Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (47): Taking on the Dead by Annie Walls

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

This week's teaser is from Taking on the Dead by Annie Walls. I've been reading this one in between other books and it's really good so far. Lots of awesome zombie goodness for people who who love the genre!

Not to mention, I don't like people pointing guns at me, let alone waking me up and pointing guns at me. It's rude.

{Taking on the Dead, page 50}

Synopsis of Taking on the Dead:

Life for Kansas was perfect until the day the world changed.

She has been hiding out for four years in solitude. It's the only way to survive. The only way not to draw the living dead. Helping a small group of people, she learns the new world might not be what she assumes. Venturing out of her refuge and comfort zone, she meets Rudy, who helps her find a greater purpose. She realizes that the world has moved on without her. Only it's not what she expects. Her knowledge of the living dead grows and only makes her more curious as humanity continues to hang on by a thread. While on her search for answers she finds comfort in new friendships and love, but her past seems as if it will haunt her forever.

Kansas takes it upon herself to help other survivors, which would be easy if the famished were the only obstacles.

In a trilogy plot thick with twists and turns, this adult dark fantasy is emotional as much as it is horrifyingly gripping.

*Not intended for a young audience. Mature content.*

For more about Taking on the Dead check out these sites!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Review: The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Eternity Cure
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publish Date: April 30th, 2013

Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.

The Eternity Cure, the second book in Julie Kagawa's Blood of Eden series, starts off as epically as The Immortal Rules ended. And it only gets better from there. From rabids, to disgruntled cannibal mole people, to super plagues the action is ratcheted up in this intense sequel.

I usually need a romance in order to become fully attached to the character. I love romance, and rarely enjoy books that don't feature a love connection between its characters. And The Immortal Rules did set up a forbidden romance that I really liked. But the moment I started reading The Eternity Cure I was like "romance shmomance, let's get this show on the road!" For whatever reason, I found myself not missing the love interest too much and just wanting to see Allie in full on badass mode. But that's the thing. Allie is such a strong heroine and her love interest, Zeke, just doesn't seem to balance her out. She's good, he's good, and together they just sort of annoy me. In The Immortal Rules they had a cute childish romance, but now? I think both characters have grown as individuals, but as a couple they are just plain boring.

It's like, I'm being told they want each other, but that's all it is. I'm told how dangerous it is for them to be together and how they don't care because they care too much about the other. But their "forbidden" romance doesn't really have any consequences, only that we are told every time Allie approaches Zeke that she wants to drink his blood. Big deal, she clearly has no issues tamping that urge down. It's really all more tell than show. I don't know if Kagawa wrote their relationship that way for a reason (*fingers crossed they'll slowly grow apart*) but whatever the case, I'm just not buying them as couple.

We were introduced to psycho vampire Sarren in The Immortal Rules, but in The Eternity Cure we get to find out just how big of a nut job Sarren really is. And let me tell you, this is one psychopathic villain. He's terrifying in his insanity, completely unpredictable. Most of the twists and turns in The Eternity Cure are due to his unpredictable nature.

Now, usually I'd be going on and on about the love interest at this point, but as I said before, Zeke just doesn't do it for me. His relationship with Allie was cute at first, but now it just seems forced. So, instead, I'm going to talk about Jackal. Oh, Jackal! Call me crazy, but I'm pinning all of my faith for the rest of this series on Jackal. A villain on the precipice of becoming a hero? Yes, please! I'll take Jackal over Zeke every time. As Allie's blood brother, he might not ever be a contender for her heart, but a girl can dream, can't she?

The Eternity Cure is one of those rare, stunning sequels that eclipses it's predecessor and just leaves you even more in love with the series and characters. It leaves you desperate to know what will happen next. I won't say the ending was shocking, but it was emotional and terrifying and will leave you wishing you had the third book in your hands right away. If you're a fan of Kagawa's work, The Eternity Cure will not disappoint. And if you're one of those people who claim to be burned out on vampire novels, give this series a chance and rekindle your love of the evil bloodsuckers!

For more about The Eternity Cure check out these sites!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Shuffle Saturday (29): Shake Senora

Every Saturday I'll be posting a random song off of my iPod. Everyone can feel free to join in, just leave a link to your Shuffle Saturday post in the comments! This week's song is:

Shake Senora by Pitbull

I have to confess, I have this weird love for Pitbull. His songs are like the cotton candy of the music world—completely hollow, but oh-so-good. And then there's the fact that whenever I listen to this song I'm reminded of that scene from Beetlejuice...

What are you listening to?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Series Review: The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey

Series: The Drake Chronicles
Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Publisher: Walker Children's
Overall Rating Of The First 5 Books In The Series:

Okay, I'm going to do this a little differently. I'm going to do a mini review of each of the first four books in the Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey. If you haven't read the books yet, I won't give away any major spoilers, so don't worry. But I've read all of these books a while ago now, and I've only reviewed book 5, Blood Moon. I still have to read the final book, Blood Prophecy. I'm so sad to see this series go, but so happy to be back in the Drake's world even one more time. So I thought I'd revisit this amazing series and tell you why I fell in love with it in the first place.

