Hello, all. I know I haven’t been posting for a while and it doesn’t look like I will be anytime soon. Life is extremely hectic right now and I’m working extra hours. I’m not finding the time to read and my budget doesn’t currently allow for subscription boxes. I have one book review that absolutely has to be posted this month, but then I’m going to take a break for a month and try to come back fresh at the end of it. I hope you’ll all wait patiently and I promise I’ll be a much less harried woman with a little bit of time to pause. Until then…
I admit it. I’m a crazy cat lady. In my years on this earth, I have never gone longer than a month without having a cat to snuggle with. I love their independent streaks and their larger-than-life personalities. I even love cranky kitties. My current four-legged love, Persephone, is meaner than a junkyard dog when she’s around visitors or other animals, but the cuddles she gives me makes up for it all. We just pop her in the bedroom when we have company. It eases her anxiety and keeps her from eating the guests.
Anyway, I found a new subscription box that caters to female cat owners and their fur-babies. It’s called The CatPack. They were offering a coupon worth $15 off your first box last month, so I couldn’t resist signing up for a one-time package to try them out. You’ll see the cute box they were mailed in up above. It was a little beaten up by the time it got here, but luckily there was nothing breakable inside.
The first items I pulled from the box were for Persephone. It was a flower power theme, so there was a crocheted flower granny square catnip toy, a Cosmic Catnip plastic flower toy with catnip gel and a pretty floral handmade collar. Persephone is currently working her way off a bland food diet due to digestive issues, so I didn’t want to give her the crochet toy just yet, but she can’t get to the catnip gel in the plastic flower, so I deemed that safe to use. She loved batting it around. She didn’t get as crazy with it as she does with toys filled with real catnip, but she still had fun. We haven’t tried the collar on her yet because she’s still rocking a calming collar from our move, but it looks sturdily made and has a pretty rose design that will look great against her black fur. It also has a plastic clasp and a ring for tags.
Next were the items for me. Like most of the cat items, these were both handmade. One was a cute cosmetics bag with cat ears and the other was an enamel pin with a cat curled around flowers. I love them both and the pin especially looks professional. I have a laptop bag that I attach favorite pins to, which is where this one will be going. The makeup bag will be great when I just want to carry a few pieces with me.
This box has a $45.95 price tag with free shipping. I felt like there weren’t a lot of items for that price, but with everything being handmade, they have a higher value for the work that went into them. The company is just starting up and I expect they’ll get better as they go along. If you’re looking for more commercial items, there are other companies out there that cater to that more. Just have a look on Google.
If you’d like to try The CatPack, click here for more information. They have a deal on their website right now for $8 off your first box with coupon code PAMPER8. September’s theme is (did you guess?) Pamper Cat Pack. Think bath and spa items for you as well as some fun items for your kitty.
4 out of 5 stars
I was a happy previous customer of Quarterly.co’s book box that came out every 3 months, so when I saw they now had a monthly option, I signed up as soon as I had the funds. The monthly box is a slightly smaller mailing with one book instead of 3, but it still has author annotations and some bookish goodies to go with it. I ordered both the Literary Fiction box and the YA Fiction box. Unfortunately, the YA box got lost in the mail, so they had to refund it. I was disappointed that they don’t hold onto extra boxes in case something goes wrong, but at least I got my money back. I also want to mention that email support was very unhelpful, but I got immediate service from the website’s chat function.
Anyway, you’ll see up top the box that the shipment was mailed in. It’s a basic brown box with their logo, which does the job just fine.
Inside the box, everything was tucked in tight. Nothing was really breakable, so there were no worries there. On top of everything sat a card telling where a portion of this month’s proceeds would be donated. PageHabit sponsors the building of schools, libraries and community centers with books around the world. It’s a different country every month.
