Jun 27, 2012

Book Review of Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough

Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: July 10th, 2012
Pages: 455
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Source: NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



Blurb: In an exquisitely chilling debut novel, four children unravel the mystery of a family curse - and a ghostly creature known in folklore as Long Lankin.


 When Cora and her younger sister, Mimi, are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Byers Guerdon, they receive a less-than-warm welcome. Auntie Ida is eccentric and rigid, and the girls are desperate to go back to London. But what they don't know is that their aunt's life was devastated the last time two young sisters were at Guerdon Hall, and she is determined to protect her nieces from an evil that has lain hidden for years. Along with Roger and Peter, two village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries - before it's too late for little Mimi. Riveting and intensely atmospheric, this stunning debut will hold readers in its spell long after the last page is turned.


Review:  I requested this book from NetGalley because the blurb really caught my attention. It sounded gothic, creepy, and atmospheric, which is something I usually like. This book was NO exception. I had no expectations going into reading this, I was just hoping I would like it a lot, and I did. It was absolutely amazing. Not a perfect read for me, but I really enjoyed Long Lankin and savored every page, taking my time.


I think my tastes are pretty transparent to all who read my reviews. I usually like strong world-building, a fair amount of descriptive passages (but not over-the-top description), and strong characterizations. These are the things I am usually always looking for while reading. And this book hit all of them except for the strong characterizations. While I think the characters were written well, I felt they were lacking depth. They were definitely more than just a name with a face, but I know that I didn't care for them as much as I should. It didn't feel right. Something was missing. 


This is a very creepy book. While it's not gory in the least, there are some moments that really messed with my head. It's the atmosphere and tension that work together to really involve the reader in the story. I would read pages and pages of what I thought were unimportant conversations and scenes, and then something would happen that made it all worthwhile. I don't scare easily but this book made my skin crawl in a couple of places. It doesn't happen immediately though, which leads to my next point. 


The pacing...is a bit slow. If you are looking for a quick payoff, this may not be the book for you. A lot of YA readers look for books that are quickly paced with a lot of plot. If that sounds like you, you may not like this one. It's not that there isn't a plot--there is, it just takes awhile to get there. Atmospheric settings and building tension are extremely important to the author and she takes her time telling the story. Once you get to the end, the payoff is worth it (although the last page left me a little confused). 


I can't actually talk about the plot and what happens without revealing things that would be best left to the reader to discover. This is a book that needs to be experienced and definitely not rushed. I am extremely glad I read most of this on my vacation. It really enhanced the experience. Word of warning though--if you scare easily, I would not recommend reading this in the dark. Muahahahaha.

To pre-order a copy of Long Lankin from Amazon.com, click here: Long Lankin

See the book trailer below:




Jun 23, 2012

Stacking the Shelves #6



Welcome to Stacking the Shelves #4!! Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews.

Another week in which I behaved myself and bought nothing. Everything I got was for review. And one gift. It's not that I'm on a book buying ban or anything, I just am trying to save money for important things that are coming up in my life, like moving back to Florida. I want to be able to go out and do stuff. Besides, I've bought more than enough to keep me busy for awhile. I have a LONG list of books I want, I'll just have to wait a bit longer to get them.

This week I have a VLOG! Feel free to NOT watch it as I am TERRIBLE on camera. No really. It's totally awkward. There are links below of you want to skip it and I am totally okay with that. This might be my last VLOG ever. I am not fishing for compliments, I promise. LOL.



Books For Review:

Wake by Amanda Hocking (Thanks to St. Martin's Press)--Congratulations to Katie at BlookGirl for winning that extra ARC.

Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman (Thanks MacKids)

The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski (Thanks MacKids)

Because It Is My Blood (Birthright #2) by Gabrielle Zevin (Thanks MacKids)

Not in the vlog because it came a day after filming:



Outpost (Razorland #2) by Ann Aguirre (Thanks Mackids, AGAIN!!)

Gifted:

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (signed too!). Thanks to Christina at Reader of Fictions.

I also got some assorted Heather Hildenbrand signed bookmarks which I will be sticking in books that I give away. Thanks, Heather!

And that's it for me this week! Leave me links and I will TRY to visit your posts, but my husband is coming home from Afghanistan tomorrow and we are leaving for Florida on Sunday so my time will be limited. If I am unable to visit, I apologize in advance.

Also, the posts will be to a minimum the next week or so. I will still be posting, just not as frequently. I need to decompress and spend some time away from social media. I will be checking in from time to time, just not as often.

Thank you and see you next week!

Jun 22, 2012

Giveaway of Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

It's time for another 5 Star Giveaway! This is something I am doing all year long. And hopefully next year. And the year after that. Every book I award a 5 star rating to on this blog is getting a giveaway. I don't give this rating away easily, so it has to be a book that really blew me away and covered all of my writing bases. So far this year, I have given away Five Flavors of Dumb, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Shadows on the Moon, Inhale, Shadow and Bone, and now I am giving away Girl in Traslation by Jean Kwok! I bought this back when I made a trip to Books-A-Million. Yes, it's been out for awhile but I don't care. It's a great book and I fell in love with the protagonist and her story. Check the blurb below to see if it's a book you might be interested in. 


Blurb: When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family's future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition. Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles. 

Through Kimberly's story, author Jean Kwok, who also emigrated from Hong Kong as a young girl, brings to the page the lives of countless immigrants who are caught between the pressure to succeed in America, their duty to their family, and their own personal desires, exposing a world that we rarely hear about. Written in an indelible voice that dramatizes the tensions of an immigrant girl growing up between two cultures, surrounded by a language and world only half understood, Girl in Translation is an unforgettable and classic novel of an American immigrant-a moving tale of hardship and triumph, heartbreak and love, and all that gets lost in translation.




If you are interested, you can read my 5 Star review of Girl in Translation here.

This giveaway is International. If you are in the US or Canada, I will be shipping from Amazon. If you are international, I will be shipping from The Book Depository. This giveaway is for a paperback copy of Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok. You can read the synopsis and other reviews on Goodreads here. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Contest will end on 6/29/12 at midnight.

