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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Jennifer L. Armentrout's Oblivion Trailer Reveal!

Oblivion (Lux #1.5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal Romance)
Date Published: December 1, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Experience the epic love story of OBSIDIAN as told by its hero, Daemon Black…

I knew the moment Katy Swartz moved in next door, there was going to be trouble. Lots of it.

And trouble’s the last thing I need, since I’m not exactly from around here. My people arrived on Earth from Lux, a planet thirteen billion light years away. Plus, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that humans can’t be trusted. We scare them. We can do things they only dream about, and honestly, we make them look weak as hell. ‘Cuz they are.

But Kat is getting to me in ways no one else has, and I can't stop myself from wanting her—or wanting to use my powers to protect her. She makes me weak, and I’m the strongest of our kind, tasked with protecting us all. So this one simple girl…she can mean the end for us. Because the Luxen have an even bigger enemy—the Arum, and I need to stay on my game.

Falling for Katy—a human—won't just place her in danger. It could get us all killed, and that’s one thing I’ll never let happen...

# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

To learn more about Jennifer L. Armentrout and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter. You can also check out her Goodreads page as J. Lynn.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Book Review: The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2) by Rick Yancey
Genre: Young Adult (Science Fiction)
Date Published: September 16, 2014
Publisher:  Putnam Juvenile

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

The Infinite Sea is the second book in The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. Like the first book, this one had a lot of things going on, and also like the first one, it had a lot of dragging time too. I prefer reading from Cassie's point of view over the others. A good portion of this book was told from Ringer's point of view. While I love her attitude and spunk, and I think she's turning into a really interesting character(especially towards the end), her point of view contained a lot of the draggy parts. Until the end that is. The end picked up quite a bit. This author is not afraid of death and killing people off. Don't get attached to anyone. I made that mistake already. These deaths really made you feel the gravity of the situation these people are in though. I don't know how I'm going to wait until May 2016 for the next book! Eeek! Want to read an excerpt?

If you haven't read the first book, check out my review below!!

Rick is a native Floridian and a graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago. He earned a B.A. in English which he put to use as a field officer for the Internal Revenue Service. Inspired and encouraged by his wife, he decided his degree might also be useful in writing books and in 2004 he began writing full-time.

Since then he has launched two critically acclaimed series: The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, for young readers, and The Highly Effective Detective, for adults. Both books are set in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Rick lived for ten years before returning to Florida.

To learn more about Rick Yancey and his books, visit his website.You can also find him on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Release Day Review! A Review and Excerpt of Surviving Ice by K.A. Tucker

Surviving Ice (Burying Water #4) by K.A. Tucker
Genre: New Adult (Contemporary Romance)
Date Published: October 27, 2015
Publisher: Atria Books

The USA TODAY bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths series and Burying Water—which Kirkus Reviews called “a sexy, romantic, gangster-tinged page-turner”—returns with a new novel packed with romance, plot twists, and psychological suspense.

Ivy, a talented tattoo artist who spent the early part of her twenties on the move, is finally looking for a place to call home. She thinks she might have found it in San Francisco, but all that changes when she witnesses a terrible crime. She’s ready to pack up her things yet again, when a random encounter with a stranger keeps her in the city, giving her reason to stay after all.

That is, until Ivy discovers that their encounter wasn’t random. Not at all…

Surviving Ice is the fourth book in the Burying Water series by K.A. Tucker. I started this series late, so I really need to go back and catch up on the first two books. This isn't a series you need to read in order though. Each book stands alone. Ivy is a tough cookie. She doesn't take crap from anyone, and she guards her emotions. Sebastian is a tough, loner too. His work and past has pushed him in a direction I don't think even he expected. Putting these two together was an adventure. They are a lot alike, yet they each have their own voice. Meaning, their perspectives don't blend together. They stand alone as characters. These characters have depth and layers.You learn more about them the more you read. The action starts from the get go, plus the chemistry between Ivy and Sebastian made this book super hard to put down.

The ARC of Surviving Ice was kindly provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley for review. The opinions are my own.

It’s just a regular ringtone. For me, though, it’s the wail of a war siren, and I’m immediately alert. There is only one person who has this number, and I didn’t expect him to use it again so soon.
The tile is cool against my bare feet as I roll out of bed. I collect the phone from the nightstand with one fluid movement, unhindered by sheets or the morning sluggishness that an average person might face. Stepping through the propped-open patio doors and onto the balcony, I answer with a low, curt “Yeah.” The sky is just beginning to lighten over the quiet bay. Dozens of boats sit moored below, their passengers lulled into deep sleep by the ocean air and rhythmic waves. I’m high enough up that I’m not likely to offend anyone with my lack of clothing, especially at this hour. Not that I’m truly concerned by it.
The code name is a sharp contrast to the warm breeze skating across my bare skin. My adrenaline begins to spike, all the same. Hearing it means that I will be forced to leave this haven soon. Sooner than I had hoped.
“How is recovery going?”
I instinctively peer down at the angry red scar on the outside of my thigh, where a bullet drilled into my flesh and muscle just three weeks ago, outside of Kabul. I nearly bled out before I made it to the doc. He patched me up on a makeshift operating table, buried deep in a maze of rooms, and charged me a hefty price.
“Like new,” I lie.
“Good.” Bentley’s voice is rich and smooth, a welcome sound in a sea of strangers. “Where are you now?”
I peer out over the beautiful vista of crystal blue water and whitewashed stone buildings, the volcanic rock cliffs in the distance, reluctant to divulge my location. I sank a good chunk of my last payout on renting this one-bedroom villa for the month. It’s my private sanctuary, where I can revel in anonymity and peace for a while, before finding somewhere else to drift to.
Bentley has never asked before.
But he also has the technical capabilities to trace this call. If he really wants to find out, then he will. In fact, the second I picked up, he probably already had his answer. “Where do I need to be?” I say instead.
“San Francisco.”

