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I Belong


Review: Red Handed by Gena Showalter

September 15th, 2014 @ 9:20 am
Posted by Bridget under Review Tags: Gena Showalter, Red Handed, Review, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Young Adult Alien Huntress Series

Red HandedTitle: Red Handed

Author: Gena Showalter

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Series: YA Alien Huntress (Book #1)

Publication Date: June 19, 2007

Format: Paperback, 288 Pages

ISBN-10: 1416532242 (MTV Books)

ISBN-13: 978-1416532248 (MTV Books)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

She’s been chosen to fight the elusive enemy among us….

Phoenix Germaine has been trying to earn back her mother’s trust after going into rehab and kicking Onadyn — the drug of choice for New Chicago teens. But when a party in the woods turns into an all-out battle with the most ferocious aliens Phoenix has never seen, she’s brought home in what appears to be an Onadyn-induced state. Hello, reform school.

Except, what her mother doesn’t know is that Phoenix has just been recruited to join the elite Alien Investigation and Removal agency, where she’ll learn to fight dirty, track hard, and destroy the enemy. Her professional training will be rigorous and dangerous, and the fact that one of her instructors is Ryan Stone — the drop-dead gorgeous, nineteen-year-old agent she met in the woods that night — doesn’t make things any easier. Especially when dating him is totally against the rules….

Wildly imaginative, action-packed, and thrilling, Red Handed launches Gena Showalter’s stunning new alien huntress series.

Quick & Dirty: Fun story with engaging characters, awesome writing, and tons of action. I would highly recommend this to any YA sci-fi fans that love aliens!

Opening Sentence: I’d always loved the night, where anything could happen and everything usually did.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Phoenix Germaine has a serious drug problem with Onadyn. It is a drug that was designed to help aliens deal with our oxygen levels, for humans it will give you the most amazing high. It is very addictive and once you start using it is almost impossible to stop. Phoenix has been to rehab twice and this time she is determined to stay clean. But one night she decides to go out with her friends to a party, and things go terribly wrong when a bunch of hostile aliens show up. Phoenix ends up being taken home and it looks like she is high as a kite. Her mother decides to send her to reform school because she just doesn’t know what else to do.

But it turns out the Phoenix has actually been recruited to join A.I.R., a secret agency that hunts down dangerous aliens and protects humans from them. Aliens have been a part of the world for a long time now and most people think that they are completely harmless, but A.I.R. knows better. Most aliens do live on earth peacefully and the government wants the general public to ignore any of the dangerous ones so they don’t cause problems with the peaceful aliens. At the school Phoenix will be taught how to fight, track, and eliminate any threat from aliens. She has finally found where she belongs, but this school has very strict rules and if you break any of them you will be kicked out. This isn’t a problem until Phoenix realizes that one of her instructors is the gorgeous Ryan Stone, one of the guys that helped rescue her friends in the woods, and student/instructor relationships is very much against the rules.

Phoenix was a great heroine that I liked instantly! She was feisty, smart and determined. I loved that she has a rough past and has made some really bad decisions, it made her feel more human. She has owned up to her mistakes and is doing everything in her power to change herself. I respect her for being so strong when it came to her addiction and making something of herself. She has a fun spunky attitude and is one of those people that always has a comeback. She was so easy to like and I am glad I got to read her story.

Ryan was a sexy love interest, but I felt that I didn’t really get to know him very well. He’s not in the book a whole lot and the few moments where he is you don’t really get to learn about him. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t like him because I did, he was interesting and drop dead gorgeous so what’s not to like. His relationship with Phoenix was full of great sexual tension and they had awesome chemistry. I wish I would have been able to know more about his background just so I could have connected with him better, but he was still a very fun character.

Red Handed was a very quick read full of action, romance, and fun characters. It is one of those books that you pick up and just fly right through it. I wouldn’t say that there was a ton of substance to the story but it was still very entertaining. While I did enjoy the romance it did have a slightly instalove feel to it, and I wish it would have been a little more developed. I am actually fairly new to Showalter’s works but everything I have read by her so far has been fantastic. I love her writing, it is quirky, creative, sexy, and just fun. This is a YA spinoff of Showalter’s adult Alien Huntress series, but this can be read completely separate. I personally haven’t read the adult series but I know that some of the same characters appear in the story, so if you were a fan of Alien Huntress series I would recommend you give this one a try. Also, if you are just a YA sci-fi fan and are looking for a great read you should check this one out.