The series starts off with a bang with Hearts at Stake. This first book centers on the youngest members of the Drake family, fifteen year old Solange and sixteen year old Nicholas. Adding some perspective from a outsider, Solange's human best friend, Lucy, co-narrates.

Solange is turning sixteen. And in the Drake family, at sixteen, you become a vampire. They are one of the few vampire families that can actually have children. But Solange is the first girl born of vampires in hundreds of years and everyone wants a piece of her. Vampires from all over want to either marry her or kill her (both for political reasons) so it's up to her family and Lucy, if she has it her way, to keep Solange safe.

Book 2, Blood Feud, picks up a few days after Hearts at Stake. This time the story focuses on seventeen year old Logan Drake and a two hundred (approximately) year old french vampire named

Logan totally won my heart in Hearts at Stake, so by the time I got to Blood Feud I was already excited to read about him. And you get to meet bad ass Isabeau St. Croix. Isabeau meets the Drakes while hunting down the British Lord who turned her into a vampire and then left her for dead. Together, she and Logan have to stop the lord and his plan to help kidnap Solange.

Out for Blood, book 3, begins when a vampire hunter named (creatively) Hunter, meets the Drakes at the vampire courts. Hunter, through her connection to Kieran, a vampire hunter who also happens to be Solange's boyfriend, meets Quinn Drake. When students at the Helios-Ra Academy start contracting a mysterious illness, Hunter suspects that someone at the academy is behind it. Now she must work with Quinn to figure out just what is going on, and in the process, realize that not all vampires need to be hunted and eliminated.

In Bleeding Hearts, book 4, Lucy's cousin Christabel has come to stay with them while her mother is in rehab. Christabel doesn't know anything about vampires, besides what she reads in books. She certainly doesn't think they actually exist, or that Nicholas Drake's sweet brother, Connor, could ever be one of them. He's too nice, too geeky (even if he is absurdly hot). But when she's mistaken for her cousin Lucy and kidnapped by a vampire tribe trying to gain access to the vampire courts, she is suddenly very aware of just how real vampires are. And just how deceiving a nice geeky boy's appearance can be.

I was blown away by every book in this series (including book 5, Blood Moon which I reviewed separately last summer). They just keep getting better and better. There are so many things to love about the Drake Chronicles. Cute boys, strong heroines, the way that the characters interact with one another throughout all of the books. It's not just, "Oh, Hunter is dating Quinn so they hang out." It's more like, "Hunter is dating Quinn so her and Lucy are going to team up and kick some vampire butt while Quinn is busy with one of his brothers." But possibly my favorite detail of the series is that the parents don't just fade into the background. They are very present in the books. Once you meet Helena Drake you'll totally understand why. Her kids do not want to mess with her. She's scary, yet awesome. The Drake Chronicles are a fun read with fun characters to root for. You never know who's going to show up and save the day.

For those of you who have never read the Drake Chronicles, I'm going to tell you right now, go pick up a copy of all of these books. They are amazing. In my opinion, it could quite possibly be the best vampire series ever. Good vampires, bad vampires, an amazing family of swoon-worthy brothers, topped off with a kick ass mom, equals amazing YA vampire goodness. If that sounds like your kind of story, go add it to your To Read list. You won't be sorry.

For more about the Drake Chronicles check out these sites!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (46): The Ward by Jordana Frankel

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

This week's teaser comes from The Ward by Jordana Frankel. I'm only halfway through this book, but it's really good. I've read a few 'meh' reviews for it so far, but I'm really enjoying it. I love the concept and the main character is really fun to read about. She's so snarky! This is one of those books that I saw the cover and just knew I needed to read it. I will definitely be purchasing a hardcover of this one, just so I can look at that gorgeous cover up close!

I don't want to sound like I don't care—Benny's in a rough spot—but my mind is stuck on whether I get to race tonight. I keep quiet, though. Can't stop my mind from being rude, but I can stop my mouth.

{The Ward, Prologue}

To think—people used to fill toilet bowls with fresh. Pissing into a pot you can drink out of. Unbelievable.

{The Ward, Chapter 1}

Synopsis of The Ward:
Sixteen-year-old Ren is a daredevil mobile racer who will risk everything to survive in the Ward, what remains of a water-logged Manhattan. To save her sister, who is suffering from a deadly illness thought to be caused by years of pollution, Ren accepts a secret mission from the government: to search for a freshwater source in the Ward, with the hope of it leading to a cure.

However, she never expects that her search will lead to dangerous encounters with a passionate young scientist; a web of deceit and lies; and an earth-shattering mystery that’s lurking deep beneath the water’s rippling surface.

Jordana Frankel’s ambitious debut novel and the first in a two-book series, The Ward is arresting, cinematic, and thrilling—perfect for fans of Scott Westerfeld or Ann Aguirre.

For more about The Ward check out these sites!

