Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Devils Within by S.F. Henson (Movie Cast + Giveaway)

I am thrilled to have new author S.F Henson here on the blog today as part of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 event. She will be sharing to us her casting pick for her debut contemporary novel, Devils Within. The book promise a haunting, heartbreaking and thought provoking read.

To know more about the author and Devils Within. Check the author’s bio and book’s description that follows after the guest post. There are also links where you can catch up with the author or where to pre-order copies of the book. And if you are from the US or Canada, and would like to take a chance in winning a signed advance readers’ copy of Devils Within, there’s a giveaway at the end of this post. Just enter the rafflecopter form. But before that, here’s Sarah with her casting pick for her debut novel. Enjoy!

Devils Within Movie Cast

Nate Fuller: Tyler Young

The main character, Nate, is tall and thin, but muscular, with a dark side that always simmers beneath the surface, and I think Tyler captures that perfectly.

Brandon Kingsley: Chris O’Neal

Brandon is Nate’s first friend. He’s tall, which helps his basketball game. He’s naturally laid back, but there’s more going on down deep–you just have to earn his trust before he shows that side to you. When I look at Chris, I see those layers that are so important to Brandon’s character.

Dell Clemons: Norman Reedus

Confession: I always had Norman in mind when writing Nate’s uncle, Dell. Dell is a complicated character. He’s closed-off and guarded, but he has a benevolent streak running through him that pops up every now and then. Norman is so good at playing those types of characters. He might also be my celeb crush, haha.

Bev Liu: Liu Wen

Bev is Nate’s uncle’s girlfriend. Liu Wen is a model, not an actor, but soon as I saw her I knew she was Bev. Bev is independent and tough. She doesn’t let many people in, but when she does, she’s fiercely loyal.

Kelsey Sawyer: Katherine Langford

Kelsey is strong and opinionated, and, like Nate, has a dark side. I can totally see Katherine Langford playing her. Not just because she fits the image of Kelsey I had in my head when writing her, but she can look tough too. This picture is the embodiment of Kelsey.

Iria Kingsley: Thandie Newton

Full disclosure: I pictured Debbie Allen when writing Brandon’s mother, but she’s older than Brandon’s mother would be, so if I were casting her in a movie today, I’d go with Thandie Newton. Mrs. Kingsley is a big character. By that I mean her personality fills any room she’s in. She’s warm and loving, and sharp. Not much gets by her. I think Thandie would kill the role.

Dr. James Kingsley: Taye Diggs

Brandon’s dad is a professor who has high expectations for his children. He expects nothing less than their best and pushes them, but it always comes from a place of love. Taye perfectly hits that combination of tough but loving.

Henry Kingsley: Michael B. Jordan

Henry is Brandon’s older brother. Like Brandon, he’s easy-going, but he feels their dad’s pressure more than Brandon does. Michael has that balance of fun-loving but serious that sums up who Henry is.


Dream Director: David Fincher

Fight Club, Gone Girl, Seven. Fincher’s aesthetic would fit the mood of this book SO well.

Dream Film Score: Trent Reznor

Reznor and Fincher have worked together on several movies in the past, and Nine Inch Nails appears on the soundtrack of songs I listened to while writing DEVILS WITHIN. His music would be amazing alongside this story.


S.F. Henson was born and raised in the deep south. She graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Animal Science, which she put to great use by attending law school. Her law degree has gotten some mileage, though, giving her the experience to write about criminals and other dark, nefarious subjects. She lives beside a missile test range in Huntsville, Alabama with her husband, dog, two oddly named cats, and, of course, the missiles that frequently shake her house.

Find Sara

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


Book Details:

Title: Devils Within
Author: S.F. Henson
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date: October 17, 2017
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover, eBook

Killing isn’t supposed to be easy. But it is. It’s the after that’s hard to deal with.