Notable Scene:

I was once again alone with Ryan—who I wasn’t sure I liked. He was too bossy, too arrogant, too everything. But I knew I liked to look at him. He was a (sexy) mystery, a (beautiful) confusing puzzle.

“What’s your name?” he asked me. His blue eyes were swirling, churning. Like an ocean tempest.

“Phoenix.”

“Cute,” he said.

“You wouldn’t think so if it was your name,” I grumbled.

His lips twitched into a smile. (I was talking about you, not the name. But I like that, too.”

Young Adult Alien Huntress Series:

1. Red Handed

2. Blacklisted

FTC Advisory:  MTV Books/Simon & Schuster provided me with a copy of Red Handed. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

September 15th, 2014 @ 9:00 am
Posted by Bridget under Review Tags: Contemporary, Joy N. Hensley, Review, Rites of Passage, Young Adult

Rites of PassageTitle: Rites of Passage

Author: Joy N. Hensley

Genre: YA Contemporary

Series: N/A

Publication Date: September 9, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 416 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062295195 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062295194 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she’s not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She’s even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won’t risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty…no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time’s running short. Sam must decide who she can trust…and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

Quick & Dirty: Inspirational story that I couldn’t put down. With its amazing characters, adorable romance, and heart wrenching emotion this is one of the best books I have read all year.

Opening Sentence: I’M PHYSICALLY INCAPABLE OF SAYING NO TO A DARE—I’VE got the scars and broken bone count to prove it.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Sam McKenna has decided to join the first ever group of girls to attend the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. Until this year the school has only allowed boys into the school, but Sam’s older brother dared her to go. Sam has never been good at turning down a dare and this one is even more important since it was the last one her brother gave her before he died.

Sam grew up in a military family so she knows what is expected of her physically but she never planned on everything else. First off, any kind of relationship with any of the other students is completely prohibited which Sam is totally fine with until she starts falling for her drill sergeant. She knew that there were going to be other students that wouldn’t want her to succeed, but she had no idea what lengths they would go to make her leave. Sam would do anything to prove that she has what it takes, but how much can she handle before she breaks?

Sam is one of those girls you can’t help but admire and respect. She has taken on a huge task and it amazed me how well she handled everything that was thrown at her. She is tough as nail and proves time and time again that she is just as good as any of the boys. But she also has some very girly moments that helped remind me that she is very much a teenage girl. From the moment I met her I was instantly rooting for her, but that doesn’t mean that she was a perfect. She had some flaws, especially when it comes to asking others for help and she is extremely stubborn. I loved being inside her head and I think she a very inspirational character.

Thinking about Drill makes me melt inside. He is the epitome of what I think a hot army man should be. Not only does he have an amazing body and rugged good looks, he also is a great man with a big heart. He really takes to heart that your Company is your family and I loved he treated the girls like they belonged just as much as anyone else. He is super protective of all of his recruits, including the girls, but he doesn’t baby them either. He pushes them to be the best because he actually believes that they can be the best. If someone is struggling he takes time out of his busy schedule to help which just goes to prove how amazing he is. I could seriously go on and on about how wonderful he is, so I am going to stop. But if you can’t already tell, I am madly in love with Drill and he has become one of my favorite book boys ever!

I have to designate part of this review to the fantastic romance. The thing I loved most about Sam and Drill’s relationship is that it isn’t based just off of physical attraction. Initially it started as a deep respect and admiration for each other. Eventually it turned into something more, but this is honestly the best way to start a long lasting relationship with anyone.  That doesn’t mean that they don’t have amazing chemistry because trust me, there are some pretty intense moments between them where the sexual tension is running sky high!!!  The development was done perfectly and they have become one of my all time favorite couples!