*All quotes are taken from an uncorrected ARC. Quotes may not match the finished copy.*

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spotlight & Giveaway: Arabelle's Shadows by Fleur Gaskin

Today we have an excerpt from Arabelle's Shadows by Fleur Gaskin. It's a coming of age story about a young woman trying to make a name for herself as a model while battling depression. Fleur has also been kind enough to offer up a digital copy to one lucky winner! Check out the synopsis:

Everything in Arabelle's life is coming together. She has confidence, great friends, she's even dating Naak, a wealthy Thai socialite. But there are too many models in Bangkok. Arabelle’s broke, she can’t find an agent in New York, and Naak isn’t as wonderful as he first appears. Slowly the Shadows creep back into Arabelle’s mind, bringing with them thoughts of hopelessness and despair. The vile Shadows know something Arabelle’s refusing to remember and, if she’s not careful, they’ll use it to destroy her. Based on a true story, Arabelle’s Shadows takes us on a journey through the struggles of growing up, not quite making it as an international model, and attempting to overcome a crushing depression.

Excerpt from Arabelle's Shadows:

My day started off okay. I had a casting at Emporium, a shopping centre near Rompo. I’ve always loved being in Emporium. Outside it’s all hot, dirty and crowded but as soon as you walk through the entrance everything’s cool, spacious and sparkly. And it’s welcoming, even though it’s full of lavish designer stores. It’s not like other stuffy malls for the wealthy, which always make me feel uncomfortable like, since I don’t have a platinum credit card, I shouldn’t be there. 
After the casting I saw my friend Ying Thompson walking towards the escalator. She broke off from the group she was with and came over to give me a hug. “Hey Arabelle, what are you doing? Come sit with me while I get my makeup done.” 
“Are you doing a fashion show?” I asked her thinking of all the models that’d been with her. “Nope. The others are, I’m hosting the event. Come on!” Without waiting for me to reply she linked her arm through mine and led me downstairs towards a backstage area in the basement. Ying’s a very popular singer in Thailand. As we walked through the mall you could hear people saying her name and giggling. Ying paid no attention to all the turning heads. She was on the phone, in the middle of a fierce monetary negotiation with a client. They want her to become the face of their rice crackers. 
The concrete room we entered was full of people bustling around getting ready for the fashion show. We found an empty space and sat down amongst everyone else’s handbags, shawls and bottles of water. 
“So what’s been happening?” She asked in a strong Kiwi accent (her Dad's from New Zealand, her Mum’s Thai-Chinese). “I think I…” I was bursting to tell her about Naak but Ying’s assistant interrupted and started asking a lot of questions in Thai. “Sorry,” Ying said focusing her attention back to me, “what were you going to say?” 
“I was out at Bed the other week and… well… I think I’m dating Naak!” 
Ying pursed her lips together in a frown, not the look of excitement I’d been expecting. 
“No you’re not.” Ying said flatly, “Naak has a girlfriend. She left to study in the States a couple of weeks ago.” 
Looking away from Ying I caught sight of my reflection in the makeup mirror opposite me. My face was stuck in the smile I’d worn when I was telling her I had a boyfriend. Except now the lines around my mouth were strained. With bulging eyes my smile looked more like a grimace. 
“I think they’re dating because her family owns a lot of the property on Sukumvit Road,” Ying continued. “You know, she’s only eighteen!” Naak’s thirty. 
“Okay,” I murmured. I searched desperately for something else to say in response. Luckily the brand new mobile on Ying’s lap began to vibrate. With her perfectly manicured fingers, a tiny crystal heart in the centre of each nail, Ying set about replying to the text message. Ying hates all unpleasantness and it appeared that, as far as she was concerned, the issue was settled. 
I’ve had plenty of experience detaching myself from my wretched weeping soul and by the time Ying put her phone down I'd rearranged my face into neutral. My robot body looked at my mobile and told Ying, “Sorry, I've got to go see the agency now,” it hugged her goodbye. It smiled and acted like Arabelle didn’t care that Naak had a girlfriend. 
My insides died and disintegrated the whole journey home. I paused the tears right up until I exited the elevator. When I found no one in my shared room I blinked, allowing them trickle down the sides of my face and jump to the floor.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

Fleur Gaskin is from New Zealand. She was an international model for six years, working in over ten countries, mainly in Asia and Europe. She has been in TV commercials, walked on runways and done many print jobs including Elle, Marie Claire and Vogue magazines. She presently lives in Shanghai, China with her fiancé.

For more about Arrabelle's Shadows check out these sites!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Shuffle Saturday (28): Give It All Back

Every Saturday I'll be posting a random song off of my iPod. Everyone can feel free to join in, just leave a link to your Shuffle Saturday post in the comments! This week's song is:

Give It All Back by Noah and the Whale

I actually just downloaded this song yesterday, but it was just so catchy and pretty I had to post it! I love the breezy sound of the music and the lyrics.

What are you listening to?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Review: The Testing Guide by Joelle Charbonneau

Title: The Testing Guide
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publish Date: April 1st, 2013

It's an honor to be chosen for The Testing. But it's not enough to pass The Testing. Cia will have to survive it.

The Testing Guide is the short story prequel to The Testing, the first novel in the stunning and epic Testing Trilogy.

