Title: Enigma (Schrodinger’s Consortium #2)
Author: Tonya Kupper
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: July 4, 2017
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
Links: Amazon . Goodreads
Worst. Road Trip. Ever.
Escaping with Reid Wentworth should have been fun, but how can I enjoy it when I just (accidentally) killed someone, my mom and brother are in danger, and the Consortium is trying to enslave humanity? (Yeah, they aren't fooling around.)So feeling something for Reid Wentworth was not part of the plan. Trying to help unite the Resistance against the Consortium means I can’t be distracted by hot boys.
The Resistance secret hideout isn’t exactly the rebel base of my dreams. Atraitor there wants me dead, but we have no idea who it is. And with both the Resistance and the Consortium trying to control me, the only one I can trust is Reid. If we’re going to have any chance of protecting my family, controlling my unstable powers, and surviving the clash between the Oculi factions, I’m going to have to catch this traitor. By using myself as bait.
Three days ago, I killed someone. A dozen times a night, and every time I close my eyes, I see his body convulse as the bolt of lightning I Pushed struck his body. I still see Santos’s face contorted in pain before he sinks under the surface of the water.
I opened my eyes after brushing my hair and swept my toiletries off the faux-marble counter into my backpack. Stepping out of the bathroom, I scanned the rest of the room for my belongings. My bra lay on the floor where I’d dropped it the night before, next to the paisley bedding. It had been beyond embarrassing shimmying that thing off under my shirt when I was right next to my hottie bedmate.
I plopped my backpack on the bed and grabbed my blue bra. It was still dangling from my hand when the door leading to the parking lot swung open and Reid smiled at me from the threshold.
Perfect. Of course he walked in at this exact moment.
My face flashed with heat. I scrambled to stuff my garment into my bag, but the clasp hooked on one of my bracelets. Working the clasp off my bracelet took way more effort and time than it should have. The stupid thing was stuck. I peeked up at Reid to see if he was still looking at me. Wrinkles formed in the corners of his eyes as he coughed into his hand. He looked over his shoulder as he pretended to hack up a lung to camouflage a laugh.
Sharing the motel room with Reid, my trainer in charge of my safety, was convenient and safer. But him being my kind-of-sort-of-boyfriend also meant I was hyper-aware of personal stuff, like the time I spent showering or Reid catching me staring at him constantly. I mean, we shared a bed and were definitely into each other, but he’d never seen my bra before – on or off.
He’d now witnessed me wrestle with my undergarment – and lose. Which was both slightly embarrassing as his trainee and absolutely mortifying as his kind-of-girlfriend.
Reid looked at me, his brows pulling up in sympathy. He crossed the tiny motel room in three strides and stopped beside me. His warm hand touched my wrist as he studied the clasp and gently unhooked it from my bracelet. He caught my lacy bra before it fell to the bed.
Reid Wentworth was touching my bra, and my boobs weren’t even in it. What were the odds of that?
He’d worked my bra better than I had. How exactly had he gotten his bra-handling knowledge? The thought made me break into a full-body sweat.
Reid turned to face me. “I just turned in the room key. Cohen, my contact from the Hub, called while you were in the shower. The Hub gave us the green light to a safe house outside Flagstaff. We gotta pack ASAP and get on the road. They want us there before nightfall.”
I sat on the bed. “I’ll be ready in three minutes. I think I’ll miss this room, though.” We’d only spent one night, but something about it felt more secure than our two previous stops.
My bra was still in his hands. I yanked from him. “Thank you.”
“I’ll help you with your bra anytime. Just say the word.” He winked.
I wanted to hide.
“Wait.” He pulled his duffle to the bed. “You’ll miss the mustiness of a 70s motel in need of a major facelift?”
With the bra safely tucked away, I bent to lace up my boots. “I know, it’s weird, but I like this place.”
He walked into the bathroom and came out with his toiletries. “You like the wood paneling, the shaggy Muppet carpet, and an air conditioner that’s louder than my bike?”
I peeked toward the rattling air unit. Despite the jolting noise, the curtains floated gracefully above the machine like paisley ghosts.
The room seemed more hidden than the other places we’d stayed, nestled in the woods somewhere in New Mexico. We drove highways instead of interstates all the way from Florida to stay under the radar, but I still felt exposed, afraid someone would see us. Now the mountains and trees gave me a sense of coverage, of safety.
I tied up my other boot. “Yeah, it’s old, but I like it.”
Hiding, tucked away in a dark room, I could almost pretend I hadn’t murdered another human being. Being around people reminded me that I was dangerous, that I was an incomprehensible monster. Maybe I was keeping others safe if I was hidden.
A loud, deep buzz sounded, drilling into the recent memory of gunfire and weapons, of people dying. My heart paused and I dropped to the floor, kneeling behind the bed.
Reid strode to the bedside table where his phone buzzed, but his wide eyes watched me, worry etched on his face.
Duh. Way to jump to conclusions. Chill out, Josie. I forced myself to stand.
The phone buzzed again, vibrating against the wood and reverberating in my bones. I blinked and jerked, almost an involuntary flinch.
It’s just his phone. Get a grip.
But a buzz meant someone was contacting Reid, contacting us. And any communication was bad news at this point.