Rites of Passage is an inspirational story that tugs at your heart strings, but it is also extremely entertaining. You have adorable romance, crazy drama, and a few suspenseful moments as well. I will admit that it did take me a little bit to get into the story, but once I was hooked I couldn’t put it down. The other thing that was so great is that I have personally never read a YA book that has taken place at a military school and it really worked for me. I love that Hensley tackled a bunch of sensitive subjects and implemented them into such a wonderful story. I feel like everyone can find something to connect with in the story and that is really rare. Whether it be that you are a minority, or a different race, or a girl trying to do something only boys do, it doesn’t matter, if you are willing to put in the work you can make any of your dreams come true. Hensley’s writing is phenomenal and I can’t believe this is her debut novel. I can personally say that she has a fan for life in me and I will gladly read anything else she writes. While the ending of this was very satisfying there is a possibility that there may be more which I really hope there is. If you are looking for a fun, clean contemporary romance this is a must read for you!

Notable Scene:

“Alpha, lower your left hand onto the hand of the recruit buddy to your left. Lean your shoulder into him. Let him support you.”

And just like that, Drill is there, a rock to lean against. I lean into his shoulder, easing some of the pain. I support Nix to my right, his body heavy on my shoulder. We all shake, we all sweat, including

Drill, who did every exercise with us tonight.

“Now listen to the words of the song. You are Alpha. You eat together, breathe together. You live together and you die together. Never forget that. Feel the weight of your recruit buddy. Know that you are holding him up. Feel the weakness in your own muscles. Know that you would not still be up if your recruit buddy wasn’t helping you. This year is all about you becoming a unit. You will ‘all go down together!’” His words echo the chorus of the song.

My eyes sting, and Nix, who never cries, no matter how bad the smoke shows get, sniffles to my right. I’m not alone in this moment and Drill is fully responsible.

“Thank you,” I whisper as the music fades.

He leans closer to me. “You belong here. Don’t let anyone tell you different.”

FTC Advisory:  HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Rites of Passage.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Fall Carnival: Invisible by Dawn Metcalf

September 15th, 2014 @ 12:05 am
Posted by Kristie under Fall Carnival Tags: Dawn Metcalf, Invisible, Paranormal, The Twixt Series, Young Adult

Fall Carnival Event

Welcome everyone to the Carousel Ride.  Watch your step as you enter we don’t want anyone falling and gouging their eye out! As you can see our Carousel isn’t filled with beautiful ponies to ride instead you will get the opportunity to sit upon the various creatures that reside in The Twixt, a mythical land filled with wonderfully scary, weird and imaginative monsters. Don’t worry all the creatures you see before you are just replicas of what the real things look like. I promise that you are completely safe, but as you start to spin around on the ride make sure to keep your eyes open in case you happen to see a Scribe. They are creatures sent to mark humans to try and keep the balance between our world and theirs.  If you happen to see one be wary because that means you have The Sight and Scribes are ordered to blind anyone that can see them!  Don’t worry it is very rare so I’m sure you won’t be seeing anyone strange tonight!  So what do you say are you ready to enter into The Twixt?

Invisible DM

*Enter to win an ARC of  Invisible at the end of this post*

*Don’t forget to enter the grand giveaway for your chance to win 2 books featured during the Fall Carnival Event!!! Click HERE for your chance to win!*

______________________________________________________________________

*Please enjoy this “exclusive content” for INVISIBLE: the original Chapter One that was cut from the manuscript! It features Joy at her day job and, having been a waitress myself for many years, this was dear to my heart but we liked beginning it with action right away–hence Chapter Two became the new Chapter One! Still, it might be fun to show a little “rewind” (like putting the Carousel in reverse)!  ;-) *

CHAPTER ONE

Joy grabbed the first ceramic platter piled high with Cobb salad and ran a moist towel around the rim, making it neat. There was a soup-and-sandwich combo and a small fettuccine with mussels, heads of steam curling above them like clouds. Joy sprinkled it with obligatory Parmesan cheese and checked her cheat sheet.

“Move,” Miguel urged from the kitchen. “Order up.”

