Thought since like, Wednesday (?): Either the 1000 is made of random bots or there are actually people who followed and read my posts??? I DO NOT KNOW.
[Okay, but I recently finished Geekerella and the MC had like, 30 000 followers on her blog over the course of a few days?? HOW??? (Oh right, fictional being. Ha.) ]
Helllo everyone and I hope you’re doing well (and enjoying Father’s Day)!! I am so glad it’s the weekend omg though it’s ending so quickly?? I have extended family over and it’s super hectic (which is why I’ve been slower with blog hopping and comments!) but weekends are weekends!
In other news, in case… somehow you didn’t read the title?? (idk it could happen I guess) I REACHED 1000 FOLLOWERS!! Don’t worry, I won’t go all mushy on you but to all of you who reads, likes, and/or comments on my posts, thank you so much, it honestly means the world to me and one of the biggest reasons I continue to blog. So THANK YOU ily guys so much!! ❤ (I still half feel like I’m dreaming but whateverrr apparently it’s real?)
So I talked a bit about my thoughts on comments last time, and it inspired me to come up with: A LIST! Because people seem to like those (same #lists4ever) and also because categorizing things is a pass time of mine (lol), this time we’re going to focus on: Types of commenters*!! As my ever-so-grateful thanks for all of you who follow (and comment) on my blog. 😉 ❤ AND! I have a little extra surprise for y’all at the bottom as well which I also revealed in the title!! Am I kind of forcing you to stay and read this post yes yes I am.
*WHYYY is commenter underlined in red??? I even added it to dictionary STOP IT’S A WORD (isn’t it)?Read More »
Hiiii! Not so long ago (or was it long ago?? I don’t remember. Roughly 2 weeks ago?? Maybe? Whatever. You know what I mean) I reached my 1-year blogiversary, and mentioned a giveaway on the way, am I right? Well, I’m here to keep good on that promise! I cannot stress enough how grateful I am for all your support; you guys have all become my friends, and I only want to give you guys something back for all the things you have given me! Okay, yes yes I know I’m sounding extra cheesy today—but hey, don’t judge. I’ll be back to the fangirling-yet-unemotional chocolate bar you all know soon enough.
Point is: I’m celebrating with a giveaway! And it happens to be my birthday near the end of this month, so I guess I’m celebrating that too, lol. So. My birthday isn’t till the 24th of this month, but whatever, right?? My blogiversary was a couple of weeks ago anyway. I know you’re all eager for the giveaway, but there are a few things I must mention first…
This is totally optional, but I’d love to get some feedback on my blog! I created a survey, and I’d appreciate it so much if you guys took the time to answer. You can also get a few extra entries for the giveaway by doing so! Only some of the questions are mandatory, but, of course, I’d love it so much the more if you completed the whole thing! Here it is:
A scavenger hunt?? You ask. Why yes. Basically you just have to copy and answer the 5 questions in a comment below. To find the to the questions, you’ll have to scavenge around my blog! You don’t have to do it, of course, but you get the chance for more giveaway entries if you play the game.
Though, just a little disclaimer: this game can’t be credited as my idea. I actually scavenged it off from other blogs who’ve done something like this before, like Cait @ Paper Fury and a few other bloggers. (Haha, get it? Scavenged? Scavenger hunt? Okay, okay, I’ll stop.)
Some of these questions may have more than 1 right answer, by the way. You all know how bad I am with questions requesting only one answer! Are you ready for this? Okay, here they are:
A book I read in 2016 that I rated 5 stars?
A book that released 3 days ago (March 8th) that I can’t wait to read?
One of my favourite genres?
One (or more) of my 2016 bookish/bloggish resolutions?
A book I often fangirl about?
*Bonus: Something I’m scared of (it’s an animal, by the way.)
If you’re able to answer these questions without scavenging too much, good for you! Though I think they’re pretty easy to answer? Kind of? Either way, good luck! May the force of books and chocolate be with you. (I haven’t ever watched Star Wars, btw *cue gasps of horror*—yes, I know—so I hope that reference makes sense?)
*This actually will only be having one answer? I mentioned this A LONG time ago, in a post–so maybe if you’ve been here for awhile you might know it? Otherwise, you can always scavenge for the answer! 😛
Aaaaaand, the giveaway!
So, what you’ve all been waiting for! But before you guys go clickety-click and start entering entries, here are a few rules and things to remember:
One winner gets to choose a book from The Book Depository up to a value of $25 (in Canadian dollars).
Open internationally as long as Book Depository ships to your country. (Details here.)
Giveaway begins today (March 11th, 2016) and ends in around 3 weeks on April 1st, 2016 (Don’t worry, if you’re the winner, this won’t all be an April Fool’s joke. XD)
After the contest time I will be randomly choosing the winner through Rafflecopter. (On April 2nd, 2016)
Winner has 48 hours to respond before I choose another winner.
You must be 18 years of age to enter or have parental consent to provide me your mailing address.
Winner’s personal information will be kept private and will not be publicized or used in any way other than to ship the book.
Entries will be checked and deleted if they’re don’t qualify—so no cheating please!
Now, time for the giveaway! Here it is. Gobble it up, guys. You’re welcome. 😀 Now talk to me in the comments: what book would you like to receive, from TBD? Oh, and here’s some chocolate if you participate in the scavenger hunt or do the survey. ❤ Hope you guys are all enjoying your Friday!
Hello bookworms! I’m so happy today to have the chance to share an awesome giveaway and the news that Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson releases today! If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful new series by Rae Carson, be sure to check out all the details below.
Also, for all of you US peopls out there, this blitz also includes a giveaway for a set of the Girl of Fire and Thorns series, in paperback format! So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post!
Title: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
Publication Date: September 22nd 2015 Publisher: Greenwillow Books Genre(s): Fantasy, Young-Adult Series Status: The Gold Seer Trilogy #1 Page Count: 448 Purchase:Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.
Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.
Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.
Read chapter 1 of WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER annotated by Rae Carson HERE!
About the Author
Rae Carson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy. Her next book, Walk On Earth A Stranger, will be available September 22, 2015. She lives in Arizona with her husband.
Pepper Jones is ready for an epic cross country season. She wants to qualify for Nationals, and she’s willing to do anything it takes to make it happen. She can handle long miles and hill sprints, but boys? That’s an entirely different challenge.
Pepper’s never considered revealing her deeper feelings for her longtime friend, Jace Wilder. After all, he’s got the personal magnetism and good looks to hook just about any girl in town — and he has. Their friendship stands apart from high school social circles, and they’re both just fine with that (or at least they pretend to be).
That is, until running star Ryan Harding moves to town.
When it comes to running, Pepper’s goals are clear. But when it comes to Jace and Ryan, it’s nowhere near as simple.
Welcome to my review stop of the first book in the Pepper Jones series, Pepped Up by Ali Dean!
Note: I received a free digital copy thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for review purposes. This doesn’t affect my review in any way.
Pepped Up is a fun, light-hearted contemporary novel that I liked. I wasn’t particularly attached to the main character and the pace was a bit slow for my taste, but overall it’s a good book that will keep you entertained.
Before anything, I have to say that this book is not at all for readers who dislike love triangles. I tend to be wary of them myself, but I don’t avoid them (not like I can even if I wanted to, seeing how basically all books these days have love triangles). I mean, there are love triangles that turn out to be entertaining, you know? Sadly, this one wasn’t one of them. I feel as if the book was dominated by the love triangle, and instead of being entertaining, in the first half of the novel, I found myself being annoyed at the lack of substance. However, once I took the plot a bit less seriously and just focused on what it’s like in terms of reading about it, I did like the story. It was a relatively light read and it ended up being an entertaining read. That being said, there was one thing that kind of had me a bit iffy about, which was the fact that there were more mature themes in this book than I was expecting. Not necessarily in a bad way, but I suppose since I wasn’t at all expecting such themes in this book, it threw me off.
What I liked most about the plot was the sports theme in this book. It’s not often that I find YA books about sports or with sport-related themes that turn out to be entertaining, and I really liked that aspect of the book. Most of the sports themes had to do with running, and although I’m a terrible runner, it was interesting reading from the perspective of a characters who loved to run and was great at it too.
