that book everyone is talking about

It's been a while since I've reviewed books on my blog. As I gravitated more and more toward writing, and especially after my first books have sold to a publisher, I decided that book reviewing was somewhat a conflict of interest for me as a soon-to-be published author. However... It's also been a while since I've read a book that captivated me completely, that blew my expectations out of the water, and which reminded me exactly why I wanted to write Young Adult fiction.

If you haven't figure it out yet, THE HAZEL WOOD is the book I'm talking about.

It is magnificent.

Believe the hype, people.

Here's my spoiler-free review.

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You burn so brightly... So much anger. So much ice.
I don't say these things lightly: this book is unlike anything I've read in a long, long while. Somehow I managed to stay away from all the reviews and the hype - so I knew nothing about The Hazel Wood aside from its offic…

almost there – what’s been happening in my world…

It’s less than 7 months to go before WHAT THE WOODS KEEP will be published.

My life’s been a blast lately, and even though I’m perpetually exhausted and anxious, I’m also . . . happy. When I was first starting to write WTWK, I knew that its eventual publication was a possibility, but it just seemed a very distant fantasy at the time. And now this fantasy is (morphing into) reality. The feeling is surreal, but again – happy.

My highlights of the past few weeks were attending Shivaun Plozza’s launch of her second novel TIN HEART, where I also got to meet in person my fellow 2018 debut S. Gonzales (THE LAW OF INERTIA) and 2019 debut Astrid Scholte (FOUR DEAD QUEENS). The purpose of my attendance was twofold: aside from hearing Shivaun talk about TIN HEART and meeting my fellow authors, I’ve also been learning about how to do book launches, in hopes of putting this information to good use comes September. 

Yesterday was another highlight – my advanced reader copies (ARCs) are finally here!…

interview with Diane Magras, the author of THE MAD WOLF'S DAUGHTER

Hi All,

This year as my own debut publication is looming on the horizon, I've been lucky and privileged to get to know many of my fellow debut authors. In particular, joining the Electric Eighteens support group (run by 2018 debuts for 2018 debuts!) has been fantastic. Not only I now have access to the brilliant hive mind that is this group, I can also celebrate my fellow authors' successes. What makes me especially happy is to see my author friends debut at last and witness all the love they get from their readers.   
In this vein, I'm restarting my Industry Interview series and am happy to present to you the following interview with Diane Magras, whose medieval adventure THE MAD WOLF'S DAUGHTER is hitting the shelves as I type this sentence!   
And so, without further ado, I present to you this interview, in which among other things, Diane talks about her writing journey, the in-depth research she's done for her stunning debut and her love for the medieval Scotland,…

how to support debut authors - a simple guide

Okay, so I'm a debut author. 
It's as amazing as it is anxiety-provoking:) 
I'm at that stage of my debut author process where my ARCs (that's Advanced Review Copies) are about to be unleashed upon the world, meant to be read and reviewed by book bloggers and other varieties of advanced readers. Based on this exercise, the publisher gauges potential interest for the book and can even ask the author (yep, that's me) to revise some aspects of the book. 
Meanwhile, I'm due to engage in what's called "1st Pass Pages" stage of the manuscript which means I have to review the book ONCE MORE after it's been laid out, etc. After that, there's the "2nd Pass Pages" stage which is, like, almost IT. I think. I'm learning this as I go - one step at the time. 
This is all very exciting... but I thought I'd share some thoughts on how you - yes YOU, dear reader - can help your humble debut author friend/acquaintance/Twitter buddy to succeed. 


And here's the moment I've been waiting for ever since I knew WHAT THE WOODS KEEP was going to be published, and even more so, ever since I had my first glimpse of its cover design.
Without further ado, I'm thrilled to reveal this stunner of a cover to the world. 
[Drum roll...] 
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Release date: September 18, 2018 Publisher: Imprint (Macmillan)

Links (pre-order is available): 
Goodreads Amazon On Publisher's website

Publisher's description:
On her eighteenth birthday, Hayden inherits her childhood home—on the condition that she uncovers its dark secrets.
Hayden tried to put her 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 coming back: her mother's mysterious disappearance a decade before, her father’s crazy theories, and Hayden's own dark dreams of strange symbols and rituals in the Colorado wo…

how long does it take - What The Woods Keep's journey

That question I used to dread...
"So how's your book going?" is the type of question I used to/get a lot these days, but has been struggling to answer for a while.

"Which one?", as in "Which one are you referring to" has been my first reaction response ever since my 2018-debut-to-be WHAT THE WOODS KEEP sold to Imprint Macmillan in 2016 (along with my book # 2, OASIS).

I've been evasive in my responses, true, but only because it takes energy and time to explain the difference between 'I have a book contract' to 'I am a published author/You can buy/read my book NOW' to my friends, family and an army of acquaintances curious about the status of my writing career but not involved in the publishing in any way themselves.

The truth is, it can take years for a book to be published. Factors affecting the book publishing process are many and, guess what, they are rarely in your control.

When I first signed with my agent, she asked me if I …

some thoughts on my reading in 2017

As the end of the year nears, it is customary for me to do a round-up post discussing my favorite books. I might do a little vlog later on as a special December treat, but for now, here's my usual:

My top reads of 2017 are, in no particular order:

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill 
I've read this one early on in the year, but it still feels fresh like it was yesterday.

All Our Yesterdays is a time-travelling tale and it's got all the right moves. What attracted me about this book is its smart science, powerful narration and realistic resolution, albeit a sad one.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Gosh, I love books about super-villains! And Vicious does not disappoint.

It was so ridiculously good!

A must for V.E. Schwab fans as well as those not familiar with her fast-growing body of diverse work.

Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
I admit, I saw Andrei Tarkovsky's eponymous movie first, then read the book it's based on nearly two decades later. I wish it was the other way ar…