Monday, March 28, 2016

An Empire of Traitors by Serban V.C. Enache ~ Review

Title: An Empire of Traitors (Of Hate and Laughter #1)
Author: Serban V.C. Enache
Genre: Adult, Fantasy
Length: 323 Pages
Publisher: Independent
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Source: Review Request
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Flesh will bleed. Bones will break. Swords will turn.

An Empire Of Traitors follows several principal storylines simultaneously. It's been eight years since the end of the civil war between the Inquisition and emperor Zygar Ferus, worshiper of blood gods. Eight years into the aftermath, a new emperor sits the Sun Throne, and the Inquisition is no more.

In the five realms of the Empire things are stirring. Driven by ambition or wounded pride, many nobles like the dog-headed serpent of Stoneweed seek to change their fortunes, even with the price of treachery. And from exile, from the heathen nations of the Lowlands, another Sunborn scion of house Mero gathers strength behind his claim. No family, great or small, shall remain indifferent to fate's whim. It takes an emperor to rule an empire, but it takes numbers and honored oaths to keep both crown and throne.

In the Westlands, Drakanes, a sister of the temple finds herself in the role of witness and proctor, of passing judgement on a man accused of murder, who claims to have been possessed. The trial's proceedings enlighten her as to the truth of it all, and the good sister is willing to, out of pure stubbornness, risk death for justice. Emperor Hagyai Rovines Mero fears for the continuation of his line, and sends Sycarus on an errand to the Desertlands to bring back an Aharo maiden for his son and heir. It is said that the Aharo savage women always give birth to healthy babes. Hagyai Rovines desires a betrothal between the prince heir and a savage girl - trying to emulate a long dead custom of the Sunborn emperors. Such a move is most unpopular, and the whispers of another civil war are once again in the air.

The imperial chancellor warns Birus Mandon, lord of Rivermark and warden of the Streamlands, of a plot against the emperor, a plot made by his exiled brother, Amarius Soronius. Mandon tries to gather knowledge on the schemes of potential oathbreakers, but his trade is not that of a spy. When he hires the Mounted Arrows Company of Narak al Zull, Birus learns more than mere outlandish tactics; he finds a new source of strength in the sellsword's foreign warrior god.

Kalafar Sodomis, lord of Weiyenor and warden of the Northlands, has seen his brother get married, and he himself is tried by notions of passion toward a certain lady of a southern house. But as the conflict breaks out, Kalafar needs to act as a proper lord, as a man, not a boy. He summons his vassals for a council at Devil Mound, to decide if the north will go to war or no; and there to also perform a certain ritual to honor the dead of Fengard and Wyrm.

Find out how it all unfolds by reading An Empire Of Traitors, the first book in the series Of Hate And Laughter.

This is the beginning of a very epic tale. There are dozens of characters and storyblines that are woven together - somewhat. I think as we go along things will become quite a nice tapestry of the world. This isn't just epic in the character count, but in the size of the world and realms. We go from nomadic desert kingdoms to frigid northlands and the places in between. There are hints of magic anc magical creatures, although I have yet to see one outside of dreams.

There is a lot of setting up the various story lines and beginnings. Almost too many. Outside of the usurper timeline, many of them didn't seem to go anywhere yet. This was a little disappointing because I really like to see forward progress and development of all the little pieces.

I'm sure these will be continued into the next book and I hope to see a lot of great things. I just wish more of those great and exciting things had happened in book one.

*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*

Friday, March 25, 2016

Graylings Song by Karen Cushman ~ Review

Title: Grayling's Song
Author: Karen Cushman
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Length: 224 Pages
Publisher: Clarion Books
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

When Grayling’s mother, wise woman Hannah Strong, starts turning into a tree, Hannah sends Grayling to call “the others” for help. Shy and accustomed to following her mother in everything, Grayling takes to the road. She manages to summon several “others”—second-string magic makers who have avoided the tree spell—and sets off on a perilous trip to recover Hannah’s grimoire, or recipe book of charms and potions. By default the leader of the group, which includes a weather witch, an enchantress, an aspiring witch, a wizard whose specialty is divination with cheese, and a talking and shape shifting mouse called Pook, Grayling wants nothing more than to go home.

Kidnapping, imprisonment, near drowning, and ordinary obstacles like hunger, fatigue, and foul weather plague the travelers, but they persist and achieve their goal. Returning, Grayling finds herself reluctant to part with her companions—especially Pook. At home she’s no longer content to live with her bossy mother, who can look after herself just fine, and soon sets out on another journey to unfamiliar places . . . possibly to see the young paper maker who warmed her heart.

Graying experiences quite the adventure in Grayling's Song. Being given the task to gather "the others" and find her mother's spellbook in order to save the world from a very vague evil shadowy menace was quite a terrifying concept for her. There are only a handful of people with the ability to help her, and she instantly starts off on her quest to find them

She manages to accumulate quite the variety of people. I loved how their personalities clashed and blended together at times in such a fun and realistic way. You like each one of them for different reasons and they are full of surprises - especially one of them!

What may be the downfall for some middle graders is the language. There is nothing foul or inappropriate, but it is very period specific. I could see some of the more reluctant readers struggling with reading and understanding it.

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review*

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Conflicting Webs by Darlene Quinn ~ Review

Title: Conflicting Webs
Author: Darlene Quinn
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Fiction
Length: 480 Pages
Publisher: April 7, 2015
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 3 Star
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

The Toddman-Taylor saga continues in a new direction, exploring love and loss, career and family, forgiveness and redemption in this stand-alone addition to the gripping Web series. Fast-paced chapters propel unforgettable characters through the turmoil of overlapping and often conflicting commitments.

Wedding bells are set to ring. April Toddman, the darling of the Jordon’s retail dynasty, feels blessed. Her handsome, amiable fiancé, Kyle Clark, is passionate and shares her dreams. No couple could ask for a more promising future. And yet, just days before they are to exchange their marriage vows, their perfect world begins to crumble. Fate steps in and puts April and Kyle to the test. Will they successfully thread their way through the conflicting webs to secure their happiness?

With unfamiliar ground beneath their feet, April and Kyle must confront an unrelenting tsunami of obligations: to other—to their budding careers—and to themselves.

