Book Discovery: Debut Authors Books

I'm writing this post at 1.30 in the morning. Wondering what I am doing at this hour when everyone else is sleeping on their beds? Well, I am completing my assignment for tomorrow's presentation. A last minute work as usual. Okay, lets just forget about that. I've been busy lately. I haven't finished any book this week which is quite a disappointment. However, I manage to discover a few books to be added to my TBR piles. Both of the books are from debut authors which I discovered through , lets check it out!

The Mourning Hour
by Paula Treick DeBoard

A family's loyalty is put to the ultimate test in this haunting and unforgettable debut. Kirsten Hammarstrom hasn't been home to her tiny corner of rural Wisconsin in years-not since the mysterious disappearance of a local teenage girl rocked the town and shattered her family. Kirsten was just nine years old when Stacy Lemke went missing, and the last person to see her alive was her boyfriend, Johnny-the high school wrestling star and Kirsten's older brother. No one knows what to believe-not even those closest to Johnny-but the event unhinges the quiet farming community and pins Kirsten's family beneath the crushing weight of suspicion. Now, years later, a new tragedy forces Kirsten and her siblings to return home, where they must confront the devastating event that shifted the trajectory of their lives. Tautly written and beautifully evocative, The Mourning Hours is a gripping portrayal of a family straining against extraordinary pressure, and a powerful tale of loyalty, betrayal and forgiveness. -Goodreads

by Alan L. Lee

Lurking in the shadows, away from any government oversight, a secret partnership has been formed between an Israeli spymaster pulling the strings of the most efficient killing machine the Mossad has to offer and an exclusive billionaire boys club that wants to dictate the New World Order. In their pocket is a powerful U.S. senator who aspires to the presidency. Success means vast wealth and increased power, and they’ll stop at nothing to succeed. CIA operative Nora Mossa is trained to kill when the situation calls for it. She’s also capable of disappearing into thin air. Being efficient, deadly, and beautiful, however, won’t be enough to protect her after her mentor Erica Janway is assassinated in her Maryland home. With everyone in the Agency suspect, Nora turns to the only person capable of keeping her alive while she uncovers the truth behind Janway’s demise—her former lover and ex–CIA agent Alex Koves. That is, if he will even speak to her. With danger lurking in every corner of the globe, Koves and Nora must stay alive long enough to piece together the clues to a deadly plot capable of killing thousands in the Middle East. And the clock is ticking….-Goodreads

 Both sounds interesting and I'm so looking forward to read them. But for now I am hitting the sack. Have to wake up early for work. So, I wish you great weekend. Zzzz.....

Exclusive Author Interview: Abigail Tarttelin


Born in Grimsby, England, on October 13th 1987, Abby is a compulsive creative. Growing up, she wrote a ton of songs (some good, some meh), produced homemade zines, paintings and books. The last one she made with a stapler and A4 was the first draft of novel Flick. Abby began writing for screen for production company Living Spirit, and also started reviewing books for the Huffington Post. Since 2010 Abby has written for, and worked as Books Editor for Phoenix Magazine.

 Visit Abigail Tarttelin's: Webpage | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

I have read "Golden Boy" and it is one of my favorite reads for 2013. So, today at Coffee&Crackers is so honored to have the author, Abigail Tarttelin, for an exclusive interview.


C&C: How did you become a writer and when was the first time you write a novel/ story? Can you share with me what was the story all about?

Abigail Tarttelin:
I have always written compulsively but I was really inspired by my English teacher, who taught me that I had a license and a freedom to write about anything I wanted. The first novel I ever wrote was Flick. I started it when I was 19 and finished when I was 21, and I was inspired to write it because I felt that teenage boys from my region of England were missing out on a literary voice due to poor education and access to the publishing industry. With Golden Boy, I felt that a presentation of an intersex character in a mainstream, accessible novel was a worthwhile endeavour. I like to have a reason to write and to talk to people about a certain theme or issue.

C&C:  Describe about yourself in one sentence. 

Abigail Tarttelin:
Still growing up!