Nate was eight the first time he stabbed someone; he was eleven when he earned his red laces—a prize for spilling blood for “the cause.” And he was fourteen when he murdered his father (and the leader of The Fort, a notorious white supremacist compound) in self-defense, landing in a treatment center while the state searched for his next of kin. Now, in the custody of an uncle he never knew existed, who wants nothing to do with him, Nate just wants to disappear.

Enrolled in a new school under a false name, so no one from The Fort can find him, he struggles to forge a new life, trying to learn how to navigate a world where people of different races interact without enmity. But he can’t stop awful thoughts from popping into his head, or help the way he shivers with a desire to commit violence. He wants to be different—he just doesn’t know where to start.

Then he meets Brandon, a person The Fort conditioned Nate to despise on sight. But Brandon’s also the first person to treat him like a human instead of a monster. Brandon could never understand Nate’s dark past, so Nate keeps quiet. And it works for a while. But all too soon, Nate’s worlds crash together, and he must decide between his own survival and standing for what’s right, even if it isn’t easy. Even if society will never be able to forgive him for his sins.

Like a teen American History X, S.F. Henson’s Devils Within is gut-wrenching, thought-provoking, no-holds-barred look at the plague of white supremacy in contemporary American culture that may have you examining your own soul.

Book Links

Amazon | B&N | BAM | BD | IndieBound | Goodreads | Powells | Target


What’s up for Grab?

  • Signed ARC of Devils Within by S.F. Henson

The Rules:

  • Open to US/CA
  • There will be one (1) lucky winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends August 23rd, 2017
  • Prize will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.


Loot by Jude Watson

Loot by Jude Watson

“If you think nothing can go wrong, you’d better think again.”

“LOOT hits the jackpot.” — Rick Riordan, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author

On a foggy night in Amsterdam, a man falls from a rooftop to the wet pavement below. It’s Alfie McQuinn, the notorious cat burglar, and he’s dying. As sirens wail in the distance, Alfie manages to get out two last words to his young son, March: “Find jewels.”

But March learns that his father is not talking about a stash of loot. He’s talking about Jules, the twin sister March never knew he had. No sooner than the two find each other, they’re picked up by the police and sent to the world’s worst orphanage. It’s not prison, but it feels like it.

March and Jules have no intention of staying put. They know their father’s business inside and out, and they’re tired of being pushed around. Just one good heist, and they’ll live the life of riches and freedom most kids only dream about.

Watch out! There are wild kids on the loose and a crime spree coming . . .

Book Links: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters | Goodreads | National Book Store

Personal Thoughts:

Once in awhile I try to stash some middle grade book in my reading pile for the purpose of recommending new read for my ten year old nephew who loves to read books as much as I do. Actually, he is much better reader than I am, he’s just 10 years old and already read classics titles more than I have read. And every time I found myself enjoying books intended for younger readers, it reminds me how to be a kid and to enjoy simple things in my stories.

“No thief likes a full moon. Like mushrooms and owls, they do their best work in the dark.”

March McQuin is the son of the world’s most notorious jewel thief, Alfie McQuin. Being a son of a thief he is living his life on the run, traveling from different places, never attending school or having real friends to surround him. That’s his life until his father, Alfie McQuin died. His father’s last words “Find jewels.”

Turns out jewels is not a gem or any precious items Alfie wants him to steal. He got it wrong. Jules, not jewels is a twin sister he didn’t know he had. With no parents to take care of them, Jules & March are sent to an orphanage which is not much better than prison. There, they met Darius and Izzy who become an alliance in breaking out of the orphanage. Together they went finding clues and solving puzzles left by Alfie to execute an unfinished and possibly biggest heist.

“When you run a con, you don’t think about the odds. You think about details so you don’t mess up.”

For a short read, Loot is packed with lots of actions, adventures and schemes that will keep readers on the edge of their seat. With the bunch of kids that are clever and cunning, Loot provides a thrilling story of adventure and friendships.

March and his gang are brilliant characters you can’t help but root for despite of the illegal things they are doing. They are brave and talented kids who choose to remove themselves in a corrupt society like the foster home that was supposed to take care of them. Together they form an alliance to find seven gems that possibly cursed. Each schemes they pull are twisty and well plotted making the story engaging and fun.

