Top Ten Tuesday
July 22, 2014 posted by Nichole

Top Ten Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island

Top Ten Tuesday

Hi, everyone! Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday! This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Todays topic is Top Ten Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island.

 

1. Katniss Everdeen – I mean, come on, she has some kick ass survival skills!

Katniss

2. Celaena Sardothien – As long as she didn’t try to kill me, I think I’d go with this one as my number 2 pick. I mean, come on, she has a novella called the Assassin in the Desert. I think that she could take care of me on a deserted island.

Sarah J Maas

3. Daemon Black – First we’d have to get Kat out of the picture. I love Daemon. His hotness alone would be enough for me [;

Opposition

4. Lynn from Not a Drop to Drink – She obviously knows how to take care of herself with little to no resources. Seeing as I have no survival skills, I think that she would be a great choice!

notadroptodrink

5. Bodee Lennox – Bodee will always have a place in my heart. He’s coming with me!

Faking Normal

6. Karl from the Women of the Otherworld series – We’d have to get rid of Hope….and do away with the whole Karl probably killing me thing….but oh my goodness does my heart have a place for him.

Personal Demon

7. Carey from If You Find Me – You see that I’m going for a lot of survival skills here!

if you find me

8. Jonah Kinlock – I think that I would have to at least have one person with magical abilities.

Enchanter Heir

9. Logan from Try by Ella Frank – I don’t care that he’s gay.  Well..he’s bi. I want him with me. End of story. Tate can stay behind, though.

Try

10. Mercy Thompson – I feel that Mercy is one tough woman. I think she could get us out of a lot of trouble. Plus, she turns into a coyote. How cool is that?

night broken_front mech.indd
Contests
July 21, 2014 posted by Nichole

Giveaway: Chaos Walking & More Than This by Patrick Ness

Hi everyone! Welcome back!

 

The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness (The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men) are being re-released in paperback with a cool new design and  bonus short stories not previously available in print in the US and Canada. Also, Patrick Ness’ More Than This will be released in paperback for the first time. I’m very excited to offer a giveaway to one lucky winner in the US or Canada thanks to Candlewick Press.

patrick ness

Chaos Walking is a young adult science fiction series by the U.S.-born British novelist Patrick Ness. It is set in a dystopian world where all living creatures can hear each other’s thoughts in a stream of images, words, and sounds called Noise. -Wikipedia

 

The Giveaway:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

adult books
July 18, 2014 posted by Nichole

DNF Review: Maybe This Time by A.M. Arthur

Maybe This TimeAs a regular at gay hotspot Pot O Gold, Ezra Kelley avoids his tangled emotions with the simplicity of one-night stands and attachment-free hookups. Until the night bartender Donner Davis picks him up off the floor after a misunderstanding and too much tequila. Ezra can’t remember the last time someone was…nice. It’s more than he deserves.

Witnessing his lover’s death two years ago has Donner trapped in a holding pattern�living in his sister’s basement, working at the Pot and flirting with the customers. He’s not above spending a night with the gorgeous Ezra, but love is not in the cards. That’s more than he’s ready for.

A passionate night leads to a connection neither man expects, and they take the first steps to something that looks like a real relationship. But Ezra’s been running from himself so long he doesn’t know how to live any other way. And Donner can’t risk his heart just to lose everything again. They’ll both need the strength to let go of the past if they want to get it right this time.

61,000 words

M/M Romance

My Review:

I read 80% of this book about a week ago and I’m already having a hell of a time remembering all that much about it. That’s one of the reasons why I DNF’d this book. I remember the first half being pretty good. I liked the characters and the plot line. I remember being a big fan of Ezra and really confused over Donner’s name (I’m sorry – you can only do so many reindeer jokes in a book.) Other than that, though, there was nothing overly memorable about this book.

The scenes between Ezra and Donner were hot, but I also felt that they were rather rushed. I would have liked to see more of a chase going on rather than the insta love theme that dominated the book. I also would have liked to see more realism to their relationship. Whether that be through more bickering, more romantic gestures, or simple domestic stuff that occupies the day to day life, it doesn’t matter. Their relationship seemed very fake compared to a real life romance.