“Sounds like someone’s in a mood,” Neil said as he came for his orders. The lanky blond boy grabbed two specials, plunked them on his tray, and sprinkled them generously in one, smooth move. “Be careful with the plates—they just came out of the washer. You haven’t been here long enough to develop your oven mitts yet.” He waggled his fingers and dashed off.

Bracing herself, Joy grabbed the pasta dish. It slipped out of her grip with a bang.

“Ow!” Joy winced as hot broth splashed over her hand. She popped her thumb in her mouth. The spot tasted hot on her tongue. “Damn.”

Miguel glared and wiped the spill with a rag. “We don’t have time for this. You told Lola you could tackle lunch rush.”

“I can,” Joy said, wiping her hand on her apron. “I am.”

She grabbed the plates quickly, ignoring the steady burning in the crook of her arm as she crossed the café. Table Two needed their waters refilled and Table Three looked impatient. Joy wondered how she ever thought high school was stressful. She smiled for Table One.

“Cobb salad,” she said, placing the platter between them, “Fettuccine Antoine and a Tomato Soup and Sandwich.” Joy lowered the plate to the table, fingers screaming. “Please be careful,” she cautioned. “The plate is very hot.” She tucked her smarting hands behind her. “Is there anything else I can get you? More water?”

“Yes, thank you,” the first woman said. “And the check.”

Joy’s heart fell. There went the upcharge for coffee and dessert. “Very good…”

“Oh no,” the second woman said. “This is my treat.”

“You got it last time.”

“I insist,” the older woman turned to Joy. “Listen, dear, if you want a tip, you will bring me the check, understood?”

Two dings from the kitchen. Saved by the bell.

“Excuse me, ladies.” Joy fled.

“Table Five, ready and waiting,” Miguel said and dropped the plates in a row.

Joy filled a pitcher with ice, rolling her hand in the cold. What she wouldn’t give to have one of the Twixt’s medicinal poultices right now. Or Ink’s soothing touch on her skin. She missed him in all of her in-between moments. Snatches of thought belonged to him. “Be right there.”

Lola marched out of the back office and grabbed a stack of menus to update the specials page, red nails matched her lipstick and high heels. She glared at Joy.

“What are you doing?”

“I burned my thumb,” Joy said.

Lola tucked a streaked curl into place. “Enough to file an accident report?”

Joy dropped the ice and wiped her hand against her apron. “No.”

“Then get moving. Your tables need refilling and you’re taking up space.” Joy shrank inside. She wasn’t certain if Lola was talking about the plate orders or her. “Miguel? Send one of the boys to prep. We have a party of ten at twelve-thirty.” Lola turned on her smart red pump and marched back into her office, shutting the door behind her. Joy felt the heat on her face prickle like sunburn.

Miguel shouted to the kitchen in rapid Spanish. Someone dropped their tub of dishes. He rapped the counter with a ladle to get her attention. “Now, Ponytail!”

Joy reached for her plates as one of the busboys sped past. She swerved out of the way, but he bounced into Neil right behind her.

“Watch it!” Neil said, too late. The spaghetti order slid sideways, slithering over the edge of the plate, and hit his pantleg on its way to the floor. The busboy bolted. Joy grabbed a towel.

“Great,” Neil muttered, wiping his hand on a napkin. “So much for Table Six.”

Joy scooped up the mess. “What was it?”

Neil brushed off his pants. “Spaghetti marinara.”

Joy threw the lump of warm noodles and paper towels into the garbage. “I’ve got one,” she said, grabbing a plate from Table Three. “Here. Take it.”

“You’re sure?” he asked.

She nodded. “I can stall them,” she said. “Look: winning smile!” She flashed one of her dazzling trademarks leftover from gymnastics training. It still worked its magic—Neil looked impressed.

“Thanks.” Neil said as he washed his hands and made the switch. He glanced back at the office door. “You hanging in there?”

“Barely,” Joy said. “I just got chewed-out and I have a smackfest brewing over the check at Table One.”

Neil winced. “There goes your tip.”

“Tell me about it,” Joy said.

“Don’t worry, it’s a two-top,” he said. “It’ll turn over quick enough and you’ll get another chance to impress the locals.”