Check out my review of the previous book in this series!

Born in small-town Ontario, K.A. Tucker published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

To learn more about K.A. Tucker and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Book Review: All-American Girl by Meg Cabot

All-American Girl (All-American Girl #1) by Meg Cabot
Genre: Young Adult (Contemporary)
Date Published: July 22, 2003
Publisher: Harper Teen

Samantha Madison is an average, cool Washington, D.C., teen: She loves Gwen Stefani (who doesn't?), can draw like nobody's business, and enjoys being opposite to her sister's annoying ultra-social personality. But when she ditches art class one day, she doesn't expect to be jumping on the back of a wannabe presidential assassin. 

Soon the young hero is receiving worldwide acclaim for her bravery, having dinner with her family at the White House, and is even being named teen ambassador to the UN. As if this weren't enough, she and David, the president's son, strike up a friendship that everyone wants the dirt on, which starts to give her romantic "frisson" feelings.

Unfortunately, Sam thinks her sister's boyfriend, Jack, is the true love of her life, and she makes a few wrong turns that could screw up what she's developing with David. Will she ever stop following what she knows and start following what she sees?

All-American Girl is the first book in the All American Girl series by Meg Cabot. I don't think there's a person out there who can't relate to Sam. Okay, maybe not everyone has saved the life of a president, but her mental chatter as she goes through everyday life is so funny and completely easy to relate to. She's spunky, witty, and smart. She has some character growth happening too as she grows into herself more and more. I liked her a lot. I didn't care for Lucy too much, but she grew on me in the end. This was such a cute story. I would have loved this book when I was in high school.

Fortunately it was raining on Thursday when Theresa drove me to Susan Boone's studio. That meant that the chances of her finding a parking space, scrounging around the backseat for an umbrella, getting out of the car, and walking me all the way to the studio door were exactly nil.

Instead, she drove up to the side of the building and went, "If you are not out here at exactly five thirty, I will hunt you down. Do you hear me? Like an animal."

"Fine," I said, undoing my seatbelt.

"I mean it, Miss Samantha," Theresa said. "Five thirty on the dot. Or I will double park and you will have to pay the impound fees if the station wagon gets towed."

"Whatever," I said, and stepped out into the pouring rain. "See you."

Then I ran for the side door to the studio.

Only I didn't, of course, go up that narrow stairway. Well, really, how could I? I mean, I had completely humiliated myself in there the day before yesterday. Was I really just going to go waltzing back in like nothing had happened? Like I hadn't drawn what I knew, and not what I'd seen? Whatever that meant, which I still wasn't even sure.

The answer, of course, was no. No, I was not.

What I did instead was, I waited about a minute inside the little foyer, with rainwater dripping off the hood of my Gore-Tex parka. While I was in there, I tried not to feel too guilty. I mean, my parents were paying a lot of money for these art lessons. I had heard my father grousing that they cost almost as much per month as the animal behaviorist. Susan Boone, it turned out, was kind of famous. Just what she was famous for, I didn't know, but apparently, she charged a bundle for her one-on-one art tutelage.

So I didn't feel too good, knowing I was wasting my parents' hard-earned money.

But if you think about it, I am actually the cheapest kid Mom and Dad have. I mean, they spend a small fortune on Lucy every month. She is always needing new clothes, new pom-poms, new orthodontia, new dermatological aids, whatever, in order to maintain her image as one of Benjamin Franklin High School's beautiful people.

And Rebecca, my God, the lab fees alone at Horizon pretty much equal the gross national product of a small underdeveloped nation.

And me? How much do Mom and Dad spend on me every month? Well, up until I got busted for the horse drawing thing, nothing, besides tuition. I mean, I'm supposed to wear my sister's hand-me-down bras, right? And I didn't even need new clothes this year: I just applied black Rit to last semester's clothes, and voila! A whole new wardrobe. My mom wasn't too happy about it, of course. She doesn't understand that my black clothes represent my deep internal contempt for the establishment.

Really, as children go, I am a major bargain. I don't even eat that much, either, seeing as how I hate almost all food except hamburgers, the Bread Lady's baguettes, and dessert.

So I shouldn't have even felt guilty about ditching art class. Not really.