This month’s book was The Epiphany Machine by David Burr Gerrard. It’s about a small cult that builds up around a machine that’s supposed to tattoo “personalized revelations” on its followers’ arms. In this way, they supposedly find out the truth about themselves, but there seems to be a link between the epiphanies and a sudden rash of violent crimes. I haven’t read it yet, but the story looks amazing and I love that the author has sprinkled notes on post-its throughout the book. That was my favorite part of the Quarterly box as well.
In addition to the book, I also received a letter from the author, a laminated bookmark with a quote from Aldous Huxley, a reading light and a small brown notebook that says “Field Notes.” The quote on the bookmark is one I hadn’t seen before and I love it. I put the page marker to good use immediately. I already own a rechargeable reading light with double heads, so I passed this new one on to my niece who didn’t have one. It takes batteries and gives off an ample supply of light. I haven’t done anything with the notebook yet, but I always find uses for these eventually.
While I still prefer the Quarterly box, this one is fun if you can’t wait a full three months for new books. It still has the highlights of the bigger box for a lower price. To sign up, click here to find their website. They have several genres available including literary fiction, YA fiction, mystery, fantasy, romance, horror and historical fiction. Each monthly box costs $29.99 plus $4.50 for shipping.
3.5 out of 5 stars (half a star removed for issues with customer service)
The Lost Boys Vol. 1
by Tim Seeley
(The Lost Boys, #1)
Publication date: August 15th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Nostalgia
I love a good graphic novel and vampires are kind of my thing, so when I saw that they were going to continue the Lost Boys storyline with a book, I got all kinds of excited. I was given an ARC, but unfortunately, I forgot it would expire and it was no longer available when I went to read it. So, I broke down and bought this one and I’m happy to have it in my collection.
The story follows the Frog brothers and the Emerson brothers as they once again do battle to destroy a vampire clutch from taking hold in Santa Carla, California – the murder capital of the world. They’ve destroyed Max and his minions, but a new female gang of bloodsuckers, called the Blood Belles, has moved in to take their place. With the help of an eccentric hunter known only as ‘The Believer,’ can our boys dispel the Belle’s evil plans and save the city?
This novel had a great ‘80s nostalgia feel to it. The story is just as silly and scary as the original film, so if you were a fan then, you should enjoy this book. There’s a lot of great jokes to make you groan and of course the blood and gore you expect to find in a vampire story. Remember, the film was rated R and you’ll find the same language thrown into the graphic novel, so this is not a comic for kids. I, for one, love that there seem to be more and more comics being marketed to adults these days. Anyone who enjoys a good story can find a graphic series that speaks to them.
The characters in this book really stick to the personalities they had in the film. The Frog brothers are still slightly ridiculous, Sam is still a scaredy cat, and Michael still has it bad for Star. Watching them all team up again was a lot of fun. Even the lesser characters are still there – grandpa Emerson, Lucy and Laddie, and the book leaves the story open for a lot more action to come. I will be watching for the next novel.
If you’re a fan of ‘80s vampire flicks or vampire comics with sass, you’ll find yourself enjoying this one. Pick it up at your local comic shop, or grab it from one of the following retailers if your town doesn’t have one.
4.5 out of 5 stars
by Desiree Lafawn
(Northwoods Fairy Tales, #1)
Publication date: July 24th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
I previously posted a blitz about this book with a promise that I would be reviewing it when I had the chance. Well, the time has come. Desiree Lafawn’s new novel is an adult paranormal romance. While the magic was different and unique, I had some issues with the storyline and occasionally with the writing.
Quinn was attacked by an evil entity in the forest as a teenager, but the great magic inside her helped transform a raven into a boy who saved her. After being taken to the hospital, she lived the next 10 years of her life thinking she was crazy as doctors told her that her memories were hallucinations. Wanting to find out what happened for herself, she travels back to the lodge where it happened and finds that the boy, Corbin – now a man, is still waiting for her. Will their bond still hold? Will Quinn be able to make peace with what happened? And Will she and Corbin be able to fight the evil that still roams the woods?