A child without a mother . . . A wedding without a honeymoon . . . A mother without a family . . . Beloved characters old and new weave secrets, mistakes, accidents, and lies into intricate webs of conflict as they strive to protect the generation of tomorrow.

Readers young and old will be held captive by the bold decisions these characters make to take charge of their destinies.

Conflicting Webs had a little too much going on for me. There are two very major story lines - which do overlap and interact nicely - but I felt like I neve really got to focus on one or the other.

In one story we have the April and her wedding - which seems destined to be sabotaged. If it can go wrong - it seems like it will. From accidents to the flower girl's birth mother trying to steal her away. A lot of the story revolves around this mother and her attempt to ruin Kyle and April's life while trying to start over with her own. Her story was actually my favorite part of the book. It was gritty and real, a part of life not everyone (thankfully) gets to see everyday.

On the other hand - and I'm going to be vague here to avoid spoilers - we have a horrible accident and some deaths that really made me want to cry. While her story was touching - it seemed like it was there to create more drama and have a few influences on the other story line. It never quite seemed complete somehow.

This was not my favorite of the series. Too much going on that meant I had a hard time really connecting to any one part of it. But till a good story.

*This book was received in exhange for an honest review*

Monday, March 21, 2016

Sovereign Social Protocol by Bernadette Allen ~ Review

Title: Sovereign Social Protocol: Life and Death in the Council
Author: Bernadette Allen
Genre: Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Length: 109 Pages
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: December 29, 2015
Source: Review Request
Rating: 2 Stars
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Do You Believe That The Government Has Your Best Interests in Mind? This Dystopian Thriller Will Make You Think Twice!

In 2084, Aaron Trudeau is about to graduate college and enter the real world. As he learns that most everyone is blinded by the government's accomplishments, Aaron seems to have more and more doubts. He signs up to join the SSP, Sovereign Social Protocol, better known as "The Council," more out of defiance than a civic duty. As he treads deeper into the SSP, his covert plan derails as he discovers there are more horrific practices than even the SSP could imagine.

If you've been looking for an exciting new dystopian thriller, this is it! Sovereign Social Protocol will leave you so enthralled that you won't be able to put it down once you start.

Great world concept. This dytopia almost sounds like a utopia at first - but isn't that how they all seem to begin? With The Council in control of everything - no one really needs to do anything, except agree and fall in line. This book is about what happens when you don't quite agree, and you don't fall in line.

Unfortunately, the actual story just didn't live up to expectations. Aaron is almost childlike at times - ruining his college age character and the way I veiwed him throughout the story. Towards the end of this book I did see a bit of a more analytical problem solving adult start to come through, but it took a long time to get there.

The story line is a little jumpy, but it does move along nicely. There is action, sci-fi, and even some good family drama. It was a bit jumpy at times, it seemed like some scene breaks weren't included and it made some of the transitions a bit hard to follow.

*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Damnation's Door by Amy Braun ~ Cover Reveal and Excerpt