“This right here is what I live for. The steady rhythm of my feet landing softly on dirt.”
I have a love-hate thing going on with Pepper. On one hand I like her attitude towards running, the fact that she’s willing to push herself and hold back when needed so she can do the best she can. She’s relatively disciplined and I liked her character, for the most part. On the other hand, what got on my nerves was her tendency to pine after Jace (who’s a complete jerk) and the fact that despite being smart, she couldn’t see the obvious (like so many other YA characters out there). I just couldn’t understand it and it ended up being annoying.
The main love interest, Jace, is who really bugged me. Sure, he had some nice moments, but overall I couldn’t see why Pepper was so into him and there was no depth to him much. I felt as if the only reason people were into him was because he was attractive, which is a bummer because he had the potential to be a real great character. Ryan, the other love interest, was better, there seemed to actually be more to him compared to Jace.
The writing style is one of the best parts of the novel. I would’ve hardly have guessed that this was a debut novel, because the writing had a lot of skill behind it that you wouldn’t expect to see in debuts. I did find the pace to be a bit slow, but that is considering my own taste, I would say for the majority the pace is completely adequate. One thing I was not a big fan of was the ending, because although it’s not technically a cliffhanger, it does leave something missing and felt rushed to me. I’m assuming more will be answered in the next books though.
“I want to capture the exhilaration and peace flowing through my veins, pulsing through my soul. Who needs a vice when you can attain an utter sense of being alive with such simple ingredients?”
-Pepper, about running
This contemporary romance debut is more of a hit-or-miss. It wasn’t completely my cup of tea, but it was an entertaining read all the same, despite the more negative side of this book. The plot could’ve been handled better and the characters could’ve had more depth, but if you like love triangles and contemporary romance, this isn’t a bad book to try out. The writing is great, and I really enjoyed the running descriptions. All in all, a decent YA (with mature themes) contemporary romance with sport themes and a love triangle, Pepped Up is the first in a trilogy I have a good chance of continuing. (If only to get a better ending.)
An adequate meal! What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!
Ali Dean lives in Colorado with her husband and two children. In addition to reading and writing, she loves the outdoors- everything from marathon training and biking to snowboarding and skiing.
The NATURE OF GRACE books have hit many of the top young adult/teen and thriller best seller lists including: Best Debut, Movers and Shakers, Top 100 in Thrillers, and the Top 100 in Teen Action Adventure books.
This new “Nature of Grace” Exclusive Box set is for readers who love wilderness thrillers. 16 year old Grace grew up in the woods determined to make a difference in the North Carolina wilderness. When she comes across conservation threats, she uses her survival and wilderness skills to stop them, no matter what the cost. In addition to being a thriller/mystery – other book themes include conservation, nature, animals, survival, wilderness, endangered animals.
The box set includes all 3 boxes in the Nature of Grace (Untraceable, Uncontrollable, and Unstoppable). It also includes an exclusive short story, Unspeakable from Mo’s perspective) as well as the original Untraceable before it was changed.
The box set also includes a large section of Special Extras that include interviews with the author, characters, and additional information on the nature and animal conservation the books support.
Untraceable (Book 1) – When Grace’s forest ranger dad disappears on patrol, she fights town authorities, tribal officials, & nature to prove he’s alive. Torn between a hot boy and cute ex, she heads into the wilderness to find her dad. Soon, she is caught in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder.
Uncontrollable (Book 2) – When Grace enters the Red Wolf Reintroduction Program. When wolves start showing up dead, Grace must work through her fears and hunt down clues to find out who is sabotaging the wolf program and why. Little does she know, she is being hunting too.
Unstoppable (Book 3) – When Grace moves to the Everglades to live with her grandmother, Birdie, she makes new friends with Dylan and his girlfriend, fellow animal activist, Sadie. After finding an injured Florida Panther, she stumbles upon a large roadside zoo illegally filled with a variety of endangered and exotic animals. There, she and her friends are kidnapped by the ruthless owner and dragged deep into the Everglades for a hunting challenge. Only this time, Grace is the prey.
Unspeakable (Short Story from Mo’s perspective) – When Mo sees a strange girl in the woods, he follows her. He soon realizes they are both in a dangerous position and may not get out alive.
Untraceable’s Original Ending – Never released before!
Exclusive Extras – including author interviews, character interviews, insider scoop on the series, and additional animal and nature conservation information on the issues covered in the series.
“A suspense-filled mystery with surprises that keep you guessing all the way to the end.”- IndieReader
Kirkus Reviews called this teen series “a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance”!
Author S. R. Johannes
S.R. Johannes is the award-winning author of the Amazon bestselling Nature of Grace thriller series (Untraceable, Uncontrollable, and Unstoppable). She is a winner of the IndieReader Discovery Award in YA, an IPPY a Silver Medalist for YA Fiction, a Finalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Young Adult Fiction, and a Finalist in US Book News Best YA Book.
Since leaving Corporate America, she has followed her passion for writing and conservation by working with The Dolphin Project, the Atlanta Zoo, other animal rescue organizations, and by weaving conservation themes into her books.
Currently, she lives in Atlanta, GA with her two Doodles, English-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world.
Book Blast Giveaway – $100 Amazon eGift Card or Paypal Cash, Ends 8/31/15
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com eGift Card or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
What if everything you’ve ever known, down to what you are, was a lie?
Growing up in the enchanted kingdom of Dualsing, seventeen-year-old Lady Serafina has always known she’s different. Her fae power never manifested itself during puberty, and her parents treated her like a tolerated houseguest rather than family. Even her childhood sweetheart, Crown Prince Eldon, distanced himself the moment he was old enough to know the secret about Serafina that everyone in their world seems to know—except her.
Now her upcoming birthday is being treated as a national holiday by the very people who’d neglected her, Eldon is in for a political battle of his life that she’s somehow being dragged into, and Serafina is developing abilities that feel terrifyingly right, but aren’t fae power at all.
As she starts to investigate her origin, Serafina has no idea she would be setting in motion events that would have far-reaching consequences not just for herself, but for all the planes.
Note: BEFORE VENGEANCE is a prequel of VENGEANCE BE MINE.
Under the fading sun, I hurried past the palace square, keeping my shoulders slumped and my eyes downcast. To the conversing noble in the vicinity, all they saw was a misfit. Someone looking to avoid trouble and attention.
The truth was, I was trying to avoid bringing attention to the trouble I might cause.
“Lady Serafina,” Alston, the royal butler, called from behind me.
I whirled around on the smooth, white marble floor. Alston balanced a jug of honey in each hand. The lower grade honey was intended as payments to the brownies for their housekeeping service.
I tried to concentrate on Alston’s words, and not the fact that the honey had been skimmed off the top by the butler.
Damn my keen sense of right and wrong, so utterly opposed to what everyone else on this plane considered normal.
“M’lady,” the imposing butler seemed disgusted with himself for having to address me. He didn’t even bother with a bow. “I’m to inform you that on the day of the Crossover, you’re to come to the South Tower before dawn.”
I nodded and started walking, hoping that would be all.
“One more thing,” Alston blocked my path, his eyes dropped to my neck with deep disapproval. “May I remind you to wear the Eye of Sebille at all times. I cannot stress enough the importance of it.”
A couple of noble ladies close by snickered at me, their laughter rang across the square like bells. Their pixies, taking cue from their mistresses, zoomed right by my braid rather than keeping a respectable distance.
I swallowed, my fingers brushed against my bare neck of their own accord. The Eye of Sebille was a long necklace with a bejeweled, egg-sized pendant. I hated wearing it. Not just because of its dead weight and sharp surface, but because of the mystery it represented.
In all my seventeen summers, I had never laid eyes on the Sebille family heirloom. Now, I was suddenly expected to wear it all the time. Why? Did it have something to do with my birthday?
When Alston passed by me, one of the honey jugs brushed against my arm. As the glass made contact with my exposed skin, sensations exploded though my system. It was as though in that moment, I could feel the hardship of the brownies, thankless servants little better than slaves. I felt their every yawn, every sore muscle, and every blister.