The magical usage in this book was creative and different than most paranormal books on the market. I had never read about these types of creatures before, which was a definite plus. Also, while the love between Corbin and Quinn was instantaneous (which I normally abhor), the storyline behind it made sense and made it more bearable. The characters were interesting and the story held my interest.
Here’s what I didn’t like. First, just a pet peeve, but the author’s favorite adverb was fairly. Every chapter seemed to have an adjective that was enhanced with it. I don’t know if it was because I had an ARC copy and she was using it as a stand in, or whether she really didn’t have access to a thesaurus, but it bugged me. The other thing that bothered me is that the first 80% of the book was just Quinn and Corbin reuniting. There was no conflict with the big baddie until the last few chapters of the book and that led to the rest of the story feeling rushed. I also couldn’t understand why the bad guy didn’t just grab Quinn by him/herself, saving the trouble of using others to get to her which ultimately caused his/her downfall. It seemed like a rather dumb mistake on the part of the villain.
Overall, this book was okay. It was a traditional paranormal romance in that it had the required sex scenes and deep love/lust between the main characters. The creatures were unique, but the story needed a bit of editing. If you’re a fan of romance over story, this might appeal to you, and it’s not a bad book. It’s just not a series that I see myself continuing.
3.5 out of 5 stars
Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. My best friend is very sick and I’m helping take care of her home and dog as well as visiting her and working extra hours. I promise things will pick up again soon. In the meantime, here’s a YA superhero book that will keep you busy and entertained. It came out yesterday, so be sure to click on the link below to purchase. There’s also a Rafflecopter contest you can enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card and a Masked coffee mug. How much fun is that?
(Superheroes Undercover, #1)
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: August 15th 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Superheroes, Young Adult
Vada’s To-Do List:
– Turn 18 (check!)
– Register super name
– Order supersuit
– Attend superhero indoctrination
– Graduate high school
– Start kicking criminal tail
Vada Lawson can’t wait to be a superhero. Born into a family with special powers, she’s been training to fight criminals and villains her whole life. But her indoctrination into the underground super community is derailed when normals start breaking out in superpowers themselves.
Not trained to control their new abilities, the normals are frightened and vulnerable. Then their mutilated corpses begin turning up all over town. What the heck?
Somehow, with the help—and hindrance—of an annoying newly-minted super named Orion, Vada has to stop the chaos before it destroys her and everything she holds dear…and ruins her superhero debut.
Nick couldn’t take it anymore.
The entire morning had been one shock to his system after another. The nice long weekend in his giant but silent house had made him all but forget about the weird run-in with Janet. He’d spent the entire time working on his homework and enjoying the peace and quiet.
But after only five minutes at school, he was rudely reminded that he must be losing his mind. The voices came like a whirlwind into his head, one after another. So many that he couldn’t decipher whose thoughts belonged to who. He couldn’t even separate his own thoughts from the others. There were so many, and every one of them was as loud as the other, washing over him like waves of pounding noise.
Being in class gave no relief, either. The other students may not have been talking aloud, but every one of them was thinking, loudly. Nick heard too many things that he never wanted to hear and a lot of mundane thoughts that no one cares about.
…I wonder if I forgot to lock the door this morning…
…Oh, man. I’m not sure if I’m ready to do this. What if I get pregnant? But Luke is so cute, though…
…Mrs. Yates has such nice tits…
Nick actually agreed with that last sentiment, but he couldn’t be sure who had said it.
…Only thirty minutes left. I really need to pee…
…Nick is too good for Scarlet. What does he see in her? She’s such a bitch…
…This class is about as useless as my stepmother…
There was just so much noise. Nick pulled his hood up, but it did nothing to block the sounds. Every single thought that crossed someone else’s mind entered his. He didn’t give a damn about someone’s new pet lizard. And while he appreciated the girl across from him’s glances and thoughts of admiration—at least, he was pretty sure those belonged to her from the way she watched him—he didn’t want to know what other people were thinking.