One email address per household. Winner has 72 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. I will be checking and disqualifying any entries that are trying to cheat and game the system.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jun 21, 2012

Book Review of The Loners by Lex Thomas

Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release Date: July 10th, 2012
Pages: 416
Genre: Young Adult/Post-Apocalyptic
Series: Quarantine #1
Source: I received an e-copy from NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



Blurb: It was just another ordinary day at McKinley High—until a massive explosion devastated the school. When loner David Thorpe tried to help his English teacher to safety, the teacher convulsed and died right in front of him. And that was just the beginning.
A year later, McKinley has descended into chaos. All the students are infected with a virus that makes them deadly to adults. The school is under military quarantine. The teachers are gone. Violent gangs have formed based on high school social cliques. Without a gang, you’re as good as dead. And David has no gang. It’s just him and his little brother, Will, against the whole school.

In this frighteningly dark and captivating novel, Lex Thomas locks readers inside a school where kids don’t fight to be popular, they fight to stay alive.

Review: I had a LOT of issues with this book. First of all, the slut-shaming. It is HORRENDOUS. There is even a gang of girls called "The Sluts." The word skank is thrown around a lot as well. There is not one female in this book that is portrayed positively. They are either weak, shallow, helpless, or catty. They use their bodies a lot to get things. It's just...icky. As a woman, I felt really uncomfortable reading a good portion of this book. I'm not sure it's appropriate for teenagers. Clearly, this is more of a book for boys. And I'm not a prude or anything, but I don't think I would want my son thinking about women this way. 

And then on top of that, this book was EXTREMELY violent. I don't mind violence in books. One of my favorite YA books is The Enemy by Charlie Higson and that book is pretty grotesque. I just felt it was senseless and kind of unnecessary. It was just violence for the sake of having violence. If there's a good reason for it, fine. But it was over the top here and I think some of the scenes went too far. I've never been a fan of the blood and gore movies. There needs to be a purpose.

As far as the plot goes, it was decent. I actually LIKED the story. It was suspenseful as hell. The setting was imaginatively rendered. But there was so much I didn't care for that it kind of overshadowed the good. This isn't an original plot by any means, but it was suspenseful and I read the whole thing. It's not a BAD book, I just wish more thought had been put into some of the content.

The world-building was decent but I needed more detail. Especially on the virus that caused the whole breakdown of the school and its students in the first place. I don't want to spoil anything but there was not enough information provided. If you are one of those people that need details in your post-apocalyptic landscapes, this book might irritate you a little. How it all came to be was presented in a pretty vague way.


Character development needed work. I know based on the writing that I was supposed to root for Will and David, but I found both of their characters annoying and frustrating. They were immature and bratty. Will was a whiny, reckless snot that kept doing stupid shit at the expense of everyone else. David was always serious, he was boring, and he went after the love of his brother's life. And I'm supposed to look up to this guy. Um, thanks, but no thanks? There was a lot of telling in the writing when it came to the character development. There was no backstory to these characters so they were all pretty flat. And then I had an issue with not being able to root for any of the females because they were all whiny and helpless. NONE of the characters were likable. Just uninspired all around.

I wish I had liked it more. I kind of want to read the next one because I want to know how the story ends or continues or whatever, but I doubt I will. There are many better books out there that aren't full of negative portrayals of women. There are books with similar storylines that won't personally offend me. So I will probably pass. I'm not saying you shouldn't read it, but if you are sensitive to excessive violence or slut-shaming, I would give this one a miss. It just didn't really work for me.




Jun 20, 2012

ARC Giveaway of Wake by Amanda Hocking

I received an ARC of Wake by Amanda Hocking in the mail today. But I already have an ARC of Wake waiting to be read that was sent by my dear friend Giselle at Xpresso Reads. So that means I get to give this one away! 


Since this is an ARC, the rules are a little different. I'm not letting just anyone win this book. You HAVE to be a book blogger with a blog that you update regularly. I would also prefer you have an account at Goodreads, LibraryThing, or Shelfari. 


A Twitter account or Facebook blog page is also a requirement. Since this was an unsolicited gift from the publisher, I want it to get as much publicity as possible. I don't care if you hate it, I just want you to review it. That's right, you must REVIEW it too. That's what ARCs are for, after all. I'd also like you to review it in a timely manner. That means 30 days before/after the publish date. I will be checking all information on ALL entry forms. If you cheat, I will catch you. 


Oh, and here's the blurb for Wake if you are interested and don't want to go hunting for it.


Blurb: Gorgeous. Fearless. Dangerous. They're the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Lexi and Thea have caught everyone's attention—but it’s Gemma who’s attracted theirs. She’s the one they’ve chosen to be part of their group.

Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door. He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back. Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever. She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove. They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different.

Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price. And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.



~Credit for that blurb goes to St. Martin's Press.~



Giveaway Requirements:

1. If you didn't read the rules I posted up above because you are in a hurry, you should go back and read those now. They are important. 

2. This giveaway is US/CA only. Since I actually have to go to the post office and ship this myself, I cannot afford to ship overseas this time. But I do a TON of international giveaways so check back.


3. This giveaway is for an ARC copy of Wake by Amanda Hocking. You can read the synopsis and other reviews on Goodreads here. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Contest will end on 6/21/12 at midnight.

4. One email address per household. Winner has 72 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. I will be checking and disqualifying any entries that are trying to cheat and game the system.


5. Also, I will be leaving for Florida THIS weekend. So If the winner doesn't respond fast enough for me to mail it out on Friday the 22nd, it will have to wait until I get back. I'm not sure when I'll be back. The first week of July sometime. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jun 19, 2012

Book Review of Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: October 11th, 2011
Pages: 303
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Series: Deadly Cool #1
Source: I own a copy of this book.


Blurb: Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he’s pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren’t enough, now he’s depending on Hartley to clear his name.
But as much as Hartley wouldn’t mind seeing him squirm, she knows he’s innocent, and she’s the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school’s resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer’s next victim.


Review: This was fun! I really enjoyed it. There was a small bit of slut-shaming towards the end and I hate to have to do it, but I'm knocking off a star. This totally doesn't mean I didn't like it, because I did, and I loved Chase. But that type of thing is never okay with me and kind of ruined the experience. It's a bit of a trigger for me, just like homophobia and the R word.


The book was hilarious though and I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion. It was like an updated version of Nancy Drew. Some parts slapstick, some parts crude, but ALWAYS fun. I definitely will be reading the next one. I'm not sure I can write a full review on this one because I really don't have a lot to say.