The Testing Guide is a free prequel novella to The Testing by Jodelle Charbonneau. It's just a short little story about a boy named Zeen who wishes to follow in his father's footsteps and be chosen for the Testing. At the end of the novella there is a brief history of the world of The Testing and how it became what it is in the novel. It's got me excited to see Cia, Zeen's little sister, all grown up and facing being Chosen herself!

I definitely recommend checking this out if you're eager to read The Testing. Not only does it give you a little glimpse into the story, but it also has a few sample chapters of the novel at the end.

For more about The Testing and The Testing Guide check out these sites!

Amazon • B&N • Goodreads

Get your FREE copy from HMH Books!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Interview: J. Meyers, author of Imaginable

Today I am so excited to have J. Meyers stopping by for an interview! She's the author of the paranormal fantasy series Intangible, which I reviewed last year! Check out the synopsis of the second book, Imaginable:

Twins Sera and Luke Raine’s unusual abilities are growing. Sera is healing vampires now, making them human again. And, at times, Luke can actually change the future he Sees.

But Sera’s healing has dangerous consequences, and though Luke is altering the outcome of more visions, he can’t control them yet.

Now Sera is in danger as the dark creatures of the Realm seek to use her. As Luke struggles to master his gift in order to save his sister, he discovers even more about his powers.
And what he learns just may put him in greater danger than Sera has ever been.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My favorite thing to do is laugh, and I try to not take life too seriously. I am creative and a little nuts. Also, I don’t know right from left, which my husband and kids find infinitely funny. :-)

What was your childhood dream job?

I wanted to be a veterinarian until I remembered I was allergic to almost all animals. Then I wanted to be a doctor until I realized I’d have to dissect a cadaver in med school. So I settled on being an actor/singer—with a career on Broadway and in film. (And I actually pursued that for a while, lived in NYC for two years, did summer stock, Off-Broadway shows, and extra work in TV and film, and I was in an independent film called Mud Season.)

What elements do you look for in a book?

I’m a total sucker for a beautiful turn of phrase, sweet romance, intriguing world, unique premise, and truth/realness in the characters—their actions and reactions.

Having read—and loved—Intangible, I have a few characters that are just my favorites. *cough* Jonas *cough* I know it's a terrible question to ask an author, but do you have a favorite character? Or at least a favorite to write about?

I don’t have one clear favorite. I find something I love about each of my characters—even the minor ones (maybe *especially* the minor ones). In Imaginable there are two minor characters that I absolutely adore: Sean—a vampire turned human, and Tilth—a dwarf. Oh, wait! And then there’s Thorn, a Light Elf who Luke hates at first glance. I love Thorn. And then the newly introduced Gifteds, Brandan and Raquel, really have these moments in which they shine... Oh boy, see what I’m saying? Because then there’s Jonas who I find TOTALLY swoon-worthy, and Luke is quick, funny, adorable and COMPLETELY the kind of guy I’d fall for. And I love how kickass Fey is and Sera’s spirit. Yeah, I think it’s safe to say they’re ALL my favorite. :-)

Do you have a favorite line from one of your books? And why is it your favorite?

There’s a line I really like in Imaginable that Sera says: “There’s good in all kinds. Even in the darkest places.” To me, this is a fact of life—there’s something positive in *almost* any situation (though sometimes it can be really hard to find or see). But finding the good—in people or situations—can be a life-saving skill on many levels in real life. (And in books.) ;-)

For more about Imaginable check out these sites!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mini-Interview & Excerpt: Bailey J. Thompson, author of Yellow Socks and Blood Spots

Today we have a mini-interview with teenage author and publisher, Bailey J. Thompson! We also have an excerpt from her book Yellow Socks and Blood Spots. The book is about the hard hitting topic of teen pregnancy and abortion. Check out the synopsis:

Two lines means pregnant, and pregnant is the very last thing seventeen-year-old Isabelle wanted to be. She’s just beginning her senior year, she’s rekindling the respectable relationship she once had with her family and she has finally fallen in love.

Her boyfriend, Jason wants an abortion, while Isabelle wants to give her baby a chance at life, whether that means adoption or raising her baby herself. Her situation raises a question of values, beliefs, rights, societal expectations and personal opinions, and as Isabelle’s friends and family discover the news, they seem to think they know what’s best for her and her baby. Within two weeks of finding out about their beautiful disaster, Isabelle and Jason have to come to a mutual agreement and make a life and death decision.

Tell us about yourself.

19-years-old. Writer. Workaholic. Author of YA novels, writer of kid's picture books. Photographer. Nature-lover.

Not only are you an author, but you've started your own publishing company! You're definitely following your dreams. What advice do you have for aspiring authors or future publishers out there?

Dream big and don't give up. They say a lot of people give up just as they're about to succeed. So if you're struggling or you've hit a road block, don't let it stop you... chances are success is just around the corner. It's a tough market sometimes, and you really just have to believe!

Your book, Yellow Socks and Blood Spots, takes a hard look at the choices women have when it comes to pregnancy and their bodies. When you began writing was it always a desire to write about hard hitting topics, or was it just about telling your story?

This one was just a story that needed to be told. I think seeing a couple of my peers go through similar situations was eye-opening and really made me want to explore it in a way that could inspire and support other young women that are going through similar situations. Sometimes it's nice just to know you're not alone and books have this remarkable way of showing this.