What had caused this? Was it some sort of mental illness? Was he imagining these things? He couldn’t be sure he was even hearing real thoughts. He considered quizzing someone, but he was almost too afraid to confirm what he suspected.
He was reading people’s minds. Hearing their thoughts. Without even trying.
And it was excruciating.
J.D. Wright is a military wife, mother of four, and author of paranormal and fantasy romance books filled with strong-willed heroines, swoon-worthy heroes, and sprinkled with humor and adventure. J.D. creates artistry in many ways, as a baker and cake artist by day and author by night. You can usually find her typing away at the computer or covered in frosting.
Since discovering she has a knack for writing, J.D. has so far written and self-published eight books of the Everealm and Songs of Everealm Series and is now venturing into the world of paranormal with her new superhero-themed series. She is an avid reader and lover of all things romance so she always includes a good love story in her paranormal and fantasy novels.
Win a $10 Amazon gift card plus a cool Masked coffee mug to announce your superhero status to the rest of your household. Click the link below to enter.
I had planned on having a book review ready for this tour, but some personal issues have come up this week putting me behind on my reading. I will try to review the novel separately sometime next week. So far, I’m enjoying it and I’m happy to promote this author to my loyal readers. It’s a contemporary novel of mental illness told from the point of view of a girl who sees life as a fairy tale. Sounds awesome, right? Look below for a story excerpt.
Michael F. Stewart
Publication date: August 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
The Breakfast Club meets Grimm’s Fairy Tales in the lair of an adolescent psych ward.
Milly’s evil stepmother commits her to a pediatric psych ward. That’s just what the wolf wants. With bunk mates like Red, who’s spiraling out of control; Pig, a fire-bug who claims Milly as her own—but just wants extra dessert—Vanet, a manic teen masquerading as a fairy godmother with wish-granting powers as likely to kill as to help; and the mysterious Wolfgang, rumored to roam for blood at night; it doesn’t take long for Milly to realize that only her dead mother’s book of tales can save her.
But Milly’s spells of protection weaken as her wolf stalks the hospital corridors. The ward’s a Dark Wood, and she’s not alone. As her power crumbles, she must let go of her magic and discover new weapons if she is to transform from hunted to hunter.
The wolf hunts.
It prowls as I hurry down the hall past teenagers scavenging for pencils and kisses. Locker doors slam and laughter sprays like gunshots, but I ignore the jibes. I’ve bigger things to worry about. Like the wolf. Like the fire door. It’s a door in the middle of the hallway. For me, that door might as well be a bank of thorns. It might as well be a dragon’s hellish maw. But the wolf hunts, and through that door is my only escape.
I start to count. This is the important part. I have to count right. Not too fast, nor too slow. All the way to one hundred. It must be spoken aloud, without interruption. Whispering is acceptable; the count keeps my wolf to the Dark Wood. It keeps me on safety’s slender path.
Seventeen, eighteen, nineteen . . .
Stephanie, a pert blonde whose butt I used to kick on the basketball court, leans against the doorframe and raises an eyebrow. “I love this next bit,” she says, pulling her phone out and holding it like a magic wand. “This is Steph Lattersby reporting from Hopedell High School. What you are about to witness is the magical thinking of fifteen-year-old Milly Malone, as she prepares to leap over whatever chasm she is presently hallucinating.”
It’s no chasm. My mother told the story best.
There once was a girl who was the wolf’s coveted meal. Every day she would wake to the wolf huffing and puffing at her door, and every night it would hunt the girl in her dreams. Then one day she learned a magic spell. If she counted to one hundred before going through doors, eating meals, and any speech, she could banish the wolf to the Dark Wood and survive in the world as long as she stayed on the clear path. But, each day, the wolf grew hungrier, waiting for her to step off the trail, and for her spell to break . . .
That’s what I fear the most. That one day my magic count won’t work.
My mouth dries as I whisper, and I struggle to keep the count slow and steady. Forty-two, forty-three, forty-four . . . but my wolf has crept behind me and bent its head low. Yellow eyes burrow into my spine. The gray wolf, mountainous, savage, and unrelenting.
