Tag Archives: young adult

Who Killed Melissa White?

The school picture flipped to another photo—Melissa standing by a beach dressed in a pristine white bikini. There was a grainy silver glint at her belly button—her piercing. She was half-smiling, half-smirking at the camera, though her eyes were hard and shuttered. She was a knock-out, but a sad aura hovered around her, like some young almost-Marilyn Monroe.

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Specter debuts July 7th. Available for preorder now at all major retailers.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Kobo

Chapter Eleven of The Gold in the Dark and a Writing Update

Illustrations, as always, courtesy of the incredible Ally Grosvenor.

The eleventh chapter of The Gold in the Dark is out! I’m living for this week’s chapter illustration—it encapsulates perfectly the mood at the end of the chapter. Also, don’t you think that middle portrait looks a bit like a very dour Michael Jackson? Don’t tell Ally. ;D New chapters, complete with chapter illustrations, release every other Sunday at 11 AM EST.

This week in writing updates I’ve been working on writing a short story tie-in for Specter that will be free to everyone who signs up for my mailing list. I have so many thoughts about the mailing list aspect of being an indie author. Literally everybody in the biz says it’s crucial to staying in contact with your core audience, but I write YA, and I sort of think that my audience might not be big on newsletters? Is Instagram a good newsletter alternative for indie authors with a younger audience?? Probably the answer is do both. The issue is that out of all the social media stuff I do, the newsletter is decidedly the least fun. But maybe I just need to give it a fair shake and work on discovering how to make the newsletter my own.

In other news, we are just three weeks away from Specter’s release! There’s been all sorts of fun Specter stuff in the last couple weeks, from the book trailer to a post about why the book is set in Connecticut.

Also, who killed Melissa White? Like, seriously, who? Inquiring minds REALLY want to know.

So if you are at all intrigued by any of this, and especially if you are looking for a book like Stranger Things, then please consider adding Specter to your Goodreads TBR or preordering at any book retailer. Even independent bookstores should be able to preorder Specter—and you can even request your local library order a physical or ebook copy!

All right, that’s all for now. Have a great rest of your weekend, and enjoy Chapter Eleven. ❤

Who Killed Melissa White?

Her face was inches from my own, close enough to see the smattering of navy freckles on her cheeks. My throat clenched to scream, but the air in my windpipe felt frozen, like it had solidified into a chunk of ice. Something about looking at her was making my head hurt, like patches of her face were fading in and out—not transparent, but like they weren’t even there at all.

She leaned in towards my ear as I stood paralyzed, and biting cold stung the side of my head, radiating through my skull. Her words came to me as a distant shout, distorted and waterlogged.

“Melissa White!”

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Specter debuts July 7th. Available for preorder now at all major retailers.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Kobo

ARC: Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Thank you to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for sending me a free advanced reader copy of this book for an honest review. Wilder Girls debuts July 9th.

This is one of those books that grips you hard from the first sentence, sinks its teeth into you, shakes you around, then has you gasping for air on the floor by the time you hit the last page. Seriously, Wilder Girls is an insane, intense ride, and I hope beyond hope that it ushers in a flood of YA weird fiction and body horror. When I picked it up, I already had a sneaking suspicion that this book was going to be my kinda thing because Jeff VanderMeer, king of the weird, is one of the blurbers. I was not disappointed; this is a book to buy on release day and devour in twenty-four hours.

The premise of the book is that a bizarre, unprecedented plague called the Tox has infested an island home to an all-girls boarding school. The Tox causes those it infects to mutate, perhaps by growing gills, claws, an extra spine, etc. The schoolgirls and the sparse crew of staff members remaining on the island have developed a system of survival, but when one girl goes missing and her friend determines to find her, everything is thrown into chaos.

Wilder Girls pulls no punches. The prose is raw and has so much forward momentum that it is a very difficult book to put down. I will say that the discovery and explanation at the end of the hows and the whys of the Tox was a bit disappointing to me. It came a bit out of left field; I was hoping for something less scientific and more just “this weird, inexplicable thing is happening and we can’t figure out why and now we just have to deal with it.” My opinion when it comes to weird fiction is that explanations take away from the mystique.