Reid stepped to me hesitantly, as if he were approaching a skittish stray dog. Understanding flashed across his face. “That will probably happen for a while. But it will get better.” He touched my hand for a moment, but it was enough to remind me that we were safe. For now. I relaxed my posture as I exhaled.
At my side, he positioned the phone so we could read the screen.
I stared at the contact information, a line of pound signs. The meaning of the symbols finally registered. The number was restricted and blocked. I read the first line of the message.
This is Meg.
My body was numb. I couldn’t feel my fingers or toes. They didn’t exist – or if they did, I couldn’t control them. I reread the three words.
My mom. I wasn’t sure I wanted read on. Not just because I didn’t want bad news, but I didn’t want bad news that had anything to do with my family.
Reid bumped his shoulder to mine. “I didn’t think we’d hear from your mother this soon after her last message.” His voice was quiet.
It had been three days since I’d seen her face on her video message. Three days ago seemed like forever, yet it didn’t.
The phone buzzed again, making me jump, waking my body from a fear-induced paralysis.
Eli and I are redirecting to the Hub. 3 Founders need to be present to make executive decisions for the entirety of the Resistance. If the need arises, I have to be present. We should be there before you arrive. The Council is unaware there is a mole within the Hub. Use caution.
Hearing from my family made my heart burst with sweet relief because it was confirmation they were still alive and well. But fear squashed the celebration, turning my blood to cement.
I needed a minute to think. I couldn’t let my family go to the Hub with no way to protect themselves. I shoved the phone out of my line of sight, toward Reid. Instead of moving, he caught my hand and whisked me around to face him. “Josie, I know that look.” He let my hand fall. “If I take you to the Hub instead of the safe house, not only will I be disobeying direct orders, but it could get both of us, and possibly others, killed. You’d be giving the mole what he wants – you.”
He was right – the mole wanted me. And the best way to get to me was through what I cared about most, the people I cared about most. My family.
I took a step away from Reid, the back of my legs hitting the bed. I sank down onto the mattress.
I opened my mouth, but I couldn’t put two words together. My thoughts jumped from the mole, to my family, to the Consortium.
Reid stepped in front of me, his sober expression replaced with brows arched in concern. “Josie, I understand how you must be feeling—more than you know. But I’m supposed to keep you safe.”
I shoved off the bed. My knees buckled immediately and I rocked onto my heels, falling back to the mattress. Frustration clamped down on my emotions and I was ready scream. I couldn’t look at Reid, but I held a palm up as I stared at the phone still in his hand.
He gave me his phone, the text message already pulled up on the screen. Then he sat next to me, making the bed dip under his weight. I read the message again.
What were my choices? If I went to the Hub, the biggest community of the Resistance, I’d be trapping myself with someone who wanted me dead. If I went into hiding with Reid, I’d still be hunted by the Consortium. Neither option was a vacation.
The muscles in Reid’s jaw flexed as his gaze traveled over my face. “I know your family means everything to you. Eli shouldn’t have to be involved in this.”
That was the part I couldn’t take. I let my head drop into my hands, slumping between my knees. The smell of bleach from the linens was almost comforting.
I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that Eli would be staying in the same compound as the mole, as the person who helped Santos try to kill me. Swallowing the ache in my throat and the sting in my sinuses, I willed away my tears.
“Josie.” There was desperation in Reid’s voice.
Clearing my throat, I slowly sat upright and lifted my eyes to meet Reid’s.
Reid looked toward the window. “The Consortium wants all Anomalies dead because we’re too dangerous. And since you’re on your way to being the most powerful Anomaly on the planet, you aren’t just the target – you are the freaking bullseye.”
I wasn’t what mattered. Eli would be in danger. I was the only one who could protect him. I was the only one who could protect a lot of people.
Reid stood and crossed the small room to shut off the air unit. A whole new world of muted sounds came to life. A mourning dove cooed nearby, two housekeepers spoke in hushed tones outside as they pushed a cleaning cart on the cracked sidewalk, and a truck rumbled in the distance. There were spaces in the new quiet, spaces with virtually no sound but plenty of room for thought.
My family was bait. Fury simmered in my stomach.
I shoved off the bed and stepped to Reid’s side, making him look at me. His eyes fluttered shut. “I wish I could just take you away from all this.” His dark lashes fanned upward as he opened his eyes. “But this is your decision.”
His compassion for me meant more to me than I would be able to convey to him. If this were a normal life and we were normal people, his care for me would’ve been all I needed. But our world was anything but normal. My safety didn’t matter, no matter how much he cared about me. My priority was keeping my family and others safe. If that put me in harm’s way, so be it.
“You and I are more powerful than the mole and we’ll out number him. Statistics are in our favor. And he doesn’t get to use my family as bait.”
Reid shook his head and something flickered in his eyes. He tugged me against him, my chest colliding against his. My fingers dug into him, pulling him closer.
Terror trickled through my nervous system, seeping through every inch of me, infusing my body. “I need to go to the Hub,” I whispered. It wasn’t a want, it was a need. I needed to keep my family safe. And in doing that, I’d be facing my own mortality. But what scared me more was facing their mortality, Eli’s mortality. I’d already lost one brother.
Standing in front of the lone motel room window, our bodies bathed in rays of morning sunshine, to anyone watching, we would have looked like we were glowing from within, like superheroes. But superheroes wouldn’t let fear cripple them like this.
