The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1) by Marie Lu

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1)
by Marie Lu
Official Site | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Format: Kindle/ ARC
Published: Oct. 7th 2014 by Putnam books, Penguin
Genre: YA, Fantasy

Amazon | Kindle | Book Depository

"I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt." -Goodreads


“I belong to no one. On this night, I swear to you that I will rise above everything you’ve ever taught me. I will become a force that this world has never known. I will come into such power that none will dare hurt me again.” (18)

In a time long forgotten, in a land beyond history, an illness has hit a nation and left a mark in it’s wake. The Blood Fever has caused carnage of both the rotten and supernatural variety.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu plays off of the fear of anything different from ourselves, with those who embrace these differences and those who despise them. In other words, it’s modeled after our very own societies. The one’s who are left marked by the fever are Malfettos, of which within this sector are those left with elemental and fantastical powers. These are the Elite.

“People said they could conjure fire out of thin air. Could call the wind. Could control beasts. Could disappear. Could kill in the blink of an eye.” (7)

Adelina is among them. After the Blood Fever leaves her motherless and marked with unnatural silver hair and a scar where her left eye used to be, she grows up physically and emotionally abused by her father, and second best next to her younger sister Violetta. She soon finds that she may not just be another Malfetto, and is introduced to the Dagger Society, of whom she must gain their trust and their strength. What she does not know is that she may be the most powerful one of them all. Can Adelina put her past behind her, and gain confidence? Can she become a Dagger without putting her sister in danger? With fear and pain as her fuel, can Adelina ever find happiness... or does it lead a path of destruction?

“My darkness is a building storm, black as the sky, the threads wound tight with tension and filling every crevice of my mind.” (163)

The author plucks you from your chair and guides you through the lands of Kenettra. She does a marvelous job of setting the scene! I remember back when my English professors would say to  “Show, not tell!” and this books is a great example of this concept. The scenarios and characters are set before us to explore and I felt like I was actually there, walking beside Adelina and feeling her emotions. To me, especially in a fantasy, this is a necessity.

Combined with the great descriptions we are given a tragic hero protagonist, an adventurous action-filled plot, and multiple point of views to better understand and go into more depth with the different characters’ storyline. The characters are given a voice and it personifies them just that much more. Don’t believe me? Read all the way through the Epilogue, and I guarantee you will feel the character shift.

From the development of Adelina to the plot twists, The Young Elites is full of surprises! It became increasingly harder to put the book down, as I entered the realm of the “just one more chapter” mantra. You will root for Adelina, then question her choices; you’ll smile in triumph and gasp in horror. You’ll be left enraptured!

I, for one, am extremely excited for whatever is to come next. This book has been the best book I’ve read all year, without a doubt! If you’ve enjoyed fantasies like The Grisha Trilogy and The Throne of Glass series, you’ll want to put The Young Elites at the top of your TBR list!

“I sense something unusual shifting in the wind, and am most anxious to study this effect.” (prologue)
Galley provided by the publisher

*Quotes are from uncorrected advanced galleys and may change before going to press. Please refer to the final printed book for official quotes.

Winterkill by Kate A. Boorman

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

by Kate A. Boorman
Official Site | Goodreads | Twitter

Format: Kindle/ ARC
Published: Sept. 9th 2014 by Abrams, Amulet Books
Genre: YA

Amazon | Kindle | Book Depository

"Emmeline knows she’s not supposed to explore the woods outside her settlement. The enemy that wiped out half her people lurks there, attacking at night and keeping them isolated in an unfamiliar land with merciless winters. Living with the shame of her grandmother’s insubordination, Emmeline has learned to keep her head down and her quick tongue silent.

When the settlement leader asks for her hand in marriage, it’s an opportunity for Emmeline to wash the family slate clean—even if she has eyes for another. But before she’s forced into an impossible decision, her dreams urge her into the woods, where she uncovers a path she can’t help but follow. The trail leads to a secret that someone in the village will kill to protect. Her grandmother followed the same path and paid the price. If Emmeline isn’t careful, she will be next." -Goodreads


“I am Honesty, I am Bravery. I am Discovery.” (18)

An enclosed community is awaiting La Prise, and with 16 year-old Emmeline coming of age, a revelation awaits as well.