Excerpt from Yellow Socks and Blood Spots:

Two pink lines. 
I rubbed my eyes; hoping to escape the dreamy haze that had come over me. The small bathroom seemed misty, probably from the last person who’d had a shower or possibly because my eyes were still foggy from having woken up just minutes before. Or maybe, much more profoundly, it was because the news was just so surreal. 
Two pink lines. 
That’s what two pink lines meant. 
I pulled up my PJ pants, and washed my hands before glancing back at the long pregnancy test stick that was now balanced like a teeter-totter on the edge of the counter top. The two pink lines, still visible on the small circular screen weren’t faint like I was expecting. They were so obnoxiously obvious, it was impossible to miss either of them. 
I’d been expecting a rush of tears, or even a strong feeling of anger, fear or regret to come over me. But I felt nothing, except the sudden urge to climb back into bed, just like every other early morning. 
Was there some way that I was supposed to feel? I was seventeen-years-old, in a relationship that had only lasted a few months so far, living under my parent’s roof with nothing for financial support except a part-time job. I imagined I should feel a level of devastation, confusion, tension, stress or sadness, at least something that showed I understood what it meant, but I still felt nothing. 
I wiped the mirror with the palm of my hand, making a clear window in the fog. 
My long brown hair, which was usually down past my shoulders was up in a messy ponytail. The make-up that I’d worn yesterday, which wasn’t much more than a little brown eyeliner and mascara, was slightly smudged, and my hazel eyes were a little early-morning bloodshot. I was dressed in a black tank top that outlined my figure and fluffy striped PJ bottoms. I looked like the typical teenager who had just woken up, not one who just found out that her life was about to be drastically changed by the possible presence of a child. Not just any child either; my own child. That was a big deal, but so far, even that didn’t faze me, unless my lack of response could just be considered shock. 
I decided that the news would hit me later. Maybe once I’d woken up fully, maybe when my parents found out, or maybe I’d have to wait until the first time I could feel the baby kick inside of me to really realize what was happening. Or maybe it would hit me when I had to tell Jason. 
I was already picturing his reaction as I confirmed our fears. 
The look of love in his deep brown eyes would fade to that of fear and anger, not towards me, but towards himself. His eyebrows would grow firmer, and his mouth would be straight, hiding his perfect smile. 
Just thinking about how much it would hurt him and my heart sank. This wasn’t exactly what he needed, and he wasn’t the type of guy that would just walk away from the problem either. 
I kind of smiled just thinking about him, feeling relief and comfort from his imaginary presence. Jason wasn’t tall, but he was built. What he didn’t have in height, he made up for in muscle. He had short blackish brown hair that was always either gelled and spiked or concealed with a white Nike hat, and sometimes occasionally free to do what it pleased. 
His skin was a gorgeous caramel popcorn colour, softer than a baby‘s bum and overly kissable; always warm to the touch of my lips. He had a well-sculpted nose, an addictive smile and a deep attractive voice. 
My mom had always called him a “pretty boy” for being so well groomed with such killer style. Her nickname wasn’t far off either; he was absolutely stunning, but not in the sense that he tried to be, it just came naturally. 
Ironically, it had never been his appearance that had caught my attention. Sure he was cute but it was more curiosity that caught me when I realized that there was more than meets the eye when it came to Jason. He certainly wasn’t an open book, and not somebody who you could read just from a glance. Maybe it’s a bit of a bold statement, but I’d say that Jason was rather mysterious. 
His reputation said he was full of himself with dollar signs in his eyes and a personality that resembled an idiot. Getting to know Jason revealed the opposite; a down-to-earth, insanely smart guy with humongous dreams, and an even bigger heart. Though, that’s not something he’d admit to just anybody. 
It only took a couple months to find out that Jason’s true self and his reputation were complete opposites. 
He was undoubtedly in love with himself, but it never seemed to be overbearing or even cocky. It was just an extreme level of confidence or high self-esteem, which soon translated to sheer attractiveness. He came from a well-off family, and had generally led what many would consider to be a spoiled life, but he was grounded. He had good values, and despite having an infatuation for money, he also had an appreciation for some of the real things in life; like sunrises, and long deep conversations. He had good balance. 
What I eventually learned about Jason was that he was one-of-a-kind. He was unique. There’s a common theme that happens in every high school, the presence of cliques and then stereotypes. In each class, there is the class clown, the nerd, the jock, the slut, the pretty girl and so on. In each school, everybody fits into a group, there’s the popular group, the nerds, the Goths, the gamers. Of course, our high school was no different. We certainly did have the popular group, the nerds, the athletes, but then on top of all that, there’s Jason. 
It’s not that he doesn’t fit in; it’s just that he is a unique individual. He is athletic, but not a jock. He is smart, but wouldn’t fit in with the nerd group even though he gets along with them. He’s witty and funny but definitely not the class clown. His family has money, but he isn’t considered the rich kid. He’s cute, but certainly not a stud. He’s not super-popular, but he’s also not a nobody, because everybody seems to know his name. 
He is just an individual and there’s something really intriguing about that. 
When I first met him, he told me that he had the personality of a dry leaf, and was generally heartless and unlovable, but he was good for an interesting conversation. I later discovered that not only was he good for an excellent conversation, he had an intricate personality that was hard not to fall in love with. 
It took a few months to let go of the Jason that he was perceived to be, and accept the Jason that he really was. That was when I slowly began to admit to myself that maybe… We could be good together. 
Although, maybe too good together. 
I shoved the pregnancy test and it’s packaging into my sweater pocket, put on a straight face and prepared myself to escape downstairs to my bedroom, avoiding running into anyone in my family since the strange bulge in my sweater could have been questionable. 
