Morgan Hawk

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Somewhere in the future, Em and her best friend Finn are imprisoned in adjacent cells and subjected to torture at the hands of a man called “the doctor.” Inside the drain in her cell, Em finds a piece of paper written in her own handwriting. Two things are clear: Time travel is possible, and the only option is to kill “him.” With the help of a guard, Em and Finn escape from their prison and access a time machine to take them four years into the past, where their actions could prevent a world war. In the days before impending disaster, Em and Finn’s loyal friendship may be the only thing strong enough to take on the untouchable doctor.

Four years earlier, Marina is the typical girl next door in love with her cute neighbor, James, made all the cuter because he has remained clueless for years. Things look like they may be finally falling into place for James and Marina, but life begins unraveling when tragedy strikes. Someone tries to kill James’ brother, and James struggles to discover the secrets behind the assassination attempt. Marina wants to be there for James, but standing beside him is not always a safe place to be. As the future begins catching up with James and Marina, they will be forced to grow up quickly, but they may not like what they discover about themselves. Love and friendship bind them, but is anything permanent with the invention of a time machine?

Great time travel stories are rife with spoilers, so little more of the plot can be shared. Cristin Terrill’s fast-paced debut novel, All Our Yesterdays, is a multilayered tale that goes beyond entertaining. Incorporating the paradoxes of time travel, evil doctors and secret government operations, this novel has a bit of everything for any reader seeking adventure.

Somewhere in the future, Em and her best friend Finn are imprisoned in adjacent cells and subjected to torture at the hands of a man called “the doctor.” Inside the drain in her cell, Em finds a piece of paper written in her own handwriting. Two things are clear: Time travel is possible, and the […]
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Philippa Gregory continues her Cousins’ War series with The White Princess. The year is 1485, and as alliances fail and the York reign comes to an end, the loyalty of the York women to King Henry VII is tested. Elizabeth of York, the oldest York princess, was prepared to marry her lover Richard III, whom she assumed would win the battle of Bosworth and become the next king. Devastated by the news of his death, Elizabeth finds her life drastically changed. Alongside his ambitious, plotting mother, the Red Queen, Henry Tudor plans to marry Elizabeth to unify the warring Tudors and Yorks and create peace in England. Elizabeth finds herself reluctantly betrothed to her lover’s murderer, in an attempt to bring peace to her country. Soon, her loyalties are tested as she is torn between the family of her past and her alliance to her new husband.

Despite their gradually strengthening bond, Henry continues to question Elizabeth’s commitment, since the one thing that could threaten his reign is a challenge from a member of the House of York. And lurking in the background is the memory of the two missing York princes. Henry and the entire kingdom know that as long as there are still living males of the York line, his position as king is not safe. Are they out there?

The White Princess is a story of honor, politics and loyalty. Deception and rumors whisper through the damp and drafty halls of dark castles, creating a story full of intrigue. The pace remains consistent as the story careens down a maze of hallways, each ending in the discovery of another veiled lie. By attempting to explain the mystery of the two missing York princes, Gregory has created a tale of the choices we make and the consequences we cannot imagine. 

Philippa Gregory continues her Cousins’ War series with The White Princess. The year is 1485, and as alliances fail and the York reign comes to an end, the loyalty of the York women to King Henry VII is tested. Elizabeth of York, the oldest York princess, was prepared to marry her lover Richard III, whom […]
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Sarah and Jennifer believed that to be informed was to be prepared, so they became versed in all of the statistics of threatening situations and created a list of things to never do. They strictly followed the list until one night in college when they got in a car with a stranger—a devastating choice that led to five years of unspeakable torture, as Sarah and Jennifer were held captive with two other girls in an unforgiving cellar.

A former victim confronts old fears in this disturbing abduction thriller.

Ten years later, Sarah is trying to live with the realities of what happened, including the loss of her best friend and the fact that her former captor is up for parole in four months. He has been sending letters from jail to the three surviving girls, and Sarah believes that there is more to these letters than the mindless ramblings of a madman. She is determined to find evidence to keep her tormentor in jail and put her own mind to rest.