But even so, I basically adored this book and would hope for a movie version if I weren’t so sure Hollywood would fuck it up. Unless maybe we can get a return to practical effects à la John Carpenter’s The Thing… How amazing would that be? A girl can dream…

I’ll definitely be awaiting this author’s next book, whether it’s a sequel to Wilder Girls (would actually be satisfied with there not being a sequel, just to preserve some ambiguity in the story) or something else.

Who Killed Melissa White?

It—she—had none of the silvery translucence from the stories. In fact, she wasn’t see-through at all, her figure cast in slow-moving blue shadows, like the sun making mottled patterns on the seafloor.

There was a ghost in my room—a ghost my age, her hair a big mess of feathery curls straight out of an eighties movie, her clinging black leotard and jeans vintage to match. And she was looking right at me.

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Specter debuts July 7th. Available for preorder now at all major retailers.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Kobo

Cover Reveal: Specter

This has been a long time coming. A loooong time coming. Sometimes when you set a goal, you don’t exactly realize how winding the road to accomplishing that goal is going to be… and that’s what happened with my cover saga.

But, at long last, I have a cover for Specter, and I FREAKING LOVE IT!!!!! I love it so much!!!!! As the book’s main character, Lanie, would say, I’m not normally a multiple exclamation points kind of girl, but this cover, courtesy of the incredible Liana M at 99designs, totally deserves it.

Are you ready?

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I cannot get over this cover. It matches the book perfectly. Why is Lanie holding a baseball bat, you might ask? You’ll just have to read the book and see. 🙂

Go add it to your Goodreads shelf now, or place it on preorder! Here are the details:

  • The ebook is available for preorder at Amazon and Kobo, and will be available at all other major retailers in the next day or so.
  • The paperback will be available for purchase 7/7 on Amazon. It will also be available sometime soon (have to keep this part vague) at all other major retailers. So you’ll be able to buy it at Barnes & Noble or request your local indie bookstore order it for you! 😀
  • It will be available to rent FOR FREE at your local library, through Overdrive and other library ebook services! And you can also request your local library order it for you!

I personally really recommend the paperback version, so you can see those goddamn glorious text messages. (Shivers from PTSD.)

And some other important stuff:

  • Genre: YA paranormal thriller
  • Release date: 7/7/2019
  • Publishing imprint: Hidden Bower Press
  • 369 pages

Blurb

Horror aficionado Lanie Adams should be thrilled when two eighties-era ghosts materialize in her bedroom. Yet after a fainting incident unbecoming of a horror nerd, she would rather her haunting just go away—the ghosts’ distorted, waterlogged voices and ice-cold auras are more terrifying than any movie. Enlisting the help of Ryan, an entirely-too-cute stoner, she makes it her mission to put the spirits stalking her to rest.

Some sleuthing reveals that their sleepy Connecticut town is host to a shadowy, decades-old conspiracy. If Lanie wants to say a final goodbye to her ghosts, she’ll need to keep digging. But it’s important to tread carefully. The culprit is still in town—and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.


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If any of that up top sounds interesting, please consider adding the book on Goodreads!

Specter is going to seriously appeal to fans of Stranger Things. I’m going to be posting in the coming weeks all sorts of fun stuff—the conception of the book, the music that inspired it, etc. Specter was a crazy fun book to write, and I cannot wait for others to read it, since it’s basically everything that I love (horror, the weird, conspiracy theories) woven together into a rip-roaring thriller. So thanks so much for being along with me on this journey, consider giving it a read, and have a happy Thursday! ❤

Chapter Ten of The Gold in the Dark and a Writing Update!

The tenth chapter of The Gold in the Dark drops today! This makes us a quarter of the way through the book, so there is plenty more to come. 😀 I’m a huge fan of Chapter Ten; it’s a turning point in the narrative, and introduces a crucial new character. As always, if you need to catch up on past chapters, no problem, since you can do that right here. New chapters post every other Sunday at 11 AM EST, and each chapter is also accompanied by a beautiful, custom illustration. Take a look at this week’s illustration; I’m getting some definite Edward Gorey vibes. If you’re not familiar with Edward Gorey, I’ve put a couple pictures down below for fun. You might also recognize his work from the iconic intro to PBS’s Mystery!