Do I recommend it? I do! If you are looking for a fun piece of fluff that is also a thriller, this is your book. If you're looking for what looks to be the beginning of a promising mystery series with a little romance thrown in, this is your book. Chase is dreamy and he will make you swoon. But the romance is definitely not the focal point of the story. If you are looking for a fun piece of literature that will make you laugh and want to befriend the protagonist? This is your book. 


Hartley's voice was just fantastic and unique and I loved her(minus the one instance of slut-shaming). I'm totally reading Social Suicide as soon as I can get my hands on it.


Favorite scene:


So instead of spilling my destination, I nodded. Slowly. "Yes. Yes, I am going to class."


He grinned. "Dude, you are the worst liar on the planet. Seriously, we got to get you some lessons or something."


I rolled my eyes. "Whatever." I pushed past him, heading toward the front of the school.


"So, if you're not going to class, what are you doing?" he persisted, following a step behind me. 


"Nothing."


"Where are you going?"


"Nowhere."


"Need a ride to nowhere?"


"No!" Even if I did, I wasn't ready to take my life in my hands by riding with him twice in one day. "Look, just because we're both investigating this thing doesn't mean we have to be joined at the hip."


Chase stopped following me. He gave me a long look. Then grinned again. 


"Okay. Fine. I'll catch you later, then."


"Fine. Good. Catch ya." I turned to go again. 


And heard him call over my shoulder, "Say hi to Josh for me!"


Sigh.



To order a copy of Deadly Cool from Amazon.com, click here: Deadly Cool (Hartley Featherstone).


Jun 18, 2012

Book Review of Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

Publisher: Katherine Tegen
Release Date: July 10th, 2012
Pages: 444
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Source: Edelweiss
FTC: I received an E-ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


Blurb: More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom’s drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry, and staying invisible.

Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone’s been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he’s offered the incredible—a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom’s instincts for combat will be put to the test, and if he passes, he’ll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War Three. Finally, he’ll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom’s always wanted—friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action matters—but what will it cost him?

Gripping and provocative, S. J. Kincaid’s futuristic thrill ride of a debut crackles with memorable characters, tremendous wit, and a vision of the future that asks startling, timely questions about the melding of humanity and technology.



Review: "444 pages is kind of long for a young adult book." That was my first thought upon starting to read Insignia by S.J. Kincaid. I needn't have worried. It barely felt like 250. I LOVED this book. Loved it. This is the first YA novel I have read this year that felt like a TRUE dystopia. There are plenty out there that claim they are dystopians, but what they really are is post-apocalyptic. And there is a difference, folks. So using this review, I'm going to try to give a small lesson while at the same time relating it to the book. FYI, much of the following I stole from Wikipedia. 


Checklist of dystopian elements that are present in Insignia:


~A society in a repressive and controlled state? CHECK.
~Pessimistic views of the ruling class? CHECK.
~Humans abusing technology? CHECK.
~Not being able to properly cope with said technology? CHECK.
~Unlimited power over citizens? CHECK. 
~Black markets? CHECK.
~Caste system? CHECK.


It is not a complete dystopia because individuality is not stifled in this society but instead encouraged. There are, however,  many more true dystopian elements found here than in many of the other pseudo-dystopians out there today. Also, there is not a lot of information present about the citizens that live OUTSIDE the Pentagonal Spire. But that was not really the focus of this book, and that's okay. We might learn more in the next book.


Insignia starts out a little slow. The opening chapters are a bit info dumpy but they did hold my interest. What was missing was conflict. If you just read a little bit further, it will pull you in and you won't even realized it happened until you are completely hooked. This book is like a slow burn that turns into a bonfire. 


At first I wasn't in love with the character development. We don't get a lot of backstory on many of the characters and they all felt a little cookie-cutter to me. But yet, somehow by about the midpoint of the book, I was in awe of the individuality and different voices each character had.  They all felt like real people and each had a unique voice all their own.


There are so many hilarious moments in this book. There are also some pretty intense moments. Ultimately, this is a story about friendship amidst some fantastically detailed world-building and brilliantly imagined technology. I am in awe of the author's imagination. The writing itself does not particularly stand out, but the ideas do.


Insignia was a long book, but I blew through this one faster than most books I've read so far this year. It wasn't perfect, but wow was it compulsively readable and I really loved it. It's the type of book that when you look at all its components individually, you see flaws, but put them all together and you have perfection. It's one of those books that just has to be experienced to be understood, and I don't want to ruin it by giving out too much information. Look for a giveaway of this one on the blog sometime in July.



To pre-order a copy of Insignia from Amazon.com, click here: Insignia

Jun 16, 2012

Stacking the Shelves #5



Welcome to Stacking the Shelves #4!! Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews

This week I didn't buy anything, but I did get a few review books in the mail. Fortunately, they are all books I requested or really want to read. I thought about doing a vlog, but I decided against it because it's so much work. I didn't want to do my hair and put all my makeup on. Being high maintenance sucks.  LOL! And you don't want to see me without that, trust me. So I took a picture of my books instead. 




For Review:

Relapse (The Vs. Reality Series #2) by Blake Northcott-from the author (Thanks, Blake!).

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken-Thanks to Grace Fonseca at Books of Love.

Crewel (Crewel World #1) by Gennifer Albin-Thanks to MacKids.



That's it for this week. If you leave me a link to your posts, I'll try to come and comment. 

Jun 14, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway of The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier

Publisher: Crown Publishing
Release Date: June 5th, 2012
Pages: 309
Genre: Adult Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Source: TLC Book tours. Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



Blurb: Before there were blogs, there were journals. And in them we’d write as we really were, not as we wanted to appear. But there comes a day when journals outlive us. And with them, our secrets. 

Summer vacation on Great Rock Island was supposed to be a restorative time for Kate, who’d lost her close friend Elizabeth in a sudden accident. But when she inherits a trunk of Elizabeth's journals, they reveal a woman far different than the cheerful wife and mother Kate thought she knew. 


The complicated portrait of Elizabeth—her troubled upbringing, and her route to marriage and motherhood—makes Kate question not just their friendship, but her own deepest beliefs about loyalty and honesty at a period of uncertainty in her own marriage. 


The more Kate reads, the more she learns the complicated truth of who Elizabeth really was, and rethinks her own choices as a wife, mother, and professional, and the legacy she herself would want to leave behind. When an unfamiliar man’s name appears in the pages, Kate realizes the extent of what she didn’t know about her friend, including where she was really going on the day she died. 