“This could take a while, folks,” Stephanie says in a deep, queenly voice. “You’ll have to wait like everyone else does here for this very special princess.”
Sixty-six, sixty-seven . . . Other students stop to see what Stephanie records—scavengers after my bones. Some, having figured out that it’s me, roll their eyes and move on, but the rest—most of them—fold their arms and wait with Stephanie, lips lifted to show teeth, eyes as bright as the wolf’s.
Hot breath blows rank and moist on hands I hold tight to my thighs.
I can run, but that would be into the Dark Wood, and from its shadows I might never return.
Seventy-seven, seventy-eight . . . I tense, ready for paws to clamp down on my shoulders, for claws to sink into my bony chest. It’s so strong. I can’t keep it back much longer.
“I think she said eighty-nine. Get ready—here comes the magic.” Stephanie’s voice lifts. “This is going to be fabulous! Stupendous!”
The students begin to clap with my counting, but they’re not on beat. Their poor timing makes it more difficult. Tears stream down my cheeks. If only they could hear me screaming inside, if they understood that I did this for them. The wood looms at the edges of my vision, branches entwining and bearing down, groping.
Something swipes at my shoulder. I shout the remaining count. “Ninety-eight, ninety-nine, one hundred!”
I clench my hands and eyes, bend at the knee, and hop through the doors.
The cheer is half cackle. “See, what did I tell you? Wasn’t that amazing?” Stephanie continues, but I don’t care. The woods have fallen away. I draw deep cleansing breaths. The hall shines with summery fluorescent light. My fingers probe my shoulder for the claw marks. Nothing. I beat the wolf back—for now.
Michael F. Stewart is winner of both the 2015 Claymore Award and the 2014 inaugural Creation of Stories Award for best YA novel at the Toronto International Book Fair.
He likes to combine storytelling with technology and pioneered interactive storytelling with Scholastic Canada, Australia, and New Zealand’s, anti-cyberbullying program Bully For You. In addition to his award winning Assured Destruction series, he has authored four graphic novels with Oxford University Press Canada’s Boldprint series. Publications of nonfiction titles on Corruption and Children’s Rights are published by Scholastic and early readers are out with Pearson Education.
For adults, Michael has written THE SAND DRAGON a horror about a revenant prehistoric vampire set in the tar sands, HURAKAN a Mayan themed thriller which pits the Maya against the MS-13 with a New York family stuck in the middle, 24 BONES an urban fantasy which draws from Egyptian myth, and THE TERMINALS–a covert government unit which solves crimes in this realm by investigating them in the next.
Herder of four daughters, Michael lives to write in Ottawa where he was the Ottawa Public Library’s first Writer in Residence. To learn more about Michael and his next projects visit his website at http://www.michaelfstewart.com or connect via Twitter @MichaelFStewart.
Michael is represented by Talcott Notch.
Win an e-book copy of Counting Wolves! Just click below to enter.
A paranormal romance set in the gorgeous and magical setting of Ireland? Yes, please! If this sounds awesome to you too, be sure to add Crescent Calling to your TBR list. Order through the link below or add it to your Goodreads page as a reminder. Also, remember to enter the Rafflecopter contest at the bottom of this post for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card. The contest is open internationally.
(The Crescent Witch Chronicles #1)
Publication date: August 9th 2017
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Skye Williams is an ordinary woman, living an ordinary life.
Or so she thought.
When she receives news of her estranged mother’s death, she must go to Ireland to claim her inheritance, but when she arrives in the tiny village of Derrydun, she isn’t prepared for what she finds nestled amongst the rolling hills of the Emerald Isle.
Lumped with a funeral, her mother’s crystal shop, a moody goth girl for an employee, and a crumbling cottage with horrible floral curtains, selling up and getting out sounds like a great plan, but everything and everyone seems determined to keep her from going home.
