Online Book Tour | The Dark Divide by D.K. Stone [Review + Excerpt]

38340481

Title: The Dark Divide
Author: D. K. Stone
Publication: April 10th 2018 by Stonehouse Publishing
Format: Finished Copy
Source: Provided by the Author
ISBN: 9781988754048

How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)


synopsis

Waterton is a town with dark secrets, and after a summer of murder and mayhem, American ex-pat, Rich Evans, knows exactly how far people will go to hide them. Jobless after the fiery destruction of the hotel he once managed, Rich is charged with arson. Only one person, local mechanic Louise “Lou” Newman, believes in his innocence. But even Lou’s love and support can’t dispel the darkness that’s spreading through the community. Dead animals appear on porches, strangers threaten the safety of the locals, and a fingerprint from the fire is linked to a decades-old murder.

The lonely border town has a new danger: a murderer willing to do anything to protect a web of secrets that links them to the arson.

As the risk of jail or death increases, Rich turns to Lou for guidance and she finds herself in an impossible position. Lou has her own secrets! Does she protect the border town where she grew up, or side with the man she loves… even if it means she can never tell him the truth about herself?


review

I received a finished copy of this book from Danika Stone for The Dark Divide Online Book Tour. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
The Dark Divide is the sequel to Edge of Wild which unravels more and even darker secrets of the secluded town of Waterton. So guess who’s in for that ride. Me!
It has been a while since I’ve entered the world of Waterton and this time, the suspense is even more intense. The mystery that continues to unravels will get you invested in this series.
The immensely detailed world building in this book is so remarkable, that reading it is more that just imagining what is happening with Rich and Lou, it’s as if I’m actually in Waterton and the “eerie feel” that it gives off is the perfect mood setter. I love how the sequel tells us more about the town and it’s people, though not everything is told; the creepy town-creepy people vibe is just ever present right from Edge of Wild to The Dark Divide.
It’s not only the vivid narrative that is praise-worthy but also the characters in this book. Lou is someone that I liked right from book one but I started to get more attached to her in this one.  The inclusion of her abilities in the whole flow of the story is what I’m always looking forward every chapter. I can’t say the same for Rich but the relationship between them and how it’s developing could also be something I’ll be anticipating but right now, I’m on full thriller mode.
I can’t wait for the 3rd installment but for now, I highly recommend you read The Dark Divide. And if you also haven’t read Edge of Wild yet, you’re already missing out, so go, read away and isolate yourself in Waterton!
Rating:
4

excerpt

 

The Dark Divide
by D.K. Stone
Prologue: Ohio, 1970
The first hint of danger was a howl so distant, it was more a feeling than a sound.
Catherine’s laughter faded uncertainly. She looked up from the firelight to focus on the screen of trees that separated the knot of students from the regal red-brick bulk of Muskingum College.
“Did you hear something?” she asked.
The boy next to her lowered his harmonica. “What?”
“I… I’m not sure. A dog, maybe?”
Around the fire, conversations hushed as the jovial atmosphere of the protest changed between one breath and the next. Catherine’s gaze moved around the clearing. She took in her college friends—young men and women gathered around a fire the way they’d done any number of times since the start of the school year—and then returned to the screen of trees. Between the branches, she could see the lights of her dorm, the college a twinkling gem in the setting of New Concord. She gnawed the edge of her thumbnail. She shouldn’t be out here. Not really. If she walked back now, perhaps she could slip past the police patrol and get back to—
A howl broke the air.
“Police dogs!” someone shouted. “They’re coming for us!”
The group rose, abandoning the bonfire. Catherine struggled to follow, but her left foot had fallen asleep in the hours since they’d been in the woods. She took two uncertain steps and looked back across the flames. The woods between the college and her were no longer empty. Dots of light moved through the trees.
“Cath! Come on!”
Heart pounding, she forced herself into motion. Her leaden foot had cost Catherine time and with no firelight to guide her, she stumbled into the darkened forest, hands outstretched like a sleep-walker.
Up ragged slopes and down shallow valleys, the silhouettes of her friends disappeared into shadow, leaving her alone on the slope. Never an athlete, her speed was half theirs. A dog barked—closer now—and Catherine glanced back again. Flashlights bounced in the trees.
She rushed up the next hill. “Hold on!” she panted. “I’m coming!”
A lone figure paused at the top. “You need to hurry!”
An officer’s voice on the megaphone echoed from the distant campus: “…the use of deadly force permitted for those resisting arrest…” Catherine had seen the videos on television: Armed troops, the bodies of protesters in the street. She knew what those orders meant. Panicked, she half-fell, half-ran down the nearest slope, then started up the next. A terrified voice chattered in the back of her mind: They shot students at Kent State!
Branches tore her hair and slashed her face. She reached the top and squinted into the darkness. All but one of her friends was gone.
Catherine caught hold of a tree trunk. “W-wait!” she gasped. “I-I can’t—I can’t keep up with you!” Behind her, a dog barked. She spun. “No!” Her ankle twisted and she screamed and fell to her knees. A bouncing flashlight switched direction at the sound.
“Cath!”
Crying, she threw herself back into motion. She couldn’t see the officer yet, but she could hear him.
“Hurry, Cath! RUN!”
She ran and fell. Ran again. Unable to catch her breath, her vision swam. “I-I’m coming,” she choked. “I—I—”
Frantic barking broke her concentration. The dogs had picked up her scent! Winded, Catherine lost her footing. Her ankle twisted a second time and she tumbled down the hill, the world turning end over end as her screams echoed through the glade.
She hit the bottom with a thud.
“You okay?” a voice called, impossibly far away.
She tried to answer, but her lip was split and her mouth full of blood. Twigs bit through the palms of her hands. Confused, she clambered to her feet and wavered in place. She took two more unsteady steps.Was this the hill she’d fallen down? Or the next? She couldn’t seem to catch her breath. Couldn’t see where she was supposed to go.
“Cath, hold on! I’m coming to help you. Just wait and—”
A beam of light swung across her face.
“STOP!” a voice bellowed from the shadows.
Terrified, Catherine bolted.
The valley exploded with thunder. The sound threw her backward as a white firebrand of pain tore through her chest and back. Catherine tried to scream, but her voice was gone. She slumped to the ground. The pain separated her from the night, the darkness, and the figure of the man who strode forward, his flashlight bouncing between the trees. Her legs kicked one last time as the police officer reached her side.
“Jesus Christ,” he breathed. “She’s just a kid.”
In the forest behind him, a shadow moved.