Set in the anxious summer after the September 11th attacks, this story of two women—their friendship, their marriages, private ambitions and fears—considers the aspects of ourselves we show and those we conceal, and the repercussions of our choices.



Review: Looking for a great character driven novel that will leave you aching for more from the author and these characters? Well, then look no further. The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. was amazing!! Beautifully written and sprinkled with journal entries that really left you thinking. This is what I call a "thinking" book because it left me questioning my opinions on several topics. It made me question my outlook on marriage, family, and friendship. I don't know how to explain it without ruining it, but just know that it left me feeling confused and conflicted. But I love books like that. I love books that make me question things. 


As far as character development goes, it was wonderful, but not perfect. I felt like I got to know Kate pretty well, but because my only interaction with Elizabeth was through her journal entries, I didn't feel like I knew her as well. I definitely could relate and sympathize with her situation but I was missing that connection to her. Also, the husbands were pretty unlikable characters. I'm not sure that was intentional but I thought they were pretty douchey at times. And while I think that helped to create emotions while I was reading, I'm not sure that it was fair to the characters or men in general. This was one thing I could never really work out in my head. And by the end of the book, it was no better. This was definitely a book that featured two strong women. But I'm not sure it was necessary to make the men appear weak to make the women stronger. Their characters were strong and determined without that. 


This was definitely a book that was hard to put down and it kept me thinking and turning the pages late into the night. Some questions it raised in my mind: 


How much do you ever really know a person without knowing their innermost thoughts and desires? I mean, people show you what they want you to see. There is so much to a person that we never really know. When Kate read Elizabeth's journals, a lot of that was revealed. How much do I really know my best friend? Or even my husband?


What are the traditional roles of marriage and child-rearing and are they relevant anymore? Should a woman be forced to be the one to stay at home and raise the kids just because she gave birth to them? Is it right for your spouse to expect you to abandon your dreams and goals? Why is it that when a woman gets pregnant, a lot of times, she is the one that has to sacrifice her ambitions to raise the kids? Why can't the father stay at home and raise the kids? I know that it happens, but it's rare. And I'm totally not taking a side here, I'm just thinking out loud. I told you this was a thinking book. And that's only the tip of the iceberg. But I can't really reveal more without spoiling the plot. 


Before I go, I want to leave you with a couple of passages from the book that I loved. It also gives you a sample of the writing so you can tell if you will like the writing style. It's a gorgeous book.


The number of cargo vehicles on the ferries seemed to increase every year. When Kate first started coming to the island twenty years earlier--as a high school babysitter accompanying a family on its annual monthlong vacation--there had been only two ferries a day, and no trucks. Back then, very little could be gotten on-island that wasn't growing there. Sweet corn came from one of several nameless farm stands, and everyone bought pies from the front-yard gazebo of a woman who didn't keep a menu or a schedule of hours. Lines formed daily for seafood on the southwestern docks, fresh fish, lobster, and clams nearly every afternoon.


How many things in life are like this, near misses? Every day consists of these tiny choices with 57,000 trickle-down effects. You catch a different subway and brush against a stranger with meningitis, or make eye contact with someone you fall in love with, or buy a lotto ticket in this bodega instead of that one and totally cash in, or miss the train that ends up derailing. Everything is so fucking arbitrary. Every move you make and a million ones you don't all have ramifications what mean life or death or love or bankruptcy or whatever. It could paralyze you if you let it. But you have to live your life. What's the alternative?


I really connected with the writing. The sensory language really pulled me in and really worked for me. There were times when this wasn't an easy book to read. It got pretty depressing in certain parts. You have to be in the right frame of mind and mood to read it. I did quite enjoy it though. It was a beautifully written story about love, marriage, motherhood, and dreams, but most of all it was about the friendship between two remarkable women. 



To order a copy of The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. from Amazon.com, click here: The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.: A Novel.

Visit the author at http://www.nicholebernier.com/

Follow her tweets by clicking here: https://twitter.com/#!/nicholebernier




And now, for the giveaway. Up for giveaway is one copy of The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. This giveaway is US/CA only. No PO boxes. Sorry International readers. I have more great Int. giveaways coming soon. Giveaway starts June 14th, and ends June 21st at midnight. Winner will be notified by email and has 72 hours to confirm mailing address or another winner will be chosen. One email address per household, and I will be checking.

Enter using the Rafflecopter entry form below.a Rafflecopter giveaway






Other Tour Stops:

Monday, June 18th:  Luxury Reading
Wednesday, June 20th:  Colloquium
Thursday, June 21st:  Boarding in my Forties
Monday, June 25th:  Bibliosue
Wednesday, June 27th:  A Musing Reviews
Friday, June 29th:  Broken Teepee
Monday, July 2nd:  Girls Just Reading

Cover Reveal: Blood Bond by Heather Hildenbrand



Today, I have a great cover reveal for my precious readers! It's for Blood Bond by Heather Hildenbrand. This is Book 3 in the Dirty Blood series. If you haven't read the first two books, Dirty Blood and Cold Blood, then you really should. They are amazing and a ton of fun to read!! 

So, the cover!! I really like it. Quite a bit, actually. For one, it really goes with the other two covers. I also think it looks really professional, which is sooo important. I'm not a huge cover girl like some readers are, but this cover definitely makes me want to read the book. What do you guys think? 



You can read the synopsis for Blood Bond below!


SYNOPSIS:


Hybrids.



If I had to choose one word to sum up all of my problems, this would be it.



Without hybrids, I wouldn’t have to watch my best friend slowly becoming a monster. Without hybrids, I could let go of the mentality “hunt or be hunted.” CHAS wouldn’t be scouring the Earth, intent on slaughtering and using Alex to do it. Without hybrids, I wouldn’t have to be on guard that losing my temper meant losing my shape. There would be no monster inside me, struggling to get out.



Then again, without hybrids, I wouldn’t have Wesley St. John.



****



Look for Blood Bond, book 3 in the Dirty Blood series, by Heather Hildenbrand, August 31st!


Below you will find the first two covers of the series.


Leave me a comment below!



Jun 12, 2012

Review of Ruby Red by Kirsten Gier

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: May 10th, 2011
Pages: 324
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: I own a copy of this book.




Blurb: Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.