The book begins in an air of mystery; why are they watching the wall? What are they protecting, and or, protecting against? Who are The Lost People?
These are all questions we seeks answers for as we delve deeper into the social and governing structure of a village fearful of The Malmaci, a mythical beast that treks the surrounding woods. Emmeline is wayward, and she knows how that panned out for her Grandmother before her, yet she can’t help but to give into her curiosities. These curiosities grow into determination as The Lost People call to her.

“‘What is more important here, Emmeline, is that fearful people are easily led.’” (265)

I’m not going to lie, this book was weird, but in an eerie almost horror-like way, as the secrets and sanity of The Council (the settlement leaders) are revealed. I absolutely LOVE how the author personified Emmaline and her characterization and voice is my favorite aspect of the book. As truths are uncovered, and Emmaline fights for her rights, her family and even her life, she becomes braver and must quickly decide who to trust and who not to trust. The ending chapters are of the greatest suspense, as La Prise (Winter) is right on the community’s heels and their governing body discovers and wants to rid of “The Lost People.” 

I dreamt time and again of a hawk circling its prey. Emmeline, you were the prey.” (262)

The middle of the book really dragged on, for me, it just seemed like people were going through day-to-day routines and every little detail about it was being described. It got to the point where I was going through it in one sitting just to be finally finished with the book, I’m just glad it picked up at the end. I would’ve liked a bit more action, or adventure, and a little more clarity (a lot of things left me confused, especially with the jargon used.) 

If you’re into reading a book with a creepy dystopian-like vibe, then by all means pick up this book before La Prise gets here!

“We survive together, or we perish.” (31)

Galley provided by Netgalley via Amulet Books

*Quotes are from uncorrected advanced galleys and may change before going to press. Please refer to the final printed book for official quotes.

The Diamond Thief by Sharon Gosling

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Diamond Thief 
by Sharon Gosling
Official Site | Goodreads | Twitter

Format: Kindle/ ARC
Published: Oct. 1st 2014 by Capstone, Switch Press
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction/fantasy

Amazon | Kindle | Book Depository

"By day Rémy Brunel is a daring circus acrobat, by night she is an equally talented jewel thief currently assigned to steal a famous diamond in Victorian London--but when the theft goes wrong she finds herself allied with a young policeman as they try to find the elusive gem." -Goodreads


“She dreamed of a life somewhere else, somewhere sunny, where she did not have to steal. One day...” (pg. 14)

The Diamond Thief is a tale of mysticism, of both the steam-punk and circus variety. It tells of a cursed acrobat, with a taste of thievery and the adventure that ensues when she finds out she’s been duped. 

This story started off very interesting, so I give it great kudos for "The hook" factor. After a few chapters it just started going in a tailspin of magic gems, talismans, child-labor, all-hell-breaks-loose-then-is-contained-again, insta-love antics. It just felt all over the place, plot-wise. As usual, I didn't enjoy the insta-love that could be seen a mile away, and it really made me cringe when I remembered it involves Rémy 16 years old girl, and with Thaddeus being a policeman at Scotland Yard... uh... yeah.

I must say that I do admire Rémy's determination and independence. The overall characterization of the different people in the story could have been more in depth, but the author did a great job with setting the different scenes. Although quite a few aspects of the story seemed a bit absurd (for example, the accusation of Thaddeus Rec, by his comrades,) this book feels like it would appeal to a younger crowd, such as the middle-grade genre. It’s a quick read and is full of mystical adventures.

“Now, she was the best gem snatcher in Europe, probably in the whole of the world. Rémy had never been caught. And, she thought, I never will be. Never.” (pg. 12)

Galley provided by Netgalley via Capstone

*Quotes are from uncorrected advanced galleys and may change before going to press. Please refer to the final printed book for official quotes.

Let's Get Ready for ARC AUGUST!!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

YAY! It's time for not only my Birth Month, but for ARC August as well!! Now, I generally overdo it with my expectations for read-a-thons, so I'm sure this will be no different :)

Here's a list of all of my unread ARC's and I shall read them in the order listed:

The Bargain
Summerhouse with a Swimming Pool
How to Fall
The Forsaken
The Boleyn Deceit
Evil Librarian
The Outcasts
This is Sarah
I am the Mission*
The Quick
The Moses Virus
The Bookstore
Delia's Shadow
Confessions of Marie Antoinette
The Signature of All Things
The Woman who Lost her Soul
How to be a Good Wife
The Diamond Thief

Blogging for Books
Penguin First Reads

I also bought a planner just for this! 
Wish me luck!!

