Book Review: The V Girl by Mya Robarts

21799202.jpgTitle : The V Girl

Author : Mya Robarts

Release date : July 1st, 2014

Rating : 4.7/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

In post-apocalyptic North America, rape and sexual slavery are legal. Lila Velez, desperately wants to lose her virginity before the troops visit her town and can take it away by force. She makes plans to seduce her only friend, Rey, the most attractive man in her town. Lila does not love him but he is the only man who has shown her true affection, an affection she is willing to take as a substitute of love.

Lila’s coping mechanism to her mother’s rape and kidnapping is her secret. A secret that will bring her closer to Aleksey, a foreign, broody man. Lila does not trust him because his links to the troops and his rough, yet irresistible appearance. Aleksey offers Lila an alternative to her plans, a possibility that terrifies her…and tempts her in spite of herself.

All the while Lila will have to find a way to live in the constant company of death, slavery, starvation, sexual abuse and the danger of losing the people she loves the most.

Review :

Woah woah woah, hold up, now. That was a freaking incredible book!!!

I have to start off by saying that this book is NOT for the faint of heart. So if you are, RUN AWAY FROM IT. Seriously, have you read the description?! Yeah, a book that talks about rape, abuse and slavery is certainly not for the sensitive. It’s brutal, and horrifying.

Now, for those of you who stayed: what a ride! The V Girl blew my mind away! Robarts wrote in a careful, mature and poetic way in order to handle such horrible subjects. She brought together some aspects that we can, unfortunately, find in our society. If you think about it, rape culture exists, and is present wherever you go. However, this book isn’t wholly about making people aware of this very real issue. It’s about Lila’s struggle to survive in her own way in her screwed up world, who had already screwed up her own family. The story is sprinkled with so many amazing details and new ideas and concepts that this fictional world felt real. I’m not saying that Lila’s world is awesome. Oh hell no, it’s atrocious! But Robarts’ imagination was, and I immensely enjoyed reading about it. Wow, how I would love to read more about it!

What I also really liked was the pace of the book. It was great, and gave me the time to get to know the characters, and their world, and the way this society works. I had a clear idea of where everyone stood before we jumped to the actual, interesting plot.

The V Girl might fall into the “coming of age” category, because its main character goes through a phase where she changes and evolves. And she did! At first, I didn’t like her, because she was fickle and naïve and constantly scared. She didn’t seem like the kind of person I’d like to read about. I mean, I know her growing up had been hard, and her situation explained why she acted this way…but still. I was irrationally pissed off by her. But then, after everything Lila went through, she became an incredibly brave young woman. She fought nails and teeth to overcome the obstacles she encountered, and she truly amazed me. I particularly admired her respect for herself, her values and her body, and the perseverance and strong-will she developed over time. And what can I say about Aleksey? He’s so HOT. Not particularly my type, but boyyyy, I fell head over heels for him anyway. He’s an artist, and mysterious, and my ovaries exploded many times at his scenes.

After finishing the book, I came to the conclusion that I could have used a sequel to The V Girl, because the writing was incredibly and the characters, fantastic. Unfortunately, I’ll have to rely on only the one.

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Book Review + GIVEAWAY: Legacy by Ellery A. Kane

Title : Legacy (Legacy #1)

Author : Ellery A. Kane

Publisher : Balboa Press

Release date : September 5th, 2014

Rating : 3.5/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

 

How do you want to feel today?

In 2041, the choice is yours.

San Francisco is deserted, the Bay Bridge bombed, and the BART subway trains grounded. The Guardians, members of an elite and mysterious government-appointed military police force, are maintaining order at all costs—thanks to emotion-altering drugs like Emovere that suppress fear and anxiety. Lex Knightley, daughter of a prominent forensic psychiatrist, risks entering the devastated city to partner with the Resistance, a group of rebels intent upon exposing the dangers of Emovere. Lex discovers an ally in Quin McAllister, a magnetic Guardian Force recruit with a haunting past that binds them together. As she uncovers the secrets of the Guardian Force and confronts the truth about her family, Lex begins to realize that even those closest to her are not quite who they seem.

Review :

** I’m sorry for the lateness of this review. I hope you will enjoy the reading nonetheless!

Legacy’s summary was promising, and the story itself delivered.