Following the directions of a maniac and piecing together pieces from the past, Sarah finds herself on a journey that is far removed from the sanctuary she has been hiding in for the last 10 years. Her search is interrupted by flashback chapters, slowly revealing the gruesome nature of Sarah’s years in captivity, and readers will experience the uneasy horrors of Sarah’s past as she works her way through a psychopath’s mind in search of her best friend's body. The fact that the evil man is still in jail slightly dilutes the story’s suspense, but all is not as it appears: Someone is doing his work for him, and Sarah risks getting in the way. Conflicts encountered along the way are quickly resolved, but the constant twists and turns will keep readers guessing until the end.

This story is a twisted tale of a courageous woman trying to make sense of a madman’s mind, but in her darkest moments, Sarah will be surprised by her own strengths and weaknesses. In addition to the terrifying moments, Sarah’s story is one of friendship, trust and the search for truth. For readers looking for a psychological thriller, The Never List will be hard to beat.

Sarah and Jennifer believed that to be informed was to be prepared, so they became versed in all of the statistics of threatening situations and created a list of things to never do. They strictly followed the list until one night in college when they got in a car with a stranger—a devastating choice that […]
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Have you ever dreamed of living in a treehouse? Terry and Andy live in a towering treehouse beyond anything I ever imagined spending a night in. This amazing home has everything two boys could need: A secret lab, a see-through swimming pool, a giant catapult and a lemonade fountain are just a few of the surprises.

Terry and Andy work as a team to make books for their publisher, Mr. Big Nose—Terry as author and Andy as illustrator. But with all of the fascinating distractions of the treehouse, they have missed the deadline for their next book. While waiting for inspiration, the boys run into every imaginable—and unimaginable—situation, from sea monsters and mermaids to an out-of-control marshmallow shooter. Along the way, each will learn lessons in friendship and responsibility.

Australians Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton, who collaborated on such previous hits as Killer Koalas from Outer Space, star as their younger selves in this clever and entertaining romp. Denton’s black-and-white illustrations, filled with expression and imaginative detail, will draw in even the most reluctant reader. From monkey poop to a burping contest, there’s also plenty of guy humor woven into the story.

In The 13-Story Treehouse, the first in a new series, young readers will find themselves giggling at the crazy antics of Terry and Andy—and undoubtedly dreaming of a treehouse all their own.

Have you ever dreamed of living in a treehouse? Terry and Andy live in a towering treehouse beyond anything I ever imagined spending a night in. This amazing home has everything two boys could need: A secret lab, a see-through swimming pool, a giant catapult and a lemonade fountain are just a few of the […]
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While the story of Henry VIII and his descendants continues to fascinate, it's getting more and more difficult for a writer to make it feel fresh. Debut novelist Laura Andersen manages that feat in The Boleyn King, a story that imagines what might have happened if Anne Boleyn had borne a living son. In Andersen's alternate universe, King Henry IX—known familiarly as William—is on the throne at 18. Along with his older sister Elizabeth Tudor, Andersen adds two fictional companions for the young King: a trusted counselor and best friend, Dominic, and his mother's beautiful ward Minuette. We asked Andersen a few questions about her thrilling, romantic debut (there's a love triangle!).

Reimagining history makes for an ambitious first novel! What led you to create a story about an alternate life for Anne Boleyn and the royal family?
While reading a biography of Anne Boleyn in 2004, I was struck by the sadness and irony of her miscarriage in January 1536, on the very day of Catherine of Aragon’s funeral. Just four months later, Anne was executed and Henry VIII had moved on to Jane Seymour in his search for a living son. What if, I wondered, Anne had not miscarried? That question lay dormant for a year until my second visit to London, where I was seized upon by several characters who wound their way into my previous idle wonderings and made the story their own.