Skye doesn’t want any part of her mother’s life or the people of Derrydun until she sees the hot Irishman she’s been crushing on turn into a fox.
More absurdly, he tells her her dead mother was a witch who battled evil fairies, there’s magical trees growing in the centre of the village, there’s a parallel universe where the fair folk live, and she’s meant to be the last defense of the magical peoples of Ireland.
Turns out Skye Williams was never an ordinary woman. Not by a long shot.
She’s the last Crescent Witch and has a destiny to fulfil.
Whether she likes it or not.
The Crescent Witch Chronicles is a series stuffed full of Irish charm, myth and mayhem. Come on an adventure fraught with danger and forbidden romance…and the ultimate battle to save magic before it’s gone forever.
That night, as Buddy kept me company, I fell asleep to the sound of wind howling through the trees outside. Plagued with dreams of wolves, I tossed and turned until I slipped into a deep slumber.
When dawn finally broke, I was covered in a thin sheen of sweat, and my head was stuffed with cotton wool. I’d slept but not really. A heavy burden was over my heart, and my body had become twisted in the quilt, my feet trapped.
Ugh, I was all hot and sticky. I kicked, trying to shift the uncomfortable weight and turned over, but it didn’t budge. Lifting my head, my eyes cracked open, sleep still clogging my head. That was when I saw a lump at the end of the bed. A very large, man-shaped lump.
Now completely awake, I screamed, scrambling up the bed. It was Boone. A very naked Boone.
He started, his head shooting up, and when he saw me, he rolled and fell off the end of the bed, hitting the floor with a thud. Scrambling to his feet, his face turned a deep shade of crimson.
“Oh, shit,” he cursed, covering his junk with his hands. “Oh, cac.”
“Cac?” I yelled. “I’ll give you bloody Irish cac!”
Grabbing the lamp on the bedside table, I pushed up onto my knees and swung it with all my might. The plug popped out of the wall, and the shade barely missed Boone’s face, but the cord came around and whipped him directly on his bare ass.
He howled in pain and retreated across the room.
“Pervert!” I shrieked.
“Let me explain,” he said, holding up his hands and leaving nothing to the imagination.
“Explain? What’s there to explain?” I shouted, trying not to look at his you-know-what. “You were asleep on the end of my bed…naked!” I swung the lamp at him again, barely missing his head. “You’re still standing there. I can see your meat and two veg!”
“Oh, cac,” he said again. “I didn’t mean for you to find out this way…”
“Find out what? That you’re a pervert, who sneaks into women’s homes butt naked?”
Axelle Chandler is an Australian Urban Fantasy author. She lives in the western suburbs of Melbourne dreaming up nail biting stories featuring bad-ass witches, hunky shape shifters and devious monsters. She likes chocolate, cat memes and video games. When she’s not writing, she likes to think of what she’s writing next.
Enter the drawing for a $20 Amazon gift card. Use it for more books or whatever your heart desires.
Looking to get your fix with a new dystopian read? I think I speak for most of us when I say, “Yes, please!” The Woodlands series is a whole boxed set, so you don’t have to wait for the next novel to come out to finish the story. A perfect read to finish off your summer list. You can also win a Clean Teen Publishing mystery book box. Just enter by clicking on the Rafflecopter link below. International winners will receive e-book prizes instead.
The Woodlands Series Box Set
Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: August 7th 2017
Genres: Dystopian, Romance, Young Adult
Do you dare enter the Woodlands?
As the last livable spot on Earth, it’s the only home Rosa and Joseph have ever known. But now they need to escape, or Rosa will be trapped forever in a horrific government program. A dystopian page-turner with over 750 five-star ratings on Goodreads. The Woodlands Series is perfect for fans of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth, and The Jewel Series by Amy Ewing. Readers can purchase this boxed set at a significant discount over the cost to purchase each novel individually. This is a complete series boxed set.
The Woodlands is an Award-Winning Finalist in the “Fiction: Young Adult” category of the USA Best Book Awards, as well as a Semifinalist in The Kindle Book Awards by the Kindle Book Review.