The book started to go off beat once Ezra and Donner decided they were in love with each other after no time at all. All of the emotions seemed exaggerated and enhanced for the readers and totally unrealistic. I also felt like there were several chunks of the author speaking rather than the characters speaking. It seemed as if the author’s own views on gay rights were sort of being forced throughout the entire book and it wasn’t leaving a lot of room for character development or personalities. Don’t get me wrong, I’m 100% for gay rights, but it did feel as if the author was trying to for that message through several of the characters.

Overall, there’s not much to say about this book because there’s a large chunk that I just don’t remember. If the second half would have been as good as the first half, then I probably would have given it like a 3 or 4 star. However, the second half was really bland and weird and  I just couldn’t finish that last 20% of the book.

Pages: Kindle Edition

Publication Date: July 21st, 2014

Publisher: Carina Press

Rating: DNF

Author Interviews
July 17, 2014 posted by Nichole

Author Interview with Kate Karyus Quinn

Book of the Month

don't you forget about meWelcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.

Except…
There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.

 

 

 

About the author:

kate

Kate Karyus Quinn is an avid reader and menthol chapstick addict. She has lived in California and Tennessee, but recently made the move back to her hometown of Buffalo, New York, with her husband and two children in tow. She promised them wonderful people, amazing food, and weather that would… build character. Another Little Piece is her first novel.

 

Author Interview:

Random facts:

I have four sisters and no brothers. I love to sing. Even though I live in a cold climate (Buffalo, NY area) I don’t ski or enjoy any other cold weather activities… except sitting under a pile of blankets with a book. That counts, right?

Best movie you’ve watched recently? Austenland. Pitch Perfect. Captain America 2: Winter Soldier

Favorite all time song? Just one? Umm… “It’s A Hard Knock Life” from Annie. Okay, I don’t think I actually have a favorite song, but I do enjoy the heck out of that one.

Celebrity crush? Okay, so I don’t really fall for celebrities, but rather the fictional characters that they play. So take for example Christian Bale. Now, I know you think I’m gonna say Batman, but no. He was a little humorless to be honest. So yeah, the Christian Bale character I fell for is from much further in the past – in fact if you saw this movie when it was first released it was almost certainly on VHS. And that character was Jack in Newsies. OMG when he sings “Santa Fe”… I just can’t. And a more recent character crush is Danny Castellano from the Mindy Project. I think this Buzzfeed (http://www.buzzfeed.com/katieheaney/23-reasons-you-wish-danny-castellano-were-your-boyfriend) listicle covers pretty much all the reasons and especially the dance. Yeah, the dance. So clearly, I have a thing for dudes who dance and sing. …And who are fictional. You know what? II’m okay with that.

Favorite takeout? Sushi (usually from Wegmans)

Favorite TV show? Mad Men

Top 3 authors who inspire you? Jandy Nelson (I just read an ARC of her new book, I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN, and OMG it was soo soo good. It seriously just wrecked me in the best possible way.), Melina Marchetta, and E. Lockhart.

Favorite book to movie adaptation? This is a cheat because I haven’t read the book, but I love THE ENGLISH PATIENT movie. I actually a copy of the book somewhere in my house and plan to get around to reading it someday, at which point I will almost certainly be like, “Auugh the book was still better!!!”

Most memorable book signing? My first one, on the release day of ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE, my debut novel. All my friends and family came to the party, and to have everyone there and so supportive meant so much to me.

Book related facts [=:

Can you tell us about your book, Don’t You Forget About Me in 20 words or less? In a town of secrets, Skylar stop forgetting and finally figure out what happened to her older sister.

What was your inspiration behind Don’t You Forget About Me? Pffft. Who knows. Seriously. I have no idea where this idea came from. It sort of grew from one scene and then spread outwards from there.

You write standalones instead of series. Is there a reason for that or do you intend to do a series later on? I would love to do a series someday for sure. Right now, all my ideas just seem to lend themselves to a story that’s contained in one book.

Your books have a really spooky quality to them. Do you ever freak yourself out while writing? I haven’t yet. But I think that’s because I am so inside of the character.

What was your favorite scene to write in DYFAM? The opening scene where the main character’s sister leads a bunch of her classmates to the old train bridge.

Hardest scene to edit out? The end was so difficult to get right. I rewrote that a whole bunch of times.