In what ways do Dominic and Minuette complement William and Elizabeth?
Dominic and Minuette gave me a way to understand the royal characters that I wouldn’t otherwise. Partly because they get their own POVs in the story and thus we have the impressions of those who are not themselves royal, but also because they are the friends. We are all a little different with those we’re closest too (for good and bad) than with others. I think of it a bit like getting to see royalty both on and off stage—Dominic and Minuette give William and Elizabeth a safe space in which to be all of themselves and not just the titles they’ve been bred to carry.

The Boleyn King is full of real and imagined characters. Was it easier to write about the real or imagined characters?
Hands down, no question about it—the imagined characters are easier to write. Of the POV characters, by far the most difficult for me to write was Elizabeth Tudor. I was so highly aware of her as a real woman and of my audacity in walking into her head and rearranging her life, that I could get easily get in my own way in trying to write her and get stuck. In the end I had to tell myself that, for the purposes of my story, even the real people are characters and I had to treat them as such.

This novel is set in a very definite time and place. How much historical research was required?
Although I change the timeline, clearly the period details need to be authentic. As a writer, I tend to write first drafts with what I know and make notes along the way of all the things I don’t know. Then I research the specific questions: How far from Dover to Hever Castle? How many living Dudley children were there in 1555 (sidenote—did they really have to share first names?)? How were messages ciphered in the 16th century? First and foremost, I always want it remembered that I am a storyteller and not an historian. I will get things wrong. I just hope to avoid getting the wrong things wrong, if you will.

"In the end I had to tell myself that, for the purposes of my story, even the real people are characters and I had to treat them as such."

Without giving too much away, the alternate history you create doesn't drastically change the eventual course of events. While rewriting history, how did destiny factor in? 
There was one absolute for me, from the very moment this story idea crossed my mind: I cannot envision a world in which Elizabeth Tudor was not queen. Elizabeth must be queen. That was the destiny part of my story. Beyond that, I’ve had fun playing with the real fates of real people and coming at them sideways. George Boleyn, the Duke of Northumberland, Jane Grey, Mary Tudor . . . these were all people whose final ends I kept in mind and tried to stitch into the fabric of how they behave in my altered world.

Why do you think this setting is so appealing to readers?
All stories, naturally, require conflict. And monarchs that held something much closer to absolute power had a wide range of conflict that was literally life and death. My daily conflict tends more to the finishing homework, curfews, don’t-roll-your-eyes-at-me, when is the last time I cooked variety so perhaps I’m looking for the higher cause of saving an entire kingdom. Or perhaps I just really like swords and corsets and spies and the thought that one wrong move could bring down not only yourself but kingdoms.

If you could live during any time in history, would you choose to live among the Tudors? If not, where—and why?
Absolutely not, because they scare me to death. Also, I am highly devoted to showers and electricity. Which doesn’t leave me a large swath of history to work with, does it? Perhaps the 1920s, and somewhere exotically overseas like East Africa. I’ve been to Kenya and love the vision (no doubt elusive) of shady verandas and cool dresses and wide-brimmed hats that is so easy to conjure in that landscape.

Do you read historical fiction? Which novelists have inspired you?
My first historical fiction loves when young were Victoria Holt’s gothic novels of governesses and secret identities and lonely castles. Two historical fiction writers that inspire me today beyond measure are Dorothy Dunnett (The Lymond Chronicles is a stunning series, and I’m now reading about Macbeth in King Hereafter) and Sharon Kay Penman, whose Here Be Dragons is on my top 10 list of favorite books.

The Boleyn King is the first in a trilogy. Any hints on what we can expect in the next novel?
More secrets, naturally. And intrigue as William attempts to keep his interest in Minuette discreet. Minuette is introduced to the French court, which leads to some interesting encounters with people Dominic might wish she didn’t encounter. And there are several new faces from history, chief among them Francis Walsingham and John Dee, who begin to show Elizabeth a part of herself she may not have recognized until now.

 

While the story of Henry VIII and his descendants continues to fascinate, it's getting more and more difficult for a writer to make it feel fresh. Debut novelist Laura Andersen manages that feat in The Boleyn King, a story that imagines what might have happened if Anne Boleyn had borne a living son. In Andersen's […]

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