Reid let his forehead rest against mine and closed his eyes. “I don’t like this idea for a lot of reasons. But I know that’s selfish.” Blue eyes stared into mine. A sadness masked his face that I didn’t understand.
“Sorry,” I whispered.
He pressed his lips into a tight line. “Let’s go.” He squeezed me then turned to the bed.
“How are we going to find the mole?”
He zipped his duffle bag. “I have no idea, Josie.”
I plucked my phone from the bedside table, the varnish of the dark wood worn along the edges. His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed. “You need to know something. We have to be different in the Hub.” He shook his head. “We can’t, uh,” his voice scratched. “We can’t do this in there.”
“What?” I let my gaze drop to the ground.
“Josie.” I couldn’t look at him until I was sure the sting in my eyes had dissipated. “Josie, look at me.”
That was my luck. My first boyfriend ever broke up with me on my birthday, then my long-time crush ended anything between us before we even had a chance. Two guys ditching me in under two weeks. That had to be some kind of record. For losers.
The shabby motel floor creaked under our feet as Reid dropped his bag, stepped in front of me. “We have to play by the rules in the Hub, and I’m someone who trains others to follow the rules. One of the rules? No trainer-trainee relationships. A romantic relationship between trainers and trainees clouds the trainer’s judgment. So we can’t do this.” He motioned between us.
Understanding why didn’t make the rejection any less painful.
Reid dipped his head, his dark hair falling forward, leaving an inch between our noses. “Make no mistake, I love what we have.” The deep line between his brows reappeared. “But going into the Hub means putting the mission before us. And I’m all for it. We don’t want anyone, including the mole, to know we have a relationship. It would be used against us. A relationship in the Hub could hurt you. I can’t put you in more danger than you already are. We can’t be anything more than friends for now.”
He was right, but that wasn’t going to stop the hurt. What we had wasn’t just a two-week whirlwind romance; this was a lifetime of growing a relationship. I couldn’t move. I’d lost my family, my friends, my home. I’d naïvely thought maybe I could have the one guy who understood what I’d lost and understood me.
A weird pressure bloomed in my chest, but I had to ignore it. I had to move and focus before tears fell and I was a puddle on the floor. Besides, we needed to get on the road.
I backed away from Reid. “Come on.” Stepping to the bed, I flung my backpack over my shoulder. “We have to catch a mole. Before he kills my family. Or me.”
Reid snagged his duffle, his face drawn in worry, and opened the heavy door, squinting into the bright morning light. We secured our bags and our helmets, and I climbed on the bike behind Reid. I forced myself to move as though nothing was different, touching Reid when I had to without reservation. But everything was different.
Reid turned the key, revved the throttle, and the engine roared to life under us. Turning his head over his shoulder, his pale irises met mine. “Last chance. Left to Flagstaff or right to the Hub?”
My chest felt restricted, like I couldn’t pull in a full breath. “Right.” I gripped his waist, anticipating the turn.
He didn’t reply, but he moved his hand on top of mine for a second to squeeze it. Bits of asphalt spat away from the tires as we headed north toward the Hub in the Rockies. The wind whipped through my hair, a flame of red twisting behind me from under my helmet.
In Star Wars terms, I was Luke Skywalker and the Consortium was my own version of the Empire who wanted to wipe out all Jedi. We were off to join the Rebels – the Resistance in the Hub.
The white line on the road trailed alongside the motorcycle, as if it were holding our hands, guiding us. There was something comforting about that white line. Even if it had to break, it came back. That’s what Reid had been for me the last couple weeks – my anchor.
I tightened my hold around Reid’s waist, pressing my body against his back. The warmth of his leather jacket against my stomach combated the cool breeze that had picked up the higher we climbed into the mountains as our journey stretched late into the day.
An hour ago, he’d said we would be to the Hub soon. I hoped for my numb butt’s sake it was sooner rather than later. Despite the peacefulness in watching the highway disappear in the mirror, the growl and whoosh of each semi passing us in the opposite direction made me flinch. With each flinch, I was taken back to the moment I Pushed the lightning that killed Santos. My mind was stuck, replaying the image over and over. The white light had temporarily blinded me as it streaked down the oil-slicked sky to Santos, making me flinch. Santos’ body had convulsed, his face contorted in horror.
No matter what I had done the last few days, how often Reid had made me laugh, or how much we’d kissed late at night, guilt and shame had weaseled into my thoughts. The guilt-shame of taking Santos’ life wasn’t letting up. In fact, it was getting worse.
We rounded a bend in the road and my chest twisted as if someone were ringing me out like a wet towel. My left lung ached like nothing I’d felt before. Was it my lung, though? Or was it my heart?
Was this what it was like as Santos drowned? Had his lungs hurt and was his heart on the verge of explosion? Another picture of Santos coming after me on the beach, a sick and menacing smile on his lips, flickered in my mind.
Another eighteen-wheeler passed and the lightning flashed in my mind again. When the face came into focus though, it wasn’t Santos – it was Eli.
Fear gripped me and I beat both hands on Reid. That’s when I noticed my hands were shaking, and my heartrate matched the rhythm of the shaking, fast and sporadic. Frantic.
“Josie?” he yelled over his shoulder.
I couldn’t manage words, I just beat my right fist into his back, holding on for dear life with my left arm, hooking it around his middle.