I’m going to go and start out with the characters. We follow Lex’s story as she goes out to find the Resistance, and as you probably guessed, the journey is dangerous. Therefore, I would expect our hero to have certain character traits, right? Such as resourcefulness, caution and toughness. And hallelujah! Lex, although some parts made me doubt it, has in general all those qualities, and even has some more that made me like her.

Quin, on his part, was very typical. He’s the troubled boy with the secretive past. You know the kind. I wasn’t impressed by him, and even less by the “romance”, which felt like it came out of nowhere. I just couldn’t ship them together just because of that fact, unfortunately. It’s also too bad the romance took up so much space also. However, I greatly enjoyed Lex’s friends. They surprisingly had a lot of depth, and they were fun to read!

For a debut author, I was pleasantly surprised by Kane’s writing style. It didn’t seem at all like it was her first book! Legacy is very well thought out, and it pays attention to details amazingly well. The idea of emotion-controlling pills is very good, and it was obvious Kane spent a lot of time thinking about it. It was very well constructed. I do wish there would be more action, and also that we would get to know the world a little more. I felt just a bit let down, but I suppose the author is saving all the juicy details for the sequel.

In conclusion, Legacy is a solid debut novel by Kane, and you should definitely give it a try!

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GIVEAWAY :
Win a signed copy of the entire Legacy trilogy!

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Interview with Genevieve Cogman, author of The Invisible Library

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Hi there! I had the pleasure to interview Genevieve Cogman, author of The Invisible Library, the review of which you can find here! Please read along, and don’t forget to take a look at the book also 🙂

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Genevieve Cogman got started on Tolkien and Sherlock Holmes at an early age, and has never looked back. But on a perhaps more prosaic note, she has an MSC in Statistics with Medical Applications and has wielded this in an assortment of jobs: clinical coder, data analyst and classifications specialist. Although The Invisible Library is her debut novel, she has also previously worked as a freelance roleplaying game writer. Genevieve Cogman’s hobbies include patchwork, beading, knitting and gaming, and she lives in the north of England.

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1.       Hi, Mrs. Cogman! Thank you for agreeing to this interview! I would like to start with an all-time classic : Could you enlighten us a little bit about yourself?
 
I’m a clinical classifications specialist (it has to do with recording medical data) and I work for the NHS. I live and work in the north of England, a couple of hours north of London. My hobbies include patchwork, knitting, beading, role-playing games, and reading far too much.
 
2.       How did your passion for books start?
 
As far back as I can remember, I’ve been reading, and losing myself in a good story. I remember my parents reading me The Hobbit as a bedtime story when I was five or six. I started on The Lord of the Rings at seven, even if I didn’t properly appreciate large parts of it at the time. I was always reading anything I got my hands on from the family bookshelves, and the school library, and the local library…
 
3.       What made you want to mash up spies and libraries?
 
It started as just the concept of a librarian who was “collecting” books from alternate universes, rather than as a deliberate plan to mix the two genres, but when I started writing it, I found out that in practice Irene had to use quite a number of spy (or heist) techniques to succeed. All that early reading of Modesty Blaise novels and various “How To Be A Spy” handbooks for children must have had more influence on me than I realized.
 
4.       Did you have to do any research while writing The Invisible Library? If so, what did you research about?
 
The main area of research was the geography of various points in London. Though there were other points, such as “famous lost works of fiction”, “vocal patterns of Sherlock Holmes”, “types of alligator”, “curare and antidotes”, and “how to spell Liechtenstein”…
 
5.       How would you summarize your book in one sentence?
 
Heroine has to obtain rare text while hunted by arch-enemy of Library and coping with an unwanted mentorship role, and finds out that famous detectives are more complex in real life than they are in fiction.
 
6.       What was your favorite element to write about? (a character, an event, a description,…)
 
Silver is my favourite character to write about. He’s just so gloriously melodramatic and tacky. My favourite event was the alligator attack. (I’d probably better not say where or how, in case people haven’t read that scene yet.)
 
7.       What do you notice most when reading a book? (Characters, characters’ development, plot holes, etc.)
 
I think it would be characters, but it really does depend on the book.
 
8.        What would you like people to notice most while reading your book?
 
I wouldn’t want them necessarily to “notice” things. I’d just like them to enjoy reading it, and to come out the far end with a headful of cool images and some entertaining new daydreams. And maybe to want to know what happens next.
 
9.       Could you give us 3 book recommendations?
 
Rivers of London, by Ben Aaronovitch.
A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula Le Guin
The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison
 
10.  Thank you for your time, and good luck for the future!
 
Thank you very much!