Jude Watson did a terrific job in making March and the other characters realistic despite the little possibility of kids plotting heist as big as this one in real world. Her writing style is also top-notch! For a middle grade book, she successfully weaved an easy to read story for kids while plotting intricate crimes that even adults will enjoy. The writing is fast-paced with consistent sense of urgency leaving no room for dull and slow moments. Each happenings are essential to the plot and to the development of characters.

Overall, with quirky & smart characters Loot is a clever, creative fun read. Not only it will take you to a thrilling ride of adventure and non-stop action but will also reminds you the importance of family. Highly recommended for kids and kids at heart who love some adventures to their stories.

*This review is based on a copy I received courtesy of the publisher, Scholastic Press Philippines in exchange for an honest opinion.

All She Was Worth by Miyuki Miyabe

I’ve read few books by Japanese authors before but I never tried Miyuki Miyabe works. In fact I never heard anything about her or her works until now. I may never have discover All She Was Worth if not for gathering books whodunit reading challenge. Which I’m glad I did because this book delivers so well.

All She Was Worth is originally published under the Japanese title “Kasha” (火車) in 1992 and translated to English in 1996. It tells the story of Shunsuke Honma a police detective who tried to solve a case of a missing person. Honma is currently on leave due to injury when Jun, his distant cousin from his wife’s side approached him to find Shoko Sekine. Shoko is Jun’s fiance who disappeared after applying for a credit card. It turns out that Shoko had lived too extravagantly years ago, running up huge credit card debts and eventually having to declare personal bankruptcy. So when Jun confronted her about it she just left. As Honma tries solve the mystery of Shoko’s disappearance we realized that this is more than just a case of missing person. Pretty early on in the investigation, Honma realizes why Shoko never told Jun she was a bankrupt, and it is because she honestly didn’t know. It turns out that Shoko Sekine (Jun’s Fiance) is not the real Shoko Sekine. Which leads Honma to investigate more the mystery of stolen identity, escape and murder.

This book offers an interesting glimpse of Japan. The authors description of Japanese society is intriguing and refreshing. I’ve learned a lot about Japanese culture that I wasn’t previously aware of. Miyabe spends a lot of time describing how the Japanese credit lending system works. She also shows the elaborate methods that Japan uses to control personal identity with the family registers and the different types of red tape in Japan like the loan sharks. The idea of loan sharks and yakuza is still intriguing to me. I’ve seen most of it from Asian movies and TV series but I never really understood deeply how they work until I read this book.

While I was drawn into the mystery and to the Japanese culture, I was also impressed with the sharp social commentary of the danger of materialism and credit system. On how people get caught up in debt and pull themselves deeper in grave of financial liabilities. This book was written two decades ago but sad to say this consumer problem still exist today. We are still caught up in a credit craze where some of us end up buried in debt.

All She Was Worth is a gripping book that offers a different twist to detective mystery novel. It mostly focused on finding out how the crime was achieved and not why or by whom. This is a worth read that offers an interesting portrayal of Japan. I definitely want to read more of Miyabe’s work in the future.

The Eternity Code (Artemis Fowl #3) by Eoin Colfer

“When the moment comes, will you take your chance to be a hero?”

Artemis Fowl is back with another money making and world dominating scheme. Now, he is trying to make one last crime before he embraces his father’s wish to start a clean business. He builds a cube based on fairy computers and his own intelligence that can read anything. Basically it can do just about anything to computer systems and information. He try to threaten Jon Spiro, a big time ruthless businessman. Artemis will release the cube to the market now and destroy Spiro’s investments if Spiro doesn’t pay him a huge sum of money. During the demonstration of the cubes powers, Spiro recognizes what the cube can do and steels the cube, injuring Butler. Now Artemis must once again team up with the Fairy police to save Butler and retrieve the stolen cube.