But as I stood there, the familiar scent of turpentine washed over me, and I could hear, way up at the top of the stairs, the faint sound of classical music, and the occasional squawk from Joe the Crow. I was suddenly filled with a strange longing to climb those stairs, go to my bench, sit down, and draw. I mean, what was David, my possible future husband, going to think? He was probably going to be devastated by my absence.

Okay, probably not. But it was fun to think he might be. He was pretty cute, after all. And since I was pretty sure he didn't go to Benjamin Franklin—at least, I hadn't spotted him there, and I'd looked—he didn't know that at my own school, I am a social pariah, except amongst the non-English speaking girls and Special Ed kids, over whom I reign as horse-drawing queen.

But what was the use? I knew I was never going to see Cute David again. I mean, I am not a masochist. No way was I putting myself through another humiliation like the one I'd suffered on Tuesday.

Instead, I waited in the vestibule, praying nobody would come in while I was huddled there, and say, "Oh, hi, Sam. Aren't you coming upstairs?"

As if anybody there would even remember my name. Except possibly Susan Boone.

But nobody came in. When two minutes were up, I cautiously opened the door and looked out at the rain-soaked street.

Theresa and the station wagon were gone. It was safe. I could come out.

The first place I went was Auntie Ruthie's Cookies. Well, how could I not? It looked so warm and inviting, what with the rain and all, and I happened to have a dollar sixty-eight in my pocket, exactly as much as an Auntie Ruthie Chocolate Chunk. The cookie they handed me was still warm from the oven, too. I slipped it into the pocket of my black Gore-tex raincoat. They don't allow food in Static, where I was going next.

They weren't playing Garbage there that afternoon. They were playing The Donnas. Not ska, but perfectly acceptable. I went over to where they had some headphones plugged into the wall, so people could sample the CDs they were thinking about buying. I spent a nice half hour or so listening to the Less Than Jake CD I'd wanted but couldn't afford now that my mom had seen to it that my funding was shut off.

As I listened, I snuck bits of cookie from my pocket into my mouth, and told myself that what I was doing wasn't all that wrong. I mean, look at Charlotte: For years her parents have been forcing her to go to Sunday school while they attend mass. Since there is like a two year age difference between Charlotte and each of her brothers, all three of them were in different religion classes, so she never knew until this year that Antoine and Pierre, after their mom dropped them all off, were waving good bye and then ducking around the corner to the Rac ‘n Cue. She only found out when her class let out early one day, and she went to look around for her brothers, and they were nowhere to be seen.

So basically for years Charlotte's been sitting there, listening to her religion teachers tell her to resist temptation, etc., while it turns out the whole time her brothers--and pretty much all the rest of the cool kids who go to her church--have been next door, getting high scores on Super Mario.

So what does Charlotte do now? She waves good bye to her mom just like Antoine and Pierre, and then she, too, goes to the Rac n'Cue, and works on her Geometry homework in the glow of PodRacer.

And does she feel bad about it? No. Why not? Because she says if the Lord really is all-forgiving, like they taught her in Sunday school, He will understand that she really does need the extra study time, or she will flunk Geometry.

So why should I feel bad about skipping my drawing lesson? I mean, it is only a drawing lesson. Charlotte, on the other hand, is skipping out on God.

Surely my parents, in the unlikely event they are to find out what I've done, will understand. Probably. Maybe. On a good day, anyway, when there haven't been too many plunges in the Asian tech market.

If anybody at Static thought it was strange that this fifteen-year-old redheaded girl, dressed in black from head to toe, was hanging around for two hours, sampling CDs but not buying any, they didn't say anything about it to me. The chick behind the counter, who had the kind of spiky black hair I've always wanted but have never had the guts to get, was too busy flirting with one of the other workers, a guy in plaid pants and a Le Tigre T-shirt, to pay any attention to me.

The other customers were ignoring me, too. Most of them looked like college students, wasting time between classes. Some of them might have been in high school. One of them was a kind of old guy, like in his thirties, wearing Army clothes and carrying a duffel bag. For a while he was hanging out by the headphones near me, listening to Billy Joel. I was surprised that a place like Static even had any Billy Joel, but they did. This guy kept listening to "Uptown Girl" over and over. My dad is actually a Billy Joel fan—he plays it all the time in the car, which makes driving with him mad fun, let me tell you--but even he is way over "Uptown Girl."

My cookie was gone about midway through the Spitvalves second album. I reached into my pocket and found nothing but crumbs. I thought about going over to Auntie Ruthie's to get another, but then I remembered I was broke. Besides, by that time it was almost five thirty. I had to go outside and wait for Theresa to pick me up.

I put my hood up and walked out into the rain. It wasn't the steady downpour it had been when I'd arrived, but I figured the hood would keep anybody coming out of the Susan Boone Art Studio from recognizing me and being all, Hey, where were you, anyway?

As if any of them would have missed me.

It was darker outside than it had been when I'd gone into the record store. All the cars going by had their headlights on. And there were a lot more of them than before, because it was rush hour, and everyone was trying to get home to be with their loved ones. Or maybe just to watch Friends. Whatever.