A brownie would have to work all year long just to get a single jug of cheap honey. To have over a third of it taken away by someone in a position of power…
It wasn’t right.
The injustices they suffered crashed through me like a tidal wave, stealing my breath and making my fists clench. But when the torrent of indignation passed, what was left in its place was a dead calm.
As I watched Alston’s retreating back, a song rose in me like a long-forgotten nursery rhyme:
Honey, they say you never go bad.
Make an exception,
For he who made the brownies sad.
Before Alston reached the corner of the palace square, he doubled over with pain. He dropped the jugs and collapsed on the floor, curling into a fetal position. He groaned, his arrogant and formidable demeanor gone.
The jugs bounced off the marble floor and landed on a small wooden patio table nearby, without a crack to the glass or a single drop of honey spilling.
Somehow, I knew Alston was in for a long night of food poisoning, just like I knew the brownies, to whom the jugs belonged, would find the honey tasted twice as sweet as it normally would. I had no idea how I knew. I just did.
“Louisa Lo has an exciting new voice to bring to urban fantasy and a fun and breezy writing style that kept the pages quickly turning well into the night! I need more!” –Michelle Rowen, National Bestselling Author
Louisa Lo lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband, an aristocratic cat, and more cardboard boxes than she cares to unpack. She decided to write about vigilantes, because it seems like a better life choice than trying to become one and landing herself in jail. She just has that kind of luck. Visit www.louisalo.com to learn more about Louisa and her books.
Jessica Verdi, the author of My Life After Now and The Summer I Wasn’t Me, returns with a heartbreaking and poignant novel of grief and guilt that reads like Nicholas Sparks for teens.
It’s all Ryden’s fault. If he hadn’t gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and would still be alive. Instead he’s failing fatherhood one dirty diaper at a time. And it’s not like he’s had time to grieve while struggling to care for their infant daughter, start his senior year, and earn the soccer scholarship he needs to go to college.
The one person who makes Ryden feel like his old self is Joni. She’s fun and energetic—and doesn’t know he has a baby. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep his two worlds separate. Finding one of Meg’s journals only stirs up old emotions. Ryden’s convinced Meg left other notebooks for him to find, some message to help his new life make sense. But how is he going to have a future if he can’t let go of the past?
“A powerful indictment of reparative therapy–a sweet love story–and an unforgettable main character!” –Nancy Garden, author of Annie on My Mind
“Ryden’s story is a moving illustration of how sometimes you have to let go of the life you planned to embrace the life you’ve been given. A strong, character-driven story that teen readers will love.”
–Carrie Arcos, National Book Award Finalist for Out of Reach
“His [Ryden’s] candid voice is endearing, and although his present-tense narration at first seems like every other teen novel on the shelf, the granulated iteration of baby details helps to illuminate the crushing burden he feels. Other characters are also well-drawn, and the plot moves along tidily to a satisfying conclusion. Verdi balances her plot elements deftly.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Verdi holds nothing back, shedding a realistic light on Ryden’s situation, his decisions, and their very real consequences. His voice is spot-on and doesn’t sugarcoat the harsh realities that he faces. It isn’t often that a book nails the male teen voice as well as Verdi does in this work. An excellent addition to YA collections.” — School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
“Teens will be hooked by the premise but will stick with Ryden and his friends in this all-too-real portrait of a modern family.” — Booklist
If there’s a more brain-piercing sound than a teething baby crying, I can’t tell you what it is.
I fall back on my bed, drop Meg’s journal, and rake my hands through my hair. It’s kinda funny—in an ironic way, not an LOL way—that I even notice how greasy my hair is with the wailing filling my room and ringing in my head. But I do. It’s gross. When was the last time I washed it? Three days ago? Four? I haven’t had time for anything more than a quick soap and rinse in days.
And here I used to purposely go a day or two without washing it. Girls have always liked my chin-length hair that falls in my face when I’m hunched over a test in school and that I have to pull back with a rubber band during soccer practice. But now it’s gone past sexy-straggly and straight into flat-out dirty.
God, I would kill for a long, hot, silent shower. I would lather, rinse, repeat like it was my fucking job.
Tears squeeze between Hope’s closed eyelids and her little chubby feet wiggle every which way. Her pink, gummy mouth is open wide, and you can just begin to see specks of white where her teeth are coming in.
Her crib is littered with evidence of my attempts to get her to please stop crying—a discarded teething ring, a mostly-full bottle, and this freakish, neon green, stuffed monster with huge eyes that my mom swore Hope liked when she first gave it to her, though I have no idea how she could tell that.
I pick up Hope and try massaging her gums with a damp washcloth like they say to do on all the baby websites. I bounce her on my hip and walk her around my room, trying to murmur soothing, shhhh-ing sounds. I even rub her head, as gently as my clunky, goal-blocking hands can manage. But nothing works. The screams work their way inside me, rattling my blood cells.
Yes, I changed her diaper. I even brought her to the doctor last week to make sure nothing’s actually wrong with her, some leftover sickness from Meg or something. There’s not.
Ever since Hope was born six months ago, I’ve been learning on the fly, getting used to the diapers and bottles and sleeping when she sleeps. I spend all of my free time reading mommy-ing websites, finding out which stores have the right kind of wipes, and shopping at the secondhand store for baby clothes, because they’re basically just as good as new and Hope grows out of everything so fast anyway.
Hope’s never fully warmed to me. She always cries more when I hold her than when my mom does—but it’s never been this bad. This teething stuff is no joke. According to the Internet, anyway. It’s not like Hope’s giving me a dissertation on what she’s feeling. Whenever I get anywhere near her, she screams her head off. Which means no matter how hard I try or how many books I read or websites I scour, I’m still doing something wrong. But what else is new?
Lately I’ve had this idea that I can’t seem to shake.
What if I’m missing some crucial dad-gene because I never had one of my own? What if I’m literally incapable of being a father to this baby because I have zero concept of what a father really is? Like beyond a definition or what you see of your friends’ families and on TV.
I have no idea what that relationship’s supposed to be like. I’ve never lived it.
And inevitably that thought leads to this one:
Maybe finding my dad, Michael, is the key to all of this making some sense. Maybe if I tracked him down, I’d finally be clued in to what I’ve been missing. The real stuff. How you’re supposed to talk to each other. What the, I don’t know, energy is like between a father and a son. Not that I’m into cosmic energy bullshit or anything.
If I could be the son in that interaction, even once, for a single conversation, that could jumpstart my being a father. Right? At least I’d have some frame of reference, some experience.
But that would require getting more info about Michael from my mom. And I’ve already thrown enough curveballs her way to last a lifetime.
The music blasting from Mom’s home office shuts off. Five o’clock exactly, like always nowadays. She loves her job making custom, handmade wedding invitations for rich people. Before Hope, Mom would work all hours of the day and night. But it turns out babies costa shitload of money, and despite how well Mom’s business is doing, it’s not enough. So the new arrangement is that during the day Mom gets to turn her music on and her grandma duties off while I take care of Hope. Then Mom takes over when I leave for work at 5:30.
In a few days that schedule’s going to change, and I don’t know what the hell we’re going to do. That’s another topic I haven’t brought up with Mom. She keeps saying we need to talk about our plan for “when school starts up again,” like she’s forgotten that soccer practice starts sooner than that. Like it doesn’t matter anymore or something.
But I can’t not play. Soccer is the one thing I kick ass at. It’s the whole reason I’m going back to school this fall instead of sticking with homeschooling, which I did for the last few months of last year after Hope was born. Fall is soccer season. I need to go to school in order to play on the team. And I need to play on the team because I’m going to UCLA on an athletic scholarship next year. It’s pretty much a done deal. I’ve even spoken to their head coach a few times this summer. He called me on July first, the first day he was allowed to contact me according to NCAA rules. He’s seen my game film, tracked my stats, and is sending a recruiter to watch one of my games in person. He wants me on his team. This is what I’ve been working toward my whole life. So Mom’s delusional if she thinks I’m giving it up.