Anyway, enough waffling. At last, I can reveal that these illustrations are courtesy of the mega-talented Ally Grosvenor! I’ll have an interview up with her soon enough, all about how she got started with illustration, her approach to illustrating a work of fiction, her inspiration, etc.

Isn’t Ally’s work Edward Gorey-ish?

And here’s just a sampling of some of Ally’s art unrelated to The Gold in the Dark.

From the iconic game Portal.

In other exciting news, we are one week away from a cover reveal!!!!!!!!! And it is gorgeous. If you are wanting to stay up-to-date, just check back here, sign up for my newsletter, or follow me on Instagram @katiejanegallagher or Goodreads. In the meantime, have a fabulous Sunday and enjoy Chapter Ten. ❤

Chapter Nine of The Gold in the Dark and a Writing Update!

The ninth chapter of The Gold in the Dark drops today! If you need to catch up on past chapters, no problem, since you can do that right here. New chapters post every other Sunday at 11 AM EST. (And sometimes a little earlier, like this week!) Each chapter is also accompanied by a beautiful, custom illustration.

This week I’ve been drafting my new WIP! It’s fun to be drafting again in a painful sort of way, like I’m stretching old muscles. I’m also a bit out of my element with some of the details I need to research; a quick look through my browser history will reveal such searches such as “do landowners in Montana need elk tags to hunt on private land” and “Polish people gold rush.” As for why I’m looking these things up, that will have to remain strictly confidential for now.

There are some fun posts coming up on the blog soon, though, that I can tease with a bit more information! I’ll be doing a post soon about how music factors into my writing process, as well as about a very particular and bookish Connecticut diner. In the meantime, have a fabulous Sunday and enjoy Chapter Nine.

ARC: Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Cardinal

Thank you to NetGalley and Tor Teen for sending me a free advanced reader copy of this book for an honest review. Five Midnights debuts June 4th.

NetGalley’s a funny thing—most of the time all you have to judge a book by is the author name, the publisher, the cover, and a bit of doctored up marketing copy.*** It makes me judgey to the extreme—if I’m accepted to read the book, I’m kind of stuck with it, after all, since I want to keep my NetGalley ratio up. And if you don’t like the book, you’re left in the sticky situation of either giving a bad review or being dishonest with your readers. I always err on the side of honesty, but what I’m trying to say is that the whole ARC game is a grab bag type of situation.

Five Midnights met me halfway there—this is decidedly a three-star type of book, with bits both good and not so good. It feels very “young”; not in terms of its target audience, but in terms of the writing. Take the characters as an example: the MC, a New England transplant in Puerto Rico, has her emotions dialed up to eleven at all times. It’s an attempt at characterization that comes across as a bit jumbled; she doesn’t ever really settle as having a distinct personality. Another example is a fight that the MC has with a friend; the whole argument comes across as ungrounded, in a very “the author wants a fight here” kind of way. The pacing, too, is a bit off; a climactic scene facing off with monster stretches out over many POV switches, in a fashion reminiscent of those ten episode Dragon Ball Z fights.

But other parts are great. All the Puerto Rico setting details cannot be discounted; the author will make you feel like you’re in Puerto Rico, tasting the tastes and smelling the smell as the MC ventures from one unique neighborhood to the next. And though the details are many, they fit the book well, in a way that some other detail-heavy works never accomplish—“Yiwu” comes to mind. I appreciated the Spanish peppered throughout the dialogue (though “Hold the teléfono” maybe stepped a hair over the edge into ridiculousness). And the monster itself was interesting, since I knew literally nothing about this mythical beast.

I’d say that if the premise of the book sounds interesting, then give this a go. I’d be interested to take a peek at this author’s sophomore novel, since I suspect some of my craft complaints here might not surface in the next book.

***Speaking of marketing copy, by the way, can I pause for a minute on the word “unputdownable?” As per a review in the NetGalley description, this book is “flat-out unputdownable.” I’m starting to see this description everywhere; it was fun the first time around, but this word is just so over-the-top that I’m over it. It’s already getting cliched in my mind, and feels fake review-ish. Am I the only one??


Just a real quick reminder that Chapter Nine of The Gold in the Dark releases this Sunday at 11 AM EST! ❤