“Right. Okay,” Joy said as she carefully stacked her plates. “Any other advice for the newbie?”

Neil sprinkled the noodles with extra cheese. “Smile more. You’ll charm the socks off them.” Neil called into the kitchen. “Can we have a rush on another spaghetti, Miguel?”

IndelibleInvisible

The cook leaned his meaty arms over the counter. “For her or for you?”

“Come on, Miguel,” Neil said, hands full. “I’m begging you.”

Miguel shot Joy a look. She smiled.

“Fine,” Miguel said. “Five minutes.”

“See? What did I tell you?” Neil gave Joy a wink and took off.

Mopping up the last of the red sauce, Joy tried to think of something to tell Table Three.

“Just remember,” said Miguel. “There’s plenty of kids who want to wait tables this summer. Any one of them could do your job.”

Joy’s smile faltered. She hefted her tray, snatching a stand as she walked down the hall, feeling precarious. Her parents’ advice rang in her head: ‘If you can’t be a Yes Man, be indispensable.’ Well, then, it stood to reason that if you couldn’t be indispensable…be permanent.

Permanent. Indelible. Indelible Ink.

He imbued her everything, sinking deep into her brain.

She delivered the meals to Table Five, poured more water for Table One, and took a deep breath as she approached Table Three.

“Your meal will be a few more minutes,” Joy said with an apologetic grin. “I know that you specifically said ‘no cheese’ and when I saw your order, I couldn’t be certain, so I sent it back in case there were any allergy concerns.” Smiling, Joy realized she was literally lying through her teeth.

The businessmen sighed, deflated. One exchanged a look with his colleague.

“Thanks for checking,” he said.

“Again, I’m sorry for the delay,” she said. “Can I bring you another bread basket?”

His partner folded his napkin into sharp creases. “Might as well.”

One fire out. Two dings. Table Three? No, Four.

Joy raced back to the kitchen. Miguel was stacking plates.

“You know,” he said. “Lola’s never going to put you on dinner shift if you can’t handle lunch.”

“I know, I know, I know,” Joy muttered while printing out the check for Table One. “I can do it. Let me just drop this off and I’ll be right back.”

Miguel spun a pan and rolled his eyes.

“How is everything?” Joy asked Table One before realizing she’d committed Waitress Timing Sin by asking her question while their mouths were full. There was an awkward moment of silent waiting.

Ms. Chicken Parm chewed and swallowed. “Fine.”

“The fettuccine tastes salty,” the other woman said, swirling a bunch of noodles. “Here, taste this,” she offered the fork across the table. “Does it taste salty to you?”

Her friend wrinkled her nose. “I don’t like seafood.”

Joy kept smiling, desperate. “Would you like to order something else?”

“No, no,” the woman sighed and went back to picking at her dish. “I just wanted you to know that it was salty.”

Was it worth comping her meal to gain a better tip, or was this a total write-off? Joy hadn’t been working at Antoine’s long enough to be sure. Two dings interrupted her thoughts. Table Three. Finally!

“I’ll tell the chef,” Joy said and plunked the check on the table, dead center. Let them duke it out.

Joy paused at the fill station, snatching her phone out of her pocket and sent Monica a quick text:

Save me!

Joy briefly fantasized being somewhere with no food, bells, or people. Somewhere outside like Abbott Park where she could sit with Monica and Gordon, surrounded by trees and sun and chirping birds. Somewhere peaceful. Quiet. The only thing missing would be Ink. Well, Ink could be there, of course, but no one else would know it. Dating an invisible boyfriend had some serious downsides.

Her phone buzzed back with a message: Calvary here! When do we ride?

She typed, 4pm. Bring coffee.

A buzz a second later: Will do! Joy smiled. As a best friend, Monica rocked.

Ding! Ding!

Tucking her phone into her apron, Joy dashed around the corner and snatched the first entrée off the counter, expertly wiping the rim and generously sprinkling shaved Parmesan on the “no cheese” order.

Joy stared down at the plate. She wanted to cry.

Two dings. Table Three was waiting.

One more hour to go.