Book Review + GIVEAWAY: Race Girl by Leigh Hutton

Title : Race Girl

Author : Leigh Hutton

Publisher : Port Campbell Press

Release date : April 3rd, 2016

Rating : 4/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

Tully Athens has always dreamed of following in the footsteps of her hero Michelle Payne. Of living up to the Athens name and becoming the third generation of women from her family to rule the track. But Tully’s never been sure she’s got the nerve, and when her mother is killed in a horse racing accident, her whole world is shattered.

Six months later, in the heat of a Queensland summer, sixteen-year-old Tully is ready to face her fears. But getting back in the saddle leads to a whole lot more than she bargained for, with an out of control crush on the boy from their rival thoroughbred farm – the gorgeous but cocky larrikin Brandon Weston – and a forgotten filly with stardom in her eyes . . .

When faced with the most difficult decision of her life, will Tully choose to train and race her new filly in Melbourne? Or will she sacrifice it all to fight for love on the land that feeds her soul?

It’s only when tragedy rips everything from her that Tully finds a strength and courage she never knew she had, in this action-packed novel of passion, adventure and determination.

Review :

Can I get a hell yeah for this amazing story of victory, determination, adventure, love and loss?!

Ok, so I’ll start with the negative, and end with the positive, alright? I didn’t expect much from this book, but one of the things I did hope to have was fast-paced, heart-racing action, horse races that would shatter my mere reading experience and turn me into a witness to the Melbourne Cup!!! Unfortunately, as you probably guessed, it wasn’t so. Even the beginning was dull, and if I wasn’t reading this book for a purpose, I would have started reading it diagonally. I found Race Girl to be slower paced than what I would have liked from this book, but I do understand why: it’s not a novel about horse racing, it’s a novel about a horseback rider who has to overcome obstacles. And yet, even though I know that already, I’m still just a tiny bit disappointed. However, Hutton has a great way of writing that makes readers feel like they’re in the action. During the races, I could have sworn that I was on a horse! So that was a real winner!

The main character, Tully, didn’t appeal to me, at first. She literally cried in every chapter. LITERALLY. Seriously, I couldn’t stand her! But, the book spans over 2 years, and we get to see an amazing character development. Tully becomes a mature young woman, caring and strong, forged through hard struggles. I really liked her at the end, as she finally became worthy of being the protagonist. I didn’t have much thought about Brandon, but their relationship was quite charming. The romance was cute, but thankfully, it didn’t take up too much space. It stayed in the background, and just added to the sweetness of the story.

As usual, I love it when an author does research for their novel!! Hutton was obviously a connoisseur about horseback riding, and horse races, and, from what I garnered about her other works, adventure sports in general. The bits that actually taught me anything about horseback riding were a joy to read, along with the bits about the riders themselves. I expected to learn about horses, and I did!

All in all, Race Girl is a very sweet story about a horse rider who overcomes difficulties and fights for what she loves. Although it struck me more as a young reader’s story, I still recommend it if you are looking for a simple but feel-good book!

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Book Review + GIVEAWAY : Incarnation by Laura Davis Hays

Title : Incarnation

Author : Laura Davis Hays

Publisher : Terra Nova Books

Release date : February 29th, 2016

Rating : 4.3/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

 

Kelsey Depuis, Santa Fe scientist, and Iriel, betrothed on Atlantis to a man she cannot love two young women bound by a single soul. In Kelsey s everyday world, three men shape her life: Myron Crouch, the boss of BioVenture Enterprises; Harrison Stillman, a brilliant colleague of hers there; and Stan Dresser, who twists her feelings with his kisses and lies. But gradually, growingly, Iriel is shaping her life too. Through dreams and visions, she draws Kelsey into the ancient realm where refusal to marry Gewil has driven her to daring flight with fantastic creatures across a strange and terrible land. As Kelsey joins other BioVenture researchers testing a new organism on a remote Caribbean island, turmoil and violence darken her fate and Iriel s presence grows stronger. Worlds shift and merge, danger grows. Past and present, vengeance and love swirl together as the seas rise up, the seas that once swallowed Atlantis. Tested in life-or-death struggle, Kelsey must face an ordeal she can survive only through great courage and deep karmic understanding.”

Review :

A smashing novel by Laura Davis Hays, intertwining science, culture and spirituality!