I have to say, this is the best in Artemis Fowl series so far. I enjoy The Eternity Code more than the first two books in the series. It contains a lot more action than the two previous books, and a lot less of the Faery world which makes this more realistic. There are plenty of adventures, smart jokes and a right amount of emotion. When Butler dies you’ll definitely feel Artemis’ grief. The connection and friendship between the two is perfectly developed. It adds more depth to their characters.

The story and plot were good and all well planned. I like the plans that Artemis has created to get back the C Cube from Spiro. From planning to designation and execution, all were perfectly done. I didn’t anticipate some turn of events. I also like how Artemis adapts quickly to each complication, or thinks up fast all the possibilities. Artemis’ plans really never fail to entertain me. Finally, the smart kid genius is back, this time he is for all the good. Compare to his attempt to be a hero in the last book (The Arctic Incident), it is more acceptable to see him in that role in this book. The changes in his character is more subtle this time.

In the end of the book, the faery decided to mind wipe Artemis which will reverts Artemis back to his old, uncaring self. I wonder if did the faeries realized what they have done. If Artemis forgets everything about the faery world, what will happen to the moral sense that has awakened in him because of the fairies? Did the faeries just created their own worst enemy, again?

With this kind of ending, I’m more eager to read the next book, Opal Deception. Can’t wait to know how the evil mastermind genius will be back with all his evil schemes and genius plotting.

The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie by Alan Bradley

“Unless some sweetness at the bottom lie, Who cares for all the crinkling of the pie?”

This is murder mystery novel set in England in 1950 and features the clever eleven years old heroine Flavia de Luce. She is a brilliant kid with a strange talent in mixing chemicals. She spends a lot of her time doing some experiments in the chemistry lab that she inherited from her deceased uncle. She is passionate about poison and sometimes test her experiments to her sisters. One morning Flavia discover a nearly-dead body of a stranger in their garden. Secretly delighted by this turn of events, Flavia starts the quest of solving a gruesome murder.

“I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”

What makes this book different than the usual cozy mystery novel is the main character, Flavia. An eleven-year-old who is just too much for a kid. Sometimes I forgot that she is just an eleven-year-old little girl. She doesn’t act or talk like one most of the time. She’s fearless and curious. Other may find her character unbelievable for an eleven-year-old, but what makes her believable for me is she never lives her child like nature. She’s curious and experimental, she’s fighting with her older sisters acting like a typical kid. Yes, she is not an average kid, she is simply unique and brilliant but it’s not something impossible. For a kid spending most of her time with books and her own chemistry laboratory alone, it’s not something unrealistic for her character. Being different doesn’t make her unrealistic. And I love her for being who she is, maybe just like how she loves herself.

I was me. I was Flavia. And I loved myself, even if no one else did.”

I liked all the little bits of information about chemistry, with those chemical formulas and chemical reactions. It reminds me my schooldays with my science subjects. Though the mystery in the story is not something huge, it is easy to guess the culprit before Flavia figures it out. Nevertheless it is a fun journey, discovering it step by step from the eyes and adventure of an exceptional child.

Also, I notice the overwhelming British feel on this book. As if Alan Bradley was trying too hard to be British. I don’t know much about his background except that he is seventy years old when he published this novel. It is interesting that a seventy years old man actually wrote his first book about an eleven year old girl. And I must say that this book is great for a debut novel.

When I was reading the book details from Amazon, there is Q&A portion with the author and there is a particular question and answer that caught my eyes:

Q: Flavia certainly is an interesting character. How did you come up with such a forceful, precocious and entertaining personality?

AB: Flavia walked onto the page of another book I was writing, and simply hijacked the story. I was actually well into this other book–about three or four chapters–and as I introduced a main character, a detective, there was a point where he was required to go to a country house and interview this colonel.

I got him up to the driveway and there was this girl sitting on a camp stool doing something with a notebook and a pencil and he stopped and asked her what she was doing and she said “writing down license number plates“ and he said “well there can’t be many in such a place“ and she said, “well I have yours, don’t I? “ I came to a stop. I had no idea who this girl was and where she came from.

