middle grade books these days, and I found myself reading ULTIMATUM slowly at first, trying to reacquaint myself with language/style aimed at older readers. By the end, these characters were so real to me that I desperately wanted a sequel in my hands. My review is below~ click HERE to read the STARRED Publisher's Weekly review.

I started K.M. Walton's ULTIMATUM slowly~I eased in, getting used to the distinct voices of brothers Oscar and Vance. By the last hundred pages I was racing through to see what would be resolved and what wouldn't. This story--of grieving, of individual pain, of the complexity of brotherhood, and of what we do when offered second chances of connection--touched me deeply. It felt authentic~ though the father figure is about as bad as you can imagine, there are tiny glimmers of heart, even in him. Technically, I was so impressed with the execution of Walton's approach~ dual narratives and a timeline both in the past and present. Great ending, many tears throughout. Highly recommended.

Okay, that's all from me~ just leave a comment to enter! If you'd like, you can mention that last great YA book that you've read (or any book).

Monday, February 6, 2017

COVER REVEAL of my next book! Introducing... Under the Bottle Bridge


Hi All! My next book, Under the Bottle Bridge, will be released by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on September 5th, 2017! You can add it to your Goodreads account HERE, but for now you can see it up on Amazon here.

The setting is the fictional town of Gilbreth, New York, a place that puts great stock in traditional arts~weavers, blacksmiths, silversmiths, glassblowers, bakers, herbalists, and the like. My protagonist, young Minna Treat, comes from a long line of woodworkers that can be traced back to the founding of Gilbreth. She and her uncle (who's also her legal guardian) are the very last of the Treats... and if Minna can't find a solution, they may be the first to leave the place that's been their family home for generations.

It's a story of bridges, secrets, legacy, message bottles, seasons of change, family, hearth milk, and things lost and found. I'll do an ARC giveaway in the coming months, but for now, I'm so pleased to share the cover with you.

The artist, the incredible Sonia Kretschmar, did such an amazing job of capturing the heart of the novel (the official summary is below). I hope you love it as much as I do!



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In the weeks leading up to Gilbreth, New York's annual AutumnFest, 12-year-old woodcraft legacy Minna Treat is struggling with looming deadlines, an uncle trying to hide Very Bad News, and a secret personal quest. When she discovers mysterious bottle messages under one of the village's 300-year-old bridges, she can't help but wonder who's leaving them, what they mean, and, most importantly... could the messages be for her?

Along with best friend Crash and a mystery-loving newcomer full of suspicious theories, Minna is determined to discover whether the bottles are miraculously leading her toward long-lost answers she's been looking for, or drawing her into a disaster of historic proportions.