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Monday, September 22, 2014

Tour! A Review of Flying With Fire by Emma Mills

Flying With Fire by Emma Mills 
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal Romance)
Date Published: July 17, 2014
Publisher: Self
Special! Reduced to 99 cents for 1 month only!!

Nobody who enters Ravenwood school will ever be the same again.

Fifteen year old Brooke has been in care all her life. Now she finally has an adoptive family who don’t want to send her back to The Home; but their solution for her problems is much more dangerous. 

A secret boarding school for possessed children. A boarding school where any unnatural behaviour will be stamped out. A boarding school with no escape; where witchcraft is punished and vampires are murdered in the sunlight.

Brooke is the only one with the power to escape the security wards, yet she must find a way to help them all before it is too late.

Flying with Fire by Emma Mills takes place in the same world as the Witchblood Series. I didn't realize that right away until Brittany appeared on the page, and I thought: "Hey. I know her." It's a totally different plot line with totally different characters. I enjoyed each of the characters. Even the supporting characters had some depth to them. It's not always clear who's good and who's bad, but I think that's part f the point. Brooke, the main character, has been tossed from foster home to foster home until she is finally sent off to Ravenwood to be "treated". It's there that she find out there is a whole other world she never knew about, but has always been a part of. There are dark and crazy twists with some time travel mixed in, and you just don't know what to expect from one page to the next.

Flying With Fire by Emma Mills was kindly provided to me by the author for review. The opinions are my own.

Chapter Two
Present Day

Brooke frowned, looking down at her grubby pyjamas and trying to ignore the dull thrumming in her head as she squinted through the shadows. Darkness was fast encroaching, and as the last glow from the sun’s rays disappeared, long menacing shadows appeared among the trees. The remains of an ancient pathway had long since faded away, so Brooke glanced left and right, wondering which way would lead her home. Thinking about home felt strange and she wasn't sure which home she thought she was going back to. Brooke had had several homes, but as she tried to focus her thoughts the thumping in her head beat louder and the sense of disorientation grew stronger.

The crack of a branch somewhere to her immediate right made her jump and swivel around, but there was nothing to see but dark trees. She realised that standing in the little clearing was probably not the smartest thing to do if someone was lurking, watching her. So after straining her eyes into the darkness one last time she quickly turned and slipped into the cover of the trees on the opposite side. No sooner had she got there than she heard more rustling of branches and leaves, and the cracking of dead sticks underfoot. This time the sounds surrounded her, drawing nearer, louder with each second that passed.

She supposed it could have been a search party; after all she had no idea where she was and couldn’t even remember which home she was supposed to be heading to, or indeed how she had ended up in the forest in the first place. To her knowledge the last place she had lived was with the Shores, but maybe something had happened and she was supposed to be back at The Home; after all, the last time she’d thought she had a new family, she had blacked out and found herself back there. Who knew? But her immediate instinct told her to hide, to get away as fast as possible, and to run. The problem with this plan was that there was nowhere to run to. The sounds came from all directions. Scanning around for an escape she spotted a huge, ancient oak tree - perfect!

Thankful for the summer spent with a family of boys near the Forest of Dean, she quickly hoisted herself up into the lower branches and began climbing. Hearing the sounds drawing nearer she speeded up, skinning her elbows as she hauled herself higher into the cover of the smaller branches and crisp green leaves. Just as she settled herself against the broad trunk, tucking her knees under her chin, a man burst through the space below and ran into the clearing a couple of metres away. He arrived there simultaneously with two others, another man and a woman.

All three of them were dressed identically in tight black combat trousers and black hooded tops. From her perch Brooke would have been able to see them all quite clearly, if there had been some light; as it was she had to strain her eyes to make out their features. One of the men had his hood up, shielding the features of his face, but the other two had theirs drawn back. The male looked young, a boy really, not much older than herself. His blonde hair was cut short, his features hard, as if carved from stone. The girl was petite, with her pale blonde hair tied back tightly in a simple ponytail, her face set in a grim, determined expression.

‘Where are the others?’ she asked immediately.

The boy shrugged his shoulders, concern briefly flickering across his face, as he looked to the sky.
‘They’ll be here. Give them time. They went in to get the child,’ the hooded man said.

‘They should be here already. We were running late, thanks to Pete thinking he heard someone in the forest. Something must have gone wrong,’ the girl replied, scowling at the younger man who shrugged again and answered back.

‘Look, I heard someone, OK! Maybe it was Christian and David, and they left already,’ the boy named Pete answered.

‘They would not have left without the transfer taking place unless under threat, and I can see no evidence of that. They’ll be here,’ the older man interrupted.