Review: First of all, that cover! It's gorgeous. I can assure you it is even MORE gorgeous in person since I own a hardback of this book. But guess what? They re-did the cover and now it's just a girl in a pretty dress!! And the sequel, Sapphire Blue, I don't even think they are publishing in hardback. Can you imagine this gorgeous cover in blue? I. AM. DISAPPOINT. But that has nothing to do with the contents, and so we move on to the actual review. But the cover!! *cries*


Ruby Red started out terribly for me. There was so much telling. All dialogue, and it was clunky and awkward. No sensory language whatsoever. The opening chapter did nothing to hook the reader and nothing happened.  I didn't care for the writing style at all. I kind of felt like I was being talked down to. So it was a good thing I stuck with it. After about three chapters, the book all of a sudden got good. At some point I became loath to put it down. It felt like it was written by a completely different author. There was still more telling than I would have liked, and the writing style was a little odd, but the story was absolutely riveting and so unique. 


Gwyneth was a brilliant protagonist. She was sassy, intelligent, and stuck up for herself when she needed to. Not at first, but she grew into her personality and that made her grow in my eyes. In the beginning, she was easily intimidated by everyone around her. But as the story progressed, she finally started standing up for herself and grew a backbone. I'm not saying I started out hating her, but I did think it was annoying how she let everyone, even her own family members, walk all over her. I look forward to reading the next book when she hopefully stands up to the rest of these buttheads and proves herself. There is one particular character I am thinking of, and I want her to get what is coming to her so badly. No spoilers. It's hard because I want to spill it all!! 


I wouldn't say it's a slowly paced book, but it does take a little while to get going. So you need a little patience with this one. After Gwyneth time-travels for the first time, things start to pick up. And yet, I don't think this is a book for everyone. You can tell by reading that it has a long story arc. And this book was only just the beginning. I'm not even sure how many books are in this series. So if you like a book with a beginning, middle, and end, I can assure you that this book is not for you. But it's definitely worth reading if you like a longer, more epic type of storyline. 


I've never been a fan of time travel books. I can now say that I don't think I've given them a fair shake. This book was utterly fabulous. If anyone has any great time travel stories to recommend me, I'd be happy to hear your recommendations. I'm not saying this will ever be a favorite genre (I didn't even like Back to the Future that much), but I'm willing to try since I really liked Ruby Red. I'd like to leave you with a quote that is a testament to Gwyneth's awesomeness. 


"Gwyneth, we have to get moving! Breathe deeply, and it'll pass."


I stopped dead. This was too much. 


"Oh, so it'll pass?" I made myself speak very slowly and distinctly, although I really felt like screeching. "And so if I've just killed a man, will that pass, too? My entire life has been turned upside down today--will that pass? Will the fact that an arrogant, long-haired, violin-playing creep in silk stockings can't think of anything better to do than order me about, even though I've just saved his stupid life, will that disappear as well? If you ask me, it's not surprising that I feel like puking. And just in case you're wondering, you make me want to throw up too!"


FYI. This one ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. Not an evil one, but it's still there. 



Jun 11, 2012

Review of Exhale by Kendall Grey

Publisher: Howling Mad Press
Release Date: June 5th, 2012
Pages: NA, I read a Kindle copy.
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Series: Just Breathe Trilogy #2
Source: ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb: Her dreams brought them together, but reality could tear them apart…

The man of Zoe Morgan’s dreams isn’t only real, he’s interested. In her. But her boss wants her too, and is leveraging his unsolicited advances with the threat of blocking the huge promotion she's after. When he places a spy on her research team, the intense stranger discovers more than he should, and Zoe fears hiding a relationship with Gavin Cassidy from her boss is the least of her worries. The whale she must protect has been marked for death, and Zoe's old enemy Scarlet is eager to deliver the killing blow. To both of them.

Australia’s Sentinels must find and lock the door into the Dreaming before Fyre Elementals launch another attack on innocent dreamers. But corruption and distrust abound, and Gavin believes someone on the Sentinel council is in league with the Fyres. As he reluctantly embraces his new role as council leader, Gavin must not only keep Zoe safe from Scarlet's vengeful clutches, but organize a Sentinel defense strong enough to prevent a full-blown Elemental war—with a traitor fighting by his side.

*This book contains graphic language, sex, and some violence. Not suitable for readers under the age of 18.

**The author will donate all profits from the sale of the JUST BREATHE trilogy to programs that educate people about whales and the challenges they face.



Review: Wow, wow, wow. That sounds so cliche but it's true. I really enjoyed Exhale. I am so invested in the trilogy at this point that the characters could probably dance and play tag for 300 pages and I would love it, but that is beside the point. Kendall Grey is a fantastic writer and she knows how to weave a story better than almost anyone I know. I'll be honest and say I didn't like Exhale quite as much as Inhale, but it was still a fantastic book. I did give this a 5 star rating, but in the interest of full disclosure, that last star was kind of a bonus star BECAUSE I am so emotionally attached to this story. If I wasn't so invested, I would probably have given it 4 stars. But my emotions are clouded. 






Seriously. I don't even know where to start. Okay, let me just go ahead and get the negative out of the way right off the bat that way I can move on to the gushing and fainting. For me the beginning was a little slowly paced. I just wanted more plot. There was a lot of romance in the beginning, and while I love the romance between Zoe and Gavin, I think I am more invested in the whales and the elementals and all of that than anything else. But once it got going, man it was good. Oh, and the sexual tension? 




Yeah. There were times when I wish I had/was able to read this book in a cold shower. Well done, Kendall. If you like hawt sexytimes, this is the book for you. Good lord. 

If you thought Scarlet was evil in Inhale, you haven't seen anything yet. She was even more ruthless, scarier, and horrifying than ever before. Just when I thought she couldn't get any worse, I was proven wrong, time and time again. She is the villain you love to hate. But in all my years of reading, I'm not sure I have hated a villain quite as much as her. I want her to die a million different ways, if possible. I hope the author gives her a horrible, HORRIBLE death. 



I loved the addition of a few new characters. They were all wonderfully developed and brought new levels to the story that I really enjoyed. I'd talk about them but I really don't want to spoil it because I think it's something that needs to be experienced going in blindly without any outside information.  And that's another thing that's important to mention. These characters go through SO much. Especially Zoe and Gavin. And I think the author does a really great job of bringing their stories to life and developing the characters. The story ARC is amazing. It's part of the reason why I enjoy Kendall's writing so much. 