Do you have a favorite quote from the book? “Without another word he counts seven pills and places them in the hollow at the center of my palm. For a moment I stare down at them sadly, wondering why I’d wanted them so badly. Thinking I should throw them back in his face. They take away sorrow, they take away pain, and they leave great gaping holes in my life. “You’ll only remember the good times.” That had been Elton’s promise nearly four years ago when he’d pressed the pill into my hand. Had it all been a lie? Did the pills take the good with the bad? Or is there just not that much good left to be remembered, after all the bad bad has been whittled away?”

Are you currently working on anything else that you can tell us about? I just signed the contract for my third book with HarperTeen coming in early 2016, right now titled DOWN WITH THE SHINE. It has moonshine, wishes, a dead best friend, and a serial killer father. Sooo… I’m definitely sticking with the dark YA thing.

What is the best book you’ve read recently? Just two days ago I read THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS by Sarah Ockler and that was just fantastic. I love reading contemporary YA like this book, with romance and realistic family issues and a main character with a really terrific and believable voice. I highly recommend this book.

What is currently in your TBR pile? The next book on my to-be-read list is Justina Ireland’s PROMISE OF SHADOWS. I am super excited for that one. I also have THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO on my bedside table cause I have heard SO MANY good things about that.

 

Waiting on Wednesday
July 16, 2014 posted by Nichole

Waiting on Wednesday #87

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

heir of fire

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy. 

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

 

Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas

Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

To be Released on September 2nd, 2014

Blog Tour
July 15, 2014 posted by Nichole

Vampire Lies Blog Tour: Guest Post with RaShelle Workman

unnamed (1)
Vampire Lies by RaShelle Workman
(Blood and Snow S2, #1)
Publication date: April 19th 2014
unnamed (3)Synopsis:

Genre: YA Fractured Fairytale
Blood and Snow Season 2
Book 1 ~ Vampire Lies

*** Eyes like violet sapphires. Wings of smoldering fire. Consume your true love’s blood. Become the Eternal Vampire. ***

Once upon a time there lived a vampire with wings and the genie who loved her…

Born of the seven magics, Jasmine is different in every way, including the obnoxious wings on her back courtesy of the original Vampires. She wants to be normal, to be a regular teenaged girl.

When a gorgeous dark-haired boy named Laeddin shows up and promises to sneak her away from all her problems and hide her in the human world, she agrees.

But an evil lurks in her nightmares, a man with red eyes. It doesn’t take long for Jasmine to realize that no matter how far she tries to run from who she is, he’s only a dream away. He wants her. He needs her. He acts as though he loves her.

It’s becoming harder and harder to tell the difference between the path that’ll lead to her happily ever after, and the path that’ll lead to her destruction as well as all magic.

Purchase:
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AUTHOR BIO
unnamed (2)
RaShelle Workman is the international bestselling author of the Dead Roses series (“Sleeping Roses,” book 1 in the series, has been translated into Turkish and is NOW available wherever Turkish books are sold), the Immortal Essence series, the Blood and Snow series, the Cindy Chronicles, and Touching Melody (A Forever First Novel). She’s sold over five hundred thousand copies of her novels worldwide. You can find RaShelle all over the web, but the best place to start is on her blog: rashelleworkman.com.
Author links:

Top ten things you didn’t know about the RaShelle Workman:

10) I love the color purple.

9) I wanted to be an actress when I was a teen but my incredible shyness always kept me from auditioning. Instead I did behind the scenes stuff, like the rigging, painting the sets, and lighting.

8) I think the minions from Despicable Me are awesome.

7) I tend to “pick up” my house before the cleaning ladies come.

6) I believe in happily ever after’s, which is why I love fractured fairy tales.

5) I can’t stand being shoeless.

4) My mom did hair growing up and I used to have sleepovers and cut my friends’ hair. My mom would have to fix all of them in the morning.

3) I love to chew ice.

2) I have like ten emails. =S

1) Meeting fans is the most terrifying and exciting experience there is.