I must admit it, when I read the summary, I was intrigued but mostly perplexed as to how Hays would pull off such a story. It’s a very unusual mash-up of biology and mythology! Therefore, I approached Incarnation with care and curiosity, but boy, am I glad I did! Laura Davis Hays apparently doesn’t have any trouble blending our modern era with the lost world of Atlantis. She manipulates words like an expert chess player with his pawns, with precision and grace.

At the beginning, I struggled a little bit with the complexity of the novel, with the back and forth between the times, and all the characters I met. Incarnation is not a book you read lightly; it’s a book that requires thinking, and open-mindedness. The science aspect was easy enough for me, as I studied science for the biggest part of my life. But, as my reading progressed and my understanding of the events as well, I started to appreciate the pace and the suspense! Man, the suspense glued me to the book, having me anticipating Kelsey’s and Iriel’s long-awaited collision! The suspense-building was also formidably done.

The main characters, Kelsey and Iriel, were well-developed. They are strong and resilient women, realistic as you would find in every day life, and worthy of all of my praise. I particularly noticed Kelsey’s character development, as she started a bit…unfocused, and then became more mature and made better decisions. Their alternating points of view (and therefore, their era differences) drew me in the conflict at heart and engaged me in their extraordinary adventure.

Hays writes beautifully. She especially has a master’s hand for descriptions! Those were incredibly imaginative and rich, so much I had no trouble imagining the spaces she was describing. Atlantis was so well detailed; I was completely engrossed whenever I was reading Iriel’s parts, as if her world was an actual, real place, but at the same time so out of reach for us, mere mortals.

All in all, the author expertly delivered a complex and haunting story, set in a modern scientific world but shaken by a lost and ancient civilization. I highly recommend this book!

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Giveaway + Book Blitz : Sleeping Tom by E. V. Fairfall

Back at it again with the promotion of awesome books!!

Sleeping Tom
E.V. Fairfall
(Sleeping Tom #1)
Publication date: February 14th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Hitchhiking is a bad idea but Caden is desperate.

When she accepts a ride from the first car to come by she meets Gabriel. He’s her age, hot, and the closest thing she has to a savior. Problem is, he is a total jerk. With nowhere to go, Caden convinces Gabriel to let her stay with him for one night. He reluctantly lends a couch.

That night Caden wakes up to strange noises. Concerned, she rushes into Gabriel’s room, already anticipating his bad temper. Instead, he’s kind, sweet, and suspiciously harmless—nothing like the man who gave her a ride. He seems like a different person altogether, and claims he is. By night he is Tom, and by day he is Gabriel. Caden finds herself drawn to the mysteries hidden in his eyes.

For Gabriel, Caden is an annoying mistake. One night turns into many, and despite all his anger towards her, she stays. She even seems to accept him and his flaws, but he still doesn’t trust her—is she staying for him, or has she already discovered more than he’s willing to share?

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Grab yours today for only 99cents (for a limited time only)!

Stay tuned for Waking Gabriel‘s release in July!

EXCERPT:

“Don’t go.”

He was creeping her out. She wanted to run and hide from him, but instead she held her ground and, as casually as she could, leaned into the doorframe. “It’s like three in the morning,” she reminded him, attempting a frown to hide her anxiety.

“Do you want to play a game?”

“What?” Caden asked, his voice once again making her unsure. A game? It sounded like something Sean would say. Caden shifted her weight, eyeing him warily. I can handle this. She let out a deep breath; if nothing else she could use this as an opportunity. Cleaning at three in the morning obviously hadn’t scored her enough Good Samaritan points.

“Sure… We can play a game.” She wondered if her hesitation would make him angry, like she had when they had been in the car that afternoon.

She looked around for a weapon, anything she could use to protect herself. As her eyes scanned the room each surface was bare, aside from the bulky old alarm clock on the nightstand.

“First, you have to turn off the lights.”

Caden’s hand shook. This didn’t feel right. “Okay,” She mumbled, attempting to seem unfazed, and she turned off the lights with a flick of her wrist. It took a few seconds for her eyes to readjust, and when they did she saw the boy leap back onto the bed, light and agile. She took an uneasy step back. Her chest constricted and her breath caught in her throat. Caden couldn’t deny being unsure of the situation, of this boy who somehow had to be the man she’d met earlier that day.

His head moved from side to side, watching her as intently as she watched him. “What do you want to play?” he asked.