Damnation’s Door
Amy Braun
(Cursed, #3)
Publication date: June 7th 2016
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Demons are free. Angels are fallen. Hope is dying…
Constance Ramirez and her adopted sister, Andromeda, have stopped Lucifer’s plan– They have closed the Heaven Gate and kept the demons out. But their choice came with brutal consequences, and now every angel on earth is trapped in their mortal body.
All that remains is closing the Hell Gate and establishing a balance once and for all. That means returning to the city of Constance’s nightmares, which has become a haven for murderers and monsters. But even more dangerous than their hunt is that Andromeda’s powers and instincts are turning darker, and this time Constance doesn’t know how to protect her.
Constance is ready to fight for her life, but her enemies have plans she can’t begin to imagine, and they’re prepared to make her suffer…
Trust is lost and hearts are broken in the epic conclusion in Amy Braun’s Cursed trilogy…
**Cover designed by Deranged Doctor Design**
Chapter 1
It was supposed to be simple.
I actually thought we would be able to step outside our shelter, get the supplies, and be back before anyone realized we’d been there.
This is what happens when my sister’s optimism rubs off on me.
But it wasn’t Dro’s fault that we walked into a damn trap. Hell just hated us.
That was fine. I hated Hell right back.
The cheap metal door was still clanging against the plaster wall of the store I’d just busted into. Max had looked into it when I asked, and told me there would be demons, but he couldn’t tell what kind because his precog was still blurred. I was expecting a couple Reds or ghouls, maybe a Shredder.
I was not expecting Possessors.
The possessed humans weren’t surprised to see us. Even in their human forms, the Possessors should have been able to sense my sister, because she was the most powerful half-demon known to exist. Since she was still on Hell’s Most Wanted List, we had a serious problem on our hands.
The Possessors looked like regular humans, except their irises were solid black. I held back my shiver, knowing just how much pain their souls must be in. Being possessed was one of the worst things a human could experience. I had barely survived it.
These Possessors had taken over a group of tall, bulky men in black clothes. Their hair ranged from shoulder-length to bald, and their arms were covered in tattoos. Each had the tattoo of a rose thorn that appeared to be weaving in and out of their skin, blood dripping from the points. I had the same one inked behind my ear.
This just keeps getting better and better.
Finally, we snapped out of our shock. I went for the hatchet on my hip and grabbed a knife from my inside jacket. Beside me, Warrick took out a handgun. Next to him, Sephiel drew two short swords. Max wisely stepped back, knowing he couldn’t fight half as well as the rest of us. Dro’s shoulders were tense and ready, but I moved in front of her not just to protect her, but to keep her from doing anything that would get all of us killed.
I started reconsidering this when all of the Possessors drew enormous handguns.
But they didn’t shoot. Why weren’t they shooting?
Because someone else was in the room with us. Someone bigger than the Possessors, who stalked out from the shadows into the dim light. My hand tightened on the grip of my weapons, and I expected Warrick to pull the trigger.
Drake Talbot smiled when he saw our anger. He was a huge bear of a man, about six foot three and probably two hundred and fifty pounds of muscle. He had on his black duster and dark pants, his hands on his hips to display the guns and the thick, blunt hilts of his knives easily visible next to his clothes. The top of his head and his chin were covered in dark stubble. Two abysmal black eyes stared at me, filled with sadism and malice.
“Well, look who showed their faces after all,” Drake sneered, standing confidently behind his bodyguards. “We didn’t think you’d make it to Party Town.”
Party Town. I supposed Drake would see it that way. I didn’t think a city full of murderers, rapists, and generally wicked people was a place to party, but Drake was the definition of a masochist. He would see a city of death as home, sweet home.
Warrick didn’t have a kill shot, and that was the only reason I could imagine for Drake to still be standing. All it would take was one missed shot to set off a chain reaction of bullets and blood.
I wanted to see Drake bleeding under my boot just as much as he did, but I wasn’t throwing my knife, either. Something wasn’t right.
“What are you doing here, Drake?” I growled.
He laughed. It was an awful, rasping noise. His black eyes met mine, the same way they had when he stabbed me twice and left me to die. I blocked out the memory, keeping away the phantom pain of a knife sliding into my stomach and ribs.
“Had to pick something up for the boss,” he said mockingly. “You can imagine how fussy he is.”
My blood went cold, and I barely heard Dro’s sharp intake of breath. I could picture Sephiel’s face tightening with anger. Drake looked at all of us, relishing the hatred, pain, and fear we radiated. I controlled it as best as I could, knowing answers were more important than revenge right now.
“What the fuck did you do?” I asked again.
His grin widened, and this time he only looked at me. “It isn’t what I did. It’s what I’m going to do.” He dipped his chin, fixing me with his black gaze. “He’s got plans for you, chica. Serious plans. So much detail has gone into them that even your ex isn’t allowed to intervene. Matt’s pretty pissed about that too.”
Not as pissed as he would be if he heard you calling him ‘Matt.’
“See, I found something really, really special.” Drake continued. “It’s the last thing we need. But don’t worry, sweetheart. You’ll get introduced to it very, very soon.”
My stomach turned. I expected him to say something about wanting Dro. My sister was the real supernatural force in our group. I was human, born and raised. I’d never been anything but. I didn’t want to be.
Whatever was being planned for me by Drake, my former lover, and the creature I feared above anything else could only involve pain. A substantial amount of it.
I’d been on the receiving end of their tortures before. I had no intention of going through them again.
Though if they wanted me for something, they wouldn’t risk shooting me. They would take me alive.
No, they’re not. They’re going to try. And they’re going to fail.
I took a risk myself, and threw my silver knife at Drake.
I didn’t miss–I hardly ever miss–but I didn’t hit my mark.
The thin silver blade slammed into the neck of the Possessor standing beside Drake. The huge bounty hunter had stepped to the side so the blade wouldn’t get anywhere near him. He stepped so far I was a little embarrassed at how off my aim had been. Deep down, I knew better. Drake was fast for someone his size, but it looked like he’d gotten quite a bit from his deal with the Devil.
The man lurched, blood gushing from the wound in his neck. He opened his mouth as though to scream, but a spiral of thick black smoke shot out of his mouth. The Possessor’s true form screeched and twisted away in the back room. Then room exploded into action.
At first I thought the Possessors were going to shoot us. At their cores, they were still gangsters. Yet as soon as I surged forward, I saw them hesitate.
They were here to stall us, not kill us. At least not me, and probably not Dro.
Everyone else though… they were fair game.
Two shots cracked in rapid succession. None of the bullets hit me, though two of the possessed Blood Thorns dropped from the bullets that crashed into their skulls, scaring the Possessors out of their vessel’s dying mouths. Warrick had exceptional aim, and shooting demons with blessed silver bullets was good way to keep them from returning to rip us apart.
I went for Drake, who was backing away to escape through the storeroom exit. Fucking coward.
Two Possessors blocked my path. They tucked their guns away and threw out their fists. I skidded to a stop and stepped back, one of their clenched hands brushing along my temple.
Admittedly, I didn’t think this whole plan through. Seeing the man who murdered my mentor, kidnapped my sister, tortured and tried to kill me sparked my already short temper. So it wasn’t long before they got their shots in.
The man on my left jabbed his fist into my ribs. I winced, giving the man on the right the chance to loop his arm around my throat. I was pinned to his back, my neck straining painfully as he wrenched it up. I used one hand to claw at the meaty arm on my throat, leaving my front completely exposed to the second man. He grinned, thinking he was going to get some revenge on me for the sake of his employers.
Stupid bastard forgot I was still armed.
He pulled back his fist to hit me, and even as his fist was flying for my face, I was moving. I kicked him in the knee with one foot, making him stumble. His fist brushed over my shoulder and into the chest of the man choking me. I kicked his stomach with my other foot, making him double over. Then I sliced the blade of my hatchet into his exposed neck.
Blood squirted out of his severed carotid artery, painting the dirty floor before he collapsed onto it.
The man behind me growled and slammed his fist into my kidneys. I winced at the crushing pain. He was so much stronger now that he was possessed. His grip tightened on my neck, causing black spots to dance in front of my eyes. The Possessor’s free hand shot out to catch my wrist and keep the hatchet away from him. He squeezed until I thought he was going to break my hand.
Then he stiffened and released his hold. A warm liquid peppered my neck, filling the air with the coppery smell of blood. I pitched forward, touching my throat and coughing to get back the oxygen I’d missed. Assured that my neck wasn’t broken, I turned around to see what had saved me.
My little sister stood over the Possessor, the knife in her hand dripping fresh blood onto the floor. The man crab walked away, blood oozing from his fingers as he tried to put pressure on the wound in his throat. He looked terrified of my sister.
At first glance, Dro wasn’t the kind of girl anyone would be afraid of. She was sixteen, and utterly beautiful with the face of a saint. Her skin was flawless and paper pale. Long white hair rested in a braid along her back, ending at the base of her spine. But over the last few weeks, there was a darkness lurking behind her ice blue eyes. A danger that needed to be avoided at all costs.
A malevolence that reminded me of her father.
“What did Drake steal?” she demanded in a cold voice that didn’t belong to her.
“We– we never knew,” the Possessor pleaded. Usually these were the kinds of demons that toyed with their prey. The demon that possessed me had felt Dro’s power, which meant this one must have been sensing it too. I started to understand why he was so afraid.
“We were just told to wait here. They knew you’d be looking for him, and we were supposed to keep you from killing him.”
I glanced at the back door. It was open, and Max was beside it, keeping Warrick from going through. He was likely trying to explain that the revenge-crazed demon slayer wasn’t going to be able to find his nemesis tonight. Warrick was standing profile to me, though I could only imagine the anger burning in his neon green eyes.
“You’re lying.”
Dro’s hollow tone made me look at her again. My eyes flicked down when I saw the light coming from her left hand. Blazing white flames were curling around her wrist, clawing their way up her arm. The Possessor’s eyes widened as he stared at the hellfire she was controlling. He’d probably seen what it could do, and I didn’t blame him for being scared.
“I’m not!” the Possessor cried, snapping me out of my thoughts. His voice was becoming hoarse from the blood loss. “I’m not, I swear!”
I’d been in this situation before. You accused someone of lying, they said they weren’t, and then you started beating the truth out of them. Eventually, you got the answer you wanted. I could tell when someone was putting on a façade, and when they were being honest.
This demon didn’t know shit.
“Dro,” I croaked. I muted my cough. She still didn’t hear me. The fires continued to rise up her arms.
“Dro, that’s enough,” I warned her.
She didn’t listen to me, clenching her fist and increasing the light from the flames until I could no longer see the outline of her hand.
Andromeda,” I half shouted.
My adopted sister turned her head slightly at the sound of my voice. Her eyes locked on mine, and I was amazed at all the anger she was holding back. It softened when she saw me, but not nearly as much as I wanted it to.
“He doesn’t know anything,” I told her. “We’re done here.”
Dro twisted her head back to the dying Possessor, white hair swishing against her back. The hellfire dulled and evaporated from her fist. She looked at the bloody knife in her hand, then went still.
This was the first time Dro had ever killed a human on purpose with her bare hands.
I walked to my sister. I gently placed my hand on her shoulder. She jumped under my touch, glancing back at me. I saw the terrified, ashamed little girl who would never forgive herself for this. I wasn’t happy with that, but it was better than seeing the look of a cold-blooded murderer.
These days, I took what I could get with Dro.
“Go outside with the guys. Make sure Drake’s not waiting to trap us, and that Warrick doesn’t chase after him.”
Dro’s light eyes held my dark ones. “I don’t need to go outside. I can do that from in here.”
I clutched her shoulder just a little harder. “No. You don’t need your powers for this.”
One look at her narrowed eyes and harsh frown told me that we were going to fight about this later. Probably the moment I saw her again outside.
Regardless, Dro put her knife on her belt, glanced at the dying Possessor one last time, and stormed to the front door. Her guardian and ex-angel Sephiel gave me a small nod. He would protect her from anything while I wasn’t there. As he followed my aggravated sister, I watched Max hesitantly show Warrick the front door. He was smart not to touch him. Warrick looked ready to punch the lights out of the first person that crossed him.
Once they were gone, I picked up my silver throwing knife and sheathed it in my jacket. The other Possessors had vacated their human vessels, leaving behind their dead bodies. Usually Possessors put up more of fight than this. I couldn’t help but remember that they were fodder for something much more sinister. I stood by the dying Possessor, who was now flat on his back and choking on his own blood. Possessors hated to leave their vessels, but I wasn’t going to exorcise him. I didn’t have the time, and even if I did, he was a dead man. The wound in his throat was too grievous. The Possessor was the only thing keeping him “alive.”
I knelt beside his head, dangling the hatchet in front of my knee. When my eyes locked onto his, they weren’t filled with the pain I’d expected them to be. If anything, he seemed proud. Whatever his goal had been, he appeared to have accomplished it.
“Tell me something useful, and I’ll end it,” I told him.
The Possessor made a noise between a rasp and a gurgle. It took me a moment to realize he was laughing.
“Not… long… now,” he choked out. “She’ll be… his… soon…”
He grinned, blood staining his teeth. I decided against the mercy killing. I slowly pushed myself up, ignoring the aches and pains in my body. I walked around the shop, looking through the cabinets and drawers to salvage anything I could. I found some packets of dried and canned food, as well as some bottles of lukewarm water. I never once looked back at the dying Possessor, knowing it couldn’t take me over since I had an anti-possession sigil tattooed over my heart.
Yet I couldn’t shake the foreboding words the Possessor had given me. As I walked out of the store and back into the dark, bloody streets, I recalled what Drake said.
See, I found something really, really special. It’s the last thing we need. But don’t worry, sweetheart. You’ll get introduced to it very, very soon.
There was only one reason Drake, Mateo, and Lucifer himself would target me.
They wanted to capture my sister.
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Author Bio:
Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery,” and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn't writing, she's reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.