The Scarring (Spirit Warriors #2) by D.E.L. Connor Release Day BLITZ!

Monday, July 21, 2014

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The Scarring (Spirit Warriors #2)
by D.E.L. Connor
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Booktrope
Published: July 21, 2014
Length: 244 pages

Spirit Warriors The Scarring Blurb:
“One of us would finally end what had been started by the machayiwiw so many years ago. I would have to kill him. It was just that simple. I never thought I would want to kill anybody or anything, but maybe I never had anything worth killing for before.”
-Emmeline Rima Belrose, The Scarring (Spirit Warriors, Book 2)
In the majestic beauty of a Montana summer, Emme and her friends celebrate her near-drowning survival and their defeat of the powerful evil spirit, the machayiwiw. But even as they rejoice, things are amiss. Emme watches helplessly as her family divides, and her friends struggle to hold their relationship together. Worse yet, the love-of-her life, Charlie, announces that he will move back to the reservation, without Emme. Different nightmares take over and Emme realizes she must fight and kill—or watch those she loves be killed. Friends from the reservation reach out to Emme and show her what evil can steal from her. Emme believes that evil can never break her bond with the Spirit Warriors or the love she shares with Charlie. Or can it?
Although this is the second book in the Spirit Warriors series, it can be read as a stand alone novel.
Ron looked over at me. I stared back at him. "Do you understand what I have told you, child?" Ron asked me. I nodded. "Charlie is a spirit mover." Ron nodded. "Among other things." Ron went on, “Charlie is having more and more speaking times with the warriors. There is a sense of urgency now that Charlie learns how to shift spirit warriors into human bodies. He has been practicing with Ryan and Hawke. He is making some progress, but it is taking a long time. Charlie is weakening with the increasing talking times. He does not know when they will come and he has been injured many times. Our people now make sure he is never alone. We cannot risk his injuring himself, or the machayiwiw finding him undefended. He has much to learn. You have much to learn. You must learn hand-to-hand combat. Hawke is our best warrior, both with a knife and a spear. He can cut the wings off a fly in flight with his knife. He will be training you.” Ron looked at me. “NO, I don’t think so.” I told Ron. “First, Hawke doesn’t like me and I can’t see him training me. Second, I’m not sure I could kill someone, even if it was the machayiwiw. In anger, I think I can, but I’m not sure.” Ron looked at me. “What if that person was trying to kill Charlie, or your friends, or Eros your bird?” I shook my head. “I just don’t think I can do this.” Ron lowered his gaze. “If you don’t, you will die, along with Charlie, your friends, your animals, and your family. I will die, as will our people. He will finally destroy the one person who stands against him. The one person who has the power to destroy him. There will never be another you. Our people have waited many, many years for you. Golden Flower has waited many years for you.” “I don’t want the responsibility!” I yelled at Ron as I stood up. “I might fail!” I jumped up and ran down the side of the creek. I ran as fast as I could and the sharp prairie grass cut my legs. I didn’t feel it. I felt angry and sad at the same time. “Why me? Why not someone else?” I thought to myself. I rounded a bend of the river and I ran right into Hawke. The force of our collision knocked us both to the ground. I lay on the ground with the wind knocked out of me. Hawke stood up and looked down at me. I stood up and brushed off my shirt. Hawke stared at me. I looked at him and asked, “Why do you hate me?” Hawke glared at me. “Charlie is my cousin and my best friend. You have brought him nothing but heartache and loss. I suspect you will do something stupid and Charlie will be killed because of you. I really don’t care anything about you and I’m sure as hell not sold on your ‘savior’ complex. I think you are full of shit and if something happens to Charlie, I will hunt you down and kill you myself.” I was horrified. “I didn’t want this! I just want to be with Charlie. No matter what you think, I love him. I have always loved him and I will never stop loving him.” Hawke stands with his arms crossed. “We’ll see about that.” Hawke brushed past me and walked back up the creek towards Ron and Charlie. I walked back to the jeep. I climbed in the back with Charlie and it was quiet as Ron drove us back to the cluster of buildings. When we pulled up, Irene came running up to the jeep. “Come on, Emme, we are getting ready to eat.” Irene grabbed my hand and pulled me in the building. Ollie and Jack were with Ryan. Jack motioned us over. Charlie brought me a plate of food. Irene squeezed her small body between Charlie and me. Charlie looked down at her. “Hey, Squirt, why don’t you sit on the other side of Emme?” Irene looked at me. “Are you in love with Charlie?” I glanced at her small face as she slid her arm through my arm. “Yes,” I whispered to her. Irene wrinkled up her face. “YUCK! Boys are messy and yucky and stinky! Even Charlie.” We all laughed as Charlie grabbed her and rolled her on the ground and tickled her until Irene begged for mercy. After lunch, Charlie and I walked hand in hand down to the creek. We sat on the bank and stared at the water. I leaned over and put my head on Charlie’s shoulder. Charlie wrapped his arm around me and pulled me close to him. We sat there quietly. I looked across the creek and saw Hawke staring at us. He had his arms folded across his chest. I looked at Charlie. “Can’t we even be alone? Does he have to watch us?” Charlie nodded. “He is just protecting me.” “From me?” I say sarcastically. Charlie shook his head. “No, not from you.” Hawke stared at me. I stood up and stared back at him. He reached in his waistband and pulled out his knife. I stared him down as he prepared to throw his knife in my direction. I was not scared of him. Something deep inside of me assured me that he would not kill me with his knife. I stood perfectly still as he pulled back his arm. In slow motion I saw the knife hurling through the air, handle over blade as Charlie screamed my name. I felt the knife come right by my head and I felt a sharp pain by my ear and the drip of blood on my neck. My face never changed as I stared back at Hawke. My friend, that red hot feeling that meant I could be something stronger than I was, overcame me and I felt myself soaring above the creek. I heard Charlie calling my name. I looked around as I called out, determining where every living thing was around me. I felt the rattlesnake’s presence before I saw them. I singled them out and waved my hands. Within minutes they were hissing in a circle around Hawke. Hawke was trying to back away, but he was backing into another snake. Charlie was screaming at Hawke to stand still. Charlie was yelling at me. “Emme, NO, stop it! Hurting him would only hurt me. Do you really want to hurt me?” My attention wavered from the snakes and I focused on Charlie. Instantly I was back in my body and looking at Charlie. Charlie had me by the arm. “Stay here, Em, I’ll be right back.” Charlie waded into the water and ran to Hawke. The snakes were gone. Hawke was sitting in the dirt by the bank with his head in his hands. Hawke was visibly shaking as Charlie helped him up. I stood up and glared at Hawke. They waded back across the bank. Charlie walked up to me. “Hawke is here to protect me and by protecting me, he is protecting you. Hawke has the skills to help you, to teach you what you need.” Charlie looked over at Hawke. “Emme is not the enemy. Do you finally see what she is? Do you see the gifts she has? She is our people’s last hope. She belongs with us.” Hawke nodded and walked over to me. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a piece of cloth. He reached up and wiped the blood off of my neck. “I’m sorry,” he told me. I grabbed his hands and held them between mine. “Me too.” Hawke turned on his heel and walked back the path to the main building. Charlie looked at me. “What the hell did you just do?” I looked back at him. “I finally figured out that Golden Flower gifted me with the ability to talk to and control animals.” I smiled questioningly at Charlie. Charlie didn’t smile back. “What else have you done?” I told Charlie about Ollie and the church and the birds. Charlie paced around me. “This is not good. The machayiwiw will notice a display like the one you did in town. You must not ever do it again in a public place where others can see you. Do you understand me?” I nodded with my head down. Charlie leaned forward and grabbed my face between his warm hands. “I have to admit that it was an awesome thing to do for Ollie, but we have to be more careful.” I laid my hands over his by my face. I leaned into this chest as he slowly lowered us to the ground. We laid on the ground facing each other. I stared into his eyes lost in his world. Charlie stared back at me and as the beautiful empty world and the warm wind eavesdropped on us, we talked. I told him about Bets, and Mom and Ben, and how hurt Ollie was at the church. I told him about Jack and the preserve and Rose and the baby. We talked laying down and facing each other with our fingers intertwined until the sun started its slow climb to the edge of darkness. The sky was an incredible shade of deep purple with shades of violet blue. Even in the beauty of the sunset, I felt the desperation creep over me. I started to shake. I didn’t want to leave Charlie. I never wanted to leave Charlie. Charlie leaned closer. I could feel his breath on my cheek. He laid his gentle brown hands on my cheeks. I closed my eyes. “Let me take the pain away,” he whispered. We stood up. Charlie closed his eyes and he chanted in a low voice. I listened to his voice. I closed my eyes and leaned into Charlie. I laid my head on his chest and listened to his heartbeat. I felt the desperation leave me and I was filled with a sense of peace and serenity. My breathing slowed, and my mind was filled with the beautiful times that Charlie and I had shared. We were like one in my mind, our thoughts joined and our spirits connected. It was the most incredible intense feeling. It was what I imagined making love would be like. I felt dizzy and my body felt it was on fire from the inside out. My legs gave way and I dropped to my knees. Charlie grabbed me and slowly lowered me down to the ground. “What did you do?” I asked Charlie. He stared back at me. “I showed you our love. I showed you what is worth fighting and dying for.” As Charlie stood up, he staggered. I reached out and held his arm. “Are you okay?” Charlie put his hand over mine that rested on his arm. “Just tired. You wear me out.” He grinned broadly as I swatted his arm. “Poor me,” I told him. We held hands as we headed back to the main buildings. Ollie and Jack were standing outside of the meeting room talking to Ryan and Hawke. Ryan looked up as we approached. “Hey, Em, can you come back next week? I want to run in the hills with you, and Hawke needs to start working with you on knife and lance throwing.” “Sure thing,” I told him. Hawke looked at Charlie and then at me. Charlie was leaning on the car while he talked to Jack. Charlie’s face was pale. Hawke walked the short distance to me and whispered in my ear. “Every time Charlie carries your pain, he gets weaker. Every time you feel better in Charlie’s presence, he pays the price for it. Is that what you want for him?” I shook my head “No.” I looked at my feet as Hawke said, “Don’t come back here. Walk away. His burden is too big to carry.” I shook my head. “I’m sorry I can’t do that. I just can’t. I love him too much.” Hawke shook his head and walked away. We all walked to the car. I held Charlie’s hand as long as I could. I climbed in the back seat and Jack and Ollie sat down in the Mustang. As we drove off, I turned around and stared back at Charlie. He stood there watching us drive off.
An Interview with Author D.E.L. Connor
What was your favorite book growing up?
When I was old enough to read it was the Little House on the Prairie series. I must have read and reread each of them a hundred times. I honestly thought I was Laura Ingalls Wilder. Most girls my age were into dolls and while I liked dolls and playing house, my version of playing house always had a log house and a covered wagon. They are still my favorite books to read to children. Can't you just picture yourself on a hot summer day bouncing along in the back of the covered wagon?
Who is your favorite author (living or dead)?
I have more than one. Obviously I love Laura Ingalls Wilder, but I am also a huge fan of Larry McMurray. I grew up admiring strong women writers like Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee and more recently J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyers.
What inspired you to write the Spirit Warriors series?
Actually is has been a long time coming. I wrote the short story that the Spirt Warriors evolved from in college may years ago. The professor asked me to stay after class and he told me how good it was, but unfortunately, it was too dark to be a children's story. I put it away and went on with my career as a nurse. Finally J.K Rowling and Stephenie Meyers came out with new dark tales and the young adult market was born. The time was finally right! I finished Book 1 in two weeks. The struggle to get it published took more time, but here I am with two books in the story completed.
What character do you most identify with in Spirit Warriors: The Scarring?
Probably Lilly, I tend to be kind to a fault, and love my friends and family unconditionally. I think as a child I wished I could have been more like Bets and Emme. They are headstrong, brave and willing to fight for anything or anyone they cared about. I was shy when I was young, although no one believes that today! LOL
Can you tell us about your next project?
Why of course. I am about half way through book 3 in the series The Burning. There will be 6 books total in the series. Book 4 will be The Lamenting, Book 5 The Ensouling and then a Prequel to be named later. In between those books or after them I'm not sure which, I plan to write a new adult romance novel about loss and finding the chance to love again.