Even then, with him in better visibility, Caden couldn’t tell if the boy was really Gabriel. It was the same voice she had heard earlier, but without the rough edge of his irritation it sounded much younger and innocent, like that of a child. “I don’t know…”

“Oh, come on, think of something,” he said.

When he didn’t move to grab her, she relaxed a little, her breath evening out once again. Caden could feel her confidence slowly building. Maybe he really just wants to play a game. “Aren’t you tired?”

The boy’s shoulders and head dropped. “So you don’t want to play,” he confirmed dejectedly. She watched as he turned around on the empty bed, to face the other wall.

Caden’s little sister Reese always used guilt to get what she wanted. She hadn’t known a guy her own age could make her feel just as guilty, if not worse. “No, no, I want to play. I do.” As long as you stay on that side of the room. Caden moved farther into the room but stayed a good six feet away.

“What game? What game?” He bounced on the bed in his sitting position.

“Do you have any cards?” She clutched the blanket tighter around her, but tried to keep her voice light and casual.

“Cards?” The boy, who no longer seemed like Gabriel at all, stuck out his tongue. “Dumb. Something else.”

Author Bio:

The hunger is encompassing, so she feeds the beast books. But the hunger never settles… so she writes. E.V. Fairfall has an itch that drives her to the world of story telling. With several published short stories, and soon several books (fingers crossed), she explores the topics of humanity and hardship.

During the daylight hours, a book is always within reach. She spends her nights reading with her husband, surrounded by towers of tomes and three furry children curled in close. If she isn’t reading, she is browsing bookstores or hiking, but always awaiting her next adventure.

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Giveaway + Book Blitz: Shining Sea by Mimi Cross

Shining Sea
Mimi Cross
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

Seventeen-year-old Arion Rush has always played the obedient sidekick to her older sister’s flashy femme fatale—until a mysterious boating accident leaves Lilah a silent, traumatized stranger. As her sister awaits medical treatment with their mother, Arion and their father head to his hometown in Maine to prepare a new life for them all. Surrounded by the vast Atlantic, songwriting is Arion’s only solace, her solid ground.

Unexpectedly, Arion blossoms in the tiny coastal town. Friends flock to her, and Logan Delaine, a volatile heartthrob, seems downright smitten. But it’s Bo Summers—a solitary surfer, as alluring as he is aloof—that Arion can’t shake. Meanwhile, Lilah’s worsening condition, a string of local fatalities, and Arion’s own recent brushes with death seem ominously linked…to Bo’s otherworldly family. As Arion’s feelings for Bo intensify and his affections turn possessive, she must make a choice. How will Arion learn to listen to her own voice when Bo’s siren song won’t stop ringing in her ears?

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EXCERPT:

GOODBYE

Tuneless humming is coming from the bedroom next to mine. I’ve always been the better singer, no secret. Even before I could talk, I sang. To me, singing feels like . . . flying.

As a little kid I sang in the church choir, later on in the choruses at school, and about six months ago I started writing songs—not that I’d call myself a songwriter yet. My first gig was last week, down in the Mission District. Standing on the spotlit stage of the black box performance space, I played one long set—twelve tunes total—while hipsters watched with crossed arms.

Performing in front of an audience is a good way to tell if your songs are finished.

Or not.

The song I’m trying to capture now definitely falls into the not category.

I give the guitar a soft strum—a ghost of a chord slips out. Playing the haunting notes a little louder, I listen for the melody. It’ll come, eventually, but we’re leaving any minute.

Not just leaving . . . moving.

“Do you know,” I whisper sing, “where lost things go?”

In the next room Lilah falls silent. The lyrics tangle in my throat.

My fingers fumble, then jerk—playing a rhythmic pattern atop a single minor chord: one and two, one and two. Words tumble out of me. “Saint Anthony, can you come around? There’s something lost, and it can’t be found.”

Saint Anthony—is he the one?

A quick Google search on the laptop perched at the end of my bed tells me he is. Saint Anthony is invoked as the finder of lost things. Pulling my guitar closer, I play the line over and over.

“Arion? You up there?”

Dad. After shoving the laptop into my backpack, I shut the guitar in its case and head into the hall. Hands full, I stand in my sister’s doorway.

She doesn’t see me.

Even as thin as she is, even with the ever-present dark shadows beneath her eyes, Lilah is beautiful. Her features are regular and in proportion. Mine . . . are slightly exaggerated. Nose longer, lips fuller. Now, without music to distract me, the tears I’d vowed not to cry fill my eyes. Brown eyes. On a good day, they’re hazel. Maybe.