I wipe the tears from Hope’s face and the drool from around her mouth. Her soft, unruly, dark hair tickles my hand as I set her down in her crib. She’s still crying. She grasps onto my finger, holding on extra tight, like she’s saying, “Do something, man. This shit is painful!”
“I’m trying,” I mumble.
I meet Mom in her office, where she’s sitting on the floor, attempting to organize her materials. Stacks of paper and calligraphy pens are scattered among plastic bags filled with real leaves from the trees in our yard. Three hot glue guns are plugged into the wall, and photos of the Happy Couple glide across Mom’s laptop screen.
“Hippie wedding in California?” I guess, nodding at the leaves. The people who hire Mom to make one-of-a-kind invitations always want a design that relates who they are. Mom and I started this game years ago. She tells me what materials she’s using, and I try to guess what kind of people the Happy Couple are. I’m usually pretty good.
Mom shakes her head. “Hikers in Boulder.”
Or I was pretty good. Now everything is so turned around that I can barely think.
“That was my next guess,” I say.
Mom smiles. She’s been so great about everything. She’s not even pissed about me making her a thirty-five-year-old grandmother. She says that she, better than anyone, gets how these things happen. But this is not your typical “oops, got pregnant in high school, what do we do now?” scenario, like what happened to her. This is the much more rare “oops, I killed the love of my life by getting her pregnant in high school, and ruined my life and the lives of all her family and friends in the process” situation.
And deep down, I know Mom knows that. Mom’s green eyes used to sparkle. They don’t anymore. It’s not because of the baby—she loves that kid to an almost ridiculous level. It’s because of me. She’s sad for me. Even though the name “Meg” is strictly off-limits in our house, I can almost see the M and E and G floating around in my mom’s eyes like alphabet soup, like she’s been bottling up everything she’s wanted to say for the past six months and it is about to overflow. I need to get out of here.
“So, I’m out,” I say quickly, clipping my Whole Foods nametag to my hoodie. “Be home at ten-fifteen.”
Mom sighs. “Okay, Ry. Have fun. Love you.”
“Love you too,” I call back as I head to the front door.
She always says that when I leave to go somewhere. Have fun. She’s been saying it for years. Doesn’t matter if I’m going to school or work or soccer practice or a freaking pediatrician’s appointment with Hope. Have fun. Like having fun is the most important thing you can do. Like you can possibly have fun when you’re such a fucking mess.
About the Author
Jessica Verdi lives in Brooklyn, NY and received her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School. Her favorite pastimes include singing show tunes at the top of her lungs (much to her husband’s chagrin), watching cheesy TV, and scoring awesome non-leather shoes in a size 5. She’s still trying to figure out a way to put her uncanny ability to remember both song lyrics and the intricacies of vampire lore to good use. Follow Jess on Twitter @jessverdi.
Sixteen-year-old Allie’s going on the vacation of her life: tornado chasing. What can possibly go wrong with that?
But a terrifying, magical experience leaves Allie shocked and confused, and she learns that she now bears an awful curse.
Every time there’s a storm, she turns into a tornado. Literally.
Allie has no choice but to flee her hometown–if she stays, her new powers could harm or even kill everyone she loves.
She must return to the plains and find those who made her this way. But this journey is only the beginning of her adventure.
Twisted is the first book of the Deathwind Trilogy, a new young adult and teen paranormal romance series. The second book, Torn, is also available. Book Three of the Deathwind Trilogy, Unleashed, will be released in Summer of 2015.
Hello! Welcome to my review blog tour stop of Twisted by Holly Hook, a YA paranormal novel.
Note: I received a free digital copy of this book thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for review purposes. This does not affect my review.
Twisted is an interesting YA paranormal story that is full of twists and turns! I really enjoyed the fresh fantasy and paranormal aspect introduced in this book—people who turn into tornadoes? Totally a cool idea. The characters were not as likeable as I wish they were, but they were still alright, which made this book interesting to read. The writing was fun to read and was simultaneously mysterious and somehow had a very ‘light’ feel to it. Overall, I really liked the book, although I think this book would’ve been even more enjoyable for a bit younger age. But all in all, a good start to an interesting new YA fantasy/paranormal series!
I really enjoyed the concept of Twisted, I’d say it’s one of the brightest points of the story. It was fresh and unique, something I haven’t ever seen before in the YA genres. I do think there were several parts that could’ve been explained better, but as it is, the story was very intriguing and explained enough to keep me from being too confused as to become bored and uninterested. There was almost constant action, which was a bit disarming at first, but as I got used to the fast-paced storyline, I really liked it. Although I have to admit that this caused some of the supposed climax scenes to be a bit anti-climactic and basically ‘normal’ since the rest of the book went by so fast. The plot had me interested to know more and was wrapped up very well.
This is the part where things get a bit more icky and hard to explain. I liked the characters, but not as much as I could’ve. I found Allie to be an average protagonist, one that I feel like I’ve seen before, one that didn’t shine that bright for me, unfortunately. I didn’t really have any major problems with her, I even sympathized with her at times, but I guess I just didn’t find her to be that interesting to me. Her role in the story did come off as a bit stereotypical, as the girl who is in the spot to be the saviour or destroyer, inhuman and rebellious, etc etc. but that didn’t bother me that much, to be honest. I kind of just let that fly over my head. Bottom line is, I didn’t particularly connect with Allie as a protagonist, but I didn’t dislike her.
I did like some of other characters in this book as well. I didn’t particularly care for the two love interests (yes, there is the dreaded love triangle. Although I think the choice is pretty obvious.) Tommy and Dorian. I felt like the romance between Allie and Tommy progressed way to fast for me to get into it, and the supposed sparks between Allie and Dorian seemed to fake and didn’t hold my attention—or my heart. So I guess I didn’t care for these two males that much. But I did like how Holly Hook constructed the other characters, like Allie’s uncle, and the villain(s) in the story, I feel like there’s a lot to them that we have yet to see and I like that aura of mystery and uncertainty.
“Wind blasts. I’m breaking apart. Flying. The field tilts under me and disappears into the rain.
The rain clears. Fields stretch out below. The earth’s a brown and green checkerboard. It’s lined with trees. It’s amazing. The view makes my transformation almost worth it.
Then the roar explodes. I twist and turn, plowing forward. The crops bow down. The fields wave in terror.
I am destruction.
And this time I’m not alone.”
The writing style was great, it was mysterious and interesting to read about. It really suited the story, and occasionally had a very light and airy feel to it while still being suspenseful. It was really fast-paced but didn’t make me lose sense of the story. Instead it was intriguing and kept me flipping the pages to know more. The story was described really well, I could picture the scenes I was reading very clearly, which was great.
This is an interesting book that I liked reading! The plot is very unique and quite the new idea, and it was fun to read about. The characters weren’t the best part for me, as they fell short of my hopes, but they were still enjoyable. The writing, was really good, it was mysterious but still had a very airy feel to it which was nice. Being the first book in the Deathwind trilogy, I’m curious but not too compelled to read the second book, Torn, which is already released, and the third book, Unleashed, releasing in summer 2015. The world Holly Hook created, this idea with storms and tornadoes is hooking and I’d enjoy reading more about it. All in all, I recommend this book if you’re looking for a new kind of paranormal story, one with a refreshing & fast-paced plot and a pleasant writing style.
Tasty? Not tasty? Find out for yourself by eating it up!
Holly Hook is the author of the Destroyers Series, which consists of five young adult books about teens who are walking disasters…literally. She is also the author of the Rita Morse series, a young adult fantasy series still in progress, and After These Messages, a short ya comedy. Currently she is writing Twisted, a spin-off of the Destroyers Series due out in December. When not writing, she enjoys reading books for teens, especially ya fantasy and paranormal series with a unique twist.
