Monday, January 27, 2014

New Year Giveaway #4: All the Truth that's in Me, by Julie Berry

For a more serious review of this amazing book, go here for my initial review. It says something like: To call this book riveting is an understatement, but what else can you say? Gripping, spell-binding, relentless, enthralling, stay-in-bed-and-pretend-you're-sick-for-a-weekend-so-you-can-finish-it-good. If you haven't been glued to a book in a while, this one's for you.

But I didn't want to repeat myself, so here's a sillier post for you to enjoy.

I have already read what will possibly be my favorite book of the year, although it was published in 2012. It's called Cozy Classics: Moby Dick by Holman and Jack Wang.

It's a board book.

It's twelve pages long.

It's twelve WORDS long.

And those twelve words made me laugh so hard in the middle of a crowded library that I think I might just "lose" it at home and pay for it as a lost book. No, no. I would never do that.

I really wish I could write you these twelve words. But I will include a link and encourage you to go out and buy it.

So in honor of this masterpiece and in hopes the editors will meander by this site and hire me on the spot, I offer you my own Cozy Classic of Julie Berry's All the Truth That's In Me which is on my shortlist of best loved books of 2013. Julie's book will be our next giveaway because her version (as opposed to mine) is actually good. Great. Remarkable. You should really get your hands on a copy if you don't win it here.

To win, you have to post and let me know your favorite classic book. Or your favorite board book. Or whether or not you've read Moby Dick...either the Melville version or the board book.

Cozy Classic: All the Truth That's In Me (keep in mind, that I don't want to actually give anything too important away...)

... Oh darn. I just can't write a last word without ruining the ending. You'll have to read it and see what last word you would pick. And, to be honest, this little ditty doesn't do a shred of justice to the actual book. Not one shred.

Also, I think I can get this giveaway signed for you. No, not by me. By Julie. She is very nice like that.


Winner #3!

Tracy Townsend, you are the winner this week!  If you will email your address to Katie at we will mail your book.  Good luck with your work in progress!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Links for Starting A New Writing Project & Giveaway: Phyllis Whitney’s WRITING JUVENILE STORIES AND NOVELS

There is a lot of talk about how the internet is a horrible time suck, a devil waiting to distract writers from their work. This certainly is true. However, it also can be a great way to prepare for starting a new project.  The trick is to set limits on how long you rev your writing engine before you actually start writing.

In the spirit of inspired beginnings here is a podcasts series, a YouTube and websites I used recently to help me get ready to start my new project.

1.  Narrative breakdown—an amazing and ongoing series with hosts Cheryl Klein and James Monahan as well as guest co-hosts, such as Rainbow Rowell and E. Lockhart.  Covers a wide range of writing topics, including many that will help with developing story ideas. 

2. Difference between mystery and suspense—One of the problems I have when beginning a story is making sure I choose a beginning that matches the genre I’m aiming for.  This link and the next are excellent for focusing on that issue.

3. Tons of inspiration here--even if romance is secondary and not the focus of your project.

4. Building a fictional world. A TED-ed talk by Kate Messner. This short talk is purely for fun—and it’s a great reminder about world building no matter what genre you write.

5. Writing a killer opening line.  Great inspiration, but remember you’re about to write a first draft. Chances are the first sentence you write will not be the one you end up with after revision. However, this article applies to more than that single sentence and is worth a read.

6. And, as a bonus, the secrets to writing a best selling novel--because why not start with a positive attitude.

Giveaway of the week:  Phyllis Whitney’s WRITING JUVENILE STORIES AND NOVELS.

I recently bought this older book on writing because I’m a long time fan of Phyllis Whitney’s storytelling.  However, my expectation weren’t high since the book was originally written in the 1960’s.  I was totally wrong. This is one of the best writing books I’ve come across. The advice is solid and easy to understand. It has fantastic advice on how to choose the right type of beginning for different stories, outlining . . . pretty much every aspect of writing. This book is good for beginning and advanced writers.   

This book is out of prints, so the winner will be receiving a second hand copy.  To enter you need to leave a comment on this post and be a follower of this blog. 

Winners of Week #2 Giveaways!

Thanks to Suzanne, we had 2 copies to giveaway this week!  I used a random number generator app to determine the winners.  Drumroll please……….
Rinda Clyde!

Please email Katie at with your address so we can mail your book!  Thanks for commenting and check back, we have more giveaways to come!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Giving Away Week the 2nd!

It seems only fair to me that I make The Golden City my giveaway book this week, since I got my first copy in a giveaway.  I don't honestly remember when exactly the giveaway was, as it took me a little time to receive the book and then pull it off the bedside stack and read it.  I remember when I opened it though.  I was recovering from a cold, and having trouble making headway against the germs.  It was one of those nasty bugs that leave us flat in bed wishing we could strike a bargain--any bargain--with the tissue god so he'll accept your mountainous offerings of crumpled white tissues and let you get up and get back to real life.