Giveaway:
–15$ Amazon/B&N gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Top Ten Tuesday
July 15, 2014 posted by Nichole

Top Ten Favorite TV Shows

Top Ten TuesdayHi, everyone! Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday! This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Todays topic is Top Ten Favorite TV Shows. I originally scheduled this post in either May or June, but I’ve been introduced to a lot of amazing shows over the past few months, and now I’m editing it. So what I’m going to do is list more than ten TV shows because you just can’t understand my love for TV. I’m weird, I know. There will be a top ten list and then a special shout out section at the bottom.

 

1. Queer as Folk (US) – If you haven’t watched this….do so! I’m team Brian and Justin 100% of the way! All 5 seasons are on Netflix. And in case you haven’t realized it yet, this is my favorite show ever. I’ve already watched all 5 seasons twice and I’m currently on my third go around.

 

There is currently a petition to renew QAF either as a TV show or reunion movie. You would be my best friend ever if you went and signed it. You can find that here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/641/774/746/bring-back-queer-as-folk-to-celebrat-pa-gay-marriage/

queer as folk

2. Shameless (US) – There’s nothing not to love about this show. It’s pretty much tied with QAF…but I had to put it second. The acting and storyline is amazing! The only downside is that there are only 12 episodes a year. It’s also a Showtime series, so if you don’t subscribe to Showtime, then you’ll have to wait until the DVD releases in December. This series is not on Netflix stream. You can get it through Netflix DVD or the first 3 seasons are available for purchase on Amazon Stream. I would recommend that you go to Walmart and buy the seasons for $15 each.

shameless

3. Scandal – All 3 seasons are on Netflix. Trust me when I say that you will binge every single episode in about a week. It is beyond addicting and sexy and hot and everything wrapped up into one amazing show. And Kerry Washington is the bomb.

Scandal_Season_2

4. Orphan Black – I just started watching this series this year, and it’s already in my top 4 all time favorite TV shows. Tatiana Maslany is amazing. I often forget that she’s the face of almost the entire TV show (she plays like 8 different roles) because she is so good. If you haven’t watched this, I highly recommend that you do so. It’s not on Netflix stream, but I’m sure you can get it on Netflix DVD. It’s also on Amazon Prime and, I believe, that it is also on Hulu. It is also on OnDemand.

download

5. You guys….I can’t BELIEVE that I didn’t put Veronica Mars on here. I just looked at someone else’s post and they had said something like they wanted to eventually watch it (shameful by the way! Everyone should have already watched V Mars.) and I was like OH MY GOD and then raced over here to add it to my list. Veronica Mars is one of the BEST TV shows. I would definitely put it above Scandal but I just tried to figure what I could move from this list and then did so. I’ve binged the series twice and have watched the movie. I also own all three seasons and the movie. LOVE. So sad it got cancelled ]= Fingers crossed for another movie!

Veronica_Mars_season_1_DVD

6. The Middle – I’m not a big sitcom person, but I love The Middle. I’ve probably watched every episode at least 3-4 times. This show is funny as hell.

download

7. Nashville – It really upsets me when people tell me that they don’t watch this show. This is actually probably one of the best current TV shows. The music and acting are just spectacular. I even own the CD so that I can play the songs in my car. It has been renewed for a season 3 this coming Fall. I don’t know how much longer it’s going to last because, for some reason, it’s just not getting the hype that it deserves. It’s a great show, though!

MV5BNzY5Nzk4Njk1NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjU0OTg0OA@@._V1_

8. Revenge – It got a little weird in the third season (no spoilers, I’m not finished yet!!) but this show is awesome. And if you don’t fall head over heels in love with Nolan, then something is seriously wrong with you.

revenges02

9. The Goldbergs – This is another sitcom that I fell in love with this season. You will bust a gut laughing. Mrs. Goldberg is amazing!

the goldbergs

 

10. Eastsiders – I was recently introduced to this indie tv show via Logo and I fell in love with it. It’s super short. I think there are like 8 or 9 episodes and they vary from seven minutes to approximately 25 minutes. For some reason, I am not able to watch this on the Logo website. I actually had to download the Logo app on my Nook and watch it that way. However, the first season will be available on DVD in August. It’s totally worth it.

eastsiders

 

Special Shout Outs:

Girls (HBO) – I literally just started watching this like the other day, so I can’t ad it on my top ten list yet. Let me be the first to say, though, that this series is AMAZING!