end
Book description and cover image from Goodreads
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Blog Tour | The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson [Excerpt]

26114524Title: The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You
Author: Lily Anderson
Publication: May 17th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin
ISBN: 9781250079091 / 9781466891722
Are You Still There

synopsisTrixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West–and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing–down to number four.
Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben’s, including give up sleep and comic books–well, maybe not comic books–but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it’s time to declare a champion once and for all.
The war is Trixie’s for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben’s best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben’s cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie’s best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they’re on–and they might not pick the same side.

excerpt

THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU
by Lily Anderson
Chapter One
        Ben West spent summer vacation growing a handlebar mustache.
        Seriously.
        Hovering over his upper lip—possibly glued there—was a bushy monstrosity that shouted, “Look out, senior class, I’m gonna tie some chicks to the train tracks and then go on safari with my good friend Teddy Roosevelt. Bully!”
        I blindly swatted at Harper with my comic book, trying to alert her to the fact that there was a mustachioed moron trying to blend in with the other people entering campus.
        “I know I should have made flash cards for the poems that Cline assigned,” she said, elbowing me back hard, both acknowledging that she wasn’t blind and that she hated when I interrupted her monologues about the summer reading list. “But I found Mrs. Bergman’s sociolinguistics syllabus on the U of O website and I’m sure she’ll use the same one here.”
        The mustache twitched an attempt at freedom, edging away from West’s ferrety nose as he tried to shove past a group of nervous looking freshmen. It might have been looking at me and Harper, but its owner was doing everything possible to ignore us, the planter box we were sitting on, and anything else that might have been east of the wrought iron gate.
        “So,” Harper continued, louder than necessary considering we were sitting two inches apart. “I thought I’d get a head start. But now I’m afraid that we were supposed to memorize the poems for Cline. He never responded to my emails.”
        Pushing my comic aside, I braced my hands against the brick ledge. The mustache was daring me to say something. Harper could hear it too, as evidenced by her staring up at the sun and muttering, “Or you could, you know, not do this.”
 “Hey, West,” I called, ignoring the clucks of protest coming from my left. “I’m pretty sure your milk mustache curdled. Do you need a napkin?”
Ben West lurched to a stop, one foot inside of the gate. Even on the first day of school, he hadn’t managed to find a clean uniform. His polo was a series of baggy wrinkles, half tucked into a pair of dingy khakis. He turned his head. If the mustache had been able to give me the finger, it would have. Instead, it stared back at me with its curlicue fists raised on either side of West’s thin mouth.
“Hey, Harper,” he said. He cut his eyes at me and grumbled, “Trixie.”
        I leaned back, offering the slowest of slow claps. “Great job, West. You have correctly named us. I, however, may need to change your mantle. Do you prefer Yosemite Sam or Doc Holliday? I definitely think it should be cowboy related.”
        “Isn’t it cruel to make the freshmen walk past you?” he asked me, pushing the ratty brown hair out of his eyes. “Or is it some kind of ritual hazing?”
        “Gotta scare them straight.” I gestured to my blonde associate. “Besides, I’ve got Harper to soften the blow. It’s like good cop, bad cop.”
        “It is nothing like good cop, bad cop. We’re waiting for Meg,” Harper said, flushing under the smattering of freckles across her cheeks as she turned back to the parking lot, undoubtedly trying to escape to the special place in her head where pop quizzes—and student council vice presidents—lived. She removed her headband,  pushing it back in place until she once again looked like Sleeping Beauty in pink glasses and khakis. Whereas I continued to look like I’d slept on my ponytail.
Which I had because it is cruel to start school on a Wednesday.
        “Is it heavy?” I asked Ben, waving at his mustache. “Like weight training for your face? Or are you just trying to compensate for your narrow shoulders?”
        He gave a half-hearted leer at my polo. “I could ask the same thing of your bra.”
        My arms flew automatically to cover my chest, but I seemed to be able to only conjure the consonants of the curses I wanted to hurl at him. In his usual show of bad form, West took this as some sort of victory.
        “As you were,” he said, jumping back into the line of uniforms on their way to the main building. He passed too close to Kenneth Pollack, who shoved him hard into the main gate, growling, “Watch it, nerd.”
        “School for geniuses, Kenneth,” Harper called. “We’re all nerds.”
        Kenneth flipped her off absentmindedly as West brushed himself off and darted past Mike Shepherd into the main building.
        “Brute,” Harper said under her breath.
        I scuffed the planter box with the heels of my mandatory Mary Janes. “I’m off my game. My brain is still on summer vacation. I totally left myself open to that cheap trick.”
        “I was referring to Kenneth, not Ben,” she frowned. “But, yes, you should have known better. Ben’s been using that bra line since fourth grade.”
As a rule, I refused to admit when Harper was right before eight in the morning. It would just lead to a full day of her gloating. I hopped off of the planter and scooped up my messenger bag, shoving my comic inside.
“Come on. I’m over waiting for Meg. She’s undoubtedly choosing hair care over punctuality. Again.”
Harper slid bonelessly to her feet, sighing with enough force to slump her shoulders as she followed me through the front gate and up the stairs. The sunlight refracted against her pale hair every time her neck swiveled to look behind us. Without my massive aviator sunglasses, I was sure I would have been blinded by the glare.
“What’s with you?” I asked, kicking a stray pebble out of the way.
“What? Nothing.” Her head snapped back to attention, knocking her glasses askew. She quickly straightened them with two trembling hands. “Nothing. I was just thinking that maybe senior year might be a good time for you to end your war with Ben. You’d have more time to study and read comics and…”
        Unlike the tardy Meg, Harper was tall enough that I could look at her without craning my neck downward. It made it easier to level her with a droll stare. Sometimes, it’s better to save one’s wit and just let the stupidity of a thought do the talking.
She rolled her eyes and clucked again, breezing past me to open the door.
        “Or not,” she said, swinging the door open and letting me slip past her. “Year ten of Watson v. West starts now. But if one of you brings up the day he pushed you off the monkey bars, I am taking custody of Meg and we are going to sit with the yearbook staff during lunch.”
        “I accept those terms,” I grinned. “Now help me think of historical figures with mustaches. Hitler and Stalin are entirely too obvious. I need to brainstorm before we get homework.”