The Concealing (Spirit Warriors #1)
by D.E.L. Connor
Release Date: November 24, 2013
Length: 191 pages
Publisher: Booktrope
Spirit Warriors - The Concealing webready
Blurb: Sixteen-year-old Emme Belrose has it all: four best friends, a horse of her own, a hidden tepee hangout, and a blossoming romance with tall and handsome Charlie. These friends also have a secret. They can move their spirits into animal bodies: an osprey, a mustang, a grizzly, a mountain lion and a coyote.   But when Charlie, who has a gift for seeing the future, has a vision of Emme drowning in the icy Yellowstone River, the Spirit Warriors must train their animal bodies to kill an enemy they know is coming… but know nothing about. Suspenseful, romantic, and awash in Native American magic, Spirit Warriors captures the tragic enchantment of the American West—and confirms the power of friendship.
DEL ConnorAbout the Author
Della was born in South Dakota and raised in the vastness and beauty of Montana on a farm. When she longed for the big city life, she moved to Texas where she attended college and received a PhD in nursing. When not nursing people back to health you can find Della huddled over her Mac writing the stories that have occupied her mind for so many years, or traveling with her best friends, the NOLA’s, riding bikes across the Golden Gate bridge or exploring botanical gardens. She is the proud mother of a champion triathlete, two aging dogs and 1 grand-cat. Della has admittedly confessed to her coffee addiction and swears that her two hour coffee crawl while on vacation in Seattle –was the best two hours of her life!
Facebook Release Day Party - July 21st at 7pm - 9pm CST