C&C: In your novel, "Golden Boy", you bring forward an issue of Intersexuality. In your opinion, how does it differs from LGBT? Did you do any special research on intersexuality? Have you meet anyone who are intersex?
Abigail Tarttelin:
Like all LGBTQIA issues, intersexuality is something one is born with and one has little to no control over. I have found that talking about intersex is different from talking about other LGBT issues because it is fairly under-represented in literature and culture and therefore readers have few preconceptions about intersex conditions. It makes it easier to have an open, accepting conversation with people when they have no pre-existing bias or beliefs about the condition. I did research intersexuality because I wanted to be as accurate as possible, although in writing Max I approached the character from the point of view that gender wasn't going to play a role in his development; it only has an impact on his life and voice following the incident at the opening of the book. I have met intersex people since Golden Boy was published and I'm happy to say everyone I've spoken to has appreciated the book.

C&C: I am so against abortion religiously and morally. What is your personal opinion about this issue?
Abigail Tarttelin: 
Like most Europeans, I believe it is unethical and immoral to force a woman to carry an embryo against her will, particularly since the maternal death rate worldwide is unacceptably high, with 800 women dying every day from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.

C&C: Just wondering, Max's brother, Daniel, does he suffered from any disorder? He sure throw a tantrum a lot. 

Abigail Tarttelin:
No he doesn't - but as a ten year old, his emotions are certainly a lot to handle!
C&C: What's your future project? Do you mind sharing? 

Abigail Tarttelin:
I'm currently working on a few short stories and my third novel. It's too early to tell what will happen though!
Thank you very much Abigail for the fun interview. I wish you all success for your future projects and your career. 

The Walkers are hiding something, you see. Max is special. Max is different. Max is intersex. When an enigmatic childhood friend named Hunter steps out of his past and abuses his trust in the worst possible way, Max is forced to consider the nature of his well-kept secret. Why won't his parents talk about it? What else are they hiding from Max about his condition and from each other? The deeper Max goes, the more questions emerge about where it all leaves him and what his future holds, especially now that he's starting to fall head over heels for someone for the first time in his life. Will his friends accept him if he is no longer the Golden Boy? Will anyone ever want him — desire him — once they know? And the biggest one of all, the question he has to look inside himself to answer: Who is Max Walker, really? - Goodreads

Book Review: The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

Title: The Peculiar | Author: Stefan Bachmann
Series: The Peculiar Book #1
Genre: Fantasy, Adventures, Middle Grade
Format: Kindle e-Book
Date Finished: June 7, 2013
CoffeeNCrackers Rating: 2 Cups of Coffee

  "Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged."

In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are changelings--Peculiars--and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them. One day a mysterious lady in a plum-colored dress comes gliding down Old Crow Alley. Bartholomew watches her through his window. Who is she? What does she want? And when Bartholomew witnesses the lady whisking away, in a whirling ring of feathers, the boy who lives across the alley--Bartholomew forgets the rules and gets himself noticed. First he's noticed by the lady in plum herself, then by something darkly magical and mysterious, by Jack Box and the Raggedy Man, by the powerful Mr. Lickerish and by Arthur Jelliby, a young man trying to slip through the world unnoticed, too, and who, against all odds, offers Bartholomew friendship and a way to belong. - Goodreads

My Review

First off, I really liked the cover, the clockwork bird. Story-wise I have a mixed feeling about this book. I like the whole idea, faeries, clockwork devices, the changelings, peculiar, and magic. However, the story turned out just okay and way below my expectation. The ideas which I think very brilliant and inventive are not well delivered resulting in a monotonous read. Is it because this is a middle grade book? Well, I reckon it is, because I have a feeling that the middle graders will love this book a tad more than I do. 

Bartholomew and his sister Hettie are changelings a.k.a the "Peculiars". Their mother keeps them away from the society in fear that people will know who or to be exact what they really are. Mr Lickerish is hunting down the peculiar children to unlock the door to the fairy world. Nine children die mysteriously and the door Hettie is the next changeling abducted by Lickerish, and Barthe has to save her. Together with Mr Jelliby, who accidentally knows Lickerish's secrets, they go on an adventure to save Hettie. 