abouttheauthorlilyLily Anderson is an elementary school librarian and Melvil Dewey fangirl with an ever-growing collection of musical theater tattoos and Harry Potter ephemera. She lives in Northern California. THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU is her debut novel.

www.mslilyanderson.com
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Blog Tour | Anything You Want by Geoff Herbach [Review + Giveaway]

9781402291449_9b451Title: Anything You Want
Author: Geoff Herbach
Publication: May 3rd 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley
ISBN: 9781402291449

How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)


synopsis

Expect a bundle of joy—er, trouble—in this hilarious, heartwarming story from the award-winning author of Stupid Fast Geoff Herbach.
Taco’s mom always said, “Today is the best day of your life, and tomorrow will be even better.” That was hard to believe the day she died of cancer and when Taco’s dad had to move up north for work, but he sure did believe it when Maggie Corrigan agreed to go with him to junior prom. Taco loves Maggie- even more than the tacos that earned him his nickname. And she loves him right back.
Except all that love? It gets Maggie pregnant. Everyone else may be freaking out, but Taco can’t wait to have a real family again. He just has to figure out what it means to be a dad and how to pass calculus. And then there’s getting Maggie’s parents to like him. Because it would be so much easier for them to be together if he didn’t have to climb the side of the Corrigans’ house to see her…

review

I received a digital review copy of this book from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley for my participation in this blog tour. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
Anything You Want is nothing like some other books I’ve read before that deals with teenage pregnancy/parenthood. The proof of it’s rarity lies on the MC.
Never have I encountered such a character like Taco. His name already says says a lot. Well, not literally… but his personality is full of “character”. The first thing I noticed about this book is the way the story is being narrated. It clearly reflects Taco’s personality; naive, unique and optimistic. Seriously, the narration is just bursting with personality and I love it. I’ve had enough of the brooding YA male narrators and that makes Taco a breath of fresh air.
In terms of the plot, I wasn’t expecting anything at all when I picked up this book and that’s why I’m surprised with the depth and message it tries to get across the readers. Anything You Want is not a light contemporary YA. It deals with serious issues like teenage pregnancy, abandonment, depression and a lot more. There were parts where I felt exhausted reading what Taco is experiencing because it’s almost like a cycle of problems that seems to never end but that made me feel more for his character. His journey is truly inspiring. Overall, I really recommend Anything You Want to every YA reader out there.
Today is the best day of your life. So is tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the next. No matter what happens, every day you have is the best day of your life.
Rating:

4


abouttheauthor

geoffI am the author of the YA title, Stupid Fast (June 2011 from Sourcebooks Fire). I also wrote The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg, a Novel from Three Rivers Press. When I’m not writing books, I’m writing for Radio Happy Hour or developing ridiculous musical bits.

When I’m not writing, I’m teaching writing at Minnesota State, Mankato, which means I write a lot of comments about writing on student writing.

Writing a lot of writing and reading about writing and writing on reading.

www.geoffherback.com
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Win (1) of (4) copies of ANYTHING YOU WANT by Geoff Herbach
Open Internationally.

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Blog Tour | The Girl I Used To Be by April Henry [Review + Excerpt + Giveaway]

23018249Title: The Girl I Used To Be
Author: April Henry
Publication: May 3rd 2016 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley
ISBN: 9781627793322

How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)


synopsis

When Olivia’s mother was killed, everyone suspected her father of murder. But his whereabouts remained a mystery. Fast forward fourteen years. New evidence now proves Olivia’s father was actually murdered on the same fateful day her mother died. That means there’s a killer still at large. It’s up to Olivia to uncover who that may be. But can she do that before the killer tracks her down first?

review

I received a digital review copy of this book from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group via NetGalley for my participation in this blog tour. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
I really like books where the title alone already tells something about the story, especially when it comes to mystery reads. And that’s exactly what The Girl I Used To Be did for me.
Olivia Reinhart is an emancipated teen, but prior to that, she was little Ariel Benson, daughter of Naomi Benson and Terry Weeks. She never had a real family after her mother was murdered some 14 years ago, and it was believed that her father did it and fled. But when a new evidence resurfaced that her father was also a victim, she sets out to Medford, the town where her mother grew up, to find out what really happened to her parents.
The Girl I Used To Be was a quick and easy read in terms of the writing style. Although, there were two things to consider why it is so. First, it only has 240 pages. Second, it’s obviously a page turner, (almost every mystery/thriller book is). The chapters were kept short which I really liked, but the pacing was a bit slow. I keep turning each page waiting for something to happen but there really wasn’t much going on.
There were also some things I noticed that bothered me a little bit and it’s how Olivia easily has access to everything she needs to know. All she had to do is ask around and the people will just tell her willingly. She’s a total stranger who’s hiding her real identity for crying out loud. You don’t just answer to people when they ask you about your friends or a murder of a friend, do you? So that’s just some rant. Anyway…
The mystery  in this book is ever present. I like how it didn’t take long to tell what I’m supposed to be uncovering. The book drops the bomb right at the beginning, but as the story goes on things just plateaued out. The suspense was just lacking for me, most of the story is just Olivia trying to figure things out.
Speaking of figuring things out, something I noticed about mystery books is that when it comes to the MC’s hunt for whodunit, they’re always pressing the suspicion on a particular character that is obviously some red herring. And of course, The Girl I Used To Be used that in the plot. The good thing is that it did not spoil the surprise when it comes to the actual reveal. My heart was actually beating so fast when the moment came. But I have to admit, it didn’t last long. I’m not saying I’m disappointed. The Girl I Used To Be is actually a good mystery book but it just lacked in some aspects.
Rating:

3h


excerpt

The Girl I Used To Be
by April Henry
Copyright © 2016 by April Henry
CHAPTER 1
SCATTER MY BONES
The only sound I can hear is my own panicked breathing. I’m running flat out through the forest. Then my toe catches a root, and suddenly I’m flying.
Until I’m not. I come down hard. With my hands cuffed in front of me, I can’t even really break my fall. Despite the plastic boot on my left leg, I’m up again in a crazy scrambling second, spitting out dirt and pine needles as I start sprinting again.
Running like my life depends on it. Because it does.
Three weeks ago, I was living in Portland. Working in a supermarket deli. Slicing turkey breast and handing out cheese samples on toothpicks.
Now I’m hurtling through the Southern Oregon woods, being chased by a killer. And no one knows I’m here.
Because of the handcuffs, I can’t pump my fists. Instead, I have to swing them in tandem. Trying to avoid another fall, I lift my knees higher as the ground rises. I can’t hear my pursuer, just my own panting breath.
If I don’t come back, will Duncan ever know what happened to me? These woods can hide things for years. Will animals scatter my bones, plants twine around my remains?
When I reach the top of the hill, I don’t slow down. Instead, I try to lengthen my stride. It’s impossible to maintain a rhythm. I leap over a log, splash through the silver thread of a creek. My mouth is so dry. It tastes of dirt and the bitterness of fear.
A Steller’s jay startles up from a branch, squawking. If only I could take wing and fly. But I’m stuck here on earth, legs churning, staggering over this uneven ground.
I can’t stop or I’ll die.
The reality is that I’m probably going to die anyway. And if that’s so, I’m going to go down fighting.

abouttheauthor

aprilI write mysteries and thrillers. I live in Portland, Oregon with my family.
If you’ve read one of my books, I would love to hear from you. Hearing from readers makes me eager to keep writing.
When I was 12, I sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He liked it so much he arranged to have it published in an international children’s magazine.
My dream of writing went dormant until I was in my 30s, working at a corporate job, and started writing books on the side. Those first few years are now thankfully a blur. Now I’m very lucky to make a living doing what I love. I have written 13 novels for adults and teens, with more on the way. My books have gotten starred reviews, been picked for Booksense, translated into six languages, been named to state reading lists, and short-listed for the Oregon Book Award.
I also review YA literature and mysteries and thrillers for the Oregonian, and have written articles for both The Writer and Writers Digest.
www.aprilhenrymysteries.com
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Win (1) finished copy of THE GIRL I USED TO BE by April Henry
Open to US/CAN Residents Only.
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Street Team Tour | Edge of Wild by Danika Stone [Review + Book Trailer]

27851112Title: Edge of Wild
Author: D. K. Stone
Publication: May 1st 2016 by Stonehouse Publishing
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the Author
ISBN: 9780986649431

How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)


 

synopsisTransplanted from New York City to the tiny mountain town of Waterton, Alberta with the task of saving a floundering new hotel, Rich Evans is desperate to return to the city as soon as he can. The locals seem unusually hostile towards his efforts, or maybe even menacing, and was that a cougar on his door-step last night? As Rich begins to wonder whether his predecessor disappeared of his own accord, he finds himself strongly drawn to Louise Newman, the garage mechanic who is fixing his suddenly unreliable BMW, and the only person in Waterton who doesn’t seem desperate to run him out of town. As Rich works on the hotel, the town is torn apart by a series of gruesome, unsolved murders. With Louise as his only ally in a town that seems set against him, Rich can’t help but wonder: will he be the next victim?

review
I received a Digital ARC of this book from Danika Stone for The Edge of Wild Street Team Event. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
When Ms. Danika announced that she was looking for bloggers to become a part of her street team for her upcoming Mystery/Thriller book, I didn’t hesitate for a second and jumped right at the chance. If I haven’t stressed it enough, I’m an absolute lover of mysteries and the guessing game involved in each and that’s why whenever I read one, I always tend to look into details of the writing and how well the story goes in terms of mind blowing plot twists.
Edge of Wild is a book that sets of the eerie vibe right from the beginning. When Rich arrived in the isolated town of Waterton for a job passed on to him, everything doesn’t seem to feel right. Waterton and a city slicker like him doesn’t go well together. But it’s not just the place, it’s the people that doesn’t seem to want him there.
Although the story unravels a little bit slow, the suspense build up was strong. If the feeling of being watched doesn’t set you off, imagine seeing footprints in the snow around your cabin. The unnerving feeling I have while reading this book did it for me. 
Another thing that I liked about this book are the characters. I can’t say that I liked Rich that much but the other characters in the book were really interesting, especially Louise. Everyone has a personality and is fleshed out even the minor characters.
The big reveal was executed well. I didn’t guess whodunit (+ points for that), although I did have a hint about what’s going on about the town.
Overall, Edge of Wild will surely keep you on the edge of your seats and will make you turning the pages til the end.
Rating:

4


Also, check out Edge of Wild’s Book Trailer!

 end

Book Description and Cover Image from Goodreads

Blog Tour | Unforgivable by Amy Reed [Review + Giveaway]

9780062299604_e5ed6Title: Unforgivable (Invincible #2)
Author: Amy Reed
Publication: May 3rd 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via Edelweiss
ISBN: 9780062299604

