Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Author Spotlight: How to Hang a Witch + Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 10:00 AM

Adriana Mather is the New York Times bestselling author of How to Hang a Witch, and has family roots that go back to the first Thanksgiving, the Salem Witch Trials, the Revolutionary War, and yes, the Titanic.  She is also an actor, as well as the co-owner of Zombot Pictures, a production company that makes feature films. Adriana lives in Los Angeles, and you can follow her on:
 Facebook @AdrianaMatherAuthor; Twitter @AdrianaMather; Instagram @Adriana_Mather

Title: How to Hang a Witch
Genre: YA Paranormal
Author: Adriana Mather
Publisher: Knopf
Cover Rating: 

I don't reread many books. For one, I don't really have the time. Two, if I really loved a book I'm afraid rereading it will make me not like it as much. I reread How to Hang a Witch because I wanted the characters and the world fresh in my mind as I went into the second installment. I think this is the first time I can honestly say that I enjoyed the book more the second time I read it. 

Our main chatacter is Sam. She just moved to her parents home town, Salem, Mass., with her step-mother because her father is in a coma and his medical bills made it impossible for them to keep their apartment in New York. Sam and her step-mother move in to a house that was left to her dad by his mother, the grandmother Sam never got to meet. Aside from finding out that her grandmother left the house for her dad, sam also finds out that her last name is something that could get her killed.

Sam starts school and that is when everything starts to unravel. There is a group of mean girls, The Decendents, that start torturing Sam instantly. And, of course her being the new girl, the teachers blame her for everything. This part of the book disgusted me. Telling Sam to watch her temper when she is literally being BEYOND bullied just set me off. I hate when there are unfair circumstances the main character has to get through with a smile. 

There is one reprieve for Sam and that comes in the form of Jaxon. Sam is very suspicious of Jaxon because everyone else treats her like a disease and he is all up in her business. This causes her to push him away every chance she gets. But he isn't so easily swayed. It helps that he is her neighbor and his mother is always inviting Sam over for random things. And his mother happens to be her dads childhood best friend.

Oh, and Elijah. But you will meet him yourself. I don't want to spoil him for you!

It turns out that there might be a curse on the families of the first Salem Witch Trials decendents and as soon as Sam arrives people start dropping like flies. Trying to solve this curse is where the reader gets a lot more of the historical stand-point of the book. I loved the historical parts and I would really love to read more about it. I don't considering myself someone who really likes history but certain things I can really get sucked in to.

This book had a much deeper meaning subject than just the Salem Witch Trials. It also took on the task of showing the reader how bullying is a vicious cycle and it isn't just something that happens among school-age kids. The book shows us that we have to end the cycle of bullying in order for us to have peace. If we just keep our heads down or ignore it, it will no go away and you are just as guilty as the bully if you don't say something. Silence is killer. I adore how the author fit that into the book and I hope people actually notice it.

In the end, I was both sad and happy for Sam. She might have lost someone she was close to but she got someone else back. I know she will have a lot of stuff to work through given the amount of information that was thrown at her about her mother and father and step-mother and just everything that happened at the end. I really enjoyed Sam as a character. She was put under so much stress and had to handle so many insane situations but she was still very mature about it all. I cannot wait to see where the next book takes me.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

Title: Haunting the Deep
Genre: YA Paranormal
Author: Adriana Mather
Publisher: Knopf
Publication: October 3rd 2017
Cover Rating: 5/5

When I first read How to Hang a Witch I had no idea it was going to be part of a series. It was such an amazing book with some really awesome historical elements that just drew me in. Then I found out about book two, Haunting the Deep and I was sold. 

Haunting the Deep takes places a little while after the ending of How to Hang a Witch. Sam is trying to adjust back to having a normal life, well as normal as her life can be. The Meriweathers have become like part of the family, she isn't being horribly bullied anymore, life is just settling down and it's good. But the calm can only last for so long.

Without giving away too much, Sam's life, of course, spins out of control again and she is sent on a mission to save people from a crazy spell that includes the Titanic, ghosts, magic and evil. If that doesn't sound good enough to draw you in, there is also a lot of baked goods and drama. Who doesn't love a good muffin?

The author of these books is amazing. She took this little kernel of her family history, did some research and out came these amazing stories. I don't normally care for witch stories outside of watching Hocus Pocus every Halloween like it's a religious event, but the author made me care about witch stories a little bit more.

In the end, I really enjoyed this book. I loved coming across a historical fact about the Titanic, sitting the book down and googling this fact to learn more. The book was very interactive for me since I looked up all the facts and learned so much about the Titanic. I think this alone makes the book even more fun to read. I don't knowfor sure if the author is going to be adding any more books to this series but I would love it if she did.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

1. What was the inspiration for writing a teen fantasy involving the Salem Witch Trials? 
My ancestors came over on the Mayflower, lived in Sleepy Hollow, and survived the Titanic. Their activities cover the gamut from failed inventions to the first American-born presidency at Harvard. But nothing tops the infamy of my ancestor Cotton Mather who instigated the Salem Witch Trials. In HOW TO HANG A WITCH, I explore that piece of my family’s history and bring it into present day with a pinch of magic and a good old-fashioned mystery.

2. Are their any ways in which you relate to you main character, Samantha Mather?
I relate to her tenacity and to her humor. She was an amazingly fun character to write because of her big mouth and wild decisions. Although, admittedly there were times where I couldn’t control her. I have a weakness for big-hearted, flawed characters who create tornado-sized messes.

3. Was there a lot of research involved in writing How to Hang a Witch & Haunting the Deep?
Tons and it was a blast! I think I could research the Salem Witch Trials for the next twenty years and still learn new and creepy things. There is just so much richness and complexity there. My favorite part, though, was going to Salem. That town is like living breathing history and I (not surprisingly) got myself into all sorts of haunted situations that had me sleeping with the lights on. With regards to writing HTD, the research was more book based, but still fascinating. 

4. What does a day off look like for you? 
It could be anything from lounging with a sea turtle in Hawaii to shaving my head for a movie role to simply walking my dog in my pajamas and eating pizza in bed. My schedule is ever changing and I do a ton of traveling. But there are two things that are constant…morning coffee and My Pirate (my fiancĂ©). And as it were, every single day he brings me coffee in bed and we sing a coffee song we made up…badly and out of tune. 

5. Do you have any advice for teen writers? 
Whatever you do, be unstoppable. There is no right or easy way through a creative profession. Don’t get caught up in rejection or in praise; just keep moving forward. Also, I advise donuts and a sense of humor.


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