The house was quiet. I knew that both my parents were in their bedroom getting ready for the day, and both my elementary school brother and high school sister had already left for school. I couldn’t hear any footsteps close to me, so I rushed towards the stairwell and then down the stairs. 
I fell to the bed in my bedroom. Well, it wasn’t much of a bedroom. A few weeks before, Jason and I had the bright idea that my plain brown walls could use a splash of colour: specifically lime green. Removing the carpet revealed that the inside of the wall was covered in mould. Tearing down the wall revealed absolutely no clues as to where the mould had come from or whether there was a leak, so I was left without a room until a heavy rain could make a leak apparent if there was one. 
Instead, I was huddled on a mattress in the downstairs family room surrounded by my father’s tradeshow booth portable wall for privacy. 
At the least, it was in a cozy corner. It wasn’t like what I was used to in my bedroom though; it was missing the neatness, mounds of fluffy pillows, bright light, a couple of picture frames displaying photos of the family pets, or some of the little candle holders or modern decorations I’d picked up over the years. All of the contents of my bedroom were shoved into a disorganized mess in a dusty room downstairs. All I had access to was my mattress, a couple of fuzzy throw pillows, ultra-soft blankets and a mat I had taken from my room just to make my new little abode a little more friendly. 
There was even a candle in the corner to keep it familiar, but I didn’t dare light it. Mom hated candles, and considering that you could see my corner from the top of the stairs, I knew I wouldn’t be able to hide it from her. I knew she’d take one glance downstairs, see the flame and grow frantic. 
The whole set up was incredibly uncomfortable, but it was the most that I could ask for while my room was going through renovations. Despite the fact that my clothes were shoved in boxes and my belongings were scattered throughout the basement, I kept calm reminding myself that this was only temporary. 
The only thing that really bothered me was the lack of privacy. I’d always been a considerably private person who needed plenty of time and room to myself, and this room wasn’t all that private. 
Had anyone even wished to get into my things or discover something about me, it wouldn’t have been too difficult. I’d always been a very cautious person when it came to sharing personal details with people, and always grew nervous in moments when I’d unintentionally shared too much with somebody, or they’d somehow stumbled upon something that they shouldn’t have. 
At the time of moving into the room, I didn’t have too much of a problem with the lack of privacy considering I didn’t have very much to hide. Overnight, that had changed. 
I reached into my pocket for the test, and grew frightened as I realized it wasn’t there. Fear began to race through my spine as I began to wonder if it had fallen out. I couldn’t help but imagine that lonely test laying on the floor of the hallway, and my dad as he walked from his bedroom being forced to step over it. I knew him well enough to know that he wouldn’t just step over it, he’d pick it up and examine it, then he’d call my mom, and together they would figure out their plan of action. 
For a moment, I felt sick to my stomach, as though I could cry just from being so careless with the revealing stick. I held my breath for a moment, told myself to calm down, and then reached into my other pocket, only to discover that it was there. I could feel the utter relief cross over me as I stared at the test. 
I’d almost forgotten what it had meant, in the moments of thinking that it was lost, but as I stared at the two solid pink lines, the news hit me again. 
It was still too early to think about what this meant; too early to register how drastically having a baby would change my life. Too early to realize what a baby would do to my busy lifestyle, or that my part-time, fifteen-hour a week job wasn’t going to cover the cost of a baby. 
Too early to consider that I planned on spending my next summer driving to BC, and the year travelling, working, while possibility continuing my studies. 
It was far too early to even place myself into the position of raising a child and becoming responsible for another being. 
I suspected it hadn’t hit me fully yet because it was still only a possibility or a potential. There was still time to turn around and change the outcome. I hated the thought of that. 
I had always thought seeing those two pink lines would resemble a happy time. I could only think of a woman who had been trying for a baby, crying out in joy as the two pink lines appeared in the small circular window. I could see her rushing to tell the baby’s father, who would then smile uncontrollably for days after. 
I had even thought about my future self, and how I would tell Jason in a few years time that we were having a child. I could imagine myself fumbling with the test in the bathroom while Jason slept in the adjacent bedroom. I could envision holding my breath to prevent myself from screaming in excitement as the two lines appeared on the stick. 
Then, as Jason slept, I would rush downstairs to the kitchen to prepare an omelette, or whatever was Jason’s breakfast preference at that time. 
The table would be set with a plate and cutlery for me, another set for him at the end of the table, and across from both of us, I would place a couple baby spoons. 
Jason would stumble into the kitchen, his hair a mess and his eyes baggy. He would walk over and kiss me on the cheek. Surprised that I made him breakfast, he would ask if I needed any help before sitting down at the table. 
My stomach would be fluttering as he sat down, and I’d watch mesmerized as he would rub his eyes a little more to wake himself up. As his vision got clearer, he would notice the extra setting at the table. He would study it for a minute and then the presence of a bright blue baby spoon would hit him. 
He would hop out of his seat, twirl me in the air and kiss me on the nose; “We’re having a baby?!” he’d scream over and over again. 
He’d be too excited to eat the food I’d made, but would spend the rest of the morning dancing around the house in excitement as he tried to get ready for his day. And that addictive attractive smile… it would be impossible to wipe off for a very long time. 
That was what finding out you were bringing another human being into the world was supposed to be like… happy. 
Instead, my body was beginning to quiver with numbing fear.