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Friday, March 18, 2016

Under My Skin by Laura Diamond ~ Cover Reveal

Under My Skin
Laura Diamond
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: April 12th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Bookish Brit Adam Gibson is one wonky heartbeat away from a fatal arrhythmia. But staying alive requires Adam to become keenly focused on both his pulse and the many different daily medications he must take in exactly the right dosages. Adam’s torn between wanting to live and knowing that someone else must die in order for him to do so. He needs a new heart.
The pressure is getting to him. Adam stops talking to his friends back home, refuses to meet kids at his new school, and shuts his parents out entirely. His days are spent wondering if can cope with having a dead man’s heart beating inside his chest, or if he should surrender to the thoughts of suicide swirling around in his head.
And then a donor is found…
Outspoken artist Darby Fox rarely lets anything stand in her way of achieving her goals . Whether it’s painting, ignoring her homework (dyslexia makes a mess out of words anyway), kissing a hot boy she doesn’t even know, or taking the head cheerleader down a peg , no one has ever accused Darby of being a shy. She also happens to be the twin sister to a perfect brother with good looks, good grades, manners, and the approval of their parents – something Darby has never had.
Darby’s always had bad timing . She picks the worst time to argue with her brother Daniel. In a car with bald tires, on an icy road in the freezing cold, the unthinkable happens. In a split-second, everything changes forever.

Author Bio:
Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist currently specializing in emergency psychiatry. She is also an author of all things young adult—both contemporary and paranormal. An avid fan of sci-fi, fantasy, and anything magical, she thrives on quirk, her lucid dreams, and coffee. When she’s not working or writing, she can be found sniffing books and drinking a latte at the bookstore or at home pondering renovations on her 225 year old fixer upper, all while obeying her feline overlords, of course.