I stood on the curb, squinting into the light drizzle and headlights in the direction Theresa was supposed to come. As I stood there, I couldn't help feeling kind of sorry for myself. I mean, there I was, a fifteen-year-old redheaded, boyfriendless, misunderstood middle child reject, broke, standing in the rain after skipping her drawing class because she couldn't take criticism. What was going to happen if I grew up and started my own comic book? It would probably get rejected. I heard the guy who invented the X-men, he got rejected a bunch of times before someone was finally like, "Oh, Wolverine? Okay, cool."

So suppose if I ever did do a comic book, or something, and it got rejected? Was I just going to quit? Was I going to go hide in Static? Maybe I could just get a job there, to make things easier. It didn't seem like a very bad place to work, actually. I bet employees get a discount on CDs.

While I was standing there being ashamed of myself for being such a quitter, the old guy who was such a big Billy Joel fan came out of Static and stood next to me, even though the crosswalk sign was green. I looked at him from the corner of my eye. He was messing around with something under his rain poncho, which was in a camouflage pattern. I wondered if he was a shoplifter. At Static I'd noticed they had a Wall of Shame, where they stuck up Polaroids of people who'd tried to swipe something. This dude looked as prime a candidate for the Wall of Shame as I'd ever seen.

And when, right after this, I saw all these flashing red lights coming out of the rain and darkness, I was like, Oh, yes, here come the cops. Mr. Uptown Girl is so busted.

Only it turned out the sirens didn't belong to the cops at all. Instead, they were part of the President's motorcade. First came the lead car, a black SUV with a rack of flashing red lights on its roof. Then came another black SUV, and behind it, a long black limo. Behind that were some more SUVs with flashing lights.

Instead of being excited that I was going to get to see the President go by--even though you can't really see him when he's in his limo because the windows are those weird ones the people inside the car can see out of, but the people outside the car can't see into—I was like, Aw, crud. Because Theresa was probably somewhere behind the motorcade, which was crawling along at a snail's pace. Not only was she going to be in a really bad mood by the time she finally picked me up, but no way was I going to make it home in time for TRL. Again.

Also, when you live in DC, seeing the President go by is really no big deal, since he goes by all the time.

Then the strangest thing happened. The first SUV in the motorcade pulled up right in front of me¼and stopped. Just stopped.

And the traffic light wasn't even red.

Behind the first SUV, the second one stopped, and then the limo, and so on. And then these guys with these ear pieces climbed out of the cars and all went towards the limo.

And then, to my utter astonishment, the President of the United States got out of his limo, and walked, with a bunch of Secret Service guys clustered around him, holding up umbrellas and looking around and speaking into their walkie-talkies, into Auntie Ruthie's Cookies!

That's right, just walked into Auntie Ruthie's Cookies like he did it every day.

I didn't know that the President liked Auntie Ruthie's Cookies. Auntie Ruthie's Cookies are good, and all, but they're not the most famous cookies around, or anything.

And wouldn't you think that if you were the President, you could get Auntie Ruthie to send you a personal supply of her cookies, so you wouldn't have to go ducking out of your limo, in the rain, just to get your hands on some? I mean, if I were Auntie Ruthie and I found out that the President of the United States liked my cookies, I would fully make sure he got a steady supply of them.

On the other hand, Auntie Ruthie would probably prefer to have the President be seen ducking into one of her stores. That is way better publicity than you could ever get by privately shipping him his own supply.

And then, as I stood there in the dark and the rain, with the red lights from the top of the SUV in front of me flashing in my face, I saw Mr. Uptown Girl throw back his rain poncho.

And it turned out what he'd been doing under there had nothing to do with him being a shoplifter. Not at all. It turned out what he'd been doing under there had to do with a great big gun, which he brought out and pointed in the direction of the door to Auntie Ruthie's Cookies¼the door through which the President, his cookies secure, was just exiting.

I am not what most people would call a particularly brave person. I stick up for the kids at school who get picked on only because I remember what it was like to get picked on back when I lived in Morocco, and during the whole Speech and Hearing thing.

But that does not mean that I am the sort of girl to throw herself into the path of danger without the slightest concern for her own personal safety. I mean, the closest thing I have been in lately that could qualify as a physical altercation would be the last time Lucy and I wrestled over possession of the remote control.

But whatever. What I ended up doing is so atypical of my normal behavior that it was like someone else took over my body for a minute, or something. All I know is, one second I was standing there, watching Mr. Uptown Girl raise his gun to fire at the President as he exited Auntie Ruthie's Cookies¼

¼and the next, I had jumped him.


It turns out if you jump onto the back of a would-be assassin, and he isn't expecting you to or anything, you can really throw off his aim. So the bullet Mr. Uptown Girl had meant to send speeding into the President's head went speeding harmlessly off into the stratosphere instead.

Something else happens when you jump onto the back of a guy with a gun, though. He tends to be very surprised, and loses his balance, and falls over backwards on top of you, so that you get all the wind knocked out of you and your Gore-Tex parka rides up and rainwater soaks through the seat of your pants and you get all wet.