About the Author:

Bailey J Thompson is a teenage author that resides in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. She has been storytelling since the moment she could talk, and has since developed passions for creative writing, photography, nature and the environment. Yellow Socks and Blood Spots is her debut novel.

For more about Yellow Socks and Blood Spots check out these sites!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Book Blast & Giveaway: A Privilege by Amy Lignor

The third and final book in The Angel Chronicles, A Privilege, is being released today! If you've been following the adventures of Matt and Emily then you'll definitely want to check out this excerpt. And if you haven't read this series yet, then now is the perfect time! Books One and Two are on sale now for only $.99! Check out the synopsis of book three, A Privilege, and make sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to enter the giveaway!

The beloved Angel/Warrior team face pure evil in their final climactic story!

The first time they were sent down, Irish lives were led. Emily, the angel, ended up embedded in murder and lost in the realm of true love. While Matthew, the warrior, took over a life that left blood on his hands and anger in his soul.

With their second coming, Emily found herself facing an oncoming war that brought her to the shores of America. While Matthew tried desperately to unveil the evil character of a young man who was intent on locking his partner in a ‘gilded’ cage.

Now...Emily and Matthew find that their lives are all their own. Yet, all the memories, hatred, longing and regret have come hand-in-hand with this newfound freedom.

In small town U.S.A., Matthew finds himself loving his new life. From his military school existence to a new, ‘odd’ friend who’s arrived in town, Matthew’s looking forward to graduation and heading off into a brilliant future with Emily by his side.

Emily wants nothing more than to hide. Although doing her best to fit in, she lives a life on the edge, wondering when her past love with reappear to either forgive or seek revenge on the angel who let him down. Battling the shadows that seem to be breaking her soul in two, Emily soon discovers that her small, quiet town has a secret that’s beyond dangerous...

As she and Matthew join forces to help a ‘haunted’ victim, they open the door on a mystery neither of them can believe. A true villain has returned from the past, and not even their heavenly family will be able to save them. This time they’re on their own, as they face a fight that could lead them straight to Hell…and end the angel/warrior team forever.

For more about A Privilege check out these sites!

Kindle • Nook • iBookstore

Smashwords • Google • PDF


Without a word, Matthew reached out, took Emily by the hand and pulled her down beside him. He looked into her eyes and smiled. “I knew my Emily was still in there.” 
Out of the blue, the room became incredibly hot, as if Gabriel had entered in order to give a lesson to his favorite students. “What?” 
“That spark.” He pulled Emily’s face closer before she could push herself away. “You’ve been acting all this time like you’re just here to sit and wait it out until you’re lucky enough to go Home. But you’re still in there, Emily. You still have all that energy and belief in there and you want to do something. That’s the partner I know.” 
Shaking her head, Emily listened to her own breathing intensify as she stared at his full lips and wondered why she felt so completely and utterly strange...vulnerable even. “I want to help this girl. This is a job, maybe my only job down here. She saw a ghost and she wants me to help her out, that’s all.” 
“And you will.” Matthew captured Emily’s lips, and she could no longer feel the breath in her lungs. Completely different than the one kiss they’d shared up above so long ago, this one was far more demanding, as if Matthew was a young man determined to kiss his human love for the very first time. 
Sitting back, Emily practically jumped off the bed. 
“I’m sorry,” she heard him whisper behind her. “I guess I was just excited to see you again.” 
Not trusting her voice, she remained silent. 
“We have jobs, but we also have a life to live. Our own lives this time around. Maybe you should think about adding that into your angelic plans.” Matthew continued softly, “Jason isn’t here, Emily.” 
The name being said out loud sent a chill down Emily’s spine. It reminded her of the vow she’d made a long time ago—a vow that an angel couldn’t break. 
She cleared her throat. “It doesn’t matter if he’s here. We were sent to do a job, and maybe helping this little girl prove her story is what I need to begin.” 
Standing up, Matthew looked as if he was a man who wanted nothing more than to turn back the clock and erase the name he’d spoken aloud. He walked to the open window. “Well, I hope the job goes well. Good luck with it.” 
“Matthew,” Emily took a step toward him. “Don’t leave like this.” 
He nodded at the book on the bed. “You have your mission, Emily...your job. Ghosts, goblins, lost souls—knock yourself out.” He took a deep breath. “I wonder when you’re going to figure out that the living souls around you would like some of your attention as well.” 
Closing her eyes, Emily shed silent tears as she heard his feet hit the ground beneath her window. A friend, a partner, the one who actually listened, was now just an angry young man racing back to The Armory—a place where warriors reigned. 
Emily sighed. She’d done it again. No matter how hard she tried to be good, her mouth always got her into trouble. She needed Matthew to understand. She’d made a promise to a young man a long time ago; a promise that was supposed to last for eternity. How was she to know at the time that their eternity would include death by her hand? 
Had the second time around broken their vow? Emily had no idea. But whatever happened she could not and would not offer Matthew her heart if payment was still due for her past sins. Above all, Matthew was the last person who deserved to be punished for her mistakes.