The United States of Tara (Showtime)

The L Word (Showtime)

True Blood (HBO)

Game of Thrones (HBO) I’m not including this on my top ten because I’m only on season 1. So don’t yell at me!

Looking (HBO) This has the potential to be on my top ten list. It probably will be after I watch season 2 in 2015.

Shameless (UK)

Reign

Sleepy Hollow

Doctor Who

 

 

adult books
July 14, 2014 posted by Nichole

Adult Book Review: Take (Temptation #2) by Ella Frank

TakeTAKE – verb: to reach for and hold in one’s hands or get into one’s possession, power or control. 

Logan Mitchell is a man who’s always been more than happy to take what he wants. It’s a philosophy that’s proven lucrative in both his business and personal life, and never was it more apparent than the night he laid eyes on Tate Morrison. After pulling out all the stops and convincing the sexy bartender to give him a try—he’s hooked. 
Now, Logan finds himself in a predicament that demands more from him than a smart-ass answer and his innate ability to walk away when things get too deep. 
He has a choice to make, and it’ll force him to do something he’s never done before—take a chance.

Tate Morrison knows all about taking a chance. He took the biggest one of his life the night he showed up at Logan’s apartment to explore his unexpected reaction to the man. 
Ever since then, he’s thought about little else.
At first he was convinced his attraction was based solely on his body’s curiosity. But the more time he spends with the silver-tongued lawyer, the more Tate realizes that their physical chemistry is only the beginning. 
He’s starting to catch a glimpse of what life with Logan would be like, and it’s one full of excitement and satisfaction—a far cry from what he had in the past with his soon to be ex-wife.

Each man will face their fears as they begin to understand the true meaning of give and take. Their feelings for one another will be tested, as will their very beliefs. But now that they’ve found love where they least expected it, will they be brave enough to reach out and take it?

 

My Review:

 

18+ M/M romance

 

I ACTUALLY FINISHED A BOOK! I know that sounds silly, but I am so excited to finally be pushing out of this three month long reading funk. I’ve been so devastated that I haven’t been wanting to read. I don’t even think that’s a totally accurate statement. Let me rephrase: I’ve HATED the thought of reading. I haven’t been interested in it at all. I actually started to get worried that I would never want to read another book again. BUT I READ ONE! AND I LOVED IT!

If you read and loved Try by Ella Frank, then you are going to fall head over heels in love with Take. It is 100 times better. The writing, the characters, the plot, the drama….everything is SO much better than the first book. When I read Try earlier this year I remember that I liked it, but I also did skim it. It wasn’t something that I read straight through mostly because I thought that it was far-fetched and a little silly. There is nothing far-fetched or silly about Take. It is just HOT.

One of my biggest complaints with the first book was with Tate’s character. It’s not that I didn’t like him, but I also didn’t overly love him. I was actually a really big fan of Tate’s character in Take, which is an example of some crazy awesome character development. And, of course, Logan was just as hot as ever. I was also really interested in some of the supporting characters that were introduced (both new and old.)

What I really liked about this book was how it still held predictability, but it also took a different course than the first book. The drama was more intense, the heartbreak more shattering, and the heat was more well…hot. I’m really interested to see everything progress even more in the third book because let me be the first to say that Ella Frank has some serious writing skills.

There are two reasons why I’m docking this book half a star. 1. It did get a little rushed at the end. 2. I’m still not on board with how quickly Logan and Tate fell in to their relationship. It was adorable when the “I love you’s” started to come out, but it was also really  uncomfortable since it was mentioned several times in this book that they had only known each other for so many weeks. I don’t understand why their story is being so rushed. As a reader and a fan of these boys, I want to see their relationship progress into months and years…not just weeks. I’m willing to read about those gaps of time and I’m really disappointed that I’m not seeing them. This book felt like a span of around 2-4 weeks, and I wish that there would have been several months to read about.

The ending of Take has a huge cliff hanger. I honestly didn’t expect to leave off where it did and now I just want the next book RIGHT NOW. Everyone needs to go read this series! It is so good!