How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)


synopsis

In this raw, gut-wrenching, and beautifully written sequel to Invincible, Marcus continues Evie’s story of their intense romance, a la Gayle Forman’s Where She Went, after saving her life only to find his life—and their relationship—falling to pieces.
Marcus knows pain. The kind that swallows you like a black hole. His brother committed suicide, his mother left him, and his dad mostly ignores him. Relief only seems to come from drugs, alcohol, and secret acts of self-destruction.
Until he met Evie. Together, they lived in the moment. They fell in love—hard—creating their own beautiful world. But they each had their own secrets, their own pain, hovering like a thick fog, suffocating them in a world too small to share.
Unforgivable takes off where Invincible left us—with Evie drowning in San Francisco Bay. Marcus finds her just in time, but her survival is not the happy ending he was hoping for. Forbidden from seeing Evie by her parents and unable to reach her, Marcus learns of a pain that might break him completely.
Marcus spirals into an even deeper darkness and is forced by new events to face the demons of his past. The pain of losing Evie becomes tangled with the loss of his mother and brother, and he must finally face the ghosts he has been trying so desperately to outrun or risk losing Evie forever.

review
I received a digital review copy of this book from HarperCollins via Edelweiss for my participation in this blog tour. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
While Invincible was a bit too dramatic and heavy for my taste, Unforgivable makes up for it. This time, the story is told in Marcus’s point of view. Although the story is still full of “heavy” emotions and grief, there’s also something about it that make the readers hold on to a glimmer of hope.
What really stood out for me were the chapters. Marcus’s narrations were told in three ways. There were the “you” chapters then there’s the “here” and “there”. The you chapters were Marcus’s thoughts about Evie. I actually found it poetic and deep and heartfelt. I’m always looking forward for these chapters every time I turn to the next page because of the feelings that bleeds through the book. It’s also told in the 2nd person POV (which is something new for me) and I loved it, it made Marcus’s emotions more raw and personal. On the other hand, the here chapters were about what’s happening in present time and there was more on the past and Marcus’s memories about his brother, David and his family.
The ending was perfect. I love how Marcus picked himself up and saw things in a different light. It wasn’t an easy process and the book as a whole showed his struggles and how it changed him. It’s a great conclusion to Evie and Marcus’s story.
All in all, Unforgivable is an emotional book that just hits the spot with its poetic writing. It’s a beautiful book about letting go and looking in to hope.
Rating:

3h


abouttheauthor
amyreedAmy Reed was born and raised in and around Seattle, where she attended a total of eight schools by the time she was eighteen. Constant moving taught her to be restless and being an only child made her imagination do funny things. After a brief stint at Reed College (no relation), she moved to San Francisco and spent the next several years serving coffee and getting into trouble. She eventually graduated from film school, promptly decided she wanted nothing to do with filmmaking, returned to her original and impractical love of writing, and earned her MFA from New College of California. Her short work has been published in journals such as Kitchen Sink, Contrary, and Fiction. Amy currently lives in Oakland with her husband and two cats, and has accepted that Northern California has replaced the Pacific Northwest as her home. She is no longer restless. Find out more at amyreedfiction.com.
www.amyreedfiction.com
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Win (1) of (3) finished copies of INVINCIBLE by Amy Reed
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Blog Tour | The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi [Review + Excerpt]

25203675 (1)Title: The Star-Touched Queen
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publication: April 26th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley
ISBN: 9781250085474

How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)


synopsisFate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?
Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…
But Akaran has its own secrets — thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.
A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-Touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget.

review

I received a digital review copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley for my participation in this blog tour. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
I don’t even know how to begin with this review. My thoughts about this book are conflicting. Let’s say The Star-Touched Queen‘s theme is not fitting for my taste BUT the story is my own fantasy realized into a book. To further elaborate, I’m not really into mythology and this book if full of it. Most of the words and naming really didn’t make sense to me, I honestly can’t recall some of the words that were used and that already is a sign for me to not continue reading BUT this book did it’s magic and really captivated me, specifically, Maya’s story. From being a Princess that’s treated like a caged bird, to a powerful Queen that’s treated as equals by her Raja, The Star-Touched Queen is a tragic and epic love story with a lot of surprises.
There are a lot of things in this book that left me in awe. First, the pacing which was very interesting. It’s one of the unexpected things that proved how magical this book is. I can’t say much but I think you’d be surprised too. Second is the secret behind Akaran. That’s really one big revelation that made the hair on the back of my neck stand. It also kind of represents how much this book is about interpretation. Third is the romance. At first, I was almost turned off with how fast Maya is developing feelings for Amar but then, all you need is patience and a bit more understanding to see why is it so. Like I said, it’s epic and tragic.
This book is full of vivid descriptions and intricate detailing that will make your imagination run wild. It’s really something that you can’t ignore.
Amar lead me from the antechamber to a large room filled with low-hanging lanterns. A panel of ornate mirrors covered the wall on the right, while windows filled the left. The open windows revealed a stretch of nighttime. Lanterns illuminated the room to a pale gold. In the middle of the room were two saffron-colored cushions, along with a score of small plates piled high with steaming rice cakes, bowls of hot dal and buttery slices of naan. I stepped inside, my gaze falling on the elaborate rug wrought with the image of a huge makara. Purling emerald silk formed its serpent body, shimmering beneath the lights, so that for a moment, the sea dragon almost looked real.
I admit, it was a bit too much for me. I felt like that collectively 40% of the book were about Maya exploring and describing her surroundings. It’s not like it’s a bad thing but I wouldn’t have minded it if I knew what a makara or a swayamvara or a devadasi is. Don’t get me wrong, I love the cultural reference in this book but I’d appreciate it even more if there was a glossary or something that could have enlightened me without having to look it up somewhere else.
All in all, The Star-Touched Queen is a one of a kind story that breakthrough the stereotypes of YA. It’s beautifully written, and worth a re-read.
P.S. It’s also something that I’d want to see in the big screen.
Rating:4