______________________________________________________________________

Dawn MetcalfAbout Dawn:

I have no good excuse for the way I write. I lived in a normal, loving, suburban home, studied hard, went to college, went to graduate school, got married, had babies, and settled down in northern Connecticut. Despite this wholesome lifestyle, I was clearly corrupted by fairy tales, puppet visionaries, British humour and graphic novels. As a result, I write dark, quirky, and sometimes humorous speculative fiction.

You can visit Dawn around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Dawn Metcalf?

Indelible (The Twixt, #1)Invisible (The Twixt, #2)Luminous

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contest

This giveaway is provided by Dawn Metcalf!

One lucky reader will win an ARC of Invisible
(US & Canada)

Invisible

Available September 30, 2014 from Harlequin Teen

About this Book:

Some things lie beneath the surface.

Invisible.

With the power to change everything.

Joy Malone wants it all—power, freedom and the boyfriend who loves her. Yet when an unstoppable assassin is hired to kill her, Joy learns that being the girl with the Sight comes with a price that might be too high to pay. Love will be tested, lives will be threatened, and everyone Joy knows and cares about will be affected by her decision to stand by Ink or to leave the Twixt forever.

Her choice is balanced on a scalpel’s edge and the consequences will be more life-altering than anyone can guess.

Pre-Order from

GIVEAWAY GUIDELINES:

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Fall Carnival: Sweet Unrest by Lisa Maxwell

September 14th, 2014 @ 12:05 am
Posted by Kristie under Fall Carnival Tags: Fantasy, Lisa Maxwell, Sweet Unrest, Young Adult

Fall Carnival Event

Do you ever have nightmares? Do they scare you so bad that they keep you up at night? Are they filled with unknown faces and places, but at the same time them feel very familiar? If you said yes to any of these questions you may want to purchase a Dream Catcher. They are mystical product known for helping to keep away bad dreams.  Today we have someone that is in great need of a Dream Catcher because she keeps having a recurring nightmare that just keeps getting more intense over time.  Lucy Aimes has just recently moved to New Orleans and her dreams lead in search of answers that she will only be able to find in the old city’s world of Voodoo and mysticism! Lucky for us Lucy has agreed to stop by and answer a few questions about herself!

Sweet Unrest-001

*Enter to win a copy of  Sweet Unrest at the end of this post*

*Don’t forget to enter the grand giveaway for your chance to win 2 books featured during the Fall Carnival Event!!! Click HERE for your chance to win!*

______________________________________________________________________

DFT: Why did you move to New Orleans?

Lucy: Not by choice, that’s for sure. After spending almost twenty years as a professor in Chicago, my father got the chance of a lifetime—for him at least—to curate and direct Le Ciel Doux, an antebellum sugar plantation outside of New Orleans. It didn’t matter that it’s my senior year or that I had to give up my spot as lead photographer for the school paper to move down here. With any luck, though, the move won’t be permanent. If I just follow their rules all summer, my parents might let me go back to Chicago to live with my Aunt Dani.

DFT: What will you be doing to help out around the plantation?

Lucy: My dad called it an internship with the on-site preservation expert, so I thought I’d be helping take pictures for the book they’re doing about Le Ciel. Turns out that my boss’s idea of an internship involves me fetching coffee and moving things “a little to the right…no the left” all day long. I’m just glad I don’t have to wear a hoopskirt while I do it.

DFT: Your dreams seem rather strange. Describe them for me?

Lucy: My dreams? *shudders* I’d really rather not think about them, but if you really want to know… I’ve had them for as long as I can remember. It’s always cold and dark and the water pulls me down. They’re just so…real. Like, I wake up tasting the muck of whatever was in that water and shivering from the cold, no matter how hot the night was. But that’s not the worst part… The worst part is that I get the sense that there’s something else. That I’m missing something that would make the drowning feel like a walk in the park.

DFT: Who is Alexandre- Alex, as you have dubbed him?

Lucy: I don’t know who—or what—Alex is. At first I thought he was one of the college interns who work on the plantation, but lately… I’m not so sure. See, my dreams have started to change. I still dream about the drowning, but now, sometimes I dream about him, too. He’s in the past and he’s in love with a girl named Armantine. I have a bad feeling that those things I’m dreaming about now are real, though. Parts of those dreams about the past keep showing up in my present. I shouldn’t know about certain things…but I do. And if that’s the case—if those dreams about the past really did happen…how can Alex be part of them if he’s here now?