Pages: 265

Publication Date: 7/8/14

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

Rating: : ★★★★½

Blog Tour
July 13, 2014 posted by Nichole

Book Blitz: XY by Shanta Everington

xy book blitz banner
xyAbout the Book:
 

Publication date: 5 June 2014

Genre: Young adult (Dystopia)

Author: Shanta Everington

Paperback: 152 pages

Publisher: Bridge House (Red Telephone Books)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1907335323

ISBN-13: 978-1907335327

Formats: Paperback and e-book (Mobi only)

Would it possible to live without gender?

Fifteen year old Jesse lives in a world where babies are born neither male nor female – Compulsory Gender Assignment is carried out at birth. Will the secret she closely guards be found out? Boyfriend Zeus, mother Ana’s Natural Souls, and new friend Ork, leader of We Are One, pull Jesse in different directions, forcing her to make her own mind up about who she really is.

Cover quote:

“A highly original and thought-provoking dystopian novel. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it!”

Luisa Plaja, Chicklish, the UK’s Teen Fiction Site

About the Author:

Shanta

Shanta Everington is the author of seven books, including three young adult novels – Give Me a SignBoy Red and latest release XY (joint winner of the Red Telephone Books YA Novel Competition). She has had all sorts of jobs in the past, from baking vegan muffins and working as a private tutor to appearing as a guest agony aunt and running a teen sexual health helpline. With an MA in Creative Writing with distinction, Shanta currently teaches Creative Writing with The Open University. She lives in London, UK, with her husband and two children.

 

Links:

Publisher website: http://www.trtpublishing.co.uk/xy.html

Author website: www.shantaeverington.co.uk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShantaEverAfter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shanta.everington

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/XY-Shanta-Everington/dp/1907335323/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403088848&sr=8-1&keywords=9781907335327

Amazon USA: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L1P1RPU

Goodreads page: www.goodreads.com/author/show/1419856.Shanta_Everington

Check below for an excerpt from XY by Shanta Everington:

“I think Zeus might have a crush on you,” says Randy over breakfast the next morning.

The family are in the kitchen, sitting around the big, old, oak dining table, a hand-me-down from one of Ana’s friends. Most of their belongings are cast-offs. They are used to relying on the charity of others connected to Natural Souls. Ana has set the table with cereal, orange juice, toast and home-made preserves.

“Shut up,” says Jesse, spooning muesli into her mouth.

“Seriously. Didn’t you notice the way he kept watching you yesterday when you came out into the garden with your tight top on? I don’t think it was just your lemon ice lollies he was drooling at!”

Jesse feels her heart beating a little faster. Zeus is nice, she thinks, but nothing can happen. Zeus is one of the Nine Per Cent. He wouldn’t want her. At least not until afterwards. If she goes through with it.

“I know you like him!” continues Randy in a sing-song voice. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell him your secret!”

“Randy,” says Ana sharply, pouring milk into her bowl. “Don’t wind your sister up before school.”

“I’m not!” protests Randy, rocking his chair backwards and stuffing toast into his mouth. “I’m just saying!”

Jesse carries on eating, feeling her cheeks burn.

Randy gets up from the table and whispers to Jesse on his way out of the kitchen, “He likes you, he likes you!”

Once her brother is out of earshot, Jesse turns to her mother.

“Mum, can I ask you a question?” she says, playing with her spoon, turning it over and over and watching her reflection morph into something grotesque.

“Anything,” says Ana.

“How old were you when you had your first boyfriend? I know it was different for you. You weren’t born like us but…”

“I was fifteen,” replies Ana without hesitating. “The same age you are now. His name was Jack. He was a friend of my brother’s too. He was born like you but he was a boy by the time I met him. It didn’t last, of course.”

“What happened?”

“You mean why didn’t it last?” asks Ana, absent-mindedly picking crumbs up off the table. “We were just kids. First love. It wasn’t even love. When George died, well…  Jack’s family moved away. It’s just as well or I wouldn’t have met your father and there would have been no Randy or Jesse.”

She looks up at Jesse with a bright smile. Sometimes Jesse wonders what lies beneath her mother’s happy face.

“I wish Dad was here,” says Jesse. “I wish he hadn’t left us.”

“I know, darling, but we have to be strong for one another. Think about what I said about seeing Maya again soon. Now, you don’t want to be late for school, do you?”

Jesse gets up and takes her plates to the sink before grabbing her school bag and heading over to school. Today she has history, biology, religious education and sex education. It will not be a good day. Her bag weighs heavily on her shoulder. She thinks about the text books it contains and what they are teaching her.