For anyone that is reading this review without any knowledge of the first book, I would highly recommend this series. It's easy to get attached to these characters. I've fallen in love with the whales and the way this amazing fantasy world is developed. Yes, there's sort of a cliffhanger at the end of this book, but it's not as bad as I thought it was going to be, and the thing is, the last book in the trilogy will be out shortly so you don't have to wait that long. So if you can't handle cliffhangers, then just wait another 2 months and you can read them back to back. 

It's definitely a series worth investing your time in. I REALLY think it brings something new to the table. It's original and there's not anything quite like it out there. I will be reading this author's books as long as she keeps writing them. I know I didn't talk much about the plot, but I don't want to spoil anything for new readers. Give it a chance. These books might be indie published, but you would never be able to tell. They are edited just as good, if not better, than most traditionally published books out there. Definitely one of my favorite books of 2012.


To purchase a copy of Exhale from Amazon.com, click here: Exhale (Just Breathe). Kindle copies are only 2.99! If you have not started this trilogy yet, you can purchase book one, Inhale, from Amazon here for only $0.99. 

Jun 9, 2012

Stacking the Shelves #4


Welcome to Stacking the Shelves #4!! Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews.

This week I went to Barnes and Noble and met one of my fellow twitter friends. I had no intentions of buying anything, but as everyone already knows, when I go to Barnes and Noble (or any bookstore), I vomit lack of willpower all over the place. So I bought 9 books. Some of them are books I have been wanting to read for awhile, and because of the enormous size of my tbr stack, will probably take me a few MORE years to get to. Sigh. Anyway, so don't expect to see reviews of these anytime soon, but you never know. I tend to pick my reads randomly because I can never choose. I am a fan of random.org for this purpose. The books I bought, you ask? See the photo below. 


Bought:

The Dead (The Enemy #2) by Charlie Higson
The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall
World War Z by Max Brooks
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller
Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz
The Cranes Dance by Meg Howrey

For Review:

I got no books for review this week, but I'm glad. I'm fairly close to getting caught up and then it remains to be seen whether or not I will be requesting more review books in the future. I don't really like the pressure. I'd rather read what I want and utilize my library. I will still participate in blog tours, of course, but I don't know if I will use NetGalley that much more. Meh. It's a cool service but sometimes knowing you have all these review books to read makes reading less fun. 

Leave me a comment and I will visit your posts! I was hoping to do a vlog this week but I'm really just not in the mood. At all. :) 

 


Jun 7, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Enemy Within by Angeline Kace and an ARC Giveaway


Today I get to present the cover for Enemy Within! This is book two of the Vampire Born Trilogy by Angeline Kace! Then you get to read the official synopsis, and if you would like, Chapter 1 of Enemy Within! That's followed by a 3 ARC giveaway for the new book! So without further ado, look at that cover! What do you think? Leave me a comment!



Official Synopsis:

Enemy Within
Coming August 30, 2012

Two guys who’ve stolen her heart.
Three races and only one of them worthy.
Countless enemies with insatiable bloodlust for power.
Will one girl's curse ultimately save her?

Half-vampire Brooke Keller barely survived the slaying of her worst enemy, only to learn that Zladislov—the world's most powerful vampire, leader of the vampire world, and her father—wants her dead. However, this time, she's not only fighting vampires but a raging monster within her that endangers what's left of her humanity. And when a deadly disease threatens to take her best friend's life, Brooke tries to convince Kaitlynn to accept a monster of her own: becoming a Zao Duh.

As a former slave to the Pijawikas, Mirko is driven to protect the innocent at all costs, but he has never faced a foe more formidable than Zladislov. And when the Commission bears down on Brooke, Mirko finds the stream of enemies runs deeper than he ever imagined.


Want to read Chapter One? :)







CHAPTER ONE

Mirko

Immortality is a lie. It’s something the Pijawikas tell themselves to feel godly. Pijawikas and Zao Duhs don’t age like humans, but we do age and we can die. With Pijawikas directing the Zao Duhs to do their dirty work, the lie that they will never die is a lot easier for them to believe.

Not so for Zao Duhs. Death doesn’t just haunt me. It slaps me in the face, then holds my eyelids open as person after person dies. I’ve watched people I have known, loved, and who didn’t deserve to, die. Pijawikas don’t mind. As long as the person dying is only a Zao Duh or a human, nothing is lost to them.

Brooke is part Pijawikan and instead of them adding her to their list of sacred lives among the chosen, they see her as an abomination—a death sentence deserved. One I can’t allow them to make good on. I’ve fought for and against the Pijawikas, but I have never felt as strongly as I do now about not giving them what they want.

Brooke is innocent, and she holds a place in my heart so deep I didn’t think it existed before I met her. Pijawikas have broken my heart, and broken my body and almost my mind, but I can’t let them harm her. Not this girl.

When she ran out of her father’s house, the look on her face sent a cold
chill through my limbs and sinking horror in my gut. Whatever we thought we conquered had come back tenfold.

She was tired and battered, barely able to clean the dirt and blood off her face and change into clean clothes. Even her nap on the plane couldn’t replenish her. Although she still had enough fight in her to make sure we went home and not on the run from her father.

“He’d find us anywhere,” she had said. “Please. I just want to go home and see my mom and Kaitlynn.”

She was right, and the bruised and heart-wrenching look she gave me melted any resistance I would have put forth. I wasn’t prepared to fight this battle. Not against the Head of Pijawikas. We needed resources and a plan. Garwin could provide the recourse. I still had to come up with a good plan, but no matter how creative a solution I could find, I knew my time with Brooke was limited. Zladislov would hunt her down and kill her. Realistically, I couldn’t save Brooke from her father, but I sure as hell had no doubt I would die trying. I knew my days were numbered.

Garwin came out the front door as we made our way up his steps. He met Brooke with open arms, and even though she whimpered a little when he squeezed her tight, the relief on her face was palpable.

“I’m glad you’re all right. I have been so worried about you,” Garwin said as he walked us inside.

Garwin had increased his security since the last time I was there. Strange faces littered the hallway, and a burly man stood by the marble statue. I took note to test his reflexes and agility later. We needed more than to look like a strong force. I needed everyone to deliver when Zladislov arrived.