“Lauren Taylor’s writing is powerfully descriptive; she is a master of words and similes.” – Author Erica Kiefer
“It seems so rare these days to find a dystopian with an original vein in it. The Woodlands Succeeds.” -Author Pauline Creeden
“I went into this story with my own ideas, but they were obliterated by what I found instead. I was so happy to be wrong because this story touched my heart deeply in a way that I never expected.” – Reviewer Amber Douglas Mcallister
“This book was fantastic! Spectacular! It had everything I look for in a book: Action, Adventure, and even romance!” – Reviewer Jocelyn Sanchez
The helicopters were stationed at the rim of Ring One, just inside the low, sandy-colored wall that surrounded the center podium. They were waiting, crouching like black angels ready to lift us from this place, this hell, into an unknown world. A Guardian in black uniform with gold trim walked to the front of the choppers and signaled for us to come forward. Another one threw the bags in the cargo hold as he read from his list. Three girls and eight boys. Joseph’s name was not on the list. I felt a flood of relief that was washed away by panic. I was barely holding myself together as it was, seeing him was liable to make me fall to pieces. But he was supposed to be here.
Paulo’s hand was on my back, pushing me towards the helicopter like I was an uncooperative apple on the conveyor belt. I was trying so hard to muster up some courage. Today I was leaving the only home I had ever known. I would never see my mother again. I felt the anxiety rising, the crushing pain of the separation I was about to suffer. Suddenly the grey-washed town didn’t look so horrible. It was home after all, I guess. I told myself it was fear that was making me feel this way. It didn’t help.
My mother, who had been quietly following us around like a dazed puppy, pulled me to her in a tight embrace. She whispered, “Sorry,” in my ear before stepping back, fists clenched, showing the appropriate restraint. Some other mothers were crying and holding their children as the Guardian wrenched them away and led them onto the aircraft.
My mother’s face was my own, the way she moved mirrored my own movements and mannerisms, but that’s where the similarities ended. Although raised by this woman, I was nothing like her. For the first time, I saw things from her perspective. Getting into trouble all the time, never showing Paulo anything other than contempt. I must have been such a frustration to her.
They called my name. Paulo put his hands firmly on my shoulders, holding me in my place. His intense stare was impossible to look away from. “Don’t shame your family,” he spat at me. And with that, he made it easy to leave. I could feel the blades starting to move, my hair whipping around my face. I stripped away the fear and anxiety, leaving a girl that was fierce, empowered by his hatred.
“Don’t worry, Paulo, I’ll stir it up, make a little noise!” I shouted through the wind. The Guardian that let me sign up was watching me, probably regretting his decision. My mother was standing rigidly, her handmade skirt billowing as the air churned around her, her hand outstretched, pleading. I could see it in her eyes—please Rosa, don’t cause more trouble. She couldn’t stop me, no one ever could. Paulo was already walking away, his back to me. Behind my mother stood a man, one blue eye, one brown, smiling. He lifted his hand to wave. I raised my hand, confused. The chopper lurched awkwardly and I was knocked back into the cargo hold.
“Sit down!” the Guardian snapped at me. I quickly found a spot and strapped myself in. The others were staring at me, eyes wide. The Guardian tapped the pilot on the shoulder. “Wait, there’s one more.”
He bounded in, bag in hand, and casually threw it on the pile and scanned the seats. There was plenty of room on the other side but he squeezed his bulky form between me and the boy I was sitting next to.
Suddenly we were in the air. When the Guardian wasn’t looking, Joseph slipped his hand over mine. Warmth calmed the agitation I felt, like pouring gold over lead, glowing. We stayed that way the entire ride. Eyes forward. Impossibly trying to anticipate what may lie ahead.
Lauren Nicolle Taylor lives in the lush Adelaide Hills. The daughter of a Malaysian nuclear physicist and an Australian scientist, she was expected to follow a science career path, attending Adelaide University and completing a Health Science degree with Honours in obstetrics and gynaecology.