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Koi and the Frog by Richard Plourde ~ Review

Title: The Koi and the Frog
Author: Richard Plourde
Genre: Children's, Picture Book
Length: 60 Pages
Publisher: Editions des Merisiers
Release Date: December 30, 2015
Source: Review Request
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Ponds are the most fabulous place for discovering all kinds of wonderful things! There are plants, insects, birds... and, of course, beautiful green frogs. Sometimes, one can even find fish, such as the flamboyant koi. But the koi has not always been king of the pond. There was a time when it was just an ordinary black-and-white fish. This was before Bekko, a young koi, fell in love with Matsou, the pretty frog. Here is a colourful love story like no other.

This story was so adorable. I loved Bekko the fish and his persistance and devotion to Matsou the frog. He stayed by her side even when she was sad and even when she hibernated - visiting her every day even though she couldn't know if he was really there or not. 

The learning lesson kicks in when he hears the story of her childhood and her wish gone bad. A very fun tale that kids will really enjoy.

*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Running with the Demon by Terry Brooks ~ Review

Title: Running with the Demon (Word & Void #1)
Author: Terry Brooks
Genre: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Length: 420 Pages
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Release Date: August 19, 1997
Source: Library
Rating: 2 Stars
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Twenty years ago, Terry Brooks turned fantasy fiction on its head with The Sword of Shannara, the first fantasy novel to make the mainstream bestseller lists, and the first in an unbroken string of thirteen bestselling books. Now, in Running with the Demon, Brooks does nothing less than revitalize fantasy fiction again, inventing the complex and powerful new mythos of the Word and the Void, good versus evil still, but played out in the theater-in-the-round of the "real world" of our present.

On the hottest Fourth of July weekend in decades, two men have come to Hopewell, Illinois, site of a lengthy, bitter steel strike. One is a demon, dark servant of the Void, who will use the anger and frustration of the community to attain a terrible secret goal. The other is John Ross, a Knight of the Word, a man who, while he sleeps, lives in the hell the world will become if he fails to change its course on waking. Ross has been given the ability to see the future. But does he have the power to change it?

At stake is the soul of a fourteen-year-old girl mysteriously linked to both men. And the lives of the people of Hopewell. And the future of the country. This Fourth of July, while friends and families picnic in Sinnissippi Park and fireworks explode in celebration of freedom and independence, the fate of Humanity will be decided . . .

A novel that weaves together family drama, fading innocence, cataclysm, and enlightenment, Running with the Demon will forever change the way you think about the fantasy novel. As believable as it is imaginative, as wondrous as it is frightening, it is a rich, exquisitely-written tale to be savored long after the last page is turned.

This is the story of the world before - the world of man and technology - before magic returned to the world and the Shannara Chronicles began. Many times throughout the stories the past is referenced and the remains of ruins of our world can be seen in the forests and swamps of the world of Shannara. How did this happen? Well, start reading Running with the Demon to find out.

This one just didn't do it for me. I'm not sure if it was the sudden change from a high fantasy style to a completely urban fantasy - or that it was set in a town not too far away. I just couldn't see it in my head or connect with the characters. Nest is a very special teenager, from a very special family line. on her shoulders may rest the very furture of the world as we all know it. I had a hard time connecting with Nest as the story went on. her relationship with her friends, family, demon, creatures, and John just never rang very true for me.

It also takes a long time to get anywhere of significance in the storyline. I really had no clue why any of this was so important until about half way through the story. This made it a little difficult to keep going from chapter to chapter at times. Brooks writing is still very beautiful and he has a way of bringing a scene to life, this just wasn't one of my favorites.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Aria's Drea by Anna Adams ~ Cover Reveal

Aria’s Dream
Anna Adams
(The Aria Series, #2)
Publication date: April 23rd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Aria is on top of the world. Her father finally supports her dream of becoming an opera singer, her friendship with Maxime is off to a great start, and she’s reconnecting with her estranged mother before the start of her second year at the National Academy of Arts in France.
But all that’s overshadowed when she realizes her voice’s limitations could prevent her from becoming a famous singer.
Torn between her wish for fame and her desire to stay true to herself, Aria will have to choose what singing really means to her and what she’s willing to sacrifice in order to succeed.
Pre-order today:
Aria’s Journey (book 1) is available for FREE for a limited time on:
iTunes / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

Author Bio:
Born in France, raised partly in the United States and in France, I grew up loving stories in French and English. I currently live in Paris where I pursue my studies as a Law Student.
I'm the author of the French Girl series. When I'm not writing, I enjoy traveling in Europe and dream of going to Asia and Africa.
I love to hear from readers at
You can also find more information about my books on my website
and join my newsletter for exclusive news about my books.

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Diary of a Rocker's Kid by Haley Despard ~ Review

Title: Diary of a Rocker's Kid (D.O.R.K. Series #1)
Author: Haley Despard
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Length: 305 pages
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Release Date: December 1, 2015
Source: Contest Win
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Madison Daley’s father has concealed the truth from her for seventeen years…

Raised on a Kentucky farm, Madison is stunned when a conversational slip reveals her father Michael is a famous ’90s rock star known as the Grim Weeper. Michael left the spotlight and his mansion behind when Madison was dropped off on his doorstep by a woman in a black mask. A dark past is revealed, and the only thing Madison isn’t allowed to know is her mother’s name.

The answers Madison needs can only be found in Beverly Hills…

Though she does hope to persuade her dad to return to the stage, Madison’s real mission is to discover the identity of her mother.

But she is slightly distracted—literally—by the boy next door. Giovanni Abate’s father is an action film star, his stepdad is a major designer, and Gio has his own claim to fame. Madison catches the handsome, young Italian actor’s eye, and their mutual attraction makes for a hotter summer than she ever could have imagined.

Madison hasn’t set foot in California since infancy, but a lot of people are certain she has…

After Madison has a makeover, people are sure they’ve seen her somewhere before, and she is extremely curious about the identity of her supposed doppelganger. As she looks into this strange situation, she’s unaware that Gio is hiding a potentially devastating secret.

