Welcome! Please sit down, make yourself comfortable, and have a brownie or three...

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Paperback Birthday! Giveaway of WAITING FOR AUGUSTA

Hi All,

So the winds are changing, the Lawsons are moving into an old stone house next week (I'll keep you updated on the status of pet chickens, but for now, just know that we'll have one available for naming via suggestion~ all name suggestions must be from a book), and ...

the paperbacks of Waiting for Augusta are out today! Leave a comment for a chance to win one! I'll choose a winner on May 17th. UPDATE: The winner is Books4Learning! Please let me know a good mailing address and I'll send the paperback your way!

Waiting for Augusta is the story of Ben Putter, a boy who believes he has a golf ball stuck in his throat. He steals his dad's cremation urn and sets off on a journey to scatter the ashes, fulfill his dad's final wishes, and hopefully make that darn ball go away. A mysterious runaway joins up with him, with an agenda of her own. Here are some nice things some reviewers have said:
  • "A whimsical, heartwarming, multilayered story about finding grace enough to accept the flaws in those we love and courage enough to act from our most deeply held beliefs."– Kirkus Reviews
  • "This moving and emotional coming-of-age story tackles themes of racism, friendship, and growing up. . . . An absorbing work of historical fiction."
    – School Library Journal
  • "Best for readers who like a wealth of plot and southern setting, as in Sheila Turnage’s Three Times Lucky (2012)."
    – Booklist Online
  • "This is a beautifully written book that will tug at the heart strings of readers. The writing is lyrical and rich with imagery...This is a worthwhile addition to library shelves."
    – School Library Connection

“Colorful, quirky, and full of heart, with an ending readers won’t forget.”
– Ingrid Law, Newbery Honor-winning author of Savvy, Scumble, and Switch (PS, I LOVE Ingrid Law books and was so excited about this blurb!)

AND the paperbacks happen to have a sneak peek of my upcoming book (September 2017) Under the Bottle Bridge

Just leave a comment to enter!

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!




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.