excerpt

» 2 «

LESSONS IN SILENCE

The archives were cut like honeycombs and golden light clung to them, dousing every tome, painting, treatise and poem the soft gold of ghee freshly skimmed from boiling butter. I was only allowed to visit once a week—to meet with my weekly tutor before I inevitably scared him away. Every time I left the archival room, my arms brimmed with parchment paper. I loved the feeling of discovery, of not knowing how much I wanted something until I had discovered its absence.
The week before, I had lost myself in the folktales of Bharata. Stories of elephants who spun clouds, shaking tremors loose from ancient trunks gnarled with the rime of lost cyclones, whirlwinds and thunderstorms. Myths of frank-eyed naga women twisting ser- pentine, flashing smiles full of uncut gemstones. Legends of a world beneath, above, beside the one I knew—where trees bore edible gems and no one would think twice about a girl with dark skin and a darker horoscope. I wanted it to be real so badly that sometimes I thought I could see the Otherworld. Sometimes, if I closed my eyes and pressed my toes into the ground, I could al- most sense them sinking into the loam of some other land, a dream demesne where the sky cleaved in two and the earth was sutured with a magic that could heal hearts, mend bones, change lives.
It was a dream I didn’t want to part with, but I had to settle for what magic I could create on my own. I could read more. Learn more. Make new dreams. But the best part wasn’t hoarding those wishes to myself. It was sharing everything I learned with Gauri, my half-sister. She was the only one I couldn’t scare away . . . the only one I didn’t want to.
Thinking of Gauri always made me smile. But as soon as I caught sight of my tutor of the week, the smile disappeared. He stood between two pillars of the archive section marking the king- dom’s history. Beyond the sheer number of things to read in the archive room, what I loved most was its ceiling. It was empty, wide enough to crawl through and conveniently linked to my father’s in- ner sanctum.
The tutor, as luck would have it, stood directly below my hiding spot.
At least Father’s announcement hadn’t started. The courtiers still murmured and the footfall of tardiness fell on my ears like music. But if I was ever going to get to hear that meeting, I had to get rid of the tutor first.
“Punctuality is a prize among women,” said the tutor.
I bit back a cringe. His voice was sticky. The words drawn out like they would morph into a noose and slip around you in the dark. I stepped back, only to see his eyes sharpen into a glare.
He was heavyset and tall. Soft-rounded jowls faded into a non- chin and thick neck. Greasy black eyes dragged across my body. In the past, my tutors had all been the same—a little doughy, a little nervous. Always superstitious. This new tutor held my gaze evenly. That was unexpected. None of my other tutors had ever met my eye. Sometimes the tutors sidled against the dark of the archival chambers, hands trembling as they pushed a set of notes toward me. History lessons, they said. Why did they always start with history? Show me a dream unrealized. Don’t show me un- changeable paths.
The tutor cleared his throat. “I have no intention to teach you history or letters or speech. I intend to teach you silence. Stillness.”
This time I didn’t even try to hide my scowl. I did not like this replacement. Tutors generally left me alone. I never had to raise my voice. I never had to scowl. I didn’t even need words. What scared them most was much simpler and sweeter than that—a smile. The moment I smiled—not a real one, of course, but a slow, crocodile reveal of teeth and a practiced manic gleam—the tutor would make an excuse, edge along the wall and flee out of the archive rooms.
Who wanted to be smiled at by the girl that trailed shadows like pets, conjured snakes and waited for Death, her bridegroom, to steal her from these walls? Never mind that none of it was true. Never mind that the closest I had come to real magic was making off with an entire tray of desserts without anyone noticing. The shadow of me always loomed larger than the person who cast it. And sometimes that had its benefits.
This tutor, however, was not as easily cowed. I strained my ears, listening for the footfall of more courtiers, but it was silent. The meeting would start any minute now and here I was, stuck with some fool who wanted to teach me the virtue of silence.
I grinned at him . . .
. . . and he grinned back.
“It is unseemly to smile at strangers, Princess.”
He took a step closer to me. Shadows glommed around him, choking off the honey light of the room. He smelled wrong. Like he had borrowed the scent of another person. Sweat slicked his skin and when he walked closer, red shimmered in his eyes—like coal smoldering in each socket.
“Let me teach you, lovely thing,” he said, taking another step closer. “Humans always get it wrong, don’t they? They think a bowl of rice at the front door is strong enough to keep a demon away. Wrong. What you know is a false promise of strength. Let me show you weakness.”
The room had never felt this empty, like I was trapped between the space of an echo and a scream. I couldn’t hear anything. Not the parrots scuttling on their branches or the court notary dron- ing his list of the afternoon’s agenda. Silence was a silhouette, some- thing I could trace.
The tutor’s voice transcended sound, muddying my thoughts. “Let me teach you the ways of demons and men.”
My knees buckled. His voice echoed with all the desperation of someone who had not slaked his thirst in eons and had just spied a goblet of water sweating beads of condensation, thick as planets. His voice lulled me, coated me. I wanted to move, but found myself rooted to the spot. I glanced up, fighting the drowsi- ness, and saw his shadow smeared on the wall—horned, furred belly skating over the floor, shifting into man and beast and back. Devil. Raksha.
Somewhere in my mind, I knew he wasn’t real. He couldn’t be. This was the court of Bharata, a city like a bone spur—tacked on like an afterthought. Its demons were different: harem wives with jewels in their hair and hate in their heart, courtiers with mouths full of lies, a father who knew me only as a colored stone around his neck. Those were the monsters I knew. My world didn’t have room for more.
The drowsiness slipped off me. When I shook myself free of it, my smile was bitter smoke, my hackles raised until I thought my skin had given way to glass. Now, he seemed smaller. Or maybe I had grown bigger. My surroundings slid away, and all that was left was fire licking at the earth, the edge of a winter eclipse, stars whirling in a forest pool and the pulsing beat of something an- cient running through my veins.
“I don’t care for the ways of men and demons,” I hissed. “Your lessons are lost on me.”
Whatever darkness my mind had imagined melted. Parrots singing. Fountains gurgling. The distant voice of a courtier dron- ing about wars. Sound pushed up between those lost seconds, blossoming into fierce murmurs, hushed tones. What had I imagined? I searched for the tutor’s shadow splayed against the wall. I waited to see something slinking along the ground, darkness stretched long and thin over tomes and cracked tiles, but there was nothing.
You,” he hissed in an exhale that ended in a whimper. He backed into a corner. “It’s you. I thought . . .” He gulped down the rest of his words. He looked lost.
I blinked at him, shaking off the final remnants of that drows- iness. I felt groggy, but not with sleep. A moment ago, I thought I had seen horns limned in shadow. I thought something had coursed through me in defense—a low note of music, the bass of a thun- derclap, a pleat of light glinting through a bruised storm cloud. But that couldn’t be right. The person before me was just . . . a person. And if I had heard him say something else, saw him morph into something else, it was all distant and the fingers of my memory could do nothing but rummage through images, hold them to the light and wonder if I hadn’t slipped into a waking nightmare.
The tutor trembled. Gone was the blocky figure choking out the light and lecturing me on silence. Or had he said something else in those lost moments? Something about weakness and de- mons. I couldn’t remember. I clutched a table, my knuckles white. “I must go,” he said, his face pale, like blood had drained from him. “I didn’t know. Truly. I didn’t. I thought you were someone else.”
I stared at him. What did he mean? How could he not know who I was? Someone must have told him that I was the princess he would be tutoring this afternoon. But I was wasting time. He was just another tutor scared by a reputation pronounced by far- away lights in the sky. Curse the stars.