Reid slowed around the next curve then pulled off the road at a scenic lookout. I jumped off the bike before it came to a complete stop, flinging my helmet off of my head. The gravel crunched under my boots as I ran to the edge of the lookout. Leaning over the railing, bracing myself on my forearms, I hung my head as I concentrated on deep inhales and slow exhales.
Reid’s feet crushed the gravel as he sprinted to me. “Josie?” His voice was a higher pitch than I’d heard before and it cracked at the end of my name.
His warm hand landed gently on my back. “What’s wrong?”
I shook my head, unable to answer.
Santos was a traitor. Santos tried to kill me. I will not be the reason Eli dies.
A panic attack over Santos and this mole and imagining myself kill my little brother. At least that’s what I thought it was. I just needed the feeling to pass.
I held up a finger, continuing inhaling through my nose to the count of four and exhaling through my mouth to slow my breath and pulse.
Santos was a traitor. Santos tried to kill me. I will not be the reason Eli dies.
I wiped the perspiration on my forehead away with the back of my hand. Reid didn’t force me to speak, but patiently stood behind me, his hand still on my back.
I eventually straightened, letting out a long, pain-free sigh. Finally, I could breathe.
“Santos?” he whispered.
I nodded and my heart squeezed again just hearing his name, but not as severe this time.
His hand slowly roamed up to my shoulder.
“Are you okay?” That was a loaded question.
No, I wasn’t okay, but he already knew that. He’d held me every night when I woke screaming from nightmares. He’d listened as I rehashed the Consortium’s attack on the rooftop after the serum handoff to the vice president. He’d watched me grow up with my family and knew they were everything to me.
I touched my fingertips to his hand gripping my shoulder. I wanted to throw my arms around him and burrow my head into the crevice of his neck, the place I fit perfectly. I wanted to breathe in the smell of him, a clean, musky scent, and feel his warmth around me. Instead, I pulled my fingers away and nodded.
“I’ll be fine.” The words came out quieter than I intended.
I finally raised my eyes to take in our view. A blanket of evergreens covered the mountains surrounding us. “This puts Endor to shame.” I wished it were Endor. No one would be hunting me there.
Crickets had begun their evening song, serenading us, filling in the silence. Moving forward, I leaned against the aluminum guard rail, the metal cool on my upper thighs through my jeans. I kicked a spray of gravel, rocks assaulting plants on the way down the side of the mountain into the gorge.
Reid stepped beside me, his presence simultaneously calming because he had been my support since this whole mess started weeks ago, yet jarring because he couldn’t play the same role anymore. I cleared my throat. “This is beautiful.”
His eyes focused on the mountains in front of us. “This is home,” he said.
“Welcome home.” I guessed this was my home now. Temporarily. Indefinitely. I didn’t know.
I stared at the place where the mountaintops kissed the watercolor sky. Pink cotton candy clouds battled shadows gobbling up the mountains. The sharp smell of pine reminded me of family camping trips – Nick and I racing through the woods and stony creek beds. The scent made me want to run, faster than I had ever before. Run to Mom and Eli in the Hub and find the mole.
Running to them also meant losing my relationship with Reid. As much as I wanted to get to the Hub for them, part of me didn’t. Reid was my older brother’s friend who I’d secretly had a thing for since I was little. He was the one person I’d always wanted. How was I just supposed to turn off those feelings?
Reid turned to face me, his hand reaching for mine, but he allowed it to drop before he touched me. He was afraid to get close. He was putting space between us to keep me safe.
I had to let him go. An invisible pain spread through me. I was a piece of glass struck by a hammer. A spider-web of cracks hid under my skin. I hadn’t thought being kept safe could hurt more than being in danger.
I closed the space between us, his face only inches from mine. His eyes shut for a moment as he sighed. “Josie.” The word was drawn out and whispered.
I traced his jawline with my forefinger. I had to get close. I needed it. I needed him. I shifted my weight forward to rise up on my toes, to touch my lips to his, but then I stopped.
I couldn’t kiss him when I couldn’t have him. I backed away, instantly feeling chilly.
A crease formed between his eyes. “We probably need to get going.”
This was it. We were done.
I turned to his motorcycle, but a Jeep had replaced Reid’s bike. Two weeks ago that would’ve freaked me the hell out, but not anymore. I opened the door of the vehicle and slid into the seat, limp and numb, sadness weighing me down. I stared out the windshield, focused on the mountain across the valley, but I wasn’t really seeing it. In my peripheral, Reid scooted behind the wheel and sat unmoving for several seconds. He hit the steering wheel with the palm of his hand, making me jump in my seat.
Reid turned toward me, his gaze intense. He swiftly slid his hand behind my neck and pulled me to him.
His lips crashed to mine and pressed my mouth open. The warmth of his hand cupping my face and the grip on my waist, as if I’d disappear, fused me back together, making me whole again. My fingers twisted in his hair, pulling him closer. When his tongue swept over mine, my soul ignited. Reid was the human form of helium, making me weightless, letting me soar. We kissed until we were both breathless.
I let my hands slip down to his chest, his heart thumping against my palms. “Reid,” I breathed.
His mouth hovered inches from mine. “That is how I feel about you,” he whispered, his breath tickling my lips. “I can’t do it. I can’t be without you. We’re stronger together.”