There’s no mistaking the color of my sister’s eyes. Bright blue. Her hair is black and shiny, cut straight across her forehead and blunt at her shoulders in a way that has always made me think of Cleopatra, but especially since the accident, when she became a mystery to me. Lilah no longer tells me her every thought. She can’t.

My sister blinks her bellflower eyes now, and for a split second— seems to focus on me.

But the illusion vanishes just as quickly. I swallow around the lump in my throat, wondering for the millionth time if she has any idea what’s going on.

Her bed is up against the window. In the distance—over a nearly invisible San Francisco Bay—the Golden Gate Bridge hovers in fog. Sitting down beside her on the bed, I lay a hand on one of her legs—feel bones, atrophied muscles. A raw feeling spreads through me, like a dull blade is scraping the underside of my skin.

“So . . . guess it’s time for goodbye.” I take a deep breath in, let it out slowly—which doesn’t help at all. “I’ll see you in Rock Hook Harbor. Dad’s one-horse hometown . . . Sounds happening, huh?” My attempt at lightheartedness fails completely. The words drop like bricks.

Leaning in, I kiss her cheek.

She turns away, as if looking toward the ghostly water. Or, is she looking at the water? Or just staring blankly?

I so want it to be the former. The doctors say it’s the latter.

In my chest, a hairline fissure I’ve fused together with lyrics and chords pops open.

“I love you,” I choke out.

She doesn’t answer. Of course she doesn’t.

Biting down hard on my lip, I stand up, trying not to feel like I’m leaving my best friend stranded. But I am. She is. Stranded. She’s been stranded, for a year.

Swiping at my eyes, I take a few steps down the hall—then turn suddenly into my parents’ room, which is mostly Mom’s room now. Dad spends the nights he’s here on the living room couch, where, after dinner—usually something complicated he’s cooked up involving lots of pots and pans—he falls asleep with the TV on. Blue screen to white noise; maybe the sound helps him. Music works better for me. Or, it used to. I used to lie in bed at night and sing. Lately, all I want to do is sleep.

Like the rest of the house, my parents’ bedroom is crowded with canvases. Filled with slashes of color and geometric shapes, each paint- ing has the name “Cici” scrawled in large letters down in the right-hand corner. Mom’s pictures pulse with unfamiliar energy, and my nostrils flare at the scent of paint fumes as I move a half-finished piece—an abstract portrait of a girl, I think—that’s leaning up against the glass door. Slipping out onto the balcony, I clutch the cold railing and eye a moldering stack of Psychology Today magazines. Therapy is Mom’s religion.

A pair of paint-splattered jeans hangs off a chair. A handful of paintbrushes soak in a bucket. There’s no sign of Dad.

My parents are like a couple of unmoored boats. Drifting. One of the few things they agreed on this past year? The accident was Dad’s fault. A pretty stupid conclusion, really, considering he hadn’t even been on the boat. But he’s a ship’s captain. Lilah and I inherited our love of the water from him.

Water. I hate it now. Because of the water, I’m on this balcony almost every day, drawn out here as if for a long-standing appointment, some prearranged meeting between me and my broken heart. I cry here; sometimes I yell. Sometimes I write, and one day, I nearly threw my guitar over the railing.

Splintered wood, snapped strings, I’m interested in broken things. The circling song lyrics fade at the sound of Mom’s strained voice. “Arion, have you finished saying goodbye to Delilah? Your dad’s ready to go.”

I stay another second, then scoop up a stray guitar pick from the terracotta tiles and head inside, not paying any attention to the paint- ings now, just intent on leaving before I get any more upset.

But then I’m passing Lilah’s room—and I see it.

The slim black notebook I’ve searched for probably a hundred times over the past year.

Oh, I’ve seen the palm-size Moleskine with its curled cover, seen it clutched in Lilah’s fist, watched as she whisked the small black book beneath her quilt, or shoved it between her sheets. I just haven’t been able to get my hands on it, and I’ve wanted to, desperately.

So many times I’ve seen her slip the notebook between the over- size pages of the art books that Mom insists on bringing home from the library. She’ll hug the book close then—her treasure safe inside— but she’ll never actually look at the glossy pages. Not like she looks at that notebook. She looks at that black book like it’s the only thing she recognizes.

It’s definitely some kind of diary. Not that I ever see her writing in it, not since before. But she’s always got it on her.