 


abouttheauthorroshRoshani Chokshi comes from a small town in Georgia where she collected a Southern accent, but does not use it unless under duress. She grew up in a blue house with a perpetually napping bear-dog. At Emory University, she dabbled with journalism, attended some classes in pajamas, forgot to buy winter boots and majored in 14th century British literature. She spent a year after graduation working and traveling and writing. After that, she started law school at the University of Georgia where she’s learning a new kind of storytelling. More information on the author can be found at www.roshanichokshi.com.

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Blog Tour | Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake [Review + Dream Cast + Giveaway]

23197843Title: Suffer Love
Author: Ashley Herring Blake
Publication: May 3rd 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley
ISBN: 9780544596320

How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)


synopsis

Hadley St. Clair’s life changed the day she came home to a front door covered in slips of paper, each of them revealing the ugly truth about her father. Now as her family falls apart in the wake of his year-long affair, Hadley wants everyone-her dad most of all-to leave her alone.
Then she meets Sam Bennett, a cute new boy who inexplicably “feels like home” to Hadley. Hadley and Sam’s connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret about his family that could ruin everything.
Funny and passionate, Suffer Love is a story about first love, family dysfunction, and the fickle hand of fate.

review

I received a digital review copy of this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group via NetGalley for my participation in this blog tour. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
Suffer Love is one of the books I’ve set my eyes upon on since last year and I’m telling you, it’s worth the wait! This book is definitely my kind of contemporary. It really didn’t take a lot of chapters for to get me hooked on Hadley and Sam’s story. I instantly knew that I wouldn’t be able to put it down.
The storyline, the continuity and how things are interconnected like a perfectly woven tapestry in this book is one of the things that I find laudable about Suffer Love. I didn’t mind the amount of coincidences long as it brings our two characters together.
There is no denying that I’m already going crazy over Sam’s insta-attraction towards Hadley, the chemistry between the two is just too strong. And thank God, there wasn’t a hint of insta-love. But what really made my heart explode for containing too much feels is the slow-burn romance. I can still feel everything fresh from the book. I can’t even compare their love story to Romeo and Juliet simply because it’s epic in it’s own.
But more than just the romance, this book is also about family and dysfunctions. Hadley and Sam both have issues in their families. With Hadley’s parents struggling relationship and Sam’s father abandoning them, it shows how these issues reflect on the characters’ personality and how they deal with it in different ways. It is really evident on how these family issues affect everyone and plays a major role in everyone’s lives. I appreciate how these “dysfunctions” where utilized in the plot to highlight a lot of different aspects and not just something to add to have a bit of drama.
I also love the dual POV that’s alternating between Hadley and Sam. They sound really different in these narrations that I can really feel every word and it pierces through me. I can’t even pick which POV I prefer because enjoyed reading in both.
There’s no reason to even put this book down once you start reading it. The narration will get you engaged, the plot is captivating and gripping and heart breaking… and the characters are just real and raw. I hope that’s enough to make you pick up this book and add Suffer Love on your shelves. Because, I am not kidding when I say that you need to read this book. It’s the perfect read especially for contemporary lovers.
Rating:4h

sufferlovecast


abouttheauthor
ashleyAshley Herring Blake is a poet, teacher, and YA novelist. Her debut novel, SUFFER LOVE, follows two teens as they attempt to wade through an intense relationship complicated by their parents’ infidelities. Ashley lives in Nashville, TN.
www.ashleyherringblake.com
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Global Blog Tour | Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

V23 new typeface tagline.indd
Title: Tell Me Three Things
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Publication: April 5th 2016 by Delacorte Press
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher
ISBN: 9780399552939

How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)

Available in the Philippines at:
Fully Booked

synopsisWhat if the person you need the most is someone you’ve never met?
Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?
It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.
In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