Suddenly the branch Brooke was holding onto with her left hand snapped, making her jump. With her heart beating wildly she pressed her back along the trunk and slowly slid her knees down along the sturdy branch she was sitting on, trying to meld the contours of her body to that of the tree; willing herself to disappear.
‘What was that? There’s someone out there, I'm telling you,’ the boy insisted.

‘Impossible. No-one would be this far out in the forest at this time of night. It’ll be a wild boar or something, but you two go and scout around if it makes you happy. Be quick!’ the man ordered.

Brooke willed her heart to stop beating so loudly and tried to breathe slowly and silently, as the boy immediately crashed through the undergrowth into the space directly below her. He knew she was there somewhere. She knew it and he knew it. He had heard her earlier and been listening out for another sign, a sign that would reveal her whereabouts. He was sure she was there. All he had to do was look up above his head, but instead he scoured the bushes, smashing through them and shaking the young saplings, as he pushed them aside in his haste to find her.

The girl had already returned to the clearing, when minutes later a louder rhythmic pounding of boots upon the forest floor drew nearer and interrupted Peter. After scouring the entire area he had paused directly beneath her branch and was slowly tilting his head, scanning all the lower branches of the trees surrounding him. Another forty five degrees and he’d spot her. Thankfully, seconds later two more men, again dressed head to toe in black, pounded into the clearing and Pete gave up his search and leapt in after them.

The remains of the lingering sun had by now completely vanished and weak moonlight was attempting to weave its way through the trees into the clearing, helping Brooke see a little more clearly. One of the newcomers had a large bundle stuffed into the front of his jacket, an arm wrapped protectively round it, holding it close to his chest. The other man was bleeding profusely from his right side and arm, his jacket ripped open and hanging loose. They looked exhausted and red welts scarred both faces as they looked to the hooded man.

‘What happened? Have you been followed?’ he asked.

‘They had information. I think they expected our attack, although they didn't know the full details,’ said the man holding the bundle.

‘How could they possibly know? The couple were alone only a couple of hours ago, completely oblivious. There must be a traitor in our midst. Dave, we need to get you back; you need looking at. Christopher, give me the child and assist Dave with his return to Headquarters. Tell Celeste to go ahead with the plan and meet me at the chosen point.’

The man named Christopher unzipped his jacket and carefully passed over the bundle to the hooded man. As this took place, a sudden beam of moonlight shot out between the trees and fell onto the roll of dirty material, which Brooke realised with shock had wriggled and made a quiet mewling sound. During the switch-over the sheet had fallen back to reveal a baby’s head, its eyes wide and staring, its face calm and peaceful. A second later, the sheet was drawn quickly over its head again and it was bundled into the hooded man’s jacket. With a curt nod, Christopher then turned to his injured partner and they set off at a steady jog through the trees in a new direction.

For a moment, Brooke wondered if there was anything she should do, could do, but what could a fifteen year old girl do to save a baby from three, most likely armed, adults? She pulled herself together. After all, she still had no idea where she was and maybe the men had saved the baby rather than stolen it. Probably not, but she told herself she could check the news when she got home and then go to the police with information. It would be much better all-round if she didn't get caught eavesdropping, right here and now.
The tree was beginning to dig into her spine. She could feel it rubbing against bits of bare skin, twigs and leaves irritating the side of her neck. Her chest ached from the constant need to breathe as shallowly and silently as possible, and her elbows burned from where she had skinned them climbing in such a hurry. She tried to inch herself into a more comfortable position, but daren’t move too much in case she made a sound. The thrumming in her head became a pounding and soon she couldn't hear anything but the drum beats in her brain. She closed her eyes and willed the pain and the strangers to go away.

She must have dozed off momentarily, because the next thing she knew was total panic as she jolted awake and in doing so began to fall from her hiding place. Her hands flailed above her, trying and failing to grab the branch above, but it slipped through her fingers, the bark grazing her hands, burning the skin. There was a second of pure fear as she fell through nothingness, and then with a hard thump her head smashed into the branch below and everything went black.

Check out my reviews of the other books in The WitchBlood series!

Emma Mills is a stay-at-home mum, who after a recent move 200 miles south now lives in the beautiful county of Somerset, in the UK. She shares her home with her husband, two children, a dog, 3 cats, a house rabbit and a tankful of fish. Emma went to university to study English in the city of Manchester and for the first decade of her adult life lived in a small town on the edge of the Peak District. It was here, looking after her babies and compulsively reading YA fiction that the ideas for her debut novel, WitchBlood began to take root. Emma is now working on a new and exciting YA project. A three book series unlike her last, where all the characters are human, there are no vampires, no spell casting and no demons rising. A series that will rip your emotions to shreds and leave you breathless...

To learn more about Emma Mills and her books, visit her blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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