I pulled in a deep breath, thinking maybe I would fly away from the brief high of overwhelming joy. “I need you.”
He rested his forehead to mine. “You have me.”
He moved the hand on my waist to my jaw, his thumb sweeping across my cheek. “We can be together, but we have to hide it. It has to be only in private.”
He glanced down to my lips. “And I can’t wait until the next time I can do that.”
The mere idea of there being another time he’d kiss me with that kind of intensity heated my cheeks.
Reid sat back in his seat, started the engine, and gave me his flirty half smile I’d grown to adore. “Let’s go.”
I flipped down the visor and peeked in the mirror. Some tendrils of hair were wavy, some straight, and all of it completely out of control. My hair might as well be Captain Davey Jones’ tentacles from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
With the next blink I Pushed and a hair band appeared in my palm. I no longer felt like getting sick each time I Pushed or Retracted reality.
Inspecting my hair, I Pushed my strawberry blonde strands straight then pulled it into a ponytail. Every Push or Retraction came with a price. Each Oculi had a bank of energy that was limited and every manipulation of reality was an energy withdrawal. When the bank was empty, it was empty. Oculi were encouraged to not waste Pushes and Retractions on little things we could do ourselves.
I, on the other hand, was the daughter of the two scientists who’d taken the amplifying serum. My energy bank, like my older brother’s had, seemed to work a little different than other new Anomalies. I seemed to have endless energy. In fact, I had to use my energy, release some by Pushing and Retracting, just to take the edge off. My energy had grown in the last three days even, almost radiating off me at times. I’d only had these abilities for a couple weeks and I was growing more powerful each day.
“Is what I’m wearing okay?” I asked, checking out my retro Princess Leia tee and holey jeans.
“Yeah. You look…” He glanced at me as he drove and a mischievous grin slid across his lips.
“What?” My nerves were shot and we weren’t even to the Hub yet.
He shook his head, smiling to himself. “You’re fine.”
“Okay. I guess I’ll trust you on that.” Even though everyone at the Hub would know who I was, I wanted to make a good impression. Everyone in the Hub would have varying expectations of me, since I was the daughter of one of the founding families of the Resistance.
Plus, my older brother had an Oculi degradation in the Hub, a rare consequence of observing reality into existence. Our observations traveled through the optic nerve to our brain. Sometimes our observations could randomly fry our nerves, which, could lead to degradation of the parietal lobe, cerebrum, and cortex. A possible side effect of this kind of degradation was a psychotic break.
“You can trust me.” His eyes locked on mine, this time not accompanied by a smile. “With everything.” He turned his attention back to the road, his profile dark against the waning sunset.
I was banking on that trust. I wouldn’t be able to do anything without it. “I need to make sure I have this straight. Right now our plan is to figure out a way to expose the mole, possibly with me as the bait.”
I knew he didn’t like that idea, so I ignored his serious side-eye and continued. “This guy wants me dead, so he’s almost definitely going after my family. He may also try to take the Resistance down from the inside. Aaaand, we don’t know if he is working with anyone else inside the Hub, like he was with Santos.”
“You got it, babe.”
Anger seethed in my stomach as I watched thunderhead clouds billow from behind the mountain peaks. Energy buzzed in my fingers. This mole, this accomplice to my attempted murder, this orchestrator of the deaths of innocent people, didn’t know what was coming for him.
About the Author:
Tonya Kuper writes young adult science fiction and contemporary novels. She first fell in love with reading in elementary school, which eventually lead to earning a BA in Elementary Education and a MS in Reading Education, but she never thought she’d write a novel, let alone several. When Tonya isn’t writing, she teaches Young Adult Literature Writing Workshop at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, laughs as much as possible, loves music, and nerds-out over Star Wars, Marvel, Sherlock, and all things pop-culture. She lives in Omaha, NE with her husband and two rad boys.
Twitter . Website . Instagram . Facebook . Wattpad
Title: Curses & Ash ( Coral & Bones )
Author: Tiffany Daune
Publisher: Jester Ink Press -Self Published
Publication Date: January 2016
Genre: YA , Fantasy , Mermaids, Magic
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Links: Amazon . Goodreads
Discover the spellbinding sequel to Coral & Bone...
A demented twin sister, a demon hijacking her powers, and a mysterious journal filled with more questions than answers—Halen needs her Guardian Dax more than ever. But if she confides in Dax, she fears he will never forgive her, not after all he sacrificed to help her vanquish Asair. Halen drowned Asair in a tornado of wings—at least, she thought she killed him. Why then does his mocking voice snake through her thoughts, enticing her to surrender her power? Maybe she screwed up—big time—but she will never allow Asair to control her magick. And when Etlis' fires threaten the Earth, suspicions surrounding Asair's death rise, igniting restlessness within the realms. Her life in balance, Halen must race time, purge the demon's soul before flames consume the Earth or the Tari strike first.
I received a copy of Curses & Ash from the author in exchange with my honest review .
I really enjoyed reading Coral & Bones , the 1st book in the series. I fell in love with the plot , writing style, and world building . I was expecting the sequel, Curses & Ash, to be like it. It wasn't ; it was much better !! I have no idea Tiffany was able to make a sequel that was so great , compared to the epic start of the series .
Sequels sometimes end up to be a disappointment , but Tiffany was able to break this stereotype.