DFT: What sort of vibe do you get about Alex?

Lucy: I just can’t get a read on him. Sometimes, he’s charming and playful, but other times, it’s like he’s wearing a mask. A perfectly polite mask. I think he’s hiding something. No, I know he’s hiding something. I should probably just stay away, but I think he might know something about the dreams I’ve been having. And if he does, maybe I can get them to stop.

Sweet Unrest

DFT: You just moved to New Orleans, city of voodoo. Do you believe in it?

Lucy: Voodoo? My parents didn’t raise a fool. I believe in things you can prove. I believe in evidence. Voodoo’s just… You know, superstition and all that.

DFT: Mama Legba is supposedly the best voodoo priest in Orleans . . . how do you feel about her?

Lucy:  She seems nice enough, I guess. She’s not at all what I expected from a Voodoo Queen, though. Her shop looks like the inside of a Caribbean day—bright and clean and sunny. I really thought Voodoo was all about spooky skulls and creepy zombies and evil spirits. I mean, that’s what it’s like in the movies. But Chloe—the one friend I’ve made here so far—sure seems to like Mama Legba. I don’t know, though. All this stuff about reading cards and energy and souls… I can’t tell how much of it Mama Legba really believes herself and how much is just all an act. But she did mention something about dreaming… so, part of me wants to hear more. You know? Part of me wonders if maybe she might have answers to questions I didn’t even think to ask.

DFT: Why are you so attached to photography? What is special about photos?

Lucy:  I’m not sure what drew me to photography, but it’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. There’s something ridiculously satisfying about finding the perfect moment that captures an experience. Preserves it for all time. For me, pictures are a way of capturing the moment and holding it forever.

DFT: So you use a darkroom to develop your shots. What’s the process? How long does that take?

Lucy:  I don’t use the darkroom for everything. I have a professional SLR that I use for most of my journalism shots, but I’ve taken classes at the Art Institute back in Chicago for a while now, and for my more artistic stuff, I really like the slow, methodical process of developing film by hand. Developing pictures doesn’t really take that long per print, but there’s a trial and error part of it that can take hours to get right. I have to be really selective about what I do, though, because it’s kind of an expensive hobby. Luckily, my parents are really supportive. There’s just something about working in a darkroom that I absolutely love. When I’m in there, time is measured in short bursts, and after a while, it’s hard to even tell if it’s night or day. The whole process requires intense concentration—focusing on a single objective until the mix of chemicals and light transforms a bit of paper into an image. Like alchemy. Or magic.

DFT: Something is obviously going on in New Orleans, what with your dreams of the past, murders, Alex . . . are you ready to face it?

Lucy:  I’m not sure that I have any choice, but I’m ready to understand. It’s been long enough, I’ve been living with all of this long enough, that I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

______________________________________________________________________

Lisa MaxwellAbout Lisa:

Lisa Maxwell is the author of Sweet Unrest   (Flux, Fall 2014) and Heartless Things (Simon Pulse, Spring 2016). When she’s not writing books, she’s an English professor at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys.

You can visit Lisa around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Lisa Maxwell?

Sweet Unrest

______________________________________________________________________

contest

This giveaway is provided by Lisa Maxwell!

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Sweet Unrest
(US only)

Sweet Unrest

Available October 8, 2014 from Flux Publishing

About this Book:

Lucy Aimes has always been practical. But try as she might, she can’t come up with a logical explanation for the recurring dreams that have always haunted her. Dark dreams. Dreams of a long-ago place filled with people she shouldn’t know…but does.

When her family moves to a New Orleans plantation, Lucy’s dreams become more intense, and her search for answers draws her reluctantly into the old city’s world of Voodoo and mysticism. There, Lucy finds Alex, a mysterious boy who behaves as if they’ve known each other forever. Lucy knows Alex is hiding something, and her rational side doesn’t want to be drawn to him. But she is.