Plus the guy lands on one of your arms, and you hear a crunching sound, and it kind of hurts, and you can't help wondering, Was that what I think it was?

But you don't really get a chance to mull it over for very long because you are too busy trying to keep the guy from getting off another shot, which you do by yelling, "Gun! Gun! He's got a gun!"

And even though everyone already knows this—that the guy has a gun, since they heard the stupid thing go off the first time—this seems to do the trick, since all of a sudden, about twenty Secret Service agents crowd around you, with their guns pulled out, and pointed right into your face, all of them yelling, "Freeze!"

Believe me, I froze.

And then the next thing I knew, Mr. Uptown Girl was lifted off me—much to my relief: that dude was heavy—and then people started pulling on me, too. Somebody pulled on the arm that the guy with the gun had landed on, and I yelled, "Ow!" really loud, but nobody seemed to hear me. They were all busy speaking into their walkie-talkies, saying things like, "Eagle is secure, repeat, Eagle is secure."

Meanwhile, sirens started to wail, and suddenly, all these cop cars and ambulances showed up from out of nowhere, practically, brakes squealing and rainwater getting sprayed all over the place.

It was just like something out of a Bruce Willis movie, only without the soundtrack.

And then one of the Secret Service agents started going through my backpack, while another stooped to pat down my ankles--like I might have a bowie knife or something strapped down there--while a third was digging around the pockets of my Gore-Tex parka without even asking my permission (and ended up getting a handful of Auntie Ruthie's Cookie crumbs for his efforts).

He also jostled my sore arm some more. I yelled, "OW," again, only even louder than before.

Then the agent who was going through my pockets went, "This one seems to be unarmed."

"Of course I'm unarmed," I yelled. "I'm only in the tenth grade!"

Which is a totally lame thing to have said, because of course there are tenth graders who have guns. They just don't happen to go to Benjamin Franklin High School. Only I wasn't really thinking straight. In fact, I was almost crying. Well, you would have almost been crying, too, if

a) you were wet all over.

b) your arm was most likely broken—which actually wasn't so bad, really, because it wasn't my drawing arm or anything, and now I had a built-in excuse not to take part in volleyball, which Coach Donnelly is making everyone do in PE next week--but it still really, really hurt.

c) people were yelling but you couldn't hear so well on account of Mr. Uptown Girl's gun having gone off very close to your ear, probably causing hearing damage that for all you know might be permanent.

d) you had found yourself looking down the mouths of 20 or so guns. Or even one gun, for that matter. And

e) it was starting to seem pretty likely that your parents were totally going to find out about your skipping your drawing lesson.

I mean, any one of those things would have been upsetting. But I had all five.

Then this older agent came up to me. He looked a little less scary than the other agents, maybe because he stooped down until his face was level with mine, which was thoughtful of him.

He went, very seriously, "You're going to have to come with us, miss. We need to ask you some questions about your friend over there."

That was when it really hit me:

They thought Mr. Uptown Girl and I were buddies! They thought we'd been trying to kill the President together!

"He's not my friend!" I wailed. I wasn't almost crying anymore. I was bawling my head off, and I didn't even care. It was raining, I was wet all over, my arm was throbbing, my ears were ringing, and the United States Secret Service thought I was some international terrorist assassin, or something.

Heck, yeah, I was crying.

"I've never even seen him before today!" I hiccupped. "He pulled out that gun, and he was going to shoot the President, and so I jumped on him, and he fell on my arm and now it really hurts, and I just want to go ho-o-ome!"

It was really embarrassing. I was crying like a baby. Worse than a baby. I was crying the way Lucy cried the day her orthodontist told her she was going to have to keep her braces on for another six months.

Then a very surprising thing happened. The older Secret Service agent put his arm around me. He said something to the other Secret Service agents, then walked me away from them, towards one of the ambulances. Some paramedic types were standing there, waiting. They opened the doors to the back of the ambulance, and the Secret Service agent and I climbed in.

It was nice inside the ambulance. I got to sit on a little gurney, out of the rain and cold. You could barely hear the sirens and stuff inside there. The paramedics were very nice, too. They gave me a dry blanket to wrap around me in place of my Gore-Tex parka. They were so jokey and nice, I stopped crying.

Really, I told myself. This wasn't so bad. Everything was going to be okay.

Well, except when my parents found out about how I'd skipped drawing class. That part was not going to be okay.

But maybe they wouldn't have to find out. Maybe the Secret Service agents would check me out and realize that I am not a member of any paramilitary group out to draw attention to their cause, and let me go. Theresa was probably still stuck in all that traffic. By the time she pulled up, the whole thing might be over, and I could just get into the car, and when she asked, "What did you do today in class?" I could be like, "Oh, nothing."

Hey. It could happen.

The paramedics asked me where I was injured. And even though I felt dumb being such a baby about my arm, considering how serious everything was with, you know, an attempt on the life of the President, and all, I showed them my wrist. I was somewhat gratified to see that it had already swelled to about twice its usual size. I was glad I hadn't been crying over nothing.