reviewI received an ARC of this book from Penguin Random House for my participation in this blog tour. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
Waffle waffle waffle. I don’t even know where to start with this review. See, I’m waffling! No, seriously, Tell Me Three Things is such an honest and enjoyable book. The characters are refreshing, the plot is great, the writing – it’s just so simple and exceptional at the same time. Everything about this book just fits together.
First of all, this book had me at Somebody/Nobody’s first email to Jessie. That might or might not be true because this book really had me at the “But are some mysteries better left unsolved?” part of the back cover description because *points to self* mystery junkie over here. (stop waffling already, Bea!) But what I’m really trying to say here is that I just knew that I would love this book right from the first few pages.
Jessie and SN are adorable. I’m charmed by their duo. Their email/IM exchanges are not only full of wit and humor, but also depth and insights. The mystery behind SN’s identity is also another factor that made me love the idea of the characters having virtual conversations. Not seeing, or even knowing who you’re talking to, can lead to 2 different things – or a mix of both. It could either be the person is being pretentious or they’re being real.
In Jessie’s case, she’s the realest of the real. Her thoughts are full of honesty. Although, there were parts where she questions the way she responds to SN, which makes her think, “did I just say that?”.
See, that’s the thing with email. I’d never say something like that in person. Crude. Suggestive. Like, I am the kind of girl who could pull off that kind of joke.
Aren’t we all just like that? It’s not because she’s pretending to have a different personality but it’s more of her starting to discover a side of herself that she didn’t know existed or, it is what she really is and she just didn’t know it because she doesn’t show it in real life. We might confuse it to being pretentious, but the truth is, it’s being real.
The writing is simple and straightforward, making it even more engaging than it already is and it’s one of the many reasons why I enjoyed this book. There’s something magnetic about it.
The storyline is my kind of contemporary – real and fulfilling. I love how Jessie is not the perfect MC that lives in a perfect world, I also love that the plot deals with a lot of different things and does not only focus on what’s going on between Jessie and SN but it also deals with grief, first-time sex, ambiguity, and a lot more and everything developed perfectly into one beautiful story.
So, let me tell you three things:
  1. I’m 100% sure you’ll be squealing with delight and beaming till your cheeks get sore during and after reading this book.
  2. I knew I could finish this book in 1 go. I was a 30% into the book when I shut the book, checked out how “thick” the unread pages are and told myself, “Ah, I can finish this today.” It’s that good that I couldn’t put it down + the mystery is something I couldn’t wait to unravel!
  3. You need to read this book.
SN reference over here 😉 -> Just for today, I’m doing a number 4. There’s a Goodreads giveaway going on for Tell Me Three Things that I really believe you should join!
Rating:4h

abouttheauthor
Julie Buxbaum is the author of the critically acclaimed The Opposite of Love and After You, and her work has been translated into twenty-five languages. Tell Me Three Things is her first young adult novel. Her writing has appeared in various publications, including The New York Times. She is a former lawyer and graduate of Harvard Law School and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young children, and an immortal goldfish. Visit Julie online at www.juliebuxbaum.com and follow @juliebux on Twitter.
www.juliebuxbaum.com
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Blog Tour | Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns & Melinda Metz [Excerpt + Giveaway]

25663880Title: Sanctuary Bay
Author: Laura J. Burns & Melinda Metz
Publication: January 19th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin
ISBN: 9781250051363

The Girlfriend Request


synopsisWhen Sarah Merson receives the opportunity of a lifetime to attend the most elite prep school in the country—Sanctuary Bay Academy—it seems almost too good to be true. But, after years of bouncing from foster home to foster home and struggling with the memory of her parent’s murder, escaping to the school’s tranquil setting, nestled deep in Swans Island, couldn’t sound more appealing. Swiftly thrown into a world of privilege and secrets, Sarah quickly realizes finding herself noticed by class charmer, Nate, as well as her roommate’s dangerously attentive boyfriend, Ethan, are the least of her worries. When her roommate suddenly goes missing, she finds herself in a race against time, not only to find her, but to save herself and discover the dark truth behind Sanctuary Bay’s glossy reputation.

excerpt

Sanctuary Bay 
by Laura J. Burns & Melinda Metz
Daddy  pressed his finger to his lips, shushing Sarah quiet as he slid the door to the tunnel back on. She wrapped her arms tightly around  her knees and pressed her cheek against her arm, trying to pretend she was back in her  own  room.  But it didn’t smell like her room. Even the spicy smell of Daddy’s cologne had faded now  that the tunnel was closed.  And  grayness was all around her. She was almost four, and that was too old to be scared of the dark. But it wasn’t all dark. It was just gray dark.
She tried not to think of monsters crawling toward her. Daddy said there were no monsters. But monsters  liked tunnels. They liked little girls.
Sometimes when she was scared she liked to sing the Maggie song. But that was against the rules. She had to be quiet. She had to be still. She had to wait until Daddy  or Mommy  opened the door and got her.
Thinking  about  the rules  helped.   She  could  almost hear Daddy  saying them, as if he was hiding in the tunnel with her. Even though he was way too big. If something bad happens, wait until the room is safe. If you leave the tunnel, put the funny slit- ted door back on. Run fast. Find a lady with kids. Tell her your name is Sarah Merson. Merson. Merson. Merson. Merson. Ask for help.
Her nose started twitching, itching from the thick air. Making her want to sneeze. But she had to be quiet.
Then she heard Mommy screaming. Mommy never screamed. Were the monsters out there and not in the tunnel?
On  hands and knees she started creeping  toward the slits of light, heart pounding.
“Kt85L is our property,” a man said. “You had no right!”
Out there. Mommy  on her knees facing the hotel room wall. Someone’s legs. A hand  reaching  down.  A silver bird stared at Sarah from a ring on the finger. Stared with a horrible  little black eye. The finger pulled  the trigger of a gun.
A bang. Her ears filling with bees. Mommy  collapsing on the floor. Red spilling out.
Sarah shoved her fingers into her mouth. Quiet. The rule was be quiet.
Shouting. Daddy’s legs running by, out of the room. The bird man chasing. The door banging closed.
Something bad happening.
The  room  was safe. The  bird  man  was gone. So she had  to get out. Mommy  was on the floor. Daddy  was gone.
She shoved the door and it fell out onto the floor. Near Mommy. Near  the red. But the rule was to put  the funny  door back on. She picked  it up and shoved  it over the tunnel like Daddy  had shown her.
Sarah  didn’t  want to look at Mommy.  She looked  out the window  instead. The window  was always open  and there was never a screen. Daddy’s voice came from the hallway, yelling. Screaming.
Another bang.
Sarah pressing her hands over her eyes. Not looking. Not look- ing. Something bad happening.
Daddy  was quiet now. Something bad. She had to run fast.
Sarah climbed  on the chair under  the window.  The chair always went under  the window.  She stuck her legs through the window  and jumped down.  Now run fast.
She ran fast, looking for a lady with a stroller or a kid her age. A mommy  would  help  her.  She would  say she was Sarah Merson.
Sarah Merson, and something bad happened.

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