“Where’s Mom?” Brooke asked as she looked around and eyed the security detail.

“She’s on her way,” Garwin said. “She’s been worried about you. I haven’t told her anything yet, only that you were coming home.” He eased Brooke down on the couch and then took a seat in a large chair by the fireplace. Jaren and I sat on the couch with Brooke across from Garwin. Yes, Jaren was still hanging around. I couldn’t seem to get rid of the kid.

“I understand you had to be discreet while talking to me on the plane, but I can’t wait for Brooke’s mom to get here. What’s going on?” Garwin had a calm demeanor, but I could feel the anxiousness stirring below the surface.

“Zladislov’s my father and he wants to kill me,” Brooke said. She didn’t sound scared, but she did sound hopeless and tired.

“Oh, dear God.” Garwin ran his hand along the outside of his mouth and stood. He walked over to his liquor cabinet and dropped two ice cubes in a glass, then poured his favorite brandy in after. He picked up his glass, swirled the liquid a couple of times and then took a swig. The whole time he stared ahead as if looking at something but seeing nothing. Wherever his mind was, it wasn’t in that room.

I had never seen Garwin speechless before. He always had someone to call or a brilliant idea to offer as a solution.

Brooke tensed. “Garwin? Say something.”

I knew our situation was daunting, but I never expected that eerily distant look in Garwin’s eyes, which only set Brooke further on edge. She was scared but fought to stay awake. Her eyelids grew heavier and heavier with every exhale.

Garwin stared on for a moment longer before he turned to us. “I have a lot to think about and you need to get some rest,” he said, then looked at me. “Will you make sure she gets to her room all right?”

“Of course.” I stood and gently tugged Brooke up by her arm.

She yelped and guilt sliced through me. She was injured and anywhere I touched her I’d cause her pain. However, she didn’t appear to have the strength to get off the couch, let alone climb the stairs to the bedrooms. I bent over and caught her underneath her knees. They buckled with ease and she rested in my arms.

Jaren rose with a scowl on his face and his footsteps sounded behind us. There was a reason Garwin asked me to take Brooke up to her room and not him; I was best suited to handle her.

Brooke’s breathing was rough and deep, full of both exhaustion and pain. I hoped once I laid her down, she would fall asleep and the pain would subside.

I walked as smoothly as I could and paid attention not to jostle her as I climbed the stairs. “Which room?” I whispered to her.

“It’s the second to last door on the right,” Jaren said. I didn’t like the idea of Jaren knowing which room belonged to Brooke.

“Hmph,” I huffed, and Brooke stirred slightly. I wouldn’t make any more of that. Brooke needed to rest, not worry about Jaren and me.

Jaren’s footsteps sped up as he went around us and then turned the doorknob. I paused for a second before entering. A part of me didn’t want to put Brooke down and that side struggled with the part of me that wanted her to be in a painless sleep. The selfish side lost and I moved forward and set her on top of the bed. A content sound escaped her lips, telling me she needed the rest as much or more than I assumed.

“Thanks for carrying her up,” Jaren said, as if I were doing him a favor.

“I didn’t do it for you.” A fuzzy blanket lay at the foot of the bed. I grabbed it and covered Brooke’s arms. She seemed to calm and her breathing became more relaxed.

I kissed her forehead, comforted because she was.

I walked away, but Jaren stepped around me and kissed Brooke on the cheek. Anger and possession flared up inside me. She had yet to choose me, but she was mine. My days with her were numbered and I wasn’t sure how many of them I could deal with this kid trying to one up me. I focused on Brooke to read her response to Jaren’s sign of affection, but there wasn’t one. I expected at least some sort of reaction, even in the slightest, but there was nothing. Almost as if he kissed the cheek of a corpse.

I had seen this before, but I had to make sure. I strode back over to Brooke’s side and shook her shoulder. “Slatki.”

Nothing.

She was still as a stone. My fears were confirmed.

“What’s wrong?” Jaren asked from behind me.

“She’s in a sleep.” Not even her eyes fluttered from behind her lids.

“And that means what?”

I turned to face him so he knew exactly how serious I was. “It means no one comes into this room alone. When she wakes up, she’s going to be ravenous for blood. Anyone in here when she comes to will not be you, or her mother, or anyone else she recognizes. Until she feeds, she will be completely controlled by that hunger. You are not to call Kaitlynn, and no one is to come in here without me with them. Is that clear?”

He glared at me and his jaw tightened but he nodded.

I smirked and waited at the door until he cleared it, then I shut it, letting him see that I alone controlled the access to Brooke. I wanted it clear that my commands went deeper than any boyish possession over her. Lives were on the line.

He marched across the hall, opened a door to another room and then closed it behind him. Did he think he was going to stay in the room across the hall from Brooke? I shook my head and looked to the doors next to Brooke’s. I moved to the one on the left and opened it. Furnished but bare of any personalization. I’d talk to Garwin about taking that one.

Brooke being in a sleep complicated things. It wouldn’t be easy to move her in her condition and any plans we made would have to be implemented without her input. We couldn’t wait for her to wake, though.

I descended the stairs two at a time and stopped at the burly guy standing at the stairs’ base. I didn’t need to ask Garwin his thoughts on him as the guy’s mere presence told me everything I needed to know. “Zao Duh?”

He nodded.

“Good. Don’t let anyone go inside her room. She’s in a sleep, but if you hear her come out, grab her.”

His nostrils flared. He knew what that meant, but I wasn’t sure if he’d seen it or just heard about it. “Are you Mirko?”

“Yes. And you are?” I was familiar with many Zao Duhs, but this one was unknown to me. That would normally make me unsettled, but I trusted Garwin’s judgment. Especially when it came to Brooke. He did hire me at the onset, which was the best call he could’ve made for her.

“Rorik.” He struck his hand out and I shook it. His grip was firm and assertive, a good indication he was confident in his stature. “I’ve heard a lot about you. It’s a pleasure to finally meet the infamous Mirko.”

I grinned. Damn right he’d heard of me. I lead some of the fiercest and most sought after group of Zao Duhs on the planet. “I’d like to say the pleasure is mutual, but I need to know a few things first.” Business before anything else. That’s the way I worked, which was what kept people alive. I wasn’t about to let my guard down because some guy was impressed with my name and told me so.

“I assume Garwin filled you in on why you’re here?”

He frowned. “Zladislov is after the girl.”