While the paramedics were examining my arm, I looked over at the Secret Service agent, who was busy filling out a report of some kind that included my name, which he had got off my school ID, which had been inside my wallet in my backpack. I didn't want to disturb him or anything, but I really needed to know how long this was all going to take. So I went, "Um, excuse me, sir?"

The Secret Service guy looked up. "Yes, sweetheart?" he asked. He obviously didn't know that no one calls me sweetheart, not even my mother. Not since Morocco, when she caught me trying to flush my dad's credit cards down the toilet (in revenge for him making us move to a foreign country where I didn't speak the language).

The sweetheart thing threw me. I didn't want to come out and just ask him how long this was all going to take, since it might seem ungracious. He was only doing his job, after all. So instead, after a few seconds during which I desperately tried to think up something else to ask, I went, "Um. Is the President okay?"

The Secret Service agent smiled at me some more. "The President is just fine, honey," he said. "Thanks to you."

"Oh," I said. "Great. So, um, do you think it would be okay for me to go soon?"

The paramedics exchanged glances. They looked amused.

"Not with that arm," one of them said. "Your wrist is broken, kiddo. We'll need an X-ray to see how badly, but ten to one, you're going to have a nice big cast for all your new fans to sign."

Fans? What was he talking about?

And I couldn't get a cast! If I got a cast, my parents would want to know how I'd broken my arm, and then I'd have to admit that I'd skipped class.

Unless¼unless I lied and told them I tripped. Yeah, I tripped and fell down the stairs to Susan Boone's studio. Except what if they asked her? Oh, God. I was such dead meat.

"Couldn't I--" I was really grasping at straws, but I was desperate. "Couldn't I just go to my own doctor tomorrow, or something? I mean, my arm really feels much better."

Both the paramedics and the Secret Service agent looked at me like I was insane. Okay, yeah, my arm had swollen up to the size of my thigh, and was throbbing the way hearts do during open-heart surgeries on the Discovery Channel. But it actually didn't hurt that much. Except when I moved.

"It's just that our housekeeper is coming to pick me up," I explained, lamely. "And if you guys take me to the hospital, and I'm not where I said I'd be, she'll freak out."

The Secret Service guy said, "Why don't you give me a phone number where I can reach your parents? I'll call them and explain the situation. I'm sure they'll want to come down to see you themselves."

Oh, God! Then they'll know for sure I skipped class!

But, really. What choice did I have? That'd be none.

"Listen," I said, low and fast. "You don't have to tell my parents about this. I mean, of course you have to tell them about this, but not about how I skipped my drawing class and was hanging out in Static. I mean, you don't have to tell them that part, do you? Because I don't want to get in any more trouble than I'm already in."

The Secret Service dude blinked at me like he didn't really know what I was talking about. But he apparently thought he'd just better just go along with me—as if I were some kind of a nutcase, like Mr. Uptown Girl--since he went, "Why don't we wait and see."

Well, it was better than nothing, I guess. I gave him my mom's and dad's work numbers, then closed my eyes and leaned my head back against the side of the ambulance.

Oh, well, I thought. Things could have been worse.

For instance, I could have a chicken bone where my nose should be.


Top ten pieces of incontrovertible proof that stopping a bullet from entering the skull of the President of the United States of American changes your life:

10. The ambulance you are riding in gets a police escort all the way to the hospital.

9. Instead of having to visit the triage nurse upon arrival at the emergency room, like everyone else, you are wheeled in right away, ahead of all the gang-bangers bleeding from knife wounds, women in labor, people with pencils wedged into their eye sockets, etc.

8. Everywhere you are sent inside the hospital, men in black suits with ear thingies follow you.

7. When they give you a hospital gown to wear because your clothes are all wet, and you refuse to put it on because the back is all cut out, they give you another one, so you can wear one that opens in the front and one that opens in the back, thus covering all of you. No one else in the entire hospital gets two gowns but you.

6. You get your own private room with an armed guard at the door, even though all that is wrong with you is your wrist.

5. When the doctor comes in to examine you, he goes, "So you're the girl who saved the President!"

4. When you say in abject mortification, "Well, not really," the doctor goes, "That's not what I hear. You're a national hero!"

3. When he tells you that your wrist is broken in two places and that you will have to wear a cast from the elbow down for six to eight weeks, instead of giving you a lollipop or whatever, he asks for your autograph.

2. While you are waiting for the cast guys to come and fix your arm, you switch on your private room's TV and see that on every channel, there is a Breaking News bulletin. Then Tom Brokaw comes on and says that an attempt has been made on the life of the President. Then he says that the attempt was thwarted by the heroic act of a single individual. Then they show the picture of you from your school ID.

The one where you were blinking just as the photographer took the picture. The one where your hair was looking particularly bushy and out of control. The one you have never showed to anyone for fear of being publicly mocked and ridiculed.

And the number one way you can tell your life is over:

1. You scream so loudly when you see your hideous school photo on national television that about thirty Secret Service agents burst into your room, pistols drawn, demanding to know if you're all right.