Could finding the answers she seeks change Madison’s life forever?

Or will it just lead to more questions to fill the…

Diary of a Rocker’s Kid

“What if who you’ve always been
isn’t who you truly are…”

This was a very fun story! The author does a great job telling the story from Madison's point of view, and I love the look even deeper into her thoughts as she writes her blog/diary posts. She's a suprising down to earth, yet crazy character that just has tons of personality.

Her whirlwind beginning of finding out who her family really is, was written very nicely. I love a good melt down scene when the circumstances call for it. And these definitely did - and one was very nicely provided. It helps keep the character real by showing that even she can become overwhelmed.

There are a lot of typical teen problems in the story - boys, looks, fashion, gossip, friends - but because they are typical I believed them. I did figure out the bug mystery before Madison did, but I think that was mostly a lucky guess. I'm very curious to see what is in store next for her.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Blues Bones by Rick Starkey ~ Book Spotlight, Teaser and Giveaway

Title: Blues Bones Author: Rick Starkey
Release Date: March 7, 2016
Genre: Middle Grade, Paranormal, Horror

Thirteen-year-old Rodney Becker has found the perfect cure for stage fright. Voodoo!

Armed with the stolen finger bones of a dead blues guitar player and a mishmash of voodoo spells from the Internet, he and his best friend enter a graveyard at midnight to perform their ritual. Now, all that stands in his way of winning a local guitar competition is the power of RETURN – a side effect of the voodoo that spells disaster for Rodney.

His cure has become a curse. How else can he explain jamming his finger so bad he can’t hold a guitar pick, his part-time dad stealing his guitar, and his mom getting into an accident that could have taken her life?

How much is Rodney willing to risk to achieve his dream of being a guitar legend?

About the Author:
Rick Starkey is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. His main interest is writing novels for middle grade. Rick has sold short pieces to Highlights for Children including a game, magic tricks, and a short story. Knowing that most writers often wish that they had started their career earlier in life, Rick teaches a basic course for the Talented and Gifted Program (T.A.G.) at Walter’s State Community College in Morristown Tennessee. Rick’s students learn the basics of magazine submissions including cover and query letters, market research, and manuscript preparation. The T.A.G. program is for students grades 5 – 8 and come from seven counties in East Tennessee.
Rick lives in a 200-year-old log cabin in the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where he and his wife, Betty, own and run Make It Magic, a magic shop and craft store. A day in Rick’s life includes recommending and performing magic tricks for customers of all ages, carving a bear from a log with a chainsaw, and working on his next novel.

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The Changelings by Elle Casey ~ Book Spotlight and Giveaway

The Changelings
Elle Casey
(War of the Fae #1)
Publication date: February 5th 2012
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR, ELLE CASEY, brings readers Book 1 in the YA Urban Fantasy WAR OF THE FAE Series.
Jayne Sparks, a potty-mouthed, rebellious seventeen-year-old and her best friend, shy and bookish Tony Green, have a pretty typical high school existence, until several seemingly unrelated incidents converge, causing a cascade of events that change their lives forever. Jayne and Tony, together with a group of runaway teens, are hijacked and sent into a forest, where nothing and no one are as they seem. Who will emerge triumphant? And what will they be when they do?
Content Warning: Mild violence and significant foul language within. Meant for older Young Adult readers (age 15+).
Grab your copy today for FREE!
I couldn’t take much more of the high school nonsense. I felt like I wasn’t supposed to be there. Where would I be if I weren’t there? … I don’t know. All I did know was I was in the middle of all that crap, going to class, taking tests – but I was on autopilot, going through the motions, waiting for life to start happening.
Sitting in World History and bored out of my mind, I was looking at a girl one row over who was the polar opposite of me. She was staring attentively at the teacher, her pen poised above an already nearly full page of notes, eager to write down every nugget of educational wisdom he was throwing our way. She loved high school, and she had big plans for moving on to college next year. She had cheer practice after school and a boyfriend named Mike who played wide receiver on the football team. Ugh.
I owned a pen. I probably had some paper somewhere in my backpack too. That day, however, I was using my pen to draw symbols all over my right hand – temporary tattoos. I write and eat with my left hand but do just about everything else with my right. My own body was confused with what it was supposed to do.
I was in the minority in that school. It seemed like just about everyone else knew exactly what they were doing now and what they were going to be doing until the day they died. Me? I didn’t have a clue. All I knew was this wasn’t it.

Author Bio:
Elle Casey, a former attorney and teacher, is a NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling American author who lives in Southern France with her husband, three kids, and a number of furry friends. She has written books in several genres and publishes an average of one full-length novel per month.

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Monday, March 7, 2016

The Perfect Tear by Connie Lansberg ~ Interview and Excerpt

1) Can you tell us a little about your writing process and what inspires you?

I think it’s girls that inspire me. I don’t want anyone to have the kind of teenage years I had. I was in the wrong environment and there was nothing to nurture the creative aspect of my makeup. The female species is so powerful but somehow, that knowledge has gone missing. We have movies and books that tell young girls they need to train and be able to fight like soldiers in order to prevail. I feel strongly this is the wrong path. I want to show girls that if they can learn to be still, if they stay in the moment, everything they need is already a part of them. We have a super power and it’s called instincts. But, we have to learn mental discipline to access them. Nobody wants to talk about disciplining the thought process in order to access our true power but it’s the essential ingredient.  
As for the writing process, I map it out using a beat sheet and then just start writing. By having a strong outline I can let what happens, happen.

2) As a singer/song writer and now author, how do maintain your creativity and avoid burnout?

Yes, well, burnout is a problem. Maintaining creativity however, is not. Right now, I’m working with an extremely talented jazz pianist to pull together the album of Eleanor’s (main character) songs. He’s amazing and we’re working on arrangements and feels.  I find that I can’t write while I’m doing music and I can’t do music when I write. It’s a balancing act but that’s not what wears me out. Having to think about platforms and selling stuff, that freaks me out. My brain hates going there, so thank you for doing this. I enjoy answering questions! I think creativity is a muscle. My goal is to pull out of myself every single thing that’s inside me and mix it up with other peoples views. I like a collaborative process as long as I have the right of veto!

