Cover Shot! All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café.  I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share.  More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents.  There is an allure to a beautiful cover.  Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

I like how the title and branches are incorporated – I think the resulting visual is striking and unique.  The premise of All Our Pretty Songs looks fascinating.  In stores in July.


The first book in an exciting YA trilogy, this is the story of two best friends on the verge of a terrifying divide when they begin to encounter a cast of strange and mythical characters.

Set against the lush, magical backdrop of the Pacific Northwest, two inseparable best friends who have grown up like sisters—the charismatic, mercurial, and beautiful Aurora and the devoted, soulful, watchful narrator—find their bond challenged for the first time ever when a mysterious and gifted musician named Jack comes between them. Suddenly, each girl must decide what matters most: friendship, or love. What both girls don’t know is that the stakes are even higher than either of them could have imagined. They’re not the only ones who have noticed Jack’s gift; his music has awakened an ancient evil—and a world both above and below which may not be mythical at all. The real and the mystical; the romantic and the heartbreaking all begin to swirl together, carrying the two on journey that is both enthralling and terrifying.

And it’s up to the narrator to protect the people she loves—if she can.

Guest Post: Annie Seaton’s Favorite Beaches!


Please welcome Annie Seaton back to the virtual offices today! Annie is here to celebrate the release of her latest Indulgence romance, Italian Affair.   First she’s going to share her favorite beaches, then she’s going to have a nifty giveaway for you to enter!  Read for details!

Guest Post: Annie Seaton’s Favorite Beaches

Coming up with my list of top ten beaches was an absolute pleasure. So the very best in the world… I have been to each of these beaches and they have provided inspiration for several of my books!

The ocean is my inspiration… if the muse leaves me… I go for a walk on the beach and can come home and write hundreds of words.

I also love the sky… I watch clouds, sunrise, sunsets and I love those boiling cumulonimbus clouds that rise up over the ocean in the tropics in the afternoon. Sheer inspiration!

The beach at the bottom of my hill where I walk every day!

Whitehaven Beach Whitsunday Islands

Shelley Beach-Nambucca Heads NSW

Surfers Paradise –Gold Coast Australia

Monterey Beach –California

Woodgate Beach –Queensland

Carmel –California

Kyle of Lochalsh (Scotland)

Skagen, Denmark

Byron Bay, Australia

Excerpt –  Italian Affair by Annie Seaton:

They stood on the crest of the hill on the northernmost side of the village. Tom had sought directions from the bus driver, who told them to follow the road through to the other side of the little village.

“It’s magnificent.” Brianna took a deep breath and stood staring out over the sea.

Mount Stromboli lay seven miles to the north across the Tyrrhenian Sea. Clouds of smoke hung over the volcanic island, contrasting with the deep blue sky and the azure waters of the sea. From the side of the road, the hill ran steeply down to a magnificent white beach.

“Oh, I do hope we can see the water from the cottage.”

“Come on, let’s find this place and then all your questions will be answered.” Tom tugged at her hand and they walked up the steep hill.

“Are you sure he gave you the right directions?” Brianna asked, stopping and pulling a water bottle from her bag after they had climbed for another ten minutes.

“Yes, I am sure. It should be around the next bend.”

She skipped ahead of him and he smiled to himself. From a distance, she looked like a teenager with her long gangly legs and her black braid flying in the breeze as her excitement at seeing her mother’s house spurred her along.

A whitewashed villa sprawled down the hill at the end of the road. The vista of the sea formed a scenic backdrop to the waves breaking gently on the pebbled beach far below them.

“Is this it?” He strode down the hill and caught up to Brianna, who stood at a locked wrought iron gate. Tom peered over the top of the intricately scrolled metal into a paved courtyard with a small fountain in the middle. Wind chimes tinkled and the soft sound of the cascading water greeted them from inside.

“This is it. La Casa Bianca.” Tom held the key out. “The White House.”

“But…but…it’s not a cottage. It’s a lot posher than I imagined. I thought it was going to be a wee cottage.” Bianca’s hand shook as she inserted the large key Mr. Antoniolli had given them. To Tom’s surprise the gate opened noiselessly on the first turn of the key and they stepped through.