Check out my reviews on the Insatiable series by Meg Cabot!

Meg Cabot was born on February 1, 1967, during the Chinese astrological year of the Fire Horse, a notoriously unlucky sign. Fortunately she grew up in Bloomington, Indiana, where few people were aware of the stigma of being a fire horse -- at least until Meg became a teenager, when she flunked freshman Algebra twice, then decided to cut her own bangs. After six years as an undergrad at Indiana University, Meg moved to New York City (in the middle of a sanitation worker strike) to pursue a career as an illustrator, at which she failed miserably, forcing her to turn to her favorite hobby--writing novels--for emotional succor. She worked various jobs to pay the rent, including a decade-long stint as the assistant manager of a 700 bed freshmen dormitory at NYU, a position she still occasionally misses.

She is now the author of nearly fifty books for both adults and teens, selling fifteen million copies worldwide, many of which have been #1 New York Times bestsellers, most notably The Princess Diaries series, which is currently being published in over 38 countries, and was made into two hit movies by Disney. In addition, Meg wrote the Mediator and 1-800-Where-R-You? series (on which the television series, Missing, was based), two All-American Girl books, Teen Idol, Avalon High, How to Be Popular, Pants on Fire, Jinx, a series of novels written entirely in email format (Boy Next Door, Boy Meets Girl, and Every Boy's Got One), a mystery series (Size 12 Is Not Fat/ Size 14 Is Not Fat Either/Big Boned), and a chick-lit series called Queen of Babble.

Meg is now writing a new children's series called Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls. Her new paranormal series, Abandon, debuts in Summer of 2011.

Meg currently divides her time between Key West, Indiana, and New York City with a primary cat (one-eyed Henrietta), various back-up cats, and her husband, who doesn't know he married a fire horse. Please don't tell him.

To learn more about Meg Cabot and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Book Review: My Secret to Tell by Natalie D. Richards

My Secret to Tell by Natalie D. Richards
Genre: Young Adult (Contemporary Romance/Mystery/Suspense)
Date Published: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

There was blood on his hands. Where was the guilt in his eyes?

Emmie's had a crush on her best friend's brother forever. Deacon is the town bad boy who's always in trouble, but she sees his soft side when he volunteers with her at the local animal shelter. She doesn't think he's dangerous…until he shows up in her bedroom with blood on his hands.

Deacon's father has been violently assaulted and Deacon is suspect number one. Emmie's smart enough to know how this looks, but she also knows Deacon's biggest secret—he's paralyzed by the sight of blood. She's sure he didn't do this. Or did he? Because even Deacon's own sister thinks he's guilty…

My Secret to Tell by Natalie D. Richards is a mystery romance that kept me guessing. I had my suspicions about a person or two, but I still wasn't 100% sure who was bad until it was revealed. There were twists and changes that kept me guessing all along the way making it a hard book to put down and a fast read. The chemistry between Emmie and Deacon made the time fly that much faster. Although, I kind of wanted to know what made him finally "see" her. She's had this huge crush on him for a long time, and he was the town player. I thought he was attracted to her before the whole issue with his dad happened, but then later, they made it sound like it was a new development after he ran to her house covered in blood. Soo.. I wasn't sure. Either way, I wanted to know what changed his mind about her.With all that being said,  I enjoyed these characters quite a bit. They were raw, especially Deacon with his anger issues. You could feel the anger, hurt, betrayal, and confusion from him. I was impressed with this author's writing, and I'd definitely like to read more from her.

 The ARC of My Secret to Tell by Natalie D. Richards was kindly provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley for review. The opinions are my own.

 My name lands somewhere between a hiccup and a sob, and my feet stall out on the sidewalk in front of my house. I adjust my grip on the phone, hoping I misheard her tone. This doesn’t sound like Chelsea. This voice is breathless.
 “I’m here,” I say. “What’s up? You don’t sound right.”
  “I’m not.” She takes a shuddery breath.
 My shirt’s sticking to my back and cicadas are click-buzzing the end of another blistering day, but I go cold. Something’s wrong.
 Wrong, wrong, wrong.
 “It’s my dad, Emmie,” she says. I can tell she’s crying.
 I grab my chest. It’s too tight. Burning. “What happened?”
 Her words all tumble out on top of one another, interrupted by shaky breaths. I try to pick out pieces that make sense. “He’s hurt—bleeding—we’re behind the ambulance and I can’t—he’s not—someone attacked him.”
 I start climbing the porch steps, because she’ll need me. I’m her best friend, so I should be there. I need to change clothes and go. “You’re on the way to the hospital, right? They’ll help him there.”
 Another sharp breath. “I don’t know if they can. He’s so bad. So bad.”
 My heart clenches. “Where are you?”
 “We’re almost there. Joel’s with me.”
 “Okay, good. I’m coming,” I say, crossing my porch and hauling my front door open. “Let me just call Mom. I’ll borrow the car.”
 Chelsea’s still crying when I storm down the hallway toward my bedroom.
 “Emmie, I can’t find Deacon…”
 “Your brother never answers his phone,” I say, pushing open my door. “I’ll run by the docks first and—”
 “No. No, he was there. He was at the house.”
 Chelsea makes a strangled sound, and I notice the liquid-thick heat in my bedroom. The kind of heat that tells me the air conditioner is broken. Or my window is open.
 My gaze drags to my fluttering white curtains, to the dark smudge on the windowsill.
 Chelsea’s voice goes low and raspy. “He ran, Emmie. God, he was there with Dad. He was in the house, but he ran.”
 I swivel with an invisible fist lodged in my throat. My bathroom door is open, a red-black smudge beneath the knob.
 My mouth goes dry, my pulse thumping slower than it should. Then I see the blood on the floor by my sink, and my heart tumbles end over end.
 “We’re here. I’ll call soon,” Chelsea says and hangs up.
 I see him, his back to my tub and his dark head bowed on one bent knee. Oh God.
 He’s covered in blood. It’s on his legs, his hands. Dripping onto my white tile floor. He looks up, and my heart goes strangely steady.
 I take a breath that tastes like purpose. “Deacon?”