Only, she doesn’t have it on her now.

Now, there it is, on the floor next to her bed. And Lilah, there she is, still looking but not looking out the window. Transfixed, it would seem, by the gray bay. As I watch, she lifts one hand, bringing her fingertips to the glass—as if there’s something out there she wants to touch.

It’s kind of amazing how I do it, how I steal her most precious pos- session without breaking my stride. How I silently sweep into the room and, bending low, snatch it up—then keep on walking like nothing’s happened. Like I’m ten-year-old Lilah herself, that time at the rock and gem shop down near the beach, trying on one sterling silver ring, then another. I’ll never forget it, how she smiled at the shopkeeper—maybe even said thank you—then practically skipped out the door, still wear- ing at least one of the rings. Once outside, she tossed a half-dozen more rings onto the pebbles that served as the shop’s front yard, so that she could retrieve them that night when the gem shop was closed, so that we could retrieve them.

Eight-year-old me, I’d held the flashlight for her. She’d given me one of the rings as my reward, but only one.

I feel bad taking the book; if I could read it and leave it, I would. But there’s no time. Through the hall window I can see Dad standing down in the driveway by the old green Jeep Cherokee, the car that will be mine once we get to Maine.

So I slide the notebook into the pocket of my backpack where it burns a hole so big I think it will surely fall out—pages fluttering like fiery wings—and slap the floor with a sound so sharp, Lilah will shud- der to life. She’ll spring up and shout at me, her old self at last.

But nothing like this happens.

Leaving Lilah. Taking the notebook. My skin ripples with guilt. But we have to go on ahead. School’s starting in a few weeks, plus Dad’s new job—they won’t hold it any longer.

And really, I have to take the book. I need to know what happened.

Out in the driveway, I crane my neck, trying to see if Lilah’s still at the window.

“Hold on,” Mom shouts from the house, “I almost forgot!”

Time seems suspended as Dad and I wait by the car, the limbo of the long ride already upon us . . .

Mom reappears holding a square box wrapped in gold paper and a purple ribbon. Balanced on top is a fat cupcake with pink frosting.

“Happy birthday, Arion.” Her flinty blue eyes soften. She hands me the awkward duo and gives me an equally awkward hug. “From both of us.”

Dad smiles, shakes his head. “Seventeen.” He’s always been a man of few words.

“Thanks, Mom. Dad.” Swallowing hard, I climb into the car with the gifts on my lap. Mom pecks Dad on the cheek, and he gets behind the wheel. As we pull away, she blows me a kiss.

Twisting in my seat, I wave—then look up at the second story. No Lilah.

My chest hurts so much—I actually glance down. But there’s nothing except a smear of pink icing on my shirt, where I’d leaned into the cupcake.

We’ll fly back close to Thanksgiving, when Lilah is scheduled for the operation that my parents have finally decided is her best bet: a surgical procedure to implant a device in her brain.

It’s not as sci-fi as it sounds. The battery-operated device is kind of like a pacemaker, only for your brain instead of your heart. This kind of surgery is used to treat a variety of disabling neurological symptoms, although I think whoever came up with DBS—deep brain stimulation—was thinking of people with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, not, well, whatever’s wrong with Lilah. Her case is—entirely different. I’m not going to pretend: I’m scared. But the plan is, we’ll all be together in Maine by Christmas, so that’s what I’m trying to focus on. I’ll miss Lilah. Mom too. But I’m glad to be leaving San Francisco.

My life here . . . is on hold—except for my music. The rest is a waiting game.

We’ve all been waiting for Lilah to find what she lost. As if she can look for it.

 

Author Bio:

Mimi Cross was born in Toronto, Canada. She received a master’s degree from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in music from Ithaca College. She has been a performer, a music educator, and a yoga instructor. During the course of her musical career, she’s shared the bill with artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, and Sting. She resides in New Jersey.

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Book Blitz + Giveaway: Forestium by Christopher D. Morgan

I am proud to be part of the Forestium by Christopher D. Morgan book blitz, run by Xpresso Book Tours!

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Goodreads/Amazon/Kobo/B&N/iTunes

Book & Author Details:
Forestium by Christopher D. Morgan
(Portallas #1)
Publication date: February 28th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Synopsis:

Joshua’s life is on the line, as he attempts to navigate through the magical world of Forestium to find the truth about his father. He and his companions will need to use all their cunning to stay alive and avoid the dark forces of the Goat. Will he find the magical orbs and open the Portallas, a magical gateway to other worlds, before he’s killed?