The story picks from where the 1st book ended, with us wondering if Asair is actually inside Halen. This means that one will be hooked by the story directly.
In this sequel that is filled with surprises, hate, love, and a lot of ( OMG), I found myself unable to put this book down. The book was leaving me torn apart with every chapter I finish !
The book contained a story within a story that left me amazed. It was so creative , like that in Holly Black's The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.
Between the unfolding events, characters' pasts, and their lies&secrets, you will barely be able to put this book down.
As I approached the end, I entered a reading phase that I rarely ever visit; the shuffling between "Having a few pages left ,with events that are going to destroy me emotionally, that I pause with every page to delay it" & " Reading so fast to see how the story ends " !
How does Tiffany have all of this amazing creativity ???? Not only that, but she describes these descriptions and feelings perfectly ! No, perfect doesn't even begin to describe this ."
To sum it all up, this book left me emotionally exhausted , and impatiently waiting for the end of the series !
I give Curses & Ash 5/5 stars .
Click on the image to read my review of Coral & Bones !
Halen knows the sparks igniting under her fingertips are dangerous. She has spent her entire life trying to quell the tingly feelings that make her destroy things, but now that she is back in Rockaway Beach, where she watched her father drown, the flames have become impossible to tame.
Halen is trying to hold on, but when she is thrust into a mysterious new world, the underwater realm of Elosia, she unravels the secrets of her past and can't help but ignite. As she explores Elosia, she realizes her life has been a lie. And when those who have deceived her come to her for help, Halen must choose—walk away or unleash the magick that could destroy them all.
About the Author :
Tiffany Daune writes stories about magick, love and dark creatures lurking in the shadows. She is the author of Surface and the Coral & Bone series. When not lost in Editland, you can find her reading a book from her towering tbr pile or kicking back and watching movies with her family. She lives on an island, in the Pacific Northwest, surrounded by mermaids that are much nicer than the ones found in her books.
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Title: The Coupling (The Letting #2)
Author: Cathrine Goldstein
Publication Date: February 15th 2016
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: YA, Dystopia
My Rating: 3.25/5 stars
The Letting on Goodreads
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In Ronnie Billings’ dystopian world, surviving the Letting and breaking free of a corrupt government is less of a surprise than falling in love with Phoenix Day, the leader of the Peaceful Revolution…
When the government sentences Ronnie to a Coupling under the guise of producing a coveted blood type, Ronnie discovers the one she’s slated to Couple with expects even more.
Prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice to save those she loves most, Ronnie devastates Phoenix with her impossible decision. Whisked away from her rebel life to another world ravaged by despair, Ronnie meets her greatest nemesis...her biological father.
Steeling her nerves against the dangers of escape, she embarks on the perilous journey back. She is convinced she belongs with Phoenix and his revolution, but will her friends, and especially Phoenix, be ready to accept her when she returns? Because this time, evil is in her blood...
I received an eARC of The Coupling in exchange with an honest review.
I have been anticipating this book ever since I have read The Letting ( Click here to read my review of book 1) , so once The Coupling blog tour was announced, I knew that I had to be a part of it.
The book starts with the best prologue ever. It made me wonder about how the story will twist and turn for the characters to end up right there,since the 1st few chapters and the blurb makes it seem impossible.
I was disappointed with the how some characters acted during the beginning of the book; it made the writing and the character building flake out a bit.
However, the story's plot continues to intrigue me. Catherine has created a novel concept, with events that will keep you flipping through the pages.
I will be waiting for the 3rd book in the series to see what happens next !
I give it 3.25 /5 stars
Enter the Giveaway !
About the Author:
Given my love for cities and all that is gritty, my new obsession with trees really has me stumped. (Sorry.) Maybe it's because trees are the inspiration behind my new YA/NA novel, THE LETTING.
Whatever the reason for my new infatuation, some things remain constant -- like my love for: coffee (although sadly, it's now decaf); yoga; Luna bars (I am petitioning for them to bring back Chocolate Raspberry!); running in my neighborhood; Hemingway; Bukowski... and, above all, my husband and my girls.
I am the author of the bestselling novel, Sleeping With Mortals: The Story of a New York Mistress, and I'm also a playwright. I have my B.A. in English and my M.A. in Theatre.
I'm thrilled to take part in the excerpt Blitz for Selene Castrovilla's SIGNS OF LIFE (Rough Romance #2, sequel to MELT)! Check out the books below and along with an excerpt from the beginning of SIGNS OF LIFE, and be sure to enter the giveaway below.
MELT (Rough Romance #1) by Selene Castrovilla
MELT is a brutal love story set against the metaphorical backdrop of The Wizard of Oz (not a retelling). When sixteen year old Dorothy moves to the small town of Highland Park, she meets, and falls for Joey – a “bad boy” who tells no one about the catastrophic domestic violence he witnesses at home. Can these two lovers survive peer pressure, Joey’s reputation, and his alcoholism? Told in dual first person, Joey's words are scattered on the page - reflecting his broken state. Dorothy is the voice of reason - until something so shattering happens that she, too, may lose her grip. Can their love endure, or will it melt away? MELT is based on true events. It is both a chilling tale of abuse, and a timeless romance. It will hit you like a punch in the face, and also seep through the cracks in your soul. Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble
SIGNS OF LIFE (Rough Romance #2) by Selene Castrovilla Publication Date: March 29, 2016 Publisher: Last Syllable Books
No good deed goes unpunished…The tables are turned with a vengeance in this tour de force sequel to MELT. Now it’s Dorothy who is fragmented and lost, while Joey keeps the promise he made her to better himself – even though she’s gone. Joey tells his story “now ”—nearly a year after the shocking conclusion of MELT. Dorothy tells what happened “then”— in the moments and hours after the Glock dropped. This time the stakes are even higher, as Joey forces himself to move forward while Dorothy is frozen in place. But when he learns of a devastating decision, Joey races to find her before it’s too late. Truth, consequence, repercussion and modern medicine collide as pieces converge in this psychological, thrilling story, which begs the question: Can love really conquer all? Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble - Available for pre-order!