This October Natalie D. Richards releases her latest YA thriller, MY SECRET TO TELL. To celebrate, Natalie is here for a quick Q&A and has brought an excerpt to share!

When you're fighting insomnia, what are some books you pull out to help you through those sleepless nights?
I struggle with insomnia a great deal, and I don’t turn to any of my favorite books very often because…I’ll have zero chance of sleeping!  If I am resigned to a sleepless night, I suppose I might browse through one of my more classic favorites, like Leaves of Grass, or To Kill a Mockingbird, or maybe Rebecca.

Natalie D. Richards won her first writing competition in the second grade with her short story about Barbara Frances Bizzlefishes (who wouldn't dare do the dishes.) Now she writes about awesome girls, broody boys, and all things dark and creepy. When she's not writing or shopping her manuscripts, you can probably find her wading through the towers of dog-eared paperbacks that have taken over her bedroom. Natalie lives in Ohio (Go Bucks!) with her techno-wiz husband, three amazing kids, and a seventy pound dust-mop who swears he's the family dog.

To learn more about Natalie D. Richards and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Book Review: Finding Gabriel by Rachel L. Demeter

Finding Gabriel by Rachel L. Demeter
Genre: Adult (Historical Romance)
Date Published: August 27, 2015
Publisher: Momentum (Pan Macmillan)

Colonel Gabriel de Laurent departed for the war intending to die.

After a decade of bloodstained battlegrounds while fighting in Napoleon's army, Gabriel returns to the streets of Paris a shattered and haunted soul. Plagued by inner demons, he swallows the barrel of his flintlock pistol and pulls the trigger.

But fate has a different plan.

Ariah Larochelle is a survivor. Orphaned at twelve and victim to a devastating crime, she has learned to keep her back to walls and to trust no one. But when she finds a gravely injured soldier washed up on the River Seine, she's moved by compassion. In spite of her reservations, she rescues him from the icy water and brings him into her home.

Now scarred inside and out, Gabriel discovers a kindred spirit in Ariah—and feelings he imagined lost forever reawaken as he observes her strength in the face of adversity. But when Ariah's own lethal secrets unfold, their new love is threatened by ancient ghosts. Can Gabriel and Ariah find hope in the wreckage of their pasts—or will the cycle of history repeat again?

Perfect for fans of Gaelen Foley's Lord of Ice and Judith James's Broken Wing, Finding Gabriel features all the dark romance, searing passion, and historical intrigue of The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables.

Finding Gabriel by Rachel L. Demeter was a truly emotional read on so many levels. You have Gabriel who's seen and experienced heinous things not only at war, but in his own home. Then you have Ariah who was orphaned and then betrayed in the worst way by the only person she trusted and loved. These two are a mess to say the least. The writing paints a vivid, dark, and horrific picture of their experiences. It places you in these moments with the characters. Finding Gabriel had a Beauty and the Beast feel to it. I think both characters displayed a little beauty and a little beast in them. It's how they've survived. There was tremendous character growth between Gabriel and Ariah as individuals and together. There is light in their darkness, and it was beautiful watching them come to terms with their demons.

Finding Gabriel by Rachel L. Demeter was kindly provided to me by Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours for review. The opinions are my own.

Also check out my reviews of more fantastic books by Rachel L. Demeter!

Rachel L. Demeter lives in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, her goofy lowland sheepdog, and her high school sweetheart of eleven years. She enjoys writing dark, poignant romances that challenge the reader's emotions and explore the redeeming power of love.

Imagining dynamic worlds and characters has been Rachel's passion for longer than she can remember. Before learning how to read or write, she would dictate stories while her mother would record them for her. She holds a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether crafting the protagonist or antagonist, she ensures every character is given a soul.

Rachel endeavors to defy conventions by blending elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some themes her stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness.

Her dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through her words.

To learn more about Rachel L. Demeter and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebookGoogle+, Pinterest, and Twitter.