She then worked in health research for a short time before having her first child. Due to their extensive health issues, Lauren spent her twenties as a full-time mother/carer to her three children. When her family life settled down, she turned to writing.
She is a 2014 Kindle Book Awards Semi-finalist and a USA Best Book Awards Finalist.
Win a mystery box from Clean Teen Publishing! International winners receive e-books.
I am excited to introduce you to a new title coming February 2018 from Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan!
I like finding reads that tackle tough topics and I Stop Somewhere by T.E. Carter is described as THE LOVELY BONES meets ALL THE RAGE. Got your attention yet?
Here’s what readers have to say:
“an unputdownable mystery. Don’t miss it.” – Hayley Chewins – Author
“Visceral with both rage and tenderness and impossible to put down.” – Amelinda – Goodreads Reviewer
“unapologetic and gorgeous and raw” – Rachel Solomon – Author
“powerful and profound and makes you think” – Amanda Searcy – Author
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THE LOVELY BONES meets ALL THE RAGE in a searing, heartbreaking contemporary story of a lost teenager, and the town she leaves behind.
Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.
Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn’t need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.
But then the unthinkable happens and Ellie is trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn’t the first victim and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.
The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.
TE Carter’s stirring and visceral debut not only discusses and dismantles rape culture but also makes you slow down and think about what it is to be human.
Nobody noticed me as I cut through the room. I made my way outside, into the cold. Spring was playing games with us. Weeks earlier, it had snuck in overnight, erasing our memory of winter in a matter of hours. When we’d gone to bed, winter had lingered in the snowbanks and in the way the trees still hunched over from the weight of it. And then suddenly, spring. We woke to birds singing, birds who appeared to have been shipped overnight on a secret train, and we remembered music.
But now, winter was trying to force a comeback. Everyone outside stood looking at the pool, wondering what happened. I was shivering, wearing a skirt and thin shirt I’d borrowed from Kate when spring was still a promise.
I saw him from the periphery. From the in-between where the people inside faded into the background, but the people outside were only figures in the night. It made sense; I was a periphery girl.
“Hey,” I said to his back.
When he turned to look at me, I swear the light from the porch surrounded him. But I think I made that up. I think I want to remember him that way. I want to believe there was something that made him special. I want to believe that loneliness doesn’t just mess with our hearts.
“Ellie! You came,” Caleb said.
“I said I would.”
“I know. I wasn’t sure, though. I worried. You’re late.”
I’d walked to the party, after telling my dad I was going to a friend’s. He wouldn’t have stopped me from going to Gina Lynn’s. I didn’t have other friends, so it wouldn’t have made a difference if I’d said her name. But, for some reason, I lied. I lied and I don’t know why I did.
“Yeah, well, I was doing things.”
He laughed. “Mysterious things. Of course. I’d expect nothing less from my Elusive Ellie.”
My. I heard it. The claim he laid on me. I smiled at the word.
He moved closer and I stepped back. It was automatic. Since earlier in the week, by my locker, I hadn’t stopped thinking about the possibility. But now that he was close again, I was scared. I was afraid of the way I knew I’d hurt if he waited months to talk to me again. I didn’t want to fall for a guy just because he’d smiled at me and said my name a few times. I was afraid of what would happen if there was more to it than that, but I was also afraid of how I’d feel if there wasn’t.
“I don’t think I’m supposed to be here,” I said.
I’d always imagined being wanted. Of someone loving me. Choosing me. But here was this boy and if he kissed me, I knew I’d always worry about going back to not being wanted.
TE Carter was born in New England and has lived in New England for pretty much her entire life. Throughout her career, she’s done a lot of things, although her passion has always been writing. When she’s not writing, she can generally be found reading classic literature, obsessing over Game of Thrones (she’s one hundred percent Team Lannister), playing Xbox, organizing her comic collection, or binge watching baking competitions. She continues to live in New England with her husband and their two cats.
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