Fifty years ago, the sky cried acid and the earth vomited poison, all due to human destruction. Desperate for a savior, the people called out to the Shunned, a group of Fallen angels on Earth, and allowed them to take over. Now the Shunned rule with unspeakable cruelty, manipulating and torturing the humans in every possible way. Marked for death, Iris Ankea will do anything to end their tyranny and rescue her brother and best friend from their clutches. When she learns that she is God’s chosen Timekeeper and has the power to defeat the Shunned, she sets out with the only man who can help her, the one she thinks just might kill her. With a prophecy about her drawing ever near, Iris must race against time to discover her powers before the world, and her life, end. Can Iris force herself to embrace her role and sacrifice herself to save everyone she loves, or will she lose it all?
“Can I help you?” she asked in a polite voice, staring the man down, pretending that she had not already embedded her dagger deep into his thigh and did not currently work through ways to gain the advantage. She took mental inventory as she stared the man down, watching for any move he may choose to make. She carried no weapons, while he carried many. He seemed built for sheer strength, while Iris possessed a thin, wiry body, though she had strengthened it. He possessed at least some sort of power since he could deflect her dagger somewhat. Iris had powers too, but they were undeveloped and mostly still a complete mystery to her. So, what could she do to protect herself? How could she win this battle?
The man sneered at her, looking down at her both literally and figuratively. “Yes, you can. If you’d like to just, oh, I don’t know, die at my feet, that’d be awesome. Thanks.” The man smiled scathingly, revealing two rows of decaying teeth.
Iris did not even wince, though inwardly she cringed at his disgusting mouth. “No, sorry, I just don’t think that’s going to happen today. Maybe try again tomorrow. Or you know, don’t.” She smiled sweetly as she suddenly spun, bringing a roundhouse kick to the man’s stomach. He stumbled backward a few steps and snarled. He stayed on his feet but he bent over for a long moment to catch his breath. Iris laughed. “What? You didn’t expect a little thing like me to pack a punch? Or rather, a kick? Oh, sorry. I do so hate to disappoint.”
The man once again stood tall and began to step toward Iris. She stepped away. He stepped to the side. She countered. Iris contradicted every move he made, the two circling each other. He yanked her dagger out of his thigh and allowed the blood to seep. “Apparently I will have the pleasure to kill you with your own dagger.”
In one movement, he stepped to the left, forcing Iris to counter even as he shoved the dagger toward her heart. She moved more quickly than he and thus earned a slice across her upper right ribcage. She grunted in pain but did not soften her blow. Instead, she shot forward, shoving her right palm to his nose and up. She tried not to wince at the crunching sound his nose made. She did not care for hurting others but she would defend herself and her family until her dying breath. No one would touch them. As the man recovered from the blow to his nose, Iris stepped forward once more and reached for her dagger. He waved his hand and sent her flying.
With a thump, Iris landed against a nearby tree. She fought to catch her breath as he grinned, those rotten teeth gleaming out at her. He stalked toward her, a glinting pistol in hand. She pushed herself into a standing position as she tentatively reached out with her mind. She caught snippets, just pieces about her position as the Timekeeper and her lack of weapons. She silently cursed herself for leaving the cabin without them. She knew better. Zander had taught her better.
As the stranger loomed toward her, she forced herself to forget about the pain in her body. She focused on the matter at hand and how she could fix it. But that was the problem. How could she fix it? Few options presented themselves and the few that did were unseemly. Iris gritted her teeth and faced the man attempting to murder her, a virtual stranger. She wondered what could possess someone to track down a stranger and murder them in cold blood without the stranger ever harming them or anyone, for that matter. She should ask Sage. On her own, she could not comprehend it. She could understand if she had killed someone the man loved or something. But she hadn’t. And he did not care.
The man once again began the dance of stepping ever closer, each step just a bit to the side. Iris mirrored his movements, once again circling. Her mind raced, trying to win this fight before it fully began. Stall, stall, stall, her mind told her. Give up, you’ll never win, her body replied. There is no victory without a battle, her heart countered. The words steadied her. “Tell me, why did you come? What have I, a teenager, done to someone like you, a man of your stature, to warrant this, this attempted murder? Why do you bother with me?”
The man laughed, a cruel, evil laugh. “Little Timekeeper, you know as well as I why I intend to murder you. And believe me, dear, this is no attempt. I shall succeed. I always do.”
Iris smiled. “I must disagree with you there, sir. Fate has already woven a far different tale. I shall not die this day. I do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.” She grinned again, a scathing grin meant to match his own. He lunged at her, but she had been prepared for that. As he stepped forward she dropped to the ground, delivering her own low swinging kick, knocking his feet out from under him.
Iris watched the man topple with a satisfied sigh as she stood and moved to ready herself for another attack. She knew she mostly bought time. If she could keep him from pulling that trigger, eventually she could knock the weapon away from him or snag her own. Or, hopefully, Sage or Sara would come looking for her and bring a weapon. She could not really see Cassian coming to her aid, but hopefully one of the others would. She desperately needed help and she knew it.
As Iris backed away from the man, he rose to his feet. “You insolent girl, do you really hope to defeat me? You would need an army and I see no army. How do you intend to beat me?”
Iris wondered the same question as the man lumbered toward her once more. How did she intend to escape this situation?
Allyssa Painter is the author of Timekeeper Rising, the first in the Timekeeper Duo. She graduated from Sissonville High School and attends Concord University for elementary and special education. She dreams of becoming an elementary teacher and continuing to touch the world around her through the novels she writes. In her free time, she enjoys reading fantastical adventures, spending time with her family, and capturing the world around her in photography and writing.Author Links: Website Goodreads Facebook Twitter
INT GIVEAWAY – 1 signed copy of Timekeeper Rising & 2 ebook copies of Timekeeper Rising, ends August 13th
Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.
Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction.
Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…
“Armentrout is a major talent…I just can’t stop reading!”
—New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter
“Armentrout works her magic with swoon-worthy guys and a twist you never see coming.”
–#1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines on White Hot Kiss
And don’t miss the first titles in the Dark Elements Series!
Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.
Don’t miss the conclusion to this stunning Young Adult Paranormal series filled with danger and romance published by HarlequinTEEN.
Roth cleared his throat. “Shortie, look…look at your hand.”
Look at my hand? Why in the world would he be asking me to do that in the midst of all the cray?
“Do it,” he said quietly and too gently.
The dread exploded in my gut like buckshot, and my gaze dropped to my left hand. I expected to see the weird marbling of black and gray, a mixture of the demon and Warden that existed inside of me and a combination I’d become almost familiar with by now. My nails had lengthened and sharpened, and I could tell they were hard enough to cut through steel, as hard as my skin, but my skin…it was still pink. Really pink.
“What the…?” My gaze traveled to my other hand. It was the same. Just pink. My wings twitched, reminding me that I had shifted.
Zayne swallowed. “Your…your wings…”
“What about my wings?” I almost screeched, reaching be‑ hind me. “Are they broken? Did they not come out—” The tips of my fingers came into contact with something as soft as silk. My hand jerked back. “What…”
Stacey’s watery eyes had doubled in size. “Um, Layla, there’s a mirror above the fireplace. I think you need to look in it.”
I met Roth’s gaze for a second before I spun around and all but ran to the fireplace I was sure Stacey’s mom had never used. Clutching the white mantel, I stared at my reflection.
I looked normal, like I did before I shifted…like I was going to class or something. My eyes were the palest shade of gray, a watered-down blue. My hair was so blond it was almost white, and a mess of waves that went in every direction like usual. I looked like a colorless china doll, which was nothing new, except for the two fangs jutting out of my mouth. I wouldn’t show them off at school, but that wasn’t what caught my attention and held it.
It was my wings.
They were large, not as massive as Zayne’s or Roth’s, and normally they were almost leathery in texture, but now they were black…black and feathered. Like legit feathered. That soft, silky thing I’d felt? It had been tiny feathers.
“Oh my God,” I whispered at my reflection. “I have feathers.”
“Those are definitely feathered wings,” Roth commented.
I whipped around, knocking over a lamp with my feathered right wing. “I have feathers on my wings!”
Roth cocked his head to the side. “Yeah, you do.”
He was absolutely no help, so I turned to Zayne. “Why do I have feathers on my wings?”
Zayne shook his head slowly. “I don’t know, Layla. I’ve never seen anything like this.”
“Liar,” hissed Roth, shooting him a dark look. “You’ve seen that before. So have I.”