Joshua sets out to learn the truth about his father. Along the way, he finds friends, enemies, adventure, romance and himself.

Continue reading

Cover Reveal: The Burning Star & The Frozen Star by Jessie Lane & M.L. Pahl

Hello! I am thrilled to present to you the covers of The Burning Star and The Frozen Star by Jessie Lane and M. L. Pahl!

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Goodreads/Amazon

Seventeen-year-old Kay’s journey of a lifetime started in the woods where she met a beautiful man … along with a monster. The chance encounter led her to an unbelievable world that shouldn’t have existed, a place where myths and fairytales were real and, in some cases, deadly.

Kay knew she would have to brave this new world if she hoped to find a cure for her terminal cancer.

With a strange yet beautiful cast of characters, Kay uncovered truths that would change her life forever. However, before it was all over, she discovered she wasn’t the only one with problems.

Yet another seventeen-year-old young woman was fighting for her life.

Kira had grown up in a magical world. Despite this, her life had not been filled with many good things. She considered her empty, emotional solitude the only positive aspect of her life and fought daily battles to escape abuse and torture.

Trained to be an expert assassin, she was charged with kidnapping Kay and delivering her to Kira’s master, Lord Donovan.

As the two young women set forth on their journeys, their paths would cross in unimaginable ways. There was only one question that remained: who would come out alive?

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The journey continues …

Kay discovered secrets, lies, shocking truths, and even love in a strange new world hidden from humans. Everything she thought she knew was turned upside down when she found out three things: she wasn’t human; she had a power she couldn’t control; and there was a possibility she might have found a way to cure her deadly cancer by using that very same power.

Just when she was on the precipice of gaining everything she wanted and saving her own life, tragedy struck. Would she be able to fight her way back to Ryan and save herself in the process?

Kira had lived a terrifying life of servitude and abuse under Lord Donovan and his son, Cole. It was an existence that had stripped away her emotions and reasons to keep fighting.

Just when she thought freedom was within reach, Lord Donovan struck again, ruining her plans and almost killing her. When she awoke from her injuries, it was to stunning revelations that would change her life forever, changes she wasn’t entirely sure she wanted.

Persistent individuals, such as Prince Kane, refused to let her walk away, though. Would she embrace all of her sudden fortune? Or would she walk away from those who needed her most, forsaking their acceptance and love?

WARNING: This is a upper ya/young adult/new adult fictional story that includes some explicit language, graphic violence, and mild sexual situations. Recommended for ages sixteen and up.

*This book is a re-release and revision from the original book published in 2012. Please be aware that some things have been added, deleted or changed.*

BOOK & AUTHOR INFO:
The Burning Star & The Frozen Star
by Jessie Lane and M.L. Pahl
(Star #1 & 2)
Cover designs by Cover Me Darling
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Publisher: Whiskey Girls Publishing
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AUTHOR BIOS:
Jessie

Jessie Lane is a best-selling author of Paranormal and Contemporary Romance, as well as, Upper YA Paranormal Romance/Fantasy.

She lives in Kentucky with her two little Rock Chicks in-the-making and her over protective alpha husband that she’s pretty sure is a latent grizzly bear shifter. She has a passionate love for reading and writing naughty romance, cliff hanging suspense, and out-of-this-world characters that demand your attention, or threaten to slap you around until you do pay attention to them.

 

ML
ML Pahl or simply Mel to her friends and family, grew up in coastal North Carolina. With the Marine Corps at her back and the sandy beaches beckoning her face on, she learned that nothing could hinder her imagination.
She wrote and released her first novel, Zombies Don’t Ride Motorcycles, a lil’ zombie apocalypse novel that had the beginnings of a love story threaded in there, with her brother Matthew Leo in December 2014. (Written under the name Melissa Leo-Pahl)
Not wanting to be stuck in one genre, ML Pahl decided to dabble in everything from Science-Fiction to Romantic Comedy and even Paranormal. Whiskey Diaries is book one in the One Night Only series and her first solo project.
Not only is ML Pahl an author, she is the owner/operator of IndieVention Designs. A book formatting and book cover company servicing other indie authors like herself.
Melissa currently resides in the frozen north of Minnesota, where she lives with her family and those cute dogs she’s always tweeting about.
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Thank you for reading this, and make sure to give these eBooks a try! Have a nice day!