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Blog Tour
July 12, 2014 posted by Nichole

Book Blitz: Arise by Estevan Vega

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AriseAbout the Book:
 
The pieces are scattered. A new nightmare dawns.
The end is coming.
AriseWith the aid of Kyro, a smart-mouthed street hustler, and Redd, a cunning investigator at war with her conscience, Joel and Aimee Phoenix follow a lead to Salvation Asylum, where they hope to find their daughter alive. But Emery and Adam have already fled from captivity into even more chaos and confusion. Danger haunts every action and darkness seeks to claim her protector’s life as a result of using too much of his power too soon. Adam’s soul now hangs between life and death, yet Emery can’t help dwelling on the boy who once tempted fire and her love.
From inside his coma, Arson roams the fiery halls of past nightmares, looking for the code of escape. But when a stranger slides into his subconscious, promising new abilities and a way out, part of him is ready to accept the revelation and be free, and part of him questions the ghost’s true intentions. Divided and fearful, Arson’s mind is now a deadly game of wills. There’s no telling what will become of the outside world. Arson’s only choice is to enlist every power within and arise from the ashes of who he used to be.
The war has begun. It’s time to wake up and fight.
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About the Author:
 
estevan vega
Estevan Vega used to hate reading and sucked at writing…until a 5th grade writing assignment changed everything. With the help of his father, a spark was ignited into his imagination. When he was 12, he got the crazy idea to write a book and threee years later decided to release it. Since then, he has unleashed 7 books and a number of shorts stories which have been read around the world. Known for weaving a poetic style with raw and realistic characters, he has set himself apart in the literary world, often blending several genres together. The Arson Saga is his most praised and most popular work. Arise, book 3 in The Arson Saga, has just released. Read way too much. East mint chocolate chip ice cream. Spread the fire!
 
Twitter: @estevanvega

Excerpt from ARISE, book 3 in The Arson Saga:

The patterns of his nightmare were a disease. Arson hated the hallways, the rooms—they all had the same ruined look: identical flaking, green-black walls and dead windows. His rage had spawned a reckless trail of flames that wandered beyond and behind their cautious footsteps. Faded lockers had hindered some of his harshest memories from being exposed; nevertheless, he noticed that a sequence of metal cages had been pulled open, bent. Rust formed along the lockers’ twisted edges. A leak from the ceiling now trickled down to corrupt their feeble frames. It didn’t take long at all for things to decay in this place; that much was obvious. Arson’s pulse quickened at the sight of all the torn-open realms.

Adam approached each step with a certain fearlessness Arson desperately wished he possessed. A steady pace that suggested he was looking for something and was close to finding it. But all the silence was driving Arson crazy. He had so many questions, about his powers, about sliding, about why he was plagued to live memories that weren’t his. If Adam could enter another’s subconscious by sliding, did he too have to endure someone else’s intense past? Had he ever before gotten stuck inside of a nightmare like this?

Arson’s eyes opened and shut rapidly, as if his body—or, the body of his mind—knew that doing so was a waste of time. He took a deep breath. As much as he wanted to know the answers to all of his questions, there was one mystery he needed solved first. It was the one thing that mattered above all. He’d been distraught over it since he got trapped in this distorted reality, prior to Adam’s arrival, which had only made everything even more of a blur. Was Emery still alive?

Why hadn’t she broken through?

Why hadn’t she crossed into this supernatural existence?

Why hadn’t the vision of his escape been real? He’d held her against his chest. He’d felt her skin on his skin. Emery was real; all of it was. Arson knew he had mutilated every last one of the sick fiends who had fed him lies and injected him with poisons. They all turned to ash in a matter of minutes. He’d risen out of his coma already and ended their scheme. In fact, he was there again now, his body unleashing a torrent of wrath, power he barely could control. With one breath, he’d watched a doctor become dust. Just by thinking it, his father’s heart had incinerated. The asylum was laid to waste, and Emery’s beautiful smile was first to welcome him back to the real world. If he entertained this reality long enough, maybe he’d smell her again, feel her hair slide across his knuckles, and even sense his knees quiver as her warm breath tickled his neck. He would never let her go.