About Jennifer L. Armentrout:
#1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.
Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.
She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.
High school is hard enough, Em knows. Her freshman year introduced her to all the cliques, annoying teachers, and tough homework assignments. But discovering you have super powers and not knowing how to control them is a whole new level of complicated.
Thankfully, Em isn’t alone. Her best friend Roz starts having unusual dreams that come true, and Tommy, Em’s secret crush, can hear the softest whispers in class.
A romance blossoms with Tommy. But just as things are looking up, people start dropping like flies. A telepathic serial killer is on the loose and only Em and her friends have a hope of stopping him.
Or do they? If they don’t figure out the killer’s identity soon, one of them could be next.
Author Guest Post: Connected Movie/TV Show Castings
Connected could adapt to the screen easily, with minimal special effects and a focus more on the characters themselves, building the mystery and suspense old school style. As far as the actors go, let me just say I have a little girl, so there’s no escaping Disney.
That being said, I would love to see Em played by Dove Cameron if it’s possible to make her look less perfect.
Or Hayden Panettiere, even though she’s older I think she could still pull it off.
Zendaya would be perfect to play Roz.
For Tommy, I envisioned someone hunky with longer hair, like Tyler Blackburn.
Q: What was your inspiration for Connected?
I guess I’m a super hero geek at heart. I grew up watching Spiderman, X-men and Superfriends cartoons, and I loved the idea of having super powers. The superhero movies that came out delighted me, even the bad ones were still so much fun. And I remember wishing the series, “Heroes” would go on forever. With Connected, I tried to keep the abilities as organic as possible – something just a little beyond what a normal human can do. I’ve met some pretty incredible people in my life, and my experiences greatly influenced the writing of Connected.
Q: Do you have any other genre you’d like to try your hand at?
Horror, my first love. Though I think a horror/comedy would be much more fun to write than a serious one. Something along the lines of David Wong or Christopher Moore. Or maybe something non-fiction, really there are endless possibilities.
Q: Does Em share any of your characteristics?
It’s no coincidence that Em backwards is “me.” Certainly my teenage self was very much like her…it would be easier to list the differences. Let’s see, I really loved my English classes growing up, I didn’t have a gorgeous, popular best friend, and I had a very loving relationship with my mother.
Q: Do you have any favorite authors in YA Paranormal Romance? Or ones that have influenced you more than others?
Oh boy there are so many… Stephenie Meyer, Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth definitely all influenced me. Amanda Hocking and Abbi Glines in particular also inspired me. Love the Cinder series by Marissa Meyer, though I’m not sure that’s YA Paranormal Romance, maybe more sci-fi. Indies I like in the genre are Chanda Hahn, Lori Brighton, and Keary Taylor.
Q: Do you have anything else in the works?
Yes, I’m almost done with the second book in the Connected series. I also have some ideas for a series of novellas I’m excited about, which may tie into the Connected world.
Q: What about writing life/being an author took you by surprise?
The amount of work it takes, to edit and make a book readable for other humans. I always wonder if it’s different for other writers, if they’re able to just clean up their manuscripts in a couple of drafts and be ready. For me, even after all the edits I’ve done, I still wonder if there’s something I missed, some better way to convey an emotion or draw out a scene.
Now for some fun questions:
Q: What one modern technology do you think you could live without? (Not that you’d like it, but you could if you had to.)
Cell phones, believe it or not. I remember when I was growing up, when you were out, you were out – no way for anyone to reach you short of coming to the restaurant or calling it and having someone page you. Now it seems everyone is texting or playing some game all the time, it’s like we’ve forgotten how wonderful it is to just be with each other.
Q: If you could sit down and have dinner with anyone, living or dead, what would it be and what would you eat?
Oooh I think it would have to be Joseph Heller (Catch-22 is my favorite book). Either him or David Wong (John Dies at the End is a close second). My cuisine choice would undoubtedly be calzones, at an amazing Italian restaurant that cooks Jersey style.
Q: Chocolate, bacon, chocolate with bacon, or none of the above?
That’s an easy one, chocolate. White chocolate to be specific, which I know isn’t technically chocolate, but it’s delicious nonetheless.
Q: Is there one talent you wished you had (besides writing)?
More musical talent, I think. I have this gorgeous string bass, and it’s been so long since I’ve played, I’d have to take lessons to remember how! I admire people who can play by ear, I’ve always needed the sheet music.
Q: Any last words? Um, for the interview, that is. (grin)
IT’S A COOKBOOK!! Sorry, I’m a bit of a Twilight Zone geek. I guess my last words are simply this – Readers: please reach out to me, let me know how you enjoyed Connected. My links are below, I’m thrilled to actually get to connect with people and hear what they think of the book or chat about whatever, as long as you’re not a stalker after a body part.
About the Author
Kat Stiles is a super hero geek at heart. She grew up watching Spiderman, X-men and Superfriends cartoons, and she loved the idea of having super powers. The superhero movies that came out delighted her; even the bad ones were still so much fun. And she remembers wishing the series, “Heroes” would go on forever. With Connected, she tried to keep the abilities as organic as possible – something just a little beyond what a normal human can do. She’s met some pretty incredible people in her life, and her experiences greatly influenced the writing of Connected.
Henry Malone’s childhood was shattered by the unexplained suicide of his father. Now a teenager, his days are spent studying to become a Neural Implant Technician for Planetary Link Corporation, helping them maintain an iron grip over his walled country and every iota of knowledge contained within—but he leads a double life. Henry’s nights are spent helping his mother wage a cyber war against them in her quest to find the truth behind his father’s death.
He’s managed to keep his two lives separate, a delicate balance that’s endangered after he repairs the neural implant of a stranger. He finds she’s in possession of illegal memories from the outside world, unauthorized knowledge of his father, and a message: speak to me later and tell no one. Henry has a choice to make—ignore the message and maintain his double-life, or answer and risk everything to uncover secrets Planetary Link would kill to keep buried.
Welcome to my review tour stop of We Are Watching by M. Stephen Stewart, a dystopian and sci-fi young-adult novel!
Note: I received a free digital copy of this book thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for review purposes. This does not affect my review.
This book was intriguing, to say the least! It had an interesting, new world, with advanced technology that all took some time to get used to, but overall I really liked it.
Henry Malone has always been in the spotlight since his famous father, Scott Malone died. His mother has been continuously attached to her NEX, (basically like our smartphones these days except implanted in the brain). Now Henry’s works for Planetary Link (Plink) as a technician in Neural Implants. One day, when he comes across a girl who has strange memories of the world outside, and of himself and his father, Henry’s world turns completely upside down. Instead of continuing to work for Plink, Henry suddenly finds new revelations, revelations that change everything he’s ever known.Read More »
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Sixteen year old Wendy never knew the world before the Starvation. She’s learned to put her trust in her knives, and her confidence in her fighting ability. When the Skinnies attack her compound, she’s the lone survivor.
Injured and near death, Wendy is rescued and nursed back to health by mysterious strangers. Her saviors offer her a place among them, but trust has never been one of Wendy’s strengths, and suspicion soon leads to evidence that these people might be the group who killed her family.
The decision to get her revenge, and take the settlement down from the inside out is easy. Keeping her distance from those she must befriend in order to make it happen proves to be much more difficult.
Imagine a desk, and at one end is a neat, little pile of papers. Next to that is another pile, this one not quite so tidy. Maybe one paper is slipping off the stack, which leads the eye to an array of notes that may have been, at one time, in a pleasing fan shape, but now looks like someone gave it a noogie. This is usually where you will discover the discarded wrappers of whatever snacks I could find. A glass with the glazed on remains of a Diet Coke will be sitting on a Dr. Who coaster, and the little cup for pens will be empty, because the pens are now hiding under the papers. When your eyes reach the keyboard, you’ll see that everything has been pushed aside to make room for me playing of Facebook.
2-What book do you wish you could have written?
Ender’s Game. That book has captured so many people’s imaginations, I would love to have been the person to have written it. Plus, Ender’s Game sits somewhere in the middle of commercial fiction and literary fiction, a place I hope to venture someday.