This is Sarah by Ally Malinenko | Character - Sarah

Sunday, July 6, 2014

"When Colin Leventhal leaned out his bedroom window on the night of May 12th and said goodbye to his girlfriend, he never expected it would be forever. But when Sarah Evans goes missing that night, Colin's world unravels as he transforms from the boyfriend next door to the main police suspect. Then one year later, at her memorial service, Colin makes a phone call that could change everything. Is it possible that Sarah is still alive? And if so, how far will he go to bring her back? 

As Colin struggles with this possibility, across the street, Sarah’s little sister, Claire learns how to navigate the strange new landscape of life without her sister. While her parents fall apart, Claire remains determined to keep going, even if it kills her. 

THIS IS SARAH serves as a meditation on loss, love, and what it means to say goodbye." -Back Cover

This character post is an excerpt from Sarah's journal talking about Colin, the main character of the book, her best friend from next door who just told her how much likes her.

From the Journal of Sarah Evans

April 9

Today was a weird day. Good weird, great weird, actually but still…WEIRD. I was supposed to go to the movies with Colin and Michael and Jenna – there’s that new stupid comedy with the guy whose name I never remember but everyone thinks is so funny – so we were going to see that. Anyway, I was home and Colin came over and we were waiting for Michael and Jenna and I couldn’t figure out what shoes to wear and he’s teasing me cause he’s all like, Sarah, who cares – it’s a dark theater no one’s going to see your feet - so we’re just joking around and all of a sudden he gets all, I don’t know, not mad but sort of sad and he puts his hands over his face and says that he can’t do this.

So I was like, do what? Cause I’m thinking he doesn’t want to go to the movie and even though I didn’t really want to go either there is literally nothing else to do in this town. NOTHING. Plus we were going to go to the diner afterwards so…But anyway that’s not what he meant. And then he just starts blathering, and I mean, blathering about how he likes me.
Really likes me.
Me. Colin Leventhal – my next door neighbor LIKES ME! What? Whatwhatwhat? I think I had a small brain aneurysm.

Then he tells me that he likes me so much that he doesn’t know if we can be friends and how my perfume drives him crazy (what??) and being around me drives him crazy (whatwhat??) and I was completely floored. I was not expecting this. I mean, he’s Colin. From next door! I’ve
known him since I was in middle school. Plus there was that whole thing with Lisa last year so I was just totally floored.
I didn’t know what to say when he finished rambling all this stuff out so I just kissed him. I did it. I can’t even believe it right now but I did. I kissed Colin Leventhal.
And it was amazing. I mean, better than Nick and I never thought that would happen.
And we had the best night. Seriously. THE BEST NIGHT.
And everything feels sort of, like…magical. Crazy!
I haven’t told Jenna yet. She’s going to kill me for not telling her. But for some reason I sort of just want to keep it for now. Like a secret. Like a secret thing between Colin and I. I know it won’t stay that way but I sort of feel like once everyone knows it becomes less special…less mine somehow. Like other people in school will weigh in and approve or not. Not that I care what they think cause I don’t. I just like it the way it is right now.
(Also, I just looked out the window and because we’re neighbors, I can see right into his bedroom. He’s on his computer. It’s like I never noticed how cute he was until just now. He’s cute. I mean really cute.)