“And you care because?” His answer was crucial in gaining my trust.

“I had a sister about her age who was killed by Pijawikas. I aim to protect the innocent. No matter who the perpetrator is.”

“Do you understand if you get caught, you’ll be arrested for treason?” Not only was that a loaded question, asking him if he knew the full implication of his actions, but I wanted to see the look on his face when the idea of his death became fresh in his mind.

He didn’t even flinch. “Yes, sir. I do.”

I shook his hand again. “Good. I think we can work together.” That was one down. I only needed about one thousand more to call it a fair fight.

To get a few more, I went to the rental car for my phone and dialed Ace.

“Hey, man. How’d it go?”

“Jelena was neutralized—by Brooke, actually.”

“No shit? How’d she do that?”

“That will have to wait for later. I need a favor and what I’m about to ask you is huge. I’ll understand if you can’t do it, but I need you.”

“Bro, you know whatever it is you need, I’m there. What’s up?”

“Zladislov knows about Brooke and he’s going to kill her. I need reinforcements. I know it’s as close to a suicide mission as you can get, and I’d never ask this of you, but I have to put up some resistance for her—something to make Zladislov’s men think twice when they come for her. I can’t let her go down without a fight. I’m sorry, Ace, but I love her. I can’t not ask this of you.” Ace knew how deep my feelings for Brooke went. I’d made them clear when he and Brooke talked me into using her as bait for Jelena.

“Whoa. That’s pretty steep.” Silence hung in the air, and I almost regretted asking him. “But you know I’m with you. Where are you? Are you guys on the run?”

Relief the strength of something unnatural washed over me in waves. The kinship Ace offered was unlike anything I could’ve asked for in my life. Sure, I’d been there to save his ass more than I could count on two hands, but every time I was in a bind, he was there. Just like the time we met.

I was on a mission to save a kidnapped Pijawikan girl from a rogue Zao Duh. He’d captured her and threatened her life in exchange for money. Life as a Zao Duh is tough, but you don’t use a child like that. Ever. Let alone a Pijawikan child. They’re rare and almost revered within Pijawikan culture. It wasn’t just a recovery mission, though. It was a rescue and assassination. Things went wrong and when I thought my life was over, Ace came out of nowhere and rescued me. Bros ever since.

“I couldn’t talk her into running. And this might be her final days, so she should get to spend them the way she prefers. But she’s in a sleep right now, so any persuasion I would normally use to get her out of here won’t work, and I can’t just take her. No matter how bad I want to, it’d be wrong, and she’d never forgive me. I can’t do that to her.”

“A sleep? Talk about worst-case scenario.”

“God, you have no idea.”

“So where are you now?”

“Lexintgton, Virginia. Garwin Johnson’s home. Come and bring everyone who’s willing. Tell them what’s at stake and ask anyone who’s willing to please come. I can’t thank you enough for this, Ace.”

“I’m with you. Just hang tight. We’ll be there soon.”

I hung up the phone and smiled, an unexpected happiness started to take root within my chest. I may not be able to stop Zladislov completely, but I was one step closer to delaying him.

The next step was a plan and I needed Garwin for that, so I went back inside to find him. My phone rang before I reached the den. When I pulled it out of my pocket, Unknown read across the display. “That was quick,” I told Ace when I answered.

“Yes, I do pride myself on my efficiency.”

Acid rose in my throat. “Dikan.”

“It really is heartwarming to find you remember my voice. We’ve had some good times, haven’t we?”

The bastard taunted me. His idea and my idea of good times were not even in the same hemisphere. “How did you get this number?”

“A little birdie from The Base gave it to me.”

I growled.

“Ah, now don’t take it out on the little birdie. I’m a hard one to resist, as I’m sure you’re well aware.”

I knew exactly how hard it was to resist him. Resentment took hold of me so swift and strong I heard the phone creak as I squeezed it. I forced myself to release some of the tension in my fingers. I couldn’t afford for the phone to break and end the call. Dikan called for a reason beyond taunting me. Everything he did had ulterior motives. I had to hang on long enough to figure out what they were this time.

My jaw clenched beyond my control, so I had no choice but to speak between my teeth. “What do you want?”

Dikan chuckled. “I’m calling out of consideration for you, old friend. I saw how much you were taken by the young melez. It’s sweet really. And disgustingly fitting for you. Too bad it won’t last.” His smirk was layered within his tone. “Jelena’s death will be avenged. Your time with Brooke should be well spent as it will end soon.”

“You come near her and I’ll kill you. You have nothing to use against me this time.”

Dikan’s maniacal laugh filled the line. “I’m afraid that’s not so. But until then, I bid you farewell and a pleasant time spent with your lady friend.”

The call ended, and hatred I had long ago conquered swelled up inside me. Its tentacles took hold around my heart, in my gut, and possessed all possible thought within my mind. I rode it for a flurry of a few minutes until I realized I could no longer allow myself to be controlled by hatred and resentment. I had a purpose beyond revenge and bloodthirsty justice for a past so ugly and wrong. Brooke was my focus now. I pushed harder and harder on the hatred, trying to quell and lock it up enough to clear my mind and get a handle on the proper move I needed to take.

I concentrated on Brooke: her laughter, her blush, the smell of her hair, and the memory of her velvety skin as I stroked her cheek. The acute memory helped ebb the anger, but what replaced it was less satisfying.

I looked down on the phone and hit redial. Ace answered on the second ring.

“I know I said warn the others and to ask those who are willing to come. But I need more than that,” I said, hopelessness thick in my words. “Offer them money. If they won’t come for me, or for Brooke, or because protecting the innocent is what we stand for, offer them money. I’ll split everything I have with those who will be persuaded by it. Just get anyone and everyone you can.”

“Sure, sure. What happened?” Ace knew me and he knew it was unusual for me to sound like that—desperate.

“Dikan called. He’s up to something and I don’t think it has anything to do with Zladislov.”

“Oh, shit. I’ll see what I can do.”

Oh, shit was right.


Copyright 2012 Angeline Kace


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Before you go, visit the author's website here: http://www.angelinekace.com/

And if you aren't already, follow her on twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Angeline_Kace

Also, right now, Descended By Blood is FREEEEE on Amazon. This great deal only lasts through June 9th, so get your copy now here: Descended by Blood (Vampire Born Trilogy, #1)!!!! 

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