3-How important are names in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any other name choosing resources you recommend?
Names are very important, and I’m sometimes horrible at finding just the right one. Ages ago, I bought a baby name book–a book that my fiance packed up when we got married and moved in together and was a little concerned about–and I often use that to find names. Sometimes I look at meanings. Often I will end up with names that all sound the same (one syllable for instance) or all start with the same letter. When that starts to happen, I find a letter I haven’t used and I flip open the book. Sometimes I use the web too. Especially if I need, say, legitimate last name from Africa .
In my first novel, New Sight, I couldn’t think of a name for the bad guys, so I named them the New until I came up with something better. By the time I got finished writing the book, the New had stuck. It’s a dumb name, but now it’s theirs.
4-What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
This one is easy, and maybe you’re expecting me to say “Finishing my first manuscript!”, but that’s not it at all. While writing isn’t easy, it’s something that I can do. What I struggled for six years to get is my black belt in Shaolin Kempo. I’m a round girl–always have been–and I had to put some seriously hard, physical effort into every single thing I did at the dojo. I can write all day, but ask me to do a push up, and I still inwardly roll my eyes and do them from my knees. So yeah, black belt. I’m pretty proud of that.
5-What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors.
Years ago, I was at a little, tiny writing/Sci-fi/Fantasy convention and I went to a class by a guy I’d never heard of. A guy named Brandon Sanderson. His first Librarians book was about to come out, and he was talking about magic systems. I don’t really remember what he said about that. What I do remember is one simple statement he made, “Don’t be afraid to suck.”
I’ve lived by this creed ever since. Don’t expect to be the best author in the room, don’t expect to get everything right the first time, and don’t expect to wow every reader you encounter. What all authors need to do is keep writing. Find some people who will help you get better and listen to them. It’s okay to suck, as long as you’re willing to try again.
6- Do you read reviews? Do you respond the them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I started out reading my reviews, but quickly gave up. Partly because it’s like an emotional roller coaster with some ups, some downs and often times afterwards I just wanted to throw up. My fix for all of this was to have my husband read them. He then tells me if there are any common threads. For instance, if three or four people say they felt the ending was rushed, then that’s something I should look at.
I remember getting a review of my first novel that said it was horrible and she couldn’t connect with the characters and she didn’t even make it through the book. I was devastated. How could anyone be so mean? In a fit of rage, I looked up her blog to see if she was mean to everyone, or if it was just me. That’s when I found out that she reviews fluffy romances, not action/Sci-Fi/Fantasy stories. No wonder she didn’t make it through, there wasn’t nearly enough googly eyes and sexual tension for her. That’s when I asked my hubby to read the reviews for me. One romance writer hated my book. That’s totally fine, but her feedback isn’t terribly pertinent to me, because I’m not writing Twilight.
7-What is your biggest failure?
I still haven’t received any death threats for killing off a character. This will happen.
8-What is your biggest fear?
The dark. No, wolves. No, the lack of toilet paper in the apocalypse.
9-What do you want your tombstone to say?
Okay, two things here. The mom of one of my best friends growing up wants this on hers, and I think it’s brilliant, “See, I told you I was sick.” I can probably talk my husband into this.
If not that, then something silly. None of the sweet, tear jerking messages that people leave. Those are lovely, but not really me. I’m more like, “Did you turn the lights off before you left?” or, “Be good. There is no try.”
10-If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Flying. Fast. Then I’d figure out some weapons and the bad guys would hate me. Buahahaha!
Author of Babes in Spyland, New Sight-YA fantasy out April 2014, wearer of a black belt in Kempo and always in search of the next cool place to visit!
So she takes a year off between high school and college to don a fake tail and tour aquariums across the country in a professional mermaid troupe.
Everything’s great until she meets a gorgeous real-life merman named Finn. Suddenly, what she thought was a dream turns out to be a nightmare — she’s turning into a mermaid herself. For real.
Yet when she returns to the sea to seek out Finn and reverse her transformation, she finds herself in the middle of an impending war between the land and sea. Tara may have always wanted to be a mermaid, but now it’s sink or swim. In order to survive, she has to learn how to be one, too.
Summer 2015, award-winning, and best-selling authors will bring you romantic tales of mermaids, sirens, sprites, and other creatures of the deep! Keep in touch as we reveal each title in our collection!
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man pulling himself up and over the fence by me. At least, I thought it was a man—he was hidden by the shadows and I couldn’t be sure. Curiosity overtook fear and I straightened from my kneeling position to get a closer look. Maybe it was a cleaner. Or a trespasser, in which case, I should be running.
I walked towards the figure as it began crawling across the ground, recovered from its climb.
It was dark, so I could barely see the outline of a man’s body stop and look at me. Then I saw the impossible, long, single fin on his lower half instead of two feet, and the scales cascading down from the man’s waist.
A mer tail. Not like the silicon kind I used for my performances. Even in the dark, I could see that it writhed and moved with a mind of its own, fully an extension of his body.
Reflexes and survival instinct took over before my mind could react. I backpedaled, trying to get away from the mysterious figure, only I misjudged how far I was from the edge of the water. And how wet the ground was.
My foot slipped and I fell head-over-heels backwards, plunging over the side of the fence and onto the rocky crags below. I screamed for help, but when my head struck solid rock and the rest of my body impacted with the ground, I fell into an unyielding darkness, one that was haunted by merman-shaped shadows emerging from the ocean.
1. What is your favorite mermaid story or myth?
I’ve always loved Disney’s The Little Mermaid, but when I read the original Hans Christian Andersen tale, I fell in love with it. It’s a dark, sad tale that still gives me chills. If you haven’t read it, you should pick it up and read it! You’ll never watch the animated movie the same way ever again.
2. What was the inspiration for How to be a Mermaid?
I stumbled upon the Weeki Wachee mermaids, a professional mermaid troupe based out of Florida. I wondered what would happen if one of those mermaids ever met a real-life merman and the story flourished from there.
3. Cast your characters. If How to be a Mermaid was made into a movie, who would play your main characters?
Tara: Katie McGrath is a bit older than Tara in the book, but I think she’d be perfect. I’ve seen her in comedy and I’ve seen her act, and she looks the part too! She’s been in a few things, but I imagine we’re going to see a lot more of Katie McGrath in upcoming movies.
Finn: Liam Hemsworth. Sighs. Imagine him with a mer tail and that’s him!
4. What was most challenging thing writing about mermaids?
The most challenging part, actually, was trying to get a behind-the-scenes perspective of professional mermaids. I went to the Georgia Aquarium to see the Weeki Wachee mermaids in action and did a backstage tour to see how the aquarium worked. After that, I was able to incorporate what I saw into the story.
5. Ursula or Ariel?
Ursula. Sea witches always have more fun.
6. What else should we know about How to be a Mermaid?
Pay attention to the character Jordyn – her character is getting her own story coming up!
Sci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books, like the fantasy mystery novel Death is but a Dream, the sci-fi middle grade book Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average, and the Her Wolf paranormal series.
She works as an advertising copywriter during the day, and she moonlights as an author. She has lived in New Zealand, Texas, and now in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, cat, and a growing collection of geek paraphernalia.
This city is falling. Seventeen-year-old Anais Finch lives in a world where everyone is born beautiful, where every dream is a possibility – and where their every move and every piece of personal information is recorded by an ID picochip inserted behind their right ear. When technology giant, Civitas, finally announces the launch of their highly anticipated Scholarly Learning Programs, which allow people to download and learn any subject instantly, Anais can hardly wait. But not everyone is pleased with society’s progress, and not everyone wants to fit in. When Anais witnesses a brutal murder on an innocent citizen and is implicated in the crime, she becomes determined to uncover the truth, especially when others like it begin to occur all over the city. But it may already be too late for Anais to stop the man who calls himself ‘the Hacker’ before he commits his most appalling crime yet…
Hi there! Thanks for having me today! I’m Rachel and I’m a Young Adult sci-fi author. I’m 24 years old and I’m an English girl, born and raised. I love tea, cake, Lord of the Rings, bread and butter, and rain. You have to learn to love the rain if you grow up in the north of England.