I really hope this doesn’t screw things up. It won’t right? I mean, how could it?
I feel like such a stupid girl right now, like all giddy and laughing. Sarah and Colin. WEIRD! but good but still…WEIRD.

Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collection The Wanting Bone (Six Gallery Press) and the children's fantasy Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb (Antenna Books). She lives in Brooklyn with her husband.

Cover Reveal! Cursed by Fire by Danielle Annett

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Title: Cursed by Fire
Series: Blood and Magic #1
Author: Danielle Annett
Designer: Mae I Design
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: January 201

Book Description:
It has been six years since the Awakening and peace in Spokane, Washington is still tenuous at best. The vampires and shifters are all vying for control of the city and the humans seem to be the ones suffering the consequences, or so it seems.

Aria Naveed has spent the last two years of her life fighting to make the many wrongs of the world right, but soon finds out that the humans aren’t as weak as they appear and may be a more terrifying foe than any of the other races combined.

When a stranger rolls into town with trouble on his heels, Aria finds herself trapped in the middle of a battle that could cost her more than she has bargained for as a fight for justice turns into an unexpected fight for her life.

Danielle Annett is a reader, writer, photographer, and the blogger behind Coffee and Characters. Born in the SF Bay area, she now resides in Spokane, WA, the primary location for her Blood & Magic series.
Addicted to coffee at an early age, she spends her restless nights putting pen to paper as she tries to get all of the stories out of her head before the dogs wake up the rest of the house and vye for her attention.

You can learn more about Danielle on her website at or follow on on facebook at and on twitter @Danielle_Annett

“Mike you and I both know that that isn’t going to happen so why don’t you just tell me what fur ball they’re going to saddle me with.” I said as I collected my stack of papers and organized them into a semi-neat pile.

Mike noisily cleared his voice, “Uh hey Ari…”

“God I hope that whoever it is that he isn’t a complete moron. If I’m going to be stuck with a pack partner, the least they can do is send me someone competent.” Mike noisily cleared his throat again.

“What?” I asked, looking up from my desk.

I was greeted by a tall man standing just inside the office, casually leaning against the doorframe. He had tousled brown hair and steely grey colored eyes. High cheekbones and a strong jaw formed his masculine face and a hint of stubble dusted his jaw line, not enough to appear unkempt but just enough to give a roguish impression. Dressed in black jeans, a black T, and a black leather jacket, he oozed tall, dark and handsome with deadly intent.

“That would be this fur ball right here.” He said, an arrogant grin lifting the corner of his mouth. I let my head fall to the surface of my desk, then for good measure I gently knocked my forehead on its smooth surface, one, two, three times. Dammit I couldn’t believe I had just called him a freaking fur ball! I could feel my cheeks warm in embarrassment and did my best to hide it.

“You all done with the show?” He asked as I lifted my head from the desk. I glared at him for good measure and then allowed my head to connect with the desk’s surface once more before sitting up. rubbing the slight sting away “Yea, I’m done.” I told him. Well, at least this wouldn’t be as bad as I had thought. James was the only shifter that I actually personally knew and was one of the few individuals I considered a friend. I met James about six months ago at a shifter bar downtown, though at the time I didn’t actually know that it was a shifter bar.

A group of coyotes had decided I was easy prey and were giving me a pretty hard time. James had intervened before things got out of hand which basically meant that he stopped me from wiping the floor with their coyote asses and burning the entire building to ash.  It was probably a good thing that he had stepped in but I remember being furious with him at the time, I had really wanted to give those bastards a piece of my mind and show them that I wasn’t just some naive little girl. That was back when I was still cocky over my abilities. Things had changed since then and the thought was sobering. Now being a pyrokinetic was something I had to hide and honestly, that just plain sucked.

“So, you’re my partner?”

James nodded, his face going serious, “Yea I’m you’re partner, ready to do something reckless?”

I smiled at that, James knew me all to well.


Grabbing my messenger bag I followed James out of the office, aware of Mike’s unapproving gaze on my every step.

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