SIGNS OF LIFE - Chapter One
Note: In SIGNS OF LIFE, Dorothy's thoughts/words our now scattered on the page.
About the AuthorWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads
Selene Castrovilla is the award-winning author of multiple narrative nonfiction picture books and young adult novels. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School and a BA in English from New York University. She lives on Long Island with her two sons and too many cats. Visit her website: www.SeleneCastrovilla.com.
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Title: Storm Fall ( Rebel Wing #2)
Author: Tracy Banghart
Publisher: Alloy Entertainment
Publication Date: December 16th, 2014
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance
Format: e ARC
My Rating: 5/5 stars (A)
In the action-packed sequel to Rebel Wing, Aris battles for life and love . . . and not everyone will survive.
Aris Haan gave up everything to join the Atalantan Military: her family, her boyfriend, even her identity. In the end, though, it didn’t matter that she was a war hero. When the all-male Military discovered that she was actually a woman, she was sent home and erased from history.
Now she has a chance to go back to the battlefield—as herself. But as hard as it was to be a soldier in disguise, it’s even more difficult now. The men in her unit undermine her at every turn. The Safaran army has spies everywhere, perhaps even on Aris’s stationpoint. And she’s falling for her mysterious superior officer, Milek. But their relationship is forbidden, just stolen moments between training sessions and missions. There’s no room for love in war.
Then Aris discovers that Safara’s leaders have set their sights on her, Atalanta’s hero. And she must find them before they find her
I received Storm Fall from Alloy Entertainment via NetGalley in exchange with an honest review.
So we all know how sometimes the second book in a series is a huge let down to the readers, well Storm Fall does not fall under this category ! I absolutely loved this as much as the first book, if not more.
The Book begins with a new law being added, which is ( Women can volunteer to enter the Military). Of course, Aris volunteers , because the Military is now her life. Of course, there is also Milek ! However, he is not the reason why she is going back. She loves the fact that she can save people. Returning there as a women won't be easy. Almost everyone look down at her , or even worse, harass her.
The Plot thickens as Sadara's leaders feel that they are threatened by Aris, and would stop at nothing to bring her and Atlanta down.
As if the action was not enough, the interaction between characters develops , and adds new conflicts to the story. We also get more Ariek ( Romance) , which is awesome.
I really enjoyed Storm Fall as much as I loved Rebel Wings. Perhaps even more; I mean it contains more action and more romance!
I give it 5/5 stars and an A according to my own rating scale !
Title: The Henderson Harbor Killings: Summer Shack 2
Author: Kelli Landon
Publication Date: August 21, 2014
My Rating:4/5 stars ( B)
Revenge doesn’t come with an expiration date.
Before Summer Shack (A Killer Vacation), Cynthia Barnett was a classmate and neighbor of Burt Whitehead’s.
Graduating from Birchville High in 2000, she was known as the girl who got away. She was frowned upon for hanging with Burt’s bullies, but she held her own against the ridicule they put him through. The story leading up to high school graduation is told through Cynthia’s eyes.
The Whiteheads lead a very different lifestyle. Burt tries to live his own life while dealing with his dominating mother, Vera. Rumors of Vera’s missing husband as well as the child abuse afflicted upon Burt, don’t make life easy for him. While working up at the Henderson Harbor lighthouse, Burt practices his revenge in ways he learned from his mother and another relative. His crimes rock Door County as he takes to the Internet to lure in his victims. Burt Whitehead’s story makes up Part Two of The Henderson Harbor Killings.
I received Summer Shack Prequel from the author Kelli Landon in exchange with an honest review.
You don't have to read Summer Shack: Book 1 to enjoy this. This is a Prequel, not a sequel.
Revenge does not come with an expiration Date.......Intriguing right??
I absolutely loved this; the way the author build up the case of Burt, who was a normal kid and turned into a psychopath is literally amazing.
During this huge transformation, you get to sympathize with Burt and get creeped by him at the same time.
You get to observe his swinging emotions until they are completely destroyed.
So there was a lot of character Building in this book.
However,I kind of did not buy his final switch into a complete killer.There was just too much killing going on.
This is just a minor thing that I did not like; other than that, I really enjoyed Summer Shack 2 with the mystery and the thrilling, and sometimes kind of terrifying, cold events.
I give it 4/5 stars and a B according to my own rating scale.