When did you start writing?
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. Even in primary school, I remember folding up coloured pieces of A4 paper to make a book, scribbling a story in the first few pages and then abandoning it (that habit hasn’t actually changed that much – only, I now use a computer rather than random bits of paper). Making up stories has been the only thing that’s been constant throughout my life – I’ve never doubted I’d become a writer one day, but it’s only in the past few years that I’ve decided to take that ambition seriously. I first started writing novels three years ago, when I was about to graduate from university. It was while I was waiting to hear back from the hundreds of job applications I’d sent out that I decided to write my first novel and see what became of it. I’ve stopped and started a lost of books over the last few years, but I finally feel like I’m ready to take my writing career seriously.
What made you decide to write Young Adult science fiction?
I’ve got to be honest with you – it’s a genre I kind of accidentally fell into. All my previous attempts at writing have been YA dystopian/apocalyptic novels. I never set out thinking that I’d end up writing science fiction. Don’t get me wrong, I love science fiction films and I love reading other YA sci-fi books – learning about new technology/civilisations and the way in which these things impact on society have always fascinated me. But it wasn’t until I was a good halfway through writing Synthetica that I even realised I was writing sci-fi. I just thought I was writing a ‘futuristic’ YA novel…it wasn’t until I had to define it in a category for my query letters that I realised it was, in fact, sci-fi. And now, I can’t seem to stop thinking of other science fiction stories to write…
Tell us a little bit about your book, Synthetica…
Seventeen-year-old Anais Finch lives in a world where everyone is born beautiful, where every dream is a possibility – and where their every move and every piece of personal information is recorded by an ID picochip inserted behind their right ear. When technology giant, Civitas, finally announces the launch of their highly anticipated Scholarly Learning Programs, which allow people to download and learn any subject instantly, Anais can hardly wait.
But not everyone is pleased with society’s progress, and not everyone wants to fit in. When Anais witnesses a brutal murder on an innocent citizen and is implicated in the crime, she becomes determined to uncover the truth, especially when others like it begin to occur all over the city. But it may already be too late for Anais to stop the man who calls himself ‘the Hacker’ before he commits his most appalling crime yet.
What inspired Synthetica?
The idea for Synthetica came about while I was watching The Matrix with my better half. It was the scene where Neo downloads the ability to learn martial arts and for some reason, this sparked a thought in my mind – what if programs like this were available for everyone to download? What if you could download knowledge about any subject you liked directly to your brain? And then, what if someone hacked into these programs and used for their own means? It took a couple of months for me to get all the details of this plot worked out, but once I had, I knew this was a book I simply had to write.
How did you come up with the title Synthetica?
The title simply came to me while I was outlining the book. I don’t know what inspired it or why, but to me, it just felt right. This book is set in a world which only cares about physical and material possessions – your DNA can be changed so you can have the exact look you want, everyone keeps up to date with the latest fashions and looks (which change almost daily), everyday objects must be bought new and changed regularly – and to me, the title embodies the traits of this world perfectly.
Who was your favourite character to write about?
This is a hard one to answer! Although I love all the characters in Synthetica, there are two in particular that I couldn’t wait to write: Clay Winterbourne and the Hacker. I loved writing Clay’s chapters because he’s such a misery guts and he’s got such an intriguing background, that I could have a lot of fun exploring his reactions to certain situations. He’s not used to being around people and suddenly he’s thrown into this situation where he not only has to interact with people, but he also has to go back to the Imperial City and try to face his personal demons head on. He’s turned his back on the city that framed him for murder, but he has to decide whether he’s stubborn enough to refuse help to someone who genuinely needs him.
And the Hacker – well, who doesn’t love writing about villains? I always knew I wanted the Hacker’s POV dispersed throughout the novel, so we could get a sense of his motivations and why he was committing the crimes he did. It was a challenge to get across his personality in such short scenes, while also making him a bit of an enigma. The Hacker continued to surprise me throughout the book – I always knew he was going to be a sociopath, but I found myself constantly wondering exactly how far he’d go to achieve his goals. He’s a man who genuinely has no regard for human life, which makes the stakes all the higher when Anais encounters him.
Is Synthetica part of a series?
Yes! It’s part of a trilogy.
What can we expect from the rest of the series?
The second book in the series is mainly about dealing with the fallout of Synthetica. The Imperial City is in chaos, and the second book is not only exploring the consequences of both the Hacker’s and Anais’ actions; it’ll also bring in other characters from the first book, so we can see firsthand what their reactions to the Hacker are. Anais now has to process everything that happened to her, but she doesn’t end up doing such a good job of handling her emotions, unfortunately. The Hacker is still determined to claim the city as his own, and now that he knows who Anais is, he’s going to make sure they meet face to face. It’s a lot darker than Synthetica – there are parts of the book that have broken my heart already.
I’m still outlining the third book, but it’s going to bring everything to a head. Anais and the Hacker are both determined to bring each other down and now, they’re set to collide in a big way. But with the future of the entire Imperial City at stake, neither of them can afford to lose. I can’t wait to write this book – it’s going to bigger and darker than anything I’ve done before.
Would you ever consider writing in any other genres?
At the moment I’m happy writing YA sci-fi. I love writing for the YA market, but I wouldn’t say no to writing in a different genre, perhaps a dystopian or a fantasy. I’ve got a couple of ideas for a fantasy series, but I don’t know if it’ll come to anything yet. I don’t see myself moving away from writing for young adults any time soon, but never say never!
What are your current writing projects?
At the moment, I’m currently having a lot of fun writing the sequel to Synthetica, which I hope will be published before the end of the year. Just a word of warning – if you thought Synthetica was dark, it’s nothing compared to what’s in store for book two *evil cackle*.
I’m also currently outlining an idea for a standalone novel, which I’m working on during my breaks from the world of Synthetica. Nowadays, people seem to put a lot of emphasis on the amount of ‘likes’ or attention they get on social media (myself included), and this got me thinking – what if you took this concept and applied it to a situation where it actually mattered how many ‘likes’ you received? For example what if in this world, the amount of ‘likes’ you had decided whether you lived or died…? I’m super excited to explore this idea, although at the moment I’m having a hard time getting the characters of Synthetica out of my head!
What advice would offer an aspiring author?
Don’t give up. I’m not going to lie – writing a book is hard. It takes a lot of perseverance. There are times when you’re halfway through writing your first draft and you suddenly realise everything you’ve written is awful, or you’ve written in a character that doesn’t work with your plot anymore, or you’ve just spotted a gaping plot hole. It can be disheartening, but remember, no first draft is perfect. Just keep going, and eventually it all comes together. First drafts (and second, and third , and fourth drafts…) can always be rewritten and restructured, so just remember to keep writing. You can change the words you’ve written, but you can’t change anything on a blank page.
Finally, if you could invite any three book characters to dinner, who would they be and why?
Aragorn, without a doubt. He’d be top of my list. He was pretty much my first book crush (and remains one to this day) and I’d love to the chance to get to interrogate him about Middle Earth in person. Secondly, I’d have to say Jaime Lannister. I started off absolutely hating him in GOT, but he’s now one of my favourite characters. I’d love to get inside his head and ask him whether or not he’d ever get together with Brienne (and if he’s going to do everyone a favour and get rid of Cersei). I was going to choose a different book for my third character, but there’s so much I want to know about GOT, that I’d have to invite Sandor Clegane as well – another one of my favourite characters. He’s got such a messed up sense of loyalty, and I want to know why he stuck with Joffrey for so long, and yet. Why he wanted to save the Stark girls. Hm, I’ve just noticed that all these characters are flawed in some way…I guess that just goes to show how much I love my messed up characters!
Thanks for having me today! It’s been great!
About the Author
Rachel Pattinson graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a BA Hons in Publishing Media. Born and raised in the north of England, she shares a love for anything to do with tea, cake, bread and butter, rain, the dark, lakes, fells and Lord of the Rings. She now lives in Norfolk with her partner in crime, and is currently working on several new projects, including the sequel to Synthetica.