As she tries to uncover Alex’s secrets, a killer strikes close to home, and Lucy finds herself ensnared in a century-old vendetta. With the lives of everyone she loves in danger, Lucy will have to unravel the mystery of her dreams before it all comes to a deadly finish.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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Early Review: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

September 13th, 2014 @ 8:00 pm
Posted by Bridget under Review Tags: A Thousand Pieces of You, Claudia Gray, Firebird Series, Review, Science Fiction, Young Adult

A Thousand Pieces of YouTitle: A Thousand Pieces of You

Author: Claudia Gray

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Series: Firebird (Book #1)

Publication Date: November 4, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062278967 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062278968 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

Quick & Dirty: One of the best science fiction books I have ever read. From the moment I picked up A Thousand Pieces of You I was captivated and I loved every minute of it!

Opening Sentence: My hands shake as I brace myself against the brick wall.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Marguerite Caine is a seventeen year old girl that has crazy smart parents. Both of them are physicists and for years they have been working on inventing a device, known as the Firebird, that will allow you to travel between all the different parallel worlds. Just recently they had a breakthrough and the Firebird is finally ready to test. But before they have the opportunity to try it Marguerite’s father is murdered by her parents long time assistant, Paul. Paul steals the Firebird and jumps into another dimension in order to escape.

Marguerite won’t allow her father’s murderer to go unpunished so she decides to follow Paul through the different worlds in order to bring justice to her family. Luckily she doesn’t have to go alone, Theo her parents other assistant, goes with her to the different universes. Each world is different, some more than others, but it seems that there are certain things that remain the same no matter what dimension Marguerite ends up in. Each time she runs into Paul she begins to doubt his guilt, and soon she doesn’t know what to believe or how she should feel. As things start to unravel she realizes that nothing was what it seemed.

Marguerite was a wonderful protagonist with a fun personality. I think the main thing I loved about her was the fact that she was so different from everyone else in her life. While all her family and friends were scientists she was an artist. She looked at life so differently from everyone else and that really made her stand out. But that also made her feel out of place a lot of times in her life. She never felt as smart or important as everyone else, which is something a lot of teenagers go through in life. She grows so much as a character and even though she doesn’t always make the best decisions she always tries to make them for the right reasons. I thought that she was very easy to connect with and I can’t wait to read more of her story!

I am not going to go into detail about the boys because I don’t want to spoil anything but I will say a couple things about each of them. First you are introduced to Theo, a charismatic, flirtatious young man that everyone loves. He is the type of person that will go far because he knows how to charm people and he works hard. Next up you have Paul, a very reserved, shy guy that always speaks what’s on his mind whether it is offensive or not. He isn’t easy to get to know and even though he is awkward socially he actually has a very big heart. I loved each boy so much but only one stole my heart!

A Thousand Pieces of You was a wonderfully written story that captivated me from the very first page. Lately I feel like there have been multiple young adult books released that feature parallel worlds, but Grey had her own unique spin to the concept. She focused on the scientific aspect of the idea and it actually made it seem much more believable then other books I have read that featured parallel worlds. It also made it a lot less confusing then other books I have read which I really appreciated. Because they travel to multiple worlds there are many different settings which I loved because you got to discover all the different versions of what the world could be like depending on the choices you make. With the suspense, action adventure, and sexy romance this book was almost impossible to put down. I also have to say that this is by far my favorite cover of 2014 and it fits the book perfectly. Pretty much everything about this story was done perfectly and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. I would highly recommend this to anyone that is a young adult sci-fi or romance fan, you will not be disappointed.

Notable Scene:

I meant it when I said I didn’t believe in love at first sight. It takes time to really, truly fall for someone. Yet I believe in a moment. A moment when you glimpse the truth within someone, and they glimpse the truth within you. In that moment, you don’t belong to yourself any longer, not completely. Part of you belongs to him; part of him belongs to you. After that, you can’t take it back, no matter how much you want to, no matter how hard you try.

Firebird Series:

1. A Thousand Pieces of You (November 4, 2014)

FTC Advisory:  HarperTeen provided me with a copy of A Thousand Pieces of You. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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