I have to admit that "The Peculiar" is a well written story. Yes well written indeed. But the issue here is, the author plays a lot with difficult and bombastic words which make it difficult for me to understand the story. The sentences are too well structured and I don't think that the descriptive storytelling and poetic language that Bachmann uses to narrate this is a brilliant idea. Consider this is an adventure story, an outgoing and reckless narration would suit it better, or so I thought. I can see that Bachmann focuses more on the world development and missed out the importance of the character development which make the characters a bit dull.

Will I recommend this book to middle graders? Well yes, of course! Despite of all the flaws stated, I believe that "The Peculiar" would be a promising read for younger readers. Considering the fact that Bachmann has written this book when he was just 16 year old, more credits should be given to him.

FOOTNOTE: This review is linked up to Saturday Situation hosted by Candace of Candace's Book Blog and Lori of Pure Imagination.

The Friday 56: Dead Iron by Devon Monk

The Friday 56 is a fun weekly meme hosted by Freda of Freda's Voice. I'm currently reading a novel by Devon Monk, "Dead Iron". This book is action thriller steampunk novel. I rarely read something from this genre however this book caught my attention. "Dead Iron" is the first book of "Age of Steam" series. 

 "For good reason. Jeb Lindson felt the ground give way as he was pulled by the tickers over the cliff's edge, and down to his death." -Dead Iron, 56%

Music Box #1: Mirrors by Justin Timberlake


I've been listening to a few covers of this song on i.e Boyce Avenue ft. 5th Harmony and Cimorelli's covers before I listen to the original. It melodiously and lyrically great and I loved it. I know that this song will stick in my head for quite sometime.

It's like you're my mirror
 My mirror staring back at me
I couldn't get any bigger
With anyone else beside of me

And now it's clear as this promise
That we're making two reflections into one

 'Cause it's like you're my mirror
My mirror staring back at me, staring back at me..

Book Review: Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin

Title: Golden Boy | Author: Abigail Tarttelin
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Family, Sexuality
Format: Kindle e-Book
Date Finished: June 1, 2013
CoffeeNCrackers Rating: 4 Cups of Coffee

The Walkers are hiding something, you see. Max is special. Max is different. Max is intersex. When an enigmatic childhood friend named Hunter steps out of his past and abuses his trust in the worst possible way, Max is forced to consider the nature of his well-kept secret. Why won't his parents talk about it? What else are they hiding from Max about his condition and from each other? The deeper Max goes, the more questions emerge about where it all leaves him and what his future holds, especially now that he's starting to fall head over heels for someone for the first time in his life. Will his friends accept him if he is no longer the Golden Boy? Will anyone ever want him — desire him — once they know? And the biggest one of all, the question he has to look inside himself to answer: Who is Max Walker, really? - Goodreads

My Review
What will I do if I am in Max Walker's shoes? That is the question I ask myself once I finished reading this book. Little did I know about intersexuality, however Abigail Tartttelin, with her incredible writing talent, surprised me with "Golden Boy". This is definitely a gripping novel of gender and identity, which plays with the readers emotion and at the same time gives the readers a new perception of gender conflicts exist in the society. 

Max Walker is an intersex, but it was not a big issue for him. He was all athletic, brilliant, handsome, a perfect child to his parents, an idol to his brother, and a charming boyfriend to the schoolgirls. He was a "Golden Boy" .But, in one terrible night he was raped by his childhood friend, Hunter. The rape scene was the hardest part to read, it was awful that I even closed my eyes, as if I can feel the pain myself. 
"He's too big. The stretching snaps, stops, and turn to splitting. I can feel skin tearing down there" 
To make things worst, Max even got pregnant. This accident rocks his world so hard and everything around him crumbled apart. His parents argued a lot and his relationship with Sylvie was broken up. He was forced to make one hardest decision after another and it was really heartbreaking. 

At the beginning of the story, Daniel, Max's little brother mentioned that he wanted to write a story about his brother. So I was a bit skeptical as I thought "Oh, no! Will this be a story told from a seven year old POV?" However, I am glad that Abigail chose to tell the story from multiple points of view. For this kind of story, I really think that a multiple narration is brilliant because readers can understand the conflicts highlighted from different perspectives. For example, from Max's eyes I think that his mother's decisions were mostly wrong, especially when Max asked her to stop the abortion and give him more time to think over but she just ignored it. But when reading from Karen's perspective I kind of understand what made her to come into such a decision. Well, being a parents is not easy.

Some people may not like Karen and Steve, Max's parents, because most of the decisions they made seems wrong and selfish, but all they did is just to keep their children and family safe. When Steve runs for the election, he put his family away from the limelight. I thought that all he cares is his reputation and his chance to be elected will be effected if Max's secret becomes public, but actually Steve is doing the right thing because if the secret leaks out, it will do more damages to Max's life. I liked Max's girlfriend, Sylvie. She's so understanding, and matured. Definitely, not an average girl. And they look so cute together! But the reason I give this book four stars instead of five is because there are several characters which supposed to give more impact to the story are underdeveloped. For example Archie, one of Max's doctors, and of course Hunter. I wish that I could get to know him more. 

"We thought we understood gender - the idea of men and women as finite concepts with boundaries between each other, but lately I have come to understand that we are only just beginning to comprehend what 'gender' is, what it means to be allocated a certain gender, how much that informs the person a child becomes.." - Dr. Archie

All in all, I really enjoyed "Golden Boy". One of my favorite reads this year. This book gives me a new perception of gender issues. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, all these I considered as a spectrum of mental disorders. But, intersex is just a totally different issue. Totally recommended for teenagers and adults alike. 

FOOTNOTE: This review is linked up to Saturday Situation hosted by Candace of Candace's Book Blog and Lori of Pure Imagination.

Book Review: The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

Title: The Storyteller | Author: Jodi Picoult
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Format: Kindle e-Book
Date Finished: May 27, 2013
CoffeeNCrackers Rating: 5 Cups of Coffee

Sage Singer befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone's favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. They strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses…and then he confesses his darkest secret - he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor. What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who's committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren't the party who was wronged? And most of all - if Sage even considers his request - is it murder, or justice? - Goodreads

My Review   
I was blown away. That impression alone is enough to describe how great this book is. I am never disappointed by Jodi Picoult's novels and there is no exception for this one as well. It draws me to get lost in the story, brings me high and low, become engrossed with the narration, getting attached to the characters, breaks my heart to pieces, and in the end leaves me in a deep thinking. 

"The Storyteller" is a story about "forgiveness" interwoven with the dark and traumatic secrets of the pasts. Basically, this book is written in three parts: Part I: Sage befriended Josef, an ex-Nazi SS guard, Part II: The story of Minka during the darkest time of her life, the Holocaust, and Part III: Sage's final decision and Josef's atonement. The second part of the book is the hardest part for me to get through, it is awful, mentally exhausting, and too tragic. However, it is my favorite part as well as Picoult plays with my emotion and at the same time enlighten me with the events happened during the Nazi era and the Holocaust through the eyes of Minka, a survivor. I was also intrigued with this book because there's also a spooky story within. I was scared, I was angry, I was happy, I was broken-hearten, throughout the story.

Not only the story is brilliantly executed, but the characters also are well developed. Sage, Minka, and Josef are three strong characters. Throughout the story I can see how Sage's evolved from a self-contained, isolated girl into a confident and beautiful person, Minka's willpower and courage to survive, and Josef's atonement of his sins. They are powerful and inspiring characters brought together by Picoult to make this story irresistible. Once the story ended, lots of "I wish.." things pop out in my mind. I wish Sage realized the truth sooner. I wish she did not kill Josef (spoiler), I wish Minka could meet Josef before she died, I wish Josef told sage everything, the real story, who he really was. But, things haven't always happened in the ways that we wish it should happen. Life is more complicated than that. That is what  I have learned from "The Storyteller".

To forgive is not easy, and to forget is even harder. An amazing book is a book that we can take and learn something from it. Grab and read "The Storyteller" and your life will change. I truly recommended it to all readers out there. 

FOOTNOTE: This review is linked up to Saturday Situation hosted by Candace of Candace's Book Blog and Lori of Pure Imagination.

The Friday 56: The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

The Friday 56 is a fun weekly meme hosted by Freda of Freda's Voice. I'm currently reading a middle-grade novel by Stefan Bachmann called The Peculiar. It's a fay novel, with clockwork devices, and mysterious creatures. I think this is a good book for it's target group, middle-graders or maybe for adult as well. 

He manage to get out into the hall and would have lain there had not the floorboards begun flipping up, slamming him in the back, in the arm. - The Peculiar, 56%

Book Blogger Hop + Feature & Follow

Feature & Follow  is hosted by two awesome book bloggers Parajunkee @ and Alison @ Alison Can Read. while Book Blogger Hop is a fun meme hosted by Billy Burgess of These are media for us blogger to discover new blogs and to get people to know about our own. It makes our circle of friends even bigger. Happy Friday!!

F&F's Question:
Have you broken up with a series? If so which one and why?

It was Septimus Heap series. But to say that I've broken with this series is not totally true because I just read the first book, Magyk, and found out that it was just an OK book, I'm not impressed. So, I decided to not to continue with the series. Moreover, this series got so many books like seven or eight, I don't know. So I just gave up on this series.

BBH's Question: 
What is your favorite trilogy (series)? 

I've read The Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Caster Chronicles, and a few other series and trilogies, however The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter remaine as my all time favorite trilogy and series. They're phenomenal and it's like you want to read them again and again.

WWW Wednesdays {June 5, 2013}

WWW Wednesdays: A fun weekly meme hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading. This meme gives opportunity to  readers to share our current reading, books we recently finished and books we're going to read next.

What are you currently reading?
I'm currently reading a middle-grade book "The Peculiar" by Stefan Bachmann. I am intrigued with the idea of fay story combined with some mysteries and clockwork devices. I am halfway through the story and it is enjoyable thus far.

What did you recently finished reading?
The last book I read was a thought-provoking story of intersexuality, "Golden Boy" by Abigail Tarttelin. It was an eye-opening and I really liked the way the author tackles such a complicated issue in a beautifully written story of Max Walker. Recommended!

What do you think you'll read next?
Picking the next read is quite hard since I have several books that I really want to read soon. So, I've made a list of TBR books. Next books I'd read would be "Lost and Found", a romantic novel by Nicole Williams, and a mystery book by John Gaspard called "The Ambitious Card" (received from Netgalley)

Exclusive Author Interview: Susan Crandall


Susan grew up in a small Indiana town. Her younger sister admitted that she'd be writing secretly. This admission leads to her being her sister's editor. They co-authored four novels, none of which were published. Her sister stopped after the four, but Susan was totally addicted and continue. She is married to a guy from the same town she grew up and they have two grown children. 

Hi, readers! Today Coffee& Crackers are so excited to welcome Susan Crandall, the author of a to-be-released novel, Whistling Past the Graveyard to the blog and have a fun interview session talking about her previous profession, favorite writing spot, running away from home, racism, her novel: Whistling Past the Graveyard and the exclusive sneak peek of her future project! Give a big applause to my guest, Susan Crandall, everybody!


C&C: You were a dental hygienist before right? So, how did you become a writer and what are the differences between these two professions
Susan Crandall:   
Yes, I was a dental hygienist.  As that profession required a science degree, there isn’t any education overlap.  However, being a good writer often comes from being a good observer of people. I think my previous profession provided a good opportunity to study all kinds of people. 
I’ve always been an avid reader and love playing with words, but never considered trying my had at writing a novel until my younger sister decided to write something and asked me to help.  Once I got started collaborating with her, I was totally hooked.  She has since gone on to a career in real estate, but I’m still writing.
C&C:  What inspires your writing and where you spend  most of your time writing? some writers prefer to write on the beach or beautiful places. Do you have any favorite place?
Susan Crandall:  
Everything around me fuels my writing; people, relationships, current events, history.  There is never a shortage of ideas and inspiration when you open your eyes and your mind to what’s happening around you. I love to write outdoors.  I have a balcony off my office that’s my favorite place.  My main requirement is absolute solitude.  I can’t write with other people around me.  I know some folks like writing at cafes and such, but I’m far too distracted in a place like that.
C&C:  In your latest novel, Whistling Past the Graveyard, the story is narrated from a nine year old, Starla's point of view. Why you choose a little girl character? And how you put yourself in a little girl's mind? Is it difficult?
Susan Crandall:  
I always put a lot of thought into my characters and how they’ll interact with my plot before I begin writing any book.  For this coming-of-age story I wanted to give a perspective of the world seen directly through the eyes of a child—not as an adult reminiscing about an event that happened to her when she was a child.  I chose her age carefully, old enough to be beginning to look at the world outside of her own experience, old enough to be able to take care of her own basic needs, and yet young enough that this awakening to the wider world is just beginning and her impetuousness isn’t curbed.  I chose the time period and setting carefully as well.  Foremost among my reasons for these choices was the need for a time before an organized network that immediately begins searching for a missing child.  In the early 1960s small towns, kids Starla’s age regularly went out to play all day long and no one knew exactly where they were.  Also, I wanted it to be a time of change in our society; giving me a lot of fuel for conflict and drama. 
I really enjoy writing youthful characters and had a great time working on Starla’s story.  It did take a few chapters before I found the true rhythm of Starla’s voice, but once I found it, she was a joy to write.  And yes, it did take some discipline to keep my adult perceptions and voice out of it.  Using this unfiltered child’s point of view gave this story it’s flavor, but occasionally I struggled with how to present certain views so the reader understood that Starla was misunderstanding.  When you only have a nine-year-old’s words, a nine-year-9-old’s understanding, you have to figure out ways to convey deeper meaning to the reader.
C&C:  Just wondering, have you ever run away from home? 
Susan Crandall:
No!  Starla is much braver (and more impulsive) than I was as a child.
C&C:  About the racial segregation you highlighted in the book, did you do any special research on it? In this modern world, I believe racism still exist, what say you about this? 
Susan Crandall: 
I did a great deal of research.  Fortunately, the sixties was a time period of mass media, so I found a lot of first-hand accounts, film footage and the like to draw from.  I have to say, the film footage was the most compelling—I was able to see actual events as they were happening. As for racism in modern day, I feel we have made progress, but are far from the idyll of perfect equality, perfect harmony.  And of course, it varies widely around the world.
C&C: For me, Whistling Past the Graveyard will be a huge success. So, what will come next? Any new project in progress?
Susan Crandall:
Thank you! I do have another project brewing.  It takes place during another pivotal era in U.S. history, the 1920s.  It will have a youthful narrator, but one much nearer adulthood than Starla.  Sixteen-year-old Henry is the son of a German immigrant who suffered a great deal of anti-German sentiment during WWI.  Henry is falsely accused of a crime and goes on the run with a WWI veteran barnstorming pilot.  This story is still in the very early stages, but is beginning to take shape nicely.
C&C: Thank you Susan!
Susan Crandall:    
Thank you so much for this interview and your kind words about Whistling Past the Graveyard.


When Starla is grounded on the Fourth of July, she sneaks out to see the parade. After getting caught, Starla's fear that her grandmother, Mamie, will make good on her threats and send her to reform school cause her to panic and run away from home. Once out in the country, Starla is offered a ride by a black woman, Eula, who is traveling with a white baby. She happily accepts a ride,with the ultimate goal of reaching her mother in Nashville. As the two unlikely companions make their long and sometimes dangerous journey, Starla's eyes are opened to the harsh realities of 1963 southern segregation. Through talks with Eula, reconnecting with her parents, and encountering a series of surprising misadventures, Starla learns to let go of long-held dreams and realizes family is forged from those who will sacrifice all for you, no matter if bound by blood or by the heart. - NetGalley

FOOTNOTE: Whistling Past the Graveyard will be published on July 2nd, 2013 by Gallery Books. Pre-order this book : Amazon | Barnes&Noble | IndieBound. I received the e-ARC copy from  for review [Read MY REVIEW]