Enter into this fevered state the cool, calm presence of Oriana, and Kathleen Cheney's smooth narrative voice.  She's telling the story of a place with magic, poise, and all the finer things of life.  But, wait!  Your mind may have flown to Downton Abbey, but the high society folk of The Golden City are the prince's nobility from historic Portugal.  Against the dynamic intrigue of the city, a little romance and a lot of magic add sizzle and warmth.  Beneath that surface an undercurrent of murder and dark magic drive the book's plot, as the characters struggle to find friendship, love and hope in a web of spying and fear.  Perhaps most important, the story left me hungry for the sequel, and the characters have continued to walk around in my head--or sometimes swim, in the case of the Sereia and Selkies!

Thanks to the generosity of Kathleen (and her publisher!) we have two copies of The Golden City to give away.  Leave a comment to win your copy, and enjoy!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Giveaway #1 Winner

Congratulations  Jess!  You are the winner of New Year Giveaway # 1.  A copy of KING HEREAFTER and UNSPOKEN will be mailed to you!  Send me an email with your address to Katie at

Thanks for all of the great comments.  I have added some new titles to my to be read list! Check back tomorrow for Giveaway #2.  I can’t wait to see what Suzanne has in store!

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year Giveaway #1

Happy 2014!

Here at the Cabinet, we have been having late night email conversations about the future of this group blog and have concluded that, as difficult as we each find it to get here, we aren't ready to give up on something we love so much. There are behind-the-scenes maneuverings taking place, but we want to set off the new year with a bang and have Four Mondays in a Row of Book Giveaways!

Since I (Laura) was a December slacker and didn't share my favorite 2013 reads, I'm going first.

(True confession time: I sometimes feel like the odd writer out on this blog, since I am the only one not writing for some range of the children's/young adult market. Which makes me all nervous and twitchy when it comes to things like recommending and/or giving away books.)

Despite those nerves, I did want to let you know about a few of my favorite 2013 reads. In no particular order:

ELEANOR AND PARK & FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell--since Pat already gushed about these two, I'll simply add that I am a smitten kitten fangirl of Rainbow Rowell now. When not writing, you might find me stalking her online or deciphering her books to see just how she weaves her magic.

KING HEREAFTER by Dorothy Dunnett--this is a dense, rich, addictive historical fiction standalone about Thorfinn, Earl of the Orkney Islands in the half-barbaric world of the mid-11th century. Thorfinn must navigate his way between the competing powers of Norway and an England growingly increasingly consolidated. Chance and his own skills bring Thorfinn to a tipping point in history, welding Scotland into a single nation. Oh, and because Thorfinn must deal with English and continental Christians, he is sometimes known to history by his Christian baptismal name . . . Macbeth. Trust me, this is not Shakespeare's Macbeth. When you read this novel, I defy you not to root for Thorfinn and his lady wife, Groa.

UNSPOKEN by Sarah Rees Brennan & THE NAME OF THE STAR by Maureen Johnson--two writers I discovered on Twitter and promptly decided that if their books were half as funny as they themselves were, I wanted to read them. UNSPOKEN is an updated Gothic about Kami Glass, who has lived all her life with a voice in her head known as Jared. But Kami is no moonstruck girl--she's an intrepid high school reporter who wants to know why the Lynburn family have returned to their enormous mansion overlooking the town. And when she discovers that Jared is more than just a voice, Kami has to deal with the physical realities of a boy who doesn't seem too thrilled that she exists. THE NAME OF THE STAR is the story of American teen Rory who comes to boarding school in London and promptly gets caught up in a Jack the Ripper copycat killing spree. But there's more to these murders than Rory thinks, especially when she finds out that not everyone she's talking to at her new school is still alive. Both writers deliver suspenseful, romantic, unexpected, and often laugh-out-loud funny books that I highly recommend.

Must. Stop. Now. Before I get completely carried away. (I'm a fairly easy-to-please reader. I open every book WANTING to fall in love with it.)

For the first giveaway of January, I'm going to offer KING HEREAFTER, even though it's nowhere near YA, because it was simply my favorite book of the year. But I'll throw in UNSPOKEN as well, if only because I want more people to read lines like the following: "Some people, Kami knew, had bedroom eyes. Jared, she was sad to have to admit, had filthy-alleway eyes . . . 'For killing people in!'"

To win these two books, simply leave a comment with your favorite read of the year . . . or the book you're most looking forward to reading in 2014 . . . or your favorite color . . . or simply say hello. Did I mention I'm easy? ;)

ETA: This giveaway will run all week, until midnight Sunday, January 12th!