3) What is your favorite non-singing/writing activity?
I work with a trainer three times week and I love that. I’m not particularly sporty but I like to move. I also can window-shop for hours. Well, let’s be honest, because I perform every week in a club in Melbourne, I need clothes. Ebay is my friend! Oh, and I have one really guilty pleasure. At night, in bed, as I’m having to update the social media thing, I turn on those housewives. They just started to show old episodes here in Australia and it’s astounding how disconnected they are from themselves. I’m sure the edit it to look like that but because I’m quite a private person, their willingness to be exploited is like a train wreck where you can’t look away. 

4) Can you tell us what your perfect movie cast for the book would be?
If we could get this movie made in time, I would love Elle Fanning to play Eleanor. I think the English actress Maisie Williams would be great as Audrey and  just for their  faces, Erik Knudsen as Edward and Bug Hall as John. I would also love to see the ballet dancer David Halberg play Lerion. He’s got an otherworldly air about him and he speaks very nicely. I don’t think we could go past Tilda Swinton for Tsera. I can just see it. Now I just have to find the right producer!

5) What is in the works next?
I’m doing the album and I’ve started on the second movie called The Living Library which takes place nine months after The Perfect Tear ends and then I’ll write the book. Meanwhile I’ll continue to sing! Thanks you for asking such interesting and obviously well researched questions. Thank you so much for having me and I’m sure Dorothy has some Kindle editions of The Perfect Tear for your readers. Cheers.

Connie Lansberg is a singer/songwriter and now author based in Melbourne Australia. She’s had her Australia’s best loved TV shows that play around the world and The Connie Lansberg Quartet is a fixture in the Melbourne jazz scene. Her most recent original musical project, Alone with Bees, performs her songs written especially for The Perfect Tear. This is Connie’s first novel and the movie is coming soon.
original songs placed in some of
She also received several grants from the Victoria Council of the Arts for the development of mobile phone games that she created.
Connie joined the Melbourne Writers Group in 2010 to work on ideas and scripts and during this time the idea for The Perfect Tear began to develop and take shape. She continued her education by taking scriptwriting classes at the Australian Film and Television School in Melbourne and later, worked extensively with Marcy Kennedy on the book. She has two more stories to complete The Perfect Tear Trilogy and is hoping to have the second book finished by 2016.
"The first thing anybody tells you about this business is to say what makes you unique and different, but I couldn't and the very idea of it never sat well with me and after much deliberation, I finally realized why.
Because, I'm not unique or different – I'm exactly like you and I love that.
We each have a unique filter through which we interpret the world, and with this filter in place, I write stories and songs and you might find them surprising or intriguing or confronting, you may relate or you may not. They may make you laugh and sometimes, even cry.
You may or may not understand what I'm trying to say and you may not understand me, however, rest assured, once we get past the filters, at our core, we are wonderfully and beautifully, exactly the same."
For More Information

Title: The Perfect Tear Author: Connie Lansberg
Publisher: Rockit Press
Pages: 320
Genre: YA Fantasy

The Perfect Tear begins with the Singers of the world who, during their initiation by a multi-dimensional being, are given a magical three-pronged hair comb to use as tuning forks to help keep the world in harmony.  They are a special breed of women, able to connect their voices to the vibration of the earth in order to create this needed balance and equilibrium for all.   
The story follows the main character Eleanor, from age six to sixteen.  She is a good natured and dutiful young girl, with a profound ability to interact with both animals and nature.  Like her mother, she is a powerful Singer but has not yet been initiated because she has not reached the age of maturity. After the unexpected death of her mother, a grey mist descends upon the earth and the world fails to thrive, forcing this innocent child into a course of action that she had never asked for, nor had ever envisioned.

Set against a backdrop of abandonment, loss and betrayal, Eleanor is determined to find her way through strange and dangerous landscapes in her desperate search for the Perfect Tear, a dark and powerful crystal that contains the Third Vibration, which she must find and release in order to heal the land – and save her world.  Just like the notes of a song must connect to create a perfect melody, Eleanor has to discover the proper associations needed to create this special harmony.