As promised, please fill out the widget to be entered in Annie’s giveaway!  She’s giving away a $25 Amazon gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Purchase Link

About the book:

ree-spirited sex therapist Brianna Ballantine has four days to find a fiancé so she can inherit her birth mother’s Italian villa. Commitment is not on the agenda. Writing her sex therapy book and signing legal papers are. And once all is said and done, she’ll return home to Scotland.

For finance guru Tomas Richards, relationships have been a bad investment—give him stocks and shares any day. When Tomas offers a marriage of convenience to help Brianna secure her inheritance, the sizzle between the sheets promises an affair to remember, despite family complications at every turn.

But Tom must convince Brianna to stay, and make this Italian affair a lifelong commitment.

Interview with Shaunta Grimes, Author of Viral Nation

Please welcome our special guest Shaunta Grimes!  Shaunta is the author of Viral Nation, a book that I am dying to read because protagonist Clover is autistic and because that super awesome dog on the cover.  Please check out what Shaunta has to say about her new book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Shaunta Grimes] Shaunta Grimes has done a lot of things and been a lot of places, but she always comes back to storytelling.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Viral Nation?

[Shaunta Grimes] Viral Nation is a YA science fiction story about a group of kids who accidentally start a second American Revolution. It has a time-traveling submarine, the Ponderosa Ranch, Lake Tahoe, and a casino called The Dinosaur.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Shaunta Grimes] When I started writing Viral Nation, the US economy was at its worst point of the current recession, gas prices were soaring over $4 a gallon for the first time, people were losing their houses all over the place. The US was involved in two wars, people were scared about the possibility of the bird flu becoming a serious problem, the weather was doing weird things. I wanted to write a story about a collapsed society from the point of view of the young people who inherit it.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to write about a really interesting character who happened to have autism, and that I wanted to explore the experience of being the sibling of a person who has autism. I was inspired by the relationship between my two oldest kids when I was writing Clover and West.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Clover?

[Shaunta Grimes] brilliant, awkward, freak

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Clover had a theme song, what would it be?

[Shaunta Grimes] The one song that I listened to over and over again while I was writing Clover’s story was “Raise Your Glass” by Pink. I love how it celebrates being different. But, I think that if Clover had a theme song all her own, it would be “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keyes.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Clover is never without.

[Shaunta Grimes] I had a hard time choosing between her dog, Mango, and her mother’s old red Chucks. In the end, it’s Mango. He’s an extension of her.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Clover’s pockets?

[Shaunta Grimes] Anything slimy, lipstick, a cell phone.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Shaunta Grimes] Amazing stories. I read a lot. My favorite authors are Octavia Butler, Neil Gaiman, Nancy Farmer, Paolo Bacigalupi . . . I could go on and on. I also go to a lot of movies and I watch television to feed my addiction to stories. I try to read, watch movies, and even watch TV like a writer. I look for what’s working in a show, for instance, that keeps me coming back week after week. If a movie keeps me watching without even noticing that time is passing, I try to figure out what made it special.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Shaunta Grimes] A notebook, a good pen, and a computer. I never revise while I’m writing a first draft, but I keep a notebook of notes for later editing.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Shaunta Grimes] Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Wreckers. What an amazing story.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Shaunta Grimes] When I was in the sixth grade, I took the city bus a few blocks to my local library and checked out Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. The librarian made me prove I could read it before she let me take it home. It was my first real trip out of the children’s library. I still remember the excitement I felt when I read it. I have always been a reader, so I didn’t really need to be turned on to it. There was something special about Scarlet O’Hara, though.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Shaunta Grimes] I love thrift shopping. I’m slightly addicted to finding vintage stuff.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Shaunta Grimes] They can reach me at They can also find me at, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can order Viral Nation from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below


About the book:

After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. The Company, which ended the plague by bringing a life-saving vaccine back from the future, controls everything. They ration the scant food and supplies through a lottery system, mandate daily doses of virus suppressant, and even monitor future timelines to stop crimes before they can be committed.

Brilliant but autistic, sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover’s refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future.

When one of Clover’s missions reveals that West’s life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West’s fate, they’ll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company’s rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imagined… and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever