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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Exclusive Chapter Reveal- THE STEEP AND THORNY WAY by Cat Winters!




I am sooooooo excited!!!! Today I get the EXCLUSIVE chapter 1 reveal for THE STEEP AND THORNY WAY by Cat Winters releasing in March 8th, 2016! I adore Cat's other books and am dying to read this one too! Check out the synopsis and the first chapter!!


The Steep and Thorny Way
by Cat Winters
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Publisher: Amulet Books
ISBN: 9781419719158

About the Book:

A thrilling reimagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Steep and Thorny Way tells the story of a murder most foul and the mighty power of love and acceptance in a state gone terribly rotten.

1920s Oregon is not a welcoming place for Hanalee Denney, the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man. She has almost no rights by law, and the Ku Klux Klan breeds fear and hatred in even Hanalee’s oldest friendships. Plus, her father, Hank Denney, died a year ago, hit by a drunk-driving teenager. Now her father’s killer is out of jail and back in town, and he claims that Hanalee’s father wasn’t killed by the accident at all but, instead, was poisoned by the doctor who looked after him—who happens to be Hanalee’s new stepfather.

The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she needs is to ask Hank himself, a “haint” wandering the roads at night.


Find THE STEEP AND THORNY WAY Online:


The sneak peek . . .

CHAPTER ONE: MURDER MOST FOUL

I drew a deep breath and marched into the woods behind my house with a two-barreled pistol hidden beneath my blue cotton skirt. The pocket-size derringer rode against my outer right thigh, tucked inside a holster that had, according to the boy who’d given it to me, once belonged to a lady bootlegger who’d been arrested with three different guns strapped to her legs. Twigs snapped beneath my shoes. My eyes watered and burned. The air tasted of damp earth and metal.

Several yards ahead, amid a cluster of maples blanketed in scaly green lichen, stood a fir tree blackened by lightning. If I turned right on the deer trail next to that tree and followed a line of ferns, I’d find myself amid rows of shriveled grapevines in the shut-down vineyard belonging to my closest friend, Fleur, her older brother, Laurence, and their war-widowed mama.

But I didn’t turn.

I kept trekking toward the little white shed that hid the murderer Joe Adder.

Fleur’s whispers from church that morning ran through my head, nearly tipping me off balance during my clamber across moss-slick rocks in the creek. “Reverend Adder doesn’t even want his boy around anymore,” she had told me before the sermon, her face bent close to mine, fine blond hair brushing across her cheeks. “He won’t let Joe back in the house with the rest of the kids. Laurence is hiding him in our old shed. And Joe wants to talk to you. He’s got something to say about the night his car hit your father.”

I broke away from the creek and hiked up a short embankment covered in sedges and rushes that tickled my bare shins. At the top of the bank, about twenty-five feet away, sat a little white structure built of plaster and wood. Before he left for the Great War, Fleur’s father used to store his fishing gear and liquor in the place, and he sometimes invited my father over for a glass of whiskey, even after Oregon went bone-dry in 1916. Bigleaf maples hugged the rain-beaten shingles with arms covered in leaves as bright green as under-ripe apples. A stovepipe poked out from the roof, and I smelled the sharp scent of leftover ashes—the ghost of a fire Joe must have lit the night before, when the temperature dropped into the fifties.

I came to a stop in front of the shed, my pulse pounding in the side of my throat. My scalp sweltered beneath my knitted blue hat, along with the long brown curls I’d stuffed and pinned inside. I leaned over and drew the hem of my skirt above my right knee, exposing the worn leather of the holster. I took another deep breath and wiggled the little derringer out of its hiding place.

With my legs spread apart, I stood up straight and pointed the pistol at the shed’s closed door. “Are you in there, Joe?”

A hawk screeched from high above the trees, and some sort of animal splashed in the pond that lay beyond the shed and the foliage. But I didn’t hear one single peep out of Joe Adder.

“Joe?” I asked again, this time in as loud and deep a voice as I could muster. Tree-trunk strong, I sounded. Sticky sweat rolled down my cheeks, and my legs refused to stop rocking back and forth. “Are you in there?”

“Who’s there?”

I gripped the pistol with both my hands. The voice I heard was a husky growl that couldn’t have belonged to clean-cut, preacher’s-boy Joe, from what I remembered of him. It and a splashing sound seemed to come from the pond, not the shed.

“Who’s there?” he asked again. I heard another splash.

I lowered the pistol to my side and crept around to the back of the shed, feeling my tongue dry up from panting. I pushed past a tangle of blackberry bushes, pricking a thumb on a thorn, and came to a stop on the edge of the bank. My feet teetered on the gnarled white root of a birch.

In the pond, submerged up to his navel in the murky green water, stood a tanned and naked Joe Adder, arms akimbo, a lock of dark brown hair hanging over his right eye. His shoulders were broad and sturdy, his biceps surprisingly muscular, as though prison had worked that scrawny little white boy hard.

My mouth fell open, and my stomach gave an odd jump. The last time I’d seen Joe, back in February 1921, seventeen months earlier, he’d been a slick-haired, sixteen-year-old kid in a fancy black suit, blubbering on a courthouse bench between his mama and daddy.

This new version of my father’s killer—now just a few months shy of his eighteenth birthday, almost brawny, his hair tousled and wild—peered at me without blinking. Drops of water plunked to the pond’s surface from his elbows.

“You don’t want to shoot me, Hanalee,” he said in that husky voice of his. “I don’t recommend prison to anyone but the devils who threw me in there.”

I pointed the pistol at his bare chest, my right fingers wrapped around the grip. “If you had run over and killed a white man with your daddy’s Model T,” I said, “you’d still be behind bars, serving your full two years . . . and more.”

“I didn’t kill anyone.”

“I bet you don’t know this”—I shifted my weight from one leg to the other—“but people tell ghost stories about my father wandering the road where you ran him down, and I hate those tales with a powerful passion.”

“I’m sorry, but—”

“But those stories don’t make me half as sick as you standing there, saying you didn’t kill anyone. If you didn’t kill him, you no-good liar, then why didn’t you defend yourself at your trial?”

Joe sank down into the water and let his chin graze the surface. Long, thick lashes framed his brown eyes, and he seemed to know precisely how to tilt his head and peek up at a girl to use those lashes to his advantage. “They never gave me a chance to speak on the witness stand,” he said. “They hurried me into that trial, and then they rushed me off to prison by the first week of February. And I didn’t get to say a goddamned word.”

I pulled the hammer into a half-cocked position with a click that echoed across the pond. Joe’s eyes widened, and he sucked in his breath.

“You lied to your family about delivering food to the poor that Christmas Eve,” I said, “and you crashed into my father because you were drunk on booze from some damn party. My new stepfather witnessed him die from injuries caused by you, so don’t you dare fib to me.”

“Don’t you dare shoot me before I talk to you about that stepdaddy of yours.”

“I don’t want to hear what you have to say about Uncle Clyde. I’m not happy he married my mama, but he’s a decent man.”

“Stop pointing that gun at me and let me talk.”

“Give me one good reason why I should listen to you.” I aimed the pistol at the skin between Joe’s eyebrows. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t squeeze this trigger and sh—”

“You should listen to me, Hanalee, because you’re living with your father’s murderer.”

About Cat: 

Cat Winters is an award-winning author of YA and adult fiction. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, received multiple starred reviews and was named a Morris Award finalist and a School Library Journal Best Book of 2013. Her second novel, The Cure for Dreaming, was named to ALA’s 2015 Amelia Bloomer Project list and the 2014 Tiptree Award longlist. Her newest YA novel, The Steep and Thorny Way, is a 2016 Junior Library Guild selection. In a starred review, Kirkus called the novel “A riveting story of survival, determination, love, and friendship.” Cat lives in Portland, Oregon. You can find her online at www.CatWinters.com and at Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram.


Find Cat Online:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads 



2 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this one - Cat Winters is my auto-buy, must-read author. It was a beautifully written, and I think really important novel about the less palatable aspects of history.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love this post. <3 Thank you so so much for sharing Jaime :D I aaaaadored this book the most. And I cannot wait to read it again :D And for others to read it too. Yay!

    ReplyDelete

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