For More Information

  • The Perfect Tear is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Book Excerpt:
Lerion forced his lips into a smile and nodded politely in an effort to feign interest in the creations of his fellow novices. Their excited chatter and heightened energy pulsed the length of the room. They seemed foolish to him, but he managed to conceal his disdain. Social transparency in his society was the norm, but hiding his feelings from the collective was something he excelled at. It was his secret talent. Today however, he struggled to maintain a pleasant countenance.
The novices were allowed to see their competition for only a few moments and Lerion extended his glance the length of the narrow corridor again. He had to be certain he would win. Only the best young designers were invited to enter the Creation Contest, and then, only once. Lerion knew this was his only chance to achieve his dream, and he forced himself to scan the room once more. He was searching for any design that might pose a threat, but after another quick reconnaissance, nothing he saw gave him cause for concern. He took a quick, shuddering breath and lifted his chin. Why had he been so nervous?
He felt his energy uncoil and his step became light. He’d worked for this opportunity almost from the day his two co-creators sung him into being–he deserved to win.
Lerion clenched his jaw. The arrogance of his desire was not lost on him. The Creation Contest was much more than a matter of whose design was the most innovative or which novice showed the most initiative. The winning design had to uphold and even surpass the standards of creation set by the Ancient Ones. It had to enhance the evolution of their society as a whole. Had he achieved that?
He stopped in front of a nine-dimensional hologram and pretended to be intrigued with the design, while he slyly studied its creator, a feminine-biased novice named Lalycri. The energy emanating from her shimmered against his outer layer and he involuntarily vibrated in response. Her eyes lit up and he swallowed hard. Her animated smile caused her nose to crinkle and her energy swelled in gentle waves. It undulated softly through him. He felt himself surrender to the pleasure of it and immediately blocked its flow. He would not allow himself to respond. This was not the time to reveal his attraction to her, and he nodded curtly. He had to admit, he found Lalycri appealing and she peaked his curiosity. On any other day, he might have encouraged her, but this kind of personal chemistry often led to a desire to co-create, and he was not about to break the rules. Not today, anyway.
Novices were forbidden to form creative partnerships of any kind. Only those having twelve activated strands of DNA were allowed the privilege of co-creation.the privilege of co-creation. Lerion sighed. He had activated only seven strands of the twelve that lay within each of his cells. More than all the other novices, but still, not enough.
Determined to ignore her vibrant energy, Lerion gave Lalycri a small nod. He leaned in and studied the extremely unusual construct while she beamed at him. He couldn’t work out what its purpose might be, and he stiffened. It had never occurred to him Lalycri might be competition. How had she managed such a complicated design?
He made sure to keep his voice polite rather than accusatory. “I had no idea you’d been selected.”
Lalycri tilted her head and her smile faltered. “Well, I was.”
Her tone had a sharp edge and he realized he had insulted her. “Certainly. I’m not surprised.”
“You sound surprised.” Lalycri’s voice was stern but the twinkle returned to her eyes. “I’m grateful for the honor. It’s definitely the most daring design I’ve produced so far.” She lowered her lashes and her mouth grew firm. “I would give anything to win. I long to pit myself against Tsera.”
Her words came fast and her voice had a ferocious quality that startled him. Lerion blinked and looked sharply at her. They all wanted the honor of winning. However, it had not occurred to him there might be others who desired to win as much as he did. Nobody could want this as much as he did. His every cell informed him being Main Creator was his destiny, and the idea she could snatch it from him was ludicrous.
He felt his vibration quicken, but Lalycri did not seem to notice the change in his demeanor. She smiled brightly, as if she had not just made a startling admission, and began to prattle without taking a breath.
“I should not say this, but, every night, I dream I win the honor of competing against Tsera.” Lalycri laughed out loud. “And then, I beat her at the game to become Main Creator, much to her astonishment.”
Lerion found the musical quality of her laugh charming, but couldn’t help being irritated by her unfounded confidence and her delusion they were competing on the same level. Yet, he’d never seen a design quite like this.
He nodded toward it. “Explain it to me.”
“A vibrational matrix capable of protecting the smallest of creation sequences. Once a unique sequence is within my matrix, no one will be able to access it or use it in any way.” She lost her smile and gazed at Lerion intently. “Every sequence in existence would remain safe within this matrix.” She paused and stared at him. “My voice is the only key.”
Lerion blinked and the back of his neck felt cold. There was something odd in the way her eyes bore into his with such intensity. Lalycri was a more gifted designer than he had first thought. She might very well be a true competitor, and this thought made the energy in his temples pound. “Have you tested it thoroughly? Are there any innate weaknesses?” He could hear the irritation in his own voice.
Lalycri frowned and pushed her pretty face close to his. “If there are, I shall not be telling you.”
She paused and gazed at him with her large liquid eyes. “I imagine your design is exquisite,” she said.
Heat rushed into Lerion’s face. He also had a talent for reading energy and intention in others, and he felt her energy change from jagged jolts of excitement to the more circular movement of congruity. Her compliment appeared to be genuine.
Glancing down the long line of uninspired designs, he nodded and almost smiled a real smile. His creation was exquisite and, though he longed to boast about it and crush her silly dream, he remained silent. All in good time.
Lalycri took a step forward and touched Lerion’s arm. He had to stop himself from snatching it away, which would have been a grave insult. He didn’t like being touched without permission, but he instantly adjusted his thoughts and frequency into a consistent flow so as not to hurt her feelings.
She smiled and gave his arm a squeeze. “I have no doubt, Lerion, you will be the one chosen. We all know how brilliant your ideas are and how...driven you are.”
What did she mean? Was she mocking him? Without permission, he pushed his consciousness through her etheric layers and fully connected with her mind. It was strictly forbidden, but he couldn’t stop himself.
He found himself caught up in a swirl of overwhelming thoughts and feelings, all strangely thrilling to his senses, but within the thrill of their mingling frequencies, he discovered Lalycri’s thoughts were not harmonious with her words.
Lalycri’s internal oscillations surged, and he was keenly aware of both her shock and pleasure. He quickly broke the connection, his nerve endings tingling at the energetic disruption. What had he done? He refused to look her in the eye, but felt keenly the distress he caused her by his intrusion and subsequent withdrawal. Her energy fluctuated wildly and she winced. She was hiding something.
A wave of panic caused his head to jerk back. “I must go. I do not wish to miss the announcement.” He turned to leave and felt her energy swirl downward, a sure sign of her indignation. He stopped and searched for a compliment. Anything to placate her. “Your design is clever and useful. Honor to you.”
Lalycri pulled her lips into a tight smile and raised her eyebrows in acknowledgment of his praise, but said nothing more. Lerion had no idea what words would elevate her dampened vibration, so he bowed his head in a swift movement and left. He clenched his fists and moved rapidly down the corridor.
With each step, he silently berated himself for his gross indiscretion. Novices were forbidden to connect directly, one to one. How could he have been so rash? Lalycri had every right to report his intrusion. It would mean instant disqualification from the contest.
Lerion forced himself to breathe deeply and with great effort, managed to bring his anxiety under control. He lifted his chin. Hiding his emotions, though socially unacceptable, was not forbidden, and he was good at it. He allowed himself a rueful smile. It was a necessary skill. He found his fellow novices irritating. And weak.
From his many forays into the Void, the unending nothing, the absence of light, the disconnection from the Main Energy Grid, Lerion had discovered his ability to hide his intentions from the whole and how to appear congruent while his true agenda remained hidden. This prodigious ability separated him from the others and made him different, a thing he relished.
He shivered involuntarily at the memory of darkness, of disconnection. Part of their training as newly created beings was to prepare for the Void. No further activation could take place until disconnection with M.E.G. had been experienced and indeed, survived. Many did not. Their unbounded terror overwhelmed them, and they were reabsorbed into the Main Energy Grid. Lerion would never let such a thing happen to him. He was the only novice who had made several trips to the Void in order to defeat the terrible, crushing fear and accelerate his activation. It won him an enormous amount of respect from his fellow novices.
Nevertheless, sometimes, like now, he just felt alone.
His thoughts returned to his indiscretion. The actuality of a one-to-one connection was intense and pleasurable, something he hadn’t expected. He forced the memory out of his conscious mind. He had to bury the experience, and as long as Lalycri remained silent, he would get away with it.
She had revealed a small talent for shielding her thoughts. However, given time, he would discover her secret. Of that, he was certain.