“Cut it out,” Adam said with a rough nudge. “You wanna get out or stay in la-la land? If we plan on escaping, keep all that sentimental garbage at bay. You need to be able to tell the difference between what’s real and what isn’t. Your ‘breakthrough’ never actually happened. This place just made you think it did. Get over it.”

“This is my nightmare,” Arson snarled. “My mind created it. I can control it.”

“Can you?”

No reply. Arson just kept walking.

“Some people say you can control what happens in your dreams. I say maybe, if you’re strong enough.”

“I am. Look around you.”

Adam studied the fiery shapes blazing around them. Colorful flowers that bloomed into the bodies of creatures only a teenage mind could fathom. Dragons and bats and spiders and combinations of reptiles and mammals blended together. An intoxicating splash of sapphire, crimson, and golden light.

“Okay, showoff. But starting fires doesn’t mean you can control everything that happens here. There’s some stuff that goes way back. It’s deep in your subconscious. I’ll bet you don’t even know half the stuff that’s locked in here with us. Or even remember it. I’m talking memories, ideas, bad dream kinda crap. It’s no wonder you haven’t gotten out yet.”

Adam spoke like a frustrated teacher. As they walked by another classroom, Arson was instantly reminded of several teachers he hated. Maybe Adam’s voice was theirs.

“It makes sense if you just think about it for a second. Your mind is a powerful computer. It’s capable of storing images you may have only seen once, thoughts you probably didn’t even mean to think. You read a book, and in that book a woman gets brutally murdered. Your imagination takes a picture with the words that described the action. That picture is now floating around in your brain, forever. You hear a song and it makes you angry. Watch a movie and you get excited because some couple is going at it. All of those things—the lusts, the fears, confusion, hatred—it all lives in here. A part of us can contain it only for so long, but when you’re stuck, like this, all bets are off. There is no delete button, no shut-off switch. You get the good with the bad. Unfortunately, your mind seems to like letting out all the bad. Not to mention, in here, you’re weaker.”

“You make it seem like I’m powerless.”

Adam stopped midstride and scratched his temple. His eye twitched when he spoke. “You’re missing it, Arson. It’s not just about power.” Adam snapped his fingers, and his thumb lit like a candle. As the flame crossed fingertips, a grin toyed with his mouth. “See? You could be your own personal superhero in here if you want, but that wouldn’t be enough. You still wouldn’t get out. Because that’s not how it works.”

“I know, the code and whatever.”

“Hey, lose the attitude. I’m trying to help you. There is a specific code that should be able to set you free. Maybe if you got over yourself and started thinking about the future instead of drowning in the past you might be able to help me find the locations of these codes. And just maybe, we get out of here alive.”

Adam quenched the fire in his palm and continued walking.

“Wait a second. You mean it’s possible for me to die in here?”

Adam abruptly replied, “I’ve seen some strange things in my years, but like I said, this is different. All bets are off. Anything’s possible.”

“But if I die in here, maybe I just wake up.”

“You’re in a coma, Arson. Your real-world body will atrophy. A day in here can wear on you out there. Given your weak physical state, if you die in this place, I don’t think you’re just gonna wake up. Besides, if you do, it’ll just keep going. More experiments. More tests. It’ll never step until we end it. I can help.”

A tidal wave collided with Arson’s mind. He was close to drowning, couldn’t breathe. His thoughts crashed into one another—a jumbled, fearful mess. “But these are my thoughts—”

“Most of them.”

“Right. They can kill me?”

“An idea is more dangerous than a bullet. One thought can destroy you. It’s perfect, in a sick way, how the mind works. A nightmare of your own design. You’ve got some freaky stuff in here.”

If I could see your brain, I’m sure I’d be shocked too, Arson thought.

“Maybe you would be, maybe not,” Adam said.

“I hate it that you can do that.”

“We’re in your head, remember? I can feel everything you think. For all intents and purposes, I’m just another memory. I slid into your mind and chose Danny’s shell because he isn’t a threat. A lot of other things in this place are.”

The heat from the fire he created was starting to push into his pores. Arson began to sweat. “If what you said is true, you know, about the memories and the things trapped in here with us…why should I trust you?”

“Maybe you can’t.”

 

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