She just materialized. I can’t take any credit for Flavia at all. I’ve never had a character who came that much to life. I’ve had characters that tend to tell you what to do, but Flavia grabbed the controls on page one. She sprung full-blown with all of her attributes–her passion for poison, her father and his history–all in one package. It surprised me.

Isn’t it interesting how Alan Bradley got into Flavia’s character?

Overall, the novel is entertaining. If you like mysteries and detective stories and quirky fiction without so much violence this book is a good read. There will be five Flavia de Luce mystery series. The second book is released last year, The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag. The third is just recently released, entitled A Red Herring Without Mustard.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

“If I win, I’m a prodigy. If I lose then I’m crazy. That’s the way history is written.”

Book description from Goodreads:

Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is the most ingenious criminal mastermind in history. With two trusty sidekicks in tow, he hatches a cunning plot to divest the fairyfolk of their pot of gold. Of course, he isn’t foolish enough to believe in all that “gold at the end of the rainbow” nonsense. Rather, he knows that the only way to separate the little people from their stash is to kidnap one of them and wait for the ransom to arrive. But when the time comes to put his plan into action, he doesn’t count on the appearance of the extrasmall, pointy-eared Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon (Lower Elements Police Reconnaisance) Unit–and her senior officer, Commander Root, a man (sorry, elf) who will stop at nothing to get her back.

Personal Thoughts:

This is one of the book that I wish I’d read when I was younger but nevertheless I enjoy reading. Eoin Colfer puts a brand new spin on the usual classic fairy tales we have. He alter the traditional depictions of supernatural characters by creating a non whimsical version of them. Instead of dragging out the same stereotypical characters, he puts a military spin on the fairy kingdom that highlights the absurdness of their actions. Which basically adds more fun to the story. There is a great battle of wits, technology and magic all through out.

The characters are quite different than the usual hero and villain setup. In here the protagonist (Artemis Fowl II) is not the hero. But in spite of his anti-hero character he is strangely appealing. It is refreshing to have a hero that isn’t a well of virtues. For a twelve year old child he is extremely clever – and I love the genius in him. He uses his cleverness for personal gain. He is quite ruthless, and he is proud of it. But in spite of him being a bad boy he is not just a typical paper-thin evil genius. If we tried to look closer into his character we will understand where he is coming from. Artemis is a lonely little boy who love his family so much. In the end of the book, Artemis used his wish to heal his mother and return half of the golds to the faeries. The book claims that Artemis only do this to avoid being put into care but he could have avoided care in other ways as to confusing the securities, which he is explained to have the ability to do so. Also, the gold Artemis is plotting to steal from faeries is actually to finance a rescue mission for his father who disappeared before the book opened. And Artemis also has shown signs of care and friendship to Butler and signs of guilt for kidnapping Holly Short. I’m not yet sure how his character will develop in the rest of the series but I have high hopes for him.

Most of the time when I encounter the word Leprechaun the first thing that I picture is the creepy character in an old horror Leprechaun movie. It will take me few seconds to see them as typical jolly fairy. Or those creatures with a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They are not always as cute as snow white seven dwarfs nor as beautiful as faeries for me. That’s why underground people is not personally appealing. But getting much into their characters in this book, I soon established more interest with them. Holly Short as the only female in the underground police force has her own troubles to deal with. It’s not easy for her to deal with her superior and she is trying to find her way between her orders and what is right.

Colfer also makes symbols for the fairy language (Gnomish) in this book. He leaves a trail of the symbols at the bottom of each page. I tried figuring out how to read it but since I didn’t have much time and patient to decode it, I just did a quick search online. You can see the decoded version from artemis-fowl.com.

The cover also has Gnomish in it which when decoded says:

Carry me always
Carry me well
I am thy teacher of herb and spell

Overall Artemis Fowl is very enjoyable. It is a good combination of action, fantasy, mystery and humor. You don’t have to be young to enjoy it! This is the first book of the series and I’ll definitely be reading the rest of it.