About the Author:

Amy Lignor began her career at Grey House Publishing in northwest Connecticut where she was the Editor-in-Chief of numerous educational and business directories.

Now she is a published author of several works of fiction. The Billy the Kid historical The Heart of a Legend; the thriller, Mind Made; and the adventure novel, Tallent & Lowery 13.

She is also the owner of The Write Companion, a company that offers help and support to writers through a full range of editorial services from proofreading and copyediting to ghostwriting and research. As the daughter of a research librarian, she is also an active book reviewer.

Currently, she lives with her daughter, mother and a rambunctious German Shepherd named Reuben, in the beautiful state of New Mexico.

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads

Books 1 and 2 are now 99 cents on Kindle!


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Teaser Tuesday (45): The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

This weeks teaser is from The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa. And I have one word for you. Jackal. I don't think I've fallen so hard for a villain since Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (who, coincidentally, was the inspiration for Jackal). He's so funny and there's more to him than Allie seems to expect. I'm only halfway through so far, but it is so good! I'm loving it even more than The Immortal Rules and I LOVED The Immortal Rules. So here, I present to you, two Jackal quotes that I think especially showcase his particular brand of wit!

I sheathed my blade and glared at him. "And here I almost thought you weren't a complete bastard."

"Well, that's your mistake, not mine.

{The Eternity Cure, Chapter 4}

So...." He picked a yellow cat skull out of an alcove, turned it toward me, and moved the jaws up and down as he asked, "What do we do now?

{The Eternity Cure, Chapter 8}

Synopsis of The Eternity Cure:
Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.

For more about The Eternity Cure check out these sites!

*All quotes are taken from an uncorrected ARC. Quotes may not match the finished copy.*

Monday, April 15, 2013

Georgetown Academy Goodreads Giveaway!

Just wanted to let everyone know that one of my favorite series is having a giveaway on Goodreads! That's right, Georgetown Academy: Book One is available in a limited print edition! You have no idea how psyched I am about this. I am addicted to the Georgetown Academy series and all of its characters (especially Brooks ;). So far I've read all three books in the series and LOVED all of them.

It’s the beginning of a new political administration. That might not mean much at most high schools, but at Georgetown Academy, Washington D.C.’s most elite prep school, January 20th means new alliances, new flings, and new places to party.

While freshmen—nicknamed “interns” for their willingness to jump into bed with anyone higher on the D.C. totem pole—navigate the not-so-friendly halls of GA searching for Algebra and Bio classes, the school’s lifers have other things on their minds.

For self-proclaimed D.C. royalty Brinley Madison (of those Madisons), the first day of school is all about establishing the social hierarchy and playing the part of perfect political wife to her boyfriend, the outgoing Vice President’s son. Too bad he has a wandering eye that puts Bill Clinton’s to shame. Can she keep him, and her own secret vice, in check?

Ellie Walker, Brinley’s best friend, floats through the halls on the arm of golden boy Hunter McKnight (the JFK of GA). But when her ex-boyfriend, Gabe, returns to town and her Senator mother’s political nemesis is reelected, Ellie’s life starts to snowball out of control.

Shy, quiet Evan Hartnett is more into books than beer, and her closet is full of t-shirts and jeans instead of Jason Wu and Jimmy Choo. No one’s ever really noticed her—but she’s been noticing them. When her star rises as an intern at D.C.’s most-watched political news show, she soon finds the two worlds colliding in ways that make her question what’s secret and what’s fair game.

New girl Taryn Reyes is all laid-back, California cool; with a father who’s in line to be the first Hispanic president, she’s ready to dive into the D.C. scene with an open mind. But when her fellow students turn out to be more interested in spreading rumors than making friends, she realizes that forging a drama-free path might be a lot harder than she thinks.

With so many new friends and former flames in the mix, things are bound to get a little heated. And while diplomatic immunity might keep the cops away, there’s not much it can do about the press.
In a town where one teenage misstep can turn into a national scandal, the students at Georgetown Academy will have to be on their best behavior—or, at least, they’ll have to make the world believe that they are.

Because there’s only one rule: whatever you do, don’t get caught.

Click HERE to enter the exclusive giveaway over at Goodreads!

Check out my review of Book One HERE if you haven't already, Book Two HERE, and Book Three HERE!

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