Title: Dead Over Heels
Author: Alison Kemper
Publisher: Enatngled teen
Publication Date: September 29th, 2014
Genre: YA, Zombies
My rating : 5/5 stars (A)
Click on the image to get it on amazon
The end of the world just might be their perfect beginning…
Glenview, North Carolina. Also known―at least to sixteen-year-old Ava Pegg―as the Land of Incredibly Boring Vacations. What exactly were her parents thinking when they bought a summer home here? Then the cute-but-really-annoying boy next door shows up at her place in a panic…hollering something about flesh-eating zombies attacking the town.
I received an eARC copy of Dead Over Heels from the author in exchange with an honest review.
Dead over Heels is a companion to Donna of the Dead, so you don't have to read the first book to read this one. But then, you will be missing all the awesomeness of the first book.
In the contrary with the first novel, Dead Over Heels has much more romance than the first book.It is mostly based on two main characters, Eva and Cole, rather than a bigger group of friends/classmates. Which was really interesting because the author was able to share the story with the readers using both perspectives.
The setting was in the woods, which makes running away from zombies a bit more difficult because there is no safe place to hide that is anywhere near!\
Speaking of zombies, there are not actually dead. However, their brains are. It caused by some kind of new flew spreading all around the world.
Is there any humor in it at all ? YES, there were times were I could not stop laughing!
Opps I did again, reread few parts when I finished the book :)
Back to the Romance, it was one of my favorite types! You know, when two people can barely stand each other and as time flies they fall in love!
I think the events of Dead Over Heals occurs somewhere either at the same time or somehow before the events of Donna of the Dead. I believe in the third and last book would somehow come together to fight this flu??? I am not sure, but that would totally kick ass !
This is such a great read if you are going through a reading slump, or if you want something packed with adventure, humor, and romance, something that you would get into so easily.
So basically Dead Over Heals is a great read with zombie frosting and romance topping!
I give this book 5/5 stars and an A according to my own rating scale.
About the Author
Alison Kemper grew up in South Florida, the only girl on a street with eleven boys. She spent most of her childhood paddling a canoe through neighborhood canals and looking for adventure. She usually found it. Sometimes the police were involved. And large dogs. And one time, a very territorial snake. Now that she’s grown up, she lives in North Carolina and writes books. The books often include girls having adventures. With boys. Cute boys. And cute dogs too. But no cute snakes. Never cute snakes.
Her debut novel, Donna of the Dead, was published by Entangled Teen in 2014 and is followed by two companion books in the series. She loves to meet new people and talk books, so send her a friend request or connect with her on Twitter ( https://twitter.com/Alison_Kemper ) and Instagram.
Title:The Scorch Trails ( The Maze Runner #2)
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: October 10th, 2010
Genre: Dystopian, Sci Fi, YA
My Rating: 5/5 stars ( A)
Blurb: Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end.
Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn’t done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch.
There are no rules. There is no help. You either make it or you die.
The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.
Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. All bets are off.
There are others now. Their survival depends on the Gladers’ destruction—and they’re determined to survive.
The sequel of The Maze Runner keeps up with the level of mystery and thrill, but in a different way.
It picks up right from where The Maze Runner ended, which is great.
I Found it much easier to get into because I was already invested in the story and I was trying to figure out Wicked and all the crazy things that were happening.
Not only that the element of love is added in the second book, but also it is a Love triangle.
This story is about extreme manipulation with emotions and believes, and James Dashner was able to involve me with what Thomas went through.
It might not be highly action packed like The Maze Runner, oh man, but the feels it gives you is phenomenal !
Every couple chapters left me humming the intro of Macklemores' Thrift Shop, which goes something like What What What , What What What?
The Only thing that kind of annoyed me was how much Thomas passed out and slept in this book, probably about 20 times !
I really enjoyed the Scorch Trails and I gave it 5/5 stars and an A according to my own rating scale.
Title: The Wire in the Blood ( Tony Hill and Carol Jordan #2)
Author: Val McDermid
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Murder , Adult
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date : 1997
My Rating: 4.5/5
Young girls are disappearing around the country, and there is nothing to connect them to one another, let alone the killer whose charming manner hides a warped and sick mind.
Nobody gets inside the messy heads of serial killers like Dr Tony Hill. Now heading up a National Profiling Task Force, he sets his team air exercise: they are given the details of missing teenagers and asked to discover whether there is a sinister link between any of the cases.
" It is better to start reading knowing only the above. The original summary contains a few spoilers. I only read the first sentence before reading and really enjoyed it"
My Review :
First of all, I would like to say that this book has been sitting on my shelf for about 4 years. I finally decided to take the challenge of reading an adult mystery book. To my surprise, after marching half way through, I realized that this book is the second one in the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan Series. Thankfully, it is almost not related to the previous book.
The first 40 pages were kind of slow and a bit boring, but I had to keep on reading , and I am glad that I did so. I was hooked my the mystery and fell in love with the characters . I loved how the writers switched the scenery from the cops and investigators to the the criminal. And how I loved the criminal's parts in the stories. Although short and brief, yet totally terrifying.
The only reason I did not give it 5/5 is perhaps the way the writer showed who is the murderer and killed one of my favorite characters in the first half of a 533 book. The rest was about capturing the killer. The thing is, I scanned about 20-30 books in the second part, scanning is not a good thing.
However, the book is worth reading. I loved everything in this book and I can't wait to read the FIRST book and the third. Because that ending was shocking and although I hope that the events will be discussed in the the third book, I fear that it might be an open ending.